Analysis: Ukraine, Trump, Musk and other insights from Tucker Carlson’s interview with Vladimir Putin

In his first interview with a US journalist since the invasion of Ukraine, Russian leader Vladimir Putin he said the fighting would continue, but that he had no interest in further expanding the conflict.

What most commentators agree was a less than incisive grilling from the conservative political writer and broadcaster Tucker Carlsonwe learned little that we didn’t already know, other than, perhaps, Putin’s admiration for Tesla CEO Elon Muskwho announced the X last night who was watching the interview.

So, what can we take away from the interview? There were guarded comments, barely hidden messages, and strange moments of humor, many of them open to interpretation.

Below are five key points condensed from Tucker’s two-hour interview and this author’s interpretations:

The war in Ukraine is far from over

Critical of the support given to Ukraine by the United States and European countries, Putin said the easiest way to stop the war would be for the West to stop supplying Ukraine with weapons.

He has argued that the main purpose of his war on Ukraine is “denazification,” a claim that seems false given the popularity of the country’s Jewish president. Volodymyr Zelenskiy.

He suggested that instead of sending aid and weapons, the most useful role for the United States in the war would be to bring Ukraine to the negotiating table. But when asked if he would be satisfied with the territory that Russia has already conquered during the conflict, he simply returned to the question of denazification.

Putin has said he is not interested in claiming sovereignty over other former Soviet-occupied countries such as Poland and Latvia.

Asked if there was a scenario in which troops would be sent to Poland, Putin replied: “Only in one case, if Poland attacks Russia. Why? Because we have no interest in Poland, Latvia or anywhere else.”

Now read: “There is no way to stop Elon Musk,” Putin says in Tucker Carlson chat

The Kremlin chose the interviewer carefully

The interview appeared to have been orchestrated by the Kremlin. Carlson had almost certainly been briefed in advance about the questions Putin would or would not answer.

Tucker, himself a Putin apologist, questioned U.S. support for Ukraine, and many other journalists were furious when he announced he had been selected to interview Putin.

Anne Applebaumauthor and journalist for The Economist, he wrote on X: “Many journalists have interviewed Putin, who also gives frequent and widely followed speeches. Carlson’s interview is different because he is not a journalist, he is a propagandist, with a history of helping autocrats hide corruption.

In an article last year for Atlantic Magazine, he called Carson “the American face of authoritarian propaganda.”

Another step forward for the Trump campaign

Carson’s typical audience would vote for Donald Trump should be – as is likely – selected to represent the Republican Party in November’s presidential elections.

This made Carlson’s interview a good platform for Putin to express his admiration for the former and perhaps future president.

“I had a personal relationship with President Trump,” Putin said, adding that he also had similar relationships with him George W. Bush.

By contrast, Putin said he couldn’t remember the last time he spoke to the president Joe Biden, adding: “Why would I call him? What should I talk to him about? Or beg him for what?”

Possible prisoner exchange for Gershkovich’s release?

One of Carson’s boldest questions came when he was asked about the Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovichdetained without trial on espionage charges for almost a year.

Carson said Gershkovich was just “a kid – and obviously not a spy.” Putin said he was caught with classified information.

But the idea of ​​a prisoner exchange was raised, with Putin mentioning an unnamed “person serving a sentence in a country allied with the United States,” alluding, according to Politico, to Vadim Krasikovwho assassinated a leader of the Chechen uprising in Berlin in 2019.

Putin likes musk

“There are reports that Elon Musk has already implanted a chip in the human brain in the United States,” Putin said, in what appeared to be a hint of capitalist mind control.

But his admiration for the Tesla e SpaceX The boss was clear: “I think it is not possible to stop Elon Musk. He will do as he thinks best. However, you will have to find common ground with him. Look for ways to persuade him. I think he’s an intelligent person. I truly believe he is.

Now read: Russian oil hits US shores thanks to anti-sanctions loophole

Photo via Shutterstock.

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