Russian Nuclear Modernization and Putin’s Wonder-Missiles: Real Issues and False Posturing Russie.Nei.Visions, No. 115, Ifri, August 2019
The near imminent breakdown of the INF Treaty (1987) has strongly intensified political and public concerns about the failure of traditional arms control and the escalation of a new nuclear arms race.
The clear announcement of a start of this race was given by President Vladimir Putin in his March 2018 address to the Federal Assembly, in which he elaborated on several new weapon systems. Russia’s sustained and massive investment in modernization of its nuclear arsenal challenges the meaning of strategic stability and generates a need to rethink its key parameters, as a precondition for addressing the urgent task of reforming and relaunching arms control, first of all in Europe. This costly and comprehensive modernization has had a potentially severe impact on the basic structures of European security, and Putin’s presentation of new weapon systems has brought this potentiality a step closer to reality.
Pavel Baev is a Research Professor at the Peace Research Institute, Oslo (PRIO). He is also a Senior Non-Resident Fellow at the Brookings Institution, Washington DC, and an Associate Research Fellow at Ifri, Paris.