Monthly Archives: January 2006

06MOSCOW963, AMBASSADOR’S MEETING WITH RUSSIAN DFM KARASIN,

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
06MOSCOW963 2006-01-31 14:04 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Moscow

VZCZCXRO7597
PP RUEHDBU
DE RUEHMO #0963/01 0311404
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 311404Z JAN 06
FM AMEMBASSY MOSCOW
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 0081
INFO RUCNCIS/CIS COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHXD/MOSCOW POLITICAL COLLECTIVE PRIORITY

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 MOSCOW 000963 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 01/31/2016 
TAGS: PREL ENRG UNSC AJ AM GG BO UP IAEA IR RS
SUBJECT: AMBASSADOR'S MEETING WITH RUSSIAN DFM KARASIN, 
JANUARY 31 
 
 
Classified By: Ambassador William J. Burns.  Reason 1.4 (b, d) 
 
1. (C)   Summary:  Ambassador Burns met with Russian Deputy 
Foreign Minister Karasin January 31 to discuss recent 
developments on regional issues.  They spent most of the 
meeting discussing Georgia; it was clear that President 
Saakashvili's accusations concerning the January 22 pipeline 
explosion have irritated the Russians beyond their usual 
hostility towards their neighbor.  That irritation underlay 
hard-line statements from Karasin about the Russian response, 
if Georgia were to demand the withdrawal of Russia's 
peacekeepers from South Ossetia.  Karasin was no more 
charitable in his exposition of Russian thinking on Abkhazia, 
with demands to jettison or heavily modify the Boden paper. 
Karasin was far more positive on Nagorno-Karabakh (he had 
just returned from Armenia and Azerbaijan) and Ukraine (which 
he will visit in two weeks); he was upbeat about Black Sea 
Fleet and gas negotiations.  On Iran, he lauded the course of 
action the P-5 chose in London as a "good compromise." 
Karasin was cautious in reply to Ambassador's push on 
elections in Belarus.  End summary. 
 
P Consultations, Karabakh 
------------------------- 
 
2.  (C) Ambassador confirmed for Karasin that Under Secretary 
Burns would participate in the G8 Political Directors' 
meetings in Moscow February 21.  Karasin said he would confer 
with DFM Kislyak about setting aside time for regional 
consultations.  Karasin thought this would allow for a timely 
exchange of views on elections in Ukraine and Belarus. 
Ambassador stressed that we should look at areas, especially 
in Russia's neighborhood, in which we could cooperate to make 
progress -- Nagorno-Karabakh being one possibility.  Karasin 
said he had come away from his recent trip to Azerbaijan and 
Armenia convinced that there was a window of opportunity for 
constructive resolution of the conflict, though no guarantee 
it could be achieved.  At least the parties understood that 
after 2006 there would be no progress for a long time.  The 
atmosphere was on the whole "acceptable."  The international 
community must get the sides to stop playing political games 
and get down to real work.  Karasin said he and U/S Burns 
would be able to discuss this in light of the February 11-12 
meeting between Kocharyan and Aliyev in Paris. 
 
Georgia:  Thaw or Freeze? 
------------------------- 
 
3. (C)  Karasin said he wanted to discuss Georgia.  Just a 
few minutes previously, President Putin had been asked at his 
press conference (septel) whether there would be a thaw in 
relations with Georgia.  Putin had said Russia was ready for 
such a step.  But the Georgian political leadership -- not 
the Georgian people, with whom there has been no problem -- 
must stay on the path of civilized interaction and avoid 
hysteria.  The explosions of January 22 must be investigated. 
 But "Georgia's partners" (i.e., the U.S. and Europe) need to 
tamp down the "hysteria" on the Georgian side.  Karasin cited 
the January 27 cutoff of gas to the Russian embassy in 
Tbilisi, "even while Gazprom's technicians were working under 
terrible conditions to repair the gas line."  Karasin said 
4th CIS Department Director Andrey Kelin (who attended the 
meeting) would be heading to Tbilisi next week to try to 
smooth relations. 
 
4. (C)  Ambassador Burns welcomed that step.  He said the 
U.S. has been clear with Georgia on the need for restraint in 
public statements.  We are pleased that gas is being restored 
to Georgia thanks to the repair crews.  Transparency -- the 
presence of a Georgian expert to observe the repair work -- 
would have helped restrain some of the impulses that led to 
the less public statements that the GOR found so 
objectionable. 
 
South Ossetia 
------------- 
 
5. (C)  Karasin presented a demarche on South Ossetia.  The 
situation in the zone of conflict was disturbing, and the 
unyielding position of the Georgians had not been understood 
by the South Ossetian side.  The net result was that the 
Joint Control Commission had not met, and we are approaching 
the February 10 deadline set by the Georgian Parliament to 
discuss the situation, including the disposition of the 
Russian peacekeeping forces.  Given the atmosphere, Karasin 
said, the Parliament was likely to react emotionally.  It 
would be important that the Georgian Government and President 
avoid "dramatic" action.  Most residents of South Ossetia are 
Russian citizens, and Russia would take the appropriate 
decisions to "defend stability."  Russia's choice would be 
predictable:  not to abandon its people.  It was important 
 
MOSCOW 00000963  002 OF 003 
 
 
not to get into a dea
d-end situation. 
 
6. (C)  The Ambassador replied that we would continue to 
encourage careful thinking on all sides.  It would be 
important for Russia to find a formula -- perhaps by ensuring 
that a JCC meeting take place -- that offered the Georgian 
Parliament some prospect of progress and practical steps. 
Russia needs to do all it can to help calm the situation, too. 
 
7. (C)  In a separate conversation earlier in the day, MFA 
Georgia Office Director Grigoryev told us Russia sees several 
decision points:  a) what action the Parliament demanded on 
the basis of the report, which PM Noghaideli had already 
informed the Russians would be negative; b) what the Georgian 
government decided to do with the Parliament's 
recommendations; and c) what President Saakashvili decided on 
the basis of the Government's recommendations.  Grigoryev 
hinted -- ever so slightly -- that there was room for 
compromise on the structure of the JCC, but he was clear, 
like Karasin, that a demand for withdrawal of the Russian 
peacekeepers would "cross a red line." 
 
Abkhazia 
-------- 
 
8. (C)  Karasin regretted that Russia's approach on Abkhazia 
in the UNSC had not met with understanding.  The Boden paper 
was weak and had not been working.  Since its submission 
there had been developments elsewhere, in Bosnia-Herzegovina 
and in Serbia-Montenegro with regard to Kosovo.  We could not 
ignore those developments.  Predictably, Karasin said, some 
accuse Russia of supporting separatism.  But Russia wanted to 
persuade Abkhazia to be more constructive and flexible.  For 
example, it should allow the opening of an OSCE Human Rights 
office and think about teaching Georgian in the schools of 
Gali district.  These would be facts on the ground that could 
make a difference. 
 
9. (C)  The Ambassador responded that Russia's position at 
the UN had led to serious questions about how to interpret 
Russia's current thinking on Georgia's territorial integrity. 
 Karasin responded that "all questions" on that score would 
be answered at the February 2-3 meeting of the Friends Group 
in Geneva.  The Ambassador repeated his question on 
territorial integrity, and Karasin answered that there was no 
change in Russia's position; rather, to go forward we had to 
look at the situation as it was on the ground, not on the 
basis of "old stereotypes."  Modifications were needed in the 
Boden paper, and in its structure.  (Note:  Grigoryev told us 
earlier in the day that the Russians had agreed to the 
request of Abkhaz "PM" Bagapsh to work towards a negotiating 
structure that did not start off by recognizing Abkhazia as a 
part of Georgia.) 
 
Ukraine 
------- 
 
10. (C)  The Ambassador asked Karasin about developments with 
Ukraine, and about Karasin's upcoming trip there.  Karasin 
said he would lead the Russian side when the Black Sea Fleet 
Sub-Commission met on February 14.  Russia would press for 
the confirmation of old agreements that allowed for the 
normal functioning of the fleet and the comfort of its 
personnel.  The Ukrainian side needed to be satisfied on 
financial issues.  The problem was multi-faceted, but Karasin 
was optimistic.  He hoped it would cease to be an irritant in 
relations in the run-up to the Ukrainian election.  After his 
visit, there were no high-level contacts planned before the 
election. 
 
11. (C)  The Ambassador asked about gas negotiations with the 
Ukrainians, noting that we continued to hear rumors of 
another cut-off.  Karasin answered that negotiations are 
proceeding, and the negotiators are down to concrete numbers. 
 There are experienced negotiators on both sides.  Karasin 
assured the Ambassador that there would be no gas cut-off -- 
provided, he qualified, that there were no "unilateral 
provocations" from the Ukrainian side.  "This is the course 
our President has chosen," he stated. 
 
Belarus 
------- 
 
12. (C)  The Ambassador raised the elections in Belarus, 
noting that Assistant Secretary Fried has yet to receive a 
visa.  Karasin said the Russians had been active on the 
elections, and believed that Lukashenko would let the 
opposition speak out.  But we needed to look at the context: 
we should evaluate elections in Belarus as we did those in 
the Middle East, by considering the region and the history. 
We should not make a fetish out of elections, or see them as 
 
MOSCOW 00000963  003 OF 003 
 
 
a cure for all ills. 
 
13. (C)  The Ambassador welcomed steps to invite 
international observers to the elections.  But the elections 
themselves had to be conducted fairly.  Only then would the 
observers call them fair.  This would make a difference to us 
and to Europe -- and to the people of Belarus.  He hoped the 
Russians would use their influence with Lukashenko to ensure 
free and fair elections.  Karasin replied that the observers 
themselves had to be honest and unprejudiced.  The Ambassador 
asked about progress toward a Union Treaty with Belarus. 
Karasin said work was progressing slowly. 
 
Iran, Afghanistan 
----------------- 
 
14. (C)  Karasin lauded the compromise reached on referring 
Iran to the UNSC.  The Ambassador agreed it was positive. 
Secretary Rice and the EU-3 had listened carefully to what 
 
SIPDIS 
the Russians had said on tactics.  The result was a strong 
signal to Iran, and the Ambassador hoped Iran would use the 
next few weeks to make a U-turn in its policies.  Karasin 
cautioned that the Iranians had already had months to think 
through their position, and informing the UNSC does not yet 
mean UNSC consideration of the issue.  But the Russians saw 
the step as useful, and so did the Chinese. 
 
15. (C)  The Ambassador responded that the firmness of the 
Russian position was critical to getting Iran's attention. 
Iran could not be permitted to play games with the definition 
of uranium enrichment.  Communication among Russia, the U.S. 
and the EU-3 had been excellent thus far on this issue.  It 
showed an ability to work together.  Similarly, it had not 
been easy for Putin to forgive Afghanistan's USD 10 billion 
sovereign debt; this was a good step.  Karasin welcomed these 
"areas of cooperation." 
 
Comment 
------- 
 
16. (C)  The Russians are every bit as emotional on Georgia 
as they accuse the Georgians of being, and Saakashvili's 
accusations do not help the Russians think rationally as they 
approach the parliamentary debate in Georgia on peacekeepers 
in Ossetia, and the choices to be faced after that.  The 
childish tit-for-tat cutoffs of gas and electricity to the 
Georgian and Russian embassies in each other's capitals show 
that emotions could make this molehill into a mountain.  The 
slight hint on revising the JCC could be real -- or it could 
be one of
ficial's wishful thinking.  We did not get the 
impression that Kelin would be taking specific proposals with 
him to Tbilisi (the Russians are still too angry); it might 
be helpful if he could come back with concrete, 
well-elaborated proposals from the Georgian government about 
what it would need to guarantee a soft landing on the PKO 
dispute. 
BURNS

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06MOSCOW930, MOSCOW COMFORTABLE WITH UKRAINIAN DEVELOPMENTS

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
06MOSCOW930 2006-01-30 13:57 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Moscow

VZCZCXRO6326
RR RUEHDBU
DE RUEHMO #0930/01 0301357
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
R 301357Z JAN 06
FM AMEMBASSY MOSCOW
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 0025
INFO RUCNCIS/CIS COLLECTIVE
RUEHXD/MOSCOW POLITICAL COLLECTIVE

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 MOSCOW 000930 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 01/24/2016 
TAGS: PREL PGOV ENRG RS UP
SUBJECT: MOSCOW COMFORTABLE WITH UKRAINIAN DEVELOPMENTS 
 
REF: MOSCOW 584 
 
Classified By: Minister-Counselor for Political Affairs Kirk Augustine. 
  Reasons: 1.4(B/D). 
 
1. (C)  SUMMARY.  Moscow continues to tell itself that it got 
the best of Kiev in the year-end negotiations on gas supply, 
according to the Russian MFA and a number of Embassy 
contacts.  As they see it, the gas deal was an economic boon 
for Gazprom and the GOR, despite allegations of corruption 
and ambiguities about the contract.  They expect damage to 
Russia's reputation as a reliable energy partner to be 
short-lived.  The lighthouse seizure in the Crimea was 
regarded as a transitory issue linked to Ukrainian 
electioneering, with a resolution likely after the scheduled 
February 14 visit of Russian DFM Karasin to Ukraine.  Our 
contacts see the political status quo in Ukraine, with no 
person or bloc in a commanding position, as being in Moscow's 
interest.  END SUMMARY. 
 
Broad Acceptance of the Gas Offensive 
------------------------------------- 
 
2. (C)  "We won" the gas dispute, MFA Ukraine Desk Senior 
Counselor Vadim Gusev told us in a January 19 meeting.  He 
said the GOR achieved its main objective -- world market 
prices for Russia's gas.  Echoing points made by FM Lavrov in 
a January 17 press conference (ref A), Gusev pointed to the 
22 percent rise in Gazprom's capitalization just ten days 
after inking the deal as an indicator that the markets had in 
the end responded positively to the gas deal.  Like other GOR 
officials at all levels, Gusev insisted that the gas 
controversy was a purely commercial dispute. 
 
3. (C)  Some Russian print editorials initially questioned 
taking a hard line with a Slavic neighbor that shares 
important industrial and commercial infrastructure, not to 
mention social and cultural ties, and some analysts warned 
during and after the crisis that the GOR's line on Ukraine 
could push Kiev more precipitously into the West's embrace. 
Since returning from an extended New Year's break, however, 
the Moscow media have generally been supportive of the gas 
deal, although some on the print side have accented concerns 
about corruption in the gas sector and government. 
 
4. (C)  Many of our non-government contacts agreed with the 
MFA's verdict, assessing that Moscow scored points with the 
gas deal and expecting any damage to Russia's reputation to 
be short-lived.  Carnegie's Nikolay Petrov (frequently 
critical of Kremlin policies) contended that the government's 
strategy and tactics were "not bad," although its PR campaign 
was not skillfully handled.  Petrov said Yushchenko had been 
effectively boxed into a corner and had to sign the deal, and 
any other Ukrainian politician sitting in the President's 
seat would have done the same.  Petrov conceded that the 
dust-up had dented Russia's international image and predicted 
the Kremlin would take active measures in the near term to 
address the problem.  Ivan Safranchuk, Director of the Center 
for Defense Information, agreed that the negative fall-out of 
the gas deal would range from "short-term to shorter-term," 
since investors would increasingly be chasing Gazprom 
dividends (he noted how quickly investors had forgotten 
Yukos).  Safranchuk pointed out that Ukraine was only one 
element of the Kremlin's broader energy strategy, and said 
the Kremlin sees no need to make concessions to Ukraine. 
RFE/RL correspondent Vitaliy Portnikov declared that the big 
winner in the gas deal was "corruption," but concurred that 
Moscow had clearly bested Kiev.  All three contacts strongly 
believed that high-level officials on both sides lined their 
pockets from the deal. 
 
5. (C)  Many of our contacts viewed the gas dispute with 
Ukraine as a sign that the GOR had taken a generally sensible 
new direction in its external policy.  MGIMO Dean of 
Political Science Aleksey Bogaturov (an advisor to Duma CIS 
Committee Chairman Andrey Kokoshin) told us the gas dispute 
was "nothing special" and cast it as a reasonable response to 
Kiev's Western tilt.  Dmitriy Furman of the Institute of 
Europe (Russian Academy of Sciences) agreed that the dispute 
reflected Moscow's revised post-Orange Revolution thinking 
and represented a pragmatic, non-ideological turn vis-a-vis 
the CIS.  Petrov of Carnegie added that Kiev could not have 
it both ways, blaming the GOR both for neo-imperialism and 
for moving to world market gas prices. 
 
6. (SBU)  At the same time, other analysts noted the 
downsides of the gas deal for Russia, with Carnegie's Dmitriy 
Trenin, for instance, telling an interviewer that even if the 
general policy of moving to world market prices was correct, 
the "style" in which it was implemented had been 
counterproductive, causing a "ricochet" that damaged Russia's 
international standing, including its chairmanship of the 
 
MOSCOW 00000930  002 OF 003 
 
 
G-8.  On the "left-patriotic" front, there was criticism of 
Putin for having "backed down" in the face of international 
concern and allegations that the whole purpose of the gas 
price hike
was to financially benefit high-level industry and 
government officials on both sides of the dispute. 
 
Lighthouse Dispute Seen on a Different Track 
-------------------------------------------- 
 
7. (C)  Voicing the official GOR line, Gusev insisted that 
the lighthouse in Crimea seized by Ukraine belonged to the 
Black Sea Fleet (BSF) per the 1997 agreement and that 
procedures for joint use of the lighthouses were covered by 
that agreement.  He said Russia was not "looking for a 
fight," however, and concluded that the matter could be 
resolved during DFM Karasin's February 14 visit to Ukraine 
under the aegis of the Inter-Governmental Commission's 
Committee on the BSF. 
 
8. (C)  None of our unofficial contacts saw the controversy 
over the lighthouse as Ukrainian pay-back for Russia's 
putative win in the gas deal.  Instead, our contacts 
characterized the row as internecine Ukrainian political 
posturing, more about pre-electoral back-stabbing than an 
expression of Kiev's policy toward Moscow.  Several observers 
pointed to the positive glow -- "brotherly relations" 
according to the MFA's Gusev -- surrounding the January 11 
Putin-Yushchenko meeting in Astana to support their view that 
Yushchenko was not behind the lighthouse seizure.  Gusev 
noted that Yushchenko gained "no advantage" from that 
controversy and thus was unlikely to have instigated it. 
Referring to reports that the Ukrainian Presidential 
Administration was not initially in the loop on the Yalta 
lighthouse seizure, Gusev wondered who really was in charge 
in Kiev, and conjectured that the controversy might be a 
political gambit by Ukrainian FM Tarasyuk.  Several other 
contacts also fingered Tarasyuk as being involved and agreed 
that the seizures would be to Yushchenko's detriment in the 
upcoming election.  Notwithstanding the mutual official 
recriminations (including rumblings by Defense Minister 
Sergey Ivanov linking the issue ultimately to continued 
Russian acceptance of the bilateral border), none of our 
interlocutors were particularly excited by the lighthouse 
controversy, considering it a matter of secondary importance 
that would soon be resolved. 
 
Ukrainian Elections 
------------------- 
 
9. (C)  New Moskovskiye Novosti Chief Editor Vitaliy 
Tretyakov told us that the Kremlin was not backing any 
candidate in the Ukrainian election.  Carnegie's Petrov and 
MGIMO's Bogaturov agreed.  All three said Moscow wanted 
stability in Ukraine and found the current situation there -- 
with no party or bloc dominant -- very much to its advantage. 
 In terms of forecasting, Portnikov saw a possible Yanukovich 
alliance with either former PM Tymoshenko or Parliamentary 
Speaker Lytvyn, while Petrov found a Yanukovich-Tymoshenko 
alliance to be the most likely outcome, based on opinion 
polls and the view that Lytvyn was not a genuinely autonomous 
candidate with a sufficiently strong base.  According to 
Petrov, despite her designs on the Prime Ministership, 
Tymoshenko was exceptionally pragmatic and would take a back 
seat to Yanukovich if her showing in the polls was not 
sufficiently strong. 
 
10. (U)  Other analysts have argued that the gas crisis had 
led to an evolution in the Kremlin's previous reflexive 
preference for Yanukovich in a way that makes clear the 
political flexibility of all concerned.  With Yushchenko 
acting as the chief Ukrainian advocate of a gas deal that 
Moscow sees as advantageous and Yanukovich and most of the 
rest of the Ukrainian political spectrum critical of it, 
there appeared, as the Center for Political Technologies 
noted, "a basis for normal bilateral relations for the first 
time since the Orange Revolution...now Viktor Yushchenko can 
become more pro-Russian than his opponent, Russia's recent 
ally Viktor Yanukovich." 
 
Comment 
------- 
 
11. (C)  The GOR and many Russian politicians and analysts 
were surprised by the strength of international criticism of 
Russia's hard line on the Ukraine gas deal, but most 
dismissed it quickly as "yet another" manifestation of a 
growing "anti-Russian bias" in the West.  Further efforts by 
Moscow to bring Ukraine back into a Moscow-centric orbit will 
certainly follow.  Given the unique place that Ukraine 
occupies in Russia's history and self-concept, successful 
implementation by Kiev of an unambiguously "European" 
modernization strategy would establish within Russia's own 
 
MOSCOW 00000930  003 OF 003 
 
 
cultural-historical sphere a powerful counter-model to the 
direction Moscow has taken under Putin.  Conversely, nothing 
could more vigorously stimulate the pleasure centers of the 
Russian political elite's collective psyche or do more for 
Putin's domestic standing and legacy (at least as perceived 
in the short term) than for him to be able to reel Ukraine 
back into a reasonably secure position of subordination. 
 
12. (C)  Putin will thus continue to try to use both "sticks" 
and "carrots" to show Ukrainians that succumbing to a Western 
temptation would cost them more (in a broad and not simply 
economic sense) than they would gain.  As in the gas war, he 
will try to avoid confrontation with the West, if at all 
possible, and cast all overt Russian actions as being 
consistent with contemporary international standards.  Even 
supporters of such efforts recognize, however, that if 
Russian actions prove too ham-handed, they could easily turn 
counterproductive both with regard to Ukraine's evolution and 
to Russia's relations with the U.S. and Europe.  The standard 
by which the Russian political class -- and probably the 
public in the 2007 and 2008 elections -- judges such actions 
will be entirely pragmatic, i.e., the degree to which they 
are successful. 
BURNS

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06MOSCOW923, MINISTRY OF JUSTICE SEEKS TO CLOSE HUMAN RIGHTS

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
06MOSCOW923 2006-01-30 13:21 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Moscow

VZCZCXRO6293
PP RUEHDBU
DE RUEHMO #0923 0301321
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 301321Z JAN 06
FM AMEMBASSY MOSCOW
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 0009
INFO RUCNCIS/CIS COLLECTIVE
RUEHXD/MOSCOW POLITICAL COLLECTIVE

C O N F I D E N T I A L MOSCOW 000923 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 01/30/2016 
TAGS: PGOV PHUM PREL PINR RS
SUBJECT: MINISTRY OF JUSTICE SEEKS TO CLOSE HUMAN RIGHTS 
RESEARCH CENTER 
 
REF: MOSCOW 00861 
 
Classified By: Minister-Counselor for Political Affairs Kirk Augustine. 
  Reasons: 1.4(B/D). 
 
1. (C) SUMMARY:  The Ministry of Justice (MOJ) said publicly 
on January 27 that it is seeking to revoke the registration 
of the Russian Human Rights Research Center, which allegedly 
failed to provide required documentation about its activities 
in recent years.  Center officials and other human rights 
activists deny the charge and plan to fight it in court.  The 
announcement comes as NGOs are still reacting to accusations 
of NGO involvement in spying for the UK and other Kremlin 
moves aimed at bringing independent organizations to heel. 
END SUMMARY. 
 
2. (U) The MOJ stated on January 27 that it was seeking to 
revoke the registration of the Moscow-based Russian Human 
Rights Research Center.  According to the MOJ, the Center had 
failed over the last five years to provide information about 
its activities, as required by law.  According to press 
reports, GOR officials indicated that last year, over eight 
hundred such cases were filed; three hundred resulted in 
revocation, and some four hundred had yet to be resolved. 
The case is expected to go to trial on February 27 in 
Moscow's Basmanniy Court. 
 
3. (C) The Center, founded in 1992, is an umbrella 
organization that brings together prominent NGOs, including 
the Moscow Helsinki Group (MHG), the Union of Soldiers' 
Mothers (SM), and the Independent Psychiatric Association of 
Russia.  Center Director Lyubov Vinogradova publicly stated 
that the suit is groundless and that it reflects the 
Kremlin's growing pressure on independent NGOs.  Grigoriy 
Shvedov, a member of Memorial (which is not affiliated with 
the Center), told us January 30 that after learning of the 
charges, Center officials checked their records and concluded 
that they had filed all necessary paperwork.  According to 
Shvedov, the Center had encountered problems even before the 
latest move, with MOJ officials refusing to allow it to 
change the composition of its Board of Directors on January 
10. 
 
4. (C) Soldiers' Mothers head Valentina Melnikova told us on 
January 30 that her organization was taking the situation 
very seriously, particularly because two SM projects could be 
affected by the Center's closure.  Melnikova said that her 
organization would help the Center fight the case in court. 
. 
COMMENT 
------- 
 
5. (C) The GOR has recently gone after several of Russia's 
leading independent human rights organizations, most notably 
by accusing the Moscow Helsinki Group and the Eurasia 
Foundation, among others, of involvement with UK espionage 
(reftel).  These latest charges provide further evidence that 
the GOR plans to keep "political" NGOs under a tight rein. 
The fact that the case will be heard in the Basmanniy Court, 
which has a reputation for doing the Kremlin's bidding, bodes 
ill for the Center.  Acknowledging that the current political 
climate worsens the Center's prospects, human rights 
activists nonetheless hope they can fight off the charges by 
demonstrating that the Center provided the required 
documentation. 
 
BURNS

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06MOSCOW922, A RANGE OF EXPECTATIONS ABOUT THE PUBLIC CHAMBER

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
06MOSCOW922 2006-01-30 13:11 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Moscow

VZCZCXRO6170
PP RUEHDBU
DE RUEHMO #0922/01 0301311
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 301311Z JAN 06
FM AMEMBASSY MOSCOW
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 0006
INFO RUCNCIS/CIS COLLECTIVE
RUEHXD/MOSCOW POLITICAL COLLECTIVE

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 MOSCOW 000922 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 01/26/2016 
TAGS: PGOV PHUM PINR RS
SUBJECT: A RANGE OF EXPECTATIONS ABOUT THE PUBLIC CHAMBER 
 
REF: MOSCOW 585 
 
Classified By: Minister-Counselor for Political Affairs Kirk Augustine. 
  Reasons: 1.4 (B/D). 
 
1. (C) SUMMARY:  As the Public Chamber gets down to work 
following its inaugural plenary on January 22, its members 
have differing expectations about what it will accomplish. 
Publicly, many members expressed at least guarded optimism 
about the Chamber.  Privately, views differ appreciably.  One 
Chamber member told us that though he holds modest 
expectations, he aims to use the body to encourage religious 
freedom and still hopes Chamber members will propose 
amendments to the controversial NGO legislation.  Valeriy 
Fadeyev, a Chamber member who was instrumental in the body's 
creation, now voices little enthusiasm, and others told us 
privately that he lost interest when he realized how much the 
Kremlin would control the body.  It appears from members' 
comments that Presidential Administration Deputy Head 
Vladislav Surkov will play a pivotal role in the Chamber's 
activities.  The Kremlin will apply its guiding hand over the 
Chamber's predominantly malleable members, but on some issues 
the body -- or at least some of its members -- may display an 
element of independence which we should encourage to the 
extent possible.  END SUMMARY. 
. 
HOPEFULNESS IN PUBLIC STATEMENTS 
-------------------------------- 
 
2. (SBU) In the aftermath of the Public Chamber's inaugural 
plenary (reftel), many of its members have given interviews 
about their expectations.  Most have been predictably -- if 
sometimes guardedly -- upbeat, although they have differed 
somewhat in their identification of the Chamber's primary 
purposes.  In a radio interview, Chamber Secretary Yevgeniy 
Velikhov said he was hopeful the body would mobilize civil 
society, fight corruption and encourage better moral values 
in society.  However, he implicitly conceded that he was not 
entirely sure about the Chamber's functions, beginning his 
reply to the question of what the body would do by saying: 
"As far as I understand the law...and what the President said 
at the first meeting."  Chamber member and First Channel 
television producer Aleksandr Shkolnik acknowledged in an 
interview that the Chamber still needed to gain the public's 
acceptance.  Suggesting that he was hopeful this would take 
place, Shkolnik said that the Chamber's main goals were to 
develop a public dialogue on issues and to encourage citizen 
activism.  Chamber member and journalist Aleksey Chadayev 
argued in an interview that the body could at minimum provoke 
the Duma to become more active. 
 
3. (SBU) Meanwhile, plans are under discussion for the work 
of Chamber committees.  In another interview, Velikhov said 
that two committees dealing with foreign policy might produce 
resolutions on Iran and the UK spy scandal.  Pavel Gusev, 
chair of the Chamber committee on media, said his committee 
will work on media freedom, with a particular focus on the 
regions, including through press monitoring.  Gusev said that 
his committee, having already received inquiries about 
regional government harassment of media in two regions, would 
investigate them and send inquiries to regional officials if 
necessary.  The committee also could send its representatives 
to a region to check out a complaint -- and, he seemed to 
imply, thus pressure officials there into changing their 
ways.  Gusev took a swipe at the Duma, complaining that it 
had totally disregarded his committee, and the Chamber more 
broadly, as it considered new draft legislation that would 
limit the number of commercials on television.  Gusev also 
complained that with just one staffer, his committee was 
limited in what it could accomplish.  Other members of 
Gusev's committee also weighed in, with Yelena Zielinskaya, 
for instance, saying that the committee might develop plans 
for the establishment of a public television station. 
. 
INFLUENCING RELIGIOUS FREEDOM, NGO LEGISLATION 
--------------------------------------------- 
 
4. (C) In private conversations, we have heard other views 
about the Chamber.  Bishop Sergey Ryakhovskiy, a Chamber 
member who heads a network of Protestant organizations in 
Russia, told us January 24 that the success of the body was 
very much an open question.  The Kremlin had formed the 
Chamber to strengthen its relations with, and gain better 
control of, civil society with an eye to the 2007-08 
elections, Ryakhovskiy argued.  Because most of its members 
were Kremlin-friendly and the Kremlin oversaw its activities, 
the Chamber could easily prove a rubber stamp.  This would 
become apparent within half a year, Ryakhovskiy posited, and 
if it proved true, its more independent-minded members would 
begin to drift away.  Whether the Kremlin itself would remain 
interested in the Chamber over the longer term was also an 
open question, Ryakhovskiy said; one small indicator was how 
 
MOSCOW 00000922  002 OF 003 
 
 
well the building destined for the Chamber's use would be 
renovated. 
 
5. (C) Nonetheless, Ryakhovskiy argued, his inclusion on the 
Chamber offered him the opportunit
y to try to use it to push 
his core goals, and he intended to do so.  One goal is to 
promote religious freedom, notably for denominations not 
favored by the government, like Protestants and Catholics, 
Ryakhovskiy continued.  He had already begun using the 
Chamber to work closely with two other members, Rabbi Berl 
Lazar and Mufti Ravil Gaynutdin, and he intended to use his 
prerogatives as a member to investigate accusations of 
religious discrimination in the provinces and to inform the 
public about them.  Ryakhovskiy added that he had reached out 
to the Chamber's members representing the Russian Orthodox 
Church, but had yet to receive a positive response. 
 
6. (C) Noting that he was on the Chamber's committee on civil 
society, Ryakhovskiy said he also planned to use it to work 
on the recently passed NGO legislation.  As a Chamber member, 
he could mobilize NGOs throughout the country to investigate 
implementation of the legislation, Ryakhovskiy related. 
Beyond that, he had already received the agreement of his 
committee's chairperson, Mariya Slobodskaya, to begin working 
on amending the legislation.  Ryakhovskiy acknowledged that 
such an effort might not get far.  The Kremlin might well put 
a quick stop to it, and even his committee's deputy 
chairperson, Aleksandr Ignatenko, had reacted very 
non-committally to the proposal.  Still, the Chamber had 
expressed its desire to weigh in on the legislation while it 
was being drafted, and Ryakhovskiy hoped he could build on 
those sentiments even now, after Putin signed the bill. 
. 
DISILLUSIONMENT FROM A FOUNDER? 
------------------------------- 
 
7. (C) As we have noted previously, Ekspert magazine chief 
editor Valeriy Fadeyev had been among the key players in the 
Chamber's formation.  In a January 23 meeting, however, he 
struck us as surprisingly unenthusiastic about it.  Asked 
about his plans as a Chamber member, Fadeyev replied that he 
would prefer to work on other projects.  Had Chamber member 
and businessman Vladimir Potanin agreed to head the committee 
charged with economic issues, Fadeyev might have joined that 
committee, he commented, since that might have offered the 
chance to have at least some serious impact.  Because Potanin 
had opted to head the Chamber's committee on charitable work 
and voluntarism, Fadeyev had opted to join a committee on 
globalization and regional development, which had an unclear 
role and was unlikely to require him to do much work. 
(Indeed, that committee's Chairman, Andranik Migranyan, told 
us January 23 that he had developed the idea for such a 
committee and now had to figure out what it would actually 
do.) 
 
8. (C) Nezavisimaya Gazeta owner Konstantin Remchukov, who is 
not a Chamber member but works closely with Fadeyev on the 
"November 4 Club" of rightist political leaders, told us 
January 25 that Fadeyev had become disillusioned with the 
Chamber.  Fadeyev had been a leading figure in defining an 
ideology for the United Russia party, but when that effort 
was squashed at the United Russia congress in December, 
Fadeyev had become unhappy with the Kremlin, according to 
Remchukov.  Since then, Remchukov recounted, Fadeyev had come 
to realize the full extent to which the Kremlin would control 
the Chamber, and his enthusiasm for working in that body had 
also declined. 
. 
SURKOV'S PROMINENT ROLE 
----------------------- 
 
9. (C) Ryakhovskiy highlighted to us the pivotal role Surkov 
played in the Chamber.  A moving force in its creation, 
Surkov had then been directly involved in establishing its 
membership and activities.  Surkov would continue to play an 
active role, relying on one of his advisors, PA Domestic 
Politics Administration deputy head Mikhail Ostrovskiy, to 
attend meetings and deal with key details, Ryakhovskiy said. 
Indeed, Ryakhovskiy reported, he would soon be meeting 
Ostrovskiy and Aleksandr Kudryavtsev, head of the PA's office 
in charge of religious affairs, to discuss Chamber business. 
 
10. (C) Remchukov agreed that Surkov had a predominant role 
in the Chamber's activities.  He reported that, having been 
politically outmaneuvered by PA Deputy Head Igor Sechin, 
Surkov had been instructed by Putin to become less engaged on 
foreign policy issues.  According to Remchukov, Sechin rather 
than Surkov had also been tasked with weakening former PM 
Mikhail Kasyanov's political efforts.  As a result, Remchukov 
said, Surkov now had more time to devote to the Chamber. 
. 
COMMENT 
 
MOSCOW 00000922  003 OF 003 
 
 
------- 
 
11. (C) The Public Chamber was designed to strengthen the 
Kremlin's grip over NGOs and to help realize Putin's vision 
of a civil society that is compliant rather than independent. 
 The Kremlin populated the Chamber predominantly with 
pro-Putin figures, and Surkov will no doubt do his best to 
ensure that they do not stray from the Kremlin line. 
Already, the Chamber is being portrayed as helping implement 
Putin's national projects and as fighting the excesses of 
bureaucracy, which the Kremlin blames for many of the 
country's problems.  That the media committee will focus on 
media freedom in the provinces suggests that it will be used 
to bludgeon regional officials rather than to encourage 
broader media independence. 
 
12. (C) As noted previously (reftel), however, even Putin's 
creations have sometimes spun out of the control of the 
Kremlin, and we cannot rule out that the Chamber could do so, 
at least on some occasions.  Chamber members sought to slow 
the passage of the controversial NGO legislation; while they 
may have done so primarily to boost the Chamber's reputation 
rather than to fight for a more independent civil society, 
they did complicate matters for the Kremlin.  Some analysts 
have explained that episode as related to intra-Kremlin 
infighting that spilled over to the Public Chamber because of 
Surkov's close association with that body, suggesting that 
the Chamber may potentially serve as a barometer reflecting 
internal Kremlin tensions. 
 
13. (C) We do not expect Ryakhovskiy to have much success in 
amending the NGO legislation, particularly in the current 
atmosphere, but he could have greater success in encouraging 
better treatment of religious minorities.  While we do not 
have high hopes for the Chamber, its members may sometimes 
display an independence that we should encourage to the 
extent possible. 
BURNS

Wikileaks

06MOSCOW921, CIVIL SOCIETY COUNCIL CHAIR PAMFILOVA: “WE’LL

WikiLeaks Link

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
06MOSCOW921 2006-01-30 12:56 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Moscow

VZCZCXRO6156
PP RUEHDBU
DE RUEHMO #0921/01 0301256
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 301256Z JAN 06
FM AMEMBASSY MOSCOW
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 0004
INFO RUCNCIS/CIS COLLECTIVE
RUEHXD/MOSCOW POLITICAL COLLECTIVE

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 MOSCOW 000921 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 01/18/2016 
TAGS: PGOV PHUM PREL PINR RS
SUBJECT: CIVIL SOCIETY COUNCIL CHAIR PAMFILOVA:  "WE'LL 
TRACK IMPLEMENTATION OF NGO LEGISLATION" 
 
Classified By: Ambassador William J. Burns.  Reasons: 1.4 (B/D). 
 
1. (C) SUMMARY:  In a January 18 meeting with visiting DRL 
A/S Barry Lowenkron, the Ambassador and EUR DAS Kramer, Ella 
Pamfilova, head of the Presidential body that oversees civil 
society issues, said she had strongly opposed the 
controversial NGO legislation and had weighed in with 
President Putin.  She criticized public U.S. reaction, 
however as counterproductive in that it left President Putin 
no choice but to sign the bill in its current state.  She 
also argued more generally that the U.S. should be less 
critical of Russia in public.  Lowenkron countered that the 
USG had taken a discreet approach in dealing with the GOR on 
the legislation, avoiding public debate.  Public 
manifestations of U.S. concern were reflected in a 
Congressional resolution, yet even that was cast more in the 
spirit of registering concerns.  The NGO legislation will be 
harmful, Pamfilova said, but she will help lead a broad 
effort by a strong network of Russian NGOs to monitor its 
implementation.  END SUMMARY. 
 
2. (C) The meeting took place a day after the public notice 
that President Putin had signed the controversial NGO 
legislation.  Citing a dramatic worldwide increase in the 
number of NGOs over the past fifteen years, Lowenkron began 
by emphasizing that NGOs had become a reality and played a 
positive role throughout the world.  NGOs could be supportive 
or critical of governments, but they should not be viewed as 
enemies. 
. 
THE EFFORT TO DERAIL THE NGO BILL 
--------------------------------- 
 
3. (C) Pamfilova stressed that from the moment the first 
draft of the legislation had been offered for consideration 
by the State Duma, she had viewed it as "the most odious 
legislation I had ever seen."  She had immediately criticized 
the bill, and had voiced her criticism to Putin.  While some 
of the flaws in the first draft had subsequently been 
removed, many others remain in the text signed by Putin on 
January 10.  The legislation was in itself not terrible, she 
continued, but it raised fears about implementation.  While 
there was reason to hope that, like many other Russian laws, 
it would not be implemented at all, there was more reason to 
worry that it would be selectively implemented.  For that 
reason, Pamfilova continued, she would lead an effort to 
closely monitor the legislation once it formally goes into 
effect. 
 
4. (C) Saying that she wanted to speak frankly because "we 
share common interests," Pamfilova argued that U.S. public 
reaction had been harmful to the efforts she had helped lead 
to significantly change the bill.  Pamfilova characterized 
U.S. opposition as having come at a pivotal moment when there 
was a chance to further amend the bill in light of Western 
recommendations.  U.S. public criticism put Putin in a 
corner, and left him no choice but to approve it in its 
current form.  Much of the Russian public favored the thrust 
of the bill, Pamfilova said, noting that although she had 
received some five hundred letters opposing the draft 
legislation, she had received many more favoring it. 
 
5. (C) U.S. criticism reflected a broader flaw in the U.S. 
approach, Pamfilova argued.  The U.S. should not be so harsh 
publicly on the Russians, particularly in the current mood 
when the public rejects Western influences, associates 
democracy with poverty and corruption, still suffers from 
loss of its empire, and demonstrates significant 
anti-Americanism.  That mood, which prevails throughout the 
Russian population, places human rights and civil society 
activists in a difficult position; democrats are in a small 
minority in Russia, Pamfilova said.  Russia needs help from 
the U.S. to proceed along a democratic path, Pamfilova 
continued, but the U.S. should express itself more tactfully. 
 A measured approach, such as that taken by many Europeans, 
would be more effective.  According to Pamfilova, harsh 
criticism only reinforces a pervasive attitude among Russia's 
elite that because the West is being hyper-critical, 
listening to Western advice is fruitless. 
 
6. (C) Expressing appreciation for her candor, Lowenkron 
emphasized that President Bush, in his conversations with 
President Putin, and Secretary Rice in her discussions with 
FM Lavrov, had raised the issue quietly.  In response to 
Russian arguments that its NGO bill was similar to American 
procedures, the Secretary had instructed State to provide the 
GOR with an analysis of U.S. laws and to offer a comparison 
with the Russian draft legislation.  Throughout the entire 
period of Duma consideration of the NGO bill, the USG had 
handled the issue discreetly, Lowenkron underscored.  We 
pursued quiet discussion rather than public debate.  The 
 
MOSCOW 00000921  002 OF 002 
 
 
Secretary had also consistently made clear that democracy by 
 
SIPDIS 
its very nature cannot be imposed on a country, while at the 
same time stressing tha
t creation of democracy cannot be a 
top-down process in any country.  The U.S. Congress passed a 
resolution expressing its concerns, Lowenkron noted, but this 
did not "threaten" Russia.  Pamfilova replied that the 
Russian public does not differentiate between the 
Administration and the Congress.  Moreover, Russians 
interpreted the resolution as a threat. 
. 
LOOKING AHEAD 
------------- 
 
7. (C) Now that Putin had signed the legislation, Lowenkron 
asked, what will be its consequences and how will Pamfilova 
help monitor its implementation?  Pamfilova replied that 
Putin had not fostered the legislation to counter a potential 
orange revolution in Russia.  According to Putin, what 
happened in Ukraine could not happen in Russia.  Such a 
revolution could occur only where the population did not 
respect its leadership, as was the case in Ukraine.  While 
Putin understood this, Pamfilova said, others in the elite 
did remain fearful of an "orange revolution."  From Putin's 
viewpoint, the legislation had been created to fight both 
foreign influences on Russian domestic politics and radical 
Islamic influences from abroad.  The legislation will not 
succeed in either goal, Pamfilova continued, adding that she 
had made that point to Putin.  Its biggest flaws were that it 
failed to define "political activity," thus leaving room for 
its arbitrary use by bureaucrats against organizations they 
disliked, and that it opened the door to massive corruption. 
Indeed, bureaucrats and Duma deputies had lobbied heavily for 
the bill because, having lost opportunities to receive bribes 
as businesses found their registration process more 
transparent, they now saw NGO registration as a new 
opportunity to collect bribes. 
 
8. (C) The legislation was a step backward, but Putin had 
nonetheless helped strengthen civil society in other ways, 
Pamfilova argued, adding that foreign critics did not seem to 
notice that.  Changes to tax laws had created more 
possibilities for foundations to support NGOs, for example, 
and Putin was meeting regularly with civil society 
organizations.  He met once a year with Pamfilova's Council, 
she reported.  In the most recent such meeting, in July 2005, 
Putin had asked the Council to prepare a plan to encourage 
funding to NGOs, studying Western models as a basis for its 
suggestions.  Pamfilova added that her Council did not 
reflect a top-down approach; while some Russian "political 
technologists" took such an approach, it had been 
discredited.  In addition to the steps she had listed, 
Pamfilova said that Putin had also taken other positive steps 
on civil society, although the new NGO legislation might 
threaten some of those. 
 
9. (C) With respect to monitoring of the new legislation, 
Pamfilova said that Russia's vast civil society community -- 
containing some 120,000 NGOs -- had a strong network of 
experts.  Her own NGO (which works on child welfare issues) 
includes over 750 groups throughout the country, and many 
other Council members had similar networks.  This would allow 
for effective monitoring implementation of the legislation, 
which would also include issuing reports on the Internet and 
elsewhere about how things were proceeding, Pamfilova 
continued.  She planned to report to the State Duma and to 
Putin.  Although civil society may be in the minority in 
Russia, Pamfilova said, it is well organized, thanks partly 
to Western help, and was well prepared to monitor the 
legislation's implementation.  Pamfilova added that Putin had 
asked her to work with international NGOs in the run-up to 
the G-8 summit. 
 
10. (C) Lowenkron welcomed the fact that Pamfilova would 
report to Putin and that she was helping address 
misconceptions about the orange revolution.  He echoed her 
concern that the legislation could be used against any NGO. 
Adding that he also welcomed the Council's role in using 
Western models to generate ideas on funding sources for NGOs, 
Lowenkron stressed that in the U.S., organizations need 
register only if they are to represent a foreign government 
or if they seek tax free status; otherwise, they are free to 
function as long as they are not terrorist or extremist. 
Acknowledging Lowenkron's point, Pamfilova reiterated that 
Putin had told her that he wanted Russian law to be based on 
Western experience.  She said that Russian legislation would 
get to that point eventually, and expressed appreciation to 
the Ambassador for having provided her with information about 
U.S. laws on NGOs. 
 
11. (SBU) A/S Lowenkron cleared this cable. 
BURNS

Wikileaks

06MOSCOW873, KABARDINO-BALKARIA: AFTERMATH OF OCTOBER ATTACKS

WikiLeaks Link

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
06MOSCOW873 2006-01-30 11:25 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Moscow

VZCZCXRO8427
PP RUEHDBU
DE RUEHMO #0873/01 0301125
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 301125Z JAN 06
FM AMEMBASSY MOSCOW
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 9955
INFO RUCNCIS/CIS COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHXD/MOSCOW POLITICAL COLLECTIVE PRIORITY

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 MOSCOW 000873 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 01/30/2016 
TAGS: PGOV PHUM PREL ECON EAID RS
SUBJECT: KABARDINO-BALKARIA:  AFTERMATH OF OCTOBER ATTACKS 
 
MOSCOW 00000873  001.2 OF 002 
 
 
Classified By: Minister Counselor for Political Affairs Kirk Augustine. 
  Reason 1.4 (b, d) 
 
1. (C) Summary:  Few local officials in Kabardino-Balkaria 
are willing to talk about the October 13-14 attacks in 
Nalchik by Islamic extremists against government, law 
enforcement and security sites.  Those who did during a 
January 25-26 visit to the Republic by Embassy officers cited 
joblessness as the main factor in extremism, and swiftly 
changed the subject to economic assistance. 
Parliamentarians viewed questions on the attacks as criticism 
(though we couched them as part of a shared problem), and 
responded with attacks on the U.S.   Joblessness remains a 
major issue; despite an innovative team at the Ministry of 
Economic Development and Trade, Soviet-era thinking dominates 
this field in the Republic.  End summary. 
 
------------------- 
The Mufti:  Victory 
------------------- 
 
2. (C)  During a January 25-26 visit to Kabardino-Balkaria, 
we found only the Republic's Chief Mufti Anas Pshikhachev 
willing to talk about the October 13-14 attacks that left at 
least 136 dead, with 91 of them identified as militants. 
Pshikhachev saw the participation of "only" a couple of 
hundred locals in the violence as a victory for moderate 
Islam.  He and other official imams had worked with youths 
sympathetic to the extremist cause, persuading many of them 
away from armed action.  Pshikhachev termed the participants 
"unemployed youths;" he dodged the question of whether they 
were in fact mostly university students.  He said the 
attackers were well-financed:  they drove new cars; and when 
the corpses of two attackers - "boys I knew" - were stored 
for a while in Pshikhachev's gleaming new mosque, their 
pockets yielded new Russian passports for international 
travel and large amounts of American dollars. 
 
3. (C)  Pshikhachev said there was no persecution of Islam in 
Kabardino-Balkaria.  He had seen the press reports of mosque 
closings, but assured us that no mosques had been closed; 153 
were functioning throughout the Republic.  (Comment: 
Technically, this may be true.  However, in certain 
neighborhoods mosques are reportedly allowed to open only 
during actual hours of prayer and are padlocked the rest of 
the day.  End Comment.)  Pshikhachev said Nalchik's Higher 
Islamic School was one of the best in Russia, and some 
students studied abroad at al-Azhar in Cairo as well as in 
Damascus, Riyadh and Malaysia.  Pshikhachev himself had 
studied four years in Syria followed by five in Libya.  Of 
his studies, Pshikhachev said only that he and his fellow 
non-Arabs were incensed by a class in Tripoli on 
"Arabo-Islamic culture."  As far as they were concerned, 
Islamic culture was one thing, Arab culture another, and the 
Arabs had no special claim to Islam, he said. 
 
---------------------------------- 
Parliament:  Bad U.S., Bad Georgia 
---------------------------------- 
 
4. (C)  Other government officials and parliamentarians 
refused to comment on the October attacks beyond asserting 
that the organizations behind them had been "neutralized." 
They then changed the subject.  Members of the Parliamentary 
Presidium (the 22 committee chairs and deputy chairs who sit 
on a permanent basis) attacked the U.S. for opposing the 
appointment of provincial governors and limitations on NGO 
activity.  "Everyone here understands the need for such 
measures," one Member said.  "Why can't you in the West 
understand?"  They linked these to U.S. involvement in Iraq 
and the Balkans, alleging U.S. unwillingness to let other 
countries practice democracy in their own way (we made 
suitable reply to such references to democracy a la Saddam 
and Milosevic). 
 
5. (C)  Most striking during our conversation with the 
Parliamentary Presidium and others was the strong local 
opposition to U.S. support for Georgia.  Kabardians had 
streamed to Abkhazia in 1992 to fight against Georgia 
alongside their ethnic cousins, the Abkhaz.  (Comment:  They 
were also fighting alongside Shamil Basayev, a fact they 
would sooner forget these days.  End comment.)  They said 
they would do so again if the Georgians carried out their 
"warlike" schemes.  A Parliamentarian warned that a renewal 
of fighting would pull in Turkey and Russia, igniting a 
region-wide conflagration. 
 
----------------------------- 
Government:  Jobs, Jobs, Jobs 
----------------------------- 
 
6. (C)  Government officials, in contrast, turned the 
 
MOSCOW 00000873  002.2 OF 002 
 
 
conversation to jobs, citing unemployment as the most 
significant factor contributing to radicalism.  The Soviet 
government had founded "high-tech" defense factories in 
Kabardino-Balkaria (as in neighboring republics) in the 
1970s.  All of those factories were interlinked, all were 
dependent on orders from the Defense Ministry, and all were 
now defunc
t.  Unemployment - and drug use, alcoholism and 
extremism - were reportedly even higher in the villages now 
than in Nalchik. 
 
7. (C)  Kabardino-Balkaria showed a curious dichotomy in 
economic thinking.  The Ministry of Economic Development and 
Trade boasted young, smart, modern thinkers implementing 
their own innovative programs for computer literacy, business 
incubation and micro-finance - and eager for more programs 
from the U.S.  Other officials, however, were stuck on the 
Republic's presumed tourist potential, which they see as 
re-attracting Soviet-era workers to cramped and primitive 
spas to take the waters.  (In fairness, Mt. Elbrus -- 
Europe's highest peak -- could attract more skiers if 
enormous sums were invested in infrastructure, though today's 
Russians prefer the Alps.  And climbers continue to flock to 
the Bezengi Wall and other Meccas of alpinism.)  In the 
mountain mining center of Tyrnyauz, the provincial 
administration center still sported a statue of Lenin in the 
lobby, and its chief bemoaned the loss of jobs at the town's 
tungsten and molybdenum mines and processing plant.  He 
castigated this generation's lack of respect for hard work, 
even though the workers were earning only a "medium" salary 
of 6500 rubles (USD 232) per month.  He let slip that this 
meant an "effective" salary of 3500 rubles (USD 125).  He 
noted, however, that the town's processing plant had just 
been acquired by oligarch Oleg Deripaska's Bazovyy Element 
conglomerate, and would soon be refining two million tons per 
year (though the capacity was 8.5 million tons).  He lamented 
that the plant would need a staff of only 540. 
 
------- 
Comment 
------- 
 
8. (C)   We were unable to visit the Nalchik neighborhood of 
Volnyy Aul, reportedly a "wahhabist" stronghold; nor did we 
get the chance to speak to anyone who would shed more light 
on the attacks which left numerous bullet holes still evident 
in buildings in the center of the city.  The parts of Nalchik 
we saw were calm and showed no heightened security presence. 
We have heard that the attack came as a complete surprise to 
the security services, and that had a detachment of fighters 
not been engaged - by pure chance - before it reached the 
town, the fighting might have been even more serious.  We 
have also heard, including from locals outside the Republic, 
that there are still large, strong and well-organized groups 
of extremists in Kabardino-Balkaria.   But inside the 
Republic, the public face is one of denial. 
 
BURNS

Wikileaks

06MOSCOW868, A/S LOWENKRON’S MEETING WITH KONSTANTIN KOSACHEV,

WikiLeaks Link

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
06MOSCOW868 2006-01-30 10:25 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Moscow

VZCZCXRO5875
RR RUEHDBU
DE RUEHMO #0868/01 0301025
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
R 301025Z JAN 06
FM AMEMBASSY MOSCOW
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 9949
INFO RUCNCIS/CIS COLLECTIVE
RUEHXD/MOSCOW POLITICAL COLLECTIVE

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 MOSCOW 000868 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 01/23/2016 
TAGS: PGOV PREL KDEM RS
SUBJECT: A/S LOWENKRON'S MEETING WITH KONSTANTIN KOSACHEV, 
CHAIRMAN OF DUMA INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS COMMITTEE 
 
Classified By: Ambassador William J. Burns.  Reasons 1.4 (b and d). 
 
    1. (C) SUMMARY: On January 19 DRL A/S Barry Lowenkron, 
Ambassador Burns, and EUR DAS David Kramer met with State 
Duma International Relations Committee Chairman Konstantin 
Kosachev.  Defending the new NGO legislation, Kosachev 
insisted that it would clarify the role of NGOs in Russia, 
not limit their activities.  He conceded that implementation 
might be problematic, but said the Duma would intercede if 
GOR officials took any unlawful or arbitrary actions against 
NGOs.  Kosachev also defended recent political reforms -- 
switching to a party-list-only system, raising the election 
threshold from five percent to seven percent, and direct 
appointment of regional governors by the President )- 
arguing that they would strengthen political parties in the 
long run.  The West should not pressure Russia on democratic 
development, he argued, since it will take time for the 
country to reach Western levels of democracy.  On foreign 
policy issues, Kosachev expressed surprise at the West,s 
reaction to the recent Ukraine-Russia gas dispute, arguing 
that the U.S. unfairly sided with Kiev.  Lastly, he expressed 
hope that the G-8 summit would show the world that Russia was 
a worthy G-8 member with many positive initiatives to offer. 
END SUMMARY. 
. 
NGO Law 
------- 
 
2. (C) A/S Lowenkron began the meeting with Kosachev by 
stressing that the Secretary, along with other senior 
officials and NGO representatives in the U.S. and abroad, was 
concerned that the new NGO law would have a negative impact 
on Russia's 2007-8 elections, particularly on pre-election 
training and monitoring efforts.  Kosachev replied that NGOs 
should not be involved in political activities, although 
electoral monitoring was acceptable.  In response, Lowenkron 
noted that 8political activities8 could be broadly 
interpreted and that some "political" activity was in fact 
apolitical.  He cited the example of National Democratic and 
International Republican Institutes offering training and 
support to all parties, as long as they respected democratic 
precepts and abided by the rules of the election process. 
 
3. (C) Kosachev argued that the text of the new legislation 
was not undemocratic -- it was the prospective implementation 
that made people nervous.  He explained that, previously, a 
group of foreigners could establish an NGO, be registered by 
the MFA, and then disappear without being held accountable 
for their actions.  The goal of the new law was not to limit 
the activities of NGOs but to regulate their role in Russian 
society.  Kosachev acknowledged that the new law was 
imperfect but hoped it would improve the NGO environment.  He 
suggested that people take a wait-and-see approach toward 
implementation, and that the Duma would be ready to intervene 
if illegal action were taken against an NGO. 
. 
Political Reforms 
----------------- 
 
4. (C) Turning to broader political issues, Kosachev 
maintained that Russia,s main problem was that it still did 
not have real political parties, except for the Communist 
Party.  He said United Russia (YR) was trying to function as 
a political party, but was not yet a &true party.8  Most 
political organizations were simply built around strong 
individuals.  He then laid out the rationale behind recent 
reforms adopted by the Duma last year to strengthen parties: 
 
--Regarding the switch to a proportional party-list system, 
Kosachev noted that in the 2004 Duma elections, YR obtained 
only 37 percent of the vote but ended up with 306 (almost 
two-thirds) of the 450 seats.  This anomaly occurred, he 
said, when single-mandate independent candidates opted to 
join YR after they entered the Duma.  The proportional 
party-list system would fix that problem by reducing the 
difference between the percentage of votes received and the 
percentage of seats taken by a party. 
 
--Turning to the increased entry threshold for parties from 
five percent to seven percent, Kosachev asserted that such a 
change seemed undemocratic at first glance because neither 
the Union of Right Forces (SPS) nor Yabloko had reached the 
five percent threshold in the previous national elections 
(each received 4.5 percent in 2003).  As a result, he said, 
the Duma was currently unbalanced.  With ten percent of the 
population supporting those parties, democratic, liberal 
ideas, they should be represented in the Duma.  Neither SPS 
nor Yabloko was represented, however, because their leaders 
disliked each other and were unwilling to cooperate or 
otherwise join forces to overcome the entry barrier.  When 
the two parties temporarily joined forces in the December 
 
MOSCOW 00000868  002 OF 003 
 
 
2005 Moscow City election, which required a ten percent 
threshold for parties, several of their members were elected 
into the local Duma.  The national seven percent threshold, 
he argued, was beneficial because it forced such parties to 
form alliances. 
 
--Kosachev then addressed the elimination of the direct 
election of regional g
overnors.  He noted that of Russia,s 
89 regions, only twelve were economically self-sufficient. 
Of the other 77 regions, five received 90 percent and 35 
received 50 percent of their revenue from federal subsidies. 
The governors in these regions, Kosachev continued, had been 
directly elected by the people, partly because they had told 
voters they would be able to get money and other assistance 
directly.  The governors never actually did anything in the 
regions to stimulate the local economy, and Moscow was not 
able to demand accountability from them.  According to 
Kosachev, the new system made governors directly responsible 
to the President and regional legislatures, which would 
encourage them to work harder to improve the situation in 
their regions.  If they failed do so, the President could 
remove them for failure to perform. 
 
5. (C) Lastly, Kosachev addressed a recent legislative 
amendment that would give the party that won a regional 
election the right to nominate, for presidential 
consideration, a candidate for governor.  Arguing that such 
an arrangement was fair, he noted that any party, including 
communists or nationalists, could propose a candidate to the 
President if they won a regional election. 
. 
Russia - Ukraine Gas Dispute 
---------------------------- 
 
6. (C) On foreign relations, Kosachev expressed surprise at 
Western reaction to the recent gas dispute between Russia and 
Ukraine.  No one in the West had tried to analyze Ukraine,s 
actions, he argued, and all attention had been focused on 
Russia, leading Moscow to believe that the West had sided 
with Kiev.  Kosachev maintained that Russia did not raise gas 
prices arbitrarily but simply instituted liberal market 
principles.  Ukraine had been receiving cheap gas from Russia 
(in effect propping up Ukraine,s less developed economy), 
while the West demanded that Russia raise its own domestic 
gas prices.  Kosachev said the U.S. was playing a global 
game, and sought to show that Moscow did not control the 
rules of that game. 
 
7. (C) Lowenkron responded that he did not see Ukraine as 
part of a global game to teach Russia a lesson.  What 
startled the West was the timing of the action and the method 
Russia had used, as well as the price Moscow initially set, 
Lowenkron continued.  DAS Kramer added that keeping an overly 
low price for gas was neither in Ukraine's nor Russia,s 
interest.  The U.S. had made clear to Ukraine that it should 
not continue to subsidize energy because that fed corruption 
and undermined conservation measures.  Nevertheless, going 
from USD 50 to USD 230 per cubic meter immediately was too 
abrupt and threatened to destabilize Ukraine,s economy. 
Kramer said a phased approach would be better. 
 
8. (C) Kosachev replied that the negotiation process had 
started last April.  Russia,s first proposal was USD 160, 
but in the subsequent eight months, Ukraine never responded 
to that offer.  Agreeing that USD 230 was steep, Kosachev 
argued that Russia had only encountered silence when Ukraine 
was informed of the January 1 deadline.  He complained that 
&all Russia hears is that they were to blame8 and that the 
West believes &Ukraine is a new democracy that should be 
treated as a special case.8 
 
9. (C) Kramer concurred that the Ukrainian government had not 
handled the situation well, but noted that at the end of the 
year Ukraine was offering USD 80-85 per cubic meter and 
ultimately agreed to USD 95.  He said the U.S. was concerned 
that what had begun as a bilateral issue between Russia and 
Ukraine had ballooned into a much wider politicization of gas 
supplies, which affected countries beyond the immediate area. 
 The U.S. favored strong Ukraine-Russia relations, and Russia 
should be commended for ultimately walking back from what 
could have been a very serious crisis, Kramer concluded. 
. 
G-8 Relations 
------------- 
 
10. (C) Thanking Kosachev for his frankness and willingness 
to discuss differences of views, Lowenkron asked about 
Russia,s plans for the G-8.  Kosachev answered that Moscow's 
chairmanship was a unique chance for Putin to show that &it 
is not an accident that Russia is part of the G-8,8 and that 
Russia could act as a global state with global 
 
MOSCOW 00000868  003 OF 003 
 
 
responsibilities.  He said there were some who wanted to use 
the G-8 as a platform for advancing nationalist issues, but 
it was important to avoid such politicization.  Kosachev 
added that Russia had several very good projects under 
discussion in energy, health care, demographics, and high 
technology.  Lowenkron stressed that Putin had two choices 
regarding how the global media would cover the G-8 meeting. 
The story could be how Putin is leading G-8 efforts to tackle 
global issues, or it could be that democracy is backsliding 
in Russia. 
. 
Democracy, Labor, and Human Rights in Russia 
-------------------------------------------- 
 
11. (C) Lowenkron noted the lack of formal bilateral 
U.S.-Russian discussions regarding human rights since 1997. 
Kosachev said cooperation in that sphere was hindered by the 
fact that the U.S. and Russia did not share similar 
standards.  He compared U.S.-Russian relations with those 
between the U.S. and EU.  Although the U.S. supported the 
death penalty and the European Union did not, for instance, 
such a difference had not hurt U.S.-EU relations and the EU 
did not try to force its standards on the U.S.  By contrast, 
Kosachev said, the EU and U.S. sometimes tried to force their 
views on Russia. 
 
12. (C) Kosachev claimed that Russia was pursuing a European 
model of democracy (i.e., a liberal economy, pluralist 
democracy, and government social welfare programs) rather 
than the more autocratic Asian or Chinese models of 
government.  Russia had not reached the level of democratic 
development of the EU or U.S. but was moving in that general 
direction.  Nations with well-developed democracies now 
focused on other concerns, such as the environment, while 
Russia was still working on developing the fundamentals of a 
sustainable democratic system. 
 
13. (C) Kosachev concluded by noting that the U.S. was more 
concerned about democracy in Russia than Russians were 
themselves.  The typical Russian was concerned about 
receiving his salary and pension on time or about the Chechen 
terrorist threat rather than the status of human rights in 
Chechnya or in Russia in general.  Kosachev said the ideals 
of freedom and liberty had become discredited in Russia since 
the harsh reforms of the 1990s, which in the end had achieved 
nothing but instability.  It would take time for Russia to 
reach the same level as the U.S., but pressuring Russia would 
not work. 
 
14. (U) A/S Lowenkron has cleared this cable. 
BURNS

Wikileak
s

06MOSCOW861, NGOS CHILLED BY SPY ALLEGATIONS

WikiLeaks Link

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
06MOSCOW861 2006-01-27 16:33 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Moscow

VZCZCXRO4669
PP RUEHDBU
DE RUEHMO #0861/01 0271633
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 271633Z JAN 06
FM AMEMBASSY MOSCOW
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 9940
INFO RUCNCIS/CIS COLLECTIVE
RUEHXD/MOSCOW POLITICAL COLLECTIVE

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 MOSCOW 000861 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 01/27/2016 
TAGS: PGOV PHUM PREL PINR RS
SUBJECT: NGOS CHILLED BY SPY ALLEGATIONS 
 
Classified By: DCM Daniel A. Russell.  Reasons: 1.4 (B/D). 
 
1. (C) SUMMARY:  Five days after Russian television aired 
accusations by the Federal Security Service (FSB) that four 
UK diplomats and a Russian were caught spying and that one of 
the diplomats was directly involved in transferring funds to 
Russian NGOs, the fallout continues.  The State Duma 
denounced the spying activity in a January 24 resolution, and 
a day later President Putin cited it as vindication of the 
new NGO legislation he had signed earlier this month.  A 
January 26 announcement that the Procuracy had renewed tax 
charges in a long-running case against the British Council in 
St. Petersburg may be the latest twist in the story.  A 
number of NGO representatives told us they see the week's 
events as part of a broader attack on independent and above 
all foreign-funded NGOs, following the passage of the new NGO 
legislation.  Even if the present furor over foreign-funded 
NGOs subsides, the pressure on those organizations will 
likely remain high, with drafting of the NGO legislation's 
implementing regulations yet to come.  END SUMMARY. 
. 
ACCUSATIONS SPARK DUMA, PRESIDENTIAL REACTIONS 
--------------------------------------------- - 
 
2. (SBU) State-owned Rossiya television channel's January 22 
report of FSB accusations about spying and links to foreign 
funding of NGOs has sparked a week of activity.  The story 
accused four British diplomats at the UK Embassy of spying in 
conjunction with a Russian citizen, who reportedly has been 
arrested.  The report went on to link the story with civil 
society by alleging that at least one of the four Brits was 
directly involved in transferring UK financial assistance to 
Russian NGOs.  Two NGOs, the Moscow Helsinki Group and the 
Eurasia Foundation, were featured in that and other reports. 
(Other organizations listed among the twelve were the 
Institute of Law and Public Policy, the Nizhniy Novgorod 
Committee Against Torture, and the Center for the Development 
of Democracy and Human Rights.)  On January 23, an FSB 
spokesperson also charged that a number of NGOs had been 
created, financed and supported by the U.S. and other NATO 
countries. 
 
3. (SBU) The media reported January 25 that FSB Deputy 
Director Yuriy Gorbunov briefed a select group of State Duma 
deputies, meeting in closed session the previous day.  In 
that session, Gorbunov reportedly alleged that one of the 
four diplomats had authorized official UK grants to twelve 
NGOs.  Duma Speaker Boris Gryzlov emerged from that meeting 
expressing indignation about the situation, saying that he 
was concerned not only with the espionage but also with the 
financing of NGOs by a foreign intelligence service.  On 
January 25, the Duma overwhelmingly passed a non-binding 
resolution condemning the affair, including the UK Embassy's 
alleged role.  The Duma reportedly also called for an 
investigation of the twelve organizations named by the FSB, 
and indicated it would raise the issue of British espionage 
before the OSCE.  Speaking to reporters in St. Petersburg 
that same day, Putin cited the incident as justification for 
the new NGO legislation he signed into law earlier this month. 
. 
COLLATERAL DAMAGE TO BRITISH COUNCIL? 
------------------------------------- 
 
4. (SBU) The St. Petersburg Procuracy's January 26 
announcement that it had renewed tax charges against the 
British Council came parallel to the spying charges.  The 
Council has faced a long-running investigation over whether 
it must pay taxes on income received from students paying for 
its English-language training.  The Procuracy had reportedly 
dropped the case, but according to the January 26 
announcement, renewed it on December 22.  Despite the 
Procuracy's statement that the case had been renewed a month 
before the spy story broke, observers speculated that it may 
be connected with the flurry of attacks against 
foreign-funding of activities in Russia, in which the British 
government features prominently. 
. 
NGOS DEFIANT BUT CONCERNED 
-------------------------- 
 
5. (SBU) Reaction from NGOs, including the Moscow Helsinki 
Group and the New Eurasia Foundation, were swift and defiant. 
 In a January 25 press conference also attended by Public 
Chamber member Genri Reznik, representatives of both those 
organizations publicly acknowledged that the UK, as well as 
other foreign governments, had long provided support, but 
they vehemently rejected any implication of involvement in 
espionage.  Moscow Helsinki Group head Lyudmila Alekseyeva 
announced at the press conference that 85 Russian NGOs had 
signed a statement charging that the FSB and some media 
outlets aimed to undermine the relationship between the 
authorities and civil society in Russia. 
 
MOSCOW 00000861  002 OF 003 
 
 
 
6. (C) Our conversations with NGO activists in recent days 
have revealed mixed views about the implications of the 
week's developments.  Valentina Melnikova of Soldiers Mothers 
told us the FSB had long been
 keeping close tabs on her 
activities and had contacted her on many occasions, including 
to find out about her 2004 conversations with Chechen rebel 
leader Akhmed Zakayev.  FSB officers had also always been 
very interested in her interaction with foreign diplomats. 
She added, however, that her organization had been thoroughly 
investigated by the Procuracy and had never faced charges, 
leading her to believe that she would not be subject to a new 
attack, at least in the short term. 
 
7. (C) In a meeting with us shortly before her January 26 
press conference, Alekseyeva expressed determination to 
continue with her work, including pursuing plans for election 
monitoring.  Animated, although looking tired, she described 
the spy accusations as a GOR attempt to legitimize the new 
NGO legislation and to incriminate organizations like hers. 
 
8. (C) Human rights activist Svetlana Gannushkina, a member 
of the Presidential Commission on Human Rights and the 
Development of Civil Society Institutions, told us that NGOs 
were under real threat.  In her view, the Public Chamber and 
the spy scandal were part of a broad GOR strategy to pressure 
independent organizations.  Gannushkina said that identifying 
the Moscow Helsinki Group as having alleged involvement in 
the affair was particularly alarming, given that Alekseyeva 
enjoys broad international prominence and had maintained 
reasonably good ties with Russian officials.  In 
Gannushkina's view, the FSB's message was that if Alekseyeva 
was being targeted, no independent activist could feel safe. 
 
9. (C) Aleksandr Petrov of Human Rights Watch echoed that 
view.  He told us the creation of the Public Chamber, the 
passage of the NGO law, and now the spy scandal were all 
interconnected.  While some activists believed the spy 
incident was an FSB "warning" to independent civil society, 
Petrov said, he considered the FSB's depiction of NGOs as 
tools of Western intelligence as an "attack." 
. 
MEDIA REACTION 
-------------- 
 
10. (U) The Russian print media largely shared the views of 
Gannushkina and Petrov, with most daily newspapers drawing a 
connection between the spy incident and recent changes in NGO 
legislation.  "Vremya Novostey" observed that the FSB had 
been instructed to find arguments to back Putin's hostile 
attitude toward NGOs.  "Noviye Izvetiyi" reported that "the 
FSB had launched a campaign to discredit human rights 
activists."  "Gazeta" likewise categorized the incident as an 
assault on Russian NGOs, arguing that the initial television 
report depicted human rights organizations as the "de facto 
equivalent of British spies" and adding that once the 
"notorious" NGO law comes into force, life will be much 
harder for these organizations.  A respected commentator 
asserted in "Kommersant" that such a "scandalous documentary" 
could not have been aired on state-run television without 
explicit approval from the station's top management and the 
government-controlled media conglomerate that owns the 
station. 
. 
COMMENT 
------- 
 
11. (C) The latest FSB expose has sent a chill throughout the 
independent NGO community.  The developments of the past week 
follow on FSB Director Nikolay Patrushev's warning last May 
that some NGOs, working in concert with foreign backers, 
might attempt to undermine the security of the nation.  Putin 
also expressed reservations about the activities of 
foreign-funded NGOs on several occasions over the last year. 
 
12. (C) The entire episode comes at a time when the Kremlin 
is under pressure from the international community regarding 
its commitment to civil society development, with the passage 
of the NGO legislation coming under particularly harsh 
criticism (most recently at the Parliamentary Assembly of the 
Council of Europe).  The accusations against the NGOs appear 
intended to bolster the Kremlin's arguments about the need 
for such legislation to control foreign funding of 
organizations that seek to influence Russian domestic 
politics. 
 
13. (C) The furor of the past week will eventually subside, 
although the renewed charges against the British Council will 
keep it bubbling for the moment.  However, the atmosphere for 
independent NGOs, especially those receiving foreign funding, 
will have deteriorated.  Implementing regulations for the NGO 
legislation remain to be drafted, and the effect of this 
 
MOSCOW 00000861  003 OF 003 
 
 
whole episode will not be positive. 
BURNS

Wikileaks

06MOSCOW857, RCFS DIRECTOR LIKELY TO BE CONVICTED

WikiLeaks Link

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
06MOSCOW857 2006-01-27 14:29 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Moscow

VZCZCXRO4487
RR RUEHDBU
DE RUEHMO #0857 0271429
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
R 271429Z JAN 06
FM AMEMBASSY MOSCOW
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 9932
INFO RUCNCIS/CIS COLLECTIVE
RUEHXD/MOSCOW POLITICAL COLLECTIVE

C O N F I D E N T I A L MOSCOW 000857 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 01/27/2016 
TAGS: PHUM PGOV EAID PREF RS
SUBJECT: RCFS DIRECTOR LIKELY TO BE CONVICTED 
 
REF: A) 05 MOSCOW 13160 B) 05 STATE 187966 C) 05 
     MOSCOW 10863 
 
Classified By: Political Minister-Counselor Kirk Augustine. 
Reasons 1.4 (b and d). 
 
1.  (C) The trial of Russian-Chechen Friendship Society 
(RCFS) Executive Director Stanislav Dmitriyevskiy is expected 
to conclude February 3.  Oksana Chelysheva, an RCFS staff 
member, and other human rights contacts have told us they 
expect Dmitriyevskiy to be convicted.  He is charged with 
inciting racial and ethnic hatred, and a conviction would 
carry a maximum five-year sentence.  Prosecutors charged 
Dmitriyevskiy with the publication of statements by Chechen 
separatists Aslan Maskhadov and Akhmed Zakayev in the group's 
newspaper in March 2004. 
 
2.  (C) Chelysheva said that she believes prosecutors will 
file tax evasion charges against Dmitriyevskiy shortly after 
the veridict in the present case.  The tax inspectorate 
claims RCFS owes more than 1 million rubles in back taxes on 
the grants it received from the National Endowment for 
Democracy (NED), the EU, and the Norwegian Government.  After 
briefly freezing RCFS bank accounts and withdrawing some of 
the RCFS funds, including money provided by NED, the tax 
inspectorate attempted in November to withdraw an additonal 
91,000 rubles (USD 3,250) on the basis of the back tax claim, 
in spite of a court injunction obtained by RCFS in October. 
Chelysheva said Dmitriyevskiy's conviction on charges of 
inciting racial hatred would make it easier for prosecutors 
to argue that RCFS was not entitled to any tax exemption as a 
charitable organization.  If convicted of tax evasion, 
Dmitriyevskiy could be sentenced to two more years in prison. 
 (NOTE:  A Nizhny Novgorod judge ruled in favor of RCFS in 
dismissing a Ministry of Justice suit to de-register the 
organization in the fall.  END NOTE) 
 
3. (C) Chelysheva told us she appreciated the international 
support RCFS has received, but the trial's Nizhy Novgorod 
location had allowed the authorities to conduct it in near 
isolation.  Amid the press coverage of the British spying 
scandal and the passage of the NGO law, Dmitriyevskiy's case 
has largely gone unnoticed by the international media.  RCFS 
has managed to bring some international observers and Russian 
human rights activists to the trial, but Russian border 
guards refused to admit well-known British human rights 
lawyer William Bowring into the country in November.  Our 
human rights contacts have not pointed to any particular 
violations in the conduct of the trial, but they say that the 
judge has clearly leaned toward the prosecution.  There are 
discussions among foreign embassies in Moscow about sending 
observers to hear the verdict as a show of support, but thus 
far no embassy has committed to do so.  Contacts at the 
European Union mission have told us the Austrian Presidency 
is aware of the case, and there could be an EU reaction when 
the verdict is delivered although no decision has yet been 
made.  The European Parliament on January 19 adopted a 
resolution on Chechnya and civil society in Russia that calls 
for the charges against Dmitriyevskiy to be dropped.  We 
understand that Amnesty International plans to designate 
Dmitriyevskiy a prisoner of conscience after his conviction. 
 
4.  (C) COMMENT:  Our contacts are convinced that a guilty 
verdict is pre-ordained.  We cannot rule out the possibility 
of an acquittal, but it seems unlikely.  For more than a 
year, RCFS and its staff have been subjected to an intense 
array of investigations, legal actions, and personal threats. 
 Some human rights contacts have suggested that the action 
against RCFS is an experiment in how best to silence an NGO. 
We do not know if RCFS's travails portend GOR efforts against 
the broader NGO community, but a guilty verdict and 
additional criminal charges against Dmitriyevskiy will 
further add to the nervousness many NGOs feel.  Embassy will 
continue to track this case closely. 
BURNS

Wikileaks

06MOSCOW802, A/S LOWENKRON DISCUSSES NGO LAW WITH STATE DUMA

WikiLeaks Link

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If you find meaningful or important information in a cable, please link directly to its unique reference number. Linking to a specific paragraph in the body of a cable is also possible by copying the appropriate link (to be found at theparagraph symbol).Please mark messages for social networking services like Twitter with the hash tags #cablegate and a hash containing the reference ID e.g. #06MOSCOW802.
Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
06MOSCOW802 2006-01-27 07:34 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Moscow

VZCZCXRO3925
RR RUEHDBU
DE RUEHMO #0802/01 0270734
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
R 270734Z JAN 06
FM AMEMBASSY MOSCOW
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 9833
INFO RUCNCIS/CIS COLLECTIVE
RUEHXD/MOSCOW POLITICAL COLLECTIVE

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 MOSCOW 000802 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 01/24/2016 
TAGS: PGOV PREL KDEM RS
SUBJECT: A/S LOWENKRON DISCUSSES NGO LAW WITH STATE DUMA 
DEPUTY ANDREY MAKAROV 
 
Classified By: Minister-Counselor for Political Affairs Kirk 
Augustine.  Reasons: 1.4 (b/d). 
 
1. (C) SUMMARY. On January 18 DRL A/S Barry Lowenkron and EUR 
DAS David Kramer met with State Duma Deputy Andrey Makarov. 
Makarov vigorously )- and at times heatedly )- defended the 
new NGO legislation, insisting that the text met 
international legal standards, but he conceded there could be 
problems with its implementation.  Makarov explained the 
reasoning behind the various objectives of the law and 
described the evolution of changes dealing with taxation, 
registration, and termination of NGOs. END SUMMARY. 
. 
Basis for New NGO Law 
---------------------- 
 
2. (C) During a January 18 meeting with State Duma Deputy 
Andrey Makarov, A/S Lowenkron said he understood Makarov was 
one of the architects of the NGO bill and that he would like 
to learn about plans for its implementation.  Lowenkron 
commented that the law troubled NGOs because the climate in 
which they were working had become more difficult in the past 
several years, and many activists were afraid it might become 
even worse following the adoption of the legislation. 
 
3. (C) Quoting the famous 19th century Russian writer 
Saltykov-Shchedrin's comment that the cruelty of Russian laws 
was compensated for by their loose administration,  Makarov 
said that one of the reasons for his involvement was to make 
the law less cruel while strengthening its administration. 
He said he was greatly concerned when he saw the first draft 
proposed by the Ministry of Justice (MOJ).  He stressed that 
the heads of several Duma committees, many from the liberal 
wing of United Russia, had joined him in reworking the MOJ 
draft; in other words, he said, the law had not been crafted 
only by hardliners. 
 
4. (C) Makarov said he had also become involved because he 
wanted to amend the original law to prevent it from becoming 
an additional "bludgeon" in the hands of law enforcement 
agencies.  Makarov said he gave four major interviews last 
year in his capacity as Deputy Chairman of the Duma's Budget 
and Taxation Committee ) long before the bill was adopted ) 
in which he expressed fears that law enforcement agencies 
were trying to gain power in Russia.  He thought they were a 
major force in the Russian economy and were trying to become 
a political force as well.  Makarov explained that an NGO law 
with explicitly stringent parameters would actually protect 
NGOs from overreaching law enforcement agencies. 
 
5. (C) Citing his experience during the anti-Yeltsin coup in 
1993, Makarov mentioned that he had been fifth on the list of 
coup opponents marked for termination if it had succeeded. 
Insisting that he believed strongly that the democratic path 
was the only option for him, he saw the new NGO law as 
another step along that path. 
 
6. (C) Makarov stressed that he could not see any grounds for 
concern with the final, amended law.  He had heard only two 
specific complaints during his meetings with foreign and 
Russian NGOs, as well as with the American Chamber of 
Commerce.  The first was that much of the language for 
closing an NGO had been taken verbatim from a UN resolution 
ensuring state sovereignty.  He explained that NGOs had 
requested changes in terminology to better reflect NGO 
experiences, rather than to focus on state sovereignty.  The 
second concern was about implementation.  Makarov 
emphatically insisted that the new legislation was a marked 
improvement over the previous law, and that the real issue 
was not its text but subsequent GOR actions. 
. 
Taxation and Accounting Issues under New NGO Law 
--------------------------------------------- --- 
 
7. (C) Makarov noted that tax laws dealing with NGOs were 
amended six months ago. Previously, NGOs were exempt from 
taxes only if their financial sources of income were included 
on a list approved by the government.  Under the new law, 
NGOs are exempt if their financing is derived from charitable 
sources that conform with the law.  Both foreign and Russian 
NGOs had to pay income taxes on their employees' salaries, as 
well as social security payroll taxes.  If an NGO is involved 
in revenue-generating activities in Russia, it had to report 
such income based on standard tax procedures. 
 
8. (C) Makarov explained that under the old law, tax 
authorities were responsible for registering and monitoring 
NGOs, but they were now only responsible for tax issues.  In 
addition, previously, tax authorities could monitor funding 
only from Russian sources; they had no power to regulate 
funding derived from foreign sources.  Under the new law, an 
 
MOSCOW 00000802  002 OF 003 
 
 
NGO has to declare the amount, purpose, and end recipients of 
foreign financial support. 
 
9. (C) Under the new legislation, Makarov noted, NGOs could 
be audited only once a year, and the only focus of the audit 
was to determine whether the funds were actually spent o
n the 
organization's stated purposes.  In this respect, he argued 
that Moscow was mainly interested in the transparency of 
financial flows, in particular to Islamic officials and NGOs 
in the North Caucasus and Southern Russia.  Many radical 
organizations were registered as NGOs, but there had been no 
provision in the old law allowing authorities to close an 
organization for laundering money or financing terrorism.  It 
was possible to jail individual offenders but not close the 
organization, he noted.  Lowenkron underscored that there 
were possibly better, more efficient means to close down 
sources of extremist financing, such as through the work of 
law enforcement and intelligence agencies.  Makarov replied 
that each country dealt with extremists as it determined 
appropriate, while observing treaties and agreements. 
 
10. (C) Makarov said only 110,000 of the 160,000 NGOs in 
Russia were registered with tax authorities, since the rest 
did not pay salary taxes.  Hence, one-third of NGOs were off 
the state revenue radar.  He asked rhetorically whether the 
U.S. would tolerate such a situation and explained that the 
new law would help tax collection in addition to monitoring 
NGOs. 
. 
Registration and Termination of NGO Activity 
-------------------------------------------- 
 
11. (C) Makarov explained that a provision removed from the 
first draft would have allowed the Federal Registration 
Service (FRS) to deny registration if an NGO's leader was 
involved in "improper activities"; under the final version, 
all such decisions had to be referred to a court for final 
determination.  In addition, the law did not allow the FRS to 
deny registration on the basis of "expediency"; the FRS was 
not allowed to evaluate an NGO's usefulness based on its 
activities.  In this sense, Makarov argued, the new law 
limited the ability of bureaucrats to act in an arbitrary 
manner. 
 
12. (C) Also, under the new legislation, NGOs will be 
required to submit registration documents according to a 
comprehensive, finite list outlined in the law.  The old 
practice of bureaucrats indefinitely stalling registration by 
demanding more and more documents would be eliminated. 
Documents would be filed only with the FRS, whereas 
previously, at least four other agencies (e.g., tax 
authorities, FSB, MVD, and the MOJ) might have been involved 
in registration.  If the FRS had any questions about 
documents, he said it was allowed to ask an NGO to clarify 
them.  Denials of registration could be appealed in court. 
 
13. (C) Makarov asserted that the original law contained no 
provision for closing down an NGO if it was involved in money 
laundering or extremist financing, but the new legislation 
included such a provision.  Any other grounds to close an NGO 
had Qbe determined by a court.  Makarov added that only a 
court ruling enabled an NGO to be shut down based on 
activities deemed "counter to the interests of Russia." 
. 
Concerns over Implementation 
---------------------------- 
 
14. (C) Lowenkron pressed Makarov on such issues as the 
vagueness of the guidelines, burdensome reporting 
requirements, and potential for abuse.  Makarov conceded that 
problems could arise with implementation, but he argued that 
any new or significantly amended law faced similar 
challenges.  He said the previous law, which was adopted 
twelve years ago, was seriously outdated and had to be 
amended to reflect changes in civil society.  For example, 
Makarov explained that the laws regulating political parties 
and trade unions (passed several years later than the NGO 
law) gave detailed procedures for creating such 
organizations, but there was no legislative basis for 
registering or terminating an NGO until the current law was 
passed. 
 
15. (C) Insisting that he respected human rights activists' 
opinions, Makarov stated that their "hysterical appeals" to 
the rest of the world and the world's excessive reaction 
would only provoke a negative reaction from Russia and a 
further tightening of the screws.  Makarov insisted that 
Moscow was doing its best to maintain a democratic climate to 
the extent possible, but it was not an easy task.  Any 
attempt to pressure the country, including in the area of 
NGOs, would likely backfire.  He said Russia still suffered 
 
MOSCOW 00000802  003 OF 003 
 
 
from "great power syndrome" ) it liked to learn new things 
but hated to be told what to do or how to do it. 
 
16. (C) Makarov concluded by observing that NGOs had become a 
political card in the hands of players who could use it for 
purposes that were "somewhat murky."  He maintained that he 
was prepared to discuss the law line by line and compare it 
with the original version in order to prove that it was much 
more democratic.  He emphasized that any biased or unfair 
criticism only served to divert attention from other 
important issues, adding that some forces in the country 
found it convenient to divert our attention from these 
important issues. 
 
17. (U) A/S Lowenkron has cleared this message. 
BURNS

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