Seminar on Ukraine’s Nuclear Discourse

With several existing partners, along with new partnerships, Defend International is on track to contribute to the building of a safer world.

We are pleased to inform our members and supporters that John F. Kennedy School of Government is providing an opportunity to attend a seminar entitled Interpreting the Bomb: Ownership and Deterrence in Ukraine’s Nuclear Discourse.

The speaker is Dr. Mariana Budjeryn, postdoctoral Research Fellow, International Security Program/Project on Managing the Atom.

The seminar will take place on November 29th, 2017 10:00am – 11:30am at John F. Kennedy School of Government, Littauer Building, Fainsod Room, Littauer-324. The seminar will be open to the public.


Nuclear deterrence thinking has become so entrenched in U.S. academic and policy circles that it only seems natural that other states regard nuclear weapons in the same terms. Yet it is necessarily so? The presentation examines the case of Ukraine to understand how its leaders interpreted the meaning of the nuclear weapons deployed on Ukrainian territory in early 1990s. Ukraine became the host of world’s third largest nuclear arsenal following the Soviet collapse in 1991. Its pre-independence intention to rid itself of nuclear weapons soon gave way to a more nuanced nuclear stance that developed into a claim of rightful nuclear “ownership.” Wester security theories and practices led Western audiences to assume that Ukraine might seek to keep nuclear weapons as a deterrent against the growing Russian threat. Yet a reconstruction of Ukraine’s nuclear history based on recently uncovered sources reveals that while Ukraine’s technological and scientific capacity to develop a nuclear deterrent was greater than commonly assumed, deterrence thinking was conspicuously lacking in Ukrainian deliberations. The presentation examines why that might have been the case and suggest that deterrence, far from being a technologically or systemically determined way of regarding nuclear weapons, is a socially and historically contingent set of concepts and practices.


About the Speaker

Dr. Mariana Budjeryn holds a PhD in Political Science from Hungary and an MA in International Relations. Her dissertation examined the role of the international nuclear nonproliferation regime in the nuclear disarmament of Ukraine, Belarus, and Kazakhstan following the collapse of the Soviet Union.

Read more and register here!