A recent YouTube Thumbnail from Lex Fridman, featuring Elon Musk and Vladimir Putin

A recent YouTube Thumbnail from Lex Fridman, featuring Elon Musk and Vladimir Putin

On Thursday, the academic-turned-YouTuber Lex Fridman took to Twitter to announce his plans to travel to both Russia and Ukraine in order to speak with each country’s citizens and leaders, including Russia’s president Vladimir Putin. Fridman’s announcement comes following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which AP News is calling it “the largest ground war in Europe since World War II”. 

Fridman, who is Russian-American, is unlike other YouTube podcasters, both ethnically and educationally. Outside of YouTube, Fridman teaches deep learning (a proponent of artificial intelligence) at MIT. His podcast, which originally started as an artificial intelligence podcast, has utilized an understanding of academia in order to score scholarly guests. His show has featured such guests as physicists Stephen Wolfram, Computer Scientist Bjarne Stroustrup, and even tech giants such as Tesla CEO Elon Musk, and former Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey.

Since finding success on YouTube, Fridman has expanded outside of artificial intelligence. Many of his more modern episodes are centered around politics, human nature, and history. In recent, Fridman has had discussions with many academic leaders on these topics and is well versed. Additionally, Fridman’s father Alexander Fridman (who is known as one of America’s top plasma physicists) is Russian and was a former soviet physicist. Throughout his podcasting journey, Fridman has not only talked about world history, such as the second world war but also Russian history. Additionally, Fridman has been an advocate of learning from the past.

Lex Fridman Interviewing his Father:

At 1:12:21 the father-son pair talk about the soviet union.

A long Desire to Interview Putin & How Elon Musk May Be Involved.

On his podcast, Fridman has had a history of wanting to interview Putin. During Fridman’s most recent interview of Elon Musk (which occurred about 2 months ago), Fridman offered Elon Musk the opportunity to join a potential interview with the Russian president. In response, Musk was open to the idea of calling into the interview: “Sure, yeah, I’d be happy to do that.”

Given Fridman’s most recent tweet, there is a possibility we may finally see an interview between Fridman, Elon Musk, and Vladimir Putin. However, given the context of the ongoing Russian siege, it is a possibility that Elon Musk may be uncomfortable participating. As of the publication of this article, Elon Musk has not clarified if his plans regarding the Putin interview are still on the table.


  • 2/25/22 @ 3:23 PM EST: Since publishing this article, Fridman has delisted his interview with his Father on YouTube. This article has been updated to replace the YouTube link, with an audio-only version of his podcast. This podcast with his father is still available on Fridman’s other platforms such as Spotify and his website. It is unclear why Fridman delisted this episode on YouTube.
  • 2/26/22 @ 4:21 PM EST: Fridman has taken down the video clip of him and Elon Musk off on his YouTube clip channel; however the full clip can still be found in the podcast. This article has been updated to reflect that change. Additionally, on Saturday,  Fridman released a follow-up statement regarding his desire to interview Putin.

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