International Security Index iSi




“How can people escape from a well-trodden path in their journey? It’s actually quite simple: they just need to veer off from the beaten track. Whenever I travel with companions – preferably locals – who help me on my own journeys, my recipe is to convince them that the beaten track is not for us. Ideally, our own path should lead to the deepest, darkest forest… That’s the kind of forest I like best. It’s a synonym of freedom for me.” – PIR Center Founder and Special Advisor Vladimir Orlov.


“MGIMO and MIIS students organize online seminars since 2015 but this is the first time when such discussion is moderated by two think-tanks. To establish a sustainable dialogue between Russia and the United States on nuclear nonproliferation it is essential to train a new generation of specialists in this field,” – PIR Center’s “Russia and Nuclear Nonproliferation” Program Director Adlan Margoev.


“I had already had the intellectual awakening, about the details of nuclear weapons and the nuclear threat, from all the top experts. But did not know what it felt like in my gut—until I went through those 38 minutes.  Even with everything I knew about nuclear war, and nuclear weapons, and Hiroshima, and fallout, and nuclear winter, nuclear war was unimaginable to me—until I went through these 38 minutes”, Founder of NuclearWakeUpCall.Earth and documentary filmmaker Cynthia Lazaroff.

Regional challenges to WMD Nonproliferation


«Regional challenges to WMD Nonproliferation»


(2 credits)

The course program developed by Dr. Vladimir A. Orlov, 2018.

The course instructors: Dr. Vladimir A. Orlov, Amb. Vyacheslav Trubnikov, Dr. Alexander V. Vorontsov, Dr. Ildar Akhtamzyan


1. Course description


1.1 The place and role of the course in the program of study:


The course “Regional challenges to WMD Nonproliferation” aims at providing students with a comprehensive vision of the current regional challenges to the nonproliferation of weapons of mass destruction (WMD). 


WMD nonproliferation regime covers nuclear, chemical and biological weapons; its legal base is formed by the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT), the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) and the Biological Weapons Convention (BWC).


Despite the global nature of the regime, the interests and actions of particular nation states support or undermine the WMD nonproliferation in different parts of the world.  With WMD still seen as a viable means of deterrence, possession of this kind of weapons often triggered “domino effects”, when neighboring states tried to balance the capabilities of their peers symmetrically or asymmetrically. Such regional systems, covering several states and invoking different types of WMD, proved extremely difficult to dismantle.


The course will provide knowledge and discussion on key modern challenges to WMD nonproliferation in regional context.


1.2 The course objectives:


The main goal of the course is to provide students with basic knowledge of the regional aspects of the WMD nonproliferation, including:


  • To introduce basic definitions, concepts, history, current state and institutional structure of WMD nonproliferation regime in the regional context.
  • To provide students with the overview of the main regions of concern from the nonproliferation point of view and the case studies of national WMD programs.
  • To orient students to understand the interconnection between the WMD programs of the countries of the region, regional and global security.
  • To provide students with methodology of analysis of the regional WMD proliferation risks.  


1.3 Learning outcomes:


Classes are generally held to provide information and methodology necessary for independent analysis and discussion on the covered topics.

Teaching methods used include lectures, consultations, seminars, discussions and students’ seminar presentations.

By the end of this course, students should be able to:

  1. Identify main regions of concern from the WMD nonproliferation point of view, key countries involved and the most pressing issues.
  2. Understand the interconnection between national WMD programs in the regional setting, regional and global security situation.
  3. Assess the possibilities to counter the WMD proliferation in the South Asia, East Asia and the Middle East.
  4. Analyze the current state of US-Russian nonproliferation and arms control relations/dialogue and participate in a series of interactive discussions on this subject, either in oral or in written format, or both (optional)
  5. Analyze the prospects for regional WMD disarmament.
  6. Search information and literature on WMD nonproliferation issues; distinguish between authoritative and unreliable sources.


1.4 Course requirements:


Students will be required to attend not less than 90% of classes and to be prepared for class discussions. Conscientious reading of the assigned materials is compulsory. Average assessment will consist of three parts. First part is derived from students’ class active participation to assess their familiarity with the course material, including lectures and readings. Second part is the assessment of students’ participation in seminar discussions or giving oral presentation with power-point slides at a seminar. Third part consists of students’ participation in Online Seminar on U.S.-Russian Dialogue on the NPT Review Process. If the student receives ≥ 70% average points, he/she passes the examination automatically. If the average points are <70%, the student takes an oral examination.


1.5 Grading plan:

To get «А» (“excellent”) student should get 90-100 points



Class active participation




Online Seminar





 Course outline & Literature (available in pdf)

Slides in pdf

Lecture 1. October 30, 2018. Introduction to the course: what regions of the globe are most vulnerable to proliferation and why.

Lecture 2. November 6, 2018. United Nations Disarmament & Arms Control Mechanisms. UN Secretary-General’s Agenda for Disarmament

Lecture 3. November 6, 2018. WMD Proliferation in the Middle East.

Seminar 2. November 13, 2018. Zone Free of Nuclear and other WMD in the Middle East. Supporting Materials.

Lecture 4. November 13, 2018. Iran’s Nuclear Program and JCPOA: a case study of addressing proliferation through diplomacy.

Lecture 7. December 4, 2018. WMD program of the DPRK: disarmament and nonproliferation aspects (RUS).