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Tucker Carlson releases interview with Putin

by Dmytro Basmat February 9, 2024 2:09 AM 3 min read
Vladimir Putin at the 4th Congress of Russian Railway Workers, on Dec. 15, 2023 in Moscow, Russia. (Contributor/Getty Images)
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Editor's Note: This is a developing story.

Controversial far-right commentator and former Fox News host Tucker Carlson released his interview with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Feb. 8.

The two-hour, seven-minute interview was recorded on Feb. 6 during Carlson's trip to Moscow.

Throughout the interview, Carlson seldomly interrupts Putin as he echoes Russian propaganda, sharing false narratives on a wide variety of topics, including Putin's justification for Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine, and the West's support of Ukraine.

Putin began his interview by delivering a long history lesson on Russia, promoting false claims on Ukraine's sovereignty, and providing skewed historic interpretations on Ukrainian statehood.

“We have every reason to affirm that Ukraine is an artificial state that was shaped at Stalin's will,” Putin falsely claimed, echoing similar comments to his justification for Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine.

Speaking about Putin's relationship with the West, Putin decries NATO's presence along Russia's eastern borders.

"We agreed with the fact that after the collapse of the Soviet Union, our borders should be along the borders of former Union republics. We agreed to that,” said Putin. "But we never agreed to NATO's expansion."

Putin also shared debunked claims about Ukrainians' fight for sovereignty during the 2013-2014 Euromaidan revolution, calling Ukrainians' calls for the exile of then-President Viktor Yanukovych a "coup d'état."

Despite the fact that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky was democratically elected in 2019, Putin falsely claimed that the Zelensky's presidency is a results of the "coup d'état" stemming from the Euromaidan. Putin himself has a track-record of rigging elections while suppressing media freedom.

When referring to Russia's ongoing invasion of Ukraine, Putin further echoed falsehoods to justify Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine.

“We haven't achieved our aims yet. Because one of them is de-Nazification. This means the prohibition of all kinds of neo-Nazi movements.”

Ukraine's President Zelensky is Jewish and many of his relatives were killed by Nazis in the Holocaust.

When asked about jailed U.S. journalist Evan Gershkovich, Putin equated Gershkovich's work to that of espionage, falsely claiming that the Wall Street Journal reporter worked for the United States government.

"Getting classified information in secret is called espionage," Putin, who is known for jailing both Russian and foreign journalists critical of his rule, claimed.

Carlson, who has openly defended Putin, is known to have echoed some elements of the Kremlin's anti-Western propaganda.

Throughout the interview, Carlson reiterated Kremlin talking points made by Putin as he posed questions.

"You don't control the entire country. You don't control Kyiv - you don't seem like you want to. How do you eliminate a culture or an ideology, feelings, or a view of history in a country you don't control?" Carlson asked.

At the start of the interview, Carlson stated that “our opinion would be to view it in that light as a sincere expression of what (Putin) thinks.”

Carlson has also previously expressed skepticism for further U.S. military support for Ukraine.

Carlson is an avid supporter of former U.S. President Donald Trump, and has been criticized for making controversial comments on air and social media, characterized by some as being nativist, racist, and pushing talking points that echo Russian propaganda.

Back in the United States, Carlson's interview drew condemnation for allowing Putin to amplify his justification for ongoing Russian aggression.

On Wednesday, in an interview with MSNBC, former US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Carlson was a “useful idiot” for Putin.

“He says things that are not true,” said Clinton, who was the 2016 Democratic presidential nominee.

“He parrots Vladimir Putin’s pack of lies about Ukraine, so I don’t see why Putin wouldn’t give him an interview because through him, he can continue to lie about what his objectives are in Ukraine and what he expects to see happen.”

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