In a video released online on Tuesday night, the US TV personality and former Fox News presenter said he was in Moscow to speak to Putin.
It’s a significant moment because the Kremlin has been clamping down on press freedoms ever since Putin initiated the war back in 2022.
Putin has not spoken to a US journalist since June 2021, and X – formerly Twitter, and the very same platform Carlson is promoting his interview on – is banned in Russia.
But Carlson claimed the West’s journalists have not even tried to interview the authoritarian leader in the last few years.
There are at least 19 journalists detained in Russia right now, including the WSJ reporter Evan Gershkovich, who has been held over espionage accusations since March last year.
Journalists who do not use Putin’s name for the invasion, the “special military operation”, and call it a war face time behind bars – even though the president himself has publicly admitted that it is a war on a handful of occasions.
In a video posted to X and on his subscripted-based streaming video service, Carlson said that interview will be coming “soon”, but offered no further details about when or where it would take place.
The Kremlin initially did not tell Reuters news agency if there was definitely an interview lined up or if the US personality had visited the Russian presidential administration.
But the Financial Times’ Max Seddon reported on Wednesday that the Kremlin had confirmed the interview.
According to Seddon, Moscow said Putin was happy to speak to Carlson because he is different from “traditional Anglo-Saxon media”.
In his four-minute video announcing the interview, Carlson said they were interviewing the authoritarian leader because “we’re in journalism” and “our duty is to inform people”.
He claimed: “Most Americans have no idea why Putin invaded Ukraine, and have never heard his voice. That’s wrong.”
He said it will be shot live and unedited, available to viewers on his personal website, free of charge.
Carlson claimed X CEO Elon Musk has also promised he will not suppress or block the interview on his platform.
Carlson then alleged: “Western governments, by contrast, will certainly do their best to censor this video on other less principled platforms because that’s what they do. They’re afraid of information they can’t control.”
Carlson is known for his right-wing views, for championing conspiracy theories and for expressing his own sympathies for Putin publicly.
He was fired from Fox News in 2023. He has since interviewed former US President Donald trump, Hungarian PM Viktor Orban and Argentine President Javier Milei on his own platform.
In his video, Carlson also accused US media publications of corruption for interviewing Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy, claiming doing so was “government propaganda”, because the US is backing Ukraine.
He even made baseless accusations that Biden’s government had tried to “stop a Putin interview that we were planned” three years ago.
It comes after the US host’s previous accusations that Zelenskyy is a “dictator” and “dangerous authoritarian”.
But, Carlson claimed he is also trying to get an interview with the Ukrainian president.
You can watch the full video here: