Policy Memos

A History of the ABM Treaty in Russia

Policy Memo:


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In the current debate about the future of the ABM treaty, Russia's official position is that the treaty is "the cornerstone of strategic stability" and therefore an attempt to modify it would destroy the foundations of US-Russian nuclear arms control. Although Russian officials claim that this official position has never changed, a closer look reveals that Russia's attitude toward the ABM treaty has undergone a number of changes in recent years.

It is also interesting to look at the history of negotiations on demarcation between strategic and non-strategic systems, for it reflects the inconsistency between the Russian and US approaches to the issue. It also shows that Russia and the United States share responsibility for the current uncertainty over the future of the ABM Treaty. [...]

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About the author

Director, Russian Nuclear Forces Project
Russian Nuclear Forces Project, Geneva; UN Institute for Disarmament Research; Program on Science and Global Security, Princeton University