The Russian-U.S. Conference on Arms Control opened in Moscow

01 October 2019

The Russian-U.S. Conference “New Vector” has opened on October 1 at the Alexander Gorchakov Public Diplomacy Fund. Partners of the event are the Institute for the USA and Canadian Studies RAS and the Negotiation Task Force (NTF) at the Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies of Harvard University.

The main goal of the conference is to discuss the future of Russian-U.S. relations, global security and arms control.

Executive Director of the Gorchakov Fund Leonid Drachevsky welcomed the participants of the conference. He thanked his colleagues and wished them effective work:

“There are not that many places left where U.S. and Russian experts can meet and exchange opinions in a free environment, listening to and hearing each other. And it is mostly thanks to the efforts made by Sergey Rogov, a person, who dedicated his life to that.”

Professor and Academic Advisor of the Institute for the USA and Canadian Studies RAS Dr. Rogov (PhD in History) supported the message of the welcome speech and told the attendees about the Fund and its major areas of activities. He also mentioned a contribution made by Head of International and Media Relations Unit of the Gorbachev Foundation Pavel Palazhchenko, who had changed the format of the conference: this time experts of the new generation – young scientists – were invited to participate in the event.

In his turn, Pavel Palazhchenko read a welcome letter of Mikhail Gorbachev to the attendees of the international conference:

“Dear participants of the conference, unfortunately, I was not able to meet you and address you directly. However, I would like to share some of my thought with you, which concern me today. We have gathered in Moscow at the time when the problem of restriction, reduction of nuclear weapons and nuclear non-proliferation has become a serious threat. The treaty foundation of strategic stability is falling apart, new types of arms are being created and the arms race is expanding with a vengeance. The reason for that is in politics: the declaration of victory in the cold war resulted in revival of the cult of power, rejection of diplomatic and political methods of problem resolution. The world is approaching a dangerous line. I would like to remind you that in the mid-1980s we were able to start the process of reduction of the nuclear weapons due to a political step – the meeting in Geneva, during which the words were said that the nuclear war was not a possibility and there would be no winners. As of today, over 85% of the nuclear arms, which existed at the peak of the cold war, have been dismantled and destroyed. This is an example of what can be achieved if there is a will – things, which earlier seemed impossible. Today in order to continue the dialogue, above all, political decisions need to be made. Proposals of Russia regarding that have not received a due response from the U.S. side; however, even in such situations it is important to continue the dialogue, prepare the foundation for future negotiations and agreements on the whole complex of security problems and strategic matters. Some time ago, I and former U.S. Secretary of State George Shultz in the article published by Wall Street Journal urged Russian and U.S. scientists and experts to enhance communications in order to jointly search for ideas, which could help the leaders and the diplomats to find ways to resolve current problems and prevent new threats. I am an optimist and believe that the political atmosphere should change. That is why I welcome your conference. I wish you professional achievements and to put new connections to good use. It is especially important that there are young experts among the participants of the conference. I hope that difficulties will not scare you away. I wish you success. Mikhail Gorbachev.”

Director of the Negotiation Task Force (NTF) at the Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies of Harvard University Arvid Bell, in his speech, mentioned that thanks to his position at the Davis Center he had received a unique opportunity to take part in the diplomatic dialogue between the U.S. and Russia. Bell is sure that there are more similarities between Russia and the U.S. than it seems. “We would like the arms control experts on both sides to work together. This way, during the time of the conference, we will be able to present and listen to opinions and ideas of the participants that we will be able use in our future work.”

After the opening ceremony, the first session of the conference “Russian-U.S. Relations in the Area of Arms Control. Current Status and Prospects” began.

The attendees of the Russian-U.S. conference will discuss new technologies and strategies for providing stability, security in outer and cyberspace and participate in the meetings at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Russia and the State Duma of Russia.

Read more in Russian here