The Oscar-winning Kate Winslet, who has long since retired from the romantic role of Rose from Titanic, plays… Putin in this satirical miniseries from HBO. Yes, yes, the American cable channel in collaboration with the award-winning British playwright Stephen Frears, who has an exemplary sense of exquisite English humor, created The Regime, which obviously, without any doubt, ridicules the mental and actual realities of Putin’s Russia, and Winslet authoritatively led the caricature of that bloody circus.

Name The Regime
Political satire 
Stephen Frears, Jessica Hobbs
Kate Winslet, Matthias Schoenarts, Andrea Riseborough, Guillaume Gallienne, Hugh Grant, Martha Plimpton, Danny Webb, Rory Keenan 
Studio HBO
Year 2024
Website IMDB

It is interesting that the project was originally called The Palace, because all the action here takes place inside an authoritarian residence where the main character, the chancellor of an unnamed Central European country, sits, and she never leaves her relatively safe home, she is locked in like a bunker… But after the release of Roman Polanski’s The Palace, which, uncharacteristically for the titular director, turned out to be a nasty and flat satire on the “cream of society” stuffed with Botox and chicken brains, the authors of the Regime series reasonably decided to change the title.

Review of The Regime series

It is impossible not to understand that Frears and company are parodying the current Muscovy and the current Muscovites, or to hesitate about the target of this satire. On the one hand, yes, all dictators are extremely similar to each other, with almost identical greed, shortsightedness, complexes, and fears. But on the other hand, there are too many directives in the Regime series to doubt.

Review of The Regime series

Firstly, the red and blue flags on the white columns of the palace facade suggest the tricolor. Secondly, this Central European state has extremely controversial relations with America, with whom it closely trades and which it simultaneously hates, and its main lever of influence on the global political and economic scene is a huge reserve of valuable natural resources (only in the series it is cobalt instead of oil).

Review of The Regime series

Thirdly, Chancellor Yelena (whose name, by the way, is similar to Alina, the Kremlin’s unofficial “first lady” Alina Kabayeva) suffers from total paranoia. Her fear of catching some kind of infection and harming her “imperial” health in any way is so pathological that subordinate officials in her presence have to keep their distance, not open their mouths, and hardly breathe, so that no bacillus can fly in the direction of the patriarchal matriarch.

In the event of any air threat (we are not talking about missiles, but about germs), she hides in an oxygen capsule, does not shake hands with even the most respected guests (and if she has to, she rushes to bathe in a sanitizer), and the autocrat’s biggest nightmare and hemorrhoids are ordinary household mold, which, due to the high humidity in the walls of the dilapidated building, covered all the rooms and nooks and crannies of the musty palace (needless to say, Putin is panicked by the coronavirus and any infection in general).

Fourth, the most sacred holiday is Victory Day (the day Yelena won the election, overcoming her non-political heritage, as her not-so-ambitious father did not reach the heights, and sort of defeated her rival on the way to the cobalt throne). Fifth, like Putin, she likes to show off her non-political “talents” to the public (no, she doesn’t swing a karate belt or ride a horse naked, but she sings terribly on stage, so her “talents” are also completely unqualified). Finally, sixth, there is also a mausoleum. It is the resting place of the father (here literally the father of the satrap, but clearly with a hint of Lenin, the “father” of the Soviet nation), who, like the Kremlin mummy, is covered with spots despite the makeup.

Mold is, of course, a metaphor for rot and decay; stagnation, which has stained every nook and cranny of Muscovy, leaving it with no room to breathe. And so that the not-so-smart and not-so-savvy viewer does not get confused about the address and addressee of this ridicule, the authors gave the main male role to Matthias Schoenarts, who, among other things, is well known for his resemblance to Putin (although he is undoubtedly disproportionately more attractive than the botoxed jackass).

Review of The Regime series

The actor portrayed a corporal who, for his special services to the regime after the bloody suppression of the miners’ revolt, was honored to serve in the palace of Her Majesty directly, namely to walk everywhere next to the tyrant, measuring the level of moisture (and, accordingly, the level of threat of mold) with a special device. This adoring army man is a collective image of a zombified Russian soldier and at the same time a possible allusion to the late “Kremlin cook” Prigozhin, who served and served, bowed and bowed, and then recklessly opened his mouth too wide and too loud.

As if all sarcastic references work. Stephen Frears is supposedly making sure that it is not rude, but subtle. The actors are supposedly playing their scenes and characters “in the English way” (i.e. without unnecessary grimaces and unnecessary emotions, but in such a way that the essence of mockery is felt)… However, it is not known why everything sounds and looks… unfunny… Perhaps the reason for this discrepancy is that the creators of the series, like Western politicians, cannot decide on a course towards the racist infection: whether to laugh or cry, threaten or fear, avoid this black mold or disinfect the world.