The Kremlin is satisfied with the Putin interview, but criticism comes from the West. US talk show host Carlson has proven to be a “useful idiot” for Russian propaganda, according to the reaction from Poland. Chancellor Scholz also found clear words.
Almost two years after his order to attack Ukraine, Russian President Vladimir Putin spoke for the first time in a US media interview and presented his view of the world situation for more than two hours. The highly publicized conversation was led by the right-wing moderator Tucker Carlson, who is considered a supporter of conspiracy narratives.
After the broadcast, the Kremlin was satisfied with the reach. In Western countries, however, the interview met with criticism.
“Absurd story about the causes of this war”
Chancellor Olaf Scholz, who is currently on a visit to the USA, said that in the interview Putin was mocking the real actions that had taken place in Ukraine. And he tells a “completely absurd story about the causes of this war.” There is a very clear reason and that is “the will of the Russian president and Russia to annex part of Ukraine.”
Scholz called on Europe and the USA not only to express solidarity with Ukraine, but also to back it up with actions. Putin is counting on support for Ukraine to wane. “If we make it clear that this is a miscalculation, then that is the best contribution to peaceful development,” said the Chancellor. The war against Ukraine could end at any time – “but not in the way the Russian president imagines, by Ukraine capitulating. But by ending the war in turn.”
No questions from the moderator
In the interview, Putin described his country’s defeat in the war of aggression against Ukraine as “impossible.” Putin spoke of an alleged Russian willingness to negotiate with the West if it realized that it could not win the war despite its support for Ukraine.
In the interview, which largely resembled a monologue about history, he once again blamed NATO for the war. This was not questioned by moderator Carlson. Putin also denied planning an attack on NATO countries such as Poland or Latvia. However, he had also claimed the same thing before the attack on Ukraine.
“Useful idiot” for Russian propaganda
Poland’s Defense Minister Wladyslaw Kosiniak-Kamysz commented on Putin’s statements about his country, saying: “Nothing can limit our vigilance, and such words certainly will not do so, because they are not credible.” Polish Parliament Speaker Szymon Holownia said Carlson had proven to be a “useful idiot” for Russian propaganda during his interview with Putin. “He held the microphone to a liar, a murderer and an international terrorist.”
The reaction of EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell was similar. His spokeswoman Nabila Massrali said that Putin repeated “well-known lies, distortions and manipulations” in the interview. She also criticized moderator Carlson, who had “offered Putin a platform for manipulating and spreading propaganda.”
Kremlin: Great value – especially for Russians
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov praises the interview. It is of great value that many people – especially in Russia – can familiarize themselves with the interview. “Putin talks about his world views and his view of the reasons for the current situation and the prospects of what is happening.”
The Kremlin published text and video on its website. Russian state media reported on the content in detail throughout the day and celebrated Carlson as a journalist who brought the “truth” to the world.
The US talk show host was a star on the ultra-conservative channel Fox News for a long time. Its rise began in 2016 after Donald Trump’s election victory. Carlson was repeatedly accused of spreading false reports and inciting hatred against minorities. He is celebrated by his fans for racist and sexist comments. In April 2023, Fox News parted ways with him. Since then, Carlson has had a predominantly online presence.