VLADIMIR Putin emerged “dominant” and “at ease” in the face of a “fawning and gullible” Tucker Carlson during their much-hyped interview, a body language expert said.
Professor Patrick Stewart told The Sun that “unprepared” schoolboy-like TV host failed to put up a kind of fight as the Russian tyrant waged a “mental battle of attrition”.
The Russian leader’s painful and rambling two-hour interview with Carlson was released last night and has already been watched over 74million times.
The controversial TV pundit sold it as a means for the American public to see the “truth” of the Ukraine war after two years of what he blasted as “one-sided” narratives fed by Western media.
But in reality, Putin sat down to weave yet another baseless web of lies, launching a lengthy tirade about Russian history, before laying into Nato and threatening to propel the world towards global catastrophe.
Stewart, an expert in dissecting behaviour and body language from the University of Arkansas, said it was laced with plenty of tell-tale signs of a tyrant at ease – one that didn’t fear any kind of challenge from Carlson.
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He argued: “It was not an interview. Tucker Carlson was an audience of one that was gullible, if not fawning, in his approach to Vladimir Putin.”
He noted that Putin was easily able to “define the terms of the agreement, dominate attention and wear down Carlson.”
Dissecting his body language, Stewart said that Putin showed off his “relaxed” state by immediately taking off his watch and setting it on the table between himself and Carlson.
It sent a powerful message that “time was not an issue”.
From there, “Putin did not face much of a challenge, dominating the conversation with ease.
“Carlson reminded me of a student who had not done their homework and could only ask questions that built-on or supported the speaker. “
Even when Carlson pursued tougher questions, Stewart analysed how Putin navigated them with purposeful dodge tactics – using humour and laughter to avoid answering.
When asked about whether he felt a threat from the West, including a nuclear threat, Stewart saw how Putin’s hands twitched and went to his face, suggesting some level of discomfort.
“Putin exhibited a displacement behaviour with his fist near his forehead before extending his fingers, and pushing it away,” he said.
However, the Kremlin boss quickly recovered by shooting back: “Are we going to have a serious talk or a show?”
This, Stewart said, caused “Carlson to laugh whereupon Putin went back to answering the question he wanted to.”
This tactic was then repeated when Carlson asked whether Russia was behind the bombing of the Nord Stream gas pipeline in September, 2022.
“Putin laughed then joked about Carlson personally being responsible,” Stewart noted, saying that it was an easy way to move the conversation away from dangerous waters.
In short, Stewart saw that Carlson was no match for the “at ease” Russian ruler.
“Putin engaged in a mental battle of attrition that Carlson was quite obviously not prepared for.”
Key moments of the interview:
- Putin claimed that Russia has built an ‘unstoppable’ missile system
- He threatened to bring the world to the brink of WW3 if US boots hit the ground in Ukraine
- Asked about the Russian threat to Nato, Putin claimed: ‘we have no interest in Poland, Latvia or anywhere else’
- He then blamed an ‘arrogant’ Boris Johnson for the continued fighting in Ukraine after baseless claims he sabotaged a peace deal
- The despot then hinted that wrongly jailed WSJ reporter Evan Gershkovich ‘could’ be released
- When Carlson asked about US involvement in the war, Putin argued: ‘Don’t you have anything better to do?’
- The Kremlin boss also said he ‘forgot’ the last time he spoke to President Joe Biden
- Putin accused the CIA of blowing up the Nord Stream gas pipeline – but did not provide any evidence
- The Russian leader quickly shut down Carlson’s questions about UFOs and ‘unnatural forces’
However, another leading body language expert, Eric Bucy, argued that there were some cracks in Putin’s strongman image.
The Professor of Strategic Communication at Texas Tech University said Putin does not look “completely comfortable in his own skin right now”.
He noted there were elements of discomfort and nervousness as his eyes “searched around the room” or when he “avoided eye contact” with Carlson.
Putin’s strange and twitchy leg movements were also a possible sign he could be masking hidden unease, the expert added.
Ahead of the highly-anticipated interview, the BBC’s former Moscow correspondent warned The Sun that Carlson had no idea just how dangerous TV savvy Putin is.
James Rodgers, a lecturer at City University and author of Assignment Moscow, said Carlson was taking a “big risk”.
“Everyone thinks Putin is a very consummate media performer. He’s had an awful lot of practice after being at the top of Russian politics for a quarter of a century.”
And by interviewing the man who has masterminded two years of gruelling war and bloodshed in Ukraine, Carlson should be worried about “his legacy”, he argued.
“There is a long history of people who decide to cosy up to the Kremlin. But they have to think about how history is going to judge them.”