Evgeny Maslin, Russian General Who Secured Nuclear Arsenal, Dies at 84

Along with his daughter Ekaterina, he is survived by his wife, Nina; another daughter, Elena; a brother, Nikolai; three grandchildren; and four great-grandchildren.

He joined the Soviet Army in 1954, with plans to become an infantry officer. But his father, who had fought on the front lines during World War II, objected; as a compromise, they agreed that he should become an engineer. He graduated in 1959 from the Military Academy of Communications in Leningrad (now St. Petersburg), where he excelled in mathematics and physics.

He had an offer to join a physics research institute as a fellow. But as he was preparing to leave school, he was handed new orders: He was to report to the 12th Main Directorate, the top-secret branch of the Soviet Ministry of Defense that managed the country’s ever-growing nuclear arsenal.

He rose steadily in the directorate, combining technical proficiency with a keen political sensibility. General Maslin was named its deputy director in 1989, just months before the fall of the Berlin Wall, and took over the top job in 1992, a few months after the dissolution of the Soviet Union.

Though he reached the military’s mandatory retirement age, 60, in 1997, General Maslin continued to work on nuclear security and dismantlement at the PIR Center, advising both the Russian government and its many technical contractors.

“He was not an ideologue in any way,” Rose Gottemoeller, a former Defense Department official who worked with him, said in a phone interview. “He was just a really solid military professional, totally devoted to the mission.”

As the dismantlement project wound down in the 2000s, General Maslin became convinced that only total nuclear disarmament would prevent nuclear war. He sat on the Global Zero Commission, a blue-ribbon panel that pushed for an end to nuclear arms, and kept in contact with like-minded advocates in Europe and the United States.