Zagrożenia nuklearne i „teoria szaleńca” w rosyjskiej retoryce wojennej

Nuclear threats and “madman theory” in the rhetoric of russian war

ORCID: Olga Wasiuta: 0000-0003-0481-1567

Afiliacja: Uniwersytet Pedagogiczny im. Komisji Edukacji Narodowej w Krakowie, Polska

ORCID: Olga Wasiuta: 0000-0003-0481-1567

Pages: 205-243

Edition: Lublin 2022


Citation method: O. Wasiuta, Zagrożenia nuklearne i „teoria szaleńca” w rosyjskiej retoryce wojennej, „Rocznik Instytutu Europy Środkowo-Wschodniej” 20 (2022), z. 4, s. 205-243, DOI:

Abstract: The purpose of this article is to analyze the “madman theory”, a name coined by U.S. President Richard Nixon, in the rhetoric of russian war, especially after the events of 24th February 2022. According to the given theory, the leader cultivates the image of madness in order to lend credibility to his threats to use nuclear weapons and make his enemies think twice before they adopt any decision. With the russian invasion of Ukraine, the theory of the madman has been rediscovered and is again being used to explain the increasingly unpredictable behavior of russian President Vladimir Putin, who on February 27, 2022, ordered his defense minister and chief of general staff to initiate special combat tasks by nuclear deterrence units. This behavior by Putin is reminiscent of what has been described as the madman theory of foreign policy – giving the sense that someone is capable of anything if they cannot bring the war to an end the way they want.


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