PIR Center Celebrates Its 30th Anniversary

April 30, 2024

MOSCOW. APRIL 30, 2024. PIR PRESS. «Do you know that this is PIR Center who is a repeat proliferator? PIR Center never tires of disseminating, fostering and proliferating. It disseminates new ideas in the international security and nuclear nonproliferation; it fosters new experts — talented girls and boys who are involved in work in these activities. Last, but not least, PIR Center is a repeat proliferator of think tanks and research centers that have come out from PIR Centers umbrella», — Dr. Vladimir Orlov, PIR Center Founding Director, Professor at MGIMO University. 

Founded on April 30, 1994, PIR Center today has reached a milestone, celebrating its 30th anniversary as a leading Russian nongovernmental organization dealing with international security agenda.

“PIR is a Russian synonym to longevity, — jokes Dr. Vladimir Orlov, PIR Center Founding Director, Professor at MGIMO University, — Most of other NGOs have passed away”. However, PIR Center is not sitting on the fence. With celebrating our 30th anniversary, we are strongly committing to our goals and our mission, and work hard even during weekends. Hence, on the day of its 30th anniversary, PIR Center is proud to present to our friends in Russia and all over the world its new analytical and publishing products.

(1) Yaderny Kontrol (Nuclear Control) E-Journal is back in an updated format in Russian and, for the first time, is produced in English. The Yaderny Kontrol brand has been known to experts all over the world for as long as the PIR brand has been known — exactly for 30 years. A journal with such a title, which PIR Center had launched in 1994, instantly transformed the palette of expert discussion on nuclear issues. Today, the bestseller is backed in a new, up-to-date format.

New (March – April 2024) issue of the journal presents analytical articles, exclusive interviews, reviews of recently published books, as well as educational materials on nuclear nonproliferation, arms control, and global and regional security issues: strategic stability and arms control, Zaporozhye NPP and ensuring nuclear security, international terrorism, prospects for the development of nuclear energy, militarization of outer space, the Middle East WMD-Free Zone, the DPRK nuclear program and sanctions, information security, AI and more. Also, on its last page, you will find a Gossip Column. It is our tribute to Ambassador Roland Timerbaev, who was our colleague and a part of PIR Community from 1994 until he passed away in 2019. “And now, half an hour of a healthy gossip,” — he used to say… Welcome to Yaderny Kontrol to check the facts… and challenge the gossip.

(2) PIR Center is excited to announce the release of the Security Index Yearbook 2024-2025 by PIR&MGIMO Vol. 1 Digital Edition, a unique analytical endeavor. It has been prepared within the framework of the joint project of PIR Center and MGIMO University Global Security, Strategic Stability, and Arms Control under the auspices of the Priority-2030 Strategic Academic Leadership Program. The Yearbook consists of eight Parts and 29 Chapters and highlights the issues of global concern such as international terrorism, nuclear weapons and strategic arms control agenda, nonproliferation of weapons of mass destruction, new types of conventional weapons, space security, cyber diplomacy. In terms of regional security, it concentrates on Russia-China relations, Middle East, Russia-Iran relations, the assessment of BRICS prospects, new developments in the relations between Russia and African countries, between Russia and the states of Latin America, to mention just a few. It also contains book reviews and the chronology of recent events in global and regional security.

The Security Index Yearbook is designed primarily for the international expert community, decision makers, think tanks, business circles, and specialists in Russian studies, as well as those who just want to get a fresh look at the Russian foreign and defense policy, Russia’s activities on global arena and threats perceptions. It is coming out at a remarkable time, when the demand for understanding Russian views on various international issues and, most importantly, Russia’s foreign policy behavior is greater than ever.

The Security Index Yearbook 2024-2025 by PIR&MGIMO Vol. 1 Digital Edition brings together under its cover 31 authors: reputable Russian experts — leading theorists and practitioners in the field of international relations, global and regional security: Dr. Irina Abramova, member of the Presidium of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Director of the Institute of Africa of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Corresponding Member of the Russian Academy of Sciences; Dr. Andrey Kortunov, Academic Director of the Russian International Affairs Council (RIAC), member of PIR Center’s Advisory Board; Dr. Dmitry Polikanov, Deputy Head of Rossotrudnichestvo; H.E. Sergey Ryabkov, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation; Dr. Dmitry Trenin, Senior Research Fellow at the Nonproliferation and Arms Control Sector of the Center for International Security of IMEMO RAS, Research Professor at HSE University, member of PIR Center’s Executive Board; Dr. Elena Chernenko, Special Correspondent of the Kommersant Daily, member of PIR Center’s Executive Board, among others.

“While preparing this volume, my colleagues and I proceeded from the fact that it is very important to ensure a balance between journalism and science and to give priority to strategic vision rather than tactical comments. This was a key orientation for all of us, for both: the editorial team and the authors. We look forward to the moment when readers around the world will have the first issue of the Yearbook in their hands. We are confident that it will enable every reader to find answers to questions about how to better understand each other and overcome contradictions, primarily through joint efforts to address common challenges and threats in the field of global and regional security,” — notes Ms. Elena Karnaukhova, PIR Center Deputy Director-Education & Training Program Director, Executive Editor of the Security Index Yearbook.

(3) The Nuclear Nonproliferation and Arms Control. Digital Papers — essentially a textbook on nuclear nonproliferation for young people around the world — is disseminated worldwide, toutes azumutes, equally to the East, to the South, and to the West from Russia. It has been designed in sync with the video series Online Course on Nuclear Nonproliferation and Arms Control. They are intended for a wide foreign English-speaking audience of diplomats and government officials, journalists, employees of research centers and institutes, instructors and students, functionaries of public organizations dealing with international cooperation and public diplomacy, as well as all those who are simply interested in the nuclear nonproliferation or adhere to the principle of life-long learning, constantly discovering new knowledge. To make the Digital Papers more diverse, Russian experts with different professional background, experience, views, and opinions were invited.

(4) Pending its 30th anniversary, PIR Center is opening the doors of PIR Center Museum. Dr. Vladimir Orlov, PIR Center Founding Director, invites everyone — both members of the PIR Alumni Community and our new friends — to take a virtual tour of the museum: 

“I am not an archaeologist. I deal with burning international security issues. But today, on the 30th anniversary of the PIR Center, I feel like a bit of an archaeologist… and I would like to invite you to take part in the excavations. We will come across those artefacts that will allow us to better understand how PIR Center was born, how it matured, and how it evolved. And if someone says that 30 years is not a term for archaeologists, I will tell without any doubt: for non-profit, independent Russian organizations acting with foreign policy – oh, what a pleasure; we have already passed several epochs, where we had our own dinosaurs, our own ice ages, and our own renaissance. Our museum is small, with only five virtual rooms. There you will encounter academician Mikhailo Lomonosov and poet Alexander Pushkin, Saddam Hussein and Evo Morales, you will see a fragment of a SS-23 missile, and an artefact from The Group of Eight (G8)… and some others have gone with the wind. An African rhino will run out at you… by the way, it is on brink of extinction. At the same time, “Secret Vodka” from a very closed Siberian nuclear city; Iranian USB Flash Drive with a sign “Nuclear energy for all. Nuclear weapon for none” and even ukulele from Hawaii managed to be preserved. Do you want to know how did they all get here? Then come in!”.

Now, when the virtual tour of PIR Center’s new projects and initiatives is over, may we invite you for a brief review of PIR Center’s current addenda and priorities. 

PIR Centers portfolio currently consists of 36 projects combining research and consultancy, education and training, publishing and outreach, and networking and partnerships. With its vibrant 1200+ member-strong alumni community residing in 72 countries of the world, with its internationally renowned Summer Schools on Global Security, with its two MA Programs, and with its online training platform Nonproliferation.World, PIR Center is in the forefront of educating new generation of security and nonproliferation experts. As an independent think-tank, PIR Center is engaged in various formats of policy discussions on the most urgent topics of global and regional security agenda. PIR Center’s status has been recognized by the United Nations with its consultative ECOSOC status (since 2010) and by the Russian Government, which has granted PIR Center a privileged status of a socially oriented NGO (SONKO) (since 2020). Besides, we have always been actively organizing dialogues on strategic stability and arms control issues in various formats.

PIR Center’s project portfolio is based on five programs: Nuclear Nonproliferation and Russia Program; Global and Regional Security: New Ideas for Russia Program; Education & Training Program; Information & Publications Program, and Partnerships & Networking Program.

(1) Nuclear Nonproliferation and Russia Program is a core research program of PIR Center, which analyzes Russia’s place and role in the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) review process, the state of the arms control regime, the Russian-American dialogue on strategic stability and global security, the situation around Iran’s nuclear program, the problem of the establishment of the Middle East WMD-Free Zone, the prospects for the development of nuclear energy, and many other topics. Thus, for many years now, PIR Center has kept its finger on the pulse, monitoring and analyzing key developments in nuclear nonproliferation and arms control sphere.

“It is all the more important that, thanks to the PIR Center’s efforts, we have the opportunity to enter the era of new strategic instability armed not only with the country’s nuclear shield, but with thorough analytics, which today have not only theoretical, but also practical significance,” — Senator Konstantin Kosachev assesses the work of PIR Center in his review of the Report New Nuclear Nine? Assessing Nuclear Proliferation Threats in the World.

PIR Center has been actively engaged in preserving the memory of the Soviet and Russian diplomats, officers, civil servants, and experts who contributed to the development of nuclear nonproliferation and arms control regimes. The Oral History of Nuclear Nonproliferation Project, implemented by the PIR Center since 2022, is a vivid example of this.

(2) Global and Regional Security: New Ideas for Russia Program provides independent expertise on challenges and threats to Russia’s national security, including analysis of the new European security agenda, the development of new technologies (including the military sector), the prospects for BRICS development on peace and security issues, and the potential for cooperation between Russia and the Persian Gulf and Sub-Saharan African states in the field of global security and advanced technologies.

“I would like to emphasize the relevance of the PIR Center research and its practical significance in understanding the importance of high technologies for African states as a driver of economic and social progress. For Russia, the turn towards Africa (as well as Asia) is not a momentary but a strategic long-term task. It signifies the emergence of new horizons for cooperation, as well as undeniable risks that can be calculated and anticipated in advance, based on serious studies of the African market and the political context surrounding it,” — Mr. Igor Vishnevetsky, independent expert, Former Deputy Director of the Department for Nonproliferation and Arms Control of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation, highlights in the review of the report High-Tech Renaissance in Sub-Saharan Africa: Challenges and Opportunities for Russia.

(3) Education & Training Program has been our priority since 1997 — it was then, when an educational module on nuclear nonproliferation was launched as part of the Program at the National Research Nuclear University (MEPhI) by PIR Center. In 2000, PIR Center released its fundamental textbook Nuclear Nonproliferation for universities in Russia and around the globe. 24 years later, it still remains a must-read for those wishing to enter the nuclear nonproliferation and arms control expert pools as well as those interested in nuclear-related issues. In 2009, the textbook was used by PIR Center as the basis for an Encyclopedia with general and most important terms in the realm of nonproliferation, arms control and disarmament.

Since 2001, we have annually organized PIR Center International School on Global Security for young specialists from all over the world. “PIR Center International School on Global Security is the most professional platform, giving each participant the opportunity to improve their own competence on a wide range of current world politics, regional and global security issues,” — Mr. Dastan Tokoldoshev, Research Fellow and Leading Expert at the Research Institute for Strategic Analysis and Forecasting of the Kyrgyz-Russian Slavic University, a graduate of the XXII PIR Center International School on Global Security, shares his opinion.

Since 2015, we have been developing International Dual Degree MA Program Global Security, Nuclear Policy and WMD Nonproliferation together with MGIMO University and Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey. In 2024, in collaboration with MGIMO University we are launching a new MA Program International Security with a focus on nuclear domain-related issues: it is open for applications starting May 1 this year. “The new PIR Center and MGIMO University MA program is a unique opportunity to receive an education covering all key and relevant aspects of the field of international security — from military and peaceful atoms to hybrid wars and current armed conflicts. Such an in-depth educational program from leading Russian experts will be useful to all those who plan to connect their future professional activities with foreign policy, from diplomats and employees of adjacent or international structures, to experts and journalists. Today there are simply no programs comparable in terms of disciplines and lecturers,” — Dr. Elena Chernenko, special correspondent of Kommersant Daily, member of PIR Center’s Executive Board, emphasizes.

At the beginning of the 21st century, PIR Center contributed a lot to the preparation of the 2002 UN Secretary General Report United Nations Study on Disarmament and Non-Proliferation Education. In 2001-2002, Dr. Vladimir Orlov, PIR Center Founding Director, took an active part in the preparation of the report as a UN Consultant on education and training in the field of disarmament and nonproliferation. Since the 2010s, PIR Center has had consultative status with the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC).

Since 1995, PIR Center representatives have taken part in the NPT review process, ensuring its analytical coverage or organizing side-events. Even in 2022, despite adverse circumstances and international tensions, a PIR Center delegation participated in the Tenth NPT Review Conference in face-to-face format. At that time, we were the only Russian NGO participating in the Conference in-person, and our presence at the NPT RevCon in 2022 resulted in a collection of analytical materials with a wide range of articles and interviews about the current problems on nuclear nonproliferation and the Russian understanding thereof, which are now typically cushioned abroad.

Since 2018, PIR Center has been implementing the project Young Specialists in the NPT Review Process in the Track 2.5 diplomacy format with the participation of diplomats, experts and young specialists. Its aim is to provide young experts in the field of nuclear nonproliferation, disarmament, arms control, strategic stability dialogue between Russia and the United States with the opportunity to directly participate in the NPT review process: NPT review conferences and preparatory committees.

In 2022, PIR Center launched the educational and training platform Nonproliferation.World, where young and experienced specialists in international security, as well as everyone interested in this issues, even from the most remote locations, can be involved in the educational process. The Nonproliferation.World platform meets the trends of the time and is aimed at promoting Russia’s approaches to security issues, preserving historical memory and developing the professional competencies of youth.

Since 2023, PIR Center has been implementing a new educational project Global Security: A View from Russia for the Youth Around the World with the support of the Presidential Grants Foundation. It aims to shape a common intellectual space through the sharing knowledge on nuclear nonproliferation and arms control among Russian and foreign audiences. The project also seeks to contribute to the professional growth of those interested in the topics above through preliminary and advanced training for young specialists via online learning and other awareness-raising, analytical, and research tools and products. As part of the project, the English-language Online Course on Nuclear Nonproliferation and Arms Control, which is a set of 19 studio video lectures with a total duration of 16 hours, was launched. “The PIR Center online course does a great job of explaining different angles of the topic, including its scientific side. The material is very rich and educational. The instructors are all very knowledgeable and experts at what they teach,” — Ms. Christelle Barakat, Junior Researcher, Lebanese Center for Policy Studies, notes.

PIR Center and MGIMO University held an additional professional education program on the Science and Technology Policies of Sub-Saharan Africa and the Persian Gulf States. The course allowed the students to study such topics as the factor of high technologies in international relations and the impact of technological development on geopolitical processes, the development of the state and society; features and principles of foreign economic activities of Russian high-tech enterprises; the state of security and the features of development of the countries of Sub-Saharan Africa and the Persian Gulf at the present stage. The attention of the Program participants was focused on the scientific and technological policy of the countries in the two regions, their potential in the sphere of high technologies, primarily in such areas as cyber security, nuclear energy, rocket and space engineering, biotechnology, new technologies in the food sector and urban development, as well as the current state of cooperation with Russia in the high-tech sphere and the prospects of increasing it.

(4) Information & Publications Program is based on three pillars: Security Index Occasional Paper Series Global EditionYaderny Kontrol (Nuclear Control) E-Journal, republished in full format in Russian and English, and PIR Press newsletter. In addition, we publish PIR Library Book Series (we are simultaneously preparing to publish four books; watch for announcements!).

(5) As part of the Partnerships & Networking Program, PIR Center works with members of its Advisory Board and Executive Board. Thus, PIR Center’s Advisory Board, created in 1995, plays a crucial role in the organization’s project activities. It brings together 80 individual experts, including representatives of think tanks and research centers, government agencies, and business structures, as well as social activists and journalists from Russia and foreign countries. PIR Center’s Advisory Board also includes 10 corporate members — research institutes working in the field of global security. PIR Center’s Advisory Board includes experts from Argentina, Brazil, China, Germany, India, Iran, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Libya, Norway, Russia, Turkey, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Switzerland, and the USA, among others. 21 new experts from Russia, Brazil, Egypt, India, Libya, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Switzerland, — joined the Board in last two years. 

A major achievement of PIR Center after those 30 years is our PIR Alumni Community. Today, it includes 1200+ individuals. PIR Alumni Community members reside in Abkhazia, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Belarus, Brazil, Canada, China, Croatia, Czech Republic, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Finland, France, India, Iran, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Madagascar, Mexico, Moldova, Mongolia, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Republic of Korea, Romania, Russia, Slovakia, South Ossetia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Syria, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, USA, Uzbekistan, among other countries.


“PIR Center is one of the first modern political science centers in Russia. Since its inception, it has also become a leading one while quality is concerned. Few organizations have managed to maintain such a high standard for so many years, despite all the political, economic, and international changes. PIR Center is famous for its many excellent research materials and in-depth analysis, not only the narrow nonproliferation but also on the general political agenda. It seems like only yesterday. However, the past 30 years have been an upward journey, which I am sure will continue. I wish you new successes and achievements on this path and hope that the energy of the Founder and the whole team, as well as the support of friends and allies, will ensure these new heights,” — Dr. Georgy Toloraya, Head of Asian Strategy Center at the Institute of Economics RAS, member of PIR Center’s Advisory Board, congratulates PIR Center on its 30th anniversary.

“PIR Center today is not only about expert conferences and seminars, independent world-class analytics, high-quality educational projects, numerous research papers, newsletters and study papers, but, above all, impressive and gifted people who are true professionals and true patriots of Russia. We are proud to cooperate with PIR Center at the Geneva platform,” — Ambassador Gennady Gatilov, Permanent Representative to the International Organizations in Geneva, writes to us today.

“PIR Center is a leading think tank, which, I am sure, will eventually become Russia’s in the global think tank ranking,” — Mr. Sergei Demin, Regional Director of Rosatom International Network in East Asia, member of the PIR Center’s Executive Board, claims.

Taking this opportunity, PIR Center expresses gratitude to our partners, as well as numerous friends and colleagues for their trust and support in the implementation of research, educational, informational, and analytical projects on nuclear nonproliferation, disarmament, global and regional security. As of today: yes, we do accept congratulations! We will be glad to hear your voices and your assessment of our activities via orlov@pircenter.org.

The 30th anniversary is an excellent opportunity to set new goals and plans for strengthening and maintaining international security. We work tirelessly and look ahead with confidence.

If you like what we do, support us! It’s simple. And it’s very important for us. Just follow the link. Just do it. Today. Thank you!

Key words: PIR Community


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