Fyodor Lukyanov: Here’s the real reason why Tucker Carlson came to Moscow

Last night’s event was sensational, but what was the real motivation behind the Kremlin encounter?

A few years ago, Russia was accused of interfering in American political processes. Now the opposite has happened. US domestic politics is dragging the Russian factor – represented by President Vladimir Putin – into its own electoral process.

Journalist Tucker Carlson is a strongly ideological man who represents a certain political camp. He brought to Moscow a profound spirit of internal American confrontation. 

Carlson was probably personally curious to hear a lot of previously unknown things about our circumstances, but the goal wasn’t to learn or broaden horizons. The Putin interview was a challenge to the establishment in his home country. 

The aim was to break through the conventional narrative – supported by the mainstream media – so that an alternative can fill the breach.

Exactly what Putin was talking about is unimportant. The Russian president’s reputation makes him a powerful battering ram for Carlson. And the rest of the agenda, which is much more important to voters than Russia and Ukraine, is expected to follow him into the space they are trying to open up.

The basic idea is this – look where they (the Washington swamp) have led us. 

Whether it is good for Russia or not is debatable. Any involvement in other people’s quarrels can have various consequences. And not always the ones we might predict.

As far as we can tell, the Russian leadership has no intention or ambition to reshape America. Its goals here are more about influencing a specific issue.

Since it is impossible for the Kremlin to persuade their official counterparts across the ocean – no matter how many reasonable arguments are presented – the rational course is to contribute to their quarrels in the hope that these same opponents will delve deeper into their own problems.

Meanwhile, the world’s hypertrophied attention to this interview shows there are weaknesses and that the other side feels them.

Who turns out to be a useful idiot (that’s what Hillary Clinton has called Carlson) will be revealed a little later.

By Fyodor Lukyanov, the editor-in-chief of Russia in Global Affairs, chairman of the Presidium of the Council on Foreign and Defense Policy, and research director of the Valdai International Discussion Club.