Monthly Archives: January 2007

07MOSCOW405, RUSSIAN MFA CONFIRMS POSITIVE CHANGE IN ABKHAZIA

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
07MOSCOW405 2007-01-31 15:10 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Moscow

VZCZCXRO3736
PP RUEHDBU
DE RUEHMO #0405 0311510
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 311510Z JAN 07
FM AMEMBASSY MOSCOW
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 7044
INFO RUCNCIS/CIS COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHXD/MOSCOW POLITICAL COLLECTIVE PRIORITY

C O N F I D E N T I A L MOSCOW 000405 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 01/31/2017 
TAGS: PREL MARR MOPS PBTS GG RS
SUBJECT: RUSSIAN MFA CONFIRMS POSITIVE CHANGE IN ABKHAZIA 
POSITION 
 
Classified By: Ambassador William J. Burns.  Reason:  1.4 (b, d) 
 
Summary 
------- 
 
1. (C) MFA Fourth CIS Director Andrey Kelin briefed 
PolMinCouns on the Russian position toward Georgia's Kodori 
Gorge January 31, making explicit the positive change hinted 
to DAS Bryza in Berlin January 22.  Russia will now accept 
the presence of up to 200 Georgian internal troops in Kodori 
(the previous position demanded complete withdrawal and the 
removal of the Georgian-backed "Abkhaz Government in Exile"). 
 Kelin implied a deal:  Russia will agree to a reduced 
Georgian presence in exchange for a UN visit by Abkhaz 
"Foreign Minister" Shamba.  End Summary. 
 
2. (C) Kelin told PolMinCouns that Russia's concern about the 
Georgian armed presence in Kodori is the capacity to attack 
Abkhazia.  Now, he said, Georgia has 500-530 internal troops 
there -- nearly a battalion.  This provides real offensive 
capability.  If the Georgian forces were reduced to 200 (with 
complete removal of heavy weaponry), the level would be 
"normal."  Kelin signaled that Russia is open to discussion 
on the number, its only concern being the offensive 
capability; he reiterated that Russia understands the 
legitimate need for a Georgian police presence in Kodori.  He 
stated that UNOMIG has not verified the withdrawal of heavy 
weaponry, and that Georgia maintains fortifications, 
helicopters, mortars and armored personnel carriers. 
 
3. (C) Kelin asked for U.S. cooperation in granting a visa to 
Abkhaz "Foreign Minister" Sergey Shamba for a visit to 
address the UN (format to be decided by the UN, but not 
necessarily Arria).  We noted that the issue is under review, 
but flagged Washington's concerns over previous Abkhaz 
demands that all Georgian forces leave Kodori before the 
Abkhaz would re-engage in the negotiating process.  Kelin 
said he will travel to Abkhazia February 1 and will discuss 
the issue with Shamba. 
 
Comment 
------- 
 
4. (C) Kelin never said the Russian position has changed, but 
clearly he was proposing a deal to change it:  Russia would 
agree to a Georgian presence, at a level reduced ostensibly 
for security concerns, but also to save face.  In addition, 
Kelin pointedly left out previous Russian demands for the 
removal from Kodori of the Georgian-backed "Abkhaz Government 
in Exile."  In return, the U.S. would agree to let Shamba 
address the UN. 
 
5. (C) That proposal is clearly a first bargaining position, 
but there may well be a deal to be hammered out with the 
Russians, other FSG members, and the parties.  In addition to 
agreement on an acceptable Georgian force level (presumably 
somewhere between 200 and 500) and weaponry consistent with 
the 1994 Moscow Agreement, the deal could include both 
explicit Abkhaz commitment to re-engage in the negotiating 
process and Russian agreement on acceptable elements of the 
next UNSC resolution to renew UNOMIG's mandate, dropping 
negative mention of Georgian actions and deployments in 
Kodori.  In our view, that gain would be well worth a visa 
for Shamba. 
BURNS

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07MOSCOW404, RUSSIA: DELTA AND SHEREMETYEVO AIRPORT OFFICIALS

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
07MOSCOW404 2007-01-31 14:46 2011-08-30 01:44 UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY Embassy Moscow

VZCZCXYZ0000
PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHMO #0404 0311446
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 311446Z JAN 07
FM AMEMBASSY MOSCOW
TO RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON PRIORITY 1923
RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 7043
RHMCSUU/FAA CARF WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY

UNCLAS MOSCOW 000404 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SENSITIVE 
SIPDIS 
 
EUR/RUS FOR HOLMAN 
EB/TRA BYERLY AND COLEMAN 
FAA FOR SHARP 
LONDON FOR BARKS 
 
E.O. 12958: N/A 
TAGS: EAIR ECON RS
SUBJECT: RUSSIA: DELTA AND SHEREMETYEVO AIRPORT OFFICIALS 
DISCUSS FLIGHT DELAYS 
 
1. (SBU) Delta and Sheremetyevo Airport (SVO) officials met 
January 29 to discuss delays in take off - and as a result, 
of its overall "block time" - of its Moscow-Atlanta flight. 
(Block time refers to push back from departure gate to 
arrival at gate at entry point.)  Delta Flight 47's "block 
time" has continually exceeded 12 hours - the maximum allowed 
by FAA for U.S. carriers - since construction of Sheremetyevo 
(SVO) Terminal 3 started, causing long taxi lines for take 
off.  As a temporary solution, Delta pilots will radio the 
control tower for advice on taxi time before they push back 
from the gate.  In three weeks (pending Atlanta approval), 
Delta 47's departure time will change from 12:55PM to 
12:25PM, which will put the aircraft first in line to depart, 
after the runway is reopened following its daily 
construction closure. 
 
2. (SBU) The tone of the meeting was positive and both sides 
were clearly committed to keep Delta 47 running.  Delta's 
Atlanta-Moscow flight is running at 90-95% capacity and is 
more popular than its link to New York.  The plane carries 
approximately 200 passengers six days per week. 
 
BACKGROUND 
 
3. (SBU) Under FAA directives, airlines can exceed its block 
time no more than 30% of its flights in any given 90-day 
period.  Since construction of Sheremetyevo Terminal 3 began, 
Delta has faced increased taxi time on the SVO runway and 
exceeded the twelve-hour block time almost daily.  According 
to Delta, it has taken steps to reduce its block time: paying 
Atlanta's Hartsfield Airport for priority service so it can 
proceed directly to the gate upon arrival; reprogramming its 
flight mapping computer to go faster to reduce flight time 
(though costing $800-$1000 more in daily fuel), and working 
with SVO to reduce the taxi time before take off in Moscow. 
 
4. (SBU) Sheremetyevo Terminal 3 construction is expected to 
continue until the beginning of 2008.  The runway is closed 
for 80 minutes each morning for unavoidable construction. 
SVO Deputy Director General for Operations Vladimir Buryak 
and Director of Air Traffic Control Alexander Vedernikov 
voiced their support to help Delta find a long-term solution. 
They offered Delta a daily 12:25PM take off time, which would 
make it the first to depart after the construction break and, 
therefore, eliminate its taxi time.  Delta's Atlanta HQ's 
representative, who attended this meeting, said this 
long-term solution would work pending senior HQ approval, but 
Delta would need three weeks to change its tickets, notify 
passengers, and adjust connections.  SVO agreed to the 
three-week delay. 
BURNS

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07MOSCOW402, RUSSIANS DEFEND ARMS TRANSFERS TO IRAN, SYRIA

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
07MOSCOW402 2007-01-31 14:22 2011-08-30 01:44 SECRET Embassy Moscow

VZCZCXRO3677
OO RUEHDBU
DE RUEHMO #0402/01 0311422
ZNY SSSSS ZZH
O 311422Z JAN 07
FM AMEMBASSY MOSCOW
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 7040
INFO RUCNCIS/CIS COLLECTIVE
RUEHXD/MOSCOW POLITICAL COLLECTIVE
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHDC
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC
RHMFISS/CDR USEUCOM VAIHINGEN GE

S E C R E T SECTION 01 OF 03 MOSCOW 000402 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 01/31/2017 
TAGS: PARM MCAP PREL ETTC RS
SUBJECT: RUSSIANS DEFEND ARMS TRANSFERS TO IRAN, SYRIA 
 
REF: A. MOSCOW 275 
 
     B. STATE 7445 
 
Classified By: Minister-Counselor for Political Affairs Alice G. Wells. 
  Reasons 1.4 (B/D). 
 
1.  (S) SUMMARY:  Visiting Moscow January 18-19, EUR/PRA 
Director Anita Friedt told Foreign Ministry officials that 
increased Russian transparency on arms transfers to sensitive 
countries could lessen the possibility of sanctions under 
U.S. law.  Washington was willing to work with the Russian 
side, but Moscow would have to share more information about 
prospective transfers to address U.S. concerns.  MFA 
officials emphasized that the sanctions' effect was more 
political than practical.  The officials: 
 
-- Defended the transfer of the Tor-M1 air defense system to 
Iran as permissible under existing national law and 
international agreements; 
 
-- Explained that the vehicle-mounted Strelets system under 
consideration for Syria had been built exclusively for export 
and could not be modified; 
 
-- Requested additional information on the justification for 
sanctions, noting that they were unable to investigate 
allegations against the sanctioned individual Aleksandr 
Safanov; and 
 
-- Asked that the U.S. continue to consult with Russia on 
ballistic missile defense deployments in Europe. 
 
In separate meetings, defense analysts noted that it would be 
difficult for the sanctioned entities, particularly 
Rosoboronexport, to respond to U.S. requests for 
clarification.  One analyst asserted that Russia's growing 
arms export industry had become increasingly profitable while 
undermining U.S. interests -- both were goals that appealed 
to a rising number of GOR and Kremlin officials.  END SUMMARY. 
. 
--------------------------------------------- ----- 
EFFECTS OF SANCTIONS MORE POLITICAL THAN PRACTICAL 
--------------------------------------------- ----- 
 
2.  (S) Foreign Ministry officials decried the December 28 
imposition of U.S. sanctions against four Russian entities 
and asserted that the arms transfers to Iran and Syria, which 
had triggered the sanctions, conformed with Russian law and 
export control regulations, as well as Moscow's international 
obligations.  Igor Neverov, Director of the North America 
Department, said Russia viewed the sanctions as a "political" 
action done more for U.S. domestic consumption.  There was 
little practical effect upon the Russian companies' 
operations and, in fact, the sanctions against 
Rosoboronexport might actually undermine U.S. companies that 
seek cooperation with that firm.  Neverov noted that the 
sanctions would make it more difficult for the Foreign 
Ministry to tamp down rising anti-U.S. sentiment and calls 
for retaliatory action against the U.S.  He added, however, 
that the Ministry would continue to argue within the GOR 
interagency community to avoid blowing the issue out of 
proportion. 
 
3.  (S) Sergey Petlyakov, Chief of the Foreign Ministry's 
Arms Technology and Transfer Policy Section, reiterated the 
GOR policy that, in addition to legal constraints, Russia's 
arms transfer decisions were guided by an analysis of the 
weapons system's effects upon regional stability.  He added 
that Moscow shared U.S. concerns about man-portable systems 
(MANPADS) falling into the hands of terrorists, which was the 
reason behind Russia's investigation last summer into the 
diversion of Russian-origin anti-tank guided missiles (ATGMs) 
from Syria to Hizballah.  The GOR had tightened its export 
control regime as a result of the ATGM case; among other 
measures, Russia will incorporate provisions for stricter 
end-use checks in future arms transfer contracts. 
 
4.  (S) In the case of the Tor-M1 transfer to Iran, Petlyakov 
said the system was a tactical-level system that could be 
used only for self-defense and would not destabilize the 
region.  He acknowledged that the S-300 system, whose 
transfer to Iran was still under review, was more advanced 
but still permissible under Russian law and international 
regimes.  Instability in Iran was of great concern to Russia 
because of that country's geographic proximity, Petlyakov 
continued, and was a major factor in Russia's security 
calculations when transferring weapons systems. 
 
5.  (S) Svyatoslav Tsukanov, Chief of the Ministry's Export 
 
MOSCOW 00000402  002 OF 003 
 
 
Control Policy Section, stressed that the Strelets missile 
system was a vehicle-mounted weapon built exclusively for 
export, with separately deployed aiming and guidance systems 
designed so that it could not be easily deployed by 
terrorists.  Tsukanov asserted that removing one of the 
launching tubes, as the U.S. had suggested, would not 
effectively modify the system.  In any case, both he and 
Petlyakov acknowledged that Russia harbored misgivings about 
obtaining "U.S. approval" of its arms transfers and noted 
that firms were reluctant to share potentially proprietary 
information in response to U.S
. requests for clarification 
concerning pending transfers. 
 
6.  (S) Tsukanov noted that one of the sanctioned entities -- 
against the individual Aleksandr Safanov -- was a common name 
in Russia, akin to "John Brown" in English and often used as 
a pseudonym when an individual wanted to cover his tracks. 
Consequently, he said that even with the background provided 
by the U.S. in conjunction with the imposition of sanctions 
on Safanov, the GOR had been unable to unearth information 
related to any real individual with this name.  He and 
Petlyakov used this case as an example of the need for the 
U.S. to provide more complete information to justify the 
imposition of sanctions. 
 
7.  (S) In all of her meetings with MFA officials, Friedt 
emphasized the need for dialogue.  She noted that the U.S. 
had repeatedly asked for clarification concerning a number of 
transfer cases, including the Strelets and Tor-M1, but Moscow 
had not responded adequately despite assurances from senior 
officials.  Friedt said increased transparency on arms 
transfers to sensitive countries could lessen the possibility 
of sanctions under U.S. law.  Washington was willing to work 
with the Russian side, but Moscow would have to share more 
information about prospective transfers to address U.S. 
concerns. 
. 
--------------------------------- 
SANCTIONS AS RUSSIAN ARMS SUCCESS 
--------------------------------- 
 
8.  (C) Ivan Safranchuk, a defense analyst with the World 
Affairs Institute, told Friedt that many GOR officials 
believed U.S. sanctions were aimed at undermining Moscow's 
increasingly competitive market position in the arms trade, 
especially in the case of Rosoboronexport.  Safranchuk added 
that the lifting of sanctions against Sukhoy had reinforced 
the view of some observers that the U.S. lacked sufficient 
evidence in the first place.  Moreover, sanctions might 
actually boost the reputation of the smaller sanctioned firms 
because of the inadvertent "advertising."  From a political 
perspective, Safranchuk continued, Rosoboronexport would 
never be able to respond to U.S. demands for clarification as 
Sukhoy had done.  As the country's leading arms exporter, 
Rosoboronexport's reputation and prospective sales would 
suffer if others perceived it as intimidated by U.S. 
sanctions. 
 
9.  (C) Independent defense analyst Pavel Felgengauer agreed 
that GOR and Kremlin officials were proud of Russia's growing 
arms export industry, which had become increasingly 
profitable, often at the expense of U.S. interests in various 
parts of the world.  Felgengauer said such a reality appealed 
to many of these officials.  Responding to Friedt's query 
regarding the "cost" of sanctions to Rosoboronexport, 
Felgengauer highlighted banking problems.  According to 
Felgengauer, Rosoboronexport is a "cash hungry" enterprise, 
which relies on cash profits to pay for items such as much 
needed refurbishment/upgrade of subsidiaries like Aftovaz. 
Felgengauer pointed out that Rosoboronexport relied on the 
Bank of New York for dollar transactions.  As long as 
Rosoboronexport is under sanctions, it will not be able to 
use the Bank of New York, which provides the best transaction 
rate, or acquire lower-interest rate Western loans.  This 
will not present a problem for "euro" transactions, but 
Rosoboronexport's arms sales to the Middle East and Asia are 
dollar transactions.  Felgengauer estimated the financial 
cost to Rosoboronexport would be approximately 1-2 percent of 
its profits. 
. 
---------------------------------------- 
CONSULTATIONS ON MISSILE DEFENSE WELCOME 
---------------------------------------- 
 
10.  (S) Neverov requested that the U.S. continue to consult 
closely on plans to deploy components of a missile defense 
system in Europe.  Although he made remarks before the 
announcement of U.S. negotiations with Poland and the Czech 
Republic (reftels), he said recent briefings in Moscow and 
 
MOSCOW 00000402  003 OF 003 
 
 
within the NATO-Russia Council in Brussels had been helpful 
in alleviating concerns in Moscow.  In this context, Neverov 
said both countries needed to highlight progress in bilateral 
relations more effectively. 
 
11.  (C) Both Safranchuk and Felgengauer viewed the missile 
defense deployment issue in political terms.  Safranchuk 
predicted that the issue would become a major component of 
Russia's "anti-American industry."  He argued for close and 
continuing consultation between Russia and the U.S. and 
suggested that advance notice of any significant action by 
the U.S. would derail to some extent the influence of 
hard-liners who wished to highlight the issue for political 
reasons.  Speaking more broadly, Safranchuk lamented that 
conservative forces in Russia were increasingly challenging 
the view, held throughout most of the post-Soviet period, 
that areas of agreement with the U.S. far outweighed areas of 
disagreement. 
 
12.  (C) Felgengauer was even more emphatic that the issue 
was political.  Russian military officials know that 
operational deployment of any system in Europe was years away 
and, in any case, they believe an effective interceptor is 
not currently available to meet the threat from the Persian 
Gulf or North Korea.  He suggested that Russia's armed forces 
would not worry about deployment of a U.S. system until 
construction actually began; in the meantime, senior defense 
officials would complain about the proposed system for 
political mileage. 
 
13.  (U) EUR/PRA Director Friedt cleared this message. 
BURNS

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07MOSCOW400, NAMES OF INFLUENTIAL WOMEN IN RUSSIA

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
07MOSCOW400 2007-01-31 13:57 2011-08-30 01:44 UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY Embassy Moscow

VZCZCXRO3638
RR RUEHDBU RUEHLN RUEHVK RUEHYG
DE RUEHMO #0400 0311357
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 311357Z JAN 07
FM AMEMBASSY MOSCOW
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 7038
INFO RUCNCIS/CIS COLLECTIVE
RUEHXD/MOSCOW POLITICAL COLLECTIVE
RUEHLN/AMCONSUL ST PETERSBURG 3709
RUEHYG/AMCONSUL YEKATERINBURG 2126
RUEHVK/AMCONSUL VLADIVOSTOK 1871

UNCLAS MOSCOW 000400 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SENSITIVE 
SIPDIS 
 
FOR S/WE; SASHA MEHRA AND GERDA LANE 
 
E.O. 12958: N/A 
TAGS: KWMN PHUM PREL RS
SUBJECT: NAMES OF INFLUENTIAL WOMEN IN RUSSIA 
 
REF: A. 06 STATE 178055 
 
     B. 06 STATE 202341 
 
1. (SBU) As requested by reftel, following is post's list of 
Russia's five most influential women: 
 
- Olga Konstantinovna Dergunova 
Chairperson/President, Microsoft Russia and CIS 
Phone:  7 495-967-8585/8572 
Mobile:  7 495-720-6075 
Email: olgad@microsoft.com 
Address: Ul. Krylatskaya 17, Entrance 1, Moscow 121614 
 
- Marianna Maksimovskaya 
Host of political television show "Nedelya" 
Phone/Fax:  7 495-247-1758 
Address: Zubovskiy Blvd. 17, 4th fl, Moscow 
 
- Valentina Ivanovna Matviyenko 
Governor of St. Petersburg 
Phone:  7 812-576-4501 
Fax:  7 812-576-7827 
Address: Smolnyy, St. Petersburg 193060 
 
- Ella Aleksandrovna Pamfilova 
Chairperson, Presidential Council for Civil Society 
Institutions and Human Rights 
Phone:  7 495-606-4184 
Fax:  7 495-606-4855 
Email: pamfilova ea@gov.ru 
Address: Ilyinka 23, Entrance 10, 5th fl #515, Moscow 
 
- Tatyana Anatolyevna Tarasova 
Coach-Consultant to the Russian National Figure Skating Team 
Phone:  7 495-637-0531 
Fax:  7 495-637-9416 
Email: oxrlat@dol.ru 
Address: Luzhnyetskaya Naberezhnaya 8, Moscow 119270 
 
2. (SBU) The officer at post following women's issues is Ms. 
Rebecca Grutz in the Political Section. 
BURNS

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07MOSCOW391, APPROACHING RUSSIA ABOUT SUSPECTED AIR DEFENSE SITE

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
07MOSCOW391 2007-01-31 11:01 2011-08-30 01:44 SECRET Embassy Moscow

VZCZCXRO3421
PP RUEHDBU
DE RUEHMO #0391 0311101
ZNY SSSSS ZZH
P 311101Z JAN 07
FM AMEMBASSY MOSCOW
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 6994
INFO RUCNCIS/CIS COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHXD/MOSCOW POLITICAL COLLECTIVE PRIORITY

S E C R E T MOSCOW 000391 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 01/31/2017 
TAGS: PREL MARR MASS AM AJ RS
SUBJECT: APPROACHING RUSSIA ABOUT SUSPECTED AIR DEFENSE SITE 
 
REF: STATE 10749 
 
Classified By: PolMilCouns Alice G. Wells.  Reason:  1.4 (b, d) 
 
1. (S/NF) PolMinCouns made reftel demarche January 31 to 
Andrey Kelin, Director of the MFA Fourth CIS Directorate. 
Kelin denied knowledge of the issue, but said he would look 
into it.  He added as a barb that both Azerbaijan and Armenia 
are concerned about the potential for U.S. air strikes 
against Iran and about the Iranian response, and believed 
both sides are seeking air defenses against that possibility. 
 PolMinCouns remarked that Stepanakert is a funny place to 
put an air defense for that purpose. 
BURNS

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07MOSCOW382, GERMANY: BUSINESSLIKE PUTIN-MERKEL MEETING IN

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
07MOSCOW382 2007-01-30 17:26 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Moscow

VZCZCXRO2739
PP RUEHDBU RUEHFL RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHROV RUEHSR
DE RUEHMO #0382/01 0301726
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 301726Z JAN 07
FM AMEMBASSY MOSCOW
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 6981
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHXD/MOSCOW POLITICAL COLLECTIVE PRIORITY

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 MOSCOW 000382 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 01/30/2017 
TAGS: PREL PGOV ETRD EU GM RS
SUBJECT: GERMANY:  BUSINESSLIKE PUTIN-MERKEL MEETING IN 
SOCHI 
 
REF: 06 MOSCOW 13073 
 
Classified By: Pol/Min Counselor Alice G. Wells.  Reasons: 1.4 (b/d). 
 
1. (C) SUMMARY: The January 21 meeting in Sochi between 
President Putin and Chancellor Merkel was businesslike but 
not particularly warm.  There was a sharper tone in the 
political exchanges than there had been in the past.  Putin 
told Merkel Russia would not accept a forced solution for 
Kosovo.  Merkel underscored dissatisfaction with Russia's 
failure to provide advance warning of the oil cutoff to 
Belarus, urged Russia to thoroughly investigate the 
Politkovskaya murder, and chided Russia for arms sales to 
Iran and Syria.  Putin defended the sales, while admitting 
that Syria was a difficult partner.  Both agreed that the EU 
and Russia need to begin negotiations soon for a Partnership 
and Cooperation Agreement (PCA).  END SUMMARY. 
 
2. (C) Both Russian MFA and German Embassy officials 
described the January 21 meeting between President Putin and 
Chancellor Merkel in Sochi as businesslike, with a broad 
agenda.  However, our German contacts added that the it 
lacked the warmth of previous Putin-Schroeder meetings.  The 
meeting lasted two hours -- an hour more than planned.  For 
the most part, accounts by Andrey Grozov, chief of the MFA's 
German Section, and the German Embassy's Thorsten Hutter 
tracked closely. 
 
KOSOVO FINAL STATUS 
------------------- 
 
3. (C)  The German Embassy told us Merkel highlighted that, 
while it was important to support and not humiliate Serbia, 
it was also essential for the Contact Group to stay united 
and support Ahtissari's proposal.  Merkel told Putin that 
Serbia should get something in return for compromising on 
Kosovo's final status, and the best inducement was 
integration with European institutions.  Merkel said she 
would use Germany's EU presidency to do that.  While it would 
be preferable if Serbia agreed to the solution for Kosovo, 
this ultimately might not happen.  The MFA underlined Putin's 
insistence that the GOR could not support an imposed 
solution.  However, Putin denied Serbian press reports that 
he had promised PM Kostunica that Russia would veto a UN 
Security Council resolution.  Putin also reiterated that the 
independence of Kosovo would set a precedent for the frozen 
conflicts in Georgia and Moldova. 
 
ENERGY: DIFFERENT STORIES ON THE BELARUS OIL CUT OFF 
--------------------------------------------- ------- 
 
4. (C) Merkel made a "very strong" point that Berlin was 
displeased with Moscow's failure to give advance notification 
for the early January Belarus oil cutoff, according to the 
Germans.  Putin agreed that Russia should have given advance 
notification, and told Merkel it would not happen again. 
(Note: Grozov maintained that Germany and all downstream 
customers had been notified in advance about Russia's desire 
to raise taxes and tariffs on oil exported to Belarus, and 
that constituted advance notification of a cutoff.)  Merkel 
suggested that any future EU PCA should include a formal 
mechanism for communicating a reduction or cutoff of gas or 
oil.  Putin told Merkel that the GOR wanted to increase 
efforts to diversify gas and oil transit routes to make 
Russia and European consumers less reliant on transit states 
such as Belarus and Ukraine.  Putin said he was not against 
discussions about an energy agreement with the EU, but 
reiterated that Russia would not sign the EU-proposed Energy 
Charter in its current form, because it favors consumers over 
producers. 
 
THE POLITKOVSKAYA INVESTIGATION 
------------------------------- 
 
5. (C) Merkel also emphasized the need for Russian law 
enforcement authorities to thoroughly and speedily conclude 
the investigation into the murder of journalist and Kremlin 
critic Anna Politkovskaya.  She emphasized that the murder 
served as a powerful symbol of the status of press freedom 
for those in the West, and that lack of progress in the case 
would not help the GOR, according to the Germans.  Putin said 
he understood the need for a complete investigation, but that 
police had so far turned up nothing new.  (Putin expressed 
his unhappiness over Merkel's emphasis on the Politkovskaya 
murder in his January meeting with Italian PM Prodi -- with 
the Italians attributing the success of Prodi's session to 
Putin's palpable relief that the Merkel visit was over.) 
 
IRAN AND SYRIA 
-------------- 
 
 
MOSCOW 00000382  002 OF 002 
 
 
6. (C) Merkel raised concerns about recent Russian arms sales 
to Iran and Syria, said Hutter.  Merkel told Putin that Syria 
was causing too much mischief in Lebanon, and that arms sales 
would only encourage the SARG further.  Putin defended the 
sales in traditional terms, by saying they did not violate 
any international sanctions regime and maintaining that it 
was important not to put too much pressure on either Iran or 
Syria.
According to the MFA, Putin argued that it was 
important to include Syria in any conflict resolution in 
Lebanon.  Both agreed that the problem of Iran's nuclear 
program should be resolved diplomatically. 
 
ISRAELI-PALESTINIAN CONFLICT 
----------------------------- 
 
7. (C) Putin told Merkel that the GOR agreed with the German 
proposal that Quartet activity should be stepped up, Grozov 
told us.  The GOR also agreed with Germany that the Quartet's 
role should expand to include not only the 
Israeli-Palestinian conflict, but other regional conflicts as 
well. 
 
STANDOFF WITH POLAND 
-------------------- 
 
8. (C) Both sides reaffirmed their interest in beginning 
negotiations for a new EU-Russia PCA as soon as possible, 
though Putin noted that the GOR did not currently see failure 
to agree as a crisis, since the current agreement would be 
extended for the time being, Grozov told us.  Merkel stressed 
that the EU was determined to remain unified regarding its 
policy toward Russia, but that it was important to resolve 
the standoff with Poland regarding Russian sanctions against 
Polish meat and plant products.  Merkel said the EU could 
play a mediating role between Russia and Poland regarding the 
standoff, and that the Poles and the European Commission were 
preparing to answer Russia's concerns about Polish imports. 
Putin said Russia would analyze Poland's procedures, but 
would not say for certain if or when sanctions would be 
lifted. 
 
COMMENT 
------- 
 
9.  (C)  From his first encounter with Merkel last January in 
Moscow, Putin has tried to steer the bilateral conversation 
to economic issues where Berlin and Moscow share similar 
interests (and dependencies).  However, Merkel's insistence 
on bringing up political issues -- particularly those 
involving Russia's domestic politics -- rankles a Kremlin 
used to a less challenging reaction from Schroeder.  Russia 
expected that the heavy lifting on the new PCA would be done 
by Germany during its EU Presidency; a failure to deliver by 
one of Russia's closest European partners will raise 
questions about where the broader Russia-EU relationship is 
headed. 
BURNS

Wikileaks

07MOSCOW381, AFGHANISTAN: TIME TO REENGAGE WITH RUSSIA?

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
07MOSCOW381 2007-01-30 16:57 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Moscow

VZCZCXRO2707
OO RUEHDBU
DE RUEHMO #0381/01 0301657
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 301657Z JAN 07
FM AMEMBASSY MOSCOW
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 6979
INFO RUEHXD/MOSCOW POLITICAL COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHBUL/AMEMBASSY KABUL PRIORITY 0437

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 MOSCOW 000381 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 01/30/2017 
TAGS: PREL PTER ETRD SNAR AF RS
SUBJECT: AFGHANISTAN:  TIME TO REENGAGE WITH RUSSIA? 
 
REF: 06 MOSCOW 11373 
 
Classified By: Ambassador William J. Burns.  Reasons:  1.4(B/D) 
 
1.  (C)  Summary:  Foreign Minister Lavrov's February 2-3 
Washington consultations provide an opportunity to seek 
support for the new U.S. strategy for Afghanistan's security 
and reconstruction.  While Moscow has been critical of U.S. 
and Western efforts in Afghanistan, it has also expressed 
interest in moving forward on economic investments, renewing 
arms supplies to Kabul, and boosting counternarcotics 
cooperation with the Karzai government.  We should press for 
specific progress in these areas, as well an expanded 
NATO-Russia Council counternarcotics program and a more 
substantial Russian contribution to Afghan reconstruction. 
End Summary. 
 
RUSSIA AND THE KARZAI GOVERNMENT 
-------------------------------- 
 
2.  (C)  Moscow's post-London Conference support for the 
Afghan government has been measured.  Positive steps like the 
bilateral debt agreement have been accompanied by persistent 
criticism of counternarcotics efforts and growing concern 
about the upsurge in Taliban/Al-Qaeda activity.  Russia has 
never been particularly supportive of Karzai, but he is still 
viewed as a better choice than any of the alternatives. 
Moscow's beefs are that Karzai has sidelined Russia's former 
Northern Alliance clients while not effectively reining in 
Pashtun warlords, and that Russia bears the brunt of efforts 
to stem narcotics trafficked to Europe through the Northern 
Route. 
. 
DEBT RELIEF OPENS DOORS 
----------------------- 
 
3.  (C)  Despite the complaints, we have seen the beginnings 
of a more positive Russian agenda for Afghanistan.  Moscow's 
agreement to reconcile Afghanistan's outstanding debt of USD 
11.2 billion and its reiteration of a commitment to forgive 
100 percent of that debt will remove a significant obstacle 
to improved cooperation with Kabul.  Deputy Foreign Minister 
Alekseyev told the Ambassador that Russia would propose 
specific development and investment projects once the 
agreements were finalized; some private Russian companies are 
already pursuing joint ventures in the energy field with U.S. 
companies and Afghan partners.  Lavrov's planned January 24 
visit to Kabul (scrubbed because of bad weather conditions) 
was to have been marked by an agreement in principle on the 
language of the formal debt agreement, to be followed by 
signatures in February. 
. 
ARMS SUPPLIES TO AFGHAN NATIONAL ARMY 
------------------------------------- 
 
4.  (C)  Russia is also weighing whether to restart the arms 
supply relationship that saw Moscow donate USD 200 million to 
the Afghan Ministry of Defense over the past five years. 
Russia drew from stockpiles to provide Soviet-era transport 
aircraft, communications equipment, spare parts for tanks and 
APCs, artillery and jeeps, as well as repairs to helicopters 
and fixed wing aircraft.  The MFA told us that new donations 
stopped after General Abdurrahim Wardak took over as Defense 
Minister in early 2005, replacing Russian ally General Fahim 
Khan.  According to the Russians, Wardak said Afghanistan was 
no longer interested in Russian equipment and could count on 
the Americans for his supplies.  After FM Spanta's October 
visit to Moscow, the GOR agreed to take another look at 
supplying arms, perhaps at a substantial discount. 
. 
COUNTER-NARCOTICS FOCUS 
----------------------- 
 
5.  (C)  Russia's mantra over the past several years is that 
more needs to be done to combat narcotics flows from 
Afghanistan -- which contribute to drug abuse and HIV/AIDS 
problems in Russia -- but Moscow has taken few initiatives 
itself.  Russia has touted its cooperation with Central Asian 
states through Operation Channel, but this semi-annual event 
under CSTO auspices is more an interdiction blitz than a 
unified operation.  Russia's long-standing pledge in the 
bilateral Counterterrorism Working Group to put a narcotics 
liaison in Kabul has yet to be realized. 
 
6.  (C)  However, during the past year, Russia put 
substantial effort as G-8 President into hosting a 
ministerial conference on Afghan drug trafficking routes 
(Paris 2 - Moscow 1) that focused on concrete steps to 
prevent the diversion of precursor chemicals used to produce 
heroin.  Also this year, Russia joined with Central Asian 
states and the UN Office on Drugs and Crime to establish a 
Central Asian Regional Information and Coordination Center 
 
MOSCOW 00000381  002 OF 002 
 
 
(CARICC) to foster information sharing on counternarcotics 
and transborder crime.  October saw the kickoff of a pilot 
project under the auspices of the NATO-Russia Council (NRC) 
under which Russia trains Afghan narcotics officials at the 
Interior Ministries' Domodedovo Training Center. 
. 
ENGAGING THE RUSSIANS 
--------------------- 
 
7.  (C)  Cooperation with Russia in support of the
 new U.S. 
comprehensive strategy in Afghanistan offers an opportunity 
to make progress in priority areas -- countering narcotics 
trafficking, spurring economic development and 
reconstruction, and equipping Afghan security forces -- while 
keeping Moscow on board regarding Afghanistan's political 
development.  President Putin has made clear that Russian 
combat troops will not be deployed to Afghanistan, and the 
Afghan government would be unlikely to welcome such an offer, 
so Russia's contribution to stability in Afghanistan will 
need to come in other areas.  FM Lavrov's February 
consultations in Washington offer an opportunity to assess 
Russian willingness to work with the U.S., NATO and its 
global partners to support security and reconstruction in 
Afghanistan.  If early indications are positive, the dialogue 
begun during Assistant Secretary Boucher's October visit to 
Moscow could be resumed with more specific discussions. 
 
8.  (C)  We offer the following recommendations for areas 
where Russia might be willing to cooperate: 
 
-- Counternarcotics:  Russia is focused on increasing its 
direct contacts with the Afghan government to combat 
narcotics trafficking, but this is sometimes couched in terms 
of Afghan participation in the CSTO-sponsored Operation 
Channel.  While there might be some benefit from this, we 
should encourage Moscow to act on its pledge to set up a 
narcotics liaison in Kabul.  Russia should also be encouraged 
to consider scaling up the NRC pilot project.  We could also 
explore with the Russians whether Afghan participation in the 
CARICC makes sense. 
 
-- Reconstruction and economic development:  Russian 
participation in economic projects in Afghanistan should be 
encouraged to support development and improve security. 
Russian firms have significant Soviet-era experience with 
Afghanistan's mineral and energy resources.  Efforts to 
develop joint ventures with Afghan and foreign firms could be 
productive.  Russian firms are also interested in working as 
contractors or subcontractors on assistance projects -- 
including road building and power construction -- that 
support U.S. priorities.  We should encourage Russia to build 
more commercial relations with Afghanistan by sending a trade 
delegation to Kabul. 
 
-- Military Assistance:  To the extent consistent with U.S. 
plans to train and equip Afghan national security forces, we 
could encourage Russia to renew its donations to the Afghan 
National Army channeled through the Afghan Defense Ministry. 
 
 
-- Humanitarian Assistance:  Immediately after the fall of 
the Taliban, Russia provided over USD 30 million in 
humanitarian assistance in Afghanistan.  While this aid ended 
soon thereafter, we could approach the Emergencies Situation 
Ministry (MCHS), which delivers Russian assistance worldwide, 
to see whether Moscow would underwrite a project in the area 
of health.  We could also encourage Russia to increase the 
scholarships it allocates to Afghan students.  Russian firms 
interested in doing business in Afghanistan could also be 
encouraged to provide training slots for Afghans. 
. 
Comment 
------- 
 
9.  (C)  It's time to see whether Russia's rhetoric about 
cooperation can be matched by efforts in collaboration with 
other Afghan Compact members to foster security and economic 
reconstruction.  Lavrov's February 2-3 Washington 
consultations offer a preliminary opportunity to test whether 
Moscow is ready to step up its efforts. 
BURNS

Wikileaks

07MOSCOW377, UNITED RUSSIA: CORRUPTION AND THE ELECTION CAMPAIGN

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
07MOSCOW377 2007-01-30 14:24 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Moscow

VZCZCXRO2510
PP RUEHDBU
DE RUEHMO #0377/01 0301424
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 301424Z JAN 07
FM AMEMBASSY MOSCOW
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 6970
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 000377 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SIPDIS 
 
DEPT FOR EUR/RUS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 01/30/2017 
TAGS: PGOV PINR KDEM RS
SUBJECT: UNITED RUSSIA: CORRUPTION AND THE ELECTION CAMPAIGN 
 
 
Classified By: Pol M/C Alice G. Wells: Reason 1.4 (d). 
 
------- 
Summary 
------- 
 
1.  (C) As the campaign for the December State Duma election 
gets underway, the Kremlin-sponsored United Russia (YR) party 
has announced initiatives to fight Russia's long-festering 
problem of corruption.  Observers expect that, as in past 
years, the anti-corruption mantra will largely be used to 
control or eliminate political opponents, and to fish for 
votes in the upcoming elections.  With corruption widely 
believed to be on the increase, and YR-associated government 
officials the chief offenders, the party is attempting to 
seize the initiative on this key issue.  End summary. 
 
-------------------- 
Corruption in Russia 
-------------------- 
 
2.  (SBU) Corruption in Russia is widespread and deeply 
rooted.  Seventy-eight percent of Russians believe that 
corruption is high and that government officials are the 
chief offenders, according to a November 2006 poll by the All 
Russia Public Opinion Research Center (VTsIOM).  United 
Russia (YR) party officials have told us that their polls 
have highlighted corruption as the voting public's single 
greatest concern.  While businesses pay the largest bribes, 
ordinary Russians often pay as well in order to receive basic 
services such as access to medical care, higher education, 
and housing. 
 
--------------------------------------- 
United Russia's Anti-Corruption Program 
--------------------------------------- 
 
3.  (U) In openly worrying about corruption (even while 
dismissing it as "transitional," and "not unique to Russia"), 
YR is closely following the lead of President Putin.  (On 
April 10, 2006, Putin told his cabinet that high-level 
corruption must be eliminated.  On May 10, 2006, in his 
annual address to the Federal Assembly, Putin cited 
corruption as a major drag on Russia's economy.)  At YR's 
December 2006 party convention in Yekaterinburg, Mikhail 
Grishankov, United Russia member and chairman of the Duma's 
Anti-Corruption Commission, outlined new, anti-corruption 
initiatives, and the party termed the fight against 
corruption a "priority."  Initiatives described by Grishankov 
included creating an independent anti-corruption body 
directly controlled by the President and increasing 
transparency in the reporting of earning and expenses of 
public officials and their families.  YR Presidium Deputy 
Secretary Vladimir Katrenko announced plans to introduce 
 
SIPDIS 
anti-corruption legislation required for Russia's February 
2007 accession to GRECO (the Council of Europe's 
anti-corruption league) this spring.  (Note:  Russia has yet 
to ratify the OECD Anti-Bribery Convention, a requirement for 
OECD membership.) 
 
4.  (SBU) YR Chairman Boris Gryzlov has spoken frequently 
since the convention about the need to attack corruption, but 
(perhaps sensing his party's vulnerability on this issue) he 
has stressed that a public that offers bribes is as 
responsible for the corrupt state of affairs as the 
bureaucrats who take their money.  Gryzlov has been at pains 
to insist that the current, YR-controlled Duma's failure to 
pass an anti-corruption law did not mean that his party was 
not serious about attacking the problem.  His party planned 
to manage corruption, Gryzlov has said, by increasing control 
over Russia's sprawling bureaucracy. 
 
5.  (SBU) In addition to making encouraging noises about 
combating corruption, YR has been quick to expel YR officials 
accused of engaging in corrupt behavior.  In a recent 
exchange, YR Duma Deputy Gennadiy Raykov rejected charges by 
KPRF Duma Deputy Valeriy Rashkin that 107 members of YR's 
local organizations have been charged with corruption by 
arguing that, once charged, officials were expelled from the 
party, and hence no longer the responsibility of YR. 
 
-------------------------- 
Cynicism Among the Experts 
-------------------------- 
 
6.  (SBU) In a recent conversation, the Moscow Carnegie 
Center's Nikolay Petrov was skeptical that YR's 
anti-corruption measures were anything other than 
election-year politics.  He noted that government employees 
-- YR's base -- were the main offenders and beneficiaries of 
 
MOSCOW 00000377  002 OF 002 
 
 
corruption.  Petrov allowed that everyone in politics agrees 
with President Putin that corruption is a net negative for 
the economy, but said the practice is too deeply embedded to 
address without "completely changing the political order." 
Petrov found some consolation in the YR's "lip service" 
because "it at least shows that they are listening to the 
electorate.  Now, we just have to get them to act." 
 
7.  (SBU) Carnegie civil society expert Masha Lipman seconded 
Petrov's pessimism.  She told us it was unlikely that there 
would be even a theoretical consensus for changing the status 
quo as long as oil and gas prices remained high enough to 
allow both corruption and a reasonable standard
of living for 
the majority of the population.  Lipman maintained that the 
degree of corruption was, if anything, increasing in advance 
of the 2007-2008 national elections. 
 
8.  (SBU) The Public Chamber's Anti-Corruption Commission's 
Chairman Andrey Przhezdomskiy told us that corruption was a 
source of widespread concern among Russia's political 
classes, especially as it seemed to be growing. 
Przhezdomskiy told us that his Commission recently sent to 
the Presidential Administration, the Duma, and the law 
enforcement chiefs recommendations designed to begin the 
difficult task of combating corruption.  Still, Przhezdomskiy 
acknowledged that a buoyant economy had meant that nagging 
popular concern about corruption had yet to crystallize into 
an imperative for immediate action.  Also playing a role, he 
said, was Russia's "tradition" of corruption.  Przhezdomskiy 
said, however, that the government had made an important 
first step in acknowledging the problem, but agreed that it 
lacked the will to make serious inroads. 
 
9.  (C) The head of Russia's branch of Transparency 
International (TI), Yelena Panfilova, was also skeptical. 
She viewed the recent calls to fight corruption as an 
"unbeatable" theme for an election campaign, noting that it 
appealed to Russian citizens while at the same time allowing 
those in power to eliminate "corrupt" opponents.  In her 
opinion, this latest round in the corruption fight reprised 
the 2003 Duma election campaign, when candidate Boris Gryzlov 
(now the Chairman of the State Duma and President of YR) 
crusaded against corrupt law enforcement officials.  As with 
that campaign, there would be no lasting results, she 
predicted. 
 
10.  (C) Panfilova said her litmus test for a "sincere" 
anti-corruption campaign would be the successful prosecution 
of one of Putin's inner circle.  Panfilova told us that the 
websites www.kompromat.ru and www.vzyatka.ru posted 
increasingly accurate information about all variants of 
corruption and demonstrated there was ample information to 
incriminate elected officials, prominent bureaucrats, 
businessmen, and politicians.  She thought that, at best, the 
"elite's" efforts to remain in power might lead to an 
unintended side-effect of an incremental and temporary 
reduction in corruption.  (Note: TI-Russia is cooperating 
with USAID on a study that will monitor the abuse of public 
resources in the 2007 and 2008 election campaigns.) 
 
------- 
Comment 
------- 
 
11.  (C) YR's latest campaign can be seen largely as an 
effort to insulate the party from charges its members have 
enriched themselves.  The newly-formed second pro-Kremlin 
party, "A Just Russia" (SR), may seek to play the corruption 
card against YR.  However, many SR leaders have also been 
senior officials and politicians, and thus are subject to 
counter-charges. 
BURNS

Wikileaks

07MOSCOW373, MIXED MESSAGES ON ANTI-DEMONSTRATION LAW

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
07MOSCOW373 2007-01-30 14:11 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL//NOFORN Embassy Moscow

VZCZCXRO2497
RR RUEHDBU
DE RUEHMO #0373/01 0301411
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
R 301411Z JAN 07
FM AMEMBASSY MOSCOW
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 6959
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 000373 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SENSITIVE 
SIPDIS 
 
DEPT FOR EUR/RUS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 01/29/2017 
TAGS: PGOV PREL PINR KDEM RS
SUBJECT: MIXED MESSAGES ON ANTI-DEMONSTRATION LAW 
 
Classified By: POL M/C Alice G. Wells.  Reasons:  1.4 (b) and (d). 
 
------- 
Summary 
------- 
 
1. (C) On January 24, a United Russia Duma Deputy withdrew 
amendments to the law on demonstrations that, if adopted, 
would have significantly restricted the circumstances under 
which public meetings could occur.  The withdrawal seemed to 
spell the end of an effort by some in the Presidential 
Administration and in the Duma to ensure that law enforcement 
bodies have the legal apparatus necessary to keep street 
action to a minimum in advance of, and after, elections.  The 
tortured history of the amendments, which were submitted, 
withdrawn, and softened before being re-submitted and again 
rebuffed, suggested a miscommunication between the 
Presidential Administration and its governing United Russia 
party, as well as, possibly, disagreement within the 
Presidential Administration itself.  End Summary. 
 
-------------- 
The Amendments 
-------------- 
 
2. (U)  On January 19, United Russia, Rodina, and LDPR 
deputies submitted legislative amendments that proposed 
banning public demonstrations of any kind in the two weeks 
before and the two weeks after election day.  In addition, at 
any other point during an election campaign, the amendments 
would have allowed government authorities to request the 
courts to prohibit any demonstration where illegal activities 
might be expected to take place.  The amendments also would 
have prevented those who had been found guilty of extremism 
from organizing demonstrations.  The only Duma faction that 
did not support the proposal was the Communist Party (KPRF). 
 
--------------------- 
Objections all Around 
--------------------- 
 
3. (U) According to media reports, Deputy Head of the 
Presidential Administration Vladislav Surkov made a rare trip 
to the Duma on the day the amendments were initially 
submitted, where he instructed its authors to "soften" them. 
The weekend saw a torrent of objection to the amendments, in 
both print and televised media.  Various Duma members 
announced on January 22 that they had withdrawn their 
support, while independent deputy Vladimir Ryzhkov argued 
that the proposed amendments were unconstitutional.  Only 
Movement Against Illegal Immigration (DPNI) Chairman 
Aleksandr Belov shrugged off the possible ban, noting that 
the only punishment for violating the new law would be a 
fine.  In the wake of the debate and Surkov's intervention, 
the first draft was withdrawn. 
 
4. (U) On January 23, the legislation was reintroduced in a 
version that eliminated the provision banning demonstrations 
in the two weeks preceding and following elections.  The 
milder draft of the law sparked controversy among Duma 
deputies as well, leading Duma Chairman Boris Gryzlov to 
announce that he would not support the legislation. 
Gryzlov's announcement prompted United Russia Duma Deputy 
Vladimir Semago to announce on January 24 that the amendments 
had been withdrawn and would "not be re-introduced in the 
near future" since the authors could not agree on how to make 
the legislation palatable to Duma deputies. 
 
--------------------------------------------- -- 
Continued Worries About An "Orange Revolution"? 
--------------------------------------------- -- 
 
5. (SBU)  Indem think tank political analyst Yuriy Korgunyuk 
told us January 25 that the legislation had likely been the 
work of an overzealous Duma deputy, and guessed that it had 
run into opposition because the Kremlin's fear of an "Orange 
Revolution" had passed. Russian Newsweek journalist Mikhail 
Fishman told us the same day that Kremlin unease at the 
prospect of a Russian "Orange Revolution" had long since 
abated.  He joined Korgunyuk in positing that the proposal 
might have been a trial balloon floated, then withdrawn in 
the face of the absence of a consensus in the Duma.  The 
Center for Political Technology's Aleksey Makarkin was quoted 
as saying that, in the absence of any political party or 
other movement popular enough to spark an "Orange 
Revolution," the legislation may have been aimed at the 
presidential election; perhaps at former prime minister 
Mikhail Kasyanov's expected candidacy. 
 
 
MOSCOW 00000373  002 OF 002 
 
 
6. (C)  "Other Russia's" Garry Kasparov told us January 24 
that the law was unnecessary because the Ministry of Interior 
already had the tools to control public behavior.  He 
surmised that United Russia had learned that President Putin 
would not sign such a bill and did not want to be associated 
with public repudiation by the President of a legislative 
initiative as the Duma election campaign was gathering steam. 
 A January 25 Kommersant article attributed the final 
decision to withdraw the second, milder version of the bill 
to an intervention by Head of the Presidential Administration 
Sergey Sobyanin.  Sobyanin's intervention, Kasparov said, 
suggested at a minimum that he and his subordinate Surko
v 
were getting contradictory messages from Putin, or that the 
conflict remained unresolved. 
 
7. (SBU)  Saying that the amendments had been a surprise to 
most Duma deputies, KPRF Duma Deputy Svetlana Savitskaya 
agreed in a January 24 meeting with us that the threat of an 
"Orange Revolution" was non-existent.  Savitskaya alleged 
that the election results were likely to be falsified in some 
districts, and saw the amendments as an attempt to give 
greater control in the face of unrest to the winners of those 
races. 
 
------- 
Comment 
------- 
 
8. (SBU)  The authors' apparent surprise at the negative 
reaction from some of their colleagues and at the Kremlin's 
efforts to retract the legislation suggests a disconnect 
between at least some in the pro-Kremlin United Russia party 
and the Kremlin.  The massive police presence at two meetings 
staged in autumn 2006 -- the "Russian March" and the "Other 
Russia" meeting -- may have been taken by the proponents of 
the legislation as evidence that the Presidential 
Administration was worried that demonstrations in an election 
year could spin out of control.  Whatever the case, the fate 
of the anti-demonstration legislation, like the recent 
stand-off spawned by a bill proposing the relocation of the 
Constitutional Court to St. Petersburg, suggests that the 
minimal spadework necessary to ensure that legislation sails 
through the legislative process is not being done. 
BURNS

Wikileaks

07MOSCOW366, RUSSIAN SECURITY COUNCIL CHIEF ON U.S. RELATIONS,

WikiLeaks Link

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
07MOSCOW366 2007-01-30 12:26 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Moscow

VZCZCXYZ0015
OO RUEHWEB

DE RUEHMOA #0366 0301226
ZNY CCCCC ZZH ZUI RUEWMCF0184 0301212
O 301226Z JAN 07
FM AMEMBASSY MOSCOW
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC0000
INFO ARAB ISRAELI COLLECTIVE
EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE
MOSCOW POLITICAL COLLECTIVE
RUEHSI/AMEMBASSY TBILISI

C O N F I D E N T I A L MOSCOW 000366 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 01/30/2017 
TAGS: PREL RS IR LE
SUBJECT: RUSSIAN SECURITY COUNCIL CHIEF ON U.S. RELATIONS, 
LEBANON, KOSOVO, GEORGIA, AFGHANISTAN 
 
CLASSIFIED BY: AMBASSADOR WILLIAM J. BURNS: 1.4 (B, D). 
 
1.  (C)  SUMMARY:  IN A JANUARY 30 MEETING WITH THE 
AMBASSADOR, IGOR IVANOV ENCOURAGED A VISIT BY DNSA HADLEY AND 
INCREASED CONGRESSIONAL CONTACT.  HE FLAGGED THE JANUARY 31 
VISITS OF BANDAR BIN SULTAN AND SAAD HARIRI TO MOSCOW, IN 
ORDER TO DISCUSS THE SAUDI INITIATIVE TO STABILIZE LEBANON. 
(BANDAR WAS IN TEHRAN JANUARY 30.)  IVANOV DETAILED 
COMPLAINTS OVER AHTISAARIS PLAN FOR KOSOVO, AND UNHAPPINESS 
WITH GEORGIA'S HANDLING OF THE RETURN OF THE RUSSIAN 
AMBASSADOR.  HE NOTED IRANIAN CONCERN OVER TALIBAN AND AL 
QAIDA INFLUENCE IN AFGHANISTAN. (IRANIAN CONSULTATIONS 
REPORTED SEPTEL.)  END SUMMARY 
 
ENGAGING THE U.S. 
----------------- 
 
2.  (C)  IN A JANUARY 30 MEETING WITH THE AMBASSADOR, RUSSIAN 
SECURITY COUNCIL SECRETARY IGOR IVANOV STRESSED THE NEED TO 
INCREASE THE TEMPO OF HIGH-LEVEL BILATERAL ENGAGEMENT.  HE 
FLAGGED HIS INTENTION TO EXTEND AN INVITATION TO DEPUTY 
NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER HADLEY TO VISIT IN THE 
FEBRUARY/MARCH TIMEFRAME.  IN THE WAKE OF THE MID-TERM U.S. 
CONGRESSIONAL ELECTIONS, IVANOV HAD ENCOURAGED DUMA CHAIR 
BORIS GRYZLOV TO EXPAND CONGRESSIONAL CONTACTS, AND WELCOMED 
NEWS OF A POSSIBLE VISIT IN FEBRUARY BY REP. LANTOS, WHOM HE 
AGREED TO MEET.  IVANOV HAD ALREADY DISCUSSED THE PROPOSED 
AUGUST VISIT BY SENATOR LUGAR AND POSSIBLY FORMER SENATOR 
NUNN WITH ROSATOM DIRECTOR KIRIYENKO, AND WAS CONFIDENT THAT 
THE GOR WOULD AVOID A REPEAT OF LAST YEAR'S BOTCHED 
SCHEDULING.  THE AMBASSADOR AGREED ON THE IMPORTANCE OF 
EXPANDING PARLIAMENTARY CONTACTS, AND WELCOMED FM LAVROV'S 
EFFORTS TO SCHEDULE CALLS ON SPEAKER PELOSI AND SENATE 
MAJORITY LEADER REID. 
 
LEBANON: BANDAR AND HARIRI TO MOSCOW 
------------------------------------ 
 
3.  (C)  IVANOV ALERTED THE AMBASSADOR TO THE JANUARY 31 
VISIT TO MOSCOW BY SAUDI NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISOR BANDAR BIN 
SULTAN, FOLLOWING ON THE HEELS OF BANDAR'S CONSULTATIONS IN 
TEHRAN FOCUSED ON BROKERING A SETTLEMENT BETWEEN THE SINIORA 
GOVERNMENT AND HIZBOLLAH.  IVANOV WAS LOOKING FORWARD TO A 
FULL BRIEFING ON BANDAR'S MEETING WITH THE IRANIAN 
LEADERSHIP, WHICH INCLUDED SPECIFIC DISCUSSIONS OF THE 
COMPOSITION OF THE GOVERNMENT, ROLE OF HIZBOLLAH, AND HARIRI 
TRIBUNAL.  HE COMMENTED THAT THE GOR WAS BROADLY SUPPORTIVE 
OF THE SAUDI EFFORT TO MANAGE SUNNI-SHIITE TENSIONS IN 
LEBANON.  THE GOR ALSO HAD INVITED SAAD HARIRI TO MOSCOW FOR 
URGENT CONSULTATIONS, AND WAS HOPEFUL THAT SOMETHING CONCRETE 
WOULD EMERGE FROM THE DISCUSSIONS.  IVANOV PRAISED THE 
EFFORTS BY SAUDI KING ABDULLAH TO HOST A DIALOGUE BETWEEN THE 
PALESTINIANS AND HAMAS. 
 
KOSOVO: AHTISAARI'S PLAN PROVOCATIVE 
------------------------------------ 
 
4.  (C)  THE AMBASSADOR RAISED THE RESOLUTION OF KOSOVO'S 
FINAL STATUS AND FLAGGED THE IMPORTANCE THAT THE SECRETARY 
WOULD ATTACH TO THIS ISSUE IN HER UPCOMING MEETING WITH FM 
LAVROV.  THE AMBASSADOR PRAISED UN SPECIAL ENVOY AHTISAARI'S 
FLEXIBILITY IN DEALING WITH BELGRADE AND PRISTINA AND 
WILLINGNESS TO ENGAGE IN ANOTHER ROUND OF CONSULTATIONS 
FOLLOWING THE FEBRUARY 2 PRESENTATION OF HIS REPORT.  THE 
AMBASSADOR STRESSED THAT THE CURRENT SITUATION IN KOSOVO WAS 
UNSUSTAINABLE, WITH A CLEAR PATHWAY TO INDEPENDENCE FOR 
KOSOVO REQUIRED.  THE US SOUGHT TO CONSULT WITH THE GOR, IN 
ORDER TO ENSURE THAT THE CONSENSUS OF THE CONTACT GROUP WAS 
MAINTAINED AND THAT A SHOW-DOWN IN THE SECURITY COUNCIL WAS 
AVOIDED.  THE AMBASSADOR INFORMED IVANOV OF A POSSIBLE VISIT 
BY SPECIAL ENVOY WISNER. 
 
5.  (C)  WITH THE CAVEAT THAT LAVROV HAD THE LEAD ON KOSOVO, 
IVANOV IMMEDIATELY RAISED THREE OBJECTIONS TO THE AHTISAARI 
PLAN: 
 
-- THE THREAT OF KOSOVAR ALBANIAN VIOLENCE WAS A SHAM. 
KOSOVAR EMOTIONS WERE CONTROLLABLE BY THE WESTERN POWERS, 
SINCE A BASIS FOR VIOLENCE DIDN'T EXIST: THE KOSOVAR 
ALBANIANS WERE NOT SUFFERING DISCRIMINATION, REPRESSION, OR 
PURGES.  THEY WERE THE DOMINANT FORCE IN THE PROVINCE, UNDER 
NO DURESS FROM THE SERB AUTHORITIES. 
-- AHTISAARIS REFUSAL TO WAIT FOR THE FORMATION OF A NEW 
SERB GOVERNMENT WAS A "PROVOCATION."  AHTISAARI NEEDED TO 
SPEAK WITH THE NEW LEADERSHIP AND THERE WAS REASON TO BELIEVE 
THAT A SOLUTION WAS STILL NEGOTIABLE.  A MAJORITY OF SERBS 
UNDERSTOOD THAT KOSOVO WAS A LOST CAUSE, THE SERB GOVERNMENT 
HAD PEACEFULLY CEDED MONTENEGRO "WITHOUT DRAMA OR VIOLENCE," 
AND THE PROSPECT OF INTEGRATION INTO THE EU REMAINED A LURE. 
TO IGNORE THE SERB GOVERNMENT CONSTITUTED AN "INFRINGEMENT" 
OF SERBIAN NATIONAL INTERESTS.  IVANOV COMPLAINED MORE 
GENERALLY THAT THE SERBS WERE TREATED AS "SECOND CLASS" 
CITIZENS, WITH SCANT INTERNATIONAL ATTENTION PAID TO SERBIAN 
REFUGEES FROM FORMER REPUBLICS. 
 
-- THE KOSOVO PRECEDENT WAS REAL AND UNWELCOME.  IVANOV 
REITERATED THAT THE GOR SOUGHT A RESOLUTION THAT DID NOT 
CREATE ADDITIONAL INTERNATIONAL CRISES.  WHILE THE WEST SAID 
KOSOVO WAS NOT A PRECEDENT, IT WOULD BE, JUST AS MONTENEGRO 
HAD BEEN.  IT WOULD PUT RUSSIA IN A POSITION OF HAVING TO 
RECOGNIZE ABKHAZIA OR TRANSDNISTRIA -- DISPUTED TERRITORIES &#x000A
;THAT HAD CONDUCTED THEIR OWN REFERENDUMS, PRODUCING 
OVERWHELMING MAJORITIES IN FAVOR OF INDEPENDENCE.  WHILE 
IVANOV UNDERSTOOD THE IMPATIENCE OF THE WEST REGARDING AN 
OPEN-ENDED MANDATE OVER KOSOVO, THE ISSUE WAS NOT READY TO BE 
RESOLVED AT THE UN SECURITY COUNCIL.  KOSOVO INDEPENDENCE, IF 
IMPOSED, WOULD RESULT IN "CONTINUOUS CONFLICT" IN CENTRAL 
EUROPE.  THE ISSUE, IVANOV STRESSED, DID NOT HAVE TO BE 
RESOLVED ON AHTISAARI'S WATCH. 
 
GEORGIA: "A STRANGE PEOPLE" 
--------------------------- 
6.  (C)  THE AMBASSADOR EMPHASIZED THAT IT WOULD BE A SERIOUS 
MISTAKE TO LINK KOSOVOS STATUS TO THAT OF THE FROZEN 
CONFLICTS AND EXPRESSED CONCERN THAT THE CURRENT DEBATE COULD 
BE USED TO WORSEN THE SITUATION IN GEORGIA.  IVANOV 
COMPLAINED THAT THE GOG HAD REFUSED TO ACKNOWLEDGE THE RETURN 
OF THE RUSSIAN AMBASSADOR FOR WHAT IT WAS: A GOODWILL 
GESTURE.  INSTEAD, THE LITANY OF GOG COMPLAINTS THAT IT WAS 
INSUFFICIENT, OR MERELY FOR POLITICAL SHOW, DID LITTLE TO 
CREATE A MOOD IN MOSCOW TO GO FURTHER, FASTER.  IVANOV 
CHARACTERIZED THE RECENT PUBLICATION OF ARTICLES ON THE 
YEAR-OLD INTERCEPTION OF A RUSSIAN CITIZEN SMUGGLING HEU ALSO 
AS A PROVOCATION.  EVERYTHING HAD BEEN HANDLED QUIETLY; THE 
GOR HAD CONDUCTED AN INVESTIGATION, AS HAD THE FBI.  NOW THE 
STORY WAS RESURRECTED PUBLICLY IN THE CONTEXT OF LITVINENKO. 
THE GEORGIAN LEADERSHIP, HE FUMED, WERE "A STRANGE PEOPLE." 
IVANOV TOOK APPARENT PLEASURE IN THE GOG DISCOVERY THAT IRAN 
WOULD ONLY SELL GAS AT WORLD MARKET -- THAT IS, RUSSIAN -- 
PRICES.  HE CONTRASTED RUSSIAS UNSUCCESSFUL DIPLOMACY WITH 
GEORGIA TO PROGRESS WITH THE LEADERSHIP OF MOLDOVA, WHERE 
NEGOTIATIONS WERE POSSIBLE WITHOUT THE SAME LEVEL OF NOISE 
AND EMOTION. 
 
IRAN CONCERNS OVER AFGHANISTAN 
------------------------------ 
 
7.  (C)  IN THE CONTEXT OF A BROADER DISCUSSION OF IRAN 
(SEPTEL), IVANOV NOTED THE IRANIAN LEADERSHIPS CONCERN OVER 
DEVELOPMENTS IN AFGHANISTAN; IN PARTICULAR, THE INCREASING 
INFLUENCE OF THE TALIBAN AND AL-QAIDA LEADERSHIP AMONG THE 
LOCAL POPULATION. 
 
COMMENT 
------- 
 
8.  (C)  IVANOV'S COMMENTS ON GEORGIA AND KOSOVO ARE A 
BELLWETHER OF HOW LAVROV WILL APPROACH THESE ISSUES IN HIS 
MEETING WITH THE SECRETARY.  WITH GEORGIA, WE WILL NEED TO 
CONTINUE TO STRESS QUIET DIPLOMACY OVER PUBLIC SPATS -- 
NOTING OUR OWN EFFORTS TO KEEP GOG RHETORIC MUTED. 
 
BURNS

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