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The Security Index Occasional Paper Series Came Out With The New Report “Future Of Arms Control: Views From Russia”

January 22, 2021

MOSCOW. JANUARY 22, 2021. PIR PRESS. The Security Index Occasional Paper Series came out with the new report “Future of arms control: views from Russia” that consists of two articles: “U.S.-Russia arms control: where we are and where we are going” by Evgeny Buzhinskiy and “Broadening the scope of arms control: new strategic systems, “non strategic” arsenals, conventional long-range precision strike, hypersonic missiles, missile defense and space capabilities” by Dmitry Stefanovich.

These papers were produced for the joint PIR Center – CSIS series of seminars “Reducing Nuclear Risks During Great Power Competition” (November 12 – December 9, 2020). We thank our partners in CSIS for their cooperation and support for this publication.

Evgeny Buzhinskiy. U.S.-Russia arms control: where we are and where we are going

The article analyzes the current situation and the future of the U.S.-Russia arms control. The author elaborates on the chances of the New START treaty extension, consequences of dismantling of the nuclear arms control system, and the possible impact of the new Russian nuclear weapons types, such as “Poseydon” and “Burevestnic”, on the future arms control agreements. Analyzing the New START treaty and the current situation, the author defines the interests of Russia and the U.S., perspectives of Chinese participation in the future arms control, and gives advice on the ways to reach a new bilateral, legally binding, and comprehensive arms control agreement that would succeed the NEW START.

Key findings:

  • Dismantlement of the entire nuclear arms control system, even if it may be considered to be outdated, may lead to an uncontrolled multilateral arms race involving strategic, intermediate-range, and tactical nuclear and non-nuclear offensive and defensive weapons, as well as cyber warfare systems, laser weapons, and other arms innovations.
  • There is a great deal of uncertainty over the potential impact technological breakthroughs could have on nuclear deterrence. This includes developments in precision non-nuclear and hypersonic weapons, strike unmanned aerial vehicles, directed energy weapons, artificial intelligence, and other disruptive technologies that can undermine command, control, communication, intelligence, and critical infrastructure.
  • From a technological perspective future arms control will be exceedingly challenging, much harder than during the Cold War.
  • Chinese participation in the future nuclear arms control will depend on the general state of the U.S.-China relations.


Dmitry Stefanovich. Broadening the scope of arms control: new strategic systems, “non strategic” arsenals, conventional long-range precision strike, hypersonic missiles, missile defense and space capabilities

This paper is devoted to analyzing practical steps in the field of arms control to be applied by Russia and the United States as a tool to enhance both national and then global security. The author proposes a step-by-step roadmap on the future negotiating process, including a brand new military-strategic and geopolitical elements that were not previously enshrined within a legal framework together with non-legally-binding solutions. Since Russia and the US remain the trendsetters for global arms control, the success on the bilateral track is considered by the author to be the major prerequisite for any multilateral efforts under codifying “disparity” that does not affect strategic stability.

Key findings:

  • Apart from incorporating the new types of weapons or new warfighting (or deterrence) domains, any negotiating framework should include tangible deliverables and working mechanisms, including those focused on compliance dispute resolution to limit the chance of any real armed conflict between great powers.
  • As a first step, Russia and the USA should reaffirm the ‘absence of drivers for a first strike’ strategic stability principle and agree on the measures to avoid a major nuclear war through high-intensity conventional warfighting.
  • Long-range high-speed (including but not limited to hypersonic weapons of different sub-types) high-precision weapons of different basing modes (including but not limited to space domain) are the most highly destabilizing weapon systems that require immediate attention under future arms control negotiating framework.
  • The joint efforts to address new threats bilaterally should be focused on quantitative and geography-based limits, rather than the destruction of the military capabilities. A good way to start would be to codify the existing deployment practices.
  • A way to codify ‘disparity’ that does not affect strategic stability might become a blueprint for further multilateral efforts based on trilateral regional solutions and the P5 initiatives.
  • The self-restraint, as well as the engagement in doctrine discussions and debates on the perceived capabilities and intentions in the form of regular military-to-military and ‘2+2’ consultations, are non-legally-binding initiatives that could improve bilateral transparency and confidence.