Monthly Archives: December 2008

08MOSCOW3778, KOSACHEV MEETS CODEL TAUSCHER: MORE DIALOGUE NEEDED

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
08MOSCOW3778 2008-12-31 12:57 2011-08-30 01:44 UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY Embassy Moscow

VZCZCXRO7896
PP RUEHAG RUEHAST RUEHDA RUEHDF RUEHFL RUEHIK RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHLN
RUEHLZ RUEHNP RUEHPOD RUEHROV RUEHSK RUEHSR RUEHVK RUEHYG
DE RUEHMO #3778/01 3661257
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 311257Z DEC 08
FM AMEMBASSY MOSCOW
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 1405
INFO RUEHXD/MOSCOW POLITICAL COLLECTIVE
RUCNCIS/CIS COLLECTIVE
RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 MOSCOW 003778 
 
SENSITIVE 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O.  12958: N/A 
TAGS: PREL PGOV MARR PARM KNNP OREP RS
SUBJECT: KOSACHEV MEETS CODEL TAUSCHER: MORE DIALOGUE NEEDED 
 
1. (SBU) Summary:  Duma International Relations Committee Chair 
Konstantin Kosachev told CODEL Tauscher on December 16 that 
parliamentary dialogue between the U.S. and Russia needed to be 
revitalized.  He suggested that the Duma International Relations and 
Defense Committees should meet with the House of Representatives' 
Foreign Relations and Armed Services Committees in a "Parliamentary 
2 Plus 2" format.  He said the U.S. and Russia should cooperate more 
on short- and medium-range missile defense (MD), and argued that 
deploying MD systems in Poland and the Czech Republic would not 
alter the balance of power in Europe, but would erode trust between 
the U.S. and Russia.  He also suggested parliamentarians in the 
U.S., Russia, Poland, and the Czech Republic should meet to discuss 
MD.  Kosachev noted the GOR could support sanctions to prevent Iran 
from developing nuclear weapons, but the IAEA should conduct 
inspections first.  According to Kosachev, NATO enlargement did not 
threaten Russian security, but did cause problems in other areas 
such as Afghanistan.  He also indicated the START Treaty would not 
be extended, and U.S. proposals for cutting nuclear forces would 
leave Russia at a strategic disadvantage.  The Conventional Forces 
in Europe (CFE) Treaty could not be salvaged as long as it was 
linked to the Istanbul Commitments because Abkhazia and South 
Ossetia were now independent countries.  End Summary. 
 
-------------------------- 
The Parliamentary 2 Plus 2 
-------------------------- 
 
2. (SBU) In a December 16 meeting with Rep. Ellen Tauscher (D-CA), 
Rep. Loretta Sanchez (D-CA), Rep. Rick Larsen (D-WA), Rep. Doug 
Lamborn (R-CO), staff members, and the DCM, Duma International 
Relations Committee Chair Konstantin Kosachev argued that 
parliamentary dialogue between Russia and the U.S. was not going 
well.  He said the U.S. and Russian parliamentarians should consult 
more, and suggested that the Duma International Relations and 
Defense Committees should meet with the House of Representatives' 
Foreign Relations and Armed Services Committees.  This 
"Parliamentary 2 Plus 2" could discuss a wide range of issues that 
affect the U.S. and Russia, and in the process build much-needed 
trust.  Kosachev added that there was much press interest in CODEL 
Tauscher's visit because it was "so unusual for our parliamentarians 
to meet."  He said he hoped one day it would be a normal occurrence. 
 
 
------------------------------------ 
Need To Cooperate On Missile Defense 
------------------------------------ 
 
3. (SBU) Calling MD a "unique issue in U.S.-Russian relations," 
Kosachev said the U.S. and Russia should cooperate to build a joint 
MD system to counter short- and medium-range missiles.  This 
cooperation could take place only if the U.S. did not more forward 
on its plans for long-range missile defense. 
 
4. (SBU) Kosachev conceded that placing ten interceptor missiles in 
Poland will not alter the balance of power in Europe.  He argued 
that it does, however, erode trust and confidence between the U.S. 
and Russia.  He rejected arguments that proposed MD sites in Poland 
and the Czech Republic do not pose a threat to Russian security, as 
Iranian missiles can reach only the Black Sea and therefore do not 
yet pose a threat to the United States.  "The U.S. makes up threats 
and then counters them," he argued.  He also expressed GOR concerns 
that the U.S. plans to develop a world-wide MD system to neutralize 
Russia's nuclear arsenal. 
 
5. (SBU) Kosachev criticized the U.S. approach to MD as not 
transparent.  He complained that the U.S. told Russia to talk to 
Poland and the Czech Republic regarding access to inspect MD sites. 
He also urged parliamentarians from Russia, the U.S., Poland, and 
the Czech Republic to hold MD discussions. 
 
----------------------------------- 
Iran:  Sanctions Not Yet The Answer 
----------------------------------- 
 
6. (SBU) Kosachev argued that the GOR could, in theory, support 
using a harsh sanctions regime to prevent Iran from developing 
nuclear weapons, "but we are not there yet."  He said the IAEA must 
conduct inspections in Iran before the UN Security Council should 
consider sanctions on Iran.  In any event, he added, sanctions often 
prove ineffective. 
 
----------------------------------------- 
Russia Not Threatened By NATO Enlargement 
----------------------------------------- 
 
7. (SBU) Kosachev posited that Russia does not feel threatened by 
NATO enlargement.  He said the GOR does not wish to rid Europe of 
NATO or U.S. soldiers.  NATO's enlargement does, however, pose 
problems in places like Afghanistan, he argued.  Kosachev complained 
that, because Afghan stabilization is a NATO project, Russia does 

 
MOSCOW 00003778  002 OF 002 
 
 
not effectively participate. 
 
8. (SBU) Kosachev said that NATO is a "comfortable" forum for the 
U.S., but it is not comfortable for Russia.  He said that the NATO 
does not take Russia's concerns seriously, and that is why Putin's 
February 10, 2007, Munich speech was so harsh.  Kosachev said that 
Putin told former Bavarian Minister-President Edmund Stoiber the 
only way to get the West to listen to Russia was to use such tough 
language. 
 
-------------------------- 
Plans For Life After START 
-------------------------- 
 
9. (SBU) Kosachev told CODEL Tauscher that the START Treaty would 
not be extended; this, he said, had been agreed to at the November 
Joint Compliance and Inspection Commission meeting in Geneva.  He 
expressed GOR concerns that U.S. proposals for cutting nuclear 
arsenals would leave Russia at a strategic disadvantage.  "Strategic 
forces must be cut in a fair way," he argued. 
 
---------------------------------------- 
The Conventional Forces In Europe Treaty 
---------------------------------------- 
 
10. (SBU) Kosachev expressed his doubts that an agreement could be 
reached on the CFE Treaty.  He said, "CFE is ruined, and I doubt 
anyone in Russia or the U.S. cares."  He said linking CFE with the 
Istanbul Commitments was simply not practical, as "the situation in 
Georgia has changed" and Abkhazia and South Ossetia were now 
independent.  He expressed hope, however, that a solution in Moldova 
could be found. 
 
11. (U) The delegation did not clear this message. 
 
BEYRLE

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08MOSCOW3777, DUMA DEFENSE COMMITTEE FIRST DEPUTY CHAIR BABICH – MEETING

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
08MOSCOW3777 2008-12-31 12:40 2011-08-30 01:44 UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY Embassy Moscow

VZCZCXRO7885
PP RUEHLN RUEHPOD RUEHVK RUEHYG
DE RUEHMO #3777 3661240
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 311240Z DEC 08
FM AMEMBASSY MOSCOW
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 1404
INFO RUEHXD/MOSCOW POLITICAL COLLECTIVE

UNCLAS MOSCOW 003777 
 
SENSITIVE 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O.  12958: N/A 
TAGS: PREL PGOV KNNP OREP RS
SUBJECT:  DUMA DEFENSE COMMITTEE FIRST DEPUTY CHAIR BABICH - MEETING 
 
WITH CODEL TAUSCHER 
 
1. (SBU) Summary:  In a December 15 meeting with Representatives 
Ellen Tauscher, Loretta Sanchez, Rick Larsen, and Doug Lamborn, Duma 
Defense Committee, First Deputy Chair Mikhail Babich said that 
Russia had high expectations for the incoming Obama Administration. 
He welcomed the proposal for regular meetings between the House 
Armed Services Committee and the Duma Defense Committee starting 
next year, and asked to learn more about how the Congress oversaw 
the Department of Defense and other defense-related agencies.  He 
noted that the reported delay in deployment of a missile defense 
system to Poland and the Czech Republic was an opportunity to engage 
in dialogue, although he underlined that Russia perceived these 
sites as a NATO threat on Russia's borders.  Babich offered 
continued Russian assistance in countering Iran's nuclear program 
and in non-proliferation.  End summary. 
 
Welcoming the New Administration 
-------------------------------- 
 
2. (SBU) In a December 15 meeting, Duma Defense Committee First 
Deputy Chair Mikhail Babich told Representative Ellen Tauscher 
(D-CA), Representative Loretta Sanchez (D-CA), Representative Rick 
Larsen (D-WA), and Representative Doug Lamborn (R-CO) that Russia 
had high expectations for the incoming administration, "we hope we 
can solve all of the problems, untie all the knots, and find a way 
out of the situation we are in."  The brief session focused on 
Representative Tauscher's proposed bilateral inter-parliamentary 
committee, opportunities for dialogue on missile defense, 
non-proliferation, and Iran. 
 
Legislative Dialogue 
-------------------- 
 
3. (SBU) Babich warmly welcomed Representative Tauscher's proposal 
for the formation of a bilateral inter-parliamentary committee 
between the House Armed Services Committee and the Duma Defense 
Committee.  Both he and Representative Tauscher agreed that planning 
should start for a series of meetings early next year. 
Representative Tauscher outlined a future Strategic Arms Reduction 
Treaty (START), non-proliferation, Iran, and weapons of mass 
destruction as topics the two committees could share ideas and 
experiences as legislators. 
 
4. (SBU) The Duma Committee Deputy expressed an interest to learn 
from the Congress on how it implemented oversight of the Department 
of Defense and other defense-related agencies.  As Russia confronts 
two major reform initiatives -- reform of the military and of 
military industries -- Babich asked to share experiences on these 
topics.  In particular, he would be interested to learn how 
Congressional committees organized the work of expert communities in 
developing legislation. 
 
Missile Defense 
--------------- 
 
5. (SBU) Due to testing concerns, Representative Tauscher reported 
that there would be a delay in deployment of a missile defense (MD) 
system to Poland and the Czech Republic.  She told him, however, 
that the U.S. reserved the right to deploy defenses appropriate to 
respond to the threat posed by Iran and "other current and emergent 
threats."  Calling the approach of Representative Tauscher "smart" 
and "a very reasonable thing to do," Babich welcomed the time this 
delay allows for dialogue.  He cautioned that the idea for a third 
MD site was "not the best solution."  He countered that the 
agreements with Poland and the Czech Republic constituted a threat, 
as they represented the establishment of NATO infrastructure on 
Russia's border.  He also criticized the U.S. approach of pursuing 
activities, when Russia proposed initiatives. 
 
Proliferation and Iran 
---------------------- 
 
6. (SBU) While recognizing U.S. concerns with Iran's nuclear 
program, Babich said that Russia is no less concerned, especially 
since they are "so close to us."  He stated that Russia understood 
"third tier" countries very well, and offered to work together to 
prevent proliferation.  "The desire of both sides to stop activities 
and sit and talk is a good sign," he said. 
 
7. (U) The CODEL did not clear this cable. 
 
BEYRLE

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08MOSCOW3776, GENERAL BUZHINSKIY MEETS CODEL TAUSCHER: MD COOPERATION TO

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
08MOSCOW3776 2008-12-31 12:38 2011-08-30 01:44 UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY Embassy Moscow

VZCZCXRO7884
PP RUEHAG RUEHAST RUEHDA RUEHDF RUEHFL RUEHIK RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHLN
RUEHLZ RUEHNP RUEHPOD RUEHROV RUEHSK RUEHSR RUEHVK RUEHYG
DE RUEHMO #3776 3661238
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 311238Z DEC 08
FM AMEMBASSY MOSCOW
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 1403
INFO RUEHXD/MOSCOW POLITICAL COLLECTIVE
RUCNCIS/CIS COLLECTIVE
RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE

UNCLAS MOSCOW 003776 
 
SENSITIVE 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O.  12958: N/A 
TAGS: PREL PGOV MARR PARM KNNP OREP RS
SUBJECT: GENERAL BUZHINSKIY MEETS CODEL TAUSCHER: MD COOPERATION TO 
BUILD TRUST 
 
1. (SBU) Summary:  Meeting the Codel Tauscher delegation on December 
16, Lt. Gen. Buzhinskiy argued the U.S. and Russia could cooperate 
on short- and medium-range MD systems, but not if the U.S. also 
moved forward with plans to deploy a long-range MD system in Poland 
and the Czech Republic.  He told the CODEL that the MD talks held 
with U/S Rood earlier that day achieved little, and he hoped that 
the incoming Obama administration could find a solution to the MD 
issue.  He told the CODEL that the GOR would like to have all 
nuclear warheads included in official tallies in a post-START 
document, and the GOR would also like to continue the destruction of 
delivery vehicles.  Buzhinskiy said little trust was left between 
the U.S. and Russia, and the U.S.'s proposed transparency and 
confidence-building measures did little to fix this.  He pointed to 
what he saw as U.S. backtracking on commitments to Russia as having 
eroded trust between the USG and GOR.  He posited that the GOR did 
not think Iran would acquire a missile system capable of striking 
the U.S. or its NATO allies anytime soon, and the GOR felt the 
proposed MD system to be place in the Czech Republic and Poland 
could pose a threat to Russia security.  End Summary. 
 
-------------------------------------- 
Short and Medium Range MD Cooperation Possible 
-------------------------------------- 
 
2. (SBU) In a December 16 meeting with Rep. Ellen Tauscher (D-CA), 
Rep. Loretta Sanchez (D-CA), Rep. Rick Larsen (D-WA), Rep. Doug 
Lamborn (R-CO), and staff members, First Deputy Chief of MOD's Main 
Directorate for International Cooperation Lieutenant-General 
Yevgeniy Buzhinskiy said that the U.S. and Russia could cooperate on 
short- and medium-range missile defense (MD) systems.  He argued the 
U.S. Aegis and PAC-3 missile systems, along with the Russian S-400 
were excellent systems and could, together with the Gabala radar 
site, form the core of a joint U.S.-Russian short- and medium-range 
MD system.  He cautioned, however, that the GOR would not work with 
the U.S. on short- and medium-range MD systems if the U.S. continued 
to pursue a long-range MD system. 
 
----------------------------------- 
MD Talks Yielded Little, GOR Wants To Retain Elements of START 
----------------------------------- 
 
3. (SBU) Buzhinskiy said that MD talks held with U/S John Rood 
earlier that day yielded little.  According to Buzhinskiy, U.S. and 
Russian approaches to MD were so different that he saw little 
possibility for an agreement to be reached soon.  He expressed his 
hope that the incoming Obama administration could find a solution. 
 
 
4. (SBU) Buzhinskiy reiterated to Rep. Tauscher the Russian goal of 
including all warheads in official tallies of arsenals for the U.S. 
and Russia in the post-START agreement.  He said the GOR would also 
like to retain requirements for the destruction of delivery vehicles 
from the START Treaty as well.  Buzinskiy also posited that the GOR 
does not need another "purely symbolic" document such as the Moscow 
Treaty. 
 
------------------- 
A Question of Trust 
------------------- 
 
5. (SBU) Buzhinskiy argued that there was not enough trust left 
between the U.S. and Russia to achieve meaningful cooperation on MD. 
 "The proposed transparency and confidence-building measures 
proposed by the U.S. did little to build trust," he asserted. 
Buzhinskiy pointed to what he saw as a "slippery slope" of 
statements made by the USG as having eroded trust between the U.S. 
and Russia.  According to Buzhinskiy, senior USG officials told him 
in 2005 the U.S. would not deploy MD systems outside the United 
States.  They subsequently said the U.S. would deploy MD sites 
outside of the United States, but not without consulting with Russia 
first, he posited.  Buzhinskiy argued that the U.S. has not actually 
consulted with Russia on MD, but rather simply made decisions and 
informed the GOR of them. 
 
6. (SBU) Buzhinskiy said Iran currently has missiles with a range of 
about 2,500 km, and the GOR did not expect Iran to pursue 
longer-range missiles or threaten the U.S. any time soon.  This 
shortage of trust and differing assessment of Iranian capabilities 
contributed to the GOR view that the proposed MD sites in Poland and 
the Czech Republic could pose a threat to Russian security. 
 
7. (SBU) The delegation did not clear this message. 
 
BEYRLE

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08MOSCOW3775, Medvedev’s Anti-Corruption Package: Two Views

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
08MOSCOW3775 2008-12-31 11:38 2011-08-30 01:44 UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY Embassy Moscow

VZCZCXRO7834
PP RUEHLN RUEHPOD RUEHSK RUEHVK RUEHYG
DE RUEHMO #3775/01 3661138
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 311138Z DEC 08
FM AMEMBASSY MOSCOW
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 1401
INFO RUEHXD/MOSCOW POLITICAL COLLECTIVE
RUCNCIS/CIS COLLECTIVE

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 MOSCOW 003775 
 
SENSITIVE 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O.  12958: N/A 
TAGS: PGOV ECON PINR SOCI EAID RS
SUBJECT: Medvedev's Anti-Corruption Package: Two Views 
 
1.  (SBU)  Summary:  Transparency International Director Yelena 
Panfilova praised President Medvedev's anti-corruption bill that was 
signed into law on December 25 as an "extremely valuable" first 
step, while recognizing the deep flaws in its content and how it was 
promulgated.  Arguing that waiting for the perfect legislation had 
left Russia without a legal definition of corruption for the last 15 
years, Panfilova said the focus should now shift to formulating a 
national anti-corruption strategy, defining the implementing 
instruments for the bill, and establishing a legal concept of 
"public servant," with the U.S. one possible source of assistance on 
developing a governmental code of ethics.  Taking a more skeptical 
view, prominent TV and radio personality Vladimir Solovyev detailed 
the blowback to his public campaigns against corrupt officialdom, 
concluding that the economic crisis was likely to exacerbate 
corruption, with perhaps "revolutionary" effect.  In meetings with 
Russian officials and NGO leaders, we will examine additional 
opportunities for targeted U.S. assistance in supporting the 
anti-corruption legislation.  End Summary 
 
Welcome the Bill; Improve its Quality 
------------------------------------- 
 
2.  (SBU)  Transparency International Director Yelena Panfilova 
urged us on December 30 to welcome the fact of the anti-corruption 
measures, signed into law by President Medvedev on December 25 after 
they passed their third reading by the Duma on December 19, while 
reserving judgment on their quality.  Medvedev's initiative, she 
stressed, was "extremely valuable," because it provided Russia for 
the first time with a legal definition of corruption and a basis for 
legislators and activists to further refine anti-corruption laws. 
The bill signed by Medvedev, which includes 25 amendments to current 
laws, aims to define, prevent, and reduce corruption by: increasing 
public control over and transparency of government functions, 
promulgating new disclosure requirements and tightening restrictions 
on gratuities, facilitating whistle-blowing, instituting new 
requirements to enhance the independence and quality of judges, and 
increase the criminal liability and administrative sanctions for 
corruption. 
 
3.  (SBU)  Panfilova made no excuses for the process used by the 
Kremlin to pass the legislation and publicly has spelled out the 
legislation's deficiencies.  Noting there was as much opportunity 
for outside experts or Duma members to influence the legislation as 
there was in "stopping an avalanche," Panfilova nevertheless 
insisted that "something was better than nothing" and that "Russia 
had been waiting for the perfect anti-corruption legislation for 15 
years." Among the bill's deficiencies, Panfilova iterated: its 
vagueness (including its silence on which agency will serve as the 
coordinating body, and apparent exclusion of state corporation 
employees), financial-based definition of corruption (excluding 
"non-material" blandishments such as favors, job promotion, access, 
etc) and absence of provisions for prosecuting transnational 
corruption (although the legislation calls on Russia to join all 
international efforts), lack of implementing instruments, and 
failure to define "public trust" or "public service." Despite the 
bill's flaws, Panfilova noted with satisfaction that it was 
sufficient to set nerves on edge, with Medvedev forced to publicly 
chastise Duma members over attempts to gut the legislation, 
including a stillborn initiative to delay its implementation by two 
years.  (As passed, the bill's financial reporting requirements 
start in 2009, which mean that the first forms will be filed by 
officials in January 2010 for the previous year.) 
 
4.  (SBU)  Concluding crisply that "what's done is done," Panfilova 
outlined a three-pronged approach to ensure the bill is adequately 
implemented: 
 
-- Formulate a national anti-corruption strategy:  While the 
legislation refers to a strategy, none has been promulgated, which 
in a December 6 meeting the Council of Europe's Group of States 
Against Corruption (GRECO) gave Russia 18 months to complete. 
 
--  Define the implementing instruments: None of the mechanisms 
specified in the legislation yet exist, including the monitoring 
bodies, the legal instruments, or even the forms for officials to 
complete.  While Medvedev used meetings with FSB Director Bortnikov 
and General Procurator Chaika to impress upon them the importance of 
enforcing the new bill, Panfilova noted that coordination of the 
legislation could fall to a host of other agencies, including the 
Ministry of Justice, MVD, or Presidential Chief of Staff Naryshkin 
(in his capacity as chair of Medvedev's anti-corruption committee). 
 
--  Establish the concept of "public trust" and "public service:" 
The legislation bases its punishment on violations of the public 
trust by public workers; however, Russian laws don't define that 
term, with public employees referred to by their specific job 
function (e.g., militia, health worker).  By defining who &
#x000A;constitutes a state worker, the lacunae of exempting state 
corporation employees can also be closed.  Panfilova said the U.S. 
could play a role in educating Russian legislators about its concept 
of ethics in government service and the mechanics of enforcing the 
 
MOSCOW 00003775  002 OF 002 
 
 
legislation, although acknowledging that opponents of the 
anti-corruption legislation had painted it as an initiative of 
"outside forces."  Noting that she would be in the U.S. on an 
Eisenhower Fellowship in the spring to consult on this issue, 
Panfilova said that an initial ruling party draft was "hilarious" in 
conflating loyalty to United Russia with sound public morals. 
 
Ground Realities Remain Grim 
---------------------------- 
 
5.  (SBU)  A December 23 meeting with prominent radio and television 
personality Vladimir Solovyev (ranked the 25th most influential 
person in Russia by Kommersant for his political show "To the 
Barrier," public appearances, and books) provided a reminder of the 
ground realities of battling corruption.  Seating himself with his 
back to the restaurant window ("so I won't see them when they shoot 
me"), Solovyev presented a dark, if self-flattering, portrait of 
fighting corruption in Russia.  His reward for hounding Chair of the 
Moscow Arbitrazh Court Lyudmila Maykova, he argued, was her 
reappointment, the cancellation of his other television program 
"Sunday Evening with Vladimir Solovyev," pressure from his radio 
station's owner to tone down his anti-government criticism, an 
increase in death threats against himself and family members, 
continued tailing and telephone monitoring, and "pranks" such as the 
throwing of paint and oranges both during and after his public 
performances. The fact that he continued to have allies in high 
places ("Putin has supported me until now") accounted for his 
continued freedom, he maintained. 
 
6.  (SBU)  Solovyev, who recently has engaged in a high level 
crusade against Transport Minister Levitin for his conflict of 
interest in sitting on the Aeroflot Board and heading the 
Sheremyetovo airport while determining the fate of government 
subsidies to rival airlines, posits a leadership environment where 
Putin is chary of anti-corruption efforts.  While not directly 
thwarting Medvedev's initiatives, Putin's loyalty to cronies or 
protection of his own interests, is exploited by others to weaken or 
render still-born real efforts to limit feeding at the government 
trough.  (While insisting that his white knight reputation was 
deserved, Solovyev was clearly on the defensive over leaked 
transcripts of his cell phone conversations, suggesting that his 
radio attacks on corrupt officials were rewarded with favors or 
compensation from the victims' bureaucratic or economic rivals. 
Solovyev maintained the improbable line that he had purposely held 
the suggestive conversations in order to lure the "services" into 
publishing the transcripts, thereby "proving" his charges that he 
had been monitored all along.  "You'll hear more nasty stuff about 
me," was his parting comment at the end of the meeting.) 
 
7.  (SBU)  The lack of transparency, Solovyev charged (and Panfilova 
agreed) would become increasingly politically salient as the 
economic crisis deepened.  Russians, Solovyev argued, for the first 
time "have something to lose" in an economic contraction, unlike in 
the 1990s, creating a "revolutionary" atmosphere.  Reflecting upon 
Rosnanotech Director and former Deputy Prime Minister Anatoliy 
Chubais' public speculation that Russia had a 50-50 chance of coming 
out of the economic crisis without fundamentally changing the 
political and economic system developed over the last 15 years, 
Solovyev countered that the "economy is dead" and the leadership 
already panicked.  Despite the anti-corruption legislation, he 
maintained, the increased role of the state in resolving the 
economic crisis and meting out subsidies to critical sectors of the 
economy was likely to accelerate the spread of corrupt practices. 
 
Comment 
------- 
 
8.  (SBU)  Medvedev's albeit imperfect anti-corruption package 
provides an opening for targeted U.S. technical assistance.  Post 
has previously provided examples of US and foreign conflict of 
interest legislation and regulation to members of the President's 
Anti-Corruption Commission and has organized roundtables on various 
anti-corruption topics, in addition to supporting the work of 
Transparency International.  We will continue to explore ways to 
work with the Public Chamber, Duma, NGOs, law enforcement agencies, 
and the Presidential anti-corruption committee, as Russia refines 
its legislation. Specifically, we anticipate conducting programs on 
corporate raiding and transnational bribery this spring.  Ambassador 
Kislyak's earlier solicitation of Washington consultations on 
combating corruption by members of the Presidential Administration 
reflects the high-level Russian interest in working with the U.S., 
which we should capitalize on. 
 
BEYRLE

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08MOSCOW3773, GOR NEVER RECEIVED INFO FROM POLAND REGARDING

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
08MOSCOW3773 2008-12-31 08:31 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Moscow

VZCZCXYZ0012
RR RUEHWEB

DE RUEHMO #3773 3660831
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
R 310831Z DEC 08
FM AMEMBASSY MOSCOW
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 1399
INFO RUEHSI/AMEMBASSY TBILISI 3906
RUEHWR/AMEMBASSY WARSAW 2360
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC
RUEKDIA/DIA WASHDC
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC

C O N F I D E N T I A L MOSCOW 003773 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 12/29/2018 
TAGS: PREL PTER ETTC MASS MCAP RS PL GG
SUBJECT: GOR NEVER RECEIVED INFO FROM POLAND REGARDING 
MANPADS ALLEGED IN CHECHNYA 
 
REF: A. STATE 134448 
     B. MOSCOW 3475 
 
Classified By: Political M/C Alice G. Wells.  Reasons 1.4 (b) and (d). 
 
1. (C) On December 30 we delivered ref A nonpaper to MFA 
DVBVR First Secretary Andrey Odnoral, who told us the GOR 
passed a diplomatic note regarding Polish GROM MANPADS sales 
to Georgia to the GOP via the Russian Embassy in Warsaw in 
June 2008, prior to the August conflict.  To date, the GOR 
has received no official reply, he said.  According to 
Odnoral, the GOR has otherwise raised this issue with Poland 
only within the framework of Wassenaar Arrangement meetings 
held in September in Lyon and in December in Vienna.  Odnoral 
could not recall the names of Polish delegation members with 
whom he had discussed this issue. 
 
2. (C) Odnoral said that Russia wanted to inform us of the 
discovery of these MANPADS in Chechnya because the GOR and 
USG had agreed to share information regarding the illicit 
sale of MANPADS.  He added that this incident underscored the 
lack of security and export controls exercised by the 
Georgian government.  Odnoral said he would get back to us 
regarding permission to share the information from the GOR's 
November 26 nonpaper (ref B) with Poland. 
RUBIN

Wikileaks

08MOSCOW3766, DEMARCHE: AVOIDING GAS SUPPLY DISRUPTIONS FROM

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
08MOSCOW3766 2008-12-30 15:11 2011-08-30 01:44 SECRET Embassy Moscow

VZCZCXRO7145
OO RUEHFL RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHNP RUEHROV
DE RUEHMO #3766 3651511
ZNY SSSSS ZZH
O 301511Z DEC 08
FM AMEMBASSY MOSCOW
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 1389
INFO RUCNCIS/CIS COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHXD/MOSCOW POLITICAL COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC PRIORITY
RHMFISS/DEPT OF ENERGY WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY

S E C R E T MOSCOW 003766 
 
SIPDIS 
 
DEPT FOR EUR/RUS, FOR EEB/ESC/IEC GALLOGLY AND WRIGHT 
DOE FOR HEGBURG, EKIMOFF 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 12/30/2018 
TAGS: EPET ENRG ECON PREL RS
SUBJECT: DEMARCHE:  AVOIDING GAS SUPPLY DISRUPTIONS FROM 
RUSSIA TO UKRAINE 
 
REF: STATE 134475 
 
Classified By: CDA: ERIC RUBIN 
 
1.  (S)  We delivered points per reftel para. 16 to Gazprom's 
Director of Foreign Relations, Ivan Zolotov and the Senior 
Economic Advisor to the MFA's North America Desk, Vyacheslav 
Moshkalo.  Both reported that as of 12/30, negotiations 
between Russia and Ukraine were underway to resolve the debt 
repayment and finalize a new contract for 2009.  Zolotov said 
that the Gazprom Board of Directors remained firm that 
Ukraine's debt payments must be made before a new contract 
was signed.  He added that Gazprom intended to fulfill all of 
its contractual obligations to its European customers. 
Construction of the South Stream and North European Gas 
Pipelines would proceed "at all costs" in order to bypass the 
"problematic transit countries", i.e., Ukraine. 
 
2.  (U) Gazprom Chairman Aleksei Miller announced on the 
12/30 "Vesti" television news program that if Ukraine did not 
settle its outstanding gas debt, Gazprom would "have no 
basis" for continuing supplies after January 1.  Furthermore, 
as of 2009, Ukraine would pay the "market" price for gas: 
$418 per thousand cubic meters (msm). 
 
3.  (S) MFA's Moshkalo told us that Ukraine's outstanding 
debt was about $3 billion.  Both sides were exploring means 
to reach a settlement, such as Ukraine's paying of part of 
its debt with future earnings from gas transit fees.  In the 
final analysis, however, Gazprom and GOR stood by their claim 
that gas trade with Ukraine was essentially a commercial 
matter and that Ukraine must abide by its contractual 
obligations.  Moshkalo added there was sympathy for Ukraine's 
economic plight, but Gazprom and the Russian economy were 
also struggling with the global financial crisis.  He 
concluded that every effort would be made to ensure 
uninterrupted supply to Gazprom's other European customers. 
 
4.  (S) Comment:  Contrary to 2006, when gas prices were 
climbing, the GOR's financial future looks much more 
precarious this year.  Russia's oil and gas-fueled reserves 
are rapidly dwindling owing to the fall in global energy 
prices, a $200 billion rescue program for beleaguered 
corporations and banks, and efforts of the Central Bank to 
stave off a rapid devaluation of the ruble.  The need for 
cash from European gas sales and the fact Ukraine remains the 
main transit route are compelling reasons for the Russians 
not to cut off supplies on January 1.  We will continue to 
engage with the GOR on this and watch it closely. End 
Comment. 
RUBIN

Wikileaks

08MOSCOW3763, RUSSIAN MFA UNDECIDED ON LEAD DEPARTMENT FOR

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
08MOSCOW3763 2008-12-30 14:00 2011-08-30 01:44 UNCLASSIFIED Embassy Moscow

VZCZCXYZ0024
OO RUEHWEB

DE RUEHMO #3763 3651400
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 301400Z DEC 08
FM AMEMBASSY MOSCOW
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 1384
INFO RUEHRL/AMEMBASSY BERLIN PRIORITY 2035
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON PRIORITY 2153
RUEHNR/AMEMBASSY NAIROBI PRIORITY 0218
RUEHNE/AMEMBASSY NEW DELHI PRIORITY 1204
RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS PRIORITY 1922
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK PRIORITY 0452

UNCLAS MOSCOW 003763 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: N/A 
TAGS: EWWT KCRM MOPS PBTS PHSA PTER RS
SUBJECT: RUSSIAN MFA UNDECIDED ON LEAD DEPARTMENT FOR 
SOMALI PIRACY CONTACT GROUP MEETING 
 
REF: A. STATE 133199 
     B. STATE 133750 
 
1.  (SBU)  In response to reftel requests, Post sent 
invitations for the January 13-14, 2009 inaugural meeting of 
the Contact Group on Somalia Piracy (CGSP) in New York and 
the January 13 pre-meeting of key countries to the Legal, 
International Organizations, and North Americas Departments 
of the Russian Foreign Ministry.  According to our contacts 
in the International Organizations Department, the MFA has 
not yet decided which of its departments will have lead 
responsibility for the piracy issue.  It is possible that the 
Department of New Threats and Challenges, which already has 
experience with special operations such as counter-terrorism 
and counter-narcotics issues, may be given the portfolio. 
Our contacts indicated that the MFA will let the U.S. know, 
most likely through the Russian UN mission in New York, as 
soon as a decision is made on who will lead the Russian 
delegation to the CGSP meeting. 
 
2.  (U)  The Russian government is closed for a long official 
holiday January 1 - 9, 2009. 
RUBIN

Wikileaks

08MOSCOW3760, RUSSIA THEATENS FODDER TRADE

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
08MOSCOW3760 2008-12-30 07:23 2011-08-30 01:44 UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY Embassy Moscow

VZCZCXYZ0002
PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHMO #3760/01 3650723
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 300723Z DEC 08
FM AMEMBASSY MOSCOW
TO RUEHRC/USDA FAS WASHDC PRIORITY 5422
INFO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 1376
RUEHVI/AMEMBASSY VIENNA 4702
RUEHBS/USEU BRUSSELS
RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA 5254

UNCLAS MOSCOW 003760 
 
SENSITIVE 
SIPDIS 
 
USDA FAS FOR OCRA/KUYPERS; OSTA/HAMILTON, BEAN 
PASS FSIS/JONES, DUTROW 
PASS APHIS/MITCHELL 
STATE FOR EUR/RUS, EB/ATP/SINGER 
STATE PASS USTR FOR CHATTIN 
BRUSSELS PASS APHIS/FERNANDEZ 
VIENNA PASS APHIS/TANAKA 
GENEVA FOR USTR 
 
E.O. 12958: N/A 
TAGS: EAGR ETRD TBIO WTO RS
SUBJECT: RUSSIA THEATENS FODDER TRADE 
 
REF A) MOSCOW 3350 
 
SENSITIVE BUT UNCLASSIFIED 
 
1. (SBU) SUMMARY: The Russian Federal Veterinary 
and Phytosanitary Surveillance Service (VPSS) 
raised the bar in requesting a list of U.S. 
fodder exporters to Russia in its December 26, 
2008, letter by threatening to ban U.S. fodder 
exports if a list is not produced by January 1, 
2009.  The original scanned copy of the VPSS 
letter and courtesy translation were sent to USDA 
on December 29, 2008.  An informal embassy 
translation of the letter follows.  END SUMMARY. 
 
2.(SBU) BEGIN TEXT: 
FEDERAL SERVICE FOR VETERENARY AND PHYTOSANITARY 
SURVEILLANCE 
Orlikov per., 1/11, 
107139, Moscow 84, 
Russian Federation 
Phone: (7 499) 975-4347 
Fax: (7 495) 607-5111 
E-mail: info@svfk.mcx.ru 
http://www.fsvps.ru 
 
Moscow, December 26, 2008 
No. FS-NV-2/13281 
 
Dr. Robert Tanaka, 
Area Director for Eastern Europe, USDA-APHIS 
 
 
Dear Dr. Tanaka, 
 
The Federal Veterinary and Phytosanitary 
Surveillance Service (VPSS) extends its regards 
to the Animal and Plant Inspection Service 
(APHIS), USDA in the EU, and informs you of the 
following. 
 
By its letters #FS-AS-2/11553 of November 14, 
2008, and FS-NV-2/12384 dated December 5, 2008, 
VPSS informed about the necessity for providing 
lists of the U.S. processing fodder and fodder 
additives facilities that previously exported 
their products to the Russian Federation and 
currently have contracts with the Russian 
partners for shipping such products, and as well 
as guarantees that these facilities are under 
permanent control of the U.S. veterinary service 
and that they will fulfill in the full scale 
Russian veterinary-sanitary requirements and 
norms. 
 
However, to date the U.S. side has not 
provided to VPSS the above mentioned lists of the 
U.S. establishments. This circumstance will 
create a serious barrier to trade of fodder 
between our countries since VPSS will not be able 
to issue import permits for shipments of fodder 
for 2009 from the U.S. to the Russian Federation 
until the mentioned materials have been provided. 
 
Please accept, Mr. Tanaka, assurances of my deep 
respect for you. 
 
 
Deputy Head 
Vlasov 
 
 
 
END TEXT. 
 
3. (SBU) Comment. Since November, VPSS has been 
aggressive in demanding lists for both fish and 
fodder.  In the case of fish, the United States 
explained that it does not maintain exporter 
lists but agreed to verify a list provided by the 
Russians.  This action, coupled with an 
invitation to inspect U.S. fish facilities 
averted a ban on U.S. fish. USDA may want to 
consider a similar approach and offer to verify 
a Russian list contingent on a method for adding 
additional exporters to such a list.  VPSS maintains that 
the list approach is necessary to control 
fraudulent export certification. End Comment. 
 
 
 
 
 
 
BEYRLE

Wikileaks

08MOSCOW3757, MEDVEDEV’S ASSESSMENT – 2008, A YEAR OF DIVERSE

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
08MOSCOW3757 2008-12-29 14:17 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Moscow

VZCZCXYZ0005
PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHMO #3757/01 3641417
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 291417Z DEC 08
FM AMEMBASSY MOSCOW
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 1372
INFO RUCNCIS/CIS COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHXD/MOSCOW POLITICAL COLLECTIVE PRIORITY

C O N F I D E N T I A L MOSCOW 003757 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/15/2017 
TAGS: PGOV PHUM PINR RS SOCI
SUBJECT: MEDVEDEV'S ASSESSMENT - 2008, A YEAR OF DIVERSE 
CHALLENGES 
 
Classified By: Acting DCM Kurt E. Amend.  Reason:  1.4 (d). 
 
1. (SBU) Summary. Russian President Medvedev took to the air 
on December 24 to speak on the three most important events of 
the year past: his inauguration, the war in Georgia, and the 
economic crisis. He reminded the audience of his legal 
responsibility as commander-in-chief and took personal 
responsibility for the decision to send troops into Georgia 
in August. Medvedev tracked with the tandem message on the 
financial crisis: emphasizing that the crisis came from 
abroad; promising to maintain social gains; and disavowing 
any "radical" moves like the 1998 de-valuation and default, 
although he did call for "more flexibility" with the ruble. 
He was on message about military reform plans, expressed 
cautious hope for an improved relationship with the US, and 
took a firm position that Ukraine "must pay" its gas debt 
(even as he called for closer relations with other CIS 
states). The interview did not make much of a splash in the 
Russian media, leaving the impression that his performance 
had far less impact than the Premier's "direct line" call-in 
show earlier in the month that many saw as evidence of 
Putin's continued dominance of the tandem. The fact that 
Medvedev feels he has to reassert his independence from Putin 
only serves to confirm that analysis. End Summary. 
 
The Year in Review 
------------------ 
 
2. (SBU) Medvedev spoke for an hour and a quarter on the 
three main government-controlled television stations - 
Channel 1, Rossiya, and NTV - in a stage-managed interview, 
hosted by the respective three heads of the their information 
programs. After highlighting the positives of the year, 
including sports victories and "creative triumphs," he 
immediately honed in on two critical events: the war in 
Georgia and the financial crisis. He spoke with candor and 
provided insights into his personal experiences as President 
-- a marked contrast to the normally "business only" Putin. 
 
3. (SBU) Speaking on the war in Georgia, Medvedev recounted 
his experiences in early August and described how he learned 
about developments in South Ossetia and his reactions to 
them. He again placed all blame on Tbilisi for the attack on 
South Ossetia and defended Russian involvement as morally 
correct. He expressed pride that the Russian military had 
"dealt a full and irreparable blow" to the Georgian military 
with only minimal losses.  Emphasizing his authority, 
Medvedev said that despite his close relationship with Putin, 
some decisions fell to him alone -- notably ordering Russian 
troops to battle. He explained that some judgments must be 
made quickly and that he had "no one to consult" when he gave 
the order to commit Russian troops.  He reiterated that 
"final responsibility for what happens in the country ... 
rests on my shoulders alone and I would not be able to share 
this responsibility with anyone." 
 
Economic Woes... 
---------------- 
 
4. (SBU) Medvedev appeared to follow Putin's lead on the 
economic crisis and Russia's response, accentuating that the 
crisis resulted from the US financial crisis, but noting that 
Russia's comparative lack of economic development created 
unique challenges. Medvedev promised to defend Russia's 
social gains, disavowed any GOR default or re-denomination of 
the ruble, although he called for "a little more flexibility" 
in the exchange rate, and for business to preserve the 
workforce -- an appeal that echoed Putin's earlier statement 
that the goal should be protecting workers rather than 
maximizing profit. 
 
5. (SBU) Medvedev expressed his pique about what Moscow sees 
as foot-dragging on implementing decisions made at the G-20 
in Washington, including the establishment -- with Russian 
participation -- of special economic fora. (Medvedev made no 
mention of the protectionist measures that the government has 
enacted to protect the automotive and agricultural equipment 
industries that go against the Washington agreements.)  He 
emphasized that a "national solution" to Russia's economic 
crisis was not possible, and that difficulties would continue 
until "our colleagues" abroad came up with suitable remedies. 
 
... Won't Change Priorities 
--------------------------- 
 
6. (SBU) Despite the economic hardships, Medvedev insisted 
that his administration's objectives would not change. He 
promised to protect the social gains made over past years, 
including wage levels, real incomes, and pension payments 
(without elaborating how he would pay for those benefits). 
Moreover, he argued that the Russia must emerge from the 
 
crisis strengthened, using the economic difficulties to 
increase labor productivity and to make production more 
efficient. Ultimately, Medvedev returned to the mantra that 
Russia must become less dependent on natural resource exports 
and diversify, in order to be better situated to ride out 
global economic downturns. 
 
7. (SBU) Medvedev also held fi
rm to his administration's 
plans for military reform. He rejected any suggestion of 
dropping the one-year enlistment for conscripts, expressed 
support for plans to cut the number of officers, and 
reiterated his commitment to transition to service in "combat 
ready" units. He also repeated his call for re-equipping the 
military while improving the social situation for soldiers 
and officers. 
 
Tough on Ukraine 
---------------- 
 
8. (SBU) Medvedev also addressed a few questions about 
foreign policy issues. He expressed satisfaction with his 
relations with other world leaders, especially his partners 
in the CIS Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) and 
the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO). He said that he 
hoped for "partnership and nothing else" in his relations 
with the U.S. and noted his phone conversation with 
President-elect Obama. 
 
9. (SBU) His comments on Ukraine -- especially his acerbic 
condemnation of Kiev's military support to Georgia and his 
insistence that "it is time for them to pay" for their gas 
debt -- were emblematic of Moscow's public hard line in the 
gas dispute. In typical Kremlin fashion, he dismissed 
Ukraine's turbulent democracy as being anything but effective 
and promised that Russia would meet its commitments to its 
European gas customers if supplies were cut to Ukraine -- an 
impossible feat, considering Kiev's control over the export 
pipeline. 
 
Comment 
------- 
 
10 (C) Looking at Medvedev's interview through the prism of 
inter-tandem politics suggests that his team sought to 
balance Putin's impressive performance during the "direct 
line" call-in show -- political theater that many saw as the 
Premier's message to the elite that he remains in charge. 
That Medvedev has to assert his independence as the principal 
decision-maker suggests a certain insecurity and is at odds 
with many in the elite who are aware of Putin's direct 
involvement in the course of events in August. Conversely, 
Medvedev's acceptance of responsibility for "what happens in 
the country" could be a first step in setting the President 
up to take the fall for the potential failure of Russia's 
anti-crisis measures or potential future actions to protect 
the political order. Substantively, there continues to be 
little daylight between Medvedev's and Putin's public 
commentary and apparent agreement on the proper course for 
Russia's crisis management and foreign policy orientation. 
Medvedev's tap dance about the failure of the international 
community to find solutions to the global economic crisis 
allows the tandem to continue to blame the "outsiders" for 
Russia's problems without acknowledging the structural 
weaknesses of the Putin system. 
End Comment. 
RUBIN

Wikileaks

08MOSCOW3755, GOR SUPPORTS UNSC RESOLUTION ON SOMALIA BUT

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
08MOSCOW3755 2008-12-29 13:40 2011-08-30 01:44 UNCLASSIFIED Embassy Moscow

VZCZCXRO6056
OO RUEHBZ RUEHDU RUEHGI RUEHJO RUEHMA RUEHMR RUEHPA RUEHRN RUEHTRO
DE RUEHMO #3755 3641340
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 291340Z DEC 08
FM AMEMBASSY MOSCOW
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 1369
INFO RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK IMMEDIATE 0451
RUEHZO/AFRICAN UNION COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHGG/UN SECURITY COUNCIL COLLECTIVE PRIORITY

UNCLAS MOSCOW 003755 
 
SIPDIS 
 
ADDIS PLEASE PASS TO USAU 
 
E.O. 12958: N/A 
TAGS: PREL UNSC KPKO SO ET RS
SUBJECT: GOR SUPPORTS UNSC RESOLUTION ON SOMALIA BUT 
OPPOSES A DEFINITIVE PKO STARTING DATE 
 
REF: STATE 134229 
 
1.  (U)  This message is sensitive but unclassified, and is 
not meant for Internet distribution. 
 
2.  (SBU)  Per reftel request, Poloff discussed the draft 
Security Council resolution on establishing a peacekeeping 
mission in Somalia with MFA Department of International 
Organizations First Secretary Sergey Zhdanov, and sought the 
GOR's support for the resolution.  Zhdanov indicated that 
this redraft was much improved and more balanced in approach 
than the original version.  The GOR particularly supported 
the proposal to establish a trust fund to provide financial 
support to the Africa Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) and 
to hold a donors conference to solicit contributions to the 
fund. 
 
3.  (SBU)  However, Zhdanov stated that the GOR was not in 
favor of setting a definitive starting date of June 1, 2009 
for the United Nations Mission in Somalia (UNMISON), and 
instead preferred the more flexible language "at an 
appropriate time" contained in the British and French 
counter-proposal.  While understanding and sharing the U.S. 
concern about a possible security vacuum in Somalia, the GOR 
believed that the first order of business should be to 
support fully the African Union mission already on the 
ground, so as to send a positive signal that the 
international community and the Security Council would not 
abandon the African peacekeepers.  Zhdanov took note of our 
assurance to make every effort to support additional 
deployment under AMISOM in preparation for its eventual 
"rehatting," but expressed concern that the transition 
process would not be conclude by June 1 and that the security 
situation in Somalia would not be sufficiently conducive to a 
switch to a UN mandate at that time.  As an aside, he noted 
that the proposed 10,000 troop level was probably too low to 
tackle the full spectrum of challenges in Somalia, but too 
high considering the previous peacekeeping failures in that 
country. 
 
4.  (SBU)  Nevertheless, Zhdanov indicated that Russia was 
supportive of adopting a Security Council resolution on 
Somalia before the new year that demonstrated strong support 
for the AU mission and confirmed the Security Council's 
willingness to continue to work on an eventual "rehatting" to 
a UN mandate. 
RUBIN

Wikileaks