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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
06MOSCOW3815 2006-04-12 07:36 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Moscow

DE RUEHMO #3815/01 1020736
P 120736Z APR 06

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 MOSCOW 003815 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 04/07/2016 
Classified By: Minister-Counselor for Political Affairs Kirk Augustine. 
 Reasons 1.4 (B/D). 
1.  (C) SUMMARY:  Rodina Party chairman Dmitriy Rogozin 
resigned from that position March 25, as observers expected, 
and also stepped down from his position as Rodina faction 
chairman in the State Duma April 4.  The departure of the 
mercurial Rogozin has done nothing to mend internal rifts 
within the party and raises questions about its future 
direction and status.  New Rodina leader Aleksandr Babakov is 
trying to restore party discipline and is widely expected to 
hew more closely to the Kremlin line.  Some members of the 
broader Rodina movement hope to bring together its various 
organizations under a "social democratic" banner without 
invoking the nationalist plank that characterized the party 
under Rogozin's leadership.  Rogozin, meanwhile, plans to 
spend the next six months fine-tuning his program, "Securing 
the Nation," which he hopes to use as the foundation for a 
new Rodina-like political formation.  The result is that 
Rodina has become further splintered, with the pro-Kremlin 
United Russia Party (YR) the major beneficiary.  END SUMMARY. 
2.  (C) The anticipated resignation of Rodina Party Chairman 
Dmitriy Rogozin March 25 set in motion a chain of events that 
will likely increase party discipline in the short-term but 
also raise questions about the longer-term direction and 
viability of the controversial organization.  Yuriy Skokov, 
considered one of Rogozin's mentors and rumored to be a 
conduit between the party and the Kremlin, told us prior to 
the March 25 party congress that there had been significant 
concern among members about Rogozin's tactics and leadership 
style.  He described Rogozin as "energetic and articulate" 
but also "more populist" than necessary.  Skokov acknowledged 
that controversy surrounding Rogozin had resulted in 
dissatisfaction within the Kremlin, especially from Deputy 
Chief of the Presidential Administration (PA) Vladislav 
Surkov, who had been pressing for "tactical changes" within 
the party.  In spite of Rogozin's then-imminent departure, 
Skokov said he was certain that Rodina would be able to 
survive his resignation due to its strong "corporate 
structure" and collective leadership approach. 
3.  (SBU) Aleksandr Babakov inherited the Rodina mantle with 
almost unanimous support; the vote among congress delegates 
was 170-3, and Rogozin himself spoke in favor of Babakov's 
accession.  The new Rodina Party Chairman is an economist and 
businessman who, among other activities, is the owner of one 
of Russia's premier soccer teams.  He is also regarded as a 
major financial backer of Rodina.  Babakov promised that the 
party would remain in opposition but underscored that it 
should not be a "hostile opposition."  He called for 
constructive criticism of official policies and dialogue with 
authorities.  Most political observers interpreted Babakov's 
initial comments as an indication that Rodina would hew more 
closely to the Kremlin line from which it had strayed on 
Rogozin's watch, especially over the past year.  Some pundits 
believe that Babakov is only a transitional leader until a 
more appealing figure emerges.  On April 4 Rogozin ceded his 
position as Rodina faction chairman in the State Duma, which 
Babakov also assumed. 
4.  (C) Rogozin's departure left Rodina uncertain of its 
future.  Some members of the broader Rodina movement hope to 
shape its various organizations and associations into a 
social democratic bloc without emphasizing the nationalist 
plank that characterized Rodina under Rogozin's leadership. 
Oleg Denisov, a Rodina Deputy in the State Duma, expressed to 
us his frustration with Rogozin's leadership style.  Denisov 
mentioned, in particular, that Rogozin's emphasis on 
nationalism and illegal migrants had distracted supporters 
and prospective members from Rodina's long-term goal, which 
was to build a society based on equal opportunity and social 
protection for all citizens, with the state lending strong 
guiding support when needed. 
5.  (C) Nikolay Novichkov, another social democrat and 
current deputy secretary of the Rodina faction in the State 
Duma, offered much the same message, though he conceded that 
Rogozin's personality and nationalist themes had broadened 
Rodina's appeal and attracted numerous supporters.  Saying 
that Rodina would be better served without Rogozin's divisive 
approach, Novichkov added that he hoped eventually the main 
Rodina faction would be re-united with the breakaway faction 
led by Sergey Baburin.  However, he was unable to suggest 
specific goals and objectives for the social democratic wing 
of the movement or to explain how its platform would differ 
from other political parties like YR or the communists. 
6.  (C) Mikhail Demurin, a member of the party's political 
MOSCOW 00003815  002 OF 002 
council, told us that Rogozin planned to spend the next six 
months fine-
tuning his program, "Securing the Nation." 
Demurin, who had previously outlined that program for us 
(reftel), said it would focus on various proposals aimed at 
improving the country's socio-economic situation, including 
explaining the economic rationale for hiring workers from 
underdeveloped regions of Russia rather than importing 
illegal migrant labor from Central Asia and elsewhere.  The 
program would also highlight suggestions for turning around 
Russia's worsening demographics.  Rogozin's goal, he added, 
was to use the program as the foundation for a new 
Rodina-like political formation. 
7.  (C) Demurin said Rogozin still had considerable personal 
support throughout the country and even within the PA.  He 
identified Surkov as being most responsible for engineering 
both internal turmoil within Rodina and Rogozin's resignation 
from the party.  He observed that Surkov had wanted not only 
to get rid of Rogozin but to humiliate him to the maximum 
extent so that he would not be able to become a political 
force in the future.  Demurin added, however, that Rogozin 
still had allies within the PA and elsewhere in the 
government and speculated that Rogozin would rely on such 
support, along with his prominent name-recognition among 
voters throughout the country, to launch a new campaign in 
time for the 2007 parliamentary election. 
8.  (C) COMMENT:  It will be another few months before the 
full effects of Rogozin's resignation from the Rodina Party 
become clear. We doubt that either Novichkov's social 
democrats or the pro-Rogozin nationalists will be able, 
individually, to generate the mass support and loyalty 
necessary to pose a credible electoral challenge.  A 
Babakov-led Rodina Party is also unlikely to pose a threat to 
the ruling authorities.  In this sense, the Kremlin's 
divide-and-conquer tactics have succeeded in undermining and 
unraveling what had become an increasingly effective and 
popular, although also in the eyes of many potentially 
dangerous, political movement that had the capability to win 
significant numbers of votes throughout the country.  The 
result is that yet another opposition party has been beaten 
into submission, with the pro-Kremlin YR the most likely 
beneficiary of Rodina's disintegration. 


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