Tucker Carlson's trip to Russia came as a shock to many, except Russian propagandists who pushed for his long-held wish to interview Russian President Vladimir Putin to be granted. In recent years, RT director Margarita Simonyan pleaded with the Kremlin to make appropriate arrangements, and state television host Vladimir Solovyov offered Carlson a job on his Soloviev Live channel. Like many Putin propagandists, Simonyan realized that Carlson's softball meeting with Putin would be even more of a propaganda boon than his pro-Russian, anti-Ukrainian, and borderline anti-American rhetoric over the years. .
While Soloviev had to settle for Scott Ritter, it seems that Simonyan finally got his wish. State media reported that Carlson's minibus, packed with television equipment, left his hotel and traveled to the presidential administration on Monday evening. At the same time, Putin's motorcade reportedly headed towards the Kremlin.
On Tuesday, Alexei Venediktov, former editor-in-chief of Ekho Moskvy radio, alluded to in a post on X (formerly Twitter)“As I understand it, Tucker Carlson got what he wanted.”
The timing was obviously chosen to coincide with the upcoming presidential election in Russia. This event is just one performance of the Kremlin's Kabuki theater of democracy, where even Putin's rivals recognize that they have no hope of actually winning and simply hope to stay alive and escape prison. However, being able to show that a well-known American figure is willing to kneel to an international pariah is a great opportunity for Putin to reassert his dominance and position.
There is still no confirmation of a meeting between Carlson and Putin, but a Russian government official said anonymously Moscow time“The boss [Putin] will win the election without Tucker's help, but access to an American audience via Carlson during the bitter fight between Biden and Trump is once again an opportunity to exert that proverbial influence over the American elections, given the “Carlson's huge audience.” He also stressed that “our propaganda will denounce Carlson's comments criticizing the Democrats, which means that he will confirm the line of our hawks in every detail.”
A source close to the presidential administration said Moscow time, “Tucker has been expected here for a long time. He is welcome here.
Carlson's arrival in Moscow threw Russian state television media into a frenzy of detailed reporting, featuring Carlson's visit to the ballet, his lunch, a visit to a Kamchatka stand at the Exhibition achievements of the national economy and a metro ride. During Monday's broadcast of the national television program 60 minutes, host Evgeny Popov happily declared that while exploring Moscow, Carlson “charged his smartphone via a USB port and connected to fast, free WiFi Internet.” Popov proudly added: “American citizens cannot even dream of such wonders of civilization! »
To underline Carlson's deep commitment to the Russian cause, state media pointed out that in America he is called a traitor and his trip is compared to Jane Fonda's visit to Vietnam in 1972. of the Sunday broadcast of a program At dawn on the Solovyov Live channel, former New York Times correspondent John Varoli exclaimed feverishly that Carlson could be “liquidated” at any time, describing him as “Joe Biden’s enemy number one.” In Russia, where assassinations or imprisonments of journalists and dissidents are commonplace, an absurd claim that the Biden administration is trying to hunt down Tucker Carlson might seem credible.
During Monday's broadcast of The evening with Vladimir Soloviev, the host said: “The biggest problem in America right now is what to do with Tucker Carlson!” Soloviev claimed that previous interviews conducted by American journalists with Putin had been “cut up,” re-edited and used “out of context.” He fumed: “In our journalism, this kind of thing is unacceptable by definition… it's taboo!” Soloviev assumed that wouldn't happen with Carlson and Putin's possible interview, which he said would be presented in full.
Earlier Monday, recognizing the fired Fox News host as one of their own, the Union of Journalists of Russia offered Tucker Carlson to join the organization, pay his dues and abide by its rules.
During The evening with Vladimir Soloviev, noted political scientist Sergei Mikheev: “A few words about Tucker Carlson, because he is a popular figure. Lately, when I see him, I think there is something wrong with his psyche, because everyone is putting pressure on him. His eyebrows are raised, he constantly looks worried. He was more handsome than that.
Mikheev said: “If Tucker dares first of all to broadcast this interview in the United States, it will explode their information blockade from within. Mikheyev predicted that Putin's interview would be more interesting than anything American politicians say, saying Democratic and Republican elites are “uninteresting and stupid.”
Mikheyev said he was shocked to discover how many Americans believe Michelle Obama was born a man. He suggested that if they were gullible enough to believe something like that, Tucker's interview with Putin was bound to have “interesting” consequences. Soloviev added: “This will blow them to pieces!” » When discussing the United States, Mikheyev wistfully noted: “God willing, there will be a civil war!” »