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2020, №5, Occasional paper series

Occasional paper series image
Issue: №5 (10)

The article deals with the exploration, development and use of outer space. Special attention is paid to the military potential of outer space and the threat of its weaponization. The corresponding legal regulation instruments are especially noted. Special emphasis is placed on measures aimed at maintaining strategic stability and preventing the arms race in outer space.


Key findings:

  • As can be seen, there are no prohibitive international legal norms with regard to a number of possible areas of space activities related to space strike weapons and anti-satellite systems, as well as electronic and optoelectronic suppression systems.
  • Certainly, not all of these activities can and should be monitored from a legal perspective, but in conceptual terms, it should be recognized that nowadays outer space is not legally protected from being a possible area for the placement of attack weapon systems, so as not to become, under certain conditions, an arena for armed struggle and a potential theatre of war.
  • The placement of weapons in outer space and the prevention of an arms race in outer space has traditionally required stringent measures and the highest possible standards to ensure that states comply with their obligations under the agreements reached. Such standards are ensured only through a legally binding instrument.
  • Thus, it would be appropriate to state that the main efforts in the field of security of space activities with regard to its weapons aspect are currently being made by the Russian Federation through the promotion of the PPWT, the NFP initiative and TCBMs with a view to preserving outer space as a free zone for peaceful uses and research. In general, these avenues of practical efforts could be considered as possible scenarios for paving the way to keeping the outer space free from attack weapons.


The paper has been produced for the joint PIR Center – CSIS project "Reducing nuclear risks during Great Powers Competition". We thank our partners in CSIS for their cooperation and support for this publication.

About the Author

Dr. Andrey Malov is an associate Professor of the Diplomatic Academy of the Russian MFA. Member of PIR Center Advisory Board. PhD in History. Graduated from Maurice Thorez Moscow State Pedagogical Institute of Foreign Languages. Worked at the Committee of the Soviet Youth Organizations. In 1991-1994 – a researcher and lecturer at the Institute for Economic Strategies, Russian Academy of Sciences. In 1992 – a visiting scholar in Western International University (Phoenix, Arizona). Serves at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs since 1994. Participated in the OSCE activities in Nagorny Karabakh (1994-1996) and Bosnia and Herzegowina (1996-1998). Works on arms control, nonproliferation and disarmament issues at the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs since 1998. Participated in the negotiations on multilateral disarmament.


Security Index Occasional Paper Series presents reports, analytical articles, comments and interviews that reflect the positions of Russian and foreign experts on the current challenges of global security and Russian policy in this sphere. The newsletter aims at providing clear analysis of global security problems and suggesting practical solutions. Security Index Occasional Paper Series continues the Security Index journal published by PIR Center in 1994 – 2016. Authors and editors will be glad to receive comments, questions and suggestions on our e-mail address [email protected]