Tucker Carlson and his lack of love for Ukraine: how the American presenter spreads pro-Russian narratives


Tucker Carlson is an American television host and political commentator, he has his own program called «Tucker Carlson Tonight» on the American conservative news channel Fox News.

In his show, he repeatedly spoke about Ukraine and the war that Russia launched against it. Let’s analyze some of the latest statements of the TV presenter.


Criticism of Ukraine: main theses

Tucker Carlson stated that there is no democracy in Ukraine:

«Ukraine is not a democracy. It is a one-party corrupt state. In Ukraine, there is no freedom of speech, freedom of the press, or freedom of religion. Ukraine is the least free place in the world.»

Often, Tucker Carlson’s statements contradict other Fox News commentators. Source: https://rb.gy/dwfw3a

Carlson accuses the President of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, of banning religion:

«This person [Volodymyr Zelenskyiy — author] is a destroyer. He banned Christianity in his country and arrested nuns and priests. Oh, but he is a hero, our leaders claim.»

He says the following about the funds allocated to Ukraine:

«This is to finance critical services in the government, that is, Zelenskyy’s political party, which banned the Christian denomination and arrested priests. This is what we pay for.»

Or that:

«For the hundreds of billions of dollars that we send to Ukraine, we could do so much in the USA.»

Also, earlier, Tucker Carlson said that the sanctions work not against Putin, but against the Americans.



Freedom of speech, press and religion are specified in the Constitution of Ukraine.

The right of the people to express their will through elections — in accordance with the forms of democracy — is also enshrined in the Constitution of Ukraine.

Regarding the last presidential election, the US State Department in the report on the practice of observing human rights in Ukraine for 2020 recognized the 2019 election as fair.

Elections in Ukraine are recognized as democratic, as well as the state system itself

The State Department noted that in the same year, parliamentary elections were held in Ukraine, «which observers also recognized as free and fair.»

Also, according to research by the American human rights organization Freedom House, conducted in 2021, the rating of democracy in Ukraine is 3.36 (out of 7 possible).

Thus, Ukraine is included in the category of «transitional or hybrid regimes».

«Countries receiving this score are typically electoral democracies where democratic institutions are fragile, and substantial challenges to the protection of political rights and civil liberties exist,» Freedom House experts explain.

The same study states: «Citizens’ yearning for democracy remains strong. Major transformations driven by public demands for better governance have been under way in Armenia and Ukraine, with the former earning the largest two-year improvement ever recorded in Nations in Transit».

That is, Ukraine is actively working to improve the situation with democracy.


Prohibition of religion and parties

Speaking about the banning of opposition parties, Carlson most likely meant the banning of the «Opposition Platform — For Life» party.

The President of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, explained: «Activities of politicians aimed at division or conspiracy will not be successful, but receive a harsh response. Therefore, the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine decided, taking into account the full-scale war unleashed by Russia and the political ties of a number of political structures with this state, to suspend any activity of a number of political parties for the period of martial law,» he said.

President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy

Viktor Medvedchuk, the leader of the «Opposition Platform for Life», was charged with treason and aiding terrorism.

Viktor Medvedchuk, the leader of the «Opposition Platform for Life», was charged with treason and aiding terrorism.

So, this is not just a «ban on opposition parties» — it is the result of the activities of law enforcement agencies of Ukraine, which suspect this party of undermining national security.

Regarding the ban on religion — The Ukrainian Review has already analyzed this thesis, where they explained that the war in Ukraine is not with religion, but with agents of Russian influence.


Financial support

Iryna Popova, executive director of financial company Aktivitis LLC

Iryna Popova, executive director of financial company Aktivitis LLC, commented on Carlson’s statements regarding sanctions and financial support:

«Tucker’s statement that the sanctions do not affect the Russian Federation, but only harm ordinary Americans, of course, has a propaganda character, because, in general, ordinary Americans were not affected by the sanctions imposed on the Russian Federation, but inflation is associated with the crisis in the world economy. In recent years, the global economy was negatively affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, but it was finally undermined in 2022 by the Russian war against Ukraine, causing food and energy crises and increasing inflation. Of course, the US does not have an energy problem, but like most central banks around the world, the country has tightened monetary policy and sharply raised interest rates to avoid inflationary pressures and recession. That is why the country is faced with falling incomes and consumption due to inflation while rising credit rates are suppressing investment.

As for funds that would be better used for the development of the United States, everyone who has repeatedly listened to Tucker’s comments knows that he actively criticizes any aid from the United States to Ukraine. And in general, he believes that the US government pays too much attention to Ukraine. Analyzing his statements, we can come to a single conclusion: his task is to form opposition to Democrats and some Republicans, so he uses such a tool as criticism, weaving Ukraine into domestic American politics.»


Why does Tucker Carlson promote such narratives?

Roman Sheremeta, Co-Chair of the Ukrainian American House, a platform for effective cooperation between the USA and Ukraine, and founding rector of American University Kyiv

Roman Sheremeta, Co-Chair of the Ukrainian American House, a platform for effective cooperation between the USA and Ukraine, and founding rector of American University Kyiv, a private university of international level, created in partnership with Arizona State University explains:

«We need to understand his motivation for the things that he is saying, and there it is not clear. There are several possibilities here.

The first one is just a fact that he represents the conservative side in opposition to Democrats. So, this is the basic narrative that he pushes, and that is anti-democrats. So, if Biden is supporting Ukraine that you know, then the Republicans will not be supporting that strategy the Democrats are pursuing. This is a simple sort of anti-democratic rhetoric. Some would even speculate that if Democrats were not supporting Ukraine and could’ve been the case that in the Republicans would’ve been pushing to like Tucker Carlson would have been pushing to support Ukraine. This is the first possible answer.

The second answer is that Tucker Carlson is just simply misinformed, and he just doesn’t understand, and this is very likely the case. From my personal reading and understanding of the things that he said, he just doesn’t know what is going on in Ukraine. For example, he said that Zelenskyy is closed and persecuting the orthodox church. And he apparently doesn’t understand that there is an orthodox church of Moscow patriarchy and Ukrainian patriarchy, and so obviously he doesn’t even know that there are these two different parts of the Orthodox Church. So, it seems that Tucker Carlson simply is not informed of Ukraine.

The third reason is that it could be the case, and it also appears to be true that Tucker Carlson simply sympathizes with Putin just like Donald Trump has been expressing his admiration of Putin and his rule. I don’t know why he would sympathize with that, but he has expressed many times in his report that Putin did nothing wrong to him, that, you know, he is a good leader for the Russian country. This is more of an ideological stand. It’s disgusting, but that seems to be the position he has taken.

Finally, the fourth point is that we have to understand that Tucker Carlson is not a position. He is simply an influencer, public speaker, and voice. The more controversial he is going to create, the more listeners are going to be following him, the bigger his audience.”


What are the risks of Tucker Carlson’s statements?

Yaroslav Bozhko, head of the Center for Political Studies «Doctrine».

«In general, Tucker Carlson is a kind of media mouthpiece of Trumpism [political ideology, political movement associated with the 45th president of the USA, Donald Trump — author]. First of all, his theses are aimed at the extreme right segment of the Republican voters, and this can pose a certain problem, because it is among the Republican electorate that support for Ukraine has significantly decreased during the full-scale invasion. Trump’s orbit is already publicly putting forward pro-Russian theses, which has a strong influence on the party, in which, however, the “trumpists” are not the only force inside.

As for the possibility of influencing the decision, it depends on the stability of the ruling coalition of Democrats. Now it looks quite stable, but the next election cycles may be more problematic for Ukraine in the USA», — believes Yaroslav Bozhko, head of the Center for Political Studies «Doctrine».

Roman Sheremeta, explains what threatens Tucker’s activities as follows:

«Why is this narrative problematic? The reason this is problematic is because, as I said, Tucker Carlson has a pretty large audience, and people listen to him, and have already encountered some conservatives who had sort of a neutral position, before the war. And now they are actually in a fever of stopping aid to Ukraine because Tucker Carlson has been telling them all of these. You know secrets from the Ukrainian side, although these corruption scandals, all of this history about Russia really liberating Ukraine, and so on. So forth, and also it normalizes their acts that Russia has been committing in Ukraine because Tucker Carlson has normalized Russia as it is a normal country, which Russia is not. It’s a terrorist state and that’s how it should be talked about, and so that’s the second problem is that it normalizes discussion about Russia. And finally, the third problem that I see, is that we are obviously going to come into a new cycle of elections, and when this happens, we will see more and more polarization in the United States and so that potentially can create a split in the Republican Party, and obviously the support for Ukraine will be less from the Republican Party».



In 2021, The Tucker Carlson Show became the most-watched news show on US cable television. «Tucker Carlson Tonight» averaged 3.2 million viewers.

The impact of the program on its audience is evidenced by the case when constituents called the office of Congressman Tom Malinowski from the state of New Jersey and said that after watching Tucker Carlson’s show, they were upset that the United States was not siding with Russia.

As we can see, Tucker Carlson has a huge opportunity to influence people’s minds. However, he uses it to spread misinformation that distorts society’s perception of the political situation in Ukraine and the world.


Anna Ostymchuk

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