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The thin line between information and propaganda: Tucker Carlson’s interview with Vladimir Putin

Listen now to the “Coopernicus Debate” – a discussion devoted to the interview with Vladimir Putin [LINK]

It was on 6 February 2024 that Tucker Carlson, a famous American political commentator and a former Fox News show host, informed wider audiences about his visit to Moscow. The reason for said visit? Conducting an interview with Vladimir Putin, who has not spoken to a western journalist since the beginning of the war and remains a pariah to this day. Instantaneously, the soon-to-take-place interview became the subject of heated debates among social media users and politicians alike. Given the conflict and the ever-rising tensions between Russia and Western countries, many were worried that the interview would only serve as a platform for spreading propaganda. On the other hand, some people thought it was only right to give the other side of the conflict an opportunity to voice its opinions. As it turned out, the line between information and propaganda is as thin as it’s ever been.

Making history anew

Surprisingly, instead of directly touching upon current political affairs, the interview starts with Vladimir Putin conducting a rather lengthy lecture on the history of Russian-Ukrainian relations – or rather his vision thereof [1]. Even though Putin’s dilatation may seem irrelevant at first, that is not the case. Clearly, the speech was supposed to serve as a rationalization of the conflict that started on 24 February 2022. Since Putin’s speech is biased, full of misleading arguments and lacking in much-needed context, it was evidently prepared in a way that would arouse understanding, if not support for the Russian invasion among some parts of the Western audience. Vladimir Putin paints a picture of Russia as a historically victimized, deceived and misunderstood country that must therefore stand up for its own safety. Moreover, he creates an image of Ukrainians as part of a historically homogenous Russian nation, both in terms of faith and language, that was driven away from Moscow by foreign influence. Culprits in question? The United States, Austria under the Habsburg dynasty and… Poland. One might even arrive at the conclusion that Russia – surely from Putin’s standpoint – is in fact the attacked one and is only trying to rectify historical mistakes that wronged her.

Since said interview has so far garnered almost 200 million views on X only, Putin’s reasoning may undoubtedly find understanding in the hearts of many people unaware of the reality behind historical events that the Russian president is referring to in the interview. The ball is therefore in the court of historians and politicians to raise public awareness on the erroneous remarks made by Vladimir Putin.

A swift response

Thankfully, within days since the infamous interview was made public, specialists in the relevant fields such as history and international affairs began debunking statements made by the Russian head of state. The Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a statement highlighting the misguided nature of Putin’s arguments, going as far as calling them outright lies [2]. The statement contains refutations related to, among others, supposed coup d’etats and NATO bases in Ukraine, the artificial invention of the Ukrainian nation and the subsequent detachment thereof from its Russian core, as well as Putin’s opinion that Russia is simply trying to regain the land that was historically its rightful property to begin with. 

Moreover, in his commentary to the afore-mentioned interview [3], Marek Menikszak, Head of the Russian Department at the Centre for Eastern Studies, touched upon the issue of the more contemporary reasoning behind the attempts to justify the invasion of Ukraine. In particular, he explained how Russian rhetoric regarding the supposed presence of Nazi paramilitary organizations in modern day Ukraine is nothing but a hoax that is supposed to legitimize the position of Russia as a peaceful country only trying to uphold order in the region and establish means to prevent any further escalations.

Furthermore, Putin’s remarks were also commented on by the Polish Institute of International Affairs personnel. In an interview with the Polish Radio [4], Prof. Agnieszka Legucka leaned into the subject of Putin’s assurances as to the preservation of peace in the region. The Russian president made sure to present himself as a peacemaker who was forced to stand up for his country and wouldn’t call for a single-sided invasion of Poland or the Baltic states. Prof. Legucka reminded that he had previously said the same about Ukraine and therefore cannot be trusted. From her point of view, the interview was nothing but a platform to spread propaganda, both for internal and external use. Vladimir Putin’s stance ensured that his image as a strong, cunning leader in the eyes of the Russian population will remain, whereas Russia itself will continue to be an important player in international affairs that cannot be sidelined indefinitely. As for the message sent to the international community, Prof. Legucka makes the case that it was mostly aimed at countries where internal dialogue regarding support for the Ukrainian war effort is taking place. The United States is a prime example of such a country, with appx. one in every third American thinks that their country has already given too much assistance to Ukraine [5]. Since Tucker Carlson has previously hinted at his personal questioning of the sense of halting the Russian aggression [6] and keeping in mind the upcoming presidential election in the United States, the timing of the interview with Vladimir Putin is more than interesting.


As it turns out, we need to be able to distinguish between information and propaganda. Social media has often served as a platform for spreading misinformation and shaping minds of the wider audience according to one’s needs. In terms of such practices, politicians are no different than any other content creator. The interview with Vladimir Putin proves that we need to become an informed and conscious society that is capable of facing external attempts at being manipulated. Otherwise, we will surely fall trap to the thin boundary that differentiates information from propaganda. 


[1] Vladimir, P. (2024). ‘The Vladimir Putin Interview’. Interviewed by Tucker Carlson. Tucker Carlson Network. 8 February. Available at:  (Accessed: 11 February 2024).

[2] Republic of Poland. Ministry of Foreign Affairs (2024). MFA statement on President Vladimir Putin’s 10 lies on Poland and Ukraine which were not rectifies by Tucker Carlson (interview of 8 February 2024). Available at: (Accessed: 11 February 2024)

[3] Centre for Eastern Studies (2024). Tucker Carlson i Władimir Putin. Komentarz do wywiadu. [Online video]. Available at:  (Accessed: 11 February 2024)

[4] Legucka A. (2024), as referenced in Polskie Radio 24, 9 February. Available at:,putin-deklaruje-ze-nie-zaatakuje-polski-prof-legucka-mowil-tez-ze-nie-napadnie-ukrainy  (Accessed: 11 February 2024)

[5] Cerda A., (2023), About half of Republicanbs now say the U.S. is providing too much aid to Ukraine, Pew Research Center. Avaialable at:,too%20much%20aid%20to%20Ukraine  (Accessed: 11 Februrary 2024)

Cover photography:

Mateusz Dąblowski
Written by:

Mateusz Dąblowski

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