Lieutenant-General (ret.) Evstafiev (25.08.1938 – 19.02.2013), a person of great fortitude, wisdom, and professionalism, dedicated all his health, strength, and intellect to serving his country and strengthening international security. We are very honored to have been able to work with such an amazing and knowledgeable person.
No matter what office he held, Gennady Mikhailovich made considerable contributions to strengthen the nonproliferation and disarmament regime.
Gennady Mikhailovich played a key role in preparing the Russian Foreign Intelligence Service’s public reports “A New Challenge After the Cold War: Proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction” (1993) and “The Treaty on the Nonproliferation of Nuclear Weapons: Problems of Extension” (1995), which are still used today as key reference materials in the field. To this day, the publication of these reports remains an example of special services’ analytic work and ability to engage the public in dialogue. Thanks to the work of these authors, the world saw that Russia bases its arguments on facts and, no matter the circumstances, independently participates in the formation of a global nonproliferation and disarmament agenda.
Lieutenant-General Evstafiev was one of the people who, during the country’s hardest times, not only stayed dedicated to the task at hand, but was also able find solutions to global problems in a spirit of collaboration and while protecting national interests. From 1986 to 1991, Gennady Mikhailovich was one of the head Soviet delegates during the negotiation of the Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe (CFE Treaty) in Vienna before he went on to work for the Foreign Intelligence Service. From 2000-2003, he served at the Russian Permanent Mission to NATO, where he worked on combating terrorism and WMD proliferation. After retiring in 2003, he became a Senior Advisor and later Senior Vice President at the PIR Center, where he continued to dedicate himself to arms control issues and developing new security mechanisms in Europe.
For Gennady Mikhailovich, strengthening the nonproliferation and disarmament regime wasn’t just political rhetoric, it was a subject of in-depth analysis with the goal of finding optimal, balanced solutions. Back when people had essentially stopped thinking about saving the world from weapons of mass destruction, before big speeches and initiatives revived the topic, Gennady Mikhailovich published the article “Disarmament Returns” (Security Index 2007), in which he not only declared the acute relevance of this problem, he defined the lines along which this discussion takes place today. “The main mistake that people make is they fear today’s troubles more than tomorrow’s,” he said, and underlined that, “this means only one thing – we must learn to preempt the consequences of new military technology and classes of weapons with timely political and legal measures.”
“Carl von Clausewitz once wrote that ‘the greatest mistake people make is fearing the troubles of today more than those of tomorrow.” This means but one thing: we must learn to pre-empt threats emanating form emerging military technologies and new types of weapons through timely political and legal measures. Otherwise we might find ourselves once again spiraling into long and exhausting arms race and severe crises and conflicts.” — Lieutenant-General Gennady Evstafiev
This is precisely what Gennady Mikhailovich worked on at the PIR Center. He co-authored a 2005 monograph Unmanned aerial vehicles: history, application, threat of proliferation, and prospects of development – the first work to define the importance of this issue for Russia. Information security, nuclear energy and nonproliferation, Central Asia – Evstafiev was a part of these and many other PIR projects from the outset. Dozens of publications, hundreds of interviews and comments to the press – he was constantly working.
He will most certainly be remembered, today and forever more, by dozens of students – young diplomats, officers, and scholars, those for whom he was a mentor at work or during an internship, those who listened to his every word at Summer School and other training courses.
What did young scholars expect, and then receive, from their senior colleague? During conversations he would say such things like, “Be sure to pay attention to this question… It may be worth taking a closer look here… You should read this book here…” and then a new idea would form, and we would begin to see a pointed problem in its greater historical and political context, and the student would morph into a specialist in front of our eyes. A graduate of the Oriental Studies Department at Leningrad State University, Gennady Mikhailovich completed the colossal school of life and carried with him the best traditions of analysis and the deep understanding of regional and global processes. Along the way, he passed on these traditions and mental discipline to his students, for which we will be ever grateful.
Gennady Mikhailovich played a significant role at the PIR Center. He was with PIR even before its founding and stayed the course through our development. Over the course of almost 10 years, he served as a Senior Advisor and Senior Vice President of the PIR Center. With his direct participation, PIR expanded the scope of its work, transitioned from Yaderny Kontrol to Security Index, developed a new education and training program, and attracted new partners and friends. Each of us will treasure our memories of interacting with this extraordinary person, colleague, and mentor.