06MOSCOW3687, RUSSIAN MFA ON BELARUS, UKRAINE ELECTIONS

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
06MOSCOW3687 2006-04-07 17:07 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Moscow

VZCZCXRO6457
OO RUEHDBU
DE RUEHMO #3687/01 0971707
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 071707Z APR 06
FM AMEMBASSY MOSCOW
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 3835
INFO RUCNCIS/CIS COLLECTIVE IMMEDIATE
RUEHXD/MOSCOW POLITICAL COLLECTIVE IMMEDIATE

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 MOSCOW 003687 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 04/07/2016 
TAGS: PREL PGOV BO RS
SUBJECT: RUSSIAN MFA ON BELARUS, UKRAINE ELECTIONS 
 
REF: A. STATE 51992 
 
     B. MOSCOW 3510 
 
Classified By: DCM Daniel A. Russell.  Reasons: 1.4(B/D). 
 
1. (C)  Summary:  Charge d'Affaires delivered demarche on 
Belarus elections (ref A) April 7 to Vyacheslav Kovalenko, 
who was acting for Deputy Foreign Minister Karasin on CIS 
affairs.  Charge urged Russia to use its influence to help 
secure release of peaceful protesters who had been detained 
by the Lukashenko regime and to join the U.S. and EU in 
supporting the development of democracy in Belarus. 
Kovalenko responded that the U.S. should show flexibility and 
begin talking to Lukashenko; that would be the quickest path 
to democracy in Belarus.  Kovalenko reiterated that, despite 
some irregularities, Lukashenko's reelection was legitimate. 
He expressed some concern about the post-election crackdown, 
but gave Minsk the benefit of the doubt in upholding its 
laws.  Kovalenko made a point of commenting on opposition 
leader Milinkevich's anti-Russian views, most notably his 
stated opposition to the Union State Treaty.  On Ukraine, 
Kovalenko said that Russia supported the creation of a stable 
coalition government, but recognized that that would take 
time.  End Summary. 
 
2. (C)  On April 7, Charge d'Affaires met to discuss Belarus 
with MFA Second CIS Department Director Vyacheslav Kovalenko, 
who was responsible for CIS affairs while Deputy Foreign 
Minister Karasin was acting Foreign Minister.  Drawing upon 
reftel points, Charge underscored that the March 19 
presidential election in Belarus was fundamentally flawed and 
not in accordance with OSCE principles and standards.  He 
expressed serious concern about the detention of several 
hundred peaceful demonstrators including opposition leader 
Kazulin and the former Polish Ambassador.  Charge urged 
Russia to use its considerable influence with the Lukashenko 
regime to help secure their release.  Noting that Russia, the 
EU and the U.S. should share the objective of a peaceful, 
prosperous and democratic Belarus, he urged that Russia join 
in supporting the development of democracy in that country. 
 
3. (C)  Kovalenko agreed that there were points of 
convergence in U.S. and Russian views on Belarus.  He 
welcomed the opportunity for continued dialogue with the U.S. 
and EU on Belarus, and acknowledged the latter's "democracy 
deficit".  Kovalenko, however, argued that, although 
democratization was an inevitable process, if accelerated too 
quickly, it  could lead to unpredictable results.  He cited 
Russia in the early 1990s and contemporary Ukraine and 
Georgia as examples. 
 
4. (C)  Kovalenko acknowledged that there had been electoral 
violations in Belarus, but flatly stated that Lukashenko's 
election was not illegitimate as the West claimed.  Scattered 
irregularities did not make the election illegitimate. 
Kovalenko compared the Belarusian election favorably to the 
recent election in Ukraine, which he claimed had featured 
electoral violations, most notably in Crimea. 
 
5. (C)  On the Lukashenko regime's crackdown on the 
opposition, Kovalenko stated that the situation "worries the 
Russian government."  But he pointed out that Belarus had 
laws -- for example, requiring permits for mass 
demonstrations -- and the opposition had broken those laws. 
Kovalenko commented on the anti-Russian sentiments of some in 
the Belarusian opposition, singling out Milinkevich for 
special mention.  He claimed that Milinkevich harbors a 
fundamentally anti-Russian worldview and had only softened 
his position to win favor as the unified opposition 
candidate.  That said, Kovalenko did note that Milinkevich 
had been received in Moscow and given the opportunity to 
exchange views. 
 
6. (C)  On the way forward, Kovalenko agreed that the U.S., 
EU, and Russia all want to see a more democratic Belarus, but 
Western tactics needed to be "smarter and more flexible." 
For at least ten years, the U.S. has been pushing to 
democratize Belarus and yet the result has not been achieved. 
 Kovalenko suggested the U.S. should try talking to 
Lukashenko.  "Patient dialogue" would help Belarus 
democratize most quickly, he insisted.  CDA reiterated our 
hope that Russia would work to secure the release of those 
detained in Minsk and to support development of a more 
democratic Belarus. 
 
Ukraine 
------- 
 
7. (C)  Charge and Kovalenko briefly exchanged views on 
post-election developments in Ukraine.  Kovalenko was 
downbeat about the current situation.  The Russian MFA's 
neutral statement in the immediate aftermath of the 
 
MOSCOW 00003687  002 OF 002 
 
 
parliamentary election (ref B), he said, was indicative of 
Russia's willingness not to politicize the electoral 
irregularities there.  Kovalenko stated that Russia strongly 
supported Ukraine's territorial integrity and hoped that a 
stable coalition government would soon be formed.  Putin had 
told Yushchenko in their most recent phone conversation that 
he could count on Russia'
s support.  Referring to 
Tymoshenko's campaign pledge to reopen the January 4 gas 
deal, Kovalenko said that Russia could not remain indifferent 
to such a scenario.  He gloomily predicted a lengthy process 
of government formation in Kiev and worried about the effect 
on bilateral trade and overall relations. 
 
8. (C) Charge coordinated the delivery of the demarche on 
Belarus with the Austrian Ambassador and other members of the 
EU.  The Austrian Ambassador plans to deliver the parallel EU 
demarche with other EU Troika representatives early next 
week. 
 
BURNS

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