Russian officials have made a flurry of comments to Russian press in response to the Feb. 6 Tucker Carlson interview of Vladimir Putin.
Sputnik reported that Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters that Tucker Carlson himself proposed the interview, and that President Putin quickly and gladly accepted it.
Peskov noted, “Putin is sending such a message to an international audience as well, not just to the U.S. ... Not everyone wants to hear it. We can see U.S. officials calling this interview useless, and strongly advising against reading it. They don’t want Putin’s true worldview to be made known to ordinary Americans…. The figures that we see now, the figures of the first views—they all exceed the ratings of the most rated broadcasters in the world, and significantly.”
In comments to TASS Peskov said that the U.S. authorities are “well aware of what he [Putin] thinks. It is not an issue of knowledge, but an issue of desire. A desire to do something to enter the negotiations track. We see no such desire and political will [in the U.S.] so far.”
Separately, on the Moscow.Kremlin.Putin program on Rossiya 1 TV, Peskov predicted that after the dust has settled, “there will be a deep analysis of this interview” in the West.
He complimented Carlson, saying that he was well prepared and “sincerely tries to sort things out.” Otherwise, Peskov said, Carlson “is a mirror of the American public opinion. The Americans are largely introverts—they traditionally live in their own world [and] take little interest in what is going on outside their country. Strange as might seem but they know little about foreign countries.”
Peskov went on, saying “By speaking to the U.S. journalist, Putin is sending a message to international audiences, not only in the United States, but also in Europe and across all other directions, too.” Some may not want to hear it, he said, “But this [trend] is happening anyway this time around. It cannot be blocked. The world has changed.”
Peskov claimed that the Kremlin has received dozens of interview requests from foreign mass media in the last few days following the Carlson interview, but that the Kremlin was not very interested in their offers. According to Peskov, it’s not about “whether they like what Russia is doing or not…. There is no point in giving an interview because they are not even trying to give balanced information,” he said. “In this sense, Carlson stands out.”
Separately, Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova told Izvestia newspaper on Feb. 9 regarding the interview: “This is phenomenal. Their reaction reveals the mendacity of their approaches so much that, frankly speaking, you can’t believe it … they’ve had a hysterical fit—the White House, the Department of State, all the mainstream media are shouting at the top of their lungs one thing only: don’t watch [President Putin’s interview], and that an American journalist shouldn’t conduct the interview.”