Russia: A Journey with Jonathan Dimbleby
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Russia: A Journey with Jonathan Dimbleby

Ratings: 6.78/10 from 9 users.

Russia: A Journey with Jonathan DimblebyA major BBC documentary, Russia sees Jonathan Dimbleby attempt to put across the largest nation on Earth over the course of a 10,000 mile journey. The end result fills up five 60 minute episodes.

And on the whole, it’s a very strong release. Billed as the first television look of its type at the nation, Dimbleby takes us via road, rail and foot as he undertakes his adventure, and his look at Russia certainly tucks away many of the stereotypes you may be used to seeing.

At its best, Russia is a fascinating, brilliant piece of documentary television, genuinely unearthing new and interesting things, as well as a plethora of individual stories. Dimbleby is perhaps not the most obvious host, sometimes putting a little bit too much of himself into the mix rather than focusing on the nation he’s there to show us, but on the whole he does a commendable job.

Yet inevitably, it’s the nation of Russia itself that’s the main attraction here. And while you can’t help but feel that this documentary only scratches the surface of the nation, it’s still a welcome and thorough introduction to a once-mysterious country.

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26 Comments / User Reviews

  1. Sergey Evenko

    Fake, hi is never been in Russia.

  2. Journalist

    It starts really well, but at some point I got fed up with Jonathan trying to impose a very westernised view of how Russia should be. He keeps moaning about "democracy" as if democracy was the reality of places like... England? United States? At some point he says: "in democracy you can still remove your leaders when they do something wrong". Am I supposed to laugh? He was also very judgmental about the "corruption" and lack of "transparency" of russian society, forgetting that England itself never was the most transparent system in the world, not to mention the crumbling free press that we have today and corruption - that you can find in heart of The City of London (the biggest tax haven in the world). I also found unsettling to hear about his views on political prisoner, Khodorkovsky - now released from prison and running his efforts to destabilize Russia from London. A truly remarkable documentary, but not without a bitter end. Worth watching!

  3. Jay

    Hey you know what would make this doc great? Someone intelligent to present it. Is this guy for real? Does his wife dress him in the morning? Had so much potential...

  4. Mark

    Hi Peter,

    David and Jonathan are brothers... Indeed I didn't know that.

    No wonder it felt like (David )presenter/writer of the Seven Ages of Britain looked and acted differently from (Jonathan) the presenter of the Russia documentary.

    Thanks for clearing that and saving David from any ad hominem that his brother Jonathan so well deserves.

  5. Peter

    David Dimbleby might have done a better job then in this Russia documentary. He was the writer/presenter in Seven Ages of Britain, not Jonathan.

  6. Mark

    His England documentary was amazing, I really loved his voice and his vivid descriptions using artifacts to help us grasp and understand where England came from.

    Unfortunately, I felt that the Russia documentary was the direct opposite. A politically motivated piece of journalistic pragmatism that seemed to have no other aim then to mindfully discredit Russia in the eyes of the English speaking audience.

    I thought I was going to enjoy a four hour mental journey through the largest country in the world, but instead I had to listen to Jonathan trying to impose his political views on normal unprepared and non media trained Russians and Daghestanis.

    In many of the interviews, I got the impression Jonathan was on a mission to try to open peoples minds and get them to want the utopia that he doesn't have in his own country. When that didn't go as planned, he made the final melodramatic conclusion that Russia wasn't on the right road and that democracy is lost.

    The best part was when he asked a couple of Vladivostok teenagers whether they longed for democracy?

    The response was that after watching US democracy in action and pointing at the fact that the average citizen doesn't really have a voice in a western democracy. Jonathan automatically reacted by explaining how you have a right to vote and by doing so changing the leaders you don't like.

    Really disappointing watching Jonathan acting out as an agent for western democracy, an empty word of political manipulation.

  7. lynn Fux

    Kara,I am a bit confused here. As I said I lived in East Kentucky for a few years,married to a Wayland man. All the people who settled in Eastern Kentucky are of Scotch-Irish ancestry and all the old house are the ones built shabbily by the coal companies. I watched the doc and could see nothing related to Eastern Kentucky or Appalachia at all.

  8. knobhill farms

    esmuziq bro i totally seen the object i dont know if its a ufo but it sure wasent a shooting star i rewind it like 20times sill dont know what it is...but other then that this was a great doc thanx vlatko

  9. Peter

    Kara said: "In those ancient villages, it was like looking at my close ancestors in Appalachia Kentucky. Their houses looked the same, the way the houses were situated was the same, and the facial features of native Russians are exactly what my close ancestors look like."

    This is interesting. Just to clarify... you mean you have Russian ancestors and *also* ancestors in Appalachia, and they look alike? If so, do you think the mountainous environment and diet shapes the people in both locations in similar ways so that they end up looking alike and show other similarities such as typical house location, etc.?

  10. burton

    Simply awesome!! Thanks TDF

  11. lynn Fux

    Hi,I lived 2 years in Pippa Passes ,East Kentucky and I have never seen houses nor people who looked like these. Sorry this was for Kara Kittle.I also couldn't find any of segment 4.

  12. esmuziq

    did u guys see the ufo at 01 - 03 on time ---> 7 : 19 top left

  13. sonny corbi

    excelient doc!!

  14. HHV

    I'm getting copyright infringement errors in the U.S. but I've watched enough to know I want to download it. Thank you Vlatko! P.S. The left arrow button is indeed the fix to the error message in playlists.

  15. squid

    Just a heads up for people that get error messages try this. I always get the error when it changes to the next part of the playlist. There are arrows on the left and right of the screen that let you skip through the playlists. When you get the error click the left button once. Every once in a while it will restart the segment you just watched. If it does this hit the right arrow. More often than not though it picks up in the correct spot and plays. I know it is kind of a pain to have to hit the arrows but it is better than reloading the page and trying to find the point you left off. Especially in really long playlists. Hope it helps.

  16. Kara Kittle

    I loved it. I am a descendant of the Mansi of Khanti-Mans and watching this brought a lot understanding about my ancestors.

    In those ancient villages, it was like looking at my close ancestors in Appalachia Kentucky. Their houses looked the same, the way the houses were situated was the same, and the facial features of native Russians are exactly what my close ancestors look like.

    This was a good doc, but I kept getting error messages. I think youtube videos are the slowest and have the most server errors.

  17. Joseph A. Haran, Jr.

    Where is segment "4 00"? It's missing and YouTube's search engine cannot find it, which means it's not there. Thus is ruined an otherwise-fine presentation. Can you not ensure all segments are present before announcing such a series?

  18. Lars

    If the docs are skipping you can often manually fix that by going back one video with the navigation panel in middle left and right. For me it seems to skip a video ever so often.

  19. sevin

    love this docu...but after siting thru the first 3 hours,the last hour is blocked due to copyright infringement

  20. gothnate

    In Russia, documentary watches you!

    Sorry, couldn't resist.

  21. E

    Thanks Vlatko this is another great doc

  22. E

    never mind its working fine now

  23. Reasons Voice

    Epic!! Love Russian history. That country has it all, from feudalism to Mongol invasion. From Ivan the terrible to the Gulags. Just too interesting for words. For those that enjoy Russian history I recomend reading "Russka" by Edward Rutherford. It is a historical fiction work that follows a fictional family line through the events of Russian history all the way from settlement to Stalin.
    Thanks Vlatko for you steady cure for boredom.

  24. Jay G

    I enjoyed this doc, learned some new and intresting things about russia.

  25. E

    This seems to be a really interesting doc but the constant error messages are kind of annoying plus i think its skipping some good parts of the doc, but maybe its just my computer. If its not too much trouble, can someone look into this?

    1. Vlatko

      It's on your end @E.