06MOSCOW2502, G8 NGO FORUM OFFERS GOR A CHANCE TO BOOST ITS

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
06MOSCOW2502 2006-03-14 15:14 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Moscow

VZCZCXRO8300
PP RUEHDBU
DE RUEHMO #2502/01 0731514
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 141514Z MAR 06
FM AMEMBASSY MOSCOW
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 2235
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC PRIORITY
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 002502 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SIPDIS 
 
NSC FOR GRAHAM AND MCKIBBIN 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 03/13/2016 
TAGS: PGOV PHUM PINR PREL ECON ENRG RS
SUBJECT: G8 NGO FORUM OFFERS GOR A CHANCE TO BOOST ITS 
IMAGE, INDEPENDENT ACTIVISTS A CHANCE TO VOICE THEIR 
CONCERNS. 
 
 
Classified By: Political Minister-Counselor Kirk Augustine.  Reason 1.4 
 (b, d) 
 
1. (C) SUMMARY.  A range of NGOs, including those involved in 
human rights issues, took part in a March 9-10 G8 NGO forum 
in Moscow.  The plenary sessions and working group meetings 
featured lively discussions, both on the GOR's G8 agenda 
items and on concerns about the state of Russia's civil 
society.  The event broke no major new ground, but allowed 
the GOR to cast itself as open to independent civil society 
voices while allowing NGOs to underscore their concerns, 
including about Russia's controversial new NGO law.  END 
SUMMARY. 
 
THE PURPOSE OF THE FORUM 
------------------------ 
 
2. (C) Approximately three hundred NGOs from thirty 
countries, along with representatives of international 
organizations, met March 9-10 in Moscow at a G8 NGO forum. 
Ella Pamfilova, Chair of the Presidential Council for 
Assistance to Development of Institutions of Civil Society 
and Human Rights, served as the coordinator.  According to 
Tatyana Lokshina of the Demos Center for Information, 
Pamfilova had received a call from the Presidential 
Administration (PA) a few months earlier instructing her to 
organize civil society events around the G8 summit. 
Pamfilova turned to civil society activists, including Yuriy 
Dzhibladze of the Center for the Development of Democracy and 
Human Rights and Aleksandr Auzan of the National Project 
Institute, to help organize the forum.  Dzhibladze, a vocal 
opponent of the NGO legislation whose organization was among 
those identified with the recent British "spy" scandal, told 
us that despite his misgivings about working with the GOR, he 
agreed to assist with the forum since Pamfilova supports 
independent NGOs and would allow him to work without 
interference. 
 
3. (SBU) After an initial plenary session, the forum broke up 
into working groups to prepare recommendations for the St. 
Petersburg G8 summit agenda.  The discussions in the 
workshops we observed were lively and included a wide range 
of views.  Many of the sessions focused on concrete 
proposals, although some participants complained to us that a 
number of NGO representatives were focused primarily on 
making speeches.  A few workshops, notably the one on energy 
security, were unable to reach consensus on policy 
recommendations during the forum.  In addition to addressing 
the St. Petersburg summit, some NGO representatives also 
weighed in on the structure and agenda of future G8 summits, 
suggesting that NGOs be allowed to propose one agenda item at 
future G8s.  The forum included a meeting with all 8 sherpas. 
 One of our contacts told us the forum organizers hope to 
schedule a meeting for sherpas with a small group of NGO 
representatives sometime around May. 
 
4. (C) Although the G8 itself was the central focus of 
attention, NGO participants also discussed GOR attitude 
toward civil society following the passage of the 
controversial NGO legislation and the "spy" scandal involving 
British diplomats.  In the opening session Pamfilova said 
"rumors about the death of civil society in Russia are 
greatly exaggerated."  Some participants expressed concern 
about the future of Russian civil society once Russia's 
recently passed NGO legislation goes into effect in April. 
During the closing plenary session Dzhibladze criticized the 
NGO legislation and called for international monitoring of 
its implementation.  Pamfilova noted that her office was 
monitoring the legislation; another participant countered 
that since the implementing regulations for the legislation 
were being developed in secret, there was nothing to monitor 
yet. 
 
WIDE RANGE OF PARTICIPANTS 
-------------------------- 
 
5. (C) The forum was noteworthy for the breadth of 
organizations represented, ranging from Greenpeace, Soldiers' 
Mothers, Oxfam, Memorial, and Human Rights Watch to the 
National Endowment for Democracy, the UN, and Russia's 
recently-formed Public Chamber.  Irina Yurna of the Ford 
Foundation expressed satisfaction with organizers' selection 
of Russian invitees.  Denise Roza of the NGO Perspektiva, a 
USG grantee, told us the organizers had allowed her to invite 
whomever her organization wanted.  The GOR paid for tickets 
and lodging of many participants as well as providing visa 
support for the international invitees. 
 
MOSCOW 00002502  002 OF 002 
 
 
 
6. (C) Nonetheless, there was some grumbling about 
participation.  Nigel Martin, President of the Forum 
International de Montreal, whose organization claims to have 
helped organize the first G8 NGO conference in 2002, told us 
that past NGO G8 fora, though smaller, had included more 
international representation.  Martin, who also served on
 the 
Advisory Council for the Moscow event, believed it was 
dominated by Russian NGOs lacking in experience in 
multilateral fora.  The forum was organized late, meaning 
that some key international players were not invited or could 
not attend, Nina Belyayeva of the Higher School of Economics 
noted to us.  By way of example, she said that one of her 
U.S. contacts who was listed as a member of the forum's 
Advisory Council never received an invitation and did not 
attend.  Viktoriya Panova of the Moscow Institute of 
International Relations and an organizer of the forum, said 
that invitations only began to go out three weeks in advance, 
making it difficult to get some of the more prominent 
international groups to attend. 
 
7. (C) Some participants complained to us that Russian 
Government-Oriented Non-Governmental Organizations (GONGOs) 
had been invited to defend the GOR's reputation.  Svetlana 
Gannushkina of the Civic Assistance Committee and a board 
member of Memorial told us that GONGOs now participated at 
most official NGO events in Russia.  In the view of Aleksandr 
Petrov of Human Rights Watch, the presence of GONGOs, along 
with other problems, raised questions about how much could 
really be achieved at the forum.  He told us that a number of 
human rights organizations were considering holding a 
parallel meeting around the St. Petersburg summit to brief 
the original G7 members on human rights issues in Russia. 
 
COMMENT 
------- 
 
8. (C) The forum did not break major new ground, but it 
offered the GOR an opportunity to present itself as open to a 
wide range of NGO views.  At the same time it gave 
independent NGOs a chance to weigh in not only on the G8 but 
on other issues related to civil society.  The fact that it 
was headed by Pamfilova, whom  many in the independent NGO 
community view favorably, added to its credibility, as did 
the fact that people like Gleb Pavlovskiy, long viewed as a 
pivotal player in GOR attempts to coopt civil society, did 
not play a leadership role in the proceedings. 
BURNS

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