Monthly Archives: June 2009

09MOSCOW1704, DEMARCHE ON RECENT U.S. NOMINATION OF THREE

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
09MOSCOW1704 2009-06-30 11:12 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Moscow

VZCZCXYZ0014
OO RUEHWEB

DE RUEHMO #1704 1811112
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 301112Z JUN 09
FM AMEMBASSY MOSCOW
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 4013
INFO RUEHGG/UN SECURITY COUNCIL COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK PRIORITY 0502
RUEATRS/DEPT OF TREASURY WASHDC PRIORITY

C O N F I D E N T I A L MOSCOW 001704 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 06/30/2019 
TAGS: KTFN EFIN ETTC RU
SUBJECT: DEMARCHE ON RECENT U.S. NOMINATION OF THREE 
INDIVIDUALS FOR DESIGNATION AT THE 1267 COMMITTEE 
 
REF: STATE 065602 
 
Classified By: EconMinCouns Eric T. Schultz, reasons 1.4 (b,d) 
 
Demarche per reftel was delivered to Aleksander Leonidovich 
Sukhov, Head of the MFA's Office for 1267 Resolution Issues, 
on June 29.  Sukhov told us that the agencies in the Russian 
government involved in the 1267 process were completing their 
review of the U.S. nomination, and notification of Russia's 
support for the designation would be made within the next few 
days. 
BEYRLE

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09MOSCOW1696, FIRST BRIC SUMMIT OFFERS NO CONCRETE RESULTS

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
09MOSCOW1696 2009-06-29 14:04 2011-08-30 01:44 UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY Embassy Moscow

VZCZCXRO4194
RR RUEHAO RUEHCD RUEHGA RUEHGD RUEHGR RUEHHA RUEHHO RUEHMC RUEHMT
RUEHNG RUEHNL RUEHQU RUEHRD RUEHRG RUEHRS RUEHTM RUEHVC
DE RUEHMO #1696/01 1801404
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 291404Z JUN 09 (CCY AD828AD6 MSI4397-632)
FM AMEMBASSY MOSCOW
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 4003
INFO RUEHXD/MOSCOW POLITICAL COLLECTIVE
RUCNCIS/CIS COLLECTIVE
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC
RUEKDIA/DIA WASHDC
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC
RUEHZG/NATO EU COLLECTIVE
RUEHWH/WESTERN HEMISPHERIC AFFAIRS DIPL POSTS
RUEHOO/CHINA POSTS COLLECTIVE
RUCNCLS/ALL SOUTH AND CENTRAL ASIA COLLECTIVE

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 MOSCOW 001696 
C O R R E C T E D  C O P Y 
(DROP ADDRESSEE ADDED - YEKATERINBURG) 
 
SENSITIVE 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958:  N/A 
TAGS: PREL PGOV ECIN EFIN BR CH IN RS
 
SUBJECT: FIRST BRIC SUMMIT OFFERS NO CONCRETE RESULTS 
 
REF: Yekaterinburg 36 
 
MOSCOW 00001696  001.5 OF 002 
 
 
1. (SBU) Summary: Though labeled a resounding success by Russian 
President Medvedev, the first formal BRIC summit offered few 
concrete results.  While downplaying the future role of the group, 
Russian MFA officials stressed that BRIC was a consultative forum 
that aims to address pressing global problems.  MFA officials also 
stated that Russia was pleased with BRIC's existing structure and 
that there were currently no plans to institutionalize the group. 
Experts, meanwhile, are skeptical of BRIC's potential, noting that 
the divergent interests of the member states may hinder BRIC's 
effectiveness and development beyond a loose political grouping. 
End Summary. 
 
---------------- 
A First for BRIC 
---------------- 
 
2. (SBU) Russian President Medvedev, Chinese President Hu Jintao, 
Brazilian President Luis Inacio Lula da Silva, and Indian Prime 
Minister Manmohan Singh met June 16 in Yekaterinburg for the first 
formal BRIC summit.  Prior to the summit, Medvedev said that he 
wanted to discuss "traditional" international security issues 
alongside economic issues, but the talks were dominated by economic, 
food, and energy security issues. 
 
3. (SBU) President Medvedev indicated in a June 16 news conference 
following the summit that the discussion centered on how to 
encourage fairer decision-making in the international arena or, in 
other words, how to build a "just world order."  Medvedev said that 
the summit met expectations and was a historic event of "exceptional 
significance."  Following the summit, the four leaders released a 
joint statement that called for a more multi-polar world.  The 
statement emphasized the need for reform in the international 
financial arena and for cooperation and coordination to encourage 
energy security. 
 
--------------------- 
Down with the Dollar? 
--------------------- 
 
4. (SBU) President Medvedev publicly raised the eventual possibility 
of a supranational currency to replace the U.S. dollar as the main 
global currency at the June 15-16 Shanghai Cooperation Organization 
meeting, but refrained from doing so at the BRIC summit (ref).  The 
joint statement that resulted from the summit, however, emphasized 
the international community's need for a more diverse monetary 
system.  Although the details of such a currency remain undecided, 
according to the statement the objective would be to decrease the 
global economy's reliance on the U.S. dollar and expand the voice of 
emerging economies in the international financial organizations. 
 
5. (SBU) Although several Russian officials have repeatedly 
mentioned the idea of a supranational currency in public, privately 
our interlocutors, as well as experts, have expressed skepticism 
that this idea will go forward.  They view the discussion 
surrounding a supranational currency as an indication of the 
profound loss of faith in a single dominant currency, which resulted 
from the global financial crisis. 
 
----------------------------------- 
No Agreement on BRIC's Significance 
----------------------------------- 
 
6. (SBU) Experts have emphasized that the BRIC member states have 
very little in common, and, as a result, it is premature to claim 
that they will be able to find answers to today's global problems. 
Gennadiy Chufrin of the Institute of World Economy and International 
Relations (IMEMO) called BRIC a mere "propaganda balloon" at this 
stage.  Commentators were hard pressed to find commonalities among 
the member states in terms of culture, economic structure, or paths 
to development.  Nezavisimaya Gazeta described BRIC as "a mere 
outline of a new international club" and urged that its significance 
should not be overestimated. 
 
-------------------------- 
MFA Downplays Role of BRIC 
-------------------------- 
 
7. (SBU) Despite the more heightened attention to BRIC as a result 
of the June 16 summit, MFA officials stressed that the United 
 
MOSCOW 00001696  002.3 OF 002 
 
 
Nations is the central global consultative forum and that the G-20 
has been the main crisis response center to the global economic 
crisis.  The MFA hopes that BRIC will become a stronger, unified 
voice within the U.N. and G-20.  Comparing BRIC to regional 
organizations such as the CSTO, APEC, and SADC, they stated that 
BRIC is one for
um, of many, for addressing the global economic 
crisis. 
 
8. (SBU) According to MFA officials, there are no plans to 
institutionalize BRIC or alter the current structure of the group. 
They underline that BRIC currently is only a consultative mechanism 
without a formal structure, and that further institutionalization of 
the group will be determined by the need for and the ability of BRIC 
to address pressing global issues such as climate change, 
humanitarian crises, international security issues, and the economic 
crisis. 
 
------- 
Comment 
------- 
 
9. (SBU) Despite concerns about inflationary pressures on the 
dollar, Russia is unlikely to advance its cause among BRIC states 
for an alternative to the U.S. dollar as the main global currency. 
While BRIC countries will have to work to find common ground, the 
recent summit may serve as a starting point for more foreign and 
economic policy coordination between the four states.  Though 
labeled a resounding success by Medvedev, the first formal BRIC 
summit offered mostly words and few concrete results. 
BEYRLE

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09MOSCOW1688, SAMADUROV EXPECTS GUILTY VERDICT IN “FORBIDDEN

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
09MOSCOW1688 2009-06-29 11:18 2011-08-30 01:44 UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY Embassy Moscow

VZCZCXRO1253
OO RUEHDBU RUEHLN RUEHPOD RUEHSK RUEHVK RUEHYG
DE RUEHMO #1688/01 1801118
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 291118Z JUN 09
FM AMEMBASSY MOSCOW
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 3994
INFO RUCNCIS/CIS COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHXD/MOSCOW POLITICAL COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC PRIORITY

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 MOSCOW 001688 
 
SENSITIVE 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: N/A 
TAGS: PREL PGOV KIRF PHUM PINR SOCI KJUS RS
SUBJECT: SAMADUROV EXPECTS GUILTY VERDICT IN "FORBIDDEN 
ART" TRIAL 
 
REF: 08 MOSCOW 2582 
 
1.  (SBU) Summary:  The trial of former Sakharov Center 
Director Yuriy Samodurov and former curator of the New 
Tretyakov Gallery Andrey Yerofeyev has entered its third 
month of hearings at the Taganskiy district court in the 
criminal case brought against them for a 2006 modern art 
exhibit entitled "Forbidden Art."  The two are charged under 
Article 282 of the Russian Criminal Code for an "attempt to 
incite religious enmity."  The exhibit inflamed religious 
conservatives, and the prosecution plans to call 136 
witnesses, while the defense has only two.  Although thus far 
the trial has lacked any procedural violations, many people, 
including the defendants themselves, see a guilty verdict as 
a foregone conclusion.  Samodurov and his supporters see the 
case as a key test of freedom of expression in Russia.  End 
Summary. 
 
The Exhibition 
-------------- 
 
2.  (SBU) The current trial stems from a 2007 modern art 
exhibition entitled "Forbidden Art" that Samodurov and 
Yerofeyev organized at the Sakharov Center.  It was composed 
of modern works of art from various artists, many of which 
depicted images of nudity and, according to some religious 
conservatives, defacement of famous religious personalities 
and icons.  One of the most striking artistic pieces was a 
portrait of Jesus and his disciples at the Last Supper in 
which Jesus' face had been replaced with that of Mickey 
Mouse.  The exhibit ran from March 3 to April 1, 2007 in a 
small room of the Sakharov Center and was visited by 
approximately 700 people. 
 
3.  (SBU) The provocative nature of the exhibit attracted for 
Samodurov and Yerofeyev more than a few enemies from Moscow's 
conservative religious community.  Groups that spoke out 
against the exhibition included religious and right-wring 
political organizations such as "The People's Defense" the 
"Union of Orthodox Citizens," the "People's Council," and 
even the "Movement Against Illegal Immigration."  In a June 6 
article from their web site the "People's Defense" (Narodnaya 
Zashchita) described in detail the "blasphemous" nature of 
the exhibit and the necessity of swift punishment for the two 
exhibition organizers. 
 
The Trial 
--------- 
 
4.  (SBU) On May 15, 2008, prosecutors charged Samodurov and 
Yerofeyev with promoting religious hatred under Article 282 
of the Russian Criminal Code (reftel), which carries a five 
year maximum sentence for "inciting extremist enmity through 
an official position or as a group."  Authorities have argued 
that Samodurov and Yerofeyev organized and promoted an 
exhibition that incited religious enmity towards Christianity 
through official organizations of the New Tretyakov and the 
Sakharov Centers, and are thus subject to prosecution to the 
fullest extent of this law. 
 
5.  (SBU) After the initial hearing on June 5, we observed 
the trial on June 19 when the defense had the opportunity to 
cross-examine several of the 136 witnesses lined up by the 
prosecution.  Many of the witnesses called to testify against 
Samodurov and Yerofeyev had connections with the Russian 
Orthodox Church (ROC) and religious groups such as "The 
People's Defense."  The prosecution witnesses as a group 
seemed to be composed of many elderly and devout women and 
several Orthodox priests.  During the course of the 
cross-examination, the defense attorney showed that several 
of the witnesses had not even visited the exhibit.  In 
addition, many of those who attended the hearing on June 19 
were quite vocal in their personal condemnation of Samodurov 
and Yerofeyev  Some of the elderly women, Bibles in hand, 
hissed and crossed themselves when Samodurov cross-examined 
the first witnesses. The judge gave the defense ample time 
and opportunity to cross-examine prosecution witnesses and 
make their case. Both Samodurov and Yerofeyev arrived at the 
court house on their own and were neither handcuffed or 
restrained in the metal cages often used for defendants in 
criminal cases; they were instead allowed to sit with their 
legal council across from the prosecution. 
 
Samodurov Believes Conviction a Foregone Conclusion 
--------------------------------------------- ------ 
 
6.  (SBU) In a June 10 meeting, Samodurov told us he held out 
little hope of getting off without some form of punishment by 
the state.  He believed that his fate was sealed and that the 
 
MOSCOW 00001688  002 OF 002 
 
 
trial was political, with the decision already made in "high 
places near the President."  Unlike our previous meetings, 
Samodurov seemed despondent, and no longer held out much hope 
in contacting Medvedev to appeal his case.  When asked 
whether freedom of speech had increased in Russia under 
Medvedev, Sam
odurov said that it was obvious to him that 
"Putin and Medvedev are both the same.  Nothing really has 
changed."  Whereas last year Samodurov felt that the best 
course of action to avoid prison time would be a letter from 
Medvedev and appeals from this colleagues Lyudmilla 
Alekseyeva and Lev Ponomarev, he now believed that the only 
likely course for him will be a prison sentence, possibly as 
long as three years.  He did hold out some hope that he might 
get a probationary sentence. 
 
7. (SBU) According to observers, the Taganskiy regional court 
in Moscow is not likely to reach a verdict for at least 
several more months.  The vast amount of evidence and the 
number of witnesses being called to testify against Samodurov 
and Yerofeyev is a workload and will require time for such a 
small court to complete.  However, based on the "evidence" 
against the two organizers and the negative mood of the 
public towards the exhibition, it seems likely that the 
result will not be in their favor.  As Yerofeyev said in a 
recent interview, the trial is symbolic, a symbol of the "new 
war of Russian society and power on its culture." 
 
Comment 
------- 
 
8.  (SBU) The important issue here is not the trial itself. 
Samodurov is a controversial figure who has a history of use 
of provocative artistic displays to make political 
statements.  What is key is the arbitrary use of Article 282 
as a means to stifle free speech and dampen opposition to 
what civil rights advocate Lev Ponomarev calls the 
"increasing collusion between church and state" and the 
growing influence of Orthodoxy in Russian politics and 
society.  While Article 282 is clearly intended to dissuade 
citizens from engaging in or encouraging acts of hatred and 
violence against other ethnic groups in today's 
multi-religious and multi-ethnic Russia, this attempt to 
charge two controversial figures under the same law used to 
convict neo-Nazis of hate crimes is a stretch.  If the GOR is 
willing to charge criminally exhibit organizers and museum 
curators for an exhibition that some people may find 
offensive, then it might charge other dissenting voices with 
extremism.  We will continue to monitor this case closely. 
BEYRLE

Wikileaks

09MOSCOW1685, SUPREME COURT OVERTURNS ACQUITTAL OF POLITKOVSKAYA

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
09MOSCOW1685 2009-06-29 09:07 2011-08-30 01:44 UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY Embassy Moscow

VZCZCXRO1507
RR RUEHDBU RUEHLN RUEHPOD RUEHSK RUEHVK RUEHYG
DE RUEHMO #1685/01 1800907
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 290907Z JUN 09
FM AMEMBASSY MOSCOW
TO RUCNCIS/CIS COLLECTIVE
RUEHXD/MOSCOW POLITICAL COLLECTIVE
RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 3990

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 MOSCOW 001685 
 
SENSITIVE 
SIPDIS 
 
FOR DOJ 
 
E.O. 12958: N/A 
TAGS: PGOV PREL PHUM KDEM RS
SUBJECT: SUPREME COURT OVERTURNS ACQUITTAL OF POLITKOVSKAYA 
DEFENDANTS 
 
REF: MOSCOW 422 
 
1. (SBU) Summary: On June 25, Russia's Supreme Court 
overturned the February acquittal of three men charged with 
the murder of Novaya Gazeta journalist Anna Politkovskaya, 
citing serious procedural violations, and ordered a retrial. 
The defendants' lawyers called the decision "political," and 
stated publicly their intention to appeal the decision. 
Assuming the defense appeal is unsuccessful, the case will 
now be sent back for a new trial with a new judge and new 
jury.  The earliest possible date would be the fall of 2009, 
but no date has yet been set.  Lawyers representing 
Politkovskaya's family did not support the Supreme Court's 
decision, saying that the verdict had been logical given the 
lack of evidence against the defendants.  Human rights 
defenders supported the use of a jury trial in February, and 
respected the jury's decision, but continue to lament the 
lack of justice for Politkovskaya's real killers.  End 
Summary. 
 
2. (U) On June 25, Russia's Supreme Court overturned the 
February acquittal of three men charged with the murder of 
Novaya Gazeta journalist Anna Politkovskaya (reftel) and 
ordered a retrial.  Two Chechen brothers, Dzhabrail and 
Ibragim Makhmudov, along with former Moscow policeman Sergey 
Khadzhikurbanov, were cleared of offering the killer 
operational support.  The fourth defendant, Pavel Ryaguzov, a 
lieutenant colonel in the FSB, was acquitted in a separate 
but joined case.  The alleged triggerman, Rustam Makhmudov, 
remains at large, and is suspected to be abroad. 
 
3. (SBU) Vera Pashkovskaya, one of the prosecutors in the 
case, told us June 25 that the verdict was overturned on the 
grounds of "serious procedural violations" during the trial, 
the only grounds recognized under Russian law for reversing a 
jury verdict.  She identified, among others, the following 
procedural violations: 
-- The defense lawyers introduced inadmissible evidence, 
including evidence related to the personal characteristics of 
the defendants, and asked improper questions.  The judge 
failed to properly instruct the jury not to take this 
evidence into account; 
-- The judge's behavior in opening the trial, then closing 
the trial, then opening it after a public dispute with one of 
the jurors prejudiced the jury against the prosecution. 
Specifically, the prosecutors had originally sought a closed 
trial, and when the judge eventually closed it, falsely 
blaming the jury, this prejudiced the jury against the 
prosecution; 
-- The defense and the judge discussed procedural issues in 
the presence of the jury. 
 
4. (U) The defendants' lawyers called the decision 
"political," and stated publicly their intention to appeal 
the decision.  Under Russian law, they can appeal to the 
supervisory body (nadzornaya instantsiya) of the Supreme 
Court, but these appeals are rarely successful.  Assuming the 
defense appeal is unsuccessful, the case will now be sent 
back for a new trial with a new judge and new jury.  (Note: 
Approximately 40 percent of jury acquittals are overturned on 
appeal.  End Note.)  No date has yet been set; gazeta.ru 
reported on June 25 that the earliest possible date would be 
the fall of 2009.  Such a trial would be contingent on 
finding the defendants, who at this point may be fugitives. 
 
5. (SBU) Lawyers representing Politkovskaya's family, Karinna 
Moskalenko and Anna Stavitskaya, did not support the appeal 
to the Supreme Court for a retrial.  Stavitskaya told us June 
26 that the February verdict had been "perfectly logical" 
given the lack of evidence against the defendants, and that 
there was no basis for an appeal.  Sergey Sokolov, Deputy 
Editor in Chief of Novaya Gazeta, told us that the case "has 
little, if anything, to do with these figures," and that what 
interested him above all was determining who gave the order 
for the killing.  Among Politkovskaya's supporters, there is 
no consensus as to the guilt or innocence of the defendants. 
Most, like Sokolov, believe that they were at least 
tangentially involved, and some, such as Politkovskaya's son 
Ilya, believe that they were central to the plot. 
 
6. (SBU) Human rights activists greeted the decision with the 
same ambivalence that they felt when the acquittal took 
place.  Just as in February, when activists supported what 
they saw as a successful example of a jury trial, but felt 
frustration at the lack of justice served, so our contacts 
now have mixed feelings about the latest development. 
Simonov told us that it was "disappointing" to see another 
example of the system's lack of trust in jury trials, but 
 
MOSCOW 00001685  002 OF 002 
 
 
that the decision was good for Politkovskaya's family, as 
"the official version of this case is idiotic," and this may 
afford another opportunity to uncover the truth.  Lev 
Ponomarev of For Human Rights told us June 26 that it was 
"clear" that "this is a group of fall guys," and that it was 
unfortunate that
investigators have failed to establish any 
connection to the special services, who he feels were 
undoubtedly involved in the murder.  According to Ponomarev, 
in the most likely scenario the new trial will lead to a 
guilty verdict, and "then they will forget the whole thing" 
without further investigation into the person or people who 
ordered the killing. 
 
Comment 
------- 
 
7. (SBU) The reversal of the Polikovskaya verdict is not a 
surprise.  Approximately 40 percent of Russian jury 
acquittals are reversed, and this trial was, by all accounts, 
marred by serious procedural errors.  The real question now 
is whether the defendants can be located and brought to 
trial, or whether the case will be suspended due to their 
fugitive status, as appears to have happened in the Paul 
Klebnikov case.  While some of Politkovskaya's supporters 
have criticized investigators for pursuing the lowest level 
conspirators, rather than those who commissioned the murder, 
the two are not mutually exclusive.  In fact, often the only 
way to get to the top rung of a conspiracy is by working up 
the ladder through prosecutions of lower level members.  The 
reversal gives the prosecutors another chance to start this 
process, assuming that he case is not simply forgotten.  Post 
recommends that we continue to draw high-level attention to 
this case by calling on the GOR to use all appropriate 
measures to apprehend and prosecute all those responsible. 
BEYRLE

Wikileaks

09MOSCOW1670, VORKUTA: ARCTIC MINING TOWN WEATHERS CRISIS AMID

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
09MOSCOW1670 2009-06-25 13:54 2011-08-30 01:44 UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY Embassy Moscow

VZCZCXRO8857
RR RUEHDBU RUEHLN RUEHPOD RUEHSK RUEHVK RUEHYG
DE RUEHMO #1670/01 1761354
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 251354Z JUN 09
FM AMEMBASSY MOSCOW
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 3973
INFO RUCNCIS/CIS COLLECTIVE
RUEHXD/MOSCOW POLITICAL COLLECTIVE

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 MOSCOW 001670 
 
SENSITIVE 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: N/A 
TAGS: PGOV PREL ECON PHUM SOCI PINR KDEM RS
SUBJECT: VORKUTA: ARCTIC MINING TOWN WEATHERS CRISIS AMID 
DEPOPULATION, INFLATION, DRUGS 
 
REF: MOSCOW 1562 
 
1. (SBU) Summary: A June 13-15 visit to Vorkuta, a former 
gulag mining town north of the Arctic Circle, revealed a 
company town (or so-called "monogorod") struggling to define 
itself amid "optimization" that has hemorrhaged jobs and 
residents over the past decade.  A May 24 rally that 
attracted 1,000 residents protesting rising utility and 
services costs indicated a growing unrest about pocketbook 
issues, but low unemployment and a lack of wage arrears 
suggest Vorkuta will not be the next Pikalevo.  However, 
consequences of burgeoning drug and depopulation problems 
point to a broader array of social ills will test the city's 
political and business leaders.  End Summary. 
 
Vorkuta: Tragic Past and Diminishing Prospects 
--------------------------------------------- - 
 
2. (SBU) Vorkuta, a remote tundra city in the extreme 
northeast of European Russia in the Komi Republic, lies 100 
km north of the Arctic Circle and 160 km south of the Barents 
Sea.  No roads connect Vorkuta to the rest of Russia, making 
the train (48 hours from Moscow) or intermittent flights the 
only routes south.  Founded in the early 1930s as a coal 
mining town, Vorkuta eventually grew into one of the largest 
and most notorious prison labor camps in the Soviet Union. 
According to Vitaliy Troshin, former head of the Vorkuta 
branch of Memorial, up to 2 million people perished in 
Vorkuta's camps and environs through the 1950s. 
Privatization in the 1990s led to massive restructuring and 
the closing of seven of the city's thirteen mines, leaving 
dilapidated buildings to molder where prison camps and 
offices once stood.  We found soldiers using one derelict 
building as a staging ground for practicing maneuvers.  From 
the city center, a ring road loops into the barren tundra to 
connect the original thirteen mining villages, passing by a 
series of cemeteries and memorials that testify to the human 
scale of Vorkuta's gulag past.  The city's population, which 
topped 200,000 just twenty years ago, has dwindled to 117,000 
as the mines closed and the federal government began three 
years ago to pay for residents to move south. 
 
Rally Shows Pocketbook Issues Dominate Political Scene 
--------------------------------------------- --------- 
 
3. (SBU) A June 13-15 visit to Vorkuta revealed a company 
town (or so-called "monogorod") struggling to define itself 
amid "optimization" that has hemorrhaged jobs and residents 
over the past decade.  A May 24 rally in Vorkuta's city 
center, which attracted 1,000 protesters, indicated that 
political and economic stability in Vorkuta may not be as 
strong as the city's political and business leaders described 
to us.  Deputy Mayor Andrey Golubin claimed the crisis had 
not affected the city because "there will always be demand 
for coal, even if it decreases in cycles."  Citing an 
official unemployment rate of 2.9 percent, Golubin noted that 
VorkutaUgol - the Severstal subsidiary operating Vorkuta's 
mines - had no wage arrears.  Russian press reported in May 
that VorkutaUgol, one of the largest producers of coking coal 
in Russia, had announced plans to cut 3 percent of its jobs 
and re-train an additional 7 percent for jobs with company 
sub-contractors.  Vasily Kozulin, an executive at 
VorkutaUgol, downplayed the significance of the cuts, noting 
that the company was "optimizing" its operations and had 
decided against the announced firings.  Vorkuta's isolation 
does complicate its business prospects, however, as manager 
Oleg Babichenko told us during a visit down a mineshaft that 
coal exports have remained marginal due to cost and distance; 
nonetheless, he boasted, VorkutaUgol does export some coal to 
Finland and Poland. 
 
4. (SBU) The May 24 rally did highlight how pocketbook issues 
dominate the city's politics, leaving the door open for 
increased discontent.  The 1,000 protesters rallied against 
rising utility and services costs, such as the increase of 
bus fare from 32 to 53 rubles.  Aleksandr Araslanov, a member 
of the Opora business organization and owner of a small 
hotel, told us that "entrepreneurs are few in Vorkuta" and 
"citizens' salaries are almost all paid by the government or 
the mines."  (Note: Proving that entrepreneurship is not 
completely dead, on our 23-hour train ride from Vorkuta to 
the regional capital of Syktyvkar we encountered Dima - a 
passenger smuggling 15 liters of homemade cognac for sale in 
Syktyvkar.  "During the crisis we still need to find a 
salary, and if we can't work then we make work for 
ourselves," he explained as he gestured to several plastic 
containers of contraband.)  As a company town without 
compelling wage competition, Araslanov lamented that salaries 
have calcified and cannot adjust to market forces that 
increase costs of food and other goods that must be shipped 
 
MOSCOW 00001670  002 OF 002 
 &#x00
0A; 
into the city.  Deputy Mayor Golubin downplayed the 
significance of the May 24 rally, but the lessons of Pikalevo 
(reftel) may  entice discontented residents to rally again. 
 
5. (SBU) The Communist Party's (KPRF) Yaroslav Lepichev 
disagreed, however, brusquely observing that "people in 
Vorkuta are not stupid, they see what is happening, they want 
to know what will happen."  Through flyers and word of mouth, 
Lepichev explained, KPRF is wooing the city's voters to 
return the Communists to power in the city.  However, all of 
our contacts (including Lepichev) predicted that United 
Russia would not lose its hold on power in the city given the 
party's ties to VorkutaUgol and KPRF's proposals to 
nationalize natural resources including mines.  Lepichev 
reserved particular scorn for the restrictions on mass media 
in Vorkuta and Russia in general.  In a region of far-flung 
towns, television and radio remain the key conduits of 
information.  KPRF lacks access to these stations. 
Billboards hailing United Russia drape the sides of crumbling 
apartment buildings throughout Vorkuta, while the Communists 
can rely only on placing print ads in small local newspapers. 
 
Drugs Thrive, Investment and Youth Languish 
------------------------------------------- 
 
6. (SBU) Fighting a perceived descent into political and 
economic obscurity as its population dwindles, Vorkuta's 
administration has struggled with expanding the city's tax 
base beyond the monolithic coal industry.  The city 
administration described to us plans to bolster adventure and 
gulag tourism, but Golubin disavowed the gulag hotel and 
legalized prostitution proposed in 2005 by former mayor Igor 
Shpektor.  Deputy Mayor Golubin outlined investment proposals 
to entice internal Russian development, while also admitting 
that Vorkuta's extreme isolation will make it extremely 
difficult to attract investment. 
 
7. (SBU) Further burdening the city's finances, social ills 
such as drug and alcohol abuse have proliferated in recent 
years as education and work opportunities for youth have 
vanished.  The city has expended considerable resources on 
drug rehabilitation facilities and youth sports programs to 
counter the effects, but even Deputy Mayor Golubin 
acknowledged that "as a city, we must give a reason to our 
children to stay here."  Students seeking higher education 
have to leave Vorkuta, and they rarely return unless to work 
for VorkutaUgol.  Nonetheless, Golubin remarked that he 
supported the federal subsidy to pay for residents to move 
from Vorkuta, since the overwhelming majority of 
beneficiaries have been pensioners and invalids whom the city 
otherwise would spend substantial sums on services to support. 
 
Comment 
------- 
 
8. (SBU) Lacking wage arrears or high unemployment, Vorkuta 
is unlikely to become the next Pikalevo.  Inflation and other 
pocketbook issues dominate residents' concerns, and a meeting 
with the Memorial human rights group uncovered no burgeoning 
discontent over political or press freedoms.  In any case, 
the isolation of such monogorods and the lack of independent 
broadcast media ensure that word of any discontent would 
resonate little outside the city itself.  The Communists 
appear unable to win over large numbers of residents, which 
likely will leave the one-company town's political and 
business elites firmly in control. 
BEYRLE

Wikileaks

09MOSCOW1667, GOR SO FAR LOW KEY ON MANAS

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
09MOSCOW1667 2009-06-25 10:19 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Moscow

VZCZCXRO8663
OO RUEHDBU RUEHSL
DE RUEHMO #1667 1761019
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 251019Z JUN 09
FM AMEMBASSY MOSCOW
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 3970
INFO RUCNCIS/CIS COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHXD/MOSCOW POLITICAL COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHZG/NATO EU COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHEK/AMEMBASSY BISHKEK PRIORITY 2713
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC PRIORITY
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHDC PRIORITY
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC PRIORITY
RUMICEA/USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL PRIORITY

C O N F I D E N T I A L MOSCOW 001667 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 06/24/2019 
TAGS: PREL PGOV RS
SUBJECT: GOR SO FAR LOW KEY ON MANAS 
 
REF: MOSCOW 839 
 
Classified By: Acting Political Minister Counselor David Kostelancik fo 
r reasons 1.4 (B) and (D) 
 
1.  (SBU)  In the wake of the Kyrgyz announcement that the 
U.S. and Kyrgyzstan had reached a new agreement on the 
continued use of the Manas airport in support of NATO 
operations in Afghanistan, official GOR reaction so far has 
maintained the consistent line that Manas is a matter of 
bilateral relations between the U.S. and Kyrgyzstan, with 
Russia playing no role in it.  Answering questions during the 
June 23 press briefing, MFA spokesman Andrey Nesterenko 
stated that it was "unquestionably the sovereign right of 
Kyrgyzstan to conclude such an agreement" with the U.S., 
emphasizing that Russia itself, along with Kyrgyzstan's 
neighbors, was also rendering transit assistance to NATO for 
counter-terrorism operations in Afghanistan.  Similarly, 
Leonid Moiseyev, Presidential Special Representative for the 
Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), told us that while 
he did not know whether Kyrgyz President Bakiyev raised Manas 
in his bilateral meeting with President Medvedev during the 
June 15-16 Yeketerinburg SCO summit, SCO members did not 
discuss this issue during the summit sessions and considered 
it purely a bilateral issue between Kyrgyzstan and the U.S. 
 
2.  (C)  In the coming days, we might see the GOR sticking to 
this public position, while developing a nuanced stance on 
the distinction between the transit center in the new 
U.S.-Kyrgyz agreement and an air base.  Nesterenko alluded to 
this already in his press briefing, reminding reporters that 
Bishkek had stated in February that its decision with regard 
to the closure of the U.S. base at Manas was final and not 
subject to reconsideration.  This, in Nesterenko's words, is 
something worth keeping in mind. 
 
3.  (SBU)  According to Gennadiy Chufrin, well-informed 
scholar at the Institute of World Economics and International 
Relations, Moscow would not object to the use of Central 
Asian facilities for transportation and logistic support of 
NATO's Afghanistan operations, as long as it did not 
represent the reemergence of U.S. military bases in the 
region.  Bases whose air operations and security were 
controlled by the U.S. rather than the host country would be 
a serious challenge to Russian interests, and would present 
grave concerns to China as well, he told us.  Expert 
commentaries in the press have also picked up on the 
distinction, with political scientist Sergey Mikheyev writing 
June 24 that "the status of a military base seriously differs 
from that of a civilian transit center." 
 
4.  (C)  However, we might also receive blowback in the near 
future from some GOR officials for surprising Moscow with the 
new agreement.  As Deputy Foreign Minister Grigoriy Karasin 
previously stated to us, while the GOR considered it a matter 
of course that the U.S. would talk directly with the Central 
Asian countries regarding an alternative to a military base 
at Manas, transparency with Russia on this matter would be 
important to the GOR (reftel).  "We want to know what you are 
doing.  When we discover arrangements post factum, it creates 
a sense of distrust."  Already, anonymous MFA sources have 
been quoted widely in the Russian press that Bishkek's 
decision was an "unpleasant surprise," to which Moscow would 
provide an "adequate response." 
 
5.  (C)  Comment:  The SCO adopted a common understanding in 
2005 that member states would take steps to end the presence 
of U.S. military bases in the region. Whether by design or by 
improvised nimble footwork, Bishkek appears to have managed 
to fulfill its end of the bargain to the SCO and to Moscow, 
while at the same time maintaining its cooperative role with 
the U.S. regarding Afghanistan and reaping additional 
financial benefits from it.  With its own negotiations with 
the U.S. on the transit of lethal material near completion, 
the GOR can hardly adopt a hostile stance on the U.S.-Kyrgyz 
agreement.  That, and reiteration of USG intentions to pursue 
a cooperative relationship with Russia during the upcoming 
Presidential summit may help assuage possible hurt feelings 
in some quarters of the GOR.  End Comment 
BEYRLE

Wikileaks

09MOSCOW1666, VLADIMIR REGION WEATHERS THE CRISIS

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
09MOSCOW1666 2009-06-25 09:36 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Moscow

VZCZCXRO8613
PP RUEHDBU RUEHHM RUEHJO
DE RUEHMO #1666/01 1760936
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 250936Z JUN 09
FM AMEMBASSY MOSCOW
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 3967
INFO RUCNCIS/CIS COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHXI/LABOR COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHXD/MOSCOW POLITICAL COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC PRIORITY

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 MOSCOW 001666 
 
SIPDIS 
 
STATE FOR EUR/RUS, DRL 
NSC FOR ELLISON 
DOL FOR BRUMFIELD 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 06/25/2019 
TAGS: ELAB ECON EIND PGOV SOCI RS
SUBJECT: VLADIMIR REGION WEATHERS THE CRISIS 
 
REF: MOSCOW#592 
 
Classified By: EconMinCouns Eric T. Schultz, Reasons 1.4 (b,d) 
 
------- 
SUMMARY 
------- 
 
1. (C) Labor, business, and government leaders in 
Vladimirskaya oblast remain optimistic about their region's 
future despite recent setbacks caused by the financial 
crisis.  Regional administration officials anticipate the 
opening of sixteen new enterprises and production lines by 
the end of 2009 will largely compensate for losses in 
production and employment in the ailing machine building 
sector.  Both Russian and foreign companies continue to 
increase investment in Vladimir as a result of its location, 
infrastructure, cost of labor, and investment promotion 
programs.  Although SMEs in the region face significant 
financial and administrative barriers, entrepreneurs continue 
to open new businesses.  However, small business owners 
remain critical of the regional administration's policies, 
despite recent improvements in terms of the inspection regime 
and assistance with lease payments.  Regional labor leaders 
are pleased about the current pause in labor market decline 
although they worry about new layoffs scheduled for the 
summer.  Strong social partnerships between unions, 
employers, and government officials in Vladimir reduce labor 
law violations and facilitate union participation in 
anti-crisis planning.  End summary. 
 
--------------------- 
BUSINESS BOUNCES BACK 
--------------------- 
 
2. (SBU) Discussions with labor, business, and government 
representatives during a recent trip to Vladimirskaya oblast 
revealed a region optimistic about its future despite recent 
setbacks.  Located 180km east of Moscow with a population of 
1.44 million people, Vladimirskaya oblast is primarily a 
region of manufacturing companies, which comprise almost 35 
percent of gross regional product, with smaller numbers of 
agriculture and trade enterprises.  In the first four months 
of 2009, the region experienced year-on-year falls in 
industrial production and capital investment of 22 percent 
and seven percent, respectively.  In addition, actual 
unemployment in the region rose from 5.6 percent in November 
2008 to eight percent in May 2009.  However, local officials 
with whom we met generally stressed the positive impact of 
the government's anti-crisis measures and asserted that 
Vladimir was better suited to weather the crisis than other 
regions.  For instance, housing construction was up over 20 
percent year-on-year since the beginning of 2009, and real 
incomes had grown more than five percent, compared to an 
average 1.4 percent decrease nationwide. 
 
3. (C) Vladimir's ability to attract investment has enabled 
it to overcome the acute impact of the crisis on its machine 
building sector, which constitutes 20 percent of its 
manufacturing output.  Gennady Nikanorov, Vladimir Regional 
Chairman of the Federation of Independent Unions (FNPR), 
reported that the auto-manufacturing sector, in which four 
companies had practically ceased operations, had suffered the 
most.  The textile industry also underwent a sharp decline, 
but with less impact on the regional economy due to its 
smaller share of overall industrial output.  However, Vera 
Shamota, Head of the Regional Administration's Foreign 
Economic Relations Department, announced that sixteen 
enterprises, eight Russian and eight partially or wholly 
foreign, would open new factories or production lines by the 
end of the year, effectively replacing the output lost by 
older, less efficient companies and creating five thousand 
jobs. 
 
4. (C) Russian and foreign companies invest in Vladimir 
region for its location, infrastructure, and government 
investment promotion programs.  Foreign investment in the 
region during the first quarter of 2009 totaled over USD107 
million, an 11 percent increase over the same period in 2008. 
 Vladimir offers companies a convenient location between the 
metropolitan areas of Moscow and Nizhny Novgorod with lower 
wages than either of its neighbors: 12,300 rubles per month 
on average.  In addition to the region's established road, 
rail, and communication infrastructure, businesses receiving 
government support also benefit from a 2.2 percent property 
tax break.  Major U.S. investors in the region include Kraft 
 
MOSCOW 00001666  002 OF 003 
 
 
Foods, Dow Chemical Company, Owens Corning, and the 
Russian-American Glass Company.  Yevgeni Limonov, President 
of the Vladimir Chamber of Commerce and Industry, stated that 
the food processing (Vladimir produces over 25 percent of 
Russia's chocolate), chemical product, and household 
appliance sectors continue to grow despite the economic 
downturn because of consistent popular demand for their 
products. 
 
------------------------------- 
SMALL BUSINESS OWNERS PERSEVERE 
------------------------------- 
 &#x00
0A;5. (C) Although inhibited by the crisis, local entrepreneurs 
strive to maintain inertia built up over several years of SME 
growth.  According to the government statistics service, the 
number of workers employed by SMEs more than doubled from 
2003 to the beginning of 2008, with over 105,000 employees 
now working for 8,500 small businesses, primarily located in 
the trade, manufacturing, and real estate sectors.  SME 
annual turnover increased from 35 billion rubles in 2005 to 
63.3 billion rubles in 2007.  Dina Smekalova, OPORA Head, 
acknowledged that SME creation had slowed significantly since 
the outbreak of the crisis, but insisted that new businesses 
continued to open. 
 
6. (C) Smekalova and other OPORA representatives stressed the 
detrimental impact of financial challenges faced by small 
business owners.  SMEs suffered from high tariffs on 
electricity and gas.  In addition, securing bank loans and 
leasing space presented significant challenges to new 
entrepreneurs.  Smekalova stated small businesses would take 
out a loan only when on the verge of bankruptcy.  A loan with 
an average interest rate of 25 percent would ensure the 
business would stay open, but with continued losses.  Many 
small business owners also lacked the necessary credit 
history to qualify for loans.  OPORA was working with local 
banks in the region to reconcile bank lending requirements 
with the ability of SMEs to provide documentation and 
guarantees. 
 
7. (C) Small business owners gave the regional government's 
anti-crisis measures mixed reviews and expressed concern that 
local governments continued to inhibit rather than encourage 
business development.  The Vladimir regional administration 
was implementing anti-crisis programs to support SME growth 
and reduce labor market stress.  OPORA representatives 
particularly highlighted the benefit of partial reimbursement 
of lease expenses received through the SME support program. 
In addition, Smekalova anecdotally reported that the new 
inspection law that entered into effect on May 1 might reduce 
the frequency and duration of SME inspections, but contended 
that administrative barriers remained a significant obstacle 
to growth.  Small business owners were critical of the 
self-employment component of Vladimir's program to reduce 
labor market stress, which provides funds to unemployed and 
at-risk workers seeking to start their own business (reftel 
A), insisting that the government should allocate the funds 
to develop existing SMEs. 
 
--------------------------- 
UNEMPLOYMENT GROWTH STALLED 
--------------------------- 
 
8. (C) According to FNPR Regional Chairman Nikanorov, labor 
market decline in the region had paused, although significant 
improvements had yet to be observed.  Unemployment in the 
region had doubled since the start of the crisis.  Vladimir 
unions first began to notice an increase in terminations last 
August.  In October, they initiated independent monitoring of 
terminations, administrative leave, reduced work schedules, 
and wage arrears.  The firing peak hit in December and 
January.  Recently, unions had observed a positive impact on 
the labor market brought about by the reduced rate of the 
decline in industrial output, Nikanorov told us.  For 
example, auto manufacturers Avtosvet and Avtopribor had set 
aside plans for massive layoffs, although the situation 
remained serious.  In addition, wage arrears in Vladimir 
region had dropped 30 percent from around 30 million rubles 
to 20 million.  Union leaders remained concerned about the 
future impact of the crisis, noting local companies had 
already submitted applications to terminate 1,000 to 1,500 
employees this summer. 
 
9. (C) Nikanorov attributed the favorable position of workers 
in Vladimir region vis a vis other areas to the strength of 
 
MOSCOW 00001666  003 OF 003 
 
 
its unions and their social partnership with employers and 
administration officials.  The education, machine building, 
and public health unions were the strongest in the region. 
FNPR in Vladimir region had maintained a solid partnership 
with the regional administration and the employers' 
association for the last ten years.  Unions also participated 
in the regional anti-crisis committee, which meets once a 
month to discuss additional measures to combat unemployment 
and other impacts of the crisis on the labor market.  In 
addition, many district labor collective committees had 
established agreements with local employers, limiting 
companies' ability to adjust salaries.  According to 
Nikanorov, these collaborative relationships between unions, 
government agencies, and employers inhibited companies from 
violating labor laws and provided unions with the opportunity 
to influence the government's anti-crisis measures. 
 
------- 
COMMENT 
------- 
 
10. (C) Vladimirskaya oblast appears to be weathering the 
crisis better than many other industrial regions in Russia. 
With a relatively diverse economy, the region benefits from 
investment, output, and employment growth in food processing, 
chemical production, and other smaller sectors even as the 
dominant machine building sector continues to struggle.  The 
regional administration's predictions as far as regional 
productivity and socioeconomic well-being depend heavily on 
the successful start-up of 16 new enterprises and production 
lines with a little over six months left in the year: a 
rather ambitious target.  If, as many experts predict, the 
financial crisis in Russia continues to spread to other 
sectors of the nation's economy and non-performing loans 
force banks to further restrict access to credit, Vladimir's 
businesses and workers will likely struggle to maintain the 
advantage they currently enjoy over many of their neighbors. 
End Comment. 
BEYRLE

Wikileaks

09MOSCOW1665, RUSSIAN AG MINISTER SUPPORTS ACTION ON A/H1N1

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
09MOSCOW1665 2009-06-25 09:05 2011-08-30 01:44 UNCLASSIFIED Embassy Moscow

VZCZCXYZ0004
PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHMO #1665/01 1760905
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 250905Z JUN 09
FM AMEMBASSY MOSCOW
TO RUEHRC/USDA FAS WASHDC PRIORITY 5498
RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 3965
INFO RUEHVI/AMEMBASSY VIENNA 4762
RUEHBS/USEU BRUSSELS
RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA 5337

UNCLAS MOSCOW 001665 
 
SIPDIS 
 
USDA FAS FOR OCRA/KUYPERS; ONA/SALLYARDS, 
- OSTA/HAMILTON, BEAN 
PASS FSIS/JONES, DUTROW 
STATE FOR EUR/RUS 
STATE PASS USTR FOR MURPHY, CHATTIN, HAFNER 
VIENNA FOR APHIS 
BRUSSELS PASS APHIS/FERNANDEZ 
GENEVA FOR USTR 
 
E.O. 12958: N/A 
TAGS: EAGR ETRD ECON RS
SUBJECT: RUSSIAN AG MINISTER SUPPORTS ACTION ON A/H1N1 
TRADE RESTRICTIONS 
 
REF: A) Moscow 001556  B) Moscow 001206  C) Moscow 001187 
D) Moscow 001150 
 
 
1.  (U) SUMMARY:  Minister of Agriculture Elena Skrynnik 
met with Ambassador Beyrle on June 22, 2009.  In a short 
and cordial exchange, Skrynnik instructed Federal 
Veterinary and Phytosanitary Surveillance Service (VPSS) 
leaders present to hold a DVC with USDA technical experts 
this week in an effort to answer VPSS's remaining questions 
and towards the eventual lifting of Russia's trade 
restrictions on US meat related to the A/H1N1 virus 
outbreak.  She also outlined her priorities for Russian 
agriculture for the near future.  Minister Skrynnik was 
accompanied by both VPSS Head Sergey Dankvert and by his 
deputy, Russia's Chief Veterinary Officer, Dr. Nikolai 
Vlasov.  END SUMMARY. 
 
2. (U) In her first meeting with Ambassador Beyrle since 
taking her position in March 2009, Minister Skrynnik agreed 
that our communications and US relations with Russia in 
agriculture have improved in recent months.  She was very 
glad to have met Secretary Vilsack during the G8 summit in 
Italy in April, and she was pleased with the US delegation 
at the recent World Grain Forum in St. Petersburg (Ref A). 
 
3. (U) Minister Skrynnik explained that her goals were to 
improve the efficiency of agricultural producers, 
particularly for meat, milk, and wheat.  She wants to 
increase the quality of Russian foods and try to decrease 
the costs of agricultural products.  She noted that Russia 
is setting up a United Grain Company, which is a 
consolidation of state-owned assets in the grain sector, 
but she said that it will take several years before they 
can implement this objective.  She said that Americans need 
not worry and that the United Grain Company will not be a 
competitor with the United States in the near term. 
 
4. (U) The Ambassador raised the issue of meat trade 
problems that are always taking center stage.  During this 
second half of the meeting which dealt with meat trade 
problems, Sergey Dankvert spoke up often and also regularly 
advised the Minister.  Mr. Dankvert noted that despite all 
of the problems, Russia bought more meat from the USA in 
2008 than in the past. The Ambassador countered by saying 
that when our Presidents met in April, they agreed that the 
level of trade between our two countries is really quite 
low considering the size of our two economies and that 
agricultural products including meat could help to fill the 
gap.  Mr. Dankvert initiated and the Minister repeated a 
request that USDA appoint one responsible veterinarian who 
could be contacted by CVO Vlasov on a regular basis. 
 
5. (U) The Ambassador then referred to the letter from USDA 
veterinarians concerning A/H1N1 of June 16, 2009 which he 
presented to the Deputy Minister on June 17, 2009.  He 
stated the there is no basis for Russia's restrictions on 
US meat and urged the Minister to acknowledge the 
scientific fact that the virus cannot be transmitted 
through meat and to lift the restrictions.  Minister 
Skrynnik replied by proposing a digital video conference 
(DVC) between appropriate technical specialists this week 
in order to raise questions and get answers from the 
American scientists.  She stated that if sufficient 
information is forthcoming, we can positively resolve this 
matter prior to the Presidential summit in Moscow (July 6- 
7).  We agreed to schedule this DVC as soon as possible and 
to try to resolve this issue promptly. 
 
6. (U) Mr. Dankvert then stated that as a result of the DVC 
they could likely resume trade in poultry from the 
restricted two states (IL and WI), but there may still be a 
few pending issues on pork for 2 - 3 states.  Everyone 
agreed that it is necessary to make the right decisions 
based on objective, scientific information, and that 
Russian consumers should be properly protected and 
informed. 
 
7. (U) The Ambassador then raised the matter of the 
reinstatement of US meat plants which Russia has removed 
 
from the eligible lists of export facilities.  He proposed 
re-listing these facilities and in the future implementing 
a 90-day grace period rather than automatic de-listing when 
VPSS finds a violation.  This would give US companies and 
USDA a chance to analyze the information and report back 
the results before any restrictions are implemented.  Mr. 
Dankvert replied he had wanted to discuss this in Paris in 
May 2009 but unfortunately was unable to meet with some US 
counterparts, who were attending another meeting.  He said 
if he did this for the USA then other countries would want 
the same treatment and that this might be a problem.  But 
he said we can continue our discussion on this matter. 
 
8.  (U) Comment:
 Despite the fact that Minister Skrynnik 
did not show up for the meeting originally scheduled for 
June 17, she approached the session with a positive 
attitude.  It was she who brought up the concept of 
resolving the A/H1N1 trade restrictions in the coming two 
weeks before the Obama-Medvedev summit.  The DVC is now 
scheduled for June 29.  We have informed USDA technical 
experts of VPSS's questions and encouraged them to come 
prepared to answer the Russian's questions, in order to 
make the most of this opportunity.  It will take not only 
technical but also political progress to resolve the A/H1N1 
trade restrictions, but Minister Skrynnik has at least 
expressed her political support for a resolution and 
directed her technical experts to make time to promptly 
work on this matter. 
 
BEYRLE

Wikileaks

09MOSCOW1664, START FOLLOW-ON: A/S GOTTEMOELLER PRESENTS U.S.

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
09MOSCOW1664 2009-06-25 08:28 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Moscow

VZCZCXYZ0000
OO RUEHWEB

DE RUEHMO #1664/01 1760828
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 250828Z JUN 09
FM AMEMBASSY MOSCOW
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 3960
INFO RUCNCIS/CIS COLLECTIVE IMMEDIATE
RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE IMMEDIATE
RUEHXD/MOSCOW POLITICAL COLLECTIVE IMMEDIATE
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC IMMEDIATE
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC IMMEDIATE
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC IMMEDIATE
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHDC IMMEDIATE

C O N F I D E N T I A L MOSCOW 001664 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 06/16/2019 
TAGS: PREL PGOV KACT START MARR KNNP RS
SUBJECT: START FOLLOW-ON: A/S GOTTEMOELLER PRESENTS U.S. 
POSITIONS, HEARS INITIAL GOR REACTIONS 
 
REF: A. STATE 61832 
     B. MOSCOW 1544 
     C. STATE 60487 
     D. STATE 60343 
 
Classified By: DCM Eric S. Rubin. Reasons 1.4(b/d). 
 
1. (C) Summary: Assistant Secretary Rose Gottemoeller led an 
inter-agency delegation that presented U.S. papers on 
SNDVs and ODSNWs, a draft Joint Understanding (Refs C and D), 
and the U.S. non-paper containing comments on the 
Russian "vision" paper to a Russian interagency delegation 
June 15-16.  Antonov reiterated that the June 15-16 meetings 
in Moscow were not intended to negotiate text, but to give 
the U.S. the opportunity to brief on new proposals in 
preparation for the June 22-24 formal negotiations in Geneva, 
and to enable the Russian side to understand U.S. 
positions.  The first day (two hours), the U.S. side briefed 
on the first two papers, with the Russian side asking 
questions about SNDV and ODSNW limits, heavy bomber weapon 
storage areas, counting rules, and data exchange provisions. 
Antonov downplayed the need for a substantive presidential 
START follow-on statement at the July 6-8 Summit.  NSC Senior 
Director Look countered that the interagency had just held 
several important meetings in Washington and that, while it 
was recognized that not all issues would be settled by the 
Summit, it was essential to agree on a text to present to the 
Presidents.  A simple progress report would be viewed as a 
failure.  On June 16, the U.S. delegation continued to 
clarify concepts contained in the U.S. non-papers and went 
through the U.S. response to the Russian vision paper. 
Antonov noted that with each meeting the position of the two 
sides had become clearer and thus there was some basis upon 
which to think about a joint document for the Presidents that 
reflected "converging positions" of the two sides.  Antonov 
undertook to reconsider the idea of a simple report to the 
Presidents, in response to Look's comment of the day before. 
Saying he would not be bringing a new position to the 
following week's talks in Geneva, Antonov commented that "it 
was hard to obtain interagency agreement on the Russian 
position but harder to change it."  End Summary. 
 
June 15 
------- 
 
U.S. Presentation on SNDVs and ODSNWs 
------------------------------------- 
 
2. (C) A/S Rose Gottemoeller opened June 15 talks in Moscow 
by formally presenting a U.S. position paper (Ref D) on 
Strategic Nuclear Delivery Vehicles (SNDVs) and Operationally 
Deployed Strategic Nuclear Warheads (ODSNWs), which had been 
delivered to the MFA June 12 (Ref B).  A/S Gottemoeller 
commented on the helpful symmetry developing in the two 
sides' approach to START follow-on work.  Some  differences 
remain to be worked out, and not all differences would be 
resolved by the time of the July Moscow summit.  Nonetheless, 
the U.S. hoped that there would be substantial progress to 
report to the Presidents, which they could endorse and use to 
launch the effort to reach a follow-on agreement by the end 
of the year. 
 
3. (C) Delegation member Ted Warner explained that the 
U.S.Government was presently reviewing the issue of arming 
ICBMs and SLBMs with conventional warheads and it was not 
clear how that review would turn out.  Referring to the 
non-paper on SNDV and ODSNW, Warner and Mike  Elliott 
enumerated conditions under which warheads and SNDVs would be 
counted against the respective limits - and conditions under 
which they would not, noting in particular that operational 
systems undergoing extensive maintenance periods and new 
systems designed to be conventional only necessitated a more 
flexible approach to counting ODSNW and SNDVs.  For example, 
when warheads are removed from submarines during extended 
refueling overhaul, the warheads should no longer be counted 
against the ODSNW limit.  When the warheads are reinstalled 
following the overhaul period, these warheads should again be 
counted against the ODSNW limit. 
 
Initial Russian Reactions 
------------------------- 
 
4. (C) Noting that both papers had arrived late June 12 
(Russian national day), Antonov said he had called his people 
back into work, and emphasized that he saw the meetings June 
 
15-16 as giving the U.S. an opportunity to provide more 
information on its proposals.  Deputy Head of the Russian 
delegation General Yevgeniy Buzhinskiy opened discussion by 
asking whether the corresponding limit for each category is 
intended to be independent from the other, or whether there 
is a logic in linking the limits on numbers of SNDV and 
warheads.  A/S Gottemoeller responded that the two levels 
were related but independent of each other, emphasizing that 
there were no sublimit
s for ICBMs, SLBMs and heavy bombers, 
as there had been under START, and thus giving each side the 
freedom to distribute warheads among various delivery 
systems.  In this light, it might be expected that the 
Russian Federation could have - and more importantly would be 
allowed to have - a greater number of warheads on  ICBMs, 
while the U.S. might place more warheads on SLBMs.  Warner 
amplified that, under START, there exists a close linkage 
between types of SNDVs and warheads; agreed attribution 
figures are associated with ICBMs, SLBMs and heavy bombers. 
The new U.S. approach removes those attribution rules.  The 
number of ODSNW under  the new proposal for each side would 
be determined by the actual numbers on  delivery vehicles. 
Each side would be required to provide greater transparency 
in reporting and facilitating verification to confirm the 
number of warheads actually deployed under the terms of the 
new agreement. 
 
5. (C) In some cases, but not all, delivery vehicles would 
count against the SNDV limit.  For example, during extended 
refueling overhaul periods, submarines have neither warheads 
nor missiles onboard; therefore, they would not count against 
the limit of ODSNW.  However, when work is completed and 
ODSNW are reloaded, they would again count against the limit. 
To promote transparency, the U.S. was prepared to work out 
with Russia transparency measures for verification during the 
refueling overhaul period.  Buzhinskiy summarized his 
understanding of the explanations as: each party would be 
able to structure its strategic forces, within the numerical 
limits, to suit its own strategic preferences.  Warner 
clarified that the U.S. proposed to identify, with respect to 
heavy bombers, the number of ODSNWs stored in weapons storage 
areas that support the heavy bomber air bases.  The number of 
warheads and their location was connected with the ability of 
the bomber to serve as a delivery vehicle for those weapons. 
In this regard, Antonov reminded the U.S. delegation that 
Russia was still waiting for a reply to questions posed by 
General Venetsev at previous sessions.  (Note: Response was 
received, Ref A, and delivered June 16.  End Note.) 
 
Testing of Old and New Delivery Systems 
--------------------------------------- 
 
6. (C) MFA Ambassador Streltsov sought further clarification 
concerning U.S. proposals about testing of current and future 
missiles with either conventional or nuclear warheads.  Was 
it the U.S. position that a side could test an ICBM or SLBM 
with any type of warhead?  Would the number of warheads be 
agreed? Would both sides be required to conduct elaborate 
verification means concerning the number of warheads each 
delivery vehicle  was capable of carrying, as well as data 
exchanges pertaining to launchers and missiles, and the 
number of  warheads on each, as is now the case under START? 
A/S Gottemoeller responded that such verification procedures 
could be required.  However, as to data exchanges, the U.S. 
had not yet defined how those would be undertaken, but was 
certain that they would likely differ from those being 
conducted under START.  Warner added that the logic of 
Ambassador Streltsov's question was sound, i.e., if one side 
claimed that a certain number of warheads were on a missile, 
it would be necessary to be able to verify that fact. 
 
7. (C) A/S Gottemoeller said she had taken note of Russian 
concerns about telemetry.  Clarity and transparency in the 
testing process would be necessary so both sides could see 
how new types of delivery vehicles were being developed, as 
well as checking current  systems.  A principal goal of the 
treaty would be providing predictability for both sides 
regarding the future development of the other side's nuclear 
forces.  The attractiveness of the new U.S. "hybrid" approach 
to counting delivery vehicles and warheads was that it 
combined the predictability of START with the flexibility of 
the Moscow Treaty. 
 
8. (C) The Russian delegation returned to the matter of 
Verification of conventionally-armed long-range missiles 
(ICBMs and SLBMs). Streltsov asked what procedures the U.S. 
 
side envisioned to enable each side to determine whether new 
missiles in flight testing were intended to carry a nuclear 
or conventional warhead.  Warner agreed with the Russian side 
that this would be very difficult to determine.  Streltsov 
also asked how the U.S. side would mitigate the dangers 
associated with the launch of a conventionally-armed ICBM or 
SLBM that might overfly or closely approach Russia in its 
flight to its non-Russian target.  A/S Gottemoeller stated 
that the uncertainties associated with the use of 
conventionally-armed long-range missiles could be addressed 
through different types of verification and transparency 
measures.  For example, pre-launch notifications might be 
used in circumstances where a conventionally-armed missile 
was launched against a non-Russian target.  And in 
circumstances where one was verifying the presence of a 
conventional warhead on an ICBM or SLBM in its launcher, 
on-site inspections using radiation detection equipment might 
be used.  The utility of such measures would depend on the 
goal being sought, and the question would require a great 
deal of further discussion. 
 
Joint Understanding: Key for Summit 
----------------------------------- 
 
9. (C) Turning to the draft Joint Understanding (Ref C), A/S 
Gottemoeller noted that the U.S. had taken some of the 
concepts from the Russian vision paper while stressing that 
the specific numerical limits were a significant addition 
to the initial discussion of this issue.  Antonov responded 
that the U.S. concept was becoming clearer and clearer but 
that it was going to take a lot of time to consider it 
thoroughly, including into the autumn.  Buzhinskiy asked 
whether there would be any real reductions under the U.S. 
concept or whether ODSNW would just be taken to storage areas 
and delivery vehicles removed from deployment rather than be 
destroyed.  A/S Gottemoeller stressed that the START 
follow-on treaty should be seen as a "bridge agreement" 
leading to further negotiations focused on affecting deep 
reductions. 
 
10. (C) Summing up the proposals for a joint declaration by 
Presidents Obama and Medvedev at the July summit in Moscow, 
A/S Gottemoeller said that the U.S. had endeavored to combine 
the Russian vision document and the aforementioned 
U.S. proposals.  The declaration accepted the timeframe 
during which U.S. and Russian nuclear arsenals would be 
reduced to the new limits (7 years), and the duration of the 
new agreement (10 years).  The U.S. proposal for 
limitations on ODSNW's (1500-1600) and SNDVs (1100) was a 
significant addition to the Geneva discussions.  Given the 
complexity of the issues, the U.S. recognized that not all 
issues could be resolved by the time of the July summit. 
Nonetheless, it is important that the presidents agreed to a 
concrete, detailed framework for t
he START follow-on treaty 
that will guide the work of both sides through the end of the 
year.  The U.S. sees the joint understanding as an important 
summit deliverable. 
 
Russian Reaction: Maybe by Summit Time 
-------------------------------------- 
 
11. (C) Antonov thanked the U.S. side for the presentations, 
noting that U.S. positions are much clearer as a result. 
Still, he argued that the nuances and implications required 
careful study through the summer before returning to work on 
details of the new agreements in the autumn.  Buzhinskiy 
argued that, in effect, the U.S. proposals would not result 
in the destruction of any ODSNWs or SNDVs, i.e., that current 
levels could be maintained.  In response, A/S Gottemoeller 
underscored that, from the U.S. perspective, although 
eliminations under the START follow-on treaty may be modest, 
it would serve as a "bridge" between START and the Moscow 
Treaty on one side and future agreements to reduce ODSNW.  As 
President Obama noted in his April speech in Prague, deeper 
reductions in arsenals would come later. Still, for U.S. 
strategic posture what is being proposed will result in 
reductions.  The new proposals (1500-1600 warheads) will take 
the U.S. below the lower limit (1700) of the Moscow Treaty, 
and will also require the U.S. to reduce SNDVs below START 
numbers.  Buzhinskiy contended, nonetheless, that the 
agreement would not result in deep reductions or mandate 
actual destruction of launchers or warheads. A/S Gottemoeller 
again observed that future negotiations would tackle those 
issues. 
 
12. (C) Warner noted that neither under START nor in the 
Moscow Treaty was Russia and the U.S. obliged to destroy 
warheads.  In the on-going U.S. Nuclear Posture Review, no 
decisions had been made about the appropriate levels of 
warheads for the U.S.  It remained to be seen whether deliver 
vehicles will actually be eliminated. 
 
13. (C)  In response to Antonov's comments downplaying the 
need for a substantive presidential START follow-on statement 
at the July 6-8 Summit, NSC Senior Director Look countered 
that the interagency had just held several important meetings 
in Washington and that, while it was recognized that not all 
issues would be settled by the Summit, it was essential to 
agree on a text to present to the Presidents.  A simple 
progress report would be viewed as a failure.  Therefore, a 
good faith effort was required to agree on core elements to 
establish a framework that would result in agreement by 
December 2009.  Antonov responded that the real negotiations 
would begin on June 22 and that he was devoting all of his 
efforts to the START Follow-on treaty negotiations. 
 
June 16 
------- 
 
Answers to Russian Questions 
---------------------------- 
 
14. (C) The U.S. delegation continued to clarify concepts 
contained in U.S. non-papers provided the previous day, 
including "nuclear armaments for heavy bombers located in 
specified weapon storage areas" and a description of 
reductions in U.S. SNDVs that could result if simplified 
elimination procedures or exemptions were agreed for 
delivery vehicles that are no longer capable of delivering 
nuclear weapons.  A/S Gottemoeller described the concept of 
"phantom" warheads, noting these were warheads still 
attributed under START to SNDVs that are no longer capable of 
delivering such warheads.  The U.S. proposed two ways of 
addressing this issue: Eliminate the launchers associated 
with such warheads through agreed, simplified provisions; or, 
exempt them from the new treaty through an agreed exemption, 
which could include additional transparency measures.  In 
response to Koshelev's question at the BIC meeting in Geneva 
the previous week regarding ODSNW "floating" in and out of 
treaty accountablity, Gottemoeller said theQssue needed 
further discussion between the two sides, as there were some 
Russian warheads that also could "float." 
 
15. (C) Streltsov posed more questions: whether there would 
be a category of "non-deployed' SNDVs that would become 
accountable at some stage and subject to some verification 
measures (such as notifications) prior to becoming 
"deployed," and whether the U.S. was able to address the 
issue of "nuclear ambiguity" with respect to the launch of 
conventionally-armed ICBMs and SLBMs.  Concerning the latter 
question, the U.S. delegation's identification of 
transparency measures, notifications, and the changed 
strategic relationship between Russia and the United States 
did not appear to be persuasive, with Streltsov asserting 
that this issue had to be seen in a broader context, i.e., 
with respect to obligations under Article VI of the NPT, 
while also noting that assessments were based on 
capabilities rather than on  intentions.  He stressed that 
the issue of "nuclear ambiguity" had much broader 
implications than the bilateral treaty. 
 
16. (C) Buzhinskiy followed up by making a "purely military 
comment" that in 1995 when U.S.-Russian relations were even 
better than today, then-President Yeltsin had been "ready to 
push the button," when the Norwegians test-fired their 
sounding rocket.  That was when the idea for the Joint Data 
Exchange Center (JDEC) was developed.  While the U.S. 
arguments for conventionally-armed ICBMs and SLBMs were based 
on targeting terrorists and rogue states, the United 
States needed to understand that these targets were located 
along the periphery of Russia and therefore any 
conventionally-armed ballistic missile launch would be 
heading in the direction of Russia, which was the root 
cause of Russia's concern, Buzhinskiy said. 
 
17. (C) Buzhinskiy also asked how the United States came up 
with the limit of 1100 for SNDVs in the draft Joint 
Understanding, noting that according to the U.S. concept of 
exempting certain delivery vehicles from the new treaty as 
described by Warner earlier that morning, the number could be 
 
reduced to 922 (starting from a baseline of the current 
declared 1196, minus 96 launch tubes from the Ohio-class 
submarines that have been converted, minus 66 B1 bombers 
which will have been converted, minus 12 B52's, equaled 922). 
 He also pressed on whether the U.S. would have to actually 
eliminate any SNDVs in order to reach this number.  He 
stressed that Russia would not accept "just counting them 
out." 
 
JDEC 
---- 
 
18. (C) In response to Warner's comment about the possibility 
of using JDEC to address the question of nuclear ambiguity, 
Buzhinskiy asked whether the U.S. envisioned using JDEC to do 
pre-notifications of U.S. launches, which was different from 
the original purpose for JDEC.  Warner said JDEC could be a 
potential forum for such pre-notifications if both sides 
agreed, but stressed that the U.S. was not proposing a new 
use for JDEC. 
 
Russian "Vision" Paper 
---------------------- 
 
19. (C) Gottemoeller presented the U.S. non-paper containing 
comments on the Russian "vision" paper.   Antonov noted that 
with each meeting, the position of the two sides has become 
clearer and thus there was some basis upon which to think 
about a joint document for the Presidents that reflected 
"converging positions" of the two sides.  He assured 
Gottemoeller that the Russian side would study and review the 
U.S. papers and be prepared to work on them for the upcoming 
session in Geneva.  Gottemoeller responded that the U.S. 
proposed draft Joint Understanding already focused on points 
of convergence, and asked whether the Russian side would be 
prepared to take the U.S. paper and add some more points of 
convergence either before or during the next session. 
Antonov demurred on providing anything prior to the upcoming 
meeting in Geneva, but confirmed that he had understood the 
U.S. comments that a simple report to the Presidents, as he 
had described it earlier, would be seen as a failure in 
Washington.  In that light, he stated that he would look 
again at the Russian idea for the report to the Presidents 
and see what can be taken from the U.S. non-paper and try to 
formulate some proposals.  He confirmed that "we want our 
Presidents to be satisfied with our work" but also noted that 
what was important was that after the Summit we should be 
able to continue our work on a draft treaty.  Gottemoeller 
emphasized the need to reach a consensus on the summit 
document by June 24 and, if not, then to consider more 
meetings, perhaps in Washington. 
 
No New Russian Positions in Geneva 
---------------------------------- 
 
20. (C) Antonov said there would be no surprises from Russia 
at the Geneva meetings; he would arrive with unchanged 
positions on the major elements of the Russian proposal, and 
explained that "it was very difficult to obtain interagency 
agreement on the Russian position, but even more difficult to 
change it."  He stressed that the Russian side was prepared 
to work as long as necessary to reach a consensus.  He added 
that there were difficulties with the Russian delegation 
traveling to Washington, and suggested the two sides could 
agree in Geneva on possible future meetings.  Gottemoeller 
agreed. 
 
21. (C) Comment:  Although there was little substance agreed 
during the meeting, Antonov was back to a workmanlike 
attitude, focusing on what could be accomplished, and 
acknowledging areas of convergence between the two sides.  He 
made clear that Russia would be prepared to address many of 
the substantive issues during the Geneva talks.  Antonov did 
not raise the subject of missile defense and links to the 
START Follow-on treaty during the two days of talks, but 
during the lunch after the meeting, asked Gottemoeller if it 
was true the U.S. would not have an answer on the "third 
site" before the Summit. 
BEYRLE

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09MOSCOW1661, RUSSIAN MEDIA, OFTEN CRITICAL OF FOREIGN

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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. #09MOSCOW1661.
Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
09MOSCOW1661 2009-06-25 06:33 2011-08-30 01:44 UNCLASSIFIED Embassy Moscow

R 250633Z JUN 09 ZDK
FM AMEMBASSY MOSCOW
TO SECSTATE WASHDC 3957
INFO AMCONSUL ST PETERSBURG 
AMCONSUL VLADIVOSTOK 
AMCONSUL YEKATERINBURG

UNCLAS MOSCOW 001661 
 
 
DEPT FOR CA/OCS/CI AND EUR/RUS 
 
E.O. 12958:  N/A 
TAGS: CVIS CASC KOCI PGOV RS
SUBJECT: RUSSIAN MEDIA, OFTEN CRITICAL OF FOREIGN 
ADOPTIONS, NOW TURNS GAZE TOWARD DOMESTIC ABUSE 
 
REFS:  A) MOSCOW 368 B) MOSCOW 692 C) MOSCOW 1466 
 
 
1.  SUMMARY:  A recent series of news items in the 
Russian press has cast an introspective spotlight on the 
perils that Russian children face in orphanages and 
domestic adoptive families.  The media has increasingly 
drawn public attention to a spate of incidents in recent 
months in which Russian children have been victims of 
domestic violence, drug and alcohol abuse, and neglect in 
orphanages and foster families.  After months of 
persistent Russian media coverage on a handful of tragic 
international adoption cases, which peaked following the 
death of a Russian-American adopted child in 2008 (ref 
A), the recent news stories have injected a degree of 
balance into the Russian media's portrayal of adopted and 
foster children.  U.S. adoption agencies have downplayed 
the effect on the political climate for international 
adoptions in Russia.  However, even-handed coverage on 
the dangers that Russian children face at home has the 
potential to tilt the public dialogue towards a more 
balanced approach to foreign adoptions.  END SUMMARY. 
 
2.  Recent Russian concern over the safety of 
international adoptions, with a focus on U.S. adoptions 
in particular, intensified with the death of Chase 
Harrison, an adopted Russian-American who died last July 
after his father left him in a locked car in Virginia. 
News of the father's acquittal received prolonged, 
scathing coverage in the Russian press as politicians 
clamored for restrictions on international adoptions. 
The public outcry also had political repercussions; on 
March 18 the State Duma approved a resolution urging the 
Russian Government to conclude bilateral agreements on 
adoptions with the United States and other destination 
countries for Russian orphans (ref B).  The indignation 
surrounding the Harrison case infused political urgency 
into Russian government policy to encourage more Russian 
families to open their homes to orphans through adoption 
and foster placements (ref C). 
 
3.  As the Russian government turned its attention to 
encouraging domestic placements, however, the media has 
provided a steady flow of graphic reminders of the 
everyday dangers that Russian children can face at home. 
In May, the press highlighted two recent incidents of 
alleged child abuse, applying tabloid headlines about 
"beaten" children returned home as "used goods".  In the 
Russian city of Tver, a two-year-old girl arrived at the 
hospital with multiple injuries while authorities 
searched for her legal guardian.  Prosecutors initiated 
criminal proceedings, suggesting that officials had 
neglected to carry out required safeguards before placing 
the child in her foster home.  Earlier this spring, 
another incident generated revulsion when local 
authorities in the Moscow Region permitted the return of 
a four year-old boy to his parents shortly after he 
turned up in a hospital covered with bruises, burn marks, 
and evidence of head injuries.  Authorities were derided 
for accepting the parents' account that he had simply 
"fallen down the stairs"; local physicians insisted that 
his older injuries were indicative of abuse over time. 
 
4. One prominent incident in April focused public outrage 
squarely on a horrific example of mismanagement and 
neglect at a Russian orphanage in the Sverlovsk region. 
A regional court acquitted the director of a local 
orphanage following reports that more than 30 children 
had been raped while under his staff's care.  Media 
reports mocked the judge's decision by citing the 
certainty of local law enforcement authorities that the 
director was fully aware of the violent crimes taking 
place under his supervision but kept silent for fear of 
ruining his career.  Yet another media story pointed to 
the callousness and irresponsibility of a Kaliningrad 
couple that attempted to "cancel" its adoption when they 
were refused a loan two months after taking custody of 
the child. 
 
5.  While the media coverage may be drawing attention to 
Russia's endemic social ills as potential dangers for 
orphaned children, some adoption agencies remain 
skeptical of the impact of these stories on the climate 
for foreign adoptions.  Natasha Shaginian of Happy 
Families, a New York-based international adoption agency, 
feels encouraged by the balance in Russian media 
coverage.  She says the stories are promising evidence 
that the public is looking inward at the country's social 
problems associated with alcoholism, child neglect, and 
domestic abuse.  Others make the point that these cases 
are gaining attention simply for their value as tabloid- 
driven scandal, drawing readers with lurid details of 
abuse and neglect.  Alex Dzurovchik of the Pennsylvania- 
based International Assistance Group (IAG) downplayed the 
impact on foreign adoptions, attributing the media 
coverage to sensationalism rather than to journalistic 
balance. 
 
6.  Some observers acknowledge, nonetheless, that as the 
Russian public becomes more aware of the dangers that 
orphans face at home, it m
ay also take a more sympathetic 
and pragmatic view of international adoptions.  One of 
this spring's most widely-publicized stories drew 
widespread public support for a foreign adoptive family 
of a Russian child.  A 6-year-old girl who had been 
adopted by a Portuguese couple as an infant was returned 
to her Russian mother by a Portuguese court.  The girl 
speaks no Russian; her Russian mother had been living in 
Portugal illegally and was subsequently deported. 
Television coverage sparked a public outcry by airing 
footage of the girl crying upon learning that she was 
adopted and would be returned to her mother in Russia. 
Media coverage also focused on the Russian mother's 
alleged alcoholism and abuse; within days, a YouTube clip 
had generated over 11,000 signatures on a petition 
calling for the girl's return to Portugal. 
 
7.  According to Alex Dzurovchik of IAG, the Portugal 
story could reflect a favorable change in the climate for 
foreign adoptions.  He points to the thousands of online 
comments by Russian users advocating for the child's 
return to Portugal as an example of public revulsion over 
the abusive conditions that children can face in Russian 
families.  While tragic incidents associated with foreign 
adoptions will always command media interest, he says, 
instances of abuse in Russian families and orphanages are 
drawing just as much attention.  Natasha Shaginian makes 
the case that negative media attention on foreign 
adoptions has been falling recently as instances of 
domestic abuse have captured public curiosity. 
 
Comment 
------- 
 
8.  The Russian press will undoubtedly cover the painful 
issues of child abuse and neglect whether they occur in a 
Russian home or a foreign adoptive family.  However, the 
recent media focus on the failure of Russian authorities 
to protect the country's most vulnerable citizens may 
reflect -- or trigger -- increasing public concern and 
awareness of the dangers confronting Russian children in 
orphanages and foster care.  Such portrayals may produce 
a public opinion climate that is more balanced and fair- 
minded when reacting to coverage of rare instances of 
abuse or neglect of Russian orphans at the hands of 
foreign adoptive parents. 
END COMMENT. 
 
BEYRLE

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