Daily Archives: December 19, 2006

06MOSCOW12986, RUSSIA/LEBANON: PM SINIORA’S VISIT

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
06MOSCOW12986 2006-12-19 17:02 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Moscow

VZCZCXYZ0016
OO RUEHWEB

DE RUEHMOA #2986 3531702
ZNY CCCCC ZZH ZUI RUEWMCF4683 3531649
O 191702Z DEC 06
FM AMEMBASSY MOSCOW
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 0000
INFO ARAB ISRAELI COLLECTIVE
MOSCOW POLITICAL COLLECTIVE

C O N F I D E N T I A L MOSCOW 012986 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 12/19/2016 
TAGS: PREL PGOV EAID IR LE RS
SUBJECT: RUSSIA/LEBANON:  PM SINIORA'S VISIT 
 
 
CLASSIFIED BY: CHARGE D'AFFAIRES DANIEL A. RUSSELL.  REASONS:  1.4(B/D) 
. 
 
1.  (C) PRIME MINISTER SINIORA CAME AWAY SATISFIED WITH HIS 
DECEMBER 14-16 VISIT TO MOSCOW; THE ATMOSPHERICS WERE 
EXCELLENT ACCORDING TO LEBANESE AMBASSADOR ASSEM JABER'S 
READOUT TO THE CHARGE.  BESIDES PUTIN, SINIORA MET WITH 
SECURITY COUNCIL SECRETARY IGOR IVANOV, EX-FOREIGN MINISTER 
PRIMAKOV AND ORTHODOX AND MUSLIM RELIGIOUS LEADERS.  JABER 
SAID THAT PUTIN IMPRESSED SINIORA WITH HIS COMMAND OF MIDDLE 
EAST ISSUES. 
 
2.  (C) IN A LARGELY ONE-ON-ONE SESSION WITH SINIORA, PUTIN 
EXPRESSED SUPPORT FOR LEBANONS INDEPENDENCE, SOVEREIGNTY AND 
TERRITORIAL INTEGRITY.  HE BACKED A LEBANESE SOLUTION TO THE 
CURRENT CRISIS IN ACCORDANCE WITH LEBANON'S CONSTITUTION, AND 
HE REACTED FAVORABLY TO SINIORA'S 19 10 1 NATIONAL 
RECONCILIATION GOVERNMENT CONCEPT.  PUTIN DERIDED THE IDEA OF 
POLITICAL CHANGE THROUGH STREET DEMONSTRATIONS, A TACTIC HE 
LIKENED TO THE "COLORED" REVOLUTIONS IN THE FORMER SOVIET 
UNION.  PUTIN REITERATED RUSSIA'S SUPPORT FOR THE AGREEMENT 
BETWEEN THE UN AND THE GOVERNMENT OF LEBANON AND THE 
ACCOMPANYING STATUTE FOR THE SPECIAL TRIBUNAL FOR LEBANON. 
HE PROMISED THAT RUSSIA WOULD ATTEND THE JANUARY 25 
RECONSTRUCTION CONFERENCE IN PARIS, BUT OFFERED NO SPECIFICS 
ON POTENTIAL RUSSIAN ASSISTANCE.  PUTIN DID VOLUNTEER THAT, 
AFTER THE CURRENT CRISIS IS RESOLVED, ASSISTANCE TO THE 
LEBANESE ARMED FORCES WOULD BE ONE OPTION FOR RUSSIA TO 
CONSIDER. 
 
3.  (C)  WITH IGOR IVANOV, SINIORAS DISCUSSIONS FOCUSED ON 
THE REGION AND THE PEACE PROCESS.  IVANOV REITERATED RUSSIAN 
SUPPORT FOR UN SECURITY COUNCIL RESOLUTION 1701 AND THE 
SPECIAL TRIBUNAL, BUT CAUTIONED THAT THE LATTER SHOULD FOCUS 
ON THE HARIRI ASSASSINATION AND NOT BE USED FOR POLITICAL 
PURPOSES AGAINST THIRD COUNTRIES.  IVANOV URGED THAT THE 
INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY ENGAGE BOTH SYRIA AND IRAN. 
ISOLATION OF THOSE TWO STATES WOULD NOT CONTRIBUTE TO PEACE 
IN THE REGION.  IVANOV OPINED THAT SYRIA WAS THE EASIER WITH 
WHICH TO DEAL, SINCE IRAN'S FOREIGN POLICY WAS SO FOCUSED ON 
ITS NUCLEAR AMBITIONS.  IVANOV NOTED THAT IRAN WOULD BE 
SANCTIONED BY THE END OF THE MONTH AND HE WAS APPREHENSIVE 
ABOUT IRAN'S REACTION, WHICH HE HOPED WOULD BE PEACEFUL AND 
MEASURED. 
 
4.  (C) JABER CALLED PRIMAKOV'S APPROACH TO SINIORA AS 
PRO-SYRIAN AND IDEOLOGICAL (READ ANTI-US).  SINIORA GENTLY 
CHASTISED PRIMAKOV FOR PUBLICLY STATING THAT SYRIA HAD 
NOTHING TO DO WITH THE HARIRI ASSASSINATION BEFORE AN 
INTERNATIONAL TRIBUNAL HAD EVEN CONVENED.  HE ADVISED 
PRIMAKOV TO JUDGE SYRIA BY ITS ACTIONS AND NOT ITS WORDS. 
PRIMAKOV COUNTERED THAT HE HAD MET WITH HARIRI SHORTLY BEFORE 
HIS DEATH AND BEEN PUBLICLY SUPPORTIVE OF HIS GOVERNMENT. 
RUSSELL

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06MOSCOW12981, THREE DEMONSTRATIONS AND A CONVENTION

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To understand the justification used for the classification of each cable, please use this WikiSource article as reference.
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If you find meaningful or important information in a cable, please link directly to its unique reference number. Linking to a specific paragraph in the body of a cable is also possible by copying the appropriate link (to be found at theparagraph symbol).Please mark messages for social networking services like Twitter with the hash tags #cablegate and a hash containing the reference ID e.g. #06MOSCOW12981.
Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
06MOSCOW12981 2006-12-19 14:04 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Moscow

VZCZCXRO8873
OO RUEHDBU
DE RUEHMO #2981/01 3531404
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 191404Z DEC 06
FM AMEMBASSY MOSCOW
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 5936
INFO RUCNCIS/CIS COLLECTIVE
RUEHXD/MOSCOW POLITICAL COLLECTIVE

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 MOSCOW 012981 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SIPDIS 
 
DEPT FOR EUR/RUS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 12/18/2016 
TAGS: PGOV KDEM PHUM PINR RS
SUBJECT: THREE DEMONSTRATIONS AND A CONVENTION 
 
 
Classified By: Pol M/C Alice G. Wells:  1.4 (d) 
 
------- 
Summary 
------- 
 
1. (C) Political groupings of all stripes made their presence 
known in Moscow over the December 16-17 weekend: 
 
-- "Other Russia" staged its "March of the Discontented." 
About 2,500 participants from a hodgepodge of groups, united 
only by their opposition to the current government and 
rejection of the electoral process. 
 
-- The pro-Kremlin youth group "Nashi" had about 25 thousand 
young people from Moscow and surrounding areas don Santa 
suits, cavort in the streets, and distribute gifts to the 
city's remaining World War II veterans in commemoration of 
the Battle for Moscow. 
 
-- The western-leaning democratic political party Union of 
Right Forces (SPS) staged its convention.  Chairman Nikita 
Belykh criticized "Other Russia" participants for rejecting 
elections, and was in turn characterized by "Other Russia" 
speakers at its rally as a Kremlin pocket party. 
 
-- A small group, led by the Yabloko leadership, commemorated 
the deaths of thirteen journalists killed since Putin became 
President. 
 
2. (C) In contrast to the opposition rallies, only Nashi was 
allowed to march. However all the groups, regardless of their 
orientation, met under the watchful eyes of very large 
contingents of police, special forces, and FSB officers.  All 
events went off without major incident, although several 
hundred would-be Other Russia participants allegedly were 
detained on their way to their meeting. End summary. 
 
--------------------------------------------- ------- 
Other Russia, Nashi, and Yabloko Take to the Streets 
--------------------------------------------- ------- 
 
3. (C) About 2,500 participants in the "Other 
Russia"-sponsored "March of the Discontented" convened on 
Mayakovskiy Square December 16.  They were surrounded by an 
estimated eight thousand police, special forces troops, and 
FSB officers, and watched over by a low-flying helicopter. 
The speakers, among them Garry Kasparov (United Civic Front), 
Eduard Limonov (National Bolshevik Front), Mikhail Kasyanov 
(Peoples Democratic Union), Nikolay Ryzhkov (Republican Party 
of Russia), Irina Khakamade (Popular Democratic Union), and 
Evgeniya Albats (Ekho Moskvy journalist), stressed two key 
themes: 
 
-- although their politics may be very different, the 
heterogeneous groups present are united in their rejection of 
the government; 
 
-- the current electoral system is stacked against parties 
not sponsored by the Kremlin, and they do not plan to work 
through it for change. 
 
4. (C) Kasparov and others promised that the December 16 
rally was the first of many to come.  They seemed 
undiscouraged by the size of the crowd, and sought to portray 
the rally as the beginning of a groundswell against the 
government.  Center for Political Technologies Director Boris 
Makarenko told us the turnout was larger than expected and 
scored the demonstration as a "win" for the opposition. 
Other Russia's implicit point of reference in staging the 
rally was Ukraine's Orange Revolution, and the speakers 
promised to remain at the Mayakovskiy Square after the next 
rally if they were again refused permission to march.  They 
promised as well that there would be a change of power in 
fifteen months. 
 
5. (C) The December 17 Nashi event was not overtly political. 
 It seemed designed more to demonstrate the strength of the 
Kremlin-friendly youth organization, and to strike the right, 
nostalgic, chord with Russia's forty million pensioners.  In 
additional to the appeal to patriotism the WWII-related event 
seemed designed to provide proof to the elderly that not all 
of the nation's youth were in the throes of alcohol or drug 
addiction.  The large number of Santas and Snowwhites on the 
street, intentionally or not, recalled the Soviet-era mass 
gathering of youth in komsomol and young pioneer uniforms, 
and provoked ridicule in some press commentaries. 
 
6. (C) The event also showcased the organizers' deep pockets 
and organizational abilities.  Nashi leader Vasiliy Yakemenko 
 
MOSCOW 00012981  002 OF 002 
 
 
dismissed rumors that the event cost its sponsors USD 10 
million, but the bus and train tickets, gifts for the 
veterans who had been collected in 120 cultural centers, the 
costumes (USD 3/outfit), and the labor of the organizers was 
undoubtedly expensive.  Other Russia, got the greenlight to 
march, a fact that Yabloko Deputy Chairman Sergey Mitrokhin 
directly attributed to Mayor Luzhkov, who has banned all 
opposition demonstrations, but been more lenient with 
pro-Kremlin groups. Although the media estimated that 70 
thousand had attended the event, the Nashi press center 
initially put the number at 25 thousand, then increased it, 
reportedly at the insistence of some of its organizers. 
 
7. (SBU) As was the case with Other Russia, city authorities &#x0
00A;prohibited about fifty members of the Yabloko leadership and 
their confederates from marching in memory of murdered 
journalists on December 17. It did allow them to hold a 
meeting, however.  Once again, the police presence far 
outstripped the size of the meeting, which at its largest 
totaled no more than 150 participants, including interested 
bystanders. 
 
--------------------------- 
SPS Opts for the Ballot Box 
--------------------------- 
 
8. (C) SPS's unexpectedly strong showing in the December 2 
Perm region elections, where it won sixteen percent of the 
vote, has sparked rumors here that the party is being 
cultivated as the Kremlin's official right flank.  Whatever 
the case, SPS's December 16 convention was notable for the 
party's seemingly decisive break with Yabloko, with whom it 
has conducted on-again, off-again merger talks for years. 
(Mitrokhin confirmed to us that Yabloko would stand alone and 
repeated for us Yabloko's "poison pill" condition that SPS 
repudiate its senior leadership (Chubais, Gaidar) and ditch 
its economic policies.)  Belykh's party also emphatically 
rejected street politics as a path to power.  The SPS 
Chairman promised the media that his party was preparing only 
for the elections, while Kasparov, Kasyanov, Limonov, and 
company were preparing for "the revolution."  The national 
network "Rossiya," in its December 17 news summary, was quick 
to pick up that theme, and to show Belykh at his best, 
modestly rejecting SPS Deputy Chairman Leonid Gozman's 
suggestion that the party Chairman alone deserved credit for 
the Perm election outcome.  Nevertheless, Belykh was selected 
to be at the top of the SPS list in each of the fourteen 
regions where elections will be held in March. 
 
---------------- 
GOR Overreaction 
---------------- 
 
9. (C) The one constant in the three street meetings was the 
size of the police presence, which suggested a degree of 
unease about gatherings of any size and inclination.  In a 
recent conversation, Movement Against Illegal Immigration 
President Aleksandr Belov described himself as similarly 
astonished at the number of uniformed law enforcement 
officers mustered for the November 4 Russian march.  Belov, 
who claimed to have seen GOR reports on the threat allegedly 
posed by the march, believed that the authorities, after 
Ukraine's Orange Revolution and the unexpectedly strong 
reaction in January to the monetization of benefits, had 
decided to err on the side of caution.  He thought their 
fears unfounded, but predicted that the nervousness would 
only increase in 2007. 
RUSSELL

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