19 Confusing Moments From Tucker Carlson’s Putin Interview

Vladimir Putin’s interview with Tucker Carlson surfaced on social media last night – and it was a real ride from start to finish.

The Russian president chose to speak to the far-right commentator in his first interview with a Western journalist since invading Ukraine because he differed from “traditional Anglo-Saxon media.”

Carlson, since being fired from Fox News last year, has championed conspiracy theories and publicly expressed his sympathy for Putin.

The two-hour interview, which Carlson said was filmed on February 6 at the Kremlin, covered a wide range of subjects. Here are the key moments, according to a translation of the broadcaster’s video.

1. ‘Are we having a talk show or serious conversation?’

Putin began the interview by rejecting Carlson’s suggestion that the invasion of Ukraine was prompted by Moscow’s concerns about the US.

“Are we going to have a talk show or a serious talk?” Putin said. Carlson laughed in response.

2. Putin’s obscure and historic rant

Even though he promised he would only provide the historical context of the war for only about 30 seconds to a minute, Putin talked about Russian history for approximately half an hour. It dates from the 8th century.

At one point, Carlson said he had “lost track” of their place in history, and asked Putin how “relevant” this was to the invasion. The Russian President repeated his comments about “talk shows or serious conversations”.

3. Putin tried to give Carlson documents to prove his point

In the middle of his rant, Putin began gesturing to someone behind the camera. He said to Carlson: “So that you don’t think I’m making things up, I’m going to give you these documents.”

“It doesn’t sound like you’re making this up, but I’m not sure why this is relevant to what happened two years ago,” the commenter replied, looking confused.

Putin only insisted on giving him documents from his historical archives.

4. Putin discusses other countries taking parts of Ukraine

The Russian President accused Austria of creating the Ukrainian idea to weaken Russia before World War 1.

Putin argued that Romanian and Hungarian lands had also been confiscated “and they still remain part of Ukraine”.

However, when pressed by Carlson, Putin said he had “never” told Hungarian PM Victor Orban that he himself could take back parts of Ukraine.

4. West ‘more afraid of China than Russia’

Putin said: “The West is more afraid of a strong China than it is afraid of a strong Russia, because Russia has won 150 million people and China has 1.5 billion people.”

5. NATO ‘cheated’ Russia – but Putin isn’t ‘bitter’

After the Cold War ended, Russia hoped “they would be accepted into the fraternal family of civilized states” but “nothing like this happened”, according to Putin.

Speaking to Carlson, he said: “You tricked us. I don’t mean you personally when I mention you. Of course, I mean the United States. The promise was that NATO would not expand eastward. But it happened five times. There have been five waves of expansion.”

Putin claimed that Russia could have joined NATO in the early 2000s, but this effort was allegedly blocked by then US president Bill Clinton and his team.

“If (Clinton) says yes, the process of rapprochement will begin, and ultimately it may happen,” the president claimed.

Putin denied he was “bitter” about Nato’s rejection, and tried to build relations with the US in other ways – but the Americans later said they were cooperating with his political opposition.

6. Putin talks about Trump and Bush

He said “tough politician” George W Bush “opened the door for Ukraine to join NATO”, and oversaw five waves of expansion of the alliance.

However, he later said they had a “very good relationship” and Bush was “no worse” than other politicians.

In his harsh words against “elites”, Putin said: “I also have a personal relationship with Trump. It’s not about the leader’s personality.”

Then-US President Donald Trump, right, shakes hands with Russian President Vladimir Putin, left, in 2019.Then-US President Donald Trump, right, shakes hands with Russian President Vladimir Putin, left, in 2019.

7. Putin ‘grateful’ Carlson didn’t join the CIA

In another rant, the Russian president began talking about the 2014 coup in Ukraine – accusing it of having “support from the CIA”.

While gesturing to Carlson, he said: “The organization you wanted to join then, I understand. We should thank God that they didn’t let you in. Although, this is a serious organization, I understand.”

8. Putin avoided responsibility for the invasion of Ukraine

He said he was not starting a war in 2022, but “this is an effort to stop it.”

This may refer to the tensions that began to occur in Ukraine since 2013.

“Do you think you’ve stopped it now?” Carlson asked.

“No, we have not achieved our goal, because that goal is de-nazification,” Putin replied.

9. Putin recalls his last conversation with Biden

Putin said he couldn’t remember the last time he spoke to Biden, and said: “Do I have to remember everything? I have my own things to do.”

However, he said the last time they spoke was before the war.

Putin reportedly told the US president: “I believe you made the biggest mistake in history by supporting everything that happened there, in Ukraine, by pushing Russia away.”

Pressed on Biden’s response, Putin said only: “Please ask him.”

Russian President Vladimir Putin, left, and US President Joe Biden in 2021Russian President Vladimir Putin, left, and US President Joe Biden in 2021

10. The war would be ‘over in a few weeks’ if the US stopped intervening

Putin said if the US stopped offering money and military support to Ukraine, the war would end in “a few weeks”.

However, he said Russia would fight for its interests “to the end”.

11. Russia is not interested in expansion

Putin said NATO was using the “imaginary threat of Russia” to try to “intimidate their own population”.

Russia is not interested in “Poland, Latvia or any other country,” and “getting involved in a global war is against common sense,” according to the president.

He added that concerns about Moscow using tactical nuclear weapons were only intended to “weaken Russia as much as possible.”

12. What happened to the Nord Stream pipeline?

The two laughed when Putin joked that Carlson himself had blown up Nord Stream, a network of natural gas pipelines stretching from Russia to Western Europe.

The pipe was blown up in 2022, but investigators still haven’t found who was responsible.

“You personally may have an alibi,” Putin said, “but the CIA has no such alibi.”

He declined to provide “details” about whether or not he had evidence to support the claims.

14. The world is experiencing a ‘time of great illness’

Putin took a different stance and suggested that the world should become “one unit”, to ensure the world is “stable, sustainable and predictable”.

He said the current divisions meant the world was in a “period of severe illness”.

“But thanks to honest journalism, this work is similar to that of doctors,” and “this can be improved,” the president claimed.

15. Comments about Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s father

Putin said he once spoke to Ukraine’s president and said: “Volodymyr, what are you doing? Why do you support neo-Nazis in Ukraine today while your father fought against fascism? He is a frontline soldier.”

Zelenskyy’s father was born in 1947, two years after World War 2 ended.

“I won’t tell you what the answer is. This is a separate topic,” Putin added.

16. Putin takes aim at Boris Johnson

Putin said Johnson banned Ukraine from signing a peace treaty with Russia.

He said the former PM had a “pure heart” but “not good thoughts”, and thought Moscow could be defeated on the battlefield”.

“The fact that (Ukraine) complies with the requests or persuasions of Mr Johnson, the former Prime Minister of Great Britain, seems ridiculous,” the Russian leader continued.

“And this is very sad to me because… we could have stopped hostilities with war a year and a half ago. “

He added: “But England convinced us and we rejected it. Where is Mr Johnson now? And the war continues.”

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy (left) and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson in August 2022Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy (left) and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson in August 2022

Future Publishing via Getty Images

17. ‘Nothing can stop Elon Musk’

In a strange change of topic, Putin turned to Elon Musk. He is the CEO of X (formerly Twitter), a platform banned in Russia.

Putin said: “I think nothing can stop Elon Musk. He will do as he wishes.

“Even so, you have to find common ground with him. Find a way to persuade him (in terms of AI).”

18. Evan Gershkovich could be released

A Wall Street Journal reporter has been held in a Russian prison for nearly a year on espionage charges.

Although Putin said he thought Russia had “exhausted” its “gestures of goodwill” – as none appeared to return them – he said we “did not rule out” his release.

19. Putin believes Russia-Ukraine relations can ‘heal’

Putin said: “Endless mobilization in Ukraine, hysteria, domestic problems, sooner or later will lead to an agreement.

“You know, this might sound strange considering the current situation.

“But relations between the two peoples will be rebuilt. It will take a lot of time, but it will heal.”

Putin claims they are “willing to negotiate” even though Ukraine is “clearly a US satellite state”.

He said, in some aspects, this was a “civil war”, adding: “Nothing can separate souls.”

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