06MOSCOW4174, DAS KRAMER’S MEETING WITH HUMAN RIGHTS OMBUDSMAN

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
06MOSCOW4174 2006-04-20 05:30 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Moscow

VZCZCXRO8592
PP RUEHDBU
DE RUEHMO #4174/01 1100530
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 200530Z APR 06
FM AMEMBASSY MOSCOW
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 4478
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 004174 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 04/17/2016 
TAGS: PGOV PREL PHUM RS
SUBJECT: DAS KRAMER'S MEETING WITH HUMAN RIGHTS OMBUDSMAN 
LUKIN 
 
 
Classified By: Political Minister Counselor Kirk Augustine for reasons 
1.4 (b, d). 
 
1.  (C) SUMMARY:  On April 18 EUR Deputy Assistant Secretary 
David Kramer met with Russian Federation Ombudsman for Human 
Rights Vladimir Lukin.  Addressing Kramer's concern about the 
recently enacted NGO law, Lukin said that it was still 
unclear how it would be implemented, but no major moves 
against NGOs were expected in the lead-up to the G-8 summit. 
Lukin noted that changes had been made to ease the 
bureaucratic burden on NGOs.  Regarding the recent attack on 
jailed Yukos head Mikhail Khodorkovskiy, Lukin said he had 
raised the matter with the Prosecutor General.  Lukin said 
that recent xenophobic attacks in Russia were not unlike 
attacks in other European countries, but local police and 
courts needed to do more.  Kramer and Lukin discussed how 
human rights could become an area of constructive engagement 
in bilateral relations and Lukin proposed creating a human 
rights and democracy dialogue of five to six non-government 
experts on each side to discuss bilateral concerns and 
multilateral issues.  END SUMMARY 
 
NGO LAW 
------- 
2.  (C)  Opening his April 18 meeting with GOR Ombudsman for 
Human Rights Vladimir Lukin, EUR DAS David Kramer asked for 
Lukin's impressions of the NGO law, which entered into effect 
that day.  Lukin said that the main issue was how the law 
would be implemented.  Initially, Lukin had been critical of 
the wording of the bill because it placed a large 
bureaucratic burden on NGOs.  However, he said the final 
version of the bill and the implementing regulations had 
addressed this problem, and he would try to convince 
authorities not to increase requirements on NGOs.  Noting 
that only one NGO, the Union of Migrants, had encountered 
legal problems in its registration, he felt that this NGO had 
made mistakes in filing its paperwork.  He suggested the U.S. 
withhold judgment on implementation for several months to see 
how the law was enforced and to review the situation in a 
year when the NGOs were required to submit their year-end 
paperwork. 
 
3.  (C)  Alluding to the G-8 summit, Lukin noted that this 
was a "special year," and it was unlikely that there would be 
major moves against NGOs.  In response to Kramer's concern 
that the legal requirements were still too burdensome, Lukin 
said that remained to be seen and would depend on the federal 
government's ability to prevent small-time bureaucrats from 
meddling.  He assured Kramer, "I will watch it.  I will react 
because it is my duty." 
 
4.  (C)  Asked how the law would affect the registration of 
new NGOs, Lukin said that United Russia had introduced a bill 
in the Moscow City Duma that would make registration more 
difficult, but the bill had been withdrawn when higher 
authorities intervened.  When Kramer brought up 
Khodorkovskiy-funded NGO Open Russia's legal troubles, Lukin 
said that Open Russia's accounts had been frozen as part of 
the legal proceedings against Yukos.  He stressed that Open 
Russia had not approached him as Human Rights Ombudsman, and 
noted that he had no authority to intervene in what was a 
matter of tax law. 
 
ATTACK ON KHODORKOVSKIY 
---------------------- 
5.  (C)  Lukin said he had raised the recent attack on 
Mikhail Khodorkovskiy in prison with the Prosecutor General, 
who said that everything was being done in accordance with 
the law.  Lukin had said that it was illegal to send 
prisoners, including Khodorkovskiy, to a penal institution 
far away from the region in which they were tried.  The 
Prosecutor General had told Lukin that in Khodorkovskiy's 
case security problems required detention in a remote prison. 
 Both Kramer and Lukin saw the irony in this logic in light 
of the recent attack.  Lukin promised to continue to work 
behind the scenes to move prisoners closer to where they had 
been tried and said that Khodorkovskiy was "on his 
conscience."  Lukin added that it was strange that 
Khodorkovskiy declined to file a complaint against the 
attacker and that descriptions varied on the nature of his 
injury. 
 
XENOPHOBIC ATTACKS 
------------------ 
6.  (C)  When Kramer asked whether xenophobic attacks in 
Russia were on the rise, Lukin admitted that tension existed 
in Russia regarding recent immigrants, but no more so than in 
other European countries.  The attacks reflected Russian 
society's reaction to globalization, post-imperialism and the 
widening gap between rich and poor.  He stressed that 
mid-level authorities in the justice system and police had 
 
MOSCOW 00004174  002 OF 002 
 
 
failed to address the problem as more than simple 
hooliganism.  In the long-term the problem could be solved by 
teaching tolerance in the education system, but in the 
short-term police and courts had to take the problem more 
seriously.  Lukin said that immigration would be affected 
only by the growth of Russia's economy, not by xenophobic 
attacks.  The question is not whether or not to allow 
immigration,
 but how to channel immigrants to less populated, 
developing regions.  He pointed out that the 2002 immigration 
law had been amended and made less strict, reflecting the 
government's acceptance of the benefits of immigration. 
 
HUMAN RIGHTS AS A BILATERAL CHALLENGE 
------------------------------------ 
7.  (C)  Kramer asked how Russia and the U.S. could engage 
constructively on questions of human rights without 
exacerbating tensions.  Lukin replied that the human rights 
issue did not help relations and both sides should spend more 
time looking inward and less time accusing the other of human 
rights abuses.  He said that this year's U.S. Human Rights 
Report on Russia was not overstated.  His upcoming annual 
report would detail some, but not all, of the same issues. 
The U.S. and Russia were both being criticized for abuses of 
human rights in their struggles against terrorism.  He felt 
that both countries could engage on this issue by setting up 
an informal discussion of standards and solutions.  Lukin 
promised to discuss the idea with President Putin, while 
Kramer said he would raise it in the U.S. 
 
8.  (C)  The idea would be to set up a commission or dialogue 
of five to six non-government experts on each side, people 
plugged into or influential with their respective 
governments, to discuss bilateral human rights and democracy 
concerns as well as multilateral issues such as the UN Human 
Rights Council.  The two sides would issue reports to their 
respective presidents as well as to their parliaments and to 
the public.  The dialogue would have the blessing of the two 
countries' presidents and would be an opportunity for an 
extensive, frank exchange of views. 
 
9.  (U)  DAS Kramer cleared this cable. 
 
BURNS

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