07MOSCOW1717, OTHER RUSSIA’S” MOSCOW DEMONSTRATION STOPPED BY

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
07MOSCOW1717 2007-04-16 11:07 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Moscow

VZCZCXRO6485
OO RUEHDBU
DE RUEHMO #1717/01 1061107
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 161107Z APR 07
FM AMEMBASSY MOSCOW
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 9315
INFO RUCNCIS/CIS COLLECTIVE
RUEHXD/MOSCOW POLITICAL COLLECTIVE

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 MOSCOW 001717 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 04/16/2017 
TAGS: PHUM PGOV KDRM SOCI RS
SUBJECT: "OTHER RUSSIA'S" MOSCOW DEMONSTRATION STOPPED BY 
POLICE 
 
 
Classified By: Ambassador William J. Burns.  Reason:  1.4 (d). 
 
 ------- 
Summary 
------- 
 
1. (C) As expected, the April 14 anti-government "Other 
Russia" demonstration, estimated to number several hundred, 
at the center city Pushkin Square was stopped in its tracks 
by as many as nine thousand uniformed law enforcement 
officials.  Member of the Other Russia leadership Garry 
Kasparov and some of his colleagues were detained, fined, and 
released within several hours.  The media estimate that many 
additional would-be participants or bystanders were briefly 
detained as well, and it appears that more than a dozen 
people, including journalists, were struck by police. Those 
who made it to the Other Russia demonstration licensed by the 
Moscow city authorities for Turgenev Square were addressed by 
ex-Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov and political activist 
Irina Khakamada before dispersing.  In the wake of the 
thwarted meeting, GOR Human Rights Ombudsman Vladimir Lukin 
criticized law enforcement officials for having exceeded 
their authority, and stated his readiness to receive 
complaints from citizens and, if the evidence is sufficient, 
file criminal charges and testify during court proceedings. 
Near-simultaneous demonstrations of the pro-Kremlin youth 
group "Young Guard," the Movement Against Illegal 
Immigration, the Union of Right Forces, and the Communist 
Party were held at different locations around the city on 
April 14 without incident.  A licensed April 15 Other Russia 
demonstration in St. Petersburg proceeded peacefully, but was 
marred by police violence when some participants attempted to 
march closer to the city center (septel).  End summary. 
 
-------------------- 
Other Russia Stopped 
-------------------- 
 
2. (C) As expected, the anti-government Other Russia's 
demonstration at Pushkin Square in central Moscow was stopped 
in its tracks April 14 by a very large number of uniformed 
Internal Affairs troops, special forces contingents bussed in 
from the regions, and FSB agents.  The troops had cordoned 
off a several block area around the square well before the 
1200 start time while, inside the cordon, 50 - 75 members of 
the pro-Kremlin Young Guard held their licensed 
demonstration.  Attempts by Other Russia adherents to shout 
down the Young Guard meeting were interpreted by the police 
as an attempt to stage an illegal demonstration and they 
moved aggressively to detain those protesting.  During this 
stage of Other Russia's efforts, Embassy saw more than one 
dozen detained, but witnessed no one being beaten.  (Media 
reports about the number of people beaten vary widely.  Human 
Rights Watch alleges in its statement that 54 demonstrators 
were treated at a downtown clinic.  Embassy has contacted the 
clinic, but has been unable to get confirmation of that 
number.)  The large number of police made it difficult to 
gauge the number of Other Russia supporters present, but we 
estimate no more than several hundred. 
 
3. (C) Member of the Other Russia leadership Garry Kasparov 
and confederates Ilya Yashin (Yabloko Youth), Masha Gaydar 
(political activist), Stas Dmitrievskiy (Russian-Chechen 
Friendship Society) were not able to get to Pushkin Square. 
They were detained as the rally was scheduled to begin and 
taken to a district police station, where they were booked 
for violating the administrative code and later released.  In 
an April 16 conversation, Kasparov told Embassy that he was 
planning to appeal his detention.  Kasparov alleged that the 
judge in his case did not allow his lawyers to provide proper 
defense. Estimates of the number detained during the day's 
events range from 130 - 250, and even higher.  Arriving at an 
exact figure is impossible, as some attempting to reach the 
site of the banned demonstration may have been stopped for 
identification checks, but not been formally booked. 
 
4. (C) Some of the Other Russia protesters succeeded in 
either marching or otherwise getting to Turgenev Square, one 
of the alternate sites proposed by the city when it ruled 
that Young Guard had informed it first of its intention to 
hold a meeting on Pushkin Square.  Yelena Dikun, Press 
Secretary for ex-Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov, told us 
 
SIPDIS 
April 16 that she had seen several marchers beaten by special 
forces troops as they attempted to march.  Kasyanov, she 
said, was not beaten or detained, and with political activist 
Irina Khakamada, briefly addressed the approximately 200 
persons who assembled at Turgenev Square. 
 
5. (C) Following the Turgenev Square meeting, some 
demonstrators moved to the police station where Kasparov and 
others were being held.  The media allege that some of their 
 
MOSCOW 00001717  002 OF 003 
 
 
number were beaten by police, who were attempting to disperse 
the crowd. 
 
6. (C) Eduard Limonov, whose National Bolshevik Party 
participated in the April 14 events, was rumored to have been 
detained, but n
ow appears to have simply hidden after an 
attempt was made to detain him. (Limonov was detained in St. 
Petesburg on April 15, however.)  His National Bolsheviks, 
whose hammer-and-sickle flags are a feature of Other Russia 
gatherings, where not in evidence on April 14.  Kasparov 
alleged to us that many of them had been taken into detention 
before the rally began, and that the Bolsheviks themselves in 
an effort not to be targeted by the police, had decided not 
to carry flags. 
 
-------- 
Reaction 
-------- 
 
7. (SBU) The April 14 Moscow events have sparked criticism in 
equal measure of the Moscow city authorities and of Other 
Russia for going forward with the banned march.  GOR Human 
Rights Ombudsman Vladimir Lukin, commenting on events both in 
Moscow and St. Petersburg, criticized law enforcement 
officials for exceeding their authority, and reminded them 
that Russian citizens have the constitutional right to 
peaceful freedom of assembly.  Lukin urged those mistreated 
to file petitions with his office and promised to file 
criminal charges against the police if the evidence warranted 
it.  He also promised to testify on citizens' behalf in 
court.  Lukin exhorted both the GOR and Other Russia 
supporters to resist provocations, noting Russia's long 
history of violent confrontation. 
 
8. (SBU) Moscow City Council Chairman Vladimir Platonov 
criticized Other Russia organizers for putting their 
adherents at risk, but noted that the existence of an 
opposition contributes to the resilience of the state.  Duma 
First Deputy Speaker Lyubov Sliska, on the other hand, was 
categorically against Other Russia's use of young people to 
further its political ends, while the Communist Party 
criticized the authorities for acting "stupidly" in making 
martyrs of the opposition. 
 
-------------------------------------------- 
Movement Against Illegal Immigration Meeting 
-------------------------------------------- 
 
9. (SBU) At its April 14 anti-government rally near the 
Kremlin, Rodina Duma Deputy Dmitriy Rogozin, Movement Against 
Illegal Immigration's Aleksandr Belov, and other speakers 
lobbied for a Russia for Russians and a strong military to 
protect Russia from outside threats.  Speaking beneath a 
banner proclaiming "For A Great Russia, Without Liberals, 
Thieves, or Traitors," Rogozin and others criticized the 
government for ignoring the needs of average Russians, and 
complained about corruption, and the encroachment on human 
rights.  Several hundred police, including special forces 
troops, ringed the estimated 500 - 700 participants.  The 
rally took place without incident. 
 
-------------------------------- 
Young Guard at Moscow University 
-------------------------------- 
 
10. (SBU) The pro-Kremlin Young Guard meeting at Moscow State 
University failed to draw the advertised 15 thousand 
supporters for its March of Agreement.  (Embassy estimates 
the number of participants at about eight thousand.)  The 
demonstration's theme was "Now is the Time to Choose," and it 
had the feel of a very large block party.  Speakers from 
Young Guard regional headquarters in Moscow, St. Petersburg, 
Vladivostok, and Krasnoyarsk proclaimed support for the 
current administration, condemned Other Russia adherents as 
traitors, and repeatedly criticized the USG for meddling in 
Russia's internal affairs. Participants largely ignored the 
speakers, preferring to chat with or text message friends. 
The demonstration was ringed by uniformed law enforcement 
officials.  The rally occurred without incident.  It took 
place slightly later than the small Young Guard rally staged 
at Pushkin Square in central Moscow. 
 
------------------------- 
SPS and KPRF Also Convene 
------------------------- 
 
11. (SBU) The political party Union of Right Forces (SPS) and 
the Communist Party also staged brief rallies on April 14. 
The SPS affair lasted about one-half hour and was attended by 
300 - 400 persons, largely pensioners, according to our 
German Embassy colleagues.  SPS Chairman Nikita Belykh 
 
MOSCOW 00001717  003 OF 003 
 
 
briefly addressed the crowd.  There were few police present. 
 
12. (SBU) Not to be left out, the Communist Party (KPRF) also 
got on the board with a brief meeting "in defense of the 
Mausoleum," on Red Square.  It sparsely attended meeting 
reportedly attracted little attention. 
 
------- 
Comment 
------- 
 
13. (C) It appears that the authorities were prepared to 
allow Other Russia to stage a meeting, but on their terms, 
not on Kasparov's.  In the tactical feinting that preceded 
the April 14 march, it became clear that the city would 
permit a meeting near central Moscow at a venue of its 
choosing, or a march on the fringes of the city.  When Other 
Russia refused to accept the city's fiat, confrontation was 
inevitable.  Rhetoric at the Movement Against Illegal 
Immigration's rally was also unapologetically 
anti-government, although its speakers were careful not to 
criticize President Putin by name, but its meeting was 
allowed to go forward.  Had it attempted to violate the terms 
set for it by the city, however, it probably would have met 
the same fate as United Russia's march. 
 
14. (C) Special forces troops used excessive force in 
breaking up the Other Russia event, and it is encouraging 
that Lukin, who reportedly called the Mayor of Nizhniy 
Novgorod during Other Russia's attempt to defy city 
authorities there as well, has been so outspoken this time 
around. 
 
15. (C) It is not clear why the city authorities felt the 
need to assemble such a large law enforcement contingent to 
stop the small number of demonstrators that Other Russia has 
to date been able to attract. Either they hope that the 
deployment of overwhelming force will dispirit the 
opposition, or they remain fearful of an Orange Revolution. 
Either way, their efforts seem more likely to if anything 
encourage further brinkmanship from those who are on record 
as wanting to put an end to Putin's Russia. 
BURNS

Wikileaks

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