Russian President Vladimir Putin interviewed the former for more than two hours Fox News anchor Tucker Carlson Covering topics ranging from Ukraine to the Russian economy but breaking little new ground, it was released online Thursday.
Putin told Carlson that Russia had not achieved its goals in the widely condemned war occupation of neighboring Ukraineand he began the interview with a roughly 20-minute, mostly uninterrupted speech about history covering the days of Catherine the Great, empress of Russia from 1762 to 1796.
Carlson at one point flattered Putin and said it wasn’t boring, but added, “I don’t know how relevant it is.”
No details were provided to NBC News about the circumstances under which the interview was recorded. Putin spoke in Russian, and the translation was done by Carlson’s show.
Putin did not rule out the possibility of Russia’s release incarcerated Wall Street Journal reporter Evan GershkovichAlthough he said the United States was wrongfully arrested, he suggested that the United States should come to an agreement.
“Dialogue between special services continues,” he said.
“We want the US special services to think about how they can contribute to achieving the goals set by our special services. We are ready to talk. Moreover, negotiations are underway,” Putin said.
The Wall Street Journal dismissed Putin’s claim that Gershkovich, 32, was involved in “espionage,” but said Thursday that he was encouraged by any deal that could bring him home.
“Evan is a journalist and journalism is not a crime. Any representation to the contrary is a complete fabrication. “Evan has been wrongfully imprisoned and wrongfully imprisoned by Russia for almost a year for doing his job, and we continue to demand his immediate release.” The magazine said.
It was Putin’s first interview with a Western-based media personality since the army occupationsaid Ukraine two years ago. He delivered many familiar talking points and was rarely challenged by Carlson.
Carlson has consistently repeated lies, disinformation and conspiracy theories, and he has sharply criticized US support for Ukraine.
In response to the sanctions imposed by the United States and other countries against Russia The occupation of Ukraine“The tools used by the United States are not working,” Putin said.
Putin also said that he has a good personal relationship with former President George W. Bush. “I had such a personal relationship with Trump,” he said.
Asked whether there could be a new relationship between the United States and Russia in an administration after President Joe Biden, Putin answered: “It’s not about the leader. It is not about the identity of a specific person.”
The interview was posted on Carlson’s website around 6:00 p.m. Thursday and also posted on Carlson’s account on X. X, the social media site owned by Elon Musk, has been blocked in Russia since the first days of the war, along with Facebook and Instagram.
The Kremlin is preparing for Putin’s next election victory, expected in March, and the Russian military is succeeding on the battlefield. Help for Ukrainians It was held at the Congress by Republicans loyal to former President Donald Trump.
Carlson, who was fired From Fox News in April, has since established himself as an independent journalist. Before the interview, he bragged that he was the only Western journalist willing to interview Putin – a claim that was downplayed by the Kremlin, which suggested that Carlson got the interview precisely because of his pro-Russian stance on the war in Ukraine.
Not only has Carlson questioned US support for Kiev, he has also frequently appeared on Kremlin propaganda channels since leaving Fox News.
As Russia continued to bomb their country, Ukrainians were quick to criticize Carlson for talking to Putin.
Andriy Yermak, chief of staff of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, said: “I hope he will be asked why he killed civilians and hit residential buildings.” “Criminals should be tried, not talked to.”
Carlson also accused the Western media of often neglecting to interview Putin He talks to Zelensky it went on for a long time.
NBC News’ Keir Simmons He interviewed Putin in Moscow in 2021 and former CNBC anchor and reporter Hadley Gamble as well spoke to him a few months before the war. in December, He gave an interview to NBC News Putin’s press secretary Dmitry Peskov.
In addition, countless Western journalists have repeatedly applied to interview Putin, only to be turned down by the Kremlin.
Peskov himself contradicted Carlson’s claim that no Western media had interviewed Putin, saying on Wednesday that the Kremlin had received “numerous requests” to interview him.
But Peskov accused Western news agencies of being inherently biased against Putin, adding that he had “no desire to communicate with such media.” According to him, Carlson was interviewed because his position is “different from others”.
Reporting from wartime Russia has become dangerous for local and foreign journalists after Moscow passed a tough law criminalizing critics of its armed forces. The laws have forced many independent Russian media and Western news organizations to move their operations outside of Russia.
Two US journalists are in prison in Russia. Gershkovich He is still awaiting trial after being detained last spring, facing espionage charges his employer and the US government strongly deny.
Alsu KurmashevaA Russian-American correspondent for RFE/RL was detained in October and charged with failing to register as a foreign agent.
Tim Dawson, deputy secretary-general of the International Federation of Journalists, said: “Tucker Carlson needs to focus on his journalism and stop attacking other journalists – he’s acting like the worst type of fact-mining shock toy.” to NBC News. “Any honest attempt to understand President Putin is welcome. “Unfortunately, Tucker Carlson promotes his interview with unsubstantiated invective and lies.”
Putin rarely communicates with the public, and he relies on speeches and official events designed to smear the West. In December, he held his first major press conference since the start of the war, at which only one Western media outlet was allowed to ask questions.
Carlson clearly did He questioned the support of the USA to KyivHe accused Washington of inciting Russia to invade and criticized Ukrainian government. He is popular in Russia and is regularly cited by Russian propaganda media as an influential pro-Moscow voice in the United States.
In the days leading up to the interview, Russian state media had been closely following Carlson’s every move, feverishly reporting on his visits to the Bolshoi Theater and the Russian version of McDonald’s.
For Putin, Carlson’s visit provided a distraction from a bleak winter as Russia grapples with a widespread utility crisis. growing protests by soldiers’ wives and a potential cHallenge from Boris Nadezhdina surprisingly popular anti-war politician.
“Carlson’s help is indispensable for Putin,” Russian political scientist and Putin’s former spokesman Abbas Gallyamov said on the Telegram channel. “There’s no momentum to be found domestically, so the main hope here is Carlson.”
Fox News Parted ways with Carlson after that in April agreed to pay about $800 million to Dominion Voting Systems to avoid a high-profile defamation lawsuit that has cast a shadow over the network’s future.
Until the Dominion trial, Carlson’s internal communications were released showing him He criticizes Trump and admitted that allegations of voter fraud in the 2020 election were unfounded.
Since then it has started working The show at X and a subscription-based streaming service.
Shortly after leaving Fox News, Carlson accepted job offers Vladimir Solovyov of the Russian propaganda network RT and pro-Kremlin propagandist and commentator on Russian state television.
But Carlson chose to build his own brand. In recent months, he has conducted interviews with Hungary’s autocratic leader Viktor Orbán and Argentina’s right-wing president Javier Miley.
National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said Thursday that no one in the United States should be misled by Putin’s attempts to justify his aggression against Ukraine.
“He invaded a neighboring country without provocation – Ukraine was not a threat to anyone, and the American people understand that. And the American people understand what Ukraine is fighting for,” said Kirby.
“Remember, you’re listening to Vladimir Putin,” Kirby said at the briefing. “And you shouldn’t take anything he says at face value.”