Following the end of the Cold War, the United States and its allies recognized that it was in their vital security interests to promote stable transitions in the countries of Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) and the New Independent States (NIS) of the former Soviet Union. For the most part, such transitions would depend on the efforts of the states in transition themselves, including many that had been newly formed. However, one way in which the Western nations could help was by economic assistance -- both financial and technical.
The most abundant and efficacious form of financing will eventually be direct investment by Western private industry combined with indigenous investment in the countries; however, many of the transitioning countries, particularly those of the NIS did not have many attractive investment targets, with the possible exception of the natural resources sector. Recognizing this, the Western countries established a variety of unilateral and multilateral mechanisms to provide interim financing. These mechanisms utilized existing multilateral institutions such as the World Bank Group and the International Monetary Fund as well as existing unilateral institutions such as the United States' Export-Import Bank, the Overseas Private Investment Corporation, and the Trade and Development Agency. The charters and agendas of several existing institutions were expanded to address the specific issues in CEE/NIS. In addition, they established new multilateral institutions such as the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development and unilateral institutions such as several enterprise funds set up by the United States and TACIS (Technical Assistance to the Commonwealth of Independent States) set up by the European Union.
In conjunction with these sources of finance the Western countries also initiated an extensive series of programs designed to address specific economic development and security issues in the region. These programs provided their own funding for projects, provided extensive technical assistance, and in some cases were designed to attract and work with Western private industry. One such program is the Nuclear Cities Initiative (NCI), which is managed by the U.S. Department of Energy. NCI's primary objective is to help prevent the flow of critical weapons technology and personnel from Russia to countries aspiring to acquire nuclear weapons. NCI's approach is to assist Russia in downsizing its nuclear weapons complex by creating sustainable, non-military employment for nuclear weapon specialists in Russia's closed nuclear cities. NCI is designed to build infrastructure necessary to attract private investment and to facilitate the efforts of private investors, thereby leveraging NCI's own budget.
Many of the sources of finance cited herein require a Western company as a strategic partner and co-investor. Thus the missions of NCI and these financial sources are highly complementary. Recognizing this, Stanford's Center for International Security and Cooperation, under contract to NCI and under subcontract to the University of California Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, undertook a project to assemble information on many sources of finance that were applicable to NCI's mission, particularly those that are at least partially capitalized by the United States Government (USG). The intent was to make this information available to NCI partners to facilitate the establishment of ventures co-financed by NCI, the Russian Federation, private Western industry, and the sources described herein. While this research was performed for the purposes of NCI, much of the data are generally applicable to other projects seeking financing in Russia.