Daily Archives: June 9, 2008

08MOSCOW1640, MEDVEDEV’S EASY TRIP TO KAZAKHSTAN

WikiLeaks Link

To understand the justification used for the classification of each cable, please use this WikiSource article as reference.
Discussing cables
If you find meaningful or important information in a cable, please link directly to its unique reference number. Linking to a specific paragraph in the body of a cable is also possible by copying the appropriate link (to be found at theparagraph symbol).Please mark messages for social networking services like Twitter with the hash tags #cablegate and a hash containing the reference ID e.g. #08MOSCOW1640.
Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
08MOSCOW1640 2008-06-09 14:47 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Moscow

VZCZCXYZ0000
RR RUEHWEB

DE RUEHMO #1640/01 1611447
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
R 091447Z JUN 08
FM AMEMBASSY MOSCOW
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 8506
INFO RUCNCIS/CIS COLLECTIVE
RUEHXD/MOSCOW POLITICAL COLLECTIVE
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC
RUEKDIA/DIA WASHDC

C O N F I D E N T I A L MOSCOW 001640 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 06/05/2018 
TAGS: PREL ENRG EPET EWWT MARR PGOV PTER TSPA TSPL
MASS, EINV 
SUBJECT: MEDVEDEV'S EASY TRIP TO KAZAKHSTAN 
 
REF: MOSCOW 1425 
 
Classified By: Political Minister Counselor Alice G. Wells for reasons 
1.4 (b) and (d). 
 
1. (C) Summary:  Russian MFA officials and experts termed 
Dmitriy Medvedev's May 22-23 visit to Kazakhstan--his first 
foreign trip as President--a success and his meeting with 
Kazakh President Nazarbayev "easy."  Russian experts told us 
Medvedev's trip served to strengthen Russia's ties with 
Central Asia and show the West that it has friends in the 
East.  Medvedev proclaimed his desire to continue where Putin 
left off by reinforcing Russia's cooperation with Kazakhstan 
and Central Asia, with a host of mostly symbolic agreements 
reached.  The two leaders signed documents that increased 
cooperation in areas such as space exploration, development 
and use of the GLONASS satellite navigation system, 
nanotechnology, and joint development projects.  They also 
discussed regional security issues, including Afghanistan, 
and the possible upgrade of the Volga-Don Canal.  End Summary. 
 
------------------------- 
Two Hours of Quality Time 
------------------------- 
 
2. (C) Medvedev traveled to Astana May 22-23 and met with 
Nazarbayev for two hours (reftel).  The first hour was a 
one-on-one meeting, while the second hour included Russian 
Presidential Aide Prikhodko, FM Lavrov, MOD Serdyukov, Energy 
Minister Shmatko, Minister of Industry and Trade Khristenko, 
Minister of Regional Development Kozak, other officials, and 
businessmen.  MFA Kazakhstan Desk Second Secretary Vera 
Khutorskaya called the visit a success, arguing that Russia 
"got what it wanted:"  an "easy" foreign policy launch, a 
pleasing visual, and some substantive deliverables.  The 
meetings focused on ways Russia and Kazakhstan could increase 
cooperation, and agreements on space exploration, the 
GLOSNASS satellite navigation system, nanotechnology, and 
joint development projects were signed.  Other topics such as 
regional security and energy were also discussed.  Medvedev 
and Nazarbayev also signed a joint statement that designated 
the CIS as the main forum for cooperation. 
 
----------------- 
Space Cooperation 
----------------- 
 
3. (U) In a press conference immediately after his meeting 
with Nazarbayev, Medvedev declared Russia's relations with 
Kazakhstan "would not be complete" without cooperation in 
space exploration.  To this end, he and Nazarbayev signed the 
International Agreement for Space Exploration for Peaceful 
Purposes, which reaffirmed that use of the Baikonur Space 
Center is beneficial for Russia, Kazakhstan, and other 
nations.  The two sides agreed to develop a new Angara 
rocket, which will use "environmentally friendly" fuel (Note: 
 Russia recently paid Kazakhstan USD 2.4 million in 
compensation after one of its Proton-M rockets crashed and 
its fuel caused environmental damage in September 2007.), and 
it was announced that two Kazakh cosmonauts will soon fly 
into space.  Medvedev and Nazarbayev also signed an agreement 
to cooperate in the development and use of the GLONASS 
navigation system. 
 
-------------- 
Nanotechnology 
-------------- 
 
4. (U) Also during the visit the General Director of the 
Russian Nanotechnology Corporation Leonid Melamed and the 
Chair of the Kazakh-based Kazina Fund Arman Dunayev signed an 
agreement in Astana that stipulated cooperation in 
nanotechnology and the development of a nanotechnology 
industry in Russia and Kazakhstan.  At the center of this 
agreement is a USD 300 million loan from Russia's state-owned 
Development Bank to the Kazakh Development Bank. 
 
----------------- 
Joint Development 
----------------- 
 
5. (U) MFA officials and Ministry statements highlighted the 
agreements to undertake joint infrastructure projects, 
especially in the countries' border regions, where 70 percent 
of bilateral trade was conducted.  Plans include developing a 
transportation corridor to link Western Europe to Western 
China via Russia and Kazakhstan and jointly constructing a 
nuclear energy plant in Kazakhstan.  The two sides did also 
agreed to further cooperation in the energy field and 
"proceed from economic expediency" in extracting and 
transporting hydrocarbons. 
 
----------------- 
Regional Security 
----------------- 
 
6. (C) Khutorskaya told us the two leaders discussed the 
Collective Security Treaty Organization as a tool to promote 
peace and stability in Afghanistan.  Although neither country 
is interested in sending troops to Afghanistan, according to 
Khutorskaya, they are willing to assist ISAF, including joint 
work on a proposed transit agreement to send nonmilitary 
supplies to Afghanistan.  Disputes remain on the 
classifica
tion of transit goods to ensure the supply of 
nonmilitary items only, Khutorskaya said.  Despite statements 
made by the Kazakh Minister of Defense prior to the visit 
that the GOKZ was interested in upgrading its air defense 
systems, no such agreements were signed. 
 
------------------------- 
Volga-Don Canal Expansion 
------------------------- 
 
7. (U) Medvedev and Nazarbayev diverged on the Volga-Don 
Canal.  While Medvedev made the pitch to upgrade and expand 
the existing canal, Nazarbayev insisted that expanding the 
Volga-Don Canal would be expensive and "produce no result." 
Nazarbayev claimed that the GOKZ-backed Eurasia Canal project 
would shave about 600 miles off of shipping routes between 
the Caspian and Black Seas. 
 
--------------------------- 
The Press and Experts React 
--------------------------- 
 
8. (C) The press hailed the visit, with the daily Izvestia's 
banner headline reading "Indestructible Union," evoking the 
first two words of the old Soviet anthem.  Pavel Zolotarev of 
the U.S.A.-Canada Institute, however, argued the summit was 
more symbolic than substantive and an easy victory for 
Medvedev.  Andrey Grozin of the CIS Institute agreed, saying 
most of the documents signed in Astana were agreed to six 
months prior to the visit.  The experts added that one of 
Medvedev's goals in traveling eastward to Kazakhstan and 
China was to show the West that it has friends in other world 
regions.  They said Medvedev was picking up where Putin left 
off:  Putin met with Nazarbayev more than 25 times over the 
past four years.  Traveling to Kazakhstan first was a logical 
extension of this trend. 
 
9. (C) The experts acknowledged that Russia had to manage 
Kazakh aspirations for leadership in Central Asia.  The Putin 
era saw the rapid economic and political ascension of 
Kazakhstan in the region, with Russia cultivating its ties 
with Kazakhstan.  As a result, Khutorskaya posited, the 
Russia-Kazakhstan relationship had developed into an equal 
partnership.  "Russia is no longer Kazakhstan's older 
brother," she said. 
RUSSELL

Wikileaks

Advertisements

08MOSCOW1634, THE MOSCOW TO ST. PETERSBURG ROAD: CHALLENGE AND

WikiLeaks Link

To understand the justification used for the classification of each cable, please use this WikiSource article as reference.
Discussing cables
If you find meaningful or important information in a cable, please link directly to its unique reference number. Linking to a specific paragraph in the body of a cable is also possible by copying the appropriate link (to be found at theparagraph symbol).Please mark messages for social networking services like Twitter with the hash tags #cablegate and a hash containing the reference ID e.g. #08MOSCOW1634.
Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
08MOSCOW1634 2008-06-09 08:45 2011-08-30 01:44 UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY Embassy Moscow

VZCZCXRO4284
RR RUEHLN RUEHVK RUEHYG
DE RUEHMO #1634 1610845
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 090845Z JUN 08 ZDS
FM AMEMBASSY MOSCOW
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 8484
INFO RUEHLN/AMCONSUL ST PETERSBURG 4973
RUEHVK/AMCONSUL VLADIVOSTOK 2859
RUEHYG/AMCONSUL YEKATERINBURG 3202
RUCPDOC/DEPT OF COMMERCE WASHDC

UNCLAS MOSCOW 001634 
 
C O R R E C T E D  C O P Y (ADDED ENDING SIGNATURE) 
 
SENSITIVE 
SIPDIS 
 
STATE FOR EUR/RUS, EEB/TPP/IPE 
STATE PLS PAS USTR PBURKEHEAD 
USDOC 4231 FOR JBROUGHER, MEDWARDS, JTHOMPSON 
 
E.O. 12958: N/A 
TAGS: ECON ETRD KIPR RS
SUBJECT: THE MOSCOW TO ST. PETERSBURG ROAD: CHALLENGE AND 
OPPORTUNITY 
 
1. (U) Summary: Nowhere is the dilapidated state of Russia's roads 
more evident than with the highway connecting the country's two 
largest cities: Moscow and St. Petersburg.  The crumbling, 
pot-holed, congested, two-lane M10 is called the "highway of death" 
by Russia's Head of Traffic Police.  The road's current dilapidated 
condition, seven years into Russia's economic revival, symbolizes 
the challenges the country's deteriorating infrastructure poses to 
continued growth.  The government's plans to build a high-speed 
road, starting this year and due to be completed in 2013, will in 
turn symbolize the country's renewed prosperity.  End summary. 
 
----------------------- 
An Officer's Travel Log 
----------------------- 
 
2. (U) The drive from Moscow to St. Petersburg is treacherous and 
slow, as one Embassy officer can attest.  The 700 kilometer trip 
took the officer 9 hours there and 11 hours back - making for an 
average speed of 70 kilometers an hour - or a bit over 30 miles per 
hour.  The "highway" was bottle-necked and pot-holed throughout.  In 
some places it was just two lanes and in other places whole 
stretches of the road disappeared as paved highway turned into dirt 
country road without warning. 
 
3. (U) Accidents were frequent, on what the head of the government's 
traffic police calls the "highway of death."  (According to 
government statistics, about 1,500 people die on the M10 every year, 
most in head-on collisions.)  Trucks frequently swerved onto 
oncoming traffic to avoid potholes, narrowly missing cars. 
Throughout the journey, powerful headlights of the oncoming rigs 
reflected off heavy rain, creating a binding glare and an unholy 
mist that shrunk night visibility to zero.  Drivers engaged in a 
game of chicken when the two-lane road gained another lane, 
sometimes only several meters long.  Cars and trucks would speed up 
to overtake other vehicles and then when the third lane ended, 
swerved suddenly back into an already congested, slow-moving lane. 
 
4. (U) Signs of civilization were sparse between towns.  Although 
the "Gaishniki" or traffic police were ubiquitous, frequently 
stopping cars to check drivers' documents, road services were all 
but non-existent.  Gas stations, some modern with mini-mart stores 
and pay-per-use restroom facilities, would be encountered at random 
intervals.  Neglected peasant huts, nearly falling over, with wooden 
walls black and half rotted from years without paint were a more 
frequent sight.  Along the shoulders, there was a slow trade in just 
about everything: potatoes, berries, mushrooms, bath towels and 
cheap plastic toys. 
 
------------------------- 
Rebuilding Russia's Roads 
------------------------- 
 
5. (SBU) The road from Moscow to St. Petersburg is one of the most 
visible symbols of the country's infrastructure problems.  According 
to Renaissance Capital's Research Director, Roland Nash, the country 
has systematically failed to invest in its infrastructure over the 
past 15 year and as a result now has at least a trillion dollars in 
unmet infrastructure needs.  Much of Russia's road system is in 
complete despair: one-third of federal highways do not meet required 
standards of safety and maintenance and more than two-thirds of 
local roads are in need of major repairs.  The poor state of the 
country's roads has long been a source of discontent for Russians 
and is now also emerging as a major obstacle to continued economic 
growth. 
 
6. (SBU) Russia's new government appears determined to address the 
country's infrastructure needs in general and the poor state of the 
roads in particular.  Construction of a new high-speed Moscow-St. 
Petersburg road is at the top of the list of planned projects, with 
President Medevedev having stated earlier this year that 
construction would start this year.  Although to date no plans have 
been made public, the French concern Vinci, Europe's largest 
construction company, has reportedly signed a memorandum of 
understanding with Ministry of Transportation to build a toll road 
between the two cities at a cost of $14 billion in a public-private 
partnership agreement.  The new road, to be completed by 2013, 
should cut the driving time between the two cities in half and will 
be an important symbol of Russia's restored prosperity. 
 
RUSSELL

Wikileaks