Putin Vatniks: Tucker Carlson and Col. Doug MacGregor

Putin Vatniks: Tucker Carlson and Col. Doug MacGregor

Putin Vatniks: Tucker Carlson and Col. Doug MacGregor

On Tuesday, Toni wrote a post in which she focused on Tucker Carlson’s interview with retired Col. Doug MacGregor on Ukraine. Over the course of an hour, MacGregor premised that the Ukrainian army was losing at the hands of Putin and his Russian army. Because the Colonel “has voiced opinions at odds with the Pentagon” Toni writes that it “makes him A-OK in my book.” She concluded by asking to hear the thoughts of readers.

I’m writing here to express my thoughts, and here they are: Both Carlson and MacGregor are hardcore vatniks, i.e., supporters of Vladimir Putin. They have both spun lies and deceit in order to turn Americans against the cause of Ukraine in the war that Russia started.

Let’s start with Col. Doug MacGregor.


MacGregor Lies About the War

In her post Toni stated — with sarcasm, one assumes:

Don’t you dare question the War in Ukraine or else you are a puppet of Putin.

Problem is, Doug MacGregor has been a longtime vatnik for the Russian president. Here’s what he asserted on Tucker Carlson’s interview, “Into the Abyss:”

I think all of the lies that have been told for more than a year-and-a-half about the Ukrainians are winning, the Ukrainian cause is just, the Russians are evil, the Russians are incompetent. All of that is collapsing, and it’s collapsing because what’s happening on the battlefield is horrific.

He added that 400,000 Ukrainian troops have died. “400,000 dead,” he claimed. “The ratio is one to five …”

Except those are lies. While no one knows the exact number of casualties, US officials report that Russia’s 300,000 casualties far outstrip those of Ukraine. Officials place the numbers of Ukrainian casualties at 70,000 killed and 100,000 to 120,000 wounded. No one can say that’s a 1:5 ratio in favor of Russia.

As for Russia whipping the Ukrainians — that’s another of MacGregor’s prevarications.

In its daily briefings, the Institute for the Study of War includes the following in updates for August 22:

  • Ukrainian forces continued to make advances in and around Robotyne in western Zaporizhia Oblast as of August 22 amid indications that Russian forces likely have a limited presence in the settlement.
  • The Ukrainian advance in the Robotyne area brings Ukrainian forces closer to launching operations against second lines of defense that may be relatively weaker than the first Russian defensive line in the area.
  • Russian forces appear concerned about recent Ukrainian advances in the Donetsk-Zaporizhia Oblast border area and in western Zaporizhia Oblast.

Meanwhile, the BBC reported that a Ukrainian drone destroyed a Russian supersonic bomber. In addition, Forbes revealed that Ukrainian drones and artillery have destroyed at least 18 of 50 Russian Tulpans — 30-ton tracked vehicles hauling 240-millimeter mortars that lob 290-pound shells a distance of six miles.

A writer at the milblog 1945 wrote that “The Russian Military is Taking Heavy Losses Thanks to Ukraine’s Offensive.” And while Russian tanks did parade through the streets of Kyiv, it wasn’t quite as Putin would’ve liked. The Ukrainians drove destroyed Russian tanks as part of their Independence Day celebrations.

It doesn’t appear that Russia is faring very well, despite Doug MacGregor’s claims.


MacGregor — Longtime Putin Vatnik

Col. MacGregor has been shilling for Putin ever since the start of the Ukraine War — and making predictions that never came true.

For example, three days after the beginning of the war, he told Tucker Carlson (of course), that “If they don’t surrender in the next 24 hours, I suspect Russia will ultimately annihilate them.”

When that didn’t pan out, he told Carlson a few days later that, “Russia has been too gentle” and that “I would say another 10 days this should be completely over.” After those comments, Carlson said that MacGregor was an “honest man.”

Insert *eyeroll.*

In March, MacGregor appeared on The Grayzone insisting that Ukraine was being “grounded to bits. There’s no question about that despite what we report on our mainstream media.”  He also alleged that Putin was taking care of civilians, so that’s why the war was lasting a bit longer.

Another eyeroll.

And what, you may ask, is “The Grayzone”? It’s one of the biggest sources of disinformation and Putin propaganda. Grayzone has also denied China’s genocide of the Uyghurs, so they have an affinity for despotic regimes.

Polygraph.info, a website of the Voice of America, also logged some of the MacGregor whoppers he told to Russian media. For example, in February, Russia’s RIA Novosti state news agency quoted MacGregor as saying this about American munitions:

We just don’t have ammunition to send. We have reached the limit; our own reserves are rapidly coming to an end.

Another fabrication. Polygraph countered with this:

In reality, for most categories of ammunition, the U.S. can provide support to Ukraine indefinitely. Only for two types of ammunition — 155 mm artillery ammunition, which includes a wide variety of non-precision projectiles, and 155 mm Excalibur GPS-guided precision artillery shells — the United States may have a shortage in the coming years if it doesn’t replenish.

However, the U.S. has already moved to increase munitions production to avoid shortages.

In March, RIA Novosti quoted another MacGregor yet again:

The colonel noted that the Russian side is trying to act as carefully as possible and minimize damage, unlike, in particular, the US army in Iraq. He also expressed the opinion that the defeat of the Armed Forces of Ukraine is inevitable, and President Zelensky is trying to delay it by any means.

Except that international authorities, including the United Nations, have reported mass atrocities upon the civilian population. Russians have bombed theaters filled with civilians in daylight. They have bombed hospitals and abducted and tortured thousands of Ukrainian children, for which Putin and the woman in charge of the abductions, Maria Lvova-Belova, have both been charged by the International Criminal Court. They have raped children.

But Putin is treading lightly upon the civilian population. Okay. So can I interest you in this bridge?

And look! Here’s MacGregor in a screenshot from his appearance on Russian-based RT News.

Putin Vatnik MacGregor

Screenshot: @P_Kallioniemi/X. 

But one American journalist pushed back against MacGregor’s untruths, surprisingly at Fox News.

Last year, MacGregor told Fox host Trey Gowdy that Ukrainians and Russians as peoples were “indistinguishable” (try calling Austrians and Germans that), and that “I see no reason why we should fight with the Russians over something they have been talking about for years.” Gowdy listened without pushing back.

After MacGregor’s appearance foreign correspondent Jennifer Griffin promptly schooled Gowdy on MacGregor’s “distortions.”


Tucker Carlson — Putin Vatnik Number Two

Tucker Carlson has been a longtime vatnik for the Russian regime, and he pulled out all the stops in Monday’s interview with MacGregor. Here’s part of his intro:

The Ukrainian Army is not winning. In fact, it’s losing badly. Ukraine is being destroyed. Its population is being slaughtered in lopsided battles with a technologically superior enemy or scattered by the millions to the rest of the globe as refugees. Ukraine is running out of soldiers.

Except, as I cited from several diverse sources above, that is patently untrue.

In April, Carlson shared fake Pentagon leaks that claimed that “Ukraine is losing the war,” and that “seven Ukrainians are being killed for every Russian.”

However, Carlson got his information from “Donbass Devushka,” an American propagandist, podcaster, and Putin vatnik.

So who is this “Donbass Devushka”? Her real name is Sarah Bils, and she’s a former Navy non-commissioned officer who also posted classified documents from Airman Jack Teixeira. Texeira, as you may recall, is being charged with stealing and disseminating classified documents.

And last December, Carlson told his Fox News audience that Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy was waging a war on Christian churches:

If you were a Republican office holder, and Zelensky came to Washington, maybe you would, for a moment, ask him about his current and ongoing war against Christianity in Ukraine. You will not hear a word on television tonight about the fact that Zelensky has banned an entire ancient Christian denomination in Ukraine, and then seized churches, and then thrown priests in jail.

Except that Carlson once again distorted the reality.

It’s true that Zelenskyy closed some churches. However, these were Orthodox churches linked to Russia, and they were encouraging congregants to join the Russian army. Zelenskyy’s draft law was actually aimed “making it impossible for religious organizations affiliated with centers of influence in the Russian Federation to operate in Ukraine.” Then late last year, he ordered an investigation into the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (UOC)—a subordinate of the Russian Orthodox Church, which Russia uses as a lever of soft power to exert influence abroad.

Remember when after 9/11 Americans were clamoring the for the US government to shut down Islamic mosques and madrassas that were spewing anti-Americanism? Yet Zelenskyy is the bad guy here? Talk about hypocrisy!

Moreover, the Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill (aka Vladimir Mikhailovich Gundyayev) has told the Orthodox faithful that dying in the war will absolve soldiers of their sins. Sounds a little like that dying-and-getting-42-virgins thing.

What Carlson also failed to tell the viewers is the unique structure of Orthodoxy. Context here really matters.

The Orthodox Church of Ukraine, which was created only in 2018, is autocephalous—not subject to the authority of an external bishop. But the Ukrainian Orthodox Church–Moscow Patriarchate is under the spiritual authority of the aforementioned Patriarch Kirill of Moscow. Not only is Kirill politically aligned with the Kremlin, he’s also a former KGB agent.

Even conservative Newsmax TV pointed out that Carlson was distorting the truth about the churches.

Moreover, consider that Zelenskyy is Jewish, and Ukraine is a Ukrainian Orthodox-majority nation. Why would a Jewish president close down Christian churches for no reason whatsoever and then expect his people to support him?


Okay, Then You Must Want Endless War with Putin

No I don’t. And I don’t think we should throw money willy-nilly at the Ukraine war without accountability, either.

It’s true that aid from the US has far outstripped that of other nations, but that’s because we’ve got the largest economy. However, three little nations are far exceeding by percentage the US’s contributions: Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania. That’s understandable: these Baltic nations fear being next in Putin’s sights since Estonia and Latvia border Russia. Lithuania has Kaliningrad, a Russian satellite state, on its southern border, with Putin-friendly Belarus to the east. All three nations were also part of the Soviet Union. Their fear is reasonable.

However, instead of giving billions to Ukraine a là Joe Biden, I support former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Sen. Tom Cotton in their proposals for sending weapons. Both conservative Republicans are also military veterans who understand warfare.

Yes, Tucker Carlson is popular among many on the right, especially since Fox News fired him. Many conservatives hold him up as sort of a martyr to his convictions. But when it comes to Ukraine, he and his sidekick Col. Douglas MacGregor not only are very wrong, they lie and distort the truth in order to promote whatever it is they so admire about Vladimir Putin.


Featured image: “Vladimir Putin, Judoka.” by vasvas is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.



Written by

Kim is a pint-sized patriot who packs some big contradictions. She is a Baby Boomer who never became a hippie, an active Republican who first registered as a Democrat (okay, it was to help a sorority sister's father in his run for sheriff), and a devout Lutheran who practices yoga. Growing up in small-town Indiana, now living in the Kansas City metro, Kim is a conservative Midwestern gal whose heart is also in the Seattle area, where her eldest daughter, son-in-law, and grandson live. Kim is a working speech pathologist who left school system employment behind to subcontract to an agency, and has never looked back. She describes her conservatism as falling in the mold of Russell Kirk's Ten Conservative Principles. Don't know what they are? Google them!

  • American Human says:

    I’ve found many sources of factual reporting on the war in Ukraine. Actually even the UK Daily Mail has some accurate stories.
    However, due to my own experiences within Russia over the course of many years, I knew from the start that the vaunted juggernaut Russian army was a paper tiger. Since they’ve been prevented from stealing the secrets of American military equipment, they’ve been forced to purchase western parts to put in their equipment. They have been denied these Western parts due to the war and the design errors in their newest and supposedly best, tanks have been magnified during this war. They have been forced to rely on older tanks and are now trying to actually ship T57s to Ukraine.
    Probably the biggest problem is their failure to perform maintenance on pretty much everything they have. This has been an on-going problem for them pretty much the entirety of their modern warfare excursions. They just don’t understand the importance of the various levels of maintenance e.g., direct support, high level support, depot support, etc. They just let things go until they break.
    Sure they have more men (total populations) but they don’t train their men to do anything other than point a rifle down range. They are 75% conscripts with pay just a few $$ a day.

    Anyway, as I said, personal experience.

    • Kim Hirsch says:

      Very interesting information. Thanks for sharing your observations.

    • Liz says:

      Interesting stuff, thank you for your perspective.
      I’m kind of curious if it is really true they “don’t understand the importance of maintenance” or if it’s something they simply don’t have the money to do. I would assume it’s the latter (like most everywhere else).
      Could you provide a link to the sources you believe to be accurate on this topic?

      • GWB says:

        No, Islamic culture is really big on “inshallah” – if Allah wills. And it is very weak on doing actual work.

        The stories out of AF flight training with international students are rife with stories of “inshallah”. I know personally of one where the student was doing spin recovery training. The student is shown how to recover and then walked through it. In the middle of the spin, with an unsuccessful recovery attempted, the student takes his hands entirely off the controls and puts them over his head and says “Inshallah!” The instructor – while the plane is still spinning – grabs his oxygen hose at the base of his mask and starts slamming the student’s helmet against the canopy screaming “F*** Allah’s will! Recover the aircraft!” After receiving counseling regarding the incident, the instructor went back to teaching, and the student washed back to another class.

        • GWB says:

          Oh, jiminy. Non-sequitur alert. I was remembering the first comment above wrongly when I responded. I thought there had been a story of Middle Eastern maintenance in there.

          The Russians just seem to have a cultural problem with doing work and not cutting corners. I don’t know how much was induced by the Soviet era and how much pre-existed it.

          • Liz says:

            No worries, GWB…
            I enjoyed that anecdote immensely! Thank you. 🙂
            (my spouse was an F16 pilot for many years and had numerous deployments in the ME, along with some joint exercises and he has some similar stories)

      • American Human says:

        My experience indicates they really don’t understand. An anecdote: I rode the Moscow Metro many times. They have extraordinarily deep stations and the escalators are really long. There are usually three with two down, one up or the other way depending on the time of day. At the bottom there is a panel with lights indicating to the person sitting in the booth if there is a problem with an escalator. Regardless of the state of an escalator, the lights were always green indicating no problem. It turns out someone had hard wired the green lights to always be on so the mechanics didn’t have to come during off hours to work. Meaning if an escalator broke, they asked what the lights indicated and since they were always green they didn’t need to come in to fix anything.


        This page provides information on many different things in different countries military and otherwise. There are some revealing articles on the Ukraine war. Besides, the claims presented by Macgregor are not backed up by any evidence. If Russia is slaughtering the Ukrainians then how come the Russians keep getting pushed back or haven’t gained any territory.

        • Liz says:

          Thanks for the link, American Human (and the anecdote…good grief must be frustrating to get anything done there).

        • GWB says:

          That escalator anecdote sounds very Soviet.
          And I think there’s probably some data backing up MacGregor. Just as some of the data coming out of Ukraine is likely true, too.

  • Kate says:

    A incredibly researched post Kim! Well done!

    I would like to say though — as one who disagrees with the seemingly never ending pipelines of weaponry and cash to sketchy Ukraine — that good people can disagree on the Russia Ukraine war. Those who are not supportive of our efforts in Ukraine are not necessarily Vatniks. It’s a lot more complicated than black and white. But I know you know that. Thanks again!

    • GWB says:

      This is where I have the problem. Why can’t you disagree without accusing Carlson and the general of being Putin stooges? Why is it always “Those people are stooges!” instead of “I think they’re wrong”?

      This, honestly, makes your reporting unreliable, IMO. (And you explicitly trust the numbers from the Pentagon? Really?) It demonstrates a level of emotional involvement overriding your otherwise good journalism.

      I’m more than happy to see both sets of information getting posted. And a solid explanation of why you believe one side over the other (or a mix of the two) is good stuff. Yelling “Vatnik!” is just ranting, and less than I expect from Victory Girls.

    • Nicki says:

      Hi, Kate! I think there’s a general misunderstanding of what a “vatnik” is, and a general knee jerk reaction to the description.

      It’s not someone who disagrees with sending support to Ukraine, but rather someone who uses clear mis- and disinformation as justification. Carlson and ESPECIALLY MacGregor have been doing that since the invasion happened. I get the feeling he’s similar to Michael Flynn, who went from being a lifelong Democrat after being fired as DIA director to a crazed Trump supporter out of sheer spite. (And yes, I know him, have briefed him in person, and hold him in the highest contempt.) MacGregor was denied promotions again and again until he was finally forced into retirement. Now, he’s pandering to anyone who hates the Pentagon and literally peddling absolute garbage.

      I happen to disagree with you on support to Ukraine, but I also don’t consider you a vatnik. Just a thought.


      • Kate says:

        Good to know! Thank you, Nicki.

      • Cameron says:

        And it’s nice to see you again.

      • Liz says:

        Really curious what your beef is with Flynn, since you have met and have briefed him)?
        I don’t know much about MacGregor but being passed over for promotion (was he full bird or a “light” colonel?) isn’t necessarily a reflection on ability. Boyd (godfather of the OODA loop) was also passed over again and again.

        • Nicki says:

          Hi, Liz. A lot of it is classified, so I can’t say much there. But in general terms, Flynn was the kind of guy who refused to listen to his briefings unless they supported his preconceived notions. If you tried to warn him about Russia, he would poo-poo the information as unimportant. He wasn’t interested in what he wasn’t interested in. That’s very general.

          You can look at why he was ejected from CENTCOM – for revealing ORCON information to the likes of Pakistan. He revealed classified information without authorization and then hypocritically shrieked about locking up Clinton (I believe she should have been prosecuted, but he should have too, instead of being made DIA director by friggin Obama.)

          There was other stuff when he was National Security Advisor for those three weeks. I nearly quit back then.

          But again, those are my personal experiences. There’s a lot that’s public record that you can look up. I can just say, whatever you read in the media, it was actually worse!

  • Taylor says:

    Tucker Carlson is a paleocon who loves Putin and any other authoritarian tyrant. Douglas MacGregor is another lunatic paleo in the tradition of Pat Buchanan (and the blog VDARE) and those idiots who call themselves the Alt-Right/Groypers.

    • Kim Hirsch says:

      Yeah, there’s a lot there to discuss, isn’t there?

    • GWB says:

      Tucker Carlson is a paleocon who loves Putin and any other authoritarian tyrant.
      And this is exactly the sort of malarkey that I’m talking about. I don’t think you’ve got any information to back up that broad smear of Carlson. And the little bit at the end of that sentence tells me you might be a NeverTrumper. Or maybe a NobodyButTrumper. (I have heard both use that phrase in that fashion.) But either way, it’s an entirely emotional take on something that is a lot more complicated than “Putin bad!”

      • Kim Hirsch says:

        Did you think it was a “broad smear” when Tucker Carlson said Zelenskyy was “sweaty and rat-like?” Or that he looked like the “manager of a strip club?” Or called him a “Ukrainian pimp?”

        Or is it a broad smear only when your ox is being gored?

        “You might be a NeverTrumper.” Oh dear, how dare they!

        • GWB says:

          No, it wasn’t a broad smear. It might have been “mean” or unprofessional, but it wasn’t a broad smear. I expect you know that if you think about it (your writing is good enough I know you have a large, operative vocabulary).

          As to “my ox”…. I don’t really have one. Other than maybe being appalled at how many Americans are so emotionally invested in sides in a war that does not directly impact our national interest and is filled with very questionable people on both sides.

          And yes, I think throwing out “paleocon” as a pejorative and claiming he supports “any other authoritative tyrant” makes the commenter sound a hell of a lot like a NeverTrumper or a NobodyButTrumper. That is, someone who is letting Trump live in their head rent-free, regardless of whether they love or hate him.

          Sorry if that chafes, Kim. You should know by now I won’t hold back my very considered criticism.

  • Liz says:

    I have not read the comments yet, nor finished reading the above (I appreciate the different perspective, btw, nothing stops independence of thought like complete agreement). I don’t know enough about the situation to speak knowledgably (and I think very few do). I don’t think there are any really unbiased sources of information. Anyone who thinks there is, I have to wonder on what they are basing their opinion.
    That said, I have to take issue with the following:
    MacGregor’s cited “whooper” of a lie:
    “We just don’t have ammunition to send. We have reached the limit; our own reserves are rapidly coming to an end.”
    Polygraph’s counter:
    “In reality, for most categories of ammunition, the U.S. can provide support to Ukraine indefinitely. Only for two types of ammunition — 155 mm artillery ammunition, which includes a wide variety of non-precision projectiles, and 155 mm Excalibur GPS-guided precision artillery shells — the United States may have a shortage in the coming years if it doesn’t replenish.”

    It is possible I’m missing something but Polygraph helpfully provided the link to their ostensible “counter” and the facts seem to back what MacGregor said, rather than the “indefinite” munitions claim of the “polygraph”. Candidly, just the words “indefinite munition supply” peaked my curiosity to check out this astonishing claim.
    According to this chart, the munitions will take many years to replenish, at best.
    Furthermore this is war reserve material.
    Something we shouldn’t be tapping into at all unless absolutely necessary.

    • Liz says:

      It should be noted the chart dates back to January, and the ammo data from the link dates back to April 2022. I’m skeptical TPTB are actually so forthcoming with this data that we know the real numbers…but assuming we do, aren’t they using cluster munitions because we’re (ostensibly) running out? That was the last I heard, whether to believe it or not (think it came from the horse’s mouth, Biden, if memory serves).

      • GWB says:

        I think part of the calculation to send them cluster munitions is to get them out of our inventory. We stupidly sorta agreed to the international “ban” on them (though we’re not bound by treaty because that part has never been ratified by the Senate – IIRC) and this puts us in the position of simply not buying any more (because Ukraine is using them up).

        As to general status of ammunition stockpiles….
        I tend to believe those who are concerned more than those who denigrate the claims simply because the last 15 years of Executive gov’t have not been very friendly to the idea of needing lots of beans and bullets, the last few years seem to have been very hostile to our being even the slightest bit prepared for a true emergency (Biden selling the petroleum reserve, for example, and not replenishing it). Also, familiarity with gov’t and military bureaucracy.

        • Liz says:

          I didn’t know we’d agreed to ban cluster munitions.
          As I understand it, if they are used as anti-personnel weapons that is unlawful but if they are used to..say…make pits in a runway so the enemy’s planes can’t take off that is a lawful use. Like white phosphorous can’t be used to incinerate the enemy, but it is good for illuminating targets for night time bombing.
          Something tells me the Ukraine will be using them as anti-personnel weapons.

        • Scott says:

          Not to mention that the current regime has done all they can to destroy domestic ammo manufacturing, and with previous recent admins ( Trump excepted) doing all they can to drive all manufacturing from our shores, to believe that we still have the capability to rapidly increase production to cover depletion or immediate need anywhere near on the scale to what we did in the ramp up for WWII is akin to believing in fairies…

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