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What The Critics Are Saying

The American Interest

A leading Russian documentarian reflects on the events that brought Putin to power, in a new film that is part personal repentance and part cautionary tale.

Susan Glasser, The New Yorker

“[Putin’s Witnesses] is an incredible look at how a democracy dies—or is ‘killed,’ as [Director Vitaly] Mansky corrected me onstage—aided and abetted by those who can’t quite believe what they are seeing.”

Novaya Gazeta

The acclaimed, independent Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta named Putin's Witnesses director Vitaly Mansky Person of the Year.


Vitaly Mansky’s “riveting, incensed documentary… [is] a major, access-rich overview of recent history… sealing Mansky’s reputation as a docmaker of intrepid ambition and daring.”

Hollywood Reporter

“Putin's Witnesses draws on a strikingly intimate archive of behind-the-scenes footage … It is impossible to imagine any other director getting this much unguarded access ever again.”​

Daily Beast

“Rare insight from Vitaly Mansky, a former Kremlin propagandist, paints an extraordinary portrait of a president drawn ever deeper into dictatorship.”

“Putin’s Witnesses is the latest amazement from director Vitaly Mansky… 'Tacit concern,' as defined by Mansky, is what turns witnesses into accomplices, and the director reveals himself to be one of the most crucial witnesses of all."

Eye For Film/UK

"… Mansky's bigger picture about the manipulation of a nation is crystal clear... [The filmmaker also] scrutinizes his own role, and by extension, that of other everyday Russians, in building Putin's empire.”​

Stockholm International Film Festival

“At a very special moment in time, and with unique and extraordinary access to material that would have seemed impossible today, the director [Vitaly Mansky] shows how power works in the private.” [Google Translation)