International Security Index iSi




Meanwhile, today maintaining stability and predictability is the first order of business for arms control. And to achieve this goal we need to do everything possible to extend START - Lieutenant-General (retired), Chairman of the PIR Center's Executive Board Evgeny Buzhinskiy

The collapse of the 1987 Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty and the possible expiration of the 2010 New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START) in 2021 may signal the end to mutual restraint and limits on such weapons. – a Specialist in Nuclear Weapons Policy at the Congressional Research Service Amy Woolf


«The Dual Degree Master`s Program creates a positive impression and its implementation is undoubtedly worth continuing. Classes, especially on specific topics, sparked great interest among students, they actively asked questions, thus lectures turned into interactive communication from time to time. The set of topics composing separate courses harmoniously fit into the general outline of the Master`s Program», – Modern Arms Control and Disarmament course instructor, member of the Advisory Board of PIR Center Andrey Malov.


“As a journalist I know well how much more open and straight forward officials are when in an off the record modus. The upcoming discussions within the Trialogue Club International format in 2020 will give us all – so I hope – the possibility to better and deeper understand Russia’s foreign and security policy, to ask frank questions and get sincere answers”, - Dr. Elena V. Chernenko, Co-Chair, Trialogue Club International, PIR Center Executive Board member, Deputy Foreign Editor, Kommersant Daily.



Modern Arms Control and Disarmament

Modern Arms Control and Disarmament

(2 credits)

The course program developed by Gen. Evgeny Buzhinskiy, Chairman of the PIR Center’s Executive Board, 2019.

The course instructors: Gen. Evgeny P. Buzhinskiy; Dr. Alxey G. Arbatov; Dr. Andrey Y. Malov; Ms. Asya Kockurova.   


1.1    The place and role of the course in the program of study:

The course Modern Arms Control and Disarmament aims at providing knowledge on the key aspects of modern arms control and prospects of international legal regulation of military uses of outer space and missile technologies. It also highlights these issues in the context of nonproliferation, implementation of the Article VI of the NPT, regional and global security. 

Huge stockpiles of nuclear weapons were accumulated on our planet from 1945. It is believed that the combined size of the nuclear arsenals peaked in the mid-1980s at about 62,000 warheads. The United States and the Soviet Union (succeeded by Russia) held 98 per cent of the world's nuclear weapons stockpiles; that proportion remains more or less unchanged to this day. The three other official nuclear-weapon states, i.e. China, France and Britain, hold several hundred warheads between them.

Paradoxically, the proliferation of nuclear arsenals was going in parallel with the strengthening of the nuclear disarmament agenda. The first treaty signed in an attempt to regulate the development of nuclear weapons was the 1963 Limited Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, which banned the testing of nuclear weapons in the atmosphere, in outer space, and under water. In 1968 numerous countries signed the multilateral Nuclear Weapons Non-Proliferation Treaty, which went on to become the most universal treaty in the entire history of world diplomacy. Article VI of the NPT now serves as the legal underpinning of progress towards a world free of nuclear weapons.

A few years later came the era of bilateral Soviet / Russian-American disarmament dialogue. For almost half a century all the efforts in the area of practical arms control, reduction and elimination of nuclear weapons were being undertaken mainly by the two largest nuclear powers, the Soviet Union (succeeded by Russia) and the United States. As a result of these joint efforts, the size of the global nuclear weapons stockpiles has shrunk by more than two-thirds since the mid-1980s. Meanwhile, other countries which possess nuclear weapons have either implemented much smaller reductions or even slightly increased the size of their arsenals. The need for multilateral (rather than bilateral) nuclear arms reduction measures is therefore becoming increasingly obvious. The signing of the 2010 New START Treaty by Russia and the United States has given a new impetus to the cause of nuclear disarmament.

At the same time arms control and disarmament agenda faces new challenges. These challenges grow up from development of new military technologies, change of world political order and new regional security crises, stagnation of multilateral negotiation and dialogue forums.

The course considers both historical and new elements of arms control, traditional and new factors, which influence prospects of disarmament, institutional and legal basis of arms control.

Bilateral and multilateral nuclear arms control and nuclear reductions will be considered within broader picture of new military technologies development, regional and global security issues.

The situation with missile defense is a perfect illustration of the effects of the factors which influence strategic stability and nuclear disarmament. So far Moscow and Washington have failed to agree on missile defense cooperation; this constitutes the main obstacle on the way towards deeper reductions of the two countries’ nuclear arsenals. The placement of weapons in space poses a substantial threat to strategic stability and global international security.  The growing number of countries expresses their interest to missile and space technologies. At the same time the international legal regulation of military use of space is still not well developed. There are new risks to missile technology control regime.

1.2 The course goals and objectives:

The main goal of the course is to provide students with basic knowledge of the current state and prospects of arms control as well as for the key factors, which influence disarmament process, risks and threats to future of disarmament negotiations, and risks and threats to global and regional security, connected with development of missile and military space technologies, national and international efforts to reduce these risks and develop legal and political framework for cooperation on arms control, disarmament and proliferation of missile technologies. 

Course objectives:

  1. To introduce basic definitions, concepts, history, current state, legal framework and institutional structure of nuclear arms control, nuclear reductions and disarmament, missile defence, military use of outer space and missile technology control.
  2. To orient students to understand the relationships between conventional and nuclear arms control, nonproliferation, offensive and defensive arms, space security, missile technologies control and regional and global security,
  3. To provide students with methodology of analysis of the arms control negotiations and documents, arms control issues within the broader regional and global security complex.

1.3    Learning outcomes:

Classes are generally held to provide knowledge and methodology for further analysis and discussion on the matter of the course.

Teaching methods used include lectures, consultations, discussions at the lectures and seminar.

By the end of this course students should be able to:

  1. Understand interrelations between nuclear arms control, conventional arms control, nonproliferation and disarmament, development of space and missile technologies and global security and development.
  2. Analyze keys vulnerabilities and risks of arms control and disarmament process, military use of outer space, missile control regime and current arms control.
  3. Analyze and compare national, international bilateral and multilateral initiatives and programs in the above mentioned spheres.
  4. Realize activities of national authorities and international organization on the spheres of the course. 
  5. Assess the efficiencies and deficiencies of the existing political and legal frameworks of international efforts on the topics of the course.  
  6. Search information literature on nuclear arms control, disarmament issues, and new arms control issues, distinguish between authoritative and unreliable sources on these issues.

1.4 Course requirements:

Students will be required to attend not less than 90% of classes and to be prepared for class discussions. Conscientious reading of the assigned materials is compulsory. All students are required to participate in seminar discussions. Average assessment will consist of two parts. First part is derived from students’ class active participation to assess their familiarity with the course material, including lectures and readings. The second part includes two provisional written tests during the course.

Those students who demonstrate successful result at the provisional tests (during the simulations and debates) will pass the final test automatically, in accordance with established MGIMO rules (if they take more than 70 points in average). Those who do not get pass automatically will have the final test.

1.5    Grading plan:

To get «А» (“excellent”) student should get 90 points, to get “pass”60 points.



Class and seminar active participation


Midterm tests (2 tests (15 questions*3 points + 1 open question* 5 points)



Course outline & Literature (available in pdf)

1. Introduction (Gen. Buzhinsky)

2. Nuclear Reductions (Gen. Buzhinsky)