Overcoming Misunderstandings in Russian-American Relations: Telebridge with the Participation of Students of the Dual Degree Master's Program

MOSCOW, DECEMBER 18, 2020. PIR PRESS. “The telebridge participants really got into the role, and sometimes their speeches could not be distinguished from the speeches of the official representatives of Russia and the United States. Students took a useful inventory of the contradictions in US-Russian relations and highlighted the areas that will require the most difficult work under the next administration”, – Sergey Semenov, Nuclear Nonproliferation & Russia Program Coordinator.

On December 11, PIR Center and the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies (CNS) held a telebridge with the participation of students of the Dual Degree Master's Program in Nonproliferation Studies, which has been implemented since 2016 by the PIR Center in cooperation with MGIMO University and the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey (MIIS, USA).

Vladimir Orlov, PIR Center Director, and William Potter, CNS Director, opened the event. Sergey Semenov, Nuclear Nonproliferation & Russia Program Coordinator at PIR Center, and Sarah Bidgood, Eurasia Nonproliferation Program Director at CNS, moderated the discussion. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the event was held completely remotely.

After the introductory remarks by Vladimir Orlov and William Potter, students of the dual degree program provided an overview of Russian and American nuclear policy. Russian students Nikita Shutyak and Konstantin Larionov presented the American vision of Russia's nuclear policy, while American students Chase LeMay and Sarah Erickson presented the Russian vision of US nuclear policy.

After a short Q&A session, the telebridge participants split into two working groups, whose task was to prepare recommendations for overcoming misunderstandings in Russian-American relations. At the end of the discussions in the working groups, the participants of the telebridge summarized the results, emphasizing the special importance of restoring confidence, strengthening transparency, and also drew attention to the regional aspects of Russian-American cooperation, including the Iran nuclear deal (JCPOA).

The telebridge has already become a form of regular dialogue between Russian and American students. Such an event took place for the first time in 2018 between students of the second and third cohorts of the dual degree master's program. This year, the telebridge, as usual, brought together students of the first and second years of study.