Andrei V Kozyrev Profile picture
Mar 6, 2022 11 tweets 2 min read Twitter logo Read on Twitter
Lots of discussions about the threat of nuclear war from the Kremlin and whether Putin is rational. I share my thoughts in this thread.

To frame: I do not believe Russia would use nuclear weapons and I believe Putin is a rational actor.
First of all, I want to examine where the questioning of Putin’s rationality started. I think it began because most people, particularly in the West, view his decision to invade Ukraine as utterly irrational. I disagree. It’s horrific, but not irrational.
To understand why the invasion was rational for Putin, we have to step into his shoes. Three beliefs came together at the same time in his calculus:
1. Ukraine’s condition as a country
2. Russian military’s condition
3. The West’s geopolitical condition
1. Ukraine’s condition. Putin spent the last 20 years believing that Ukraine is not a real nation and, at best, should be a satellite state. Maidan ended any hope of keeping Ukraine independent and pro-Kremlin. He thought the West was behind it. Image
If Ukraine’s government cannot be kept independent and pro-Kremlin covertly, as he likely concluded, then he will overtly force it to be. He also started to believe his own propagandists that Ukraine is run by a Nazi-Bandera junta. Perfect pretext to “de-Nazify” Ukraine.
2. Russian military. The Kremlin spent the last 20 years trying to modernize its military. Much of that budget was stolen and spent on mega-yachts in Cyprus. But as a military advisor you cannot report that to the President. So they reported lies to him instead. Potemkin military
3. The West. The Russian ruling elite believed its own propaganda that Pres. Biden is mentally inept. They also thought the EU was weak because of how toothless their sanctions were in 2014. And then the U.S. botched its withdrawal from Afghanistan, solidifying this narrative.
If you believe all three of the above to be true and your goal is to restore the glory of the Russian Empire (whatever that means), then it is perfectly rational to invade Ukraine.

He miscalculated on all three, but that doesn’t make him insane. Simply wrong and immoral.
So, in my opinion, he is rational. Given that he is rational, I strongly believe he will not intentionally use nuclear weapons against the West. I say intentionally because indiscriminate shelling near a nuclear power plant can cause an unintentional nuclear disaster in Ukraine.
I will take it a step further. The threat of nuclear war is another example of his rationality. The Kremlin knows it can try to extract concessions, whether from Ukraine or the West, by saber-rattling its last remaining card in the deck: nuclear weapons.
The ultimate conclusion here is that the West should not agree to any unilateral concessions or limit its support of Ukraine too much for the fear of nuclear war.

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More from @andreivkozyrev

May 27
Amid optimism about the forthcoming offensive and the future UKR joining NATO, the West is losing in UKR and on the world stage.
Weapons win wars. Putin’s weapons are bombs delivered to UKR from distant sanctuary airports and launch sites, mass cannon fodder, and a primitive but enduring economy.
China is helping Putin economically and diplomatically to humiliate the US and NATO, making self-isolated from West Russia a cheap game full of resources.
Read 10 tweets
Apr 1
A choir of voices calls for a “realistic” settlement in Ukraine, with Russia gaining at least Crimea. One can only imagine what will happen after that in the long run. Thread.
Xi IV to Putin IV: I decided to grant Russia the privileged status of province in my Heavenly Communist Kingdom.
I appoint you the governor of the new province —two reasons for this promotion.
Read 19 tweets
Feb 3
Putin again threatened the West with nuclear weapons. The Biden Administration refuses to send long-range missiles and F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine.
Both news broke out almost simultaneously. Coincidence? Causation. Thread of 8.
Putin, like I, was a part of the Soviet foreign policy bureaucracy - the KGB (Foreign ministry). He knows that after the Cuban missile crisis, the Kremlin dropped the illusory doctrine of winning a nuclear war.
He inherited the reality of mutually assured destruction in case of nuclear conflict. It has not changed. So, unleashing a nuclear war is suicidal.
But threatening it is not.
Read 9 tweets
Jan 22
Two opposing justifications are implied for not defeating Russia in Ukraine. It is too strong, a superpower that will use nuclear weapons. It is too weak, an almost failed state that will fall into chaos. Thread.
The imminence of both hazards is exaggerated. Their realistic appraisal leads to an opposite conclusion. Russia can and should be defeated in UKR.
Putin and his clique, like their Soviet predecessors, are aware that nuclear war cannot be won and must not be fought.
Read 17 tweets
Jan 19
Tanks, no tanks. Tanks and now. But the real problem is that NATO has a self-defeating strategy. Thread of 8.
NATO vows to “stay with Ukraine for as long as it takes.” To accomplish what exactly? It’s for Kyiv to decide.
But that is a self-deceptive if not perfidious answer since the West decides against supplying weapons that Kyiv decides it needs to defeat Russian aggression.
Read 9 tweets
Nov 6, 2022
For Ukraine "No negotiations with Putin" is detached from reality as "Start negotiations now."
Ukraine's unambiguous heroic stance in response to Putin’s aggression is in the heart of the strong American and international support. This stance should continue to be realistic to maintain support and combat “Ukraine fatigue.”
Let's face it. Unfortunately, Putin's regime might be in the Kremlin for a long time even after a defeat in the UKR. But in any case, only after the defeat the Kremlin will negotiate for real.
Read 11 tweets

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