Daily Archives: June 16, 2008

08MOSCOW1714, MEDVEDEV’S NEW EUROPEAN SECURITY TREATY?

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
08MOSCOW1714 2008-06-16 14:40 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Moscow

VZCZCBSO507
OO RUEHBS
DE RUEHMO #1714/01 1681440
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 161440Z JUN 08
FM AMEMBASSY MOSCOW
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 8626
INFO RUCNCIS/CIS COLLECTIVE
RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 MOSCOW 001714 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 06/16/2018 
TAGS: PREL MARR PGOV RS
SUBJECT: MEDVEDEV'S NEW EUROPEAN SECURITY TREATY? 
 
REF: A. MOSCOW 1680 
     B. BERLIN 0755 
 
Classified By: Charge d'Affaires Daniel Russell: Reasons 1.4 (b, d). 
 
1.  (C)  Summary:  Deputy Foreign Minister Kislyak confirmed 
to Charge that Medvedev's call for a new European security 
treaty, made during his June 5 Berlin visit and repeated 
subsequently, was an amorphous concept, with the GOR still 
studying next steps in Russia-European security relations. 
What appears to be a hastily drafted speech by the MFA has 
left Russian pundits unimpressed.  Telling us not to 
over-analyze Medvedev's remarks, analysts argued that the 
"more civilized" tone was the speech's most important 
characteristic.  Behind Medvedev's polite demeanor, Russian 
opposition to NATO enlargement remained a red-line, according 
to both conservative and moderate observers.  Medvedev's 
failure to couple his rhetoric to a concrete security 
initiative, following a succession of protocol-heavy overseas 
visits, has not advanced his effort to seize ownership of the 
foreign policy account that Putin relished and may still eye. 
 End Summary 
 
Officials Concede Rhetoric Trumps Substance 
------------------------------------------- 
 
2.  (C)  On the margins of Russian national day celebrations, 
Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Kislyak told the Charge that 
the GOR was still deliberating over what a new "treaty on 
European security" might look like, following comments first 
floated by Medvedev during his June 5 speech in Germany and 
raised again during his June 11 remarks to the World Russian 
Press gathering.  Kislyak stressed that there was no Russian 
concrete initiative to share with Europe or the U.S.; 
instead, Russia was in the early stages of deliberations over 
a new collective approach to European security issues. 
Separately, during June 11 Moscow consultations with his 
German counterpart, MFA Director for Disarmament and Arms 
Control Anatoliy Antonov did not even refer to the Medvedev 
quasi-proposal, focusing his remarks on sharp criticism of 
U.S. proposals on CFE and post-START. 
 
3.  (C)  German diplomats, pushed by Berlin to clarify what 
Medvedev meant by his June 5 speech, have concluded that trip 
dynamics trumped Russia's interagency process, producing a 
hastily drafted message, distinguished most by its more 
positive tone than any substantive shift in Russian position. 
 The speech proposal, German Embassy officers told us, was 
pitched to Medvedev by FM Steinmeier during his May visit, 
rejected by the MFA as premature, and then resurrected by the 
Presidential Administration after a strenuous reclama by the 
German Foreign Minister.  Reportedly drafted in large part by 
MFA European Cooperation Director Sergey Ryabkov and Policy 
Planning Director Kramarenko, the speech resurrected a medley 
of earlier Russian themes, including Gorbachev's "Vladivostok 
to Vancouver" moniker and Yeltsin's Common European Home, 
along with the sustained Russian critique of NATO and OSCE as 
anachronistic organizations.  Political-military analysts, 
including those consulted by the MFA and close to the 
Presidential Administration, told us that they were unaware 
of any "real" initiative behind Medvedev's rhetoric. 
 
Pundits Unimpressed 
------------------- 
 
4.  (C)  Despite Medvedev's insistence to the June 11 
gathering of Russian-language editors that he did not deliver 
his Berlin address "simply to please my German audience," his 
rhetorical outing in Germany has left political and military 
analysts baffled rather than riveted.  Conservative 
television talk show host Aleksey Pushkov was withering, 
expressing disappointment that Medvedev's gambit was "no 
Munich." The problem with choosing European security as a 
theme, Pushkov noted, was that only Russia was dissatisfied 
with the status quo institutions.  In contrast to the Cold 
War, he noted, Russia lacked military leverage in Europe; 
while an important economic power and a potentially important 
political model (as a democratic-authoritarian alternative), 
Russia remained militarily insignificant except on the 
"fringe" issues of Abkhazia and other frozen conflicts. 
Reviewing at length the strong Russian strategic and 
psychological objections to NATO enlargement, Pushkov argued 
that Medvedev's speech was a failure in Russian domestic 
political terms.  "Whether you like it or not, Russian world 
views -- their basic operating system -- is summed up by 
Putin's Munich speech." 
 
5.  (C)  More moderate analysts and the bulk of political 
commentary in the press focused on Medvedev's softer tone and 
positively worded efforts to strike a new spirit of 
Euro-Atlanticism.  Agreeing with Pushkov that the West should 
not over-interpret Medvedev's remarks, "Russia in Global 
Politics" Editor Fyodor Lukyanov and Moscow Times military 
analyst Aleksandr Golts separately argued that Medvedev had 
yet to tip his hand on the core issues confronting Russia, 
Europe, and the U.S., but stressed that the "more civilized" 
tone was in and of itself significant.  Golts argued that 
Medvedev's emphasis on a new European compact could be used 
as a cover for standing down on
missile defense and CFE; 
alternately, his discussion of "shared values" could be a 
realpolitik foil for driving a wedge between Europe and the 
U.S.  While Golts was inclined to view Medvedev's rhetoric as 
a manipulative sop to the West, Lukyanov argued that we 
should take at face value Medvedev's polite reinforcement of 
serious and widespread Russian opposition to NATO expansion. 
 
NATO Enlargement Matters 
------------------------ 
 
6.  (C)  While Medvedev disavowed a military confrontation in 
the event of NATO's expansion, in contrast to more bellicose 
statements in the past from Putin or former Chief of the 
General Staff Baluyevskiy over nuclear targeting, analysts 
here took Medvedev's overall comments as reinforcement of the 
Russian red-line.  Conservative editor and television host 
Maksim Shevchenko separately echoed the conclusion of Pushkov 
that Russians viewed NATO as a direct threat, as an 
organization that could one day redefine its interests in a 
manner that would lead to renewed military conflict or 
competition with Russia.  While Pushkov underscored the 
common belief that Russia's naval base in Sevastopol was 
destined for NATO "occupation," Shevchenko argued that 
Ukraine was part of Russia's "intrinsic security space." 
Both read in Medvedev's warnings over the consequences of 
NATO enlargement an implicit commitment to use Russian 
economic, political and social levers to raise the costs for 
Ukraine and Georgia. 
 
7.  (C)  Moderate analysts largely agree with the 
conservative view that NATO expansion remains the "poison 
pill" in Russia's relations with Europe and the U.S.  While 
Golts thought Medvedev's speech carefully signaled Russia's 
reaction to NATO MAP to a halt in cooperation over 
Afghanistan, Lukyanov stressed more dire implications for a 
Ukrainian MAP offer.  Describing Ukrainian domestic politics 
as "beyond the pale," Lukyanov agreed with GOR assessments 
that Yushchenko was using NATO membership to shore up a 
Ukrainian national identity that required casting Russia in 
the role of enemy.  When Ukraine had adopted an 
over-the-horizon approach to NATO membership, Russia could 
afford a "carrots" approach to its neighbor.  With Yushchenko 
focused on MAP now, the gloves had come off, with Lukyanov 
resisting the view that the rhetoric was counterproductive. 
Now that revisting the "Big Treaty" was discussed openly, 
Lukyanov foresaw a serious Russian debate to withdraw support 
for Ukraine's territorial integrity. 
 
Comment 
------- 
 
8.  (C)  We agree with the common wisdom that Medvedev's 
speech was distinguished by its tone, not content, and that 
the new Russian President provided no basis to conclude that 
old Russian objections to NATO enlargement, U.S. missile 
defense plans, or CFE had lapsed.  The high-flown rhetoric, 
not backed by any concrete security initiative, did not help 
Medvedev establish himself as the arbiter of Russia's foreign 
policy.  After protocollary visits to Kazakhstan and China, 
and a substance-lite session in Berlin, Medvedev has yet to 
distinguish himself on the international stage, at a time 
when Putin's appointment of Russian Ambassador to the US 
Ushakov as foreign policy adviser has muddied the 
post-succession lines of authority. 
RUSSELL

Wikileaks

08MOSCOW1713, TNK-BP UPDATE: NO RESOLUTION IN SIGHT AS DEADLINE

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
08MOSCOW1713 2008-06-16 14:38 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Moscow

VZCZCXYZ0000
PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHMO #1713/01 1681438
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 161438Z JUN 08
FM AMEMBASSY MOSCOW
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 8624
INFO 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 MOSCOW 001713 
 
SIPDIS 
 
STATE FOR EUR/RUS; NSC FOR MWARLICK 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 06/16/2018 
TAGS: ECON EINV ETRD PREL PGOV RS
SUBJECT: TNK-BP UPDATE: NO RESOLUTION IN SIGHT AS DEADLINE 
NEARS 
 
Classified By: CDA Daniel A. Russell for Reasons 1.5 (b) and (d).

------- Summary -------

1.(C) Foreshadowing a weekend of public claims and counter claims, TNK-BP's VP for International Relations Shawn McCormick told us last week that BP and its Russian partners are negotiating but not making much progress. McCormick said the Russian Government and Gazprom both appeared to be taking an unhelpful "hands off" approach. Time was running short as the foreigner's work permits would expire at the end of July. BP was prepared to go after its partners foreign holdings if its managers were forced out of the company. Separately, a leading Moscow-based investment analyst expressed concern over the dispute, which he said was starting to undermine investor confidence. End Summary.

---------------------- Difficult Negotiations ----------------------

2.(C) In a June 11 meeting with ECMIN, AmCit Shawn McCormick, TNK-BP's Vice President for International Relations (strictly protect) said negotiations between BP and AAR, the company's billionaire partners in TNK-BP, were on-going but had so far failed to yield results. McCormick foreshadowed the flurry of public statements and press articles this past weekend by noting that BP was willing to consider proposals that would "monetize" the AAR partners stakes, including through shares in BP, but that the Russians partners were not negotiating in good faith and appeared prepared to continue using government agencies and the Russian courts to pursue their aims.

3.(C) McCormick added that the public claims that the Russian partners wanted to go international and that BP feared the competition were "spin." In fact, the Alfa partners and in particular German Khan had been using the company's resources to vest projects in places BP couldn't invest, such as Kurdistan, Cuba, Burma and the like. When the TNK-BP board rejected these proposals, Khan would then slide them to a separate company that Alfa controlled, an arrangement that suited Khan and his Alfa partners fine. The real issue remained control of the company, with which the Russian partners would be able to either maximize their profits at BP's expense by, for instance, directing procurement to other companies that they owned at artificial prices or ensure that they received top dollar for their shares if forced to sell.

4.(C) McCormick said BP's sense was that the GOR appeared to have decided not to intervene to resolve the dispute, despite the damage it was doing to the country's investment climate by allowing state institutions to be used against a foreign investor. In that regard, he singled out newly promoted Presidential Aide Dvorkovich for criticism. McCormick said Dvorkovich's comments in St. Petersburg to the effect that Gazprom buying the Russian stake would be the "worst" possible outcome had been extremely unhelpful. Gazprom was also taking a wait and see approach, which McCormick said he suspected was the result of government pressure.

5.(C) McCormick said the window to resolve the dispute without an open rupture was closing. The work permits of most of the foreign managers at TNK-BP, including the company's president, Amcit Robert Dudley, and himself were set to expire at the end of July. In the event that the foreign managers were forced out of the company, BP would seek redress through the binding arbitration agreed to in the company's charter and would go after the AAR partners foreign holdings.

--------- U.S. Role ---------

6.(C) McCormick expressed appreciation for U.S. efforts on BP's behalf, especially Commerce Secretary Gutierrez's press availability at the St. Petersburg Economic Forum, where Gutierrez had publicly noted the concerns of the foreign business community about transparency, the law, and the way state institutions were being used in the dispute. He said this was exactly the right message U.S. officials should deliver in the event that future opportunities presented themselves.

-------------------------- Investment House Concerned --------------------------

7.(C) Separately, ECMIN also met June 11 with Renaissance Capital's Head of Research, Roland Nash. The discussion was primarily about the new government's implementation of economic reforms (septel). However, Nash raised TNK-BP, noting that it was his sense that both the foreign and Russian business communities were increasingly concerned at the apparent ability of the AAR partners to use state institutions for personal gain. Nash said he was not sure the GOR understood that this was undermining Medvedev's statements on reducing official corruption and that this would have repercussions for foreign investment. RUSSELL

Wikileaks

08MOSCOW1710, GOR TO SUPPORT DESIGNATION OF FOUR LET OPERATIVES

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
08MOSCOW1710 2008-06-16 13:41 2011-08-30 01:44 UNCLASSIFIED Embassy Moscow

VZCZCXYZ0013
RR RUEHWEB

DE RUEHMO #1710 1681341
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 161341Z JUN 08
FM AMEMBASSY MOSCOW
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 8621
INFO RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 0430

UNCLAS MOSCOW 001710 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: N/A 
TAGS: EFIN ETTC PREL PTER KTFN UNSC
SUBJECT: GOR TO SUPPORT DESIGNATION OF FOUR LET OPERATIVES 
 
REF: A. MOSCOW 1672 
     B. STATE 61363 
 
(U) On June 16 MFA New Challenges and Threats Third Secretary 
Ivan Kalashnikov told us the GOR would support the U.S. 
proposal to add the four LeT operatives to the UN 1267 
Sanctions Committee's Consolidated List. 
RUSSELL

Wikileaks

08MOSCOW1709, TERRORISM FINANCE: U.S. DOMESTIC DESIGNATION OF

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
08MOSCOW1709 2008-06-16 13:41 2011-08-30 01:44 UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY Embassy Moscow

VZCZCXYZ0006
RR RUEHWEB

DE RUEHMO #1709 1681341
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
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FM AMEMBASSY MOSCOW
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 8620
INFO RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 0429
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC
RUEATRS/DEPT OF TREASURY WASHDC

UNCLAS MOSCOW 001709 
 
SENSITIVE 
SIPDIS 
 
EEB/ESC/TFS FOR JJALLORINA 
 
E.O. 12958: N/A 
TAGS: BA EFIN ETTC PINR PREL PTER QA UNSC KTFN
SUBJECT: TERRORISM FINANCE: U.S. DOMESTIC DESIGNATION OF 
GULF-BASED AL-QAIDA FINANCIERS PASSED 
 
REF: STATE 62052 
 
(U) On June 16 we delivered reftel points to MFA New 
Challenges and Threats Third Secretary Ivan Kalashnikov, who 
told us the GOR would support the U.S. proposal to add these 
individuals to the UN 1267 Sanctions Committee Consolidated 
List. 
RUSSELL

Wikileaks

08MOSCOW1708, TERRORISM WORK PLAN POINTS PASSED

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
08MOSCOW1708 2008-06-16 13:40 2011-08-30 01:44 UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY Embassy Moscow

VZCZCXYZ0000
RR RUEHWEB

DE RUEHMO #1708 1681340
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 161340Z JUN 08
FM AMEMBASSY MOSCOW
TO SECSTATE WASHDC 8619

UNCLAS MOSCOW 001708 
 
SENSITIVE 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: N/A 
TAGS: AMGT OTRA PREL PTER RS
SUBJECT: TERRORISM WORK PLAN POINTS PASSED 
 
REF: STATE 63551 
 
(U) On June 16 we delivered reftel points to MFA New 
Challenges and Threats Third Secretary Ivan Kalashnikov, who 
told us the GOR still had not prepared a response. 
RUSSELL

Wikileaks

08MOSCOW1705, EXPERTS ON MEDVEDEV’S PRESIDENCY, ONE MONTH ON

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
08MOSCOW1705 2008-06-16 11:36 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Moscow

VZCZCXYZ0007
PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHMO #1705/01 1681136
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 161136Z JUN 08
FM AMEMBASSY MOSCOW
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 8612
INFO RUCNCIS/CIS COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHXD/MOSCOW POLITICAL COLLECTIVE PRIORITY

C O N F I D E N T I A L MOSCOW 001705 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/15/2017 
TAGS: PGOV PHUM SOCI RS
SUBJECT: EXPERTS ON MEDVEDEV'S PRESIDENCY, ONE MONTH ON 
 
REF: MOSCOW 1616 
 
Classified By: Political M/C Alice G. Wells.  Reason:  1.4 (d). 
 
Summary 
------- 
1. (C) One month into the job, Medvedev has fulfilled all of 
the essential functions as president: he has initiated 
legislation, signed laws, engaged with foreign leaders, and 
traveled to regional stops to promote his policies.  Although 
most analysts here see Putin as still "large, and in charge," 
there are varying assessments of Medvedev's effectiveness and 
a tendency to see Putin suffering the loss of his the "aura 
of invincibility" that he enjoyed as president.  In meetings 
with visiting INR/REA analyst, five top Russian political 
observers underscored that Putin and Medvedev are working 
together, sharing the same "team," while simultaneously 
consolidating their own positions and separate support 
networks.  There also appears to be some agreement that the 
process of sorting out the Medvedev-Putin relationship has 
little chance of fundamentally undermining the current 
political system; our contacts nonetheless envisioned looming 
problems - most notably rising inflation - that could create 
difficult challenges for the governing team. End Summary. 
 
Ryabov: Not Too Shabby 
---------------------- 
 
2. (C) Political scientist Andrey Ryabov of the Moscow 
Carnegie Center took a cautiously optimistic approach to the 
Medvedev presidency.  Admittedly unsure about how the diarchy 
will work and its ability to deal with crisis, Ryabov looked 
at the first weeks of Medvedev's presidency from the 
"half-full" perspective.  He acknowledged that Medvedev has 
limited political capital at this time and described the 
president's decision to target his efforts on one sector -- 
the judiciary -- as a prudent approach.  In that regard, he 
saw Medvedev accomplishing "quite a bit" off the start: his 
opposition to an amendment to the media law; the favorable 
decision in the Solovyev case at the Arbitrazh court, in 
which a top judge accused the Kremlin of undue influence; and 
the Supreme Court ruling in favor of Manana Aslamazian. 
 
3. (C) Ryabov further approved of Medvedev's approach of 
avoiding direct conflict.  He pointed to Medvedev's and First 
Deputy Premier Shuvalov's speeches at the St. Petersburg 
Economic Forum as being against state corporations, but not 
setting any real policies against them as being a realistic 
approach for dealing with the "snowball" effect of Putin pal 
Sergey Chemezov's ever-expanding holding company, 
Rostekhnologii.  (In an aside, he noted that Medvedev's 
supporters like Usmanov do not have sufficient political heft 
to offset that of Chemezov.) 
 
4. (C) Echoing the views of his Carnegie colleague Lilia 
Shevtsova, Ryabov underscored that Medvedev does not have the 
luxury of a long transition period that Putin enjoyed. 
Instead, he must become "the" President within the year. 
Medvedev's primary challenge is the de-monopolization of the 
political environment, according to Ryabov.  As such he needs 
a weak legislature and thus to work to limit the impact of 
United Russia. 
 
Petrov: More Skeptical of Medvedev 
---------------------------------- 
 
5. (C) Nikolay Petrov, also at Carnegie, preferred to look at 
current events as part of a longer transitional period that 
began as early as last fall.  Putin continues to drive 
events, as seen by the near full continuity of his team in 
both the Kremlin and the White House and the reproduction of 
his leadership model through the creation of a government 
Presidium.  Petrov admitted that whereas he had earlier 
looked at the Putin-Medvedev tandem as that of a "driving 
instructor,"  with Putin teaching his successor how to drive 
the car of state, now he is less confident that Putin wants 
to (or can) leave power.  As evidence, Petrov pointed to 
Putin's continued push for populist issues such as increased 
salaries and pensions, designed to maintain his personal 
standing among the citizenry, as a prerequisite for a return 
to the presidency. 
 
6. (C) According to Petrov, Medvedev's challenge is to 
strengthen institutions to replace the substitutes that Putin 
created during his presidency.  He sees the deck stacked in 
favor of Putin, however, with Medvedev's constituencies 
limited to the judiciary and the small/medium business 
community.  He was admittedly surprised by the demotions of 
Putin's silovik partners, particularly Nikolay Patrushev, as 
a possible sign of a shift in the balance of power. 
 
Belkovskiy: All the Same, In Any Case 
------------------------------------- 
 
7. (C) Stanislav Belkovskiy of the National Strategy 
Institute steadfastly maintained that Medvedev is getting 
stronger, not because of any personal attributes, but by 
virtue of his office, which stands above the political 
system.  He described Medvedev as enjoying an ever growing 
support from the elite, as Putin faced the loss of his "aura 
of invincibility" that the Presidency provided.  Putin's 
priority, according to Belkovskiy, is managing his business 
projects, including
 the North and South Stream pipelines and 
the as of yet unrealized sale of Surgutneftegaz to Rosneft. 
In this endeavor, Putin is relying on Igor Sechin as his 
principal business manager and has passed responsibility for 
the business of government to First Deputy Premier Shuvalov. 
Belkovskiy points to the fact that Shuvalov, not Putin, gave 
the speech on economic strategy at the St. Petersburg 
Economic Forum as evidence for his theory. Somewhat 
contradictory, Belkovskiy also argued that Shuvalov's speech 
was a text prepared by the Premier "team" including Putin. 
Shuvalov got in trouble with Putin -- the Premier dressed him 
down publicly at a government meeting following the 
conference -- because his presentation was widely interpreted 
as "Shuvalov's opinion" rather than the government consensus, 
according to Belkovskiy. 
 
8. (C) For Belkovskiy, there is little real difference 
between Putin and Medvedev.  He dismissed the focus on 
Putin's security service background and described the former 
president primarily as a businessman.  Medvedev and Putin 
share the same goal - to garner Western legitimization of the 
distribution of property among the elite.  Belkovskiy argues 
that this had been Putin's goal until his pique at what he 
saw as Washington's betrayal during the Orange Revolution in 
Ukraine compelled him to shift course.  In this regard, Putin 
still has a role to play as the "threat" to Medvedev's 
liberal reform agenda. 
 
Who's Up, Who's Down 
-------------------- 
 
9. (C) Belkovskiy, echoing the opinions of our other 
contacts, described former Drug Control Director Viktor 
Cherkesev and former First Deputy Premier Sergey Ivanov as 
the biggest losers in the recent government shake-up.  There 
were mixed assessments of former Kremlin grey cardinal Igor 
Sechin.  Belkovskiy argued that Sechin had actually done 
well, having his man, Bortnikov, placed at the FSB helm. 
Ryabov concurred, noting that Sechin had lost political 
power, but maintained his business influence and, perhaps 
more important, his close rapport with Putin. Belkovskiy also 
shared the assessment made by Dmitriy Oreshkin of the 
Mercator Analytic Group that Putin Kremlin spin-master 
Vladislav Surkov, still in Medvedev's Presidential 
Administration, was taking a more public, but less coherent 
position that he had previously.  However, Surkov's earlier 
self-assurance has evaporated. Belkovskiy and Oreshkin both 
noted the continued incarceration of Finance Minister 
Kudrin's deputy Sergey Storchak, with Belkovksiy linking the 
arrest, despite Kudrin's close association with both Putin 
and Medvedev, as an indication of the limits of power in the 
inter-elite infighting. 
 
Challenges Ahead 
---------------- 
 
10. (C) None of those contacts saw the tensions between 
Medvedev and Putin, which have mesmerized the political elite 
over the past several months, as posing a fundamental 
challenge to the existing political system.  But all raised 
the systemic challenges as potential stumbling blocks for the 
political structure.  Oreshkin complained that the tug-of-war 
among leading figures in the government had produced 
"alienation" (or laughter) among the population, and the 
likely result would be the strengthening of the already 
present tendency of an autonomous society living side-by-side 
with a "self-sufficient" government, as was the case in the 
Soviet era. 
 
11. (C) Virtually all raised the issue of inflation and other 
economic challenges as potentially destabilizing to the 
status quo, complaining that neither Putin nor Medvedev were 
paying close attention to the issue. (As we have noted 
reftel, inflation is a problem, but one that government has 
accepted as a cost of further economic growth. The GOR has 
few instruments to control the problem, even if it had 
decided to set fighting inflation as a priority.) Leftist 
economist Mikhail Delyagin, the head of the Institute for 
Problems of Globalization, underlined the failure of 
administration efforts to curb inflation thus far, claiming 
that Belarus had ramped up exports of dry milk to Russia this 
year, but despite the increase in supply, the price of milk 
on store shelves continued to rise.  Delygain described the 
problem as a result of monopolization of markets and 
corruption -- characteristics emblematic of the current 
political system.  Petrov identified other potential potholes 
for the administration, including the looming debacle related 
to Putin's municipal reform, labor shortages, and 
deteriorating infrastructure.  Belkovskiy also predicted a 
crisis coming and lamented that the bureaucracy -- which he 
said had been developed on the basis of "negative selection," 
as the more capable took jobs in the private sector -- would 
be ill equipped to manage. 
RUSSELL

Wikileaks

08MOSCOW1703, Russia–No New Investment Disputes for 2008 Report

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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. #08MOSCOW1703.
Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
08MOSCOW1703 2008-06-16 10:47 2011-08-30 01:44 UNCLASSIFIED Embassy Moscow

VZCZCXYZ0020
RR RUEHWEB

DE RUEHMO #1703 1681047
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 161047Z JUN 08
FM AMEMBASSY MOSCOW
TO SECSTATE WASHDC 8609

UNCLAS MOSCOW 001703 
 
STATE FOR EUR/RUS, EB/IFD/OIA 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958 DECL: N/A 
TAGS: CASC EINV KIDE OPIC PGOV
SUBJECT:  Russia--No New Investment Disputes for 2008 Report 
 
 
In the past year, Post has not been approached by U.S. entities or 
individuals reporting new investment disputes that would be 
candidate for inclusion in the 2008 Report on Investment Disputes 
and Expropriation Claims.  Post also has not been approached by 
individuals connected to the claims contained in the 2007 report. 
 
 
RUSSELL

Wikileaks

08MOSCOW1699, MEDVEDEV ON FREEDOM OF THE PRESS AND THE RULE OF

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Discussing cables
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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
08MOSCOW1699 2008-06-16 08:06 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Moscow

VZCZCXYZ0004
PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHMO #1699/01 1680806
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 160806Z JUN 08
FM AMEMBASSY MOSCOW
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 8605
INFO RUCNCIS/CIS COLLECTIVE
RUEHXD/MOSCOW POLITICAL COLLECTIVE

C O N F I D E N T I A L MOSCOW 001699 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 06/16/2018 
TAGS: ECPS PHUM PGOV RS
SUBJECT: MEDVEDEV ON FREEDOM OF THE PRESS AND THE RULE OF 
LAW 
 
 
Classified By: Political M/C Alice G. Wells for reason 1.4(d). 
 
1. (C) Summary:  President Medvedev has publicly spoken out 
twice in recent weeks about supporting press freedom in 
Russia and the rule of law.  While maintaining that the 
government would be responsible for upholding the rule of law 
with respect to the mass media, he also stressed that 
publishers and editors must be respect moral and cultural 
norms.  Beyond the rhetoric, Russian national television 
remains under strong government influence, a situation that 
experts predict will continue. Meanwhile in Moscow, official 
actions against smaller media outlets show that the rule of 
law will continue to be used against them that offend Russian 
political or cultural sensibilities.  End Summary. 
 
Medvedev on Freedom of the Press and the Rule of Law 
--------------------------------------------- ------- 
 
2. (U) In two major addresses this month, Medvedev combined 
the themes of press freedom, rule of law, and social 
responsibility.  In a June 5 address to German political 
leaders in Berlin, Medvedev said that "media freedom needs to 
be protected, and this protection needs to be enshrined in 
the law."  He tempered these remarks by noting that there was 
also a responsibility for publishers to "preserve moral and 
cultural values" in the mass media, including on the 
internet.  In a June 11 address to the World Russian Press 
Congress in Moscow, he told the assembled journalists that 
"our immutable guidelines, now and in the future, are the 
construction of a just and responsible society, respect for 
human rights, freedom of the press and freedom of speech and, 
of course, ensuring the supremacy of the law." 
 
Two Media Outlets Under Official Pressure 
----------------------------------------- 
 
3. (SBU) In Moscow, the application of the rule of law edged 
two small media outlets towards closure.  On June 5, four 
officials from the Federal Service for Mass Media conducted 
an unscheduled audit of The eXile, a raunchy English-language 
satirical newspaper.  AMCIT Mark Ames, the editor-in-chief, 
wrote in a blog that the officials asked questions about the 
paper's content (including about columns by Edward Limonov, 
leader of the banned National Bolshevik Party) and found 
several administrative violations for which they fined him 
the equivalent of USD 25. According to Ames, news of the 
audit had sent his investors and advertisers "running for the 
hills," and that the paper's debts would now force the paper 
to close.  The inspectors have not yet made any decisions 
based upon the content of the paper, but could issue an 
administrative warning and issue a fine if they determined 
that the paper had violated the law against promoting 
extremism, drug use, or pornography. 
 
4. (SBU) In a separate case, a Moscow district court on June 
6 banned the "Ingushetia.ru" website after ruling that it 
qualified as a mass media outlet and that it had disseminated 
extremist material.  The website, which is registered in the 
United States, continues to function, and it is not clear if 
the court decision will have any practical effect.  According 
to press reports, the apartment of Kaloi Akhilgov, one of the 
lawyers representing Ingushetia.ru, was searched for two 
hours by police on May 29, an action he claimed was motivated 
by his defense of the controversial site. 
 
Television Remains Under Political Pressure 
------------------------------------------- 
 
5. (C)  Against the backdrop of Medvedev's rhetorial support 
for press freedom, conservative television host and 
commentator Aleksey Pushkov, distinguished by his sharp 
critique of the U.S., expressed disappointment to us over the 
"too tight control" that continued to be exercised over the 
national television channels by the political leadership. 
Medvedev's ascendance had not produced an easing in the media 
atmosphere, he noted, with certain topics clearly off-limits, 
including any discussion of the relative political balance in 
the Medvedev-Putin power "tandem" or speculation over either 
leader's personal life.  None of these restrictions were 
promulgated in writing, Pushkov commented, and there were 
changing standards that made avoiding "red-lines" more 
difficult and increased the tendency toward self-censorship. 
Pointing to earlier pieces that he had aired on the 
then-newly elected President Putin and his success in 
consolidating power, which by 2003 had become too provocative 
to touch, Pushkov said any analogous effort to dissect the 
early days of the Medvedev presidency was unthinkable. 
 
6. (C) While adamant that the Kremlin (and now White House) 
were too conservative in its approach, Pushkov juxtaposed his 
interest in seeing more critical coverage to the apolitical 
 
tastes of Russian television viewers.  Noting that the most 
provocative political show of privately owned Ren-TV captured 
less than one percent of television viewers, Pushkov 
concluded that Russians increasingly sought what their 
Western counterparts demanded: good entertainment.  With 
respect to his own
 program, Pushkov maintained that issues of 
social justice elicited by the far the greatest 
audience-share, followed by gossipy celebrity features, and 
attacks on NATO expansion. 
 
7. (C)  Prominent First Channel host, conservative magazine 
editor, and Public Chamber member Maksim Shevchenko 
separately echoed Pushkov,s assessment that Medvedev,s 
first month in office had not produced any easing of 
television restrictions.  Shevchenko conceded that he was 
unable to air his strongly held views over the injustice 
meted out to Russian Muslims, particularly in the North 
Caucasus and especially in the trial over the Nalchik 
uprising.  While Shevchenko said he was convinced that all 
but a handful of the 85 accused in terrorist activities in 
Nalchik were innocent, with confessions coerced under 
torture, it was unrealistic to expect his government-owned 
television channel to allow him to air this topic.  It was 
"too difficult to navigate," Shevchenko said, particularly in 
a period of uncertainty over the true power balance.  A 
provocative political program, he noted, immediately would be 
seen through the prism of which clan benefited the most. 
While discounting Medvedev,s democratic credentials, 
Shevchenko said he expected Medvedev to do more to address 
what were "second-tier" issues for Putin, such as the 
strengthening and "modernization" of Russian political 
institutions.  Whatever Medvedev,s future aspirations, 
Shevchenko dismissed a near-term change in television policy. 
 
Comment 
------- 
 
8. (C) While Medvedev's public pronouncements are 
encouraging, there has been no short term effect on media 
freedom.  While the official actions concerning Ingushetia.ru 
and The eXile originated at the local level, they do 
demonstrate the practical effect of official pressure on the 
media. 
RUSSELL

Wikileaks