Russia’s New Nuclear Policy Could Be a Path to Arms Control Treaties

June 8, 2020
Sarah Bidgood

The following is an excerpt of an analysis originally published by Defense News.

Russia recently published a new document, titled “Basic Principles of State Policy of the Russian Federation on Nuclear Deterrence.” Its release marks the first time that Russia’s official policy on deterrence has been made publicly available. As others have observed, this document is an example of declaratory policy aimed primarily at a foreign audience — and should be read with this orientation in mind. Still, it contains information that helps readers better understand how Russia thinks about nuclear weapons, and this certainly makes it worth a close examination.

Some of the more useful insights this document offers pertain to Russia’s threat assessments and what it sees as likely pathways to nuclear use. A number of these threats line up with American declaratory policy as reflected in the 2018 Nuclear Posture Review. These overlaps are noteworthy, since the U.S. and Russia have traditionally been able to work together to mitigate mutual threats even when their bilateral relationship is in crisis. As such, they can point toward ways to get arms control back on track at a time when it is in deep trouble.

Continue reading at Defense News.

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