Nuclear weapons have taught Russian leaders many enduring, valuable, but also contradictory lessons. Since the Soviet nuclear programme began Russian and Soviet leaders have understood nuclear weapons’ capacity for coercion and intimidation against Russia. 1 But that also taught Stalin and leaders ever since, particularly the current Kremlin leadership, never to show weakness and always engage in tough unyielding diplomacy with the USA. At the same time the Russian Government also grasped the other side of this equation, namely that possession of the bomb allowed them to threaten and intimidate adversaries. This latter tactic continues as the Russian Government has habitually threatened all of its neighbours about installing the US or NATO missile defences on their territories or joining NATO. 2