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Russia's Nuclear Weapons in a Multipolar World: Guarantors of Sovereignty, Great Power Status & More

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At a time of technological and political change in the international security environment, Russia continues to view nuclear weapons as guarantors of peace and security among great powers. Nuclear weapons also assure Russia's own great-power status and mitigate uncertainty in an emerging multipolar order. In a world where the United States pursues improved missile defense capabilities and appears to reject mutual vulnerability as a stabilizing factor, Moscow views its modernized nuclear arsenal as essential to deter Washington from a possible attack on Russia or coercive threats against it. Some elites in Russia would like to preserve existing arms control arrangements or negotiate new ones to mitigate a weakening infrastructure of strategic stability. At the same time, however, they seem skeptical that the United States is willing to compromise or deal with Russia as an equal. Meanwhile, multilateral arms control appears to be too complex a proposition for the time being.

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