MOSCOW. MARCH 1, 2022. PIR PRESS. “A real patriot, a bright thinker, a beautiful man has left. Our senior comrade, our friend. For me, he is an example of a Person endowed with high government positions and remaining a Person. What can I say: an unattainable role model. An irreparable loss. A man who held a nuclear weapon in his hands. In the literal sense of the word. And thanks to whose efforts – and the efforts of his colleagues – in the murky, troubled times, not a single nuclear munition was lost, stolen, lost. On the day of his 80th birthday, Maslin said in an interview with PIR Center: “Patriotism is not so much praising, admiring one’s Homeland, as striving to make one’s Fatherland better.” A deep connoisseur of poetry and painting. Chess player. And what a singer! Our meeting was not a meeting if Maslin did not sing. How many times his song was poured over Moscow, over Zvenigorod, over the Alps. I remember how the Swiss philistine quieted down in amazement: “Russian General. A real general.” His last publication was published at PIR Center, just a couple of weeks ago. Maslin addressed the Russian and American youth. “If young people on both sides of the Bering Strait are thinking about how we can improve Russian-American relations, all is not lost.” As if bequeathed. Our last conversation with Evgeny Petrovich was less than a week ago. February 23. “Are you celebrating, Evgeny Petrovich?” – Terminally ill, in a hospital where visitors were not allowed, he was joking: “I’m celebrating. All these days, without stopping, I do nothing but celebrate.”The last of the Mohicans. It seems that an era has gone with him…” – Vladimir Orlov, Founder & Director of PIR Center.
Yesterday, on February 28, Evgeny Petrovich Maslin (1937-2022), a Soviet and Russian military commander, Colonel General (Ret.), member of PIR Center Executive Board, Consultant ANO Aspect-Conversion, passed away. He was 84 years old.
Evgeny Maslin more than 40 years had served in different positions within the Ministry of Defense of USSR/Russia, having begun as a brigade engineer in the nuclear engineering forces. In 1997 he retired already as a Head of the Russian Ministry of Defense 12th Main Directorate, which is responsible for the security of nuclear munitions. Under his leadership 12th Main Directorate implemented the most complicated projects on the withdrawal of Russian nuclear weapons from the territory of Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Ukraine. In January 1999, Evgeny Maslin joined PIR Center.
He was born on May 20, 1937, in the village of Novotomnikovo, Morshansky district, Tambov region. He graduated from an elementary four-grade school in Voronezh, a seven-year school, and a secondary school in 1954.
Evgeny Petrovich had served in the Soviet Army since 1954. Graduated from the Military Academy of Communications named after S. M. Budyonny (Leningrad) in 1959. Since 1959, he served in the units of the 12th Main Directorate of the USSR Ministry of Defense (responsible for the operation, storage, maintenance, transportation and disposal of nuclear ammunition): military engineer, head of the group, head of the department, since 1979 – chief engineer of the compound (Vologda region), since 1981 – commander of the compound (Vologda). Graduated from the Military Academy of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation in 1993.
Since April 1989 – First Deputy Head of the 12th Main Directorate of the Ministry of Defense of the USSR. Since July 16, 1992 – Head of the 12th Main Directorate of the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation. The period of service in these leadership positions fell at the time of the collapse of the USSR. General Maslin ensured the export of nuclear ammunition and top-secret equipment to Russia, first from the countries of Eastern Europe, and then from the former Soviet Union republics that became independent states. An active participant in negotiations with the United States on security, arms reduction and mutual control of nuclear weapons.
Since 1997, Evgeny Petrovich has retired. However, he continued to be active, was a major expert in the field of nuclear weapons safety and in matters of their safe disposal. Author of a large number of publications on these issues. Academician of the Russian Academy of Natural Sciences.
Evgeny Petrovich’s acquaintance with the PIR Center was curious — it was not Maslin who found PIR Center, but PIR Center in the person of the director, Vladimir Orlov, found Evgeny Petrovich: “I wasn’t going to work at all after a very hard service and just enjoyed the rest. He called me, and we walked around Petrovsky Park for a long time, in general, he charmed me. That’s how I ended up at PIR Center. General Maslin worked as a senior advisor to PIR Center, then as a PIR Center Executive Board member. He remained a member of the Board – the highest body of our organization – until the last day of his life.
In 2002, U.S. Senators Sam Nunn and Richard Lugar awarded him the Medal for Services in the field of WMD proliferation threat reduction and contribution to the development of the Joint Threat Reduction Program (Nunn-Lugar Program).
Thanks to his experience, Colonel General Maslin had always played an important role in improving the effectiveness of the physical protection of the nuclear arsenal of the Russian Federation. Evgeny Petrovich was also actively engaged in teaching, giving lectures and reports to students, young specialists, military and diplomats in Moscow, Geneva, Washington, etc.
He was also actively engaged in public activities: a member of the Boards of the Club of Business People, a member of the Board of the Vologda Community, president of the H. S. Ledentsov Rodnik Foundation.
In April of 2017, Evgeny Maslin gave a speech during the debates “Will the world be safer without nuclear weapons?”, which were part of the seventeenth International School on global security, organized by PIR Center. After having heard both debating sides, Colonel General Maslin shared his own view: “Will the world be more secure without nuclear weapons? First, we need to understand what is “safer”, and what is “world”. For example, in the case of the nuclear war, will the penguins in Antarctica suffer? Of course, they will. Therefore, if we think of the world in terms of the whole planet, then it is high time for humankind to stop threatening each other (with nuclear weapons as well) and start dealing with universal problems. However, in the current situation the world would not be any safer, this is my deepest conviction”.
Evgeny Maslin commented his speeches in the following way: “Whenever I give a presentation on some conferences, I always start with the following: “Dear Ladies and Gentlemen! I would like to say, that first of all am a practitioner. So, I apologize for the fact that my expressions or my views would be slightly different from the generally accepted in the scientific world. Because everything about the nuclear security I know not from the books, but from my own experience”. In his interaction with young specialists at the School Colonel General Maslin also drew on his rich practical experience, which is simply priceless for the new generation of experts.
Evgeny Maslin also participated in the round table “What kind of world does Russia need, and what kind of Russia does the world need?”. His views on the issue Colonel General Maslin expressed in the following way: “Patriotism — is not so much praising and admiration of one’s Motherland, but rather an aspiration to make it better, not so many right words and considerations, but rather right deeds. Right actions of everyone on one’s own place. To raise the children as decent people, give them education, prepare for the responsible life — that is patriotism”.
In an interview in 2014, “The meaning of life is to live” (in Russian) Evgeny Maslin told PIR Center about himself and his life, advised how a senior lieutenant should cope with the post of lieutenant colonel, shared how knowledge of Kipling and Yevtushenko helps in negotiations with the Americans and explained whether it is worth shooting down asteroids with nuclear charges.
The last text prepared by Evgeny Petrovich was an understanding of the Russian-American dialogue on nuclear nonproliferation, which he made at the request of PIR Center: “If young people on both sides of the Bering Strait are thinking about how we can straighten Russian-American relations, not everything is lost,” he writes. This text in Russian and English is being published today for the first time, and the book where it is published still smells of printing ink.
To preserve the memory of Evgeny Petrovich Maslin and to honor the talented statesman, PIR Center is preparing to place on its website a Colonel General Evgeny P. Maslin Memory Gallery. It will contain his research papers, publications and essays that were published under the auspices of PIR Center, as well as photographs from the archive of PIR Center and the memoirs of his colleagues and friends. Some of them have already shared with us the bitterness of loss by responding to our notes on social networks.
For all questions related to the Evgeny Maslin Memory Gallery, please contact the Information & Publications Program Coordinator Egor Chobanyan by mail [email protected].