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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
09MOSCOW2340 2009-09-11 15:19 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Moscow

DE RUEHMO #2340/01 2541519
R 111519Z SEP 09

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 04 MOSCOW 002340 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 09/10/2019 
REF: A. MOSCOW 00951 
     B. MOSCOW 01743 
Classified By: Deputy Chief of Mission Eric Rubin.  Reason:  1.4 (b), ( 
1. (C)  Summary:  On October 11 candidates will compete in 
elections for all 35 seats in the Moscow City Duma.  August 
26 was the deadline for submitting signatures, and over the 
following week the electoral committee proceeded to deny 
registration to 23 candidates of the 141 candidates competing 
for single mandate seats.  Pundits agree that the elections 
will be neither free nor fair.  United Russia will dominate 
the next Moscow City Duma, winning a minimum 28 seats.  GOLOS 
expert Andrey Buzin estimates that United Russia has the 
ability to falsify approximately 10-15 percent of total votes 
cast.  End Summary. 
2. (C)  On October 11, candidates will compete for 35 seats 
in the Moscow City Duma elections.  Voters will elect 18 
candidates from party lists and 17 in single-mandate 
districts. July 13 was the deadline for candidates to submit 
their enrollment documents to the Moscow City Election 
Commission.  August 26 was the deadline for submitting 
signatures to the Commission, and on September 6 the city 
announced the registration results.  Six political parties 
are running in the elections: the ruling United Russia party; 
the Communist Party of the Russian Federation (KPRF); the 
Liberal Democratic Party of Russia (LDPR); Just Russia; 
Yabloko, and Patriots of Russia.  Andrey Buzin, an expert in 
election law with the election monitoring NGO Association 
Voice (GOLOS), told us on August 18 that United Russia will 
likely win all 17 single-mandate seats and at least 11 of the 
18 party list seats in the Moscow City Duma.  This leaves 
seven remaining spots to be divided between KPRF, LDPR, Just 
Russia, and Yabloko.  Buzin doubts that Patriots of Russia 
will win any seats. 
Who is Still in the Running 
3. (C)  According to Moscow City Elections Commission 
Chairman Valentin Gorbunov's September 8 statement, a total 
of 371 candidates will compete for 35 seats in the Moscow 
City Duma.  Six parties nominated 290 candidates.  81 
candidates were registered in single-mandate districts, down 
from 141 who declared their intent to run. Out of these 
single-mandate candidates, 13 self-nominated individuals are 
registered.  The following parties are running for the Moscow 
City Duma elections: 
-United Russia:  On August 4, United Russia announced its top 
party list "troika" candidates:  Moscow Mayor Yuriy Luzhkov, 
Moscow City Duma Chairman Vladimir Platonov, and Deputy Mayor 
Lyudmila Shvetsova.  United Russia will run a slate of 53 
candidates for the 18 seats chosen by party list, plus 
candidates for each of the 17-single mandate seats.  Luzhkov, 
who wields considerable influence and power over the final 
outcome of elections as a founding member of United Russia, 
through his and his billionaire wife Yelena Baturina's 
personal connections, and through his political connections 
within Moscow, has undisputed control over the Moscow 
Election Commission.  He tops the party list to attract 
votes, but is under no obligation to leave the Mayor's Office 
to become the next Moscow City Duma Chairman.  The position 
of Moscow City Mayor is no longer popularly elected, but 
instead recommended by the City Duma and appointed by the 
-KPRF:  KPRF has 46 candidates on the party list and 16 
single-mandate candidates, including film director Nikolay 
Gubenko, KPRF Moscow head Vladimir Ulas, businessman Vadim 
Kumin, and current Moscow City Duma Deputies Vladimir Lakeyev 
and Sergey Nikitin. 
-LDPR:  LDPR has prepared a list of 47 candidates for the 
party list and the 17 single-mandate seats.  Vladimir 
Zhirinovskiy Moscow LDPR branch head Viktor Sobolev, and LDPR 
State Duma faction staffer Oleg Lavrov will top the LDPR 
party list. 
-Just Russia:  Just Russia will run a slate of 51 candidates 
on its party list and 16 candidates for the single-mandate 
seats.  State Duma lower house of parliament deputy Nikolay 
Levichev and State Duma deputy Galina Khovanskaya top the 
party list. Just Russia has not previously competed in Moscow 
City Duma elections, but is fielding a deep list of 
candidates and appears to have growing support within the 
MOSCOW 00002340  002 OF 004 
-Yabloko:  Yabloko party chairman and current Moscow City 
Duma deputy Sergey Mitrokhin and deputy Yabloko chairman and 
Moscow City Duma deputy Yevgeniy Bunimovich top the 49-person 
party list.  Yabloko will run by party list, but 
single-mandate campaigns are beyond the party's limited 
financial means.  Former Yabloko leader Grigoriy Yavlinskiy 
met with President Medvedev July 29 to enlist Kremlin support 
for Yabloko's participation in the elections.  The same day, 
Medvedev met with Luzhkov.  It is speculated that some back 
room deals might have been mad
e to keep Yabloko, a 
marginalized opposition party, in the running. 
-Patriots of Russia:  38 candidates from the party list and 
one obscure single-mandate candidate, Aleksandr Komissarov, a 
scientist and General Director of Aero Ecology, will run for 
the Patriots.  Leader of the party Gennadiy Semigin, actor 
Sergey Mokhovikov, and former State Duma Deputy Sergey Glotov 
will top the list. 
Who Has Been Disqualified 
4. (C)  The Solidarity movement announced July 10 that it 
would put nine candidates forward to run in single-mandate 
districts during the Moscow City Duma elections.  Their 
platform was supposed to be based on fighting corruption, 
illegal construction, and growing utility prices.  They hoped 
to garner extra support from residents' reactions to the 
economic crisis.  Two candidates withdrew, leaving the 
remaining candidates: former Young Yabloko leader Ilya 
Yashin, former Deputy Energy Minister Vladimir Milov, Igor 
Drandin, Ivan Starikov, Nikolay Lyaskin, Roman Dobrokhotov, 
and Sergey Davidis in the running.  However, all seven have 
since been disqualified.  Interfax reported September 8 that 
Ilya Yashin reportedly did not use the proper subheadings on 
his signature sheets, as a result of which 100 percent of his 
signatures were disqualified.  Gorbunov maintained that the 
signature sheets contained signatures from residents of 15 
apartment blocks which were torn down five years ago, as well 
as names of people who died in 2004 and 2005, but Yashin 
dismissed these allegations as nonsense.  Yashin argued that 
the decision to remove the Solidarity candidates was 
political since the form he used to collect signatures was 
identical to the forms submitted by Yabloko and Patriots of 
5. (C)  Following disqualification, former candidates have 
become more vocal in their opposition to Luzhkov.  In an 
unprecedented move, Solidarity movement co-chairman Boris 
Nemtsov released a comprehensive and very controversial 
report September 8, arguing that Mayor Luzhkov should be sued 
for corruption in Moscow, blasting the privileged conditions 
enjoyed by Luzhkov's wife for her dominant construction 
business in Moscow, and citing the growing disparity between 
the wealthy and poor in Moscow under Luzhkov's extended 
leadership.  Ekho Moskvy Radio reported September 8 that 
Nemtsov sent a copy of this report to Medvedev and plans to 
distribute a million copies of the report to Muscovites. 
Grani.ru reported September 10, that a group of about 30 
Solidarity members presented this report to the investigation 
committee of the prosecutor general's office for review. 
6. (C)  In July, Right Cause and Yabloko announced plans to 
run together on a single Yabloko party list.  However, an 
internal rift in the Right Cause party ultimately led to a 
decision by the Right Cause leadership not to take part in 
the Moscow City Duma elections and, consequently, it did not 
put forward a party list.  RFE/RL's Russian Service reported 
September 7 that the leader of Russia's Right Cause Party, 
Leonid Gozman, called the Moscow City Duma election campaign 
a "farce."  Right Cause party members Boris Nadezhdin, Igor 
Trunov, and Yelena Guseva decided to run as independent 
candidates, in cooperation with Yabloko, for single-mandate 
districts.  Trunov, a prominent lawyer, planned to run in 
Okrug 15 against Moscow City Duma chairman Vladimir Platonov. 
 Moscow Oblast Right Cause leader and former Deputy of the 
State Duma Boris Nadezhdin told us August 21 that he planned 
to run in Zelenograd, a part of Moscow City that is 
geographically unattached to Moscow City proper and 
surrounded by Moscow Oblast.  Nadezhdin hails from the Moscow 
Oblast and has many supporters there who were prepared to 
work on his campaign in Zelenograd.  He collected the 
necessary 5,000 signatures and even signed an agreement with 
Yabloko's Mitrokhin not run against him in Zelenograd.  The 
opposition parties agreed to divide the single-mandate 
districts so as to consolidate their resources against United 
Russia by not competing with each other. 
MOSCOW 00002340  003 OF 004 
7. (C)  Both Trunov and Nadezhdin were disqualified from the 
elections.  Gazeta.ru reported on September 2 that one 
hundred percent of the signatures supporting Trunov were 
deemed invalid because he did not specify his party 
affiliation or note that he heads up the college of 
barristers on his signature sheets, which the city electoral 
commission claimed deceived his supporters.  Trunov responded 
that the leadership of the college was not his official duty. 
 Moderately liberal daily Kommersant reported September 4 
that the commission rejected the signatures in support of 
Nadezhdin since they were in different color ink and that 
some addresses did not exist.  Nadezhdin confirmed these 
facts with us.  Guseva, a part-time Right Cause deputy in the 
Moscow district legislature, was the only Right Cause 
candidate, although running as an independent, who managed to 
get registered by the election committee.  Right Cause, 
though not registered for the elections, has come out with 
strong statements against Luzhkov since Trunov and Nadezhdin 
were denied registration.  Buzin told us September 7 at a 
GOLOS press briefing that if the opposition candidates had 
been allowed to run, they would have boosted the turnout of 
protest voters and deflated United Russia's popularity 
State Duma Party Registration 
8. (C)  The registration process for the Moscow City Duma 
elections has worked to the benefit of United Russia and to 
the detriment of the other parties in many ways.  The four 
parties in the State Duma or "parliamentary parties," United 
Russia, KPRF, LDPR, and Just Russia, enjoy a privileged 
status in that they are not required to collect signatures to 
run in the Moscow City Duma elections.  For this reason, 
although LDPR and Just Russia are not represented in the 
current Moscow City Duma, they are still exempt from 
collecting signatures.  However, Yabloko and Patriots of 
Russia must adhere to this difficult procedure because they 
do not have representation at the federal level.  Yabloko 
managed to collect over 70,000 signatures and register the 
party.  Patriots of Russia collected approximately 80,000 
signatures to be registered, and each candidate successfully 
collected 4,000 signatures for the single-mandate seats. 
Disqualification of Collected Signatures 
9. (C)  The collection of signatures is an overly burdensome 
bureaucratic process.  Candidates running in the proportional 
system must collect over 70,000 signatures, whereas 
single-mandate districts must collect 5,000 signatures, 
including passport number, DOB, and address of the voter. 
Each signature sheet must be notarized.  Any typo on a 
signature sheet invalidates all signatures on that sheet. 
erfax reported September 5 that the leader of the movement 
For Human Rights, Lev Ponomarev, stated "the entire 
opposition is being removed from the election...this all 
relates to some kind of bureaucratic procedures which have 
nothing to do with the law."  Boris Nadezhdin made clear that 
getting registered for the election with the government was a 
much more substantial hurdle than winning the votes needed to 
take office.  It is widely agreed that the government 
scheduled elections in such a way that signatures could only 
be collected between July 13 and August 24, when a 
significant portion of Moscow's population is out of the city 
on holiday. 
Press Coverage/Lack of Information 
10. (C)  Political parties are supposed to have fixed media 
time limits during their election campaigns.  However, almost 
all state officials and regional heads are members of United 
Russia and appear prominently on TV, radio, and in newspapers 
more often than leaders of other political parties and are 
thereby represented more than the other parties.  To date, 
there has been limited advertisement of upcoming elections 
around the city of Moscow. 
Lack of Freedom of Assembly 
11. (C)  Legally, Muscovites have the right to assembly, but 
in practice these rights are difficult to realize.  Moscow 
authorities are notorious for dispersing opposition marches 
and meetings, often with the use of violence. Yabloko's 
registration required the party to overcome a number of 
obstacles.  According to Yabloko Press Secretary Igor 
Yakovlev August 5, Yabloko members had been collecting 
MOSCOW 00002340  004 OF 004 
signatures on Red Square and at 80 metro stops in early 
August and they had problems at five of them.  Three people 
were detained, two of whom filed a lawsuit in response.  They 
were collecting signatures and the militia interfered, 
confiscating five flags and 13 Yabloko vests.  The militia 
stated that they were violating the law since authorities 
viewed the flags and vests as an unsanctioned picket.  The 
authorities did not take any signatures, but the militia told 
the Yabloko members that they had to pay a fine in order to 
get the flags back. ITAR-TASS reported September 8 that 
Moscow City Elections Commission Chairman Valentin Gorbunov 
levied a 100,000-ruble fine on Yabloko for faulty canvassing 
12. (C)  The registration process in the Moscow City Duma 
influences the election outcome and clearly favors the ruling 
United Russia party.  Although some opposition parties will 
make a showing, we fully expect United Russia to dominate the 
elections.  The opposition parties have, for the most part, 
been sidelined before the elections even take place and the 
few remaining opposition candidates do not pose a true threat 
to the Moscow City leadership.  The more extreme candidates, 
such as members of the Solidarity movement, who have been 
dropped from ballots, are speaking out more vocally.  They 
are bringing their complaints to Medvedev, on the one hand a 
main United Russia party supporter, yet on the other hand on 
who has argued for freer elections.  A United 
Russia-dominated Kremlin administration is unlikely to listen 
attentively to complaints against United Russia in Moscow 
City Hall. 


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