On the night of February 9, Tucker Carlson released a two-hour interview with Vladimir Putin. The scandalous ex-host of Fox News promised to ask the dictator “thorny questions,” which were his goal when he decided to fly to Moscow.
In 120 minutes, Carlson did not find an opportunity to ask Putin about the war crimes of the Russians in Irpin, Bucha, and other cities of Ukraine, the abduction of thousands of children, the genocidal rhetoric, and the actions of the Kremlin regime.
The Centre for Strategic Communications refutes Putin’s main fake statements in this interview.
Statement 1. The purpose of the special military operation in Ukraine is “the ban on all neo-Nazi movements.”
We have not yet achieved our goal in Ukraine because one of the goals is denazification. It means the prohibition of all neo-Nazi movements. It is necessary to get rid of those people who adhere to this theory and practice and try to preserve it; that is what denazification is. You know, as strange as it may seem to you, during the negotiations in Istanbul, we agreed that neo-Nazism would not be cultivated in Ukraine, including at the legislative level. This, it turns out, can be done during the negotiation process. And there is nothing humiliating for Ukraine as for a modern, civilized state. Is it possible for any state to promote the Nazis? No, right? Simple as that.
“Neo-Nazism in Ukraine” is a problem invented by Russian propaganda. Moscow’s habit of labelling all enemies as “fascists” and “Nazis” dates back to Soviet times. At different times, Poland, Israel, and even socialist Yugoslavia experienced this. By inventing “neo-Nazism” in Ukraine, Putin’s propaganda tries to present our country as a legitimate target for aggression, terror, and destruction (targets that hide behind the euphemism “denazification”). This was openly stated by propagandists such as Timofey Sergeitsev. Meanwhile, not Ukraine, but modern Russia turned into a Nazi state: with unlimited dictatorship, repression against dissenters, expansion into neighbouring countries, and declaring these countries “fictitious and fake.” It is Putin’s Russia that needs real denazification.
Statement 2. The war could have ended a year and a half ago, but “Ukraine succumbed to Johnson’s demands.”
“The fact that they succumbed to Mr. Johnson’s demands or persuasion seems very sad. Because, as Arakhamia said, we could have stopped these hostilities a year and a half ago, but the British persuaded us, and we refused. So, where is Mr. Johnson now? While the war continues.”
The Russian-Ukrainian negotiations in Belarus and Turkey in February-March 2022 did not reach an acceptable result for the parties. Moscow tried to persuade Kyiv to surrender. The only reason why Ukraine participated in these conversations was the threatening situation at the front in the first weeks of the full-scale Russian invasion. However, the Defence Forces, having stopped the invaders near Kyiv, relieved Ukrainian diplomats from the need to succumb to Russian diktat. Horrific April footage from Bucha and other liberated cities and villages demonstrates what happens where “hostilities stop” and Russian occupation begins. However, even after that, Kyiv preserved an opportunity for dialogue with Moscow: to stop the war on compromise, not imposed conditions. The only condition on the Ukrainian side was that Russia refrain from another attempt to annex the territory. But Putin did not listen and eliminated any possibilities for negotiations.
Statement 3: Ukraine was created by Lenin, and then again by Stalin.
“Soviet Ukraine received a huge number of territories that never had anything to do with it, first of all, the Black Sea region. But that’s not important. The important thing is that Lenin, the founder of the Soviet state, created Ukraine as it is.
Romania and Hungary, too, had a part of the territories taken away, and these territories became part of Soviet Ukraine and are still there. Therefore, we have every reason to say that, of course, Ukraine is, in a sense, an artificial state created at the will of Stalin.”
The new Ukrainian state was founded not by Lenin and Stalin, but by the Ukrainian national movement, simultaneously with Poland, Lithuania, Georgia, and even Russia itself as a republic, and not by the Romanov dynasty, which it had belonged to until 1917. Ukraine was formed after the collapse of empires within the territory where there was a Ukrainian ethnic majority (including the Black Sea coast mentioned by Putin). Since then, its borders have not changed drastically. The Russian Bolsheviks did not create, but conquered independent Ukraine, turning it into another “Soviet republic.” If Putin believes that “taking territories” turns any country into an artificial one, then Russia is the most artificial country that has been engaged in the seizure of foreign territories throughout its history: from East Prussia to Manchuria.
Statement 4. There is a “civil war” going on between Russians in Ukraine.
“Ukrainian soldiers got surrounded, this is a real example of what happened, our soldiers shouted to them: ‘You have zero chances, give up! Come out, you will be alive, surrender!’
Suddenly, a voice in Russian, proper Russian, shouts: ‘The Russians do not surrender!’ And everyone died. They still feel Russian. In this sense, what is happening is to some extent an element of civil war.”
Indeed, many Russians live in Ukraine, who are patriots and defenders of the Ukrainian state. This very fact destroys the narrative of Putin’s propaganda about the alleged “persecution of Russians in Ukraine,” or that Ukrainian Russians are “waiting to be liberated” by Putin. Ukraine is a mature political nation that unites citizens of different ethnic origin and religion, who live in harmony and mutual understanding. Therefore, it is not surprising that some Ukrainian soldiers communicate with each other in the Russian language (which, according to Russian propaganda, has been “banned” in Ukraine). The phrase “The Russians do not surrender” is a fixed expression, well known to people, who are familiar with Russian culture. Therefore, it is not surprising that Ukrainian soldiers chose it to mock Russian aggressors. The Russian-Ukrainian war is by no means a “civil” war because its participants have been citizens of different states for many years.
Statement 5. The United States just needs to “negotiate with Russia” and the war will end.
“Don’t Americans have other things to do? You have problems at the border. Issues with migration, problems with national debt. More than USD 33 trillion. You have no other things to do. That is why you are fighting in Ukraine. Wouldn’t it be better to negotiate with Russia? To negotiate, already understanding the situation as of today, realizing that Russia will fight for its interests until the end, and, realizing this, actually get back your common sense, begin to respect our country, its interests and look for some solutions?”
Russia and Putin regularly violate all agreements and refuse to comply with international agreements signed by the Russian leadership. By carrying out a full-scale attack on Ukraine, the Russians violated about 400 international agreements. Russia violated the Final Act on Security and Cooperation in Europe (Helsinki Final Act) on the inviolability of European borders. Russia violated the Budapest Memorandum; according to which it, as well as the United States and the United Kingdom, pledged to be guarantors of Ukraine’s security in exchange for the transfer of the Ukrainian nuclear arsenal to Russia. Russia violated the Treaty on Friendship, Cooperation and Partnership, On the Ukrainian-Russian State Border, On the Use of the Azov and Black Seas, and hundreds of other agreements with Ukraine. Russia uses international agreements as a weapon against those states with which it concludes them and plays a dishonest game. Negotiating with Russia at the expense of Ukraine means untying Putin’s hands for an even bigger and more terrible war in Europe and on other continents.
What Carlson failed to ask Putin:
1. The blocking of American social networks in Russia, in particular X (Twitter), on which this interview was published. This is a violation of freedom of speech.
2. The persecution of Protestants in Russia. Since 2017, the activities of Jehovah’s Witnesses have been prohibited in the Russian Federation. Protestant preachers and believers have been kidnapped, tortured, robbed, and killed in the occupied territories of Ukraine since 2014.
3. The abduction of Ukrainian children. For this, an international warrant was issued against Putin.
4. Massacres and abuse of civilian Ukrainians in the occupied territories (Bucha, Izium) and other war crimes.
5. Military provocations against NATO countries, which are also provocations against the United States as their military ally.