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  • Position : Founder, Special Advisor, PIR Center
  • Affiliation : PIR Center
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Russia's Nuclear Quest Comes Full Circle. Lessons from Two Post-Soviet Decades

Vladimir Orlov

On December 25, 1991, Mikhail Gorbachev handed over his briefcase containing Russia's nuclear launch codes to Boris Yeltsin. Eighteen months after Russia declared its sovereignty from the Soviet Union and six months after his election as Russian president, Yeltsin received the keys to the contry's nuclear arsenal. Yet another agonizing six months would pass before Russia firmly established its status as the legal successor to the Soviet Union in matters of nuclear weapons. Over the next several years an awareness slowly developed about what kind of heritage Russia had acquired and how best to put that heritage to use.

Russia's Nuclear Quest Comes Full Circle. Lessons from Two Post-Soviet Decades (full text)


Russia in Global Affairs. Vol. 9, No. 4, October-December 2011