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Interview With Deputy Head Of The Office Of The President Of Ukraine Igor Zhovkva; Interview With Polish President Andrzej Duda; Interview With "Caste: The Origins Of Our Discontents" Author Isabel Wilkerson. Aired 1-2p ET

Aired February 22, 2023 - 13:00:00   ET




CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Hello, everyone. And welcome to AMANPOUR live from the Ukrainian capital, Kyiv. Here's what's

coming up.

Ukraine braces for the second year of war and I speak with President Zelenskyy's senior advisor, Igor Zhovkva. And --


SAM KILEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voiceover): Houses are shaking. Missiles are flying. We just don't know what to wait for. We are

shaking like chickens.


AMANPOUR: Liberated villages living in fear of a second Russian offensive. A report from the eastern front. Then --


ANDRZEJ DUDA, POLISH PRESIDENT (through translator): What is most important to us is to make sure that Russia leaves behind its imperial



AMANPOUR: NATO's eastern front stands firm against Russian expansionism. My exclusive interview with the Polish President, Andrzej Duda, as he hosts

President Biden and other European leaders.

Plus, from January 6th to police brutality. Pulitzer prize-winning author, Isabel Wilkerson talks to Michel Martin about how centuries old caste

system is hurting American democracy.

Welcome to the program, everyone. I'm Christiane Amanpour in Kyiv.

Where Ukraine is bracing and heading into a second year of war. President Joe Biden has spent three days here, and in neighboring Poland, shoring up

America's support for this country. Meeting with NATO leaders from across Eastern Europe, and presenting a united front against Vladimir Putin's


In Warsaw yesterday, Biden delivered a defiant and fiery speech, touting an alliance that is committed to protecting democracy. While in Brussels, the

European Union discussed yet another round of sanctions against the Kremlin.

In Moscow, thousands attended a concert to celebrate the Russian military, fatherland day. Putin described his war as, "Our historical frontiers for

our people". And just ahead of that concert, Putin held talks with top Chinese diplomat, Wang Yi. "The Wall Street Journal" reports that President

Xi Jinping will travel to Moscow himself in the coming months to meet with Putin in person.

Now, as we said, Biden brought a loud and welcome message to Kyiv on Monday that there should not be a shadow of a doubt where America's support lies.

After his walk about with President Zelenskyy, we get the latest on the route ahead with Igor Zhovka. He's the deputy head of President Zelenskyy's

office, and he is joining me now here in Kyiv.

Welcome to the program. Face to face, here in Kyiv, we've spoken many times over the 24 -- 12 months. First, I want to ask you, what did it mean for

you? Were you at those meetings with Biden? What did it mean for you?

IGOR ZHOVKA, DEPUTY HEAD OF THE OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT OF UKRAINE: Well, the visit of President Biden was timely. It was important, it was symbolic,

and it was resultful. The timely because he came not only on this important week of one anniversary -- we can call it anniversary, one year after this

open aggression. He came at the day of Heavenly Hundred, the celebration of revolution of dignity in 2014. He was offered (ph) more than these events,

he was traveling to Kyiv many times.

He came with a concrete proposal on how further to support Ukraine in terms of weaponry, in terms of political -- in terms of sanctions. And he sent a

very strong signal to the aggressor. Calm it out of a -- sudden for aggressor at the center of Kyiv who has to be ruined, according to their

dreams by this time, several times probably. But he came. He meet -- he met my President, He saw Ukrainian's resilient, withstanding Russia aggression,

at the end of victory.

AMANPOUR: And I'm going to play part of that bit of his speech yesterday, which basically sums up what you just said. He saw a Ukraine and a capital

that had defied the worst-case scenario that it would fall. This is what he said.


JOE BIDEN, U.S. PRESIDENT: One year ago, the world was bracing for the fall of Kyiv. Well, I've just come from a visit to Kyiv, and I can report,

Kyiv stands strong. Kyiv stands proud, it stands tall, and most importantly, it stands free.


AMANPOUR: Kyiv stands free, most importantly.


Cast your mind back to this time just about, anyway, February 24th, last year. Just what were you thinking when it all unfolded, when it all got


ZHOVKA: There was no time to thinking. We got, you know, on our feet from the blasts across Kyiv, across other cities of Ukraine, across the whole of

Ukraine. There was not time to thinking. We all rushed to our working places. I rushed immediately to the office of the president and we started

this with sending (INAUDIBLE). Soldiers started immediately to fight. Diplomats started to fight on the diplomatic front.

The first phone call was coming, by the way, from President Biden at this day, and then many more phone calls followed. Then, the leader started to

visit Kyiv even still at the time when Kyiv was still under potential seizure of the Russian forces. And then you see, almost every European

leader and many world leaders have come to Kyiv. Kyiv is not only standing, and it will always stand, it's struggling, it's surviving, and it will

definitely bring in the victory for all of us.

AMANPOUR: Did you think that at that time though, because all your friends were saying that if this happens, you know, you -- it could fall in, you

know, in matter of days. Did you think, at the time, that Russia would show itself to be unable to capture this capitol or much of the country?

ZHOVKA: Well, I will not tell -- call them friends, they're called military experts telling like, OK. Three days or not three days, or five

days, or one week, and two weeks. Now, we're having the one-year war. And look, we proved that Ukraine and Ukrainians can do miracles on the

battlefield. Practically having no western weaponry in the beginning but being able to fight.

At the end of the year, acquiring more and more western weaponry and we were able to liberate our territory, 50 percent of the territory which was

captured by Russia after the open aggression on the 24th of February has been liberated already. And we are ready to go further, providing we have

enough weapon, ammunition, support, and will.

AMANPOUR: So, I'm going to follow up on what you said. It was a very resultful meeting. So, I don't know whether you've got any more pledges of

weapons. But first, I want to put what President Putin said in his speech to his nation yesterday. And he basically said, it is impossible that

Russia will be defeated on the battlefield. This is what he said.


VLADIMIR PUTIN, RUSSIAN PRESIDENT (through translator): We have done absolutely everything. Everything possible to resolve this problem

peacefully. But a new scenario has been unleashed, and peace initiatives have been completely subverted by lies, hypocrisy.


AMANPOUR: So, as you see, he's constantly saying that they try to resolve it peacefully, that it's your fault and it's the west's fault. And they had

to intervene to stop the aggression that the west had started here. I mean, I pretty much understand what you are going to say about it. But what do

you think it's going to look like going forward from the Russian perspective?

ZHOVKA: It's hard for me to command the narrative or their way of thinking. I mean, how come you tell that they wanted peace and they start

war? They tell that it is Ukraine who wanted war, and now Ukraine is suffering, and Ukrainians are dying. And Ukraine is the first country to

want peace. My President presented peace formula plan, 10-points very clearly.

How to go from point and point, you know, (INAUDIBLE) Russia from its aggressive instruments, not only on the battlefield but also in other

areas. From food insecurity, energy insecurity, environment, et cetera. How will it follow -- how would it go in for Russia, I don't know. They

probably will be trying to make revenge in the coming days or months.

AMANPOUR: Do you see that? You've talked a lot about it. Do you see any preparations for this big offensive?

ZHOVKA: Probably they will not be managing to have something big, unfortunately for them. But they are trying already and concentrating

heavily their troops on the east of Ukraine, in several points, trying to make this -- what is not happening to them for already nine. Remember, they

were trying to capture Donbas starting from 2014. Now, after five -- after nine year, they still not capture Donbas. So, this will be their obsession.

This is their obsession to capture the whole territory of Donbas.

And it's happening because -- I mean, the situation is difficult on the east. But ours, unfortunately, are struggling, fighting back, standing, and

again, provided enough weaponry, enough artillery, enough ammunition, you know, armored vehicles will go to counter offensive.

The same now happen, they will think of having the counter -- an offensive from the south of Ukraine. We managed to liberate parts of the southern

Ukraine, I'm talking of the City of Kherson. But there is still (ph) shelling at it. You saw what happened yesterday --


ZHOVKA: -- in Kherson right as he was speaking, by the way, in the parliament. These people were bombing and killing civilians in Kherson. So,

what they were talking about? What peaceful narrative he is talking about?


AMANPOUR: So, you have received all sorts of very high-tech and highly effective weapons systems from your NATO allies. You know, it was always

no, no, and then yes, yes. You received the long-ranged artillery, you received, you know, the HIMARS, you received the Patriot air defenses,

you've received tanks now. And maybe, maybe you might receive planes. There are certain elements in the NATO alliance who believe you need fighter

jets. Have you've been told anything about that?

ZHOVKA: Look, that's --I will make some corrections. We received the promises on some items you mentioned, but not yet delivered to us. I'm

talking about battle tanks, we have this tank coalition, 11 countries are already there, including the U.S., Ukraine, and some other important

European countries.

AMANPOUR: Germany.

ZHOVKA: Germany, for instance, which was a stumbling block but luckily, they are now. We have not yet received the far-range artillery, we're about

to receive it. So, very important, the decision should immediately follow by the delivery, delivery on the battlefield.

As far as the fighter jets are concerned, the talks are going on during the meeting. The talks were going on during the meeting with President Biden,

and been in London, been in Brussels, and talking to prime minister of Sweden who was visiting Kyiv not so recently, Prime Minister Meloni who

visited yesterday. So, it's forming. It's a little bit more complicated even than tanks but definitely it will happen, believe it.

AMANPOUR: You think you're going to get it?

ZHOVKA: Absolutely.

AMANPOUR: Do you worry that the big conversation at the Munich Security Conference was about basically NATO running out of ammunition? That you

guys are spending so much and firing so many artillery shells that the production capacity of the NATO countries cannot keep up at the moment? Do

you worry that there is a deficit of ammunition between you and Russia which has got, you know, 24/7 production going.

ZHOVKA: There is a simple way out of this situation, to start producing. To start producing immediately, now. We will always need -- totally, we in

Ukraine, we in Europe will need it. So, that's why high-time to renew those production line to establish the new ones.

It's high time to have joint ventures with Ukraine because Ukraine has also got this military industry potential. Unfortunately, we cannot use it fully

during the wartime. But when combining our efforts with our partners in Europe and across the world, we can do this. Unfortunately, we have to

understand, Russia will always be aggressive, even after the victory of Ukraine.

And Ukraine will still stay here in the eastern flank of NATO and the eastern part of Europe defending the whole European continent. So, for us,

it's mutually beneficial first to have Ukraine rather in in the alliance and U.N. than out, and to unite our efforts together to -- for this part of

the world to be more secure.

AMANPOUR: The IMF chief was here. You're talking about rebuilding. Talking about billions of dollars being pledged for rebuilding effort. I think your

own government is talking to all sorts of outside parties about rebuilding in the future. They also say that Russia's economy, while it shrank some

2.2 percent last year, is potentially going to grow about not 0.2 percent this year. Does it worry you? Do you think the sanctions are having an

effect on Russia's ability to prosecute this war?

ZHOVKA: They definitely have. And if you -- but if you ask me whether it's quick enough, definitely my answer would be no. Because, you know, we're

introducing -- the world is introducing these sanctions for only a year. Remember, my president was asking before the open aggression, please a

preventative sanction. No one was --

AMANPOUR: Yes, I remember.

ZHOVKA: -- no one was reacting. So, now the E.U., U.S., U.K., Canada, and Japan are introducing sanctions. We would like them to be more quick

directly (ph). But sometimes it's not happening because of the nature of the sanction.


ZHOVKA: Sometimes they are adopted with provocation (ph) period. Sometimes the people in Russia have -- are finding the loopholes and the

circumventive efforts to avoid them. And then in the next package, we have to cut off those possible loopholes and circumventions.

And yes, sometimes it's still the lack of will, the political courage to impose more sanctions against the nuclear industry of Russia, against the

company Rosatom who captured the biggest nuclear power plant in Europe, and still have an estranged relations with some European countries. Again, the

Russian propaganda is poisoning the territory of not only Russia but around the countries around and still enjoying their freeway of life in European


AMANPOUR: Let me ask you very quickly, because this might be a game- changer, I don't know what you think, but are you worried when you see Wang Yi, the top Chinese diplomat in Moscow, talking about how this has to end?

Talking about, you know, we have to be flexible in a crisis? The fact that apparently, there are reports that President Xi, himself, might go to


ZHOVKA: Well, this is a diplomatic visit he is having. We knew about this visit because Minister of Foreign Affairs Kuleba met Wang Yi in Munich and

they had a very substantial talk.

AMANPOUR: But might they give lethal weaponry?


ZHOVKA: We don't have this information. We don't possess this information. But we count on the wisdom of Chinese side. China was always wise. And

China will probably not, you know, take this one-sided position to stand on the side of evil.

AMANPOUR: Igor Zhovka, thank you very much indeed. It's been an incredible year.

And for weeks now, Russian and Ukrainian forces have been locked in a fierce battle for the eastern city of Bakhmut. Towns across Ukraine know

firsthand what it's like to fall into the hands of the enemy. And many are living in fear of being recaptured. Correspondent Sam Kiley has this



SAM KILEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voiceover): A year into Russia's invasion, this monochrome misery is all too familiar.

KILEY (on camera): This is what happened just three days ago here in Antonivka (ph), an S-300 missile strike. Now, that's a missile used by the

Russian for ground attack which actually designed for bringing down airplanes but it carries a massive warhead. It's pretty inaccurate. And

that doesn't matter to the Russians because this is all about smashing up the villages and towns ahead of what the Ukrainians fear is going to be a

major Russian push in this part of the country.

KILEY (voiceover): Captured on the second day of Vladimir Putin's invasion last February, this is no longer a town that scares easily. It was

liberated by Ukraine in the fall and is within more range of Russian troops today. Yet these teenagers are taking a walk through what remains of their


KILEY (on camera): Why do your parents not insist that you all leave as a family?

KILEY (voiceover): My dad has a farm here. He's got land. And we can't just leave it all behind, she says. So, we just don't want to go yet. Well,

if it gets serious, then we'll leave.

KILEY (on camera): And how would you define really serious? In most countries having a missile that big land in the middle of town is already

really serious.

KILEY (voiceover): Very serious is probably when a lot of houses are destroyed and civilians suffer, she explains.

It's the defiance of Ukrainian civilians that Russia is trying to crush. Putin's rockets and artillery have rained down on towns from Kherson to

Kramatorsk, to Kupyansk and the northern border with Russia. Along a front line of 1,300 kilometers, that's 800 miles.

This latest assault in Kherson, another example of the indiscriminate shelling of civilians. This isn't accidental, it's deliberate. The areas

liberated by Ukraine bear the brunt of an ever-increasing level of attacks by Russia. Here in Kupyansk province, as in Kherson, civilians survive on

aid rations.

We don't know what to do, she says. Houses are shaking. Missiles are flying. We just don't know what to wait for. We are shaking like chickens.

We don't know what to expect.

Fighting has been most intense in and around Bakhmut with a surge in attacks by Russia on nearby villages in a foretaste of the anticipated

offensive. Veterans like Alex, who captured this tank called Bunny from Russia last month, are running low on ammunition. He says that he,

sometimes, in combat with only 10 shells a day.

ALEX, UKRAINIAN TANK COMMANDER: It's really hard. We have a lot of casualties every day. And the problem is that the fighting moved inside the

city because, like, we are fighting, like, building to building. And so, this thing is like 25 to 60 meters, so we cannot use artillery well.

KILEY (voiceover): Here, civilians place their faith in Ukraine's forces to hold off the rations and play their part by staying on and staying



AMANPOUR: That was Sam Kiley reporting from Eastern Ukraine.

Now, over the border, it's another busy day for the Polish President, Andrzej Duda, in Warsaw. Spotlighting the growing importance of Eastern

Europe to the transatlantic alliance. And how Poland's history of aggression by Russia and the Nazis shapes its response to Putin's invasion.

Fresh from his meeting with President Biden, I spoke to President Duda about what more the allies can do to secure a Ukrainian victory.


AMANPOUR: President Andrzej Duda, welcome to the program.

ANDRZEJ DUDA, POLISH PRESIDENT (through translator): Hello.

AMANPOUR: How significant is this moment for you? Before President Biden arrived, you said the speech, the meeting would be of global significance

and dimensions.


DUDA (through translator): So, let me start by saying that these two days, today and yesterday, this surprising presence of President Joe Biden in

Kyiv, it sends an incredibly powerful signal, a political and strategic signal. It is a demonstration of strength of the United States, indeed. It

is like saying that the American leader, who is the leader -- in fact is the leader of the free world, is able to travel even war is raging, even to

a place where there is potential danger, he is not afraid because United States is strong enough to protect him, that is number one.

And number two, he was there, and today he is in Warsaw. He gives his speech to the whole world, because we have to say it like this. This is the

speech by the President of United States, as I said the leader of the free world. It is a speech addressed to the whole world. And he sends a signal

of the defense of the free world, of the defense of the NATO, of the defense of every inch of the territory, as the President said today.

So, to us, to Poles, this American signal, this allied single, not only within NATO but first of all a signal sent by the greatest superpower in

the world, a signal sent by our friend and ally today is so significant. Therefore, that speech of Mr. President and the presence of Mr. President

here in Poland is of such crucial importance to us.

AMANPOUR: I know that for several hundred years you and Poland have been struggling against Russian and Soviet domination. And perhaps for you, this

is more intense than perhaps for Western Europe, and United States. And you, plus the Baltic States and others in Eastern Europe, have been very

vocal about your support for Ukraine. Is it because of your history?

DUDA (through translator): Yes, for sure. It's not only about history and such, but please bear in mind, for a person like myself, I was born in

1972. I was born behind the Iron Curtain, just please remember that the Iron Curtain collapsed in 1989, 1990. So, we have the first semi-free

elections in Poland as a result of this peaceful revolution of solidarity that took place in Poland in 1989, I was 17 back then. I was almost an


So, I remember everything vividly. I still recall the huge difference, the gigantic difference. Just imagine that the first time I went to western

Europe was when I was 18. So, after 18, that was the first time I was able to travel to Western Europe because my family did not have any connections

with the communists. My parents never belong to the communist party. My father was a member of the opposition.

So, in fact, we didn't have an opportunity to Western Europe. And apart from that, we didn't have money. So, that is what the communists brought us

to -- and communism was -- brought to Poland on Russian bayonets. And it was imposed and -- with force, upon us. Hence, if somebody is telling me

ruzkinir (ph), I am saying, no, thank you very much. Spasiba.

DUDA: Thank you very much. Danke schon. Nayn. Ne.

DUDA (through translator): No, I don't want any Russian mayor. We don't want it Russian Mayor. We don't want it. May Russians keep their Russian

mayor to themselves. And this is what Ukrainians are thinking, that's why they are defending themselves.

AMANPOUR: So, the United States and all you allies have stood united. And the President today said that Vladimir Putin did not think that you would

all remain united, you would remain so strong, and that Kyiv, Ukraine would still remain free. What more needs to be done? All the weapons systems that

you've been sending, what more needs to be done to ensure what you say is Ukraine's victory in this war?

DUDA (through translator): The different are potentials between Ukraine and the Russia is huge and obvious. Everybody actually expected that it

would take 72 hours, at the most, the defense of Ukraine. And after 72 hours, Ukraine would fall, it would be captured by Russia.

On the 23rd of February, 2022, I was in Kyiv. I talked to Volodymyr Zelenskyy, just a couple hours before the Russian invasion. And at the last

moment actually, we made it to the Polish border because we travelled by car back then. So, we crossed the border and right after that, Russian

missiles struck. So, I remember when I said goodbye to Volodymyr, Volodymyr told me, Andrzej, I do not know whether we would see each other again. That

was a very powerful moment and moving moment.

And then, he told me, if Putin thinks that he would control Ukraine, conquer Ukraine just as they used to -- as they did with Crimea in 2014,

then he is mistaken. We have got 80 years of combat experience and thousands of people who are fighting on the front. We are going to fight

until the end, until we drop.

And that is what has happened. They are fighting until today. So, first of all, what they need is weapons because the difference is huge in terms of

quantity. What Russians have got today is old equipment, very old equipment. They are taking out tanks from 1960s, from their stocks, but

they have those tanks.


And they are crushing -- they've got this advantage of steel, of the mass (ph), and they are crushing the Ukrainians. There 1are 40 million Russians

and less than 40 million Ukrainians.

So, this shows you the mobilization potential of Russia and the mobilization potential of Ukraine. So, it's enough to look at this clear

data to understand that under normal circumstances, unless Ukraine gets support, it has no chance of defending itself on its own against Russia.

That is why Ukraine needs this support. It's indispensable.

What kind of support can we offer to Ukraine as allies? What the United States is doing? What we are doing, as Poland as well, we have donated to

Ukraine 300 times from our stocks. Right now, we are providing more tanks to Ukraine. At this moment, we are sending state-of-the-art tanks that we

have, Leopard tanks. We are providing a company of Leopard tanks. We have organized an -- a light collection, so to speak, of tanks for Ukraine.

And this was what I was requested to do by Volodymyr Zelenskyy, also the prime minister of Ukraine asked for that. So, we initiated that. Today, the

key to make sure that Ukraine defense itself against Russia is modern weapons so that Ukrainian soldiers can efficiently fight, so that they have

the means to push Russians away.

AMANPOUR: Even fighter jets?

DUDA (through translator): If there is such a need, of course, yes. We still have got MiG-29. Ukrainian pilots are prepared to operate them today.

The question is, when will Ukrainian pilots be ready to fly modern aircraft at NATO standards such as F-16s, or Mirage, French planes, or Euro (ph)

fighters, or any other type of modern machines.

This is a question mark. When the Ukrainian pilots will be ready to do that? Because the training of a pilot is much more complicated and much

longer than the training for a tanker. So, this is the way it is. So, here is a question mark, when will Ukraine be ready with its own force to use

such planes?

AMANPOUR: I realize that you're all, sort of, holding off on that. But I want to ask about the Leopard tanks, which you've been very vocal in

unleashing from Germany. And, yet this weekend, at the Munich Security Conference, Chancellor Scholz told me that now, Germany has to try to

persuade you all with your Leopard tanks to actually send them to Ukraine. And there has been some slowness about this. When will your Leopard tanks

get to Ukraine?

DUDA (through translator): We are ready to send our tanks. Our tanks are ready to be sent. Right now, we are training, in Poland, Ukrainian

soldiers, so that they are able to operate those tanks. So, I was surprised by the answer that Chancellor Scholz gave you. I hope that they are also

ready with their Leopards. Because, honestly, we have got serious problems with getting spare parts at tanks.

Spare parts from Germany, certainly asked these problems are quite common. Other countries also have problems with leopards because Germans have got a

serious problem with providing spare parts. We do not understand the situation but that's the way it is.

Now, our Leopard tanks are ready for Ukraine today. In our training center, there are Ukrainian tankers training on Leopards tanks. We are preparing

them right now. There is a training (INAUDIBLE) going on. Last week, on Monday, I visited those soldiers. I met them.

Right now, there are 100 Ukraine soldiers who are undergoing training. They came straight from the front line to get prepared to operate Leopard tanks.

There are Polish instructors working with them. There are also Canadian instructors who came especially from Canada, and also Norwegian trainers

are working with them. All of them are preparing Ukrainian tank soldiers together. And they will be ready within one month to come back to Ukraine

together with tanks.

AMANPOUR: What do you think about Russia's role in Europe after this war? Many say, there has to be some kind of place for Russia. What to do with

Russia after this war?

DUDA (through translator): First and foremost, what is most important to us is to make sure that Russia leaves behind its imperial ambitions. To us,

Russia's imperial ambitions mean a permanent attempt to push us back into the Russian sphere of influence. Constant attempt at grabbing our land, our

economy. So, in a sense, making slaves out of us.

Simply speaking, Russia is this kind of empire that's got colonial ambitions. It wants to subjugate other nations and other countries. It

wants to profit from them. And the best example of that is Ukraine today. Now, there are also of countries. Over recent years, in 2008, Russia

attacked Georgia. So today, there is a constant problem in Moldova, as well, because there in Transnistria, there are Russian troops deployed.

Russia deployed its troops to Syria.


So, Russia is destabilizing a lot of countries across the globe. And Ukraine has suffered this frontal attack from Russia. But this is a

demonstration that Russia is restoring its imperial ambitions, and Russia has to stop that. The free world has to force Russia to do that. This is

our position, and this is why we are supporting Ukraine because we believe that if Ukraine withstands those imperial ambitions of Russia, then Russia

will have to stop those imperial ambitions.

AMANPOUR: I want to end by asking you a question about internal polish politics. As you know, you have some arguments with the E.U. over your

commitment to E.U. principles and the judiciary, freedom of press and elsewhere. And I wonder whether this a war has changed some of your

policies, has tempered some of your policies in that regard because they used to be accusations that Poland, and indeed, Hungary were proudly

illiberal democracies. Is your aim to continue to be an illiberal democracy or has this war changed some of your attitudes about independent judiciary

and the free press?

DUDA (through translator): The problem is as follows, either we believe in democracy or we do not. Either we approve the principles of democracy or

not. If we approve the principle of democracy, we have got a very that is a simple matter. There is general election. People vote in the general

election, and they make their choices. They vote on a program, people who are running in these elections. So, I have always been open about my


In Poland, we have got full freedom of speech and the freedom to present your opinions. Myself and my political competitors have never had any

problems with that. And our compatriots are making the choice. My compatriots cast their votes and make their choice in this way just like --

as I was chosen for the first time in 2015. Then I was elected for the second time to the office of the president in Poland, it was back in 2020.

These were totally free choices and election.

And the same goes for the current ruling party in Poland. The first time they were elected in 2016 and in 2019. As of today, they are doing their

public service because they received a democratic mandate in free elections. So, a program was being implemented here which was announced

during the election campaign.

So, this government is not liked by those in Brussels, ruling in Brussels todays because we do not have those left and liberal views which are

dominant in Brussels today. We are politicians of a conservative profile, I would put it in this way, therefore they don't agree with us in Brussels

and they are doing everything to make sure that we are -- that our power is taken away.

I believe this is not democratic, because we can compare it to somebody not agreeing in Brussels, with a choice made by the Polish people. I think this

is not the task of Brussels or the European commission and other E.U. institutions.

So, this is a very specific and a very complex situation. Of course, we are a member of the European Union. Of course, we are trying to implement all

the treaty obligations. But unfortunately, very often, we can see that those treaty obligations are violated, vis-a-vis, Poland, the European

Union. At these institutions firstly, the European Commission are interfering in the areas in Poland which is not in line with the treaties

because the justice system is not regulated by the European treaties. This is an individual matter of each member state.

And as a matter of fact, the European Union and its bodies have no right to interfere in the entire efforts of Poland. And the Polish citizens have, so

far, been happy with the polish authorities and their decisions if they voted for them in the elections. This is my answer.

I believe that the dispute with Brussels is simply, purely political dispute. Simply speaking, it is a dispute about who is in power in Poland.

The current authorities dominating any institutions are not happy because their views are different from the views of those who are in power in

Poland today and who are elected in general elections.

AMANPOUR: So, you're doubling down on what they would call illiberal behavior around these two specific issues. And they're holding fund --

they're withholding funds from you. You're not going to do anything to change on these issues?

DUDA (through translator): It's very easy to say that somebody is not democratic, illiberal. I can also say that the authorities in the European

Commission are authoritarian and they are trying to impose on the member states other customs, different than what is normal in those countries. It

is contrary to the treaties. It is contradictory to the basic ideals on which the European Union was based until -- from its inception.

AMANPOUR: It's going to be interesting to see how this plays out. For now, though, your commitment to Ukraine's defense is obviously rock-solid.

President Andrzej Duda, thank you so much for being with us.

DUDA (through translator): Thank you so much.



AMANPOUR: And turning now to the United States, where our next guest says the death of Tyre Nichols is the latest tragedy to shine a light on the

nation's long-standing yet unspoken social hierarchy. In her recent "Time Magazine" cover story, Pulitzer Prize winner Isabel Wilkerson argues that

from January 6th to Tyre Nichols, American life is still defined by caste. And she joins Michel Martin to discuss how it continues to infringe on the

rights of the marginalized.


MICHEL MARTIN, CONTRIBUTOR: Thanks, Christiane. Isabel Wilkerson, thank you for joining us.


MARTIN: You wrote a book in 2020, a very well received book, called "Caste". And you've recently published an article in Time, you know, based

on the afterward of the book. You argue that a lot of the things that we're going through now, from January 6th to the Tyre Nichols murder, can be

traced to caste.

So, would you just talk about, like, why you said -- first of all, what is caste? And how do we understand that, say, different from, I don't know,

sort of inequality of some other sort? And why do you say that so many events are actually tied to an American, sort of, an unspoken caste system

in American life.

WILKERSON: Well, caste is essentially, you know, a millennia old form of stratification and hierarchy within a society. And it has certain pillars,

certain characteristics such as purity versus pollution, control endogamy, control of marriage, who can be with whom.

And historically, our country has had or was built upon many of the characteristics of a caste system. It's hard for us to acknowledge that or

think about it because we don't think ourselves as having a caste system. But our country was built on a system of hierarchy, graded ranking of human

value which is what a caste system is.

And in any caste system, you could choose any number of metrics to divide in the rank people. In our society, in our country, the metric that was

used to divide and rank in our people was what people looked like which is what we now use as, you know, as the idea of race. And we can see the after

effects of that in our current day.

We -- you know, this book that I wrote, "Caste" came out in 2020 with the trajectory of the lifespan of this book. It came out just weeks after

George Floyd had been killed, then six months later, there was January 6th which was, you know, historic, you know, inflection point in our country's

history. We have to go back to the 19th century to find anything closely analogous to that. And then we have the overturning of Roe V. Wade, then --

you know, then just weeks before this book came out in paperback, which you referred to afterword of, we have the killing of Tyre Nichols. And there

are connections between all of these things, which take us back to the idea of our originating deficiency showing up even now.

MARTIN: I think many people -- well, people who are honest can admit that Nazi Germany, in fact, drew some of the inspiration for their kind of

racial hierarchy system which they imposed, you know, on Jewish people, from the American apartheid system.

But where did Americans get this from? Do you have a sense of that? Do you have an understanding, like, where do this -- because this is a very, kind

of, complex, but kind of complete social theory that permeates --


MARTIN: -- every aspect of life. So, where does this come from in the American story?

WILKERSON: Well, you know, it -- you -- we're happy to go back to thinking about how, you know, humanity is very, very old. But this country is

relatively new, you know, in human history. And with going back to, you know, the establishment of the United States -- of what would become the

United States and essentially the entire western hemisphere which was colonized by the Europeans and creating a new form, a new system of human

interaction, and human exploitation with enslavement.

So, we had, for the first time in human history, people from different parts of the world, who looked different from one another, co-habiting in

the same space. Of course, this was built upon the Europeans first, you know, took the land and then imported people to do the work of building

this country. And in doing so, they, you know, they used what people looked like. They took the, you know, like the physical characteristics which have

no meaning other than the beautiful manifestation of physical representation of humanity.


And they used that to create a hierarchy, based upon what people look like. So, they took that and added -- created a value, they established a value

to what people looked like. And those who were assigned at the very bottom, you know, conveniently for their purposes looked different from those who

assigned themselves to the top. And that was the beginning.

There would have been no need -- there's actually no need, if you think about it to -- for Europeans before the time of enslavement and before the

creation of what we now say as United States, for people to be thinking of themselves as white when they were German, they were Polish, they were

Irish, they were all these other things. But they did not identify themselves by what we now have come to see as, sort of, a defining

characteristic which is the basis of our hierarchy.

I think that we as Americans need to recognize and learn the true history of our country. To recognize just how singular, we happen to be in a way

that we probably don't wish to be.

MARTIN: Uh-huh. I want to talk about that in a minute and the role -- the critical role of talking about history plays in all this. But I wanted to

ask you to, sort of, walk me through some of the what seemingly disparate elements, or events -- recent events that you tied to what you call the,

sort of, unspoken caste system.

So, start with January 6th which, you know, happened so soon after your book came out. How do you trace January 6th, the mob attack on the Capitol,

the coup attempt, and the attempt to overturn a lawful election. But how do you tie January 6th, specifically, to the -- what you call the unspoken

caste system of American life?

WILKERSON: Well, the idea of caste is about ranking status and the value which attached to one status. It had nothing to do with anything to anyone

does since you're born to it. And again, it's based in our society, it's based upon what you look like which is, you know, been translated into


And so, it affects ones standing, respect, benefit of the doubt, access to resources, assumptions and competence, and worthiness. And it accords

entitlements that are built into the system. And if you're at the -- if you're assigned -- if you're from the group that's been assigned the top

since the founding of our country, then there are benefits that you are getting, whether they were recognized or not. Whether you even -- you know

that in your bones.

And so, one of the things that we -- one of the reasons I wrote this book was because of the impending inversion that our country is facing

demographically. The census is projecting that by 2042 or 2045. The demographic configuration that we have all come to recognize, adjust to,

live with, for as long as it's been United States of America is expected to be over -- to be changed, such that there would be -- the historic majority

would no longer in the majority.

And the 2020 census -- the book came out in 2020, but the 2020 census which the results of which have not become available until 2021, showed that for

the first time in our country's history, the historic majority of white Americans fell for the very first time. Now, white Americans are still the

majority by far but it fell, for the very first time. Other bridge (ph) did not fall.

And so, these are -- we are facing an existential crisis in which we are looking at a configuration that no one has experienced before. And these

are pressures that are -- that can well up inside of a society. Those who have been born to the dominant group who had perceived themselves as losing

the status, the rank, and automatic deference and entitlements that come without one trying. It's not about -- it's not personal, it's just what

comes with the structure of our society. And so, I believe that that is part of it.

Now, one of the things that was significant in looking at January 6th versus January -- versus what happened to George Floyd is that George

Floyd, as we all, you know, horrifically saw was killed before our very eyes. But he was killed presumably because he had been accused of having

tried to pass a counterfeit $20 bill, which is an infraction that is generally handled with a citation at a court date. So, he should be alive


And then six months later, there was this -- what we saw on January 6th, where there where insurrectionists who broke into the Capitol, who, you

know, attacked police officers, leading to the deaths of half a dozen officers. And we saw at the end of that day, those same people who had

rampaged through statutory hall and ransacked the belongings of lawmakers and ultimately resulting in the deaths of half a dozen officers. We saw

those same people, what I would call the dominant caste in our country, walk down the steps of the Capitol with their lives, something that have

been denied to George Floyd just months before.


MARTIN: But what about Tyre Nichols? I mean, you also tie this to caste. And of course, you know, as we now know, there are five -- the five Memphis

police officers who have been charged in the death of Tyre Nichols, who is beaten to death, after a traffic stop, all of them are black.


MARTIN: And how do you tie that to the caste system? Because some people say, well, that's just bad training, bad people, that's bad apples. That's

a bad apples' problem, or they're too inexperienced, or they're too hyped up. So, how do you tie that to caste?

WILKERSON: Well, we're so accustomed to the polarity of black versus white, for one thing, so we wouldn't necessarily even connect it to race in

any way, shape, or form, or those kinds of things we would assume while they're all black. So, this has nothing to do with any of these divisions

that we have inherited as Americans.

But caste allowed us to see that this is an aspect of the dehumanization that happens within a caste system. Caste system is, you know, essentially

positions of some people at the bottom and is focus on keeping certain people at the bottom so that others can remain secure in their place above


And so, when you have a situation like Tyre Nichols who suffered unbelievable suffering in that situation, and we look at that and we

realize that this -- that almost any -- in a caste system, almost any atrocity can be directed toward those who are identified and recognized as

being at the very bottom of the hierarchy. And that means that these atrocities could go -- could be inflicted upon them by anyone, in any

group, including their own group because the -- there are sentinels at everyone (ph) in a caste system. And you do not have to be in the dominant

caste in order to do its bidding.

MARTIN: And so -- any -- and so, I think what I hear you saying is that these folks are of so little value, that whatever happens to them is

unimportant. That even other black people are the people -- members of marginalized groups don't have to respect the human dignity of someone who

belongs to that group.

WILKERSON: Absolutely. And the status part of all of this is that this is encoded into everyone. Everyone knows which groups can be subjected to

almost anything in which -- are protected from that structure in our society.

MARTIN: You also tie the issues around restricting immigration, particularly at the southern border. The rights of LGBTQ people and access

to abortion. You tie this to the caste system because you say that these are examples of desperate efforts by a, "Diminishing but dominant subset of

Americans to impose their will on the rest of the country through population control."

You know, the defenders of these positions would say, well, no, these are our religious beliefs. They are religious beliefs that speak to the

importance of protecting vulnerable life. And in the case of -- or gender rules, as they are understood. And in the case of immigration, I think

people would say, well, gosh. You know, it's the culture or it's our labor markets that we're protecting. So, how do you tie that to this same

unifying idea?

WILKERSON: Well, the -- you know, certainly religion has an important role for many, many people around the globe. So, this is not a criticism of

religion itself. But it so happens that, you know, when our country was being founded and the hierarchy of our country was being established with

enslavement as the basis of the social political and economic order of our society, it was being justified and rationalized through the bible itself.

The story about Noah and his sons was frequently referred to basis for enslavement and our country. So, the bible was distorted and Christianity

was distorted to affirm and rationalize the hierarchy that was being created in this country.

And so, now that we see ourselves in a -- facing an existential crisis circumstance which none of us have lived with, we do not know what it's

like when we have an inversion of our demographics, there would be expected to be a response to the potential inversion of our society. But these are

existential questions that the country is facing. And those that have the greatest stake in maintaining our hierarchy will go to great lengths in

order to maintain their place in this hierarchy.

MARTIN: This notion that you talk about -- that you talked about in the book and that you talk about in your op-ed about replacement theory has now

gone mainstream, if I may put it that way, among a certain set of people.


I mean, you know, language, arguments that were considered, you know, profoundly racist. The province of fringe terrorists, like Timothy McVeigh,

you know, who was a believer in this replacement theory. This has gone mainstream now with a certain group of people who have a big platform.

And so, I guess the question I have is, you know, you talk a little bit about this, but I want to ask you is, in the time we have left to talk

about, what is the answer here? Especially at a time when you've got a number of powerful actors, governors, you know, state lawmakers, activists,

conservative activists not just pushing this theory, but also trying to make it difficult to counter that argument with information.

WILKERSON: I think the resistance to knowledge is the same with the bans and the resistance to understanding what's happening in our country means

that those of us who care about democracy, those of us who care about a fair, more egalitarian society need to focus on making sure that we know

all that we can about our country. That we learn and recognize that our country is like an old house.

You are not the one who created the uneven pillars in choice and beings, and the freight (ph) wiring and bloated pipes. But once you take possession

of that house, it is up to you. It is up to you to fix whatever is wrong. And we have many, many systems that are facing challenges and need

overhaul, repair and overhaul, in our country and that means that we have a lot of work to do.

The beauty of looking at our country as an old house, I describe myself as sort of the inspector of this old house in the column, is that it allows us

to recognize that this is not -- we don't get anywhere by making this something about blame and shame and guilt. That we have to roll up our

sleeves and get to work, to be -- to fix this. But you can't fix what you don't recognize and you can't heal from what you have not diagnosed.

And the goal is to first understand, how did we get here? Caste allows us to see. Looking at the infrastructure of our country, whatever we call

that, allows us to see the definite breadth of what we are up against. And so, we, I think, need to learn to recognize our country's history, to know

how we got to where we are and to not be surprised when these things happen but to get ahead of it, and to recognize what we're facing as a country in

order to make this the most egalitarian, open, and country with the most potential.

This is -- what I've done is a prayer for our country. It is of prayer that we find a way to get ahead of this existential crisis so that we can make

this a country that we want it to be, that's embracing of all people. We have a chance to create a country that embraces all, and that is a fair and

more egalitarian one for all, and hopefully even a more successful one that's been.

MARTIN: Isabel Wilkerson, thank you so much for talking with us today.

WILKERSON: Thank you so much for having me. It was a joy.


AMANPOUR: And finally, as I stand with St. Michaels Cathedral behind me, I note, of course, that it is the beginning of the lent season that leads up

to Easter. It is also, therefore, the beginning of carnivals. So, fantastic costumes, somber songs ringing out until dawn, and parade floats as far as

the eye can see. That, of course, is in Brazil, a long way away from here. It's the annual event. Emerging in its full glory from the COVID-19

pandemic, after two years of disruption.



Brazilians welcome the celebrations back in style. These revelers on the back of a giant tiger float. The streets of Rio de Janeiro were pulsating

with thousands of partygoers dancing to the beat of their drums.



AMANPOUR: And performers also compete in the yearly samba competition. It's an event within the carnival, with dancers, of course, vying for a

shot at the top trophy. Carnival runs until the 25th of February.

And that is it for now. Join me back here in Kyiv tomorrow and Friday for more coverage of the one-year anniversary of Russia's full-scale invasion

of this country. Tomorrow, I will be joined by Denise Brown, the U.N. Humanitarian Coordinator here. She's seen a lot of the devastation in this

country, firsthand. Also, Ambassador Victoria Nuland, the U.S. Under- Secretary of State for Political Affairs. That is all ahead tomorrow night.


In the meantime, remember, you can always catch us online. Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram and, of course, on our podcast. Thanks for watching

and goodbye from Kyiv.