Monthly Archives: December 2006

06MOSCOW13175, RUSSIA NOTIFIED OF ISNPA SANCTIONS

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
06MOSCOW13175 2006-12-29 16:17 2011-08-30 01:44 SECRET Embassy Moscow

VZCZCXYZ0000
OO RUEHWEB

DE RUEHMO #3175 3631617
ZNY SSSSS ZZH
O 291617Z DEC 06
FM AMEMBASSY MOSCOW
TO SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 6190

S E C R E T MOSCOW 013175 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SIPDIS 
 
DEPT FOR ISN/MTR, EUR/PRA, AND EUR/RUS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 12/29/2016 
TAGS: PARM MTCR PREL MNUC ETTC RS
SUBJECT: RUSSIA NOTIFIED OF ISNPA SANCTIONS 
 
REF: STATE 203587 
 
Classified By: Deputy Chief of Mission Daniel A. Russell. Reasons 1.4 ( 
B/D). 
 
1.  (S) DCM delivered on December 29 the notification of new 
U.S. sanctions levied on four Russian entities for violating 
the Iran-Syria Non-Proliferation Act.  In delivering reftel 
points, the DCM explained the sanctions reflected our serious 
concern about potentially destabilizing arms transfers and 
had been based on a thorough U.S. interagency review.  The 
USG would publish in the Federal Register next week a list of 
new sanctions against entities in ten countries, including 
Russia. 
 
2.  (S) Igor Neverov, Director of the Foreign Ministry's 
North America Department, replied that the U.S. action was 
not unexpected, given the repeated recent approaches by U.S. 
officials on arms transfers and potential sanctions.  That 
said, the Russian Government would react negatively to the 
latest round of sanctions, especially in view of their 
harmful effect on bilateral relations.  Neverov questioned 
both the sanctions and their timing coming on the heels of 
successful passage of UNSC Resolution 1737 on Iran and a very 
positive call between Presidents Bush and Putin.  He noted 
continuing Russian efforts to convince the U.S. that 
sanctions had been incorrectly applied to Rosoboronexport 
last July. 
 
3.  (S) Neverov repeatedly characterized the sanctions as an 
extraterritorial application of U.S. law, stated that Russian 
entities were required to comply with Russian law and its 
export control regime, and pointed out that the cited 
conventional weapon system transfers were not related to WMD. 
 Speaking preliminarily, he questioned whether the cited 
transfers violated any international sanction or prohibition. 
 Neverov pointed out that Russia itself remained concerned 
about arms transfers and noted that the transfer of the 
Russian S-300 system to Iran was still under review. 
 
4.  (S) Neverov said that an official Russian response to 
this latest imposition of sanctions would be forthcoming 
after the interagency community had a chance to assess U.S. 
claims.  He noted the absence of information on the cited 
Rosoboronexport case and requested details. 
 
5.  (S) COMMENT:  Neverov's private preliminary reaction was 
predictable and measured.  The public political reaction may 
be less so.  A response to his request for more details on 
the Rosoboronexport case would be very welcome to help us 
make the case for sanctions. 
BURNS

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06MOSCOW13174, RUSSIA ENERGY: DOWN TO THE WIRE ON BELARUS GAS

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
06MOSCOW13174 2006-12-29 16:08 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Moscow

VZCZCXRO6755
OO RUEHDBU RUEHFL RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHROV RUEHSR
DE RUEHMO #3174/01 3631608
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 291608Z DEC 06
FM AMEMBASSY MOSCOW
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 6187
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE IMMEDIATE
RUEHXD/MOSCOW POLITICAL COLLECTIVE IMMEDIATE
RHEBAAA/DEPT OF ENERGY WASHDC IMMEDIATE
RUCPDOC/DEPT OF COMMERCE WASHDC IMMEDIATE
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC IMMEDIATE

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 MOSCOW 013174 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SIPDIS 
 
DEPT FOR EUR/RUS WARLICK, HOLMAN, AND GUHA 
DEPT FOR EB/ESC/IEC GALLOGLY AND GARVERICK 
DOE FOR HARBERT/EKIMOFF/PISCITELLI 
DOC FOR 4231/IEP/EUR/JBROUGHER 
NSC FOR GRAHAM AND MCKIBBEN 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 12/27/2016 
TAGS: EPET ENRG ECON PREL RS
SUBJECT: RUSSIA ENERGY: DOWN TO THE WIRE ON BELARUS GAS 
STANDOFF 
 
REF: MOSCOW 12963 
 
Classified By: AMB William J. Burns.  Reasons 1.4 (b/d). 
 
1. (C) Summary. Lukashenko's two-year saga to avoid higher 
gas prices and the sale of 50 percent of Beltransgaz (BTG - 
the Belarusian gas pipeline operator) appears to be coming to 
a close, and he is standing firm on both accounts.  Gazprom 
has dropped its insistence that BTG be part of the deal, and 
is saying that $105/tcm is its final offer.  Both Gazprom and 
its European customers say they are prepared for supply 
disruptions, but now that seems less likely.  The MFA claims 
"fierce" efforts for a "successful" negotiation are in play, 
with an eye to avoiding last year's New Year's gas cut off. 
This may explain Gazprom's significant concessions over the 
last 24 hours on both BTG and price.   Russia's energy tug of 
war with Belarus, first over oil export duties, and now over 
gas, appears part of Putin's increasingly tough stance 
towards Lukashenko, who is characterized by some Russians as 
"disloyal" and "too independent."  End Summary. 
 
BTG STAKE NO LONGER A FACTOR 
---------------------------- 
 
2. (SBU) December 29 marks a shift in the high-rhetoric 
atmosphere since talks broke down between Russia and Belarus 
on December 26.  This week has seen Belarus threatening to 
cut off Gazprom supplies to Europe, and Gazprom CEO Alexey 
Miller responding that Gazprom was under no obligation to 
supply gas to Belarus if an agreement is not reached by New 
Year's.  Gazprom now appears to have significantly backed 
down.  Gazprom spokesman Sergey Kupriyanov said the firm was 
no longer insisting on acquiring a stake in BTG, and was 
willing to accept a price of $105/tcm for 2007 deliveries. 
This is more than double the 2006 rate of $46.7/tcm, but 
significantly below the rates being charged to Georgia 
($235/tcm) and Moldova ($170/tcm) and Ukraine ($130/tcm). 
 
3. (C) For weeks, the two sides have stumbled over the terms 
of financing a possible 50 percent stake for Gazprom in BTG. 
Belarus insisted Gazprom pay for the $2.5 billion BTG stake 
up front in cash; Gazprom was looking to arrange longer term 
financing, essentially reducing the price of gas to Belarus 
over four years by roughly the same $2.5 billion (at a rate 
of roughly $80/tcm for at least 2007).  Belarus claims 
Gazprom reneged on a previous deal to sell gas to Belarus in 
2007 for $75/tcm and pay the full $2.5 billion up front in 
cash for the stake in BTG, and pushed for any discussion of 
joint management of the pipeline to be put off until the 
first quarter of 2007. Gazprom's Director for Foreign 
Relations Ivan Zolotov told us December 28 that without BTG 
as part of the deal, Gazprom wanted to raise the 2007 gas 
price to Belarus to $230/tcm. 
 
4. (C) In a separate December 28 conversation, former Deputy 
Energy Minister Vladimir Milov characterized the commercial 
negotiations as a struggle over control of BTG.  Lukashenko 
has avoided concrete discussions about Gazprom's purchase of 
a 50 percent in BTG for over two years.  Yushchenko's success 
last year in taking Gazprom's bid for a stake in Ukraine's 
pipeline off the table may have emboldened Lukashenko's 
steadfast reluctance to sell a stake in BTG to Gazprom. The 
current negotiations are another attempt by Lukashenko to 
delay a decision on BTG until next spring when more favorable 
terms might be negotiated. 
 
NOT YET A DONE DEAL 
------------------- 
 
5. (SBU) Should the negotiations still come to a showdown 
over the next two days, it is pretty clear how a cutoff would 
manifest itself.  BTG is one of two trunk lines, 
Gazprom-owned Yamal-Europe is the other, through which 
Gazprom sends gas to Europe via Belarus.  Approximately 44 
bcm of Russian gas to Europe transit Belarus (by comparison 
30 bcm transits through the Yamal-Europe pipeline and 14 bcm 
through BTG).  Belarus buys 20 bcm annually, and this is 
delivered solely through the BTG.  For technical reasons, 
Gazprom cannot completely shutdown the BTG, but could reduce 
the pressure through the pipeline to a rough equivalent of 14 
bcm -- or the amount needed for European deliveries. If it 
wanted, Belarus could take this 14 bcm for itself, leaving 
 
MOSCOW 00013174  002 OF 003 
 
 
European customers short.  Belarus could also disrupt gas 
supplies to Europe through the Yamal-Europe line by shutting 
down three of the five compression stations that the two 
lines share.  Belarus has stockpiled fuel oil to replace 
Russian gas supplies for power generation, which could meet 
the country's needs for as long as two months, according to 
Milov.  On the Russian side, Stanislav Belikovskiy from the &#x0
00A;Institute of National Strategy told us that Russia would not 
be able store unsold Belarus gas for long, since it has only 
17 days of storage capacity, which is almost completely full. 
 
6. (C) According to Zolotov, Gazprom began preparing its 
downstream customers for the possibility of a supply 
disruption as early as July.  Storage facilities in Germany 
and Latvia could offset supply interruptions, according to 
our German and Latvian Embassy contacts.  A German Embassy 
official told us that they had reserves for 70 days.  The 
Polish Oil and Gas Company claims that it is ready as well, 
having filled its storage capacity.  Poland receives 35% of 
its gas through Yamal.  Belikovskiy told us that Russia 
cannot afford another gas crisis. 
 
BELARUS POLICY AT A CROSSROADS 
------------------------------ 
 
7. (C)  The energy tug-of-war with Belarus this year is seen 
by many as part and parcel of a broader cooling in relations 
with Lukashenko.  The Kremlin-friendly director of the Europe 
Institute, Sergey Karaganov, who has advocated Russia,s 
embrace of an alternative to Lukashenko, told us that he was 
hopeful that Moscow,s policy toward Belarus would change. 
The Russian bottomline remains the same, he emphasized, as it 
seeks a Belarusian leader who is "dependent on and loyal to" 
Moscow (and, in return, receives subsidized oil and gas). 
The absence of chemistry between Putin and Lukashenko fuels a 
tougher line toward Belarus; however, Russia,s policy is 
complicated by the absence of an attractive alternative to 
Lukashenko.  Milenkevich, Karaganov argued, lacks national 
appeal.  The GOR, he noted, has good contacts within the 
opposition and diaspora communities, adding that most 
Belarusian opposition political material is published inside 
Russia in neighboring Smolensk. 
 
8. (C)  Karaganov claimed the US had complicated the 
Kremlin,s efforts to disengage from Lukashenko, noting that 
Russia was damned if it did or didn,t pressure Lukashenko to 
change.  The US decision to raise the hunger strike by 
Belarusian opposition leader Kozulin at the UN Security 
Council angered the Russian leadership, he added, and fed 
into a growing consensus that the US was intent on scoring 
press points against Russia,s reemergence as a world leader. 
 In Karaganov's view, Belarus had two choices: to remain with 
Russia, or join the West. 
 
GOR SEEKING COMPROMISE 
---------------------- 
 
9. (C)  Russia is making "fierce" efforts for successful 
negotiations with Lukashenko to avoid a deja-vu New Year's 
Eve gas cutoff according to government officials.  MFA,s 
Viktor Sorokin, Director of the Second CIS Department said 
although Gazprom,s conditions should be "comfortable" to 
Belarus, Moscow will push for a compromise to escape an 
escalation into a cutoff.  This official view was seconded by 
Moscow Belarus watchers.  Andrey Grozin, CIS Institute, told 
us that the change in Russia,s overall foreign policies 
necessitates a different energy policy towards Belarus -- 
closer to market-based conditions and pricing.  He did not 
envision a confrontation as it happened with Ukraine last 
year.  Like MFA officials, Grozin, predicted a last-minute 
compromise. 
 
COMMENT 
------- 
 
10. (C) With Gazprom's latest offer of $105/tcm, and 
agreement to take discussions about BTG off the table (at 
least for now) it appears that Gazprom has stepped back from 
its original game plan.  Lukashenko may have called it right; 
digging in his heals on BTG, and betting that the GOR would 
pressure Gazprom to back off its high price demands has paid 
off.  A gas cutoff now seems increasingly unlikely, but from 
 
MOSCOW 00013174  003 OF 003 
 
 
our Moscow perspective it appears that Lukashenko could still 
provoke a last-minute confrontation.  If a showdown comes, 
the most likely scenario would be for Gazprom to reduce gas 
flows on January 1, and for Belarus to respond by 
interrupting the transit of gas through the Yamal-Europe 
pipeline. 
BURNS

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06MOSCOW13172, HARD TIMES FOR RUSSIA’S HUMAN RIGHTS COMMUNITY

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
06MOSCOW13172 2006-12-29 15:49 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Moscow

VZCZCXRO6733
RR RUEHDBU
DE RUEHMO #3172/01 3631549
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
R 291549Z DEC 06
FM AMEMBASSY MOSCOW
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 6182
INFO RUCNCIS/CIS COLLECTIVE
RUEHXD/MOSCOW POLITICAL COLLECTIVE

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 04 MOSCOW 013172 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 12/28/2027 
TAGS: PHUM PREL KDEM PINR SOCI RS
SUBJECT: HARD TIMES FOR RUSSIA'S HUMAN RIGHTS COMMUNITY 
 
REF: A. MOSCOW 11834 
     B. MOSCOW 07956 
 
Classified By: Ambassador William J. Burns: 1.4 (d). 
 
------- 
Summary 
------- 
 
1. (C) Civil society and liberal political party leaders are 
sharply divided over the role of NGOs in partisan politics. 
While Moscow's most prominent human rights activist strongly 
defends the policy of overt political opposition, many NGO 
representatives are uncomfortable with, or opposed to, 
anti-Putin campaigns.  Other NGO leaders argue that the 
politicization of the human rights community reveals the 
extent to which Russia's "flagship" NGOs are far removed from 
the mainstream issues that concern most Russians, poorly 
equipped to build bridges to middle class Russia, dominated 
by leaders more comfortable with dissidence than dissent, and 
on the sidelines of social movements that may be the best 
hope for demanding GOR accountability.  These nongovernmental 
organizations need to extend their outreach and appeal, and 
strengthen their own internal procedures and 
self-sustainability.  To do that at a time when the NGO 
community is increasingly embattled, continued international 
support is crucial. End summary. 
 
------------------------------ 
To Be, or Not To Be, Political 
------------------------------ 
 
2.  (C) Debates in Russia over the role of NGOs in partisan 
politics have intensified, with back-to-back December 
sessions of the Second Human Rights Conference, the Civil 
Forum, and Other Russia precipitating open feuding among 
civil society and "democratic" party leaders, as well as the 
creation of yet another front -- the "Political Other 
Russia."  Yabloko and SPS party chairmen publicly criticized 
Indem's Georgiy Satarov and Other Russia leader Garry 
Kasparov for using NGOs as vehicles for advancing their 
political agendas.  Overt politicking, they argued, weakened 
the NGO movement and reinforced stereotypes that NGOs were 
mouthpieces for foreign (and hostile) interests.  Privately, 
Demos Center's Tanya Lokshina, who has avoided any linkage 
between Demos and opposition politicians, told us that the 
division was deep, with many human rights activists insistent 
that the movement remain apolitical.  Human Rights Watch 
Director Allison Gill termed the merger of human rights 
activists and opposition parties under the "Other Russia" 
banner a step backwards, as it led human rights groups to 
"hunker down" rather than expand their reach. 
 
3.  (SBU)  The doyenne of Russia's human rights movement, 
Moscow Helsinki Group Chairwoman Ludmila Alekseeva defended 
taking on the Putin government, while acknowledging the 
broader critique of human rights activists.  She told us the 
fusion of human rights groups with opposition parties of all 
stripes was legitimate, despite the public controversy and 
her own apprehensions about neo-Bolshevik Eduard Limonov and 
neo-Stalinist Anpilov.  While Yeltsin's government violated 
democratic principles during the 1996 presidential elections, 
she explained, it did not threaten to destroy the rights of 
its citizenry.  The Putin government, she maintained, was 
intent on doing so.  It was time for Russian activists to 
bury political differences, and unite around a common 
opposition to the government. 
 
4.  (SBU)  Alekseeva minimized the costs to the NGO movement 
of direct opposition to the government.  The fact that 
Yabloko and SPS had refused to join Other Russia, she 
attributed to craven political interests in securing Kremlin 
support (or at least tolerance) during the 2007 elections. 
She noted the irony of having lost the democratic parties, 
while gaining the extreme nationalists as allies; at the same 
time, individual Yabloko and SPS members remained supportive. 
 While noting the accomplishments of the human rights 
community-- primarily, the establishment of a nationwide 
network, where none existed in 1976 -- Alekseeva was quick to 
concede its weakness.  Of the 2,000-plus organizations, she 
noted, maybe 20 were influential.  Even the most influential, 
she added, folding her own Moscow Helsinki Group into the 
mix, were weak structurally.  By definition, she argued, 
human rights activists were "altruists" and not motivated by 
"interests"-- even important social interests that are 
fueling burgeoning grassroots movements against corruption, 
housing scams, pollution, and abuse of drivers by traffic 
police. 
 
------------------------------------------- 
Human Rights: Unpopular; HR NGOs Disengaged 
------------------------------------------- 
 
MOSCOW 00013172  002 OF 004 
 
 
 
5. (C) Contributing to the controversy over the role of human 
rights organizations is the fact that their work is still not 
viewed as vital by most Russians.  Chairwoman of the 
Presidential Council for the Development of Civil Society 
Institutions and Democracy, Ella Pamfilova recently told 
Itar-Tass that human rights were not a priority for Russian 
citizens.  She exp
ressed frustration that Russians still do 
not understand that their living standards and social 
well-being are directly connected with the level of human 
rights and freedoms.  Likewise, Moscow Ford Foundation 
Director Steven Solnick commented that only two percent of 
Russian citizens express concern about violations of civil 
liberties.  A recent public opinion survey by the All-Russia 
Public Opinion Center, ranked human rights almost at the 
bottom of the list of pressing concerns.  The overwhelming 
majority of citizens are focused on questions of economic and 
social justice.  Head of Memorial Oleg Orlov concurred, 
saying that society is not active enough in protecting its 
rights because it has more immediate concerns. 
 
6. (C) Solnick argues that these attitudes reflect the 
failure of human rights organizations to create linkages and 
constituencies with the population.  Chairman of the 
Department of Political Science at the Institute of State and 
Law William Smirnov seconded Solnick, but traced the 
disconnect between human rights standard bearers and society 
to the failure of the former to speak out when Yeltsin 
attacked the White House or when the GOR in the '90s violated 
Russians' economic rights by failing to pay salaries or 
pensions on time. 
 
7. (C) Many here believe that the human rights community was 
tarred by its too close association with the West. Smirnov is 
among those who argued that international human rights 
organizations had discredited themselves in the eyes of 
"average Russians," by worrying more about the rights of 
ex-oligarch Mikhail Khodorkovskiy than of those "whom he 
deceived in order to accumulate his fortune."  The 
international community's preoccupation with human rights in 
Chechnya resonated similarly with Russians, Smirnov 
continued.  The perceived role of the United States in the 
economic difficulties experienced by many Russians in the 
'90s made it advisable, Smirnov said, that it "keep a low 
profile" on human rights issues. 
 
8.  (C) Deputy Chairman of Yabloko and Moscow City Duma 
Deputy Sergey Mitrokhin echoed this criticism, charging to us 
that human rights organizations issued "hysterical" 
pronouncements on events in Russia to please Western 
sponsors, without whom they would not have a leg to stand on. 
 Mitrokhin argued that human rights flagship organizations 
did not pay attention to the "vital" questions confronting 
average Russians.  For example, there was no NGO to whom he 
could send petitioners complaining about housing and 
construction scams, which was one of the most pressing 
problems in urban Moscow.  Until these NGOs broadened their 
focus, Mitrokhin concluded, they would remain on the fringes. 
 
 
--------------------------------------------- ------- 
The Problem of Charismatic Leaders, and Sloppy Files 
--------------------------------------------- ------- 
 
9. (C) Despite the intensive engagement of Western 
governments and NGOs, many of the flagship human rights 
organizations remain poorly equipped to function in the new 
Russia.  Solnick itemized the shortcomings as follows: 
virtually none has a press secretary, a membership 
coordinator, or a fundraising strategy.  They depend on a 
"charismatic leader" to pull in foreign grants.  Ford's own 
efforts to provide USD two million in seed money for a 
completely indigenous human rights organization had come to 
naught.  Ford had been unable to entice a Russian human 
rights organization to hire a director and become organized 
enough to tap into the Foundation's available monies.  Over 
the last fifteen years, Solnick said, the international 
community has become an "enabler" of NGOs that cannot survive 
on their own.  After five years of work in country, his 
personal conclusion was that many leading Russian human 
rights NGOs were undemocratic, non-transparent, and averse to 
courting public support.  "When is the last time," he asked 
us, "that you've seen an NGO advertise for position of deputy 
director?" 
 
10. (C) Human Rights Watch Director Allison Gill told us that 
even an NGO as respected as Memorial had not developed the 
professional management, nor had it diversified funding 
beyond its core Western donors.  Memorial's Chechnya offices 
were currently unfunded while waiting for new grants to be 
disbursed, in large part because grant writing still fell to 
Memorial's executive director.  The dissident past of many 
 
MOSCOW 00013172  003 OF 004 
 
 
human rights leaders and organizations, she argued, left them 
ill-equipped and non-inclined toward professionalizing their 
organizations, or making themselves relevant to the Russian 
public.  Moreover, some well-known NGOs are vulnerable to GOR 
tax and registration scrutiny by not adhering to transparent 
accounting.  Few question the politicized nature of GOR tax 
reviews; however, in an era of greater GOR harassment, NGOs 
do not advance their cause by being vulnerable to charges of 
keeping double books, or not keeping books at all. 
 
--------------------------------------------- ---- 
Is Dissidence the Right Course in Putin's Russia 
--------------------------------------------- ---- 
 
11. (C) There is now a tendency, Gill told us, of human 
rights organizations reacting to the increasingly adversarial 
relationship with the GOR by reverting to the familiar 
methods of Soviet era dissidence.  According to Director of 
the Donors Forum Natalya Kaminarskaya, Moscow Helsinki 
Group's Alekseeva's generation of human rights activists 
remained Soviet dissidents, who would always be "against 
whatever government was in power."  If the human rights 
movement was to make progress in Russia, it would have to let 
go of that past. Kaminarskaya believed there were ways to 
work with the authorities to achieve mutually desirable 
outcomes.  She mentioned her work with the Ministry of 
Economics and the Public Chamber to get an endowments law 
developed.  Although some compromises had to be made, she 
believed each side was satisfied with the final result. 
Kaminarskaya believed human rights organizations would not be 
discredited if they worked with the government on issues of 
common concern, like xenophobia.  Kaminarskaya did not attend 
the Civil Congress or Other Russia conferences because "all 
they do is talk and make the same resolutions.  Nothing 
concrete gets done." 
 
12. (C) Solnick agreed that the various and sundry human 
rights congresses have become a "sideshow." The organizers do 
not have the moral legitimacy that certain dissidents of the 
Soviet period earned, and are not seen as moral compasses by 
the Russian populace.  There are no modern Sakharovs; in 
part, he quickly noted, because the incorruptible and 
uncompromising, e.g., Politkovskaya, are increasingly being 
silenced.  At the Second Human Rights Congress and Civil 
Forum, Embassy officers witnessed first-hand Solnick's 
description of a typical human rights gathering: charismatic &#
x000A;leaders delivered repetitive speeches, uncoordinated among 
themselves, and lacking a coherent message or action plan. 
 
------------------------------------------ 
Next Generation Still Waiting in the Wings 
------------------------------------------ 
 
13. (C) Soviet-era human rights leaders continue to play a 
disproportionate leadership role in the human rights 
movement.  Darya Miloslavskaya, local representative of the 
International Center for Non-Profit Law, said there was no 
room for new leaders.  Ego and personalities played a large 
role in this, she thought, with the older generation of 
leaders not willing to make room for a new generation like 
Demos Foundation Chair Lokshina, who recently received the 
Andrey Sakharov Award; SOVA Deputy Head Galina Kozhevnikova; 
or herself.  Solnick pointed to Lokshina's decision to leave 
Moscow Helsinki Group as emblematic of the fact that 
prominent human rights organizers were unwilling to cultivate 
the next generation of activists.  Director of the Center for 
Extreme Journalism Oleg Panfilov agreed with Miloslavskaya, 
adding that a new generation of human rights leaders will 
probably emerge from the regions and from smaller NGOs, while 
the "dinosaurs" continue to monopolize the big cities and 
established NGOs. 
 
----------------------------------------- 
Social Movements: Democracy's Guarantor? 
---------------------------------------- 
 
14.  (C) Increasingly, hopes are pinned here on the success 
of social movements -- often spontaneous, rarely registered, 
but sometimes effective citizen efforts to reverse 
bureaucratic wrongs and leadership indifference.   Carnegie 
Foundation's Lilia Shevtsova told us that Russia's 
Western-oriented NGOs tended to underestimate these social 
movements, which do not speak the language of international 
human rights treaties, but are instead focused on concrete 
actions. 
 
15.  (C) Alekseeva does not necessarily disagree with this 
critique.  On the one hand, she expressed admiration for 
Vyacheslav Lysakov, who spearheaded the grass roots movement 
that overturned the conviction of a driver falsely accused of 
being responsible for the automobile crash-related death of 
the Altai Governor, and identified defrauded apartment buyers 
 
MOSCOW 00013172  004 OF 004 
 
 
and investors as two other potent movements.  However, 
Alekseeva maintains a hands off attitude toward most of the 
other "movements", which she described as headed by people 
"who want to do good things," rather than "people who want to 
fight for rights." 
 
16.  (C)  Alekseeva concluded that she was an optimist. 
Russia was changing, Russian society was evolving, and social 
movements, "in the hundreds," would emerge as a force that 
could not be ignored by the Russian government, but would 
spur the development and strengthening of democratic 
institutions. 
 
------- 
Comment 
------- 
 
17.  (C)  The plight of Russia's flagship human rights 
organizations in many ways mirrors that of the country's 
liberal parties.  Both, unfortunately, have failed to adapt 
in order to attract popular support and become 
self-sustaining.  That said, at a time when non-governmental 
forces face more restrictions and a worsening environment, 
they need international support to stay afloat and continue 
their work.  To help become self-sustaining and able to 
withstand intensifying government pressure, these 
organizations need more help with both internal institutional 
development, and external outreach.  They themselves need to 
take a hard look at revamping their leadership, recruitment 
and public engagement strategies to become a more integral 
part of contemporary Russian society. 
BURNS

Wikileaks

06MOSCOW13171, RUSSIA AND IRAN: AFTER THE SANCTIONS RESOLUTION

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
06MOSCOW13171 2006-12-29 12:42 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Moscow

VZCZCXRO6573
OO RUEHDBU RUEHROV
DE RUEHMO #3171/01 3631242
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 291242Z DEC 06
FM AMEMBASSY MOSCOW
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 6177
INFO RUEHXK/ARAB ISRAELI COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHXD/MOSCOW POLITICAL COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHGG/UN SECURITY COUNCIL COLLECTIVE PRIORITY

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 05 MOSCOW 013171 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 12/29/2016 
TAGS: PREL PARM ETRD KNNP MASS IR RS
SUBJECT: RUSSIA AND IRAN:  AFTER THE SANCTIONS RESOLUTION 
 
REF: A. MOSCOW 12914 
     B. MOSCOW 10956 
 
Classified By: Ambassador William J. Burns.  Reasons:  1.4(B/D). 
 
1.  (C)  Summary:  Russia has repeatedly told us that when it 
comes to preventing Iran from developing nuclear weapons, it 
shares our strategic goal but differs with us over tactics. 
Moscow's reluctance to agree to coercive measures was on full 
display during consideration of UNSCR 1737, but in the end 
Russia accepted a sanctions regime that it perceived as 
protecting its national, as well as commercial interests. 
Russia's efforts to insulate the Bushehr reactor contract and 
previously concluded arms sales from sanctions were aimed at 
demonstrating to other potential customers that Moscow is a 
reliable supplier.  While politically significant elites have 
a stake in arms sales and energy cooperation with Iran, for 
now, Russia's commercial interests in Iran are more 
prospective than real. 
 
2.  (C)  Russia sees no immediate threat to its interests 
from Iran's increasingly assertive role in the Middle East 
and, in fact, some view this as a positive development that 
introduces another, "independent" actor in a region that had 
been dominated by the United States.  Nor is Moscow 
particularly concerned about Iran's more ideological politics 
at home, which have yet to be translated into support for 
radical Islamist force in Moscow's neighborhood or Russia 
itself.  While Russian officials see a nuclear-armed Iran as 
a threat to Russian interests, they do not believe it is 
imminent.  However, the prospect of U.S. military 
intervention is seen as immediately destabilizing.  While 
Russia has now accepted the logic of a sanctions regime after 
much resistance, we can expect continued efforts to delay the 
imposition of more coercive measures.  Russia hopes Tehran 
will be willing to negotiate, but in the meantime it will 
maneuver to always remain closer to Tehran than its other 
EU-3 Plus 3 partners.  End Summary. 
. 
PROTECTING RUSSIAN INTERESTS 
---------------------------- 
 
3.  (SBU)  FM Lavrov's public statements immediately 
following the adoption of UNSCR 1737 encapsulated Russia's 
dilemma regarding Iran's nuclear program.  In comments made 
to a meeting of ministers chaired by President Putin, Lavrov 
said that Russia had to balance three "targets" in the 
Security Council -- preventing WMD proliferation, leaving 
room for further negotiations with Tehran, and avoiding 
damage to Russia's "legitimate ties" with Iran.  The Foreign 
Minister was satisfied that the resolution met all three 
goals, but underlined in a response to a question from Putin 
that Russian economic interests in the Bushehr plant and arms 
sales to Tehran had specifically been protected.  Left unsaid 
by Lavrov was how Russia could continue to maintain this 
tenuous balance in the event Iran did not comply with the 
resolution.  We asked government officials and think tankers 
during the time UNSCR 1737 was being considered how Russia 
weighed these interests, whether changes in Iran's domestic 
politics and regional role affected this calculus, and how 
difficult Moscow will prove in achieving our shared goal of a 
non-nuclear Iran. 
. 
NUCLEAR COOPERATION 
------------------- 
 
4.  (C)  Lavrov's emphasis on protecting the Bushehr contract 
reflects the importance Moscow attaches to being viewed as a 
reliable nuclear supplier.  The head of the Russian Federal 
Agency for Nuclear Energy (Rosatom) Sergey Kiriyenko told the 
Ambassador in mid-December after returning from Tehran (ref 
A) that Russia was still planning to deliver fuel for Bushehr 
in March 2007.  Kiriyenko commented that he is fully aware of 
the "serious question" posed by Tehran's noncompliance with 
IAEA requirements.  Still, he said, Russia does not want the 
reputation of a country that fulfills or does not fulfill its 
contracts based on political issues.  Under the supplemental 
agreement agreed to September, the physical launch of Bushehr 
will take place in September 2007, with generation of 
electrical power commencing in November (ref B). 
 
5.  (C)  While Kiriyenko reiterated publicly the day before 
passage of the resolution that plant completion was on track, 
he added that this schedule was dependent on Iran supplying 
"proper financing" and the timely delivery of required 
equipment from third countries.  A Japanese diplomat told us 
that his contacts in the Foreign Ministry had suggested that 
Iran was balking at providing further financing because of 
cost overruns and that this might lead to further 
time-consuming negotiations.  Technical problems might also 
lead to delays.  MFA Second Asia Director Aleksandr Maryasov 
 
MOSCOW 00013171  002 OF 005 
 
 
noted that the Iranians continued to make few allowances for 
the difficulties faced by Russian contractors, who we
re 
trying to mesh German equipment already in place with Russian 
gear. 
 
6.  (C)  Russian concerns about exempting Bushehr from the 
effects of UNSCR 1737 aside, Security Council Secretary 
Ivanov has repeatedly underscored to the Ambassador that 
commercial factors do not determine Russia's policy towards 
Iran.  Other experts also discounted the weight that nuclear 
cooperation with Iran had in Russia's policy toward Tehran. 
Aleksandr Pikayev, head of the disarmament department of the 
Institute of World Economics and International Relations 
(IMEMO) said that Bushehr no longer had the same significance 
to Russian interests that it did in the Yelstin years. 
Bushehr itself was almost completed, and while there were 
hopes of building other reactors in Iran, Rosatom was now 
more interested in the expansion of nuclear energy plants in 
Russia and in other countries which did not pose the same 
challenges to work in that Iran did.  Ivan Safranchuk of the 
World Security Institute noted that Russia's concerns about 
civil nuclear sales worldwide meant it was likely Russia 
would try to fulfill the Bushehr contract, but that Moscow 
would think twice before pushing further contracts in a 
country that was increasingly becoming a nuclear pariah. 
Still, there are others in the GOR who are keen to compete 
for lucrative nuclear power plant contracts in Iran -- at 
almost USD 1 billion each. 
. 
ARMS SALES AND PIPELINE POLITICS 
-------------------------------- 
 
7.  (C)  Next to nuclear energy cooperation, arms sales to 
Tehran constitute one of the largest elements in the 
relatively modest USD 1.8 billion in bilateral trade in 2005. 
 Pikayev argued that the "minuscule" level of trade between 
Russia and Iran argued against economic interests being a 
driver of policy, but acknowledged that the healthy trade in 
arms created a strong lobby for Iran in the Kremlin, among 
whom he included DPM/Defense Minister Sergey Ivanov.  Ivanov, 
who is a leading contender to succeed Putin in 2008, argued 
publicly in late-August that Iran's nuclear program did not 
constitute the type of threat to international peace and 
security that should be subject to UN Security Council 
sanction.  While Ivanov has been quiet since then, Nina 
Mamedova, Head of the Iran Section in the Oriental Institute, 
cautioned against underestimating the importance of arms 
sales to Iran for the Russian military-industrial complex 
because it was a "protected" market due to restrictions on 
Western sales. 
 
8.  (C)  Few experts placed much importance on the gas factor 
in weighing Russia's interests.  Mamedova highlighted 
Gazprom's interest not only in developing the Pars field, but 
in working with Iran to encourage the construction of the 
Iran-Pakistan-India pipeline.  However, Pikayev argued that 
Iran and Russia were competitors more than collaborators in 
the energy field, because Russia wanted to wall off its 
European markets from any potential Iranian gas sales; in 
addition, the two countries would eventually compete for 
sales to South Asia.  While Gazprom was interested in 
developing the gigantic Pars field in Iran, Pikayev doubted 
that Iran would let the Russian company in because of fears 
that this would provide Moscow unwanted leverage. 
. 
IS IRAN DIFFERENT NOW? 
---------------------- 
 
9.  (C)  While Russian interests in nuclear cooperation, arms 
sales, and energy are longstanding fixtures in bilateral 
relations, the reconsolidation of conservative Islamic forces 
in Iran has led some to publicly question Russia's close 
ties.  However, the MFA does not view on-going political 
change in Iran as requiring a rethink of the relationship. 
Maryasov, who has served 18 years in Iran, the last several 
as Ambassador, explained Ahmadinejad's success as a reaction 
to the failure of reformists, unable to implement the 
promises they made.  Russia should not be concerned by the 
changes in Iran, according to Russian Institute for Strategic 
Studies Director Yevgeniy Kozhokin, since it could count on a 
slow process of internal transformation that would eventually 
lead to liberalization by elites interested in integration 
with the rest of the world. 
 
10.  (C)  Maryasov saw the nuclear question as one of few 
where there was full consensus among Iranian elites.  He 
judged there were some tactical differences between 
pragmatists who favor a path of negotiations and more radical 
elements who believed that two years of negotiations with the 
EU-3 had produced no concrete results.  The radicals argued 
that Iran's nuclear program provided Tehran with leverage 
 
MOSCOW 00013171  003 OF 005 
 
 
against the West and bolstered aspirations to regional 
hegemony.  Maryasov said that in the end, the Iranian 
leadership approached the nuclear issue with a mix of 
ideological and religious values and a healthy sense of 
realpolitik that took note of the differing outcomes for Iraq 
and the DPRK once they tried to acquire WMD.  Local elections 
in Iran that were widely viewed as a setback to conservatives 
were unlikely to change either Iran's nuclear policies or its 
relations with the outside world, according to Rajab Safarov, 
General Director of the Iran Studies Center. 
. 
A REGIONAL POWER IS (RE)BORN 
---------------------------- 
 
11.  (C)  Iran's increasingly assertive role in the Middle 
East was flagged by many Russian experts with whom we spoke 
as a significant change in the regional power balance.  The 
experts were almost unanimous in naming Iran as a "winner" 
and Israel as the loser following this past summer's fighting 
in Lebanon.  Israel and Middle East Studies Institute 
Director Yevgeniy Satanovskiy said that a newly emboldened 
Iran was posing an increasing challenge to the security 
interests of Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states, particularly 
given the size of the Shia populations in these neighboring 
countries.  In his view, Ahmadinejad could transcend the 
Sunni-Shia divide and differences between Arabs and Persians 
-- witness support for Iran during the war in Lebanon.  He 
said that Iran posed a different threat than Iraq or the 
Taliban in Afghanistan did because it had the veneer of 
democracy but had expansionist goals akin to the 
post-Stalinist USSR.  In this sense, Russia's interests as a 
status quo power could eventually be threatened. 
 
12.  (C)  Not all experts were as concerned about Iran's 
growing role.  Kozhokin, who is connected with the Russian 
security services and the military for whom his Institute 
provides consulting services, agreed that after the conflict 
in Lebanon, Iran would play an ever greater role in the 
Middle East and could pursue regional hegemony as the Shah 
did in the seventies.  He saw this as a natural result of 
Iran's large population and resources.  IMEMO's Pikayev and 
World Security Institute's Safranchuk argued that Russia 
accepted a greater role for Iran in the Middle East.  The 
Kremli
n viewed Iran as the only "independent" state in the 
Gulf, which could make its own decisions and did not depend 
on the U.S.  Iran could eventually become Russia's ally in 
the Shanghai Cooperation Organization as part of an "energy 
wing." 
. 
CLOSER TO HOME:  KEEPING THE LID ON 
----------------------------------- 
 
13.  (C)  It has become a commonplace assumption among some 
analysts that Russia has been careful in dealing with Iran 
because Tehran could make trouble for Russia among Muslims 
inside Russia and in its neighborhood as well as in the 
broader Islamic world.  The think tankers we spoke to 
challenged at least the first half of that assertion. 
Khozhokin argued that Iran was simply not powerful enough to 
threaten Russia by stimulating radical Islam in Russia. 
Unlike Saudi Arabia, Pakistan or Turkey, Iran had not been 
involved in supporting Chechen rebels and had no 
infrastructure or networks that could be used for this 
purpose.  Satanovskiy, who has warned in the past about the 
potential for radicalization of Russia's Muslims, told us 
that if there were a threat, it did not come from Iran; he 
pointed the finger instead at students from Russia who were 
receiving "extremist indoctrination" when they studied in 
Egypt's Al Azhar University.  The Oriental Institute's 
Mamedova added that Iran, as a Shia state, would not gain 
much traction in the largely Sunni North Caucasus. 
 
14.  (C)  Iran has had a more significant role in Russia's 
neighborhood and with other Islamic states.  In general, 
Institute of Europe Director Sergey Karaganov told us, Moscow 
views Tehran as a status quo power in the Russian 
neighborhood.  Mamedova pointed out that Iran had been 
influential in helping Russia gain observer status in the 
Organization of the Islamic Conference over the objections of 
Pakistan and others and had insulated Russia from the most 
severe critics of its Chechnya policy.  Pikayev noted that 
Iran had been helpful to Russia during the civil war in 
Tajikistan and with the Taliban, but now there was less 
incentive to collaborate with Tehran.  The one concern 
Pikayev identified was a possible threat to Azerbaijan by 
Iran, which Russia would find unacceptable.  Mamedova argued 
that nationalist differences within Iran between the majority 
Persian population and sizable minorities like the Azeris and 
Kurds made playing the separatist card against Russia a 
dangerous ploy for Tehran. 
. 
 
MOSCOW 00013171  004 OF 005 
 
 
WHAT'S IN IT FOR ME? 
-------------------- 
 
15.  (C)  While personal financial interests of top level 
officials have affected Iran policy in the past -- witness 
the MINATOM of the nineties -- ROSATOM officials were now 
more interested in building scores of nuclear power plants in 
Russia.  At the same time, Pikayev argued to us, the personal 
interests of Russian officials in arms sales to Iran had an 
"unquantifiable" effect on Russia's Iran policy.  Satanovskiy 
was more blunt.  He saw Russia's Middle East policy, 
including toward Iran, as driven by the elite's "pragmatic" 
commercial interests.  "Russia had no friends (in the 
region), it had contracts."  In his view, military-industrial 
interests that had a piece of specific deals would have 
greater weight in the Kremlin than those who expressed 
concerns about the threat that a nuclear-armed Iran might 
eventually pose to Russian interests.  Even when the "top" 
had decided on a policy, such controls could be easily 
skirted, Satanovskiy argued, pointing to a shipment of arms 
to Syria even after Putin had decided to suspend such sales 
because of concerns about Syrian diversions to Hizbollah.  At 
the same time, he believed that Russia would never give the 
Iranians anything that could cause a real threat to the 
United States because in the end the relationship with the 
U.S. was more important. 
. 
IS A NUCLEAR IRAN REALLY A THREAT TO RUSSIA? 
-------------------------------------------- 
 
16.  (C)  Russian officials often argue that they understand 
that a nuclear-armed Iran would pose a threat to Russian 
interests, but it is not clear how they evaluate the 
importance of that threat compared to others Moscow faces nor 
how immediate they judge that threat might be.  The Russian 
Strategic Studies Institute's Kozhokin mirrored conventional 
wisdom here in arguing that "no serious person" could want a 
nuclear-armed Iran and that Russia participated in 
nonproliferation activities related to Iran not only because 
of U.S. pressure, but because a nuclear Iran threatened its 
interests.  On the question of timing, the MFA's Maryasov 
asserted that there was no compelling proof yet of a military 
research program.  His estimate was that Iran's research and 
enrichment programs were aimed at providing Tehran the 
opportunity to make a decision on a military program sometime 
in the future as the political cycle developed.  Rosatom's 
Kiriyenko reflected longstanding views among GOR officials 
that the Iranians lacked the technical capacity to pursue a 
full-fledged program.  He told the Ambassador that Iran's 
claims of progress on enrichment were "comical" and that his 
staff had noticed a virtual collapse in the Iranian nuclear 
energy agency because of the loss of skilled professionals 
(ref A). 
 
17.  (C)  Reiterating views shared by other experts, Pikayev 
argued that it was "impossible" to imagine that a 
nuclear-armed Iran would act aggressively against Russia 
because of Moscow's ability to deter Iran.  At the same time, 
there was little likelihood that Russia would want to project 
power into areas of Iranian interest.  For Russia, the "worst 
had already happened" when Pakistan went nuclear, given 
Islamabad's ties to the Taliban and the safe haven and 
support it allegedly offered to Chechen separatists. 
However, there were continuing concerns about the leak of 
nuclear materials to non-state actors, which Iran might 
facilitate, and which merited careful attention.  The 
Carnegie Center's Aleksandr Arbatov was more direct:  in the 
short term, the biggest threat to Russia's interests was the 
prospect of U.S. military intervention in Iran. 
. 
FINDING A BALANCE 
----------------- 
 
18.  (C)  FM Lavrov's "report" to Putin about the sanctions 
resolution was long on describing how Russian contracts would 
be protected, but short on next steps.  Lavrov stressed that 
the sanctions could be suspended if Iran met the demands of 
the international community, but offered no judgment on how 
likely this was or what would happen if it did not take 
place.  The MFA's Maryasov explained Russian hesitancy on the 
resolution as the result of Moscow's concerns about the 
consequences of imposing a sanctions regime; "these things 
can take on a life of their own" which could injure Russian 
interests more than the West, he said.  Pikayev suggested 
that Russia would likely follow France's position closely 
because Moscow judged that Paris shared Russian views t
hat a 
diplomatic solution was still possible that would protect 
European (and Russian) commercial interests.  However, 
following the EU-3 lead posed risks for Russia's freedom of 
maneuver and there were some in the Kremlin who rejected it 
for that reason.  He suggested that the Security Council also 
 
MOSCOW 00013171  005 OF 005 
 
 
saw a more "independent" line as bolstering Russia's 
interests, which explained why Igor Ivanov continued to take 
an "unusual level of interest" in the Iranian nuclear file. 
 
 
19.  (C)  In addition to Russia's specific strategic and 
commercial interests in Iran, other, more intangible factors 
are likely to come into play in Russia's Iran diplomacy. 
Pikayev suggested that we not discount the influence of 
personal relationships in examining Russia's policies toward 
Iran.  He suggested that the Russian elite had felt betrayed 
by what he termed the cynical use by Iran of the proposal for 
a uranium enrichment joint venture to shield Iran from 
international pressure as well as Ahmadinejad's failure to 
respond promptly and constructively to the EU-3 Plus 3 
proposal as the Iranian leader had promised to Putin in 
Shanghai last summer. 
. 
COMMENT 
------- 
 
20.  (C)  In some sense, Russia already made its choice to 
support a more coercive policy toward Iran when it agreed to 
the EU-3 Plus 3 strategy of negotiations with Iran coupled 
with deadlines for an Iranian response in UNSCR 1696.  Russia 
wanted above all to avoid the "Iraqi example" -- where a 
Russian partner was isolated and the U.S. was able to build a 
record of non-compliance which could be used to justify 
further coercive measures -- but it has now ended up with 
exactly that.  Continuing Iranian intransigence over 
negotiations gave Russian diplomats nothing to push back with 
in discussions with the West.  Moscow supported Iran's slow 
rolling the process in hopes that it would allow time for a 
deal to be reached, but Russia miscalculated Iran's 
willingness to deal. 
 
21.  (C)  Now that a sanctions regime has been adopted, we 
need to pay close attention to Moscow's implementation of the 
resolution, which will begin with a presidential decree, to 
be followed by implementing regulations.  If Iran does not 
meet the terms of UNSCR 1737, Russia will undoubtedly attempt 
to slow down the imposition of any further sanctions and will 
argue for only the most incremental of steps.  Russia is 
likely to watch the EU-3 closely to determine how far the 
Europeans are willing to go in pushing Iran and then adjust 
accordingly, always keeping closest to Tehran in order to 
protect its interests. 
BURNS

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06MOSCOW13168, ALTAI KRAI: PICKETS AND PLURALISM

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
06MOSCOW13168 2006-12-29 09:51 2011-08-30 01:44 UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY Embassy Moscow

VZCZCXRO6382
RR RUEHLN RUEHVK RUEHYG
DE RUEHMO #3168/01 3630951
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 290951Z DEC 06
FM AMEMBASSY MOSCOW
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 6169
INFO RUEHKV/AMEMBASSY KYIV 0046
RUEHSK/AMEMBASSY MINSK 5378
RUEHLN/AMCONSUL ST PETERSBURG 3667
RUEHVK/AMCONSUL VLADIVOSTOK 1833
RUEHYG/AMCONSUL YEKATERINBURG 2088

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 04 MOSCOW 013168 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SENSITIVE 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: N/A 
TAGS: PGOV PHUM KDEM SOCI RS
SUBJECT: ALTAI KRAI: PICKETS AND PLURALISM 
 
1. (SBU) Summary: While Altai Krai is one of the most economically 
depressed regions in Russia, it has an unusually high level of civic 
activity and political pluralism and is home to outspoken liberal 
Republican Party Head Vladimir Ryzhkov.  United Russia dominates, 
but the Communists, Agrarians, LDPR, and liberal parties like 
Yabloko and Union of Right Forces all have solid voter bases. 
Pickets by political parties and civic activists occur regularly, 
and grassroots movements ranging from drivers' rights groups to 
those protesting monetization reforms spring up quickly.  The 
governor and regional administration do not greatly interfere in the 
activities of political parties, NGOs, or the media.  The regional 
Human Rights Ombudsman and Public Chamber are active and have the 
support of the governor and regional Duma.  Although regional 
television is government-run, two of the largest and most popular 
print and Internet media outlets are staunchly independent. End 
summary. 
 
------------------------------------------ 
United Russia Dominant But Not Domineering 
------------------------------------------ 
 
2. (SBU) With 17300 members in the region, 75 local branches, and 48 
Molodaya Gvardiya branches, United Russia (YR) is the dominant 
political party in the region.  Although 27 out of 68 deputies (39 
percent) of the Krai Sovet (regional Duma) are YR members, only 2 
out of 7 committees are YR-led and the Chairman of the Krai Sovet 
Aleksandr Nazarchuk belongs to the Communist, Agrarian, Peoples 
Patriotic Union of Russia bloc "For Our Altai."  Also, in the last 
federal elections in 2003, YR received 29.96 percent of the Altai 
Krai vote in comparison to 37.57 percent for Russia as a whole.  YR 
Executive Committee Head Igor Kokinov explained this by saying that 
Altai Krai is a predominantly agricultural region (47 percent of the 
population), which tends to still vote for the Communists and 
Agrarians.  Indeed, the Agrarian Party received 10.5 percent of the 
Altai Krai vote compared to 3.64 percent for Russia as a whole. 
 
3. (SBU) YR's main goals are to support implementation of the 
national projects and to increase votes for YR in the next election. 
 Kokinov admitted that if he did not deliver 40 percent of the vote 
for YR, he would likely be out of his job.  He said YR actively 
works with 40 social organizations and tries to avoid a "platnaya" 
-- paid -- relationship with the press. 
 
--------------------------------------------- ----- 
Yabloko, SPS, Republican Party Small but Tenacious 
--------------------------------------------- ----- 
 
4. (SBU) Yabloko, SPS, and the Republican Party all have active 
organizations in Altai Krai, with memberships of 1,000-2,000. 
However, the parties seem to be struggling from lack of funding. 
All three parties said their electorates were mainly from the 
intelligentsia and that it was getting harder to attract the youth 
vote.  Yabloko Chairman Aleksandr Goncharenko said young people vote 
for who is "cool" like LDPR Chairman Vladimir Zhirinovskiy, who 
handed out 100 ruble bills during his 2003 campaign stop in the 
region.  He did not foresee a merger with Yabloko, but could 
envision one with the Republican Party if it continued to be denied 
registration.  He noted that a merger was the only way Altai Krai 
State Duma Deputy and Republican Party Head Vladimir Ryzhkov would 
be reelected. 
 
5. (SBU) Ryzhkov remains a powerful figure in the region, although 
his prospects in the next elections are uncertain if the Republican 
Party is not registered.  According to Kokinov, Barnaul residents 
increasingly appeal to YR for assistance with local problems.  He 
contended that citizens feel Ryzhkov is more concerned with 
maintaining his standing on a national and international level 
rather than serving his local constituency.  Nevertheless, Ryzhkov 
visits the region and frequently speaks at high-profile conferences 
and roundtables organized by his School of Civic Education and the 
former Open Russia branch (now called Open Altai). 
 
---------------------------------- 
Just Russia Still Finding Its Legs 
---------------------------------- 
 
6. (SBU) PolOff met with Andrey Lyapunov and Andrey Igoshin, former 
regional chairmen of Rodina and Party of Life, and now deputy 
chairman and chairman of "Just Russia," respectively.  Just Russia 
recently held its merger conference on December 2, and it was 
obvious the process of consolidating the three parties has not been 
easy.  The tension in the room between the two former party heads 
was palpable and on occasion they openly disagreed with each other 
on party issues.  According to Goncharenko, Lyapunov has reason to 
be resentful since he has had a long political career, while Igoshin 
purportedly "bought" his seat in Party of Life. 
 
7. (SBU) Igoshin estimated that Just Russia had about 8000 members 
 
MOSCOW 00013168  00
2 OF 004 
 
 
in the region, with an additional 1000-1500 still to be added to the 
rolls.  The youth organizations of the three parties were also still 
in the merger process.  Just Russia held three public "actions" 
since December 2 to raise awareness of the new party and is planning 
another before the new year to "constructively criticize" the 
authorities' inability to clear the streets of snow. 
 
8. (SBU) Lyapunov estimated that Just Russia would get 25 percent of 
the vote in the next elections.  He said the Communist and Agrarian 
parties were stuck in the past and the younger generation was losing 
interest in them, while YR stood for the federal and regional 
governments which had "forgotten the people."  Just Russia is 
positioning itself between the two blocs.  It stresses social issues 
and will lobby for increased federal funds and investment in the 
region. 
 
--------------------------------------------- --- 
Communists, Agrarians, LDPR Strong in Altai Krai 
--------------------------------------------- --- 
 
9. (SBU) The Communists, Agrarians, and LDPR are strong in the 
region, although they are losing voters to YR and Just Russia.  In 
the March 2004 regional elections, the For Our Altai bloc received 
26.88 percent of the vote to YR's 24.43 percent.  LDPR received 
almost 11 percent, although many interlocutors attribute that to 
Zhirinovsky's last minute campaign tour of the region and the 
"buying" of votes. 
 
10. (SBU) Communist Party Secretary Petr Ponarin said YR's close 
association with the agricultural national project has the potential 
to siphon votes away from the Communists and Agrarians in the next 
elections.  However, Ponarin believed that YR is not delivering 
agricultural or other social welfare funds fast enough to make a 
large impact and the rural population will turn on YR.  He said the 
relationship between the Communists and YR resembles that between 
the "reds and the whites" at the beginning of the twentieth century, 
i.e., between the Communists and the party in power. 
 
------------------------------ 
Civil Society Unusually Active 
------------------------------ 
 
11. (U) Pickets, demonstrations, and protests occur with uncommon 
frequency in Altai Krai.  In the past year, there have been major 
protests with the participation of multiple political parties over 
monetization, benefits for mothers with many children, drivers' 
rights, wage arrears, and the proposed pipeline near Lake Baikal, 
among others.  Other smaller pickets happen on a nearly daily basis 
over issues like lack of snow removal and rallying for a Stalin 
monument in Barnaul. 
 
12. (U) The hottest issue for all political parties -- from the 
Communists to Yabloko -- we discovered during a recent trip to 
Barnaul was the recent decision by Governor Aleksandr Karlin to 
forbid all demonstrations, except ceremonial ones like May Day, on 
the city's Central Square.  His reasoning, which was met with 
widespread ridicule, was that large demonstrations caused damaged to 
the statue of Lenin. The Communists and Union of Right Forces (SPS) 
jointly sued the administration (and held joint pickets) over the 
issue, which is now awaiting a hearing in the Supreme Court. 
 
--------- ---------------------------------- ------------ 
Current Administration Progressive or At Least Permissive 
--------- ---------------------------------- ------------ 
 
13. (SBU) Notwithstanding the Central Square/Lenin statue 
controversy, party representatives that we spoke with were unanimous 
that Karlin was an improvement over his predecessor Mikhail 
Yevdokimov.  Yevdokimov, a former actor called the "Siberian 
Schwarzenegger," had great popular support when elected, although he 
was not the Putin-supported candidate.  According to Yabloko 
Chairman Goncharenko, Putin was reportedly furious that his 
candidate was not elected and, in part, because of this election, 
Putin supported a motion to have governors appointed.  However, 
Yevdokimov was by most accounts not an effective governor and after 
his premature death in a car accident, Putin appointed Karlin. 
Karlin has managed to have a special tourist zone established in the 
region and Altai Krai is one of the four regions where casinos will 
be permitted.  According to regional SPS head Vladimir Nebalzin, the 
governor concentrates on strategic regional issues and does not 
interfere greatly with civil society.  The controversy over 
demonstrations in the square was typical of the governor, who does 
not always seem to give full consideration to decisions he makes. 
 
14. (SBU) Altai Krai's Public Chamber, consisting of 45 members, has 
been in existence since May 2006.  According to Head of the Public 
Chamber Apparatus Vladilen Volkov, the Public Chamber is attempting 
to play a role similar to the federal Public Chamber.  Volkov termed 
 
MOSCOW 00013168  003 OF 004 
 
 
the selection process of the 45 members one of the most democratic 
that had taken place among the approximately 30 regional Public 
Chambers.  The 2000 registered social organizations in the region 
sent 150 delegates a congress.  At the congress 30 of their number 
were elected to the Chamber.  Municipality administrations elected 
the remaining 15 at another congress.  It was too soon to tell how 
much of an impact the Public Chamber will have in the region, Volkov 
said. 
 
15. (SBU) Altai Krai's Human Rights Ombudsman Yuriy Visloguzov 
claimed in a conversation with us that he has both budgetary and 
functional autonomy.  There is a separate line item in the regional 
budget just for his office and he has full control over how and what 
to spend it on.  Last year his budget was USD 150,000, and for 2007 
it has increased to USD 207,000.  In addition, in January a 
Childrens Rights Ombudsman will be created to oversee the pressing 
regional issues of education, orphanages, and poverty. 
 
--------------------------------------------- - 
However, City and Region Struggle Economically 
--------------------------------------------- - 
 
16. (SBU) Despite these positive elements, it is obvious that the 
city and region are struggling economically.  According to 
Co-Chairman of the Republican Party Andrey Olishevskiy, Altai Krai 
has the lowest per capita income in the Siberian region.  Snow 
removal is barely evident in Barnaul, leading to fender benders at 
almost every intersection.  In Barnaul, political parties frequently 
participate in "subbotniks" (community clean-ups) at the request of 
the mayor.  Each party has adopted a square or monument to maintain. 
 
 
17. (SBU) The region, which was heavily dependent on agriculture and 
military factories during the Soviet period, has not been able to 
compete on the Russian or global markets due to its outdated 
equipment and practices.  Interlocutors told us that even if there 
is corruption or ine
fficient management, the special tourist and 
casino zones provide the best hope for increased employment, 
revenues, and investment in the region. 
 
-------------------------------- 
Some Media Staunchly Independent 
-------------------------------- 
 
18. (SBU) Although most regional television stations and newspapers 
in Altai Krai are either government-owned or influenced, there are 
at least two media outlets that claim to be staunchly independent. 
The Internet news site BankFax (www.bankfax.ru) -- one of the most 
frequented news sites in the Siberian region with about 200,000 
visits per month -- is one of them.  Headed by Valeriy Savinkov 
since 1993, its readers reportedly include high-ranking 
administration members, academics, politicians, students, and major 
business leaders.  The site positions itself as non-partisan and has 
covered controversial subjects. 
 
19. (SBU) There have been two attempts to shut down the site by the 
authorities (BankFax won both in court).  In one instance, according 
to an interview with Vladimir Ryzhkov, authorities reacted to the 
site's refusal to fall in line with a campaign to discredit him 
during the last elections.  In a second, the authorities objected to 
the site's publication of commentary on the Prophet Mohammed 
caricature scandal and charged the site according to Article 282 of 
the Criminal Code -- incitement of ethnic, racial, or religious 
hatred or enmity.  According to Savinkov, there have also been 
inconclusive searches of BankFax's offices by the security services, 
for example, on the basis of an anonymous tip that they were 
printing counterfeit U.S. dollars on the premises.  In January, the 
site plans to move its servers to Arizona in order to be less 
vulnerable to interference by Russian authorities. 
 
20. (SBU) Altapress is the other regional media outlet which claims 
to be independent.  In a professionally-done, English-language 
powerpoint presentation prepared by the group and given to Poloff 
during the December 20-22 visit, Altapress noted that it published 
the region's first independent newspaper in 1990 (the weekly 
"Svobodniy Kurs") and has grown into a 1000-person strong company 
since then.  Currently publishing 11 newspapers and magazines with a 
weekly circulation of 240,000, Altapress owns its own printing 
presses, distribution network, and 300 sales outlets.  It also 
prints 45 newspapers for clients from Kazakhstan, Novosibirsk, and 
other cities in the region. According to Altapress CEO Yuriy Purgin, 
the company's Internet site (www.altapress.ru) is the second or 
third most frequented in the Siberian region.  Altapress also 
inaugurated a new radio station Radio-22 on December 22, with plans 
to expand into television and/or Internet television. 
21. (SBU) According to the presentation, the company is "vertically 
integrated purposefully to maintain its independence from 
authorities, political parties, and oligarchs" and "does not have 
 
MOSCOW 00013168  004 OF 004 
 
 
authorities or oligarchs among its shareholders."  Purgin was 
particularly proud of Altapress's social projects: the School of 
Practical Journalism, in which Altapress managers teach 150-200 
university journalism students basic ethics and professional skills, 
and the Newspaper in Education Project, which uses the Svobodniy 
Kurs newspaper in high schools to teach critical thinking and social 
studies by analyzing and discussing articles and current events. 
Director of the Moscow-based Center for Extreme Journalism Oleg 
Panfilov has chosen Altapress as a regional partner (in addition to 
Open Altai) in the Center's new program "Frontline Russia," a joint 
effort of Panfilov's Center, Internews Russia, and the London-based 
Frontline Club.  The program shows journalism-related documentary 
films and conducts panel discussions afterward.  Topics include war 
photography and coverage of Islam. 
------- 
Comment 
------- 
 
22. (SBU) Our interlocutors offered differing explanations of why 
Altai Krai tends to be more socially active and politically diverse 
than other regions. Some attributed it to the historical influence 
of trade unions and a strong tradition of populist Communism in the 
region, which has ingrained a willingness to take to the streets in 
citizens young and old.  Most agree that the social activism is not 
necessarily liberal in character and has more to do with the fact 
that the population has achieved success with demonstrations in the 
past and feels confident that it will be heard by the 
administration, media, and political parties when it protests. 
 
 
RUSSELL

Wikileaks

06MOSCOW13167, IRAN: INFORMATION REGARDING UNSCR 1737

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
06MOSCOW13167 2006-12-29 09:43 2011-08-30 01:44 UNCLASSIFIED Embassy Moscow

VZCZCXYZ0004
PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHMO #3167 3630943
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 290943Z DEC 06
FM AMEMBASSY MOSCOW
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 6168
INFO RUEHGG/UN SECURITY COUNCIL COLLECTIVE PRIORITY

UNCLAS MOSCOW 013167 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: N/A 
TAGS: PREL MNUC KNNP UNSC RS
SUBJECT: IRAN:  INFORMATION REGARDING UNSCR 1737 
 
REF: STATE 202585 
 
(SBU)  We shared reftel non-paper on UNSCR 1737 (Iran 
sanctions) with Vladimir Safronkov, Chief of the UN Political 
Affairs Section in the MFA's International Organizations 
Department.  Safronkov suggested a meeting following the 
Russian New Year's holiday to share Russian views on the 
resolution and discuss implementation issues. 
BURNS

Wikileaks

06MOSCOW13166, INVITATION TO ARF WORKSHOP ON UNSCR 1540

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
06MOSCOW13166 2006-12-29 09:43 2011-08-30 01:44 UNCLASSIFIED Embassy Moscow

VZCZCXYZ0006
PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHMO #3166 3630943
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 290943Z DEC 06
FM AMEMBASSY MOSCOW
TO SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 6167

UNCLAS MOSCOW 013166 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: N/A 
TAGS: PREL PARM KNNP ETTC ARF RS
SUBJECT: INVITATION TO ARF WORKSHOP ON UNSCR 1540 
IMPLEMENTATION 
 
REF: STATE 201643 
 
(SBU)  We passed reftel invitation and supporting 
documentation on the February ARF workshop to Vladlin 
Semivolis, Chief of the ARF Section in the MFA's Asian 
Regional Issues Department and asked that it be shared with 
relevant officials in the Department of Security Affairs and 
Disarmament.  The ARF Section might not be able to respond to 
the invitation before year's end because of the need to 
obtain permission to travel.  The Russian Government is 
closed because of the New Year's holiday until January 9. 
BURNS

Wikileaks

06MOSCOW13137, POST-NIYAZOV TURKMENISTAN: VIEWS FROM MOSCOW

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
06MOSCOW13137 2006-12-28 15:15 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Moscow

VZCZCXRO5678
OO RUEHDBU
DE RUEHMO #3137 3621515
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 281515Z DEC 06
FM AMEMBASSY MOSCOW
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 6128
INFO RUCNCIS/CIS COLLECTIVE IMMEDIATE
RUEHXD/MOSCOW POLITICAL COLLECTIVE IMMEDIATE

C O N F I D E N T I A L MOSCOW 013137 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 12/27/2016 
TAGS: PREL PGOV ECON TX RS
SUBJECT: POST-NIYAZOV TURKMENISTAN: VIEWS FROM MOSCOW 
 
REF: MOSCOW 13025 
 
Classified By: Pol/Min Alice G. Wells.  Reasons 1,4 (b/d) 
 
1.  (C) Summary. While the GOR has officially downplayed its 
concern about the status of existing energy contracts with 
Turkmenistan following Niyazov's death, observers here 
consistently report that gas supplies and Turkmenistan's 
continuing neutrality are Moscow's foremost concerns as the 
succession unfolds.  With the election now set for February 
11, the betting here is that Berdimuhammedov, most likely to 
win, will be a weak transitional figure.  Media coverage has 
been explicitly critical of Niyazov's rule.  End summary. 
 
Status Quo, Not a Bad Course 
---------------------------- 
 
2.  (C) Andrey Ryabov of the Institute of World Economy and 
International Relations (IMEMO) succinctly summarized 
Russia's interest in the new Turkmenistan as "gas and 
neutrality."  As long as Russia continues to receive the 
agreed volume of Turkmen gas and Turkmenistan does not lean 
toward any "center" of world power, the GOR will have little 
interest in the actual name of the successor.  Ryabov thought 
all candidates so far named were weak and would be unable to 
wield power like Niyazov.  He believed that Russia could live 
with any of the likely successors, including interim 
President Berdimuhammedov, Head of the Presidential Security 
Service Akmurad Rejepov, and Minister of Defense Agadeldi 
Mammetgeldiyev.  Russia would not mind "another dictator," as 
long as he keeps order and does not disrupt the gas flow. 
Russia will act only if Turkmenistan were to cozy up to the 
U.S., EU, Iran, or China. 
 
Celebration of Democracy? 
------------------------- 
 
3.  (C) Vremya Novostey columnist Arkadiy Dubnov wryly called 
the February 11 election a "celebration" of democracy. 
Turkmenistan will go through the motions of a democratic 
election but in the end, he predicted, whomever is elected 
will be a transitional figure.  The CIS Institute's Andrey 
Grozin agreed: Berdimuhammedov is a weak figure who cannot 
act independently of the conflicting influences unfolding in 
the country.  The situation resembles Tajikistan in 1992 when 
Rahmonov emerged from "nowhere," in the midst of a civil war 
and only after many months of uncertainty.  Grozin thought it 
possible that there could be a power-sharing agreement among 
the contenders, each of whom would have a piece of power and 
the economic gains that go with it. Drawing on another 
historical parallel, CIS Institute's Deputy Director Vladimir 
Zharikhin noted that like the aftermath of Stalin's death, 
Turkmenistan would experience a weak collective leadership 
before power consolidated.  Ovezgeldi Atayev, he predicted, 
was the first but will not be the last victim in the on-going 
power struggle. 
 
No Good Prognosis Possible 
-------------------------- 
 
4.  (C) All agreed that no one knows what will happen in 
Turkmenistan.  They lamented a lack of reliable information 
and noted that even media outlets with stringers in Ashgabat 
are not able to make a reasoned prognosis.  Turkmenistan, 
Grozin summarized, was a "mythical, Eastern" county which 
Russia does not understand.  Aleksey Malashenko of the Moscow 
Carnegie Center noted that many ambitious countries --China, 
the U.S., Iran-- were eagerly waiting for change in 
Turkmenistan, while "no change" would be the best outcome for 
Russia. 
 
Lesson for Putin 
---------------- 
 
5.  (C) The Russian print media have devoted much attention 
to Niyazov's "zero" legacy, with Russian television 
highlighting (but not drawing conclusions about) the 
grandiose projects and idiosyncratic features of his 
dictatorial rule.  Commentators have been uniform in their 
characterization of the Niyazov regime -- as an odious, but 
necessary partner in the export of gas.  In a "Kommersant" 
article, Stanislav Belkovskiy, Director of the Institute of 
National Strategy, went further and compared Putin's Russia 
to Niyazov's Turkmenistan, which he termed an energy empire 
based on a dictatorship.  He warned of a possible 
degeneration of Russia to the level of 
Turkmenistan--politically, economically and culturally. 
BURNS

Wikileaks

06MOSCOW13136, ZHIRINOVSKIY,S LDPR LOOKS TO THE 2007 ELECTIONS

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
06MOSCOW13136 2006-12-28 15:15 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Moscow

VZCZCXRO5675
PP RUEHDBU
DE RUEHMO #3136/01 3621515
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 281515Z DEC 06
FM AMEMBASSY MOSCOW
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 6125
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 03 MOSCOW 013136 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SIPDIS 
 
DEPT FOR EUR/RUS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 12/28/2016 
TAGS: KDEM PGOV PINR SOCI RS
SUBJECT: ZHIRINOVSKIY,S LDPR LOOKS TO THE 2007 ELECTIONS 
 
 
Classified By: POL M/C Alice G. Wells for reason 1.4(b) 
 
------- 
Summary 
------- 
 
1.  (SBU) December marks the 17th anniversary of the 
establishment of the Liberal Democrat Party of Russia (LDPR). 
 LDPR's lack of any discernible platform is compensated for 
by the indomitable LDPR Chairman Vladimir Zhirinovskiy, whose 
instinct for the outrageous continues to resonate with a 
significant minority of the Russian electorate. Changes in 
the party's leadership, including the exclusion of one Duma 
Deputy, have led some to speculate that the party may be 
losing its luster, but members of LDPR's Duma faction are 
confident that, in the 2007 Duma elections, LDPR will cross 
the seven percent threshold required for continued 
representation. Some in LDPR see the creation of a second 
Kremlin-backed party, Spravedlivaya Rossiya, as a welcome 
move toward a more balanced, multi-party system that could 
collaterally benefit LDPR and other small parties. End 
summary. 
 
------------------------ 
The Man Behind The Party 
------------------------ 
 
2.  (C) While analysts differ about LDPR Chairman Vladimir 
Zhirinovskiy,s intellectual capabilities and many of them 
find his rhetoric distasteful, all admit that his flair for 
publicity remains undiminished. New Director of the Levada 
Center Lev Gudkov in a recent conversation highlighted 
Zhirinovskiy's ability to use outrageous rhetoric to 
camouflage his continued affiliation with the Kremlin. 
Aleksey Mitrofanov, the Deputy Chair of the Duma Committee on 
Constitutional Legislation and State Structure and the 
party's spokesperson, seconded that assessment.  Mitrofanov 
said that Zhirinovskiy,s shrewdness and his ability to 
maintain links with the changing power brokers over the years 
had protected himself and his party from the whims of the 
Kremlin while leaders of other parties had been purged, 
destroyed, or effectively stripped of power.  Gudkov thought 
that Zhirinovskiy continued to stay afloat by helping the 
Kremlin in imperceptible ways.  Among them, Gudkov said, was 
Zhirinovskiy's usefulness in floating Kremlin-concocted 
policy trial balloons that were used to gauge the reaction of 
the population. Both Gudkov and Mitrofanov rejected rumors 
that Zhirinovskiy was contemplating retirement although 
Mitrofanov allowed that there may be "some significant 
changes in the party" following the 2007 and 2008 elections. 
 
------------------------ 
Presidential Aspirations 
------------------------ 
 
3.  (SBU) According to Levada Center surveys, Zhirinovskiy 
ranks second only to Putin in name recognition among 
Russians.  However, Putin is recognized for positive reasons, 
while Zhirinovskiy,s name tends to be linked with the 
negative and/or polarizing things he has said or done. 
Although Zhirinovskiy may secretly harbor the dream of 
becoming President of Russia, our contacts said he would do 
so only in the highly unlikely event he got the nod from the 
Kremlin.  As it is, Zhirinovskiy is comfortable with the 
status quo and, in fact, enjoys playing the diverse roles 
which ensure his party's continued presence on the political 
scene. 
 
------------------------------------------ 
Member Maneuvers: Keeping It In the Family 
------------------------------------------ 
 
4.  (C)  In late November, the media reported that: 
 
-- Nikolai Kuryanovich, one of the party's more radical Duma 
deputies, had been excluded from the party. On his website, 
Kuryanovich claimed that he was expelled because he was 
beginning to "eclipse" Zhirinovskiy.  Mikhail Vinogradov, 
Deputy Director of the Center for Current Politics, told us 
that Zhirinovskiy dumped Kuryanovich because the Kremlin did 
not like his excessively nationalistic rhetoric.  Mitrofanov 
told us that the real reason was Kuryanovich,s unwillingness 
to cancel his participation in the November 4 "Russian 
march," even after ordered to do so by Zhirinovskiy. 
 
-- Yegor Solomatin, one of the party's most influential 
members and its manager of regional and local relations, has 
also recently left the party. The media reported he had left 
to pursue a job in the Federal Audit Chamber.  Solomatin 
refused to comment about his reasons for leaving, or to 
 
MOSCOW 00013136  002 OF 003 
 
 
confirm that Zhirinovskiy and he had disagreed on key issues; 
however, he denied that he had the Audit Chamber in his 
sights. Mitrofanov described Solomatin as irreplaceable, and 
traced his departure to the accumulated strains of 
intra-party sniping.  He admitted that Zhirinovskiy had 
unsuccessfully tried to woo Solomatin back, and that efforts 
to find a successor had to date been in vain.  Mirofanov 
discounted rumors that Zhirinovskiy had appointed his 34 year 
old son Igor Lebedev, a Duma Deputy since 2003, to serve in 
Solomatin,s place. (Contacts describe Lebedev as an unknown 
quantity who has done little in his three years as Duma 
Deputy.)  Mitrofanov predicted that Solomatin might 
eventually
join the "second" Kremlin party, Spravedlivaya 
Rossiya (SR). 
 
-- Sergey Abeltsev, LDPR member and Deputy Chairman of the 
Duma,s Security Committee, is rumored as a possible 
contender for the governorship of Belgorod Region if the term 
of the current governor, Evgeniy Savchenko, is not extended. 
 
-- Maksim Rokhmistrov is rumored to be leaving the party in 
order to pursue a job in the Federal Property Agency.  (Note: 
 Mitrofanov said that rumors of the impending departures of 
Abeltsev and Rokhmistrov were premature.  Some in the media 
predict they will leave in spring 2007.) 
 
-- On December 21, the LDPR website reported that four 
members of the LDPR,s St. Petersburg faction had defected to 
SR. 
 
------------------------------------ 
LDPR Voters:  "Rednecks" and "Stars" 
------------------------------------- 
 
5.  (C) Mitrofanov said that Zhirinovskiy,s style and 
rhetoric consistently attracted a core group of voters whom 
he described as "rednecks who vote." The "rednecks" were 
middle to lower-middle class men who are not well educated, 
but who have strong opinions about how things should be done 
and who want to "make something with their lives."  LDPR's 
"rednecks" are discontented, said Mirtorfanov, and "not very 
smart."  In order to retain their loyalty, Zhirinovskiy 
focuses on the issues that are the source of their 
grievances. That means, he said, that the party has no 
consistent policy, as it must constantly zigzag in its 
efforts to plumb its electorate's discontents. 
 
6.  (C) Mitrofanov  predicted that LDPR would win the seven 
percent of the vote necessary to maintain its seats in the 
2007 Duma elections.  (His prediction tracked with current 
polling from Russia's three major public opinion research 
organizations: the Levada Center, The Foundation of Public 
Opinion (FOM), and the state-controlled All Russia Public 
Opinion Research Center (VTsIOM).)  All three organizations 
maintain that over the past three years support for LDPR has 
remained constant, and ranges from six to eight percent.  The 
recent decision to have Zhirinovskiy head LDPR's party lists 
in the Duma contests should ensure that the party crosses the 
threshold. 
 
------------------------------- 
Party Financing ) Russian Style 
------------------------------- 
 
7.  (C) Mikhail Vinogradov, Deputy Director of the Center for 
Current Politics, told us that the LDPR receives most of its 
financial support by selling spaces on its voter lists to 
well-heeled businessmen who want access in order to be able 
to influence legislation and other decisions.  Vinogradov 
cited several examples of seats that had been sold to the 
likes of businessman Yevgeniy Ivanov and billionaire Suleyman 
Kerimov.  Vinogradov said it would not surprise him if 
Zhirinovskiy had been compensated for helping the Kremlin 
advance its agenda. 
 
------------- 
LDPR,s Future 
------------- 
 
8.  (C) Olga Kryshtanovskaya, Director of the Institute for 
Applied Politics; Tatyana Stanovaya and Yelena Bashkirova of 
the Center for Political Technologies, and Vinogradov were, 
unlike LDPR contacts, not optimistic about the party's 
future.  Since LDPR is a party of "personality," they 
predicted its influence would naturally wane, but admitted 
that their prognosis had little to do with LDPR's prospects 
in 2007.  Vinogradov thought the party might be more 
successful among voters in the long term if it focused on one 
issue of importance: illegal immigration, for example.  He 
suggested that, given Zhirinovskiy,s helpful relationship 
 
MOSCOW 00013136  003 OF 003 
 
 
with the Kremlin, it would not be surprising if LDPR would be 
considered as a possible third party in the Kremlin's 
multi-party initiative. 
 
9. (C) Levada Director Gudkov believed that Zhirinovskiy was 
astute enough to remain aligned with the "powers that be." 
Mitrofanov was optimistic about the future of the party, even 
given the creation of the "second" Kremlin party "A Just 
Russia" (SR).  He believed SR would dilute the monopoly 
currently held by United Russia, allowing the remaining 
parties greater entree into the legislative and governing 
process. (Note:  Mitrofanov told us that since 2003 when 
United Russia consolidated its stranglehold on the Duma, not 
one bill or amendment proposed by LDPR deputies had been 
adopted.) 
 
------- 
Comment 
------- 
 
10.  (SBU) LDPR's ability to both allow Russia's "rednecks" 
to vent their unhappiness with the status quo and to aid in 
the implementation of an agenda amenable to the Kremlin 
should ensure that it remains a player, if only a secondary 
one, on the political scene for the foreseeable future.  It 
remains to be seen what inroads "A Just Russia" will make on 
its LDPR's core electorate in 2007.  As with so many other 
hypotheses about developments here, the March regional 
elections should serve as a good indicator of LDPR's 
medium-term prospects. 
BURNS

Wikileaks

06MOSCOW13124, RUSSIA’S BROKEN ASYLUM SYSTEM

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
06MOSCOW13124 2006-12-27 15:47 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Moscow

VZCZCXRO4731
RR RUEHDBU
DE RUEHMO #3124/01 3611547
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
R 271547Z DEC 06
FM AMEMBASSY MOSCOW
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 6112
INFO RUEHXD/MOSCOW POLITICAL COLLECTIVE
RUCNCIS/CIS COLLECTIVE
RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA 4968

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 MOSCOW 013124 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 12/27/2016 
TAGS: PREF PREL PHUM RS
SUBJECT: RUSSIA'S BROKEN ASYLUM SYSTEM 
 
REF: MOSCOW 11778 
 
Classified By: Political Minister-Counselor Alice G. Wells. 
Reasons 1.4 (b and d). 
 
1.  (C) SUMMARY:  Asylum seekers in Russia face legal and 
bureaucratic obstacles in obtaining protection from the GOR, 
as well as a growing backlash against migrants in general. 
For many, the only workable solution is resettlement to a 
third country, as the GOR has yet to devote sufficient 
attention and resources to its asylum system.  While UNHCR 
has improved its relationship with the Federal Migration 
Service and has had some success in working through the court 
system, the recent deportations of Georgians and detentions 
of several Uzbeks have put many asylum seekers on edge. 
Although there are some signs the GOR wants to improve its 
asylum system, these are overshadowed by an increasingly 
xenophobic climate, in which the threat of violence adds to 
the difficulties asylum seekers face in Russia.  We have 
conveyed our readiness to assist FMS in improving its system, 
and we continue to look for other avenues to engage with the 
GOR on this issue.  END SUMMARY. 
 
SYSTEMIC FLAWS AND A BAD ATTITUDE 
--------------------------------- 
 
2.  (C) During the recent visit of PRM/ECA Deputy Director 
Nancy Iris and in other meetings over the past several weeks, 
our contacts have increasingly called attention to the plight 
of asylum seekers in Russia.  Primarily, Russia's asylum 
system is predisposed to reject asylum seekers.  This 
tendency is attributed to systemic flaws, but also to a rise 
in anti-migrant political rhetoric and intolerance among 
certain elements of the population. 
 
3.  (C) UNHCR Senior Protection Officer Gang Li told Iris 
that UNHCR has seen a steady decline in the number of asylum 
seekers it has registered.  The number is now about 3,000, 
down from more than 5,000 two years ago, but few if any will 
be accepted into Russia.  Li said Russia's asylum system has 
problems both in the law and its implementation.  Legally, it 
places undue burdens on asylum seekers to file requests with 
the Federal Migration Service (FMS), while giving FMS 
officers wide latitude to refuse an asylum request. 
According to UNHCR data, FMS has granted refugee status to 10 
people since January 2005.  Those who manage to file a 
request with FMS are given interview dates years later in 
Moscow, or several months later in other parts of the 
country.  Those requesting asylum in Moscow now, are 
scheduled for interview in 2009, for example. 
 
4.  (C) In the interim, FMS provides no legal protection for 
asylum seekers.  Those able to submit their requests to FMS 
are given an appointment slip but nothing else.  Lacking any 
document giving them legal status in Russia, they cannot 
legally work or obtain residency permits that allow them 
access to schools, medical care and other social services. 
They are often stopped by police, usually with a demand for a 
bribe under threat of arrest or potential deportation.  Li, a 
Chinese national who is occasionally stopped by police, said 
UNHCR has begun distributing an identification card to 
refugees it registers, and although it is not officially 
recognized by the Russian government, it is often enough to 
satisfy police.  Police harassment of asylum seekers in 
Moscow is acute enough, however, that UNHCR also employs a 
full-time police liaison. 
 
5. (C) Sergey Yagodin, an advisor to Human Rights Ombudsman 
Vladimir Lukin and former head of FMS' legal department, said 
during his meeting with Iris that the problems of the asylum 
system were as much to do with the mentality at FMS as gaps 
in the law.  Yagodin said that FMS' bureaucracy left asylum 
seekers with little option but to enter and stay in Russia 
illegally. 
 
6. (C) FMS has become more focused on law enforcement since 
being merged with the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MVD) in 
2003 and resurrected as a quasi-independent agency in 2004. 
The prevailing attitude is that asylum seekers and refugees 
are illegal migrants and potential criminals, Yagodin said. 
While FMS claims there are a small number of refugees and 
asylum seekers in Russia, its statistics only include those 
it has officially recognized.  The actual number is thought 
to be much higher.  Most asylum seekers and refugees never 
apply to FMS because of its slow processing and low 
acceptance rates, he said.  FMS statistics showed that there 
were 418 officially registered refugees in Russia and about 
officially registered 500 asylum seekers.  At the same time, 
FMS claimed there were 15 million illegal immigrants in 
Russia.  Yagodin estimated the number of illegal immigrants 
to be about half FMS' estimate but did not provide a 
 
MOSCOW 00013124  002 OF 002 
 
 
methodology for his calculation. 
 
THE POLITICAL ATMOSPHERE 
------------------------ 
 
7.  (C) As illegal immigration has become a more prominent 
political issue, there is little distinction between asylum 
seekers and economic migrants.  More frequent attacks on 
dark
-skinned "foreigners" by skinQads and the lack of 
response by law enforcement agencies have added to the 
vulnerability many asylum seekers say they feel. 
 
8.  (C) Attendees at a roundtable organized by the Russian 
Red Cross in St. Petersburg said it was almost impossible for 
asylum seekers to legalize their status.  For many asylum 
seekers, resettlement through UNHCR was the only long-term, 
durable solution.  One Afghan woman told us she had been in 
Russia for 21 years and still was without status.  (NOTE: 
Many Afghans were brought to Russia during the Soviet 
occupation in the 1980s to be educated as a new nomenklatura 
for the Soviet-backed government there.  Sometimes known as 
"Lenin's orphans," they could not return to Afghanistan 
because of their ties to the Soviets, yet they have no status 
in Russia.  END NOTE.) 
 
9.  (C) Roundtable participants also expected a broader 
crackdown in the aftermath of the arrests and deportations of 
Georgians.  Separately, UNHCR told us recently that police 
conducting document checks in a Moscow market where there had 
been a large number of Georgian vendors told Afghans and 
others recognized as refugees by UNHCR that they would no 
longer be permitted to work there.  Another group of 200 
Afghans in Moscow were recently declared illegal migrants by 
FMS and forced out of work.  They in turn filed asylum claims 
to avoid deportation. 
 
THERE IS SOME HOPE 
------------------ 
 
10.  (C) UNHCR's Li and other contacts have told us that 
beyond the structural problems with FMS, FMS officers, judges 
and lawyers lack sufficient understanding of international 
and national law pertaining to asylum seekers and refugees. 
Compounding the problem was FMS' lack of adequate staff and a 
high turnover rate. 
 
11.  (C) Li said that UNHCR believed that Russia's asylum 
system could be improved, and that Russian officials want to 
improve it, but that progress would be slow.  FMS had begun 
to implement some changes UNHCR recommended, and it had 
allowed UNHCR to comment on draft amendments to the Law on 
Refugees which may be introduced in the Duma during its next 
session.  In light of the recent wave of deportations, 
including one in which an Uzbek was deported despite having 
an appeal before the courts, UNHCR had pressed to include 
language requiring immediate suspension of any deportation 
proceedings as long as an asylum request was in process. 
 
12.  (C) Li was complimentary about the independence of 
Russian courts, noting that UNHCR had been successful in 
working with local NGOs to sue FMS and have its decisions 
overturned.  These decisions, along with international 
interest in high profile cases, strengthened the rule of law 
and suggested that progress was not impossible, but it would 
require a sustained effort, starting with a commitment from 
senior levels of the GOR, he said. 
 
COMMENT 
------- 
 
13.  (C) Russia's asylum system is plagued by problems, and 
the GOR's treatment of refugees and asylum seekers is 
adversarial.  Together, these factors combine to deprive 
hundreds of people adequate protection and access to basic 
services, leaving UNHCR and resettlement to a third country 
as the best available alternative for many.  Although there 
are some slight signs of improvement, many positive trends 
are mitigated by an increasingly xenophobic climate, in which 
the threat of violence adds to the difficulties asylum 
seekers already face in Russia.  We have conveyed our 
readiness to assist FMS in improving its system, along with 
an offer from the Department of Homeland Security to host FMS 
Director Konstantin Romodanovskiy or his staff in Washington 
(reftel).  We continue to look for other avenues to engage 
the GOR on this issue. 
BURNS

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