Tucker Carlson Interview of Vladimir Putin

Get a cup of coffee. The Putin interview is over 2 hours, although 1.25X is a fine listening speed.

I just started it myself and will add comments. There is a transcript but you have to subscribe to Tucker’s venture to access it, so it’s not proper to hoist it, but I expect to post some snippets.

As Tucker points out at the top, Putin starts with a long history of the Russia and the Ukraine region. If you’ve read his speeches, even ones before the Maidan coup, you’ll see he likes this framing. Like Tucker, I find this an odd choice, particularly the length of the recap.

Update: As I am partway through this talk, stylistically it seems very similar to Putin’s domestic press briefings, where he likes reciting details for the sake of completeness but also to demonstrate his command of the subject matter. But “press briefing” is not the same as a conventional Western one-on-one interview, even though Putin takes and even seems to enjoy tough questions from Russian and foreign reporters. Note this talk differs markedly from the Oliver Stone 4 hour interview series, broadcast in 2017. Even though many of Putin’s responses then were lengthy, the talk felt like more of an exchange. Did Putin have more confidence in Stone’s understanding of the background than he did with Tucker?

Further update: This talk was flabby and Tucker blew this opportunity. Given that Putin often does 3-4 hour press sessions, and Tucker said there was no time limit, Tucker ran out of gas due to his difficulty in engaging effectively with Putin, as contrasted with the Stone interviews. Putin shut it down and Tucker didn’t offer any reason to continue: “Shall we end here, or is there anything else?”

I don’t think Tucker was knowledgeable enough nor did he compensate with preparation. He appeared ignorant of many key issues germane to Putin’s decisions to invade, such at the US refusing to give written responses to Russian proposals in 2021, Zelensky asking for nukes in the February 2022 Munich Security Conference, and Ukraine increasing shelling of Donbass then as it was also massing troops. He might have been able to banter with Putin during his discussion of NATO expansion, for instance, but Tucker exhibited almost no independent point of view or meaningful preparation.

Further thoughts: Tucker’s translator was nowhere near as good as the one in the Oliver Stone series. The translations often had stilted sentence structures and awkward pacing, which may accurately replicate Russian grammar but is not English-friendly. The translator in the Stone interviews was a young man who sat next to Putin….as in provided by the Russian government, and Stone did the voice-over much later (Stone noted that one way the Western press set out to diminish Putin was via ugly-voiced translators).

While there was some interesting tidbits, like a meeting Putin had with Condi Rice, Bill Gates and Bill Burns back in the day, the only thing new to me was a Putin claim about the failed Istanbul negotiations. Recall Russia had troops near Kiev, which most experts saw as a pinning operation. They were clearly too few to take Kiev, but sufficient to force Ukraine to keep meaningful forces there. Russia pulled them out in early April, depicting it as a good will gesture based on negotiation progress. Military experts claimed the Russian forces were being harassed enough that they needed to be reinforced and/or rotated, and the “good will” was an excuse.

Per Putin:

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. This is one of the problems that we discussed during the negotiation process, which ended in Istanbul early this year. And it was not our initiative because we were told by the Europeans in particular that it was necessary to create conditions for the final signing of the documents. My counterparts in France, in Germany said, How can you imagine them signing a treaty with a gun to their heads? The troops should be pulled back from Kiev. I said, all right. We withdrew the troops from Kiev. As soon as we pulled back our troops from Kiev, our Ukrainian negotiators immediately threw all our agreements reached in Istanbul into the bin and got prepared for a long standing armed confrontation with the help of the United States and its satellites in Europe. That is how the situation has developed, and that is how it looks now.

If this is the operative truth (there are many levels of truth, something can be true but not the most germane truth), then Russia was snookered. Or has Putin elevated the importance of the European prodding in light of what he learned later about the bad faith dealings with the Minsk Accords?

Note that Putin showing his stamina and famed memory comes the same day as the Special Counsel on the Biden “classified documents next to his Corvette” scandal concluded with the Special Counsel deciding not to prosecute despite finding Biden did willfully mishandle classified material, basically because Biden is too doddering to hold up to cross examination. From NBC:

Special counsel Robert Hur’s portrait of a man who couldn’t remember when he served as Barack Obama’s vice president, or the year when his beloved son Beau died, dealt a blow to Biden’s argument that he is still sharp and fit enough to serve another four-year term.

In deciding not to charge Biden with any crimes, the special counsel wrote that in a potential trial, “Mr. Biden would likely present himself to a jury, as he did during our interview with him, as a sympathetic, well-meaning, elderly man with a poor memory.”….

“This is beyond devastating,” said another Democratic operative, speaking on condition of anonymity to talk candidly about Biden’s shortcomings. “It confirms every doubt and concern that voters have. If the only reason they didn’t charge him is because he’s too old to be charged, then how can he be president of the United States?”

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  1. Paradan

    This special council ruling seems a trap. If he’s fit to be President, then he’s fit to stand trial, and vice-versa. I think it’s a way to get him to resign and not run for re-election. Gonna be a lot of fun seeing who they intend to run against Trump.

    Oh, and, as an added bonus, they get to check off the Black Female President box on their progressive score card. Can’t wait to see the President Harris State of the Union Address.

      1. PelhamKS

        Granted. But I watched a bit of “Morning Joe” Friday and they appeared to be staking everything on defending Biden and casting aspersions on the special counsel. If this were a plan to nudge Biden to the sidelines, you’d think Joe and Mika — of all people — plus their assorted pundits would have been clued in.

  2. nippersdad

    Interesting factoid:

    I started out watching this interview on Dima, where I first found it, but about two thirds of the way through the feed was deleted due to “site violations”, so I then had to go over to Flora’s Tucker link to finish watching it.

    Shameful, just shameful.

    1. Martin Oline

      I had the same experience which left me wondering what Putin said at that point. There did not seem to be any ‘interpretation’ of the speech by Dima, just streaming the interview. FYI this was not the Dima who does the Military Summery blog. I assumed Putin must have said something about only a man and woman can marry but watching another stream did not see anything objectionable. I think this source was shut down for other reasons, perhaps some comment made by the host that was never aired.

    2. Expat2uruguay

      Absolutely shameful. I was watching four young black men that were live streaming Putin’s speech. They were only 20 minutes into the history portion of the interview when YouTube cut their broadcast. Apparently the complaint was copyright. At any rate these young black men had not said anything at this point, @39:20 but then you can see their reaction to being taken down. They seemed genuinely interested in the content and I would have liked to have heard their opinions


      Conclusion: CENSORSHIP IS RUDE!!

  3. The Rev Kev

    Halfway through listening this interview. When Putin eventually retires, there is a career awaiting him as a lecturer in geopolitics in a top tier Russian university as he has the knowledge and the talent. The results of this interview are being seen around the world however-

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZD24VY0YWdQ (1:48 mins)

    1. spiderkitty76

      Retiring? His attempts at developing a successor so far seem to have all failed, so, no, he’s never going to retire; that guy will die in office. And woah unto Russia if another great man who has any chance of filling Putin’s quite competent shoes cannot be found in time.

      1. Schopsi

        I think Russia could do well enough with a halfway decent Leader If it was not the constant focus of western aggression.

        They clearly do have plenty of competent and hardworking, well, PMCs really, weird as that is, who contributed heavily to steering the ship of state pretty impressively through all sorts of difficulties.

        So it’s not like Putin is alone.

        But the top position probably requires someone with a rare skillset that nobody else seems to have to Putin’s degree, at least as all out conflict with the West continues (and of course there is no end to that in sight, even if the current war ends with a decisive russian victory sometime in the nearish future).

        1. Schopsi

          Of course if the conflict continues with a new, more mediocre leader (as it surely will) that probably will spell woe for the West and the entire world as well.

          Though sadly that is likely inevitable.

          It’s not like the West would ever have changed it’s aggressive course even if Putin had stepped down or died in office before ever getting to start the SMO.

          As Putin again pointed out, the West pursued proxy war on Russia even while Yelzin was in charge and they made their preparations in Ukraine during Medwediev’s watch too.

          So it would have happened sooner or later.

          We continue to live on borrowed time.

      2. The unabiker

        There are a handful of capable people that are part of the Putin admin. Your comment is pure supposition as conclusion. I think woe unto Russia is imagination. Putin, while talented, intelligent and hard working is not the only capable person in Russia. Woe unto America is more germane. There are some being groomed by both parties, but it’s not an inspiring, bright prospect, just more of passing the baton; more the same.
        But, as always, what will be will be. We shall see what that is…if we live long enough. :)

  4. nippersdad

    “As Tucker points out at the top, Putin starts with a long history of the Russia and the Ukraine region. If you’ve read his speeches, even ones before the Maidan coup, you’ll see he likes this framing. Like Tucker, I find this an odd choice, particularly the length of the recap.”

    I got the impression that he was not only trying to impress upon American audiences just how old and complex their culture is, but also that they have seen it all before; that this is actually nothing new. Had Tucker not been trying to interrupt him it would have flowed a lot more smoothly.

    1. Arizona Slim

      Having studied the Russian language, history, and culture, I have learned that lengthy history lessons are very Russian. You just have to let the narrative unfold.

      1. chantelle oliver

        Yes. It is part of Russian culture and language to speak contextually. As a North American, with a short and long history (short history for colonizers; long history of people who were there before and replaced sidelined) it’s just impossible from our standpoints to take this on. We live in the news and Russians live at at a different relation to time. It’s hard to really explain. But even my very young Russian friends, on evenings out, will go into long histories of a place where we are or a story of their past. Further, Finnish people also do this. ( I am married to one). Long, and sometimes too long stories stretched out for effect having me wishing to listen to it a double time (like the rec’d to listen to the talk at 1.25 time). I wonder about how, in Soviet times speaking metaphorically, carefully contextualizing everything, became a way to protect friends, family and self are also part of having a long and very complex and pain-filled history. Whereas, for example in Canada, our history sort of started when “I” was born and is not ever a topic for discussion. History is a boring school subject and not part of our identity.

        1. JEHR

          I have to say that the Canadian history I learned was not a boring school subject and it certainly was a part of our identity. We have always been between two imperial powers by dint of history and therefore act our “part” the best we can. Part of Canada’s history is also part of French history and that identity makes Canada a much more interesting country. When I watch what has taken place in Britain recently, it becomes very important to pay attention to our many “histories.” We take care watching our American connections, too, because we know what our British cousins have become and are looking in apprehension at what will become of the United States. Our history is like many pincers squeezing our country all at the same time!

          1. Albe Vado

            History does matter, clearly, and there’s a broader context to everything. But at a certain point all it amounts to is ‘yeah but so what’, and what matters is the actions of people today, in the context of today. At some point long dissertations on history become obfuscation, though probably not by design.

            Someone can say deep history is part of their identity but, honestly, is it? I’m reminded of the posts Ian Welsh has written to the effect that ‘your identity is garbage, and it mostly isn’t actually your own’.

            In the context of current events in Ukraine, what matters is a very recent past, within living memory for many. Russia will not allow NATO on its doorstep. The end. You don’t need to go back 500 years or more to ruminate on the deep history of the ‘borderlands’ (I won’t say outright that Putin does this, though he comes close, especially when he hates on Lenin, but he is adjacent to a Russian nationalist sphere that insists Ukraine is a fake country with a fake identity. Well, no, it’s not any more contrived or fictitious than claims of a specifically Muscovite civilization), which amount to excuses for why Russia can do whatever it wants to at least huge swathes of modern Ukraine because something, something ‘was always really Russian’.

            Happy is the man with no past, unhappy is the one with nothing but. Especially an essentially illusory, supposedly shared collective past.

            1. Schopsi

              Well, obviously the denial of any shared past is also a quite popular and successful Method to justify doing absolutely anything to the completely Alien.

              Well, no shared past or at least one where the others always were evil, bad and hostile.

              The one may well serve to justify taking some Land plus people to incorporate them but the other seems the perhaps more popular go to if you want just the land, cleansed of the people, by whatever means.

              Israel (at least official Israel) certainly will never talk about Palestinians as a brotherly people who have a place in the state of Israel, even though genetics for example clearly seem to suggest that they share common ancestry.

              Nazi Germans insisted on the unsurrmountable alieness of Jews and Slavs.

              As do today’s western elites when they talk about Russia or China.

              Well, some define the utter alieness as a cultural thing, leading them to the hope they might be able to beat and bomb and starve that alieness out of Russians and Chinamen yet, but the longer they stubornpy resist the stronger the attitude of: “Eff it, just kill them!” seems to grow.

              And considering that even if one is totally cynical and supposes that the Russians simply want to make a Landgrab, the Numbers that are accepted even by the West seem to speak for themselves and Show pretty conclusively that the Russians seem to have gone out of their way to avoid killing ukrainian civilians.

              In which of their wars can the US be said to have done the same.

              Granted, no guarantee, as civil wars where both sides at least one some level acknowledge the close relationship and shared past can be extremely bloody, as both the american and the russian civil war were.

              Though even there the downplaying of what one had in common played at least as much of a role in starting and intensifying the violence as playing it up did.

              So, if the Russians really for some reason kust wanted even more land (despite already having more than anyone else on Earth and some might say already far too few people for all that land), they could have said like the Israelis: “The land IS our’s and you aliens without History are just squatting in it and you need to go!”

              Granted, the Russians could be said to have known that western dominated media would never accept their claims as they do Israel’s.

              But to go to such length trying to limit the damage, at considerable cost to themselves to make such a “charade” seem believable despite also knowing that it would make zero difference to the West and it’s poodles, would be quite extraordinary in and off itself.

              So, sure that rhetoric can be used as justification for dubious stuff and the mere use of phrases like “brotherly people” might sound weird, cringy and archaic to people thinking themselves to be enlightened beyond caring about things like history or nation (even if usually very selective about when and from whom they will nonetheless readily accept obsessions with the same), but rhetoric denying history and commonalities can be at least as worrying.

              Who gets to define when or where history is allowed to matter and for whom anyway?

              1. Schopsi

                Of course both would be a kind of identarianism.

                But IS there really a non or anti identarianism that works?

                And If we have to concentrate on the now and how people behave in the know we probably have to Account for a great many, perhaps most people being on some level some sort of identarians.

                All the “relevant” combatants in the ukrainian conflict certainly are and arguably Ukraine’s Western sipremacist backers are at least as much even if they look down on the Russians’ identarian concerns as primitive and crude compared to their own.

                And telling them that (their) identarian concerns are crap and unworthy of concern, well it’s easy to imagine how that will work out.

                1. Vicky Cookies

                  This conversation illustrates vividly why I love this site. The value of both views are both on display, and open to question in relation to each other.
                  I tend to sympathize here with Shopsi and Albe Vado: what if, instead of shared past to unite us in an identity, we rooted our social attitudes in a shared present, our common humanity, and a shared interest in a livable future? Interest rather than identity, which, in creating a ‘self’, a subject, requires an ‘other’ as object – the alien to which you refer. As to the question of a working anti-identitarianism, Buddhists would tell you about the concept of “Anatman”, or “No-Self”. Works for them!

                2. Polar Socialist

                  This may surprise you (or maybe he’s not “relevant” combatant), but the new C-in-C of Ukrainian forces, Aleksandr Syrski, is Russian. His parents and brother live in Vladimir, Russia, where Syrskyi was born.

                  Also his stepson, living in Australia, is very pro-Russian and dislikes his father. Claims his dad is only concerned with his career, nothing else matters. Well, alleged stepson, he seems to be in the process of being edited out of the internet.

      2. GF

        I am currently reading the seventh edition of “The History of Russia” by Nicholas Riasanovsky and Mark Steinberg published by Oxford Press. To say the least, it is a fascinating presentation by two eminent Russian scholars. The seventh edition includes the time period after the fall of Soviet Russia.

      3. hk

        I have somewhat cynical view of the ppl who start with lectures about “history,” especially the version that goes back a thousand years. It’s mostly grown out of my frustration with east Asians: for example, if you talk to Koreans, they’ll insist that they have some kind of historical claim to what is now NE China because, supposedly, one or more of the tribes that founded ancient Korean states originated from there and had built a series of kingdoms there before succumbing to “foreign invaders.”. At least, that’s what they say and believe. Except the Japanese also say the same thing (and used to say a lot more: the claims of this allegedly same common ancestry was part of Japanese umperial propaganda in 1930s–that Koreans and Japanese are fraternal peoples who shall prosper under Japanese emperor who is scion of both people’s, or something like that–at least, this is one of the versions: Japanese colonial policy in Korea made a lot of sharp turns and they spoke our of so many sides of their mouths, so to speak Most of it, no doubt, is “true” up to a point, although the history of 1500-2000 years ago in that region is surrounded in so much myth that it’s not really possible to tell what’s real and what’s not.

        One could get into very nitpicky and lengthy discussion about how much of these things are true or not. In the end, it doesn’t matter: it’s largely myth and heavily tailored to for present day sentiments. (I also note that Gordon Hahn (I think) has been pointing extensively to the violence done by Ukrainians to history in course of creating their own national myths.). Since a thousand years ago is far into the past, it’d be impossible to put together a convincing “factual” case beyond any dispute and, even if you do, it would be drowned out by the popular myths anyways. It seems to me that all these historicism is not conducive to a “solution.” (Exactly the problem I have with identarianism of all kinds, in general.).

        Not really a critique of Putin, per se, but more an observation on the state of things. If you dig in on your version of history, then you can’t back down, and if you can’t back down, negotiated settlement becomes impossible. Now, we are long past that point in Ukraine anyways, so I suppose it doesn’t matter there, but more that a long “historical prologue” is not something one should be impressed by.

        1. lyman alpha blob

          Agree that history itself tends to the mythical the farther you look back, but I took Putin’s point to be that there weren’t always borders on a map, ethnic groups moved around a fair amount for various reasons, many different ethnic groups have and currently do live in present day Ukraine, and if the US were so concerned about the permanence of Ukraine’s current cartography, perhaps they should have played nicer and not started arming a bunch of anti-Russian goose steppers on their mutual border. Political actions cause reactions, like they have for millennia.

        2. Albe Vado

          The issue of Korea and Japan is fascinating. That there is a deep ancient connection between the two is something no one disputes. Yamato Japan was essentially founded by colonists from the Korean peninsula, with some Chinese mixed in, followed by probable interbreeding with the indigenous Japanese Jomon. Culturally Korea would be a kind of highway into Japan for centuries, transmitting things like Buddhism.

          The arguments happen between nationalist tinged academics on the degree and direction of the influence. Was early Japan just a colonial outgrowth of one or more Korean kingdoms? Or did Japan have colonies on the peninsula? The reality is that the historical records, such as they are, are pretty ambiguous at best, and the archeological evidence can provide fodder for either side.

          And of course much more fundamentally modern nationalist bickering completely misses the point that neither ‘Korea’ nor ‘Japan’ existed as coherent polities in the ancient, or even medieval periods.

          With Korea it’s even more stark because the modern language and culture is descended from one of three kingdoms that once fought over the peninsula (there were other political groupings too, like multiple confederacies). The other two lost, so utterly that there’s little evidence even of their language (this compounds study of the degree of ancient connection between Japan and Korea. It’s thought that there was probably a lot of linguistic connection between Japanese and whatever was spoken in the kingdom of Baekje; that Japanese was probably not the language isolate in the past that it is today. The problem is we know virtually nothing about the language of Baekje…).

          As for Japan, Japan didn’t exist. You just had a self-proclaimed Imperial family in Kyoto claiming to rule everyone on the (then only three) main islands, but ‘subjects of a king’ does not at all mean ‘citizens of a unified nation’. I have a whole series of books on my shelf that delve into various aspects of how a sense of Japanese nationhood basically had to be manufactured by the Meiji government as part of the ‘Restoration’ in the second half of the 19th century, explicitly along European lines (and remember, all of that nationhood stuff was very recent, and even ongoing, in Europe itself at the time. ‘We have made Italy. Now we must make Italians’ for example). Admittedly I haven’t read much on the birth and development of the modern Korean nation state, but I’m guessing it went through much of the same process, although starting later as it was, er, a repressed Japanese colony for decades (there are modern Japanese who have to forever hide the ‘family shame’ that they’re third or more generation Korean descendants, and might be viewed as not really Japanese, which is so head-on-desk stupid, since if you go back far enough all ‘Japanese’ are ‘Korean’).

          I have another book on the history of Shinto, which 1. makes abundantly clear the continental origins of ‘indigenous Japanese folk religion’, and 2. has long sections delving into various phases and currents among Japanese intellectuals on how to define themselves in relation to the continent, especially China, where they alternated between periods of massive inferiority and periods of ‘this is the true land of perfected beliefs’. But these debates never trickled out to the common people, who carried on just existing, effortlessly mixing Buddhism with folk practice, and seldom thought of themselves as anything more than subjects of whatever local lord happened to be in charge at the time.

          The very fact that there ever was a ‘restoration of Imperial rule’ is because most people didn’t much think or care about the Emperor, who despite claiming to be the divine father of the land was in practice just some remote guy in a palace who didn’t matter.

      4. Rubicon

        We find it impossible to find a non-biased study of Russian History in English. As our European friends observe: most of the bias is via British and US publications.

        If anyone knows of an unbiased book on Russian history written in English, please contact us.
        We are always eager to read the history of other cultures and nations.

        1. Polar Socialist

          “Russia: The Once and Future Empire From Pre-History to Putin” by Philip Longworth, perhaps. Originally published as “Russia’s Empires: Their Rise and Fall from Prehistory to Putin”. It has been accused of being pro-Russia and opinionated, so basically about as unbiased as you can get, I guess. It also packs 1200 years into a three hundred pages, so don’t expect very detailed handling of events.

          Also, oddly enough, “Medieval Warfare Source Book – Christian Europe And It’s Neighbours” by David Nicolle has about ten pages worth of pretty good introduction to the world Russia was forged from.

    2. PelhamKS

      I don’t see the problem with the lengthy history lesson. For a US audience, this is likely to be all-new information, given the media’s story line that the invasion was nothing other than an unprovoked, out-of-the-blue act of pure evil.

  5. Altandmain

    I did not think that Tucker was a skilled interviewer. He did not seem to have been well researched about the history and context. Tucker seems to have very limited knowledge about Russia today and its history. The interruptions of Putin also detracted from Tucker’s interview.

    In regards to Yves thoughts, I recommend that everyone watch the Oliver Stone interview back to back with this interview. Stone was a far better prepared interviewer and one that let Putin finish, with Stone demonstrating a lot more stamina than Tucker did.

    Putin by contrast to Tucker seems to be his usual capable self. Well prepared with detailed answers and able to maintain a lengthy interview for much longer than Tucker Carlson. Putin clearly did his research before this interview in contrast to Tucker. I get the impression that Tucker is far more comfortable interviewing Western politicians who operate in short sound bites and to be blunt, is interviewing someone well above his league.

    Nonetheless, I will give credit to Tucker for one thing. He’s willing to put his reputation on the line and kick dirt in the Western Establishment’s eyes. I may strongly disagree with Tucker Carlson on his views on China, but at least he seems to be independent, as opposed to the mainstream media talking heads that have sold out to the Establishment, peddling their lies.

    If anything comes out of this, I hope that Tucker’s audience, already skeptical of the mainstream media in the West, will understand that like Iraq in 2003, everything they have been told about Russia is a lie.

      1. JBird4049

        He made his packet at what I think is some personal risk to himself. Hearing the criticism from “reporters” from Fox and MSNBC on him being a Putin supporter just for doing his job as a news reporter as well as saying he should be investigated perhaps under the Espionage Act, which is just insane.

        I still distrust Carlson, but he is more of a reporter than anyone at Fox, MSNBC, CNN, or the New York Times.

        1. skippy

          Did you miss the part where Putin called him out early on as wanting to be a state asset, oh the look on the face, and how that effected everything post that.

          Putin came out with the big guns which is history and Tuckers mind was like watching kid in class that had no idea or inclination to understand the topic and its complexity. He was being trolled for all those in other nations too watch …

          1. Mark Gisleson

            Which feeds into my belief that Putin did himself an enormous amount of good with this interview. No one who follows American politics could have watched this and not envied Russia their competent leadership.

            When’s the last time the US saw a major political leader this informed? I’d say not since Dan Ackroyd played Jimmy Carter on Saturday Night Live.

          2. t

            I suppose those years at Fox made him lazy and he assumed any ol’ stunt would work.

            Doesn’t he have an ex-spook dad he could have called for prep? Money for a legion of post grads to do research for a pittance?

          3. JBird4049

            I am not referring to how good Carlson is as an interviewer, but the risk he is taking in this neo-McCarythist time of ours.

            As to Putin’s trolling, our collective elite has been trolling us for decades and it shows.

            1. skippy

              I really don’t see this risk some suggest JBird. I mean if the machine decided it was off – a message would have been made clear to him and his team. The whole bit about communication being tapped in the first attempt and now the second is just normal stuff.

              The other bit that sticks out is Tucker has always been flexian in his day job [playing to a targeted audience], yet others always seem to reverse engineer it to reach a desired outcome.

              Again I can only surmise the Putin agreed to this media event[tm], not for the viewers in the West, response baked in, but for all the rest of the world too watch.

              1. spiderkitty76

                Illegitimate FISA warrants for the Intel services (who are not even supposed to be engaged in domestically in the first place) to spy on American citizens are “normal” to you? Yes, they may have become frequent now, but they are still unconstitutional ffs & should NOT be shrugged off simply because the abuses of the system have become SO bold & ubiquitous.

                1. skippy

                  You may not be aware, but decades ago before mobile phones – all – land line calls were sniffed and if enough red flag words were used the call was recorded and then analyzed. Based in NM.

                  It is said its only a crime if you get caught …

                  So yeah … normal stuff …

        2. Vicky Cookies

          A few weeks ago, The New Yorker featured an article using Carlson as a frame for discussing populism as an elite tool: Rules for the Ruling Class (paywall)
          I hadn’t known of Tucker’s ruling class background, nor that he had been rejected by the CIA.

      2. clarky90

        “Tucker made (earned?) a packet” by sticking his neck out and risking his life for human dialogue! I am certain that there were serious “conversations” about assassinating him, by “our” Neo-NKVD?!

        Meanwhile, “Our” MSM have been receiving a mega-mega-packet, to fiddle and cavort, as our society is brought to it’s knees, as a result of an absence of honest, well meaning, human to human, dialogue ……

        1. skippy

          Risked his life lmmao …

          Did you miss the part of him wanting to be in the security complex before becoming a so called Journalist …

          FKMEDEAD its OBAMA all over again …

          1. clarky90

            You are laughing your ass off?

            All of our lives are at risk, right now, if this “situation” (failure to comprehend other people’s POV) turns into an exchange of nuclear warheads.

            Tucker has a history (we all do)….. I believe that he has learned, with time and with experience (maturity). Do you have the same values and beliefs that you had as a teenager?

            Probably not! That’s a good thing……. Wisdom…..

            1. spiderkitty76

              We should probably just stop feeding this troll so he can get bored already & go find his appropriate level of discourse, such as Reddit….

      3. skippy

        Seriously the bloke goes from liberal media center and then too the Murdock empire only to go rouge[????] and now after talk about having been spied on and then take a leap for journalistic integrity is absurd …

        Loved the bit about him – trying – to get a job in the national security industry before journalism … lammo …

        Yet for all the territorial claims dramas and political issues generations in the making … the one most blinding point of the whole thing was about using the dollar as a political means to get non mutual benefit in trade … e.g. unearned … rents … tributes … et al …

        1. Yves Smith Post author

          I listened rather than watched, but upon reflection, Putin (who is a spectacular negotiator) boxed Tucker in at the very top, by setting the terms of engagement:

          Vladimir Putin: It’s not that America, the United States was going to launch a surprise strike on Russia. I didn’t say that. Are we having a talk show or a serious conversation?

          Tucker: Here’s the quote. Thank you. It’s a formidable serious talk.

          Putin then with borderline condescending politeness later on at multiple points reminded Tucker in various ways that they were having a meaty discussion, and Putin was not having what he said force fit time or substance-wise into a Western media/talking points Procrustean bed.

          1. skippy

            Concur and would suggest watching Tuckers face, doing a impression of a early persimmon eaten kid. He wants to Bernays it but cant as Putin has both history on his side and endless references to broach of contracts preliminary and signed.

            His whole argument is about trust in contracts ….

          2. JohnnyGL

            It was a good move to set the tone from Putin, he was clearly prepared for Tucker’s usual style and understands how American political interviews usually go. He wanted to squash concerns about time-wasting by refusing to put a time limit on the interview.

            Tucker clearly appreciated it after the fact, as evidenced by his introductory remarks to the video on X.

        2. Kate

          I keep thinking that there’s no way Tucker would’ve been able to interview Putin unless it was approved by the highest levels of the security state/pentagon.

            1. nippersdad

              He has both been put on Myrotvorets and they are talking about preventing him from travelling around Europe, so it looks like they have a Beta version of that in the pipeline. They are vindictive little buggers.

                1. nippersdad

                  Yep, and it is all hosted on a CIA server. That really does tell us everything we need to know about our government and its’ rules based order.

          1. skippy

            In the case that Tucker is using this “media event” regardless of jawboning on about misinformed viewers back home and journalistic rigor, just for – his – media business and personal brand image.

            I can only imagine Putin’s team discussions about accepting this interview and then how to handle a quasi ideological driven Western media personality.

            I mean right off the bat and in his face Putin calmly pointed out some very personal information, dating back some time. Basically if we know this, guess what else we know, and then proceeded to conduct a class room style history lesson to put everything in context.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      John Helmer agrees and then some:

      1. Mark Gisleson

        Helmer crushes it. Your point about Putin being ready to go for hours more needs to be amplified.

        I watched Carlson’s after the fact clip first (like most X followers I’d guess) and his need to pre-explain what happened got my ears to perk up, especially the whiny bits.

        This will hopefully inform Carlson’s followers in helpful ways. I expect conservative social media is in for heavy trolling from all the usual suspects trying to stoke fears of Russia. Embracing his KGB background and talking shop about channels with the CIA drew me in, made me want to know more. Search traffic trends should be informative.

        Personally, I haven’t listened to any leader’s words that closely since Nixon resigned. Felt like history.

        1. Yves Smith Post author

          Putin was a KGB external officer, as in administrator, in Dresden, a backwater post. I have no idea what that amounts to but he was not operating in secret. Eugene Luttwak would have dinner with him occasionally then and was tacky enough to comment years later that Putin wore cheap suits, which I assume was all he could afford. Search being what it is, I can’t find that story again.

          1. Mark Gisleson

            Made me look. Yandex also didn’t have that story but I now know that Putin prefers Beethoven to Schnittke even though Putin and the late Alfred Schnittke do a lot alike.

          2. Paradan

            I heard he was a lawyer, and worked as a prosecutor for the KGB. When Soviet soldiers based in East Germany broke the law, he brought charges against them. Whether it was on behalf of the East German government or if it was military/court martial I don’t know, but it was mundane stuff.

            I’m sorry I can’t site a source. I have information overload and there’s this hazy mess floating around in my head.

            1. Polar Socialist

              He did that in Soviet Union. In East Germany his “cover” was first a translator in the House of DDR-Soviet Union Friendship, later he became a deputy director of the institute.

              Nobody who knows what he actually did in Germany has told to the media, but it’s assumed he was mostly reading documents and writing reports. Stasi’s documents mention him, but basically as a nobody.

              If KGB was like most organizations, a lot of it’s employees were just paper-pushers, and a foreign assignment likely obligatory to get a promotion above certain rank. A smart, promising officer certainly could arrange that gig to be in a peaceful place with not much to do but lots of good beer available…

    2. lyman alpha blob

      Putin definitely did way more preparation than Carlson and had clearly done some research on his interlocutor. Did anyone else notice the part where Putin mentioned Carlson wanting to join the CIA at some point in his career, something that Carlson did not deny and was quickly passed over? I thought that was pretty clever and hilarious on Putin’s part.

      1. lambert strether

        > Did anyone else notice the part

        My impression from watching the coverage is that while there are no scoops, there is a lot of information, no thanks to Carlson.

        ” ‘Course it’s boring, that’s the point.” –Crash Davis, Bull Durham

    3. Carolinian

      I haven’t had a chance to watch it yet but for American TV performers the interruptions and acting dumb are also a way of playing to their audience–acting as audience surrogates. In other words, yes, it’s kindergarten.

    4. Oh

      Tucker is not a reporter but had been a news reader at Fox. He’s using the interview with Putin to attract eyeballs. I have no doubt that the US establishment will attack him and sideline him and IMNSHO he’ll richly deserve it.

  6. Brian Beijer

    After finishing the interview, my first thought was that I wish Alexander Mercouris had been the one to interview Putin. The only problem with Alexander interviewing Putin would be that the interview would be 8+ hours long.

    Tucker was simply intellectually outmatched by Putin. Tucker’s frustration with Putin’s lengthy and comprehensive answers lead to him interrupting Putin’s flow of thought too many times. Putin doesn’t do sound bites. I don’t think it would be possible for him if he tried. Despite these interruptions, the interview reaffirmed my belief that Putin is probably the most intelligent leader this world has seen in a hundred years, or maybe even centuries. His IQ score must be off the charts. This intellect though can cause blind spots. Putin doesn’t seem to comprehend deception so well. It’s almost as if he has a touch of the spectrum. After decades of being lied to by the West, he still doesn’t seem to really understand it to this day.

    Overall, I came away from the interview hoping that Putin will one day write an autobiography about his time as President. I know it would be at least 10 volumes of 5,000 page tomes, but I would read them all cover to cover.

    1. DavidZ

      I’ve listened to Mercouris quite frequently after I found the Duran boys. I don’t think they are good “journalists”, they definitely provide interesting information and are definitely a good foil for the MSM one track reporting.

      Their interviews with other people are too fawning with not enough pushbacks on many issues. They try too hard to make their interviews convivial, which means that some important issues or push backs that should occur don’t happen.

      1. Paul Art

        Totally agree. And I don’t know on what Mercouris is an expert on but in all his daily monologues that I watch daily, I am unable to detect it. I think he gives good information summary on the daily battle in Ukraine but I particularly found him not well informed on our political system. In one show he seemed to think we have a great Constitution and political system. I like Alex Christoferu for his excellent sense of humor and really incisive collection of news items he talks about everyday.

        1. Bazarov

          Mercouris is simply not credible on American politics as well as economics in general. Thank goodness he avoids topics like climate change and covid. He’s better on geopolitics (though not without his flaws and contradictions), and he gives a serviceable–if too granular–daily battlefield summary.

          However, his prolixity has gotten out of control. He repeats the same monologues constantly (“Let me reiterate…”) and prattles on and on about minutia deserving perhaps a passing comment, at most.

          His daily Youtube videos are somehow getting longer! The cynic in me suspects that Youtube algorithmically rewards lengthy videos and that therefore Mercouris is filibustering to his own benefit.

          When I’m feeling generous, I chalk it up to events becoming more complex combining with Mercouris’ natural windbag tendencies.

      2. Brian Beijer

        Although I agree with you perspective in general about Mercouris, I still think he would have been a good interviewer for Putin. First, can anyone name me a journalist who has the capability of “getting the drop on Putin”? Anyone that is skillful enough to catch Putin off guard and reveal something that he wasn’t willing to reveal? I don’t think such a journalist exists. If they were that intelligent; they wouldn’t be journalists. Even though Mercouris can come across as “fawning”, I don’t think it would matter at all in this case.

        What would matter is someone who knows the history of Russia, who knows the history of Russian Orthodoxy, the history of Ukraine and the more recent history of turning Ukraine into a Western proxy. I haven’t seen any “reporter” (alt. media or mainstream) who knows all of these subjects as well as Alexander. That’s why I wish he had been the one interviewing Putin. Putin would quickly realize that there was no need to recite the history of these matters for his “uninformed interviewer”, and they could have quickly moved on to more in depth questions about these subjects. I think Mercouris would have gotten more information out of Putin than Tucker, which was essentially what Putin has recited in other speeches.

        If you disagree with everything else I’ve written; one thing is for certain. Mercouris would have come prepared for the interview.

        1. Yves Smith Post author

          No, Mercouris gets suck-uppy even with likes of Jeffrey Sachs.

          And Mercouris is way too verbose. The art of being a good interviewer lies in being able to pose short and direct questions. Mercouris would be too eager to impress Putin with his knowledge.

        2. Em

          Afshin Rattansi would be my pick, but he already works for RT and would not be “credible”. Ditto John Kiriakou who now works for Sputnik. Maybe Matt Taibbi or Aaron Mate or Glenn Greenwald? There are a lot of well informed left podcasters who could probably do a good job but they’re not allowed to have a sufficient public profile to do any good.

          1. Yves Smith Post author

            None of them have Tucker’s reach, which makes up for stature. Tucker just interviewed Orban and Milei, which would factor into the Kremlin’s thinking. Recall Oliver Stone had interviewed Castro, Ehud Barak, Benjamin Netanyahu, Shimon Peres, Yasser Arafat, and I believe also Hugo Chavez.

            1. Em

              In terms of reach, no other currently working journalist has remotely the same reach as Tucker. That’s certainly the draw for Kremlin for agreeing to the interview. But in terms of quality of interviewer, I think Rattansi or Kiriakou can run circles around Carlson. Stone too, but it took him 2 years of interviews to make his series on Putin, so that’s very different from an one-off with controversial figure du jour.

    2. Gregorio

      I thought Putin did a masterful job of returning to the theme and continuing his train of thought, despite Carlson’s interruptions. Putin’s intellectual superiority over the vast majority of western leaders is shockingly obvious.

      1. ArvidMartensen

        Yes. I imagine the western conglomerate are wetting themselves that Putin might undo all of their propaganda and lies.
        I think they can sleep safe. How many people who have gone through what passes as ‘education’ in the West would understand or have the focus to follow Putin? Not when they are used to 30 second ads for fast food, and 10 second sound bites for political commentary.

        What this all brings into contrast is Biden’s dementia vs Putin’s knowledge, common sense and persuasion. Why is Biden preferred by the Oligarchs of the West? He is clearly not capable of leading the US, so who is in charge? And it’s not the PMC, they are just the lackeys.

        Trump has been enduring third world politics for some time. First there were impeachment threats, then the 6 January entrapment operation, then the sexual harassment allegations, attacks on his businesses, now the ballot lawfare, and if that all doesn’t work????? Assassinations are so 1960s.

        I think the oligarchs know that their preferred candidate cannot lose. Which makes the 2024 election a joke and probably a foregone conclusion. At least Biden does what they want, so if there has to be a make-believe candidate to make the voters think they have a say, it might as well be him.

        I imagine a computer glitch on election night should do the trick. A gap in the counting. Ooops. Been tested in other countries, but they are getting the outage time down so this time it will be what? 60 secs?

        And then, like third world countries we might see the uprising of people who know that Trump had the numbers.
        And after that? Well in other countries, it’s usually a military takeover in the pursuit of protecting the “integrity of the elections” and “democracy”.

        I think we should all hold on to our hats.

    3. anaisanesse

      What a really great comment. President Putin is intelligent, knowledgeable, of course, and the autobiography idea is perfect (even his “First person” from 2000 is well worth reading) but your point about deception is extremely perceptive and explains a lot of his “errors”.

    4. CA

      I have been impressed before by Putin’s extensive analysis in response to questions. The way Putin is portrayed in America however is quite otherwise than thoughtful:


      September 22, 2014

      Snap Out of It
      By David Brooks

      President Vladimir Putin of Russia, a lone thug sitting atop a failing regime….

      October 21, 2014

      Putin and the Pope
      By Thomas L. Friedman

      One keeps surprising us with his capacity for empathy, the other by how much he has become a first-class jerk and thug….

      December 20, 2014

      Who’s Playing Marbles Now?
      By Thomas L. Friedman

      Let us not mince words: Vladimir Putin is a delusional thug….

      December 21, 2014

      Conquest Is for Losers: Putin, Neocons and the Great Illusion
      By Paul Krugman

      Remember, he’s an ex-K.G.B. man — which is to say, he spent his formative years as a professional thug….

      January 27, 2015

      Czar Putin’s Next Moves
      By Thomas L. Friedman

      ZURICH — If Putin the Thug gets away with crushing Ukraine’s new democratic experiment and unilaterally redrawing the borders of Europe, every pro-Western country around Russia will be in danger….


      September 15, 2015

      Obama Weighing Talks With Putin on Syrian Crisis

      WASHINGTON — Mr. Obama views Mr. Putin as a thug, according to
      advisers and analysts….


      September 20, 2015

      Mr. Putin’s Mixed Messages on Syria

      Mr. Obama considers Mr. Putin a thug, his advisers say….

      1. Kilgore Trout

        From your links, and much else, it’s clear that the many claims and complaints about Putin by our politicians and our foreign policy blob are projection of US actions onto “the other”–Putin. The real “thug” in the world is the USA, and has been since at least the end of WW2. The unnecessary bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki announced our thuggery to the world.

    5. gk

      > Overall, I came away from the interview hoping that Putin will > one day write an autobiography about his time as President.

      If it’s like Sarid’s masterpiece The Third, it will only be published in Russian, Italian, and French, with an English version circulating only via samizhdat.

  7. Lubica

    Interesting. I really liked the interview. Of course, nothing new for those who follow what is happening but important for others. And that is the reason that I think is a mistake to compare it with Oliver Stone’s interview. Different format, different audience. As for questions, I thought the idea was to let Putin speak and address the Western audience. And I think if it was any longer, THAT purpose would be lost.

  8. Colonel Smithers

    Thank you, Yves.

    Just one quick comment as I must dash. With regard to voice overs, that’s an old BBC trick. It helps put people off or even switch off.

    One person who understands this is Blair. He adapts his accent to his audience. He also suggested to Israel that they employ the likes of Aussie Mark Regev, ne Friedberg, as spokesmen and women. This continues as Israel employs two French IOF officers, one older man colonel and younger woman subaltern, for the French media.

    I’m sure Lambert will pipe up about the PR (war).

      1. Colonel Smithers

        Thank you, Tom.

        My comment was about Oliver Stone pointing out how the western MSM gets a particular voice for Putin. The BBC has been doing it for decades.

      2. Yves Smith Post author

        I didn’t say he was bad, and he had a decent enough voice. But in doing simultaneous translation, bridging structurally different languages is tough and so the output will not be polished. I am quite certain Stone had the translation spiffed up for the voiceover.

      3. XXYY

        I was thinking through most of the interview that the translator was doing a fantastic job under very high pressure. A 2-hour long interview with the leader of your country, with your leader doing about 95% of the talking, seems like a really difficult assignment. Putin is also articulate and has an adult command of the language, so doing a nuanced translation seems that much tougher.

        I have also heard that Putin has a pretty good working command of English, and was wondering if he would do this interview speaking English himself. I can imagine several reasons you would prefer to speak through a translator, but I was a bit disappointed nevertheless.

        Was Putin hearing Tucker through a translator? It didn’t seem like he was pausing to wait for a translation to finish, but maybe those delays had been edited out.

    1. The Rev Kev

      ‘the likes of Aussie Mark Regev’

      He may have been born here but he is hardly an Aussie. He is of the sort that goes to Jewish schools while growing up and joining Jewish societies when they are grown and when they are old enough, they emigrate to Israel. Reminds me of another case where this guy was raised in the same tradition and when the 2008 war broke out, he went to Israel and joined the IDF where he got himself killed. The papers at the time were trying to say that he was a brave Aussie fighting for Israel but when you went into the story, found he had no intention of living in Oz but emigrating to Israel as soon as he could and taking his family with him-


      1. Colonel Smithers

        Thank you, Rev.

        There’s a lot of that in the UK, too.

        There was some controversy last week as an event in central London to raise money for the IOF was cancelled when venue staff walked out. It was spun as staff being intimidated by anti-semites.

        1. The Rev Kev

          Than you, Colonel. I read about that story too. As soon as the staff found out that it was a fundraiser for the IDF, all of them refused to work that day no matter how much the bosses pleaded for them to do so.

      2. Paris

        That’s the feeling I have when I read about “Americans” serving in 2 armies (IDF beingthe second). They are not Americans to begin with.

  9. ssu

    Does Tucker understand Russian? It didn’t seem like he had earpiece and there were moments he appeared to be responding in real time to Putin.

    If so, that adds a degree of difficulty to conducting the interview and may account for the facial expressions that folks are making fun of him for.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      He had a simultaneous translator. I’ve had MANY MANY interviews with the translator going after the speaker and a few with simultaneous translation. Admittedly perhaps by being accustomed to the speaker then translator approach, both a fellow interviewer and I found simultaneous translation much less satisfactory, despite the time saving and supposed better interaction. And the simultaneous translator was UN level, while the other translations were by Sumitomo Bank employees, hence not even remotely professional-level translators. So it was not due to the simultaneous translator being less skilled.

      With lagged translation, you can focus on the speaker’s body language and tone of voice, and infer which bits he’s stressing or treating lightly or even stumbles over. With simultaneous translation, you wind up not focusing as much on the actual speaker, and have information loss. Orban took the Tucker interview in English. So aside from Milei, I don’t think he’s done another high level interview through translation.

      Note Putin is pretty fluent in English even if his spoken English is not so hot. It was admittedly in 2016 (when the Oliver Stone interview were filmed) but my impression was Putin was not having Stone translated. However, that is long enough for language skills to deteriorate a lot if Putin didn’t have much English language interaction in the intervening years.

      1. digi_owl

        The choice of language may also be about power relations etc.

        Before WW1, French was the language of diplomacy. But was replaced by English afterwards.

  10. GM

    There should have been a lot more discussion about missiles and nuclear strategy. Serious missed opportunity.

    As it is, it came out as if this is all about some ancient grudges and internal strife. Regular Americans don’t care about that.

    But they would care more if Putin directly discussed missile flight times from certain launch positions and what that means.

    1. JBird4049

      >>>As it is, it came out as if this is all about some ancient grudges and internal strife. Regular Americans don’t care about that.

      Regular Americans need to be better informed about the greater world as well as the past. Our collective ignorance is dangerous.

    1. DJG, Reality Czar

      alfia: Thanks for this. I let the video play, but I focused on reading the transcript, which makes for fairly quick reading. Oddly, or not so oddly: As Yves Smith points out up top, for those of us who have been paying attention, there isn’t much new or unexpected information from Putin. It’s as if he is laying out his case one more time to try to get the attention of Anglo-America, which doesn’t seem capable of rational thought, if it ever was.

      This is likely highly classified in the U S of A, so I will put this snippet from the transcript here. According to V. Putin in answer to Carlson’s question about committing U S troops and escalation: “I do not understand why American soldiers should fight in Ukraine. There are mercenaries from the United States there. The biggest number of mercenaries comes from Poland, with mercenaries from the United States in second place, and mercenaries from Georgia in third place. Well, if somebody has the desire to send regular troops, that would certainly bring humanity on the brink of a very serious, global conflict. This is obvious.

      “Do the United States need this? What for? Thousands of miles away from your national territory! Don’t you have anything better to do?”

      The last three rhetorical questions can be translated as: Don’t you have a strategy? Don’t you understand basic military tactics? Do you lack any ethics?

      Meanwhile, I’d like also to make an observation about Putin’s long discussion of Ukraine as a nation. It’s interesting that he doesn’t mention the medieval Novgorod Republic, although it may be that most of it ended up in the Russian / Muscovite state under the tsar.

      Several years back, and likely here at Naked Capitalism, I read a link to an essay on events in the Balkans. The writer, who was an expert in the area, mentioned that the Slavic world is still in the process of formation of ethnicities and states. So you have the divorce of the Czechs and the Slovaks. You have the split of Serbs, Bosniaks, and Croats, even though they all pretty much speak the same language. Bulgarians have argued the the Slavic population of North Macedonia is really Bulgarian but has somehow achieved a state.

      This is what Putin is talking about: The splitting off of Ukraine and the “nation building.”

      This is not easy ground, and history is fraught with bloody conflicts over emergent nations: I am thinking of the tensions in Spain of Catalonia and the Basque Country with the centralizing tendencies of the Castilian government in Madrid. The Berbers in Morocco and Algeria are a case that has gone on for, ohhhh, two thousand years.

      Yet Americans who think “history is bunk” don’t get why Putin would mention 1654 or conversion to Orthodoxy (if Americans even know who the Orthodox are).

      Oddly or not so oddly, the U S elites have repeated the same colonialist mistakes in Syria, Libya, Iraq, Brazil, Afghanistan, and Bolivia–and that’s just the last twenty years or so of repeated misadventures. “History is bunk,” all-righty.

      1. Lupana

        If you or anyone else here has that link to the article regarding the Slavic world — I’d appreciate if it could be posted .. Thanks!

      2. hk

        Putin slipped in the bit about the Union of Brest without mentioning it by name–“Orthodox priests joining the Pope” or something similar. Some people think that was the beginning of “Ukrainian nationhood” and that shows up in the antics of the Kiev regime of late (and power politics by the UGCC vis a vis Vatican–like moving their mother Church from Lwow to Kiev). It clearly flew over Carlson’s head and probably 99% of the Westerners. I wonder how many in Russia saw it right away, though…

        1. Kouros

          It is not necessarily a baked in result. The same happend in Transylvania with the Romanian population and I never heard the orthodox/catholic ones my dad was on such) ever clamoring for Transylvanian independence or maybe union with Hungary because of the disgusting Romanians from Moldavia or Wallachia….

          1. hk

            To be fair, Eastern Catholics were singularly targeted for repression in the Russian Empire: they didn’t care about Poles or Lithuanians being “Roman” Catholics, but the idea of “Orthodox-looking” Catholics was something Russians didn’t tolerate. (It does become a bit of chicken and the egg problem–the former Orthodox who signed on with the Pope did so because they didn’t want to be under Muscovite influence, while those who stayed Orthodox wanted to be under Russian protection. I don’t know if something like this quite existed in Transylvania (granted, I know rather little about the area and most of it comes from Anglophone historians…)

            1. Kouros

              In Romania the commies made them all Orthodox, just like that. One day Greek-Catholic, the next Orthodox. I think it was mostly the priesthood that was affected. The flock probably would be able to call the difference.

              1. hk

                So did Soviets, I believe, and the Czars before them. As far as I know, Czars largely succeeded. Soviets, not so. In the Russian Empire, very few Greek Catholics remained, presumably, because peasants couldn’t tell the clergy apart. But Soviets couldn’t really destroy the UGCC, as far as I know, even though the organization was banned for decades. One does have to figure that, even if it’s not exactly “religion,” there has to be something here: that a group of East Slavs on the “borderlands” sought to keep distance from Moscow by enlisting help from the West while others actively sought its protection, with both groups using the religion as the conduit. It doesn’t seem like too much changed on this dimension since 16th century. Buying into just one of their narratives blinds to what happened then and what’s happening now. But we (on both sides) seem to be doubling down on just one side of the narrative.

      1. alfred venison

        I plead colour blind, looked orange to my cone defective eyes. Should have waited for my partner to get home.

        1. The Rev Kev

          Had to play the interview and stop it at a point where his tie was showing to check on those colours. At least Tucker did not make the mistake of wearing a black and red tie. :)

    1. R.S.

      St George’s is narrow orange and black. Tucker’s tie is, tongue-in-cheek, more like “How much did Beeline pay you for the placement, sir?”

  11. Es s Ce tera

    My take is that Tucker may be less interested in what Putin has to say and more interested in highlighting what the Collective West will do to the interview. Tucker is motivated by libertarian ideology, presumably why he left Fox, and presumably the disagreement he had with Fox was that he refused to be a (state or corporate, same thing) puppet. The reaction to the interview is perhaps more important here?

    1. .Tom

      Carlson is motivated by desire for attention. Any political alignment that may appear is a downstream consequence of that.

    2. DavidZ

      Tucker has no interest in what Putin had to say. This shows up in how poorly he prepared for this interview.

      Tucker only rose to prominence fairly recently, because he took a anti- (biden admin) position.

      A journalist would presumably highlight that the homeless problem in the US could be solved by spending 20 billion, while the US has spent 75 billion or more on Ukraine. They might also highlight that tax cuts were costing $100 billion a year (mostly going to the super rich), while the country needs to spend money on education, infrastructure, housing, health.

      If Trump comes into power, Tucker won’t be so antagonistic anymore. Is that the description of a political hack?

      1. Benny Profane

        “Tucker only rose to prominence fairly recently, because he took a anti- (biden admin) position.”

        Um, his primetime Fox segment had millions of viewers.

        1. lyman alpha blob

          And to his credit, it’s not the first time he’s taken up a subject that could get him in a lot of trouble. A few years ago while still at Fox, he did a piece on Bass Pro Shops taking over Cabela’s with the help of vulture capitalist Paul Singer and how it ruined the economy of the part of Nebraska where Cabela’s HQ had been located. Paul Singer is one of those shadowy figures who I suspect really calls the shots in the US, he is not a nice person, and strikes me as someone you really don’t want to cross. Not sure if that’s the reason, but it is likely one of the reasons Carlson no longer works at Fox.

          I don’t see that he had anything to gain personally or for Fox by running that story, and risked a lot by doing so. But a lot of people got to see it, who otherwise wouldn’t have known anything about it, and people need to know how our economy is really run – for the benefit of hedge fund managers and private equity, not for the public good. Most people feel this instinctively for sure, but the details are important. I stay up on the news pretty closely, and I had no idea why the sign changed to Bass Pro Shops on the Cabela’s near us until I saw Carlson’s piece.

          I still don’t completely trust Carlson, but credit where credit is due, and good on him for doing this interview with Putin.

        2. DavidZ

          yes – because of his anti-biden admin position, not necessarily for his journalism.

          IMO – A journalist would highlight all the issues surrounding an issue and not give a one sided overview.

      2. JustTheFacts

        Westerners, and in particular Americans, are incredibly ignorant about Russian culture, hence the dismissals of President Putin’s historical answers as “ranting” that we see in Western media (and so on). In fact, understanding context is more culturally appropriate the further you go East on the Eurasian continent. In the UK, answers should be to the point, and the French waffle. However in France, the Germans are long-winded and the Brits are uncultured. Repeat this pattern for Germany versus Russia, and even Russia versus China…

        Given such cultural differences, it might be harmful to the comprehension of your Western audience if you know too much about the subject — you’ll take things for granted they don’t know. So some level of “unpreparedness” is unfortunately unavoidable if the interview is to be shown to a mass audience.

        1. nippersdad

          “In fact, understanding context is more culturally appropriate the further you go East on the Eurasian continent.”

          I think that is an excellent point. During the interview Putin was casually referring to the invasions of the Mongols and the Golden Horde like it happened just a few years ago. This is something that is clearly deeply ingrained in their collective psyche. It reminded me very strongly of a documentary on Persia I once saw where they took the same casual view of Alexander of Macedonia; that was back in 356 BC!

          It may be very difficult for Westerners to understand the value of such stories to a population raised on them as a matter of identity. Ask someone whose family came over on the Mayflower about it and they would sound much the same, but very few of us came over on the Mayflower so it is not an identity marker that they can relate to.

      3. hk

        I think you are being a bit unfair to Carlson: he is more popular than others because he is much wittier than others, being able to skewer the absurd nonsense uttered by Biden and his courtiers with aplomb. That was not on display in the interview: people who rely on stage managed sound bites are, I suppose, much easier targets for snappy and witty ripostes than those who engage in lengthy intellectual discourses I suppose–to engage with the latter, you do need more substantial intellectual preparation, I suppose, which Carlson clearly did not prepare for.

  12. zagonostra

    >TC Putin Interview/U.S. Colony, Italy

    I was on family chat early this morning and asked a family member if she watched the Tucker Carlson/Putin interview. She knew nothing about it even though she says she gets her news from “various” sources (NC is too much for her to digest).

    This reminded me of the opening of Plato’s Republic where Polemarchus, the son of Cephalus, sees Socrates and first threatens and then implores Socrates to come back to his house and chat.

    Well, he said, you see what a large party we are?
    I do.
    Unless you are more than a match for us, then, you must stay
    Isn’t there another alternative? said I; we might convince you
    that you must let us go.
    How will you convince us, if we refuse to listen?
    We cannot, said Glaucon.

    If the majority of people have not the interest to find, nay the curiosity, to understand the world around them, there isn’t much you can do to convince them of the political phantasmagoria they are living in. Italy is comfortable in its colony status. I think Nietzsche early was partly right in diagnosing the malaise of Western culture/civilization, the “Last Man” and women, characterize a sizeable section of modern day EU populace.

  13. john r fiore

    Quite smply the fact that Carlson did the interview, and not any of the hyperventilating maniacs from Fox or CNN, was just great….we all have to do our job to push the world away from the MSM.

  14. .Tom

    > “I don’t think Tucker was knowledgeable enough nor did he compensate with preparation.”

    My impression is that few people in the US know the examples you gave. I think about how much effort I have made over the last couple of years reading NC (for which I thank you) to be in a position to not learn much from the interview, besides the deep history stuff. Carlson is a general-purpose TV guy.

    And then, not “knowledgeable enough” for what purpose? He got Putin to state clearly and repeatedly the Russian position, the history of betrayals since 1991, the ongoing deceits, the scale of the failure of the ongoing economic war, and what’s now needed to stop the war. Putin showed himself not as a mad maniac Hitler bent on conquering and ruling the territory of northern Europe but as a Russian, a practical, even, steady, informed, intelligent, thoughtful, confident and realistic decision maker. This is likely for a lot of Americans completely novel. People I know have no idea about any of this stuff. If Carlson’s interview can penetrate that a little but and get people to start questioning what they have been told, congratulations to him. Much as I despise him I grant he’s done something useful here.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      Please go watch the Oliver Stone documentary. You will see how Putin engages with someone who has done his homework. Completely different, much more thoughtful answers and therefore much more informative. Or if you want something more current, look at his Q&As at the SPIEF or after Valdai Club sessions. Admittedly much more economic focused, but you see how Putin operates with on-their-toes journalists.

      And as for Tucker’s lack of prep, come on. The man is worth over $400 million. He could have hired people to do research, suggest lines of questioning, and work with Tucker to refine them.

      I wonder if Putin offered to end the interview because he was getting so bored with Tucker that Putin recognized he was making undisciplined answers, not bad but for him on the level of dialing it in, which is not at all his normal mode. The mention of the patriot who killed a guy who ran over people’s heads in the Caucuses seemed way out of left field unless that story has great significance in Russia. Similarly his tale right before the close of Ukraine soldiers refusing to surrender and saying “We are Russian, Russians don’t surrender” does not have a clear moral to me even though Putin seemed to think there was.

      1. zagonostra

        We are Russian, Russians don’t surrender” does not have a clear moral to me even though Putin seemed to think there was.

        I interpreted the telling of that story differently. I did see a clear moral. Ukrainians are closely connected by blood/family to Russia and its history, they are “brothers.” I think, if I recall correctly, he even used “civil war” to refer to the war/conflict.

        I think the story underscored that the Russian culture, its ethos, breeds “patriots” who have in the past and are willing in the present to die rather than surrender.

        1. Yves Smith Post author

          Even when I first heard that story, I didn’t really buy it. The reason Russians don’t surrender is the UkoNazis will torture them horribly. So are they accusing the Russians of being torturers too?

          1. zagonostra

            I was replaying the interview in my mind while walking and It seems to me that it really doesn’t matter if one “buys it” or not, the story was well told, indicated that the British’s true and tried modus operandi of sowing discord and dissension in all their erstwhile colonies and present day sphere’s of influence, would not work on Russia. It alluded to a hopeful future when injuries and discord would be healed. I thought it was a brilliant way to end the interview, it almost looked organic, and I think it was, just like the story he told of going into Hungary and seeing those two old men with strange looking hats and speaking a language he did not recognize. But I might just be naïve

            Anyway, I’ve listened to the interview twice and some analysis by The Duran. This story will linger for many days and I look forward to NC’s Saturday morning links. There were, on second listening much much more that could, and is probably being said. It was/is an historic moment, one that will change the future if for nothing else than the beginnings of a transition to a new media landscape, and the death of the old one, one can only hope.

            1. Robert Gray

              > … the story he told of going into Hungary and seeing those two old men with
              > strange looking hats and speaking a language he did not recognize.

              I’m afraid you missed the point of this particular story. He said that that happened whilst he was travelling through the Soviet Union, the idea being that the USSR allowed ethnic minorities to maintain their traditional culture.

              1. zagonostra

                Thank you. I will listen to it again, I’ll pay more attention this time around; however, I wasn’t referring to the “moral” of that particular story, only the one with reference to Russian Ukrainian soldiers refusing to surrender unto death that Yves somewhat skeptically referred to as possibly made up or apocryphal. The story of the two black hats will be interesting in view of your comment.

          2. Polar Socialist

            When I first heard that story, it was by Prigozhin and happened in Bakhmut. At the time I though it was typical Prigozhin “big talk” about how bad-ass and proud fighters Russians are, no matter which side they’re fighting for, and that’s why Bahkmut was so hard to take.

            And I still do. But I guess Putin’s point of the anecdote was in the sentence that followed: “What is happening is, to a certain extent, an element of a civil war.”

          3. Russophile

            “Русские не сдаются” (Russians don’t surrender) is a historical glory battle cry and popular stock phrase among Russian speakers. The context would not translate into English. That being said I wouldn’t think too much about the phrase in this context as much more than a cheeky mocking of their opponents tinged with a tacit understanding that there is a shared culture. Wikipedia gives an explainer if you paste the Cyrillic into a search engine and then translate the page.

        2. hk

          I often wondered about the way Whitist leaders are seen in modern Russia, especially after I watched the film Admiral. It seems that Admiral Kolchak, at least, has fans. I know Pugachev is remembered fondly in Russian history.
          Would that be because they, too, were Russians and never surrendered?

        3. Socal Rhino

          I took this as part of an argument about Ukraine not being a fully formed state, with some in the west identifying as Hungarian and much of particularly eastern Ukraine identifying as Russian, and the damage done by Azov types in attempting to impose a Roman Catholic monomculture.

          1. hk

            Eastern/Greek Catholic. Poles in 20s and 30s found that Ukrainian nationalists really played up the fact that they are a different kind of Catholics from the Poles and that made them difficult to handle.

        4. Willow

          Yes. The civil war comment was a really interesting way to frame the conflict. Makes the Ukraine conflict fundamentally an internal issue for Russia while at same time dog whistles underlying US public fears of their own potential civil war.

      2. nippersdad

        That story did seem to be a little off piste when one considers that the had a more apples to apples comparison to Gershkovitz in Gonzalo Lira.

      3. dommage

        Yves, as ever thanks. The moral i saw in the “ Russians don’t surrender…” was a very effective way of repeating that it’s a civil war. And that’s key. It ‘s the answer in international law – which i used to do for a living – to all the “invasion” blather that has gone on unchallenged for years. E.g. when India intervened on behalf of the eastern Bengals in the Pakistan civil war no-one called it an invasion but the West Pakistanis. And it holds the promise of relatively swift reconciliation – even after the horrors of the temps des cerises within 30 years the butcher Gallifet was aligned with the returned communards for Dreyfus. I thought it was brilliant.

        1. zagonostra

          I re-played the whole interview and that story came at the very end. It was in the context of a healing process, one that Putin was hopeful for in the future. It had too do with how a reconciliation could come about after hostilities. As you allude to in West Pakistan, and the horrors of war, how can a people engaged in killing each other are to live in peace. He actually used the word “soul” in his account of what he was hopeful for.

      4. Kouros

        How many Americans are going to watch Putin speaking to his Russian audiences. But Americans are going to watch Tucker Carlson, and thus Putin.

        The moral of the story is that this war is a Civil War, fuelled by the US.

    2. Futility

      Looking at the coverage of the Interview in “Die Zeit” and the comments section, I don’t have the impression that many Westerners are interested in really listening to the Interview. In the article it was portrayed as a way to influence the American election for Trump. Since Carlson was before with Fox, everything he does can be dismissed, no further engagement with him necessary. In the comments section most people didn’t believe a word Putin said, but called him a liar for saying that he has no interest whatsoever to attack the West. People really seem to believe Putin wants to take Lisbon as soon as he is done with Ukraine. The level of conformity in thought is astounding and a frightening view to behold. Any pushback is immediately countered with accusations of being a Putin troll operating from Moscow. It’s ridiculous.

  15. The Rev Kev

    Been thinking about this interview but more to the point, who Putin was actually talking to. Of course you would include his fellow Russians as well as people in other countries who had never taken their full measure of the man, especially those living in America. But maybe he was actually talking to those with power and he was letting them know that this was how the war came about and he will end this war when he decides to end it. Carslon hinted about stopping the war as is but Putin punted that question away and hinted that it would end on Russia’s terms which included taking back all those Russian lands that were given to the Ukraine. From this I take it that the Ukraine is about to get a whole lot smaller.

    Carlson may have looked unprepared for this interview and maybe so. I have hardly watched him but has he ever interviewed a powerful person in a two hour stint before? This was a guy that did not need notes to consult or read a teleprompter but had all the facts and figures that he needed at his finger tips and was familiar with his own country’s history. Can anybody remember a US President that could have given chapter and verse on American history going back to the 1500s? Who understood the forces that made America the country that it is?

    1. Benny Profane

      Well, that would have to start with the fact that our economy at birth was based on both genocide and slavery. Bad optics.

      1. Kouros

        Reading “White Trash” would also be mandatory… The rich would exploit everyone, indiscriminately, if they can.

    2. Piotr Berman

      “American history going back to 1500s”, hm, in that can, should one start from Columbus? Or the outpost the Spanish had in Florida before English, Dutch and Swedish colonists came? I would guess one could start from Alexis de Toqueville. For Ukraine/Russia, I would recommend knowing about Pereiaslav Agreement in 1654, because this is how east back of Dnieper + Kiev was incorporated into Russia ON THE REQUEST OF UKRAINIANS, and germane facts about 18th century in this region that caused the ethnic distribution in Ukraine today.

      1. JBird4049

        >>> Or the outpost the Spanish had in Florida before English, Dutch and Swedish colonists came?

        I think one would have to include the Iroquois Confederacy among other Native American nations. Just as with Latin America, because the conquerers built their own nation on top of the old, it means the old is the foundation of the new and therefore integral whether anyone acknowledges it or not. The Six Nations was studied for ideas to be used in the American Articles of Confederation of 1781-1789 and, I assume, the current Republic.

        1. JBird4049

          Piotr Berman, may I ask for any good book recommendations on Russian history?

          Actually, if anyone has some suggestions, please give them.

    3. CA

      Been thinking about this interview but more to the point, who Putin was actually talking to. Of course you would include his fellow Russians as well as people in other countries who had never taken their full measure of the man, especially those living in America. But maybe he was actually talking to those with power and he was letting them know that this was how the war came about and he will end this war when he decides to end it….

      [ Very interesting. To Russians, I think, Putin’s words will remind many of General Kutuzov’s stance on protecting the integrity of the Russian state in “War and Peace.” ]

    4. Darius

      If someone asked FDR about a random county in the US, he could have expounded on it. He was well versed in history, as well as the world situation, and had a knack for knowing when he was being sandbagged or lied to. Lincoln also assembled a wide body of knowledge and approached things from a rationalist point of view.

      1. hk

        Idk about FDR, but Sam Rayburn definitely could. It was his business, after all (all Congressional coalitions and deals were made on basis of local interests, so the Speaker of the House, at least back then, had to know what kind of deals all Congressmen could and could not make.)

  16. JW

    Putin emerged as extremely competent – in very sharp contrast to the ‘Anglo-Saxon’ method which is all about soundbites. I’ve listened to Carlson talking about Ukraine and I think he just wanted to get the line from the horses mouth. That’s why the ‘western’ press is so hysterical. They are terrified of becoming obsolete because people see them as partisan. I looked at comments from many channels that covered it and the vast majority complemented Carlson AND the translation, and were impressed by Putin. We nerds actually know a lot more than people who are gainfully employed actually know and I learned nothing (factual) new. If I was a senior British politician (or Government employee/ senior military person) I would be really p***** off. What I find interesting is that the western media are so up to their eyes in their own propaganda that they actually believe it. Fatal mistake. Let’s hope that Putin agrees more interviews with serious journalists. There are still a few around …..

    1. The Rev Kev

      Maybe they can send hard-hitting CNN journalist Erin Burnett to interview Putin even though she went on a rant about 2 or 3 days ago calling Tucker Carlson the number one MAGA supporter and a Putin stooge who gushes all over him. She knows how to ask the hard questions-

      https://twitter.com/KimDotcom/status/1755454726702084305 (1:44 mins)

      Oh wait. The Russians banned Erin Burnett from entering the country last year.

  17. Benny Profane

    “Note that Putin showing his stamina and famed memory comes the same day as the Special Counsel on the Biden “classified documents next to his Corvette” scandal concluded with the Special Counsel deciding not to prosecute despite finding Biden did willfully mishandle classified material, basically because Biden is too doddering to hold up to cross examination. ”

    This is the basis of my own argument over these two men. Imagine Biden even attempting a two hour interview these days. The subject matter doesn’t even matter, although I don’t hear many fantastical lies from Putin. The world is watching, and they will use this as proof of whom to follow, and doubtful it’s a senile old man or the Orange Clown comedian.

  18. ChrisFromGA

    I made it about 1 hour into the video. My observations:

    1) We found someone who can talk longer than Alexander Mercouris. The over/under on how long a Mercouris interview of Putin would take would be measured in weeks.

    2) VP’s long Russian history lesson irritated Tucker, but I thought it was interesting and learned a few things myself, such as the history of Ukraine as a land being very much tied to the Polish empire, circa sometime way back.

    3) Tucker was a lot more adversarial than I would have thought. Which, when taken against the usual suspects crying “Putin stooge!” will make their argument even weaker than it already was.

    4) Tucker’s did not prepare very well. He sometimes asked good questions, such as why Putin didn’t just pick up the phone and work something out with Biden. Obviously, we all know the answer, but getting Putin to confirm that the US is non-agreement capable and had no interest in letting Russia join NATO in the Clinton/Shrub years was good to get on the record.

  19. ilsm

    I listened to the whole event a couple of hours after the release. Worked fine on Tucker site.

    Before the podcast I had told some blog that “all Putin needed was a map of Europe from early 1914”, and say “well in 1865 Lincoln did the same as I am doing…. ”

    The neocon sacred Ukraine homeland was built by Lenin, Stalin, Krushy and the Red Army.

    Why should the US trip toward WW III for Stalin’s dream?

    It would have been good if Putin quoted George Washington about getting tangled in European quagmires that defy moral explanation.

  20. Boomheist

    I watched the whole thing as soon as it came out. Found it fascinating. Echo many comments above, and have an additional thought – I will not be surprised if we now see Putin being interviewed by other independent media people, maybe even including Merurious for 8 hours, in the coming months. What a fantastic way for him to get his message everywhere, at minimal cost to himself, speaking directly to ordinary people, laying out the facts (as he sees them) and teaching history, showing we English-speaking proles how a real leader operates and thinks and talks. For the last 25 years everything we have heard about Putin and Russia has been through the hysterical Jen Pasaki and Erin Burnett Lens, the Rachel Maddow Hillary Clinton Jake Sullivan lens, and all this time it seems Putin has been consistent, clear, and steady. Pretty sobering, actually. I have said ever since before the Feb 22 SMO started that in the axis of great powers Russia is the one that will rise highest, even above China, and I continue to hold that view.

    1. Benny Profane

      One wonders if the Brits would allow Mecouris back in the country after such an interview, even if they allowed him the opportunity to do it.

      1. John

        They would certainly steal all his assets in Britain, as they did with Graham Phillips, who has been reportign from Donbass for the past few years. Phillips actually went to court to get this overthrown, but the case was ruled in favour of the government, surprise, surprise.

  21. Michael Hudson

    I thought at the end, where Tucker asked him whether NATO couldn’t claim a victory, Putin should have used Judo and gone along with this. He could have said,
    “Well they captured Europe’s economy and deterred it from following its self-interest in a mutual gain of trade and investment with us and the East. They’ve captured the natural gas market from us, and won enormous NATO arms purchases that will sink the euro’s exchange rate. So yes, NATO’s US leadership has won a victory, and we’ll accept that. We’ve already turned eastward, toward China, Iran and the rest of Asia. So they’ve succeeded in breaking Western Europe off from the continent.”

    1. The Rev Kev

      Maybe he should have thrown the west a bone. But I think that Putin is of the school of thought that when your enemy is drowning, to throw him an anvil.

    2. Mr T J Putnam

      Precisely what my wife and I said to each other. Maybe that sort of irony doesn’t quite fit with Putin’s diplomatic circumspection though. As in the countless times he adduced exchanges with Western leaders saying what he said but refrained from saying what they said as it was ‘confidential’.

  22. Maxwell Johnston

    I watched it all, and it confirmed my belief that there is no agreement possible between RU and USA with respect to UKR, because there is no meeting of the minds. Broadly speaking, USA (and the west in general) is quoting international law and the sanctity of borders (of course its own subjective interpretation of such) whilst RU is quoting history (of course its own subjective interpretation of it). Carlson himself often seemed taken aback by VVP’s answers to his questions. At around the 1.05 point, Carlson repeatedly asks VVP why he doesn’t initiate negotiations with Uncle Joe re UKR. VVP seems puzzled, almost amused, by the question. Carlson returns to this question just before the 2 hour mark, and VVP again looks somewhat baffled; it was as if they were talking past each other. Kudos to Carlson for making an effort at dialogue, but I’m afraid it’s an exercise in futility at this point. The whole interview left me feeling even more pessimistic about the future of RU’s relations with Borrell’s Garden. Things might actually get worse.

    VVP sounds much more articulate in his native tongue, unfiltered; the interpreter was competent but a tad clumsy. Perhaps this was intentional. With Gorbachev, it was the opposite: Gorby spoke Russian with a regional accent (he was from Stavropol, in the far south of RU), but smooth interpreters made him sound brilliant on CNN/BBC. VVP’s Russian is clear and crisp, whereas Gorby’s drawl was noticeable even to me.

    Regardless of one’s opinion of VVP, the contrast between his alert intellect and Uncle Joe’s flailing grip on reality is impossible to ignore. Disturbing, actually.

    1. The Rev Kev

      Did you notice when Carlson asked Putin when he last talked to Biden, Putin said that he no longer knows. I think that the point that Putin was driving how was that the US and the Russian Federation – two of the biggest powers on the planet – are no longer talking to each other which never occurred in the First Cold War.

      1. Maxwell Johnston

        Yes, I noticed. And I’m sure Putin remembers perfectly well the last time they spoke. Still, he mentioned several times during the interview that the special services (i.e., the RU and USA spy agencies) are talking to each other regularly. So there’s that.

    2. nippersdad

      “Broadly speaking, USA (and the west in general) is quoting international law and the sanctity of borders (of course its own subjective interpretation of such) whilst RU is quoting history…”

      I got the distinct impression from the emphasis Putin was putting on the illegality of NATO action in Yugoslavia at the time that he was working up to a discursion on the legal basis of his entrance into the Donbass. It was notable how he dotted all of his I’s and crossed all of the T’s on R2P before sending in the troops, and that would have only been legally possible after the US made its’ actions WRT Serbia legal post facto. He had a real gotcha there, but it got lost in the rest of the conversation.

    3. flora

      an aside: Carlson in interviews often sounds to me like the Dr. Watson in the Sherlock Holmes mystery stories; simple sounding questions innocently asked that when answered clarify an important point to the audience. / my 2 cents

    4. Yves Smith Post author

      Aha, so I was correct in finding the live translation to be stilted. I looked a bit at the Kremlin transcript and it is indeed way better.

    5. ChrisFromGA

      The US has about as much credibity arguing the sanctity of borders as the Menendez bros. pleading for mercy as they were orphans.

      See: Syria, illegal bases, stealing oil.

    6. Darius

      Biden couldn’t have held a candle to Putin in his prime. Biden is steeped in the culture of soundbites and “messaging,” aka gaslighting. He never had any depth. Putin comes to it with knowledge and an informed agenda. At times, it seemed like he was thinking, “how can I get through your thick skull?”

        1. Michaelmas

          And a rip-off artist.


          Joe Biden, who has announced he is running for US president, is best known in the UK for ripping off a Neil Kinnock speech. The 76-year-old Washington veteran, Barack Obama’s vice president, has had to live with the accusations of plagiarism for more than 30 years.

          Mr Kinnock’s famous “thousand generations” speech about his family background was originally given by the Labour leader at his party’s Welsh conference in May 1987. It received such widespread acclaim that it was used by Labour in party election broadcasts – again to rave reviews – during the 1987 general election campaign….

          … During his long career, Mr Biden has also been accused of plagiarising speeches by President Kennedy and Hubert Humphrey, who was Lyndon Johnson’s vice president. So will we now hear some of Jeremy Corbyn’s well-crafted phrases in Mr Biden’s speeches during his 2020 presidential bid, I wonder? Or has he learned his lesson?

  23. Socal Rhino

    I am not bitter, we are not bride and groom to think in such terms..or something close to that, caught my attention, along with asking Carlson to confirm his own background was in history, and handing him documents that Carlson could get translated to English and read for himself so he wouldn’t think Putin was making stuff up.

    Martyanov frequently repeats that Russians (and much of the non US aligned world) think there are no adults to talk to in the US or Europe.

  24. Carolinian

    I’ve recently read Mark Bowden’s book Hue 1968 and looked up Cronkite’s 1968 special about Tet on Youtube. By modern standards the visuals are crude and Cronkite, a frumpy looking figure with bags under his eyes, doesn’t even bother to look like a TV star but speaks his commentary in complete, well written sentences. He went to Vietnam because he thought Tet showed the government version of the war had been proven to be dishonest and had thereby caused him to betray his audience.

    Some now claim that Cronkite was a phony but I don’t think so. Serious times produce serious people and now we instead have infotainment news that carefully projects an image. Sounds like from the above that Tucker is still the cable guy, Putin the serious guy who needed his Cronkite. Maybe the interview will have some good effects even if our very superficial elites have made up their minds. Seems unlikely.

  25. Zhulik

    My first encounter with the Carlson-Putin interview was the next morning in the UK on the BBC ‘s flagship news programme, Today, a marathon three hours, from six to nine a.m., of snippets. Its most important slot is immediately after the eight o’clock news. That’s when I happened to tune in to this loathsome farrago of innocuous propaganda (don’t get me started). It was a double act, or warm-up with Steve Rosenberg, BBC point man in Russia, followed by Sir Alex Younger, ex-head of MI6.

    The pair of them could not muster a single valid point throughout this exercise in damage limitation. SR supposed and opposed any Kremlin citing of polls showing Putin’s popularity with SR’s own assertion of anecdotal evidence of Russians saying they have no one else. This may be in the spirit of Brits saying the same about Churchill in WWII, but of course the implication was that puny, dodgy types as Navalny (polling in the lower single figures, before he was quite credibly nicked for corruption) are serious political threats. Levada is a west-leaning organisation, I think, certainly independent, non-governmental, and its polls are generally trusted: they consistently show Putin’s great popularity, currently 85%. SR must be well aware of this.

    Younger was the serious contender and he pulled a classic of British public school belittlement: boring! History schmystery, whining and lecturing, chap’s got it quite wrong. ‘We’ don’t claim France as ours, though we occupied most of it in the 14th century or whenever. See? There you go.

    Another notable point of condescension was how the Russians were obviously and pathetically thrilled to be the focus of Western attention. Au contraire, we’re all thrilled because Carlson is a very big deal in the States and no wonder – no amount of liberals holding their noses and declaring him far / hard right cancels the simple fact that he’s personable and bright. Also, Putin has not been interviewed here for years, and all his speeches and remarks in that time have been carefully ignored or wilfully misinterpreted. So of course there’s a buzz here – not so much in Russia, I suspect.

    The point about France really is laughable. Is the French president’s first language English? Does he have to be coached in French? (Zelensky’s Russian and Ukrainian speaking abilities) Is it hard to tell the difference, at times, between those languages? Are differences between them easily sorted out? Was England founded around Paris? Was the outline of France concocted in the early 20th century by some equivalent of Lenin? Etc. A great-aunt on the Russian side of my family considered herself Ukrainian (Gogol her favourite writer “We’re all in him, aren’t we?”) despite her maiden name being of a famous Russian family.

    Never mind Putin trusting the West too much, an original sin was committed in the breakup of the USSR, when it wasn’t considered necessary by the new RF to monitor/spy on and in Ukraine (Yeltsin, I think, sorry, no ref or link) because the two countries were so obviously brotherly &co. So the USA nurtured the nouveau Banderites with impunity and voilà! Putin really is intent on destroying that whole ideology of ‘anti-Russia’. It will be difficult, if not impossible, but just as necessary and not nearly as difficult as rooting out Zionism, distinguishing that Golden Calf from Judaism.

    Five Eyes countries don’t ‘get’ or ‘do’ history, maybe because our own is mostly false, a long term PR job, not least involving indigenous people (Irish, Welsh, Scots, Amerindians, Palestinians, aboriginal etc etc etc) so we just scurry past with our get out of jail word-card, “whatever…”

    And yes, we are numbed by Putin’s indefatigability, and others’, Lavrov & co. It’s so old-fashioned, really nineteenth-century, and needs matching coverage in pages of transcripts in The Times of yore. I recently came across a presser by the wonderful Zakharova in November, covering sixteen points (each helpfully linked at the start), most quite serious and substantial, also including notice that “The Russian company ParaType is launching a programme to create fonts and keyboard layouts based on the extended Cyrillic alphabet with 179 characters that span more than 150 languages and dialects, including the languages of small indigenous peoples and national minorities in the Russian Federation that use Cyrillic-based scripts.” as “part of our contribution to the goals of the UN International Decade of Indigenous Languages”. It’s nice to know that somebody out there takes the UN seriously. But Zakharova is not done: also linked are fourteen EXCERPTS from media questions.

    Well ok I’ve done exactly what they do, it’s infectious, apologies! Now to read the transcript. Putin’s always good to watch and his Russian is great, but I don’t want voiceover translations, only subtitles. Links, anyone?

    1. Zhulik

      To answer my own question:
      Tucker Carlson’s Interview of Vladimir Putin – Subtitled, No Dubbed Voice Over – February 9 2024

      Apologies again, unforgivably long and crudely over-elaborated, guess I just came out in a rash over the infuriating British marotte about Russia as expressed on the radio that morning and as per comments around here + Pilkington, Will Schryver, et al.

      Point about Zakharova was just the possibility of a cultural diff – so not just Putin with Carlson – in her marathon covering everything, roughly speaking, including Ukraine, Israel, Moldova, and even a new extended Cyrillic character set before then taking questions: Briefing by Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova, Moscow, November 29, 2023

      In Putin’s case, on this occasion, was it a mistake, as many supporters, such as Gilbert Doctorow, think? And was Putin wrong? That score needs to be settled, if at all possible, by historians duking it out. I wonder how we would like it if Russians practised British public school condescension to pick apart our foundation myths, and of course, those of the USA’s very own Ukraine, Israel.

    1. t

      Sniper-fire from one who can’t shoot straight.

      So nice to have a good solid laugh early in my day. Thanks for that. Good lord when will these dangerous dingbats just wander off into the woods? A truly well-meaning billionair would host a fake summit at a swanky resort where they make speeches at each other all day and then enjoy an evening of deep-fake fawning TV coverage and supportive tweets from an army of AI bots while the rest of us live our lives free of them. Although I suppose their reality is already similar, for them

    2. zagonostra

      Need not be baffled. As Putin indicated “some Americans” aren’t “philistines,” that’s the exact word that he used when he referred to global/political analyst who understand the facts. It’s clear Putin understands that you have people (like many friends and family) that have no clue of what is going on and have been so propagandized that their views/opinions can be dismissed.

      Putin opening remarks to Tucker, was “is this a talk show” or a “serious interview?” Clinton thinks that former CIA Casey’s goal making sure that every American comes to hold views that are completely manufactured has been achieved, but to quote a Bob Dylan song, “It’s getting dark, but it’s not there yet”

      1. Wukchumni

        One of the dartful codgers who just turned 71 told me that the Russian people are almost on the verge of revolt, so I asked what Biden’s approval numbers are among the American public?
        He said ‘around 40%’

        And then I asked him what he thought Putin’s approval numbers are among the Russian public, and when I told him 80%, I think I might have opened 1 American mind.

        1. ChrisFromGA

          Be careful- humans tend to get angry when you disturb their comfortable assumptions.

          I’d at least stay behind him on the slopes.

  26. Planter of Trees

    Carlson’s questions sounded like a shopping list of DC’s domestic-facing talking points regarding Ukraine and Russian relations in general. Hardly surprising, but one gets the impression that the Kremlin is quite tired of telling Langley there won’t be free ice cream after the game:

    “We have done so many guestures of our good will, out of decency, that I think we have run out of them. We have never seen any one reciprocate to us, in a similar manner.”

  27. Winston Smithsonian

    Rather long-winded way for Putin to tell us, “I don’t know why I started a war in Ukraine. I don’t know why I also can’t stop the war in Ukraine. Thank you. Goodnight. Now go away.” — The US got involved with Ukraine because Russia directly challenged US’s dominance in plain language. So, what are Putin’s reasons? Real ones. Not fairy tales .

    “Heaven is ruthless. Cruelty and death are the state’s only devices,” Putin could say. Truth. Instead Putin falls back on an avatar of counterintelligence with a pinch of gangster, detached, like he was abrading a dissident writer in a Stasi basement. (Not too taxing, Tucker is as hardboiled as a marshmallow chickadee. Tucker will sympathize with anyone, say anything, give away editorial control, so long as he can cash-in on third rail politics. No need for polonium.) Putin’s detachment punctuated with a short-fuse is more elderly shut-in than oprichnik. — Indulge us in a 1000-year history of people resisting Russian officiousness, then claim, paradoxically, Ukraine is only a recent invention of Stalin’s russification, not the perennial victim. As an audience, we are indifferent, not dim.

    Has it occurred to Putin that China has been awfully quiet? For a natural arbiter of peace on favorable terms for Russia in Ukraine, China is rather demure, hands in its pockets, whistling at the ceiling.

    1. nippersdad

      It was quite clear to me that he said they were ending a war that they did not start. And then there is the rest of your post.

      There is a lot of verbiage there that does not conform to the interview that I saw.

      1. JCC

        Yes. He made it very clear that the US/NATO broke promises made to Russia and also has been holding Russia and Eastern Ukraine to a very different standard than they hold themselves relative to a group desire for self-determination.

        I am guessing that Winston did not watch the entire interview.

      2. zach

        “… he said they were ending a war that they did not start.”

        This is a take I see thrown around quite a lot that fundamentally doesn’t square with reality, regardless of whether Mr. Putin himself espouses this point of view.

        The history of high-handedness and provocations emanating from West to East is well documented and hard if not impossible to argue – as a purveyor of the very best of hills to die on, I certainly won’t be leading the charge up that one.

        On the issue of who started an inter-state shooting conflict, the historical record will accurately reflect that it was the Russian Federation that invaded Ukraine. All of the events of 2014, and all of the events leading up to the Russian invasion in 2022, can accurately be characterized as a Ukrainian domestic political issue.

        1. nippersdad

          “All of the events of 2014, and all of the events leading up to the Russian invasion in 2022, can accurately be characterized as a Ukrainian domestic political issue.”

          So we should just ignore that it was the US that fomented the Maidan coup there, NATO that trained up and armed the Ukraine forces that then started a civil war against the Donbass when they held their referenda and seceded? Would the Donbass have seceded if the democratically elected Yanukovich remained the president of Ukraine?

          And, further, Donetsk and Lugansk performed all of the functions of states after their having seceded from Ukraine for eight years, including defending their borders. At what point does a proto-state become an actual state? When can one start to accept the aid of allies? Can there have been a “Russian invasion” if the state has proactively invited them in under the now accepted UN laws of R2P? If the Russian use of R2P is illegal then why did NATO go to such lengths to create the law after their invasion of Yugoslavia to render their invasion legal? Remember, at the time it was the Russians who were arguing that NATO had no right to invade under existing law in that case.

          What is good for the goose is good for the gander.

          No, I don’t buy it. You cannot ignore the activities of NATO and the US in the run-up to the civil war in Ukraine and blame it all on the Russians.

          1. zach

            I don’t take any issue with the Russian account of events in Ukraine and the United States gov’ts guiding hand/leading role in those events. I believe I stated that previously.

            Nor would I argue that the Russian gov’t failed to establish a legitimate justification to intervene militarily. I will take you at your word that R2P is a thing now. I am not so sure that there exists an internationally agreed upon mechanism by which regions may secede and declare independence unilaterally – I am not an expert on international law or the UN.

            It should not be controversial to state a fact. At no point up to February of 2022 did Ukraine, the US, NATO, attack with lethal force the Russian Federation. You may be correct to say that the conflict was provoked by Ukraine, the US, NATO, but it was the Russian gov’t that decided to pull the trigger.

            The only thing “we” shouldn’t be ignoring is our capacity for critical thought.

        2. JustTheFacts

          An exponentially rising number of shells shot from “Ukraine” into Donbas and Lughansk, killing civilians, is a war, undeclared or not, not just “a provocation”. (source for the number of shells fired is the OSCE). Only then did Russia sign a treaty with Donbas and Lughansk, recognizing them as independent.

          1. zach

            If war is politics by other means, and a civil war is a war fought between citizens of the same country, then an increase in shelling from internationally recognized Ukraine to internationally recognized Ukraine can be accurately characterized as a domestic political issue.

            Russia elected to intervene, utilizing a precedent established by their “Western partners.”

            To revisit an earlier comment, if what is good for the goose is indeed good for the gander, maybe us little people should consider wearing goggles and closing our mouths as we watch the migratory birds pass overhead.

            1. JustTheFacts

              You seem stuck on the thought that people in the East of Ukraine are Ukrainians. That’s just a recent legalism as is “internationally recognized”. In other words, you’ve already decided who to believe before even thinking it through.

              By the way, according to your own logic, the USA should be returned to the British Empire, since it had support from the French in its war of independence. What’s good for the goose, is good for the gander, as you say.

              Unlike you, Western Ukrainians don’t think of Eastern Ukrainians in that way. They think of them as Moscovites”, who are best slaughtered. That’s why they forbid them to speak their own language, or practice their own religion. That’s why Zelensky pretends not to speak Russian although it’s his native language and he’s bad at speaking Ukrainian. The new “Ukrainian” military commander, Sirsky’s own parents and children denounce him, because they are Russian. The point is that Eastern Ukrainians weren’t functionally “Ukrainians” as recently as 1991, since Ukraine was just another part of the Soviet Union.

  28. .Tom

    Putin’s insistence on de-nazification was interesting. Putin answered Carlson’s question about what it means saying that Ukraine must have laws banning neo-nazi organizations and political activity, as a lot of countries have. Putin said a draft agreement on this aspect acceptable to Russia was written down in Istanbul in Spring 2022, demonstrating that it is doable, not some trick to keep the war going. Putin talked at length about the nazi problem in Ukraine and Carlson illustrated the Canadian Parliament’s celebration of them.

    Establishing those laws in Ukraine and starting to enforce them would represent a milestone in the Ukraine government’s readiness to compromise and live with its large neighbor to the east and the west relinquishing some control. So setting that out to western audience as a requirement for peace is quite interesting.

    1. hk

      I always wondered about that part of the agreement: even if such a law was enacted, would that have been enforceable by Ukrainian government? The neo Nazis and ultranationalists had far greater influence than their overall numbers, after all, especially after Maidan. That part of the draft agreement was what really made it a potential source of future troubles even if it was formally agreed to with sincerity by all parties.

      1. Schopsi

        But why do they have that disproportional influence despite being comparatively tiny?

        Is the law unenforceable because the nazi influence is too great or is the nazi influence so great largely because there were no laws against but instead laws promoting them, passed by politicians and their western and oligarch handlers that presumably aren’t dyed in the wool nazis but opportunistically thought the nazis useful.

        A bit of a chicken/egg problem.

        If the hardcore nazis are indeed a minority it seems that it should be able to close down nazi youthcamps were children are indoctrinated and to get textbooks portraying Russians as subhuman out of schools.

        If the nazis react with violence to the ukrainian government turning against them, as they no doubt would, Ukraine’s international friends, if really they are friends, should support Ukraine in disarming these groups.

        Simply stopping to arm and financially support them would make a huge difference even if it would be a slow process push their influence back.

        Go back to when only three years or so ago the US nominally considered the ukrainian fascist to be dangerous extremists and this time act as if you really mean it.

        Wasn’t Azov even officially considered a terrorist organisation or something like that?

        1. hk

          We were happy to enlist the former (or current) Al Qaida as long as they were attacking Syria or Iran. If a Ukrainian govt did choose to actually go after the Neo Nazis in 2022 in an agreement with Moscow, I imagine that they’d have to fight a civil war against them and they could have managed it only with a lot of internal political strain and Russian aid. That would have been a complicated mess, I should think.

          1. .Tom

            Remember Aurelien’s speculations as to what sort of Ukrain government would be acceptable to Russia? It would be one that grudgingly accepts what Russia insists upon. Ukraine supports its nazis because the west supports them and values their influence on politics there. But if what we’ve read linked here is accurate, the population mostly doesn’t support them. It strikes me as a test for Ukraine’s democracy: will you champion your people’s will or the will of your western sponsors? So it simultaneously tests any Ukraine government’s willingness to make accommodations to its people and to Russia. That’s why it strikes me as an interesting thing for Putin to insist on in this interview.

          2. Schopsi

            Messy no doubt, but unfortunately there probably are/were really no non messy solutions.

            Better a messy one than no solution at all.

            One suspects that despite the unavoidable ugliness most likely fighting the neonazis could have been done with less devastation and mass death than the ultimately futile attempt to defeat the russian army.

            But of course that sort of calculation didn’t really figure into it.

      2. kemerd

        Obviously, that also tacitly mean removal of all such people from power and most probably also bringing quite some of them in front of special tribunals that is to be setup in Donbass.

  29. KD

    I had few ideas relating to the interview:

    1.) Putin opened by giving this long monologue regarding the history of Russia.in response to a question why he commenced the SMO 2 years ago.

    I am wondering if there is a cultural difference here, and it is common in Russia for someone to begin with a preface. Tucker did interrupt, specifically with the question of how Putin’s answer was relevant, and people are critical of this, but given that this interview was for US and Anglophone audiences, and probably of a lot of people in the audience might be thinking the same thing, it was an opportunity for Putin to connect the dots, which he didn’t do, he just went back to the historical monologue.

    I assume part of the point is that the Ukrainian civil war broke out in a Russian-speaking region which regards themselves are Russian, have been part of historical Russia since the 17th Century, and only “left” because of creative line drawing by the Bolsheviks, when they remained part of the USSR (which was Russian). I think Putin could have done a better job of connecting the dots, or providing headers, or however you want to describe it.

    2.) Historical Arguments: I suppose there is also an inherent American resistance to historical claims, because until the 17th Century, America belong to a bunch of indigenous tribes before European’s “discovered” it. It might have been helpful to point out the cultural differences in American versus Russian conceptions of history.

    3.) Tucker’s lack of preparation, seriousness, etc. All I can say is that in the land of the blind, the one-eyed man goes to Russia to interview Putin. It did seem as if they were talking past each other at many points, and I thought Tucker’s stunt requesting release of the WSJ reporter was unnecessary but I guess he probably has to justify his actions to the folks back home.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      It’s not the history per se that was an issue, it was Putin not attempting to relate it to the SMO in any clear way. This came off as a a very long prequel rather than having vignettes or issues that then tied to the SMO (well save when Putin explained that the creation of a Ukrainian identity came very late in the game0. Or maybe it is clearer in the better translation on the Kremlin website.

      1. irenic

        I think part of what Putin was trying to do with the history lesson is to clearly make the point that everything east of the Dnieper, including Kiev, was(and should be) always considered part of historic Russia. His lesson said that through history everything west of the Dnieper was part of different countries and empires and only became part of the USSR in recent history and his body language seemed to suggest he didn’t really consider the lands west of the Dnieper as historically part of Russia.

        My impression is he was trying to make clear what the endgame for the SMO might be: Russia will take control of all the Ukraine east of the Dnieper since it was always part of Mother Russia and the other countries that used to control the land west of the Dnieper could have them.

      2. JustTheFacts

        Putin views most Ukrainians as Russians, because they share the same values and history. Some meddling foreign powers (Poles, German/Austrians, and now USA and vassals) have repeatedly tried to separate them by creating a new artificial Ukrainian identity and narrative, but historically that hasn’t worked out well for the Ukrainians. The common values was the point of his final story: Ukrainian soldiers surrounded and asked to surrender shout “Russians don’t surrender!”, a very Russian value, and believe so strongly in this value that they died for it.

        From this perspective, the SMO is a civil-war instigated by foreign interference, which started in 2014, and which Russia is now ending. The “denazification” is about removing the fake narrative that Ukrainians and Russians are totally different people without a common history, a story which has caused so much harm. The Ukrainian government itself is fighting to maintain the story, for instance by banning the Orthodox Church.

        Russia has existed a lot longer than the US, and its history and values matter a lot to Russians, in a way they matter less and less to Americans — that’s what he meant when he said Americans were “pragmatic”, and there were other ways to live. (It’s understandable — most people in the US came to the US, and promptly forgot their own cultures and most of their values, because those values were incompatible with their new lives. They keep some sort of nostalgic vague belief that they are “German” or “Scottish” but neither speak a word of German or Gaelic, nor behave anything like a German or Scot. It’s quaint but not the real thing, kind of like Disneyland.).

        Putin was trying to get that point across to his American audience, but they seem blind to it. What he said will probably be clear to people from most other countries.

  30. outside observer

    Upon hearing VP twice refer to the ‘golden billion’, I at first assumed something lost in translation – was he referring to an elite selection of billionaires? Apparently this is a theory (I hesitate to even use the word conspiracy anymore) referring to western elites’ plan for the earth’s resources to amass to one billion select people. Not sure what to make of that.
    An interesting interview overall. It’s probably for the best that Tucker didn’t say much, he seemed out of his depth. Sadly, I think it’s been decades since the US has had a statesman like this working in the interest of our own country. I had to laugh when he said roughly that no one can compete with the US in terms of propaganda. Got that right.

    1. nippersdad

      The Golden Billion is another way of describing the Collective West, a phrase he also used several times.

      The collective west is numbered at about a billion people vs the other seven billion presently on the planet. The reference is also to the historical colonialism of the western powers accruing all of the benefits of the world to themselves, hence their being “golden”.

  31. ADB

    Just watched Scott Ritter’s video analysis of the interview. He mentions the need to understand the complexity of Russia, its history and culture, something that comes through again and again in all the interviews of Putin. There is an old saw about the difficulty of “getting” Russia, expressed repeatedly not just in the West, but by Russians themselves, as in the famous lines by poet Fyodor Tyutchev below, but slowly and steadily the curtain will be lifted in the West.

    Umom Rossiyu ne ponyat’
    Arshinom obshim ne izmerit’
    U niyo osobaya stat’
    V rossiyu mozhno tolko verit’

    Russia-no logic can explain,
    No comparison can it withstand.
    It dwells in its own domain,
    Only belief can make you understand

  32. CitizenGuy

    The first 30 minutes of the interview where Putin displayed an encyclopedic knowledge of Russian / European history was impressive. However, I couldn’t help be reminded of a scene in Netflix’s 2019 movie “The King” about the son of King Henry IV. Shortly after his son takes the throne, there’s a scene where the archbishop belabors some arcane French historical documents in order to justify that the French king doesn’t really have a legitimate claim to the throne. Hence, why Hal should invade and conquer France. The young King spots the archbishop’s true motive and calls it out. Putin’s claims to Ukrainian territory felt very much the same. Isn’t there always some old contract, treaty, or decree that could be used to justify any country’s accession of another’s territory? It felt dishonest.

    1. CA

      From 1242 and the battle on the ice of Lake Peipus, through 1812 and the taking of Moscow to the World Wars and the Siege of Leningrad in which the Putin family was caught, Russia has been invaded from the West. America refused to understand that in arbitrarily cutting arms control agreements from December 2001 on and pushing missiles and NATO ever closer to Russia while antagonistic sentiments were encouraged.

    2. CA


      January 3, 2015

      Russian President Vladimir Putin, by contrast, experienced the effects of war at an early age. He was born in Leningrad (now St. Petersburg) eight years after the vicious siege by the German army ended. Michael Walzer, in his War Against Civilians, notes, “More people died in the 900-day siege of Leningrad than in the infernos of Hamburg, Dresden, Tokyo, Hiroshima and Nagasaki taken together.”

      Putin’s elder brother Viktor died during the siege…

      1. CitizenGuy

        I should have been more clear. I believe Russia has reasonable and contemporary justification for annexing parts of Ukraine. There is the NATO encroachment, genocide of ethnic Russians in the country, and a legitimate Nazi problem in Ukraine. Not to mention oblasts in the Donbass have requested to join Russia. I just felt delving 800 years in the past for additional justifications felt unnecessary.

  33. Susan the other

    I do get the impression that Putin is building a detailed rationalization to accomplish a synthesis of two contradicting themes. One is the grand, historic “civilizational” (iirc a theme of Putin’s at the Valdai Club) story of Russia and its ancient diversity and how it has managed to always find common ground and common interests, enough to remain a nation for a millennia. The other theme is his determination to exterminate upstart, terrorist Nazis who are only superficially some sort of nationalists but without a chance of survival because they are simply soulless because they are so willing to sell it all to the highest bidder.

  34. tongorad

    I was intrigued by Putin’s US deficit scaremongering. Surely a leader as intelligent as Putin understands MMT?
    What does Putin/Russia gain by encouraging US austerity politics?

      1. eg

        Yes, I have yet to see any understanding of fiat currency emanate from Russian officials — I get the feeling that gold standard era thinking is completely dominant there.

  35. Bill Malcolm

    I rather enjoyed this “interview”. Best summary of how Russia got to where it is courtesy of Putin. But Tucker Carlson was no better than an amateur hour podunk from Peoria. Lack of knowledge doesn’t begin to describe his third grade level “questions”, outbursts and general level of mulish stupidity. He doesn’t even know the history of the past ten years — a typical NC commenter knows a hundred times more than Carlson. What a complete dope.

    All my opinion, of course, but to me Carlson epitomizes the clueless American – not interested in anything else but America. Who gives a shit about anywhere else is the attitude I’ve seen for 65 years, since I was twelve and suddenly force-introduced into North America by my family’s emigration to Canada. All the damn magazines littered about were American: LIFE, TIME and the folksy Saturday Evening Post. All around us were Americans from the Boston States with fancy summer homes. Where the hell was Canada?

    Fast forward to postgrad time in 1969 London. In the large residence of London House built for Commonwealth, er Empire, students, a good quarter of the rooms were rented to US students — they stuck together like glue at mealtimes in the huge dining hall. My backpacking around Europe revealed in all the capitals, vast agglomerations of Americans around Western Union offices, awaiting money from Daddy. Interaction with locals? Are you kidding? They were Americans huddling together in a foreign land. The trip was the thing; Europe on 5 bucks a day; virtually none had the slightest interest in the country they were in — the old “If it’s Tuesday, this must be Belgium” routine. In Athens, I learnt about the betrayal of the Greeks by Britain at the end of WW2, the underlying wallpaper made of drachmas to hide money while the Brits killed “communists”. American “hippies” took over Mykonos outside the towns and lived in the wild, shit-coated toilet paper everywhere behind every bush and rock. Athens crawled with police, even traffic police (on foot!) courtesy of the US-financed colonels who ran the country with an iron hand.

    Oh, I have stories to tell. But who cares about history?

    So m’man Tucker followed the usual US routine of yawning at another country’s history. What he wanted was juicy Yankee-centric quotes from Putin, because hey, it’s the US that’s important, not Russia. Or anywhere else. America lives in its own bubble and cares not one whit about anywhere else. Except, of course, when individual overseas diasporas or groups living in the US pipe up with their “concerns” about the way things are going at “home”. Then we hear trumpeted niche bullshite from people who want the US to give the old home country either kudos (Israel) or a damned good thrashing for not behaving the way they “should”. Cubans, Ukrainians, Poles, Venezuelans, etc etc ad infinitum. All these folks raise money and lobby “lawmkers” to get the US to act to their way of thinking, just as all the lobbies for countless other special interests do. The “lawmakers” are FOR SALE. Hate-spewing spawn of various other countries inveigle themselves into the bureaucracy like State and the three-letter agencies, and conduct personal vendettas using US taxpayer money against their old enemies back home. Brerezinski, Nuland, Blinken, dozens of other unelected monsters co-opt the US government for their own purposes, popping up in both Democratic and Republican administrations.

    To say the US system is bust isn’t true. It barely ever was whole to begin with, and the Monroe Doctrine proved it pretty darn soon — we OWN the Western hemisphere! Obey us or else!

    I could write my own book on the outlaw US country as I see it. The swaggering hubristic BS that has ruled from virtually day one. The raping of the land to get rich, never once thinking about tomorrow, that’s for sissies. I don’t mean to minimize European colonialism, but the US has taken the cake for sheer thoughtless exploitation and then some.

    Carlson is a reflection of the society he inhabits. Shallow, grasping, “what can you do for me?” The Putin interview wasn’t originally meant for enlightening anyone in the West about Russia, but to turn the spotlight on Mr Tucker Carlson, intrepid know-nothing “reporter” and STAR. And his dreams of scoring another navel-gazing orgasm for America! got blown wide open. No juicy sound bites to pretend to be serious about. The day the US shows genuine interest in any country but itself will be the day the world can begin to settle down in light of modern realities and try to preserve it rather than exploit it for grasping individual gain. I never expect this to happen prior to environmental armageddon or nuclear war. Because in the latter case, China and Russia just will not put up with US utter tripe and bullshit for ever. Such a life isn’t worth living with American jackasses continually making their life a living hell.

    Tucker, schmucker. I dunno, is life great in Thailand?

  36. Willow

    I suspect Putin wasn’t pitching to Americans but to Carlson’s European audience. Hence the long history lesson at the beginning. Impact of a US interview of Putin in Europe will be huge while in US not so much. That said, the whole Team Carlson thing does make me wonder whether Tucker & his interviews of international leaders has his sights on something..

    1. Willow

      Important to note Putin specifically blamed UK PM Johnson for breakdown of the negotiations. This plays directly to the Europeans & feeds anti-UK as opposed to anti-US sentiment.

      1. Polar Socialist

        It would have been nice to point out that while it was PM Johnson (the honorary Cossack!) who shut down the almost ready peace agreement, the official reason was that a lot of civilians were killed in a small Ukrainian town called Bucha.

        And SBU executed publicly one member from the Ukrainian negotiation team, to make the message clear – no negotiations.

      2. nippersdad

        Further to your point about an EU audience, I can only imagine the effect that the discussion of Nordstream had on Germany in particular. They not only allowed the US to bomb it, but then refused to open up alternatives in spite of Russia being accommodating. Oooof! That is going to hit all of those people put out of work from deindustrialization, not to mention the farmers, right where it hurts.

        I would not want to be Olaf Scholz right now.

  37. Revenant

    I watched the interview slightly delayed, from just before midnight and into the small hours. It left me feeling somewhat sad.

    The content of Putin’s responses were largely masterful. If anything, he pulled his punches. He never called the US agreement incapable, only exemplified it (show, don’t tell); he never called out the US as fighting Russia (but Carlson did, in telling him he needed to call Biden and not Zelensky for peace), he never directly said the US blew up Nordstream but asked “cui bono?” and “cui potest?” (and Carlson filled in the accusation for those listening at home).

    Unfortunately, without red meat, Putin is clearly in command of his brief but his brief came across as a querulous, pedantic, legalistic one. His precise conductor’s finger gestures, his weaving in his seat like a boxer, while Carslon sat there like an Easter Island statue of a jock, occasionally flashing a toothy grin: Putin brought a radio speech to a television interview.

    I think this interview will harm Putin in front of US TV news consumers. They will not watch it long-form and they will see his weaving (of body and history) as evasive. Tucker USDA Prime Beef Carlson, Uncle Sam Manifest, is the winner. I don’t think Carlson intended that!

    The question is, did Putin? Was this interview intended for broadcast on the Western pleb-dazzzle networks? Or preaching to the heterodox choir at NC? Or for use in BRICS countries, showing the lack of awareness of the West in handy televised form?

    PS: massive Russia fan, hence sad that Putin did not try to “win” the interview in Western terms. But perhaps “the only way to win the game is not to play”…?

    PPS: the last twenty of thirty minutes of the interview is really flabby on both sides and I started surfing SMO nitter instead to check the reactions. The Gerskovitch stunt was pathetic, human interest solipsism by Carslon of the highest order. The Butterfly that Stamped! Perhaps a dogwhistle that his heart remains in the right place, tie a yellow ribbon etc.? Likewise, the comments of Putin about a patriot shooting Chechen terrorist sadists in German did not exonerate extra-judicial killing and on foreign soil!

    1. Maxwell Johnston

      “It left me feeling somewhat sad.” — My sentiments precisely. As per my earlier comment above, it left me feeling even more pessimistic about the future of RU’s relations with the west.

      I also noticed the finger-wagging. 20 years ago, Putin didn’t have this habit. It seems to be something new, perhaps a sign of his aging and becoming more set in his opinions (he is 71, after all). At a certain point in life, we make up our minds on certain matters and that’s that.

      “I think this interview will harm Putin in front of US TV news consumers.” — I think it will harm Uncle Joe Biden, by contrasting Putin’s mental acuity with Uncle Joe’s mental fog. Most USA viewers have already made up their minds re Putin (and not many will watch the full interview anyway), and in any case I don’t think Putin gives a flying fiddlestick what USA citizens think about him. Putin’s target audience is his own citizenry (first) and viewers living outside the gated west (second), with open-minded EU citizens a very distant third.

      “…the last twenty of thirty minutes of the interview is really flabby on both sides…” — Agreed. My sense was that both Carlson and Putin were becoming irritated towards the end. Carlson’s question re Gershkovich was totally gratuitous, as was Putin’s story about the killing in Berlin. I think tempers were about to flare.

    1. Maxwell Johnston

      Brilliant. Thanks for posting. When Tucker Carlson is the sensible voice of reason……I need a strong drink.

    2. Susan the other

      Thanks Rev. Tucker is actually pretty astute. We’ve been revving up as much rabid hostility as possible against Putin ever since the Munich conference. Because Putin is a conservative Russian nationalist. He doesn’t fit our description of a conservative because he is so well spoken and seems to be a walking library. Not to mention the fact that he is basically a peaceful man who prefers politics to war. We westerners are the ones who have created and maintain this war. I think the reasons, agenda and goals are beyond obvious – so much so that we all take Putin’s long-winded history lesson as irrelevant when it is just the opposite. When we were all questioning Putin’s behavior a year or so after we bombed Libya back to the Stone Age (I think France did that with NATO’s blessing) I remember thinking that Putin just got a clear message about the seriousness of our goals. He had been Gadaffi’s friend.

      1. Susan the other

        I keep regretting what I see coming. That we will finally achieve our own country by destroying the towns and people of the Middle East. As they say about Hamas, it is an idea that can’t be nuked away. So is America, but I think it is going to be just as painful as if we had nuked ourselves. Because that’s what we are doing morally. If we had better leaders we could be setting the groundwork to achieve our ideals socially and politically. Just imagine all the great tragedies in literature being rewritten with the needed political interventions. It would seem like comedy, wouldn’t it? I’ve decided the reason for this weirdness is because we actually are inherently absurd.

      2. CA

        When we were all questioning Putin’s behavior a year or so after we bombed Libya back to the Stone Age…

        President Obama and Secretary Clinton asked the UN Security Council to accept a no-fly mandate over Libya, supposedly to protect civilians against bombing by Libyan government forces during a color revolt. Russia and China agreed, but within a day the US was bombing Libya and without declaring war did not stop bombing until the color revolt was completed and the Libyan government destroyed. Russia and China were simply misled.

  38. Hank Linderman

    Late to the discussion, but I got the sense that Putin was dangling a grand bargain, that even the arms race could be negotiated back provided a negotiated settlement in Ukraine was achieved. IMO Biden should jump at it and see if real progress is possible.

    Kudos to Tucker for getting the interview, I appreciated it was uncut. Tucker didn’t come off well, but that’s on him and his producers – then again, the less it was about him, the better. I wanted to hear VP’s pov – yes it was detailed but there’s plenty of time to dig into those details.

    MSM’s deflections otoh are vague, vitriolic and dogmatic, something along the lines of how can you listen to a dictator. We good, he bad, QED.

    The war is at a standstill, funding will likely dry up this year, time to make a deal and end the killing.


    1. Rip Van Winkle

      I would be fascinated by an explanation of how Lenin, Trotsky, Stalin and the rest of the Bolsheviks came about to take over czarist Russia to rebrand as the Soviet Union. Mick Jagger’s “.. after all, it was you and me…” doesn’t give me any satisfaction. Any outside influences from the historical ‘balancer of power’ for continental Europe, the Brits? Biojo is just their latest clown.

    2. Em

      What an odd thing to accuse a Russian of being? I would venture to guess he didn’t talk about it because it wasn’t relevant to the point he was trying to make and would have opened another massive can of worms about Western complicity and active support in the rise of the Third Reich.

      Most Westerners have no idea that the Pact was a non-aggression pact (not an alliance) that the USSR negotiated to buy itself more time, when it was clear that efforts (and they were considerable in the late 1930s) to establish an anti-Axis alliance with UK and France were going nowhere. USSR went into Eastern Poland because Germany made clear that otherwise, it would go all to way to the USSR border. Given how close Germany came to Moscow in 1941, the land it took control of under the Pact may well have been the difference between fighting from Moscow and fighting from behind the Caucasus Mountains.

  39. Paul Damascene

    I have heard it said that Russians can make the mistake of presuming that their counterparts are as logical or pragmatic as they are, a presumption especially damaging in their relations with the West.

    It strains credulity that Putin of all people has so often been ‘snookered’ by these rather plodding schemers. Perhaps it is forbearance stemming from the belief that a bad peace is better than war of any kind. Perhaps it was the presumption that the leading powers of Europe would at least at the eleventh hour recoil from the prospect of a major war in Europe–or that the German leadership [sic] at least would not consent to Germany’s destruction as an industrial power. Along these lines one might speculate that though the Shock & Awe Phase I of the SMO was designed to bring UKR to its senses, perhaps the main audience was Germany & France.

    And though there is much credible evidence that Putin has been excessively pro-West, & proGermany in particular, the animating vision may not have been sentimental but rather the geopolitical project he used to speak of and perhaps till the very last minute hoped to salvage:

    Drawing Europe away from the US and persuading it to form a third-pole–a Eurasia from Lisbon to Vladivostok, with Russia as the bridging Heartland power, & with the union perhaps the most powerful of the China, US Empire, Eurasian Euro/Russia triad. This would have been a project for a leader of Putin’s stature. Restoring a sovereign Russia was only part of the original vision.

    Speculation, FWIW.

  40. .Tom

    This excerpt from the interview has been nagging at me. What does it mean?

    You know, this will probably sound strange given the current situation but the relations between the two peoples will be rebuilt anyway. It will take a lot of time but they will heal.

    I will give you very unusual examples. There is a combat encounter on the battlefield, here is a specific example: Ukrainian soldiers got encircled (this is an example from real life), our soldiers were shouting to them: “There is no chance! Surrender yourselves! Come out and you will be alive!” Suddenly the Ukrainian soldiers were screaming from there in Russian, perfect Russian, saying: “Russians do not surrender!” and all of them perished. They still identify themselves as Russian.

    What is happening is, to a certain extent, an element of a civil war. Everyone in the West thinks that the Russian people have been split by hostilities forever. No. They will be reunited. The unity is still there.

    I was perplexed by this anecdote at the time and I am still perplexed. Soldiers who identify as Russian prefer to die than to surrender to Russians.

    1. David in Friday Harbor

      This is because of their adherence to concepts alien to 21st century westerners, especially Americans: Duty and Honor.

      I hate watching television, so I was grateful for the transcription. Reading President Putin’s words confirms many of my conclusions about the situation — especially that the two clowns being put forward by the American legacy parties aren’t up to the task of resisting the U.S Military-Industrial Complex.

      Cold War brainwashing to hate on Russia will never be excised from the minds of their generation. They must be removed from positions of authority.

  41. Doug Graves

    I watched the interview twice and have come away from that feeling unsatisfied. Stone’s interview was good because of the affability between Oliver and Putin. Putin clearly did not trust Carlson. He made the allusion about knowing about Carlson’s background – including when Tucker tried to join the CIA. Putin did not want to do the interview but figured that if it was to happen it would be ‘his way’. Putin gave a deep primer on the Russian historical point of view about Ukraine’s relationship with Russia. I believe he believes it. It would be interesting to know what is in the packet of information Putin gave Carlson.

  42. mowgli

    “Vladimir Putin: You were initially trained in history, as far as I know?

    Tucker Carlson: Yes.

    Vladimir Putin: So if you don’t mind I will take only 30 seconds or one minute of your time for giving you a little historical background.

    Tucker Carlson: Please.”

    is this a sense of VP’s humor or what?

  43. Rubicon

    How intriguing that Ben Norton on Twitter dig some digging about T. Carlson: turns out, his father managed the right wing empirical station called “Voice Of America.” The father did that for several years. Norton also discovered that Tucker wanted to be a CIA agent. Both facts smacks of right-wing ideologies.

    In following Tucker’s chronology: turns out he’s always been very Anti-China. You can see his broadcasts promoting this ideology with other US right-wingers in politics. Of course, Putin knew all about Tucker’s past. If you watched/listened carefully to what Putin said to him, you can see he exposed the real Tucker.

    Tucker comes from the upper class. His grandmother was the heir to the Swanson products.
    Of course very few knew this about the likeable Tucker, but Putin certainly did.
    This puts a whole new reason for wanting to Interview Putin. It exposes us to who the real Tucker. Sorry, we won’t be listening or reading anything he says, or speaks online ever again.

    1. Em

      Anyone who achieved mainstream media success, including people like Sy Hersh and Chris Hedges, have spooky skeletons in their closet. Everyone in media has a point of view that they’re putting forth and that includes The Duran and Judge Nap’s crew and even Craig Murray and certainly Ben Norton (and I agree with Norton 95% of the time). That’s why we listen to them, because they have a particular construction of reality that’s compelling and helpful for their audience (and sometimes their backers). For someone like Tucker, better to understand their biases but keep an eye on them as they sometimes have useful things to offer.

      Carlson certainly went into the interview with certain axes to grind, but he also allowed Putin to directly speak to an English speaking audience of hundreds of millions. As Norton noted, Putin saw through Carlson’s traps and effortlessly turn them around on Carlson and his audience.

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