Nuclear Weapons in Russian Foreign Policy: Patterns in Presidential Discourse 2000–2010

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This essay is based on a close reading of speeches and other public statements made by Vladimir Putin and Dmitri Medvedev during their presidencies, covering the period 2000–2010. It argues that the pattern of presidential discourse reveals that both presidents have regarded Russia's nuclear weapons as primarily political rather than military instruments. Both Putin and Medvedev demonstrated a sustained desire to pursue strategic nuclear arms reductions through negotiations, particularly on a bilateral basis with the United States, and an interest in minimum nuclear deterrence. The shifts in position taken by both presidents on US plans for missile defence in particular reveal that they each attached as much, if not more, importance to Russia being regarded as an equal partner by the United States than to any strategic gains that might be achieved through preventing the deployment of an effective missile defence system.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)495-519
Number of pages25
JournalEurope-Asia Studies
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 02 Apr 2012


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