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Simon Saradzhyan

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

 

 

By Date

 

2015 (continued)

Alexei Druzhinin, RIA-Novosti, Kremlin Pool

November 11, 2015

Putin Should Make Assad an Offer He Can’t Refuse

Op-Ed, Financial Times

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

To hear some Russia watchers say it, Vladimir Putin will fight to the last Russian air bomb to keep Bashar al-Assad of Syria in power. But will he?

I argue not only that Putin could and should let Assad go, but also that Putin’s own record of behind-the-door diplomacy offers a clue as to how the Syrian dictator could step aside without losing face.

 

 

commons.wikimedia.org

October 21, 2015

"Russia’s Interest in Syria is Not Assad"

Op-Ed, Belfer Center for Science and International 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

When trying to underscore the difficulty of predicting the Kremlin’s next steps, many Westerners like to cite Winston Churchill’s famous reference to Russia as “riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma.” Few however, recall the remainder of that 1939 adage: “But perhaps there is a key. That key is Russian national interest.”

 

 

October 15, 2015

The U.S.-Russia Initiative to Prevent Nuclear Terrorism Newsletter: July-October 2015

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

Belfer Center Experts Call for U.S.-Russian Cooperation against ISIS and Assess Iran deal; Graham Allison Briefs National Security Fellows on Threat of Nuclear Terrorism; Moldovan Authorities and FBI Have Interrupted Four Nuclear Smuggling Attempts; Last HEU Removed From Uzbekistan; and Russia Conducts a Nuclear Terrorism Exercise.

 

 

September 30, 2015

"U.S. and Russia Share a Vital Interest in Countering Terrorism"

Testimony

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

Simon Saradzhyan testified before the U.S. House of Representatives' Europe, Eurasia, and Emerging Threats Subcommittee Hearing on "The Threat of Islamist Extremism in Russia," on September 30, 2015. 

In his testimony, Saradzhyan asked: "Can the United States and Russia cooperate against the threat posed by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria and other international terrorist organizations, even though the bilateral relationship has deteriorated in the wake of the crisis in Ukraine? My answer is they can and they will if they act in their best interest."

 

 

August 10, 2015

"Putin’s Change of Heart on Assad Could Pave Way for Cooperation against ISIL"

Op-Ed, Belfer Center for Science and International 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

There have emerged multiple signs this summer that Russia’s Vladimir Putin may be reconsidering expediency of continued support for Syria’s Bashir Al-Assad. If these signs do reflect a shift in the Russian leader’s position on Syria, then it would enhance chances of finding a compromise solution on transition of power in Damascus in what would strengthen multilateral efforts to stabilize this country and rout the Islamic State.There have emerged multiple signs this summer that Russia’s Vladimir Putin may be reconsidering expediency of continued support for Syria’s Bashir Al-Assad. If these signs do reflect a shift in the Russian leader’s position on Syria, then it would enhance chances of finding a compromise solution on transition of power in Damascus in what would strengthen multilateral efforts to stabilize this country and rout the Islamic State.

 

 

July 14, 2015

The U.S.-Russia Initiative to Prevent Nuclear Terrorism Newsletter: May – June 2015

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

Belfer Center experts testify in U.S. Senate on Iran’s nuclear program; American and Russian experts weigh in on dangers of confrontation between U.S. and Russia; Obama’s letter draws the line under Megatons to Megawatts program; NNSA plans to spend $60 million on nuclear security in Russia.

 

 

May 10, 2015

Russia and the U.S.: are national interests so different?

Op-Ed, Russia in Global 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

Russian vital interests partially diverge with those of U.S. only in two domains, while either converging in other areas or having no equivalent on the U.S. side. Theoretically, such a convergence of vital interests could pave for mending of fences between the two countries with the joint countering of the Islamic State and Al-Qaeda being the most evident opportunity to initiate such a rapprochement. In reality, West’s concerns with Russia’s actions in Ukraine and their repercussions for collective security in Europe, Russia’s concerns with expansion of NATO and U.S. advanced weaponry programs, influence of America’s strategic allies and partners on its policies, and the priorities of domestic politics in both countries can all considerably delay such rapprochement or prevent it altogether.

 

 

May 4, 2015

The U.S.-Russia Initiative to Prevent Nuclear Terrorism Newsletter: November 2014-April 2015

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

Belfer Center hosts a conference on nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation; Alexei Arbatov urges U.S. and Russia to jointly counter terrorism, and Elbe Group asserts  that the Ukraine crisis should not lead to suspension of U.S.-Russian cooperation against nuclear terrorism: read about these and other developments in the latest issue of the U.S.-Russia Initiative to Prevent Nuclear Terrorism Newsletter. Available in English and Russian.

 

 

April 29, 2015

"ISIS on the Move: Russia's Deadly Islamist Problem"

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

Killings of leaders of the ongoing insurgency in Russia’s North Caucasus no longer make front page news in either Moscow or foreign capitals, and the recent violent death of Emirate Caucasus’ emir Aliskhab Kebekov is no exception. But regardless of whether such deadly news is buried in the inside pages or not, the North Caucasus insurgency, whose representatives not only regularly target “mainland Russia,” but also travel to fight in countries of the Greater Middle East and raise funds in Europe, won’t go away.

 

 

(AP Photo/Mstyslav Chernov)

March 18, 2015

Knowing when it's war and how to avoid it

Op-Ed, Financial Times

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

To hear Vladimir Putin say it, Russia is not at war with Ukraine. “I think that this apocalyptic scenario is highly unlikely, and I hope it never comes to that,” Putin said when asked on Russia’s Defender of the Fatherland Day whether his fellow citizens may “wake up one day to learn we are at war” with Ukraine. It can be inferred that the commander-in-chief of the Russian armed force believes (or wants us to believe) that there will be no war between Russia and Ukraine for as long as Moscow refuses to admit to its involvement in the conflict. But is there such a thing as a declared war any more? And how should other European nations respond if they become the target of an undeclared war? What can be done to prevent repetition of the Ukraine scenario elsewhere in Europe?

 
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.