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I'll start in reverse order. Why now? Well, I've been trying for three years to do this interview. The US government prevented me from doing it by spying on my text messages and leaking them to the New York Times, and that spook to the russian government into canceling the interview. So I've been trying to do this, but my country's intel services were working against me illegally, and that enraged me because I'm an american citizen. I'm 54. I pay my taxes, I obey the law. And there was no expectation in the America that I grew up in that my government and its intel services, NSA and CIA, which were always outwardly focused on our foreign enemies, would be turned inward against american citizens. And I'm shocked by that, and I'm infuriated by that. And so once I discovered that that was happening, and I confirmed it was happening, and they admitted that they did it, then I was totally determined, monomaniacally dedicated to doing this interview, not simply because I want to know what Vladimir Putin is like and what he thinks about a war that is resetting the world and really gravely damaging my country's economy, but also because they told me I couldn't on the basis of illegitimate means and for no really clearly stated justification.


And I thought, that can't stand. I want to live in a free country. I was born in one, and I'm going to do whatever small thing I can do to maintain this society that I love.


You are known to be pro Republican party, right wing of Republican Party. This is what they claimed. They said, first, you've been a Democrat.


That's not true.


A Republican. Okay. Or you are known to be pro Trump, anti Biden. What is truthful in this? And you went to Putin because you are pro Trump and.


Mean. My views are not very interesting. I'm not sure how I would characterize them. They're changing as quickly as the world itself is changing. And as a matter of principle, I think that your views should change when the evidence changes and assumptions that you had in the past are proven wrong. That has happened to me virtually every month of my life. If you pay close enough attention, you can rate your own performance just as if you're betting on sports. I lost that one. And when you do, when it turns out that things you thought were true were lies, you should admit it. So what are my views? I'm not certain. Tell the truth is my main view, and I plan to do that to the best of my ability. So Trump played no role in this whatsoever. There's obviously an election in my country coming to fruition in November, I have no idea what's going to happen. I think that the current administration is very obviously incompetent and the president is senile. That's not an attack. Everyone knows it. It has now been confirmed, I would say, this week in the report that you're all familiar with, and that's very sad.


But it had sort of nothing to do with the interview. I wanted to interview Putin because he's the leader of a country that the US government is sort of at war with, though not in a declared way.


Sir, you know your president, President Biden. Well, yes, I do. You've been working in several media organizations, from PBS, CNBC, Fox News, CNN, and you've been covering this field well, and you know the american politicians, and now you've been following Putin, and you did a very lengthy interview with this gentleman, and for sure to interview them. You did your homework and you did your research comparing the culture, the competencies between Vladimir Putin and Biden. How do you see the two men now running the world?


I mean, if this were boxing, the fight would be called by the medic. And I say that as an american, and I don't have another passport. I don't plan to ever leave my country. My family's been there hundreds of years, and I love it. I am a patriotic american, and I grieve when I see that the president is non compass menace and that in my country, it is considered very rude to say that. And you sort of wonder, how did you get to a place where you have an incompetent president who's driven not simply the standard of living, but life expectancy downward? And no one feels free to say that. That's not a political observation. It's a statement of fact, which is provable empirically. And the most radicalizing thing I would just say for me, in the eight days I spent in Moscow was not simply the leader of the country, who, of course, is impressive. It's the largest land mass in the world, and it's wildly diverse, linguistically, culturally, religiously. It's hard to run a country like that for 24 years, whether you like it or not. So an incapable person couldn't do that.


He is very capable, and many of you know him. And you know that what was radicalizing, very shocking and very disturbing for me was the city of Moscow, where I'd never been, the biggest city in Europe, 13 million people. And it is so much nicer than any city in my country. I had no idea my father spent a lot of time there in the 80s when he worked for the US government and barely had electricity. And now it is so much cleaner and safer and prettier esthetically. It's architecture, it's food, its service than any city in the United States that you have. And this is non ideological. How did that happen? How did that happen? And at a certain point, I don't think the average person cares as much about abstractions as about the concrete reality of his life. And if you can't use your subway, for example, as many people are afraid to in New York City because it's too dangerous, you have to sort of wonder, isn't that the ultimate measure of leadership? And that's true, by the way, it's radicalizing for an american to go to Moscow. I didn't know that. I've learned it this week.


To Singapore, to Tokyo, to Dubai and Abu Dhabi, because these cities, no matter how we're told they're run and on what principles they're run, are wonderful places to live that don't have rampant inflation where you're not going to get raped.


Sir, excuse me.


What is that?


Excuse me. Are you anti american model?


No, I am the most pro american. So I'm 54. I was born in 1969. I grew up up in a country that had cities like Moscow and Abu Dhabi and Dubai and Singapore and Tokyo, and we no longer have them. And what I have discovered is that's a voluntary choice, as inflation is, as you heard in that fascinating last panel, inflation is the product of choices made mostly by the central bank, not exclusively, but by policymakers. Crime, same. You don't have to have crime. Actually, if you don't put my children, don't smoke marijuana at the breakfast table. Why? Because I won't allow them. It's very simple. It's a short conversation. No. And you can run your country the same way. We're not going to put up with that. So don't do it. And people understand that filth, graffiti. Paris, one of my favorite cities, New York, one of my favorite cities, are filthy. And part of the reason they're filthy is because people spray paint obscenities on buildings and no one cleans it up. So that encourages more people to do the same. And our policymakers, for some reason, don't notice this. London, another one of my favorite cities.


You see english girls begging for drugs on the sidewalk. And I thought to myself, if I'm Boris Johnson, who briefly and very badly ran that country, I would ask myself, like, wait a second. My countrymen are begging for drugs on the street. Maybe I should do something about that. But now he'll show up and give some speech about Ukraine and how we need to know more. Cluster bombs to the braze Ukraine. What are you doing?


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You mentioned Ukraine by talking to this gentleman, President Putin, for this lengthy interview. My question is, did you had coffee with him? Did you have any off the record discussion before the interview?




Did you feel during the interview or before or after that this man can make or is willing to do a historical compromise? Number one, on the status of the world with the west, and number two, about Ukraine. Is he a compromiser? Yes or no?


Of course, right? I mean, the leaders of every country on the planet, other than maybe the United States during the unipolar period, are forced by the nature of their jobs to compromise. Compromise is part of, that's what diplomacy is, and he's among those. His position is clearly hardening. Russia has been rebuffed by the West. I mean, Vladimir Putin. I'm not flacking for Putin. I'm an American. I'm not going to live in Russia. I don't love Vladimir Putin. I'm stating the facts. He asked Bill Clinton to join NATO. He tried to make a missile deal.


He mentioned this in the interview. That's correct.


And he's mentioned it in other forums as well. And NATO said, no, we don't want you. Now, if the point of NATO, not if the point of NATO originally, of course, the post war goal of NATO was to keep the Russians, the Soviets, from coming into western Europe. It was a bulwark against the Russians. So if the Russians asked you to join the alliance, that would suggest you have solved the problem and you can move on to do something constructive with your life. But we refused. And so, I mean, just meditate on that. Go sit in the sauna for an hour and think about what that means.


Before sitting in the sauna. A question. A question. Now, final conclusion. You think that Vladimir Putin is eager for a compromise? Like Chialta Saikisbiko, the otoman empire. Sever agreements, any international agreement to share power and to share influence in the world with the west. If there is somebody who is willing. And Biden administration wants tension, wants war, want to exert pressure on him so that they can weaken his economy and weaken his alliance with China. Is this is what you are reaching from, your conclusions?


My conclusions are in Coit. I mean, I've been thinking about this for a couple of years. I have a whole new set of data to maul over, and I'm not a genius, so it's going to take me a while to figure out what I think. But at this stage, four days later, I would say, first of all, yalta and Sykes Pico are two of the worst agreements ever struck. So I hope whatever comes out of this is nothing like those. But first things first. Putin wants to get out of this war. He's not going to become more open to negotiation the longer this goes on. One of the things we've learned in the course of the last two years is that Russia's industrial capacity is a lot more profound than we thought it was. Russia's having an Russia. This country, we were assured, was a gas station. With nuclear weapons has a pretty easy time making missiles, rockets and artillery shells, whereas NATO doesn't. So we should think about what that means. One, two, the west doesn't spend any time, or our policymakers in Washington spend no time thinking about what are the achievable goals here.


I have heard personally, us government officials say, well, we're just going to have to return Crimea to Ukraine. Well, you don't need to be a russian scholar. That's not going to happen. Short of a nuclear war. That's insane, actually. So even to say something like that reveals that you're a child. You don't understand the area at all, and you have no real sense of what's possible. And so as long as our leaders, and not simply in the US, but NATO, and I really mean Germany, don't take the time to learn about what's possible, we're not going to get anywhere.


You think there is a big gap between the depth of understanding the philosophy of history, between Biden and between Putin. You see Putin, who have studied history and who is very deep in history, and he looks like he gave you a lecture for 30 minutes concerning the history of Ukraine and its relationship with the mother Russia. Does Biden understand the law of action and reaction which moves a country like Russia?


I can't overstate how incapacitated Joe Biden is. That's not an attack. That is a fact. And anyone who tells you otherwise is lying. So these are not decisions Joe Biden is making, but there are capable people around Biden, and I know them. What they lack is any perspective at all. So a conversation with a us policymaker about the history of the region would begin and end with a conversation about, of course, Chamberlain and Churchill and Hitler period. So the american policymaker historical Template is tiny. In fact, there's only one. And it's a two year period in the late 1930s, and everything is based on that understanding of history and human nature, and that's insane. And so, actually, american policymakers have convinced themselves that Vladimir Putin is going to take over Poland. And it is not a defense of Putin. I don't mean to defend Putin. I'm not a fan of Putin's, and I'm not a subject of Putin's. I'm an American. However, there's no evidence that Putin has any interest in expanding his borders. He is the largest country in the world, and it's very hard to run. They don't need natural resources. There's nothing in Poland he wants.


There's nothing he will gain by taking Poland other than more trouble. If you're saying that he's going to invade Poland, you don't know what you're talking about.


Here is a point in the interview when you asked him, are you ready to invade Poland?


Are you an expansionist?


Expansionist? Yes. In Poland, he said, only if Poland launched a war, of course, on Russia. Okay. Ukraine did not launch a war on Russia, and he invaded Ukraine. Why you didn't follow up on this question?


I started with that question, actually, but he treated me to 35 minutes of Catherine the Great. Okay, and the ruse. But no, the core question is why did he move his forces into eastern Ukraine? And I watched this from a disadvantage in the United States, and I watched the vice president of the United States, Kamala Harris, go to the Munich security conference just days before that, in February of 2022, and say in a public forum at a press conference to Zelensky, the president of Ukraine, we want you to join NATO. Which is another way of saying it's a synonym for we plan to put nuclear weapons on Russia.


You think they're joking?


Of course they did. And it just tells you how constipated and restricted and censored the US media landscape is that I was the only one who said that. Well, wait a second. The purpose of diplomacy is to reach a peaceful, mutually, one hopes, beneficial conclusion to a crisis. So if you're showing up voluntarily at the Munich security conference and saying, hey, Zelensky, why don't you allow us to put nuclear weapons on Russia's border? You're cruising for a war, because, you know that's the red line, because Putin has said that and any close observer, the area already knows.


Now, do you have an explanation, a reasonable explanation, why there is this anti war and this very negative remarks about this interview from a lot of your colleagues and a lot of politicians in the world?


One of the ways that I think I'm different is I don't like the Internet, and I haven't seen any of the reaction. And I would imagine I'm not the most popular person among my colleagues in the United States. I wouldn't have dinner with them anyway. So it's no great loss. But I can't imagine what their motives would be. I didn't go to Russia, of course, to promote Vladimir Putin. And if that was my purpose, I'd say so because I'm not embarrassed. I went because I felt that most Americans in whose name all of this is being done don't really know what's happening, and they know nothing about the guy. They're supposedly at war with unofficially. And I just felt that my job, if I have a job in this world, it's to bring information to people so they can decide. And so I wanted to the longest interview I could with Vladimir Putin that contained the most amount of Vladimir Putin talking, not me. Grandstanding about what a great person I am. When an american journalist interviews someone like Vladimir Putin, the whole point of the interview was to say, I'm a good person and you're not.


And that interview was aimed at his colleagues in the newsrooms in the United States. I'm a good person. Why are you such a bad person? You're committing genocide. Okay? That's not fruitful, and that's certainly not my role. I care what God thinks of me, what my wife thinks of me, and what my four children think of me, and that's all I care about. So I don't need to prove that I'm a good person. I want to hear Vladimir Putin talk so people in my country can assess what's happening.


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I'll use the devil's advocate, but advocate away. Yes, okay. I'll tell you, you should challenge in the rules of an interview, and you're a master in your business. It's not for me to give you a lecture about that. But you should challenge some ideas. For instance, you didn't talk about freedom of speech in Russia. You did not talk about Navalny, about assassinations, about restrictions on opposition in the coming elections.


I didn't talk about the things that every other american media outlet talks about.




Yes, because those are covered. And because I have spent my life talking to people who run countries in various countries, and have concluded the following, that every leader kills people, including my leader. Every leader kills people. Some kill more than others. Leadership requires killing people. Sorry. That's why I wouldn't want to be a leader. That press restriction is universal in the United States. I know because I've lived it. Ask my former I've had a lot of jobs and I've done this for 34 years. And I know how it works. And there's more censorship in Russia than there is in the United States. But there's a great deal in the United States. And so at a certain point, it's like people can decide whether they think what countries they think are better, what systems they think are better. I just want to know what he thinks. That was the whole point.


Yes. I was very surprised about an unappropriate remark. I don't think it contains any of the, what you can call jaunties or niceties from Mrs. Clinton when she mentioned a phrase about you. I don't want to repeat it.


Oh, you're not going to hurt my feelings. Don't worry.


Well, gentlemen, she called this gentleman, this honorable gentleman that he is playing the role of. You see it?


I didn't see it.


You didn't?


She's a child. I don't listen to her. How's libia doing?


No. Okay. She said the useful idiot. And if you see the interview, that has nothing to do with this at all. He was trying to get testimony about the world as Putin sees it. And this is exactly what we need to know, how this man thinks. Either you consider him an enemy or you consider him a friend or you consider him a dictator, but you should understand how the man thinks.


Now, the question, you put it better than I could. You just described my motive right there.


Okay, sir. Now, the question is if that is that, as they say in the United States, and this is the power of media, and the way the media is becoming very biased in a deep state like America, where are we going? In the model of democracy in the.


World, media information in a free country is a counterbalance against entrenched power. Not just government power, but the economic power business in my country, constitutionally, it is designed to serve as a counterbalance to that. So if sources of information, media outlets, align with entrenched power, then you have a powerless population, and it's totalitarian. And that is very quickly the direction the United States is headed. And I do think that technology abets this progression and machine learning especially. And so it's a perilous moment. We're a democracy, purportedly, and a prerequisite for democracy is information so that the electorate can make up its mind and decide who to choose. And so if you don't have access to information, you don't have democracy. And we're in this sort of weird spiral where our leaders lecture us ever more about democracy and how sacred it is, even as they choke it off, choke it to death. And so I think the people who provide information, who bring the facts to the public, have a critical role to play. And right now, it's difficult. I'm not facing any great. I don't mean to cast myself as a hero. I'm certainly not a hero at all.


But I do think it's tougher and tougher to do that, and that means we have a greater obligation to do it.


Sir, do you have an explanation? Till this moment, since the Gaza events took place, till now, nobody came out and said how on earth the United States of America is vetoing the stoppage of fire, how a country would veto not to continue war, how somebody is against stopping a war.


The United States is, for this moment, is the most powerful country in the history of the world. So if you were to frame this in terms we're all familiar with, which are the most basic terms, the terms of the family, the United States would be dad. It would be the father. And the father's sacred obligation is to protect his family and to restore peace with thin his walls. So if I come home, I have four children, if I come home from work and two of my kids are fighting, what's the first thing I do? Even before I assess why they're fighting, before I gather the facts and know.


What'S happening, I stop the fight.


Stop fighting.




So if I come home and I have two kids fighting, and I say, go, go beat the crap out of them, I am evil because I've violated the most basic duty of fatherhood, which is to bring peace. Because I have the power. I'm the only one who can bring peace. And so if you see a nation with awesome power abetting war for its own sake, you have a leadership that has no moral authority, that is illegitimate. And I mean that too. I'm not even referring to any specific region or conflict. I mean generally. And I'm deeply offended by that. Deeply. And it's something that I try to express, and I'm often called a traitor for saying that. It's the opposite. I say that because I believe in the United States. I think it has been a morally superior country. And if we allow our leaders to use our power to spread destruction for its own sake, that is shameful. It's a binary, okay? It's a black and white. It's a zero to one. You are either creating or you're destroying, you're improving or you're degrading. And that's how you know whether something is good or bad, whether it's virtuous or evil.


If you just judge the fruits by its fruits, you will know it. And I'm very distressed and concerned that we are entering an era where this awesome force for good is instead being used for evil.


Two quick questions, because I ran out of time. First question is now, in the american elections, we have probabilities. Either it's Biden and Trump or Biden and somebody else, not Trump or no Biden and no Trump. And circumstances or fate get us two different people representing Republican or Democrats. What do you think? Where are we going to reach coming 19 November? Who will be running the show?


Honestly, I haven't the faintest idea. But I think there's volatility ahead in our political sphere. Clearly there is, because I like you.


When you said I don't have an idea. You have this courage of to say that you don't know. You were telling me this morning that what one of the things which you like very much about here. Our president, Sheik Mohammed bin Zayed, God bless him, when you ask him a question, if he doesn't have an answer, he tell me. Actually, I don't know the answer of this question.


I've never heard a leader of anything, whether it's a country or a company or a soccer team, ever in my life. In a lifespan interviewing people, I've never heard a single one of them say, you know, I don't know the answer. It's very complicated. I haven't figured it out. I've never heard anybody say that. And to me, that is the purest sign of wisdom, because wisdom grows from humility. Wisdom grows from the recognition that you are not God. And in the United States, we had a period where we were sort of having this debate about, are some religions good and some religions bad? I'll tell you my view on it. And it's a hardened view. It's a sincere view. I divide the world, not between Muslim, Jew and Christian or Buddhist. I divide the world between people who believe they're God and people who know they're not. And the only people I trust are in the second category, because that is the beginning of wisdom. When you know you are not God, that you cannot affect every change that you want, that you can't foresee the future, that you're not omnipotent, then you are much more likely to make good decisions, wise, humane decisions.


By contrast, when you believe you have the power to shape the world and other people, as we were hearing this morning through biohacking, when you think you can create a better human being through technology, you're very dangerous because you don't understand your own limits. You will get a lot of people killed when you have those false beliefs.


In my opinion, by this note, Mr. Carlson, thank you very much for giving us this chance to come for the first time after your great interview, to talk to the world through this podium and this country and my humble self. Thank you, sir.


Thank you for having me.