06MOSCOW5427, AMBASSADOR’S MAY 22 MEETING WITH HUMAN RIGHTS

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
06MOSCOW5427 2006-05-22 13:54 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Moscow

VZCZCXRO2902
OO RUEHDBU
DE RUEHMO #5427 1421354
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 221354Z MAY 06
FM AMEMBASSY MOSCOW
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 6275
INFO RUCNCIS/CIS COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHXD/MOSCOW POLITICAL COLLECTIVE PRIORITY

C O N F I D E N T I A L MOSCOW 005427 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 05/22/2016 
TAGS: PGOV PHUM PREL RS
SUBJECT: AMBASSADOR'S MAY 22 MEETING WITH HUMAN RIGHTS 
OMBUDSMAN LUKIN 
 
REF: MOSCOW 5377 
 
Classified By: Ambassador William J. Burns, for reasons 1.4 (B & D). 
 
1. (U) This is an action request - see paragraph 7. 
 
2. (C) SUMMARY.  Ambassador met May 22 with Human Rights 
Ombudsman Vladimir Lukin, who will visit New York and 
Washington May 23-26 (reftel).  Lukin said President Putin 
had encouraged him to visit the U.S. to expand the bilateral 
dialogue on human rights.  On other issues, he said that his 
office's recently released human rights report had been 
relatively well received so far in Russia and that it was too 
soon to tell about implementation of the NGO law.  Lukin is a 
relatively fair observer of Russia's human rights situation, 
and we recommend that Department assist him to the extent 
possible in getting high-level appointments during his trip. 
END SUMMARY. 
. 
LUKIN'S U.S. MEETINGS 
--------------------- 
 
3. (C) Lukin said he looked forward to his May 23-26 visit to 
Washington and New York.  President Putin, as well as 
Presidential Aide Sergey Prikhodko and Security Council head 
Igor Ivanov, had encouraged him to take that trip even though 
the atmosphere might be difficult.  Well acquainted with 
Washington from his tenure as ambassador in the early 1990s, 
Lukin hoped to meet with many contacts from the USG, 
Congress, think tanks, and the media.  Thus far, few meetings 
had been confirmed, Lukin continued, and he asked for the 
Department's help.  In Washington, Lukin hoped to meet with 
Vice President Cheney, Secretary Rice, Deputy Secretary 
Zoellick, NSA Stephen Hadley, House Speaker Hastert, and 
Senators Lugar, Obama, Lieberman, Biden, and Hagel, among 
others.  In New York, he said he hoped to meet with former 
President Bill Clinton, Henry Kissinger, and Rabbi Arthur 
Schneier. 
 
4. (C) Lukin said he saw the trip as especially important 
given the current difficult mood in both Moscow and 
Washington.  Lukin said that Russia was trying to maintain a 
balance between a strong government and a solid base for 
building democracy.  He compared the situation in Russia in 
the 1990s with the period in U.S. history that was replete 
with corruption, back-room deals, and robber-barons.  He said 
Russia did not want to return to such chaos.  On the other 
hand, there are real human rights and other political and 
social problems in Russia right now that must be addressed. 
 
 
5. (C) Lukin said he wanted to make the trip to help minimize 
misunderstanding and increase the bilateral dialogue.  He 
mentioned the interest he raised before with Washington 
interlocutors to create a more structured dialogue regarding 
human rights issues.  The Ambassador responded that there was 
definite interest in Washington about the idea and that 
contacts in Washington were looking forward to developing the 
idea with him. 
. 
REACTION TO HUMAN RIGHTS REPORT AND NGO LAW 
------------------------------------------- 
 
6. (C) Lukin said reaction to his office's annual human 
rights report had been good so far -- no one said it was too 
critical or not critical enough of the current situation in 
Russia.  He said the report aimed for a calm, balanced tone 
but also one that would be critical of human rights abuses. 
In terms of the NGO law, he said the situation was quiet and 
that only one incident -- a court case against the Union of 
Immigrants, whose head is a member of his office's Expert 
Council -- had raised concerns so far.  Lukin said he had 
tried to intervene on behalf of that NGO with the Justice 
Ministry but was told it was too late in the process. 
Ministry officials had assured him, however, that the outcome 
would not harm the NGO.  As it subsequently turned out, the 
case was dismissed by the court.  He said he did not know how 
strong a precedent the case would set, but insisted the NGO 
law was no worse than similar laws in Western countries.  He 
said it was not a good idea to raise the alarm too often when 
nothing has happened and cited the example of "the boy who 
cried wolf."  Lukin offered to discuss the NGO law during his 
meetings in the U.S.  He also repeated his determination to 
keep a careful eye on implementation of the NGO law. 
 
7. (C) Action request: As reftel noted, Lukin has been a fair 
observer of the human rights situation in Russia and an 
excellent interlocutor.  We recommend that the Department do 
its best to arrange the meetings he has requested. 
BURNS

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