The Big Five: Arms Control Decision-Making in the Soviet Union

By Aleksandr' G. Savel'Yev; Nikolay N. Detinov et al. | Go to book overview

represented the Central Committee and, in particular, its Department of Defense Industry.

The titular head of the Department of Defense Industries, Ivan Serbin, did not participate in the meetings of the Five. Sometimes, however, Ustinov invited him to the sessions of the Big Five as an observer. Moreover, when documents were channeled through the Central Committee Defense Industry Department, Serbin saw the papers before they got to Ustinov's desk and--ultimately--to the Politburo.

In retrospect, it is clear that the Soviet arms control process ensured that there were no decisions made in the field of arms control that were not been staffed in detail with regard to the Soviet Side's relevant calculations. More importantly, no major decisions were taken that had not been agreed to within the Five. In practice what this meant was that all arms control decisions were discussed and unanimously agreed by the five most influential branches of Soviet government: the Central Committee of the Communist Party, the Ministry of Defense, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Military Industrial Commission (VPK), and the KGB. The central role in the decision-making process was played by the Defense Ministry. The military, however, listened carefully to the views of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and tried to find common ground with the latter. It was this interaction that permitted the development of a Soviet position which met the interests of all the agencies involved.


Notes
1.
By definition at the talks, the SS-18/RS-20 was the only "official" Soviet heavy ICBM. U.S. Ed.
2.
These statements formed the basis for a Common Understanding to paragraph 8, Article II, of SALT II, which said neither Party had plans to flight test or deploy such vehicles and provided for notification if such plans changed. U.S. Ed.
3.
Agreed Statement D required discussion between the sides in the future should the sides become capable of substituting ABM systems-including components capable of substituting for an ABM, an

-53-

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The Big Five: Arms Control Decision-Making in the Soviet Union
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Abbreviations and Acronyms vii
  • Foreword xi
  • Acknowledgments xv
  • 1- The Historical Background 1
  • Notes 13
  • 2- The Politburo Commission For The Supervision of The Negotiations 15
  • Notes 30
  • 3- The Big Five and The Small Five 31
  • Note 42
  • 4 - The Salt II Talks: The Decision-Making Mechanism in Action 43
  • Notes 53
  • 5- "Euromissiles" and The Principle of Equal Security 55
  • Notes 68
  • 6- The Start Negotiations And the Final Period Of Superpower Confrontation 71
  • Notes 80
  • 7- The Return to The Negotiations: the Prelude To Perestroyka 83
  • Notes 94
  • 8- The Krasnoyarsk Affair 95
  • Notes 109
  • 9- Perestroyka and the Further Refinement of The Decision-Making Mechanism 111
  • Note 122
  • 10- Medium-Range Nuclear Weapons Negotiations: Was the "Zero Option" Really So Bad? 123
  • Notes 139
  • 11- The Start Treaty: Who Made Concessions to Whom? 141
  • Note 150
  • 12- The Difficult Path to The Start Treaty 151
  • 13- Defense and Space Issues: A Field for Future Negotiations? 163
  • Notes 182
  • 14- The Big Five: from Its Birth To Its Death 183
  • Note 192
  • 15- Reflections 193
  • Index 195
  • About the Authors and Editor 205
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