Former Russian President Reveals War Had Two Dates of 'No Return'

Former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has said that human civilization is at risk in the war in Ukraine in an an op-ed in which he reiterated Moscow's nuclear capabilities and listed two dates that led to Vladimir Putin's full-scale invasion.

Medvedev, who served as Russian head of state between 2008 and 2012 is now the deputy chairman of Russia's Security Council. His incendiary anti-Western rhetoric in his Telegram channel social media posts has repeatedly raised the prospect of the war in Ukraine going nuclear.

In a piece for the Izvestia newspaper published on Monday, Medvedev revisited this theme as he put the war within the context of Russia's history three decades after the fall of the Soviet Union, which in his words caused "destructive upheavals."

Comparing the collapse of the USSR with the end of the Roman and Ottoman empires, Medvedev wrote that when "a large country dies, a war begins."

Dmitry Medvedev
Deputy head of Russia's Security Council Dmitry Medvedev is pictured at the Kremlin in Moscow on November 18, 2022. He issued a nuclear warning in an op-ed for the newspaper Izvestia on Monday. MIKHAIL METZEL/Getty Images

Suggesting that there has been a delay in such a conflict following the end of the Soviet Union, he wrote that there were two incidents in the last three decades in which the "Anglo-Saxon civilization" sought to further divide the collapsed power which had Moscow at its center.

"Two dates can be considered as points of no return. The first was in the fall of 2008, when the Western world supported Georgia's aggression against the Ossetian people," he wrote, referring to the war that saw Moscow-backed South Ossetia declare independence from Tbilisi, which has not been recognized globally.

"The second turning point is the spring of 2014, when the people of Crimea expressed their will in a legal referendum, returning forever to their historical homeland," he wrote, describing the widely dismissed ballot following Moscow's illegal annexation of the peninsula.

"History also demonstrates something else—any collapsed empire buries half the world under its ruins," he said, accusing those who "first destroyed the USSR" of "trying to destroy" Russia.

"If the question of the existence of Russia itself is seriously raised, it will not be decided on the Ukrainian front," he said.

"Together with the question of the further existence of the entire human civilization there should be no ambiguity here. We don't need a world without Russia," Medvedev said.

He added that the continued supply of weapons by Russia's enemies to the "neo-fascist Kyiv regime" will mean that "everyone loses."

"The life that existed before will be forgotten for centuries until smoky debris ceases to emit radiation," he added.

Newsweek has contacted the Kremlin for comment.

Kevin Rothrock, managing editor of independent Russian news outlet Meduza tweeted that Medvedev was reiterating what he had been saying since the start of the war in Ukraine by "echoing Putin's comments ('we don't need a world without Russia' is a direct Putin quote) and screaming the quiet parts."

On the first anniversary of the war in Ukraine, Medvedev wrote on Telegram how Russia should push back the borders of the country "as far as possible, even if these are the borders of Poland."