Filmmaker and conspiracy theorist Oliver Stone has made no secret of his admiration for Russian President Vladimir Putin, but now he has taken it to a whole new level by trying to make him his 22-year-old daughter’s godfather.
“Does she want to become an Orthodox Christian?” Putin asked when Stone floated the idea during a sit-down in the Kremlin.
“We’ll make her that [Orthodox],” Stone replied, according to a transcript of the interview put out by the Kremlin Friday.
Putin appeared to wriggle his way out of the proposal (“You have to ask her,” he said) before Stone went on to complain about “American culture,” taking particular issue with what he described as a focus on gender identity and people labeling themselves as “transgender” and “cisgender.”
Stone quickly steered the conversation toward a controversial 2013 Russian law banning “homosexual propaganda” among minors, a law which experts say has prompted a surge of homophobic violence in the country.
“It seems like maybe that’s a sensible law,” Stone said.
The interview, transcripts of which were released Friday, took place in mid-June, shortly before Stone announced the upcoming premiere of his new documentary Revealing Ukraine, which purports to “investigate” the “ongoing Ukrainian crisis” but seems instead to serve as a promotional spot for pro-Russian Ukrainian politician and Putin ally Viktor Medvedchuk.
The “documentary” has been hyped up by Russian state media, where it premiered on Friday. It was also due to air on Ukraine’s 112 TV channel, which Medvedchuk reportedly took control of late last year, but the station said it was forced to cancel the broadcast after protests.
Stone has claimed his dabblings in Ukraine offer viewers a new perspective on the 2014 Maidan revolution and war in Donbass that he says “Western media has largely ignored,” but that “perspective” has relied solely on claims fed to him by pro-Russia politicians, Putin allies, and Putin himself.
In his sit-down with the Russian president, Stone vacillated between spouting off common Kremlin propaganda on Ukraine and fawning over Putin as a “peacemaker.”
After echoing the Kremlin conspiracy theory that the pro-Russian leaders in Kyiv accused of gunning down innocent protesters in the 2014 revolution were actually framed in some vast conspiracy that may or may not have involved former U.S. President Barack Obama, and that Ukraine, not Russia was to blame for interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, Stone expressed concerns about Putin’s emotional well-being.
“You sound very depressed, much more depressed than last time,” he said, later adding, “I am very worried about you.”
The two ended the interview by taking a parting picture together.