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The Security Index Occasional Paper Series Came Out With The New Report «Nuclear Nonproliferation In The Dialogue Between Presidents Yeltsin And Clinton» By Evgeny Kholodnov

December 17, 2021

MOSCOW, DECEMBER 17, 2021. PIR PRESS. The Security Index Occasional Paper Series came out with the new report «Nuclear nonproliferation in the dialogue between presidents Yeltsin and Clinton» by Evgeny Kholodnov.

The issues of arms control, disarmament and nonproliferation have always occupied a special niche in Soviet-American and, subsequently, Russian-American relations, and the Yeltsin-Clinton period is no exception. This paper is aimed at studying the bilateral dialogue on arms control, disarmament and nonproliferation during the Clinton administration based on the available transcripts of telephone conversations and recordings from personal meetings between Presidents Bill Clinton and Boris Yeltsin. The Clinton Archive itself is a unique source of information that allows you to touch on history, as well as evaluate the interaction and aspirations of the leaders of the two states in the field of nonproliferation. This paper examines the issues of cooperation between Russia and the United States on the export of Soviet nuclear weapons from the territory of Ukraine, Iran’s nuclear and missile programs, issues on the HEU-LEU agreement and the Nunn-Lugar program, as well as on the issues of the NPT and the CTBT.

Key findings:

  • On the issue of the presence of Soviet nuclear weapons in Ukraine, Russia and the United States had a common vision of the situation and coordination of actions: either pressure or concessions that went in “unison” from both powers, which eventually helped prevent the expansion of the “nuclear club”.
  • The peculiarity of the Yeltsin-Clinton dialogue was that both presidents constantly stressed that they were “friends” and should stick to friendly relations, solving pressing issues together. Which, however, gives the impression that B.J. Clinton used these “points” in order to manipulate Yeltsin’s opinion.
  • From these transcripts, it becomes obvious that Boris Yeltsin maneuvered between defending Russia’s foreign policy interests and the problems of economic assistance to Russia from the United States. Many dialogues began or ended with negotiations on U.S. economic assistance to Russia, on obtaining benefits and loans from the IMF and US assistance in pressure and negotiations with the IMF.
  • Cooperation between the United States and Russia during this period met Russia’s interests in the field of foreign policy and economics, especially the Megatons to Megawatts Program, which, in fact, helped the USSR nuclear industry survive the “hungry years”, but due to the weakened economic position after the collapse of the USSR, Russia actually found itself in a more losing position, which is clearly seen in the issue of Iran.
  • The peculiarity and success of this dialogue were not only mutual understanding on these issues at the highest level but also mutual understanding at the level of interaction between government departments and expert groups on both sides.

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