Belarus joins the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty as a non-nuclear weapons state.

International Security Index iSi




“Autonomous systems are gradually displacing humans from the battlefield, and in many aspects, this can be a boon to the military, who are exposed to less risk. However, at the same time, humans transfer to artificial intelligence (AI) a part of their powers, and consequently a part of their responsibility. According to experts, neural networks will probably never learn to explain their decisions to humans. This can become a serious problem once AI is involved in such areas as intelligence, data analysis, communications and control, scenario development, and in the long run decision making.” – Director of PIR Center’s Emerging Technologies and Global Security Project Vadim Kozyulin.


“The latest prepcom has two main opposite results: in two weeks it was not possible to reach consensus among the NPT members and agree on the text of recommendations for the 2020 Review Conference, but it was decided to appoint Argentinean diplomat Rafael Mariano Grossi as the Chair of the Review Conference – his formal appointment will take place at the end of 2019," Adlan Margoev, PIR Center “Russia and Nuclear Nonproliferation” Program Director. 


On May 2, more than 40 friends and partners of the PIR Center gathered at the Permanent Mission of Russia to the UN. Among them were heads and high representatives of delegations participating in the third session of the Preparatory Committee of the NPT Review Conference, the world's largest experts in the field of non-proliferation, graduates of PIR Center programs working in New York, young scientists and master students of double degree in the field of non-proliferation.

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).