The Politics of Strategic Offensive Nuclear Weapons in the Former Soviet Union

Date of Graduation

Spring 1994


Master of Science in Defense and Strategic Studies


Defense and Strategic Studies

Committee Chair

William Van Cleave


Since the dissolution of the USSR there has been much concern about the possession and disposition of the nuclear arsenal of the former Super Power. This study examines that problem. It also seeks to clarify the politics and motivations of Russia, Ukraine, Belarus and Kazakhstan vis-a-vis nuclear weapons. The overt statements of nuclear intent expressed by these countries, coupled with the actions taken with respect to both the weapons and each other, provide surprisingly clear indications of the national aspirations of each. The study suggests that Russia is pursuing an imperialistic policy, possibly with the covert aid of Belarus, intended to maintain Russia's political and economic supremacy over the "near abroad." Ukraine is attempting to ensure its national survival while coping with significant economic and political problems at home. Kazakhstan is working to have the best of both worlds; economic success using western economic models, and military security under Russia's defense umbrella.

Subject Categories

Defense and Security Studies


© Michael David Valerius