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The Security Index occasional paper series came out with papers of Russian and foreign experts devoted to the verification of nuclear arms control and nuclear disarmament


MOSCOW. MARCH 26, 2020. PIR PRESS. – The Security Index occasional paper series came out with papers of Russian and foreign experts devoted to the verification of nucleararms control and nuclear disarmament.

Verification is a key and indispensable element of nuclear arms control and nuclear disarmament. Any substantive discussion on the future of strategic stability, nuclear arms race limitation, and the prospects for nuclear disarmament becomes pointless if it fails to address verification. To answer the question of what verification should look like in the future, leading Russian and foreign experts analyze the experience of the implementation of bilateral agreements between the Soviet Union/Russia and the United Sates and look at various international mechanisms. For the first time, Russian experts offer a comprehensive assessment of the approaches proposed by the International Partnership for Nuclear Disarmament Verification (IPNDV) and other new initiatives in this field.


Alexander Saveliev, Chief Research Fellow, Primakov National Research Institute of World Economy and International Relations of the Russian Academy of Sciences (IMEMO RAN)
“Soviet and US approaches to arms control verification during the Cold War”

Every international arms control agreement should include a verification system. But the state parties should realize that such a system is a double-edged sword that combines a certain degree or trust as well as suspicion. An intricate verification system does not constitute evidence of trust, and it is not based on trust. As such, this “weapon” should be used with great care.


Sergey Oznobischev, Head of the Military-Political Analysis Section, Primakov National Research Institute of World Economy and International Relations of the Russian Academy of Sciences (IMEMO RAN); Professor at the Moscow State University of International Relations (MGIMO) under the Russian Foreign Ministry
“Would preserving a verification mechanism have saved the INF Treaty?”

Saving the INF Treaty required a strictly political decision on both sides rather than any reliable evidence of compliance. Such a decision could have launched a normalization of the situation with the INF – a process that could potentially include additional verification measures.


Evgeny BuzhinskiyChairman of the PIR Center Executive Board; Vice President of the Russian Council for International Affairs; Head of the Center for Political and Military Studies at the International Politics Department of the Moscow Lomonosov State University
“The future of nuclear arms control and verification challenges”

We need to consider a whole host of factors, such as the emergence of new types of weapons (for example, hypersonic systems) and new theaters of confrontation, such as the outer space and cyberspace. Another important factor is the rethinking of approaches to arms control and verification in the United States, where verification is now defined as political assessment of the results of global monitoring, primarily in the area of nonproliferation.


Evgeny Buzhinskiy, Sergey Oznobischev, Alexander Saveliev
“Can an arms control system rely only on national technical means of verification?”

In the absence of any legally binding commitments, a verification system that relies solely on the national technical means becomes intelligence-gathering. In the absence of legally binding commitments, there is no point raising complaints of noncompliance. There can be no verification system without a legally binding agreement, and a verification mechanism should be developed for a specific agreement as it cannot exist in isolation.

Lars van Dassen, Director, Office for International Relations, the Swedish Radiation Safety Authority
“International cooperation on nuclear disarmament verification – do we need it and what can it do?”

Over the past decade, we have seen a much greater international cooperative effort to develop new systems, concepts, and technologies for nuclear disarmament verification. Why do we need such cooperation, given that the nuclear disarmament process has stalled and the prospects for its resumption seem bleak? The development of new objectives, regimes, models, principles and methods of nuclear disarmament verification can stimulate future disarmament talks, bring them closer, and make new regional and global disarmament agreements more likely.

Gennady Pshakin, (1942-2019)Head of the Center for Nonproliferation Analysis (Obninsk, Russia); Chief Research Fellow at the Leypunsky Institute of Physics and Power Engineering; former IAEA safeguards inspector; member of the UN Group of Experts on the elimination of the Iraqi nuclear weapons program
“Are the existing international experience and mechanisms sufficient for multilateral verification of nuclear disarmament?”

Despite the existence of some individual elements, there is currently no ready mechanism of nuclear disarmament verification that would include verification of the disposal of all nuclear weapons components.

Pavel Podvig, Senior Research Fellow at the UN Institute for Disarmament Research
“Verification of nuclear disarmament without access to sensitive information”

Nuclear disarmament verification measures do not necessarily have to involve access to secret or sensitive information. A disarmament process can be designed in such a way as to verify the absence of nuclear weapons, its components, and sensitive weapons-usable fissile material.

Andrey MalovAssociate Professor at the Department for International and National Security, Diplomatic Academy of the Russian Foreign Ministry; Member of the PIR Center Advisory Board
“Anything useful on the “menu”?Approaches to verification of multilateral nuclear disarmament”

Developing ready-to-use verification recipes as a “menu” can be a persuasive demonstration that verification of a multilateral disarmament process is an entirely feasible task. But a functional model should take into account the entire host of strategic factors that are required to secure the involvement of all nuclear weapon states in the nuclear disarmament process.

Sergey RyabkovRussian Deputy Foreign Minister
“Russia is strongly committed to traditional legally binding instruments”

Legally binding measures make it possible to develop an appropriate verification apparatus and coordinate the scope and modalities of future cooperation. That aspect is especially important in the current circumstances, given the growing aspiration of the non-nuclear- weapon states to monitor and verify the nuclear disarmament process.