Daily Archives: February 19, 2008

08MOSCOW462, RUSSIA’S EXPECTED NEGATIVE REACTION TO KOSOVO

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
08MOSCOW462 2008-02-19 16:43 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Moscow

VZCZCXRO1544
OO RUEHFL RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHROV RUEHSR
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TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 6702
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE PRIORITY

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 MOSCOW 000462 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 02/19/2018 
TAGS: PREL KV RS
SUBJECT: RUSSIA'S EXPECTED NEGATIVE REACTION TO KOSOVO 
CONTINUES 
 
REF: MOSCOW 445 
 
Classified By: Ambassador William J. Burns for reasons 1.4 (b/d). 
 
1.  (C) Summary. Two days after the announcement of Kosovo's 
independence, the reaction in Russia has been predictably 
negative.  Russian officials have continued their heated 
rhetoric, repeating the usual arguments.  Public reaction has 
been limited so far to two tiny peaceful protests at U.S. 
diplomatic missions and tough talk from the usual suspects. 
The event of the day was a join statement from both houses of 
parliament which came close to recognizing South Ossetia and 
Abkhazia.  Upper house International Affairs Committee Chair 
Margelov claimed that Russia planned to treat the two 
enclaves like Taiwan by opening official presences, but 
stopping short of formal recognition.  Putin is scheduled to 
meet with Saakashvili in Moscow on the margins of the 
February 21 CIS Summit.  End Summary. 
 
Parliamentary Reaction 
---------------------- 
 
2.  (SBU) Negative Russian reaction continued in the wake of 
Kosovo's declaration of independence (reftel).  On February 
18, Russian Duma Chairman Gryzlov and Federation Council 
Chairman Mironov issued a joint statement, reiterating 
Russia's view that recognition of Kosovar independence 
violates international law and UNSC Resolution 1244.  The 
parliamentary leaders blamed western countries, "above all 
the United States," for ignoring the interests of a sovereign 
country and "hushing up" continuing violations of human 
rights on ethnic grounds, and declared that the leaders of 
these states would be "directly responsible" for the 
"inevitable deterioration of, and emergence of new, 
territorial conflicts."  Russia, they asserted, should take 
"all necessary measures" to protect the principles of 
international law, justice, and security. 
 
3.  (SBU) While rejecting recognition of Kosovo and calling 
upon the GOR to block its entry into international 
organizations, the statement did not cross the redline of 
recognizing South Ossetia and Abkhazia.  It noted that "the 
Kosovo situation has become an international precedent" and 
that other territorial conflicts should be viewed through the 
lens of the Kosovo scenario.  The independent status of 
Kosovo "creates the necessary prerequisite" for a new 
formulation of Russia's relations with self-proclaimed states 
in the former USSR, the statement asserted.  South Ossetian 
leader Kokoity and Abkhaz leader Bagapsh met with Gryzlov on 
February 18, in closed-door session.  In a press conference 
later that day, the "presidents" argued that their cases for 
independence were stronger, but did not indicate that they 
had received any assurances of recognition. 
 
4.  (C) After a February 19 meeting with Federation Council 
International Affairs Chairman Margelov, Italian diplomats 
told us that Margelov asserted that Russia would adopt a 
"Taiwanese" model with Abkahzia and South Ossetia.  Russia 
would open offices -- not embassies -- and would provide 
economic ties and humanitarian aid.  Margelov noted that this 
would meet the need for a GOR response to Kosovo's 
independence, but stressed that full recognition was not in 
Russia's interests.  He stated that the GOR was aware this 
would "confuse" matters with Georgia, but said that 
Saakashvili knew that Russia "could not remain indifferent" 
and was expecting a "reasonable reaction."  He said that the 
GOR would also continue on the path toward closer cooperation 
with Georgia.  Chief of the Russian General Staff Baluyevskiy 
told the press that Kosovo's independence would not affect 
Russian peacekeepers in Georgia. 
 
Public Statements 
----------------- 
 
5.  (SBU) Russian press reported a range of reactions, the 
vast majority negative, to Kosovo's independence and 
subsequent recognition: 
 
-- MFA Deputy Foreign Minister Titov said that the 
recognition of Kosovo would be a test of nations' adherence 
to international laws.  Russia would continue to work to 
resolve Kosovo's final settlement within international 
organizations, including the UNSC, OSCE, and Council of 
Europe. 
 
-- Russia's Special Envoy for the Balkans Botsan-Kharchenko 
stated that Russia would use all its diplomatic and political 
influence to demand the annulment of Kosovo's UDI.  He did 
not exclude de facto partition of Kosovo, but noted that the 
continued Russian diplomatic presence in Pristina. 
 
-- Leader of the Liberal Democratic Party Zhirinovskiy called 
 
MOSCOW 00000462  002 OF 002 
 
 
Kosovo's recognition a "flagrant violation of international 
law," painting Russia as the potential victim of the 
"unleashing of wars to redraw borders." 
 
-- Communist Party leader Zyuganov advocated the recognition 
of Abkhazia and South Ossetia.  He "demanded" that Russia 
"stop yielding to NATO and the EU," stressing that Russia 
must respond in kind. 
 
-- Chechen rebel "foreign minister" Ferzauli welcomed 
Kosovo's declaration of independence and supported Kosovo's 
right to free itself from the state that terrorized it. 
Ferzauli argued that Chechen rebels have been fighting 
against
 "the world's most aggressive and militarized power" 
for fourteen years. 
 
Protests Insignificant 
---------------------- 
 
6.  (SBU) On February 18, a non-approved demonstration took 
place in front of the U.S. Embassy.  Approximately 30 KPRF 
(Communist Party) members protested U.S. interference for 
about 25 minutes, leaving a "lone protester" for the rest of 
the day.  On February 19, there was another unsanctioned 
demonstration outside the U.S. Consulate in St. Petersburg. 
Around fifteen KPRF members shouted slogans before being 
moved along by the police.  Five members of the Eurasian 
Youth Union (EYU), a nationalist, radically anti-Western 
group attacked the Albanian Embassy in Moscow with eggs in 
protest of Albania's support for Kosovo, later posting the 
video on RUtube.  Other European embassies reported no 
demonstrations 
 
Nashi to Belgrade? 
------------------ 
 
7.  (SBU) According to a press announcement, up to 100 
members of Nashi, the Kremlin-friendly youth organization, 
will apply for visas to travel to Belgrade.  Nashi leaders 
noted that the group would meet with youth organizations or 
government representatives who represent youth in Belgrade, 
but doubted they would be permitted to go to Kosovo. 
BURNS

Wikileaks

08MOSCOW461, DEMARCHE ON RUSSIAN INCARCERATION POLICIES

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
08MOSCOW461 2008-02-19 16:35 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Moscow

VZCZCXYZ0010
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DE RUEHMO #0461 0501635
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TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 6701
INFO RUCNCIS/CIS COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHXD/MOSCOW POLITICAL COLLECTIVE PRIORITY

C O N F I D E N T I A L MOSCOW 000461 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 02/19/2018 
TAGS: PHUM PREL PINR KJUS RS
SUBJECT: DEMARCHE ON RUSSIAN INCARCERATION POLICIES 
DELIVERED 
 
REF: STATE 15778 
 
Classified By: Pol Minister Counselor Alice Wells.  Reasons: 1.4 (B) & 
(D) 
 
1.  (C) In addition to previous discussions with MFA North 
America Director Igor Neverov and to the concerns raised by 
the Ambassador with Human Rights Ombudsman Vladimir Lukin and 
Presidential Human Rights Advisor Ella Pamfilova, on February 
19 we passed reftel points on USG concern over harsh 
incarceration conditions and treatment of specific prisoners 
in Russian jails and psychiatric hospitals to Artem 
Kudoyarov, Deputy Director in the MFA's North America 
Department.  Kudoyarov promised to inquire with the Ministry 
of Internal Affairs about the details of the incarceration in 
psychiatric hospitals of opposition activists Larissa Arap, 
Artem Basyrov, and Roman Nikolaychik.  (Arap and Basyrov have 
both been released, but Nikolaychik remains in a psychiatric 
hospital in Tver.)  He agreed that living conditions in 
Russian prisons are poor, pointing to the recent annual 
report of Russia's Ombudsman Vladimir Lukin, which includes a 
section on the conditions of incarceration in Russian prisons. 
 
2.  (C) Kudoyarov took issue with the characterization of 
former Yukos Vice President Vasiliy Aleksanyan's treatment as 
"politically motivated" and stated that it was the defense 
counsel -- not the prosecutor in the case -- that disclosed 
Aleksanyan's health condition (he has HIV/AIDS) in the hopes 
of getting him released.  We replied that we understood that 
while Aleksanyan's lawyers had made reference to his "life 
threatening" illness, it was the prosecutor who disclosed 
publicly that he was HIV-positive.  He questioned why the USG 
was so interested in Aleksanyan's case since he is a Russian 
citizen.  We noted there was international interest in this 
case, as well as international concern over whether the GOR 
was meeting its human rights obligations -- as evidenced by 
four appeals from the European Court of Human Rights.  Noting 
the efforts of leading Russian human rights activists, 
including Ombudsman Lukin and Putin's own human rights 
advisor Ella Pamfilova, to push the GOR to provide 
appropriate medical care to Aleksanyan, we urged the MFA to 
convey our similar concerns to the appropriate authorities. 
While welcoming recent news reports that Aleksanyan has been 
transferred to a Moscow hospital and has been allowed to meet 
with his defense lawyers, we noted that he apparently remains 
handcuffed to his hospital bed.  Kudoyarov did not provide 
any substantive response. 
BURNS

Wikileaks

08MOSCOW460, AMBASSADOR’S FEBRUARY 19 MEETING WITH DFM KISLYAK

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
08MOSCOW460 2008-02-19 16:28 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Moscow

VZCZCXYZ0000
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FM AMEMBASSY MOSCOW
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 6698
INFO RUEHXD/MOSCOW POLITICAL COLLECTIVE

C O N F I D E N T I A L MOSCOW 000460 
 
SIPDIS 
 
NOTE BY CIB: "DO NOT/NOT PROCESS, GIVE TO EAO FOR GUIDANCE." 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 02/19/2018 
TAGS: PREL PGOV PHUM TSPL PARM KNNP CVIS RS
SUBJECT: AMBASSADOR'S FEBRUARY 19 MEETING WITH DFM KISLYAK 
 
REF: A. WHITE HOUSE 181741Z FEBRUARY 
     B. MOSCOW 449 NODIS 
     C. STATE 15823 
     D. 07 STATE 170386 
 
Classified By: Ambassador William J. Burns: 
Reasons 1.4 (b, d). 
 
1.  (C)  Summary:  In a February 19 meeting with the 
Ambassador, DFM Kislyak stressed the importance of setting a 
date for the next 2 2 meeting.  The Ambassador conveyed a 
copy of the President's letter to Putin (ref a), which he had 
earlier delivered to Kremlin Foreign Policy Adviser Prikhodko 
(ref b). Kislyak confirmed that Russia was prepared to work 
seriously on a strategic framework, if the outcome were 
substantive.  He iterated U.S.-Russian differences on missile 
defense, CFE, and post-START; described Iran as an area of 
both cooperation and disagreement; expressed pessimism over 
completion of the 123 agreement and the CTWG; and heralded 
only the GICNT as a mechanism that "worked."  On ISTC, 
Kislyak said the GOR agreed on the need to transform the 
organization, but had not achieved a national consensus yet 
on new priorities that would make expert level discussions 
productive at this stage.  Kislyak said Russia's disagreement 
over the ISTC's Chief Financial Officer was substantive, and 
a change in personnel was required.  The Ambassador pushed 
Kislyak on the need to issue a formal GOR request to Georgia 
to dispose of the high level radioactive material in Sukhumi, 
expressed concern over the GOR failure to issue a visa to HRW 
Director Kenneth Roth, and updated the DFM on next steps in 
the Kuznetsov case.  Kislyak parried with a demand for more 
information on the U.S. refusal to issue Oleg Deripaska a 
visa.  Ambassador said he had already provided our response. 
End Summary 
 
------------ 
POTUS Letter 
------------ 
 
2.  (C)  In a February 19 meeting with Deputy Foreign 
Minister Sergey Kislyak, the Ambassador provided a copy of 
the President's response (ref a) to Putin's February 17 
letter, which he had conveyed earlier in the day to 
Presidential Foreign Policy Adviser Sergey Prikhodko (ref b, 
notal).  The Ambassador noted that the White House's quick 
response to Putin's message reflected the seriousness with 
which we took Russian concerns over Kosovo.  Kislyak 
commented that the correspondence rehashed very familiar 
positions, over which there was no agreement between the U.S. 
and Russia.  Without any particular emotion, Kislyak 
reiterated only that Russia took a very different view of the 
precedent established by Kosovo's unilateral declaration of 
independence and its recognition by many Western states. 
 
------------- 
Timing of 2 2 
------------- 
 
3.  (C)  Kislyak was frustrated by the absence of a U.S. 
counterproposal on 2 2 dates, saying it was understandable 
that the original March 13 proposal wouldn't work because of 
other travels by the Secretary, but Russia needed certainty 
or at least options for the consultations.  Lavrov's schedule 
was busy and the longer the delay, the greater the 
complications in finding a mutually acceptable time.  Kislyak 
reiterated that as we looked ahead to other forms of 
high-level engagement, the 2 2 took on even greater 
significance. 
 
--------------------------------------- 
Strategic Framework: Substance Required 
--------------------------------------- 
 
4.  (C)   The Ambassador emphasized the President's interest 
in taking up Putin's offer of reinvigorating a discussion 
over transatlantic relations.  The U.S. would continue to 
look for ways to narrow differences, which remained 
substantial.  The Ambassador noted that the Budapest dialogue 
with U/S Rood would provide a valuable opportunity.  While 
the areas that the strategic framework could cover were well 
known, the task remained to build common ground.  Kislyak, 
noting his own homework on how to conceive of the strategic 
framework in advance of the Budapest dialogue, argued that 
there was little to work with at present.  Any serious effort 
would require more than goodwill; a conscious desire was 
needed to "overcome stereotypes" that prevented taking each 
other's concerns into account.  Reiterating that Russia was 
prepared to work seriously, Kislyak provided his take on the 
existing divergence in approach: 
 
-- Post-Start:  While Kislyak did not have a readout of the 
February 18 meeting between A/S DeSutter and MFA Director 
Antonov, he argued that the U.S. position was divorced from 
the START framework.  Describing the U.S. position as 
"dangerous" and "destabilizing" to the NPT regime, Kislyak 
charged that it boiled down to a regime of reciprocal visits 
and confidence building measures in the form of briefings. 
U.S. insistence on "absolute flexibility" on its nuclear 
offensive capability, both geographically and in terms of 
delivery vehicles, co
upled with American ABM activities, was 
untenable.  Kislyak complained that the post-START paper 
 
promised "in two weeks" over two months ago was still 
outstanding. 
 
-- Missile Defense:  Kislyak concluded that the working group 
discussions on missile defense had exhausted their usefulness 
and commented that the U.S. knew where its proposals differed 
from the architecture discussed by the Secretary and 
Secretary Gates in October 2007. 
 
SIPDIS 
 
-- CFE:  Kislyak welcomed A/S Fried's efforts to continue the 
dialogue with Antonov on February 19, but noted there had 
been no significant bridging of positions since October 2007. 
 
-- Iran:  This is an area "where we agree and disagree." 
 
-- 123:  Having read the transcripts of recent congressional 
hearings, Kislyak questioned whether the administration had 
the necessary "zeal" to carry the initialed 123 through to 
completion over congressional concerns.  The Ambassador 
reinforced the importance of a prompt and thorough Russian 
reply to our latest paper on Arak. 
 
-- CTWG:  Kislyak charged that the failure to hold a Core 
Group meeting in 2007 meant that the U.S. and Russia had lost 
their only instrument to discuss systemic counter-terrorism 
cooperation; instead of strategic engagement, there was 
piecemeal cooperation.  The Ambassador disputed Kislyak's 
assessment, reaffirming U.S. interest in using the CTWG 
format. 
 
-- GICNT:  Of the seven areas originally identified in the 
strategic framework, Kislyak commented that only the Global 
Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism worked. 
 
International Science and Technology Center 
------------------------------------------- 
 
5.  (C)  The Ambassador conveyed the ref (c) letter from U/S 
Rood, proposing a bilateral dialogue on how to transform the 
ISTC and flagging U.S. concern over the failure of Russia to 
promptly renew the visa of the Chief Financial Officer (CFO). 
 After quickly reading the text, Kislyak confirmed that 
Russia was serious about giving further thought to the future 
of the ISTC, since its existing mandate had been fulfilled. 
The goal, he argued, should be to transform ISTC into a 
center of scientific excellence; to promote science rather 
than to employ scientists.  This adjustment, Kislyak noted, 
would not be easy and would require revisiting the legal 
structure on which the ISTC was founded.  Reflecting his 
conversations with Russian scientific and government circles, 
Kislyak conceded that the GOR was not yet in a position to 
provide a consensus view on next steps.  Instead, more time 
was needed internally to synchronize approaches.  Kislyak 
lauded at length the "absolutely unique" marriage of 
geographical diversity and competitive peer review that 
undergird the ISTC's activities, but repeated that there was 
no national consensus on what a restructured ISTC's 
priorities should be. 
 
6.  (C)  As regarded the CFO, Kislyak said it was not a 
technical issue related to a visa issuance, but a Russian 
requirement for change.  Kislyak declined to be drawn out on 
Russian objections to the current CFO, but said that her more 
than six years in office were reason enough to seek fresh 
thinking into the organization.  Noting that the GOR had 
signaled its concern over the CFO earlier, Kislyak 
underscored that "substantive" issues were at play.  Kislyak 
hinted at additional amendments to the ISTC's status that 
would be sought by the GOR, noting that its tax exemption was 
negotiated within the "procedures of the 1990's."  The fact 
that the Duma had never ratified the agreement reflected 
continued unhappiness over its structure, which needed to be 
"massaged."  The Ambassador stressed that the ISTC was an 
important area of bilateral collaboration and one that should 
be used to advance our shared non-proliferation goals. 
Kislyak agreed, but added that it was important to get the 
structure right and that the U.S. and Russia would first have 
to agree on goals. 
 
Sukhumi: High Level Radioactive Material 
---------------------------------------- 
 
7.  (C)  The Ambassador reminded Kislyak that the GOR needed 
to formally notify Georgia of its proposal to remove the high 
level radioactive materials from Abkhazia for disposal in 
Russia (ref d).  The U.S. was prepared to encourage Georgia 
to accept the Russian proposal, but that official contact 
between the two governments had not yet taken place.  Kislyak 
acknowledged that there were differences with Rosatom, 
stating that the two still needed to work out the 
"nitty-gritty."  Kislyak agreed with the Ambassador on the 
importance of accounting for loose radioactive materials, but 
took a dim view of whether the bilateral initiative would 
improve Russian-Georgian relations. 
 
Visas: HRW and Deripaska 
------------------------ 
 
8.  (C)  The Ambassador expressed concern over news that 
Human Rights Watch Director Kenneth Roth had been unable to 
obtain a visa to travel to Moscow for a February 21 press 
conference on HRW's annual report.  Neither Kislyak nor MFA 
North America Department Director Igor Neverov were familiar 
with the case, and we later provided Neverov's office with 
additional background on the visa application. 
 
9.  (C)  "Speaking of visa cases," Kislyak harped again on 
U.S. reasons for refusing to issue to Russian businessman 
Oleg Deripaska.  Kislyak maintained that the Secretary had 
promised Lavrov an explanation during their December 2007 
meeting in Berlin, but dismissed the subsequent general 
explanation of our visa issuance criteria as insufficient. 
The Ambassador commented that he thought there was little 
more that could be provided in terms of specificity. 
 
Kuznetsov 
--------- 
 
10.  (C)  The Ambassador briefed Kislyak on next steps in the 
case of convicted UN official/Russian national, Vladimir 
Kuznetsov.  Kislyak expressed appreciation for the 
Secretary's support in keeping this process on the front 
 
SIPDIS 
burner, and reiterated the importance of a resolution to the 
GOR. 
BURNS

Wikileaks

08MOSCOW459, RUSSIAN CIVIL SOCIETY SAVORS SMALL VICTORY IN

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
08MOSCOW459 2008-02-19 16:20 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Moscow

VZCZCXYZ0010
OO RUEHWEB

DE RUEHMO #0459/01 0501620
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O 191620Z FEB 08
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TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 6696
INFO RUCNCIS/CIS COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHXD/MOSCOW POLITICAL COLLECTIVE PRIORITY

C O N F I D E N T I A L MOSCOW 000459 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 02/19/2018 
TAGS: PHUM PGOV PINR SOCI RS
SUBJECT: RUSSIAN CIVIL SOCIETY SAVORS SMALL VICTORY IN 
ALEKSANYAN CASE 
 
REF: A. MOSCOW 325 
     B. MOSCOW 378 
 
Classified By: Political Minister Counselor Alice Wells.  Reasons: 1.4 
(B) & (D) 
 
1.  (C) Summary:  Members of Russia's beleaguered civil 
society feel that they have achieved a small, but noteworthy 
victory in the recent court decision to transfer former Yukos 
Oil vice president Vasiliy Aleksanyan to a medical facility 
where he can be treated for life-threatening illnesses. 
Aleksanyan's deteriorating health while in custody had 
convinced his former boss at Yukos to begin a much-publicized 
hunger strike, with leading Russian human rights activists 
and political figures joining the call for Aleksanyan to be 
treated at a medical clinic.  This very public outcry 
galvanized Ombudsman Vladimir Lukin and Putin's own human 
rights advisor Ella Pamfilova to complain to the Ministry of 
Justice about his treatment and call for his transfer to a 
medical facility.  According to media reports, Aleksanyan's 
lawyers were finally allowed to meet with him in the hospital 
one week after he was transferred and he remains handcuffed 
to his hospital bed.  This rare but focused public backlash 
appears to have convinced the authorities they went too far 
in their targeted pursuit of Yukos defendants.  End Summary. 
 
2.  (SBU) Following an outcry from Russia's leading human 
rights activists and repeated requests from the European 
Court of Human Rights, a district court in Moscow on February 
7 suspended the embezzlement and tax evasion hearings against 
former Yukos Oil Company vice president Vasiliy Aleksanyan 
and ordered that he be transferred to a medical facility for 
treatment.  While leaving the courtroom after the decision, 
Aleksanyan was greeted by cheers of "Freedom" from 
journalists covering the proceedings.  Aleksanyan was 
arrested in April 2006, is HIV-positive, has been diagnosed 
with lymphoma, and may have also contracted tuberculosis 
while in a Russian jail.  In November 2007, the European 
Court of Human Rights sent Russia a request asking for 
Aleksanyan to be transferred to a specialized hospital for 
the treatment of AIDS.  The Strasbourg-based court sent the 
request three additional times, according to Aleksanyan's 
legal representative there.  Aleksanyan's AIDS became public 
knowledge in January after the Russian prosecutor in the case 
revealed it in a Supreme Court hearing. 
 
3.  (SBU) Imprisoned oligarch, Yukos Oil Chairman Mikhail 
Khodorkovskiy helped draw public attention to the Aleksanyan 
case when he began a hunger strike on January 29 in support 
of Aleksanyan.   Khodorkovskiy had asked Aleksanyan to rejoin 
the company in 2006 as a vice president in order to represent 
it in bankruptcy negotiations.  In early February, a group of 
human rights defenders, politicians and other public figures 
called on "all who value the principles of law and the good 
name of Russia" to support Aleksanyan.  The list included 
Russia's civil society glitterati:  Lyudmila Alekseyeva, head 
of the Moscow Helsinki Group; Vladimir Bukovskiy, writer and 
Soviet-era dissident; Garry Kasparov, leader of the United 
Civil Front; Yevgeniy Kiselev, journalist; Yuliya Latynina, 
writer and commentator; Boris Nemtsov, politician; Georgiy 
Satarov president of the Indem Fund; and Vladimir Ryzhkov, a 
former Duma member and head of the Republican Party of 
Russia.  In addition, several rallies have been held in 
Moscow in support of Aleksanyan.  The latest, on February 17, 
was a sanctioned demonstration in support of political 
prisoners, including Aleksanyan and Khodorkovskiy, at which 
over 100 people from Other Russia, the United Civil Front and 
other human rights organizations participated. 
 
4.  (C) Russian Ombudsman Vladimir Lukin told Ambassador 
February 7 (ref. A), that he had written to the Ministry of 
Justice (MOJ) to request that Aleksanyan be provided with 
appropriate medical treatment in a hospital.  The Federal 
Prison Service, a branch of the MOJ, announced that same day 
that Aleksanyan would be moved to a Moscow hospital for 
treatment, but that he would not be released from custody and 
would be kept under guard in the hospital.  The Moscow 
Simonovskiy court had earlier suspended the pending trial of 
Aleksanyan after an independent medical examination confirmed 
that he had cancer and was too ill to stand trial.  In one of 
its last requests to the court, his defense team asked that 
on humanitarian grounds, Aleksanyan be allowed to receive 
visits in the hospital from family members, including his 
five year-old son, while he undergoes chemotherapy and 
treatment for HIV/AIDS.  On February 11 the head of Putin's 
Council on Promoting the Development of Institutions of Civil 
Society and Human Rights Ella Pamfilova told Ambassador that 
she too had complained to the Ministry of Justice and sent 
three letters to the courts (Ref. B).  She also told 
reporters that Aleksanyan's case should be resolved with 
"mercy and humanity." 
 
 
5.  (SBU) Aleksanyan's lawyers were reportedly not all
owed to 
meet with him until February 16, over a week after Russian 
authorities transferred him from the Matrosskaya Tishina 
Prison to the hematological unit of a local Moscow hospital. 
Prison officials reportedly told them that the hospital's 
chief doctor has determined that it would not be suitable for 
Aleksanyan to take part in judicial or investigative 
activities.  According to one of Aleksanyan's lawyers, he is 
handcuffed to his hospital bed and is not even released to 
walk to the bathroom. 
 
Comment: 
-------- 
 
6.  (C) The Aleksanyan trial has taken on a life of its own, 
separate and apart from the case against Khodorkovskiy.  The 
indifferently harsh treatment of a young man suffering from 
AIDS and dying of cancer, with pictures of his condition 
portrayed in the international media, helped create a rare 
public backlash to the Kremlin's targeted prosecution of 
Yukos-related defendants.  The rallying of support around 
Aleksanyan from Russian civil society -- particularly the 
criticism from within the government -- convinced the Kremlin 
that perhaps it had gone too far. 
BURNS

Wikileaks