Monthly Archives: February 2009

09MOSCOW500, LUZHKOV TALKS BIG ON U.S.-RUSSIAN COOPERATION TO

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
09MOSCOW500 2009-02-27 16:08 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Moscow

VZCZCXRO5177
PP RUEHDBU
DE RUEHMO #0500/01 0581608
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 271608Z FEB 09
FM AMEMBASSY MOSCOW
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 2180
INFO RUEHXD/MOSCOW POLITICAL COLLECTIVE
RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING 4461
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 MOSCOW 000500 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 02/27/2018 
TAGS: PGOV PREL ECON RS CH
SUBJECT: LUZHKOV TALKS BIG ON U.S.-RUSSIAN COOPERATION TO 
COUNTER THREATS 
 
REF: A. MOSCOW 455 
     B. MOSCOW 401 
 
Classified By: Ambassador John R. Beyrle; reasons 1.4(b/d). 
 
1. (C) Summary: During his introductory call on Moscow Mayor 
Luzkhov February 26, Ambassador was treated to a tour 
d'horizon of global challenges - from the Mayor's lofty 
perspective - confronting Russia: the rise of China and its 
aspirations for regional power, the potential for conflict 
arising from countries contending for access to fresh water, 
and the need for proper stewardship of agricultural resources 
and technological innovation in order to meet basic needs of 
a growing global population.  True to his maverick 
reputation, Luzhkov lambasted the Russian government's 
response to the economic crisis as divorced from the real 
economy, for failing to promote the creation of jobs, and 
from effectively channeling funds to entrepreneurs for 
investment in Russia.  He welcomed closer ties with the U.S. 
and American cities, noting that he hopes U.S. companies will 
participate in forthcoming business fora in Moscow, and that 
Washington D.C. Mayor Fenty will travel to Moscow in the 
spring.  End Summary. 
 
"We Want to Be Your Friend" 
--------------------------- 
 
2. (C) Opening a wide-ranging conversation in an ornate 
chamber of City Hall adorned with portraits of Russian tsars, 
Moscow Mayor Luzhkov warmly welcomed Ambassador February 26. 
Ambassador thanked Luzhkov for the assistance his 
administration provided, notably the extra security during 
the autumn 2008 mass protests in front of the embassy. 
Ambassador emphasized the strong desire of the new U.S. 
administration to work with Russia on issues of mutual 
responsibility, including post-START arrangements, as well as 
on enhancing commercial ties and coordinated work to combat 
terrorism and other global challenges.  He recalled the 
contacts Moscow has with Washington, New York and Chicago and 
offered to facilitate, if necessary, ties with other U.S. 
cities. 
 
3. (C) Luzhkov reminisced over his relations with U.S. 
ambassadors during his more than 25 years in city government, 
and expressed confidence that constructive relations between 
Russia and the U.S., and between Moscow and the Embassy, 
would continue under the Ambassador.  He noted that he had 
escorted then First Lady Clinton during President Clinton's 
1995 visit to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the end of 
WWII.  Though he expressed confidence that the President and 
Secretary would be able to rebuild trust in bilateral 
relations, he cautioned that the process would be long.  The 
Cold War has yielded to a "cold wave" in relations which will 
require changes in U.S. policies and actions if real progress 
is to be made in addressing the challenges the Ambassador 
outlined.  In spite of this anti-Americanism, and in spite of 
leaders' inward focus during the global crisis, Russian 
leaders and Russian people "want to be friends with the U.S." 
and to cooperate on the major contemporary challenge. 
 
Beware of China 
--------------- 
 
4. (C) As an example, Luzhkov expounded on the comprehensive 
threat that China represents to Russia.  Citing former 
Secretary Rice's concerns that China is developing military 
capabilities that exceed the threats it actually faces, he 
voiced the perennial Russian fear that a more powerful China, 
emboldened by the relative weakness of neighbors like Russia 
and facing internal social tensions, might use military force 
to secure more land and resources for its population. 
Luzhkov painted a dark picture of an expansionist China 
drawing on "its culture of strict discipline and national 
superiority, as well as support from a globally dispersed 
diaspora" to constitute a serious threat to both Russia and 
the U.S.  The Ambassador noted that securing China's 
integration into the global economy, including adherence to 
international norms and laws, was a major strategic challenge 
for both Russia and the U.S.  Secretary Clinton's early visit 
to Beijing underlined our desire for continued constructive 
Chinese participation in global economic and political 
decision-making structures.  Luzhkov was skeptical; China 
would play along in the short-term, he argued, but would 
abrogate agreements and cease compliance with international 
norms when it suited its interests. 
 
5. (C) Luzhkov noted that he does not have close ties with 
his counterpart in Beijing.  He had declined to attend the 
2008 Summer Olympics because he feared (correctly, he added) 
 
MOSCOW 00000500  002 OF 003 
 
 
that the festivities would be exploited to support "Chinese 
fanaticism."  Commercial ties between the two capital cities 
are weak, not branching much beyond reciprocal building 
projects in each city.  He cited his close ties with Central 
Asian leaders, including "brotherly" relations with Kazakh 
President Nazarbayev, as tokens of his fair-mindedness in 
questioning Chinese long-term goals in the region and as a 
rationale f
or closer cooperation, including with the U.S., to 
check Beijing's ambitions.  Returning to his opening remarks, 
Luzhkov said Russia and the U.S. must become friends in such 
a way that they do not alarm China, all the while knowing 
that one of the purposes of the closer relationship is to 
ensure that China does not take further steps to threaten 
them both. 
 
6. (C) Warming to his strident nationalism that still 
attracts supporters throughout Russia and in former Soviet 
countries, Luzhkov stressed his firm belief that Russia, 
while a "Eurasian" country, is oriented economically, 
politically and culturally toward the west, not the east. 
Its geographic position, and the centuries that Russians 
lived under occupation by eastern peoples, had left an 
indelible legacy which enables Russians to better understand 
their neighbors.  Russians, together with the Kazakhs and the 
Azeris, share this perspective, in Luzhkov's philosophy. 
Water and Biofuels 
------------------ 
 
7. (C) Luzhkov then veered into a discussion of the theme of 
his most recent book - availability of, access to and 
efficient use of fresh water.  Luzhkov proudly cited data 
that 24 percent of the world's fresh water supply is located 
within Russia (thereby giving the Chinese yet another reason 
to consider trying to take possession of Russian territory, 
or at least control it).  He argued for one of his favorite 
projects - changing the northerly flow of Russian rivers (of 
fresh water) to a southerly direction, thereby enabling 
Russia to use the water to irrigate and to supply water to 
Central Asian countries in need of water. 
 
8. (C) Luzkhov argued that through careful use of these 
resources, the world could raise additional food to feed the 
hungry.  He criticized the U.S. for having diverted corn 
stocks into the production of ethanol, thereby contributing 
to grain shortages and increases in global food prices.  He 
touted his own plan in Moscow to produce biofuel from hay, 
making use of this waste produce while not reducing 
stockpiles of grain.  In response to Ambassador's suggestion 
that new technologies, especially in the field of genetically 
modified organisms, could help alleviate food shortages, 
facilitate greater production of biofuels and also decrease 
the requirement for fresh water, Luzhkov criticized the U.S. 
for moving too quickly in the direction of GMO without giving 
researchers time to conclusively assess safety. 
 
9. (C) Luzhkov noted that he has for several years brought 
together businessmen, scientists and government officials 
from Russian and neighboring countries to discuss this 
constellation of subjects.  He said he would welcome 
participation by U.S. experts.  Trying to manage a city of 10 
million people which, according to Luzhkov's figures, 
requires 5 million cubic meters of water per day, but which 
is located in a region (the Central Federal District) with 
chronic water shortages is a major concern for him.  It is 
his primary responsibility, he declared, to ensure that all 
Muscovites have food/water, shelter/heat and secure/safe 
environment in which to live.  The city spends a great deal 
of its own resources on ensuring the first two, especially 
for less fortunate groups in society, such as pensioners. 
The city has to think ahead and find new ways to meet these 
physical and financial challenges. 
 
Crisis Response: GOR Could Be Doing A Lot More 
--------------------------------------------- - 
 
10. (C) Seizing on this momentary detour back to the here and 
now, Ambassador asked for Luzhkov's assessment of the impact 
of the economic crisis on Moscow, and of GOR steps to combat 
the crisis in general.  Luzhkov indignantly rejected the 
Ambassador's suggestion that Finance Minister Kudrin had thus 
far acted prudently.  He argued that GOR resources devoted to 
mitigating the effects of the crisis on the financial sector 
and in defense of the ruble had either been wasted or had 
enabled banks to speculate by purchasing foreign currency and 
then cashing in on the ruble's devaluation (Ref A).  This had 
just led to inflation even while demand was dropping.  He 
praised the U.S. strategy of channeling funds to key 
industries in order to save jobs as well as to stimulate 
demand.  Low interest rates in the U.S. gave businesses the 
 
MOSCOW 00000500  003 OF 003 
 
 
means to expand their operations by removing the issue of 
whether they could afford the credit.  In Russia the high 
rates of interest charged by banks were intended to dissuade 
investors from borrowing, freeing up capital to be 
transferred abroad.  Luzhkov proceeded to tick off mistakes 
made by the U.S. in management of its own and the global 
economies, including the U.S. decision to drop the gold 
standard (in 1971!).  While perhaps logical when adopted, 
time has shown them to have had disastrous consequences for 
the economies of the world.  Ambassador responded that a good 
debate could be enjoined on these many subjects, but what is 
key is that the U.S. and Russia, through the G-8 and G-20, 
work closely to address the current crisis. 
 
City-to-City Ties 
----------------- 
 
11. (C) Luzhkov closed by returning to the matter of 
deepening ties with U.S. cities.  He said he expects to 
dedicate a statue of Walt Whitman on the campus of Moscow 
State University in May, and that he would welcome the 
presence of Washington D.C. Mayor Fenty at the occasion. 
(Note: Luzhkov was invited to the dedication of a statue of 
Pushkin on the campus of George Washington University, but 
was unable to attend.)  He said he looked forward to the 
visits of U.S. leaders to Moscow, and that he and his 
government were intent on helping the embassy when and how 
they could. 
 
Comment 
------- 
 
12. (C) Luzhkov was at his feisty best in this meeting.  He 
was blunt, true to his nationalist, populist reputation, 
offering criticism of both the U.S. and Russian policies. 
His emphasis on growing threats to Russia from China parallel 
those of other "senior" Russian officials of his generation, 
including former PM (and Luzhkov political ally) Yevgeniy 
Primakov (Ref B).  Luzhkov's concerns that Russia's response 
to the economic crisis is ill-conceived and poorly 
implemented no doubt reflect the difficulties that he (and 
his billionaire wife) face in maintaining access to the flows 
of credit essential to continue Moscow's 7-year building 
boom.  For the time being, he remains solidly in charge of 
Moscow and able to communicate via the media his views, not 
just in Moscow, but beyond.  But like so many of Russia's 
power brokers, even those who enjoy great popular support, 
Luzhkov knows his ultimate limits are defined by Medvedev and 
Putin. 
BEYRLE

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09MOSCOW498, RUSSIAN RECEIPT OF USDOC/NOAA/NMFS LETTER ON MARINE MAMMAL

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
09MOSCOW498 2009-02-27 15:32 2011-08-30 01:44 UNCLASSIFIED Embassy Moscow

VZCZCXYZ0002
PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHMO #0498 0581532
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 271532Z FEB 09
FM AMEMBASSY MOSCOW
TO SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 2175

UNCLAS MOSCOW 000498 
 
DEPT FOR OES/OMC 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: N/A 
TAGS: EFIS SENV RS
SUBJECT: RUSSIAN RECEIPT OF USDOC/NOAA/NMFS LETTER ON MARINE MAMMAL 
CONSERVATION AND SWORDFISH EXPORTS 
 
REF: STATE 16255 
 
On February 27, Post delivered reftel materials to Sergey Simakov, 
the head of the International Department of Russia's Federal 
Fisheries Agency.  Post addressed Acting NMFS Assistant 
Administrator Balsiger's letter to Andrey Anatolievich Krainiy, the 
head of the Fisheries Agency.  For follow-up communication, contact 
information for Mr. Simakov is as follows: 
 
Sergei Vasilievich Simakov 
Director 
International Cooperation Department 
Federal Fisheries Agency of the Russian Federation 
Rozhdestvenskiy Bulvar 12 
107996 Moscow 
Russian Federation 
Phone: +7 (495) 928-2679 
Fax: +7 (495) 628-9891 
 
BEYRLE

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09MOSCOW496, RUSSIA SET ON A MOSCOW MIDDLE EAST CONFERENCE,

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
09MOSCOW496 2009-02-27 14:20 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Moscow

VZCZCXRO5000
PP RUEHDBU RUEHROV
DE RUEHMO #0496/01 0581420
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 271420Z FEB 09
FM AMEMBASSY MOSCOW
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 2171
INFO RUEHXK/ARAB ISRAELI COLLECTIVE
RUEHXD/MOSCOW POLITICAL COLLECTIVE

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 MOSCOW 000496 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 02/27/2019 
TAGS: PGOV PREL LE IR IS SY RS XF
SUBJECT: RUSSIA SET ON A MOSCOW MIDDLE EAST CONFERENCE, 
DESPITE LIMITED INFLUENCE IN THE REGION 
 
REF: USUN 159 
 
Classified By: Ambassador John Beyrle for reasons 1.4 (b/d). 
 
1. (C) Summary:  Foreign Minister Lavrov's February 15-19 
visit to the Middle East reinforced Russia's intention to 
convene a Moscow Middle East conference (and ward off 
Sarkozy's entry into the race for MEPP summitry).  The GOR 
now aims to hold an April or May meeting that Russian 
officials argue will restart the Israel-Palestine track after 
its violent disruption in Gaza, while also advancing the 
Syrian and Lebanese tracks.  Lavrov is likely to urge Quartet 
partners to agree to a date at the March 2 meeting in Sharm 
al-Sheikh.  Despite some minor successes in the region, 
Russian claims to have a real impact in the Middle East have 
been diminished by an inability or unwillingness to convince 
its friends in Damascus and Tehran to rein in Hizbollah and 
Hamas.  Russian Middle East diplomacy remains geared toward 
enhancing Moscow's profile on the international stage and 
potential economic benefits resulting from closer engagement 
with regional governments.  Ironically, the one Middle 
Eastern country with whom traditionally Arab-friendly Russia 
presently enjoys a genuinely warm relationship is Israel, 
although this has not prevented Moscow from pushing Tel Aviv 
to agree to its conference at the same time the GOR denies 
Israeli calls for Russia to take a harder line on the threats 
presented by Syria and Iran.  End summary. 
 
Gaza Crisis Offers Russia Hope 
------------------------------ 
 
2. (C) FM Lavrov toured Middle Eastern capitals February 
15-19 to take the pulse of the region following the Gaza 
crisis and rally support for a Moscow Middle East conference 
that the GOR is now considering for late April or May. 
Despite Israel's military incursion into Gaza, combined with 
failed Palestinian reconciliation and political uncertainty 
in Israel, the GOR contends that Gaza has given the Moscow 
conference a new lease on life.  MFA officials have been 
telling us since January that the GOR felt strongly that a 
Moscow conference could revive the peace process once the 
dust settled in Gaza.  While Lavrov had previously scheduled 
bilaterals with the Egyptians, he used the temporary 
cease-fire to embark on a broader trip intended to catch Arab 
and Israeli leaders while the region remained in a state of 
flux and the post-Gaza positions of regional capitals had yet 
to harden.  Unfortunately for Lavrov, he reached Tel Aviv 
before it was clear which party leader would form the next 
government, and came away with mixed signals on the level of 
Israeli support for a Moscow conference.  Livni maintained a 
more open attitude toward the conference than Netanyahu, 
according to the GOR, although neither indicated whether or 
not Israel would attend under a government they headed.  When 
we quizzed the MFA about the utility of holding a Middle East 
conference in the current environment, officials were quick 
to point out that UNSCR 1860 commits the Quartet to 
"consider" a Moscow meeting in 2009, and Lavrov will raise 
the issue at the Quartet meeting in Sharm al-Sheikh. 
 
Inspires a Broader Agenda 
------------------------- 
 
3. (C) The GOR is determined to pursue an ambitious agenda 
for its Middle East conference.  Whereas in January, when 
fighting continued in Gaza, the MFA said the meeting would 
focus on restarting the Israel-Palestine track after its 
violent interruption, Russian officials now say that the 
conference will include the Lebanon and Syria tracks.  DFM 
Saltanov recently underscored that the Moscow conference 
should be an opportunity to "resume work on all the tracks" 
of the peace process, while Perm Rep Churkin told the UNSC 
that the GOR would not limit potential topics for discussion 
(reftel).  How Moscow will square this with Tel Aviv's 
reluctance to allow Russia such comprehensive involvement in 
its negotiations with Palestine, Syria, and Lebanon remains 
to be seen. 
 
Moscow Has Been Waiting a Long Time 
----------------------------------- 
 
4. (C) The GOR began seriously pursuing the idea of a Moscow 
Middle East conference in 2007, although the concept had been 
kicking around since then-President Putin first proposed a 
Moscow meeting on the Middle East in 2005.  Moscow claimed 
that its relations with Damascus and Hamas meant that Russia 
was uniquely qualified to play this role in the peace 
process, although it understood that the Israel-Palestine 
track was the key to settling the other issues and would 
remain the focus of the meeting.  Following FM Lavrov's 2008 
trip to the region, the GOR claimed that Russia had support 
from the Arab states and Israel to hold a conference that 
 
MOSCOW 00000496  002 OF 003 
 
 
would continue the momentum begun at Annapolis.  Moscow's 
rationale for hosting a conference took a hit when the 
Turkish-mediated discussions between Israel and Syria became 

public and Egypt's work toward Palestinian reconciliation 
appeared to bear fruit.  Although the GOR praised these 
efforts, it was clear that Russian officials saw their chance 
to play a leading role in the peace process slipping away, 
particularly after Tel Aviv made it clear to Moscow that it 
did not want outside intervention in ongoing bilateral 
negotiations with the Palestinian Authority.  The Gaza crisis 
gave Russia a pretext to argue that a Moscow conference would 
restart the peace process, but also presented the threat of 
Sarkozy's proposed ME conference, which would have stolen 
Moscow's thunder and made Lavrov's recent regional trip a 
priority. 
 
The Limits of Russian Diplomacy in the Middle East 
--------------------------------------------- ----- 
 
5. (C) Russian diplomatic efforts in the region are a mixed 
bag - the GOR maintains close relations with Syria and has a 
line of communication open with Hamas, but has shown limited 
success in influencing their behavior.  Although Russia did 
not play a role in the diplomatic efforts resulting in the 
Israel-Hamas cease-fire, DFM Saltanov may have had some 
impact when he personally urged Hamas leader Mesha'al to be 
more flexible and understand that it was necessary to provide 
Israel with the prospect halting Hamas rocket fire and 
smuggling weapons into Gaza.  More typically, however, 
regular regional trips by Lavrov, Saltanov, and other Russian 
officials demonstrate the limited nature of Russian influence 
in the region.  This was especially the case during the 2008 
political crisis in Lebanon, when the U.S. and others looked 
to Russia to call upon Damascus and Tehran to allow a 
settlement in Beirut.  While Moscow may have sent a stern 
message to both capitals, the MFA admitted that there were 
limits to Russian influence on Syria and Iran, both of which 
valued Hizbollah for its ability to confront Israel.  In the 
case of Syria, the GOR has been unwilling to threaten a 
cutoff of military sales to increase its leverage over its 
primary Arab ally in the region.  Russian observers argue 
that so long as Russia is unwilling to spend such political 
capital, or spend financially by providing aid to the region, 
it will remain on the sidelines as the U.S. continues to 
dominate Middle Eastern diplomacy. 
 
Parochial Interests Behind Russian Efforts 
------------------------------------------ 
 
6. (C) Russia's diplomatic efforts in the Middle East are 
driven by the dual goals of enhancing Russia's international 
stature and advancing its economic interests.  Putin's 
"historic" trips to the region as President marked the 
opening of a diplomatic offensive that saw Moscow 
reinvigorate ties to the region that had atrophied under the 
"weak Russia" of the 1990s.  The return of Russia as a player 
in the region was intended to raise Moscow's international 
profile and help fulfill its self-appointed role of serving 
as a "bridge" between the West and the Muslim world. 
 
7. (C) Greater access to Middle Eastern markets has also been 
a goal of Russian diplomacy, and Putin was accompanied to the 
region by Russian business leaders looking for energy, 
transportation, and arms deals.  Success for Moscow has, 
however, been more elusive than it first appeared:  a much 
touted contract to build a new Saudi railway was canceled in 
2008, the same year that Algeria returned what it claimed 
were poor quality MIGs.  Russian analysts argue that many of 
the contracts Russian firms "won" were actually given by Arab 
governments that want to appear to balance relations with the 
U.S. in an attempt to appeal to the anti-American sentiments 
of their populace.  Defense analysts dismiss Russian claims 
to have increased military sales to the region, with Syria 
remaining the only significant market for Russian arms.  The 
bright spot remains the energy sector, where Russian 
cooperation with the Gulf States can benefit both sides, and 
Israel may become a major consumer of Russian gas. 
 
Strong Ties to Israel... 
------------------------ 
 
8. (C) The close ties Russia developed with Israel under 
Putin play an increasingly important part in Russian activity 
in the Middle East, and has transformed Russia from its 
traditional pro-Arab stance of the Soviet era.  The GOR 
maintained an evenhanded approach to the recent crisis in 
Gaza by calling upon both sides to refrain from harming 
civilians, while the Russian public's sympathy for Israel was 
interpreted as an echo of Russia's own experience fighting 
Islamic extremists in the Caucasus.  Israeli politicians and 
diplomats are a regular presence in Moscow and Sochi, where 
 
MOSCOW 00000496  003 OF 003 
 
 
they meet Medvedev, Putin, and Lavrov, typically to stress 
Israeli concern over Iran and Syria as well as to discuss 
bilateral matters.  Trade has increased significantly, from 
$700 million in 2003 to around $2.5 billion today.  Israel's 
large Russian-speaking population and regular travel by 
Russians and Israelis have made the relationship one of 
personal contacts as much as official channels.  The return 
to Russia in 2008 of historic property in Jerusalem 
originally acquired during the Czarist era will allow the 
establishment of a new Russian cultural center and consulate, 
expanding Moscow's physical presence at a time when recently 
inaugurated visa free travel will increase Russian travel to 
Israel, and vice versa. 
 
...Only Go So Far 
----------------- 
 
9. (C) Close ties to Israel have not prevented Moscow from 
maintaining its pragmatic approach to Syria and Iran, both of 
which remain potential customers for Russian anti-aircraft 
systems despite Moscow's assurances to Washington and Tel 
Aviv that it will not sell weapons that would destabilize the 
region.  The GOR recently offered to donate 10 MIG-29s to the 
Lebanese military, arguing it was a positive move in support 
of Beirut, despite Israeli opposition.  Russia's ability to 
balance a warm relationship with Israel with pragmatic 
relations with Arab states and Iran demonstrates an ability 
to compartmentalize in the interests of maintaining the few 
diplomatic tools that allows Russia to remain engaged in the 
region. 
BEYRLE

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09MOSCOW489, REGIONAL ELECTION PREVIEW: UNITED RUSSIA AIMS TO

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
09MOSCOW489 2009-02-27 11:46 2011-08-30 01:44 UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY Embassy Moscow

VZCZCXRO4716
PP RUEHDBU RUEHLN RUEHPOD RUEHSK RUEHVK RUEHYG
DE RUEHMO #0489/01 0581146
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 271146Z FEB 09
FM AMEMBASSY MOSCOW
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 2154
INFO RUCNCIS/CIS COLLECTIVE
RUEHXD/MOSCOW POLITICAL COLLECTIVE

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 04 MOSCOW 000489 
 
SENSITIVE 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: N/A 
TAGS: PGOV PHUM KDEM RS
SUBJECT: REGIONAL ELECTION PREVIEW: UNITED RUSSIA AIMS TO 
LIMIT COMMUNIST GAINS 
 
REF: A. MOSCOW 290 
     B. MOSCOW 2008 3743 
     C. MOSCOW 2008 3754 
     D. MOSCOW 472 
     E. YEKATERINBURG 7 
 
1. (SBU) Summary: Despite party infighting and some notable 
defections, United Russia is expected to win in all nine 
regions holding March 1 parliamentary elections.  The 
Communist Party has campaigned vigorously to make the 
election a referendum on United Russia's handling of the 
economic crisis, which experts believe will give the 
Communists a modest boost at the polls.  Communists and other 
observers expect electoral fraud to mask actual voter 
discontent with the ruling party, with the Communists 
preemptively applying for rallies protesting the electoral 
outcomes.  In response, United Russia and Just Russia have 
campaigned widely to stanch the potential electoral damage to 
the regime.  All four State Duma parties are on the ballots 
of all nine regions, and Patriots of Russia registered in 
three regions.  Yabloko, forced by debt to abandon 
region-wide ambitions, registered only in isolated municipal 
elections.  End Summary. 
 
Duma Parties Register, Debts Force Yabloko to Sit Out 
--------------------------------------------- -------- 
 
2. (SBU) March 1 regional parliamentary elections will be 
held in Tatarstan, Volgograd, Kabardino-Balkaria, 
Karachayevo-Cherkessiya, Khakassia, Arkhangelsk, Bryansk, 
Vladimir, and Nenets Autonomous Region.  More than 3,200 
electoral campaigns of different levels (including local 
referenda) will take place in 77 subjects of the Russian 
Federation, and the Central Electoral Commission has 
estimated that some 20 million voters may take part in the 
various elections. 
 
3. (SBU) The parliamentary elections will further cement the 
position of the four State Duma parties, which are all 
registered to compete in all nine regions.  The only 
non-State Duma party to successfully register was the 
Patriots of Russia in Khakassia, Karachayevo-Cherkessiya, and 
Volgograd.  As non-Duma parties, Patriots of Russia and 
Yabloko were required to collect signatures or pay a pledge 
fee in order to register for the elections -- an arduous and 
expensive process that Yabloko head Sergey Mitrokhin told us 
they could not afford.  Yabloko Deputy Head Sergey Ivanenko 
told press in January that his party would limit its 
ambitions to municipal elections, where "the Kremlin's hand 
has not yet reached."  Yabloko was denied registration in 
Tomsk and Tver city elections and had difficulties 
registering in St. Petersburg, but successfully registered in 
Yekaterinburg, Chelyabinsk, and a few towns in Moscow Region. 
 
United Russia Expected To Win Big 
--------------------------------- 
 
4. (SBU) The Public Opinion Fund (FOM) predicted February 25 
that United Russia would receive an absolute majority of 
53-58 percent in Arkhangelsk, Bryansk, Khakassia, and 
Volgograd regional elections.  In Kabardino-Balkaria, 
Karachayevo-Cherkessiya, and Tatarstan the party is expected 
to receive even more.  The Communists, FOM forecast, would 
come in second in all seven of those regions.  Just Russia 
and LDPR are fighting for third place in all nine regions. 
Vladimir and Nenets Autonomous Region, the only two of the 
nine regions where United Russia does not hold a majority 
now, are expected to be closer races.  According to FOM, the 
Communists might take enough seats "to slightly change the 
situation" in Volgograd, Vladimir, and Bryansk.  LDPR leader 
Vladimir Zhirinovskiy expressed optimism that his party would 
win seats in all regions, with the strongest showing in 
Bryansk and Nenets Autonomous Region. 
 
5. (SBU) However, United Russia's notoriously strong 
discipline has frayed in the regions as party infighting has 
become public.  In Murmansk, Governor Yuriy Evdokimov opposed 
the regional party branch's support for the current mayor of 
the regional capital.  In Nevinnomyssk, the regional branch 
refused to support the current United Russia mayor's 
re-election in favor of an opponent.  Party membership also 
has lost its cachet among some candidates who have opted to 
run without the party's name attached.  The mayor of Smolensk 
recently left the party, and in Chelyabinsk three United 
Russia candidates filed as independents just before the 
mid-January registration deadline.  Even State Duma Speaker 
Boris Gryzlov's son, Dmitriy Gryzlov, is running as a 
self-nominated (independent) candidate in St. Petersburg 
district administration elections. 
 
 
MOSCOW 00000489  002 OF 004 
 
 
Communists Expect Electoral Gains, Fraud 
---------------------------------------- 
 
6. (SBU) The Communist Party (KPRF) has campaigned vigorously 
to attract protest votes against the ruling regime in what it 
contends is a referendum on anti-crisis measures.  KPRF 
Deputy Chair Ivan Melnikov told Kommersant on February 25 
that he expected KPRF to w
in at least 20 percent of the vote 
in Bryansk, Vladimir, Volgograd, and Khakassia.  Communist 
leader Gennadiy Zyuganov has traveled extensively in February 
to rally supporters, with recent visits to Bryansk and 
Tatarstan. 
 
7. (SBU) Melnikov has repeatedly told press that he expected 
widespread electoral fraud to mask the Communists' true gains 
at the polls on March 1 (Ref A).  To detect such fraud, 
Melnikov announced that KPRF would conduct a parallel 
electronic accounting of vote results.  Anticipating that the 
government would falsify vote results, the Communists have 
applied preemptively for protest permits in all nine regions 
should they deem the elections unfair. 
 
Just Russia Hopes to Thwart Communist Gains 
------------------------------------------- 
 
8. (SBU) Seconding the Communists' assessment, Golos 
political scientist Aleksandr Kynaev told Kommersant, "there 
is growing discontent" and "people will not vote for a party 
but for the general attitude toward the system.  This will be 
a protest."  In an effort to siphon votes from the Communists 
to a left-leaning pro-Kremlin party, Just Russia has deployed 
party leader Sergey Mironov in February to rally support in 
Volgograd, Bryansk, Arkhangelsk, and Vladimir.  Mironov told 
press in Volgograd that he expects to win seats in every 
regional parliament due to an increase in support for leftist 
ideals during the crisis.  However, a January 14-25 poll by 
the Public Opinion Fund (FOM) indicated that Just Russia 
risks not passing the electoral threshold in all nine 
regional elections. 
 
Thresholds and Registration 
--------------------------- 
 
9. (SBU) Election procedures vary from region to region, and 
regional parliaments can be elected either by proportional 
representation or by a mixed electoral system. 
Kabardino-Balkaria and Nenets Autonomous Region use only 
proportional representation, so only parties will run and 
deputies will be selected from party lists according to the 
results.  The other seven regions will use a mixed electoral 
system, with half of the deputies elected from party lists 
and half as single-mandate candidates (who may be party 
members or independent candidates).  The passing threshold to 
win seats has been raised in eight regions from 5 to 7 
percent; in Khakassia it remains 5 percent.  Law demands that 
each parliament include at least two parties, so that even if 
only one party reaches the threshold then the party with the 
second-most votes will win a seat. (Note: This occurred in 
Kemerovo Region's October elections, which allotted a single 
token seat to Just Russia despite its not passing the 
threshold.) 
 
"Locomotives" Again Top Party Lists 
----------------------------------- 
 
10. (SBU) During regional campaigns, political parties 
traditionally top their candidate lists with heads of regions 
and federal or regional party leaders.  These top-level 
functionaries, dubbed "locomotives," as a rule do not give up 
their existing jobs to join the parliaments.  They are 
involved in the campaigns in hope that their authority and 
popularity will help their respective parties to win.  In 
regional campaigns, United Russia usually tops its party 
lists with governors and mayors of the regional capitals. 
The Communists and LDPR appoint their most popular federal 
and regional leaders to top their lists. 
 
11. (SBU) Locomotives in March elections include 
Kabardino-Balkaria President Arsen Kanokov atop the United 
Russia list, and LDPR leader Vladimir Zhirinovskiy leading 
the list in Volgograd and Khakassia.  Other locomotives in 
Khakassia will be Republic Head Viktor Zimin for United 
Russia and Patriots of Russia national leader Gennadiy 
Semigin.  Vladimir mayor Aleksandr Ryabkov heads the United 
Russia list in that region's parliamentary elections. 
 
Internet and SMS Voting Experiments 
----------------------------------- 
 
12. (SBU) Central Election Commission head Vladimir Churov 
 
MOSCOW 00000489  003 OF 004 
 
 
revealed that the internet voting experiment, first unveiled 
in Tula Region during the October elections, will be used 
again in "some remote areas" of Vladimir Region.  Also in 
Vladimir Region, SMS (text message) voting will receive its 
first trial.  Internet and SMS voting experiments will run 
parallel to the actual elections, and votes cast in the 
experiments will not count toward official vote tallies. 
 
Regional Parliamentary Breakdowns 
--------------------------------- 
 
13. (SBU) The following is a breakdown of regional duma 
elections: 
 
-- Tatarstan (100 seats): Only the four State Duma parties 
received registration, and United Russia is widely expected 
to maintain its strong majority in the regional duma where it 
currently holds 72 seats.  The Communists have alleged 
widespread campaign violations by United Russia in Tatarstan, 
and KPRF Deputy Nikolai Ryabov demanded that the regional 
electoral commission head resign.  LDPR head Vladimir 
Zhirinovskiy also called for the electoral commission's 
resignation after claiming that it hindered his campaign. 
According to a FOM poll in late January, United Russia led 
the race and could win up to 70 percent of the votes, while 
Just Russia and LDPR risk not passing the 7-percent 
threshold.  The Communists were poised to win 10 percent. 
 
-- Volgograd (38 seats): United Russia city officials have 
conceded that the Communists likely would receive a boost of 
up to 5 percent in the election (Ref B).  The Communists have 
accused United Russia of illegal electioneering in Volgograd, 
where a local municipality reportedly paid for and 
distributed children's gifts bearing the United Russia logo. 
United Russia holds 20 seats currently, and leaders of Just 
Russia (which holds none) told us they hope toQin seats in 
the next parliament. 
 
-- Karachayevo-Cherkessiya (73 seats): The four State Duma 
parties and Patriots of Russia received registration to 
appear on the ballot.  United Russia, which holds 45 seats, 
is expected to win in a landslide.  Local election officials 
told us they expect a large turnout of around 80 percent (up 
from 60 percent for national elections in the region) because 
voters will elect local governments in addition to the 
regional parliament.  Mukhamed Cherkesov from Adygea Khasa (a 
Circassian diaspora NGO) also told us in December that his 
organization will do what it can to make sure ethnic 
Cherkessk "get out the vote" and that he would try to enlist 
several successful Cherkessk businessmen to help (Ref C). 
 
-- Kabardino-Balkaria (72 seats): The republic has decreased 
the number of regional deputies in its next parliament from 
110 to 72.  In the last regional election in December 2003, 
United Russia received 71 percent of the vote, KPRF received 
9 percent and the Agrarian Party (which recently merged with 
United Russia) also received 9 percent.  Un
ited Russia is 
expected to maintain its overwhelming majority. 
 
-- Khakassia (75 seats): Patriots of Russia received its 
registration only after an appeal to the Central Election 
Commission.  The region's current parliament comprises a 
fractious membership: in addition to the State Duma parties, 
the so-called "Khakassia Bloc" holds 19 seats and 
independents hold 4 seats.  However, blocs will not be on the 
ballot and could result only if non-party single-mandate 
candidates joined together. 
 
-- Bryansk (60 seats): KPRF leader Gennadiy Zyuganov 
predicted in January that the Communists would get the upper 
hand over United Russia in Bryansk, but observers have 
predicted they will win no more than 25 percent.  United 
Russia is expected to win by a large margin, but the party 
took no chances in deploying State Duma Speaker Boris Gryzlov 
on February 18 to bolster party efforts there (Ref D). 
 
-- Vladimir (38 seats): The Communists registered their party 
list only with the intervention of the Central Election 
Commission.  In another controversy, Just Russia members 
Galina Esyakova and Viktor Shohrin accused State Duma deputy 
Anton Belyakov of selling positions after they did not make 
their party's list.  Although United Russia (with 18 seats) 
does not hold a majority of seats in the current parliament, 
and the Communists traditionally have been strong in 
Vladimir, experts expect United Russia to win a majority on 
March 1. 
 
-- Nenets Autonomous Region (11 seats): In one of the more 
unpredictable elections, the region has decreased the number 
of deputies in its next parliament from 18 to 11.  United 
 
MOSCOW 00000489  004 OF 004 
 
 
Russia does not hold a majority of seats in the current 
parliament, and the recent sacking of Governor Valeriy 
Potapenko may hamper the party's efforts to achieve one. 
United Russia's Artur Chilingarov told Kommersant February 26 
that prior to the change of governors his party was poised to 
win more than 60 percent of the vote; "now," he despaired, 
"everything has fallen."  Nonetheless, despite an active LDPR 
campaign and strong Communist support in the region, United 
Russia is expected to win the most votes if not a majority. 
 
-- Arkhangelsk (62 seats): Patriots of Russia were denied 
registration in the regional election, and harassment of 
citizens who signed electoral petitions has been reported. 
 
Local Elections 
--------------- 
 
14. (SBU) Mayoral elections will be held in Chita, 
Petropavlovsk-Kamchatskiy, Blagoveshchensk, Murmansk, 
Novosibirsk, Smolensk, Chelyabinsk, Birobidzhan, and Anadyr. 
City parliaments and administrations will be elected in 
Ulan-Ude, Khabarovsk, Chita, Bryansk, Vologda, Murmansk, 
Penza, Yekaterinburg, Tver, Chelyabinsk, Birobidzhan, and 
Anadyr.  Bryansk and Tver elections will use proportional 
representation; Ulan-Ude and Chita will run mixed systems; 
all others will use a first-past-the-post system.  See Ref E 
for details on elections to be held in the Urals Federal 
District. 
 
Comment 
------- 
 
15. (SBU) March 1 elections will not threaten United Russia's 
tight grasp on regional dominance.  However, the evident 
fraying of party discipline and Moscow's exertions to 
maintain control demonstrate increased concern that the 
economic crisis will turn political.  Acknowledgement by 
local United Russia officials that the Communists will make 
modest gains in some regions, the deployment of pro-Kremlin 
leaders and electoral "advisors" to the regions in theQun-up 
to the election, and the decision by some candidates to 
eschew the party brand indicate that United Russia's cachet 
has tarnished.  How the regime responds to electoral 
setbacks, including whether it continues to support governors 
unable to muster an adequate voter turnout, will provide an 
important insight into future anti-crisis tactics in the 
regions. 
BEYRLE

Wikileaks

09MOSCOW488, RUSSIAN MFA ON GENEVA TALKS ABOUT GEORGIA CONFLICT

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
09MOSCOW488 2009-02-27 11:20 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Moscow

VZCZCXRO4660
PP RUEHDBU RUEHFL RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHNP RUEHROV RUEHSR
DE RUEHMO #0488/01 0581120
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 271120Z FEB 09
FM AMEMBASSY MOSCOW
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 2151
INFO RUCNCIS/CIS COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHXD/MOSCOW POLITICAL COLLECTIVE PRIORITY

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 MOSCOW 000488 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 02/26/2019 
TAGS: PREL PGOV RS GG OSCE UN
SUBJECT: RUSSIAN MFA ON GENEVA TALKS ABOUT GEORGIA CONFLICT 
 
Classified By: Pol M/C Alice G. Wells for reasons 1.4(b) and (d) 
 
1.  (C) Summary:  MFA CIS Fourth Department Conflicts 
Division Chief Aleksey Dvinyanin February 26 characterized 
the incident response and prevention mechanism as the first 
concrete result of the February 17-18 Geneva process. He 
expressed disappointment that the humanitarian working group 
did not achieve results, but stressed that Russia's priority 
was to create a secure process for the return of "refugees" 
rather than access for humanitarian aid from the south.  He 
saw no need to advance the next meeting from June, 
reiterating Russia's arguments that the issues could better 
be handled in other fora such as the UN, and contended we 
should evaluate how the new incident mechanism was working 
first.  Calling Czech warnings to Belarus about recognizing 
Abkhazia and South Ossetia "irresponsible," Dvinyanin said it 
had placed the entire Geneva process in jeopardy. 
Reaffirming Moscow's support for its proposals on OSCE and UN 
mandates, Dvinyanin was optimistic about the renegotiation of 
a UN observer mandate, but pessimistic regarding the OSCE 
mission.  Dvinyanin accused the EU monitoring mission of 
failing to notice the strong Georgian military presence near 
South Ossetia.  He confirmed that Russian embassies would be 
prepared to represent Abkhaz and South Ossetian interests if 
asked to do so, in accordance with the December inter-MFA 
MOUs with the breakaway regions.  He assured us that the sole 
purpose of the upcoming border demarcation was to delineate 
the borders to Abkhazia and South Ossetia to Russia as they 
had been during the time of the Soviet Union.   End Summary. 
 
-------------- 
Geneva Process 
-------------- 
 
Working Group 1: Purposeful vagueness 
------------------------------------- 
 
2.  (C) MFA CIS Fourth Department Conflicts Division Chief 
Aleksey Dvinyanin saw the results of the February 17-18 
Geneva talks as making some progress, characterizing the 
agreement on incident response and prevention as the first 
concrete result of the Geneva process and the first practical 
agreement since the August conflict.  He lauded the U.S. 
delegation and specifically A/S Fried's role in the talks. 
Explaining that the agreement had been purposely left vague 
and "flexible" to allow the "participants in the field" to 
flesh out practical details such as varying the number of 
participant parties according to the nature of meetings 
(e.g., just South Ossetians and Georgians to exchange 
information, or Russia, the OSCE, and the EU joining the two 
parties in other contexts), Dvinyanin voiced hope that the 
mechanism "would actually be used." 
 
Working Group 2: Wrong priority 
------------------------------- 
 
3.  (C) Dvinyanin expressed disappointment with the lack of 
tangible outcomes in the second working group on refugees and 
IDPs.  He asserted that too much time and attention had been 
focused on deliveries of humanitarian aid, and lack of access 
from the south.  Russia would prefer the working group to 
focus on the return of IDPs and refugees, which was a more 
critical issue.  Russia had "different priorities" because 
its aid already "fully sufficed" to cover the humanitarian 
needs in the breakaway regions.  As examples, he named 
financial assistance and the rebuilding of villages, 
including those inhabited by ethnic Georgians.  Russia did 
not mind if South Ossetia chose to ask for international 
assistance, but understood its sensitivities to the route by 
which aid might be delivered. 
 
4.  (C) Russia's humanitarian priority, Dvinyanin stated, was 
to create a secure process for the return of "refugees." 
Therefore, Russia supported South Ossetian special 
representative Chochiev's proposal that the two Geneva 
working groups on security and IDP return meet jointly or be 
merged, or that the issue be discussed in a broad session 
"with all participants," though he steered clear of calling 
it a plenary session.  Dvinyanin underscored that verifying 
refugee status for those claiming it was also important. 
Stabilizing the situation on the borders and "liquidating 
hatred" were the most pressing requirements for progress on 
humanitarian issues. 
 
Next meeting 
------------ 
 
5.  (C) Despite the need for progress on security, Dvinyanin 
questioned the need for a new meeting in Geneva before June. 
Calling the Geneva process "informal talks," he asserted that 
other international fora such as the UN were better equipped 
 
MOSCOW 00000488  002 OF 003 
 
 
to address the issues of security and humanitarian 
assistance.  He suggested that we should evaluate how the new 
incident prevention mechanism was working before scheduling 
another round.  He intimated that holding the next Geneva 
meeting in June at the same time as discussions on the 
renewal of the UN and OSCE mandates would make sense. 
 
6.  (C) Describing Czech Foreign Minister Karel 
Schwarzenberg's February 23 statement that Belarus would 
incur difficulties in its relationship to the EU if it were 
to recognize Abkhazia and South Ossetia as "irresponsible," 
Dvinyanin said the Russian MFA had taken note at the highest 
level and sent a report to Prime Minister Putin.  Dvinyanin 
noted that Abkhazia was now threatening not to participate in 
another round of Geneva talks unless the Czechs apologized, 
and added that such types of statements could jeopardize the 
entire Geneva process. 
 
7.  (C) When asked about the possibility of working group 
meetings in the interim, Dvinyanin stated that it was 
Russia's "principled position" that there should be no 
separate meetings, both due to the interlinkage of the 
groups' issues, and due to the strain it would impose on the 
Abkhaz and South Ossetians to staff frequent meetings. 
 
----------------- 
Observer mandates 
----------------- 
 
8.  (C) While Dvinyanin was downbeat on the prospects for 
renegotiating an OSCE observer mandate because of South 
Ossetian distrust of the OSCE, he was more sanguine regarding 
the UN observer mission in Abkhazia, because Sukhumi wanted 
international monitors. 
 
OSCE 
---- 
 
9.  (C) Elaborating on the OSCE mission renewal, Dvinyanin 
noted South Ossetian disapproval of the OSCE observers' 
performance during the August conflict as well as now, and 
said that the South Ossetian views were colored by 
"antipathy."  Russia therefore could not do much to change 
the South Ossetian position that there would be no OSCE 
observers in South Ossetia until the OSCE agreed to equal 
field presences in Tskhinvali and Tbilisi that were 
independent from one another. 
 
10.  (C) Despite our protests, Dvinyanin criticized the Greek 
OSCE efforts as too inflexible.  Russia's earlier proposals 
for equal presences in Tbilisi and Tskhinvali for political, 
economic, and humanitarian support still stood, Dvinyanin 
maintained, as Russia did not see how to deviate from the 
proposal's main points.  Citing the examples of OSCE missions 
in Chechnya and pre-independence Kosovo, he insisted that a 
mission in Tskhinvali equal to and independent from Tbilisi's 
would not constitute recognition of South Ossetian 
independence. 
 
UN 
-- 
 
11.  (C) Dvinyanin praised UNSCR 1866 as "useful," as its 
provisions "avoided" the questions of territorial integrity 
and status.  If that approach were maintained until June, he 
thought it would be "simple" to draft a new mandate that 
focused on the non-use of force and human rights.  He noted 
that Russia stood by its proposals containing "various new 
options" for a mission, despite their rejection by the U.S. 
in New York. 
 
No progress without recognition 
------------------------------- 
 
12.  (C) Noting Vice President Biden's remark in Munich about 
"pressing the reset button" in U.S.-Russia relations, 
Dvinyanin wrapped up his views on the Geneva talks by stating 
Georgia should not become an obstacle in the greater 
U.S.-Russia agenda. 
 
---------------- 
Border situation 
---------------- 
 
13.  (C) Dvinyanin accused the EU monitoring mission of 
failing to notice the strong Georgian military presence -- 
"including tanks and rocket launchers" -- near the 
administrative border to South Ossetia since it signed an MOU 
with the Georgian Defense Ministry on January 26.  We pushed 
back, noting the reports of separate UNOMIG and EU no-notice 
inspections of the border areas during the week of February 
 
MOSCOW 00000488  003 OF 003 
 
 
17, in which both missions did not detect any force levels in 
excess of the agreed numbers.  Dvinyanin remained skeptical, 
but could only point out that no-notice inspections were not 
part of the MOU.  He stated that Russia was considering joint 
inspections or invoking the incident response and prevention 
mechanism. 
 
----------------- 
Interest sections 
----------------- 
 
14.  (C) In response to reports about Russian plans to set up 
Abkhaz and South Ossetian interest sections in Russian 
embassies overseas, Dvinyanin explained that one of the 
provisions in the inter-MFA memoranda of understanding signed 
during the working visits of "Foreign Ministers" Shamba and 
Dzhioev in December allowed the Russian MFA to represent 
South Ossetian or Abkhaz interests abroad "if the need arose, 
or if requested."  Given that South Ossetia and Abkhazia were 
"small countries" with little means and staff, Dvinyanin 
surmised that Russian diplomats would initially represent the 
two enclaves' interests, but in any case expected it would 
take time for the MOU to "fully come into force." 
 
------------------ 
Border delineation 
------------------ 
 
15.  (C) Dvinyanin told us that Alexander Golovin, special 
presidential envoy for the delimitation and demarcation of 
the state border with neighboring CIS countries, would not 
personally get involved with the demarcation of the "state 
borders" between Russia, Abkhazia and South Ossetia, which he 
had announced on February 17 to begin this year.  Dvinyanin 
assured us that the sole purpose of the demarcation exercise 
was to delineate the borders as they had been during the time 
of the Soviet Union, and not shift them. 
BEYRLE

Wikileaks

09MOSCOW474, EUROPEAN COMMISSION TO RUSSIA

WikiLeaks Link

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
09MOSCOW474 2009-02-26 15:12 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Moscow

VZCZCXRO3485
PP RUEHDBU RUEHFL RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHNP RUEHROV RUEHSR
DE RUEHMO #0474/01 0571512
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 261512Z FEB 09
FM AMEMBASSY MOSCOW
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 2138
INFO RUCNCIS/CIS COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE PRIORITY

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 MOSCOW 000474 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 02/25/2019 
TAGS: PREL EU RS
SUBJECT: EUROPEAN COMMISSION TO RUSSIA 
 
REF: MOSCOW 365 
 
Classified By: Political MC Alice G. Wells for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d). 
 
Summary 
------- 
 
1.  (C)  On February 6, EC President Barroso led a delegation 
of nine EC commissioners and vice presidents for meetings 
with counterparts in Russia.  This visit was part of an 
intergovernmental framework delayed since 2005, due to a 
series of crises in the EU-Russia relationship.  Human rights 
was not on the agenda but led to a tense public exchange 
between Putin and Barroso in front of the press, an exchange 
built on an interpersonal disconnect.  Lavrov promised to 
build cooperation between the EUMM and Russian forces in 
South Ossetia, but was negative on the establishment of 
plenary sessions for future rounds of Geneva talks.  Behind 
closed doors, the GOR called for scrapping the Energy Charter 
Treaty and replacing it with a new agreement.  The GOR 
assessed that the fact that this visit took place at all 
meant that Russia-EU relations had normalized since August, 
and that the political price of the gas crisis was small. 
End summary. 
 
Back in Business 
---------------- 
 
2.  (SBU) On February 6, the European Commission, led by 
President Jose Manuel Barroso and accompanied by EC Vice 
Presidents Guenter Verheugen (Enterprise and Industry), 
Jacques Barrot (Justice, Freedom, and Security), Siim Kallas 
(Administrative Affairs, Audit, and Anti-Fraud), and Antonio 
Tajani (Transport) and EC Commissioners Stavros Dimas 
(Environment), Joaquin Almunia (Economic and Monetary 
Affairs), Benita Ferrero-Waldner (External Relations and 
European Neighborhood Policy), Andris Piebalgs (Energy), and 
Catherine Ashton (Trade), held wide-ranging consultations 
with the GOR, including meetings with President Medvedev and 
PM Putin.  Much of the discussion at the minister-level 
covered trade and issues related to the Partnership and 
Cooperation Agreement (PCA) negotiations between the EU and 
Russia (reftel).  The meeting between Barroso and Medvedev 
focused on Georgia and energy security.  The EC's visit was 
memorable for the sharp public exchange between Barroso and 
Putin on human rights and the rule of law.  EC-Russian 
consultations took place after a four-year delay (since 2005) 
due to a series of crises.  This latest round was to take 
place in the fall, but was delayed due to the conflict in 
Georgia.  Both sides plan to resume this annual format, as 
originally intended, with the EC to host at an unannounced 
time and location next year. 
 
Talks "Positive and Fruitful" 
----------------------------- 
 
3.  (C)  In a lunch with the Ambassador on February 9, 
European Commission Head of Delegation Marc Franco described 
the Barroso consultations as "positive and fruitful," despite 
the public fireworks with Putin.  Franco attributed Putin's 
reaction to the Prime Minister's thin skin when it came to 
perceptions of criticism.  He contrasted Putin's approach to 
Medvedev, who took the EU's private statement of concern over 
the assassinations of journalists and human rights activist 
Markelov on board.  Medvedev agreed that Russia was 
"preoccupied" with the assassinations, and said that he had 
ordered the investigative agencies to get to the bottom of 
the killings.  Barroso's public remarks, even though there 
was no direct mention of human rights, elicited steely 
retorts of hypocrisy and double standards from Putin, who 
charged that the EU had ignored its member states' treatment 
of Russian minorities, prisoners, and migrants. 
 
4.  (C) In a meeting with us February 24, the Head of the 
MFA's EU Unit Petr Plikhin was similarly upbeat, saying that 
the EC's visit was a successful "restart of cross-sectoral" 
dialogues.  He dismissed the public spat between Barroso and 
Putin as press sensationalism and not the focus of the 
detailed talks.  Despite interpersonal differences, Plikhin 
reflected that with their economies so interdependent, Russia 
and the EU were "doomed to cooperate." 
 
It's Personal 
------------- 
 
5.  (C) The Head of the EC's Mission confirmed the widely 
known personality disconnect between Putin and Barroso. 
According to him, the Prime Minister views the EU 
Commissioner as the "Trojan horse" of the new EU states, 
whose message that "family is closer than friends" had worn 
thin in Moscow.  Putin's pointed remark that "some 
institutions should not get in the way of the development of 
 
MOSCOW 00000474  002 OF 002 
 
 
better Russia-EU relations" was interpreted as a jab at 
Barroso.  The gas war with Ukraine only served to inflame the 
personal grievance Putin held against the Commissioner, whom 
he viewed as unfairly assigning disproportionate blame on 
Russia for the crisis.  Without elaborating, Franco noted 
that it "got personal" during Barroso's meetings with Putin 
during the gas crisis.  While avoiding a direct comment on 
the Putin-Barroso exchange, Plikhin expressed the cautious 
hope that the new commission would have a more productive 
dialogue. 
 
Georgia 
------- 
 
6.  (C) On Georgia, Lavrov promise
d that a mechanism would be 
created to establish contact between the EUMM and Russian 
military, but Franco was uncertain whether the MFA had the 
power to deliver the Ministry of Defense's participation. 
Lavrov was equally enthusiastic about the creation of an 
Incident Prevention Mechanism, but took a stiffer line on the 
Geneva process. 
 
Energy Security 
--------------- 
 
7.  (C) Medvedev publicly charged that the Energy Charter 
Treaty had failed as a mechanism to prevent the recent gas 
crisis with Ukraine, while in closed-door sessions the GOR 
called for the treaty to be scrapped.  The EU will continue 
to push hard for Russian ratification, although Franco 
acknowledged that Russia's real strategy was to renegotiate 
chit-by-chit its way through the substance of the Charter 
Treaty.  The MFA's Plikhin elaborated that Russia was open to 
"fixing" the Energy Charter Treaty, but it would prefer to 
see a new instrument built on the Saint Petersburg 
Declaration.  During the press conference with Barroso, Putin 
also called for EU monitors to remain in Ukraine for the rest 
of the first quarter and demanded greater access for Russian 
monitors.  Franco argued that the gas war had a palliative 
effect on the EU, with member states maintaining a common 
front against what he described as Putin's "systematic 
rubbishing" of Ukraine. 
 
Comment 
------- 
 
8.  (C) The interpersonal conflict between Putin and Barroso 
aside, the GOR saw the long-delayed visit by the EC as a 
normalization of EU-Russia relations after the tensions of 
last August.  The MFA was pleased that the gas crisis with 
Ukraine in January was insufficient enough to derail the 
planned meeting, an enthusiasm that may have mistakenly led 
the GOR to conclude that it suffered little political fallout 
from the crisis. 
BEYRLE

Wikileaks

09MOSCOW473, EU TROIKA TO RUSSIA

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
09MOSCOW473 2009-02-26 15:02 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Moscow

VZCZCXRO3468
PP RUEHDBU RUEHFL RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHNP RUEHROV RUEHSR
DE RUEHMO #0473/01 0571502
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 261502Z FEB 09
FM AMEMBASSY MOSCOW
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 2136
INFO RUCNCIS/CIS COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE PRIORITY

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 MOSCOW 000473 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 02/24/2019 
TAGS: PREL EU RS
SUBJECT: EU TROIKA TO RUSSIA 
 
Classified By: Political MC Alice G. Wells for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d). 
 
Summary 
------- 
 
1.  (C) During the Russia-EU Troika dialogue on February 11, 
Lavrov charged that Georgian troops were massing on the 
boundaries with South Ossetia and Abkhazia.  The MFA later 
called the EU's reports dismissing these claims as a 
"snapshot" that did not measure "true" Georgian intentions. 
Lavrov justified the presence of Russian troops in the two 
break-away territories as necessary to hold back Georgian 
forces.  Lavrov failed to convince the Troika members that 
Medvedev's proposed European Security Treaty was an 
"unstoppable train," but declared the GOR's readiness to 
discuss the proposal at the OSCE and the NRC.  Despite 
earlier criticism, Russia only sought information on the 
European Partnership Initiative and did not seek to attend 
the proposed May summit in Prague.  The GOR offered to 
conclude a framework agreement with the EU on crisis 
management that would more easily permit the GOR to deploy 
forces in support of EU missions.  End summary. 
 
Off the Agenda 
-------------- 
 
2.  (C) The Russia-EU Troika meetings in Moscow on February 
11 were a mix of Russian bluster and cooperation, but 
diverged from the planned agenda.  Trade and the Partnership 
and Cooperation Agreement negotiations did not figure 
prominently in the meeting, as they had been addressed by the 
European Commission and President Barroso during their visit 
to Moscow on February 6 (septel). 
 
Georgia on my mind, Lavrov 
-------------------------- 
 
3.  (C) FM Lavrov reportedly took charge of the meeting and 
used it to go on the offensive regarding Georgia.  He said 
that Russia was very concerned with reports that "Georgian 
special forces" were massing at the border without clear 
intentions and in violation of existing agreements.  The GOR 
was also disappointed with the lack of EU monitors' reports 
and efforts to liaise with Russian forces.  The Russian 
Foreign Minister justified the presence of Russian forces, 
saying that they were there to protect people and now needed 
to remain in order to hold back Georgian forces.  In a 
meeting with us February 24, the MFA's Head of the EU Unit 
Petr Plikhin called the EU Monitors' reports which dismissed 
Russian charges that Georgian forces were massing on the 
boundaries with South Ossetia and Abkhazia as inconclusive 
and a "snapshot" of the situation that did not measure "true" 
Georgian intentions. 
 
European Security Treaty (EST) 
------------------------------ 
 
4.  (C) On the EST, Lavrov likened it to an "unstoppable 
train," arguing that the proposal had momentum.  In addition 
to DFM Grushko's presentation at the joint PC-FSC February 
18,  Russia was prepared to address the issue at the OSCE's 
Annual Security Review Conference, at a proposed special 
summit under the Kazakh Chairmanship of the OSCE in 2010, and 
at the NRC.  Lavrov was reported to say that dialogue at 
these multilateral fora would be complimented by bilateral 
meetings and consultation with European countries, the U.S., 
and Canada, (Note:  Swedish Director General Bjorn Lyrvall 
told the Ambassador that Lavrov said that Russia was already 
in consultations with the U.S. on the EST.)  Lavrov wanted to 
put aside concerns raised at the recent Munich Security 
Conference that the EST would undermine the Helsinki Final 
Act and was quoted to say that this "was not a Helsinki II 
but a Helsinki plus." 
 
Eastern Partnership Initiative (EPI) 
------------------------------------ 
 
5.  (C) The EU's Troika was prepared for a spirited 
discussion of its EPI, but found the GOR to be less negative 
than expected.  Lavrov did not request observer status for 
Russia at the proposed May summit in Prague, but reportedly 
probed into the concept.  He underlined that the EPI should 
not come at the expense of relations between Russia and 
partner countries.  Plikhin elaborated that the GOR was eager 
to understand the proposal and the extent to which the 
initiative was open for others, including Russia, to 
participate. 
 
Crisis Management 
----------------- 
 
6.  (C) Lavrov praised the deployment of Russian helicopters 
 
MOSCOW 00000473  002 OF 002 
 
 
and crews to support the EU's mission to Chad and the Central 
African Republic, and proposed that the EU and Russia draft a 
framework agreement that would allow for the quick deployment 
of Russian assets in support of other EU missions.  The MFA's 
Plikhin denied the reports of EU diplomats that Russia 
offered to train additional Afghan police officers at its own 
expense.  The GOR also showed an interest in coordinating 
anti-piracy efforts with the EU, with Lavrov saying that it 
preferred working with the EU rather than under a NATO 
umbrella. 
 
Comment 
------- 
 
7.  (C)  By pushing hard on Georgia and thereby seizing the 
agenda of the meeting, Lavrov put the EU's Troika off-balance 
-- a tactic that continued with Russia offering deepened 
cooperation on EU mis
sions and foregoing the opportunity to 
pounce on the EPI.  GOR efforts to convince interlocutors 
that the EST had momentum and should rise to the level of a 
ministerial discussion fell flat when participants compared 
notes with us and others who Lavrov claimed were ready to 
work with Russia on the EST. 
BEYRLE

Wikileaks

09MOSCOW472, BRYANSK: GOVERNOR BOASTS STABILITY AMID CRISIS,

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
09MOSCOW472 2009-02-26 14:45 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Moscow

VZCZCXRO3426
RR RUEHDBU
DE RUEHMO #0472/01 0571445
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
R 261445Z FEB 09
FM AMEMBASSY MOSCOW
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 2134
INFO RUCNCIS/CIS COLLECTIVE
RUEHXD/MOSCOW POLITICAL COLLECTIVE

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 MOSCOW 000472 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 02/25/2019 
TAGS: PGOV PREL PHUM KDEM ECON RS BO UP
SUBJECT: BRYANSK: GOVERNOR BOASTS STABILITY AMID CRISIS, 
COMMUNISTS HOPE FOR ELECTORAL GAINS 
 
REF: MOSCOW 290 
 
Classified By: Political Minister-Counselor Alice Wells for reasons 1.4 
 (b) and (d). 
 
1. (C) Summary: A February 18-19 visit to Bryansk revealed a 
regional government enjoying strong Moscow support yet 
focused on shifting attention away from the growing economic 
crisis.  Isolated investment successes and a pan-Slavic 
economic forum in Bryansk, featuring an appearance by State 
Duma Speaker Boris Gryzlov, have provided a PR coup for the 
governor and for United Russia as March 1 elections approach. 
 Bryansk lacks any popular or coordinated liberal democratic 
opposition, leaving the Communist Party as the only real 
threat to United Russia's dominance.  Despite expectations of 
voter fraud and limited broadcast media access, the 
Communists have targeted Bryansk as a key electoral 
battleground for the March 1 regional elections.  End Summary. 
 
Government Highlights Investment Projects, Moscow Support 
--------------------------------------------- ------------ 
 
2. (C) Despite the deepening economic crisis, the Bryansk 
Region government has focused on isolated investment projects 
and the cachet of Moscow backing to bolster its image and 
limit the political opposition ahead of March 1 regional and 
municipal elections.  Trade and Industry Chamber Chair 
Natalya Suvorova rosily predicted February 18 that Bryansk 
would weather the crisis well, but then just ten minutes 
later she complained that vanishing bank credit and a lack of 
talented professionals in the region (e.g., lawyers, 
businessmen, editors) would scare away investment.  Isolated 
investment successes have therefore received major local 
media coverage, such as the February 21 opening of a new 
shopping mall amid much fanfare from Bryansk Governor Nikolai 
Denin.  However, the governor's popularity remains uncertain 
amid declining industrial output and rising unemployment 
(cited at 11.4 percent by the pro-government Suvorova).  On 
the other hand, local businesswoman Arina Ivanicheva offered 
us a grimmer outlook with stories of numerous small 
businesses that recently shuttered and commercial rent prices 
that have dropped by as much as 50 percent since last summer. 
 
3. (C) Governor Denin also used the February 18 first-ever 
International Slavic Economic Forum as an opportunity to 
bolster the regional government's standing.  With a goal of 
promoting investment and Slavic unity, the forum brought 
together political, banking, and business leaders from 
Russia, Belarus, and Ukraine (as well as delegations from 
several European and Asian countries).  It is unclear whether 
the forum will result in jobs and investment, but the loud 
applause given to various speakers' calls to "unite the 
Slavic culture" and "promote Slavic unity" demonstrated 
Bryansk's strategic importance as the only Russian region 
bordering both Ukraine and Belarus.  Akhmed Abdullaev, a 
forum attendee and Deputy General Director of Renaissance 
Construction in Moscow, told us the forum would not benefit 
his firm and likely would not result in new investment 
"except maybe projects that will bring money to those who 
already have it," an allusion to allegedly corrupt projects 
in the region. (Note: One example of corruption cited 
frequently by contacts was the boondoggle related to building 
a new local airport.  End Note.)  The forum, Abdullaev 
confided, offered local leaders "a chance to drink too much 
vodka and read too much bad poetry to their guests." 
 
4. (C) Support from Moscow has provided a further boost for 
the regional government and has demonstrated that the Kremlin 
does not intend to give ground easily in the March 1 
elections.  The most recent indications of Moscow support 
included State Duma Speaker Boris Gryzlov delivering opening 
remarks at the February 18 forum and holding meetings with 
the governor, and the February 16 visit by pro-Kremlin Just 
Russia party leader (and Federation Council chair) Sergey 
Mironov. 
 
Communists Expect Boost, Fraud in March Election 
--------------------------------------------- --- 
 
5. (C) Even the Bryansk governor's office conceded that the 
Communist Party would benefit at the polls on March 1 from 
present economic hardships.  Andrey Anofrikov, the new press 
secretary for Governor Denin, acknowledged that the 
Communists likely would receive a small bump of about 5 
percent (bringing them to 25 percent) due to increasing voter 
frustrations with the crisis.  In response, United Russia has 
campaigned vigorously.  Downtown Bryansk was papered with 
campaign posters and billboards for United Russia, with 
nearly every store window including at least one sign for the 
party.  Canvassers distributed United Russia literature. 
Elsewhere in town, LDPR and Just Russia each had one lone 
 
MOSCOW 00000472  002 OF 002 
 
 
billboard to broadcast their message.  We did not see a 
single Communist
 billboard or poster, and KPRF's Bryansk 
branch declined to meet with us. 
 
6. (C) Since KPRF leader Gennadiy Zyuganov's January 
prediction that the Communists would make large gains in 
Bryansk's March 1 elections, the Communists have pinned their 
hopes on using the region as a first blow against United 
Russia dominance.  Zyuganov and KPRF leaders spent February 
24-25 in Bryansk to rally supporters, but party leaders 
privately have acknowledged they do not expect the official 
vote tallies will be accurate.  KPRF Deputy Chair Ivan 
Melnikov told us February 5 that widespread electoral fraud 
would hide his party's real gains in the regions (reftel), an 
accusation for which regional Yabloko branch leader Andrey 
Ponomarev claimed to have evidence.  Ponomarev claimed that 
his accountant, Tatyana Rozavoniya, also worked as a 
secretary for the regional electoral commission.  Although 
not independently verifiable, Ponomarev told us that 
Rozavoniya told him she personally had witnessed electoral 
fraud during past elections. 
 
Democratic Opposition Nearly Non-Existent 
----------------------------------------- 
 
7. (C) Democratic opposition in Bryansk remains in shambles 
and in no position to muster public support against the 
government, much less pose any threat to it.  Yabloko's 
Ponomarev told us his party had only 500 members region-wide, 
down from 5,000 members six years ago, and that the last 
opposition protest had been in October 2008.  Vladimir 
Shcherbakov, head of the regional branch of the Russian 
People's Democratic Union (RNDS, headed by former prime 
minister Mikhail Kasyanov), shared Ponomarev's downbeat 
assessment of regional political opposition.  "Nobody cares 
who the leadership is," Shcherbakov explained, adding that 
"the people here worry too much about how they will eat and 
how they will work" to rally on the streets. 
 
"Dacha Ring" an Unlikely Political Safety Valve 
--------------------------------------------- -- 
 
8. (C) Gubernatorial press secretary Anofrikov speculated 
that economic disaster would not necessarily lead to 
political unrest in Bryansk because those suffering most from 
the crisis would retreat to what he called the "dacha ring" 
around the city.  During the 1998 crisis, he explained, local 
residents moved from their city homes to their summer homes 
outside Bryansk.  There, he said, Bryansk residents lived far 
more cheaply, subsisted on food they raised, and were away 
from downtown Bryansk where they might be tempted to rally 
against the government.  The dacha ring's re-emergence, 
Anofrikov noted, would indicate a shift from economic to 
political instability if the demographic hemorrhaging from 
urban areas were not managed properly.  However, given the 
region's greater wealth and number of small and medium-sized 
businesses today (at least 1,000 according to Tatyana 
Suvarova) compared to 1998, the so-called dacha ring may not 
appeal as an alternative to life in the city. 
 
Comment 
------- 
 
9. (C) Despite growing economic troubles in the region, 
Bryansk likely will not suffer any significant political 
shifts in the March 1 elections.  KPRF leader Zyuganov 
personally targeted Bryansk as a political battlefield on 
which he hoped to draw blood against United Russia to 
demonstrate his party's renewed vigor.  However, his plan to 
win a majority of regional duma seats certainly will fall far 
short, at least in the "official" vote tallies, since Moscow 
remains unwilling to let any region be the first crack in 
United Russia's dominance.  Bryansk's importance to Moscow 
may also lay in its strategic location bordering both Ukraine 
and Belarus.  Pumping up Bryansk as a nexus of pan-Slavic 
vitality may not result in large financial investments, but 
it should provide an added morale boost to carry the region's 
leaders past the elections. 
BEYRLE

Wikileaks

09MOSCOW471, RUSSIA RESPONSE ON EXTENSION OF RER AGREEMENT

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
09MOSCOW471 2009-02-26 13:03 2011-08-30 01:44 UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY Embassy Moscow

VZCZCXYZ0002
PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHMO #0471/01 0571303
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 261303Z FEB 09
FM AMEMBASSY MOSCOW
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 2132
INFO RHMFIUU/DEPT OF ENERGY WASHINGTON DC

UNCLAS MOSCOW 000471 
 
SENSITIVE 
SIPDIS 
 
STATE FOR ISN/NESS METZ AND L/T CANNON 
DOE FOR HS BARRETT FOUNTOS 
STATE ALSO FOR EUR/RUS and EUR/ACE 
 
E.O. 12958: N/A 
TAGS: ENRG KNNP KSCA KTIA OTRA PARM TRGY EAID RS
SUBJECT: RUSSIA RESPONSE ON EXTENSION OF RER AGREEMENT 
 
REF: STATE 2980 
 
SENSITIVE BUT UNCLASSIFIED -- NOT FOR INTERNET DISTRIBUTION 
 
1. (SBU) SUMMARY: On February 13, representatives of the MFA, 
Rosatom, and Russia's Federal Biomedical Agency (FMBA) told Embassy 
EST and DOE representatives that Russia is willing to sign an 
extension of the Agreement on Cooperation in Research on Radiation 
Effects (RER).  However, most of the amendments proposed by the U.S. 
side are unacceptable -- specifically, those dealing with import and 
export privileges, site access, and data access -- as the proposed 
language is too sweeping, and the issues of site access and data 
access are already covered under previously negotiated agreements 
and Russian regulations.  The only possible exception is the 
proposed text on taxation.  If state tax authorities concur with the 
proposed text on taxation, it can remain.  Based on the categorical 
reaction, we believe the Russian side will not accept most of the 
proposed text.  FMBA officials expressed satisfaction with the 
current practice of resolving implementation issues during meetings 
of the two sides.  END SUMMARY. 
 
2. (SBU) Per reftel, on February 13, EST Counselor, Acting Head of 
DOE Moscow Office, EST Health Officer and EST Health Specialist met 
with First Secretary Aleksey Ivanov of the MFA North America 
Department; Mikhail Kiselev, FMBA Deputy Director; Yevgeniy 
Goloborodko of FMBA's Department of Research Organization; and 
Sergey Mikheyenko of Rosatom to discuss the proposed extension of 
the Agreement on Cooperation in Research on Radiation Effects (RER). 
 Kiselev expressed the Russian position that the agreement should be 
extended.  He noted, however, that the text proposed by the U.S. 
side drastically differs from the draft extension protocol forwarded 
by the Russian side to DOE (Pat Worthington) on December 11, 2008, 
and that most of the additions are a total surprise to him. 
 
TAXATION: WILL CONSIDER, BUT DON'T EXPECT QUICK REPLY 
--------------------------------------------- -------- 
 
3. (SBU) On the issue of taxation (article VIII, point 1), Kiselev 
promised to seek clarification from tax authorities on which taxes 
could be exempted.  He warned us not to expect a reply for at least 
one month.  He also advised that the response may depend upon 
whether the agreement covers technical assistance or cooperation. 
Kiselev said that he understood that the reason for the proposed 
amendment was that the RER agreement is no longer implemented 
through a tax-exempt third-party implementing organization.  Ivanov, 
the MFA representative, seemed surprised that such language was 
included as a draft amendment, querying whether the U.S. will be 
inserting more such specific language in agreements.  We indicated 
that if assistance taxation is not clarified, it is quite likely 
that the U.S. will seek explicit language on tax exemption of 
assistance-funded projects. 
 
IMPORT-EXPORT ON DEMAND: "INAPPROPRIATE" 
---------------------------------------- 
 
4. (SBU) On the issue of import of materials and supplies (article 
VIII, point 2), Kiselev protested that the wording of the proposed 
paragraph is inappropriate because it is too broad.  He commented 
that the words "any materials or supplies" could refer to 
radioactive waste or materials used to commit terrorist acts.  He 
said that import and export of goods must be in accordance with 
Russian law, and that this point must be removed. 
 
SITE AND DATA ACESS: ALREADY COVERED ELSEWHERE 
--------------------------------------------- - 
 
5. (SBU) On the issue of site access (article IX, point 1), Kiselev 
indicated that this point is superfluous and inappropriate.  Access 
must be granted not "upon request" as the proposed language 
stipulates, but in accordance with established Russian procedure. 
Access requests to closed cities that are under Rosatom purview must 
be submitted three to four months in advance of a proposed visit, 
and visits to closed facilities like Mayak are virtually impossible. 
 In the case of research associated with agreement implementation, 
Kiselev noted that at the Sixth Joint Coordinating Committee meeting 
in October 2008, the United States and Russia signed a joint 
recommendation on planning and organization of visits to Russia's 
secure territories, for which special permission is required for 
visits by foreigners.  The recommendation specifies that Rosatom 
will develop separate guidelines delineating detailed procedures for 
visits of U.S. personnel.  Kiselev recommended that U.S. scientists 
work with their Russian counterparts at the South Urals Institute of 
Biophysics or the Urals Research Institute of Radiation Medicine in 
Chelyabinsk, and that there is no need to access Mayak itself. 
 
6. (SBU) Kiselev said that the propo
sed text on data access (article 
IX, point 2.a) is redundant.  He reminded us that this issue is 
regulated by a separate Data Access Agreement, which was concluded 
at the Joint Coordinating Committee Meeting in 2000 within the 
framework of the RER Agreement. 
 
TISSUE SAMPLES: SOFTEN LANGUAGE 
------------------------------- 
 
7. (SBU) Kiselev commented that while Point 2.b on transport of 
human tissue samples may be a legitimate point for discussion, it is 
not acceptable to the Russian side as written.  He emphasized that 
the Russian facility used to store tissue samples was built with 
Russian government funds, not financed under the RER agreement, and 
thus the tissue samples are indisputably Russian property.  He 
advised that for purposes of renewing the agreement at present, the 
issue should be covered with more general language, such as: "The 
sides are working on issues of possible transfer of biological 
materials."  He said that the GOR Ministry of Health and Social 
Development is developing regulations to govern export of biological 
samples, but that export procedures are not yet outlined. 
 
YEARS OF PRODUCTIVE WORK; US SHOULD WITHDRAW AMENDMENTS 
--------------------------------------------- ---------- 
 
8. (SBU) Kiselev summed up the Russian position by recommending 
that, in the interest of expediency, the U.S. side withdraw all 
proposed amendments.  He also advised that the Emergency Situations 
Ministry (Emercom) will no longer be the implementing agency of the 
agreement, as it does not have active projects, but will continue 
participating in the agreement.  This change was reflected in the 
draft extension protocol provided by the Russian side in December 
2008.  Kiselev characterized the work performed under agreement 
during the past 14 years as very useful and productive and proudly 
noted that it had resulted in 155 publications in leading scientific 
journals.  He noted that even if the agreement were suspended, the 
Russian side would continue the research with its own funding.  He 
also mentioned that Russia is already working with the Europeans on 
similar projects. 
 
COMMENT 
------- 
 
9. (SBU) Comment: Kiselev made it clear that, with the possible 
exception of the point of taxation, the Russian government will not 
accept the proposed amendments as currently worded.  FMBA believes 
the agreement works well in its current form, and that no 
significant change is necessary.  It appears that we have little 
leverage with which to force the issue.  If there are specific 
aspects of the agreement that from the U.S. perspective have not 
functioned well in practice, it may be more effective to raise those 
specific issues with the Russian side and suggest specific alternate 
language. 
 
BEYRLE

Wikileaks

09MOSCOW470, DEMARCHE DELIVERED: UN APPEALS TRIBUNAL –

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. #09MOSCOW470.
Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
09MOSCOW470 2009-02-26 11:37 2011-08-30 01:44 UNCLASSIFIED Embassy Moscow

VZCZCXYZ0000
PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHMO #0470 0571137
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 261137Z FEB 09
FM AMEMBASSY MOSCOW
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 2131
INFO RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 0464

UNCLAS MOSCOW 000470 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: N/A 
TAGS: AORC APER KAWC KJUS KUNR PREL UNGA UNGA
UNGA/C-6, RS 
SUBJECT: DEMARCHE DELIVERED: UN APPEALS TRIBUNAL - 
SUPPORTING AMCIT JUDICIAL NOMINATION 
 
REF: STATE 16254 
 
We delivered reftel demarche on February 25 to MFA Counselor 
for International Organizations Aleksandr Alimov, who said 
that the GOR would consider the candidacy of Judge Mark P. 
Painter to the United Nations Dispute Tribunal (UNDT), but 
could not indicate at this time who the GOR would ultimately 
support. 
BEYRLE

Wikileaks