07MOSCOW3574, UNION OF RIGHT FORCES: WHO IS RIGHT?

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
07MOSCOW3574 2007-07-20 14:09 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Moscow

VZCZCXRO8300
RR RUEHDBU
DE RUEHMO #3574/01 2011409
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
R 201409Z JUL 07
FM AMEMBASSY MOSCOW
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 2266
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 003574 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 07/19/2017 
TAGS: PGOV PINR KDEM RS SOCI
SUBJECT: UNION OF RIGHT FORCES: WHO IS RIGHT? 
 
REF: MOSCOW 03352 
 
Classified By: Political M/C Alice G. Wells.  Reasons:  1.4 (b, d). 
 
------- 
SUMMARY 
------- 
 
1. (C) The public display of disaffection between the Union 
of Right Forces (SPS) national leadership and the party's 
Moscow organization has momentarily captured the attention of 
the media.  In retaliation for voting to confirm President 
Putin's re-appointment of Moscow mayor Luzhkov, the national 
party expelled from Moscow SPS ranks the only SPS member 
serving on the Moscow City Duma.  The expulsion was the 
culmination of a conflict that has been brewing for several 
months.  End summary. 
 
-------------- 
THE INFRACTION 
-------------- 
 
2. (C) The national leadership of the Union of Right Forces 
(SPS) has recently engaged in a public row with its Moscow 
city party leadership, which has culminated in the expulsion 
of SPS Moscow member and City Council Deputy Ivan Novitskiy. 
Novitskiy's ouster was triggered by his June 27 vote in the 
City Duma for President Putin's nomination of Yuriy Luzhkov 
to a fifth term as mayor of Moscow.  In a July 2 conversation 
(reftel), SPS Federal Political Committee Chairman Nikita 
Belykh blamed the Moscow branch's "unruly" personalities for 
forcing the hand of the national leadership.  On July 10, 
Novitskiy, the sole SPS deputy in the Moscow City Duma and 
leader of the Moscow SPS (MGO SPS), in turn blamed the 
domineering and overly regimented federal leadership for 
quashing his "more democratic" Moscow party organization. 
Sergey Mitrokhin, leader of the coalition Yabloko-United 
Democrats faction in the Moscow Duma that includes MGO SPS, 
joined Novitskiy in blaming the central SPS leadership for 
wanting control of the entire party apparatus. 
 
3. (C) On June 27, the Moscow City Duma voted to approve 
Luzhkov as Putin's re-appointment as mayor of the city.  The 
self-identified democratic parties (e.g., Yabloko and SPS) 
are strictly opposed to presidential appointments of 
governors and mayors preferring direct elections to such 
executive posts.  However, both Novitskiy and Mitrokhin 
acknowledged that Luzhkov's popularity would ensure his 
election in any direct vote.  They also noted in 
conversations with us that they preferred to work within the 
system as it stands.  While not their choice for mayor, 
Luzhkov has professed positions that correspond to Yabloko 
and SPS positions; another Putin-appointed mayor may not hold 
such views.  Finally, a vote against Luzhkov would only serve 
to harden the Kremlin against Yabloko and SPS.  Novitskiy 
told us that previous votes by SPS members approving 
Putin-appointed governors had gone unsanctioned by the 
national leadership.  Novitskiy cast his for vote Luzhkov. 
In this instance, though, the national political committee of 
SPS had issued a directive to its party members the night 
before the vote in the Moscow Duma directing its party 
members to vote against Luzhkov's appointment.  According to 
Novitskiy, no one notified him of the decision before he cast 
his vote. 
 
4. (U) Frictions increased when the MGO SPS branch, against 
the wishes of the federal party, supported Other Russia's 
Dissenters' March.  Members of MGO SPS took part in the 
Dissenters' March in Moscow carrying SPS flags even though 
the federal SPS had effectively banned participation.  In 
March, the national party required MGO SPS to re-register its 
membership in order, according to the SPS leadership, to 
eliminate fictitious names.  The local party saw this move 
more as an attempt to oust the internal opposition. 
 
--------------------------- 
Novitskiy: Expelled or Not? 
--------------------------- 
 
5. (U) On July 4, the national political committee of SPS 
expelled Novitskiy from the party.  The committee identified 
his vote for Luzhkov as the offense requiring such drastic 
action.  On that same day in the evening, at an already 
scheduled party meeting, the MGO SPS defied the national 
committee and reinstated Novitskiy. 
 
6. (U) On June 21, the federal leadership of SPS had 
disbanded the MGO SPS leadership and took direct control of 
the city SPS apparatus.  As reported in the press, Belykh 
considered the July 4 meeting of the Moscow party 
illegitimate as the local party was without leadership at the 
time.  MGO SPS and the national leadership will likely 
 
MOSCOW 00003574  002 OF 002 
 
 
continue their dispute into the fall. 
 
------------------------------------------- 
A Democratic Party in the Best Soviet Model 
------------------------------------------- 
 
7. (C) In a private conversation on July 10, Novitskiy 
described the current scandal as artificial. He disagreed 
that one vote should be considered a litmus test of party 
loyalty.  He contended that democratic parties do not expel 
members for how they vote or for disagreeing with the 
national party bosses. 
 
------- 
COMMENT 
------- 
 
8. (C) Such disputes within political parties anywhere are 
not uncommon.  But those parties are generally large and 
well-established with a history of winning elections.  SPS is 
small, with few deputies in the State and local Dumas.  The 
negative coverage resulting from this spat will only make the 
party's path to the December elections more difficult. 
BURNS

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