06MOSCOW11582, GEORGIA UPDATE: OCTOBER 16

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
06MOSCOW11582 2006-10-16 15:36 2011-08-30 01:44 SECRET Embassy Moscow

VZCZCXRO0487
OO RUEHDBU
DE RUEHMO #1582/01 2891536
ZNY SSSSS ZZH
O 161536Z OCT 06
FM AMEMBASSY MOSCOW
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 3968
INFO RUEHXD/MOSCOW POLITICAL COLLECTIVE PRIORITY

S E C R E T SECTION 01 OF 02 MOSCOW 011582 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 10/16/2016 
TAGS: PREL MARR ETRD PREF GG RS
SUBJECT: GEORGIA UPDATE:  OCTOBER 16 
 
REF: A) ST PETERSBURG 631 B) MOSCOW 11539 AND PREVIOUS 
 
Classified By: AMBASSADOR WILLIAM J. BURNS.  Reason 1.4 (b, d) 
 
Summary 
------- 
 
1. (C) Deportations of undocumented Georgian nationals 
continue.  Round-ups have slowed in Moscow, but picked up in 
St. Petersburg.  Russian and Georgian officials continue to 
trade insults and veiled threats.  Harassment of ethnic 
Georgians may have peaked thanks to a backlash from Russians 
of many political persuasions.  End Summary. 
 
Deportations 
------------ 
 
2. (C) Georgian Ambassador Chubinishvili confirmed (see Ref. 
A) October 16 that "about 100" undocumented Georgians are 
detained in St. Petersburg.  The Georgian Embassy has sent a 
consular officer to help facilitate their departure. 
Georgians are soliciting funds from relatives of the 
detainees to pay for the flights.  Detentions in Moscow are 
down, Chubinishvili told us, because undocumented Georgians 
are "in hiding." 
 
3. (U) Interfax reported that, according to the Georgian 
Embassy in Moscow, about 200 Georgians will be deported from 
Moscow to Tbilisi on October 17. 
 
Statements 
---------- 
 
4. (U) Russian politicians and officials continue to make 
statements harshly critical of Georgian President 
Saakashvili.  Federation Council Member Vasiliy Likhachev 
told the press October 14 that the Saakashvili's statements 
Georgia should put "his partners in Brussels and the U.S." on 
guard against the "militarization" of Georgia.  CHOD Yuriy 
Baluyevskiy, commenting on a statement by Georgian DefMin 
Okruashvili that Georgia does not fear war with Russia, said 
October 16 that Russia has no intention of starting a war 
with Georgia, but that Georgia will bear responsibility for 
any military confrontations in Abkhazia or South Ossetia. 
 
Ethnic Harassment 
----------------- 
 
5. (C) The harassment of ethnic Russians in Georgia -- many 
of them Russian citizens -- has produced a backlash among 
some Russians. In Kazan, one Tatar intellectual told us that 
the "demonization" of Georgians as a people bespeaks a new 
growth of "Russia for the Russians" ethnocentrism.  Russian 
nationalist commentator Sergey Markedonov posted an article 
October 13 decrying the harassment campaign, saying the 
Kremlin was stooping to racist policies.  He compared the 
campaign to the persecution of Volga Germans in 1914-15, and 
called it a public relations gift to western media eager to 
defeat Russia in the information war.  Markedonov, like other 
Russians we have talked with, found the tax harassment of 
popular Russian writer Boris Akunin (the pen-name of Grigol 
Chkhartishvili) most offensive.  Markedonov dryly pointed out 
that most Russian teenagers these days get their sense of 
Russian patriotism from reading Akunin's books.  Markedonov 
also castigated the Kremlin for its irrational, "emotional" 
and "hysterical" approach to Georgia.  Instead of having 
clear goals in mind when imposing sanctions (such as forcing 
Georgia to sign a statement on the non-use of force against 
Abkhazia or South Ossetia), Markedonov charged that Russian 
policymakers are bogged down in "fear of NATO or Soros." 
 
6. (C) The backlash may have further tempered the campaign 
against ethnic Georgians (which had already caused outrage 
when a school principal publicly vowed never to comply with 
the order to give the police school record information on the 
parents of students with Georgian surnames).  At least one 
major Georgian restaurant in Moscow has reopened after 
closing down "voluntarily" for a week.  We were told of a 
similar incident in Kazan:  inspectors visited the owner of 
the most popular Georgian restaurant and told him 
apologetically that they were under orders to find a reason 
to shut him down.  They advised him to shut down voluntarily 
and wait until it all blew over. 
 
7. (C) Sounding a discordant note, Kremlin-connected 
political analyst Sergey Markov told us that the campaign 
would continue and that clear instructions had been issued by 
the authorities to throw the book at Georgian criminal 
operations and major businesses for violations of laws that 
will continue to go unenforced against other ethnic groups. 
Having just returned from a trip to Abkhazia, Markov stressed 
that Russia's problem was with Saakashvili, not with 
Georgians, and discounted the possibility of improved 
 
MOSCOW 00011582  002 OF 002 
 
 
relations absent a change in Tbilisi of leadership or 
orientation towards Russia. 
BURNS

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