07MOSCOW1896, AMBASSADOR PRESSES GOR ON INTERNEWS

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
07MOSCOW1896 2007-04-24 15:36 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Moscow

VZCZCXYZ0000
RR RUEHWEB

DE RUEHMO #1896 1141536
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
R 241536Z APR 07
FM AMEMBASSY MOSCOW
TO SECSTATE WASHDC 9664

C O N F I D E N T I A L MOSCOW 001896 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SIPDIS 
 
EUR/FO-DKRAMER 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 04/24/2017 
TAGS: PREL PGOV PHUM EAID RS
SUBJECT: AMBASSADOR PRESSES GOR ON INTERNEWS 
 
REF: A. STATE 53353 
 
     B. MOSCOW 1880 
 
Classified By: Ambassador William J. Burns.  Reasons 1.4 (b and d). 
 
1.  (C) The Ambassador emphasized strong USG concerns about 
Internews/the Educated Media Foundation (EMF) with several 
senior GOR officials, urging a quick resolution of the case. 
In separate conversations with First DFM Denisov, DFM 
Yakovenko, DFM Kislyak, and Presidential Foreign Policy 
Advisor Prihodko, the Ambassador said that that the recent 
police raid on the NGO and seizure of Internews/EMF equipment 
was a serious overreaction by Russian authorities to a 
customs violation ordinarily settled by a fine. 
 
2.  (C) He emphasized that Internews/EMF's inability to 
operate as a result of the raid had created significant 
concerns in Washington over the GOR's motives, but that the 
USG had sought so far to handle the matter through quiet 
diplomacy.  Moreover, the European Union provided substantial 
funding to the NGO, and action against Internews would be 
broader than a U.S.-Russia bilateral issue. The Ambassador 
also reminded the deputy foreign ministers that FM Lavrov had 
previously expressed his readiness to pursue specific U.S. 
concerns about treatment of NGOs.  This was such a case. 
 
3.  (C) The Ambassador also discussed Internews/EMF with Duma 
International Affairs Committee Chairman Kosachev, who 
likewise had invited the Ambassador to raise any concerns 
about NGOs in Russia.  The Ambassador stressed that 
Internews/EFM was working to resolve the matter and its staff 
had acknowledged their mistake.  He asked Kosachev to help 
resolve the situation quickly and allow Internews/EFM to 
return to work.  Kosachev and other interlocutors promised to 
inquire and respond as soon as possible. 
 
4.  (C) Internews/EMF Director Manana Aslamazian told us 
April 24 that the NGO's board had not made a final decision 
on how it would respond to the raid, other than to 
temporarily suspend operations.  Aslamazian said Internews 
would file a court case against authorities, contending that 
the raid had been illegal.  She had heard rumors, however, 
that Sheremetevo Airport police may turn the case over to the 
Economic Crimes Unit at the MVD for further investigation and 
possibly more serious charges.  Aslamazian is scheduled to 
travel to Washington in early May to receive an award in 
conjunction with Internews' 25th anniversary but may not 
travel because of the investiation. 
BURNS

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