Study Commissioned by the Non-Proliferation Project

A new study commissioned by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace provides the first detailed statistical glimpse inside the Russian nuclear and missile complexes. Authored by noted Russian social scientist Valentin Tikhonov, the report provides the results of extensive surveys performed in five Russian nuclear cities and three Russian missile enterprises, and paints the most complete picture yet available of the living and working conditions of Russia’s weapons experts. The results suggest an increasingly difficult situation, and illustrate the high potential that a significant percentage of Russia’s weapons experts might sell their services to would-be proliferators.

Cities surveyed for this report include the nuclear cities of Sarov, Snezhinsk, Seversk, Zarechniy, and Trekgorniy and the missile enterprises located in Miass, Votkinsk, and Korolev.

The report includes hundreds of statistics and facts on the working conditions of Russian nuclear and missile experts. Findings in the nuclear cities include:

  • More than 62% of employees earn less than $50 per month.
  • 58% of experts are forced to take 2nd jobs to earn money.
  • 89% of experts report a decline in living conditions since 1992.
  • 14% of experts would like to work outside of Russia.
  • 6% express interest in moving "any place at all."
  • One respondent stated "What does it matter, the main thing is that I should be paid money; after all, I will be working, not robbing or killing."

Findings in the missile enterprises include:

  • Between 40% -55% believe their salary is 2 to 3 times below what they should be paid.
  • 28% of surveyed experts are forced to take 2nd jobs to earn money.
  • 67% report a slight or severe decline in economic conditions since 1992
  • 25% of those surveyed would like to emigrate to another country and
  • 21% said they would work in the military complex of another country