The fact that the first word of this documentary about Vladimir Putin is "I" (after the sober mention of the period "August 2022") is telling.
This “I” does not undermine the film, but is its USP (“unique selling proposition”).
No prisoners are taken.
A few sentences later it says: "I was once the most popular politician in Germany", followed by the admission: "I made mistakes back then - and paid for them." Patronage is added: "quite rightly".
According to Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg, in all of this he learned “how power seduces people”, so he was somehow also a victim.
Admittedly, this personal experience, according to the immodest argumentative framing, predestines him to find out something about the rise of Vladimir Putin: "How is it possible for a man to gain so much power, bring war back to Europe?"
The book was called "First Failed"
"Failed for the time being" was the name of the book in which Guttenberg took a position on his resignation from all political offices after the plagiarism scandal in 2011.
The maestro of self-stylization then worked as a consultant and lobbyist, including for the now insolvent payment service provider Wirecard.
In this context, he had to explain to the Bundestag committee of inquiry at the end of 2020 what can be classified as 'temporarily still failed'.
But now he's back, completely renewed as a tough, sneaker-wearing three-day beard reporter and charismatic elder statesman for RTL, where he, boldly reprimanded to "KT Guttenberg", for - for the time being - two documentaries and the moderation of the annual review alongside Thomas Gottschalk was bought.
For his first appearance, Guttenberg has now chosen the despot from Moscow.
The film, based on a screenplay by the author Jörg Falbe, depicts the psychological profile of the backyard bully Vladimir Putin, who is as reliable as it is mythical. Through skill, ruthlessness and deceit he has taken the lead in the Russian Federation, from where he is now, armed with atomic bombs, the entire world threatened.
In the production of i&u TV and Looping Group, a number of experts have their say, in a very classic way: publicists like Robert Misik, Katja Gloger or ZDF's Moscow correspondent for many years, Dietmar Schumann, former CIA employees like John Sipher, Russian opposition figures – Mikhail Khodorkovsky, Garry Kasparov, Marina Litvinenko, Pussy Riot – as well as politicians in Germany and Ukraine.
What these interlocutors contribute makes sense.
You learn how Putin found his way into politics from the streets of Saint Petersburg and rose there, how his service in the Soviet and then Russian secret service shaped him, how much he was hurt by the collapse of the Eastern Empire, which he personally served as a KGB liaison officer in Dresden experienced.
The wars and their pretexts in Chechnya, Georgia and the Ukraine (Syria is neglected) are addressed in all their cruelty, as is the elimination of rivals and opponents at home.
Of course, the analyzes rarely go into depth.
And what is said differs little from what is said in many other documentaries or talk shows.