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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
07MOSCOW2741 2007-06-08 11:48 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Moscow


DE RUEHMO #2741/01 1591148
O 081148Z JUN 07

C O N F I D E N T I A L MOSCOW 002741 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 06/08/2017 
REF: STATE 75293 
Classified By: Deputy Chief of Mission Daniel Russell: 1.4 (b, d). 
1.  (C)  Summary:  The Russians plan to come to the June 12 
CFE Extraordinary Conference (which they convened) with no 
new initiatives.  Instead, they plan to restate their 
longstanding positions and to listen to what the U.S. and its 
Allies have to offer.  Barring an unanticipated decision by 
NATO Allies to move ahead with A/CFE Treaty ratification and 
delink it from Russia's Istanbul commitments, we expect the 
Russians to suspend their observance of the CFE Treaty 
following the conference.  Deputy Foreign Minister Grushko 
and the head of Russia's delegation to the upcoming 
conference, MFA Director for Disarmament and Security Affairs 
Antonov, separately told us to expect no flexibility in 
Russian redlines on CFE.  MFA Director for European 
Cooperation Ryabkov commented to us that Russia was near the 
"point of no return" on CFE, but could work "cooperatively 
and productively" if engaged seriously at the beginning of 
the conference.  Russia's firm position and tough talk, we 
believe, reflect Putin's personal opposition to CFE, leaving 
his government little room for maneuver.  End Summary 
Russia Prepared to Walk Away from CFE 
2.  (C)  On June 6, Deputy Foreign Minister Aleksandr Grushko 
flatly told the DCM that the ball would be in the U.S. and 
European court on the Adapted Conventional Forces in Europe 
(A/CFE) Treaty at the June 12 CFE Extraordinary Conference. 
If the U.S. and its Allies were ready to move toward 
ratification now and forego their linkage to Russia's 
Istanbul commitments (which he, of course, rejected), then 
everything would be fine.  If not, President Putin would 
likely decide to suspend Russia's observance of the CFE 
Treaty shortly thereafter.  Grushko confirmed that the 
Russian delegation to the conference would not arrive with 
any new initiatives, but instead would simply reiterate 
longstanding concerns over the treaty and be in listening 
mode to see what the West was prepared to offer.  Grushko was 
dismissive of the treaty's relevance, recounting Putin's 
comment to the President on flank deployment limitations 
inside Russia ("You must think we're idiots").  Grushko 
commented that the practical effect of a suspension meant 
little beyond cancellation of a few inspections. 
3.  (C)  In a lengthy exchange on June 7 with the DCM, MFA 
Director for Disarmament and Security Affairs Antonov 
brandished his 14-page draft speech for the Extraordinary 
Conference, noting that there would be no surprises in his 
recitation of the CFE Treaty's shortcomings and the 
developments that had led Russia to its current position 
(e.g., NATO enlargement, planned U.S. deployments to Bulgaria 
and Romania, and Missile Defense).  Antonov said he would 
explain the reasons for convening the conference and would 
call for expedited ratification of the A/CFE Treaty.  He said 
that Russia was prepared to listen to any new proposals on 
how to move forward from the U.S. and its Allies, but 
stressed that continued insistence on A/CFE linkage to 
Russia's Istanbul obligations would signal that there was "no 
real desire" for a conventional arms control regime in 
Europe.  Ultimately, this would lead to the announcement of 
"other steps in accordance with Putin's statement." 
4.  (C)  On June 6, Foreign Minister Lavrov told the press 
that Russia would not suspend its participation in CFE at the 
Extraordinary Conference; Antonov was fairly clear with us 
that this would occur only after Putin evaluated the 
conference's results.  Antonov took the point that a sterile 
recitation of well-known positions at the conference would 
not advance European security, but underscored that he was 
operating within a narrow mandate, set by Putin, to determine 
whether rapid ratification of the A/CFE Treaty was possible 
and, if not, to take the "appropriate actions."  Antonov said 
that none of this should be news to us.  He had clearly 
stated Russia's disillusionment with CFE at last year's 
review conference.  Despite his appeal for new thinking, no 
Western counterproposals had been forthcoming.  "We told you 
that we could not live with this," Antonov reiterated. 
5.  (C)  Antonov rejected the idea that CFE still served as a 
cornerstone of European security.  In one of several 
calculated emotional outbursts, Antonov said it was "stupid" 
to live in an arms control world that posited the existence 
of the Warsaw Pact.  Regardless of any commitments made in 
Istanbul or Berlin, CFE boiled down to a balance-of-power 
arrangement between the Warsaw Pact and NATO.  "I am a Soviet 
man," Antonov blustered, "and I would like to live in CFE 
Disneyland where two superpowers balance one another." 
Drawing parallels with the Jackson-Vanik amendment and the 
INF Treaty, he termed the CFE regime "surreal"; the world of 
CFE is "just a dream." 
Istanbul Commitments: Non-starter 
6.  (C)  Despite repeated attempts to draw him out on 
Russia's strategy for the CFE Extraordinary Conference that 
it had convened, Antonov said his delegation would be in 
listening mode and would not seek a negotiating session -- 
neither over the modalities of the Istanbul commitments nor 
flank limitations.  The Russian draft declaration was a 
"roadmap" for the rapid implementation of the A/CFE Treaty 
and the Russian delegation would gauge the extent to which 
its Western partners were prepared to engage by their 
response.  The Istanbul commitments, he stressed, could not 
be a starting point to any dialogue.  Antonov rejected any 
linkage between A/CFE ratification and Russia's Istanbul 
commitments, and lashed out briefly on Georgia and Moldova: 
-- Georgia:  Antonov charged that the U.S. and its Allies 
were biased in their approach and failure to hold Georgia 
accountable for its bilateral obligations to Russia.  Antonov 
noted Georgia's lack of interest in agreeing to an inspection 
to show the withdrawal of Russian forces from Gudauta. 
Georgia does not want to close out this issue, Antonov 
charged, because it sought NATO leverage over Russia.  The 
reality, he claimed, was that Russian forces had withdrawn 
and pensioners remained. 
-- Moldova:  Antonov argued that Transnistria was solvable, 
but not within the context of CFE.  The issue, Antonov 
maintained, boiled down to a "few hundred" soldiers in 
Transnistria securing stockpiles and whether the West thought 
they were more important than Europe's more pressing security 
On Russia's Istanbul commitments, the DCM reiterated our 
position, emphasizing that at stake was the principle of host 
country agreement to the stationing of foreign forces, which 
was in no way outdated. 
7.  (C)  MFA Director for European Cooperation Sergey Ryabkov 
told the DCM June 5 that he believed Russia was close to the 
point of no return on CFE.  He expected the Russian agenda 
for the Extraordinary Conference to focus on flank 
limitations, the effects of NATO enlargement, and Treaty 
Limited Equipment concerns.  Secondary issues would include 
defining "substantial combat deployments" and addressing the 
changed U.S. military posture in Europe.  Ryabkov, suggested 
that, if a substantive conversation was launched at the 
beginning of the conference, Russia could work "cooperatively 
and productively" with its partners, but he expressed doubts 
about fresh thinking from any side.  Ryabkov concurred that 
Russia was prepared to walk away from the CFE Treaty, 
commenting that to consider the treaty the "backbone" of 
European security at present would be a mistake. 
Think Tankers: CFE in the Dustbin of History 
8.  (C)  The government's tough stance on CFE was echoed to 
us by think-tankers closely associated with Foreign and 
Defense Ministries.  Chairman of the Council on Foreign and 
Defense Policy Sergey Karaganov told us that the treaty had 
helped prolong the sense of "us versus them," despite the 
disappearance of the Warsaw Pact and the withdrawal of 
Russian troops from Central Europe and the Baltics.  Since 
the core of the Treaty was rotten, he argued that it was time 
to throw it into the "dustbin of history."  The Russian 
leadership was offended and "totally cynical" about the value 
of the CFE regime and the adapted treaty.  The Extraordinary 
Conference, he concluded, would be a "very useful vehicle for 
Russia to impose its own agenda" about developments in 
Europe.  Yevgeniy Kozhokin, Director of the Russian Institute 
for Strategic Studies, agreed, emphasizing that Europe and 
Russia had moved beyond "Fulda Gap scenarios."  Russian 
actions were about restoring its credibility and signaling 
unequivocally that the era of "unilateral Russian 
concessions" was over. 
9.  (C)  Comment:  The Russian position appears clear to us. 
The CFE Extraordinary Conference will be an effort to show 
that Russia made an attempt to engage the U.S. and its Allies 
before suspending its observation of the CFE regime.  The 
Russians' lack of interest in exploring any new approaches 
before the conference suggests that they regard the 
gathering's outcome as preordained.  Russia will attend, make 
its case and see if the West blinks and unexpectedly agrees 
to Moscow's terms to move forward on the adapted treaty; if 
not, suspension will follow shortly.  Putin's personal view 
of CFE, in fact, leaves the Russian side little room for 


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