By Cynthia Chung, Through a Glass darkly.
February 10, 2024.
Something somewhat historical happened just two days ago, though it is unclear how many Americans will understand its significance…
Tucker Carlson traveled to Moscow for a 2 hour, unedited, unfiltered, interview with President Putin.
This is already unprecedented.
It is unprecedented in that several million Americans will be actually listening to President Putin expressing his thoughts (not to mention several millions more of the western world).
Let us be honest with ourselves here, most Americans have not actually heard President Putin speak a full thought. Rather the internet is bombarded with diluted and villainized impressions – with no shortage of unflattering photos taken of him in mid-speech like this is to serve as some sort of replacement for actually listening to what he has to say.
The majority of Americans have a bit of a bad habit of desiring to make quick judgements and impressions of things without taking too much time to understand what it is they are looking at. The whole world looks at Americans this way, as a fast consumerist society that treats its politics not too differently from its fast food choices. If Americans do not like this characterization of themselves, then the best way to counteract this is to actually have the attention span to watch this interview and engage in a serious discussion about it. Since what President Putin thinks, whether Americans like it or not, clearly also affects the welfare of American lives at this point, let alone the economy of the United States.
Vladimir Putin has been the president of Russia for 19+ years. (From December 31, 1999-May 7, 2000. From May 7, 2000- May 7, 2008. And from May 7, 2012 until the present.) FYI he was Prime Minister of Russia for four years from 2008-2012. Thus, it is a little ridiculous that most Americans in fact know very little about how President Putin actually thinks, and what his intentions are for Russia and her relationship to the rest of the world, when he in fact frequently goes out of his way to make his thoughts as clear as possible with numerous speeches, that are translated and transcribed into English, such as the yearly Valdai Conferences, where he is known to spend hours answering questions from the Russian public and even questions from abroad.
In fact, it was quite something to hear a leader of a country speak about his interactions with several Presidents of America, which had crossed over five U.S. Presidents (Bill Clinton, George Bush Jr., Barack Obama, Donald Trump and Joe Biden) and covers a period of eight U.S. presidential terms. This should already give people in the room the feeling of being in the presence of someone who has a wealth of experience.
And it is no surprise that there is now a blitzkrieg of quickie news reports intended for those who have not yet watched this 2 hour discussion and in a swarm of panic are clearly meant as a desperate deterrence, warning Americans to “not even waste your time” on listening to the “barbarian” attempting to share his perspective with the “civilized” western world. “Nothing to see here folks, really!” Anything he says are just a bunch of lies…right?
The fact that President Putin started the interview asking Tucker “Are we having a talk show or a serious conversation?” was a clear setting of the tone so to speak. It was a clear intervention on the typical manner that American news reporting occurs, which are in 2-5 min sound bites. Part of the reason why this is counter-productive to real understanding is due to the simple fact that history cannot be explained in 2-5 min sound bites. Hundreds of books are written on these subjects but we can’t hear the president of Russia say a few paragraphs?
And the other reason why it is counter-productive is because it can be used to frequently change the subject which dissuades the audience from sitting and reflecting on a thought. In fact President Putin on several occasions, despite talking several minutes to answer a question, would often respond to Tucker, after his interruption with another question on a completely different subject, that he was not yet done answering the question.
This method of discussion is not President Putin being “tyrannical” or “not used to being questioned about his reasons for doing things,” it is in fact the manner in which a truly civilized person responsibly discusses subjects that will affect the lives of billions of people on this planet. Why would we think that such large questions deserve such small answers in the first place?
After all, despite a great deal of lack of respect coming from Americans towards President Putin’s leadership, the stark reality is that what Russia decides and how it chooses its relationships are now major game changers for how the world economy will function and thus Russia does have a global voice, and it is a voice that we would do well to at least take the time to listen to in this one interview, for our future is no longer disconnected from the future of Russia.
It is for this reason that I decided to do an overview of President Putin’s discussion with Carlson in case anyone got lost in the long responses, which were in fact full of important historical lessons.
The full transcript and video of the interview can be found on the Russian Kremlin website.
President Putin begins with a history lesson of how the Russian state was created, which included the region of Kiev over 1000 years ago. Obviously if we were to talk about the merits of today’s U.S. borders, including its possession of Puerto Rico and Hawaii, we would expect there to be some degree of history to explain how such things came to be and why, at least from an American point of view, those regional possessions are justified.
However, what stands in stark contrast to what Putin is outlining here vs. the very existence of the United States which was, whether we like it or not, formed at the expense of the indigenous peoples who were already living there – in stark contrast to this large elephant in the room, Putin is actually outlining a Russian history with Ukraine (which was originally Russian until relatively recently) that dates back over 1000 YEARS!
Let’s think about this a little more shall we? President Putin was actually given a bit of a hard time even from Tucker Carlson for this long account of Russian history with the region that is known as Ukraine today, but in reality has only come recently into existence through artificial means (we will get into why this is shortly).
So, unlike the American territories, Ukraine was originally Russian over 1000 years ago and has continued to have a strong Russian identity, culture and language TO THIS DAY, with about 1/3 of the Ukrainian population speaking predominantly Russian.
Whereas the United States was founded not just at the expense of the indigenous peoples already living there, but would also later commit a genocide against the indigenous peoples in the 19th century! I am not saying here that the founding of America was all bad, but what has been the overall conduct of the American government and its people against the indigenous peoples is not something one can simply pardon themselves of as if such actions were justified. The matter is indeed very complicated, for those who wish to know more about the British and Scottish Rite manipulations of the situation, they can refer here .
But, suffice to say, it is still a general American failure that a genocide along with concentration camps otherwise known as reservations were committed and implemented against the indigenous peoples without too much opposition from the American people. There needs to be at least a public acknowledgment of this wrongdoing.
This is the supreme irony of the United States who has made incessantly loud and bombastic interferences with the relationship between Russia and Ukraine, and yet cannot even justify its own existence using the same black and white standard it is applying to Russia.
Just to be clear here, this subject of the indigenous peoples is not what President Putin mentioned in his discussion with Carlson. However, this is a point that has been made numerous times by the Russian government and its PR and press and is a view that has been frequently brought up and is largely shared by the non-western world (which amounts to over 70% of the world’s population at this point).
And most importantly, it is a VALID point.
Back to President Putin’s discussion with Carlson – President Putin makes the point that by the 9th century, Kievan Rus’ began to develop two centers of power, Kiev and Novgorod.
Today’s Belarus, Russia and Ukraine all recognize the people of Kievan Rus’, which was ruled by the Rurik Dynasty, as their cultural ancestors. [Kievan Rus existed from 880 to 1240.]
The next point is especially important, if not for Americans, for Russians and Ukrainians alike.
President Putin states: “The next, very significant date in the history of Russia, was 988. This was the Baptism of Russia, when Prince Vladimir, the great-grandson of Rurik, baptized Russia and adopted Orthodoxy, or Eastern Christianity. From this time the centralized Russian state began to strengthen. Why? Because of a single territory, integrated economic ties, one and the same language and, after the Baptism of Russia, the same faith and rule of the Prince. The centralized Russian state began to take shape.”
Prince Vladimir is known as Vladimir the Great and ruled as the Prince of Novgorod and Grand Prince of Kiev. It was Vladimir the Great who united the two centers of power, Kiev and Novgorod under a unified leadership. It is very significant that it is Vladimir the Great who adopted Orthodox/Eastern Christianity and baptised Russia since he is also recognized by the Ukrainian government and the Ukrainian people today as their great ancestral leader, whom they call Volodymyr the Great.
In fact, the far-right Ukrainian nationalists, use the symbol of the trident, also known as the tryzub, to signify the great reign of Volodymyr the Great from 1000 years ago.
For the far-right Ukrainian nationalists, Volodymyr the Great signifies the Golden Age of the pure Ukrainian race to which they aspire to return to and to which they believe they can achieve through ethnic cleansing. For more on this refer to my paper “How the Ukrainian Nationalist Movement Post-WWII was Bought and Paid for by the CIA”.
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