Espreso. Global

Tucker Carlson. Triple mission of mediator between Putin and Trump. Column by Vitaly Portnikov

8 February, 2024 Thursday

Former American TV host Tucker Carlson, who was disgracefully fired from Fox TV channel, has become a real star of Russian propaganda after he arrived in Moscow and announced his intention to interview Russian President Vladimir Putin

This interview will most likely be made public on the former Twitter - platform X, owned by the odious billionaire Elon Musk.

And now Tucker Carlson is literally followed by crowds of Russian propagandists. Every step he takes in the Russian capital, whether he goes to the theater or even visits a Russian supermarket, is accompanied by incredible journalistic attention.

So, why does Vladimir Putin need Tucker Carlson?

There are several obvious reasons for this. The first is that the Russian president misses Western attention and is trying to demonstrate this attention to his compatriots.

After all, no matter how much the Russian capital talks about "turn to the East," about "special relations" with China or North Korea, in reality, Russian society has always tended to seek recognition in the West.

And that is why, in Stalin's time, every Western writer or cultural figure who arrived in the Russian capital was also surrounded by unwavering attention and respect. Romain Rolland, Lion Feuchtwanger, and André Gide received much more attention from the Soviet authorities and local cultural figures than Tucker Carlson could boast of. And this precisely demonstrates the secondary nature of Russian authoritarianism, its dependence on Western attention.

Tucker Carlson, albeit a former American television host, is perceived by Russians literally as a person from the "real world" visiting the "wilderness."

This is roughly how the Russian writer Mikhail Bulgakov introduced his Woland when he visited Moscow. This is the kind of Woland that Russians expect every single day. And this is the kind of Woland that Russia's No. 1 devil, Vladimir Putin, wants to talk to about his political plans.

This is the kind of psychological situation that characterizes schizophrenia in Putin's mind and in the minds of millions of his compatriots, who always talk about how they would destroy America but are ready to die for a pair of jeans, an American tune, or the attention of the first American tourist they see.

The second point is purely political. Putin needs not so much to give an interview to Tucker Carlson - he is well aware that the odious TV host has no influence on the audience that could change its mind about Russian aggression after hearing the words of the Russian dictator  - but rather to send political signals to the man whose sincere supporter Carlson remains.

As we know, Carlson is a favorite TV host of former American President Donald Trump. And, as you know, Trump is now trying to do everything possible and has every chance to become the Republican presidential candidate.

Trump has repeatedly said that he can end the Russian-Ukrainian war in just a few hours through negotiations with Russian President Vladimir Putin, who has always been a favorite of the odious American politician and businessman.

However, to end the war through negotiations with Putin, Trump would have to at least know what the Russian president's own negotiating terms would be. And thus, the conversation between Carlson and Putin, which will be publicized as an interview between an odious ex-telepresenter and an odious Russian dictator, and the conversation that will take place between Putin and Carlson without television cameras for a special broadcast to former President Donald Trump, will be the content of the signals that Putin would like to convey to the former US president through a person whom Trump can at least trust.

Thus, Carlson can be considered a mediator in future agreements between Putin and Trump if the former American president wins the US presidential election. However, we see that even without this election, Trump, using his unprecedented influence on the US Republican Party, its senators and members of the House of Representatives, is slowing down the allocation of US aid to Ukraine and thus seriously affecting the development of events in the war.

And Putin really needs Trump to take his signals seriously and continue, at least during the election period, to do everything possible and impossible to improve Russia's position in the war and help Putin not only defend the territories of Ukraine he occupies but also try to occupy significant parts of the territory of the state Putin hates.

Thus, Carlson is playing several roles in the Russian capital: a representative of the West who demonstrates that attention to the Russians, their state, and their president continues to be stable, a person who is supposed to send signals for possible agreements between Putin and Trump behind the back of the Ukrainian state and the Ukrainian people, and a tool to ensure the military activity of the Russian army in the absence of adequate American assistance.

It seems to me that these reasons are enough for Putin to spend time talking to a journalist who clearly does not understand what is happening not only in the Russian-Ukrainian war but also in American politics, but who enthusiastically broadcasts his madness to a large number of his equally insane supporters.


About the author. Vitaly Portnikov, journalist, winner of the Shevchenko National Prize of Ukraine

The editors do not always share the opinions expressed by the authors of the blogs.

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