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Putin's Kiss

"As shown in these films, the best way that a state can be tyrannical is by breeding cynicism toward democratic freedom." — Govindini Murty & Jason Apuzzo, The Atlantic

"Putin’s Kiss is required viewing!" — Andrew O’Hehir, Salon

"Putin’s Kiss is more than just the portrait of a naive young woman. It’s a frightening look at Putin’s warped version of democracy." — V. A. Musetto, New York Post

"Proving it pays to stick with a docu subject for the long haul, Putin's Kiss tracks four years in the life of a firebrand member of Russia's ultranationalist Nashi movement who eventually has a Damascene conversion of sorts. [The film tells] a riveting story about contemporary Russia's dark side...[with] strong, vivid characters, particularly Drokova, who in the early going, recalls Reese Witherspoon's Tracy Flick from Election with her prim schoolgirl outfits and ruthless ambition." — Leslie Felperin, Variety

Nashi is an increasingly popular political youth organization in Russia with direct ties to the Kremlin. Officially, its goal is to support the current political system by creating a future elite among the brightest and most loyal Russian teenagers. But the organization also works to prevent the political opposition from spreading their views among young people.

16-year-old Masha Drokova, a Nashi commissar and spokesperson, is an ambitious middle-class student from the outskirts of Moscow. After joining Nashi at the age of 15, she moves to the very top of the organization, and is rewarded for her dedication with a university scholarship, an apartment, and even a pro-Putin talk show.

Everything changes when Drokova becomes acquainted with a group of liberal journalists, including popular anti-Putin reporter Oleg Kashin. At first, she remains devoted to Nashi while pursuing tentative friendships with its left-wing critics — but when Kashin is brutally beaten by "unknown perpetrators," she has a genuine change of heart and decides to take a stand.

Runtime: 84 minutes