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  • Affiliation : PIR Center
  • Affiliation : Senior Researcher, North America Research Center, Primakov National Research Institute of World Economy and International Relations (IMEMO)
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ISTC's first director Dr. Glenn Schweitzer visits the PIR Center

26.03.2013

MOSCOW, MARCH 26, 2013, PIR PRESS – “Russia’s withdrawal from the ISTC will signal the end of the first phase of an amazing experiment. This international effort has helped avoid a massive brain drain of nuclear scientists, chemists, aerospace engineers, and biotechnology pioneers while increasing the difficulty of illicit access by desperate individuals and foreign agents to bomb-making expertise and materials that abound in the world’s largest country. Let us hope that a second, equally promising experiment with similar goals will soon begin,” - Glenn Schweitzer, the first Executive Director of the International Science and Technology Center (ISTC), 1992 – 1994.

On March 21, 2013, Glenn Schweitzer, Executive Director of the International Science and Technology Genter (ISTC) from 1992-1994, presented his new monograph Containing Russia's Nuclear Firebirds: Harmony and Change at the International Science and Technology Center as part of the PIR Center’s cycle of informal Midweek Brainstorming Sessions.

Glenn Schweitzer is a Senior Research Fellow (nonresident) at the Center for Sustainable Energy, Environment and Economic Development at the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill. Beginning in 1963, Dr. Schweitzer served as the first science officer stationed with the U.S. Embassy in Moscow. From 1992-1994, he served as the first Executive Director of the ISTC.  

schweitzer_ns.jpgSergei Vorobev, Senior Manager in the Department of International Scientific Programs at Rosatom; Elina Kirichenko, Associate at the Institute of World Economy and International Relations; Lyubov Kondratenkova, Coordinator of ISTC Programs at Rosatom; Leo Owsiacki, ISTC Executive Director; Vladimir Rybachenkov, Head Research Associate at the Center for Arms Control, Energy, and Environmental Studies; Lev Tocheny, Assistant Professor at Bauman Moscow State Technical University in the 1990s; and PIR Center research associates.

In his presentation, Dr. Schweitzer talked about the structure of his book, outlined the main ideas, and discussed his views on why Russia has decided to leave the ISTC, as well as further perspectives for the organization. According to Schweitzer, “Russia’s withdrawal from the ISTC will signal the end of the first phase of an amazing experiment. This international effort has helped avoid a massive brain drain of nuclear scientists, chemists, aerospace engineers, and biotechnology pioneers while increasing the difficulty of illicit access by desperate individuals and foreign agents to bomb-making expertise and materials that abound in the world’s largest country. Let us hope that a second, equally promising experiment with similar goals will soon begin.”

Dr. Schweitzer’s presentation provoked a lively discussion among the other seminar attendees. The experts present discussed Russia’s reasons for withdrawing from the ISTC, lessons to be learned from the organization’s history, as well as the future of the ISTC. Sergei Vorobev noted that Russian government circles are currently discussing the possibility of renewing Russia’s participation in the ISTC and how Russia’s withdrawal is not the best course of action. On the other hand, attendees mentioned that certain miscalculations in ISTC politics are part of the reason for Russia’s exit.

istc-logo.gifSeminar attendees also discussed the future of the ISTC. According to Leo Owsiacki, the ISTC is planning to move its headquarters from Moscow to Almaty by the end of 2013 due to Russia’s expected withdrawal from the organization. Additionally, they are working on a new ISTC Agreement, the goal of which is to modernize the organization and expand its activities. The attendees agreed that the ideal way to renew Russia’s participation is to join under the new agreement. 

The ideas and suggestions made at the seminar contributed greatly to the PIR Center’s program “The Future of the Global Partnership Program and Russian-Us Cooperation in Nuclear Security.” These topics will also be discussed at the first coordination meeting of the Working Group on Perspectives for International Cooperation in Nonproliferation and Nuclear Security, which will take place on March 28th in Moscow.

For more information on PIR’s project “The Future of the Global Partnership Program and Russian-Us Cooperation in Nuclear Security,” contact PIR Center Program “Russia and Nuclear Nonproliferation” Coordinator Alexander Kolbin by telephone +7 (495) 987-19-15, fax +7 (495) 987-19-14, or email kolbin at pircenter.org

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