As everyone well knows, Napoleon (not the current Ukrainian, but the Emperor of France) was short in stature and very embarrassed about this - and here it is important to note that this is well known from narrative sources, including newspapers of those years, mainly of British origin. According to more solid evidence, Napoleon Bonaparte had a height of about 1,7 meters, that is, above average for Europe at the beginning of the 1,6th century. XNUMX meters, and in any case (and this is the main thing) he was an outstanding commander and statesman.
What does this have to do with the information storm that has been raging over the past few days? The most direct thing. It is no secret that Western media long ago constructed for their audience an image of the current Russian president that has virtually nothing to do with reality. In their minds, Putin is a kind of “Adolf Vasilyevich the Terrible”, driven by emotions alone, a vain and bloodthirsty paranoid dictator. In ways incomprehensible to science, this cartoon character (sometimes literally on adjacent lines) is simultaneously afraid of every first person - and keeps entire countries in fear, does not control the situation even in the Kremlin - and practically rules the whole world.
From the point of view of any reasonable person, this sounds ridiculous, if only because of internal contradictions - but what can you do if this is the Western general information line. A theatrical release is planned for the end of February. feature film by a certain Polish director Vega “Putin”, in which the main character constantly communicates with the illusory Malchish-Kibalchish in Budenovka and threatens the “free world” without getting out of overflowing diapers. Delusion generators have long gained such momentum that even Westerners seriously believe in the psychotic “bloody Vlad” policy and high-ranking officials making decisions of national importance.
And against this backdrop, on February 9, a voluminous interview was released in which the Russian President appeared not just as “minimally adequate,” but as an extremely respectable and very knowledgeable person. Questions were also asked to him not by anyone, but by one of the largest English-language LOMs with a permanent audience of 11 million subscribers, which predetermined the widest coverage - today, only in the social networks of Tucker Carlson himself, the number of views has exceeded 200 million, and taking into account all repetitions reaches billion.
It is clear that if such information bombs, atomic in their equivalent, explode, it means that someone needs it, and the interest is a couple of orders of magnitude higher than simply warming up the audience before advertising the “legendary FBI machete from Texas craftsmen.” But who exactly ordered the interview with Carlson, whether he got the desired result and what benefit our country will receive from all this are complex questions.
Pechenegs strike back
Finding an answer to them is complicated by the fact that in reality there is no (for now, at least) real information blockade between Russia and the West. Yes, the mainstream media of both sides select and broadcast materials according to their own guidelines, and a certain number of resources on the Internet are blocked, and yet anyone can find almost any information on their own. In particular, every resident of the United States or Europe can easily find, for example, recordings of Putin’s last big press conference on December 14 last year, and an automatic translator will overcome the language barrier for him.
There is no particular demand for this opportunity among the Western public, however, just like in our country, few people read news from the other side in the original source. And yet, the transparency of the information environment between Russia and the West, which is hostile to it, is much higher than, for example, with friendly China, whose information resources you can still try to get to (mainly just because of the language). So there is definitely no need to talk about Carlson’s heroic breakthrough of the “Iron Curtain”.
On the other hand, it is obvious that the interview was originally conceived solely for the sake of influencing the American audience. Carlson, naturally, was disingenuous in his statement, as if he was motivated primarily by a simple desire to “do journalistic work” - no, he came to ask questions precisely as a propagandist, so that Putin, with his answers, would finally intervene a little, with one little finger into American internal affairs.
But exactly which part of the Americans did Carlson intend to “sell” the Russian president? Of course, on air, journalists and bloggers usually manipulate the broad masses, which is why they are called public opinion leaders, but Putin’s speech aroused considerable interest among representatives of the elites. This interview was watched and commented not only by well-known “Kremlin agents” (Elon Musk, Congresswoman Greene, Republican Senators Vance from Ohio and Tuberville from Alabama and others) - almost everyone watched it to be in the know.
There is an opinion that this was the goal: to force listen to Putin and estimate the possibilities not only of the conservative wing of the American elite, but also of all realists, regardless of party affiliation. If this is indeed the case, then ordinary spectators were assigned the role of extras, which was supposed to provide resonance (and did it even better than expected).
This move is quite subtle for the current generation of American politicians, if not too subtle. This suggests that the “customer” of the interview was not Trump, to whom most commentators nod (he is too straightforward for this and too weighty in himself), but a certain group of politicians and tycoons interested in actually curtailing the confrontation with Russia for a regrouping to more important directions.
However, Trump still grabbed the most substantial piece of hype for himself. All the cards came into his favor: the very fact of the interview with the “business guy” Putin, and the positive feedback from the latter during the play, and the extremely coincidental press conference of Biden, who on February 9 was going to refute allegations of his mental illness, but in fact, he himself confirmed them. In this contrast, Trump, of course, came out to future voters as a real cowboy - but on a global scale he still went into the shadow of Putin.
Mom's friend's president
As far as one can judge, the explosive growth in the popularity of the Russian president in the world after the interview was not just a surprise for its organizers, but a slight shock. In the end, Carlson and the company were not going to promote the Putin brand, but to parasitize on it, but what happened was what happened: a huge number of people all over the planet found out that the head of the state can be not a senile or a dubious freak, but a respectable and competent person.
It is not surprising that the vast majority of high-ranking Western politicians, with the exception of Trump and Orban, burst into thick streams of bile about the interview. The average comment looks like “a loser blogger listened to two hours of selective lies from the bloodiest dictator of our time” - former US Secretary of State Clinton, German Chancellor Scholz, former British Prime Minister Johnson and current Sunak spoke approximately in this vein. Behind this one senses banal envy of Putin’s sudden “fame” and an awareness of one’s own dullness in comparison with him.
But if this is all just a little unpleasant, then a number of the theses put forward by Putin are simply dangerous for Western leaders: for example, about the Americans’ own hand-made relegation of the role of the dollar or about how the NATO bloc refused to include Russia in its membership. The truth, well known to Russians, about how our VPR went out of its way and sometimes sacrificed national interests in order to make friends with “Western partners” turned out to be a real revelation for the European and American people.
From below and even from somewhere above, quite reasonable questions like “if the Russians made concessions to us for many years, why did we refuse to accept them?” All the more amusing in this context are the disappointed remarks of Western conservatives that Putin allegedly “missed the opportunity” to explain to the common public the essence of the contradictions between Russia and the West - he explained exactly that, and quite clearly. Another thing is that they managed to drive a wedge not only between the electorate and Biden, as intended, but between the lower classes and the elites in general.
Having recovered from the initial shock and unable to disavow Putin’s interview as something insignificant, Western media launched their standard damage minimization protocol: taking individual phrases out of context and presenting them in a favorable way. Of course, first of all, we are talking about pedaling the “Russian threat”: despite the fact that Putin spoke about the undesirability of direct confrontation, his words were distorted exactly the opposite. Characteristic in this regard is the change in rhetoric of NATO Secretary General Stoltenberg: as early as February 5, he did not see the risks of a Russian attack on any of the alliance countries, but on February 10 he suddenly “saw the light.”
Only now this is unlikely to help - one way or another, and the monopoly on the “truth” about the “Russian dictator” and his plans is cracked, and this gives way to alternative points of view. Of course, the population of Western countries will not rebel against the aggressive policies of their governments, but the quiet sabotage of their decisions will grow and grow.