Tucker Carlson has shared his longform interview with Russia’s president Vladimir Putin, discussing the political leader’s justifications for Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The video, running more than two hours, represents the first time that the Russian leader has been interviewed by a Western journalist since the conflict started nearly two years ago.
“The interview, as you will see if you watch it, is primarily about the war in progress, the war in Ukraine — how it started, what’s happening and, most pressingly, how it might end,” Carlson said at the start of the video, speaking to the camera while standing in front of the Kremlin. “At the beginning of the interview, we asked the most obvious question, which is ‘Why did you do this? Did you feel a threat, an imminent physical threat, and that’s your justification?’ The answer we got shocked us. Putin went on for a very long time, probably half an hour, about the history of Russia going back to the eighth century. And honestly, we thought this was a filibustering technique and found it annoying and interrupted him several times.”
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“But we concluded in the end, for what it’s worth, that it was not a filibustering technique. There was no time limit on the interview. We ended it after two hours. Instead what you’re about to see seemed, to us, sincere, whether you agree with it or not,” Carlson continued. “Vladimir Putin believes that Russia has a historic claim to parts of western Ukraine. So our opinion would be to view, in that light, as a sincere expression of what he thinks.”
Carlson announced the interview on Tuesday, the same day that the interview took place at the Kremlin in Moscow. At the time, the former Fox News anchor claimed that “not a single Western journalist had bothered to interview the president of the other country in this conflict.” The Kremlin denied the allegation, stating it has denied several publications’ requests to speak with Putin. Additionally, in March 2022, shortly following the invasion of Ukraine, Russia passed a law deeming it illegal to publish “false information” about the military — many news organizations extricated their staff members from the country.
During the interview, Carlson brings up the topic of Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich, who has been imprisoned for more than 250 days after being charged with espionage, which the U.S. government and the Journal deny. The anchor expressed his hope that Gershkovich would be released.
“We have done so many gestures of goodwill out of decency that I think we have run out of them,” Putin said when asked about the possibility of releasing Gershkovich. “We have never seen anyone reciprocate to us in a similar manner … I do not rule out that the person you refer to may return to his motherland. We want the U.S. Special Services to think about how they can contribute to achieving the goals our special services are pursuing.”
When asked to explain the blocks of alliances in the geopolitical situation, Putin became more vague.
“Listen, you have said that the world is breaking into two hemispheres. A human brain is divided into two hemispheres. One is responsible for one type of activities, the other one is more about creativity and so on. But it is still one in the same head,” Putin said. “The world should be a single whole. Security should be shared, rather than a demand for the golden billion. That is the only scenario where the world could be stable, sustainable and predictable. Until then, while the head is split in two parts it is an illness a serious adverse condition.”
Carlson shared the full interview for free viewing through the Tucker Carlson Network — a digital platform that he launched following his exit from Fox News last summer, touting it as “an alternative to legacy media.”
Ep. 73 The Vladimir Putin Interview pic.twitter.com/67YuZRkfLL
— Tucker Carlson (@TuckerCarlson) February 8, 2024
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