PIR Center Celebrates the Birthday of Yaderny Kontrol journal — the Day of the Rhinoceros

November 15, 2023

MOSCOW. NOVEMBER 15, 2023. PIR PRESS. “No publication in Russia has been entirely devoted to arms control issues until now. However, with the release of Yaderny Kontrol, this vacuum may begin to fill. Indeed, controlling the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction is a topic so specific and sometimes delicate that it requires an extraordinary approach,” — Yuri Baturin, Assistant to the Russian President for National Security, in his address to the readers of the Yaderny Kontrol journal, first issue, November, 1994. 

On November 15, 1994, 29 years ago, the first issue of the Yaderny Kontrol (in Russian) journal was published. Yaderny Kontrol was the predecessor of the Security Index, published as a journal from 2007 to 2016, and since 2019, in the format of Occasional Paper Series, and the e-journal Yaderny Kontrol (in Russian). The Yaderny Kontrol journal has been recognized by the Russian and international establishment and the expert community as a source of exclusive analytical information on global security issues. In particular, some experts noted: 

  • “The PIR Center events and the Yaderny Kontrol journal provide experts in the Russian nuclear industry with the opportunity to inform the public about industry reforms, engage in polemics with the expert community, and keep abreast,” — Alexander Rumyantsev, Advisor to Director General of the State Atomic Energy Corporation Rosatom, former Head of Russia’s Federal Atomic Energy Agency (2004-2005), 2005. 
  • “The excellent selection of authors and the high quality of the presented analytical materials are impressive. The Security Index is a valuable contribution to understanding modern international security issues,” — Erwin Hofer, former Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Switzerland to Russia, 2007. 
  • “I sincerely congratulate the PIR Center on releasing the 100th issue of the Security Index journal. As the UN Secretary-General’s High Representative for Disarmament Affairs, I trusted the Index as a source of up-to-date information on critical security issues. I wish further development to this valid publication,” — Sergio Duarte, President of Pugwash, former UN High Representative for Disarmament Affairs (2007–2012), 2012. 

A rhinoceros from an engraving by the German artist Albrecht Durer Rhinoceros (1515) had become the journal’s symbol. Despite the apparent invulnerability, three out of five rhino species are currently on the verge of extinction, embodying the security paradox. 

Vladimir Orlov, Roland Timerbaev, Ildar Akhtamzyan, Lyudmila Balandina, Elena Bokova, Maria Vernikova, Dmitry Evstafiev, Alexey Zakharov, Vadim Kozyulin, Lyudmila Kozyulina, and Ekaterina Shkolnik were among the first PIR Center team members who were at the origins of the Yaderny Kontrol journal. 

“On the same day (in 1994 — editor’s note), we packed one of the copies of the journal in an envelope. We took it to the post office (the Internet and e-mail were just emerging then, and we did not send the journal by e-mail). A few weeks later, it was received in Monterey by Roland Mikhailovich Timerbaev, who then worked there. He was stunned by this unexpected parcel and the fact that a new publishing project had been implemented in Moscow, which he had also told Bill Potter about. We received comments from Roland Mikhailovich and several other leading Russian specialists on the margins of the pilot issue, which allowed us to enter the new year (1995) with our own periodical, already polished edition, and its first issue,” — Dr. Vladimir Orlov, Founding Director of PIR Center recalls. 

Indeed, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary Roland M. Timerbaev, a prominent diplomat, a leading nuclear nonproliferation expert, and a founding father of the 1968 Treaty on the Nonproliferation of Nuclear Weapons, made an invaluable contribution to the development of PIR Center. 

PIR Center honors the memory of Ambassador Roland M. Timerbaev, whose instructions and precepts continue to guide the specialists’ creative and intellectual thoughts and ideas on nuclear nonproliferation, nuclear disarmament, arms control, and global security. In particular, a Memory Gallery of Ambassador Timerbaev is being developed on the NONPROLIFERATION.WORLD educational platform. You can find some of the ambassador’s works, his archive, speeches, as well as photographs about his life and work, there. 

In 2023, PIR Center also published the Roland M. Timerbaev’s Anthology (in Russian), which includes his most outstanding works on the history of the international nuclear nonproliferation regime: articles, excerpts from monographs published in the PIR Center editions in different years of his work at PIR Center, and fragments from the Ambassador’s archive of documents, personal diaries, and memoirs. 

Furthermore, to commemorate Roland Timerbaev, since 2020, PIR Center has been holding annual International Timerbaev Nuclear Debates for young nuclear nonproliferation specialists from Russia and abroad. On December 5, 2023, the VII International Timerbaev Nuclear Debates will occur. The agenda of the debates will be the issue of the resumption of nuclear tests and its consequences for the nuclear nonproliferation regime. 

The PIR Center’s publishing activities are inextricably linked with educational projects on nuclear nonproliferation, arms control, disarmament, and global and regional security. Therefore, in 2023, to commemorate the birthday of the Yaderny Kontrol journal — the Day of the Rhinoceros — PIR Center launched a new English-language online course on nuclear nonproliferation and arms control in frames of the PIR Center’s educational project “Global Security: A View from Russia for the Youth Around the World.” 

PIR Center is pleased to contribute to the development of education in nuclear nonproliferation, arms control, and international security. A deeper understanding of all the risks and threats associated with these issues will help lay the foundation for a safer and more stable future for all humanity. Moreover, the PIR Center strives to support researchers from Russia and abroad by assisting them in the realization of their scientific potential, ensuring communication between experienced and a new generation of international relations specialists, and expanding the global nonproliferation community. 

One hundred fifty-four people have applied for this online course. Among them: diplomats and representatives of state structures, journalists, employees of research centers and institutes, professors and students, functionaries of public organizations from Afghanistan, Albania, Argentina, Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Belarus, China, Croatia, Equatorial Guinea, France, Georgia, Germany, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Iran, Japan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kyrgyzstan, Lebanon, Moldova, New Zealand, Nigeria, Pakistan, Paraguay, Russia, Rwanda, Tajikistan, Turkey, USA, Uzbekistan, etc. 

Nuclear problems concern all humanity, regardless of race, nationality, language, gender, and age. Therefore, the online course has been designed for a broad foreign English-speaking audience without restricting participants’ age, gender, professional specialization, or country affiliation. 

The online course participants will get acquainted with the historical aspects of the development of the nuclear nonproliferation regime, its theoretical foundations, and current challenges and threats in all three pillars of the Treaty on the Nonproliferation of Nuclear Weapons (nuclear nonproliferation, nuclear disarmament, and peaceful use of nuclear energy). The course also pays additional attention to the issues of arms control and strategic stability. The issues of limitation and prohibition of nuclear tests are also considered. 

The main thematic areas of the online course include: 

  1. International regimes: general theoretical approaches; 
  2. historical aspects of the formation of the nuclear nonproliferation regime; 
  3. the NPT negotiation process; 
  4. the phenomenon of the review process and the NPT Review Conference; 
  5. Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zones; 
  6. Iran’s nuclear program: history and present days; 
  7. North Korea’s nuclear program and the issue of denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula; 
  8. the problem of “nuclear sharing” in international relations; 
  9. present-day risks of nuclear weapons proliferation; 
  10. multilateral level of nuclear disarmament; 
  11. the rise and fall of the nuclear arms control regime: geopolitical and technological factors, risks of militarization of outer space; 
  12. the relationship between cybersecurity and strategic stability; 
  13. the problems of the nuclear test ban; 
  14. the IAEA safeguards system; 
  15. International cooperation in the peaceful uses of nuclear energy; 
  16. nuclear security and nuclear defense, nuclear terrorism; 
  17. International uranium market.

Prominent Russian experts — theorists and practitioners — in the field of nuclear factors in international relations have been invited as instructors to make the online course more diverse, comprehensive, and universal, present different points of view on the issues under consideration, and avoid ideologization: 

  1. Dr. Alexander Vorontsov, Head of the Department for Korean and Mongolian Studies at the RAS Institute of Oriental Studies, Member of PIR Center Advisory Board; 
  2. Mr. Gleb Efremov, General Director of the International Uranium Enrichment Center, Member of PIR Center Advisory Board; 
  3. Dr. Igor Istomin, Head of the Department of Applied Analysis of International Problems, MGIMO University, Member of PIR Center Advisory Board; 
  4. Dr. Mikhail Lysenko, Deputy Head of the International Law Department, MGIMO University, Member of PIR Center Advisory Board; 
  5. Dr. Andrey Malov, Member of PIR Center Advisory Board; 
  6. Mr. Adlan Margoev, Research Fellow at the Institute for International Studies, MGIMO University; 
  7. Dr. Vladimir Orlov, Founding Director of PIR Center, Professor at MGIMO University; 
  8. Mr. Dmitry Stefanovich, Research Fellow of the Sector of Military Economy and Innovations of the Center for International Security, IMEMO RAS, Member of PIR Center Advisory Board; 
  9. Dr. Dmitri Trenin, Lead Researcher at the Section for Non-Proliferation and Arms Limitation of the Center for International Security, IMEMO RAS, Member of PIR Center Executive Board; 
  10. Dr. Alexey Ubeev, Chief Specialist of the IAEA Division of Nuclear Security (2011-2015), Member of PIR Center Advisory Board; 
  11. Dr. Elena Chernenko, Special Correspondent of the Kommersant Daily, Member of PIR Center Executive Board. 

PIR Center uses modern information technologies to improve and ensure a continuous educational process and popularize knowledge in nuclear nonproliferation. Thus, video lectures, literature, and other sources for self-study are available to listeners on the scientific and educational platform of the NONPROLIFERATION.WORLD. 

In frames of the planning the project “Global Security: A View from Russia for the Youth Around the World,” PIR Center gained informational support from our colleagues, friends, and partners, specifically: 

  1. Lieutenant General (retired) Evgeny Buzhinsky, Chairman of PIR Center Executive Board, Co-Chair of the Trialogue Club International; 
  2. Dr. Vera Gavrilova, Associate Professor at the Department of International Relations and Regional Studies at Novosibirsk State Technical University; 
  3. Mr. Viktor Litovkin, military observer of TASS; 
  4. Dr. Ekaterina Mikhailenko, Associate Professor at the Department of Theory and History of International Relations at Ural Federal University; 
  5. Dr. Dmitry Polikanov, Deputy Head of Rossotrudnichestvo; 
  6. Dr. Vladimir Rudakov, Editor-in-Chief of the Istorik (Historian) Journal, member of PIR Center Advisory Board; 
  7. H.E. Sergey Ryabkov, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation; 
  8. Ms. Lubov Soldatkina, Head of the ANO Art-Formula, member of the Committee of the Russian State Council on Culture, member of PIR Center Executive Board; 
  9. Dr. Dmitri Trenin, Lead Researcher at the Section for Non-Proliferation and Arms Limitation of the Center for International Security of IMEMO RAS, Research Professor at the Faculty of World Economy and International Affairs at HSE University, member of PIR Center Executive Board; 
  10. Ms. Yulia Tseshkovskaya, member of PIR Alumni Community
  11. Dr. Elena Chernenko, special correspondent of the Kommersant Daily, member of PIR Center Executive Board, Co-Chair of the Trialogue Club International. 

We are glad to share the feedback of some colleagues, partners, and members of the PIR Alumni Community, emphasizing the importance of implementing an online course on nuclear nonproliferation: 

“Implementing such a project is highly relevant during the current aggravation of the international situation. I consider it essential to use modern educational technologies to promote the Russian experience and approaches to solving critical problems in arms control, disarmament, and nonproliferation. I am sure that the NONPROLIFERATION.WORLD scientific and educational platform will guarantee this,” — Mr. Viktor Litovkin, military observer of TASS. 

“In the conditions of the termination of the main communication channels, it is more important than ever to maintain international educational and scientific cooperation on the most pressing global security problems. I am sure that using modern educational technologies, such as the scientific and educational online platform NONPROLIFERATION.WORLD, will contribute to the greater dissemination of knowledge on disarmament and nonproliferation and education of a wide range of the public in Russia and abroad. I hope this initiative will significantly contribute to educating the future generation of professionals in nuclear nonproliferation who are objective, critical thinking, and reasoning,” — Dr. Ekaterina Mikhailenko, Associate Professor at the Department of Theory and History of International Relations at Ural Federal University. 

“I am sure that the online courses prepared within the program in English will become an invaluable source of information and knowledge for a foreign audience. Strengthening theoretical knowledge and understanding the historical aspects of the functioning of the regimes in arms control, disarmament, and nonproliferation is an opportunity to reduce the intensity of speculation regarding the nuclear aspects of global security,” — Dr. Vladimir Rudakov, Editor-in-Chief of the Istorik (Historian) Journal, member of PIR Center Advisory Board. 

“Such a type of project is more than necessary in contemporary international relations, where the emergence of re-militarization and re-securitization of different political questions takes place. A new project of PIR Center opens the opportunities to rationalize international relations through an academic environment and honest, open channels for a better and prosperous future, which cannot exist without dialogue and at least an attempt to understand each other. It can result in specific policy recommendations for political leaders and thus contribute to solving critical nonproliferation and arms control issues. As a young scholar and post-graduate student at the Faculty of Political Science at the University of Zagreb, this is an excellent opportunity to strengthen my analytical and research skills. Ultimately, this is a great opportunity to stay in touch with exciting and ambitious people I have met at PIR Center. As a true believer in lifelong education, I believe that an individual can develop precisely with the help of such projects,” — Mr. Bruno Rukavina, PhD student at the University of Zagreb, XXII PIR Center International School on Global Security graduate. 

“The use of distance learning formats, the brightness, and the imagery of the presentation of information is the best way to draw attention to the difficult-to-perceive and understand issues, especially if it is subject to distortions and misinterpretations in the current geopolitical situation. The educational sphere remains one of the few areas where it is possible to promote the agenda of cooperation and dialogue — PIR Center has many years of experience in this area. I can only support your initiatives aimed at strengthening the positions of the Russian expert community and spreading knowledge in arms control, disarmament, and nonproliferation among both beginners and experienced specialists,” — Ms. Lubov Soldatkina, member of PIR Center Executive Board. 

The program is implemented with a grant from the President of the Russian Federation, provided by the Presidential Grants Foundation, to develop civil society. The online course is implemented with the support of MGIMO, the PIR Center’s strategic partner, within the joint project “Global Security, Strategic Stability, and Arms Control” under the auspices of the Priority-2030 Strategic Academic Leadership Program. 

Key words: Yaderny Kontrol; Nuclear Nonproliferation; Global Security