After the breakup of the Soviet Union in 1991, Russia inherited the world's largest arsenal of nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons. The Soviets' extensive military resources and autocratic rule allowed it to maintain and secure this vast arsenal. As Russia adopted economic reforms and moved toward an open society, its economy and central controls deteriorated, making it difficult to maintain security at these weapons sites. Recognizing these difficulties, the Congress authorized funds for programs to help destroy Russian weapons and improve WMD security. The events of September 11th have increased U.S. concerns that terrorists might obtain nuclear materials or weapons at poorly secured sites. GAO has reviewed U.S. threat reduction and nonproliferation efforts in Russia since 1993.
Skip to Highlights