The ultra-right US journalist Tucker Carlson has conducted an interview with Vladimir Putin, which was broadcast on Thursday evening. Over the past few days, there have been enthusiastic reports in Russian state media about the Moscow visit of the TV journalist who was fired by Fox News in 2023 and has since been broadcasting on the platform X. Commentators fear this will boost both Putin's and Trump's election campaigns.

Fatal timing

The interview could have serious consequences for Ukraine, fears Rzeczpospolita:

“The terms of the interview were chosen by Vladimir Putin, not Tucker Carlson. It is taking place at a time when Congress is deciding the fate of the 60 billion dollar aid package for Ukraine. ... Giving Putin the chance to address America's right-wing voters directly at a time like this, in an interview devoid of tough questions or awkward topics, is the kind of propaganda that could change the course of the war. The Russian is likely to offer the prospect of a compromise, a ceasefire or even peace. And of course, he will not mention that this would mean the capitulation of the West.”

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Moscow's contribution to Trump's election

In a Telegram post picked up by Echo, the US-based journalist Stanislav Kucher sees the interview as aimed at boosting Donald Trump's campaign:

“For Putin, the Tucker interview is an opportunity to explain to American conservatives, point by point, why he is an ally rather than an enemy, and to move a step closer to his long-cherished dream: Donald Trump's return to the White House. The Kremlin sees Trump as an 'American Gorbachev' - the 'strategists' there hope that he will divide America and then drive it towards collapse. Or at least bring it to a state where it has other things to focus on than containing Putinism. ... Many conservatives actually see Putin as less of a threat to American democracy than Biden.”

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Propaganda boost for the Kremlin boss

Political scientist Abbas Galliamov sees the interview as an election campaign manoeuvre by Putin:

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“The election campaign is not going particularly well because [opposition figures] Duntsova and Nadezhdin are setting the agenda. Putin is not managing to create any momentum within the country, so Carlson is now his number one hope. He will be even more useful when the Central Election Commission announces that Nadezhdin has been disqualified. At that moment, the dominant impression will be that Putin is afraid. And Carlson is now supposed to alleviate this problem: 'Afraid? No way! Just look at what a big celebrity has flown in from the United States especially to interview him! Your Nadezhdin can only dream of such a thing!'”

Of limited interest

Seznam Zprávy says Carlson is now where he belongs:

“He has always spread Russian propaganda. ... An interview with Putin will probably bring nothing new. What shocking revelations could a carefully rehearsed friendly conversation about the alleged denazification of a neighbouring nation lead to? No, we're not really interested.”

Musk delighted about publicity for X

Tucker thanked X owner Elon Musk in advance for his assurance that the video will not be blocked. This would not be in Musk's interest anyway, Daily Sabah says:

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“Quite the opposite, he has extended his support, and there's even a possibility that his personal rapport with Putin could have eased the process of securing the interview. Putin's known aversion to social media makes him arguably the only world leader without an X account, recognizing the role of these platforms as a societal weapon in the West. Putin's acceptance of the interview undeniably increased X's legitimacy.”

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