06MOSCOW5557, AMBASSADOR’S MAY 23 MEETING WITH DUMA FIRST DEPUTY

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
06MOSCOW5557 2006-05-26 07:33 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Moscow

VZCZCXRO8675
RR RUEHDBU
DE RUEHMO #5557/01 1460733
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
R 260733Z MAY 06
FM AMEMBASSY MOSCOW
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 6483
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 005557 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SIPDIS 
 
DEPARTMENT FOR INL, G/TIP 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 05/23/2016 
TAGS: ECON PGOV PHUM PREL RS SOCI
SUBJECT: AMBASSADOR'S MAY 23 MEETING WITH DUMA FIRST DEPUTY 
SPEAKER MOROZOV 
 
REF: A. MOSCOW 4951 
 
     B. MOSCOW 5382 
     C. MOSCOW 0019 
 
Classified By: Ambassador William J. Burns, for reasons 1.4 (B & D). 
 
1. (C) SUMMARY.  Ambassador met May 23 with Duma First Deputy 
Speaker Oleg Morozov, who agreed that inter-parliamentary 
exchanges should be encouraged.  He noted that a newly 
created Duma working group will address legislative 
initiatives proposed by President Putin in his Annual 
Address.  Morozov offered insights on bills eliminating some 
draft deferments, liberalizing immigration, restricting 
"hidden" political party alliances, and combating trafficking 
in persons.  END SUMMARY. 
. 
MORE INTER-PARLIAMENTARY COMMUNICATION ENCOURAGED 
--------------------------------------------- ---- 
 
2. (C) In a May 23 call on State Duma First Deputy Speaker 
Oleg Morozov (who is also First Deputy Chairman of the United 
Russia fraction), the Ambassador said that despite 
differences between Russia and the U.S., both sides had much 
to gain by working together.  He had already talked to Duma 
Speaker Gryzlov and International Committee Chair Kosachev 
about strengthening interaction between the Duma and 
Congress.  He noted, for example, that last year the Duma 
sent a delegation to the U.S. and the House reciprocated with 
a delegation to Moscow.  He hoped to encourage a delegation 
from the House to come again, and noted that Senator Lott 
would visit the Federation Council in July.  Morozov said he 
did not know of any plans for a visit this year, but agreed 
that increased communication and more exchanges would be 
beneficial. 
. 
DUMA TO WORK ON IMPLEMENTING PUTIN'S ANNUAL ADDRESS 
--------------------------------------------- ------ 
 
3. (C) Morozov noted that on May 19 the Duma had established 
a working group to implement ideas proposed by President 
Putin in his May 10 Annual Address to the Federal Assembly 
(poslaniye) (ref A).  Morozov will head the group, which 
includes three deputies from each faction and the heads of 
all Duma committees.  He said by May 25 the main contours of 
the group's work plan would be finalized.  He emphasized that 
achieving the goals set forth in the Address was not just a 
one-year project but a long-term, strategic endeavor.  The 
working group would coordinate development of bills among the 
government, factions, and committees, but would not draft 
bills itself. 
 
4. (C) Morozov said the Duma was already looking at the 2007 
federal budget and how the initiatives raised in the Address 
would affect it.  Finance Minister Kudrin was mistaken in 
estimating the initiatives' cost at 40 billion rubles 
(approximately USD 1.5 billion); it would actually be four to 
five times greater at a minimum.  Morozov suggested that the 
Stabilization Fund could be tapped to fund some initiatives. 
Although the Fund's minimum of 500 billion rubles had been 
reached long ago, a maximum amount still had to be set.  Once 
the ceiling was determined, any surplus over that amount 
could be used to address the Kremlin's initiatives, 
especially demographic issues. 
. 
DEFERMENT BILL RE-WORKED TO CORRESPOND TO NEW GOALS 
--------------------------------------------- ------ 
 
5. (C) Looking ahead, Morozov said that every bill brought 
before the Duma would be considered through the prism of the 
Address, and that meant that some bills would have to be 
reworked accordingly.  In particular, Morozov mentioned four 
bills for reforming the armed forces (ref. A, B), whose 
second readings had been postponed from mid-May to June.  He 
said that while one of the goals in the Address was 
strengthening the army and increasing the number of draftees, 
improving Russia's demographic situation and the welfare of 
young families also had to be taken into account.  He 
supported a choice between a one-year deferment or a 
compensation package of 6,000 to 7,000 rubles a month (about 
USD 220 to USD 260) for families with a pregnant wife, an 
infant up to one year old, or invalid children up to a 
certain age.  However, there was some opposition in the Duma 
to offering a choice between a one-year deferment and 
compensation, since the rich would choose the deferment and 
the poor would choose compensation.  Despite that debate, 
Morozov said he expected the bill to be passed in June. 
. 
NEW LAW WILL LIBERALIZE IMMIGRATION 
----------------------------------- 
 
MOSCOW 00005557  002 OF 002 
 
 
 
6. (C) Morozov said he was one of the authors of a new bill 
that would remove difficult registration requirements for 
foreign workers, making it possible for illegal foreign 
workers to achieve legal status more easily.  The U.S. was 
becoming more conservative in its attitude toward illegal 
immigrants, he said, while Russia was becoming more liberal. 
If Russia were to expel the approximately 15 million
illegal 
workers in Russia, it would be a serious blow to the economy. 
 Legalizing illegal workers would enable authorities to 
control them -- since they would no longer have to hide -- 
and would improve the economy since the workers would receive 
a legitimate salary, pay taxes, be registered for health 
care, and rent or own property more transparently.  He said 
this bill was supported by the Presidential Administration 
and the Duma; it passed its first reading in late March by a 
wide margin and was likely to be passed quickly in its second 
and third readings. 
. 
POLITICAL PARTY LAW WILL ABOLISH "HIDDEN ALLIANCES" 
--------------------------------------------- ------ 
 
7. (C) The Ambassador asked Morozov about the new bill to 
abolish "hidden alliances" between political parties, which 
passed its first reading May 17.  Morozov responded that he 
supported the bill's overall concept -- but not all of its 
provisions -- and it was highly likely to pass in June or 
July.  Introduced by United Russia and LDPR deputies (and 
vigorously opposed by the Communist Party and Rodina), the 
bill has two main provisions: to prohibit political parties 
from putting members of other parties on their electoral 
lists, hence removing the possibility of election alliances, 
and to prohibit Duma members from leaving their faction or 
party to join another once they have been elected to the 
Duma.  Morozov said he agreed with the first provision since 
"hidden alliances" during elections deceived voters.  He did 
not agree with the second provision, since Duma deputies 
sometimes changed their political philosophy during their 
term and should not be forced to remain in a party they no 
longer supported. 
. 
IMPORTANCE OF FIGHT AGAINST TRAFFICKING IN PERSONS 
--------------------------------------------- ----- 
 
8. (C) The Ambassador stressed the importance that the U.S. 
attaches to the trafficking in persons (TIP) issue, and the 
value of comprehensive legislation for Russia's efforts.  He 
noted that the U.S. and other countries had passed such laws, 
which made it easier to cooperate effectively on an 
international level to combat TIP.  Morozov agreed fully on 
the significance of the TIP problem in Russia, and the Duma's 
role in combating it.  He added that a deputy was working on 
a bill, but it would not be introduced until perhaps the fall 
session.  He said that if such a bill were introduced, it 
would be unlikely to face opposition, but it could have a 
domino effect on other laws -- such as the Criminal Code -- 
which would then have to be amended.  Ambassador noted 
U.S.-Russian cooperation on TIP, and urged early progress on 
comprehensive legislation. 
BURNS

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