07MOSCOW1631, UKRAINE: RUSSIAN OFFICIALS CIRCUMSPECT WHILE DUMA

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
07MOSCOW1631 2007-04-11 14:53 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Moscow

VZCZCXRO1452
OO RUEHDBU
DE RUEHMO #1631 1011453
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 111453Z APR 07
FM AMEMBASSY MOSCOW
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 9124
INFO RUCNCIS/CIS COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHXD/MOSCOW POLITICAL COLLECTIVE PRIORITY

C O N F I D E N T I A L MOSCOW 001631 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 04/11/2017 
TAGS: PREL PGOV UP RS
SUBJECT: UKRAINE:  RUSSIAN OFFICIALS CIRCUMSPECT WHILE DUMA 
BLUSTERS 
 
REF: MOSCOW 1552 
 
Classified By: Ambassador William J. Burns.  Reasons:  1.4(B & D). 
 
1.  (C) GOR officials assured the Ambassador April 10 that 
the Russian government would continue to be an attentive 
observer of the Ukrainian political crisis while avoiding 
direct public involvement.  Russian Presidential Foreign 
Affairs Advisor Sergey Prikhodko told the Ambassador that 
Russia would keep a low profile and appreciated U.S. efforts 
to do the same, underscoring that no one would benefit from 
getting in the middle.  Duma CIS Committee Chairman Kokoshin 
also urged "no (overt) involvement" in political tensions in 
a conversation with the Ambassador, echoing his April 6 
comments to DAS David Kramer that the U.S. and Russia should 
resort to "quiet diplomacy" to dampen tensions between the 
two Ukrainian leaders.  Kokoshin said Yushchenko's tactics 
were muddled, while Yanukovich was playing a "shrewd" game. 
 
2.  (SBU) While senior officials advocated a measured 
approach, the Russian Duma's April 6 condemnation of 
President Yushchenko's dissolution of the Rada was strongly 
endorsed afterwards by individual legislators and the talking 
heads on Russian weekend television programs.  Many of the 
latter viewed Yushchenko's move as part of an ongoing 
political struggle dating to the Orange Revolution; most saw 
Yulia Tymoshenko and Yanukovich as the likely winners.  Duma 
members have pledged that they will raise the "illegality" of 
Yushchenko's move in interparliamentary fora -- Duma 
International Affairs Committee Chairman Konstantin Kosachev 
said he would push for a review of the Ukrainian political 
crisis at the April session of the Parliamentary Assembly of 
the Council of Europe.  A group of twenty Duma members (a 
"Ukraine caucus") were scheduled to leave April 11 for Kyiv 
on a fact-finding mission. 
 
3.  (C) Moscow experts echoed what we heard from the official 
circle.  Artyom Malgin, a specialist on Ukraine at the Moscow 
Institute of International Relations (MGIMO) termed the 
current crisis an internal affair and said Russia must wait 
for the outcome.  He underlined that neither Yushchenko nor 
Yanukovich wanted Russia involvement. According to him, the 
Duma delegation to Ukraine would not have much impact because 
the Duma had little power to influence Russia's foreign 
policy.  Individual Russian groups may be active in Kyiv, but 
on a governmental level, "they know better this time," and 
Russia was less emotional about Ukraine than it had been 
during the Orange Revolution. 
 
4.  (C) Vitaliy Portnikov, a Radio Free Europe journalist, 
who works both in Moscow and Kyiv, agreed: if Ukraine was a 
geopolitical disaster in 2004 for Russia, Russia had accepted 
the defeat and moved on.  What worried Portnikov was that if 
Yushchenko lost legitimacy -- by decision of the 
Constitutional Court or by some other unpredictable and 
chaotic movement -- the country could enter a prolonged 
period of uncertainty.  Both Portnikov and Malgin thought 
that the May elections would not help Yushchenko. 
BURNS

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