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It is a remarkable shift from sentiment during the Cold War, when the fear of Communism and its threats threaded through US society, or, indeed, how Ronald Reagan’s Republican supporter base viewed the Soviet Union in the 1980s; but it reflects a change in both countries.

Many Russia-watchers see Putin’s actions since returning to power in 2012 as being inspired by the original ideology of Emperor Nicholas I: orthodoxy, autocracy, nationalism. It isn’t difficult to imagine many Trump fans nodding along in agreement at those.

For most of the last decade, Carlson was the most influential voice in the US Right, via his shows on Fox News, the conservative media behemoth he climbed up, then dominated like Godzilla, after joining as a contributor in 2009.

Fiercely bright and a gifted communicator, he had the knack of making even dense policy debates accessible and inflammatory to Middle America – even if the truth was occasionally massaged to unrecognisable ends in the process.

With his colourful bow-ties and talent for performative indignation, he became a figure of fun for the Left but an increasingly important figure for the Right, especially when a certain other television bigmouth entered the White House. As one appraisal put it, “Donald Trump had the raw power, but Carlson set the ideological agenda” during the former’s presidency.

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-- Tucker Carlson gives an absolutely absurd explanation for why he is in Russia to interview Russian President Vladimir Putin
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Broadcast on February 7, 2024

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