Vladimir Orlov is the founder and now Special Advisor at the PIR Center (Russian Center for Policy Studies); Director of the Center for Global Trends and International Organizations at the Diplomatic Academy of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation; member of the UN Secretary General’s Advisory Board on Disarmament Matters. He participated in the NPT Review Conferences of 1995, 2000, 2005, 2010, and 2015.
There is no doubt that the international nuclear non-proliferation regime entered a new phase in May 2015. The situation has worsened, and it will be more and more difficult and expensive to correct it. The cooling of international relations will make the NPT situation extremely fragile.
Nunn-Lugar should be replaced with a new Russian-American program that should involve fewer projects and less funding. Let us call it New Partnership. Its main principle should be equality, rather than patronizing through money infusions from donors.
Russia should step over its prejudices and take a look at today’s Iran as its serious and long-term partner in the region – not at the declarative level, but at the level of action. Such attempts have been made from time to time, but now and then they are interrupted – out of the wrong fear to anger the Americans.
Russia should rethink what it has inherited from the Soviet Union in nuclear matters, the role of nuclear weapons, and their relevance in the future. Furthermore, Russia should consider how it can best use to its own advantage the opportunities offered by the nuclear non-proliferation regime, and how this regime can be modified to meet the realities of the new century.
The success of the 2010 NPT Review Conference is a step forward towards strengthening the international nuclear non-proliferation regime. Although it is a modest step, it is nonetheless significant, as it has reaffirmed the vitality and viability of the NPT.
The Iraqi crisis has inflicted serious damage on the principles of non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. The very word ‘non-proliferation’ has become hackneyed, while the traditional mechanisms for preventing the WMD proliferation are being ignored – not because they are inefficient but because they can lay bare an easy substitution; the established non-proliferation architecture is being deliberately jeopardized.
At a roundtable event in Moscow, top experts debated the “hypocritical” and “insincere” foreign policies of both Russia and the West in the post-Cold War era.
Vladimir Putin has mentioned several times that the collapse of the Soviet Union was a geopolitical mistake. Although these words were often interpreted as his desire to constitute that country, there is little reason to believe this.
The April 16 referendum will focus on power distribution rather than institution building. In other words, the organizers saw it as an opportunity to expand the President’s powers and allow him to rule longer. In their turn, Turks perceived it as an institutional choice to contribute to the development of the state.
If the larger picture defies prediction, the immediate future is scarcely more transparent. In the U.S. case, the known unknowns are numerous. They begin with the question of how much deck furniture Trump is willing to overturn in order to pursue an “America First” strategy.
In the wake of the For Fair Elections protest movement in Russia in 2011-2012, the Kremlin initiated a new strategy of state-society relations that was aimed at diminishing the propensity for protest in the next election cycle.
Belarus’ traditional structural dependence on Russia is increasing, and Minsk’s freedom of maneuver continues to shrink.