Experts Dialogue on  NATO – Russia Risk Reduction

Seven Recommendations

More than 70 leading international experts issued the following statement calling for seven urgent diplomatic steps to prevent a Ukraine/great power war and to lay the foundation for comprehensive Common Security diplomacy.

Joseph Gerson

“In December 2020, this group of senior Russian, American and European experts offered governments a set of recommendations on Russia-NATO risk reduction.  The recommendations addressed most of the areas of common ground so far sketched in Russian, US and NATO exchanges during the present crisis.  Had those recommendations been acted upon, we might now be on a better path away from crisis.

We renew to all sides seven of our recommendations, updated to meet the present situation.  They are simply good sense.  They are modest, but they can be implemented tomorrow and would be a start on making Europe safer:

1. Regular meetings should be held between the Chief of General Staff of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation, the Chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, the NATO Supreme Allied Commander Europe (SACEUR) and the Chairman of the NATO Military Committee, reinforced by military experts, to address issues of current concern.

These meetings would not be to negotiate the present crisis but to ensure military deconfliction and day-to-day risk reduction at this time of heightened tension and military deployments.  They would take place entirely separately from the series of prepared thematic meetings of the NATO-Russian Council that the NRC’s Chairman has proposed.

2. In addition, NATO member states and Russia should resume contacts at the level of military representatives in the NATO Military Committee and restore the Russian military liaison mission at SACEUR Headquarters.

These steps would parallel the establishment of civilian hotline communications that Russia has proposed and the re-opening of the Russian mission to NATO and of NATO liaison offices in Moscow proposed by NATO.  They would rebuild the communication that for safety and good deterrence must take place in foul weather and not just fair. 

3. Russia and NATO member states could agree that both sides will conduct large-scale military exercises, as a rule, at a militarily meaningful distance from their borders, but where geography prevents this then additional measures of notification, transparency and predictability must be taken. They should consider reducing the scale and frequency of military activities with respect to numbers and geography, in particular exercises near borders. Generally, military exercises should be executed responsibly, not provocatively.

Both sides should now be seeking to communicate militarily responsible, unprovocative behavior. The definitions of meaningful distance, scale and frequency could be the subject of discussion through the military channels proposed above.  Military professionals are well able quickly to judge and report good faith or the absence of it.

4. Both sides could take initial steps in the form of parallel unilateral measures that do not necessarily require conclusion of a formal agreement between NATO, or NATO member states, and Russia, which could prove politically difficult to achieve in the present environment.

The crisis means that finding joint agreement on measures both large and small between Russia and NATO will generally require protracted, painstaking negotiation.  A device for getting round this obstacle, especially for military risk reduction, is for commanders to order parallel, unilateral measures based either on informal mutual understandings or as a small, clearly communicated challenge to see whether the other side will reciprocate.

5. Russia and the United States could confirm that, irrespective of the course of the present crisis, they will systematically develop their dialogue on the future of strategic stability and cyber security as agreed at their Geneva summit in June 2021. 

Progress on the fundamental issue of strategic stability is crucial, has its own value, and should not be subordinated to other levels and tracks of negotiations. We wholeheartedly support the Joint Statement of the Leaders of the Five Nuclear-Weapon States on Preventing Nuclear War and Avoiding Arms Races, published on 3 January 2022, including the P5 commitment to the fundamental principle that a nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought.

6. Russia and NATO could immediately agree to launch negotiations on a new zero option for the deployment in Europe of US and Russian intermediate-range land-based missiles and their launchers.

In their recent exchanges Russia, the United States and NATO have all indicated that they want to see progress on ground-based intermediate-range missiles.   

7. Russia and NATO member states could immediately agree to launch negotiations on a package of measures on the basis of the existing bilateral and multilateral agreements on prevention of incidents at sea and above the sea, and on prevention of dangerous military activities.  

In their recent exchanges Russia, the United States and NATO have all indicated that they would like to see progress in these very practical areas of risk reduction, which are particularly relevant to periods of heightened tension. 

Taken together these seven measures would materially contribute not just to a reduction of Russia-NATO tension but a reduction of Russia-NATO risk.”

Russia-NATO Dialogue Group

February 2022



Russian signatories




Dmitry Danilov

Head, Department of European security, Institute of  Europe of the Russian Academy of Sciences (IERAS)


Victor Esin

Colonel General (ret.), Former Head of the Main Staff  of the Russian Strategic Rocket Forces, Research  Professor, Centre for Advanced Studies of Russian  National Security, HSE University


Alexandra Filippenko

Senior Research Fellow, Department of Internal  Policy Studies, Institute for the US and Canadian  Studies, Russian Academy of Sciences (ISKRAN)


Valery Garbuzov

Director, Institute for the US and Canadian Studies,  Russian Academy of Sciences (ISKRAN)


Alexey Gromyko

Director, Institute of Europe of the Russian Academy  of Sciences (IERAS), Corresponding Member of the  Russian Academy of Sciences


Evgenia Issraelian

Leading Research Fellow, Department of Canadian  Studies, Institute for the US and Canadian Studies,  Russian Academy of Sciences (ISKRAN)


Igor Ivanov

Minister of Foreign Affairs (1998-2004), former  Secretary of the Security Council of the Russian  Federation (2004-2007), President of Russian  International Affairs Council (RIAC)


Andrey Kortunov

Director General, Russian International Affairs  Council


Oleg Krivolapov

Senior Research Fellow, Department for Military Political Research, Institute for the US and Canadian  Studies, Russian Academy of Sciences (ISKRAN)


Valentin Kuznetsov

Vice Admiral (ret.), former Chief Military

Representative of the RF at NATO, Senior Research  Fellow, Department for Military-Political Research,  Institute for the US and Canadian Studies, Russian  Academy of Sciences (ISKRAN);


Vladimir Lukin

Russian Ambassador to the United States (1992- 1994), director on the board of the Nuclear Threat  Initiative (NTI), Deputy Chair of the Foreign Affairs  Committee of the Federation Council of the RF


Alexander Nikitin

Director, Center for Euro-Atlantic Security, Moscow  State Institute of International Relations of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation  (MGIMO), Honorary President of the Russian  Association of Political Science


Mikhail Nosov

Member of Directorate, Institute of Europe of the  Russian Academy of Sciences (IERAS)


Sergey Oznobishev

Head, Department of Military and Political Analysis

and Research Projects, Primakov Institute of World  Economy and International Relations (IMEMO)


Pavel Palazhchenko

Head of Press Office, Gorbachev Foundation


Alexander Panov

Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary,  Honored Member of the Russian Diplomatic Service,  Head, Department of Diplomacy MGIMO University


Sergey Rogov

Academic Director, Institute for the US and Canadian  Studies, Russian Academy of Sciences (ISKRAN),  Chairman of the International Security Advisory  Board of the Scientific Council at the Security Council  of the Russian Federation; Member of the Russian  Academy of Sciences


Pavel Sharikov

Leading Research Fellow, Department of the  European Integration, Institute of Europe of the  Russian Academy of Sciences (IERAS)


Igor Sherbak

Former First Deputy of the Permanent

Representative of the RF at the United Nations,  Leading Research Fellow, Institute of Europe of the  Russian Academy of Sciences (IERAS)


Alexey Stepanov

Research Fellow, Department for Military-Political Studies, Institute for the US and Canadian Studies,  Russian Academy of Sciences (ISKRAN)


Nataliya Stepanova

Research Fellow, Department for Military-Political  Studies, Institute for the US and Canadian Studies,  Russian Academy of Sciences (ISKRAN)


Alexander Usoltsev

Head, International Relations Department, Russian  Foundation for Basic Research (RFBR)


Fedor Voytolovsky

Director, Primakov National Research Institute of  World Economy and International Relations  (IMEMO), Corresponding Member of the Russian  Academy of Sciences


Igor Yurgens

President of the All-Russian Insurance Association,  Member of the Board of the Russian Union of  Industrialists and Entrepreneurs


Andrey Zagorskiy

Head, Department for Disarmament and Conflict  Resolution Studies, Primakov National Research  Institute for World Economy and International  Relations of the Russian Academy of Sciences  (IMEMO)


Pavel Zolotarev

Major General (ret.), Leading Research Fellow,  Department of Military-Political Studies, Institute for  the US and Canadian Studies, Russian Academy of  Sciences (ISKRAN)

Western signatories




James Acton

Co-director, Nuclear Policy Program

Carnegie Endowment for International Peace


Roy Allison

Professor of Russian and Eurasian International  Relations, Director, Russian and Eurasian Studies

Centre, St. Anthony’s College, Oxford


James Bindenagel

Ambassador (ret.), Henry Kissinger Professor, Center  for Advanced Security, Strategy and Integration  Studies Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität  Bonn


Sharan Burrow

General Secretary, International Trade Union  Confederation


Richard Burt

Chairman of Global Zero US, US Chief Negotiator in  the Strategic Arms Reduction Talks with the former  Soviet Union, former US Ambassador to Germany


Samuel Charap

Former Senior Advisor to the Undersecretary of State  for Arms Control and International Security


Pierce Corden

Former division chief, United States Arms Control  and Disarmament Agency and research fellow at the  Center for Science,

Technology and Security Policy, Amer. Assoc. for the  Advancement of Science


Christopher Davis

Professorial Research Fellow, University of Oxford


Marc Finaud

Head of Arms Proliferation and Diplomatic  Tradecraft, Geneva Centre for Security Policy


Nancy Gallagher

Director, Center for International and Security  Studies at Maryland (CISSM)


Helmut W. Ganser

Brigadier General (ret.), Defence Advisor to the  German NATO Delegation 2004-2008, Brussels


Joseph Gerson

President, Campaign for Peace, Disarmament &  Common Security


Alexander Graef

Research Fellow, Institute for Peace Research and  Security Policy at the University of Hamburg (IFSH)


Thomas Graham

Managing director, Kissinger Associates, Inc.


Thomas Greminger

Director of the Geneva Centre for Security Policy  (GCSP), former Secretary General of the

Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe  (OSCE)


Sven Hirdman

Ambassador to Russia 1994-2004, State Secretary  Ministry of Defence of Sweden (1979-1982);


Jon Huntsman

Former Ambassador to Russia, former Governor of  Utah


Daryl Kimball

Executive Director, Arms Control Association


Lawrence Korb

US Navy Captain (ret.), former Assistant Secretary of  Defense, Reagan Administration, Senior Research  Fellow, Center for American Progress, and Senior  Advisor, Defense Information Center;


Reinhard Krumm

Director, FES Office for Peace and Security,  Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung


Ruediger Luedeking

Ambassador (ret), former Deputy Commissioner of  the German Federal Government for Disarmament  and Arms Control


Douglas Lute

Lieutenant General (rt.), US Ambassador to NATO,  2013-2017, Senior Fellow, Belfer Center, Harvard



Jack Matlock

US Ambassador to the Soviet Union (1987-1991)


Hanna Notte

Senior Research Associate, Vienna Center for  Disarmament and Non-Proliferation (VCDNP)


Sam Nunn

Former U.S. Senator, Co-chair, NTI


Olga Oliker

PhD, Adjunct Professor, Johns Hopkins University  School of Advanced International Studies


Janusz Onyszkiewicz

Former Minister of National Defense of Poland


Zachary Paikin

Researcher, EU Foreign Policy at the Centre for  European Policy Studies (CEPS)


William Perry

Former US Secretary of Defense, Director of the  Preventive Defense Project at CISAC, FSI Senior  Fellow


Andreas Persbo

Research Director, ELN


Nicolai Petro

Professor of Political Science, University of Rhode  Island


Thomas Pickering

Former US Under Secretary of State, former  Ambassador to Jordan, Nigeria, El Salvador, Israel,  the United Nations, India and Russia


Steven Pifer

Former US Ambassador to Ukraine, nonresident  senior fellow at the Brookings Institution and  research fellow at Stanford University;


William Potter

Sam Nunn and Richard Lugar Professor of  Nonproliferation Studies, Middlebury Institute of  International Studies at Monterey


Wolfgang Richter

Colonel (ret.), Senior Military Advisor of the  Permanent Representation of Germany to the OSCE,  Vienna (2005–2009); Senior Associate, International  Security Division, German Institute for International  and Security Affairs, Berlin (SWP)


Cynthia Roberts,

Professor of Political Science, Hunter College, City  University of New York, Senior Research Scholar,  Saltzman Institute of War and Peace Studies Columbia University


Lynn Rusten

Vice President for Global Nuclear Policy, Nuclear  Threat Initiative


Kevin Ryan

Brigadier-General (ret), Senior Fellow, Harvard  Kennedy School Belfer Center


Vladimir Senko

Former Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of  Belarus


Reiner Schwalb

Brigadier-General (ret), National German  Representative at NATO Allied Command  Transformation, Norfolk/VA, 2007-2010; German  Senior Defense Official and Attache to the Russian  Federation, Moscow, 2011–2018


Stefano Silvestri

Senior Scientifi c Advisor at Istituto Affari  Internazionali (IAI), former Under Secretary of State  for Defence, former President of IAI (2001-2013);


Graham Stacey

Senior Consulting Fellow, ELN, former Chief of Staff

of NATO Transformation


Strobe Talbott

Distinguished fellow in the Foreign Policy program at  the Brookings Institution, Deputy Secretary of State  (1994-2001), President of the Brookings Institution  (2002-2017)


Bruno Tertrais

Deputy Director, Fondation pour la recherche  stratégique (Foundation for Strategic Research, FRS)


Greg Thielmann

Board member of the Arms Control Association,  Commissioner of the U.S.-Russian-German “Deep  Cuts” Project;


Adam Thomson

Director of the European leadership network,  Permanent UK representative to NATO (2014-2016)


José M Treviño Ruiz

Admiral SP Navy (retired)


Harlan Ullman

Senior Advisor, Atlantic Council


Alexander Vershbow

Former Assistant Secretary of Defense, former NATO  Deputy Secretary General; former US Ambassador to  South Korea, NATO, Russia; Distinguished Visiting  Fellow at University of Pennsylvania’s Perry World  House; Distinguished Fellow at the Atlantic Council.


Dov Zakheim

Vice Chair, Foreign Policy Research Institute, Former  Under Secretary of Defense