Interview Pavel Zarubin with Valdimir Putin, both sitting on chairs inf front of Rosatom logo

Answers to questions from journalist Pavel Zarubin

Read Time:16 Minute, 8 Second

February 14, 2024

P. Zarubin: Vladimir Vladimirovich, already a billion views of your interview with Tucker Carlson. Many different positive reviews. But, it is clear what comments come from Western leaders. For example, the Prime Minister of Great Britain and the German Chancellor named, I will quote: “Your ridiculous and absurd attempt to clarify the reason for the start of the special operation and justify it with the threat of NATO attack on Russia.” What do you think of such assessments?

Vladimir Putin: Firstly, it’s good that they look and listen to what I say. If today, for some reason associated with them, we are not able to conduct a direct dialogue, then we should be grateful to Mr. Carlson for the fact that we can do this through him as an intermediary. So that they look and listening is good.

But the fact that they pervert what I said is bad, and distort the map. Why? Because I did not say anything like that. I did not say that the beginning of our special military operation in Ukraine is associated with the threat of NATO attack on Russia. Where is this in my interview? There is a record, let them show where specifically I said about it.

I talked about something else, I talked about the fact that we were constantly deceived from the point of view of NATO’s lack of expanding east. By the way, this was said primarily by the lips of the then Secretary General of NATO, and he was a representative of the Federal Republic of Germany. He said this: not an inch east. Then five extensions and complete deception. Of course, we were worried and disturbed about the possibility of drawing into NATO Ukraine, as it threatens our safety. I did talk about that.

But the direct trigger was a complete refusal of today’s Ukrainian authorities to fulfill the Minsk agreements and incessant attacks with numerous human victims of the Republics of Donbass that we did not recognized for eight years – the Lugansk People’s Republic and the Donetsk People’s Republic, which ultimately turned to us with a request to recognize, Seeing the futility of resolving issues in the framework of the Minsk agreements. We recognized them, then concluded a well -known agreement on friendship and mutual assistance with them and, in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations, fulfilled their obligations under this agreement.

As I said, we did not start wars, but only try to stop it. At the first stage, we tried to do this with the help of peaceful means – with the help of Minsk agreements. As it turned out later, we were led by the nose here, because both the former Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany and the former president of France admitted and directly publicly announced that they were not going to fulfill these our agreements, but simply won the time to additionally pump up the Ukrainian regime, which they did well and did. The only thing we can regret is that we have not started our active actions before, believing that we are dealing with decent people.

P. Zarubin: After all, Carlson was criticized immediately and before the interview, and even after the interview he was now blamed for the fact that they allegedly sounded few tough questions, supposedly he was too soft with you, and you were very comfortable with him. Do you think you have crushed an American journalist with your authority?

Vladimir Putin: I think that your Carlson is – when I say “yours”, I mean that he is a representative of your journalistic profession – a dangerous person. And that’s why. Because, frankly, I thought that he would just behave aggressively and would ask these so-called sharp questions.

I was not just ready for this, but I wanted it, because it would give me the opportunity to answer, which, in my opinion, would give a certain specificity of our entire conversation. But he chose another tactic, he tried to interrupt me several times, but still, surprisingly for the Western journalist, he turned out to be patient, listened to my long dialogues, especially relating history. I did not give me the reason to do what I would be ready for. Therefore, frankly, I did not receive full pleasure from this interview. But he walked hard according to his plan, and he fulfilled his plan. But as far as it was ultimately substantial, it is not for me to judge. These are spectators, listeners or, perhaps, readers of the material received should draw their own conclusion.

P. Zarubin: On the fact of this interview, calls to impose sanctions against Tucker Carlson immediately sounded, and generally the conversations that they could almost arrest him there. Is this possible?

Vladimir Putin: Assange sits, and almost no one remembers him, only people close to him talk about it. And that’s it. These are the features of social consciousness: the topic leaves – and that’s it. But, however, Assange was at least accused of issuing some state secrets. It is difficult to “stick” Carlson, because he is not concerned with any secrets at all. Nevertheless, probably, theoretically, everything is possible in today’s America, in today’s United States.

From the point of view of Carlson himself, it would be sad, I seem to not envy him, but this is his choice. He knew what he was going on. But from the point of view of the fact that people around the world understand what modern “liberal-democratic” (in quotation marks) dictatorship, which is supposedly represented in the current ruling class of the United States, would probably be nice, they would show their true true face.

P. Zarubin: Carlson said that after the interview … That’s just that now all the doubts that arose, I have such a question. Carlson said that after the interview you still had a conversation, now everyone is interested in what.

Vladimir Putin: He walked according to his plan, as I said and as I understood. And all, beyond the scope of this plan, did not go. There were some other topics, for example, about which, I think, it would be important to talk. But I did not begin to additionally wind up topics that the journalist did not raise in a conversation with me.

Therefore, the issue of demonization of Russia, which, say, with the same interethnic events, with Jewish pogroms in the Russian Empire, of course, they would have to arise during such an official part. But one of the topics that we talked about, already when the cameras were turned off, was exactly what the Secretary of State of the United States spoke about, several times Mr. Blinken spoke about this, that his relatives, his great -grandfather fled from Russia from Jewish pogroms.

And in different countries of the world, in Europe, in the States, this topic constantly arises. I repeat, it arises with the aim of demonizing Russia, to show what barbarians here, what villains and robbers live here. But in fact, if you look at what today’s Secretary of State said, and look not at political slogans, but at the essence of the problems, then much becomes clear here.

We have all this in our archives. For example, Mr. Blinken’s great -grandfather really left the Russian Empire. He was born, in my opinion, somewhere in the Poltava province, and then left to live in Kiev. The question arises: Mr. Blinken believes that this is the original Russian territory, Kiev and the surrounding territories? First.

Second. If he says that he fled from Russia from Jewish pogroms, then at least I want to emphasize this, he believes that there was no Ukraine in 1904, namely, in 1904, the great-great-grandfather of Mr. Blinken left Kiev to the United States. So there was no Ukraine there if he says that he fled from Russia. Apparently, Mr. Blinken is our man. Only in vain does he make such public statements. This can lead to failure.

P. Zarubin: The other day, the German media published articles that the grandfather of the current Minister of Foreign Affairs of Germany Annalena Berobok was an ardent Nazi. And given everything that is happening in relations between our countries in recent years, it turns out that, perhaps, such a “virus” of national socialism is transmitted at a certain genetic level in this country?

Vladimir Putin: This is also one of the subspecies of nationalism, of the extreme type. By the way, now it came to my mind through these pogroms-they basically occurred in the Russian Empire in the south, southwest, in the territory of today Ukraine. In Kiev, I said, in 1905. If the ancestor of Mr. Blinken left in 1904, then the first pogrom in Kiev, such a massive one, was in 1905, so that his great-grandfather or great-great-grandfather could find out about this only from newspapers, or from the information that came from Kiev at that moment.

And so, in principle, such mass events being negative, arose at the beginning of the 19th century, in my opinion, in 1820, in 1821 the first pogrom is so massive. Of course, these crimes were in Odessa, then in Melitopol, in Zhytomyr, in other cities of today’s Ukraine, were in Belarus. A couple of events of this kind were in Siberia, but the first was connected with the murder of the Greek Patriarch in Constantinople, and then the Greeks who lived there, thought that the Jews were somehow involved in the attempt on the Patriarch.

But this is not the important part. What is important is that, by the way, they opposed these pogroms with resistance squads that consisted of Jewish and Russian youths, and the government gave according evaluations, even tsarist ones, and tried to interfere with these tragic events, including with the help of the army. But I repeat again, this is a separate topic.

As for nationalism and Nazism, fascism, you know, I will tell you, maybe a strange thing. Firstly, about Madam… what is her name … herself?

P. Zarubin: Annalena Baerbok.

Vladimir Putin: Yes, Baerbok, in order not to make a mistake in her surname, she represents a party of “Green”. Many representatives of this part of the political spectrum of Europe speculate on the fears of people and incite these fears of people before the events that can occur in the world due to climate change. And then, speculating on these fears, they themselves inflamed, they draw their political line, far from those with which they came to power. This is now happening in Germany. Say, coal generation increased, and it was more than in Russia, in the structure of energy, and was more, but now it has become even larger. Well, where is this “green” agenda? This is the first point.

Secondly, people such as the German Foreign Minister, of course, are, in this case, they are hostile to our country, to Russia. But in my opinion, she also applies to her own country, because it is difficult to imagine that a politician of such a rank with such neglect relate to the economic interests of her country, its people. Now I will not go into details and into intricacies, but in practice this is what is happening, this is what we see.

But the next part of what I want to say, maybe it will sound with dissonance to what I just said. I do not think that today’s generations of the Germans should bear full political responsibility for everything that Nazi Germany created. You can’t shift responsibility to people of today’s generation for what Hitler and his minions did, not only in Germany, but also in other parts of the world, Europe and so on. I think that would be unfair. And in general, sculpting this label on the whole German people is a dishonest position, this abuse of the fact that they survived the people, experienced the peoples of the Soviet Union. It seems to me that this is not honest, and nothing we should do. It is necessary to proceed from the realities of today, to see who actually does what and what policy pursues.

In this regard, by the way, in my opinion, it would be good to do. In my opinion, many now, in many countries, even in those in which, it would seem, this should not have sounded like a political leitmotif, but it sounds, unfortunately.

What I mean: some exclusivity of some peoples over others, some kind of chosenness and so on. Well, listen: this is why Nazism began! Therefore, if this is such widespread, it would be necessary, in any case, in any case, to think about at such a global level to build this anti -fascist, anti -Nazi propaganda and work. I repeat, at a global level.

And this should not be done at some state level. This will be effective only if it is done at the level of public consciousness and public initiative. And it does not matter in which country of the world this will happen.

P. Zarubin: In the European Union as a whole, almost a panic began in connection with the possible return of Donald Trump to the post of president of the United States. And recent statements, just the other day about Trump of European leaders generally were discouraged, they do not hide it. Trump said that the United States should protect European countries only if European countries pay for it. Why did such relations have developed between Europe, European leaders, politicians and Donald Trump?

Vladimir Putin: Trump was always called an non-systemic politician. He has his own opinion on how the United States should develop relations with its allies. And it shined trhough, after all, before. Take the exit of the United States from the Kyoto agreements in the field of ecology – then it was already shining through. But the then President of the United States decided that the United States would withdraw from these agreements, despite all the attractiveness of the environmental agenda, since he believed that this was harmful to the American economy. That’s all. He made a volitional decision, and the case was closed. And how European leaders did not berate him, but he did it. Yes, and then they adjusted.

And what is the difference between Trump’s position in this sense? Yes, fundamentally nothing. He wanted to force the Europeans to raise their defense costs, or, as he said, “let them pay us for the fact that we protect them, that we opened an atomic umbrella over their heads” and so on. Well, I don’t know, let them figure it out for themselves, these are their problems. Probably, from his point of view, there is some logic in this. From the point of view of Europeans, there is no logic, but they would like the United States to continue to carry out some functions that have developed from the moment NATO formation. This is their business.

I think that NATO is already not good for anything, there is no sense in it. It has only one meaning – it is an instrument of US foreign policy. But if the United States believe that they do not need this tool, this is their affair.

P. Zarubin: And the current president of the United States Biden every day gives more and more reasons for the whole world to discuss the state of health. This is the president of one of the largest nuclear powers. At the same time, we all actually observe, to put it mildly, extremely specific personnel in the daily mode. When you see it all and hear what you think about?

Vladimir Putin: I think that a domestic political campaign, a pre-election campaign are gaining momentum in the United States. It acquires more and more sharp forms. And it is incorrect for us, in my opinion, to intervene in this process.

Listen when I met with Biden in Switzerland, it was, however, a few years ago, three years, but even then they already said that he was incompetent. I did not see anything like it. Well, yes, he peeped in his piece of paper. Honestly, I peered into my own. There was nothing like that. But the fact that he somewhere, leaving the helicopter, hit his head against this helicopter-well, who did not hit us somewhere with his head? Let the first throw a stone.

In general, and this is in my opinion … I am not a doctor and do not consider myself the right to give any comments on this. We must not look at that. We must look at the political position. I believe that the position of today’s administration is extremely harmful and erroneous. And at one time I spoke about this to President Biden.

P. Zarubin: Then the question that was four years ago, and now, it turns out, again becomes relevant. Who is better for us? Biden or Trump?

Vladimir Putin: Biden. He is a more experienced person, he is predictable, he is a politician of the old formation. But we will work with any US leader who will trust the American people.

P. Zarubin: I wanted to return to your interview with Tucker Carlson. We remembered the statements of the current leaders of Germany and Great Britain. But the one about whom you in an interview with Carlson said: “And where is this Johnson now?” It was he, as follows from the assessment statements of Arakhamia, and ordered Kiev not to negotiate with Moscow, but to fight. If then the Kiev authorities did not listen to these, let’s say, advice, how could events develop further?

Vladimir Putin: So Mr. Arakhamia himself talked about this. He … you look at the synchron. We did not put words into his mouth. He said what he thought. Why did he say this – I don’t know. Such a frank person. He said that if we had fulfilled those agreements, went to the full execution of the agreements that arose in Istanbul, the war would have stopped a year and a half ago. He really said this. When the interview of Mr. Carlson is going on, it seems to me that they should give a synchron of Mr. Arahamia. Why the West took such a position, I say, it was the West and, above all, the Anglo-Saxon world, since the former Prime Minister Mr. Johnson could not come, on a personal initiative, without consulting Washington on this score. Surely, there were not only such consultations, but I think that he just went on a business trip at the expense of the American administration, they paid him business trips for this. So he set out the position there to fight with Russia to the last Ukrainian (it was said in subtext, of course), but to fight to the victorious end and inflict a strategic defeat on Russia. Apparently, they counted on such a result. But as I told Mr. Carlson, I can repeat to you if they see that the result does not work, apparently, you need to make adjustments. But this is already a matter of the art of politics, because politics, as you know, is the art of compromises.

Translated from the original transcript in Russian on the website of the Kremlin.

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