Oliver Stone’s four-part documentary “The Putin Interviews” debuted on Showtime on June 12th and will continue through the 15th. Stephen Colbert invited Stone on “The Late Show” to talk about the documentary and his many interviews with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Stone accused of being too ‘cozy’ with President Vladimir Putin

As noted by Rolling Stone, Colbert pointed out that Stone has interviewed the Russian President more than 12 times over a period of two years, saying many have criticized him for being “too cozy” with Putin, in what has been dubbed a “fawning interview with a brutal dictator.” However, Stone went on to say he had to be polite and respectful and that Putin knew he would give him a fair hearing.

When asked about the possibility that Russia interfered with the 2016 U.S. elections, the documentary maker stood up for Putin when he said he didn't interfere in the business of other nations, saying he took him at face value. He wasn’t negative when asked about the Russian’s president’s history of running an oppressive regime in his country.

Stone respects Putin

In fact, Stone pretty much stood up for Putin all the way, telling Colbert he should see the documentary himself and adding that he respects Putin as the Head of State in Russia. Stone said that throughout the period of 16 years, from 2000 until the present day, he has never heard Putin say anything bad against the U.S.

Stone said what he did hear was Putin reaching out to try and have a relationship between the two countries. He strongly believes that Putin still wants to have that relationship with the U.S., saying he felt Putin was very genuine about his feelings. Stone went on to praise Putin’s devotion to his country, despite the fact he has been abused in the media and insulted on a regular basis, at which time the audience laughed.

Colbert, being Colbert, and to cheers from his audience, asked Stone if he found anything negative at all about Putin, jokingly asking if he has “his dog in a cage somewhere.” Stone continued to stand up for the Russian president saying that a détente between the two nations would be a good thing.

Colbert then pointed to the fact that Putin tends to arrest his enemies and launch attacks on the free press, saying that was something that he, as an American and member of the press, could not accept.

Stone said he has always been for free speech, that Putin is a social conservative and while he again tried to stand up for the Russian president the audience laughed. Stone went on to explain that "The Putin Interviews" documentary speaks for itself.

The full interview can be seen here.

Off-the-air discussion on ‘The Late Show’ involved Israel

Page Six gave an alternative view on the interview between Colbert and Stone, relating to an off-air fight between Colbert and Stone about Israel. A Page Six source was sitting in the audience throughout the show and told them the political spat between the two was “painful to watch.”

What wasn’t seen on the broadcast show was that when Colbert was speaking to Stone about his sympathy for the Russian president, despite the claims of Russia interfering in the election, Stone suddenly felt uncomfortable and reportedly tried to switch the subject of the discussion to Israel.

According to the source, Stone said something along the lines of Israel having more involvement in the U.S. election than Russia. Stone then challenged Colbert by saying, why doesn’t he ask him about that interference. Colbert then reportedly shot back at Stone saying he would ask him about that – when he makes a documentary about Israel.

The source went on to say that Colbert was great and handled everything very well – not letting Stone get away with a thing, as the film director sat there “stony-faced.”

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