Ambassador Roland Timerbaev Memorial Day

August 21, 2023

MOSCOW. AUGUST 21, 2023. PIR PRESS. «Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary Roland M. Timerbaev passed away on August 21, 2019. But his views, instructions and legacy still guide the creative and intellectual thought of specialists in nuclear nonproliferation and global security in general, both in Russia and abroad», — from the book Anthology of Roland M. Timerbaev, PIR Center, 2023.

August 21 is the Memorial Day for Roland M. Timerbaev, a prominent diplomat and a major nuclear nonproliferation expert. Roland Timerbaev stood at the origins of the international nuclear nonproliferation regime, participated actively in drafting and signing the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, a fundamental document that set the vector of international relations in this area for years to come. Roland Timerbaev also worked on the epochal agreements of the Détente period: the 1971 Agreement on Measures to Reduce the Risk of Outbreak of Nuclear War between the USSR and the United States; the 1972 Treaty on The Limitation of Anti-Ballistic Missile Systems; the IAEA safeguards system and many other documents that today form a solid and reliable foundation of the nonproliferation regime.

PIR Center honors the memory of a wise teacher, a close associate and a good friend. A Memory Gallery of Ambassador Roland M. Timerbaev is under development on the NONPROLIFERATION.WORLD educational platform. You can find there some of the Ambassador’s works, his archive, speeches and photographs that tell about his life and work.

In memory of Roland Timerbaev, PIR Center has been holding annual International Timerbaev Nuclear Debates for young nuclear nonproliferation specialists from Russia and foreign countries since 2020. Five tracks of Debates were held in 2020-2022. On April 17, 2023, the first track of the VI International Timerbaev Nuclear Debates took place and was devoted to the question: «Will AUKUS Weaken the Nuclear Nonproliferation Regime?». On April 20, 2023, the second track of the VI International Timerbaev Nuclear Debates was held, dedicated to the question: «Should Tactical Nuclear Weapons Be Used in a Theater of Military Operations Within the Framework of Regional Conflicts?».

In 2023, PIR Center also published the book Anthology of Roland M. Timerbaev, which includes his most outstanding works covering the history of the formation of the international nuclear nonproliferation regime: articles, excerpts from monographs, fragments from the archive of documents and personal diaries of Roland Timerbaev.

PIR Center keeps work on perpetuating the memory of Roland Timerbaev. By the centenary of his birth in 2027, it is planned to finalize a three-volume collection to include materials from his archive, reminiscences of his colleagues, friends, students, and family.

To this end, in 2022 PIR Center established the Commission for the Preservation of Ambassador Roland Timerbaev Scientific and Creative Legacy. The Commission is chaired by Vladimir Orlov, Founding Director of PIR Center. The Commission is composed of Soviet/Russian and foreign diplomats who knew personally Roland Timerbaev, worked side by side with him and made a great personal contribution to the development of the nonproliferation regime: Alexey Arbatov, Head of the Center for International Security, IMEMO RAS, member of the PIR Center Advisory Board; Grigory Berdennikov, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary (retired); Sergio Duarte, President of Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs, member of the PIR Center Advisory Board (Brazil); Dastan Eleukenov, Chairman of the Board of the Kazakhstan Agency for International Development (KazAID), member of the PIR Center Advisory Board (Kazakhstan); Sergey Kislyak, First Deputy Chair of the Federation Council Committee on Foreign Affairs; Mikhail Lysenko, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary (retired), Deputy Head of the International Law Department of MGIMO University, member of the PIR Center Advisory Board; William Potter, Founding Director of James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies, member of the PIR Center Advisory Board (USA); Vladimir Rybachenkov, Counsellor to the Russian Foreign Ministry (retired), member of the PIR Center Advisory Board; Viktor Slipchenko, Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary Envoy (retired), member of the PIR Center Advisory Board; Mikhail Ulyanov, Permanent Representative of the Russian Federation to International Organizations in Vienna; Andrey Zagorski, Head of the Department of Disarmament and Conflict Resolution Studies, Center for International Security, IMEMO RAS, member of the PIR Center Advisory Board; Albert Zulkharneev, Head of the Representative Office of Rossotrudnichestvo-Russian House in Bishkek, member of the PIR Center Advisory Board.

PIR Center continues to work on digitization and publication of materials from Roland Timerbaev’s archive. Traditionally, on the Memorial Day for Roland Timerbaev, PIR Center shares some previously unpublished documents:

The memory of Roland M. Timerbaev is cherished by the entire PIR Center staff, including the younger generation. On the occasion of the memorable date, they said warm words about the legacy of the outstanding diplomat:

«Roland M. Timerbaev was not just an expert on nuclear nonproliferation issues. He had a hand in the creation of the basic mechanism, i.e. the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons. His contribution to the preservation of international security can hardly be overestimated. Roland Timerbaev was one of those thanks to whom the world did not go down the road to nuclear catastrophe. Most nuclear nonproliferation specialists started their journey by studying Roland Timerbaev‘s publications. I would like to express my gratitude to PIR Center for its invaluable contribution to preserving the historical memory of this man!» — Roman Kalinin, PhD student of the School of World Politics at Lomonosov Moscow State University, PIR Center intern.

«Roland M. Timerbaev was one of the most outstanding personalities I have ever heard or read about. What leading experts, both in our nonproliferation and in other fields, say about him does not let me doubt for a second the importance of his works and teachings. I am grateful to PIR Center and everyone involved for preserving the memory of him and his work», — Vilnur Khairtdinov, Master’s student in International Relations at MGIMO University, PIR Center intern.

«Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary Roland M. Timerbaev was a truly outstanding person, a genius of his era, who made an invaluable contribution to the establishment and development of the nuclear nonproliferation and arms control regime. For us, the younger generation, Ambassador Timerbaev’s legacy is a significant source of wisdom that strengthens our expertise on nuclear nonproliferation issues and helps us to take a balanced approach to analyzing contemporary international security issues», — Ksenia Mineeva, PIR Center Information & Publications Program Coordinator.

«Amid ever-increasing tensions in the international arena, it is always useful to turn to history. It is worth mentioning Roland M. Timerbaev’s invaluable contribution to the establishment and maintenance of the modern nuclear nonproliferation regime. He was one of the Founding Fathers of the NPT, participated in the development of IAEA safeguards and in Soviet-American negotiations at a time when the world was on the verge of using nuclear weapons. The modern system of international relations is based on the principles and norms established at that time, and we should appreciate the contribution that Ambassador Timerbaev made to their formation», — Maxim Sorokin, graduate of the Nanyang Technological University (Singapore), PIR Center intern.

The enduring relevance of Roland Timerbaev’s ideas is underpinned by the great interest with which the book Anthology of Roland M. Timerbaev was met by young specialists:

«The Anthology of Roland M. Timerbaev is a complex and multifaceted analysis, a description of a whole range of problems related to the issue of nuclear nonproliferation and disarmament, and it also touches on more philosophical topics, such as the degree of influence of nuclear weapons on the modern civilization, and it was very interesting to get acquainted with his conclusions. It seems that this publication will be a real find for the widest range of readers: from students interested in the topic of nonproliferation to major experts on this issue», — Mikhail Alexandrov, Master’s student in International Relations at MGIMO University.

«As a student of Dr. Ildar Akhtamzyan and Dr. Vladimir Orlov, who is interested in nonproliferation issues, I cannot but welcome the work on systematization of the archive of documents and personal records of Roland M. Timerbaev, which has been conducted by PIR Center in recent years. Oral History is an important and necessary project that allows you to see behind a number of famous surnames of living people with their views, reflections and experiences, to look at Ambassador Timerbaev not only through his thoughts about the prospect of creating a nuclear–weapon free zone in the Middle East, but also through photos with friends, a letter to his son, various messages to future generations. Preserving the memory of outstanding people who stood at the origins of the modern security architecture is useful and necessary in itself, and the unfolding crisis of this architecture, fortunately or unfortunately, only gives relevance to such publications as this Anthology, makes us read more closely into the thoughts and warnings of the Soviet generation of nonproliferation theorists», — Grant Beglaryan, Master’s student in International Relations at MGIMO University.

«Beyond all possibility of doubt, the Anthology of Roland M. Timerbaev is a magnificent collection of scientific articles, essays, and arguments of Roland M. Timerbaev, who, unfortunately, ultimately left us. Roland M. Timerbaev was an iconic figure in the modern history of the Russian Federation, a brilliant scientist, diplomat, and specialist who left a fantastic theoretical and practical legacy in nuclear nonproliferation and related issues. The important Timerbaev’s conclusions and ideas on nuclear nonproliferation and arms control issues collected within the framework of this Anthology remain relevant and necessary today. Therefore, the Anthology is a source of invaluable knowledge for young researchers working on global security issues, in particular, the nonproliferation regime», — Dastan Tokoldoshev, Research Fellow and Leading Expert at the Research Institute for Strategic Analysis and Forecasting of the Kyrgyz-Russian Slavic University (Kyrgyzstan).

Key words: Memory Gallery