06MOSCOW12036, TRANSNISTRIA: WHY IS VALERIY NESTERUSHKIN SMILING?

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
06MOSCOW12036 2006-10-27 11:03 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Moscow

VZCZCXRO2084
OO RUEHDBU
DE RUEHMO #2036/01 3001103
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 271103Z OCT 06
FM AMEMBASSY MOSCOW
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 4592
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 012036 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 10/27/2016 
TAGS: PREL MARR ETRD MD RS
SUBJECT: TRANSNISTRIA:  WHY IS VALERIY NESTERUSHKIN SMILING? 
 
Classified By: DCM Daniel A. Russell.  Reason 1.4 (b, d) 
 
Summary 
------- 
 
1. (C) Russian diplomacy has become more active with Moldova 
since Putin and Voronin met August 8.  The rise of Yanukovich 
in Ukraine has helped Russia exert leverage over Moldova, 
helping to roll back the agreement between Moldova and 
Ukraine on customs that so irritated the Transnistrians. 
Russian leverage is also undermining internationalized 
negotiations that include the U.S. and EU.  New dialogue 
between Russia and Moldova has so far produced no concrete 
results on either economic issues or the Transnistria 
conflict.  End Summary. 
 
The Cheshire Cat 
---------------- 
 
2. (C) Russian MFA Transnistria negotiator Nesterushkin 
looked more than ever like a cat licking cream when we saw 
him October 24.  He exuded schadenfreude over the failure of 
the October 17-18 Odessa round to produce an agreement even 
to meet again in the 5 plus 2 format (the format that 
includes the EU and U.S.).  He denied that useful progress 
could come out of such a large "roomful of people."  And he 
lauded TN negotiator Litskai for declaring in Odessa that the 
U.S. had no business discussing Transnistria's railroad 
protocols, since the U.S. had no rail connections with 
Transnistria. 
 
3. (C) Nesterushkin has been traveling often to Chisinau and 
Tiraspol recently -- we chanced to meet his wife October 25; 
she told us he goes to Chisinau and Tiraspol "every week 
nowadays."  But he flatly refused to tell us what his purpose 
was, whom he had met, or what results he has achieved.  We 
know Nesterushkin was there with DFM Karasin in early 
October; he went by himself for the week of October 16 and 
again on October 26 with Deputy Security Council Secretary 
Zubakov, who reputedly has large financial interests in 
Transnistria and exerts great influence on Russian policy 
towards Moldova. 
 
4. (C)  The closest Nesterushkin got to revealing what he is 
up to was in expressing the opinion that a final agreement 
would have "elements of the Kozak paper, as well as other 
papers such as the Belgian plans."  Moldovan Political 
Counselor Ion Ciornii confirmed to us October 26 that Russia 
has been using its new leverage from the September 17 
Transnistria referendum to foist on Moldova proposals from 
the Kozak memorandum that Moldova definitively rejected years 
ago -- though mention of the Memorandum itself might 
disappear. 
 
The Yanukovich Factor 
--------------------- 
 
5. (C) Ciornii said Ukrainian PM Yanukovich is providing 
Russia with leverage to undermine the Customs Agreement 
between Moldova and Ukraine via the "Transit Protocol" 
Transnistria is seeking.  Yanukovich's leverage is the main 
railway bridge over the Dniester between Moldova and Ukraine, 
which in August "suddenly" needed repair that is still 
"incomplete," though it was scheduled to be finished by 
October 1.  (The OSCE reports that in fact the repairs are 
complete and that "test" trains have crossed.)  The Russians 
have piled on by insisting that if, as of November 1, all 
train service does not pass through Transnistria, Russia will 
simply cancel the Moscow-Chisinau train. 
 
Better to Jaw, Jaw 
------------------ 
 
6. (C) Ciornii (protect) said neither Russians nor Moldovans 
are willing to talk about the results of new dialogue that 
began after Moldovan President Voronin's talk with Putin 
August 8.  The sides have talked at various levels in 
addition to the Russian visits mentioned above.  DPM 
Grecianii arrived in Moscow October 25 for a CIS exhibition, 
and was expected to meet with Minister of Education and 
Science Fursenko, her co-Chair on the Russian-Moldovan 
Economic Commission.  Ciornii expected a formal meeting of 
the Commission in November.  Grecianii also had talks with 
Russia's chief sanitary officer, Onnishenko, who imposed the 
ban on wine. 
 
7. (C) Ciornii said the dialogue so far seems to be for its 
own sake -- Russia's demonstration that Moldova's approach, 
less confrontational than Georgia's, is more effective. 
However, he said, there are no concrete results -- no 
progress on wine bans, no progress on the Transit Protocol 
(which Moldova rejects largely because it would require 
 
MOSCOW 00012036  002 OF 002 
 
 
Moldova to send all its rail cargoes through Transnistria -- 
and pay transit fees to the Transnistrians), and no progress 
in the Transnistria negotiations. 
 
Comment 
------- 
 
8. (C) All this gives Nesterushkin reason to smile.  Russia 
has used Yanukovich to gain greater leverage over Moldova. 
The internationalized negotiating format cannot meet and may 
be breaking down.  And Voronin's hat-in-hand approach to 
Putin in August, together with Russia's desire to set an 
example for Georgia, may have led to instructions to raise 
the profile of Russian diplomacy on Moldova in general an
d of 
Nesterushkin in particular -- one of the things that makes 
Nesterushkin smile widest of all. 
BURNS

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