Monthly Archives: August 2006

06MOSCOW9627, RUSSIAN DUMA CHAIRPERSON KOSACHEV ON US, IRAN,

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
06MOSCOW9627 2006-08-31 14:52 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Moscow

VZCZCXRO0420
OO RUEHDBU
DE RUEHMO #9627/01 2431452
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 311452Z AUG 06
FM AMEMBASSY MOSCOW
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 1503
INFO RUEHXK/ARAB ISRAELI COLLECTIVE IMMEDIATE
RUCNCIS/CIS COLLECTIVE IMMEDIATE
RUEHGG/UN SECURITY COUNCIL COLLECTIVE IMMEDIATE

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 MOSCOW 009627 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/31/2016 
TAGS: PREL PHUM KDEM RS
SUBJECT: RUSSIAN DUMA CHAIRPERSON KOSACHEV ON US, IRAN, 
LEBANON, CIS, NGOS, INTERNAL POLITICS 
 
 
Classified By: Ambassador William J. Burns: Reasons 1.4 (B) and (D) 
 
1.  (C)  Summary:  In an August 31 meeting with the 
Ambassador, Chairman of the International Relations Committee 
of the Russia Duma Konstantin Kosachev expressed concern over 
the deteriorating tone in US-Russian relations.  Kosachev 
explained his opposition to imposing sanctions against Iran 
absent a clear roadmap, arguing that Iran was emboldened by 
Lebanon and undeterred by economic measures.  Kosachev still 
held out the possibility of a Russian troop contribution to 
UNIFIL, but conceded Ministry of Defense opposition. 
Surveying the frozen conflicts, Kosachev recognized that 
Russia was not playing a helpful role, but argued the West 
did not recognize the legitimate grievances that undergird 
the disputes, which independence for Kosovo would complicate. 
 Kosachev welcomed the Ambassador's state-of-play on NGO 
re-registration and volunteered his assistance, if required. 
He characterized news of a union of leftist political parties 
a welcome political development in Russia, but said it was an 
open question whether this union or a combination of the 
beleaguered "rightist" democrats could break through the 
seven percent parliamentary threshold.  Action: Request 
Department's assistance in helping Kosachev schedule 
appointments in Washington on September 24-25 and in New York 
on September 27.  Other topics septel.  End Summary 
 
-------------------------------------------- 
TONE OF US-RUSSIAN RELATIONS: LUGAR COMMENTS 
-------------------------------------------- 
 
2.  (C)  Kosachev launched the hour-long meeting expressing 
surprise over Senator Lugar's August 29 characterization of 
US-Russian relations as "adversarial" (which, rendered in 
Russian, conveyed the sense of "enemy").  The Ambassador 
responded that the Senator's remarks were an accurate sign of 
the times, reflecting the assessment in Washington that 
Russian actions were tilting the relationship to one of 
competition, not cooperation.  Factors that may have hardened 
the Senator's view, the Ambassador added, was the GOR refusal 
to permit a visit to the Mayak fissile material storage 
facility that precipitated the cancellation of Lugar's July 
visit, following on last year's six-hour delay of Senators 
Lugar and Obama at the Perm airport.  Having just completed a 
visit to Georgia and Azerbaijan, Senator Lugar was 
well-apprised of the concerns of Russia's neighbors.  The 
Ambassador urged Kosachev to seek out Russia's critics during 
his late September visit to the U.S. and address their 
concerns directly.  He also reviewed where WTO negotiations 
stood, and outlined initiatives flowing from the G-8 summit 
meeting between the Presidents to enhance cooperation on 
nuclear energy. 
 
-------------------------------------------- 
IRAN: QUESTIONING SANCTIONS AND THE END-GAME 
-------------------------------------------- 
 
3.  (C)  A critical factor in US-Russian relations would be 
continued cooperation in halting Iranian proliferation, the 
Ambassador emphasized.  Kosachev noted that he was alarmed 
over more aggressive Iranian rhetoric, fueled by the 
perceived victory of its clients in Lebanon.  Relating an 
August 30 conversation with the Iranian Ambassador, Kosachev 
concluded that Iran was pleased with events in Lebanon, 
convinced that they had inflicted a defeat on Israel and the 
West, and untroubled by the prospect of sanctions.  The 
Iranian Ambassador had struck a defiant tone, he noted, 
stating that Iran was not intimidated by anyone, and 
certainly not by the UNSC.  Despite "open relations" with the 
Iranian Ambassador, Kosachev was taken aback by the strident 
Iranian talking points, which the Ambassador appeared to read 
verbatim, as well as by Iran's criticism of Russian as well 
as U.S. positions.  Kosachev condemned Iran's decision to 
move forward with the production of heavy water, labeling it 
"completely wrong," but concluded that the more pressure 
applied on Iran, the less influence the UNSC would wield. 
"If we proceed toward sanctions," Kosachev warned, "they will 
have an opposite effect." 
 
4.  (C)  Kosachev stated that the GOR was still studying the 
Iranian response, which he described as difficult to 
understand, technical in its details, and requiring 
clarification.  Based on his conversations with the relevant 
GOR actors, Kosachev predicted that the GOR would seek 
further dialogue with Iran and put forward additional 
questions before arriving at a final decision.  Pointing to 
uncertainty in European capitals as well, Kosachev concluded 
that few countries would be prepared to proceed immediately. 
Kosachev reinforced his discomfort over starting down the 
sanctions path without a clear roadmap.  The international 
community would box itself in a corner by applying economic 
 
MOSCOW 00009627  002 OF 003 
 
 
sanctions, knowing that they would be rejected by Iran.  The 
Iranian leadership, he reiterated, was not posturing and was 
not intimidated by sanctions.  Kosachev rela
ted that when he 
raised the examples of Spain, Sweden and the Ukraine -- 
countries that had nuclear programs, but no enrichment 
facilities -- the Iranian Ambassador retorted that none of 
these countries had been "cheated" by the international 
community; instead, Iran had to rely upon itself. 
 
5.  (C)  The Ambassador warned that inaction or delay in the 
UNSC carried a significant cost.  Iran had demonstrated that 
international conciliation would not induce it to halt its 
nuclear program.  The US and Russia, working with the EU, had 
produced a very generous package and had agreed several 
months ago that Iranian rejection of its terms would be met 
with significant steps to demonstrate the displeasure of the 
international community.  While Kosachev's apprehensions were 
understandable, no one was in a position to describe exactly 
the consequences of continued Iranian defiance.  However, it 
was important for the GOR to acknowledge the cost of 
international inaction.  The Ambassador agreed that events in 
Lebanon appeared to have hardened Iranian attitudes.  It was 
critical that the EU-3, US, Russia and China remain united. 
Russia should not signal that it intended to throw up its 
arms.  US policymakers were aware of the limits of sanctions 
and no one sought a precipitous move to the use of force; 
however, the US was convinced that inaction was not an 
option.  The six partners needed to think through the next 
steps together and ensure that Iran did not have an 
opportunity to exploit differences. 
 
--------------------------------------------- -- 
LEBANON AFTERMATH; RUSSIAN UNIFIL DELIBERATIONS 
--------------------------------------------- -- 
 
6.  (C)  Kosachev described the Israeli-Lebanon conflict as a 
lose-lose proposition.  The UNSC, Russia, the US and EU all 
were diminished, he argued, and the only answer was to 
prevent a resumption of hostilities.  Kosachev questioned the 
perceived unconditional US support for Israel, arguing that 
the GOI had abused its sovereign right to combat terrorists. 
He noted that he was an advocate for Russian participation in 
UNIFIL, but conceded that the Russian bureaucracy was 
divided.  Much would depend on the mandate, with the Ministry 
of Defense arguing against a troop contribution in the 
absence of clarity over the scope of UNIFIL's mission. 
Technically, Kosachev underscored, the GOR had a 2,000 strong 
division prepositioned for peacekeeping operations.  Foreign 
Minister Lavrov's trip to the region (September 6-8) and 
discussions at UNGA would shape Russian thinking.  The 
Ambassador agreed that the expanded UNIFIL needed to be stood 
up as quickly as possible, warning that provocations by 
Hezbollah or Syria against a politically weakened GOI would 
create an explosive situation. 
 
--------------------------------------------- -------- 
FROZEN CONFLICTS: NO EASY ANSWERS, KOSOVO COMPLICATES 
--------------------------------------------- -------- 
 
7.  (C)  Kosachev bemoaned Western indifference to the real 
emotions that fueled the frozen conflicts.  There was some 
truth that Russia perpetuated these conflicts, he admitted, 
but the key to resolving the disputes in Georgia lay in 
improving relations between the GOG and people of Abkhazia 
and South Ossetia.  Abkhazia, Kosachev stressed, had never 
been an historic part of Georgia, but was incorporated by 
Stalin and Beria -- a move that had been rejected by the 
Abkhazians from the outset.  Kosachev said that he personally 
was in favor of Abkhazia remaining within Georgia, but not by 
force, and repeated that this outcome would not be achieved 
by Georgian appeals to the US or Brussels, or by Russian 
pressure: a concordat between Tbilisi and Abkhazia was 
essential.  There needed to be a common program.  Russia had 
not done enough to effect this outcome, but neither -- he 
insisted -- had Georgia.  As for South Ossetia, it was an 
instance of a divided people.  The issue resonated in Russia, 
he noted, and within the Duma and among the leadership of 
North Ossetia it was difficult to discuss any solution short 
of reunification.  Kosachev derisively described the economy 
of South Ossetia as consisting of 2 factories, 600 jobs, and 
"you know what." 
 
8.  (C)  Kosovo presented a very dangerous development since 
there would be a referendum in Transdnistria on September 17. 
 In the wake of the positive Putin-Voronin visit, he noted, 
Russia would neither recognize nor deny the referendum, but 
some Duma members would be present as observers.  Kosachev 
said he simply could not accept that Kosovo was not a 
precedent for other frozen conflicts, including Abkhazia.  If 
Kosovo was granted independence, the international community 
 
MOSCOW 00009627  003 OF 003 
 
 
should do so understanding the implications for other 
conflict areas.  These disputes, he reiterated, are driven by 
nationalist demands that are not artificial.  While Kosachev 
accepted the Ambassador's points on the unique status of 
Kosovo, he reiterated that they were not credible to the 
people of these regions. 
 
---- 
NGOS 
---- 
 
9.  (C)  The Ambassador briefed Kosachev on the status of the 
re-registration of Western non-governmental organizations and 
his meeting with the Director of the Federal Registration 
Service (septel), noting the high level of anxiety among NGO 
representatives over the implementation of the new law. 
Kosachev, who played a helpful role in securing the 
modification of the initial draft of the NGO legislation, 
immediately interjected that he was prepared to help, if 
there was any indication that the law was being misapplied. 
The goal, he underscored, was to ease the work of the NGOs. 
Kosachev agreed with the Ambassador's suggestion that the GOR 
take the initiative in briefing G8 Ambassadors and members of 
the foreign NGO community. 
 
------------------------ 
POLITICAL CONSOLIDATIONS 
------------------------ 
 
10.  (C)  Turning to internal political developments, 
Kosachev welcomed the recent announcement of a union of 
leftist political parties.  A lack of strong political 
parties was a signal weakness of Russia's democracy and 
United Russia had long advocated and created incentives for 
political combinations.  Some reforms that had been 
interpreted in the West as undemocratic, Kosachev noted, were 
sincere efforts to create larger, more stable political 
parties.  Kosachev said that Russia needed a strong rightist 
party as well, and hoped Yabloko and SPS would overcome their 
leadership differences to forge a coalition. 
 
11.  (C)  Kosachev said he was not certain that the leftist 
union of the Party of Life, Party of Pensioners and Rodina 
would succeed, pointing to the charisma-deficit of its 
leadership; nevertheless, he wished the organizers success. 
United Russia, he underscored, would not do anything to block 
this political development.  Kosachev predicted a 2007 Duma 
with Unit
ed Russia, Communist, and LDPR representation.  Both 
the leftist bloc and coalition of rightists parties could 
aspire to break through the seven percent threshold but, 
slamming his fist on the table, Kosachev expressed 
exasperation over whether the latter would get their act 
together.  As to whether the Kremlin would induce a coalition 
among the beleaguered "democrats," Kosachev said it depended 
on the coalition's leader.  Former Prime Minister Kasyanov, 
for instance, was not welcome at the Kremlin and Kosachev 
discounted his strategy of running for President absent a 
strong political party base. 
 
-------------------------------------------- 
ACTION REQUEST: WASHINGTON/NEW YORK MEETINGS 
-------------------------------------------- 
 
12.  (U)  Post requests Department assistance in helping the 
Russian Embassy to arrange appropriate calls for Kosachev 
during his September 24-25 visit to Washington and September 
27 stop in New York.  In addition to his already-arranged 
session with the HIRC leadership, Kosachev seeks appointments 
with Senators Lugar and McCain, a meeting with the National 
Security Adviser, and meetings with appropriate senior State 
Department officials.  Kosachev would also be willing to 
speak at the Council of Foreign Relations in New York. 
BURNS

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06MOSCOW9533, A CAUCASUS WEDDING

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
06MOSCOW9533 2006-08-31 06:39 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Moscow

VZCZCXRO9862
PP RUEHDBU
DE RUEHMO #9533/01 2430639
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 310639Z AUG 06
FM AMEMBASSY MOSCOW
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 1394
INFO RUCNCIS/CIS COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHXD/MOSCOW POLITICAL COLLECTIVE PRIORITY

Thursday, 31 August 2006, 06:39
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 05 MOSCOW 009533 
SIPDIS 
SIPDIS 
EO 12958 DECL: 08/30/2016 
TAGS PGOV, ECON, PINR, RS 
SUBJECT: A CAUCASUS WEDDING 
Classified By: Deputy Chief of Mission Daniel A. Russell. Reason 1.4 ( b, d)
Summary
------- 
1. (C) Weddings are elaborate in Dagestan, the largest autonomy in the North Caucasus. On August 22 we attended a wedding in Makhachkala, Dagestan’s capital: Duma member and Dagestan Oil Company chief Gadzhi Makhachev’s son married a classmate. The lavish display and heavy drinking concealed the deadly serious North Caucasus politics of land, ethnicity, clan, and alliance. The guest list spanned the Caucasus power structure -- guest starring Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov -- and underlined just how personal the region’s politics can be. End Summary.
2. (C) Dagestani weddings are serious business: a forum for showing respect, fealty and alliance among families; the bride and groom themselves are little more than showpieces. Weddings take place in discrete parts over three days. On the first day the groom’s family and the bride’s family simultaneously hold separate receptions. During the receptions the groom leads a delegation to the bride’s reception and escorts her back to his own reception, at which point she formally becomes a member of the groom’s family, forsaking her old family and clan. The next day, the groom’s parents hold another reception, this time for the bride’s family and friends, who can “inspect” the family they have given their daughter to. On the third day, the bride’s family holds a reception for the groom’s parents and family.
Father of the Groom
------------------- 
3. (C) On August 22, Gadzhi Makhachev married off his 19 year-old son Dalgat to Aida Sharipova. The wedding in Makhachkala, which we attended, was a microcosm of the social and political relations of the North Caucasus, beginning with Gadzhi’s own biography. Gadzhi started off as an Avar clan leader. Enver Kisriyev, the leading scholar of Dagestani society, told us that as Soviet power receded from Dagestan in the late 1980s, the complex society fell back to its pre-Russian structure. The basic structural unit is the monoethnic “jamaat,” in this usage best translated as “canton” or “commune.” The ethnic groups themselves are a Russian construct: faced with hundreds of jamaats, the 19th century Russian conquerors lumped cantons speaking related dialects together and called them “Avar,” “Dargin,” etc. to reduce the number of “nationalities” in Dagestan to 38. Ever since then, jamaats within each ethnic group have been competing with one another to lead the ethnic group. This competition is especially marked among the Avars, the largest nationality in Dagestan.
4. (C) As Russian power faded, each canton fielded a militia to defend its people both in the mountains and the capital Makhachkala. Gadzhi became the leader from his home canton of Burtunay, in Kazbek Rayon. He later asserted pan-Avar ambitions, founding the Imam Shamil Popular Front -- named after the great Avar leader of mountaineer resistance to the Russians -- to promote the interests of the Avars and of Burtunay’s role within the ethnic group. Among his exploits was a role in the military defense of Dagestan against the 1999 invasion from Chechnya by Shamil Basayev and al-Khattab, and his political defense of Avar villages under pressure in Chechnya, Georgia and Azerbaijan.
5. (C) Gadzhi has cashed in the social capital he made from nationalism, translating it into financial and political capital -- as head of Dagestan’s state oil company and as the single-mandate representative for Makhachkala in Russia’s State Duma. His dealings in the oil business -- including close cooperation with U.S. firms -- have left him well off enough to afford luxurious houses in Makhachkala, Kaspiysk, Moscow, Paris and San Diego; and a large collection of luxury automobiles, including the Rolls Royce Silver Phantom in which Dalgat fetched Aida from her parents’ reception. (Gadzhi gave us a lift in the Rolls once in Moscow, but the legroom was somewhat constricted by the presence of a Kalashnikov carbine at our feet. Gadzhi has survived numerous assassination attempts, as have most of the still-living leaders of Dagestan. In Dagestan he always travels in an armored BMW with one, sometimes two follow cars full of uniformed armed guards.)
6. (C) Gadzhi has gone beyond his Avar base, pursuing a multi-ethnic cadre policy to develop a network of loyalists. He has sent Dagestani youths, including his sons, to a military type high school near San Diego (we met one graduate, a Jewish boy from Derbent now studying at San Diego state. He has no plans to enter the Russian military).
MOSCOW 00009533 002 OF 005
Gadzhi’s multi-ethnic reach illustrates what the editor of the Dagestani paper “Chernovik” told us: that in the last few years the development of inter-ethnic business clans has eroded traditional jamaat loyalties.
7. (C) But the Avar symbolism is still strong. Gadzhi’s brother, an artist from St. Petersburg, ordered as a wedding gift a life-sized statue of Imam Shamil. Shamil is the iconic national symbol, despite his stern and inflexible character (portrayed in Tolstoy’s “Hadji-Murat” as the mountaineers’ tyrannical counterpart to the absolutist Tsar).  Connection with Shamil makes for nobility among Avars today.  Gadzhi often mentions that he is a descendant on his mother’s side of Gair-Bek, one of Shamil’s deputies.
The Day Before
-------------- 
8. (C) Gadzhi’s Kaspiysk summer house is an enormous structure on the shore of the Caspian, essentially a huge circular reception room -- much like a large restaurant -- attached to a 40-meter high green airport tower on columns,
accessible only by elevator, with a couple of bedrooms, a reception room, and a grotto whose glass floor was the roof of a huge fish tank. The heavily guarded compound also boasts a second house, outbuildings, a tennis court, and two piers out into the Caspian, one rigged with block and tackle for launching jet skis. The house filled up with visitors from all over the Caucasus during the afternoon of August 21.  The Chair of Ingushetia’s parliament drove in with two colleagues; visitors from Moscow included politicians, businessmen and an Avar football coach. Many of the visitors grew up with Gadzhi in Khasavyurt, including an Ingush Olympic wrestler named Vakha who seemed to be perpetually tipsy. Another group of Gadzhi’s boyhood friends from Khasavyurt was led by a man who looked like Shamil Basayev on his day off -- flip-flops, t-shirt, baseball cap, beard -- but turned out to be the chief rabbi of Stavropol Kray. He told us he has 12,000 co-religionists in the province, 8,000 of them in its capital, Pyatigorsk. 70 percent are, like him, Persian-speaking Mountain Jews; the rest are a mixture of Europeans, Georgians and Bukharans.
9. (C) Also present was Chechnya’s Duma member, Khalid (aka Ruslan) Yamadayev, brother of the commander of the notorious Vostok Battalion. He was reserved at the time, but in a follow-up conversation in Moscow on August 29 (please protect) he complained that Chechnya, lacking experts to develop programs for economic recovery, is simply demanding and disposing of cash from the central government. When we pressed him on disappearances, he admitted some took place, but claimed that often parents alleged their children had been abducted when in fact their sons had run off to join the fighters or -- in a case the week before -- they had murdered their daughter in an honor killing. We mentioned the abduction of a widow of Basayev, allegedly to gain access to his money. Khalid said he had not heard of the case, but knew that Basayev had had no interest in wealth; he may have been a religious fanatic, but he was a “normal” person. The fighters who remain are not a serious military force, in Khalid’s view, and many would surrender under the proper terms and immunities. He himself is arranging the immunity of a senior official of the Maskhadov era, whose name he would not reveal.
10. (C) During lunch, Gadzhi took a congratulatory call from Dagestan’s president, Mukhu Aliyev. Gadzhi told Aliyev how honored he would be if Aliyev could drop in at the wedding reception. There was a degree of tension in the conversation, which was between two figures each implicitly claiming the mantle of leadership of the Avars. In the event, Aliyev snubbed Gadzhi and did not show up for the wedding, though the rest of Dagestan’s political leadership did.
11. (C) Though Gadzhi’s house was not the venue for the main wedding reception, he ensured that all his guests were constantly plied with food and drink. The cooks seemed to keep whole sheep and whole cows boiling in a cauldron somewhere day and night, dumping disjointed fragments of the carcass on the tables whenever someone entered the room. Gadzhi’s two chefs kept a wide variety of unusual dishes in circulation (in addition to the omnipresent boiled meat and fatty bouillon). The alcohol consumption before, during and after this Muslim wedding was stupendous. Amidst an alcohol shortage, Gadzhi had flown in from the Urals thousands of bottles of Beluga Export vodka (“Best consumed with caviar”).  There was also entertainment, beginning even that day, with the big-name performers appearing both at the wedding hall and at Gadzhi’s summer house. Gadzhi’s main act, a Syrian-born singer named Avraam Russo, could not make it because he was shot a few days before the wedding, but there
MOSCOW 00009533 003 OF 005
was a “gypsy” troupe from St. Petersburg, a couple of Azeri pop stars, and from Moscow, Benya the Accordion King with his family of singers. A host of local bands, singing in Avar and Dargin, rounded out the entertainment, which was constant and extremely amplified.
10. (C) The main activity of the day was eating and drinking -- starting from 4 p.m., about eight hours worth, all told -- punctuated, when all were laden with food and sodden with drink, with a bout of jet skiing in the Caspian. After dinner, though, the first band started an informal performance -- drums, accordion and clarinet playing the lezginka, the universal dance of the Caucasus. To the uninitiated Westerner, the music sounds like an undifferentiated wall of sound. This was a signal for dancing: one by one, each of the dramatically paunchy men (there were no women present) would enter the arena and exhibit his personal lezginka for the limit of his duration, usually 30 seconds to a minute. Each ethnic group’s lezginka was different -- the Dagestani lezginka the most energetic, the Chechen the most aggressive and belligerent, and the Ingush smoother.
Wedding Day 1
------------- 
11. (C) An hour before the wedding reception was set to begin the “Marrakech” reception hall was full of guests -- men taking the air outside and women already filling a number of the tables inside, older ones with headscarves chaperoning dozens of teenaged girls. A Dagestani parliamentarian explained that weddings are a principal venue for teenagers -- and more importantly their parents -- to get a look at one another with a view to future matches. Security was tight -- police presence on the ground plus police snipers positioned on the roof of an overlooking apartment block. Gadzhi even assigned one of his guards as our personal bodyguard inside the reception. The manager told Gadzhi there were seats for over a thousand guests at a time. At the height of the reception, it was standing room only.
12. (C) At precisely two p.m. the male guests started filing in. They varied from pols and oligarchs of all sorts -- the slick to the Jurassic; wizened brown peasants from Burtunay; and Dagestan’s sports and cultural celebrities. Khalid Yamadayev presided over a political table in the smaller of the two halls (the music was in the other) along with Vakha the drunken wrestler, the Ingush parliamentarians, a member of the Federation Council who is also a nanophysicist and has lectured in Silicon Valley, and Gadzhi’s cousin Ismail Alibekov, a submariner first rank naval captain now serving at the General Staff in Moscow. The Dagestani milieu appears to be one in which the highly educated and the gun-toting can mix easily -- often in the same person.
13. (C) After a couple of hours Dalgat’s convoy returned with Aida, horns honking. Dalgat and Aida got out of the Rolls and were serenaded into the hall, and into the Makhachev family, by a boys’ chorus lining both sides of the red carpet, dressed in costumes aping medieval Dagestani armor with little shields and swords. The couple’s entry was the signal for the emcee to roll into high gear, and after a few toasts the Piter “gypsies” began their performance. (The next day one of Gadzhi’s houseguests sneered, “Some gypsies! The bandleader was certainly Jewish, and the rest of them were blonde.” There was some truth to this, but at least the two dancing girls appeared to be Roma.)
14. (C) As the bands played, the marriageable girls came out to dance the lezginka in what looked like a slowly revolving conga line while the boys sat together at tables staring intently. The boys were all in white shirts and black slacks, while the girls wore a wide variety of multicolored but fashionable cocktail dresses. Every so often someone would shower the dancers with money
 -- there were some thousand ruble notes but the currency of choice was the U.S. hundred dollar bill. The floor was covered with them; young children would scoop the money up to distribute among the dancers.
15. (C) Gadzhi was locked into his role as host. He greeted every guest personally as they entered the hall -- failure to do so would cause great insult -- and later moved constantly from table to table drinking toasts with everyone. The 120 toasts he estimated he drank would have killed anyone, hardened drinker or not, but Gadzhi had his Afghan waiter Khan following him around to pour his drinks from a special vodka bottle containing water. Still, he was much the worse for wear by evening’s end. At one point we caught up with him dancing with two scantily clad Russian women who looked far from home. One, it turned out was a Moscow poet (later she recited an incomprehensible poem in Gadzhi’s honor) who
MOSCOW 00009533 004 OF 005
was in town with a film director to write the screenplay for a film immortalizing Gadzhi’s defense of Dagestan against Shamil Basayev. By 6 p.m. most of the houseguests had returned to Gadzhi’s seaside home for more swimming and more jet-skiing-under-the-influence. But by 8 the summer house’s restaurant was full once more, the food and drink were flowing, the name performers were giving acoustic renditions of the songs they had sung at the reception, and some stupendously fat guests were displaying their lezginkas for the benefit of the two visiting Russian women, who had wandered over from the reception.
The Wedding -- Day 2: Enter The Man
------------------------------------ 
16. (C) The next day’s reception at the Marrakech was Gadzhi’s tribute to Aida’s family, after which we all returned to a dinner at Gadzhi’s summer home. Most of the tables were set with the usual dishes plus whole roast sturgeons and sheep. But at 8:00 p.m. the compound was invaded by dozens of heavily armed mujahedin for the grand entrance of Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov, dressed in jeans and a t-shirt, looking shorter and less muscular than in his photos, and with a somewhat cock-eyed expression on his face.  After greetings from Gadzhi, Ramzan and about 20 of his retinue sat around the tables eating and listening to Benya the Accordion King. Gadzhi then announced a fireworks display in honor of the birthday of Ramzan’s late father, Ahmat-Hadji Kadyrov. The fireworks started with a bang that made both Gadzhi and Ramzan flinch. Gadzhi had from the beginning requested that none of his guests, most of whom carried sidearms, fire their weapons in celebration. Throughout the wedding they complied, not even joining in the magnificent fireworks display.
17. (C) After the fireworks, the musicians struck up the lezginka in the courtyard and a group of two girls and three boys -- one no more than six years old -- performed gymnastic versions of the dance. First Gadzhi joined them and then Ramzan, who danced clumsily with his gold-plated automatic stuck down in the back of his jeans (a houseguest later pointed out that the gold housing eliminated any practical use of the gun, but smirked that Ramzan probably couldn’t fire it anyway). Both Gadzhi and Ramzan showered the dancing children with hundred dollar bills; the dancers probably picked upwards of USD 5000 off the cobblestones. Gadzhi told us later that Ramzan had brought the happy couple “a five kilo lump of gold” as his wedding present. After the dancing and a quick tour of the premises, Ramzan and his army drove off back to Chechnya. We asked why Ramzan did not spend the night in Makhachkala, and were told, “Ramzan never spends the night anywhere.”
18. (C) After Ramzan sped off, the dinner and drinking -- especially the latter -- continued. An Avar FSB colonel sitting next to us, dead drunk, was highly insulted that we would not allow him to add “cognac” to our wine. “It’s practically the same thing,” he insisted, until a Russian FSB general sitting opposite told him to drop it. We were inclined to cut the Colonel some slack, though: he is head of the unit to combat terrorism in Dagestan, and Gadzhi told us that extremists have sooner or later assassinated everyone who has joined that unit. We were more worried when an Afghan war buddy of the Colonel’s, Rector of the Dagestan University Law School and too drunk to sit, let alone stand, pulled out his automatic and asked if we needed any protection. At this point Gadzhi and his people came over, propped the rector between their shoulders, and let us get out of range.
Postscript: The Practical Uses of a Caucasus Wedding
--------------------------------------------- -------- 
19. (C) Kadyrov’s attendance was a mark of respect and alliance, the result of Gadzhi’s careful cultivation -- dating back to personal friendship with Ramzan’s father. This is a necessary political tool in a region where difficulties can only be resolved by using personal relationships to reach ad hoc informal agreements. An example was readily to hand: on August 22 Chechnya’s parliamentary speaker, Dukvakha Abdurakhmanov, gave an interview in which he made specific territorial claims to the Kizlyar, Khasavyurt and Novolak regions of Dagestan. The first two have significant Chechen-Akkin populations, and the last was part of Chechnya until the 1944 deportation, when Stalin forcibly resettled ethnic Laks (a Dagestani nationality) there. Gadzhi said he would have to answer Abdurakhmanov and work closely with Ramzan to reduce the tensions “that fool” had caused. Asked why he took such statements seriously, he told us that in the Caucasus all disputes revolve around land, and such claims can never be
MOSCOW 00009533 005 OF 005
dismissed. Unresolved land claims are the “threads” the Russian center always kept in play to pull when needed. We asked why these claims are coming out now, and were told it was euphoria, pure and simple. After all they had received, the Chechen leadership’s feet are miles off the ground. (A well-connected Chechen contact later told us he thought that raising nationalistic irredentism was part of Abdurakhmanov’s effort to gain a political base independent from Kadyrov.)
20. (C) The “horizontal of power” represented by Gadzhi’s relationship with Ramzan is the antithesis of the Moscow-imposed “vertical of power.” Gadzhi’s business partner Khalik Gindiyev, head of Rosneft-Kaspoil, complained that Moscow should let local Caucasians rather than Russians -- “Magomadovs and Aliyevs, not Ivanovs and Petrovs” -- resolve the region’s conflicts. The vertical of power, he said, is inapplicable to the Caucasus, a region that Moscow bureaucrats such as PolPred Kozak would never understand. The Caucasus needs to be given the scope to resolve its own problems. But this was not a plug for democracy. Gadzhi told us democracy would always fail in the Caucasus, where the conception of the state is as an extension of the Caucasus family, in which the father’s word is law. “Where is the room for democracy in that?” he asked. We paraphrased Hayek: if you run a family as you do a state, you destroy the family. Running a state as you do a family destroys the state: ties of kinship and friendship will always trump the rule of law. Gadzhi’s partner agreed, shaking his head sadly. “That’s a matter for generations to come,” he said.
BURNS

Wikileaks

06MOSCOW9482,

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
06MOSCOW9482 2006-08-30 12:24 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Moscow
Appears in these articles:
http://www.novgaz.ru/data/2011/004/11.html

VZCZCXRO0545
OO RUEHDBU RUEHFL RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHROV RUEHSR
DE RUEHMO #9482/01 2421224
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 301224Z AUG 06
FM AMEMBASSY MOSCOW
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 1323
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHXD/MOSCOW POLITICAL COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC PRIORITY
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC PRIORITY
RHEBAAA/DEPT OF ENERGY WASHDC PRIORITY
RUCPDOC/DEPT OF COMMERCE WASHDC PRIORITY

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 MOSCOW 009482 

SIPDIS 
SIPDIS 

DEPT FOR EUR/RUS WARLICK, HOLMAN, AND GUHA 
DEPT FOR EB/ESC/IEC GALLOGLY AND GARVERICK 
DOE FOR HARBERT/EKIMOFF 
DOC FOR 4231/IEP/EUR/JBROUGHER NSC FOR GRAHAM AND MCKIBBEN 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/29/2016 

TAGS: EPET ENRG ECON PREL LH RS

1. (C) Summary: As is often the case in Russia's relations with its neighbors and former Soviet comrades, Moscow's decision to shut-off crude deliveries to Lithuania's Mazeikiu Nafta (MN) refinery in the wake of a July 29 oil spill along the Druzhba pipeline (Ref C) appears driven by a mix of geopolitical revenge and common-place commercial considerations. The good news may be that there is little more the Russians can do to worsen the situation (like cut off shipments from Primorsk to Butinge) and the refinery is unlikely to fold. The bad news is that refinery profits are likely to suffer until there is another shift in the oil delivery paradigm facing MN. End Summary . 

FIRST THE REVENGE ----------------- . 

2. (C) In the wake of the cutoff of Russian oil through the Druzhba pipeline to MN, we spoke to Shawn McCormick (protect), TNK-BP's government affairs rep, whose company is one of Russia's largest shippers. He said despite losing out to PKN Orlen in the MN bid, TNK-BP had offered to sell Orlen about 180,000 barrels per day (b/d) (going up to 240,000 b/d) last May-June, and that Transneft was fully on-board with this offer. Then in early July, Igor Sechin, Chairman of Rosneft (another Russian firm who lost out on the MN bid) and Deputy Head of the Presidential Administration, phoned German Khan, Executive Director at TNK-BP, asking if the oil delivery contract had been signed. Upon finding that it had not, Sechin "instructed" TNK-BP (via Khan) to withdraw its offer, which it did. In an August 29 conversation, Andrey Gaidamaka (protect), Lukoil's VP for Strategy, confirmed for us that Sechin was the interested party behind the cutoff in the Kremlin and that Lukoil and TNK-BP were still under pressure not to contract with MN for piped oil. . 

3. (C) In August 22 conversations with Emboffs, Gintautus Siulys and Minijus Samuila of the Lithuanian Embassy characterized the shutdown of the pipeline as a political decision taken at a "very high level" to make Orlen drop its bid for MN, which awaits EU approval, expected in October. Despite all this, Siulys and Samuila seemed cautiously optimistic that the oil supply issue would be resolved soon in Lithuania's favor. Siulys suggested the Russians might ultimately back down out of fear the Lithuanians might shut down the rail link to Kaliningrad (supposedly to make repairs). As soon as Lithuanian officials began hinting at problems with the rail link, Siulys noticed a change in Russian behavior, adding, "in our experience with the Russians, we always do better when we negotiate out of a position of strength." He pointed out that not only do Russian civilians rely on the rail link, but the line is critical for supplying Russian military forces in the Kaliningrad Oblast. . 

COMMERCIAL CONSIDERATIONS ------------------------- . 

4. (C) Over the last several years, Russia has adopted a policy of avoiding export across transit states. Lukoil's Gaidamaka offered a pretty convincing explanation. Even though the Druzhba was clearly built more for political purpose than anything else, Gaidamaka explained that during the Soviet era the pipeline made more economic sense than it does today. Today, each country along the pipe charges a transit fee, making the route much less attractive for Russian shippers. Following the break-up of the Soviet Union and the extinguishing of the "friendship" in the "friendship pipeline," downstream consuming countries colluded, forcing shippers to sell into a monopsonistic market, which led to a "Druzhba discount" relative to other routes. 

5. (C) Over the past several years, the GOR and Transneft have taken several steps to reduce the power of the downstream traders and have virtually eliminated the "Druzhba MOSCOW 00009482 002 OF 003 discount." The most important component of this effort has been the expansion of the Baltic Pipeline System (BPS), whose nameplate capacity Transneft just announced it plans to increase further from 1.2 to 1.4 million b/d. Before long, Gaidamaka predicted a "Druzhba premium" will emerge. This jives with what we have heard from numerous Russian oil companies -- it is simply cheaper to export out of Primorsk than out of Baltic ports because of Transneft's lower transit fees. . 

6. (C) With piped oil stopped, rumors were rife that the Kremlin might "order" Russian shippers to stop tanker cargoes from Primorsk to Butinge to completely deprive MN of Russian oil, but these appear unfounded. McCormick says that there is "absolutely no pressure coming from the Kremlin to stop shipments of oil from Primorsk." Our Lithuanian Embassy contacts confirm that tanker shipments from Primorsk to the oil terminal at Butinge in Lithuania have not been interrupted, and they doubted that the GOR would intervene with private Russian shippers. Oil traders at Lukoil, Surgut, TNK-BP, and Gazpromneft confirm they have not received any order to stop shipments out of Primorsk, something Gaidamaka corroborated as well on behalf of Lukoil senior management. These and
other international traders say that to stop such deliveries would require Russian firms to include in their crude sale contracts a clause forbidding on-sale of crude to Butinge, something they describe as "virtually impossible" -- western majors would never agree, and they are a crucial link in this chain. One trader said, "It would be a major violation of free trade and I'm very skeptical that it is feasible. If I see that Butinge offers the best price, I'll do my best to buy a Russian cargo and resell it to Butinge." . 

TRANSNEFT AND MFA: FIXES ARE COMING, BUT CAN'T SAY WHEN ------------------------------------ . 

7. (C) When we talked to Transneft this week, our contact stuck to the company's public line that shipments to Lithuania are a casualty of the July 29 oil spill on the Northern Druzhba pipeline. He said that experts from Rosteknadzor are investigating the spill, and had visited the site August 21-23 to &make clear what had happened and what needs to be done.8 Repairs are pending the outcome of Rosteknadzor's investigation. Arkadiy Sundeyev, Director of the MFA,s Office of Lithuanian Affairs, told us August 25 that he believed Rosteknadzor's pipeline investigation could be completed in a matter of weeks. He said this issue was not "political . . . We want to make the repairs and resume supplying oil as soon as possible." Traders with close ties to oil traders here confirm reports that Belarusian refineries normally supplied from the Northern Druzhba are still receiving oil. To that, our Transneft contact said that after the accident, Transneft restored some flow through &temporary fixes8 although the pressure had to be reduced so the amount of oil flowing is off sharply. . 

COMMENT ------- . 

8. (C) Given the history of this pipeline and MN, it is not surprising that revenge appears to be playing a significant role in the process of bringing the Druzhba back up to capacity, and we do not put it past Sechin to at least try and stop Russian shippers from supplying Primorsk. One interesting item of note in this case is the degree to which Sechin and his interests have been unable to stop Russian companies/traders from supplying the refinery, who follow Russian practice of f.o.b. (free-on-board) delivery. MN can just as easily, if more expensively, buy barrels from non-Russian sources, and the international oil majors' are reluctant to agree to contracts excluding Butinge -- both of these facts give Lithuania and Orlen leverage to fend off whatever Russian demands may actually be behind this situation. When conditions are right, Russia's ability to use energy as a weapon (even when the will may be there) is limited. . 

9. (C) How this will all unwind is still not clear. The MOSCOW 00009482 003 OF 003 Rosteknadzor report will come before too long, and repairs will no doubt drag well into the fall. Despite Siulys, optimism that the Russians might back down over the rail line issue, we doubt there is much leverage to be found here, nor can the Russians credibly threaten to go around Lithuania to Kaliningrad via ferry, as suggested this week by Kaliningrad Oblast Governor Georgiy Boos during a meeting with Putin. Perhaps Lukoil's Gaidamaka is right to predict that the piped oil will flow again, but perhaps with a Druzhba premium. BURNS	2006-08-30

Wikileaks

06MOSCOW9436, A/S LOWENKRON’S VISIT TO MOSCOW

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
06MOSCOW9436 2006-08-29 12:32 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Moscow

VZCZCXYZ0005
RR RUEHWEB

DE RUEHMO #9436/01 2411232
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
R 291232Z AUG 06
FM AMEMBASSY MOSCOW
TO SECSTATE WASHDC 1271

C O N F I D E N T I A L MOSCOW 009436 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/29/2016 
TAGS: PGOV PHUM KDEM RS
SUBJECT: A/S LOWENKRON'S VISIT TO MOSCOW 
 
REF: A. MOSCOW 0921 
 
     B. MOSCOW 3945 
     C. MOSCOW 6389 
     D. MOSCOW 7670 
     E. MOSCOW 7956 
     F. MOSCOW 8148 
 
Classified By: Minister-Counselor for Political Affairs Alice Wells. 
Reasons: 1.4(B/D). 
 
1. (C) SUMMARY. A/S Barry Lowenkron visited Moscow in July 
attending "The Other Russia" conference sponsored by 
opposition political parties on the eve of the G8 summit.  He 
also had consultations with a number of Russian officials, 
politicians, and NGO leaders.  These included: Chairperson of 
the Presidential Civil Society and Human Rights Council Ella 
Pamfilova, Public Chamber Head Yevgeniy Velikhov, Open Russia 
Head Irina Yasina, Deputy Human Rights Ombudsman Georgiy 
Kunadze, People's Democratic Union Head Mikhail Kasyanov, and 
Republican Party leader Vladimir Ryzhkov.  A/S Lowenkron also 
granted a number of interviews to both domestic and foreign 
media outlets. END SUMMARY. 
. 
--------------------------------------------- ----- 
ELLA PAMFILOVA - PRESIDENTIAL HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL 
--------------------------------------------- ----- 
 
2. (C) In his meeting with Chairperson of the Presidential 
Civil Society and Human Rights Council Ella Pamfilova, A/S 
Lowenkron recalled their discussion in January when Pamfilova 
expressed her dissatisfaction with the new NGO law despite 
her efforts and the efforts of others to improve the law's 
requirements (ref A).  A/S Lowenkron asked for Pamfilova's 
assessment of the law, and Pamfilova detailed her efforts to 
ensure transparency, adding that she would not hesitate to 
raise problems with the law as she and other NGO leaders did 
in their official meeting with Putin. 
. 
---------------------------------- 
YEVGENIY VELIKHOV ) PUBLIC CHAMBER 
---------------------------------- 
 
3. (C) In his meeting with A/S Lowenkron, Public Chamber Head 
Yevgeniy Velikhov explained the operations of the Public 
Chamber (PC) and described its relations with the Duma and 
Kremlin.  He said it was premature to predict whether the PC 
would become an accepted, permanent fixture within the GOR or 
whether it was an efficient process, but he was enjoying the 
experience.  Velikhov mentioned that one of the Chamber's 
priorities for the year was to study philanthropy in Russia. 
He added that Russians needed to change their views toward 
philanthropy and start supporting NGOs, thus reducing the 
need for external support.  Lowenkron agreed, saying, 
however, that before Russian philanthropy could really be 
developed, a clear legal framework needed to be set in place. 
 Velikhov noted that the Chairman of the Philanthropy 
Commission, Vladimir Potanin, was scheduled to meet with 
representatives of the Ford and MacArthur Foundations in the 
autumn.  Velikhov also highlighted the problem of religious 
intolerance.  He said there was currently a big push by the 
Russian Orthodox Church to become the state religion. 
Lowenkron stated that was an area of concern that the State 
Department was keeping an eye on.  However, Velikhov said 
Putin would oppose such an effort because he believed that no 
religion should have special privileges. 
 
4. (C) Velikhov maintained that implementation of the 
Municipalities Law, which had been passed in 2003 to 
eliminate corruption at the local level, had been a 
catastrophe.  Revenue is now taken from municipal authorities 
and sent to the Federal Tax Service to be redistributed as 
thought fit by regional governments.  As a result, of 
approximately 25,000 municipalities in the country, only 500 
have been able to balance their budgets, most of which are 
oil and gas company towns, Velikhov said.  The other 24,500 
are now too dependent on central authorities for income.  At 
the end of September, the Federation Council will devote an 
entire plenary session to the municipalities issue. 
. 
-------------------------- 
IRINA YASINA ) OPEN RUSSIA 
-------------------------- 
 
5. (C) Open Russia Head Irina Yasina's meeting with A/S 
Lowenkron occurred in a somewhat downbeat context since Open 
Russia's website had been shut down that same morning due to 
lack of funds.  This year, George Soros, Matra (a Dutch 
foundation), and Anatoliy Chubais had donated money to keep 
some seminars going, and Yasina hoped to receive a USAID 
grant next year.  She told A/S Lowenkron about the 
organization's desperate straits but said she and her 
colleagues would soldier on as long as possible (ref B). 
Many people privately supported Open Russia's goals and 
ideals but would not contribute money for fear of 
retribution, since the NGO is linked to the imprisoned 
oligarch Mikhail Khodorkovskiy.  Yasina explained there were 
50 partner affiliates in the regions, but only about 
one-third would survive because there was insufficient 
domestic support.  She said their survival would depend on 
the mood of local authorities, who in turn were at the mercy 
of the Kremlin. Lowenkron added that Putin and his circle are 
deciding what NGOs are acceptable and what constitutes civil 
soc
iety, but civil society cannot be created from the top 
down. 
 
6. (C) Yasina continued that civil society's main challenge 
was to make it through the next two years.  She believes the 
situation will improve after the 2008 presidential elections. 
 Yasina noted that one of the biggest problems for Open 
Russia and other independent NGOs was access to the general 
public.  There was too much anti-democratic propaganda on 
official TV channels, which promoted the idea that "you had 
freedom in the 1990s, but it was chaos; now there might be 
less freedom but greater opportunities for wealth and 
stability."  NGOs had few opportunities to counter this kind 
of misinformation because they have been denied the ability 
to reach a broader audience via TV for the past six years, 
she said.  Lowenkron agreed that NGOs, ability to affect 
public opinion was particularly difficult in Russia because 
of the high energy prices, tight government control of the 
media, and Russian officials selling the idea that stability 
and security should trump civic freedoms. 
. 
--------------------------------------------- --------- 
GEORGIY KUNADZE ) OFFICE OF THE HUMAN RIGHTS OMBUDSMAN 
--------------------------------------------- --------- 
 
7. (C) Deputy Human Rights Ombudsman Georgiy Kunadze began 
the meeting with A/S Lowenkron with a discussion of the 
U.S.-Russian Roundtable on Democracy and Human Rights 
proposal (ref C).  Kunadze said that since it was Lukin's 
idea, Lukin does not mind being the Russian organizer. 
However, since the Ombudsman's Office is a government agency, 
President Putin would ultimately make the decision on whether 
Lukin would represent Russia.  Lowenkron said that he hoped 
Lukin would take the lead on the Russian side and that the 
Carnegie Center had been suggested for taking the lead on the 
American side.  Possible topics for roundtable sessions could 
include combating corruption, terrorist financing, human 
rights violations, and religious intolerance, Kunadze said. 
 
8. (C) In the second half of the meeting, Kunadze described 
both positive and negative achievements for the Ombudsman's 
Office so far this year.  On the positive side, he mentioned 
that the Office's 2005 annual report had received good 
feedback, particularly from Putin.  Kunadze was also proud of 
two special reports on disabled children's rights and 
educational rights that the Office had published.  On the 
negative side, he was disappointed that the Ombudsman's 
Office had not yet drafted a report on growing ethnic 
violence in Russia.  But, he reasoned, it was such a diverse 
and difficult issue to summarize that it might be worth doing 
a series of reports rather than a single large report.  In 
addition, Kunadze considered the Ombudsman's Office's 
inability to prevail on the NGO law a major failure.  He was 
pleased, however, that Putin mentioned that it might be 
possible to amend the NGO law by the end of this year, 
although he admitted it might have just been a pre-G8 gesture 
to appease critics.  Kunadze said that in order for Putin to 
seriously consider amending the law, somebody first had to 
prove that the law was not effective, as well as to propose 
specific amendments.  He said the Ombudsman's Office would be 
looking into this and that there would be an Experts Council 
meeting later in the summer, which he hoped would compile 
negative and positive examples of implementation since the 
law came into force in April.  Lowenkron suggested that 
in-depth discussions of the NGO law and its implementing 
guidelines, as well as how to deal with xenophobia and 
extremism, could be possible topics for the roundtable. 
. 
-------------------------------------------- 
MIKHAIL KASYANOV ) PEOPLE'S DEMOCRATIC UNION 
-------------------------------------------- 
 
9. (C) Former Prime Minister Kasyanov recounted for A/S 
Lowenkron some of the difficulties his supporters had 
encountered in their efforts to participate in "The Other 
Russia" conference (ref D, E).  Speaking more broadly, 
Kasyanov asserted that Russia's image at the G8 summit would 
be a "turning point" and that many NGOs feared an increase in 
government repression afterwards.  This would be particularly 
relevant for politically sensitive organizations involved in 
democracy promotion and political institution-building.  At 
the same time, Kasyanov said some NGO representatives had 
become increasingly angry about the current state of affairs 
in the country and were beginning to realize that nobody 
would be able to defend them effectively in the wake of an 
official crackdown on their activities. 
 
10. (C) With respect to the People's Democratic Union, 
Kasyanov described it as a movement and therefore not subject 
to the same registration requirements as political parties. 
In time, he hoped to transform it into a party.  Kasyanov 
acknowledged that the Union was struggling to increase its 
popularity.  He said many in the business community had 
quietly expressed support, but official pressure on 
businessmen was so intense that they could not be perceived 
as openly endorsing opposition parties or candidates. 
Kasyanov claimed, however, that his experience in government 
had allowed him to forge numerous ties with influential 
figures, as well as to hone his managerial skills. 
. 
---------------------- 
OPEN RUSSIA CONFERENCE 
---------------------- 
 
11. (C) Assistant Secretaries Lowenkron and Fried were among 
the foreign guests, hundreds of opposition figures (from 
liberal democrats to National Bolsheviks), and NGO activists 
who met in Moscow July 11-12 for "The Other Russia" 
conference organized by United Civil Front leader Garri 
Kasparov (ref D, E).  During the conference, A/S Lowenkron 
and Fried had the opportunity to meet many of the speakers 
and guests, including conference organizer Kasparov and 
Moscow Carnegie Center analyst Liliya Shevtsova, and gave 
interviews to several foreign and domestic media outlets -- 
Kommersant, BBC, NY Times, AP, The Times of London, The Daily 
Telegraph, Reuters, The Toronto Star, and ARD German TV 
Channel 1. 
. 
----------------------------------- 
VLADIMIR RYZHKOV ) REPUBLICAN PARTY 
----------------------------------- 
 
12. (C) During dinner with A/S Lowenkron and Fried, 
Republican Party leader and independent Duma Deputy Vladimir 
Ryzhkov spoke about difficulties he was having in getting his 
party registered.  He mentioned that new legislation had 
increased from 25 to 35 the number of possible reasons for 
excluding candidates from electoral lists and said that even 
Central Elections Commission Head Aleksandr Veshnyakov had 
agreed that the new legislation was too restrictive.  He 
argued that if only a few parties were allowed to register 
and only three or four of the top ten most popular candidates 
were able to run, the elections would not be considered 
credible or legitimate.  He said unofficial presidential 
contenders Dmitriy
Medvedev and Sergey Ivanov both had about 
7-9 percent in popularity polls, but they were shown dozens 
of times on TV in June, while Ryzhkov, who claimed to rank 
similarly in the polls, had appeared only three times. 
 
13. (C) Another issue that concerned Ryzhkov was control of 
the Internet.  He said the Public Chamber had recently raised 
the issue and was drafting an initiative that would provide 
for regulation of the Internet.  There were over 22 million 
Internet users in Russia, most of whom were young and urban 
-- just the kind of voters the Kremlin was most worried about 
since this age cohort had been actively involved in recent 
"colored" revolutions.  Ryzhkov pointed to Minister of 
Information Technology and Communication Leonid Raiman's 
recent remarks that Russia was studying China's experience 
with the Internet.  While it might be too late to introduce 
such tight control in Russia, Ryzhkov predicted the Kremlin 
was nevertheless likely to try to do so prior to elections, 
perhaps using anti-extremism (ref F) or anti-terrorism themes 
as a justification for imposing controls. 
 
14. (U) A/S Lowenkron has cleared this cable. 
BURNS

Wikileaks

06MOSCOW9415, DFM KARASIN ON UPCOMING RUSSIAN DIPLOMATIC EFFORTS

WikiLeaks Link

To understand the justification used for the classification of each cable, please use this WikiSource article as reference.
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If you find meaningful or important information in a cable, please link directly to its unique reference number. Linking to a specific paragraph in the body of a cable is also possible by copying the appropriate link (to be found at theparagraph symbol).Please mark messages for social networking services like Twitter with the hash tags #cablegate and a hash containing the reference ID e.g. #06MOSCOW9415.
Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
06MOSCOW9415 2006-08-28 14:51 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Moscow

VZCZCXRO3013
OO RUEHDBU
DE RUEHMO #9415 2401451
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 281451Z AUG 06
FM AMEMBASSY MOSCOW
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 1245
INFO RUCNCIS/CIS COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHXD/MOSCOW POLITICAL COLLECTIVE PRIORITY

C O N F I D E N T I A L MOSCOW 009415 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/28/2016 
TAGS: PREL MD UP BO RS
SUBJECT: DFM KARASIN ON UPCOMING RUSSIAN DIPLOMATIC EFFORTS 
IN THE CIS 
 
 
Classified By: Ambassador William J. Burns.  Reason 1.4 (b, d) 
 
1. (C) Summary:  After DFM Karasin briefed Friends of Georgia 
Chiefs of Mission August 28 (Septel), he met with Ambassador 
Burns bilaterally.  They discussed upcoming travel and 
visits.  Karasin favors an end October-early November date 
for his own meetings in Washington.  Karasin briefed on 
Russian diplomatic activity with Moldova, Ukraine and 
Belarus.  End Summary. 
 
Visits 
------ 
 
2. (C) Following up on the preceding session with the Friends 
of Georgia, Karasin noted that DFM Denisov will soon visit 
Tbilisi to pay a courtesy call on his new opposite number DFM 
Chechelashvili.  Karasin said he may visit Tbilisi in 
September or October.  Karasin expects to visit Almaty in 
mid-September for a meeting of Russia's ambassadors in 
Central Asia, and may also visit Astana and/or Bishkek for 
talks with government officials.  Karasin said he might also 
visit Chisinau in late September. 
 
3. (C) Ambassador said Washington is eager to schedule a 
Karasin visit, and Karasin said the very end of October or 
first days of November looked good, if convenient for 
Washington. 
 
Moldova 
------- 
 
4. (C) After Karasin inquiries on Lebanon and Iran, the 
Ambassador asked about the August 8 visit of Moldovan 
President Voronin.  Karasin replied that Putin was happier 
with this last visit than with previous ones.  Putin wants to 
make the bilateral relationship more transparent.  On 
Transnistria, there is some movement on papers and exchanges 
of ideas, though none of them are very new.  Ambassadors 
Kenyaikin and Nesterushkin were leaving for Chisinau that day 
to consult on what new movement could produce on Transnistria 
in working with Moldova and Ukraine. 
 
5. (C) Karasin said he was not sure why his European and 
American colleagues were so nervous about the planned 
September 17 referendum in Transnistria.  It was no more or 
less than a plebiscite for Smirnov.  The "general scenery" 
would be no different September 18.  Voronin had not been 
much concerned with it when he visited.  "Life will go on," 
Karasin said. 
 
6. (C) Karasin stressed that in all the conflicts (Comment: 
i.e., Abkhazia, about which he had just been talking to the 
Friends, and South Ossetia.  End comment) Russia wanted to 
make the sides understand and trust one another.  Russia was 
just there to assist and put the sides together; but the 
sides themselves had to decide their own future.  Thus, he 
added, all ideas to enlarge the circle of negotiations (read: 
 include more Western participants) were "only an imitation 
of activity" that could decide nothing.  Ambassador responded 
that if there were actual progress in the negotiations, there 
would be less temptation for others to get involved. 
 
Ukraine 
------- 
 
7. (C) Karasin responded to the Ambassador's question on 
Ukraine by calling the new PM's visit "productive." 
Yanukovich had asked down-to-earth, practical questions, 
though the answers were not always what he wanted to hear. 
The Bilateral Commission planned to pull all the 
subcommittees together in September and October to facilitate 
a meeting of the Economic Committee, headed by the Prime 
Ministers, by the end of the year.  No decision has yet been 
taken on whether Putin will head the Russian delegation to 
the Babi Yar commemorations in Ukraine. 
 
Belarus 
------- 
 
8. (C) Karasin said there was little new on Belarus.  Russia 
continues to insist on bringing market prices to the energy 
sector.  There might be exceptions from time to time, but the 
logic was there.  The Union Treaty was not on the immediate 
agenda, though perhaps there might be some discussion on the 
"joint government" in October. 
BURNS

Wikileaks

06MOSCOW9414, ABKHAZIA: DFM KARASIN SPELLS OUT TOUGH RUSSIAN

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
06MOSCOW9414 2006-08-28 14:45 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Moscow

VZCZCXRO3009
OO RUEHDBU
DE RUEHMO #9414/01 2401445
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 281445Z AUG 06
FM AMEMBASSY MOSCOW
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 1243
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 009414 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/28/2016 
TAGS: PREL MARR MOPS UNSC GG RS
SUBJECT: ABKHAZIA:  DFM KARASIN SPELLS OUT TOUGH RUSSIAN 
LINE 
 
 
Classified By: Ambassador William J. Burns.  Reason 1.4 (b, d) 
 
1. (C) Summary:  At his initiative, DFM Karasin on August 28 
briefed Western Friends Chiefs of Mission on developments in 
Abkhazia, which he had recently visited.  He said Georgia's 
July operation in the Kodori Gorge was a violation of the 
1994 ceasefire agreement and had created a "disbalance" in 
the region.  He demanded the withdrawal of all Georgian armed 
formations from the Gorge.  He called Georgia's deployment to 
the Gorge of the Government of Abkhazia in Exile a 
"provocation" and warned of Abkhazia's "ultimatum-like" 
response.  He called Georgia's refusal to allow the CIS PKF 
to monitor the Gorge a violation of the ceasefire.  He noted 
the upcoming renewal of UNOMIG's mandate, and said Georgia's 
action calls it into question; Russia would favor a statement 
on Kodori in any UNSCR (Ambassador later told Karasin 
privately that this would be a very complex issue and urged 
him to think carefully before setting off down this road). 
Karasin called on the Western Friends to recognize that 
Abkhazia and South Ossetia were "alarmed" at what they 
perceive as a Georgian commitment to resolve the conflicts by 
force.  He called on Western Friends countries not to aid the 
"militarization" of Georgia.  Karasin saw no need for a Civil 
Police contingent in Gali.  End summary. 
 
2. (C) Karasin, with special negotiator Bocharnikov and IV 
CIS Department acting Director Tarabrin, received chiefs of 
mission from the Western Friends -- U.S., UK, Germany and 
France -- on August 28.  He expressed Russia's concern over 
the situation in the Kodori Gorge, which is "tending to 
degrade."  He singled out Georgian President Saakashvili's 
August 15 instruction to create the infrastructure to 
relocate the "Abkhaz Government in Exile" in the Gorge.  He 
noted that the Abkhaz have said that would be unacceptable, 
and have responded with tough, "ultimatum-like" responses 
declaring their unwillingness to resume peace negotiations 
unless the situation reverted to that before the Georgian 
operation.  "We cannot ignore their attitude," Karasin said. 
 
3. (C) Karasin stated that the May 1994 ceasefire agreement 
demanded the withdrawal of all Georgian troops from the 
Kodori Gorge.  He stressed that this applied to all Georgian 
armed formations (i.e., Interior Ministry forces as well as 
MOD).  Karasin noted that the UNOMIG Chief Military Observer 
also believed the Georgian action to be a violation of the 
ceasefire.  He added that subsequent agreements forbid the 
construction of military infrastructure there (the 
implication being that some of the construction ordered for 
relocating the Government in Exile might be a violation). 
Karasin asserted that contrary to notification agreements, 
the Georgian side never informed the Abkhaz side of its 
intention to carry out the operation. 
 
4. (C) Karasin said that his trip to Sukhumi had convinced 
him that the Georgian operation had effected a "substantive 
disbalance" in the regional situation.  The Georgian demand 
that the CIS PKF not participate in monitoring the Upper 
Kodori Gorge was a clear violation of Article 4.2 of the 1994 
ceasefire, he asserted.  The Georgian excuse that the PKF 
presence was unacceptable to the local population "does not 
withstand critical scrutiny."  Rather, new SRSG Arneaud had 
stressed the importance of the PKF during his recent visit to 
Tbilisi. 
 
5. (C) Karasin reminded the Friends that the UNOMIG mandate 
needed renewal by October 15.  He questioned whether any 
renewal would be worthwhile if Georgian forces do not leave 
Kodori.  Bocharnikov added that the absence of comment on 
Kodori in previous UNSCRs had led to the current situation, 
and implied that Russia will demand a statement on Kodori in 
the October resolution.  (After the meeting, Ambassador 
privately told Karasin that Russian concerns could seriously 
complicate the process of adopting a UNSCR.) 
 
6. (C) Karasin said that Tbilisi's action to renege on 
previous agreements was also noticeable in South Ossetia. 
Karasin counted "on your wisdom to tell Georgia that it 
cannot resolve these conflicts by force.  Rather, it will 
destroy what has been accomplished.  If we unite our forces, 
however, we can facilitate progress in negotiations." 
Karasin called on the Friends to understand the Abkhaz 
position on non-renewal of hostilities and security 
guarantees.  He cited the Georgian-Abkhaz Coordination 
Council as a hopeful venue, though the "changed 
circumstances" might make sessions problematic.  At the same 
time, the Sochi working groups on IDPs and the railroad had 
not exhausted their potential. 
 
7. (C) Karasin said that the opening of a human rights office 
in Gali was a positive impulse, but he said he was not 
convinced that deployment of a Civil Police contingent would 
 
MOSCOW 00009414  002 OF 002 
 
 
aid n
egotiations.  The criminal situation, which has improved 
in the past year, does not warrant physical reinforcement of 
police structures.  Ambassador suggested that the Civil 
Police idea deserved further study and might help ease 
tensions over time. 
 
8. (C) Karasin said that after normalization of the situation 
in the zone of conflict progress might be made on peace 
initiatives, including Bagapsh's "Key to the Future and an 
analogous paper elaborated in Tbilisi (Comment:  He made no 
mention of the Boden Paper.  End comment).  In reply to a 
question by the Ambassador, Karasin stressed that the next 
step needed to be fostering a greater understanding by both 
the Abkhaz and the Georgians of the factors that alarmed each 
of them.  He feared that the Kodori operation might 
strengthen those in Tbilisi who believe that a similar quick, 
forceful strike on Abkhazia might end that conflict.  He 
labeled this a dangerous tendency that made both the Abkhaz 
and the South Ossetians nervous.  He called on the 
international community to demand completely the elimination 
of the use of force and the return of the status quo ante in 
Kodori.  He labeled the relocation of the Government in Exile 
a "provocation" to create a second power structure in 
Abkhazia, though given that Kodori is inaccessible for eight 
months of the year, we would have to wait and see what 
happened there in reality.  He noted that Russia is 
additionally concerned about Kodori because it lies on 
Russia's borders. 
 
9. (C) Ambassador replied that international community needed 
to continue its efforts to reduce tensions in the region. 
Russia also needed to use its influence to restrain the 
Abkhaz and calm the situation.  The French Charge noted that 
Western Governments have urged Tbilisi to show restraint. 
Karasin replied that while Georgia listens to Western calls 
for restraint, in reality it is engaged in intensive 
militarization, buying tanks and howitzers from Central 
Europe.  Calls for restraint must be accompanied by concrete 
measures to prevent militarization.  Karasin ended with a 
dire warning that under current circumstances public opinion 
in Southern Russia (read:  the ethnic autonomies of the North 
Caucasus) is becoming harder to restrain and is taking on an 
increasingly belligerent tone.  Karasin called for another 
meeting of the Moscow chapter of the friends later in 
September, before work started on the new UNSCR. 
 
10. (C) Comment:  Russia is trying to regain the initiative 
after the success of Georgia's Kodori operation.  The Friends 
group has rarely met in Moscow, and Karasin appears to want 
to ensure that it will start doing so as a counterweight to 
the Tbilisi chapter.  The aim of his tough message appeared 
to be to convert Russian unhappiness about the Georgian 
operation into something tangible in a UNSC Resolution.  At 
the same time, Russia appears to be genuinely concerned that 
fighting will break out in Abkhazia as hard-liners gain in 
strength in Tbilisi and the Abkhaz become harder to control. 
That would force a change in the status quo, and change in 
any direction threatens Russian interests. 
BURNS

Wikileaks

06MOSCOW9412, 15TH ANNIVERSARY OF 1991 “COUP”: APATHY, PROMISE

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
06MOSCOW9412 2006-08-28 14:14 2011-08-30 01:44 UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY Embassy Moscow

VZCZCXRO2932
RR RUEHDBU RUEHLN RUEHVK RUEHYG
DE RUEHMO #9412/01 2401414
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 281414Z AUG 06
FM AMEMBASSY MOSCOW
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 1240
INFO RUCNCIS/CIS COLLECTIVE
RUEHXD/MOSCOW POLITICAL COLLECTIVE

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 MOSCOW 009412 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SENSITIVE 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: N/A 
TAGS: PGOV PREL KDEM PHUM RS
SUBJECT: 15TH ANNIVERSARY OF 1991 "COUP": APATHY, PROMISE 
OF NEW GENERATION? 
 
 
1. (SBU) SUMMARY. The fifteenth anniversary of the August 
1991 "coup" passed with little fanfare.  There were no 
official events, and the Russian population greeted the 
anniversary with apathy or political antipathy.  Despite 
concern in some circles over increasing restrictions on 
personal freedoms, the majority of Russians appear more 
preoccupied with the issues that have an impact on their 
daily lives. Many liberals view this retrenchment as a 
natural if unwelcome political backlash against the 1990's, 
predict a long political evolution back to the ideals 
imperfectly realized in the wake of the Soviet Union's 
collapse, and look to a new generation of activists to 
repackage democratic values discredited during the Yeltsin 
era. END SUMMARY. 
 
------------------- 
APATHY TO ANTIPATHY 
------------------- 
 
2. (U) In the lead-up to the anniversary, Izvestia published 
an interview with two of the participants of the August 1991 
coup, who recounted the emotional excitement and public 
involvement critical to thwarting the rollback of political 
reforms initiated by Gorbachev.  This sentiment was echoed by 
Igor Bunin of the Center for Political Technologists who 
commented in Rossiskaya Gazeta that the events of August 1991 
represented a moment of "communitas" -- an emotional 
political moment which only comes once in a generation. 
 
3. (U) Opinion polls conducted prior to the anniversary on 
attitudes toward the coup captured the apathy now prevalent 
among the populace.  According to a Levada Center poll, 
conducted July 14-17 across 46 regions of Russia, 13 percent 
of Russians surveyed believe that the coup plotters were 
right, 12 percent endorsed Yeltsin, and 52 percent concluded 
both sides were wrong.  A further 23 percent had no opinion. 
Another poll conducted by the Public Opinion Foundation found 
that 67 percent of Russians surveyed between 18 and 35 could 
not say whether things would have been better if the coup had 
succeeded.  While most people remember what they were doing 
when they heard the news, few remember the specifics of the 
events themselves, apart from the loss of life. They are also 
hazy on the reasons: some recollect that it was an internal 
power struggle, many no longer recall what Gorbachev sought 
and nor what the "putchists" advocated.  A notable 15 percent 
in the Levada poll had confused the events of August 1991 
with those of October 1993. 
 
4. (U) Public indifference to the 15-year anniversary and 
resentment of the social dislocations of the 1990's also was 
reflected in the number of Russians willing to mark the 
occasion.  Events on August 19 started with a rally of 
Communist Party supporters in front of the Lenin Museum, 
whose participants -- including the errant tourist or two -- 
numbered less than a 100.  On August 20, 200 people 
representing both "Democrats" and Communists" commemorated 
the killing of the three men crushed by Soviet tanks on 
August 21, 1991, and a march to the White House on August 22, 
National Flag Day, organized by the Union of Right Forces 
(SPS) in support of Yeltsin's victory over the hard liners, 
garnered about 1000 supporters. 
 
5. (SBU) Antipathy to the series of events that precipitated 
the collapse of the Soviet Union remains politically 
acceptable, even fashionable.  In a press release, Duma 
Speaker Boris Gryzlov emphasized the United Russia position 
that the coup was a "tragic page" in Russia's history, which 
should be commemorated in order to remind Russians of the 
dangers of a weak government.  Chief editor of the radical 
nationalist paper Zavtra Alexander Prokhanov, who supported 
the State Emergency Committee's (GKChP) actions in 1991, told 
us that the failed coup was a tragic day that people now 
associate with the fall of the Soviet Union and, therefore, 
nothing to celebrate.  He noted many Russians had believed 
that it would usher in a "democratic heaven".  Instead, 
rehashing the universal refrain here, Prokhanov described the 
aftermath as a period of rampant crime, instability, and the 
rise of the oligarchs.  The average Russian, he concluded, 
longs for a return of Soviet orderliness. 
 
----------------- 
Liberals Resigned 
----------------- 
 
6. (SBU) Every revolution, Echo Moskvy editor Aleksey 
Venediktov noted to us, has its Thermidor.  The retreat from 
those democratic ideals, expressed but imperfectly realized 
in the 1990's, was a natural phenomenon, he maintained, even 
if the erosion of those values over the last 15 years was 
greater then he would have predicted.  Carnegie Center's 
 
MOSCOW 00009412  002 OF 002 
 
 
Lilia Shevtsova reinforced to us that the mixed emotions 
surrounding the anniversary of the coup reflected the fact 
that all Russians were stripped of something dear in the 
1990's -- not just grandiose notions of empire, but immediate 
family connections, with relatives scattered across newly 
recognized international borders.
  Venediktov did not rule 
out a more generous post-mortem on the coup that led to the 
collapse of the Soviet Union, but argued that this historical 
revisionism would come only after the emergence in Russia of 
a more assured and economically secure middle class -- the 
culmination of a long and measured political evolution. 
 
7.  (SBU) The silver lining to the backlash against the 
1990's, Demos Center Tatyana Lokshina insisted, was that 
human rights activists were being forced to reevaluate their 
message to the Russian public.  Many activists, she told us, 
simply cannot adapt to the new language of Putin's Russia and 
to the fact that there is little admiration among the Russian 
public for the names and tactics of Soviet-era dissidents. 
Trying to promote civil liberties, given the apathy of the 
public and the complacency generated by growing economic 
prosperity, requires smart image-making and activists who 
have a better understanding of Russian concerns.  The 
message, she maintained, should focus more on freedom and 
less on democracy, which she said -- echoing Prokhanov -- 
evokes images of Yeltsin, the rise of oligarchs, the 
non-payment of wages, the unavailability of social services, 
and the deterioration of order.  Both Shevtsova and Lokshina 
pointed to the rise of grassroots organizations -- automobile 
societies protesting corruption, environmentalists focused on 
Lake Baikal, and citizen's groups outraged over housing scams 
-- as evidence of a new generation of civil society leaders. 
(In an aside, Shevtsova noted the disdain sometimes evident 
among the older, more established, and foreign-funded NGO's 
toward these less organized and less overtly human 
rights-oriented social movements.) 
 
------- 
Comment 
------- 
 
8. (SBU)  The August 1991 coup and the collapse of the Soviet 
Union that it precipitated is an event which Putin described 
as the "biggest geopolitical catastrophe of the Twentieth 
Century" -- a statement that resonates with the Russian 
public.  The majority of Russians -- as the polling indicates 
-- are caught between a nostalgia for the lost superpower 
status of the USSR and a grudging recognition that the 
changes which followed after August 1991 offer the prospect 
for a better life.  Hence the ambivalence with which Russians 
greeted the anniversary and the enormity of civil society's 
task in revitalizing Russian support for democratic values. 
BURNS

Wikileaks

06MOSCOW9356, BASAYEV’S WIDOW ABDUCTED

WikiLeaks Link

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
06MOSCOW9356 2006-08-25 15:33 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Moscow

VZCZCXRO1406
RR RUEHDBU
DE RUEHMO #9356 2371533
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
R 251533Z AUG 06
FM AMEMBASSY MOSCOW
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 1181
INFO RUEHXD/MOSCOW POLITICAL COLLECTIVE
RUCNCIS/CIS COLLECTIVE

C O N F I D E N T I A L MOSCOW 009356 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/24/2016 
TAGS: PHUM PGOV PTER PINR RS
SUBJECT: BASAYEV'S WIDOW ABDUCTED 
 
 
Classified By: Political Minister-Counselor Alice Wells. 
Reasons 1.4 (b and d) 
 
1.  (C) SUMMARY:  The abduction of a female journalist in 
Chechnya that prompted public appeals from human rights 
groups could have consequences for the Chechen newspaper that 
employed her as a stringer and the groups seeking her 
release, following the revelation that she is Shamil 
Basayev's widow.  END SUMMARY. 
 
2.  (SBU) On August 17, Elina Ersenoyeva was abducted in 
Groznyy by men believed to belong to either Russian or 
Chechen security forces.  According to Ersenoyeva's aunt, who 
was taken with her but later released, the two had bags 
placed over their heads, were put in separate cars, and taken 
to a basement.  After about two hours, the aunt was released. 
 She told human rights activists that she did not know what 
happened to Ersonoyeva.  Two days prior to the abduction, 
Ersenoyeva had written to the Demos Center and the 
International Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights 
complaining that she and her family were being "persecuted" 
by members of the Chechen paramilitary loyal to Chechen Prime 
Minister Ramzan Kadyrov.  Ersenoyeva attributed the pressure 
to the fact she had married a rebel fighter in November 2005. 
 
3.  (C) Demos Center Director Tanya Lokshina and other human 
rights organizations on August 18 released public appeals for 
Ersenoyeva's release, describing her as a journalist and 
civic activist based on her work with the independent Chechen 
newspaper Chechen Society and an AIDs prevention group known 
as INFO-MOST.  On August 24, Lokshina said she learned from 
Ersenoyeva's family that the fighter Ersenoyeva married was 
Basayev.  The family maintained that the marriage had been 
forced upon Ersenoyeva, a claim that Lokshina takes with a 
grain of salt but believes is credible.  The family said 
Ersenoyeva had been approached by the wife of Chechen 
"President" Abdul Khalim Saidullayev, a distant relative, who 
told Ersenoyeva that a groom had been found for her. 
Lokshina said the family believed that had Ersenoyeva 
refused, they would have been targeted by the rebels.  The 
family told Lokshina that Ersenoyeva had spent six weeks with 
Basayev. 
 
4.  (C) Lokshina is concerned that for human rights 
organizations who publicized the case, and for Timur Aliev, 
the editor of Chechen Society as her employer, there was a 
danger that they would now be seen by security services as 
supporters of the rebels.  Lokshina said any denials they had 
not known Ersenoyeva's connection to Basayev would be met by 
authorities with skepticism at a minimum, and in Aliev's 
case, as an outright lie because he worked in the North 
Caucasus.  While it was too early to know, she said, 
authorities could use the Ersenoyev case to connect her, 
Aliev, and others to Basayev -- no matter how tenuous the 
connection -- and use it against them. 
 
5.  (C) COMMENT:  Lokshina and other prominent human rights 
groups that have criticized abuses in Chechnya have generally 
been scrupulous in avoiding any appearance of supporting 
terrorists like Basayev.  Likewise, Aliev, who has won 
numerous awards for his work in the North Caucasus, is a 
highly regarded independent journalist.  Their criticisms of 
the GOR and its Chechen allies have not been well received by 
the authorities, but they have continued to work without too 
much interference.  This inadvertent linkage to Basayev will 
raise their profile and potential vulnerability. 
BURNS

Wikileaks

06MOSCOW9354, RUSSIA WEIGHING ADDITIONAL HUMANITARIAN ASSISTANCE

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
06MOSCOW9354 2006-08-25 14:03 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Moscow

VZCZCXRO1331
PP RUEHDBU
DE RUEHMO #9354 2371403
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 251403Z AUG 06
FM AMEMBASSY MOSCOW
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 1177
INFO RUEHXK/ARAB ISRAELI COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHXD/MOSCOW POLITICAL COLLECTIVE PRIORITY

C O N F I D E N T I A L MOSCOW 009354 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/25/2016 
TAGS: PREL EAID LE RS
SUBJECT: RUSSIA WEIGHING ADDITIONAL HUMANITARIAN ASSISTANCE 
TO LEBANON 
 
REF: STATE 139903 
 
Classified By: Minister-Counselor for Political Affairs Alice Wells. Re 
asons: 1.4(B/D). 
 
1.  (C)  In addition to contemplating a limited contingent of 
military personnel to serve in UNIFIL (septel), Russia is 
considering providing additional shipments of humanitarian 
assistance to Lebanon according to the MFA and the Lebanese 
Ambassador in Moscow.  MFA Syria and Lebanon Section Chief 
Andrey Panov told us August 24 that Russia had already 
supplied four planeloads of emergency humanitarian assistance 
through the Ministry of Civil Defense, Emergencies and 
Natural Disasters (EMERCOM).  Russia was consulting with the 
Lebanese government about additional aid, including 
reconstruction assistance.  DFM Aleksandr Saltanov will head 
the Russian delegation to the meeting in Stockholm. 
 
2.  (C)  Lebanese Ambassador Assem Jaber told us on August 23 
that cooperation with the GOR in providing humanitarian 
assistance had been excellent.  Jaber noted that four EMERCOM 
flights (on August 9, 17, 21, and 23) had delivered tons of 
food, medicine, bedding, and tents to a UN depot in Cyprus; 
the material had then been sent on to Lebanon.  Jaber said 
Russia was willing to provide additional medical supplies, 
but it was not clear whether the Russian medicines offered 
were the same as the European drugs that Lebanon had 
requested.  He noted that a number of Russian private 
companies had also provided humanitarian relief supplies.  On 
reconstruction assistance, Jaber said that Russian interest 
had so far been limited to firms that wanted to work in 
Lebanon on commercial terms. 
BURNS

Wikileaks

06MOSCOW9346, LEBANON/UNIFIL: RUSSIA MAY SEND LIMITED CONTINGENT

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
06MOSCOW9346 2006-08-25 14:00 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Moscow

VZCZCXRO1316
OO RUEHDBU
DE RUEHMO #9346 2371400
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 251400Z AUG 06
FM AMEMBASSY MOSCOW
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 1169
INFO RUEHXK/ARAB ISRAELI COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHXD/MOSCOW POLITICAL COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHZG/NATO EU COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK PRIORITY 0264

C O N F I D E N T I A L MOSCOW 009346 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/25/2016 
TAGS: PREL MOPS MARR KPKO LE RS
SUBJECT: LEBANON/UNIFIL: RUSSIA MAY SEND LIMITED CONTINGENT 
 
Classified By: Minister-Counselor for Political Affairs Alice Wells. Re 
asons: 1.4(B/D). 
 
1.  (C)  The MFA told us August 25 that Russia is actively 
considering sending a limited contingent of military 
personnel to serve in UNIFIL.  Vladimir Safronkov, Chief of 
the UN Political Affairs Section in the MFA's International 
Organizations Department, said that President Putin had 
requested the GOR interagency weigh sending troops to serve 
in Lebanon.  No decision had been reached yet, but Safronkov 
suggested that Russia might send approximately 200 military 
engineers to assist UNIFIL, as well as some medical 
personnel.  He said that a Russian contribution to UNIFIL 
would be similar in size and scope to its contribution to the 
UN Mission in Sudan (UNMIS), where Moscow provides 4 
helicopters and 200 associated servicemen.  Safronkov said 
Russia had no plans to send combat-ready ground forces to 
serve in UNIFIL. 
 
2.  (C)  There has been persistent speculation in the Russian 
press that Moscow will provide some troops to UNIFIL.  Deputy 
Prime Minister and Defense Minister Sergey Ivanov said August 
25 that Russia was weighing whether to send peacekeeping 
forces, but argued that the mandate for UNIFIL forces had not 
yet been defined.  He "did not rule out" that Russia might 
send "specialists" to Lebanon to restore infrastructure.  The 
Israeli Embassy Political Counselor told us August 22 that he 
thought Russia might send a "symbolic contingent."  He 
believed Russia would not want to send a large force because 
that might diminish Russia's standing as a "friend to the 
Arabs." 
BURNS

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