Gilles Bouleau: how Vladimir Poutine played with his nerves during their first meeting

Gilles Bouleau has been at the helm of TF1 8 p.m. for ten years, after succeeding Laurence Ferrari, who saw his audiences decline. Then special envoy to the United States, Gilles Bouleau seduces the management of the front page and he is chosen to be at the head of the most watched television news in Europe. With his arrival, the audiences for the high mass at 8 p.m. rose significantly and viewers seemed to appreciate the professionalism of the journalist. For more than ten years, Gilles Bouleau covered the news of the world, from Euro 2012 to the annexation of Crimea to the outbreak of war in Ukraine last February. To evoke these ten years spent at the head of 20h, Gilles Bouleau was, this Friday, June 17, the guest of Daily on TMC.

An endless wait

During the show, the journalist confided in his meeting with Vladimir Putin in 2014. At that time, the Russian president had annexed Crimea and was arming the separatists in the Donbass. With Jean-Pierre Elkabbach, Gilles Bouleau traveled near Moscow to interrogate the head of the Kremlin. Playing on the nerves of his interlocutors, Vladimir Putin put pressure on the two journalists, remembered the presenter of TF1 in Daily. “We leave by plane and the appointment is fixed at 2 p.m. with Poutine. From 9 a.m., we prepare the interview. And at 3 p.m., there is still no minibus that takes us from the hotel to instead of meeting. At 5 p.m., we go there and we arrive in a very small room. No toilet, no tap, no dining room“, told the one who even went to do “pee in the begonias” for fear of missing the interview.

“He wanted to tire us”

Then Gilles Bouleau related that other journalists, Russians, came into the room to “control” what they were saying. “At 7 p.m., Putin’s press officer arrives and tells us that he is coming. We are starting to be tired, we are less pugnacious. As the hours go by, the challenge is no longer the same, we want to go quickly, we don’t want to put Putin in difficulty any longer. We say to ourselves that we want to end it, that we are fed up. At 10 p.m., 11 p.m., nothing happens. Midnight, the press attaché tells us that Putin is finally ready but he has to take a little nap. At 1:15 a.m., he finally arrives, fresh as a roach. We were exhausted, he wanted to tire us. Once the interview begins, it goes well. He wasn’t trying to be nice and he was ready to talk until the end of the night. We understood who the character was. he added, then claiming that Vladimir Putin was referring to the “humiliation” of Greater Russia during the Cold War…

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