Russia WMD Stats


The collapse of the Soviet Union in December 1991 left the Russian Federation with the bulk of the massive Soviet weapons of mass destruction complex. This legacy has allowed Russia to retain its great power status even as its economy has collapsed, but the burden of supporting this oversized complex has strained the Russian political and economic system. Russia's nuclear and missile capabilities presupposes its crucial role in arms control and nonproliferation, while the remnants of chemical and biological weapons programs pose major environmental and proliferation threats.


  • Biological: A description of the nation's situation with regards to the possession and manufacture of biological weapons of mass destruction
  • Chemical: A description of the nation's situation with regards to the possession and manufacture of chemical weapons of mass destruction
  • Nuclear: A description of the nation's situation with regards to the possession and manufacture of nuclear weapons
Biological The Soviet Union ratified the BWC in 1975. Nevertheless, the Soviet Union violated the treaty by secretly operating a massive offensive BW program until it dissolved in 1991. The Soviet BW arsenal included the causative agents of anthrax, smallpox, plague, tularemia, glanders, and hemorrhagic fever. In wartime, formulated agents would have been loaded into a variety of delivery systems, including aerial bombs and ballistic missile warheads. Soviet BW scientists also researched, developed, and produced anti-crop and anti-livestock agents. Although the U.S. government believes that the BW agent stockpiles have been destroyed, activities that contravene the BWC may continue at a few military biological facilities in Russia. The Soviet Union also established a so-called anti-plague system, whose primary objective was to control endemic diseases and prevent the importation of exotic pathogens that could threaten crops, animals, and humans. In the late 1960s, however, the system also was tasked with defending the USSR against biological attacks. The anti-plague system continues in today’s Russia. There are reports that some countries, including Iran, have attempted to hire Russian BW specialists to help them acquire biological weapons. 1991
Chemical During the Cold War, and afterwards, the Soviet Union had the world's largest arsenal of chemical weapons, including artillery shells, bombs, and missiles that contained choking agents (phosgene), nerve agents (sarin, soman, and VX), and blister agents (mustard, lewisite, and mustard-lewisite mixture). There have been allegations that the Soviet Union developed a new class of nerve agent (Novichok), estimated to be 5-10 times more toxic than VX. Russia inherited the declared Soviet stockpile of 40,000 metric tons of CW munitions and agents stored in bulk. In November 1997, Russia ratified the CWC, but financial and other difficulties have impeded the destruction of its chemical weapons stockpile, so it is far behind the timetable specified in the treaty. 1997
Nuclear The Soviet nuclear weapon program began during World War II and culminated in a successful atomic bomb test in 1949. Russia, as the successor of the Soviet Union, is a nuclear weapon state party to the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). According to estimates by the Natural Resources Defense Council, by 1991, the Soviet Union had approximately 35,000 weapons in its stockpile, down from a peak in 1986 of approximately 45,000. Russia is estimated to now have around 20,000 nuclear weapons, although total stockpile size is uncertain because there is no accurate count of tactical nuclear weapons. However, in 2002 Russia declared it will eliminate its tactical nuclear weapons by the end of 2004. Under the START I Treaty, the Russian nuclear arsenal has been reduced to approximately 7,000 strategic warheads. The START II Treaty, which was declared non-binding in June 2002, would have reduced this number to between 3,000 and 3,500 strategic nuclear warheads. The Strategic Offensive Reductions Treaty (Treaty of Moscow) requires Russia to reduce the number of deployed strategic warheads to between 1,700 and 2,200 by the end of 2012. Russia inherited a massive nuclear weapons production complex and large stocks of weapons grade fissile material. It is estimated that Russia has between 735 and 1,365 metric tons (t) of weapons grade-equivalent highly enriched uranium (HEU) and between 106 and 156 t of military-use plutonium. 2012


Did you know

Adblocker detected! Please consider reading this notice.

We've detected that you are using AdBlock Plus or some other adblocking software which is preventing the page from fully loading.

We don't have any banner, Flash, animation, obnoxious sound, or popup ad. We do not implement these annoying types of ads!

We need money to operate the site, and almost all of it comes from our online advertising.

Please add www.nationmaster.com to your ad blocking whitelist or disable your adblocking software.