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LEGAL ASPECTS OF NEGOTIATION, ENTRY INTO FORCE, AND IMPLEMENTATION OF INTERNATIONAL AGREEMENTS OF THE RUSSIAN FEDERATION ON COOPERATION IN THE FIELD OF PEACEFUL USE OF NUCLEAR ENERGY

Alexander A. Pikaev,

Institute of World Economy and International Relations


LEGAL INSTRUMENTS THAT GOVERN RUSSIA’S PARTICIPATION IN INTERNATIONAL COOPERATION

Since the disintegration of the Soviet Union, Russia has put in place an elaborate body of law that governs its participation in international cooperation. This body of law consists of several types of documents of a constitutional and legislative nature, as well as international treaties and regulations (bylaws). It includes:

  • the constitution of the Russian Federation

  • federal constitutional laws

  • federal laws

  • international treaties and agreements subject to ratification and formatted as federal laws on ratification

  • international treaties and agreements not subject to ratification

  • decrees and edicts of the President of the Russian Federation

  • decrees and edicts of the Government of the Russian Federation

  • other bylaws and regulations adopted by the federal executive branch

According to Article 15 of the Constitution, international treaties to which Russia is a party are a part of its legal system. If an international treaty to which Russia is a party sets rules that contradict those stipulated in the Russian national law, the rules of the international treaty supersede. Per Article 71, international treaties, quite similarly to the production and use of toxic substances, fall into the purview of federal authorities. The President of the Russian Federation is in charge of the foreign policy of the country, and has the authority to conduct negotiations, sign international treaties, and oversee instruments of ratification (Article 86). The Federal Assembly (Parliament) has the authority to ratify and denounce international treaties (Article 106). These decisions are made in a bicameral fashion by both the State Duma and the Federation Council. First, the issue of ratification or denouncement has to be heard by the State



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LEGAL ASPECTS OF NEGOTIATION, ENTRY INTO FORCE, AND IMPLEMENTATION OF INTERNATIONAL AGREEMENTS OF THE RUSSIAN FEDERATION ON COOPERATION IN THE FIELD OF PEACEFUL USE OF NUCLEAR ENERGY Alexander A. Pikaev, Institute of World Economy and International Relations LEGAL INSTRUMENTS THAT GOVERN RUSSIA’S PARTICIPATION IN INTERNATIONAL COOPERATION Since the disintegration of the Soviet Union, Russia has put in place an elaborate body of law that governs its participation in international cooperation. This body of law consists of several types of documents of a constitutional and legislative nature, as well as international treaties and regulations (bylaws). It includes: • the constitution of the Russian Federation • federal constitutional laws • federal laws • international treaties and agreements subject to ratification and formatted as federal laws on ratification • international treaties and agreements not subject to ratification • decrees and edicts of the President of the Russian Federation • decrees and edicts of the Government of the Russian Federation • other bylaws and regulations adopted by the federal executive branch According to Article 15 of the Constitution, international treaties to which Russia is a party are a part of its legal system. If an international treaty to which Russia is a party sets rules that contradict those stipulated in the Russian national law, the rules of the international treaty supersede. Per Article 71, international treaties, quite similarly to the production and use of toxic substances, fall into the purview of federal authorities. The President of the Russian Federation is in charge of the foreign policy of the country, and has the authority to conduct negotiations, sign international treaties, and oversee instruments of ratification (Article 86). The Federal Assembly (Parliament) has the authority to ratify and denounce international treaties (Article 106). These decisions are made in a bicameral fashion by both the State Duma and the Federation Council. First, the issue of ratification or denouncement has to be heard by the State 135

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Duma, and only after the Duma comes to a decision does the process move on to a hearing in the Federation Council (Article 106). The authority of the Russian Government in this area is spelled out in Article 21 of the Federal constitutional law “On the Government of the Russian Federation.”182 According to this Article, the Russian Government shall, “within the bounds of its authority,” enter into international treaties on behalf of the Russian Federation, ensure their implementation, and monitor the compliance by other parties with commitments made in treaties signed with Russia. Additionally, the Russian Government regulates and oversees foreign economic activities and cooperation in science, technology, and culture. In other words, this law gives the Russian Government significant authority to enter into and implement international treaties, as well as regulate relevant foreign economic activities, including cooperation in the peaceful use of nuclear energy. Federal Law “On International Treaties [Signed by] the Russian Federation” The procedures for entering into, implementing, and denouncing international treaties, as well as specifics of the distribution of authority among federal entities, are stipulated in a federal law “On International Treaties [Signed by] the Russian Federation.” The law was passed in the mid-1990s, when the State Duma had a leftist majority that stood in opposition to the Boris N. Yeltsin administration. This is why the document is clearly a product of compromises between the Kremlin and the lower house of the Russian Parliament. The compromises are especially evident in the way in which authority has been distributed between the executive and legislative branches of government. During the debates that preceded this law, the State Duma was trying to prevent the executive branch from keeping any international agreements outside the legislators’ field of view. Therefore, Article 1 of the document contains an exhaustive list of international agreements subject to this law. The list includes virtually all international, intergovernmental, and interagency treaties regardless of their nature and nomenclature (treaty, agreement, convention, protocol, exchanges of letters or notes, or any other kind and variety of international treaties). Article 3 divides all international treaties into three broad categories. International treaties are concluded with foreign states and international organizations on behalf of the Russian Federation. Intergovernmental treaties are concluded on behalf of the Russian Government. Interagency treaties are concluded on behalf of [individual] agencies in the federal executive branch. Both chambers of the Federal Assembly have the right to give federal executive agencies recommendations with respect to entry into international treaties (Article 8). At the request of the two chambers, the Russian Government provides information regarding international treaties in preparation for signature (Article 7). The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) informs the Federation Council and the State Duma about international treaties concluded on behalf of the Russian Federation and the Russian Government, as well as about termination or suspension of such treaties. Interestingly, the MFA does not have to brief the Parliament on any interagency treaties. The law grants the MFA an important role in concluding international treaties. 182 Federal Constitution Law of the Russian Federation from December 17, 1997, N2-FKZ – Sobraniie zakonodatelstva Rossiiskoi Federatsii, 1997, N. 51, p. 5712. 136

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According to Article 9, the Ministry serves the purpose of providing [independent] recommendations regarding international treaties. In contrast, other federal executive agencies can only do that in tandem with the MFA or after receiving its concurrence. Article 32 places responsibility of overseeing the status of international treaties to which Russia is a party on the MFA. Article 11 delineates the decision-making authority with respect to commencing negotiations and concluding agreements. The President and the Government of the Russian Federation have this authority, as far as treaties concluded on behalf of the Russian Federation. The Government of the Russian Federation has a similar mandate with respect to treaties concluded on its behalf. According to Article 12, international treaties can be signed by the President, the Chair of the Government (Prime Minister), and the Minister of Foreign Affairs. Other ministers and heads of [federal] executive agencies only have the right to conduct negotiations leading to the signing of interagency treaties. The right to conduct negotiations is also granted to heads of diplomatic missions of the Russian Federation to some countries or certain international organizations. The law states that an international treaty can enter into force either through parliamentary ratification or other mechanisms of approval. Article 15 specifically enumerates the cases for which ratification of treaties by the Federal Assembly is mandatory. Such cases include those: 1) the execution of which requires changes in currently existing federal laws or the adoption of new federal laws; or international treaties that set rules different from those envisioned by national law 2) the subject of which has to do with basic human and civil rights and liberties 3) which deal with the demarcation of Russia’s territory versus territories of other states, including treaties on the national border of the Russian Federation and delineation of Russia’s exclusive economic zones and continental shelf 4) which govern the foundations of international relations or issues related to the ability of the Russian Federation to defend itself; or deal with issues of disarmament, international arms control, international peace and security; as well as peace and collective security treaties 5) those which affect the Russian Federation’s participation in international alliances, international organizations or any other international entities, if such treaties transfer certain sovereign authorities to the governing bodies of these entities or make their decisions legally binding for Russia 6) those, during the conclusion of which, parties agreed upon required ratification Ratification of treaties that lie outside the scope of the categories enumerated above is not mandatory. Such treaties may enter into force if and when the President or the Government so decide. Approval and adoption of interagency international treaties are done by federal executive agencies on behalf of which these treaties are signed (Article 20). Between signing and ratification, the Russian Federation must abstain from actions that would defeat the treaty’s object and purpose. In fact, this provision has allowed a number of important U.S.-Russian and multilateral agreements on assisting Russia in the area of non- proliferation and disarmament. For example, it made it possible to extend the basic treaty regarding the Nunn-Lugar program so that it would stay in effect, on a tentative basis, from 1999 137

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to 2006, without submittal for ratification. Similarly, the agreement on immunities concluded with the International Science and Technology Center has never been ratified even though it was submitted for ratification in 1994. The organization has been functioning on a temporary basis ever since. All this time, it has been successful in funding research activities by Russian and other former Soviet experts in weapons of mass destruction and their means of delivery in order to prevent these individuals from moving to countries of concern in search of employment. According to Article 32, the President and the Government ‘take measures’ to ensure that international treaties to which Russia is a party are in fact implemented. Federal executive agencies ‘ensure’ treaty compliance and monitor that other parties stay true to their commitments as well. In Russia, regional authorities are also required to ‘ensure’ treaty compliance to the extent that they have a mandate to do so. In other words, a Russian region does not have the right to sabotage an international agreement reached by the federal government even if the agreement provides that a hazardous facility shall be built in that particular jurisdiction. In reality, however, there have been instances whereby regional entities were successful in disregarding Russia’s international obligations despite stipulations of Article 32 of the law ‘On International Treaties of the Russian Federation.’ Early this decade, for example, the Udmurt Republic chose not to approve the construction of a facility for disposal of highly toxic solid rocket propellant on its territory. Similar complications are quite likely to transpire if the United States and Russia were to start implementing an agreement on peaceful use of nuclear energy: the fact of the matter is that this agreement will be associated with a number of hazardous facilities (e.g., plants for reprocessing of U.S.-origin spent nuclear fuel). Parliamentary Ratification Procedure In Russia, the following international treaty ratification practice has taken root. After the signing of an international document, the Government initiates the process of interagency coordination (concurrence). The document is distributed to various ministries and agencies, which issue expert opinions regarding whether or not the ratification would make sense. They also indicate what consequences the ratification would entail from financial, economic, legal, and international standpoints. As a rule, the process is rather lengthy and complex. According to the Russian Constitution, the Office of the President (Presidential Administration) is endowed with very powerful levers of persuasion, including the right to hire and fire high-ranking government officials. This allows the President to influence, if the situation warrants, the speed and outcomes of the interagency coordination process. There have been instances, however, when the Office of the President was disinterested in expediting the process. After the opinions of various agencies have been received – assuming they do not contain any recommendations to reject the international document – a summary finding is prepared on behalf on the entire Government of the Russian Federation. It is usually accompanied by another round of exchange of opinions among all entities with a vested interest, including the Presidential Administration. It is required that in the summary finding there be a section on what additional means may be necessary to meet the treaty obligations and what federal laws will have to be amended or supplemented to make it happen. There have been cases when the Government provided erroneous forecasts of required additional financial expenditures or could not provide any forecasts at all because the treaty timelines and international contribution estimates were simply too vague or uncertain. This is 138

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thought to have been one of the reasons why the U.S.-Russian Plutonium Disposition Agreement of 2000 was not ratified.183 International donors were unable to produce a set of clear proposals or determine specific numbers for assistance in this area in a timely fashion. Even if the international treaty does not require parliamentary ratification to enter into force, interagency coordination is still mandatory. After the final version of the summary finding has been signed by the Government, which, in effect, means that all agencies have provided their concurrence – the President signs a directive to submit the document for ratification. The directive is a very brief piece of text that states that the document is being submitted for ratification and provides the name of the official who is authorized to represent the President during the parliamentary review of the document. Usually this function is reserved for the Minister of Foreign Affairs. The summary finding by the Government is enclosed and submitted along with the presidential directive. The presidential directive is sent by courier to the State Duma and is received at the secretariat of the Speaker’s Office. The Speaker (or First Deputy Speaker acting in his or her stead) designates the committees that will be responsible for getting the document ratified. As a rule, the Committee on International Affairs plays a leading role in the process. If the document submitted to the Duma has to do with issues of disarmament or non-proliferation, the Committee on Defense and the Committee on Security are also made responsible participants. If the document has an economic dimension, it is sent to committees that oversee the industries relevant in this context. The designated committees organize parliamentary hearings regarding the expedience of ratifying this international agreement. There may also be joint hearings convened by individual committees. The hearings can be open to the public or conducted in closed session. The latter is the format of choice if some sensitive issues are to be discussed: only officials and experts with a security clearance that allows access to secret and confidential information are invited to attend. Upon completion of hearings, the responsible committees convene and make an official decision to either support the ratification or reject it. They also discuss possible modifications and additions to the draft of the law on ratification. During preparations for ratification, inputs regarding any such modifications or additions may come to the committees from individual members of Parliament, factions or regional jurisdictions of the Russian Federation. After discussions are complete, the individual committees compile a table listing all proposed modifications and additions and indicate whether or not they have been approved by committee members. Decisions are made by a majority vote of committee members. Then, the draft federal law on ratification goes to review by various factions in the Parliament. Normally, this takes place several days prior to the plenary session of the State Duma at which the issue of ratification will be put to a vote. A faction can define a decision making procedure independently, but usually can make any of the following three decisions: it can support the bill collectively (all members of that particular faction must vote “yea”), it can reject the law collectively (all members of parliament [MPs] in the faction must vote “nay”) or it can let its members vote individually as they see fit. Factions resort to the third option either when they are not interested in making their consolidated position on a treaty known or when there is a major split among the members. Every faction makes its own determination as to which of the three options it prefers. Sometimes, legislators express interest toward an international treaty even before it has 183 For further information regarding this agreement, see http://www.nti.org/db/nisprofs/russia/fissmat/plutdisp/puovervw.htm; accessed April 6, 2008. 139

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been formally submitted for ratification. They provide informal input regarding the wording of the law on ratification. These inputs may contain additional conditions under which the treaty should enter into force or some thoughts about circumstances that could lead to the denouncement of the document. In order to avoid tensions after the adoption of the document, an informal commission comprised of representatives of the executive and legislative branches is set up as early as during the preliminary stage of the process, when interagency concurrence process is still ongoing. Similar commissions have been set up for ratification of such important and contentious disarmament instruments as the Chemical Weapons Convention, the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START II), and the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT).184 During commission sessions, the text of the law on ratification is passed back and forth to make sure it is acceptable to all participants of the ratification process. First of all, this goes for the conditions and caveats associated with the treaty’s entry into force, its implementation and possible denouncement. The concurred text is usually accepted by the entire State Duma with virtually no changes. According to the procedure, plenary sessions of the State Duma dedicated to ratification of international agreements are always held on the same day of the week. For many years now, the day of choice has been Friday. During such sessions, the floor is given to the President’s representative for ratification of a specific international treaty. In the most significant and complex of instances, as was the case for ratification of START II and CTBT, Duma members require that the President be present in person. After representatives of the executive branch have spoken, the bill is discussed along with a list of proposed modifications and additions. Usually, modifications and additions not approved by the select committee are rejected. The draft ratification law has to be approved by a simple majority of votes cast by the MPs listed in the State Duma roster. For the draft to pass, it has to be supported by no fewer than 226 votes out of a total of 450. Over the last several years, the procedure for review of international treaties by the State Duma has become faster and simpler. The number of hearings has been reduced, and debates in plenary sessions, as well as within factions and committees, have turned into more of a formality. Commissions for preliminary concurrence of draft texts have become virtually extinct. With the Duma under the control of the majority, votes are now cast more as a matter of ‘going through the motions.’ After the bill has been approved by the Duma, it moves on to the Federation Council. According to the Russian Constitution, the range of authority of this chamber is rather narrow. The Federation Council may not introduce any modifications to a bill once it has been approved by the State Duma. The only right the Council does have is to cast an up or down vote. In the Federation Council, ratification of international treaties is primarily the business of the Select Committee for International Affairs. Other committees, such as the Committee for Defense and Security and some committees representing relevant industries, may, however, also participate in the discussion. Similarly to the lower chamber, responsible committees are designated by the Chair of the Federation Council. There has been not a single case when the Federation Council has rejected a treaty related 184 The text of the Chemical Weapons Convention can be found at http://www.opcw.org/html/db/cwc/eng/cwc_frameset.html; accessed May 1, 2008. The full text of the START II Treaty can be found at http://www.state.gov/www/global/arms/starthtm/start2/stiitoc.html#TREATYTOC; accessed April 8, 2008. The text of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty can be found at http://www.ctbto.org/; accessed April 6, 2008. 140

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to non-proliferation or disarmament. According to Russian laws, if the Council rejects a bill, a joint bicameral conciliatory commission shall be set up to produce a version acceptable to both chambers. Also, the State Duma has the right to override the Federation Council’s veto by two thirds of the votes (300 out of a total of 450). After both chambers have approved the bill, it goes to the President for signature. Since there has never been an instance of non-participation by the Office of the President in the process of preliminary coordination of the treaty, usually the Kremlin does not have any grounds to throw the bill out. According to Article 24 of federal law ‘On International Treaties Signed by the Russian Federation,’ official announcements regarding Russia’s joining an international treaty concluded on behalf of the Russian Federation or the Russian Government are published in the press. MECHANICS OF CONCLUDING, ENTERING INTO FORCE, AND IMPLEMENTING AN AGREEMENT BETWEEN RUSSIA AND THE UNITED STATES ON PEACEFUL USE OF NUCLEAR ENERGY An agreement between Russia and the United States on peaceful use of nuclear energy185 must comply with provisions of Article 1 of the law ‘On International Treaties of the Russian Federation.’ According to the law ‘On the Government of the Russian Federation,’ the conclusion and implementation of treaties fall into the purview of the Russian Government. It therefore follows that, pursuant to Article 3 of the federal law ‘On International Treaties of the Russian Federation,’ this agreement may be intergovernmental or even interagency in nature. This means that, per Article 15, it can be negotiated by the head of the federal executive entity with expertise related to this agreement or by the Russian Ambassador to the United States. At the time of writing this article the relevant stakeholder in the federal government was the Federal Agency for Atomic Energy known as Rosatom and headed by Sergei Kirienko. In the event that this document should be given the status of an intergovernmental agreement, it shall have to be signed by the Russian Prime Minister (currently, Victor Zubkov). Alternatively, if the agreement preserves its interagency status, Mr. Kirienko’s signature will suffice. In theory, Article 15 of the federal law ‘On International Treaties of the Russian Federation,’ permits the non-ratification of intergovernmental and interagency agreements unless they have a specific clause on mandatory ratification. If there is no such clause, the agreement may enter into force after it is approved by the Prime Minister or the head of Rosatom. Having said this, Article 15 contains a long list of cases in which parliamentary ratification is mandatory. It has been said that the legislators insisted on including this list into Article 15 so that the executive branch could not waive ratification by saying that an international agreement was not an international one. 185 The 123 Agreement refers to Section 123 of the U.S. Atomic Energy Act of 1954, which requires a bilateral agreement between the United States and any country wishing to receive U.S. exports of technology and equipment related to civilian nuclear energy. The U.S. Atomic Energy Act of 1954, can be found at http://www.nrc.gov/reading-rm/doc-collections/nuregs/staff/sr0980/ml022200075-vol1.pdf; accessed April 8, 2008. The 123 Agreement was signed May 6, 2008, in Moscow and submitted for ratification. For further information, see Vestnik Atomproma, N. 5, May 2008. See also the papers by Orde F. Kittrie and Alexander Pikaev in this volume and Appendix E for the text of the U.S.-Russian 123 Agreement. 141

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The nuclear energy industry happens to rely on one of the most sensitive technologies. As such, it occupies a prominent place in the ranking of national security-related priorities. Therefore, the agreement in question may very well be put into one of the categories specifically enumerated in this Article. These categories are: • ability of the Russian Federation to defend itself • disarmament or international arms control • ensuring international peace and security This means that Russian law does not permit the unequivocally conclusion that this agreement will not require ratification by the State Duma and the Federation Council. However, the option of ratification comes with a whole host of legal and political caveats. The federal law ‘On International Treaties of the Russian Federation’ does not spell out a procedure according to which the Parliament could compel the executive branch to submit a treaty for ratification if the executive branch does not want to do it. According to Article 7 of the law, the Parliament is only authorized to ask the Russian Government and Ministry of Foreign Affairs to provide information with respect to new international treaties. It is not authorized to demand a mandatory submittal of these treaties for ratification. Under present political conditions, the probability of having the Parliament demand that an interagency or intergovernmental agreement be submitted for ratification – unless the executive branch decides to do so of its own volition – is very low. The executive branch enjoys the support of a parliamentary majority, and the legislators are hardly inclined to get into a fight with the executive branch over this issue. At the same time, however, after the December 2007 parliamentary and March 2008 presidential elections in Russia, a different configuration may emerge in Russian domestic politics. If this happens, there may not be an ironclad guarantee that the Parliament will not seek to strengthen its institutional stance and attempt to get a seat at the table when it comes to deciding on how international agreements should enter into force. Practical implementation of international cooperation in the field of nuclear energy is subject to Russian national law. Following a U.S.-Russian agreement on peaceful use of nuclear energy, this cooperation may expand. In the event that modifications or additions in existing federal laws may be required as a result of this agreement, Article 15 of law ‘On International Treaties of the Russian Federation’ will apply. The Article states in no uncertain terms that the international treaty must be ratified. The Federal Law ‘On the Use of Nuclear Energy’ The federal law that governs activities in the field of nuclear energy was passed in 1995. It is entitled ‘On the Use of Nuclear Energy.’ This document regulates the relationship that exists between peaceful and military uses of nuclear energy. The law specifically limits its jurisdiction by excluding all activities associated with nuclear weapons and military-purpose nuclear power units (Article 1). According to Article 9, issues of nuclear exports and imports, including importation of spent nuclear fuel, are deferred to the Government of the Russian Federation. These export and import activities are conducted on the basis of Russia’s international nuclear non-proliferation commitments as well as Russia’s international treaties in the field of nuclear energy use. Rules 142

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regarding importation of spent nuclear fuel are stipulated in Russian national law and in international treaties. The treaty reflects a serious opposition toward the idea of Russia’s importing foreign spent nuclear fuel, but underscores the [nuclear] industry’s interest in such a proposition. Article 65 contains quite an unusual norm: it states that if an international treaty to which Russia is a party sets rules that are different from those stipulated in the [national] law, the international treaty takes precedence. In other words, this Article establishes absolute priority of the international treaty over the national federal law. While Article 65 reflects the interests of the [nuclear] industry, Article 64 contains a series of measures intended to neutralize environmentalists’ concerns with respect to importation of irradiated nuclear fuel. Per Article 64, importation of irradiated fuel assemblies of foreign origin may be done only with the concurrence of a Special Commission appointed by the Russian President. The Commission is comprised of a chair and 20 commissioners: the Office of the President, Federation Council, State Duma, and the Russian Government each provide five representatives. The procedure for proposing candidates from the Federation Council and State Duma is left to the discretion of the appropriate chamber of the Parliament. The Special Commission presents to the President and to both chambers of the Parliament annual reports detailing the state of affairs with respect to importation into Russia of irradiated fuel assemblies of foreign origin. As far as the author knows, this part of the federal law ‘On the Use of Nuclear Energy’ is partially working. On the one hand, the Special Commission has been formed and is headed by Academician Nikolai P. Laverov. On the other hand, no information is available on the situation when this Commission decided to reject the importation of irradiated nuclear fuel. To some extent, this is happening because the Parliament is more interested in strengthening its bureaucratic positions through the Commission’s activities. Another reason is that the Commission really cannot make any actual decisions with respect to spent nuclear fuel importation: a decision to reject it would be in contravention of an international treaty and would automatically invoke Article 65, giving absolute priority to international legal instruments. Therefore, no international agreement regarding nuclear energy cooperation requires any modifications or additions to the law under discussion. Hence, the invocation of Article 15 of the law ‘On International Treaties of the Russian Federation’ with its parliamentary ratification provision is legally indefensible. At the same time, the prospect of changes in the political environment after the 2007 parliamentary and 2008 presidential elections may push legislators to invoke the ‘Commission Provision’ of the 1995 law. So, too, may the possibility of a considerable expansion of importation of spent nuclear fuel pending the signing of a U.S.- Russian agreement regarding cooperation in the field of peaceful nuclear energy. It could conceivably perform functions consistent with Article 65 such as preparing annual reports regarding importation of reprocessed fuel or providing an advisory opinion regarding each individual instance of such imports. Under certain circumstances, it is conceivable that the Article 65 provision regarding absolute priority of international treaties could be repealed. If this happens, the Commission would become the guardian of decision-making authority regarding every single international transaction in this field. As a result of the U.S.-Russian agreement under discussion, export of nuclear materials and technologies will expand. However, it will remain subject to the 1999 federal law ‘On Export Control,’ as well as to a whole series of presidential decrees and government resolutions. This national legal regime was created in order to curb the leaks of sensitive materials and 143

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technologies which could conceivably inflict damage on the interests of the Russian Federation or undermine its international commitments, including those in the field of non-proliferation of nuclear weapons. The export control regime per se is quite flexible. It makes it possible for federal executive agencies to either prohibit or allow export of materials and technologies subject to export restrictions. At the same time, this regime requires that decisions governing exports of nuclear goods and services, including those going to the United States, be made on a case-by- case basis. This may slow on the implementation of certain specific transactions or even cancel them altogether. 144