MOSCOW —Vladimir Putin’s first interview with an American television news outlet in three years was, perhaps strategically so, a big hit for Russia’s networks.
The Russian president’s one-on-one with NBC has been widely aired and much discussed across state media platforms. In it, Putin dropped a Russian schoolyard rhyme in response to one question and alluded to the satirical Soviet novel “The Little Golden Calf” in another — references for a Russian audience rather than an American one.
As Putin was pressed on issues including Moscow’s cyberattacks against the United States and whether he orders the killings of his political opponents, his tone was dismissive and, at times, nonchalant. It mirrored the Kremlin messaging at home ahead of Putin’s planned summit with President Biden in Geneva on Wednesday: Putin agreed to this meeting at the request of the Americans but will not be ceding anything.
Russian officials and propagandists have repeatedly said they do not expect the summit to produce any big breakthroughs for a U.S.-Russia relationship that has hit a post-Cold War low. They have worked to portray Putin as going into it from a position of strength because he has little to lose or gain.
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