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Tucker Carlson and ‘Putin’s Rasputin’ Enter the US Living Room

Tucker Carlson and ‘Putin’s Rasputin’ Enter the US Living Room
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Former Fox News host Tucker Carlson released an interview with a Russian fascist ideologue, Alexander Dugin, on April 30, which was pre-recorded during his pilgrimage to Moscow to interview the Russian President Vladimir Putin. 

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The program did not disappoint. For Russia’s propagandists, it provided a successful entry into American living rooms. For Dugin’s many detractors, it was another confirmation of the madness that lies close to the heart of the Russian regime.

Sometimes described as “Putin’s Rasputin,” only partly because of his heavy beard, Dugin wholeheartedly supports Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and describes Ukrainians as a race of degenerates who crept up from sewers and deserve to be eliminated through genocide. Ukrainians should be “killed, killed, killed,” the self-described philosopher has suggested.

The interview followed the by-now established Carlson pattern, with an earnest-faced broadcaster, his face creased with concentration, respectfully giving his subject the opportunity to make his points without interruption.

Most journalists would have used this opportunity to question Dugin about his ties to and influence on Putin, as well as his justification of mass murder and any possible connection to the fate of his daughter, killed in a 2022 car bomb explosion that may also have been targeting him.

To the contrary, Carlson chose to stay away from Russian politics and instead allowed Dugin to rail against “the Anglo-Saxon world.” Without elaborating on Dugin’s genocidal views, Carlson simply noted: “His ideas are considered so dangerous, the Ukrainian government murdered his daughter, and Amazon won’t sell his books.” (Some of Dugin’s books and interviews are, in fact, available on Amazon.)

Russian propagandists have long dreamt of injecting their ideas and twisted rendition of history into the American mainstream, often remarking that Americans are stupid and uneducated enough to believe just about anything.

Head of RT Margarita Simonyan has repeatedly stressed that Moscow should recruit and utilize Western influencers to reach foreign audiences. Even after being ousted by Fox News, Carlson is delivering in spades, which encouraged Dugin into post-interview interviews on state media to celebrate his successful penetration of the Western mind. 

On his Telegram channel, Dugin boasted about 6 million views for his sit down with Carlson and even urged Russian authorities to unblock X (formerly Twitter) since it is now controlled by the “libertarian Elon Musk.” He expressed excitement about piercing the veil of the Western mainstream media, describing Carlson as “Journalist No. 1 in the world.”  

Dugin told Carlson that the West loathes Putin because of his “values,” and not because of his military aggression. “Given someone with nuclear weapons is standing strong defending traditional values that you’re going to abolish, I think they have some basis for this Russophobia and the hatred for Putin.” Nodding along, Tucker bemoaned the “very serious” hatred the West has for Putin.

Interviewed by Roman Golovanov on the Solovyov Live channel on April 30, in a segment entitled, “Tucker was told about the Army of the Antichrist,” the host began by stating, “We often frame our current confrontation with the West as a battle against the Army of the Antichrist. Were you able to get this through to him?”

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The American had come to learn and listen, instead of arriving with preconceived notions about right and wrong, Dugin said. He lamented the need to edit down what had been a long interview, so losing most of his philosophical musings.

The 61-year-old Russian claimed that Carlson had compared his interview with his earlier sit-down with Prime Minister of Hungary Viktor Orbán and praised both Dugin and Orbán as representatives of a culture and a civilization that is “much deeper” than that of the West. The interviewer’s reports from Moscow during his February trip included ruminations that Russian supermarkets were well-stocked and that Stalin’s metro system was free of graffiti.

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According to Dugin, Carlson complained about disappearing freedoms in the United States — although how much sympathy he got from a cheerleader for the totalitarian system is unclear. He also recounted Carlson’s claim that people like Putin and Dugin understand Westerners better than they (Westerners) understand themselves. 

It was disappointing that Americans have yet to concur with Putin’s view that they are part of a Satanist civilization and belong to a culture of the Antichrist. Nonetheless, he had noticed progress, with conservative Americans now “discovering” conservative Russia and thereby rethinking events in their own country. 

After Carlson’s flop of an interview with Putin, which led to widespread mockery in the US and the broader democratic West, and during which the Russian despot treated Carlson with open disrespect, the regime’s propagandists had complained of a failure in approach.

Simonyan vocally argued that Carlson had asked anything about “traditional values” — which may be the reason Dugin stepped in to fill that gap.

Golovanov rejoiced that thanks to Tucker, as he called him, Americans are discovering another side of Russia, as opposed to knowing only figures such as the late opposition leader Alexei Navalny, who was being killed at the Kremlin’s hands at about the same time as Carlson’s Putin interview.

Dugin told Golovanov he has a lot in common with the American broadcaster and claimed that both are victims of Western “cancel culture.” The host proceeded to quote another fellow propagandist, Sergey Mardan, who described Dugin as “Putin’s philosopher” and claimed that the volume of his works would put any American professor to shame. 

As for the big picture, Dugin wanted everyone to grasp, it’s all about Putin — as a visual embodiment of Russia, its tsar and ruler, who is preoccupied with the fate of the world and all humanity. 

The state propaganda machine’s enthusiasm for Carlson is undiminished. To mouthpieces like Golovanov, he represents the “white Christians” who are moving to Russia with their entire families in such numbers that the price of land in Russia would soon skyrocket, as Americans are joined by Canadians, French people, Italians, and Germans.

This is a vision Dugin does not share. He cautioned Golovanov against welcoming Westerners into Russia, stating that it would be better for them to stay in their own countries and “damage the Antichrist from within.” He reasoned that by moving from America to Russia, these families would simply augment the nearly universal pro-Putin vote and, therefore, make no difference.

According to Dugin, only by remaining in the United States could these people vote for someone like Donald Trump or Tucker Carlson, which would destroy the West from within and benefit Russia much more.

Julia Davis is a columnist for The Daily Beast and the creator of the Russian Media Monitor. She is a member of the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, the Screen Actors Guild, and Women In Film.

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Europe’s Edge is CEPA’s online journal covering critical topics on the foreign policy docket across Europe and North America. All opinions are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the position or views of the institutions they represent or the Center for European Policy Analysis.

Europe’s Edge

CEPA’s online journal covering critical topics on the foreign policy docket across Europe and North America.


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