MOSCOW, VIENNA, JUNE 26, 2021. PIR PRESS. “This week has two major events for PIR Center and me in particular. One of them is the Russia-U.S. summit in Geneva, the other is the advance premiere of PIR Center collective monograph Russia-U.S. Nuclear Nonproliferation Dialogue: Lessons Learned And Road Ahead. There is a certain overlap between these two events. I do believe that with all increasing important of P5 process Russia and the U.S. still have a special responsibility for the smooth running of the NPT, its review process and the successful future of the upcoming Review Conference”, as Vladimir Orlov, PIR Center Director has noticed.
On June 15th, one day before the Geneva meeting of Presidents Putin and Biden, PIR Center together with Vienna Center for Nonproliferation and Disarmament (VCDNP), and Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) held a joint webinar to discuss the lessons learned from longstanding Russia-U.S. cooperation on arms control and nonproliferation.
Among the speakers there were PIR Center Director Vladimir Orlov, Senior Vice President for Europe, Eurasia, and the Arctic at the Center for Strategic and International Studies Heather Conley, Analyst and Chief Strategy Officer at the Institute for International Studies of MGIMO University Adlan Margoev, and Coordinator of PIR Center’s Russia and Nuclear Nonproliferation Program Sergey Semenov. VCDNP Executive Director Elena Sokova moderated the event.
Vladimir Orlov presented PIR Center collective monograph Russia-U.S. Nuclear Nonproliferation Dialogue: Lessons Learned And Road Ahead, the result of 5 years work done by 17 authors. The monograph covers a significant range of Russia-U.S. interactions on nonproliferation matters, from negotiations of the NPT Articles I and II to the current state of the review process.
In her opening remarks, Ms. Sokova congratulated the PIR Center and drew particular attention to the fact that the book, which is dedicated to one of the NPT’s authors Ambassador Roland Timerbaev, features many young scholars and practitioners. She said: “Ambassador Timerbaev would have been very proud of this fact as one of his biggest passions, which he shared with his American partners such as Dr. William Potter of the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies, was to jointly “recruit and nurture a new generation of non-proliferation experts and rebuild the institutional memory about non-proliferation cooperation in the two countries. PIR Center continues to play a crucial role in this matter”.
Ms. Conley added that the PIR Center book came out in a fortuitous time, when the lessons it outlines could be applied to Russian-U.S. strategic stability talks.
In the following discussion the speakers discussed gave recommendations on restoring bilateral dialogue on nonproliferation and arms control issues.
Dr. Orlov emphasized the historical significance and salience of Russian-U.S. cooperation on nuclear nonproliferation and arms control. He noted a number of areas where the cooperation can and should be enhanced, including proliferation prevention, further arms reductions and limitations, the peaceful uses of nuclear energy, strengthening nuclear safeguards, restoring the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) and reducing the risks of nuclear terrorism.
In her remarks, Ms. Conley said that the summit could provide two countries with a basis for fruitful cooperation. It should be viewed as a “building block” that could prevent escalation due to cyberattacks or tensions in discussing issues related to the use of hypersonic delivery vehicles or weaponisation of outer space.
Mr. Margoev, the author of one of the monograph’s chapters on Iran, noted that despite progress on the JCPOA, a full return to the agreement may be insufficient to stabilise U.S.-Iranian relations and Russian-U.S. cooperation on Iran. In his view, both tracks – regional approaches to Middle East security challenges track and the high-level multilateral track – will be required for future progress.
Mr. Semenov closed out the formal remarks with some of the highlights of the monograph. The key one is that the U.S. and Russia should resist the urge of playing politics and treat nonproliferation issues in isolation from other agendas with due understanding of its historic importance. He also noted that there are less conditions for a privileged bilateral nuclear nonproliferation partnership but there is an increasing role of P5 process, discussions on confidence-building measures and multilateral approaches to space issues.
The monograph Russia-U.S. Nuclear Nonproliferation Dialogue: Lessons Learned And Road Ahead will be available for purchase soon. The table of contents and conclusions are available here.