07MOSCOW5627, MORE BUSINESS VIEWS ON PARLIAMENTARY ELECTIONS

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
07MOSCOW5627 2007-11-30 15:15 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Moscow

VZCZCXRO6016
PP RUEHDBU RUEHFL RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHROV RUEHSR
DE RUEHMO #5627/01 3341515
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 301515Z NOV 07
FM AMEMBASSY MOSCOW
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 5613
INFO RUCNCIS/CIS COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHXD/MOSCOW POLITICAL COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC PRIORITY
RUCPDOC/DEPT OF COMMERCE WASHDC PRIORITY

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 MOSCOW 005627 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SIPDIS 
 
DEPT FOR EUR/RUS, NSC FOR WARLICK 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 11/30/2017 
TAGS: ECON PREL PGOV EINV RS
SUBJECT: MORE BUSINESS VIEWS ON PARLIAMENTARY ELECTIONS 
 
 
Classified By: Ambassador William J. Burns for Reasons 1.4 (b/d) 
 
------- 
Summary 
------- 
 
1. (C) Boris Jordan, a well-known American businessman of 
Russian ancestry, said the December 2 parliamentary elections 
should be seen as part of President Putin's plan to continue 
to exercise influence after his current term expires, 
preferably from the sidelines.  Jordan expressed hope that 
bilateral relations would improve once Russia's elections 
were over, led by increasing economic ties.  Charlie Ryan, 
another leading American businessman in Russia, also saw the 
elections as part of an effort by Putin to retain influence, 
but said he still expected Putin to choose a strong successor 
and step further back when the new president showed he could 
control elite infighting without Putin's aid.  End Summary. 
 
--------------------------------------------- 
Boris Jordan on Election; Bilateral Relations 
--------------------------------------------- 
 
2. (C) Jordan told Econ MC that United Russia would have won 
the elections with 60-70 percent of the vote even without the 
pressure tactics the party has deployed.  Putin was genuinely 
popular and his endorsement of the party alone would have 
been enough.  Even allowing the opposition access to 
television would have made no difference.  That said, the 
leadership of United Russia besides Putin was average at best 
while the leadership of the opposition was even worse.  The 
bottom line was that Putin was in complete control. 
 
3. (C) Jordan said the conduct of the elections showed that 
Putin was not prepared to give up the reins of power. 
However, he thought Putin was tired from the effort it had 
taken to restore order to Russia following the chaos of the 
1990s and would prefer to exercise control from the 
sidelines.  Jordan said he fully expected Prime Minister 
Zubkov to be Putin's choice as his successor because of his 
personal loyalty to Putin.  However, he would not be 
surprised to see Putin return to the presidency in two to 
four years if the situation became unstable or if his 
influence began to slip. 
 
4. (C) Jordan added that he had once had a close relationship 
with Putin, which cooled after his dismissal as head of the 
NTV television station and after the 2004 presidential 
election when Putin began to distance himself more from "all 
things American."  The rising anti-Americanism connected with 
this election was troubling.  Jordan himself had recently 
come under attack in the Russian media solely because of his 
U.S. citizenship.  He hoped that after the elections the 
growing economic ties between the United States and Russia 
would provide the momentum needed to restore good bilateral 
relations. 
 
----------------- 
Ryan on Elections 
----------------- 
 
5. (C) Deutsche Bank's Ryan told Econ MC that as a long time 
resident of Russia and someone committed to the country's 
economic future, he found the conduct of the parliamentary 
elections deeply troubling.  It had also been unnecessary. 
Putin was wildly popular and his support alone would have 
guaranteed United Russia a massive victory.  He added that 
the opposition parties were largely irrelevant and that it 
was only the government's heavy-handed tactics that gave 
Kasparov and others any legitimacy at all. Ryan said he 
believed and hoped that United Russia's tactics were coming 
from the "bottom up," motivated by a desire on the part of 
the party cadre in various regions to outperform each other 
with respect to voter turnout and United Russia's share of 
the vote. 
 
6. (C) Ryan said he thought the parliamentary elections were 
an attempt by Putin to ensure his continued influence after 
the presidential elections by installing a parliament 
personally loyal to him.  Putin was also taking steps to 
assert greater control over Gazprom, the principal source of 
government revenue, through personnel changes with the same 
goal in mind.  Ryan noted a certain irony in Putin using the 
Duma in this manner, an institution he had weakened in favor 
of the presidency.  Ryan said Putin would ultimately be 
judged by history on how he handled the succession.  If as 
Ryan thought still likely, Putin chose a strong successor, 
 
MOSCOW 00005627  002 OF 002 
 
 
helped the new president establish the ability to arbitrate 
intra-elite disputes, and then retired gracefully he would be 
seen positively, regardless of any damage he had done to 
Russian democracy. 
 
BURNS

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