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TraumaZone (BBC)

Adam Curtis documentary about the collapse of the Soviet Union and the rise of Putin.

Russia 1985–1999: TraumaZone (with the subtitle "What It Felt Like to Live Through The Collapse of Communism and Democracy") is a captivating seven-part documentary television series created by Adam Curtis for the BBC. The series was made available on BBC iPlayer on 13 October 2022.

Background: Archival footage of the Soviet Union and Russia, which had been previously untouched, was discovered and digitized by Phil Goodwin, an employee at the BBC's Moscow bureau. Adam Curtis, being the sole individual at the BBC showing interest in utilizing this footage, took on the project. Departing from his typical style, Curtis chose not to incorporate voiceovers or non-diegetic music, opting instead for on-screen captions to provide the only commentary. Curtis explained his decision in an article for The Guardian, stating that the footage was so powerful that he didn't want to needlessly intrude, but rather allow viewers to simply experience the events unfolding. In an interview with Meduza, Curtis mentioned that Leo Tolstoy's War and Peace served as inspiration for him due to its resonance with his collage-like mindset.

Premise: Utilizing stock footage captured by the BBC, the series provides a comprehensive account of the Soviet Union's collapse, the emergence of capitalist Russia and its oligarchs, and the profound impact these changes had on people from all walks of life in Russia. Ultimately, the narrative leads to the ascent of Vladimir Putin to power.

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