As part of a seminar on the prospects for a Russian-American dialogue on nuclear nonproliferation and strategic stability, a discussion with Ambassador of the Russian Federation to the United States Anatoly Antonov was held

April 17, 2023

MOSCOW-WASHINGTON. APRIL 17. PIR PRESS. “I was very glad to have the opportunity to share with the students of MGIMO University my thoughts on the crisis of the current world order and the emergence of a new, more fair and democratic one, as well as my views on the shortcomings of the Russian-American strategic dialogue, on the difficulties in bilateral relations. Talking about the prospects of the arms control regime is now very difficult. In the doctrinal foundations of American foreign policy, we cannot find anything that would have a direct relation to strategic stability. Representatives of the American political establishment openly declare that they seek to inflict a strategic defeat on Russia. Many factors are simply left behind of the Russian-American strategic dialogue, for example, the nuclear arsenals of France and Great Britain. At the same time, I am sure that the absence of treaty-based obligations on arms control does not bode well for the entire global security, reduces predictability and, on the contrary, increases the level of misperception in relations between nuclear powers. To destroy is not the same thing as to build. I hope that the younger generation of specialists in international relations will remember it and will be ready to work hard. For my part, I will only be happy to provide them with all possible assistance to their professional growth and development”, – H.E. Anatoly Antonov, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Russian Federation to the United States.

On April 7, 2023, within the special course by PIR Center Director and MGIMO Professor Dr. Vladimir Orlov on “Current Problems of Nuclear Nonproliferation”, a seminar was held on the topic “Prospects for Russian-American Dialogue on Nonproliferation and Strategic Stability”. The seminar was held in the format of a discussion with the online participation of H.E. Anatoly Antonov, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Russian Federation to the United States.

As part of the seminar, the students of the special course, first-year students of the master’s program “Foreign Policy and Diplomacy of Russia” of MGIMO University, had the opportunity to personally ask H.E. Ambassador Antonov their questions. Anatoly Antonov shared with the discussion participants his experience of diplomatic work in the field of arms control and his point of view on the current crisis in the Russian-American strategic dialogue, and on the prospects for overcoming it in the future, paying special attention to the process of transforming the world order.

The event was designed only for students of the special course and was held under Chatham House rules. Dr. Igor Istomin, Head of the Department of Applied International Analysis at MGIMO University, Leading Researcher at the Institute for International Studies at MGIMO University, also participated in the seminar as a special guest.

PIR Center is happy to share the impressions of Dr. Vladimir Orlov’s students who participated in the online meeting with H.E. Anatoly Antonov.

“Ambassador Antonov is a highly competent specialist who firmly but diplomatically defends the interests of the Russian Federation. Communication with him took place in a warm and friendly atmosphere, the real Russian spirit reigned at the meeting. During the discussion of the ever-relevant arms control agenda, we concluded that the dialogue on strategic stability should remain one of the fundamental pillars of not only bilateral [Russian-American], but also international relations in general”, – Lilia Vladimirova.

“It was very important that Ambassador Anatoly Antonov paid special attention to the perception of the Russian position in American society, in the highest political circles. Such peer review would not have been possible outside of our seminar. We were glad that H.E. Ambassador conducted the dialogue quite frankly, not avoiding sensitive topics and not shying away from answering difficult questions. Moreover, I want to emphasize the fact that Anatoly Antonov actually spoke at the seminar not only as the Russian Ambassador to the United States, but also as one of Russia’s leading experts in the field of arms control and disarmament, as a former Deputy Defense Minister and an experienced negotiator. It seems to me that this allowed the participants to take a fresh look at already seemingly familiar topics thanks to the rich personal experience of H.E. Ambassador Antonov and a separate focus on the military-technical aspects of the issues of our discussion” – Gleb Ivanov.

“An honest and frank conversation that lifted the veil of Russian-American relations”, – Svyatoslav Arov.

“My main goal at the seminar was to find out what kind of person you can become with such experience behind you, with such a burden on these shoulders, working and being in a country that is leading a destructive course towards your Motherland. H.E. Antonov showed me that it is possible to remain a kind, cheerful and bright person even with such a “set”. I believe that PIR Center team chose an excellent format for the first (hopefully not the last) communication with the Russian Ambassador to the United States. As a young “nonproliferation specialist” I am completely satisfied with the agenda of the seminar. Our generation is witnessing a truly exciting time of revolutionary change in global security and in the world order. In order to not to repeat the mistakes of the past, in order to at least roughly understand counterparties in advance, it was extremely important to communicate with such an experienced diplomat, find out his personal opinion on current events, and receive useful advice for successful work in the future”, – Vilnur Khairtdinov.

“The new decade of the 21st century is marked by cardinal changes in international relations in general and in the field of nuclear nonproliferation in particular, and these changes cannot be discounted. At the end of the conversation, Ambassador Antonov noted that the important qualities of international affairs specialists are their ability to think critically, to have a balanced and sober approach to the goals and tasks that need to be fulfilled. Students got an interesting experience of interacting with an experienced professional in their field”, – Sofia Kerimova.

“In our time, it is difficult to overestimate the value of such a frank and topical meeting with the current Ambassador to the United States, Anatoly Antonov, who is literally at the forefront of Russian-American relations. It was incredibly interesting for me to learn about the way of thinking in general, as well as H.E. Ambassador’s position on specific issues of strategic stability and Russian-American relations. I am very grateful for such a unique, even by the standards of MGIMO, experience”, – Ekaterina Vaseneva.

Key words: Russia-USA; Arms Control