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Simon Saradzhyan

Mailing address

One Brattle Square 525
79 John F. Kennedy St, Mailbox 134
Cambridge, MA, 02138

Simon Saradzhyan

Director, Russia Matters Project; Assistant Director, U.S.-Russia Initiative to Prevent Nuclear Terrorism, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs

Contact:
Telephone: 617-496-8228
Fax: 617-496-0606
Email: simon_saradzhyan@hks.harvard.edu

 

Experience

Simon Saradzhyan is the founding director of the Russia Matters Project at Harvard Kennedy School’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs. Mr. Saradzhyan also helps advance the center’s U.S.-Russia Initiative to Prevent Nuclear Terrorism. His research interests include international arms control, counterterrorism, and foreign, defense, and security policies of Russia and other post-Soviet states and their relations with great powers.

Prior to joining the Belfer Center in 2008 as a full-time research fellow, Saradzhyan had worked as a researcher, consultant and journalist in Russia for 15 years.

As a reporter, Saradzhyan covered a number of milestone security events in Russia on the ground, including the October 1993 coup and the 1999 apartment bombings in Moscow. As an editor at The Moscow Times, he led coverage of dramatic events in Russia such as the Dubrovka and Beslan hostage-taking crises. He also worked as Moscow correspondent for Defense News and Space News. He has contributed scores of news articles to other publications, ranging from the Times of London to Nezavisimoye Voyennoye Obozrenie, earning a certificate of merit from the commander of the Russian Strategic Missile Forces for his coverage of Russia's military affairs.

While in Russia, Saradzhyan also served as a senior fellow at the East West Institute and worked as a consultant for the United Nations and World Bank. As a researcher, he was the first in Russia to catalogue the threat of nuclear and radioactive terrorism posed by the North Caucasus-based terrorist groups and outline recommendations on how to reduce this threat in a paper published at the Belfer Center in 2002. He also initiated the first ever joint threat assessment of nuclear terrorism by U.S. and Russian experts published by the Belfer Center in 2011.

Saradzhyan is the author of a number of scholarly papers, articles, and book chapters on counterterrorism and arms control, including "Russia: Grasping Reality of Nuclear Terror," published in the Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science; "Russia's System to Combat Terrorism and Its Application in Chechnya," published in the “National Counter-Terrorism Strategies” of NATO Security through Science Series; "Russia's Non-strategic Nuclear Weapons in Their Current Configuration and Posture: A Strategic Asset or Liability?" and "Russia's Support for Zero: Tactical Move or Long-term Commitment?" published by the Belfer Center.

In his capacity as an expert at the Belfer Center on post-Soviet space, Saradzhyan has published op-eds in Foreign Affairs, Financial Times, Washington Post, Boston Globe, and The National Interest as well as in leading Russian and Armenian journals. He has appeared on BBC, CBSNPR, and Al Jazeera as well as on Russian radio and television stations to comment on Russia’s foreign policy, the conflict in Ukraine and other issues.

Saradzhyan has testified in person and via video-link at hearings on nuclear terrorism and violent extremism at hearings held at the U.S. House of Representatives and Canadian Senate.

Saradzhyan has also presented his research at various international conferences, including the European Union Institute for Security Studies' annual conference and the EastWest Institute's annual Worldwide Security Conference. He co-founded and served as the first president of Harvard Club of Russia in 2004-2006. Saradzhyan earned a Masters in Public Administration at the John F. Kennedy School of Government in 2002.

 

 

By Date

 

2016

Mstyslav Chernov/AP

August 18, 2016

"Does Russia Want War With Ukraine? Not Really—Or Not Yet"

Op-Ed, The National Interest

By Simon Saradzhyan, Director, Russia Matters Project; Assistant Director, U.S.-Russia Initiative to Prevent Nuclear Terrorism, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs

The disagreements between Moscow and Kiev on whether there were any armed skirmishes in Crimea at all and, if so, which side initiated them, did not stop international media from sounding alarms that a war may soon break out between Russia and Ukraine.

 

 

Brendan Smialowski/AP

August 11, 2016

"Why Russia values a non-nuclear Iran more than higher oil prices"

Op-Ed, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists

By Simon Saradzhyan, Director, Russia Matters Project; Assistant Director, U.S.-Russia Initiative to Prevent Nuclear Terrorism, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs

One of the key questions that remain unanswered more than one year after the signing of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action—the Iran nuclear deal—is why Russia supported it.

 

 

Virginia Mayo/AP

July 8, 2016

"Fixing Europe’s collective insecurity"

Op-Ed, The Boston Globe

By Simon Saradzhyan, Director, Russia Matters Project; Assistant Director, U.S.-Russia Initiative to Prevent Nuclear Terrorism, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs

Leaders of NATO countries will open a summit in Warsaw on Friday which is expected to authorize a force of 4,000 soldiers in the Baltics and Poland — an attempt to prevent Russia from repeating its Ukraine policy of instigating an insurgency somewhere in the alliance’s eastern flank. Russia has already vowed to respond by deploying three divisions to its border on a permanent basis. Moscow may be planning to announce additional measures after the NATO summit.

 

 

Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP

July 6, 2016

"NATO and Russia Need To Take Steps To Prevent Accidental War"

Op-Ed, The Huffington Post

By Simon Saradzhyan, Director, Russia Matters Project; Assistant Director, U.S.-Russia Initiative to Prevent Nuclear Terrorism, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs

This year has seen warplanes and warships operated by U.S. and its allies, on one side, and Russia on the other side, continue to repeatedly engage in dangerous maneuvering in proximity of each other over the skies of Syria and in the Mediterranean Sea. The probability that these confrontations, if continued, would end in another shoot-out is not negligible. Therefore, leaders on both sides to take joint legal and practical steps to prevent their militaries from dragging them into an unintended armed conflict with each other. The July 13th sitting of the NATO-Russia Council offers a good opportunity to discuss these joint steps.

 

 

Alexei Druzhinin, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool/AP

July 1, 2016

"An Olive Branch from Putin?"

Op-Ed, The National Interest

By Simon Saradzhyan, Director, Russia Matters Project; Assistant Director, U.S.-Russia Initiative to Prevent Nuclear Terrorism, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs

Despite containing a litany of customary anti-Western complaints, the Russian president's speech clearly showed that he’s willing to improve relations with the West once Russia and NATO complete announced deployments.

 

 

June 1, 2016

The U.S.-Russia Initiative to Prevent Nuclear Terrorism Newsletter: March - May 2016

Newsletter

By Simon Saradzhyan, Director, Russia Matters Project; Assistant Director, U.S.-Russia Initiative to Prevent Nuclear Terrorism, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs

Siegfried Hecker and Graham Allison weigh in on the persisting threat of nuclear terrorism; Russia reforms its nuclear guard; Elbe Group urges U.S.-Russian cooperation against rising risk of nuclear terrorism; Belfer Center experts take stock of terrorist threats posed by ISIS.

 

 

Wikipedia

April 6, 2016

"All-Out War Over Karabakh Is No One’s Interest"

Op-Ed, The Huffington Post

By Simon Saradzhyan, Director, Russia Matters Project; Assistant Director, U.S.-Russia Initiative to Prevent Nuclear Terrorism, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs

When Azeri and Armenian forces started to fire at each other in the early hours of April 2, it seemed that this exchange would enter the history of the decades-long conflict as just another of many routine violations of the ceasefire, which the parties to the Karabakh conflict clinched in 1994. However, rather than subside, as many of the previous violations did, the initial clashes spread and escalated, lasting four days and leaving dozens dead on both sides in what became the worst outbreak of hostilities since the 1994 agreement. Intended or not, this escalation substantially increases probability that Armenians and Azeris may stumble into an all-out war even though the latter would not be in the current interests of either Baku or Yerevan or those great powers, which have traditionally played important roles in the South Caucasus.

 

 

Office of the President of Russia

March 16, 2016

"What Russia won in Syria"

Op-Ed, The Boston Globe

By Simon Saradzhyan, Director, Russia Matters Project; Assistant Director, U.S.-Russia Initiative to Prevent Nuclear Terrorism, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs

Vladimir Putin’s Tuesday decision to scale down the Russian military campaign in Syria seems to have caught world leaders off their guard. But is the Russian leader’s declaration of mission accomplished really that surprising? A brief look at the list of Russia’s stated short-term objectives in Syria, which I formulated shortly after beginning of Russian air campaign, shows that Putin has attained all that he wanted — and made significant progress toward his longer-term objectives as well. Did the Russian air strikes prevent Bashir Assad’s government from losing control over the remaining part of Syria and enable his forces to eliminate most immediate threats to their positions, making frontlines more defensible?

 

 

March 9, 2016

The U.S.-Russia Initiative to Prevent Nuclear Terrorism Newsletter: December 2015 - February 2016

Newsletter

By Simon Saradzhyan, Director, Russia Matters Project; Assistant Director, U.S.-Russia Initiative to Prevent Nuclear Terrorism, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs

Members of the U.S.-Russia Initiative to Prevent Nuclear Terrorism weigh in on the Nuclear Security Summit, which will take place in Washington DC on March 31-April 1 and assess North Korea’s claim that it has tested a miniaturized hydrogen bomb; Belfer Center experts issue a report for the upcoming nuclear summit and visit Russia to discuss U.S.-Russian cooperation in the field of nuclear security.

 

 

www.flickr.com

February 24, 2016

"Ukraine's Lost Cause"

Op-Ed, Foreign Affairs

By Simon Saradzhyan, Director, Russia Matters Project; Assistant Director, U.S.-Russia Initiative to Prevent Nuclear Terrorism, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs

The second anniversary of Ukraine’s Euromaidan is a time for reflection about whether ordinary Ukrainians improved their lot by throwing out President Viktor Yanukovych. For observers at the time, the answer was a resounding yes. Yanukovych, the thinking went, was as corrupt as they come. Sympathizers hoped that by removing him from power and electing Petro Poroshenko instead, Ukrainians would open the way for a transparent and honest democratic government ready to improve ordinary people’s lives.

 
Events Calendar

We host a busy schedule of events throughout the fall, winter and spring. Past guests include: UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, former Vice President Al Gore, and former Soviet Union President Mikhail Gorbachev.