International Security Index iSi




Amb. Roland Timerbaev – a luminary in the field of nonproliferation, an undisputed authority, a great teacher and mentor – has passed away.


“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. 



Sometimes it happens that I am not only writing, but also reading. Sometimes it happens that I read on topics apart from international security. Occasionally I make notes on the margins, noting - NB! – those phrases resonate with me, or look paradoxical, or just funny.

Then I write out those notes and citations, and they appear in the pages of our Security Index journal. At the tenth page, in the "Top ten" section. Or in the third cover, when the reader is already tired, and we want entertain him a little bit with "The End. Quotes" section.

Sometimes I do not find space in the journal for those quotes. They are piling up again and again unsystematically, but I feel related to each of them. And even if you cannot fit them all in the journal – you can do it online. Just to share it with your friends. And not for any other purpose.

V. Orlov

On believe in the better future 

(…) By this ring [of the oprichnina] The Tsar drew together ill, rotten and collapsing country like a bear, wounded and bleed. And the bear got stronger in his bones and flesh, cured the wounds, grew fatter and clawed. We freed him from the rotten blood, poisoned by the enemies. And now the roar of the Russian bear is heard all over the world. Our roar is heard not only in China and Europe, but also across the ocean.

Vladimir Sorokin, The day of the oprichnik, 2006.

On the future

Il faut gouverner la fortune comme la santé: en jouir quand elle est bonne, prendre patience quand elle est mauvaise, et ne faire jamais de grands remèdes sans un extrême besoin.

François de La Rochefoucauld, "Réflexions ou Sentences et Maximes morales"



On experts

I do not like experts. They are our jailers. I despise experts more than anyone on earth… They solve nothing! They are servants of whatever system hires them. They perpetuate it. When we are tortured, we shall be tortured by experts. When we are hanged, experts will hang us… When the world is destroyed, it will be destroyed not by its madmen but by the sanity of its experts and the superior ignorance of its bureaucrats.

John Le Carre, «The Russia House»  



On real hero


The real hero is always a hero by mistake; he dreams of being an honest coward like everybody else. If it had been possible he would have settled the matter otherwise, and without bloodshed. 

Umberto Eco, “Travels in Hyperreality”


On modern philosophy

He preferred to call himself a philosopher.

But in his pay slip, the job title was rendered

as “crack discourse-monger first grade”. In

other words, he’s just another soldier. But

there is no contradiction here. We are not

children, and we know full well that the

strength of modern philosophy lies not in

syllogisms but in air support. 

Viktor Pelevin, “S. N. U. F. F.”


On Hope


Hope flies on wings and international conferences plod afterwards along dusty roads.

Winston Churchill

1925 г.


On Life

It is in life as it is in ways, the shortest way is commonly the foulest, and surely the fairer is not much about.


Francis Bacon


On Music

The man that hath no music in himself,

Nor is not mov’d with concord of sweet sounds,

Is fit for treasons, stratagems, and spoils;

The motions of his spirit are dull as night,

And his affections dark as Erebus:

Let no such man be trusted.


William Shakespeare

The Merchant of Venice


On Mental Property

 Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people.

Eleanore Roosevelt


On War

Civilian philosophers, publicists, academicians, not soldiers, have been the romanticizers and glorifiers of wars. Military force as such does not cause wars. The state which desires peace must be well armed to enforce its desire. Weak states invite attack. The tendency of civilian politician is to court popular favor by curbing the arms budget and simultaneously pursuing an adventurous foreign policy. The military man opposes both tendencies. […] Believing in the ultimate inevitability of war, he raises the strongest voice against immediate involvement in war.


Samuel Hantington


On Commonwealth Importance

The worth of a State, in the long run, is the worth of the individuals composing it; and a State which postpones the interests of their mental expansion and elevation; […] a State which dwarfs its men, in order that they may be more docile instruments in its hands even for beneficial purposes – will find that with small men no great thing can really be accomplished.


John Stuart Mill


On Rumor

Open your ears; for which of you will stop

The vent of hearing when loud Rumour speaks?

I, from the orient to the drooping west, 

Making the wind my post-horse, still unfold

The acts commenced on this ball of earth:

Upon my tongues continual slanders ride,

The which in every language I pronounce,

Stuffing the ears of men with false reports.

I speak of peace, while covert enmity 

Under the smile of safety wounds the world:

And who but Rumour, who but only I,

Make fearful musters and prepared defence,

Whiles the big year, swoln with some other grief,

Is thought with child by the stern tyrant war,

And no such matter? Rumour is a pipe

Blown by surmises, jealousies, conjectures

And of so easy and so plain a stop

That the blunt monster with uncounted heads,

The still-discordant wavering multitude,

Can play upon it.


William Shakespeare

 King Henry IV, Part 2


On Optimism

Optimism is the content of small men in high places.

F. Scott Fitzgerald
The Crack Up


On Intellect

Ce n'est pas tant la fertilité de l'esprit qui nous fait trouver plusieurs expédients sur une même affaire, que c'est le défaut de lumière qui nous fait arrêter а tout ce qui se présente а notre imagination, et qui nous empêche de discerner d'abord ce qui est le meilleur.

François de La Rochefoucauld
Réflexionsousentences et maximesmorales


On High Places

Men in great place are thrice servants: servants of the sovereign or state; servants of fame; and servants of business. So as they have no freedom; neither in their persons, nor in their actions, nor in their times. It is a strange desire, to seek power and to lose liberty: or to seek power over others, and to lose power over a man's self. The rising unto place is laborious; and by pains, men come to greater pains; and it is sometimes base; and by indignities, men come to dignities. The standing is slippery, and the regress is either a downfall, or at least an eclipse, which is a melancholy thing. Cum non sis qui fueris, non esse cur velisvivere. Nay, retire men cannot when they would, neither will they, when it were reason; but are impatient of privateness, even in age and sickness, which require the shadow; like old townsmen, that will be still sitting at their street door, though thereby they offer age to scorn.

Francis Bacon
The essayes or covnselscivill and morall


On Foreign Languages

WerfremdeSprachennichtkennt, weißnichts von seiner eigenen.

J.W. von Goethe

Los idiomas hay que saberlos cuando uno va a vender algo. Pero cuando uno va a comprar, todo el mundo le entiende como sea.

Gabriel GarcíaMárquez
El amor en los tiempos del cólera


On Geography

The Baltic Sea reminding of a woman bent in praying, fragile equilibrium of two Americas still on trapeze, Australia, like Africa in babyhood, encradled sidelong.

Vladimir Nabokov