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Talking from atop a Moscow high-rise, Tucker Carlson hyped his resolution to journey to Russia to interview Russian President Vladimir Putin as an act of journalistic responsibility and private bravery. In a video posted to X, previously Twitter, on Tuesday, the previous Fox Information host complained that Western media retailers had been mendacity to their readers by omission concerning the battle in Ukraine.

“Not a single Western journalist has bothered to interview the president of the opposite nation concerned on this battle, Vladimir Putin,” Tucker mentioned. “Most Individuals do not know why Putin invaded Ukraine or what his targets at the moment are. They’ve by no means heard his voice. That’s unsuitable.”

It was Carlson right here who was deceptive his viewers. The Russian president has had no scarcity of alternatives to talk his thoughts about why he determined to invade Ukraine on Feb. 24, 2022. Certainly, he has repeatedly provided detailed explanations for this mystifying resolution. If Carlson hasn’t heard them earlier than, it’s as a result of he has not been listening.

The Russian president has not sat with a Western journalist for an interview since his troops invaded Ukraine practically two years in the past. The final time he did so was in October 2021, when a correspondent with CNBC spoke with Putin for 20 minutes on the sidelines of an vitality convention in Moscow.

However that could be a alternative made not by the journalists, however by the Kremlin. “We’ve lodged a number of requests with the Kremlin within the final 18 months,” Steve Rosenberg, the BBC’s Russia editor, wrote in response to Tucker’s video. “At all times a ‘no’ for us.”

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The Kremlin itself later rebutted Carlson’s declare. “Mr. Carlson is unsuitable,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov mentioned in a every day information briefing Wednesday. “We obtain many requests for interviews with the president.”

In his MSNBC days, Tucker Carlson was a Putin cynic

Why would Putin discuss to a overseas journalist? The Russian president is backed by a sprawling state-funded media empire, which incorporates the English-language Russia Right now, in addition to quite a few pleasant retailers which might be privately owned. He’s well-known for his prolonged question-and-answer periods: The latest lasted greater than 4 hours and included queries from overseas journalists.

Talking in that session, which happened late December, he acknowledged that there had been no modifications in Russia’s battle goals: “denazification, demilitarisation and a impartial standing for Ukraine.” He repeated his declare that the issues with Kyiv started with a “state coup” in 2014 towards the pro-Moscow politician Viktor Yanukovych and justified the seizure of Crimea by saying it was “historic nonsense” that it was ever part of Ukraine.

The message wasn’t a lot completely different than those he made in February 2022. Then, he described his resolution to invade Ukraine as a last-ditch effort to push again Western aggression that included NATO growth. “The collapse of the Soviet Union led to a redivision of the world,” Putin acknowledged. “This array consists of guarantees to not develop NATO eastward even by an inch. To reiterate: They’ve deceived us, or, to place it merely, they’ve performed us.”

At instances, Putin has leaned into paranoid theories to clarify his worldview: In a July 2022 speech, he repeated a reference to the “golden billion,” an obscure apocalyptic concept that describes a conspiracy towards Russia orchestrated by a rich Western elite. And lengthy earlier than the invasion of Ukraine, he had dismissed the thought of Ukrainian nationwide id altogether. “The phrase ‘Ukrainian,’ judging by archival paperwork, initially referred to frontier guards who protected the exterior borders,” he wrote in July 2021.


The Russian chief usually bends historical past to his worldview. In 2020, he printed a 9,000-word lengthy essay that claimed the Soviet annexation of Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia in 1939 was accomplished “with the consent of the elected authorities” — an a historic assertion that, in hindsight, appears quite a bit like justification for the longer term takeover of a neighbor.

Tucker Carlson says he’ll interview Vladimir Putin in Moscow

A talented interviewer would possibly have the ability to probe right here. Does Putin actually consider his personal acknowledged motivations? However the Kremlin hasn’t sought out a possible inquisitor for his first interview since invading Ukraine. If Putin had needed that, he might need spoken to the BBC’s Rosenberg, who speaks Russian and has lived within the nation. As an alternative, they selected a former TV host with no actual ties to Russia who was unceremoniously dumped from his job final 12 months.

Journalists who do essential reporting on Russia don’t get interviews with Putin anymore. Many have been pressured to depart the nation as a result of restrictive censorship legal guidelines put in place after the invasion of Ukraine. That features each Western and Russian journalists, the latter of whom usually now function overseas at appreciable private {and professional} insecurity.

Among the overseas journalists Carlson scorned have been detained. Evan Gershkovich, a reporter with the Wall Road Journal, was arrested and accused of espionage throughout a reporting journey to Yekaterinburg final 12 months. One other journalist working for a world outlet, Alsu Kurmasheva of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, was arrested in October whereas visiting Russia from her house in Prague (Kurmasheva holds U.S. and Russian citizenship).

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When Putin was requested concerning the detention of journalists in December, he rejected the premise. “Why don’t they [Western journalists] cease committing offenses on Russian territory?” he mentioned in a response to a query from the New York Instances’s Valerie Hopkins, a Western journalist in Moscow at that second.

Putin has justifiably been a supply of fascination around the globe, the topic of numerous profiles and books over many years. Those that have spoken in-depth with him over time describe a tough interlocutor. “He’s very tough to attract out,” Austrian anchorman Armin Wolf advised Politico in 2018 after his interview with the Russian president, notably combative, went viral on-line. “He doesn’t say a phrase that he doesn’t intend to. He’s extraordinarily managed.”

There are numerous probing questions we must always ask Putin, from the influence of the Wagner rise up to the actual state of the Russian financial system and extra. Carlson might attempt to ask a few of these questions. However sitting down head to head with him doesn’t assure a glance into his soul, as not less than one different American has found earlier than.

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