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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
06MOSCOW12143 2006-11-01 07:37 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Moscow

DE RUEHMO #2143/01 3050737
R 010737Z NOV 06

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 MOSCOW 012143 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 11/01/2016 
REF: MOSCOW 12042 
Classified By: Ambassador William J. Burns:  1.4 (b,d). 
1. (C) The Federal Registration Service (FRS) has completed 
its inspection of the 35 political parties that filed for 
re-registration according to the new, more stringent 
requirements of the amended electoral law.  A FRS 
representative at an October 26 press conference reported 
that sixteen of their number had failed to meet the new 
standards and had not been re-registered.  According to the 
law, by January 1, 2007, those sixteen must either register 
as NGOs or public organizations or cease to exist.  Several 
smaller parties are choosing to merge with larger, registered 
parties in order to remain in the political fray.  Among the 
parties not registered was Duma Deputy Vladimir Ryzhkov's 
Republican Party of Russia (RPS).  After the FRS's 
announcement, Ryzhkov declared that his RPS was being 
"persecuted."  An RPR member responsible for shepherding 
RPS's application through the registration process admitted 
that his party's supporting documents were flawed and noted 
that internal disarray among "democratic" parties, not the 
FRS, remained the biggest stumbling block.  End summary. 
Who Was Registered, Who Not 
2. (U) The Federal Registration Service (FRS) announced at an 
October 26 press conference that only 19 of the 35 political 
parties applying for re-registration under the amended, more 
stringent electoral law had passed muster and would be able 
to contend for power in the March 2007 regional elections and 
subsequent, State Duma elections.  According to the amended 
law, political parties are required to have national 
memberships of at least 50 thousand and register regional 
party organizations of 500 members of more in at least 
one-half of Russia's regions.  Those failing to do so, must 
re-register as public organizations, movements, or NGOs; or 
cease to exist. 
3. (U) Nineteen political parties will be eligible to 
participate in the March 2007 regional and December 2007 
State Duma elections.  Among those registered are: 
-- United Russia (YR) 
-- the Communist Party of the Russian Federation (KPRF) 
-- Rodina 
-- the Liberal Democratic Party of Russia 
-- Yabloko 
-- the Union of Right Forces (SPS) 
-- the Agrarian Party of Russia 
-- Sergey Baburin's "Peoples Will" 
-- Gennadiy Gudkov's "Peoples Power" 
-- Gennadiy Seleznev's "Revival of Russia" 
-- the Russian Party of Life 
-- the Russian Party of Pensioners 
-- the Party of Social Justice 
-- the Democratic Party of Russia 
-- Free Russia 
-- Peace and Unity 
-- the United Socialist Party 
-- the Patriots of Russia 
-- the Green Party 
4. (SBU) Experts here assert that the number of registered 
parties should continue to drop, as the smaller parties merge 
in order to compete for representation in the regional and 
national legislatures.  (The first such merger occurred 
October 28, when the Russian Party of Life, Rodina, and the 
Russian Party of Pensioners merged (septel) to form the "A 
Just Russia" party.)  Gennadiy Gudkov's "Peoples Party" is 
reportedly negotiating a merger with the Party of Social 
Justice and the Patriots of Russia. 
5. (U) The FRS denied registration to sixteen political 
parties.  Among them: 
-- the Republican Party of Russia (RPR) 
-- the Social Democratic Party (founded by Mikhail Gorbachev) 
-- the Eurasian Union 
-- the Popular Republican Party 
-- the Union of People for Education and Science (SLON) 
-- the Party for the Development of the Regions, "Nature and 
MOSCOW 00012143  002 OF 003 
-- the National Conservative Party of Russia 
-- the Russian United Industrial Party 
Future of Unregistered Parties 
6. (U) Only one of the sixteen parties, the Russian United 
Industrial Party, has to date announced its intention to 
dissolve, and merge its membership with that of the 
pro-Kremlin party United Russia.  FRS Acting Director for 
Political Party and NGO Affairs Galina Fokina told a press 
conference October 26 that the unregistered parties will soon 
be formally notified of their failure to qualify.  The 
parties may appeal the FRS's decision in writing.  The FRS 
has one month to reply, after which the party, if 
dissatisfied, can appeal to the courts.  A party cannot be 
considered de-registered until the legal appeals process has 
run its course. 
7. (SBU) Among those parties denied registration by the FRS, 
SLON's Chairman Vyacheslav Igrunov told us that he believed 
his party could not successfully contest the FRS's decision. 
Igrunov also saw no prospective merger partners.   SLON had 
considered merging with the Russian Party of Life, Igrunov 
said, but in the end found the organization "
bureaucratic" for its liking.  The only path left to it, 
Igrunov said, was to dissolve. 
8. (SBU) Pavel Zarafulin, assistant to Vyacheslav Dugin of 
the Eurasian Union, told us that, in fact, his party had 
ceased to exist some time ago, and had transformed itself 
into an NGO, the International Eurasian Union.  Closing the 
Eurasian Union party would be a mere formality, said 
Zarafulin.  RPR Political Council member Dmitriy Vovchuk told 
us that he understood that Gorbachev's Social Democratic 
Party, now headed by businessman Vladimir Kishenin, would 
fold its tent. "Kishenin is tired," Vovchuk said, and wants 
to devote himself to his business. 
9. (SBU) Some observers cited as evidence of the political 
nature of the registration process the fate of minor parties 
like the United Socialist Party.  Politial commentator 
Aleksey Levchenko reported that the United Socialists, headed 
by President Putin's former judo coach Valeriy Shestov, 
improbably in Levchenko's view, managed to gather the 
signatures of 51 thousand members and clear all of other 
hurdles to registration, although the United Socialists are 
virtually unknown in Russia. 
Ryzhkov's Republicans 
10. (SBU) RPR Co-Chairman Vladimir Ryzhkov has termed the 
FRS's decision not to register his RPR "politically driven." 
The FRS's Fokina contended at her press conference that the 
RPR's membership totaled only 39,979, and that it had 
legitimate, regional organizations in only 32 of Russia's 
regions. Ryzhkov disagreed and, as proof that his party was 
being singled out for persecution, he alleged that the RPR 
had taken the FRS to court 23 times in the last 18 months, 
and won 21 of those cases. 
11. (C) Dmitriy Vovchuk of the RPR's Political Council 
October 27 told us he agreed with the FRS that there had been 
"problems" with the RPS's re-registration packet, although 
Vovchuk cautioned that the RPR had not yet received a written 
explanation of the reasons for refusal from the FRS.  The 
RPR's application process had been plagued with technical 
problems, Vovchuk said.  In places on the application where 
all of the members of the political council were to have 
signed, only one member signed.  As an election technician, 
Vovchuk understood that some of the 63,892 signatures --at 
least 8860 to be exact-- submitted by the RPR were 
"problematic, and there had been problems as well with the 
RPR's legal address, which had changed in fact, but seemingly 
not been updated on the re-registration application.  Vovchuk 
described further, unspecified problems in the regions of 
Vladimir and Murmansk, and in other regions as well.  He 
ascribed some of these problems to the continuing legacy of 
bad feeling created by an earlier RPR merger with the party 
"Forward Russia," whose members, Vovchuk said, remain 
dissatisfied with the role allotted them in the new party. 
12. (C) Vovchuk agreed with Ryzhkov that the RPR had a 
history of legal disputes with the FRS.  The RPR was 
contesting earlier FRS decisions that seemed to conflate the 
law with the registration practices of other political 
MOSCOW 00012143  003 OF 003 
parties.  Unfortunately, Vovchuk said, the FRS's location in 
Moscow meant that all decisions were appealed to the city's 
Taganskiy court, which seemed to support the FRS whatever the 
merits of the case. 
13. (C) Per Vovchuk, more serious for the fate of 
western-oriented democratic parties in Russia than excessive 
scrutiny from the FRS was the continued rivalries and 
disarray within their ranks. Before the October 8, 
nine-region elections, the parties' leaderships had agreed to 
pool their resources in order to maximize returns in those 
areas where they might be competitive.  In Astrakhan, where 
the RPR was on the ballot, Yabloko was to have helped in 
gathering signatures for candidates, and with the campaign 
itself.  "Other than signing one letter," Vovchuk said, 
Yabloko Astrakhan provided no assistance to RPR's campaign. 
The regional electoral commission found the signatures 
Yabloko had gathered for a number of RPR individual-mandate 
candidates,  candidate Aleksandr Podborov among them, to be 
invalid.  Vovchuk had found the signatures "suspicious" when 
he reviewed them before they were submitted, but his 
questions produced only indignation among Yabloko Astrakhan 
members and, against his better judgment, he had allowed them 
to go forward. 
14. (C) The parties should know, Vovchuk said, that their 
applications will be scrutinized, and they should be certain 
that they are impeccable when submitted.  "Instead of 50 
thousand signatures, we should have 60 thousand valid 
signatures," he said.  Instead, the work in the regions 
continues to be sloppy, with parties who command the 
allegiance of a tiny fraction of the electorate continuing to 
impede the work of their largely irrelevant rivals.  "Who 
would vote for us?" Vovchuk asked rhetorically.  "I 
15. (C) The RPR intends to contest the FRS's refusal to 
re-register it in court if necessary, but it seems unlikely 
that the decision will be reversed.  The higher standards for 
party registration this time around have given those parties 
with "administrative resources" an advantage in gathering 
signatures and holding the necessary regional meetings. 
Still, if Vovchuk is to be believed, crossing the threshold 
to registration should not be beyond the ability of any party 
pretending to a national presence, no matter how closely it 
is scrutinized by the FRS. 


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