Carlson Presses Putin On US Reporter Imprisoned In Russia

Former Fox News Channel host Tucker Carlson released his much-hyped interview with Russian President Vladimir Putin on his website this week, and the two-hour discussion covered a number of important issues.

Carlson, who documented his journey to Russia ahead of the rare interview, saved perhaps his most confrontational query for last. He used the final minutes of the interview to advocate for the release of Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich, who was arrested nearly a year ago by Russian authorities while he covered events in the city of Yekaterinburg.

“I’m just going to ask you one last question and that’s about someone who’s very famous in the United States — probably not here,” Carlson began, asking Putin if he would, “as a sign of decency,” agree to release Gershkovich.

Putin, who agreed to a prisoner exchange in December 2022 that secured the release of WNBA player Britney Griner as well as a Russian arms dealer who had been behind bars in the U.S., insisted that his regime had no more goodwill left to offer America.

“We have never seen anyone reciprocate to us in a similar manner,” he claimed.

Nevertheless, Putin said that the Kremlin would not “rule out” the journalist’s release if certain demands are met.

While the Russian president continually described Gerschovich as a spy, Carlson took exception to the characterization.

“He’s a kid, and maybe he was breaking your law in some way, but he’s not a super spy and everybody knows that,” the interviewer said. “And he’s being held hostage in exchange, which is true, with respect. It’s true. And everybody knows it’s true. So maybe he’s in a different category. Maybe it’s not fair to ask for, you know, somebody else in exchange for letting him out. Maybe it degrades Russia to do that.”

The two men went back and forth for some time before Putin insisted that the ball was in America’s court.

“I do not rule out that the person you refer to, Mr. Gershkovich, may return to his motherland,” he concluded. “But at the end of the day, it does not make any sense to keep him in prison in Russia. We want the U.S. special services to think about how they can contribute to achieving the goals our special services are pursuing. We are ready to talk. Moreover, the talks are underway and there have been many successful examples of these talks crowned with success. Probably this is going to be crowned with success as well, but we have to come to an agreement.”

Carlson capped off the exchange with a final plea: “I hope you let him out.”