Facing Yann Barthes, journalist Gilles Boulue recalls his meeting with the Russian leader on June 17, 2022. In the context of intense international political tensions, he actually managed to obtain an extraordinary interview with Vladimir Putin in June 2014, just a few months after the annexation of Crimea.
The presenter of the jetty, along with his colleague Jean-Pierre Elkbach, explains that he had set up an appointment with the Russian president at 2 pm in Sochi. His plane landed safely in the Russian city at 9 a.m., but several damages later hindered his adventure.
First, the vehicle, which was supposed to take them to the residence of the head of the Kremlin, did not arrive until 5 pm. Then they were taken to the meeting place: “We were taken to a room without a toilet, without a tap, without eating”, recalls the journalist. He then states that the individuals joined them and posed as “Russian television”: “Agents of the FSB (Federal Security Service of the Russian Federation, a Russian intelligence service, NLDR.)”, specifies Giles Birch.
Time passed and Putin still remained untraceable. After several other obligations and … a siesta by the Russian president, the journalists finally managed to interrogate him at 1 a.m.: In this situation, “the issue is no longer the same, you don’t necessarily want to highlight the poutine difficulty or ask want intelligent questions, but let’s finish it, I’m tired, I’m fed up”, admits Gilles Bouleau.
Years later, he described the interview as “incredible”: “Vladimir Putin’s physical appearance, eyes that pierce you. He doesn’t hesitate to show you that he’s aggressive. He doesn’t try to be nice.” is”, he says. The TF1 presenter also reports a barely hidden hint that his interlocutor may have said to him at the end of the exchange: “What question did you ask me, no Russian journalist dares to ask me”, a gesture with his own words. With thumb as if imitating a severed throat.
The guest of TMC ended his story by citing a sentence that marked him and which, according to him, makes it possible to understand the character of Vladimir Putin: “You know, after November 9, 1989, when the wall comes down.” Well, I who had East German citizens under my boot, I had to pass under the boot of Americans and Westerners to get to the other side I will never forget.
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