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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
06MOSCOW6839 2006-06-27 13:44 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Moscow

DE RUEHMO #6839/01 1781344
O 271344Z JUN 06

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 MOSCOW 006839 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 06/26/2016 
Classified By: Ambassador William J. Burns.  Reasons: 1.4 (B/D). 
 1. (C) SUMMARY:  The menu of civil society events around the 
G8 Summit has taken shape, although a few uncertainties 
remain.  The main GOR-sponsored event, the so-called Civil G8 
to be held on July 3-4, has been supplemented with a human 
rights roundtable, which some independent activists view as a 
helpful Kremlin concession.  Nonetheless, activists are 
organizing a July 5 conference focused directly on human 
rights to further supplement the Civil G8.  The main 
independent civil society event will be the "Another Russia" 
forum on July 11-12, for which organizers have high hopes but 
about which some activists continue to harbor reservations. 
Plans for a meeting of global NGO leaders seem to have gone 
by the wayside, while the GOR agreed to allow what it 
describes as an "anti-globalist event" at a St. Petersburg 
stadium in an apparent effort to control potential 
protesters.  Plans are proceeding for a religious summit in 
Moscow on July 4-5.  Differences linger among independent 
activists but many seem at least fairly satisfied that the 
events surrounding the Summit will give them sufficient 
opportunity to air their views.  END SUMMARY. 
--------------------------------------------- ------- 
2. (C) Although Presidential Council for Civil Society 
Institutions and Human Rights Chair Ella Pamfilova told the 
DCM that pulling together all elements of the Civil G8, the 
premier GOR-sponsored event surrounding the Summit (reftel), 
is a daunting task, plans for that event are proceeding well. 
 The Civil G8 is to take place July 3-4 in Moscow, and 
President Putin is expected to speak, perhaps at its closing 
session.  Organizers had originally planned to focus the 
proceedings primarily on the main Summit agenda items, and 
those remain high on the agenda, which includes roundtables 
on education, energy security, health issues and global 
economic issues, among others.  As Pamfilova had been hinting 
to us lately, however, human rights have now become a formal 
agenda item, with one of the conference's eight working 
groups to focus on that issue. 
3. (C) The Civil G8's human rights roundtable, formally to 
discuss subjects such as "Restrictions on and Undermining of 
Human Rights under the Flag of the War Against Terror, 
Including Armed Conflict Situations," is to include a range 
of international issues, ranging from Afghanistan and Iraq to 
Northern Ireland and Turkey, with Israel/Palestine also 
likely to be addressed.  Russia/Chechnya is also on that 
agenda, however, and the roundtable includes a number of 
independent Russian activists, including Memorial's Oleg 
Orlov and Grigoriy Shvedov, Center for Extreme Journalism's 
Oleg Panfilov and Human Rights Watch's Aleksandr Petrov. 
Demos Center's Tatyana Lokshina, who will also participate, 
told us June 27 that she was hopeful the roundtable would 
provide a useful forum to highlight human rights causes, and 
felt it important that independent activists take part to 
demonstrate that they seek to play a constructive role rather 
than an exclusively oppositionist one.  Others, however, 
remain convinced the event will only serve to legitimize 
Putin administration human rights policies while skirting 
over Russia's human rights problems. 
4. (SBU) Despite her hopefulness about the Civil G8, Lokshina 
is among a large group of activists who opted to organize an 
additional conference, on "Human Rights in Russia in the Year 
of Russia's Chairmanship of the G8 and Council of Europe," to 
be held in Moscow on July 5.  Such plans resulted because of 
fears that, although Chechnya is on the Civil G8 human rights 
roundtable's agenda, it will not receive sufficient attention 
given the range of other international issues.  The 
organizers also envision the July 5 event as a bridge between 
the Civil G8 and the "Another Russia" Forum, to be held about 
a week later.  The July 5 conference is to focus on issues 
such as abuse of Russia's legal system, limiting of personal 
and political freedoms, treatment of minorities, and 
international cooperation on promoting human rights in Russia. 
5. (C) United Civil Front head Garri Kasparov told us June 27 
that he was pleased with the progress in organizing the 
"Another Russia" forum, to be held in Moscow on July 11-12. 
The forum is to have sessions devoted to civil rights, 
"internal war," violence over society and nature, and 
relations between the state and society.  Kasparov was 
enthused at the high level of planned USG participation, and 
anticipated that a high-ranking Canadian legislator would 
MOSCOW 00006839  002 OF 003 
attend as well.  Expressing disappointment that Western 
European governments had reacted coolly to the organizers' 
invitations to send official participants, he remained 
hopeful for more positive news
from the Europeans.  On the 
afternoon of June 27, Interfax reported that the event would 
be sponsored by the National Endowment for Democracy and 
George Soros' Open Society Institute. 
6. (C) Kasparov listed a host of Russia's leading opposition 
politicians as likely to attend, ranging from Duma Deputy 
Vladimir Ryzhkov and Union of Right Forces head Nikita Belykh 
to Rodina's Mikhail Delyagin.  He doubted that Yabloko head 
Grigoriy Yavlinskiy would take part, and said the organizers 
were leaning toward asking former Rodina leader Dmitriy 
Rogozin not to attend.  Kasparov also said it was uncertain 
if the Communist Party of the Russian Federation would send 
an official delegation, although many Communist members were 
sure to come.  In sum, Kasparov said that his hopes to bring 
together opposition politicians from across the political 
spectrum would be largely fulfilled. 
7. (C) We continue to hear grumbling from some independent 
activists who remain concerned that the event is overly 
political, and that this could end up hurting the broader 
civil society community.  Lokshina told us she intended to 
steer clear of the event for that reason, and Shvedov said he 
had refused an invitation to speak at it.  Anti-Defamation 
League Moscow office chief Aleksandr Akselrod made the same 
point, telling us on June 27 that an overly politicized event 
might hinder his office's work on tolerance and that the 
presence of Rodina people, among others, also caused him 
8. (SBU) National Democratic Institute Russia Chief of Party 
Mary O'Hagan told us that in addition to attending, she was 
organizing training sessions for some participants, in order 
to take advantage of their presence in Moscow for the forum. 
The sessions, to be held both before and after the forum, 
would focus on NDI Russia's research and analysis of public 
attitudes toward politics, as well as discussion of how those 
attitudes affected political activism in Russia. 
9. (C) The World Wildlife Fund (WWF), in conjunction with 
other organizations, had hoped to hold a meeting of the heads 
of some thirty top international NGOs on the margins of the 
Summit.  WWF Russia head Igor Chestin told us June 26 that 
such an event was unlikely to take place because the GOR 
strongly opposed it.  We understand from our British contacts 
that plans are in the works for UK PM Blair's spouse to meet 
with some international NGO leaders, possibly from WWF and 
Human Rights Watch, on the margins of the Summit, with former 
British politician Paddy Ashdown also in attendance.  Our 
British interlocutors stressed that the British First Lady 
would attend only in an informal capacity, as a human rights 
activist, rather than in any formal role. 
10. (C) In a surprise move, the GOR approved the plans of For 
Human Rights NGO head Lev Ponomarev to hold a "Russian Social 
Forum 2006" in St. Petersburg on July 14-15.  The event is to 
draw together those who describe themselves as taking an 
uncompromising stance toward the Putin administration and who 
refuse to take part in other of the Summit-related civil 
society activities.  Ponomarev, who had previously held out 
little hope of getting GOR approval for his Social Forum, 
told us June 27 that he was amazed at the decision, which he 
only came to believe when he heard St. Petersburg Governor 
Valentina Matviyenko announce it publicly.  Matviyenko 
described it as the "anti-globalist event," Ponomarev told us 
wryly, and he speculated that the GOR had approved it to 
better control potentially disruptive elements, who could be 
kept contained at the Kirov Stadium in St. Petersburg where 
the Forum is to take place. 
11. (C) In addition to the civil society activities, plans 
are in the works for other events.  Most prominent among 
these is a World Summit of Religious Leaders, to be convened 
by Russian Orthodox Church (ROC) Patriarch Aleksey II and 
held in Moscow on July 3-5.  President Putin reportedly will 
address the conference.  Over one hundred representatives of 
Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Buddhism, Taoism and Hinduism 
will attend, and will draw up a statement to present to the 
G8 heads of state.  Neither the Pope nor the Dalai Lama were 
invited.  Four cardinals are expected, including Cardinal 
McCarrick of Washington, D.C.  Rabbi Arthur Schneier is also 
among those coming from the U.S.  Christian Orthodoxy's four 
MOSCOW 00006839  003 OF 003 
Apostolic Patriarchies (Alexandria, Antioch, Constantinople 
and Jerusalem) will send low level representatives because 
they see the event as a public relations exercise designed to 
promote the ROC's claim to leadership of world Orthodoxy, 
according to resident Bishop of Antioch Niphon.  While the 
Russian organizers had hoped the Archbishop of Canterbury 
would attend, our UK Embassy interlocutor told us that was 
not likely.  Protestant Bishop Sergey Ryakhovskiy, head of 
the Russian Union of Christians of Evangelical Faith, told us 
June 27 that by all indications, participation among leading 
U.S. Protestant figures would be disappointing. 
12. (C) Differences continue to linger within the independent 
civil society community about how to proceed, notably whether 
to take part in the Civil G8 and the "Another Russia" forum. 
Our general sense, though, is that many activists would 
acknowledge that the range of events surrounding the Summit 
offer at least a reasonable opportunity to express their 
views.  Much will now depend on whether the activists emerge 
having reinforced their image as a divided camp or as a 
vibrant and positive force. 


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