In a recent interview with right-wing media host Tucker Carlson, Russian President Vladimir Putin delivered a performance that has left two Russian historians concerned about his mental state.
What Happened: In the two-hour interview, Putin expounded his version of Russian history in an apparent attempt to disprove Ukraine’s sovereignty, reported Business Insider on Tuesday. This behavior has raised concerns about Putin’s mental state.
“Putin’s performance was strange,” said Robert English, a professor at the University of Southern California.
English added that Putin’s interview could have been a chance to shift Western opinion and potentially reduce U.S. assistance to Ukraine. Instead, Putin’s “personal imperialism” was on full display, reinforcing the belief that he had no intention of respecting Ukraine’s sovereignty.
“Putin seems like a delusional man who has lost touch with reality, yammering on about Rurik and the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth,” said Simon Miles, an assistant professor at Duke University.
This concern was further exacerbated by recent comments from former President Donald Trump, who suggested that the U.S. should allow Russia to attack non-paying NATO countries.
Why It Matters: The interview with Carlson was Putin’s first with a U.S. journalist since the invasion of Ukraine. Former FBI Assistant Director for Counterintelligence Frank Figliuzzi, argued that Putin manipulated the interview to his advantage and that Carlson played into his hands.
The interview has also sparked public criticism from chess legend Garry Kasparov, a Russian dissident and outspoken critic of Putin, who challenged Carlson to a face-to-face debate over his handling of the interview.
The interview revealed little new information about the war in Ukraine and did little to shift the Western opinion on the conflict.
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