Daily Archives: July 17, 2009


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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
09MOSCOW1847 2009-07-17 13:12 2011-08-30 01:44 UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY Embassy Moscow

DE RUEHMO #1847/01 1981312
P 171312Z JUL 09

E.O. 12958: N/A 
1. (SBU) Summary:  Reactions to President Obama's July 6-8 trip to 
Moscow have been largely positive among Russia's analytic community 
and political activists, most of whom saw the summit as setting the 
stage for a further improvement in the bilateral relationship.  The 
President's approach, particularly his message of respect for Russia 
as a "great power," resonated with the elite's own perception that 
their country has returned to international prominence.  Those 
focused on strategic issues tended to see the summit as successful, 
noting the time spent discussing missile defense systems and their 
link to offensive weapons, and they praised the agreements on 
transit to Afghanistan and the Joint Understanding on a START 
follow-on treaty.  There was some grumbling from the fringes of the 
political establishment, both from the nationalist camp and from 
liberal circles.  The human rights community and the more vocal 
political opposition criticized the visit for not addressing Russian 
internal issues, such as Moscow's handing of political dissent -- 
reflecting their hope that the U.S. would publicly challenge the 
tandem on those issues.  The visit also contributed to an 
incremental shift in public opinion toward a more positive 
assessment of the U.S. and its approach to Russia. 
End summary. 
Getting the Message Out 
2. (SBU) President Obama's visit to Moscow was literally front page 
news for all the major newspapers and on the nightly television 
broadcasts.  As always, the tandem leadership sought to control the 
message, however, and used its influence over the television media 
to limit the general public's exposure to the full range of 
President Obama's message.  For example, his speech at the New 
Economic School (NES) graduation was carried live solely on the 24 
hour news channel (and then only after a direct high-level appeal to 
do so); the channels broadcasted excerpts only.  President Obama's 
meeting with opposition figures and civil society was largely pushed 
to the side in the media space -- garnering a passing reference in 
the daily news programs, if at all, and relegated to the less 
watched weekend analytic shows.  Some media sources played up the 
participation of Garry Kasparov in the opposition meeting and 
ignored the role of the more established Communist leader Gennady 
3. (SBU) In general, though, the official media termed President 
Obama's trip to Moscow a definite success and a good start towards 
restoring the U.S.-Russia bilateral relationship.  Typical of that 
line, RIA Novosti's Dmitry Babich labeled the Obama-Medvedev summit 
a success, even as he complained that the leaders "did not resolve 
all the issues that burden the Russia-U.S. relationship."  Indeed, 
Babich admitted that a quick, full breakthrough in Russian-U.S. 
relations "would have been viewed with suspicion by public opinion 
in both the United States and Russia." 
4. (SBU) Obama's visit also topped the charts on the Russian 
blogosphere, with near 4,000 entries on a range of sites.  Chatter 
peaked at 1,700 postings between 7 and 8 July, carrying discussion 
about the key issues of the summit.  The meeting generated 
considerable buzz on both the liberal sites (such as those hosted by 
Solidarity leader Boris Nemtsov and leftist youth movement leader 
Ilya Ponamarev) as well as extremely critical assessments from the 
nationalist fringe.  The Russian television station Vesti posted the 
President's NES speech prominently on its website (as did the 
Embassy on the Russian video server RuTube) -- giving his message 
continuous accessibility to a broader, technically savvy audience. 
Punditry Mixed on Summit Assessments 
5. (SBU) Russia's commentariat saw the summit as mixed bag, 
providing an important first step in re-orienting the relationship, 
but with an honest assessment of the differences that continue to 
divide us.  Boris Makarenko from the Center for Political 
Technologies called the departure from "zero sum" thinking the main 
success of the visit.  As examples for this he cited the agreement 
on Afghanistan, the downplaying of Ukraine and Georgia, the expected 
resubmission to Congress of the 123 Agreement, the "Medvedev-Obama" 
commission, the START follow-on talks, and U.S. "appreciation" of 
Russia's missile defense position.  Aleksey Malashenko of Moscow's 
Carnegie Center agreed the summit was successful, especially 
considering the agreements on Afghan transit and the Joint 
Understanding.  However, he did not yet see a full reset of 
relations because there remain contentious issues between the 
countries beyond these two agreements.  His colleague at Carnegie, 
political analyst Andrey Ryabov, called the agreement on Afghan 
transit the main resul
t of the summit, but told Ekho Moskviy radio 
July 10 that the resetting of relations had not happened because the 
sides had "absolutely different approaches to strategic directions 
in world politics and international relations." 
MOSCOW 00001847  002 OF 003 
6. (SBU) The President's emphasis on his respect for Russia as a 
great power and a necessary partner for the U.S. in resolving a 
range of difficult international issues was widely and favorably 
noted, even among opinion shapers usually critical of Washington's 
policies.  Notably, the head of the Effective Policy Foundation, 
Gleb Pavlovskiy, considered the personal contact between Medvedev 
and Obama a good foundation for further dialogue and cooperation. 
Fellow conservative/nationalist spin-meister Vyacheslav Nikonov, 
President of Politika Foundation, told Ivestiya that Obama surprised 
many by speaking so respectfully of Russia.  Nikonov said, "Obama is 
the first U.S. president to recognize this country's contribution to 
the world and American civilization.  He has impressed by being free 
of the Cold War thinking - there are few people like him among 
Western political elites." 
Perceived Link between MD and START 
7. (SBU) On the security side, the main issue for the Russia side 
was their perception of a U.S. policy shift to acknowledge the 
relationship between offensive and defensive weapon systems -- 
linking Missile Defense with reduction in strategic arsenals. 
Federation Council Foreign Relations Committee Chair Mikhail 
Margelov termed this a "significant step;" Babich called the U.S. 
offer to cooperate with Russia on anti-ballistic missiles a welcome 
departure from the previous U.S. administration's position.  Nikonov 
expressed hope that the Obama administration would be willing to 
compromise on the subject of missile defense. 
8. (SBU) Some saw U.S. flexibility on strategic weapons as part of a 
quid pro quo for Russian compromises on other security issues.  The 
Director of the Institute for Political Expertise Yevgeniy Minchenko 
stated that the U.S. finally acknowledged Russia's linkage between a 
missile defense (MD) system and cooperation on the reduction of 
strategic nuclear armaments in exchange for Russian cooperation on 
Afghanistan and Iran. 
9. (SBU) Not all assessments were so even-handed.  Chairman of the 
Duma Foreign Affairs Committee Konstantin Kosachev criticized U.S. 
plans to unilaterally deploy missile defense systems even as he 
lauded the Obama Administration's decision to "at the most stop and 
at the least re-examine the U.S. MD system in Central and Eastern 
Europe."  Representing the troglodyte tendencies in the military 
elite, the President of the Geopolitical Academy, Colonel General 
(retired) Leonid Ivashov threatened that if the U.S. did not freeze 
its MD plans, Russia would be compelled to increase its strategic 
nuclear weapons stockpile and develop its own MD system. 
Criticism from the Liberal Camp 
10. (SBU) Among the human rights community and liberal political 
circles, Obama's visit drew some criticism and disappointment for 
what they saw as the President's pulled punches on Russia's internal 
issues.  Representing the most vocal (and extreme) critics, Valeriya 
Novodvorskaya, an independent journalist and long-time opponent of 
the Kremlin, called the visit a failure, placing blame not only on 
Obama, but also on members of the Russian opposition and the human 
rights community for not being tougher on Russian internal failings. 
 Novodvorskaya mainly argued that the real problems in Russian 
politics, such as "Putin's dictatorship," Russia's repressive 
government system, and the quelling of political dissent went 
unnoticed in the recent summit.  Others took a more even-handed 
approach.  Prominent liberal and participant in the President's 
meeting with opposition, Vladimir Ryzhkov, noted on Radio Svoboda 
that unlike President Bush who met with only Kremlin officials, 
President Obama met with NGO representatives and opposition 
11. (SBU) For some, the issues that were not publicly addressed at 
the summit were as significant as those that were discussed.  Noting 
an apparent effort to avoid previous areas of major dispute, they 
pointed out that Obama did not publicly mention last year's war in 
Georgia, while Medvedev made no mention of American military bases 
in Central Asia.  Stanislav Petrov, writing for Vremya Novostey, 
also noted that the topic of intellectual property was not included 
in the summit's agenda. 
Visit Creates Bump in Popular Assessments 
12. (SBU) Looking beyond the elite, President Obama's visit marked a 
first step toward changing negative public opinion about the U.S., 
its policies, and priorities.  Preliminary polling data from the 
Fund for Public Opinion (FOM) showed that the visit, particularly 
the positive coverage provided by the state-controlled television, 
contributed to a rise in the number of average Russians who viewed 
MOSCOW 00001847  003 OF 003 
the U.S. as a state with a friendly relationship toward their 
country.  From a nadir of 10 percent in the aftermath of the 
conflict in Georgia last summer, a third of respondents (2,000 
respondents from 100 population centers across 44 Russian regions 
from 11-12 July) said that they considered the U.S. to have a 
friendly approach to Russia -- the highest rating since March 2004. 
The number of respondents who saw the U.S. as hostile to Russia 
declined to about half -- down from three-quarters last August. 
Forty percent of respondents expected relations to improve in the 
near term, whereas only 3 percent saw a downturn as likely. 
13. (SBU) The normally fractious opinion-shaping and analytic 
community appear to agree that President Obama's trip helped to 
crack the ice that had frozen around Russian elite and popular views 
of the U.S., setting a cornerstone to put the bilateral relationship 
on a more cooperative footing.  Expectations were high and in some 
cases unrealistic, particularly among those outside the political 
establishment, and contributed to some measure of disappointment in 
those circles.  The President's demonstration of support for 
Russia's nascent civil society and opposition figures provided a 
clear message to Russia's political establishment of our continued 
interest in human rights and political freedom.  Certainly, a more 
assertive public criticism of the regime would have been airbrushed 
out of the picture by the Kremlin in its presentation of the summit, 
thereby limiting its impact on the broader public.  As our most 
objective Russian analyst contacts have told us, by showing a 
sincere willingness to work with Medvedev, President Obama took a 
first step in alleviating
Russian perceptions of U.S. disregard for 
Moscow's interests and visibly extended an invitation for Medvedev 
to join the world's responsible leadership -- with an understanding 
that participation in that membership entails adherence to 
international norms and expectations. 




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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
09MOSCOW1836 2009-07-17 10:54 2011-08-30 01:44 UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY Embassy Moscow

DE RUEHMO #1836/01 1981054
P 171054Z JUL 09

E.O.  12958: N/A 
REFS:  (A) MOSCOW 1647, (B) MOSCOW 1653, (C) STATE 49661 
1. (SBU) Summary:  Refugee and IDP women in Russia face even greater 
hurdles to equality than their sisters in the native and local 
population (refs A and B).  Frequently they come from cultures in 
which women are subordinate to men, and populations in exile appear 
inclined to cling to outmoded gender roles as a vestige of 
stability.  International organizations are underfunded and short on 
ideas to close the divide.  This is the third in a series of cables 
examining the lives and prospects of women in Russia; it also 
responds to the PRM monitoring request in ref C.  End Summary. 
Reluctant Recruits to Russian Routines 
2. (SBU) Natives of Afghanistan make up about 90 percent of refugees 
in Russia.  The community is difficult to help with assimilation 
into Russian society, UNHCR Russia Country Representative Gesche 
Karrenbrock observed June 11, because members have an expectation of 
third-country resettlement born from years of near-certain rejection 
by Russian asylum authorities.  With UNHCR technical assistance and 
training, the Russian Federal Migration Service (FMS) has 
substantially improved its refugee status determination (RSD) 
procedure this decade.  In recognition of FMS's progress, UNHCR 
ceased providing parallel RSD in 2008; however, it still faces the 
problem of ensuring that successful asylum seekers in Russia achieve 
social integration and find livelihoods.  The first order of 
business, Karrenbrock believes, is to convince the GOR to put its 
own social funding into the asylum system. But aid recipients are 
still likely to resist integration in Russia as long as they believe 
resettlement to Western Europe or the U.S. is a realistic option. 
3. (U) Another challenge for UNHCR protection officers is to 
determine who the true Afghan community representatives are, as this 
is an urban population that is geographically and generationally 
(based on which Afghan regime they were forced to flee) divided. 
Karrenbrock was not familiar with UNHCR's new Heightened Risk 
Identification Tool (ref C).  Traditional participatory assessments 
have shown that a great majority of families want cash assistance, 
an intervention that Karrenbrock rejects because it creates 
dependency.  UNHCR targets cash assistance with a focus on creating 
livelihoods and the understanding of recipients that it is for a 
limited time; eventually it hopes to eliminate cash assistance 
4. (U) Much more sustainable, Karrenbrock asserted, are refugee 
women's gatherings to practice traditional crafts, such as 
embroidery, and discuss common challenges, such as domestic violence 
and spousal unemployment.  A UNHCR local partner, 
Equilibre-Solidarity, provides space for such groups to meet but, to 
save money, has eliminated staff to supervise the meetings. 
Karrenbrock remains frustrated that, although the groups help the 
women to escape the social isolation imposed by traditional Afghan 
gender roles that confine women to the home, they do not actively 
assist with integration into the larger society.  Her staff has 
scheduled the first meeting of a stakeholders working group on 
women, children, and gender issues for August 13, 2009.  (Note: 
This initiative grew out of a shelter working group that developed 
with Embassy Moscow support after Refcoord invited UNHCR and NGO 
representatives to a DVC on homelessness May 14.  End note.) 
UNHCR Moscow Approach to SGBV 
5. (SBU) Russia's FMS does not recognize sexual and gender-based 
violence (SGBV) as a ground for refugee status.  It does, however, 
according to Karrenbrock, try to find another humanitarian basis on 
which to afford temporary asylum for women who make credible SGBV 
claims.  As part of its government capacity building, UNHCR is 
instructing FMS that women can be construed as a social group under 
the 1951 Refugee Convention.  Unfortunately, FMS interview 
facilities are not appropriate for passing confidential information. 
 In Moscow, up to four individuals are seen at one time in a room 
without partitions, creating potential embarrassment for women with 
sensitive stories to tell; facilities in St. Petersburg are slightly 
better.  FMS has asked UNHCR to fund partitions, but Karrenbrock is 
wary of the precedent of backstopping the GOR on something so basic. 
 Instead, she proposes that UNHCR support FMS in the next round of 
intra-GOR funding negotiations. 
6. (U) At UNHCR Moscow's Refugee Reception Center, a local-hire 
Social Protection Coordinator (SPC) manages the organization's 
psycho-social response to SGBV.  UNHCR implementing partners and 
staff inform the SPC about suspected cases, and the SPC holds 
reception hours for women at risk.  Women at risk also receive the 
SPC's mobile telephone number, which effectively serves as an SGBV 
hotline, making counseling availab
le day and night.  The SPC advises 
on the development of a personal security plan and measures to take 
MOSCOW 00001836  002 OF 004 
in case of violence; she also records traces of physical violence. 
SGBV cases are recorded on purpose-made forms that are collected by 
UNHCR's Protection Unit for statistical reporting purposes.  The SPC 
also ensures that victims receive medical, psychosocial, and legal 
help - including, where appropriate, cash assistance and referral 
for resettlement.  In emergencies, she identifies possibilities for 
temporary accommodation for victims of violence who cannot safely 
remain in their homes. 
7. (SBU) According to an internal UNHCR Moscow document obtained by 
Refcoord, the SGBV response mechanism generally runs smoothly; 
however, the same constraints apply here as with other refugee 
protection in Russia.  Many women do not have any identification 
documents, so they are reluctant to make reports to the police; 
Russian law enforcement are insufficiently trained in SGBV response; 
and refugee women lack the means to live separately from their 
abusers.  Offenders are neither prosecuted nor punished, and Moscow 
has no shelters for foreign women-SGBV victims. 
8. (SBU) UNHCR Moscow does have an established complaints and 
investigations procedure related to exploitation and abuse, but 
Karrenbrock acknowledges that the mechanism is not well publicized. 
The Reception Center furnishes a complaint box, but it has not been 
clear to clients whether complaints are confidential - although in 
fact no one below the Center's director, a member of international 
staff, is able to access its contents.  Karrenbrock says there have 
been no complaints of staff harassment of Center clients but one 
complaint of corruption that bore investigation.  The allegation was 
never proven and in fact may have been a case of attempted FSB 
(Russian security service) entrapment of an honest employee.  The 
case did prompt a revision of the Center's standard operating 
procedures:  reception duties are now rotated so that no employee 
can alone determine what benefits a client receives. 
Some Statistics 
9. (U) UNHCR reports that as of 2007 it had a total of 38 (36 women 
and two men) SGBV cases registered.  Of those, 32 cases remained 
active throughout the year and received support.  A total of six new 
cases were brought to the agency's attention during the year.  In 
2008 there were a total of 43 cases (42 women, one man), of which 33 
received support.  These included six cases of SGBV in the country 
of origin and 27 cases of SGBV in the country of asylum.  In St. 
Petersburg, UNHCR registered four SGBV cases relating to minors.  A 
total of 14 new SGBV cases were brought to UNHCR's attention. 
10. (U) In 2007-8, UNHCR resettled in third countries a total of 
eight families (seven from Afghanistan and one from Iraq) as SGBV 
victims; two families from Afghanistan were repatriated for the same 
reason.  In 2009 UNHCR has registered four new cases of violence 
against three women and one man in Moscow; and 15 women registered 
earlier have consulted on new cases of domestic violence or 
requested psychological, medical, or cash assistance. 
Prisoners of the Mountains 
11. (U) In addition to a lack of adequate shelter, which is their 
main problem, women IDPs in the North Caucasus face similar problems 
to women in the host community, according to UNHCR Vladikavkaz 
Senior Protection Officer Jun Shirato.  This has made it difficult 
to develop particular programs for them, Shirato asserted - UNHCR 
cannot alter an entire society's culture, even as it recognizes that 
traditional practices such as bride abductions may further 
traumatize and disadvantage IDP women. 
12. (SBU) Because of the prevalence of "adat," the pre-Islamic 
informal customary law, in the North Caucasus, most marriages, 
divorces, custody, property disputes, and other family and civil law 
matters that affect the lives of women are not administered by 
government agencies or the courts in accordance with Russian Law. 
In an expert affidavit solicited by Refcoord in connection with a 
May 2009 in-country admissions referral, the affiant testified, "The 
Russian government has largely abandoned its citizens in Chechnya, 
especially vulnerable ones like women, to the arbitrariness of the 
[President Ramzan] Kadyrov government and abuses committed under 
adat.  There has been no pro-active effort to make the protections 
of Russian law available to residents of Chechnya.  Even when 
Chechen women defy adat and seek the protection of Russian law and 
assistance of the authorities, for example in custody cases (where 
adat holds that children 'belong' to the father's family and may be 
taken away permanently from their mothers), the authorities and 
courts are often unwilling to do their job and even counsel women to 
submit to local traditions instead." 
13. (U) UNHCR uses its limited resources to focus on assisting IDP 
women with problems related specifically to their displacement.  In 
MOSCOW 00001836  003 OF 004 
collective accommodations it is the women who are the most active in 
bringing their concerns to UNHCR protection staff, Country Director 
Karrenbrock told us.  Their confidence in announcing their needs 
developed in 2000, when most men were off fighting - and frequently 
dying, leaving the women to head their households alone.  After long 
experience of displacement, women in the North Caucasus have become 
articulate, if not organized, in their expressions of frustration 
with poor socio-economic conditions. 
14. (U) Shirato noted that 40 percent of IDP families in the North 
Caucasus are headed by women.  UNHCR does not register IDPs in the 
North Caucasus, though, so it obtains its data from studies 
undertaken by domestic and international NGO implementing partners. 
As UNHCR's North Caucasus budget does not permit it to offer 
assistance to all IDPs there, national authorities would look 
askance at any registration effort.  Also, as the IDPs are scattered 
in both urban and rural settings across a wide region, some in 
collective centers and some in the private sector, UNHCR has not 
established an IDP committee, making it difficult to evaluate 
whether IDP women enjoy equal leadership opportunities in their 
communities.  UNHCR provides assistance to the most vulnerable 
families, getting involved in about 100 cases a year based on 
information provided by monitors who visit IDP homes.  Any 
assistance to families includes women's sanitary supplies, Shirato 
UNHCR Vladikavkaz Approach to SGBV 
15. (U) In the fall of 2007 UNHCR Vladikavkaz developed and approved 
an SOP for responding to SGBV.  The document's focus is on legal 
assistance, which the office believes is its strong suit.  The &#x0
00A;office defines its primary role as helping people who want to take 
legal action against perpetrators.  UNHCR leaves it to its 
implementing partners to offer, or make referrals for, medical and 
psycho-social care.  No specific NGOs are mentioned in the SOP, 
however, due to high turnover among voluntary organizations active 
in the region. 
Cultural and Security Impediments 
16. (SBU) Country Director Karrenbrock elaborated on the context in 
which UNHCR is attempting to help North Caucasus IDP women.  People 
there do not have faith in government structures, and are afraid 
that there could even be retaliation for reporting certain crimes. 
But UNHCR is loath to criticize sexist officials (note: such as 
Chechnya's Human Rights Ombudsman, who last winter suggested that 
several female murder victims had brought their fates on themselves 
by wearing provocative clothing; end note) publicly for fear of 
alienating individuals who are essential to resolving other IDP 
17. (U) Also, due to the tense security environment, UN 
international staff can only travel to IDP areas in large armed 
convoys that in effect deter approaches by individuals seeking help 
with sensitive issues.  UNHCR therefore works through domestic 
partners such as NIZAM and Vesta, whose trained social workers can 
move discreetly among their vulnerable countrywomen.    Even so, it 
takes either a very courageous woman to go on to pursue legal 
remedies for her victimization or else creation of so much publicity 
around a case that retaliation becomes too risky for allies of the 
perpetrator to contemplate, Karrenbrock observed. 
18. (U) International Medical Corps (IMC) Country Director Simon 
Rasin corroborated Karrenbrock's observations in a conversation with 
Refcoord June 6. The North Caucasus is a difficult environment in 
which to get women even to talk about sexual violence, Rasin stated, 
because of a widespread attitude that SGBV should not be discussed 
outside the home but dealt with inside the affected clan or family. 
Teachers at schools where IMC conducts training often say that SGBV 
is a major problem elsewhere but not in their local communities; 
Rasin posits that this is because the teachers do not wish to 
discuss the problem with outsiders.  When IMC makes an income 
generation grant to an SGBV victim, it is at pains to keep secret 
from often equally economically vulnerable community members the 
reason for the individual's selection.  Publicizing the truth could 
result in the victim being ostracized by her family and neighbors, 
Rasin reported, though younger, better educated Chechens, especially 
those who have been abroad, tend to have more accepting attitudes. 
IMC has worked closely with UNHCR protection staff, including 
Shirato and a Chechen attorney who is a former policeman, on 
providing SGBV training to Chechen police officers.  The UNHCR 
speakers lecture on international and domestic legal standards as 
they apply to SGBV cases the officers may see in their work. 
19. (U) Presumably because of its narrow legal focus, UNHCR 
Vladikavkaz only directly dealt with two cases of SGBV in 2008, both 
MOSCOW 00001836  004 OF 004 
involving rapes of young children - one by a stranger, and one by a 
neighbor.  UNHCR counseled the families.  In the stranger rape case, 
the family proceeded with a criminal prosecution, but in the other 
case the victim's family quietly departed the community where the 
crime had taken place. 
20. (SBU) Caucasians do not want to come to UNHCR about SGBV issues, 
Shirato concluded resignedly, and UNHCR cannot compel them, though 
it does disseminate information about its legal services.  Her 
office has not been able to figure out a way to be more effective in 
this sphere, Shirato lamented.  Karrenbrock also conceded that, for 
all the good work of its national partners, UNHCR itself needs to do 
more creative thinking about how it can help. 
UNICEF Plays Catch-Up 
21. (U) UNICEF appears even further behind than its sister agency in 
thinking strategically about insuring that its work benefits the 
sexes in proportion to their needs.  Country Director Bernard 
Bainvel told Refcoord June 16 that he wants to conduct a gender 
audit on some parts of UNICEF's program "at the end of the year." 
Bainvel, who arrived in Russia in September 2008, said he wants to 
introduce more of a gender dimension in UNICEF interventions.  His 
agency needs to look at whether it is able to challenge stereotypes 
of men and women through its psycho-social program as well as 
whether women are comfortable talking about their unmet needs, he 
acknowledged.  Fixed gender roles can harm boys as well as girls, 
Bainvel reflected further.  For example, youth services are mostly 
used by young women; young Caucasian men do not show up because of 
their society's belief that they should not need help. 
22. (U) Currently, close to 50 percent of UNICEF Russia's program is 
in the North Caucasus, where, Bainvel noted, there is a pronounced 
gender differentiation in parenting.  Bainvel also remarked that the 
choice of when and with whom to get married, or of not to marry at 
all, is restricted for women in the North Caucasus, whether or not 
they are IDPs.  He recalled the case of a woman on UNICEF's own 
North Caucasus staff whose father, because she was still single, 
would not allow her to move to Moscow for a job.  On the positive 
side, Bainvel said UNICEF could successfully draw on the Convention 
on the Rights of the Child, which Russia has ratified, in order to 
escape the trap of perceived cultural relativism in its advice to 
Caucasian beneficiaries. 
23. (U) Bainvel said he had no figures on how many UNICEF 
beneficiaries are IDPs and no way of collecting them.  He also had 
no statistics on what percentages of UNICEF beneficiaries are boys 
and girls.  The agency tries to keep a 50/50 balance, he reported, 
but does nothing systematic to ensure such equality.  He explained 
that gender awareness is not a matter of counting the number of 
girls but of looking at the life cycle - family, streets, school, 
political participation - and identifying where there is bias. 
24. (U) UNICEF in Russia does not have a mechanism for beneficiaries 
to complain about sexual harassment.  Perhaps none is necessary in 
Moscow, Bainvel rationalized, as UNICEF supplies little direct 
assistance in the capital.  Arguably the same is true in the North 
Caucasus, where the situation is not classified as an emergency, he 
added.  Bainvel does believe that a complaints mechanism also 
protects the agency that promulgates it, however; he has therefore 
tabled with the UN Country Team the issue of introducing one. 
25. (SBU) UN staff interviewed for this report came across as well 
disposed tow
ard considering special gender-based protection needs; 
however, they had not undertaken systematic or original efforts to 
implement UNHCR Guidelines on the Protection of Refugee Women (ref 
C).  Distractions created by Russia's peculiarly challenging 
operating environment - relatively small budgets; urban displaced 
populations; a host government ambivalent about meeting its 
responsibilities under international law - appear to be the main 
culprits in this lag.  We will continue to raise the issue of 
women's special vulnerability with international organization 
duty-bearers and encourage official visitors to do the same. 



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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. #09MOSCOW1835.
Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
09MOSCOW1835 2009-07-17 10:15 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Moscow

DE RUEHMO #1835/01 1981015
O 171015Z JUL 09

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 MOSCOW 001835 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 07/15/2019 
Classified By: Ambassador John R. Beyrle for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d). 
1.  (C)  Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov told the 
Ambassador July 16 that the Russian government viewed the 
Obama-Medvedev summit as a "very good visit," and said the 
MFA was preparing next steps for post-START negotiations, the 
ballistic missile joint threat assessment, and the bilateral 
commission.  Ryabkov promised a reply on the proposed visit 
of ISN/PDAS Van Diepen, and subsequently confirmed July 29 or 
30.  He agreed that U/S Tauscher and he should meet before 
the proposed Lavrov-Clinton meeting, and offered September 
3-4 in London on the side of a tentative P5 deputies meeting. 
 Ryabkov offered his views on the bilateral commission's 
operations, saying he prefers a detailed terms of reference 
document.  He reinforced Medvedev's statements at the G-8 
that Russia was not seeking to end its individual application 
for WTO accession.  Ryabkov offered greater support for the 
family of Paul Klebnikov, murdered in 2004.  He tried to 
delink Russia's lifting of meat import restrictions against 
two U.S. states from any political considerations.  End 
Scheduling for Arms Control and Disarmament Talks 
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2.  (C) An upbeat Ryabkov expressed appreciation for all of 
the work done before the summit, which ensured what the GOR 
assessed as "a very good visit."  The MFA had used the time 
since the summit to take stock on commitments for the START 
follow-on agreement, the ballistic missile joint threat 
assessment (JTA), and the bilateral commission, particularly 
the Arms Control and International Security Working Group 
which he co-chairs with U/S Tauscher.  Ryabkov appreciated 
the offer for ISN/PDAS Vann Van Diepen and team to travel to 
Moscow for the first JTA meeting.  Ryabkov was concerned that 
many of the same experts who were supporting talks in Geneva 
would not have time to prepare or be available for an 
end-of-month JTA visit.  On July 17, however, he phoned to 
offer July 29 or 30 as a date for expert-level talks, hosted 
on the Russian side by Anatoliy Antonov. 
3.  (C) Ryabkov also agreed that he and U/S Tauscher, as 
co-chairs of the Arms Control and International Security 
Working Group, should meet and settle on an agenda before 
Secretary Clinton and Minister Lavrov have their inaugural 
commission meeting in the fall.  He suggested meeting on the 
margins of a proposed September 3-4 P5 deputies session in 
London, in lieu of the August 12 session currently under 
discussion. Ryabkov welcomed the Ambassador's suggestion to 
use video teleconferencing to reduce the travel and expense 
for the series of working group meetings under the bilateral 
commission.  Ryabkov commented that the MFA had good video 
conferencing facilities in-house. 
4.  (C) Amb. Beyrle asked if MFA Director for Arms Control 
and Disarmament Anatoliy Antonov would focus solely on the 
START follow-on treaty, or continue to attend to other 
duties.  The U.S. was concerned that Antonov would need to 
devote full energy to START in view of the tight December 
deadline agreed by the Presidents.  Ryabkov assured the 
Ambassador that the Post-START negotiations would remain 
Antonov's "top priority;" he would retain other 
responsibilities, but his deputies could also cover some of 
his portfolio.  Ryabkov also asked if Ambassador Mull would 
continue to lead MD discussions. 
Bilateral Commission 
5.  (C) Ryabkov said the MFA was already involved in start-up 
preparations for the bilateral commission ministerial.  He 
expected that the working group co-chairs would meet before 
the Lavrov-Clinton session in the fall.  He also reported 
that there was a debate with the GOR on the preferred 
mechanics for the commission -- one camp advocated for 
working group specific approaches, while the other sought a 
terms of reference that defined the working group structures 
and their responsibilities, reporting chains, and timelines. 
Ryabkov made clear that he preferred the latter approach, and 
related his concept for an annual plenary that would review 
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the efforts of the working groups which would then be put 
forward as a report to the presidents.  But he stressed there 
was no final decision on this yet. 
6.  (C) Ryabkov stated that according to "his understanding" 
of Russia's WTO accession plans as recently expressed by 
President Medvedev, Russia was not seeking simultaneous 
accession with Belarus and Kazakhstan, but said the process 
should not complicate the separate applications of the 
countries or the operation of the customs union.  He 
underlined that Russia wanted to retain the results of prior 
rounds of negotiations and move forward on the remaining 
issues.  He said that Russia was well aware that there was no 
precedent for a customs union to negotiate as a bloc for 
accession, but that the rules do not bar it either. The 
Ambassador affirmed the U.S. was committed to supporting 
Russia's accession sooner rather than later and that he would 
meet with Presidential economic advisor Dvorkovich and First 
Deputy Prime Minister Shuvalov to better understand how to 
move the process forward.  The Ambassador reiterated that 
Russia, the EU, and the U.S. had laid a foundation for real 
progress on Russia's WTO accession at the June 4-6 St. 
Petersburg Economic Forum, and we hoped to maintain that 
Civil Society/Klebnikov and Estemirova Murders 
--------------------------------------------- - 
7.  (C) The Ambassador noted U.S. statements of concern 
regarding the murder of Russian human rights activist 
Nataliya Estemirova, and said President Medvedev's immediate 
statement on the killing had been noted in Washington.  He 
also welcomed the renewed sense of urgency in the 2004 Paul 
Klebnikov murder case, and praised the efforts of the GOR to 
meet with the family and with members of U.S. law enforcement 
(reftel).  Ryabkov said that the Klebnikov murder "was not a 
closed chapter," and "what help and comfort we can provide to 
the family, we will."  Ryabkov also said that the GOR was 
aware of the effect the Klebnikov case had on bilateral 
Phyto-Sanitary Bans on Pork 
8.  (C) In response to the Ambassador's recognition of the 
lifting of pork bans on two more U.S. states (New York and 
Utah), Ryabkov said that this was part of a larger review of 
the policy, taking into account the latest findings of the 
World Health Organization.  He underscored that Mexico, 
Canada, and Brazil would also be affected by this review and 
stressed that it was not a political decision made in the 
wake of the U.S.-Russia summit.  The Ambassador said the U.S. 
side is gathering additional information to facilitate 
removing bans on the last two states (Wisconsin and Florida). 
 Note:  late on July 16, we were informed that Wisconsin had 
already been removed.