After much build-up, considerable backlash in the international press, and even reports of Members of the European Parliament considering sanctions against Carlson, the famed American political pundit’s interview with President Vladimir Putin of Russia has finally been released.
Carlson shared the 2-hour-long video on the social media platform X on Thursday, 8 February. In less than a day since it was uploaded, it has received over 90 million views, 700,000 likes, and 50,000 comments—as expected, all eyes were on this interview.
In a short prelude to the interview, Carlson specifies that the main topic was, evidently, Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine. His main objective was to pry about the reasons why President Putin decided to launch the invasion. What he found was that instead of having stated motives concerning modern geopolitics,
Putin was mostly appealing to Russia’s historical claims to the territories of Eastern Ukraine.
As the President explained, ‘The Russian state started gathering itself as a centralized statehood, and it is considered to be the year of the establishment of the Russian state, in 862 AD…In 882…Russia began to develop with two centres of power, Kyiv and Nobgorodm‘.
President Putin went on to outline the series of major events in Russian history. He told Carlson that a Ukrainian identity distinct from that of Russians came about by the influence of the Polish–Lithuanian personal union and the Pope in the late Middle Ages, due to the imperialistic ambitions of Poles and Lithuanians. According to Putin, the origin of the word ‘Ukrainian’ is the old Russian word for someone living on the fringes of the Empire, or someone on border patrol duty. He also claimed that there was a propaganda campaign by the Austro–Hungarian Empire to incite Ukrainian nationalist feelings in the people living in that region of the Russian Empire during World War I, in an effort to destabilize and weaken their Russian enemies.
President Putin ended his briefing on Russian history, which included Chairman Lenin’s partitioning of historically Russian land to the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic, by saying:
‘We have every reason to affirm that Ukraine is an artificial state that was shaped at Stalin’s will.’
During the discussion, historical Hungarian territories given to Ukraine after World War I were also mentioned. When asked point-blank if Hungarians should take back their lands, Putin gave the confusing answer: ‘one may say that they could claim back those lands of theirs, while having no right to do that’.
Prime Minister Viktor Orbán of Hungary, whom Carlson had previously interviewed as well, was mentioned by name in this part of the discussion. President Putin forcefully stated that he and PM Orbán had never had any conversations about Hungary’s possible territorial claims in Ukraine, but he knows that
‘Hungarians who live there want to get their historical land back’.
Regarding more recent historical events, President Putin lamented the fact that NATO has expanded eastwards ‘five times’ since the end of the Cold War, despite promises to Russia that they would not do so. He also revealed that, when he first took office, he asked US President Bill Clinton if it was possible for Russia to join NATO, and he was told it was not, even though Putin may have been open to joining the alliance. Furthermore, President Putin accused the American intelligence agency CIA of funding ‘terrorists’ in the Caucasus region, who are rising up against his government.
Russia Had Negotiated Peace Agreement in Place, Boris Johnson Tore It Up
This may not be the bombshell revelation it seems to be at first glance, as we at Hungarian Conservative too reported on it a year ago—then, we used the public statements of Former Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett as the source. However, President Putin of Russia has also stated that there in fact had been a negotiated peace settlement in place in the spring of 2022, with negotiations taking place in Istanbul, Türkiye. However, the Western powers, in an effort spearheaded by the former British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, stepped in and ensured that the peace agreement could not go through.
Given President Putin’s deep emotional ties to old Russian history and his country’s historical slights, Carlson reasonably asked the President if he has any other territorial claims he is willing to go after militarily, such as in Poland or Latvia. President Putin answered that he unequivocally does not, and that such actions by him are ‘absolutely out of the question’.
After much pressing by Carlson, President Putin claimed that Ukranian President Zelenskyy’s stated intentions of ignoring the Minks agreements was the latest catalyst for him to launch the invasion. However, Putin does not feel that he was the one who started the aggression, saying:
‘we did not start this war, we are trying to stop it’.