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Center for Arms Control, Energy and Environmental Studies at MIPT

Nuclear Arms Reduction: The Process and Problems

Authors | Contents | Introduction | Chapter 1 | Chapter 2 | Chapter 3 | Chapter 4 | Conclusion | Responses (in Russian)

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Nuclear Arms Reduction: The Process and Problems. Edited by A.S.Diakov, published by the Center for Arms Control, Energy and Environmental Studies at the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology, Dolgoprudny, October, 1997 - 59 pages.

Published in English in June, 1998

This report has been prepared at the Center for Arms Control, Energy and Environmental Studies at the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology. One of the Center's programs supported by W. Alton Jones Foundation is focused on the analysis and development of alternative approaches to strategic weapons reductions by Russia and the United States. In its research, the Center consults with experts from the Ministries of Foreign Affairs, Defense and Atomic Energy, as well as from the academia and non-governmental organizations.

Authors of this report are:

Vladimir Semenovich Belous, Major General (retired), Professor of the Academy of Military Sciences, Head of the Military Policy Sector of the Center for Academic Research of Committee of Scientists for Global Security.

Anatoli Stepanovich Diakov, Director of the Center for Arms Control, Energy and Environmental Studies, Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology.

Timur Tairovich Kadyshev, Yevgeny Vladimirovich Miasnikov and Pavel Leonardovich Podvig are research fellows at the Center.

The authors thank Rear Admiral Aleksey Mikhailovich Ovcharenko, the deputy chief of Operational Directorate of the Main Naval Staff, and Oleg Nikolayevich Shagov, the Senior Adviser of the Security and Disarmament Department of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, for consultations during the writing of this paper.

Contacting information:

Center for Arms Control, Energy and Environmental Studies
Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology
Institutski Pereulok, 9
Dolgoprudny, Moscow Reg. 141700
Tel.: 7-095-408 6381
Fax: 7-095-408 4477

e-mail: center@iris.mipt.ru


Review of the Center's report, (in Russian) published in a supplement to Nezavisimaya Gazeta NG-Scenarii (December 9, 1997, p.8)

Response from Colonel-General Yakovlev, CinC of the Strategic Missile Forces (in Russian)

Responce from Admiral Kuroyedov, CinC of the Russian Navy (in Russian)

Table of Contents



Chapter 1. Trends in Nuclear Disarmament. The Drawbacks of the START I and START II Treaties

Chapter 2. The Role of Nuclear Weapons in the Russian Federation's Policy

Chapter 3. The Russian Federation's Strategic Nuclear Forces: Present Status and Prospective Developments Chapter 4. Further Reduction of Russian and U.S. Strategic Nuclear Forces Conclusion


ALCM Air-Launched Cruise Missiles
ABM Anti-Ballistic Missile
ABM Treaty Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty
CFE Treaty Conventional Forces in Europe Treaty
CTBT Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty
GDP Gross Domestic Product
GNP Gross National Product
ICBM Intercontinental Ballistic Missile
INF Treaty Intermediate Nuclear Forces Treaty
MIRV Multiple Independently targetable Re-entry Vehicle
MIRVed equipped with MIRV
NPT Non-Proliferation Treaty
SLBM Sea-Launched Ballistic Missiles
SLCM Sea-Launched Cruise Missiles
SNF Strategic Nuclear Forces
SSBN nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarine
START I, II Strategic Arms Reductions Treaties


After the end of the Cold War, Russia and the United States made substantial progress in reducing their nuclear arsenals. However, problems that arose in the course of preparation for the ratification of the START II Treaty by the Russian Federal Assembly created serious obstacles for this process. It would be mistaken to think that these difficulties are created exclusively by the State Duma. The Treaty is heavily criticized by the majority of Russian experts who enumerate a number of shortcomings which, in their opinion, not only give the United States a considerable advantage in carrying out strategic nuclear weapons reduction but lead to the violation of the principle of equitable security.

The United States' striving for unilateral advantages in strategic weapons reduction is quite explicable. The United States would like to safeguard itself from possible unfavorable (as the U.S. sees it) development of events in Russia. Because of sophisticated use of the tactic for decision-making on a political level during START II negotiations the United States was able to get the Treaty with considerable benefits. However, the Clinton administration apparently realizes that in order to guarantee the Treaty's ratification by the State Duma, the U.S. will have to agree to a number of steps that could enhance the prospects for Russian ratification. This was manifested in the Helsinki Agreement and the Protocol to the START II Treaty signed on 26 September 1997. These documents extend the START II implementation time-frame from 1 January 2003 to 31 December 2007, and also tie the beginning of negotiations on the next phase of reductions to START II's ratification by Russia.

At the same time, the criticism of START II does not mean that Russian society objects to further steps in nuclear disarmament. The idea of reducing of nuclear strategic weapons inventories is very popular in Russia. There is an understanding that in the framework of START III it would be desirable to reach the levels even lower than has been agreed to in Helsinki, as well as keep out both the possibility of unilateral advantages and circumvention of mutual agreements.

This report presents an analysis of the state of strategic nuclear weapons reduction process, considers the role of nuclear weapons in Russian policy and the ability of the Russian military-industrial complex to maintain strategic nuclear weapons. The analysis is followed by the conditions and parameters for the next phase of strategic weapons reductions whose discussion and agreement with the United States could precede the ratification of START II.


© Center for Arms Control, Energy and Environmental Studies at MIPT, 1998.

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