Sen. Lugar honored for fight against chemical weapons

An online poll has named Senator Richard Lugar (R-Ind.) as the "2009 Arms Control Person of the Year," following his reception of the highest number of votes.

The staff of the Arms Control Association had named nine individuals, institutions and country groups for the award.

Lugar's nomination was based upon "his long-running support for U.S. financial contributions to assist with the construction of Russia's chemical weapons demilitarization complex, which began work this year to neutralize about 2 million shells and warheads stored nearby that are loaded with VX, sarin and soman."

"The international vote selecting Richard Lugar acknowledges the Senator's work last year, and clearly celebrates his multi-decade commitment to reducing Cold War legacy weapons," Daryl G. Kimball, executive director of the Arms Control Association, told

"The opening of the Shchuchye site was an important development in 2009 because it will accelerate the destruction of millions of dangerous and obsolete chemical weapons," Kimball said. "His leadership, along with Senator Sam Nunn's, was instrumental in founding the Cooperative Threat Reduction Program that is still working to secure dangerous former Soviet nuclear, chemical and biological weapons, and can serve as a model for related efforts around the globe."

Lugar first demonstrated the danger of the proliferation of chemical weapons in 1999 while visiting Shchuchye when he placed a VW-filled shell in a briefcase. The site became operational in 2009 following the granting of $1 billion in U.S. aid.