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Controlling Soviet/Russian Nuclear Weapons in Times of Instability

Nikolai Sokov  •  New Publication
Posted: 2 August 2013

Dr. Nikolai Sokov, a Senior Fellow at the Vienna Center for Disarmament and Nonproliferation, authored a chapter titled "Controlling Soviet/Russian Nuclear Weapons in Times of Instability" in a new book by the the Nuclear Policy Education Center "Nuclear Weapons Security Crises: What Does History Teach?" published by the U.S. Army War College Strategic Studies Institute. The book focuses on previously under-researched cases when governments came close to losing control of their nuclear arsenals during political crises.

Dr. Sokov's chapter details events in the (former) Soviet Union in 1990-1992, when on several occasions control of nuclear weapons and weapons-grade materials was nearly lost as a result of political turmoil. The chapter also draws lessons that could be applicable to possible future cases of a nuclear weapons state undergoing a complex political transition involving a fracturing of political authority and territorial integrity.