06MOSCOW11629, GEORGIA UPDATE, OCTOBER 17

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
06MOSCOW11629 2006-10-17 14:16 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Moscow

VZCZCXRO1734
OO RUEHDBU
DE RUEHMO #1629/01 2901416
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 171416Z OCT 06
FM AMEMBASSY MOSCOW
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 4033
INFO RUEHXD/MOSCOW POLITICAL COLLECTIVE PRIORITY

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 MOSCOW 011629 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 10/17/2016 
TAGS: PREL MARR PREF GG RS
SUBJECT: GEORGIA UPDATE, OCTOBER 17 
 
REF: MOSCOW 11582 AND PREVIOUS 
 
Classified By: AMBASSADOR WILLIAM J. BURNS.  Reason 1.4 (b, d) 
 
Summary 
------- 
 
1.  (C) A Georgian detainee from St. Petersburg died of an 
asthma attack as he waited at a Moscow airport to board the 
plane deporting him to Georgia.  This was the third plane to 
deport Georgians, bringing the number of deported to over 
400.  Some 300 more Georgians have received deportation 
orders.  Liberal NGOs continue their criticism of government 
policy, and the Governor of St. Petersburg has added her 
cautionary voice to the chorus.  End summary. 
 
Deportation and Death 
--------------------- 
 
2. (SBU) 58 year-old Tengiz Taganadze died of an asthma 
attack October 17 as he waited in Moscow's Domodedovo airport 
to board the Ministry of Emergency Situations (MChS) airplane 
deporting him to Tbilisi.  The Georgian Consul reported the 
death from the airport where he was carrying out duties 
relative to the deportation, and Russian officials confirmed 
the report to the news media.  Taganadze had spent five days 
at the "Reception Center" where detainees were being held in 
St. Petersburg before being bussed with other St. Petersburg 
deportees to Domodedovo. 
 
3. (SBU) Today's was the third deportation flight.  It 
carried about 150 Georgians, including 41 from St. Petersburg 
(not including Taganadze), the rest being from Moscow city 
and district.  According to the Georgian Embassy, a total of 
682 Georgians have been served with deportation orders in the 
Moscow and St. Petersburg regions.  136 were deported on 
October 6 and 119 on October 10.  Today's flight, with about 
150 deportees, brings the total deported so far to over 400, 
leaving close to 300 awaiting deportation in the Moscow and 
St. Petersburg districts.  According to the Georgian Embassy, 
35 Georgians have been detained in Kaliningrad District; 22 
have received deportation orders and the cases of the other 
13 are under consideration.  An unknown number of Georgians 
have received deportation orders in other regions such as 
Krasnodar. 
 
Chorus of Dissent at Harassment 
------------------------------- 
 
4. (U) St. Petersburg Governor Matviyenko told a press 
conference October 17 that the campaign against ethnic 
Georgians should not go too far, adding that "there is no 
room for abuse."  While calling for the enforcement of 
immigration laws, she said that should be done "regardless 
of...nationality." 
 
5. (C) Lyudmila Alekseyeva, the director of Moscow Helsinki 
Group, condemned the campaign against ethnic Georgians as 
"sheer idiocy."  It was crystal clear, she noted, that this 
was an anti-Georgian campaign that did not extend to other 
nationalities illegally residing and working in Moscow.  The 
law enforcement organs were not even arresting the Azeris 
caught up in the Georgian net.  Like many liberal 
commentators, Alekseyeva noted the unintended consequences of 
the GOR actions: Georgians, deeply offended by their 
treatment in Russian hands, were rallying around Saakashvili. 
 
6. (C) Svetlana Gannushkina, chair of the migrants' rights 
NGO Civic Assistance, told us October 16 that the NGO has 
received numerous requests for assistance from Georgians 
seeking to remain in Russia.  The NGO has collected 
information indicating widespread violations of rights and 
regulations by police and the courts, including illegal 
detentions, cancellation of visas or refusal to extend 
registration on ethnic grounds, and denial of access to 
attorneys during deportation proceedings.  In Ivanovo, Civic 
Assistance reported, police, tax inspectors, and other 
authorities were checking all those with Georgian family 
names or who appeared to be ethnic Georgians, and 
schoolchildren with Georgian surnames were being asked were 
they were born and where their parents were. 
 
7. (C) The Georgian Embassy claimed to us that of the 255 
Georgians on the first two flights, about 50 were deported 
despite having valid visas and registration.  Both Alekseyeva 
and Gannushkina independently made similar claims. 
Alekseyeva told us that she has been involved in resolving 
individual cases, using connections with Moscow police to 
free several Georgians who were slated for deportation 
despite having valid visas and work permits.  She enumerated 
several cases of legitimate workers and students in Moscow 
who were deported summarily, and attributed this to police 
officers under pressure to fulfill and over-fulfill the 
 
MOSCOW 00011629  002 OF 002 
 
 
"plan."  They were abetted by compliant courts, and 
Alekseyeva stressed that the entire campaign revealed again 
the weakness of the Russian judiciary.  Gannushkina similarly 
said that many Georgians appear to be staying off the streets 
to avoid police, as having a valid visa or registration is 
sometimes insufficient protection from deportation.  She 
cited a Moscow case in which five Georgians, all with valid 
visas and registrat
ion, were arrested and sent to deportation 
proceedings October 11.  By October 15 three had been 
deported, with deportation pending for the other two. 
 
 
BURNS

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