Russian President Vladimir Putin was interviewed by former Fox News host Tucker Carlson, the Kremlin confirmed Wednesday.
This is Putin’s first interview with a Western media figure since his full-scale invasion of Ukraine two years ago.
Carlson released a video from Moscow on Tuesday in which he announced he would interview Putin. Carlson claimed that Western journalists had interviewed Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy several times but could not be “bothered” to interview the Russian president.
The interview will be released Thursday, according to Justin Wells, head of programming for Carlson’s streaming network. It is unclear what was said during the interview.
Putin has significantly limited his contact with international media since he launched the war in Ukraine in February 2022. Russian authorities have cracked down on the media, forcing some independent Russian media outlets to close, blocking others and ordering some number of foreign journalists to leave the country.
Russia closes CBC/Radio-Canada’s Moscow bureau in May 2022.
Two journalists working for American news agencies — Evan Gershkovich of the Wall Street Journal And Alsou Kurmasheva from Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty – are in prison on charges they deny.
Western journalists were invited to Putin’s annual press conference in December – the first since the start of the war – but only two were given the chance to ask a question.
Why Tucker Carlson?
Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters that Carlson was chosen for the interview because “he has a position that differs” from that of other English-speaking media.
Before his departure from Fox, Carlson repeatedly questioned the validity of U.S. support for Ukraine after the Russian invasion, and he wondered why Americans are told to hate Putin so much. His comments were frequently broadcast in Russian state media.
In his video this week, Carlson called out the “corrupt” US media for their “flattering pep sessions” with Zelensky that he said were designed to drag America into war with Eastern Europe and pay the price.
Peskov also rejected Carlson’s suggestion that no Western journalists had submitted an interview request to Putin.
He added that the Kremlin had received numerous requests from major Western television channels and newspapers, which he said were “taking a unilateral position.” Carlson’s position, Peskov said, “is in no way pro-Russian, nor pro-Ukrainian, but rather pro-American.”
The Associated Press was among the media outlets that requested an interview with Putin.
Does Tucker really think we journalists haven’t been trying to interview President Putin every day since his full-scale invasion of Ukraine? This is absurd: we will continue to ask for an interview, as we have done for years. https://t.co/pW8F2zbq1i
“Does Tucker really think we journalists aren’t trying to interview President Putin every day since his full-scale invasion of Ukraine?” Christiane Amanpour of CNN said thethe old Twitter.
“This is absurd: we will continue to ask for an interview, as we have done for years.”
BBC Russia Editor Steve Rosenberg posted a note on saying his organization had “submitted several requests” to the Kremlin for talks with Putin over the past 18 months.
Interview to be posted online
The Putin interview, Carlson said in his video, will be distributed for free on his website and on X. Carlson, who was fired by Fox News in April, announced he was launching his own streaming service in December.
Fox offered no explanation for the firing of Carlson, who was its most popular personality at the time.
Like many people who leave the network that is conservative America’s most popular news outlet, he has struggled to stay in the public eye.
Carlson worked at Fox News for over a decade and hosted a show in which he discussed conspiracy theories about Russia and the January 6 insurrection. Russian state media extensively covered Carlson’s visit on Wednesday.
Vladimir Soloviev, one of Russia’s most famous television hosts, said the interview would “break the blockade and the discourse that exists” in Western media which he said focuses on the “brutal invasion and not provoked from Ukraine by Putin.
Soloviev, whose show often criticizes Western media, said Carlson is “feared” because he does not align with that narrative.