06MOSCOW12369, RUSSIAN NATIONALIST MARCH FIZZLES

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
06MOSCOW12369 2006-11-08 16:18 2011-08-30 01:44 UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY Embassy Moscow

VZCZCXRO3517
OO RUEHDBU RUEHLN RUEHVK RUEHYG
DE RUEHMO #2369/01 3121618
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 081618Z NOV 06
FM AMEMBASSY MOSCOW
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 5052
INFO RUCNCIS/CIS COLLECTIVE
RUEHXD/MOSCOW POLITICAL COLLECTIVE
RUEHLN/AMCONSUL ST PETERSBURG 3542
RUEHVK/AMCONSUL VLADIVOSTOK 1751
RUEHYG/AMCONSUL YEKATERINBURG 2002

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 MOSCOW 012369 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SENSITIVE 
SIPDIS 
 
DEPT FOR EUR/RUS 
 
E.O. 12958: N/A 
TAGS: PGOV KDEM PHUM PINR RS
SUBJECT: RUSSIAN NATIONALIST MARCH FIZZLES 
 
REF: MOSCOW 12311 
 
MOSCOW 00012369  001.2 OF 002 
 
 
------- 
Summary 
------- 
 
1. (SBU) Decisive action by the Moscow city authorities and 
waning enthusiasm for the enterprise produced 
smaller-then-predicted attendance at the March 4 nationalist 
"Russian march."  In the end, fewer then three thousand 
Muscovites participated on Saturday, a fraction of the number 
of police and other law enforcement officials assembled to 
ensure that there would be no violence.  The march may dent 
the reputation of Movement Against Illegal Immigration (DPNI) 
Chairman Aleksandr Belov, who had seen his star rise in the 
wake of October inter-ethnic violence in the Karelian city of 
Kondopoga, but whose efforts to score a public relations coup 
this time around were thwarted by a city government 
increasingly intolerant of intolerance.  End summary. 
 
 
------------------------------- 
March Disappoints Its Organizers 
------------------------------- 
 
2. (SBU) In the end, the much-ballyhooed November 4 Moscow 
Russian March (reftel) failed to meet the stated numerical 
expectations of its chief organizer, the Movement Against 
Illegal Immigration (DPNI).  By most estimates, fewer than 
three thousand participants converged on Deviche Pole, near 
the Park Kultury metro station in central Moscow, where they 
joined adherents of the nationalist "People's Will" in 
staging a peaceful, legal demonstration.  The event occurred 
under the watchful eyes of as many as 8 thousand police and 
Interior Ministry, and FSB personnel. Backed by water 
cannons, numerous detention vans, and assisted from above by 
a circling helicopter, Russian law enforcement (some of the 
"special police" (OMON) troops were trucked in from as far 
away as Tver), made it clear that it would vigorously enforce 
the Moscow city administration's ban on the march.  As many 
as 300 (by some estimates 500 - 600) participants were 
detained by the police at various stages of the march, 
including Duma Deputy and former LDPR member Nikolay 
Kuryanovich. 
 
3. (SBU) As planned, would-be Russian March participants 
collected the morning of November 4 at the Komsomolskaya 
metro station, then moved by metro to Park Kultury, where 
they joined the nationalist "People's Will" in a meeting 
sanctioned by city authorities.  According to media reports, 
DPNI efforts to communicate their movements via SMS were 
stymied by electronic interference.  Participants arriving at 
Park Kultury metro station were met by a phalanx of "special 
police" units standing, shoulder-to-shoulder, from the metro 
station exit to the entrance of the park.  Any participant 
carrying a sign or displaying a flag or banner not to the 
liking of the authorities was immediately hustled off to 
waiting detention vans.   Participants --overwhelmingly 
young, working-class males-- sporadically chanted "Kondopoga" 
(the Karelian locus of an October inter-ethnic confrontation 
that has entered DPNI lore), "Russia for Russians," "Moscow 
for Muscovites," "Forward, Russia," and "Glory to Russia."  A 
few young participants offered the Nazi salute for the 
cameras, although they were actively discouraged from doing 
so by "People's Will" Chairman Sergey Baburin.  Sprinkled 
among the crowd of thousands were a few anti-Semitic signs, 
one terming Chechens the "Jews of the Caucasus."  A Japanese 
cameral crew near Poloff was the occasional target of 
muttered complaints about the presence of "Chinese (sic) 
horse faces," but march participants willingly offered the 
journalists their views, and there was no threat of physical 
violence. 
 
4. (SBU) The rally itself was anticlimactic.  There were 
less-than-memorable speeches by "People's Will" Chairman 
Sergey Baburin, and by Duma deputies Kuryanovich (formerly of 
LDPR) and Andrey Savelyev (formerly of Rodina).  Baburin 
prevented an obviously-disgruntled DPNI leader Aleksandr 
Belov, who was on the tribune, from making remarks; 
presumably because DPNI had been denied permission to march. 
Belov nevertheless through a megaphone attacked Presidential 
Administration Deputy Head Vladislav Surkov, allegedly for 
ordering Baburin via cellphone to prevent Belov from 
speaking. 
 
5. (SBU) The participants, in conversations with Embassy, 
 
MOSCOW 00012369  002.2 OF 002 
 
 
suggested that they had different agendas for the rally.  One 
young man expressed the sentiment, echoed by others, that 
gatherings of ethnic Russians are too often portrayed as 
"extreme nationalist" or even "fascist," while the assemblies 
of members of other nationalities are treated more neutrally. 
 A young woman complained that the current Russian government 
was not devoting enough attention to ethnic Russians. Others 
worried that illegal immigrants were taking their jobs and 
were the source of crime in Moscow. 
 
-----------------
----- 
Anti-Nationalist March 
---------------------- 
 
6. (SBU) Complementing the more nationalistic Russian march 
was a second, smaller rally, held to counter the collection 
of nationalists on Deviche Pole.  The fewer than one thousand 
persons participating were treated to speeches by Union of 
Right Forces Chairman Belykh, Yabloko party Deputy Chairman 
Sergey Mitrokhin, and Moscow Helsinki Fund Chair Lyudmila 
Alekseyeva.  As at its counterpart rally, police presence was 
heavy, and the rally took place without incident although, 
again, there were a few preemptive detentions. 
 
------- 
Comment 
------- 
 
7. (SBU) The decisive action of the Moscow city government no 
doubt played the key role in countering the intentions of 
some on the right to turn this year's march into a pitched 
battle between the police and the demonstrators.  The 
overwhelming presence of large numbers of police at the place 
of the demonstrations and at checkpoints throughout the city 
made it clear that violence in Moscow would not be tolerated. 
 At the same time, although some Duma deputies participated 
in the rally, and there was much heated rhetoric in the 
run-up to November 4, much of the original enthusiasm seemed 
to have evaporated by the day of the march itself.  DPNI and 
its leader Aleksandr Belov had received ever more frequent 
media coverage in the wake of the October ethnic conflict in 
Kondopoga.  Their failure to ride that wave to even more 
prominence on November 4 may make them less attractive to 
those seeking a vehicle for exploiting festering resentments 
here.  Moscow Mayor Luzhkov's forceful rejection of the march 
shows the important role that leadership from above can play 
in thwarting efforts to create unrest. 
BURNS

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