“Carlson's interview with Putin a failure for the Kremlin”: former collaborator Abbas Gallyamov speaks

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“Carlson's interview with Putin a failure for the Kremlin”: former collaborator Abbas Gallyamov speaks

War in Ukraine

Vladimir Putin's former collaborator, Abbas Gallyamov, comments to Fanpage.it on the interview given by the Tsar to the American journalist Tucker Carlson: “The operation will not convince anyone, because the former Fox News anchor is not credible. In Russia people laugh because an American had to be called to show that the president is still a true world leader.”

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The Kremlin's “Operation Carlson” has failed. Abroad, “given the lack of credibility of the interviewer and his questions, he only convinced those who already supported Putin .” And internally, “the mere fact of having to resort to an interview with a famous American to improve the agenda and flaunt pacifism will be taken with disenchanted irony by the Russians”.

Abbas Gallyamov has studied for many years to understand what the head of the Kremlin says is good and what is bad for him. From 2008 to 2010 he wrote its speeches. Now he is struck above all by “the sensational exposure of Carlson's incompetence and Putin's lies , left without cross-examination”, he told Fanpage.it , commenting on the interview of the American journalist Tucker Carlson with Vladimir Putin.

Some moments of the operation are actually comical. At one point, Putin says that the father of the President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky fought with the Nazis in World War II. Carlson, shut up. Too bad that Zelensky's father was born in 1947 and the war had ended a couple of years ago. Together with Nazi Germany.

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But perhaps the most “funny” passage is when Putin claims the right and the pleasure of making fun of the American by reminding him that he once wanted to join the CIA . Carslon, still silent. But his face was a storm of contrite emotion. Perhaps he did not know that the Kremlin held this not inconsiderable kompromat over him. Didn't he know that, before trusting someone, in Moscow they get all the information they can about him, and they keep the worst information close? “This whole operation has such a Soviet style. Including the desire to show the Americans that we know more than them”, Gallyamov comments to Fanpage.it .

Abbas Gallyamov.

Abbas Gallyamov.

In addition to nodding during a good 25-minute lesson on the history of Ukraine, revised and corrected by the head of the Kremlin and his court historians, the former Fox presenter managed to make Putin repeat that he wants nothing more than peace . On his terms. And that only the diabolical West, supplying weapons to Ukraine, pursues the continuation of the conflict. However, Carlson brought up one piece of news: Putin has implicitly recognized that he is no longer aiming for a military victory but for an agreement , to conclude his “special military operation”.

Is this enough to define the ineffable Tucker Carlson as a journalist? We don't know the answer. Let's just remember that Fox itself, before rudely firing him, declared in a court that its television shows “did not present real facts” and that the presenter used “exaggerations and comments that should not be taken literally” (Karen McDougal v. Fox case News, 24 September 2020).

For his part, Abbas Gallyamov has no doubts about Tucker Carlson's “journalism”. Fanpage.it spoke with the Russian political scientist on the phone from the Middle Eastern location where he lives after emigrating with his family for political reasons.

Was Carlson's interview with the president of Russia a knee-jerk interview?

Not on his knees. He practically polished the floor of the Kremlin .

But here's the news: Putin has said he wants an agreement with the West on Ukraine. He no longer aims for military victory. Not a bad scoop…

“Yes, but Putin didn't seem sincere . He didn't say it very clearly, given the conciliatory tone he gave to the whole interview. Because the war is becoming very unpopular in Russia (according to the latest poll by independent statistical institute Levada, at least 50% of the population would like peace immediately, ed .). Putin is trying to defuse the main threat he faces today.”

What threat?

“That the presidential elections in March become a referendum on war. He is afraid of becoming the “war candidate” and of getting fewer votes than he would like. His triumph must be total. He doesn't want to lose votes even to the candidates who chose himself personally. He wants to show that he is not a crazy warmonger, that he too is for peace, that he is not an extremist but a good person.”

And from this point of view will the interview have convinced the Russians?

“Putin only said things that the Russians have already heard. Propaganda repeats it to him every day on TV. So, the Russians ask themselves a question: why does Putin need an American journalist to give a message that has been given for months? On the one hand, someone will think that then we are not too marginal: a very famous person in the USA comes here to interview the president, so it means that Putin is still considered among the greats of world politics. And there is another consideration to make : the interview served to distract attention from the dominant agenda at home. The exclusion of Boris Nadezhdin from the elections. Everyone is talking about it and, even for those who are in favor of Putin, the general impression is that he is afraid to compete, that he doesn't want adversaries. And that he is the candidate of war, precisely. And before Nadezhdin, the exclusion of Duntsova was at the top of the agenda.”

And has the double objective of showing Russians that Putin is still considered a great leader and bringing him back to the “top of the agenda” been achieved?

“No, it's not back on the agenda. And people in Russia joke that with all our insistence on sovereignty we brought an American to Moscow to show how important Putin is. In fact, it's paradoxical. The prevailing feeling is irony about this operation.”

And from the point of view of external communication? The video of the interview has already been viewed dozens of times and according to some platforms even hundreds of millions of people around the world. If you were still working for Putin, would you consider “Operation Carlson” a success for the Kremlin?

“I would consider it a failure, actually.”

What do you mean, a failure?

“Because anyone who has the slightest interest in politics and is not a naked Trumpian can only be convinced once again by this media coup to believe that believing in Putin means having little respect for oneself. In this sense, the number of views has little value.”

But in the United States even someone who is not for Trump could give credence to such a popular character as Carlson, right?

“Carlson cannot be defined as an effective means of reaching the majority of Americans. The Kremlin should have found something better. Some new arguments in favor of Putin. Instead, in the interview he said things that have already been said. Without cross-examination.”

Perhaps the interview managed to bring a few more votes to Trump, if he can participate in the presidential elections in November. And this would also be very convenient for the Kremlin…

“The very fact that the interviewer never countered Putin's lies, that he never backed him into a corner, excludes any influence on American liberal opinion. I see that the reactions of the media, from the centrist ones to the more liberal, is completely negative. If anything, America emerges from this case with an ever-increasing conviction that Putin is not worthy of any trust.”

So in your opinion this interview will have no positive effect for the Kremlin? Not even on the Americans' attitude towards Putin?

“In general, to try to predict the effect of this interview it must be kept in mind that Carlson has been making propaganda for Putin for quite some time, justifying every action. Therefore, the effectiveness of his initiatives can also be assessed with polls. There are, for example, data from Pew Research relating to last May: when asked if they believed that Putin was capable of doing something to improve the world, 90% of Americans replied that no, he could not Gallup data for August give similar numbers: 5% approval rating among US citizens; 90% disapproval. The Kremlin must get over it.”

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