Daily Caller co-founder Tucker Carlson released his highly-anticipated interview Thursday with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Ep. 73 The Vladimir Putin Interview pic.twitter.com/67YuZRkfLL
— Tucker Carlson (@TuckerCarlson) February 8, 2024
This is the first interview with Putin conducted by an American journalist since October 2021, when CNBC’s Hadley Gamble sat down exclusively with him. Carlson traveled to Moscow, Russia, in early February after the Kremlin granted the interview.
Carlson and Putin talked about a range of topics, including the war in Ukraine, the history of Russia, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and Russia’s current relationship with the U.S. during the two hour-long interview.
While discussing foreign relations with the U.S., Putin said Russia attempted to “build relations” with the U.S., the Middle East and others across the world. Putin said he warned the U.S. not to support separatism in the Middle East, but said the country did it anyways.
On the topic of Ukraine, Putin said nations opened the door for Ukraine and Georgia —both former Soviet Union counties — to join NATO. He said this 2008 proposition was reportedly not agreed upon. Putin then accused the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) of backing a coup in Kyiv, the Ukrainian capital, which he called a “colossal mistake.”
“This is a coup, and the U.S. supported it and it came to power,” Putin alleged. “Imagine if in the U.S., something was not to someone’s liking and the third round of election, which the U.S. Constitution does not provide for, was organized. Nonetheless, it was done in Ukraine.”
“Technically, they did everything right,” Putin said. “They achieved their goal of changing the government. However, from a political standpoint, it was a colossal mistake.”
He accused Ukraine of starting a war in the Donbas region in the 2010’s and said the invasion of Ukraine in February 2022 was an “attempt to stop” the war.
“It was they [Ukraine] who started the war in 2014. Our goal is to stop this war, and we did not start this war in 2022,” Putin said. “This is an attempt to stop it.
“Do you think you’ve stopped it now?” Carlson asked the Russian president. “I mean, have you achieved your aims?”
“No, we haven’t achieved our aims yet because one of them is the de-Nazification,” Putin said. “This means the prohibition of all kinds of neo-Nazi movements. This is one of the problems we discussed during the negotiation processes which ended in Istanbul this year.”
He appeared to suggest that Ukraine has made Neo-Nazis “national heroes” in its country and separates itself from Russia on the basis of Nazism. He further warned the U.S. to stop supplying Ukraine with billions of dollars in weaponry so a peace deal with Zelenskyy could be made.
In relation to warnings of Putin expanding his war to bordering countries, Carlson asked if there was any scenario in which Russia would invade Poland. Putin accused NATO of invoking fear of an “imaginary Russian threat,” and assured the Daily Caller co-founder that Poland attacking Russia would be the single scenario in which Russian troops invaded the country.
“We have no interest in Poland, Latvia or anywhere else,” Putin said. “Why would we do that? We simply do not have any interest. It’s just threat-mongering.”
The Daily Caller co-founder addressed the Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich, who has been imprisoned in Russia for almost a year. Carlson bluntly told Putin that the reporter was not a spy and was being held hostage by the Russian government.
“I just want to ask you directly, if as a sign of your decency, you’d be willing to release him to us, and we’ll bring him back to the United States?” Carlson said.
“We have done so many gestures of goodwill out of decency that I think we have run out of them,” the Russian president said. “We have never seen anyone reciprocate to us in a similar manner. However, in theory, we can say that we do not rule out that we can do that. If our partners take reciprocal steps.”
The Russian president alleged Gershkovich received “classified, confidential information.”
Carlson said he conducted this interview because it is a journalist’s job to inform the American public about the war in the region.
“Two years into a war that’s reshaping the entire world, most Americans are not informed,” Carlson said in a Tuesday video. “They have no real idea what’s happening in this region, here in Russia or 600 miles away in Ukraine. But they should know. They’re paying for much of it in ways that they might not yet fully perceive.”
He expressed his concern of how the American media has spent a substantial amount of time conducting “fawning pep sessions” with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy to amplify his demand that the U.S. become more involved the Ukrainian war.
Carlson said he previously planned on conducting a sit-down interview with Putin, but the National Security Agency (NSA) allegedly “illegally spied” on Carlson’s team by obtaining their text messages and emails in 2021. A whistleblower told Carlson about the alleged spying, according to the Daily Caller co-founder.
Carlson said during a Jul. 7, 2021, interview that the NSA leaked his emails to journalists, with one journalist allegedly calling him and reading back to him the contents of his emails.
White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said Tuesday that Carlson’s allegation was a “ridiculous statement” during a press conference.
A handful of figures from the corporate media have lamented the fact that Carlson has interviewed the Russian president. Bill Kristol, the director of Defending Democracy Together, called for a “total and complete shutdown” of Carlson reentering the U.S., and Bill Browder, the CEO of Hermitage Capital, said Carlson is “either remarkably stupid or consciously evil,” according to The Spectator.
CNN anchor Erin Burnett accused Carlson of being a “Putin-loving celebrity” for traveling to Russia.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said they normally deny American media’s requests to interview Putin, though they accepted Carlson’s since “he has a position that differs from the rest [of the Western media].
“It’s not pro-Russian by any means, and it’s not pro-Ukrainian; rather, it’s pro-American. But at least it stands in clear contrast to the position of the traditional Anglo-Saxon media,” Peskov said, according to Meduza.
Several corporate media outlets, including NBC News and The Associated Press (AP), have interviewed Putin in the past decade. The New York Times published a Putin op-ed in Sept. 11, 2013, as well as an op-ed written by the deputy leader of the Taliban in Feb. 2020.
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