Intelligence Reported Accurately: On the 30th Anniversary of the Russian Foreign Intelligence Service Public Report «New Challenge After the Cold War: The Proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction»

January 27, 2023

MOSCOW. JANUARY 27, 2023. PIR PRESS. «The “Primakov Report” is still a model of the intelligence services’ analytical work and their ability to conduct a dialogue with society. Thanks to the authors of the Report, the world has seen that Russia is able to speak the language of facts and verified arguments, and no matter the circumstances, to participate independently in shaping the global nonproliferation and disarmament agenda. And that on this front, Russia is proactive, offensive, confident – but not “reactive”, not justified», – Dr. Vladimir Orlov, Founding Director of PIR Center, Professor of MGIMO University.

On January 28, 1993, an incredible press conference was held in Moscow. It was conducted by academician Yevgeny Primakov, then Director of the Foreign Intelligence Service of the Russian Federation. Together with his colleagues, General Vyacheslav Trubnikov and General Gennady Evstafiev, he presented the analytical report entitled New Challenge After the Cold War: The Proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction.

Foreign Intelligence Service of Russia press conference (1993)

On the eve of the 30th anniversary of the Report, the article by Professor of MGIMO University, Founding Director of PIR Center Dr. Vladimir Orlov was released by the Kommersant Publishing House. There Dr. Orlov analyzed the context in which the Report was presented, as well as its relevance to the nuclear nonproliferation regime and the global security architecture as a whole.

Dr. Vladimir Orlov notes that the set of nuclear States that attracted the close attention of Russian intelligence in the first half of the 1990s has not changed much: Israel, India, Pakistan – the unofficial nuclear states – are still at the forefront, in addition to the complicated case of the DPRK. Japan, South Korea, Iran, Saudi Arabia, and Ukraine remain in the spotlight.

Moreover, despite the obvious successes dealing with threats to the WMD nonproliferation regime, a series of punches to the gut (the most famous case is the intervention in Iraq in 2003 under the pretext of searching for weapons of mass destruction) has compromised the noble cause of combating WMD proliferation.

Dr. Vladimir Orlov concludes that the headache caused by the proliferation of nuclear weapons around the world is not going anywhere. And, with the breakdown of tacit coordination on complex nuclear nonproliferation cases between Russia and the United States, it may well be replaced in the long term by a Russian-Chinese nonproliferation cooperation. Moreover, the need to develop such cooperation between Moscow and Beijing is also determined by the current geopolitical situation.

The full text of the article is available here (in Russian).

Recall that the relevance of the nonproliferation issue to the global community is also emphasized in the PIR Center’s report New Nuclear Nine? Assessing Nuclear Proliferation Threats in the World. The report notes that the current crisis of the nuclear nonproliferation regime is one of the clear markers of the erosion of existing security institutions. In this regard, the authors consider the Asia-Pacific region, where the intense rivalry between China and the United States provokes a new arms race, as one of the likely «pain points».

Read the Report here (in Russian).

We also invite you to read an interview with General Gennady Mikhailovich Evstafiev, one of the key authors of the Russian Foreign Intelligence Service Public published in 1993 (at the time of the described events – Major General, Head of the Russian Foreign Intelligence Service Specialized Department, supervising issues of WMD nonproliferation and arms control) – in Russian and English.

Key words: NPT; Arms control