Putin’s History Lesson for Tucker Carlson Sparks Avalanche of Jokes, Memes

Tucker Carlson’s controversial interview with Vladimir Putin in Moscow, released on Thursday, has sparked a wave of memes and mockery online after the Russian president spent the first 30 minutes giving an in-depth lesson on Russia’s history.

Asked a question about the ongoing war in Ukraine, and why he had suggested the United States posed a threat to Russia, Putin began talking about the “establishment of the Russian state in 862.” He said that it took place “when the townspeople of Novgorod invited a Varangian prince, Rurik of Scandinavia, to reign.”

The interview between the conservative political commentator and Putin caused a storm even before it was broadcast. Two members of the European Parliament told Newsweek that Carlson could face European Union sanctions in response. Newsweek emailed Tucker Carlson’s representatives and the Russian Foreign Ministry for comment on Friday.

Putin went on to cover the Mongol invasion of the 13th century; Russia’s conflict with the Kingdom of Poland and the Grand Duchy of Lithuania; and more-contemporary events including World War I and the fall of the Soviet Union. Throughout the lecture, the president said that Ukraine, unlike Russia, wasn’t a natural state but rather a creation of Russia’s enemies.

On X, formerly Twitter, one user posted: “‘Tucker, I explain to you the roots of your American Civil War.’

‘You mean like the Missouri Compromise, or…’

‘NO, I must start with the arrival of Saxon warlords Hengist and Horsa on the shores of Britain in the year 449 AD…”

Putin’s rambling style was also mocked by an X user from Nevada who wrote: “‘Tucker Carlson: So Vladimir, explain to the Western viewers why you had to invade Ukraine.’

‘Vladimir Vladimirovich [Putin]: Well Tucker, it’s a long story.

“Call me Ishmael. Some years ago—never mind how long precisely—having little or no money in my purse, and nothing particular to interest me on shore, I thought I would sail about a little and see the watery part of the world……..”

Referencing the complexity of Putin’s response, the ‘Middle-earth Mixer’ X account, which posts content about the fictional Lord of the Rings world created by J. R. R. Tolkien, shared a series of scenes from Middle Earth history that the poster suggested was the Russian president’s answer to how the Ukraine war began.

Drew Pavlou, an Australian self-styled ‘anti-dictatorship’ campaigner with over 82,000 X followers, posted: “Tucker inadvertently produced world class journalism by accident because Putin was lulled into false sense of security so just launched into demented rants about Genghis Khan and Polish anti-Russian treachery in the 13th century.”

Another X user posted a screenshot of Putin talking about Prince Rurik with the caption: “‘Dude, don’t worry, I won’t get political tonight.’ One bottle of rum later.”

Ron Filipkowski, editor-in-chief of pro-democracy media outlet Meidas Touch, shared a 26-second clip in which Carlson tries to bring the conversation on to the present day. He wrote: “49 minutes into Putin’s history lesson, Tucker dares once again to try to interrupt to get him to talk about the present day, but Putin isn’t having it and goes right back to where he left off in 2014.”

From left: Tucker Carlson; and President Vladimir Putin, from their interview at the Kremlin in Moscow on February 6, 2024. The Russian leader gave the commentator an extended history lesson, sparking mockery online.


Carlson did ask Putin whether Evan Gershkovich, a Wall Street Journal reporter who has been imprisoned in Russia since March 2023, could be released as a “sign of your decency.” Putin replied there is no taboo in discussing the issue and hinted he would be interested in a prisoner exchange.

Putin also said he doesn’t remember the last time he spoke with President Joe Biden. However, the Russian leader did say he enjoyed a positive relationship with former president, and 2024 Republican presidential frontrunner, Donald Trump.