MOSCOW. 2 MAY 2023. PIR PRESS. “Thank you for an interesting and inspiring debate! I, too, was able to think seriously about the use of tactical nuclear weapons as never before. Of course, the participants in both debating teams repeatedly mentioned the events in Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August 1945. In the course of the discussion, I learned a lot about my country. The only thing I could suggest is that I would like more time for an interactive discussion with the audience”, – Masato Masuda, 1st year student of the Master’s program “Russian Foreign Policy and Diplomacy”, MGIMO University (Japan).
On April 20, 2023, the second track of the VI International Timerbaev Nuclear Debates took place. The event was held within the walls of the MGIMO University as part of a class by MGIMO Professor, PIR Center founding director Dr. Vladimir Orlov on the special course “Actual Problems of Nuclear Nonproliferation”. The 1st year students of the master’s program “Foreign Policy and Diplomacy of Russia” from Russia and Japan took part in the debate.
The second track of the VI International Timerbaev Nuclear Debates was devoted to the question: “Should tactical nuclear weapons be used in a theater of military operations within the framework of regional conflicts?”. The participants of the debate were divided into two teams – Affirmative and Negative. Preparing for the event, each team, however, prepared arguments both “for” and “against” the designated issue: the students learned about their “position” only 24 hours before the start of the debate.
The Negative Team was represented by students Lilia Vladimirova and Anatoly Shchekin. The team was mentored by Daria Selezneva, a researcher at the Center for International Security at the IMEMO RAS, a graduate of the international double-degree master’s program “Global Security, Nuclear Policy and WMD Nonproliferation” (implemented jointly by MGIMO University, PIR Center and the Middlebury Institute for International Studies in Monterey, USA).
Members of the Affirmative Team were Ekaterina Vaseneva and Darina Sibul. The team was prepared by Oleg Krivolapov, a researcher at the Department of Military-Political Studies of the Institute for US and Canadian Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences, a graduate of the PIR Center’s XX International School on Global Security.
According to the established tradition, after both teams presented their arguments, Q&A session took place. The discussions were attended by a seminar group of 1st year students of the master’s program “Foreign Policy and Diplomacy of Russia” from Russia and Japan.
The experts of the second track of the VI International Timerbaev Nuclear Debates were Professor of MGIMO University, founding director of PIR Center Dr. Vladimir Orlov and Head of the Department of Applied Analysis of International Problems, leading researcher at the Institute of International Studies of MGIMO University Igor Istomin. Both experts gave their comments on the agenda at the beginning of the debate, and also commented on the arguments presented by the debating teams.
The event in general was moderated by Elena Karnaukhova, PIR Center Deputy Director and Education & Training Program Director, who also was an Executive Secretary of the International Timerbaev Nuclear Debates.
PIR Center is pleased to share some comments of the second track of the VI International Timerbaev Nuclear Debates participants.
“In my opinion, both sides have managed to maintain a balance between the tough upholding of their own position and the academic format of statements”, – Hrant Beglaryan.
“The organization of the event was at a high level, and both teams demonstrated a confident knowledge of the facts on the topic of the debate. The main thing, however, is that from this set of facts, the participants were able to draw specific analytical conclusions in favor of the defended position”, – Ivan Kabanov.
“Thank you for an interesting and inspiring debate! I, too, was able to think seriously about the use of tactical nuclear weapons as never before. Of course, the participants in both debating teams repeatedly mentioned the events in Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August 1945. In the course of the discussion, I learned a lot about my country. The only thing I could suggest is that I would like more time for an interactive discussion with the audience”, – Masato Masuda.
“The results of the debate showed that both teams demonstrated a high level of preparation and professionalism. However, I personally liked the Affirmative Team better. They were able to defend a difficult position with persuasiveness and reasoning, which is commendable. In general, the debates were successful and were useful for all participants, including members of the audience”, – Artyom Tkachev.
“The debates were held at a high level. It was extremely interesting to listen to the opinions of other experts and students on such an important topic in the form of debates”, – Vilnur Khairtdinov, PIR Center Education & Training Program Intern.
“I am very grateful for the opportunity to gain experience as a participant in the International Timerbaev Nuclear Debates – for me it was a responsible, interesting and not the easiest task. As part of the debate, I was asked to prove a position that was not close to me – and after preparing to defend the position “for”, before the debate, which seemed to me unnatural and contrary to the basic prerequisites of humanity, I began to better understand this point of view, and some arguments even seemed convincing to me. It seems that I could not work out the ethical, technical and historical aspects of this problem so deeply, get the opinion of experts and a mentor, and finally work in a team, without participating in the debate, I could not have been able to”, – Ekaterina Vaseneva.
“The issue of using tactical nuclear weapons is undoubtedly one of the most controversial in modern military-political discourse, and it is thanks to the opportunity to hear diametrically opposed opinions on this issue that help to study this issue in the most profound way, assess all the risks and try to objectively see the consequences of this step. It was especially interesting to watch how both teams answered questions from the audience, it turned out to be a lively and fruitful discussion”, – Arseniy Shatalov.
Key words: NPT; Education; Nuclear weapon