The first 25 minutes, after laughing at his interviewer and aborting any attempt to interrupt or change the subject, Vladimir Putin He spent them immersing himself in one of his soliloquies of historical revisionism about the founding myths of Russia and Ukraine, dating back to the 9th century. That was the starting signal that set the tone of the early interview which the Russian president granted on Tuesday in Moscow to Tucker Carlsonthe controversial communicator of the ultra-right in the United States fired from Fox News, which aired it this Thursday on the page it launched on the web and on X, Elon Musk’s network.
Putin maintained the idea that the war will continue (“we have not yet achieved our objectives”he said) but also urged the United States to negotiate. “If they really want to stop military action they must stop giving weapons to Ukraine, then everything will be over in a few weeks and we will be able to discuss some terms,” he assured. “We are ready for dialogue”.
His proposal involves returning to what he calls the Istanbul document, provisions that were discussed when only two months had passed since the start of the war. And Putin said that NATO allies must accept Russian control of the Ukrainian territory it occupies at the moment.
More than two hours
It was the first interview that the Russian leader gave to a Westerner since the beginning of the war in ukraine (although it is not, unlike what Carlson has said, because Western journalists have not requested them). It lasted for more than two hours, absolutely controlled by Putinwith Carlson silenced, often looking confused, and treated by his interviewee frequently with condescension.
The format and his control over the interviewer allowed him to launch his message without barriers, which had as its clear audience Carlson’s usual audience in the US. conservative and that he agrees with conspiracy theories or his accusations of the alleged operations of the “deep state” or of describing the majority of American and European media as propaganda mechanisms. But he was also speaking to Republican leaders, who have managed to stop the efforts of Joe Biden for sending more financial assistance to Ukraine (although on Thursday a billwhose future is uncertain).
Putin launched messages very similar to those that are on the lips of Donald Trump and those Republican politicians these days, questioning the role of the United States in the conflict. “Does the US need this? So that? Thousands of kilometers from its territory. ¿Do not you have anything better to do?“, he said before highlighting the “problems with the border, with immigration” or with the national debt, which amounted to more than 33 billion dollars. “Wouldn’t it be better to negotiate with Russia, reach an agreement?” she said.
There was no news in the speech he uses to justify his actions in Ukraine, such as the “denazification”. Nor in his historic speech, in which he repeatedly denounced the NATO’s eastern expansions. And what he did was accuse the West of “stirring up fear” about possible Russian actions in places like Poland. “We would only send troops if Poland attacked Russia. Because we have no interest in Poland, Latvia or anywhere else,” he said.
The Gershkovich case
As the interview progressed under Putin’s control, Carlson gave himself over to increasingly surreal questions, like how a Christian can be the leader of a country at war and have to kill. He addressed the artificial intelligence or Musk (whom Putin called “intelligent” and who said “there is no way to stop him”). And the American left put aside practically all the issues that could have bothered to his interviewee, from lethal actions by Russia against civilians and infrastructure criticism in Ukraine or the child abductions until the crushing of internal opposition in Russia .
The only thing he put any pressure on Putin was because the case of Evan Gershkovichthe 32-year-old journalist for ‘The Wall Street Journal’ imprisoned in Russia accused of espionage, an allegation they both deny USA like the newspaper and that Carlson himself also questioned. And although Putin insisted on accusing the journalist of having been working for the US secret services, he said that there are Talks underway to carry out a prisoner exchange to return it to the US.
“I think an agreement can be reached,” said Putin, who with references seemed to point to his willingness for the journalist to be exchanged for Vadim Krasikova Russian serving a life sentence in Germany for the daylight murder of a Chechen citizen from Georgia (whom Putin accuses of having killed Russian soldiers captured in the war by running them over with a car).
The ‘Journal’ issued a statement insisting on the innocence of its reporter, recalling that “journalism is not a crime” and ensuring that he has been “unjustly detained by Russia for almost a year for doing his job.” But the newspaper was also “encouraged to see Russia’s desire for an agreement.”