07MOSCOW2202, AUTHORITIES DETERMINED TO PREVENT SAMARA

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
07MOSCOW2202 2007-05-11 16:13 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL//NOFORN Embassy Moscow

VZCZCXRO2762
RR RUEHDBU
DE RUEHMO #2202/01 1311613
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
R 111613Z MAY 07
FM AMEMBASSY MOSCOW
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 0168
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 002202 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SENSITIVE 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 05/11/2017 
TAGS: PGOV KDEM PHUM SOCI RS
SUBJECT: AUTHORITIES DETERMINED TO PREVENT SAMARA 
DEMONSTRATION DURING EU - RUSSIA SUMMIT 
 
Classified By: Pol M/C Alice G. Wells.  Reason:  1.4 (b). 
 
1. (C)  Summary:  GOR authorities have reacted forcefully to 
Other Russia organizers' determination to hold a 
demonstration in Samara on May 18, during the EU - Russia 
summit.  Authorities have detained some of the organizers, 
imposed tough sentences on two organizers alleged to have 
violated their parole, and pressganged one into the military. 
 Pamphleteers have been arrested for distributing "extremist" 
material, the NGO Golos's Samara office was raided, three 
journalists were detained for a lengthy identification check, 
and the office of one newspaper sympathetic to the 
demonstration searched.  Human rights contacts believe that 
Other Russia will attempt to go forward with the 
demonstration nevertheless, but their efforts are likely to 
be nipped in the bud.  End summary. 
 
----------------------------- 
GOR Gives Unequivocal Message 
----------------------------- 
 
2. (SBU)  Since Other Russia announced on May 3 its intent to 
hold a demonstration in Samara on May 18, during the EU - 
Russia summit in the same city, GOR authorities have worked 
overtime to disrupt the organizers' plans.  Law enforcement 
and local authorities: 
 
   -- prevented participants from attending the press 
conference announcing the demonstration; 
 
   -- refused permission to Other Russia organizers to hold a 
demonstration in central Samara on the evening of May 18. 
They instead offered a stadium on the city's outskirts on May 
21, after the Russia - EU Summit. 
 
   -- detained three Other Russia organizers on May 8.  On 
May 10, two other organizers, who were found to have violated 
their parole, were jailed.  Ilya Guryev, a member of the 
outlawed National Bolshevik Party, has been sentenced to six 
months in a penal colony, and Mikhail Gangan was placed under 
house arrest, which is effective from 2200 to 0600 daily.  A 
third organizer was pronounced fit for army service. 
 
3. (C) On May 10, Golos's Samara office was searched, and 
office computers were confiscated, allegedly because Golos 
did not have the proper software licenses.  Samara Golos 
Director Lyudmila Kuzmina told us May 11 that normal militia 
were not involved in the raid, which she traced to Golos's 
defense of the organizers' constitutional right to 
demonstrate. 
 
4. (C) On May 10, Samara printing houses were searched for 
demonstration-related publications.  On May 11, three 
journalists, a local Kommersant correspondent and two Ren-TV 
crewmembers were detained for an identification check. The 
media reported they were released later the same day.  Also 
on May 11, Ekho Moskvy's Samara Editor Tatyana Prokopovichene 
told us that the local authorities' forceful response had 
raised doubts about whether the demonstration would go 
forward, and noted that, even absent interference, the 
likelihood of a large turnout had been slim, given that the 
local population was "more interested in their dachas, than 
in politics."  She noted that with the exception of Ekho and 
local newspaper Novaya Gazeta, regional media were not 
covering the developments.  Novaya Gazeta's sympathetic 
coverage of the proposed demonstration, and the 
organizational role of the Editor's daughter had precipitated 
the raid by the police.  Prokopovichene stressed that 
officials were not responding to charges levied by civil 
society activists that the various raids were conducted 
without warrants. 
 
-------------------------------- 
Observers Unlikely to be Present 
-------------------------------- 
 
5. (C)  Both Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International 
have told us that they believe the participants will attempt 
to hold the demonstration as announced, but believe it 
unlikely that many will succeed in reaching the site. 
Amnesty International's Fredericke Behr said that Amnesty is 
attempting to determine if restrictions that the GOR has 
imposed are measures necessary (pursuant to EU law) to secure 
the safety of summit participants.  Our German Embassy 
counterparts have indicated that they will try to approach 
the GOR on an informal level, but were pessimistic about 
having an impact. 
 
6. (C) In a May 11 conversation, Moscow Helsinki Group's 
Lyudmila Alekseyeva ascribed Samara Other Russia's troubles 
 
MOSCOW 00002202  002 OF 002 
 
 
in part to the inexperience and youth of its National 
Bolshevik Party organizers.  Also making them easy picking 
for the authorities, she said, was the absence of a network 
of Samara-based human rights group on whom the organizers 
could rely.  Alekseyeva said that "For Human Rights" leader 
Lev Ponomarev would travel May 12 to Samara in an attempt to 
aid the flailing locals.  She planned to strategize May 12 
with Other Russia's Garry Kasparov, who was scheduled to 
return to Moscow from the United States on May 11.  The 
Moscow-based Union of Soldier's Mothers would aid the one 
organizer who had be
en pressganged into the military, 
illegally Alekseyeva maintained. 
 
------- 
Comment 
------- 
 
7. (C) The EU - Russia Samara summit has further stiffened 
the resolve of authorities unlikely, even under different 
circumstances, of allowing an Other Russia demonstration to 
go forward in less than completely controlled circumstances. 
Even had the demonstration been allowed to take place, it 
likely would have gone unnoticed by the EU - Russia 
summiteers, who are scheduled to hold their conclave at a 
recreational facility far from the city center. 
BURNS

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