Status: Open

The Russian SVR’S Public Reports On Nonproliferation Of WMD Were Discussed At The PIR Center Midweek Brainstorming Session

March 4, 2021

MOSCOW, MARCH 4, 2021. PIR PRESS. «We are going to discuss an important milestone in the history of nuclear nonproliferation ‒ the public reports of the Russian SVR dated 1993 and 1995, the preparation and public nature of which were initiated by Yevgeny Primakov. Today, these reports are an irreplaceable «handbook» for both students and experts specializing in nuclear nonproliferation. Moreover, our meeting is intended for the «PIR younger generations», junior experts in the field of nuclear nonproliferation and disarmament», ‒ Vladimir Orlov, Director of PIR Center.

On February 24, PIR Center held an informal meeting within the Midweek Brainstorming sessions. Participants discussed the Russian Foreign Intelligence Service’s (the SVR of Russia) public reports on the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and the extension of the NPT, which were published in 1993 and 1995.

These documents were prepared in a unique historical period. Russia, which was going through hard internal political troubles, was accused of supporting terrorism, nuclear missile programs of several states, exporting weapons and fissile materials. The geopolitical situation along the Russian borders was far from satisfactory; many regions of the world were hit by instability. The nuclear nonproliferation regime was going through challenging times; the extension of the NPT was called into question. In such difficult conditions, the SVR of Russia has assumed the responsibility to prepare analytical materials on nuclear nonproliferation issues. By publishing these papers, the Russian SVR officers raised new questions and provided their answers and proposals. 

In addition to the public reports, which at the time became an important milestone that influenced the strengthening of the nuclear nonproliferation international regime, the participants of the meeting discussed issues of nuclear deterrence,WMD-Free Zone in the Middle East, hypersonic weapons, and nuclear terrorism.

This informal meeting in the framework of the Center Midweek Brainstorming session became the first event for new PIR Center interns. For them, it was the first working day within the internship at all. Alexander Fedorov, a Member of the PIR Center Advisory Board, attended the event. The meeting took place within the framework of a new PIR Center project on assessing mid-term threats to the nuclear nonproliferation regime. «Thoughts about the unthinkable… about the fact that some state (maybe even a Russian neighbor country), which, perhaps, has never even been caught nurturing its nuclear ambitions before, suddenly starts developing a nuclear weapon. Tell the names of these candidates! This is the new project that PIR Center has launched», comments Vladimir Orlov. For instance, PIR Center plans to work out scenarios in which new nuclear states may appear. Western think tanks are doing similar work, where they typically recommend strengthening American leadership in response to any threat of nuclear proliferation. PIR Center looks forward to crafting a more balanced approach to the problem, taking into consideration the interests of Russia and its partners. In this regard, public reports of the SVR of Russia dated 1993 and 1995 are valuable because they devised the road map to strengthen the NPT regime for several decades to come. As Vladimir Orlov noted, «Looking into the future, we could not escape looking back 25 years ago, when two public reports of the SVR devoted to the nonproliferation of WMD were published successively in 1993 and 1995».

The Midweek Brainstorming session led to new thoughts and ideas and, therefore, the first working day of the interns of the new wave became really special. PIR Center is pleased that their internship was marked by this event and hopes that due to this they will be inspired to work proactively and laboriously to comprehend disarmament and nonproliferation issues in depth.