Simon Saradzhyan

Simon Saradzhyan

Center Associate

Founding Director, Russia Matters, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School

Simon Saradzhyan is the founding director of the Russia Matters Project at Harvard Kennedy School’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs. He also helps advance the center’s U.S.-Russia Initiative to Prevent Nuclear Terrorism. His research interests include national power, military interventions, arms control, counterterrorism, and the foreign, defense, and security policies of Russia and other post-Soviet states and their relations with great powers. 

Prior to joining the Belfer Center in 2008 as a full-time research fellow, Dr. Saradzhyan had worked for 15 years as a researcher, consultant, and journalist in Russia, covering milestone security events, including the October 1993 coup and the 1999 apartment bombings in Moscow. As an editor at The Moscow Times, he led coverage of the Dubrovka and Beslan hostage-taking crises. He also worked as Moscow correspondent for Defense News and Space News. 

Dr. Saradzhyan has been a senior fellow at the EastWest Institute and a consultant for the United Nations and World Bank. As a researcher, he was the first in Russia to catalogue the threat of nuclear and radioactive terrorism posed by North Caucasus-based terrorist groups and to outline recommendations on how to reduce this threat in a paper published at the Belfer Center in 2002. He also initiated the first ever joint threat assessment of nuclear terrorism by U.S. and Russian experts published by the Belfer Center in 2011. 

Dr. Saradzhyan is the author of scholarly articles and book chapters on counterterrorism and arms control, including "Russia: Grasping the Reality of Nuclear Terror," published in the Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science; "Is Russia Declining?" published in Demokratizatsiya; "Russia's System to Combat Terrorism and Its Application in Chechnya," published in the “National Counter-Terrorism Strategies” of NATO’s Security Through Science series; and "Russia's Non-Strategic Nuclear Weapons in Their Current Configuration and Posture: A Strategic Asset or Liability?" published by the Belfer Center. 

In his capacity as an expert at the Belfer Center on the post-Soviet space, Dr. Saradzhyan has testified on nuclear terrorism and violent extremism at hearings of the U.S. House of Representatives and Canadian Senate. He has  published op-eds in Foreign Affairs, the Financial Times, The Washington Post, and The Boston Globe,  as well as in leading Russian and Armenian journals. He has appeared on BBC, CBS, NPR, and Al Jazeera, among others, commenting on Russia’s foreign policy, the conflict in Ukraine, and other issues. 

Dr. Saradzhyan co-founded and served as the first president of the Harvard Club of Russia in 2004-2006. He holds a bachelor's degree from the Moscow State Linguistic University, a master's in public administration from the Harvard Kennedy School, and a Ph.D. in war studies from  King’s College London.