Nikita Smidovich at a 2015 Global Conference on Biological Threat Reduction in Paris. Photo by World Organisation for Animal Health.

Perspectives on UNSCOM and UNMOVIC: An interview with Nikita Smidovich

By Henrietta Wilson, July 21, 2021

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Nikita Smidovich at a 2015 Global Conference on Biological Threat Reduction in Paris. Photo by World Organisation for Animal Health.

Nikita Smidovich has had a long and distinguished career contributing to global chemical and biological warfare disarmament. He graduated from the Moscow State Institute for International Relations (MGIMO-University) of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 1975 and joined the USSR Ministry for Foreign Affairs where he stayed until 1991. For the last two years of this time (1989-1991), he was Head of the Division of Chemical and Biological Weapons Disarmament Issues. Smidovich was one of the first people recruited into UNSCOM in 1991, serving as UNSCOM’s Deputy Director for Operations and Coordinator for Missile and Biological Weapons Issues. He later served as UNMOVIC’s Chief of Training, and he has held a range of positions at the UN Office for Disarmament Affairs, including Senior Political Officer dealing with non-state actors and WMD proliferation (UNSCR 1540) and the UN Secretary-General Mechanism for investigation of alleged use of chemical and biological weapons.

In this interview with Henrietta Wilson, a researcher at SOAS University of London, Smidovich details the lessons that the UNSCOM experience can teach those who undertake weapons of mass destruction verification efforts today.

As the coronavirus crisis shows, we need science now more than ever.

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Keywords: Iraq, UNMOVIC, UNSCOM, USSR, WMD
Topics: Nuclear Risk, Nuclear Weapons

 

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