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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
06MOSCOW11489 2006-10-12 14:49 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Moscow

DE RUEHMO #1489/01 2851449
P 121449Z OCT 06

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 MOSCOW 011489 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 10/12/2016 
REF: MOSCOW 11414 
Classified By: Charge Daniel A. Russell.  Reasons:  1.4(B/D). 
1.  (C)  Summary:  The Public Chamber has condemned 
bureaucratic moves that have targeted ethnic Georgians, but 
few elected officials have followed suit.  Deportations have 
temporarily slowed, but arrests of Georgians who are accused 
of not having legal status in Russia continue.  There is 
anecdotal evidence that day-to-day harassment of ethnic 
Georgians has not let up.  We are seeking a more 
comprehensive picture of the scope of deportations from 
migration and human rights contacts.  End Summary. 
Public Chamber Takes a Step Forward 
2.  (C)  While defending official sanctions against Georgia, 
Public Chamber Secretary and Academician Yevgeniy Velikhov 
condemned "irresponsible steps of toadying officials" that 
have hurt ethnic Georgians.  He added that relations between 
Tbilisi and Moscow should not depend "on the anti-Russian 
policy of the Tbilisi regime or the anti-Georgian campaign of 
short-sighted bureaucrats."  Duma Culture Committee Chairman 
Iosef Kobzon, often dubbed the "Russian Frank Sinatra" as 
much for his mob connections as for his voice, also called 
for an "emotional, honest and fundamental" dialogue between 
Russians and Georgians.  The Union of Right Forces has 
condemned moves against Georgians as a hysterical reaction 
that is fueled by those around Putin who want him to remain 
in power beyond 2008 and who are trying to create enemies 
that would justify their position.  Yabloko has called for 
the equal application of the law to all nationalities in 
Russia.  Few politicians (particularly those in parties 
poised to enter the 2007 Duma), however, are prepared to 
denounce the discriminatory campaign given the gut-appeal 
among the electorate for an anti-foreigner message.  While 
the press has reported possible Duma consideration of 
legislation that would ban top Georgian officials from 
entering or transiting Russia, a procedural hiccup might 
delay passage of the legislation for a short time. 
Pace of Deportations Slows Temporarily 
3.  (C)  Vyacheslav Postavnin, Deputy Head of the Federal 
Migration Service, publicly claimed on October 12 that there 
were no special anti-Georgian immigration raids.  However, a 
human rights lawyer in St. Petersburg supplied us with copies 
of orders from a Major General in the Saint Petersburg 
Interior Ministry Office which demand that militia officers 
work in coordination with the Federal Migration Service to 
arrest and deport Georgian citizens who are not legally 
entitled to be in Russia.  In a separate order, a militia 
colonel in Saint Petersburg demands daily reports on the 
number of Georgian citizens arrested for crimes or 
misdemeanors, including violations of the passport regime, 
and asks that details be provided of any weapons, ammunition 
or drugs found with the arrested Georgians. 
4.  (C)  George Karalashvili, the Political Counselor at the 
Georgian Embassy, told us October 12 that fewer than 10 
Georgians were deported on Wednesday but that he expected 
more than 100 would be deported on Saturday depending on the 
availability of transportation.  He said that arrests 
continued and that the Georgian Embassy was receiving a 
steady stream of calls complaining about ill treatment on its 
24 hour hot line  The press has reported that almost 600 
undocumented Georgians have been ordered to be deported 
during the last week, but the Georgian Embassy was unable to 
confirm that figure.  (Comment:  We hope to have better 
numbers from human rights groups and the Georgian Embassy on 
Driving While Georgian 
5.  (C)  We continue to hear anecdotal evidence that traffic 
stops and harassment of Georgians has increased.  As 
Karalashvili told us, once the traffic police determine from 
the license that the driver's name has the suffix of "ze" or 
"ili" (common to many Georgians), then the level of 
harassment and the required bribe has gone up, even when the 
driver can prove Russian citizenship.  We have heard of at 
least two instances where drivers with "Georgian" names were 
required to go to the police station to be photographed and 
fingerprinted following a routine traffic stop. 
6.  (C)  An ethnic Georgian lawyer who immigrated from 
Abkhazia to Moscow in the early nineties explained to us the 
impact of the crackdown on the resident Georgian community. 
She said that she knew of Georgian parents of school-age 
MOSCOW 00011489  002 OF 002 
children who were keeping their children at home because of 
fears of harassment and said that many parents of older 
children were fearful their children would not be accepted 
into university this fall because of their ethnicity.  Her 
own son, who was a Russian policeman, was afraid he would 
lose his job.  The lawyer -- who claimed that
she was not a 
supporter of Saakashvili -- said she had few places to turn. 
She had immigrated to Russia as a young person and could not 
return to Abkhazia because of the frozen conflict.  She would 
not be able to return to Tbilisi and professionally establish 
herself because she spoke Russian well but not Georgian.  She 
said several Georgians she knew that were in a similar 
position were looking to Ukraine as a possible place of 


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