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  • Affiliation : PIR Center
  • Position : Coordinator, Nonproliferation & Russia Program – Junior Research Fellow, Yaderny Kontrol edtor
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  • Position : Chairman of the Executive Board
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The key provisions of the policy memo "If The New Start Treaty Expires With No Extension: Scenarios For Russia" were discussed


MOSCOW, JUNE 19, 2020. PIR PRESS. “The existing uncertainty regarding the US and Russian capabilities points to the following problem: lacking reliable information about each other’s arsenals would force both parties to prepare for the worst-case scenarios. Each would seek to ramp up its strategic arsenal, leading to a strategic arms race. In the case of the US, the situation is complicated by the fact that Washington is in the final phases of planning the structure of its nuclear forces for the next several decades”, - PIR Center experts on the scenarios should the US refuse to extend the New START Treaty.


On  June 18, 2020,  PIR Center hosted a Midweek Brainstorming Session – an informal seminar to discuss key provisions of the policy memo "What If the New START Is Not Extended: Scenarios for Russia". The policy memo was prepared by the team of PIR Center experts: Andrey Baklitskiy, Evgeny Buzinskiy, Vladimir Orlov, and Sergei Semenov. The event was attended by representatives of the Russian Foreign Ministry and diplomatic missions abroad as well as by the experts from IMEMO, the Institute for US and Canadian Studies, Russian International Affairs Council and other relevant think tanks as well as by the members of PIR Center’s Advisory Board and Center’s research staff.


The following issues were raised during the online midweek brainstorming session:

  • potential for the build-up of Russian and American strategic nuclear forces;
  • possible confidence-building measures in the nuclear field in the event of the termination of New START Treaty: non-interference with the work of national technical means, data exchanges, inspections;
  • Russia's unilateral initiatives should the U.S. refuse to extend the Treaty.


Opening the discussion, Dr. Vladimir A. Orlov, PIR Center’s Director, noted the special relevance of the event's theme ahead of the talks between Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov and U.S. Special Presidential Envoy for arms control Marshall Billingsley, scheduled for June 22.


In the following discussion, the Chairman of the PIR Center Executive Board, Evgeny Buzhinskiy, PIR Center consultant and the research team leader Andrey Baklitskiy, and Nonproliferation and Russia Program Coordinator Sergey Semenov presented the key findings of the memo. The workshop participants agreed that it is time to prepare for the future without the New START Treaty. The course of the discussion manifested that the memo aroused great interest among the attendants. Among other  issues, the invited experts discussed the importance of arms control for the predictability of military activities, the prospects for the P-5 nuclear dialogue, as well as the specific parameters of possible confidence-building measures. When analyzing the upload potential of Russia and U.S., it was emphasized that it makes no sense to strive for parity with an accuracy of up to a dozen warheads.


Earlier, the key findings of the policy memo were published by Security Index Occasional Paper Series and by the Kommersant daily. You may find the text of the memo (brief version in English) on the PIR Center’s website.


For questions on the Nonproliferation and Russia Program, please, contact the Program Coordinator Mr. Sergey Semenov by phone +7 (495) 987 19 15 or by email [email protected]