Kremlin-Aligned Group Denounces Russian Nuclear Threats & State TV Rhetoric


Russian nuclear missile in Red Square during the military parade marking the 75th anniversary of Nazi defeat, on June 24, 2020 in Moscow, Russia. A Russian foreign policy think tank has expressed concern at Moscow’s rhetoric calling for nuclear weapon use in the war in Ukraine.MIKHAIL SVETLOV/GETTY IMAGES

Moscow’s rhetoric about nuclear weapons being an option in its full-scale invasion of Ukraine has been branded “the height of irresponsibility” by a Kremlin-aligned think tank.

A letter by Russia’s Council for Foreign and Defense Policy, titled “On calls for nuclear war,” flies in the face of the nuclear threats that have been a mainstay of state television and some political figures.

The council is Russia’s leading foreign policy organization and its honorary chairman, Sergei Karaganov, a scientist with close links to President Vladimir Putin, last month called for a nuclear strike on international targets “to bring those who have lost their mind to reason.”

But 24 council members, who are prominent Russian figures from the fields of academia, science and politics, released a missive expressing concern at such talk of a preventative nuclear strike by Moscow should the war in Ukraine escalate.

This rhetoric about nuclear weapons was not just limited to their use in the war but included proposals “to strike at the main NATO countries,” the letter, published on the council’s website, said.

“Hoping that a limited nuclear conflict can be managed and prevented from escalating into a global nuclear war is the height of irresponsibility,” it said. “At stake is the destruction of tens and perhaps even hundreds of millions of people in Russia, Europe, China, the USA, and other countries.

“This is a direct threat to humanity in general,” it added as it took a swipe at the nuclear sabre-rattling made by state television guests.

“Pseudo-theoretical reasoning and emotional statements in the style of ‘talk shows’ can create a mood in society that can push for the adoption of disastrous decisions,” it said, “no one should ever blackmail humanity with the threat of using nuclear weapons or order they be used in combat.”

Cold War historian and professor at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, Sergey Radchenko, tweeted that it was a “remarkable letter, indicating that there is more to public debate in Russia than what meets the eye.”

“A breath of fresh air after Karaganov’s recent posturing,” he added. Karagonov did not sign the letter.

Commentators on Russian state TV regularly urge the Kremlin to use nuclear missiles and Putin hinted in September 2022 that he’d be prepared to use nuclear weapons to defend Russian territory. “If the territorial integrity of our country is threatened, we will without doubt use all available means to protect Russia and our people—this is not a bluff,” the Russian leader said in a televised address.

Newsweek has contacted the Council for Foreign and Defense Policy and the Kremlin by email for comment.

A month after he said the possibility Moscow might use nuclear arms was “real,” U.S. President Joe Biden stated on Thursday he did not believe there was a danger that Putin would use atomic weapons against Ukraine.

However, this week, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Moscow considered the supply to Kyiv of Western F-16 fighter jets as a “nuclear” threat because of their ability to carry atomic weapons.

One comment

  1. I’m glad that someone in mafia land is criticizing the constant nuclear saber-rattling in the Kremlin, although I doubt that it will change anything. It does put fear into Biden’s fragile persona. Others, too, are affected in negative ways. But, it doesn’t change the fact that those who do this – and we know who they are – have gone completely insane, especially the ever-drunk monkey, Medvedev. He and the other nuts use this sort of threat as if they were doing something as harmless as threatening a teenage son to take away the car keys. I am positive that the individuals who have actual control over mafia land’s nukes think more like sane people.

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