Several arms control agreements limit the size, transfer, and deployment of weapons systems and indirectly affect export control activities. Also, bilateral consultations on proposed trade in sensitive technologies have become standard diplomatic fare, sometimes within the framework of international regimes and sometimes independent of the procedures established by them. Such consultations frequently influence export control decisions.
Russia and some of the other countries of the former Soviet Union recognize that their adherence to the international control regimes is important if they are to become respected participants in international security discussions and international trade activities. Therefore, it is not surprising that many are becoming actively involved in the international activities discussed above. At the same time, these countries are financially limited and frequently have difficulty even finding the travel funds for appropriate participation in meetings organized within the frameworks of the regimes.
In the nuclear area, Soviet and then Russian adherence to the NPT was of course central to the viability of that treaty. In addition, Russian specialists have been involved in IAEA activities since its founding in 1957, and many of them are well versed on the details of the nuclear nonproliferation regime. Russia was also a charter member of the NSG and the Zangger Committee.
Russia has ratified the BW Convention, and in the CW area Russian experts have participated in the development of the CW Convention since its inception. However, ratification of the CW Convention is stalled in Moscow, in part because of the high cost of destroying chemical weapons stocks that exist in the country. Russia is not yet a member of the Australia Group.
Also, Russia is a member of the MTCR and of the Wassenaar Arrangement. Ukraine is a member of the Wassenaar Arrangement and an adherent to the MTCR. Russian and Ukrainian officials are on a steep learning curve with regard to control of industrial dual-use items.
The other successor states lag in most areas. All adhere to the NPT. Belarus, Ukraine, Turkmenistan, and Estonia have signed and ratified the BW Convention. Ukraine, Kazakstan, Belarus, Kyrgyzstan, and Uzbekistan have signed the CW Convention while Tajikistan and Turkmenistan have signed and ratified it.
Further adoption by states of the former Soviet Union of the principles espoused in these and other international regimes will clearly be welcomed by western countries concerned about proliferation of technologies from these successor states. Of no less importance will be steps by the FSU states to translate the principles into regulatory practice, with effective enforcement mechanisms. Although many years or even decades will be needed to put into place some of the appropriate programs, a start has been made.