Russian intellectual Prof. Sergey Karaganov, who is the head of the Russia-based Council for Foreign and Defense Policy, said in a June 24, 2023 interview on Russia Today that using nuclear weapons in order to stop NATO's aggressive expansion in Europe would be a difficult moral choice for Russia, but would ultimately save humanity by preventing the outbreak of a nuclear world war. He said that America's historical nuclear strategy suggests that the U.S. would not take the risk of retaliating against Russia if it were to use nuclear weapons against European countries, and he said that the West must be punished for using the "brotherly" Ukrainian people as cannon fodder in its campaign against Russia. It should be noted that on June 13, Prof. Karaganov had published an article similarly arguing that Russia should use nuclear weapons (see MEMRI Special Dispatch No. 10674).
Sergey Karaganov: "The decision to use nuclear weapons is a terrible moral challenge, a terrible moral decision. Morally it will hurt us, or whoever will use it, but sometimes you have to choose. The famous Dostoevsky dictum – will you sacrifice the child to save humanity... It's a philosophically terrible choice, but I decided to become unpopular by choosing to save humanity.
"We have been wrong for many years by not stopping NATO expansion, because this led to war. I have been saying for 25 years – some others [have] too – that if it does not stop, it will lead to war. Now I am saying that if Western defensive expansionism and aggression is not stopped, this will lead to World War III. I was right on my first prediction, as well as many others, and I hope my voice, however weak it is, will help us all to avoid, first, a nuclear war in Europe, [where] a big war is already happening, and second, an worse, World War III, a nuclear world war which would end humanity and leave radioactive ruins [as its] remnants. That is a real possibility.
"I hope, as I've said, that it will not [happen] if we really put this issue on the table. The West, which is losing all strategic thinking it has [unclear] over centuries, will back off, because they are running amok. They are desperate and irresponsible, and the political leadership of most Western countries has been degrading for several decades."
Interviewer: "And you think NATO's Article V is a sham? The U.S. would not come to the rescue if European countries were hit?"
Karaganov: "I am a historian of nuclear strategy, and I know that after the Soviet Union got reliable capabilities to strike back, the U.S. never seriously thought about attacking the Soviet Union in retaliation, for example, for a soviet attack on Europe.
"I am pretty sure that if an American president decides to use nuclear weapons against Russia in 'defense' of Europe, that means that he is a madman or that he hates the United States. I hope that times will not come when such a madman is installed in the White House, but we see that over the years, the degradation of the level of American elite, including those in the White House, is very obvious, and we do not know who will be there five or eight years later from now.
"Sooner or later, we have to use some kind of long-range weapons if NATO continues its war against Russia using Ukrainians as cannon fodder – so far, they are fighting to the last Ukrainian. The Ukrainians are now largely financed and armed by the West. The West is simply using Ukraine, and it's waging a war on Russia, so sooner or later, it will be punished for that.
"I have been telling our Western colleagues [since] a decade ago that if they ever come closer to Russia's borders... I did an interview I think 12 or so years ago for der Spiegel magazine, [and I said] that we would never fight on our own territory. And we are fighting now on Ukrainian territory, which of course breaks my heart, because they are [being] fooled and many of them [are] becoming ultranationalists and even neo-Nazis, but they are still a brotherly people. But there will be no grief when and if we strike those countries which are supporting the Ukrainians and using them as cannon fodder."
Interviewer: "Will Vladimir Putin use tactical nuclear weapons on European countries as per the argument in your article?"
Karaganov: "I hope he won't have to do that, and I think that we should do everything- including the things I proposed in my article – to avoid that. I know it would be a terrible moral choice, and I don't want to be in president [Putin's] shoes. But if this choice comes... [if] I were in his shoes, I would do that, but I would be finished as a man."