For Those Who Have Ears*

*Editor’s note: On March 4, 2022, Russia enacted a law that criminalizes public opposition to, or independent news reporting about, the war in Ukraine. The law makes it a crime to call the war a “war” rather than a “special military operation” on social media or in a news article or broadcast. The law is understood to penalize any language that “discredits” Russia’s use of its military in Ukraine, calls for sanctions or protests Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. It punishes anyone found to spread “false information” about the invasion with up to 15 years in prison.

Political analyst Alexander Vedrussov — on the external messages and inner meanings of Tucker Carlson’s interview with Vladimir Putin.

“This briefing is coming to an end. It might be boring, but it explains many things,” the president of Russia said to journalist Tucker Carlson after he subjected the American guest to a trip down the “tales of old” lane.

The landmark year 1654 alone, a milestone year for Russian-Ukrainian relations, is mentioned in the interview seven times. It’s also backed by a weighty folder of historical documents taken away by the American visitor — either as a gift or as homework. Something tells me that Bohdan Khmelnytsky’s letters, addressed to Russian Czar Alexei Mikhailovich, won’t really help Carlson and his audience figure out Moscow’s point of view toward the geopolitical circumstances of the 21st century. But that’s not that important.

The important thing is that the historical report from the far-away year 862 seemingly sends the West the same constant signal about Eastern Europe — “Leave it alone; this is an internal Slavic affair.” And this, as Alexander Pushkin said, “Ancient household strife, oft judged yet still unending,” began when the U.S. didn’t even exist. Even as an English colony. The president of Russia says quite directly that it would be beneficial for Washington to ponder the tragic fate of Rome. The greatest empire required several hundred years to tumble down from a “city on a hill” into the oblivion of history. It seems that Americans can tackle this task much more quickly. Only, unlike in the times of the Roman Empire, the self-proclaimed capital of the world won’t fall under the onslaught of barbarians, but rather, it will lose the battle against the rising civilization-states — the Chinese, Russian and Iranian ones.

By the way, this historical analogy will be right down the alley of that part of the Western audience that will have enough patience to listen to the interview to find these references to Ancient Rome. “How often do you think about the Roman Empire?” is one of the main trends of our time in American social media. I don’t think this factor was considered by the Russian president when he prepared for the interview; however, many of the Kremlin arguments really do meet a positive response among ordinary Americans. Back in August of last year, CNN found that 55% of U.S. citizens were against continuing support to Ukraine. The majority of them don’t even need additional explanations to realize that the new funds sent to corrupt Kyiv will only result in the aggravation of internal American problems and differences. They understand it quite clearly. And they are genuinely bewildered by the fact that the White House, Congress and the mainstream media are constantly trying to cram the idea into their heads about the necessity of risking a war with a nuclear state for a country that a regular American wouldn’t even be able to find on a map of the world.

It is to this potentially loyal Western audience that the interview by Carlson — a journalist who visited Moscow despite the avalanche of criticism and threats from the Washington-Brussels swamp — with the Russian president is addressed. Carlson is the representative of “the America we’ve lost.” And I believe there’s a certain danger lurking in it. By promoting peace-seeking messages to the West, it’s important for us not to fall victim to illusions of reconciliation. Many of us still believe that the November shift in the White House will allow us to restore a full-scale dialogue between Moscow and Washington. As if the second coming of Donald Trump, to which Carlson ideologically and politically adheres, is capable of piloting our relations out of their tailspin. This is a useless and even harmful fallacy.

It’s unlikely that something would dramatically change for us in the foreseeable future due to chair-switching and face-swapping in the White House. The Americans are what they are: pragmatic and cynical. We need to learn something from them. In other matters, they should be an instructive anti-example for us. And we certainly shouldn’t expect the American Empire, even bursting at its seams, to shed its exceptionalism. It won’t abandon its position along the borders of the civilization-states, growing in power. Our former Western partners will still draw quite a bit of our and our Eastern allies’ blood.

“I know, you’re clearly bitter about it,” Carlson shared his observations over the course of his interview with the Russian president.

Indeed, sometimes it seems we are still not over some kind of grudge from the failed alliance with the West. At one time, the Russian Federation was almost among the first states to leave the Soviet Union for that alliance. First, it dissolved the Warsaw Pact and the Council for Mutual Economic Assistance, and then the entire Soviet Empire itself. For what? To receive blows in our face whenever we ask to be accepted into the common Western family? Everyone knows that relations between post-Soviet Russia and the West were, as they say today, toxic and abusive. They had no serious prospects to grow into an equal alliance. The faster we overcome this psychological trauma and come to terms with the idea of the possible irreversibility of our relationship breakdown with the deteriorating West, the easier it will be for us to build relations with the resurgent East. And to protect our true sovereignty in this rapidly changing world. For me, this is the main inner meaning of American journalist Carlson’s interview with the Russian president.

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About Artem Belov 83 Articles
Artem Belov is a TESOL-certified English teacher and a freelance translator (Russian>English and English>Russian) based in Australia but currently traveling abroad. He is working on a number of projects, including game localization. You can reach him at

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