EThere were some insights from an interview with the Russian president by a key figure on the American right: Russia is not planning to expand its war in Ukraine, Vladimir Putin told the former Fox News talk show host Tucker Carlson in a two-hour conversation on January 6 that Carlson heavily hyped. February. “We have no interest in Poland, Latvia, or anywhere else,” said Putin. “At most in one case – if Poland attacks Russia.”

The conversation between America's previously most successful ultra-right opinion maker, a well-known Putin apologist and Trump friend, which was heavily criticized in the US media, was Putin's first Western interview since the start of his war of aggression on Ukraine almost two years ago. In it, Putin reaffirmed his willingness to negotiate with the West to put an end to the war – by ceding Ukrainian territories to Russia. This can be “done with dignity” as long as there is “a will”. The West must “start respecting our country and its interests and look for certain solutions.”

Putin also used the opportunity to provide transparent support for Donald Trump, whose Republican party is currently blocking aid for Ukraine in the American Congress – and whose qualifications for renewed presidential candidacy in light of the Capitol storm in January 2021 are currently being debated before the Supreme Federal Court. The war would be “over in a few weeks if you stop supplying weapons,” Putin said. Trump has repeatedly claimed that if he is re-elected, he would be able to bring peace to Ukraine in the shortest possible time.

Carlson obediently lets Putin teach him

During the course of the conversation, Putin was allowed to expand his own agenda for long stretches, undisturbed by Carlson. Putin portrayed himself as a victim of duplicitous negotiating partners from the West who repeatedly broke promises. The conversation was directed by Putin. Right at the beginning he asked an embarrassedly cackling Carlson whether they had gathered here for a talk show or a serious conversation. Carlson then obediently let the Russian president lecture him about Russia's historical territorial claims since the 9th century, about Russia's alleged repeated duping by its Western partners and the control of Western media conglomerates over international propaganda.

Carlson himself promoted the piece by claiming that no other American journalist had bothered to interview the Russian president. Instead, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky was given “sycophantic homage” “designed to serve his demands that America become ever deeper involved in the war.” This, Carlson said in a preview video on his website, is “not journalism, but government propaganda.”

So now he sat like a schoolboy with an eagerly critical eye, opposite a power-conscious autocrat who casually paraded, unsettled and instrumentalized the American – and was allowed to portray himself as a righteous man who faced a group of nations that “scare-mongered” their taxpayers about possible nuclear wars Russia's aggression would take more money out of its pocket to support Ukrainians and anti-Russian sentiment.

Putin's “personal relationship” with Trump

“With a new administration in America after President Biden, could you resume your relations with the United States?” Carlson asked at one point. Putin acknowledged having good relations with President George W. Bush and a “personal relationship” with Donald Trump. But it wasn't about the personalities of the presidents, but about the attitude of the “elites” who wanted to dominate American society at all costs – a reference to a favorite topic of conspiracy theorists of the American ultra-right, which Carlson discussed in his show (now on X). fired again and again. Steven Pifer, who has a long diplomatic career with a focus on Russia relations, previously told CNN: “Keep in mind that Putin is keen to drive polarization in America as much as possible.”