PIR Center Marks One Year Since Roland Timerbaev`s Passing Away


MOSCOW, AUGUST 21, 2020. PIR PRESS. “Years of experience tell us that a solid and unbiased understanding of the history of nonproliferation efforts can help to identify and outline the prospects for further strengthening the nuclear nonproliferation regime, with the possibility of reducing the size and ultimately eliminating nuclear arsenals altogether. We are just beginning to understand and comprehend our nuclear past, and many more questions about nuclear history must be adequately answered before we can imagine the shape of our nuclear future”, - Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary, Member of PIR Center Advisory Board, professor Roland M. Timerbaev (1927-2019).

One year ago not only did we lose a prominent diplomat, we lost a mentor. A teacher. The person who until the very last days of his life had been serving as a source of inspiration for us, with whom we consulted on a regular basis. 

Timerbaev`s cause is still alive, with his books and articles still being in high demand at PIR Center`s library. Amb. Timerbaev himself was very unpretentious and pragmatic, that is why the best way to commemorate him is real deeds.

Today, one year since his passing away we publish the translation of the preface and chapter 8 of his magnum opus – “Russia and Nuclear Nonproliferation (1945-1968)” monograph. The translation was prepared and kindly provided to PIR Center by Dr. Johnathan Hunt from the University of Southampton. From now on the original Russian version of the monograph is also available at the PIR Center`s website.

On this sad day we also make available his personal archive, which was courteously passed on to PIR Center by his family after his death, to everybody interested in the problems of peace, security and nuclear weapons. The archive comprises his own writings, deliberations and notes as well as an imposing collection of monographs, periodicals and other materials in Russian and English pertaining to WMD nonproliferation and global security – everything Amb. Timerbaev made use of in his work, which gives an impression of his high professionalism and his wisdom of life.

This said, Amb. Timerbaev least wanted that his works and deliberations become a dogma, an article of faith. A brilliant diplomat and negotiator, not only was he fond of persuading others, he also could listen to and hear others` arguments, Today, when the ability to listen to one`s opponents is especially relevant, PIR Center presents the Timerbaev Debates, a project that will lay the foundations of  Timerbaev International Student Club. At the debates and later within the Club young experts from different countries will be able to discuss nuclear nonproliferation matters in a respectful and business-like fashion as Amb. Timerbaev always did. The first Timerbaev Debates will take place already this fall on Roland`s birthday on September 27th in the course of jubilee International School on Global Security.

Robert Rozhdestvensky, a poet, wrote the following lines about diplomats: “How easily can you err! How frightful your mistakes are”. Ambassador Timerbaev and the Treaty on the Nonproliferation of Nuclear Weapons, to the conclusion of which he contributed immensely, prevented the humanity from the gravest of all blunders – the nuclear one. Roland Timerbaev devoted all his knowledge, all his insights and dreams to save the mankind from extermination. And it is incumbent upon PIR Center and all of us to continue working for the sake of this cause.