HIV/AIDS, Russia and Security Part I

Whether it was a shared burger between Presidents Medvedev and Obama, the uncovering of a Cold War era spy ring, or the release of an Angelina Jolie action movie this summer certainly saw Russia take center stage in media and pop culture.

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International Security Implications of HIV/AID’s in Russia

The state of Russia possesses the world’s second largest nuclear arsenal and wields considerable influence in Europe and Asia.  However, a microbial pathogen only micrometers in size bears the potential to threaten its national security in Russia, regional stability and US-Russian relations.  The purpose of my project is to address the international security implications of emerging infectious diseases (ID’s) by examining the spread of HIV/AIDS in Russia.  Much of the current scholarship and research regarding HIV/AIDS concerns the disease’s severe effects on the security of states in the developing world, specifically in sub-Saharan Africa.  Here HIV/AIDS has shown the potential to replace traditional conflict as a catalyst of political, economic and social instability.  However, these states have historically played little to no role in influencing international politics on the grand stage.  In contrast, nuclear-armed Russia is an industrialized nation, regional power and geopolitical rival of the United States.  My question is thus: to what extent does HIV/AIDS threaten security in Russia?  Will HIV/AIDS affect Russia’s ability to project power?  Finally, what effects will this epidemic have on Russia’s relationships with regional neighbors, Europe, and the United States?