In our modern world we have many success stories. Quite often, they are turned into made-for-TV movies, translated into product brochures or retweeted over the interwebs. Here at PNA we've decided to blog about them. Our first success story looks at how Russia was able to show leadership during the development and ratification of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test - Ban Treaty (CTBT). In contrast to its previous actions, Russia has demonstrated commitment and long-term resolve in dealing with the CTBT. Members of the Eisenhower administration humorously described Russia’s (then USSR) stance on test treaties as “a kid you are trying to put to bed. First he wants a drink of water and then he wants to go to the bathroom, but what he really wants is not to go to bed.” Russia also had a history of testing huge weapons (i.e. more fallout) in order to make up for its inability to produce “accurate” weapons. In 1961 Russia detonated the largest nuclear weapon in history creating an explosion equal to the 100 million tons of TNT. That said, by the end of the Cold War Russia did prove its willingness to halt nuclear testing. In 1991, Russia was the first nuclear-armed country to unilaterally halt nuclear testing and in 2000 it ratified the CTBT. This was a great disarmament success considering that Russia, formerly the USSR, was 2nd country to develop nuclear weapons and had played tit-for-tat testing with the US for over four decades. This shift in Russia’s worldview did not come overnight. The break-up of the Soviet Union, and its accompanying fiscal woes, played a part, yet there were other factors that nudged Russia to halt testing. When Russia unilaterally halted testing in 1991 it started a virtuous cycle whereby other nuclear weapons stated gradually halted their test. The US quickly reciprocated in 1992, and China, the last country to develop nuclear weapons, halted testing in 1996. Another factor that convinced Russia to halt testing was confidence in national science programs. Russia uses sub-critical, non-explosive test, in combination with computerized tests and stockpile maintenance to ensure the operability of its arsenal. Lastly, this shift in Russian worldview can be seen in how Russia interacts with its citizens and neighbors. Russia tested its first bomb at Semipalatinsk, Kazakhstan and continued to test there until 1989. During this period Semipalatinsk experienced huge spikes in cancer and birth defects. By 1989, local protest movements such as Nevada Semipalatinsk rallied against continued testing. This perspective was eventually adopted by the Kazakh government, which forbid continuing testing on its territory. Furthermore, Russia, like other nuclear powers understood that nuclear tests and the resulting fallout only soured public attitude toward nuclear weapons. In an attempt to have one’s cake but not necessarily eat it, Russia may have decided it is better to have nuclear weapons without showing them off.