In an interview with the American edition The National Interest, Deputy foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov acknowledged that the chances of the extension of the Treaty on the reduction and limitation of strategic offensive arms (start Treaty) between Russia and the United States “tend to zero”. From the statements of the Russian diplomat to Moscow has virtually no hope that Washington will agree to extend the contract for another five years. In this situation the experts are already starting to work out scenarios for the period after February 5, 2021, when Russia and the United States for the first time since 1991, will remain without a Treaty limiting their strategic offensive weapons.Zero chance”In my opinion, the chances that the start Treaty will be extended, quickly tend to zero, and I think that on 5 February 2021, the contract simply expires, it will stop. No contract on 6 February we will be gone,” said Sergei Ryabkov in an interview with The National Interest. This is perhaps the most pessimistic assessment, the head of the Russian delegation at the negotiations with the USA on strategic stability still gave the key prospects of a bilateral Treaty.However, reasons for optimism the American side recently did. The new special representative of the President of the United States arms control Marshall Billingsley made it clear: the administration of Donald trump sees meaning in the renewal of the agreements with Russia, if they will join China. But China, whose nuclear Arsenal is significantly inferior to the potential of Russia and the United States, at this stage in what itself not to limit going. And though the American press with reference to the sources writes about the readiness of the White house to consider the option of extending the start Treaty for the period less five years (some even for about six months), the prospects of this agreement remains uncertain. If the next US President will be Joseph Biden, the chances of renewal increase. If you re-elect Donald trump, it is likely that shortly after beginning his second term, Russia and the United States for the first time in 30 years there will be no Treaty limiting their strategic offensive weapons.At the disposal of “Kommersant” were the analytical note of the PIR Center, which addresses the two most likely scenario in the case that the start Treaty will expire without renewal. According to “Kommersant”, this forecast has been shared with the leadership of the foreign Ministry of the Russian Federation.On an analytical note worked as a consultant to the PIR Center Andrey baklitskiy (lead author), Chairman of the Board of the PIR Center, Lieutenant-General reserve Evgeny Buzhinsky, PIR Center, Vladimir Orlov and the coordinator of the program “Nonproliferation and Russia” Sergey Semenov.The document notes that military and political point of view, the conclusion of the Treaty SNV will lead to the removal of quantitative restrictions on the development of strategic nuclear forces, end to exchange information about their composition and verification of the obtained data. Although the disappearance of the agreed ceiling will not mean an immediate beginning of an arms race (refusal of administration of Ronald Reagan from the ceilings of the Treaty between the USSR and USA about restriction of strategic offensive arms (salt-2) in 1986 did not lead to a noticeable build-up of American start), it would appear political, and technical feasibility.”In the short and medium term, the main role here will not play the production of new means of delivery, and return potential — transfer of existing media from an undeployed to a deployed state and a maximum load of missiles with multiple warheads”,— explained in the document. Reheating of warheads on existing carriers would, as the notes more beneficial to the United States. Deployment of all available warheads on strategic carriers would let us start to place more than 3.5 thousand warheads. Maximum load Russian start — about 3.2 thousand warheads, while the actual number of warheads available is unknown, but probably less. Without regard to limitations on warheads with a maximum load of us start would have amounted to 4.9 thousand charges.However, the inequality in the return potential is gradually reduced due to the rearmament of the Russian strategic missile forces with the single-warhead ICBMs “Topol-M” ICBMs “YARS” with multiple warheads. Moreover, Moscow is superior to Washington on the possibility of production of new missiles. Over the past five years, Russia has commissioned over 140 new ICBMs. USA the last time I commissioned a new ICBM “Minuteman-3” in 1978, and the deployment of next-generation strategic land-based missiles is not expected before 2030.”At the same time the uncertainty concerning the ability of the parties indicates another problem — the lack of reliable information about the potential of the probable enemy will force Moscow and Washington to focus on the pessimistic scenario. This will create preconditions for increasing their own Arsenal and race in strategic nuclear weapons,”— warn the authors. If the start Treaty will be completed in February 2021, as stated in the note of the PIR Center, the main task for Russia will be “to minimize potential damage.” The possibilities for this and variants of development of events will depend on the attitudes of the United States. The experts singled out in this respect, two basic scenarios.The script “At a minimum”the First scenario assumes that the US will have no interest in limiting its own strategic capabilities and arms control with Russia in the lyubom form. “This decision would be a logical continuation of the policy of “America first”, to victory in the “rivalry of the great powers”. In this case, Moscow’s ability to promote the agenda of arms control will be minimal”,— experts predict. In this situation they offer Moscow the following steps:according to them, in the interest of Russia was to retain part in continuing their work agreements aimed at reducing nuclear threats and the exclusion of unplanned nuclear conflict (the Agreement establishing centres to reduce nuclear dangers, 1987, the Agreement on notifications of launches of Intercontinental ballistic missiles in 1988, the Agreement on notifications of major strategic exercises 1989);the document also notes that the unilateral statement by Russia that it will not increase its strategic nuclear forces, while it will not make the United States would be a continuation of a successful series of similar Russian initiatives would be positively received by the world community and could become an argument for forces within the United States is not interested in building a nuclear Arsenal;the exchange of information on status of nuclear forces the United States should be, according to experts, is linked to the preservation of the ceilings of the new start Treaty. Information asymmetry in this case is on Russia’s side due to the greater openness of Washington against its nuclear forces and characteristics of the legislative process of the United States;the authors do not exclude that the US approach to arms control will change four years later with the change of administration. In this regard, they urged to maintain the infrastructure for a rapid return to the negotiations and implementation of new agreements. In particular, in their opinion, it is important to fully preserve the resources of the National center for reducing nuclear danger, despite the strong reduction of its workload after the completion of start Treaty.Scenario “to the max”the Second scenario assumes that the US is not interested in formal arms control with Russia, but ready to maintain the status quo within the framework of political obligations. This scenario is also possible in the case of Washington’s readiness to negotiate a new Treaty and agreement on the conservation of a number of provisions of the start Treaty in the meantime. “This could be a compromise between the political leadership of the United States, are not ready to prolong the contract signed by the previous administration and a professional bureaucracy (especially the Ministry of defence). In this case, even political agreements on the control over the American nuclear Arsenal would be in the interests of Russia”,— believe the experts of the PIR Center. In this situation they offer Moscow a different set of measures:immediately after termination of the start Treaty Ro��SIA and the United States, in their opinion, could make joint or parallel statements that they do not plan to increase strategic weapons above the limits of the contract, and if such plans appear, notify the other party;Russia and USA are also invited to continue the exchange of data on strategic carriers and warheads as part of a political agreement. From the Russian side the Federal law on state secrets allows you to take this decision of the government. The U.S. atomic energy act requires informing Congress of such arrangements and the lack of objections from a simple majority of both houses that, according to experts, looks realistic. The parties also will need to develop mutually acceptable agreements on the confidentiality of information.Moscow and Washington, as the notes, could also agree not to interfere with the national technical means of verification (NTSK). This provision is contained in the start Treaty, but will disappear with the completion of the contract. Despite limited opportunities, NTSK can be useful for verification of commitments made (for example in relation to the deployment of new warheads for silo-based ICBMs).However, the most ambitious outcome would be, in the opinion of the authors of the forecast, the agreement on the conservation of the inspection regime after the expiry of the start Treaty. The note explains: “the Key issue here will be the immunity of inspectors, which is usually provided by international Treaty. However, the immunity provisions are applied actively in inspections under the politically binding Vienna document (VD) on confidence-building measures and security of 2011, the members of which are Russia and the United States. Within the WA inspectors have the immunity and privileges in accordance with the Vienna Convention on diplomatic relations. It should be noted that inspection for VD are held on the territory of Russia and on the American facilities in Europe and require confirmation of such opportunities in the continental United States”.Experts are convinced: for codification of such complex arrangements would require a political agreement between Russia and the United States. Such an agreement could, in their opinion, to be indefinite and in effect until the entry into force of the following contract between Moscow and Washington on strategic arms control. For regular discussion of technical issues arising in connection with the agreements (exchange of information, NTSK, inspections), they call for the establishment of a permanent body similar to the bilateral consultative Commission under the new start Treaty.The authors recognize: “Offer policy measures largely unprecedented.” At the same time they remind that the experience of implementation of other political agreements, including a Joint comprehensive plan of action on the Iranian nuclear program, shows that the implementation of even the most complex situations possible without a legally binding document in the presence of interested parties.Link to the Iranian deal is, however, not very successful: over the agreement to resolve the Iranian nuclear issue of the country-mediators worked long and hard, but she lasted less than three years and now is rapidly deteriorating.Future scenarios work and American experts. So, for example, a year ago Vince Manzo from the centre of CNA (now he works in the state Department) has published a report on “the Risks and options for the post-start Treaty”. The author describes the options for the continuation of the arms control without legally binding agreements between the U.S. and Russia, stressing that when the political will, the threat of an arms race can be avoided. However, in his opinion, the best option for all would simply extend the contract for another five years and use this time to develop new (possibly multilateral) agreement.Elena Chernenko