Will Russia give a nuclear ultimatum to Ukraine and/or it's Western allies during 2022?
resolved Jan 1

Any ultimatum demanding some form of response and threatening the use of nuclear weapons counts.

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Like i was saying, this is where Putin still has the leverage he needs to get his army out. This will be his "Dunkirk" in a strange way, I think.

What if he threatens to let the nuclear plant he currently controls meltdown? Or if he lets it start melting down and says he will only intervene if he gets what he wants? I think this is the only likely nuclear card Putin has to play.

predicted YES

What if Putin demands something impossible or nonsensical, like he demands NATO take weapons out of Ukraine that it never put into Ukraine in the first place?

I expect demand for a clearly measurable reaction (such as, "cease all offensives") and a direct reference to nuclear weapons.

A "clearly measurable reaction" pushing towards no.

I don't believe Putin's deteriorating political capital would allow for such a firm stance without party and societal revolt

@StuartAitken But does he know this?

predicted NO

@Yev I'd assume so - Putin's primary motivation, like most dictators, is to protect his power domain at all costs (and it stems from control over his own party and society)
plus he spends big on surveillance so surely he's got a reasonable grasp on party sentiment

Putin’s nuclear ultimatum is a desperate bid to freeze a losing war

Response demanded: do not threaten "the territorial integrity of our country". By which he is including the pretend-annexed parts of Ukraine.

Threatening the use of nuclear weapons: "we will without doubt use all available means".

Should Resolve YES.


Other reporters also describe this as a nuclear ultimatum.

@MartinRandall Neither the action demanded from the West or Ukraine, nor the nuclear concequences if done otherwise, are laid out in explicit detail. I expect demand for a clearly measurable reaction (such as, "cease all offensives") and a direct reference to nuclear weapons.

@MartinRandall Eh, I don't think it's clearly stated enough to count. I have a market on this right now, and wasn't counting this statement. I think we might see a more explicit one soon, though.

@AndrewHartman That's fine, I'm betting NO as a result. We saw during the Cuban Missile Crisis and other events that leaders prefer not to explicitly threaten to murder millions and risk human extinction. Instead we get things like:

"a full retaliatory response upon the Soviet Union."

Which is probably good as it gives us more opportunities to not die, but I'm not a game theorist.

predicted YES

@MartinRandall Oh, I would count something that's a pretty clear allusion to the nuclear option (e.g. "any and all weapons at our disposal"), but I require it to be tied to a specific and explicitly stated red line in order to be an ultimatum. Otherwise it's mostly just sabre rattling for the benefit of the domestic press.

predicted NO

@AndrewHartman Sure. @Nostradamnedus clarified above that "use all available means" wasn't "explicit detail" or a "direct reference to nuclear weapons" and wouldn't resolve this market YES. But you can resolve your market however you like. Worth making it clear in the market description, though, since there's this element of interpretation.

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