Hitler was a Leftist

“We are socialists, we are enemies of today’s capitalistic economic system for the exploitation of the economically weak, with its unfair salaries, with its unseemly evaluation of a human being according to wealth and property instead of responsibility and performance, and we are all determined to destroy this system under all conditions.” –Adolf Hitler

(Speech of May 1, 1927. Quoted by Adolf Hitler by John Toland, 1976, p. 306)

Red Army shoulder patch with the swastika on it that was used during the Russian Civil War after the Bolshevik Revolution

[Below is the 25 of the NSDAP Program – This is basically the National Socialist German Workers Party Platform. It included measures that in effect would redistribute income and war profits, profit-sharing with large industries, nationalization of trusts, extensive development of old-age pension (just like FDRs Social Security Program), and free education. Clearly this demonstrates Hitler was indeed a left winger and here is startling proof.]

The 25 points of the NSDAP Program were composed by Adolf Hitler and Anton Drexler. They were publically presented on 24 February 1920 “to a crowd of almost two thousand and every single point was accepted amid jubilant approval.” (Mein Kampf, Volume II, Chapter I) Hitler explained their purpose in the fifth chapter of the second volume of Mein Kampf:

[T]he program of the new movement was summed up in a few guiding principles, twenty-five in all. They were devised to give, primarily to the man of the people, a rough picture of the movement’s aims. They are in a sense a political creed, which on the one hand recruits for the movement and on the other is suited to unite and weld together by a commonly recognized obligation those who have been recruited.

Hitler was intent on having a community of mutual interest that desired mutual success instead of one that was divided over the control of money or differing values.

THE COMMON INTEREST BEFORE SELF-INTEREST –
THAT IS THE SPIRIT OF THE PROGRAM. BREAKING OF THE THRALDOM OF INTEREST – THAT IS THE KERNEL OF NATIONAL SOCIALISM.

Soviet Socialist Swastika as two separate arms pointing clockwise, representing separate "S" letters overlapping

In these straightforward statements of intent, Hitler translated his ideology into a plan of action which would prove its popularity with the German people throughout the coming years. For many, the abruptness of its departure from the tradition of politics as practiced in the western world was as much of a shock as its liberal nature and foresight of the emerging problems of western democracy.

The Programme of the German Workers’ Party is designed to be of limited duration. The leaders have no intention, once the aims announced in it have been achieved, of establishing fresh ones, merely in order to increase, artificially, the discontent of the masses and so ensure the continued existence of the Party.

1. We demand the union of all Germany in a Greater Germany on the basis of the right of national self-determination.

2. We demand equality of rights for the German people in its dealings with other nations, and the revocation of the peace treaties of Versailles and Saint-Germain.

3. We demand land and territory (colonies) to feed our people and to settle our surplus population.

4. Only members of the nation may be citizens of the State. Only those of German blood, whatever be their creed, may be members of the nation. Accordingly, no Jew may be a member of the nation.

5. Non-citizens may live in Germany only as guests and must be subject to laws for aliens.

6. The right to vote on the State’s government and legislation shall be enjoyed by the citizens of the State alone. We demand therefore that all official appointments, of whatever kind, whether in the Reich, in the states or in the smaller localities, shall be held by none but citizens.

We oppose the corrupting parliamentary custom of filling posts merely in accordance with party considerations, and without reference to character or abilities.

7. We demand that the State shall make it its primary duty to provide a livelihood for its citizens. If it should prove impossible to feed the entire population, foreign nationals (non-citizens) must be deported from the Reich.

8. All non-German immigration must be prevented. We demand that all non-Germans who entered Germany after 2 August 1914 shall be required to leave the Reich forthwith.

9. All citizens shall have equal rights and duties.

10. It must be the first duty of every citizen to perform physical or mental work. The activities of the individual must not clash with the general interest, but must proceed within the framework of the community and be for the general good.

We demand therefore:
11. The abolition of incomes unearned by work.

The breaking of the slavery of interest
12. In view of the enormous sacrifices of life and property demanded of a nation by any war, personal enrichment from war must be regarded as a crime against the nation. We demand therefore the ruthless confiscation of all war profits.

13. We demand the nationalization of all businesses which have been formed into corporations (trusts).

14. We demand profit-sharing in large industrial enterprises.

15. We demand the extensive development of insurance for old age.

16. We demand the creation and maintenance of a healthy middle class, the immediate communalizing of big department stores, and their lease at a cheap rate to small traders, and that the utmost consideration shall be shown to all small traders in the placing of State and municiple orders.

17. We demand a land reform suitable to our national requirements, the passing of a law for the expropriation of land for communal purposes without compensation; the abolition of ground rent, and the prohibition of all speculation in land. *

18. We demand the ruthless prosecution of those whose activities are injurious to the common interest. Common criminals, usurers, profiteers, etc., must be punished with death, whatever their creed or race.

19. We demand that Roman Law, which serves a materialistic world order, be replaced by a German common law.

20. The State must consider a thorough reconstruction of our national system of education (with the aim of opening up to every able and hard-working German the possibility of higher education and of thus obtaining advancement). The curricula of all educational establishments must be brought into line with the requirements of practical life. The aim of the school must be to give the pupil, beginning with the first sign of intelligence, a grasp of the nation of the State (through the study of civic affairs). We demand the education of gifted children of poor parents, whatever their class or occupation, at the expense of the State.

21. The State must ensure that the nation’s health standards are raised by protecting mothers and infants, by prohibiting child labor, by promoting physical strength through legislation providing for compulsory gymnastics and sports, and by the extensive support of clubs engaged in the physical training of youth.

22. We demand the abolition of the mercenary army and the foundation of a people’s army.

23. We demand legal warfare on deliberate political mendacity and its dissemination in the press. To facilitate the creation of a German national press we demand:

(a) that all editors of, and contributors to newspapers appearing in the German language must be members of the nation;
(b) that no non-German newspapers may appear without the express permission of the State. They must not be printed in the German language;
(c) that non-Germans shall be prohibited by law from participating financially in or influencing German newspapers, and that the penalty for contravening such a law shall be the suppression of any such newspaper, and the immediate deportation of the non-Germans involved.

The publishing of papers which are not conducive to the national welfare must be forbidden. We demand the legal prosecution of all those tendencies in art and literature which corrupt our national life, and the suppression of cultural events which violate this demand.

24. We demand freedom for all religious denominations in the State, provided they do not threaten its existence not offend the moral feelings of the German race.

The Party, as such, stands for positive Christianity, but does not commit itself to any particular denomination. It combats the Jewish-materialistic spirit within and without us, and is convinced that our nation can achieve permanent health only from within on the basis of the principle: The common interest before self-interest.

25. To put the whole of this programme into effect, we demand the creation of a strong central state power for the Reich; the unconditional authority of the political central Parliament over the entire Reich and its organizations; and the formation of Corporations based on estate and occupation for the purpose of carrying out the general legislation passed by the Reich in the various German states.

The leaders of the Party promise to work ruthlessly — if need be to sacrifice their very lives — to translate this programme into action.

Source: Programme of the NSDAP

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WikiLeaks: Ambassador John Bass on Situation in Georgia

S E C R E T SECTION 01 OF 04 TBILISI 000203 NOFORN SIPDIS E.O. 12958: DECL: 02/17/2020 TAGS: PREL, PGOV, MOPS, MARR, OTRA, OVIP, AF, RS, GG SUBJECT: GEORGIA: SCENESETTER FOR SPECIAL REPRESENTATIVE HOLBROOKE’S VISIT Classified By: Ambassador John R. Bass for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d).

1. (S) Summary. Georgia is calmer and more stable than at any time since the war, but those improvements are far from durable. A palpable sense of insecurity still permeates society and politics. Miscalculations and provocations – domestically, in the territories or north across the mountains – could easily spark renewed crisis. With a more stable economy and no viable rival, President Saakashvili is stronger politically, but paradoxically more insecure, burdened by the fear history will judge him to have lost irrevocably the occupied territories. He is also concerned our measured approach to defense cooperation and engagement with Moscow presage a deeper reorientation of U.S. interests. These concerns are reinforced by a steady drumbeat of Russian accusations about the legitimacy and behavior of his government and comparative silence from the West about Moscow’s consolidation of its position in the territries. In this hothouse environment, your visit is an important, visible manifestation of the depth of our partnership, and of the enduring commitment of the United States to support Georgia’s aspirations to move west.

2. (S) Much of the government and society are still motivated by the lure of Euro-Atlantic integration. Fears that Georgia will remain in the West’s waiting room in perpetuity have sparked a minority to begin discussing the viability of a deal with Moscow in order to reintegrate the territories. These trial balloons, and Moscow’s ongoing efforts to de-legitimize the government and create more palatable alternatives, further polarize a political environment that encourages zero-sum thinking and hinders deeper democratic and economic reforms. Saakashvili continues to cast about for the “one big thing” that will secure Georgia’s place in the west, recently adding an offer to NATO and the U.S. to provide a logistics hub for Afghanistan to his substantial troop commitment over the next two years. Our challenge is to convince President Saakashvili that he risks losing the enormous goodwill generated by Georgia’s extraordinary contributions in Afghanistan if he fails to combine them with a new push to deepen Georgia’s democratic development. Your visit gives us a chance to thank Georgia publicly for its contribution, providing reassurance of our support, and thereby creating space for Saakashvili to feel secure enough to do the right thing. End Summary.

3. (C) The upcoming deployment to Afghanistan is arguably the most visible example of President Saakashvili’s continued determination to anchor Georgia firmly in the west. The two-year deployment commitment follows an extant deployment of a reinforced light infantry company (173 troops) under French command and anticipates a likely additional partnership with the UK. The Georgians did well in their mission-readiness exercise last month; U.S. evaluators determined that the Georgian troops are sufficiently trained “to conduct the full spectrum of combat operations in a counter-insurgency environment” with their parent Marine Expeditionary Brigade. The battalion is continuing its training program (which you will observe) for an expected deployment in April.

4. (C) Despite the substantial commitment Georgia has made to Q4. (C) Despite the substantial commitment Georgia has made to the effort in Afghanistan, public discussion of Georgia’s involvement has been limited. President Saakashvili has made the case that the commitment is directly linked to Georgia’s own security, arguing publicly that “as soon as the Afghan situation is resolved and the war is over in Iraq, Georgia will be more protected.” He has also pointed out that serving in Afghanistan will give Georgian soldiers useful combat experience. Officials have avoided suggesting that the contribution will help Georgia get into NATO, saying instead that it will help Georgia demonstrate itself as a contributing partner, with the apparent implication that NATO allies will then take Georgia more seriously. Foreign Minister Vashadze, for example, described Georgia’s efforts as “our contribution to the tasks the alliance is trying to resolve in Afghanistan . . . the fight against terrorism, the fight against drug trafficking.” Opposition members have been mostly silent on the topic and offered little public criticism of the contribution, either on its own terms or as a strategy for moving toward NATO membership, although parliamentary opposition leader Giorgi Targamadze expressed support for the deployment to Deputy Secretary Steinberg during his February 5 visit to Tbilisi. Another opposition TBILISI 00000203 002 OF 004 leader, Irakli Alasania, even used language similar to the government’s when he said, “We should not be only consumers of security, but we also should be contributors to international security.” Overall, your visit provides an opportunity not only to raise the profile of Georgia’s involvement, but to frame the discussion in a helpful context.

5. (C) The training program — the Georgian Deployment Program-ISAF (GDP-ISAF) — has been in progress since September 1, 2009. Training includes broad hands-on training, from marksmanship to identifying and safely disposing of Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs). This hands-on training is supplemented by classroom seminars, ranging from cultural familiarization to medical officer training. Rather than remaining in a static position like in their current mission with the French, these Georgian troops will share “battlespace” with the U.S. Marines and be responsible for conducting the same combat mission as the U.S. Marines, without national caveats to the rules of engagement. The Georgians will also send two Georgian staff officers to ISAF under Turkish command, providing liaison to the Afghan MOD and National Defense Staff for one year.

6. (C) Whether they make the connection explicit or not, the Georgians see their contributions to Afghanistan as a down payment on their admission into NATO. Support for NATO remains high in Georgia. After the Alliance’s declaration at Bucharest in April 2008 that Georgia would eventually be a member and after the war in August, NATO has been intensifying relations with Georgia under the aegis of the NATO-Georgia Commission (NGC). Through the NGC, Georgia and the Alliance have worked closely on an Annual National Program (ANP), which is designed to help Georgia advance reforms in areas key for membership, including political, economic, and defense reforms. Georgia continues to be a strong supporter of NATO operations and is a contributor to international security missions, including in particular ISAF in Afghanistan. The challenge is to express our appreciation for those efforts, but deliver the candid message that such contributions are a helpful, but insufficient step toward membership without the concomitant progress on the civilian side.

7. (C) It is hard to overestimate the extent to which an intense climate of insecurity permeates Georgian society and political culture. Russian forces, located as close as 25 miles outside of Tbilisi, are building permanent bases and Georgians hear a steady drip of Russian statements alleging Georgian aggression or announcing the latest step in incorporating Abkhazia into Russia’s economy. Moscow’s statements suggesting that Georgia is planning provocations in the North Caucasus have raised fears among Georgian officials that Russia is looking for another pretext. Tbilisi, in turn, is overly focused on weapons acquisition as an antidote to its jitters. It fears our approach to defense cooperation (heavily focused on developing the structures and processes to assess threats, develop appropriate responses and make informed decisions about use of force before moving to acquisition) is a trade-off to secure Russian cooperation on other issues, such as Iran. Your discussion of our Qon other issues, such as Iran. Your discussion of our broader efforts with Moscow will help reinforce with Saakashvili that we do not see this as a zero-sum equation – and that Georgia also benefits from Moscow’s cooperation on the wider agenda.

8. (C) The immediate security environment has stabilized, with fewer incidents along the administrative boundaries. Shootings and explosions still occur, but much less frequently; in the age-old tradition of the Caucasus, detentions have become the major source of tension, especially around South Ossetia. The Incident Prevention and Response Mechanisms (IPRMs) established by the Geneva talks have helped increase communication and decrease the volatility of individual incidents, especially in Abkhazia; the South Ossetian de facto authorities have refused to participate in their IPRM since October 2009, pending the resolution of three missing persons cases. Overall the Abkhaz de facto authorities are more interested in engaging with partners other than Russia and are therefore more constructive in the IPRM and in Geneva; they continue to allow international partners to operate inside Abkhazia. The South Ossetians are steadfastly uncooperative, even when TBILISI 00000203 003 OF 004 proposals would benefit their own residents. Local residents still face limitations on movements and other human rights concerns in both regions.

9. (C) A maturing Georgian policy on the territories reflects growing recognition that there is no short-term – or military – path to reintegrate them into Georgia, but implementation may founder on Abkhaz or Russian insistence on first discussing the status of the two regions as a way to gain international acceptance of Russia’s recognition of both. A key question is the extent to which the de factos control their own fate versus Russia orchestrating the immediate security ups and downs; the Georgians are convinced the Abkhaz/South Ossetian good cop-bad cop routine is played at the behest of the Russians. No one expects much constructive reaction to the strategy from South Ossetia, but a positive response from Abkhazia, even on relatively modest activities, could indicate sincere interest in moving away from Moscow’s orbit and finding some accommodation with Tbilisi. We are currently developing ways the United States will support the strategy’s objectives through our own activities.

10. (SBU) Even in Abkhazia, however, the underlying situation remains fundamentally unstable. Georgia and Russia disagree profoundly over the source of the instability and the direction the parties must take toward resolution of the conflict. This impasse has become more and more apparent in Geneva, where Georgia sees Russia as a party to the conflict and an existential threat, while Russia sees itself as a keeper of the peace analogous to the EUMM. The Geneva co-chairs have tried to square this circle by combining Russia’s demand for a non-use of force agreement (between Georgia and the regions) with Georgia’s demand for new international security arrangements, but Russia refuses to contemplate any new international presence. Even the Georgians agree that the talks provide a useful forum for engagement among the parties, but if we continue to see no progress on what should be simple issues, we will have to reconsider the usefulness of Geneva.

11. (SBU) The Saakashvili-led United National Movement (UNM) continues to hold a constitutional majority in Parliament, and its current poll numbers reflect broad popular support. The government’s restrained handling of the months-long opposition protests in 2009 reinforced Saakashvili’s and his party’s popularity throughout the country and reduced support for opposition leaders. A rapidly shrinking economy, Saakashvili’s sharpest challenge in 2009, seems to have stabilized beginning in late 2009. Although consumer indicators are improving, the economy remains a concern, as unemployment is up and investments and government revenues have fallen. International assistance, particularly the U.S. provision of USD one billion in aid following the August 2008 conflict, helped insulate Georgia from the worst of the global financial crisis and has provided a significant base for recovery. The EU, other donors and international financial institutions are providing an additional USD 3.5 billion in post-conflict assistance to Georgia.

12. (SBU) The government has made some tangible democratic progress in a number of areas, including passing a new Qprogress in a number of areas, including passing a new electoral code on December 28, 2009, which will set rules for upcoming May 2010 municipal elections. The divergent positions and motives of the opposition (which ranges from “responsible” parties who sit in parliament to “irreconcilable” ones who insist on Saakashvili’s early departure or removal before engaging in any dialogue) precluded the kind of grand bargain which could have turned the electoral code into an engine for new democratic reforms. In the current zero-sum environment, the government did not stretch itself, either. The revised election code has been sent to the Council of Europe’s Venice Commission for legal comment on whether it meets international standards; the Georgians expect to receive a response by March. President Saakashvili agreed to allow for the direct election of the Tbilisi mayor, giving the opposition a chance to control this politically important post in Georgia’s most opposition-minded city. However, substantial government influence, if not outright control, over broadcast and other media steepen the slope the opposition needs to climb. In addition, the government has formed a constitutional commission to review ideas for constitutional change to TBILISI 00000203 004 OF 004 lessen the power of the president.

13. (SBU) Opposition leaders, representing parties both inside and outside of Parliament, generally urge the United States and international community to do more to level the electoral playing field in Georgia by emphasizing the importance of U.S. support to strengthen civil society, improve the media climate, and foster increased political pluralism. Much of the public is still looking for the government to make good on its promises of a new wave of democratic reform as articulated by Saakashvili after the August 2008 conflict. The opposition argues that Saakashvili has consolidated power over the past seven years and is increasingly moving in an authoritarian direction. However, there is little agreement among opposition forces as to what needs to be done or what a good alternative political program would be.

14. (SBU) Georgian media at present reflect the polarized political environment in the country, largely divided into pro-government and pro-opposition operations. Nationwide television channels remain the main source of information for most people. Television content is limited, resulting in a majority of the population which is poorly informed about a variety of issues and everyday concerns. Limited news programming by the Georgian Public Broadcaster in Azeri, Armenian and Russian leaves members of ethnic minorities poorly informed about developments in Georgia; many receive news via satellite from Azerbaijan, Armenia and Russia. There are no hard walls separating the editorial and management sides of media organizations. The media market is small, creating financial challenges. Journalists are low-paid and tend to practice self-censorship.

15. (SBU) While official relations between Russia and Georgia remain contentious, the two governments reached a preliminary agreement in December to reopen a border crossing for transit traffic to Armenia and limited access for Georgians, and the government has indicated that it could be willing to sign a protocol as early as March. Georgian Airways ran a few charter flights to Moscow and St. Petersburg in January — the first direct commercial flights since a brief period in 2008 — and is negotiating for permission for more regular flights.

16. (C) Georgia is also concerned by a significant increase in military supplies from Russia to Armenia planned for 2010 primarily via overflights between Russia and Armenia. Although Georgia has continued to allow the flights to maintain a good relationship with Armenia, it does not believe Armenia has the capacity to use these shipments itself and fears that such armaments as large-caliber ammunition for aircraft could be intended for Russian forces in Armenia, instead of the Armenian military. Not only could such shipments disrupt the balance in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, but they could potentially be used to squeeze Georgia from the south as well should there be a future conflict with Russia.

17. (S) Georgia is also trying to manage its relationship with Iran. Georgia agrees with many of our concerns about Iran’s policies, and has been willing to raise those concerns directly with the Iranians. Georgia still faces lingering Qdirectly with the Iranians. Georgia still faces lingering anger from Tehran for extraditing an Iranian arms smuggler to the United States several years ago. At the same time, it cannot afford to alienate a powerful regional neighbor and major commercial partner — especially as it seeks to prevent any further recognitions of the breakaway regions.

BASS

WikiLeaks: EU diplomats calling US to press Georgia to work with Abkhaz

Excerpts

Thursday, 09 July 2009, 16:15

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 06 STOCKHOLM 000418

SIPDIS

EO 12958 DECL: 07/09/2029

TAGS EUN, PREL, PGOV, IR, RS, SW

SUBJECT: EUR A/S GORDON’S JULY 3 MEETINGS WITH THE EU

POLITICAL DIRECTORS

STOCKHOLM 00000418 001.2 OF 006

Classified By: CDA LAURA J. KIRKCONNELL FOR REASONS 1.4(B) AND (D)

——-

SUMMARY

——-

¶1. (U) Assistant Secretary for European and Eurasian Affairs Phil Gordon met with the 27 EU Member State Political Directors in Stockholm July 3. He then met with the EU Political Directors “troika,” comprising Swedish PolDir Bjorn Lyrvall, EU Council Secretariat DG Robert Cooper, EU External Relations Commission PolDir Karel Kovanda, Spanish PolDir Alfonso Lucini, and EU Council Secretariat Policy Coordinator Helga Schmid.

¶2. (C) On Iran, A/S Gordon emphasized that post-election developments have not altered the Obama Administration’s fundamental approach to the nuclear question, and UK PolDir Mark Lyall-Grant urged the EU to be in position “to move rapidly” with new sanctions at the beginning of the Spanish EU Presidency in January 2010. On the Middle East peace process, the United States was focused on creating the conditions necessary for peace before proposing full-scale negotiations. This would require a stop to Israeli settlements and efforts to build up Palestinian security capacity and an end to violence and incitement. French PolDir Gerard Araud raised the possibility of an EU security force in support of a possible agreement. Regarding the U.S.-Russia relationship, Gordon said that the Russians are testing the Obama Administration to see if it will compromise on its principles; it won,t.

RUSSIA

——

¶13. (C) At Lyrvall’s request, A/S Gordon offered some impressions to the group on U.S. relations with Russia. He said that we are looking to restore relations while also stressing our core principles; e.g., no spheres of influence, democracies have the right to choose alliances, and non-recognition of Abkhazia and South Ossetia. The Russians, for their part, are exploring U.S. willingness to compromise in the name of better relations, which we will not do. A/S Gordon said that with regard to the Medvedev proposals, the U.S. is not prepared to compromise on European security. Lyrvall asked about expectations for the Moscow Summit. A/S Gordon said we were not trying to overstate expectations, but we are talking seriously with the Russians on arms control and Afghanistan. Lithuanian PolDir Eitvydas Bajarunas urged a common U.S.-EU approach on Belarus and Georgia, and A/S Gordon replied that we can only interpret the Zeltser release as an expression of Belarus’s interest in better relations, and that he was planning to go to Belarus himself. He said Georgia was a good example of the U.S. not compromising its principles in the name of better relations with Moscow– in fact, Russia had been isolated on decisions regarding OSCE and UNOMIG ) and he noted the Vice President’s upcoming trip to Georgia and Ukraine.

RUSSIA

——

¶15. (C) A/S Gordon conveyed that the U.S. may be making some progress with Russia on START follow-on negotiations, and may also be making progress with regard to cooperation on Afghanistan. We have little to no progress to report regarding Georgia. The Russians are testing the Obama Administration to see if it will compromise; it will not. Lyrvall commented that there have been no breakthroughs in EU-Russia Partnership and Cooperation Agreement (PCA) negotiations, and noted that the Russians see the EU’s

STOCKHOLM 00000418 004.2 OF 006

Eastern Partnership initiative through a zero-sum lens; if it encourages closer EU ties with six former-Soviet states, it must be anti-Russia. Lucini recommended engaging Russia in the Eastern Partnership through cooperation on concrete projects. Helga Schmid praised the OSCE Ministerial in Corfu for its emphasis on the indivisibility of Euro-Atlantic security.

——-

GEORGIA

——-

¶16. (C) Schmid commented that the Geneva process is useful because it is the only venue which includes all parties to the Georgia conflict. She encouraged the U.S. to press Georgia to work with the Abkhaz; the Abkhaz have been rebuffed in their overtures to the Georgians, and are left with no option but to seek Russia’s support. Kovanda similarly urged outreach to the Abkhaz; they are looking for some daylight with the Russians, and we should help. EU negotiations on visa facilitation with Georgia are not going well. Lucini said we need to let Georgians know we support them without giving Saakashvili “a blank check.”

¶17. (C) A/S Gordon said the Georgians have shown reasonable restraint with protesters lately, marking a departure from previous behavior. Vice President Biden’s upcoming trip to Georgia will emphasize the need to strengthen democratic institutions. A/S Gordon inquired about potential U.S. participation in the EU’s Georgia monitoring mission. An American contribution*either official USG or via NGOs–would showcase our commitment, and could potentially deter future Russian misbehavior. Schmid noted that U.S. participation would also mean opening the mission to Turkey and Ukraine; U.S. political support might be preferable. Cooper agreed that it would be hard for the EU to resist Turkish participation in the EU monitoring mission if the U.S. participated, as Turkey is an EU candidate country. Turkish participation would not necessarily be a bad thing, but it would “need some thinking about.”

http://wikileaks.ch/cable/2009/07/09STOCKHOLM418.html

Wikileaks: Revelation of Hilarion

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 MOSCOW 000241 SIPDIS E.O. 12958: DECL: 01/28/2020 TAGS: PREL, PGOV, PHUM, SOCI, RS SUBJECT: HILARION ON THE ROC’S ROLE IN RUSSIA’S DEVELOPMENT REF: 09 MOSCOW 2842 Classified By: Ambassador John R. Beyrle for reason 1.4 (d)

1. (C) Summary: In a January 28 conversation with the Ambassador, Archbishop Hilarion freely admitted that the Russian Orthodox Church (ROC) has been extending its reach further into all areas of society. The Church has recently adopted a more confrontational tone regarding the State Department’s International Religious Freedom Report (IRF), and Hilarion defended the ROC’s stance against some non-traditional religions. Hilarion also explained the ROC’s desire to promote current GOR policies, including “managed democracy.” Despite the ROC’s increased assertiveness, Hilarion acknowledged a gap between the Church’s teachings and the daily lives of most Russians, especially youth, and wondered aloud how the ROC might address this problem. Despite this gap, Hilarion concluded, many Russians hunger for spiritual guidance, and the ROC intends to fill that gap. End Summary.

2. (C) In a January 28 conversation with the Ambassador, Head of the ROC’s External Relations Division Archbishop Hilarion made the case for the Russian Orthodox Church’s (ROC) recent push to assert its influence over Russian society and politics. By turns candid and circumspect, Hilarion freely admitted that the ROC has been ramping up its public statements in favor of its interests, and has been extending its reach further into heretofore secular areas of society such as children’s education. Calling the ROC “a significant actor” in the life of the country, Hilarion said that Patriarch Kirill is “not only symbolic,” but can also influence major currents in Russia, including its political development.

“Church diplomacy” takes on the IRF ———————————–

3. (C) The ROC has been referred to as “a government within a government,” a political entity as much as a theological one (reftel). As such, in Hilarion’s view, the ROC has a role to play in Russia’s relations with other countries, which is why Kirill considered it important to meet President Obama during his July, 2009 visit to Moscow. Hilarion echoed the Ambassador’s support of the recent warming trend in U.S.-Russian relations, saying that “now is a good time to be an American Ambassador in Russia,” and adding that the ROC is happy to lend its assistance in bringing bilateral relations to an even higher level. (Note: ROC leaders also frequently engage in “Church diplomacy” in the near abroad, strengthening ties with Orthodox Churches in countries, such as Ukraine or Georgia, whose governments in the past six years have had tense relations with the GOR. End note.)

4. (C) Notwithstanding these improved relations, the ROC in November struck a confrontational tone regarding the State Department’s annual International Religious Freedom Report (IRF), released in October. Hilarion penned a letter to the Ambassador — posted on the website of the ROC’s external relations division — in which he complained of perceived U.S. support for “extremists and Satanists.” The negative tone of the letter (as well as the somewhat brazen manner in which it was presented) contrasted sharply with the ROC’s initial public praise of the report’s “objectivity” in observing that the ROC has attempted to promote interfaith tolerance in Russia.

5. (C) Hilarion defended the substance of the letter, saying that although “we are satisfied with the general dynamic,” and “each report is better than the one before,” there are still some issues that “need to be looked at carefully.” If we look at religious freedom exclusively through American eyes, he explained, then the report will inevitably be imperfect, because it will not sufficiently take into account the individual historical and cultural development of Russia. “We don’t want to discriminate,” he said, but the distinction between traditional and non-traditional religions is “rooted in our history.” (Note: As for the manner in which the letter was made public via the ROC website, Hilarion said that “the report was public, as well,” but otherwise passed the buck to his predecessor, who he claimed had established the practice. End note.) Hilarion added (rather disingenuously) that there is no law favoring traditional religions over non-traditional ones, a statement that was not true on its face — the 1997 Law on Religions elevates the status of the four “traditional” religions (Orthodox Christianity, Judaism, Islam, and Buddhism) — and that also ignored the key question of the implementation of the law, which in practice has marginalized non-traditional groups. As if to underscore that point, Hilarion acknowledged that “some groups” within the ROC might express MOSCOW 00000241 002 OF 003 intolerant views, but Kirill consistently speaks out in favor of tolerance — and otherwise there are limits to what Church leaders can do to discourage this.

“Managed democracy” just fine for the ROC —————————————–

6. (C) On a more positive note, the Ambassador praised the ROC’s ability to re-establish its moral authority and rebuild its institutions, in the space of a scant twenty years. Agreeing on this point, Hilarion noted that the ROC must heal wounds not only from the monumental changes of the past 20 years, but also from the destruction that took place in the past 90 years, since the Revolution. “Most of our problems today are rooted in the Soviet period,” he said, including the pervasive problems of corruption and hypocrisy. Hilarion emphasized the need for patience with Russia’s development, a point we have heard many times during political discussions with Russian interlocutors (GOR officials and NGO activists alike), given that Russia has only had 20 years to build a democracy, unlike countries such as the U.S. or Great Britain, which built their democracies over hundreds of years. Hilarion also said that “our democracy does not have to look identical to the U.S.,” and, taking Russia’s history and culture into account, should rather be a form of “managed democracy.”

7. (C) Appearing to borrow from the United Russia playbook, Hilarion essentially equated authoritarianism with stability, noting that “Russians have always liked having a strong and powerful figure at the top,” and lambasting Russia’s experiments with democracy in the 1990s, calling the election of 1996 a “catastrophe” in which the country was paralyzed by its unappealing choice between Yeltsin, Zyuganov, and Zhirinovsky. As to whether Russia might aspire to a system in the future whereby the people hold their government accountable for its policies, Hilarion said that this was “theoretically possible,” but does not always work in practice.

8. (C) Hilarion made it clear that he sees a prominent role for the ROC in promulgating the GOR’s current policies. Notwithstanding his claim that the ROC enjoys no special status among religions, he asserted that the Patriarch is not only the head of the Orthodox Church in Russia, but “the spiritual leader for the whole nation.” He noted that on the November 4 National Unity Day, the Patriarch celebrated the divine liturgy in Red Square, then led a procession where he was followed by leaders of other faiths. The ROC also appears to be first among equals in the context of the new program to teach religion in schools in 19 regions of the country (reftel). (Note: Under this program, students will have a choice between studying one of the four traditional religions, or taking a course on “secular ethics.” Different religions will be emphasized depending on the majority population in the region where the program is taking place. End note.) Hilarion stressed that this is only a “pilot program,” but there is little evidence to suggest any GOR intention to abandon the program once it is underway. On that issue, Hilarion said only that the GOR would “assess” the efficacy of the program some time after its inception in the Spring.

A longer road to travel in the social sphere ——————————————–

9. (C) Although the ROC has accomplished a great deal recently in its efforts to gain more social and political prominence, a significant gap remains between its teachings and the ethos of modern Russian culture. The GOR may see no problems with eroding the wall between Church and State, but that appears to be affecting the ROC’s political role more than its social one. Hilarion lamented that although 70-80 percent of Russians call themselves Orthodox, very few (about 5 percent) attend church regularly, and even fewer “have their life influenced by the Orthodox faith.” The Church’s dilemma, he explained, is that it needs to build a bridge to young people who see no role for the Church in their lives, while at the same time maintaining the original essence of the Church’s teachings. “We don’t need to update or modernize services,” Hilarion said, but “we must still overcome cultural and psychological barriers” separating religious and secular life in Russia. In his opinion, the best forum for accomplishing this is education, and he envisioned a comprehensive program that raised awareness without appearing invasive.

Comment ——-

10. (C) In the absence of a widespread, active following MOSCOW 00000241 003 OF 003 among most people (at least in their day-to-day activities), the ROC is clearly attempting to throw its weight around politically. For those of us accustomed to seeing a firewall between Church and State, the ROC’s growing assertiveness, and open admission that they intend to pervade all aspects of public Russian society may appear alarming. At the same time, Hilarion is correct to note that Russia has been through cataclysmic changes in the past two decades, on top of decades of moral bankruptcy under communism. A widespread feeling of disgust at the excesses of oligarchs and “new Russians” who acquired vast wealth during the sell-off of state assets in the 90s (and during the oil boom of the Putin years), is still strong among the populace at large. The feeling that people are surrounded by examples of empty values and cynicism has led to a corresponding spiritual hunger. The ROC seeks to fill that void, and we should be ready to address this phenomenon with open eyes, while making clear our view that the virtues of Christian tolerance should apply equally to the non-Orthodox faithful.

Beyrle

Wikileaks: Mistral Sale Could Destabilize Black Sea

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 TBILISI 002025

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 11/19/2019
TAGS: PREL PGOV MARR MOPS RS GG
SUBJECT: GEORGIA: MISTRAL SALE COULD DESTABILIZE BLACK SEA

REF: PARIS 1529

Classified By: Ambassador John R. Bass for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d).

1. (C)  Summary and comment.  On November 13 and 16 Foreign
Minister Grigol Vashadze voiced serious concerns about the
potentially destabilizing influence of France's possible sale
of Mistral-class helicopter carrier ships to Russia (reftel)
to DAS Tina Kaidanow and the Ambassador.  As the broker of
the August 2008 ceasefire agreement with which Russia has
still not complied, France would not only provide Russia with
arms that its own officers admit would have helped them in
the war against Georgia, but would send a powerful signal
that NATO and the west are no longer concerned about Russia's
intentions.  At a time when Georgia faces a "silent embargo"
on arms shipments, other countries -- notably Spain and the
Netherlands -- await such a signal to begin their own sales
to Russia.  Such an opening of the floodgates could render an
already out-of-balance military confrontation even more
lopsided, allowing the Russians to assert themselves with
impunity -- and delivering the implicit message that the west
will not interfere.  Vashadze requested that the United
States push back against this sale and said President
Saakashvili would make the same request at more senior
levels.  We recommend doing so, in both Paris and Brussels --
or at the very least seeking a commitment from Russia that
these ships will not be deployed in the Black Sea.  End
summary and comment.

VASHADZE'S CONCERNS

2. (C) Foreign Minister Vashadze raised his concerns with us
about the sale twice, during a November 16 meeting with
Deputy Assistant Secretary Kaidanow and in a November 13
dinner with the Ambassador.  He registered several specific
objections.  First, the fact that it is France considering
the sale carries significant symbolic weight.  President
Sarkozy, representing the French presidency of the EU,
brokered the August 12, 2008 ceasefire agreement between
Georgia and Russia and effectively pledged the EU as the
guarantor of that agreement.  Point 5 of the agreement
requires Russia to withdraw its forces to those positions
held previous to the war -- a provision that Russia has not
complied with.  In fact, Russia has done the opposite,
increasing its military presence in both Abkhazia and South
Ossetia, and expanding its positions beyond their August 6,
2008 positions.  Thus, if France were to approve the sale of
any significant military equipment to Russia, it would
implicitly intimate that the broker of the ceasefire
agreement was satisfied either that Russia had complied with
those commitments, or that the commitments were no longer
binding.

3. (C) Second, Vashadze noted that the specific ship in
question represents a direct threat not only to Georgia, but
to the entire Black Sea region.  Third, the sale is being
contemplated in the context of what Vashadze called a "silent
embargo" against Georgia, making Georgia's attempts to
rethink its physical security even more difficult.   Russia
would improve substantially its ability to project military
power across the Black Sea littoral.  Finally, Vashadze said
that other countries -- notably Spain and the Netherlands --
were waiting for just such a sale from a major NATO ally to
open the door to their own arms sales to Russia.  A Mistral
sale would thereby open the floodgates to new procurements
Qsale would thereby open the floodgates to new procurements
for Russia -- procurements that could lead to even more
destabilizing steps in the Black Sea region.

PUBLIC DISCUSSION

4. (U) The newspaper 24 Saati (24 Hours) published a
front-page article November 18, written by a American analyst
based in Tbilisi, that registers strong protest against the
proposed sale.  Calling the sale potentially the "biggest
ever NATO country military supply to Russia," the article
notes that quotes Russian Navy Commander Admiral Vladimir
Vysotskiy as saying in September that "In the conflict in
August last year a ship like that would have allowed the
Black Sea Fleet to accomplish its mission in 40 minutes, not
26 hours, which is how long it took us."

COMMENT:  THE WRONG SHIP FROM THE WRONG COUNTRY AT THE WRONG
TIME

5. (C) Despite reassuring its people that Russia is not
likely to undertake further military action in the near
future, the Georgian Government privately is concerned by the
steady stream of aggressive Russian rhetoric.  The symbolism
of France, the broker of the ceasefire and a major NATO ally,

TBILISI 00002025  002 OF 002

taking this particular opportunity to make one of NATO's
biggest sales ever to Russia will not be missed in Moscow or
in Tbilisi.  Not only on the symbolic level is the sale
problematic; this type of ship will give Russia a new
capability to enforce, or threaten to enforce, its will in
the Black Sea.  This sale would render the already difficult
task of getting Russia to comply with its ceasefire
commitments nearly impossible, and it would potentially
increase the militarization of, and instability in, the Black
Sea region.  Although Georgia, despite the introduction of
vastly increased Russian military forces into its territory,
has so far refrained from actively rearming itself, the
acquisition by Russia of such a ship could exacerbate public
fears and virtually force Georgia to seek ways to prepare to
respond.  The United States should take steps to discourage
this sale, i Paris and Brussels, or at the very least impose
appropriate conditions on the sale -- such as firm
commitments from Russia that the ships will not be deployed
in the Black Sea -- that would put any Russian assertions
about overall capabilities, versus their intentions in this
region, to the test.
BASS
http://wikileaks.ch/cable/2009/11/09TBILISI2025.html

 

Wikileaks: Saakashivili warns US Russia is preparing to dismember Georgia

Tuesday, 26 June 2007, 07:54
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 04 PARIS 002725
SIPDIS
SIPDIS
DEPT FOR P(BAME) AND EUR
EO 12958 DECL: 01/01/2017
TAGS PRELFR“>FR, NATO, EUN, GG, UNMIK, YIRS“>RS, UNO
SUBJECT: U/S BURNS’S JUNE 13 MEETING WITH GEORGIAN
PRESIDENT SAAKASHVILI
REF: TBILISI 1387
Classified By: Ambassador Craig R. Stapleton for reasons 1.4 (B & D).

1. (U) June 13, 2007, 11:00 A.M.

2. (U) Participants:

U.S. Under Secretary Burns Special Envoy for Kosovo Wisner Ambassador Stapleton P Staff Bame POL Deputy Turner (notetaker)

Georgia President Saakashvili Foreign Minister Bezhuashvili Ambassador to France Kudava Chief of Cabinet Sharashidze Daniel Kunin

3. (C) SUMMARY: In a June 13 meeting with Georgian President Saakashvili, U/S Burns confirmed that we would move forward on Kosovo independence, but assured him we would remain firm in discouraging Russia from taking action to recognize Abkhazia’s independence. Saakashvili insisted that Putin was personally committed to removing Abkhazia from Georgia. He worried that Russia would attempt to use any Kosovo UNSCR, especially one sweetened to gain Russia’s abstention, as a precedent/justification for Abkhazia. Burns assured Saakashvili that any Russian move to recognize Abkhazia would isolate Russia internationally and urged the Georgians to continue to avoid antagonizing them. Saakashvili said the Georgians were doing their part but that Russia could not be trusted; he urged the USG to make clear to the Russians that the Caucasus was a powder keg. He also called for NATO MAP for Georgia as soon as possible as a “deterrent” against Russian adventurism. Burns assured Saakashvili of U.S. support for Georgian aspirations while noting that timing (the December 2007 NATO FM Ministerial, or the April 2008 NATO Summit, or even later) would depend also on building support among European Allies. Saakashvili concluded by stressing the strategic importance of Abkhazia for Georgia and of the Black Sea for Georgia and Ukraine. END SUMMARY.

KOSOVO INDEPENDENCE

——————-

4. (C) Burns noted at the outset President Bush’s strong stance on Kosovo, in private and in public, during his recent visit to Pristina and Sofia. Burns said the President had made clear to President Putin at the G8 Summit that Kosovo would become independent. Russia could perhaps delay this outcome, but it could not stop it. The UN had already taken Kosovo away from Serbia, and it was the Europeans and U.S., not the Russians, who had troops on the ground to keep the peace and were providing financial assistance. Burns termed the Russian threat to recognize Abkhazia in retaliation for Western recognition of Kosovo hollow, given that other members of the international community would not follow (with the possible exception of Belarus; Saakashvili suggested that only Venezuela would support Russia). Burns and Wisner reiterated that Secretary Rice had made clear to Putin and FM Lavrov that it would be a grave mistake to recognize Abkhazia.

IMPACT ON ABKHAZIA

——————

5. (C) Saakashvili worried about the implications for Georgia of Kosovo independence and related that Putin, in the course of a recent fifty-minute bilateral meeting, had invited Georgia to coordinate with Russia on a response to the U.S. position on Kosovo. Continuing that Putin had a highly personal interest in Abkhazia, Saakashvili claimed that Putin had recalled Russian diplomats in Georgia to prepare documents on Abkhazia. This had led to some strange proposals, including a Russian proposal at the last CIS summit that Georgia approach the IOC to host the Olympic games in Abkhazia. More seriously, a Russian move to recognize Abkhazia risked setting off a powder keg in the Caucasus. Georgia was not interested in provoking the Russians, but emotions were high. The Russians, who only understood frank language, would interpret any flexibility from others as weakness. They needed to be told that they risked setting off an explosion in their own backyard that

PARIS 00002725 002 OF 004

could easily redound against them.

6. (C) Saakashvili asked if there were quid pro quos other than Abkhazia that Russia was seeking for Kosovo independence. Burns said that the U.S. was currently focused on finding ways to encourage a Russian abstention, for instance through the eventual appointment of a UN envoy for Serbian refugee affairs or extending negotiations between the Serbs and Albanians for another 3-5 months. The USG was willing to meet the Russians half-way, provided the end result would be independence. Wisner added that the USG was not proposing a division between Kosovo’s Serbian and Kosovar Albanian communities. Saakashvili said it was important that “nothing” in any eventual Kosovo decision be viewed as a precedent for other conflicts; nor did Georgia want to be associated with the process in any way. He worried that Russia would use any negotiations on an amended UNSCR to insert language that could later be cited as justification for its actions on Abkhazia. Burns reiterated the U.S. position that the record of UN involvement in Kosovo put it exactly opposite from the situation in Abkhazia.

EU DYNAMICS, FRENCH PROPOSAL

—————————-

7. (C) Saakashvili asserted that Putin had promised him to veto Kosovo independence. Burns responded that Putin had stopped short of using the word “veto” in his discussions with the President; Wisner pointed out that the Russians had been careful in their language, saying they were “ready” to veto “this” resolution (as opposed to another one). Burns commented that the Europeans in general were “too” obsessed with the threat of a Russian veto, mainly because of the divisions it would likely engender within the EU itself. For instance, Slovakia and Greece had said they would oppose recognizing Kosovo’s independence. Burns reviewed his meetings with French officials in Paris and other aspects of the state of play on Kosovo.

8. (C) Picking up on an earlier comment by Burns that Kosovo was 95 percent ethnic Kosovar Albanian, Saakashvili noted that 500,000 ethnic Georgians had been forced out of Abkhazia. He asked how the USG and others would respond to possible Russian parallel demands for an international presence aimed at postponing until some point in the future a decision on independence for Abkhazia. He urged Burns to reject such arguments out of hand, given that the Russians were responsible for the war in Abkhazia and that this was a merely a stratagem to re-absorb their lost empire piece by piece. They had recovered Chechnya and would like to recover Georgia; failing success on the latter, they would take Abkhazia.

RUSSIAN DESIGNS ON ABKHAZIA

—————————

9. (C) Wisner responded that breaking off Abkhazia would call into question the consensual break-up of the former Soviet Union. He urged Tbilisi not to make the same mistake as Belgrade had in refusing to engage, and encouraged the Georgians to have informal contacts with the Abkhaz. Saakashvili responded that the Abkhaz were refusing contact with the GOG, were fully under the control of the Russian FSB, and were already effectively isolated. Georgia’s best hope was to develop economically and internationally in a way to show the Abkhaz that they would be better off associating themselves with Georgia rather than the Russians. For the moment, however, Georgia had little leverage. He noted ominously that Putin had once spoken of a possible negotiated solution to Abkhazia, but no longer mentioned it as a possibility.

10. (C) Saakashvili asserted that Putin had originally bet on regime change in Georgia, but that this had failed. His current plan was therefore to use Abkhazia to destroy Georgia. This also served Russia’s broader interest in interrupting any alternative energy corridors in the Caucasus. Saakashvili indicated, in contrast to Abkhazia, that the Russians had given up playing the South Ossetia card against Georgia. Putin had told him that he did not care about South Ossetia, so long as Georgia avoided bloodshed and solved the problem quietly. The downside was that this left Abkhazia as Russia’s last bargaining chip.

U.S. SUPPORT AND NATO MAP

————————-

11. (C) Commenting that Putin viewed the U.S. as his main

PARIS 00002725 003 OF 004

competitor and surmising that Putin wanted his legacy to be one of toughness, Saakashvili said only blunt language from the U.S. could force Putin to modify his “reckless” behavior and realize what was at stake for Russia. He saw a need for two specific “deterrents” in dealing with Russia: 1) the U.S., supported by the Europeans, should on a regular, perhaps monthly basis, warn the Russians against recognizing Abkhazia; and 2) the Russians needed to be told that Russia stood to lose more in any destabilization of the former Soviet space than others. With respect to NATO, Saakashvili stressed that Georgia viewed the conclusion of a Membership Action Plan (MAP) as less a promise for early membership than a key deterrent against Russian adventurism.

12. (C) Burns noted that the issue of when precisely to offer MAP to Georgia was complicated. It would be difficult to ask the Europeans to agree on MAP at the same time they were managing the Kosovo problem. If Kosovo could be put to bed in the early fall, then the December NATO ministerial or following April NATO Summit might be used to push forward on MAP. He advised the Georgians to work quietly and to build more support among European nations through reforms designed to show that Georgia was ready for MAP. Although the U.S. approach viewed the process strategically, the Germans and French were hesitant and afraid to irk Russia.

13. (C) Saakashvili worried that if a decision were postponed until the Bucharest Summit, Allies might be reluctant to displease the recently elected new Russian president. He thought that Secretary Rice would need to make a personal push on Georgia’s behalf in European capitals. Burns reminded Saakashvili that the Bucharest Summit also needed to take decisions on the Adriatic Three (Croatia, Albania, and Macedonia), as well as on Ukraine. Burns stated that USG decisions on timing for Georgia would depend on when we could succeed in lining up support among key Allies Germany, France, Italy, Spain and the UK. Saakashvili expressed the hope that there would be no crisis with Russia in the fall, which he called a doomsday scenario. He noted ominously that the Russians mentioned Cyprus a lot, suggesting the possibility of a military adventure.

GEORGIAN REFORMS CAN HELP

————————-

14. (C) Burns reiterated the importance of reform in persuading European Allies to support MAP for Georgia, highlighting judicial reforms and free elections. Saakashvili responded that Georgia was working on them and would succeed in achieving them. That said, he predicted that the Europeans would then seek some new excuse to deny Georgia its due.

MANAGING RUSSIA

—————

15. (C) Burns asked Saakashvili for his views on Russia’s CFE-related Istanbul commitments. Without responding directly, Saakashvili said Moldovan President Veronin had told him that he no longer expected the Russians to do anything about Transnistria to resolve the problem, and he would now approach the Europeans for more assistance. Saakashvili nonetheless believed that Russia could eventually be brought to deal on Moldova, as with South Ossetia, if not Abkhazia. Putin was emotionally attached to Sochi and viewed Abkhazia’s location as strategic; it had a deep sea port and 900 million barrels of oil on shore, with untold quantities potentially available offshore. The only thing still holding Putin back from recognizing Abkhazia was his fear of the United States, not the Europeans. The USG needed to be tough with Putin, and would need to neutralize European accommodationist tendencies vis-a-vis Russia. Burns responded that sentiment in the Congress was negative toward Russia, but that the President was attempting to strike a balance, cooperating with Russia on counter-terrorism and non-proliferation while criticizing it for lack of press and other freedoms, and for its recent harassment of Estonia.

GEORGIA NOT PROVOKING RUSSIA

—————————-

16. (C) Burns suggested it was also important that Russia not be able to cite perceived Georgian provocations as grounds for its actions. Saakashvili assured him that Georgia knew how to be patient, citing the quiet Georgian reaction to a recent unidentified attack on Georgian territory most likely perpetrated by Russian forces. Saying that “time works for us, but we should also be given time,”

PARIS 00002725 004 OF 004

he assured Burns that Georgia’s preference was for reformers rather than generals, and that even the Russians were fascinated by the pace and breadth of Georgian reforms. Unfortunately, the Russian goal was to kill reforms — for themselves and others. In a brief discussion of Estonia, Saakashvili commented that Estonian leaders had appeared to be panicking under the pressure. Georgia had seen worse, he added, but would succeed in remaining calm only to a point.

STRATEGIC IMPORTANCE OF ABKHAZIA, BLACK SEA

——————————————-

17. (C) Saakashvili stressed the strategic importance of Abkhazia to Georgia, noting that re-integration of the province had the potential to triple the Georgian economy. The loss of Abkhazia, by contrast, would destroy the backbone of Georgia. Ascribing to Russia a Black Sea strategy, he expressed concern that the USG was underestimating the importance of the Black Sea. Burns agreed that Allies had thus far shown insufficient interest in the region, but that that this was one of the reasons NATO had chosen Bucharest for its 2008 summit. Saakashvili commented that the Turks in particular had wanted to keep NATO out and preserve their own influence, and opined that a greater Western political and military presence in the Black Sea region would deter Russia and bolster Georgia and Ukraine. By contrast, a Turkish incursion into Iraq would only encourage the Russians to follow that example. Burns informed Saakashvili of USG efforts to counter the PKK problem in northern Iraq, Turkey, and elsewhere.

MEETING WITH SARKOZY

——————–

18. (C) Saakashvili concluded the meeting with a request for advice in dealing with President Sarkozy. Ambassador Stapleton and Wisner described Sarkozy as a plain speaker who should be engaged directly and bluntly. They also noted his skepticism about Russian intentions. They welcomed Saakashvili’s decision to meet with him so early in his Administration, as he would likely prove to be a key, perhaps even the dominant, European leader. Burns encouraged Saakashvili to brief Sarkozy on his assessments of Turkey and Russia. Saakashvili agreed that Sarkozy’s decision to meet with him was an important gesture.

Please visit Paris’ Classified Website at: http://www.state.sgov.gov/p/eur/paris/index.c fm

STAPLETON

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/us-embassy-cables-documents/113393

 

Wikileaks: Russian Active Measures in Georgia

Friday, 20 July 2007, 12:10
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 04 TBILISI 001732
SIPDIS
SIPDIS
DEPT FOR EUR DAS BRYZA AND EUR/CARC
EO 12958 DECL: 06/19/2017
TAGS PRELPGOVGG
SUBJECT: RUSSIAN ACTIVE MEASURES IN GEORGIA
REF: A. TBILISI 1605 B. TBILISI 1352 C. TBILISI 1100 D. 06 TBILISI 2601 E. 06 TBILISI 2590 F. 06 TBILISI 2425 G. 06 TBILISI 2390 H. 06 TBILISI 1532 I. 06 STATE 80908 J. 06 TBILISI 1064 K. 06 TBILISI 0619 L. 06 TBILISI 0397 M. 06 MOSCOW 0546 N. 06 TBILISI 0140 O. 05 TBILISI 3171
Classified By: Ambassador John F. Tefft for reasons 1.4 (b)&(d).

Introduction and Comment

————————

1. (C) The strains between Russia and Georgia play out in leaders’ statements, the Russian economic embargo, the separatist conflicts, and a number of other public ways, but they also play out on a level that is at least slightly below the surface: Russian “active measures” (or covert actions) aimed at Georgia. This cable summarizes some of the suspected Russian active measures undertaken in recent years, ranging from missile attacks and murder plots to a host of smaller-scale actions. It is a long list, and it is very much on the minds of Georgian leaders as they make decisions about how to deal with Moscow. For many of the suspected Russian activities, such as blowing up a Georgian police car or plotting to kill an opposition figure — or even the missile attack in Kodori in March — it is difficult to understand what the Russians hoped to gain that would be worth the risk of exposure. Georgian officials often tell us that Russia has set out on a policy of regime change in Georgia. No doubt the Russians’ would like to see Saakashvili removed, but the variety and extent of the active measures suggests the deeper goal is turning Georgia from its Euroatlantic orientation back into the Russian fold. Even the smaller of the active measures serve this purpose by promoting a sense of instability, which the perpetrators may hope will scare off Georgia’s would-be European partners and/or provoke the Georgian leadership into a rash reaction that separates Georgia further from the West. As a high Russian FSB official reportedly told a Georgian counterpart recently, Russia’s goal is not Abkhazia or South Ossetia, but all of Georgia (ref C). While the Russians typically make some efforts to reduce their fingerprints on actions — making it hard to say with 100% certainty that they are responsible for many of them — the cumulative weight of the evidence of the last few years suggests that the Russians are aggressively playing a high-stakes, covert game, and they consider few if any holds barred. End Introduction and Comment.

Direct Military Attack

———————-

2. (C) Probably the most notorious recent incident was the missile attack on Georgian positions in the Upper Kodori Gorge on the night of May 11-12, 2007. As documented by a UN-led joint investigation, the attack included one or more helicopters that apparently fired a missile into the headquarters of the Georgian-backed “Government-in-Exile” of Abkhazia, as well as ground-fired missiles that struck near other targets in the area. UN investigators have told us privately that they agree with the Georgians that only Russia could have launched the attack, noting that while the final written report does not directly assign blame, “any reasonable person” would conclude from it that Russia was responsible (ref B). Russia did not make any serious effort to cooperate with the investigation, claiming its Caucasus radar systems were turned off at the time of the attack, leaving it with no records to share. Georgian officials strongly suspect that a subsequent violation of their airspace May 20 was a Russian attempt to plant false evidence regarding the ground-based firings, although in the end investigators did not visit the area in question.

3. (C) March 11 was not the first time the Russians were believed to have conducted a bombing raid on Georgian territory. Russian planes were widely believed to be responsible for a bombing of the Kodori in October 2001, and for bombings of the Pankisi Gorge, a Georgian area that borders Chechnya, in 2001 and 2002, drawing criticism from the USG and elsewhere in the international community, despite Russian denials of responsibility.

Murders and Attempted Murders

—————————–

TBILISI 00001732 002 OF 004

4. (U) On February 1, 2005 a bomb exploded in a car at the police station in Gori, the largest Georgian city close to South Ossetia, killing three Georgian police officers. Following an investigation, Georgian Minister of Internal Affairs Merabishvili said publicly that the bombing was masterminded by Russian military intelligence (GRU) officer Anatoly Sinitsyn (ref E), leader of the GRU team that was subsequently broken up in the September 2006 spy arrests (see paragraph 8).

5. (SBU) On June 8, 2006, neighbors approached a suspicious man loitering around the home of Koba Davitashvili, a leading opposition politician. The man fired two shots from a gun equipped with a silencer, slightly wounding one of the neighbors, and fled. He left behind a small bag that included a newspaper photo of Davitashvili and Russian cell phone company SIM cards. Following a Georgian investigation, Minister of Internal Affairs Merabishvili publicly identified the suspect as Giorgi Kurtaev, a Russian citizen who had been monitoring Davitashvili for several weeks, with one interruption for travel back to Russia. Following the June 8 incident Kurtaev fled again to Russia, from where Georgian officials unsuccessfully sought to extradite him. Georgian officials have stated publicly that the incident was a provocation perpetrated by a foreign intelligence service, and an attempt to discredit the Saakashvili government (ref H).

Sabotage

——–

6. (C) On January 22, 2006, near-simultaneous explosions in the Russian region of North Ossetia ripped into natural gas pipelines running from Russia into Georgia. Later that day, an explosion in the Karacheyevo-Cherkessia republic in Russia knocked out a high-voltage line supplying Georgia with electricity (ref M). The attacks immediately plunged Georgia into a major energy crisis, with virtually no ability to heat homes in the coldest part of winter. The Russian government claimed these were “terrorist” attacks, but Saakashvili repeatedly suggested the Russian government was responsible for the well-coordinated attacks in a heavily monitored part of the North Caucasus (ref N). This impression was further reinforced in Georgian minds by the fact that the gas magically resumed just as Armenia — which receives its gas through Georgia — was about to exhaust its reserves.

7. (C) In September 2006, the Georgian government arrested 29 activists of Igor Giorgadze’s Justice Party on charges of planning an explosion outside the headquarters of the ruling National Movement, intended to be the prelude to a coup. Evidence included seized bombmaking equipment, recorded conversations, and the testimony of ten witnesses. Giorgadze himself is a former Georgian Minister of Security believed to be living in Russia to avoid a Georgian warrant for his arrest in connection with a 1995 assassination attempt against then-President Shevardnadze. His Justice Party has never been popular in Georgia, and it was widely believed that the party was funded almost exclusively from Russia (refs F and G). It is interesting that one of the defendants, Maia Topuria, has hired two U.S.-based lawyers and a Washington law firm to lobby NATO and NATO capitals over alleged rule of law abuses with regard to the case.

Espionage

———

8. (SBU) Georgian authorities arrested four Russian military officers and eleven Georgians for espionage on September 27, 2006. The Georgian government subsequently released evidence collected over a long investigation, including video footage showing money being exchanged for documents, as well as audio tapes and transcripts of incriminating conversations between the Russian officers and their Georgian agents (ref D). According to the Georgian government, this Russian operation was conducted by the same GRU team responsible for the deadly Gori bombing in 2005. Georgia released the officers October 2, after which Russia cut air links to Georgia and began a campaign of deportation and harassment of Georgians living in Russia, reportedly resulting in four deaths of Georgian citizens.

9. (SBU) In April 2006, a pro-Kremlin television journalist in Moscow aired recorded cellphone conversations between Givi Targamadze, chair of the Georgian Parliament’s Defense Committee, and contacts in the Lithuanian MFA and in Washington, in which Targamadze is critical of Belarusian opposition leader Alexander Milinkevich. In one recording Targamadze appears to speak of having Milinkevich killed. It is widely believed in Georgian political circles that Russian electronic eavesdropping is ever-present; this case appears to confirm that suspicion, with the eavesdroppers apparently deciding that the conversations — perhaps doctored or

TBILISI 00001732 003 OF 004

selectively edited — were so embarrassing to Targamadze and Milinkevich that it was worth it to make them public.

Support for Separatists

———————–

10. (C) The Russian government has provided direct, if at times thinly veiled, support to the separatist regions of South Ossetia and Abkhazia, without informing or obtaining the consent of the Georgian government. In South Ossetia, many de facto cabinet ministers and advisors to Kokoity are Russian officials — in most cases believed to be FSB — serving a rotation in South Ossetia before returning to work in Russia. It is widely understood that Russia is paying, in full or in part, the salaries of police and other civil servants in South Ossetia — and that Russia recently increased these payments as a disincentive for South Ossetian officials to defect to the Georgian-backed temporary administrative unit of Dmitry Sanakoyev. The South Ossetians have reportedly received arms and equipment from Russia, including GRAD missiles, on various occasions, including during recent tensions (ref A). The Russians undertook a number of unilateral construction projects in South Ossetia in 2006 that they later claimed were in fulfillment of Russia’s pledge to the OSCE donors’ economic rehabilitation program, but in fact took place outside the donors’ program as well as in violation of a 2000 agreement on Georgian-Russian economic cooperation that calls for economic projects in coordination with all sides. Russia is widely reported to be working on projects to connect South Ossetia to Russian gas and telephone networks. Russia has distributed passports widely to residents of South Ossetia (and Abkhazia) to such an extent that Kokoity has claimed to USG officials that 95 percent of the population of South Ossetia is made up of dual Russian citizens (refs I and O).

11. (C) The de facto government of Abkhazia appears to have a somewhat greater degree of independence from Moscow than does its counterpart in South Ossetia; Russia is considered more aligned with the Abkhaz opposition led by de facto vice-president Khajimba, who despite Russian backing lost the 2004 presidential contest to current de facto president Bagapsh. Nevertheless, it is clear Russia has great leverage over Bagapsh, who frequently travels to Moscow for consultations, not to mention a trip to Moscow for emergency medical treatment in April — getting there, the Georgians tell us, on an FSB plane. Several sources have also told us that a senior FSB officer actually lives in a separate residence on Bagapsh’s presidential compound. An Abkhaz representative told the Ambassador in the fall of 2006 that Russia was at the time putting strong pressure on Bagapsh to attack the Georgians in response to their successful operation in July in the Upper Kodori Gorge. Georgian officials do not believe that the Abkhaz were aware of the March Kodori missile attacks in advance, but that the Abkhaz are required to accept the Russians’ use of their territory for such incidents. Russian peacekeepers in Abkhazia have committed — or permitted the Abkhaz to commit — repeated violations of existing agreements (ref L).

Support for Minority Extremists

——————————-

12. (C) Georgian officials in Tbilisi and Akhalkalaki, as well as local community leaders and political activists, have confirmed that the Russian government has funded radical ethnic-Armenian nationalists in Samtskhe-Javakheti in a bid to destabilize this mutli-ethnic, politically fragile region. Tensions peaked during spring 2006 when scattered violent demonstrations occurred in Akhalkalaki in March (ref K), following the murder of an ethnic Armenian in the city of Tsalka, and on May 2 (ref J), when protesters briefly halted

SIPDIS the first stage of Russian base withdrawal. As the withdrawal moved ahead, disturbances in Akhalkalaki dropped off precipitously, lending credence to Georgian allegations that the tensions were being stoked by elements operating from within the Russian base.

Disinformation

————–

13. (C) It is especially difficult to nail down the origin of any of the multitude of rumors, conspiracy theories, and political speculation in Georgia, but Georgian officials are convinced that Russian services are making an active effort to spread false information designed to undercut the Saakashvili government and to deflect responsibility for provocative actions away from Russia onto other alleged culprits. One particularly tangible example of disinformation serving Russian interests was a “Psychological Study” of Saakashvili widely disseminated by e-mail in January 2007 from an address purporting to be the “Georgian Association for Strategic and International Studies.” The study makes a number of highly prejudicial judgments about

TBILISI 00001732 004 OF 004

Saakashvili, and diagnoses him as suffering from an “expansive type of paranoid dysfunction…combined with narcissist type of hysteroid personality.” Post had never heard of the organization that distributed the study — many recipients likely confused it with the respected Georgian Foundation for Strategic and International Studies, which receives support from the U.S. Embassy — and a check of the Tbilisi street where it was supposedly located revealed that its address did not exist.

TEFFT

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/us-embassy-cables-documents/116089

 

Wikileaks – New Sarkozy-Medvedev Agreement: Questions Remain

S E C R E T SECTION 01 OF 04 MOSCOW 002701 

NOFORN 
SIPDIS 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 09/08/2018 
TAGS: PREL PGOV GG RS
SUBJECT: NEW SARKOZY-MEDVEDEV AGREEMENT: QUESTIONS REMAIN 

Classified By: Political Minister Counselor Alice G. Wells for reasons 
1.4(b) and (d) 

1. (S/NF) Summary: While achieving some key concessions 
from Russia on next steps in the Georgia conflict, the 
Sarkozy-Medvedev agreement from September 8 still leaves open 
questions about the nature and size of Russian troops, role 
of EU observers, and the format of October security talks. 
After contentious talks lasting four hours, the two sides 
reached agreement on the timing of the withdrawal of Russian 
forces from Georgia, international observer mechanisms, and 
the convening of an international conference on security and 
refugees for October 15 in Geneva. FM Lavrov called for 
South Ossetia and Abkhazia to participate in the security 
conference, and announced Russian troops would remain in 
those areas. Medvedev made clear that Russia would not 
reverse its recognition of Abkhazia and South Ossetia. 
Medvedev and especially Putin remain defiant toward the U.S., 
with Deputy Chief of General Staff General Nogovitsyn 
alleging U.S. "complicity" in the armed conflict. Pundits 
claim the September 8 Sarkozy visit a victory for Russia, 
with the Sarkozy follow-on agreement likely to produce the 
Cyprus scenario the Russians say they are comfortable with. 
End Summary 

------------------ 
Tense negotiations 
------------------ 

2. (U) In their meeting September 8, Presidents Sarkozy and 
Medvedev discussed their August 12 six-point ceasefire 
agreement and agreed upon additional points in three areas. 

-- Withdrawal of troops. Within seven days, Russia will 
withdraw its troops from the observation posts between Poti 
and Senaki, while Russia will within 10 days following the 
deployment of "international mechanisms" withdraw its 
peacekeepers from the zones adjacent to South Ossetia and 
Abkhazia to pre-war positions. The document also calls for 
the complete return of Georgian armed forces to their bases 
by October 1, 2008. 

-- International observation mechanisms. Both the existing 
UN and OSCE observer missions will remain, while "at least 
200" EU monitors will be deployed by October 1, 2008 in the 
zones adjacent to South Ossetia and Abkhazia. 

-- International discussions. An international conference on 
Caucasus security will begin on October 15, 2008 in Geneva, 
devoted principally to security, refugees and internally 
displaced persons (IDPs). The GOR considers that this 
conference fulfills the requirements of point six of the 
Medvedev-Sarkozy plan of August 12, 2008, which calls for 
international discussions on security and stability 
arrangements. 

3. (S/NF) XXXXXXXXXXXX  told DCM that the  atmosphere
during the negotiations was quite charged and at  times became
openly hostile. Sarkozy at one point grabbed FM Lavrov by
the lapels and called him a liar in very strong  terms, reacting
to Lavrov's denial that Russia had failed to comply with its
previous withdrawal commitments.XXXXXXXXXX said that
Sarkozy had arrived with a "take it or leave it attitude, very
American in style and very confrontational,"  and the Russians
Had responded icily. Levitte played a central role in negotiating
the text with Prikhodko, who seemed to be under a lot of pressure
and in fairly bad  spirits. 

4. (S/NF) In the end, the French believe they got the best 
agreement that could be hoped for. XXXXXXXXXXXX said they 
attribute their success primarily to the Russians being ready 
to reach such a deal -- and in fact anxious to have it as a 
way of withdrawing their forces. EU unity and harmony 
between the U.S. and the EU also played a role;
XXXXXXXXXXXX  observed that the Russians were
clearly conscious that they  were facing a united front. 
Sarkozy reportedly warned  Medvedev that Russia's standing
as a "serious power" had been  severely harmed and failure
to meet the obligations Russia is  assuming under this agreement
could do a great deal of  further damage. 

5. (S/NF) XXXXXXXXXXXX added that the Russians
treated Barroso  harshly and condescendingly, and tried to exclude
 him from  many of the sessions. The French attributed this to the 
Russian view that Barroso is basically a glorified  international
civil servant "not worthy to be in the Czar's  XXXXXXXXXXXX
confirmed that Putin was nowhere to be seen during the visit. 

MOSCOW 00002701 002 OF 004 

6. (SBU) In their joint press conference after the meeting, 
Medvedev contrasted the EU and U.S. roles, calling the EU 
"our natural partner, our key partner," and welcoming the EU 
approach as "balanced," while contrasting it to "exotic or 
extremist" positions calling for sanctions. He again accused 
the U.S. of blessing Georgia's desire to use force in the 
conflict, whether by "direct order or silent approval," and 
used this purported U.S. behavior as a reason to call for a 
new world order. Medvedev made clear that Russia would not 
reverse its recognition of Abkhazia and South Ossetia. 

7. (SBU) Sarkozy in turn renewed the EU's rejection of 
Russia's recognition of South Ossetian and Abkhazian 
independence, and at times seemed amused when he thanked 
Medvedev for speaking as the "representative of the European 
position" on Georgia, and again later when he questioned 
Russia's right to "determine Georgia's borders." 

------------------ 
Ambiguities remain 
------------------ 

8. (C) By fixing a timeline for withdrawal, the agreement 
succeeds in rendering obsolete Sarkozy's August 14 
clarifications to the August 12 points, to which the GOR 
maintained it had never agreed. However, the September 8 
agreement leaves open several points that are unclear or 
contentious. The number and nature of Russian troops 
remaining in South Ossetia and Abkhazia is not specified. 
Late September 9, Medvedev declared that Russia would keep 
7,600 troops in the two zones; 3,800 in each area. The 
Sarkozy agreement appears to accept Russian conditionality 
that EU observers be limited to the areas "adjacent" to the 
conflict zones. The nature of the international discussions 
leaves the precise format of the talks open, not clarifying 
if Russia will participate as a mediator or as one of the 
conflict parties, whether and in what capacity Abkhazia and 
South Ossetia will participate, and what the precise goals of 
the talks are. Finally, while Sarkozy gave Medvedev a 
non-use of force statement signed by Saakashvili, the 
document has no legally binding effect, and it is unclear 
whether there will be an effort to make it legally binding. 

9. (C) Following Sarkozy's departure, FM Lavrov used a press 
conference on September 9 to clarify that Russian troops (not 
peacekeepers) would remain in South Ossetia "for a long 
time," ostensibly to protect the residents there from 
Georgian aggression. On the EU observers, he said their role 
would be to guarantee that Georgia would not use force 
against South Ossetia and Abkhazia. On the international 
discussions, he demanded that South Ossetia and Abkhazia be 
given a seat at the table as full-fledged participants. 

10. (U) Ambassadors and Defense Attaches were invited to a 
briefing by Ministry of Defense spokesman General Anatoliy 
Nogovitsyn September 9. Despite a standing-room only 
attendance Nogovitsyn disappointed the diplomatic corps by 
simply rehashing Russian arguments used to justify Russia's 
actions in Georgia, highlighting the history of the 
agreements authorizing Russian peacekeeping forces and the 
chronology of events from August 6-10. He noted that in 
response to a Georgian request, the U.S. had quickly helped 
withdraw Georgian troops from Iraq and transported them to 
Georgia. By helping Georgia, the U.S. had "set a precedent 
of complicity" in the armed conflict, he claimed. Nogovitsyn 
also showed alleged Georgian plans of attack for Abkhazia 
which Russian forces had "recovered," arguing that they 
showed that Georgia had planned to occupy all of Abkhazia, 
target hospitals and civilian infrastructure, prevent 
refugees from fleeing, etc. He claimed they showed an 
"explicit manifestation of genocide." He said that as of 
September 9, Russia had 2452 peacekeepers in the conflict 
zone. He summarized the plan agreed by Sarkozy and Medvedev 
September 8, only noting that Russia expected the EU to send 
"at least 250" observers. 

---------------------------------- 
Russia defiant; Tandemocracy watch 
---------------------------------- 

11. (C) XXXXXXXXXXXX claimed  that the EU observer mission,
limited to Georgia proper, was  a diplomatic success for Russia,
even though the GOR on the  eve of the Sarkozy-Medvedev meeting
had categorically refused to allow EU observers to participate in the
post-crisis  management. XXXXXXXXXXXX considered the
Sarkozy-Medvedev deal the most likely  compromise, and the
maximum that either side could expect. He  called the agreement
on Russian troop withdrawal something 

MOSCOW 00002701 003 OF 004 

that Moscow needed, in order to escape continued 
international pressure for not honoring its commitments. 

12. (C) Well-connected editors tell us that the mood within 
the ruling circles remains defiant. XXXXXXXXXXXX both 
XXXXXXXXXXXX and XXXXXXXXXXXX separately
told us September 8 that  they had seen Putin "at his toughest."
Putin brushed aside  the significance of any Western backlash
to Georgia: on the  Sochi Olympics, "let them cancel it: we'll
build one stadium  instead of two;" on energy, "we'll sell Central
Asian gas to  those who want it, including Asia;" on estrangement
with  Europe, "don't worry, European leaders tell me that 
everything will be normal." If the West did not want Russia, 
Russia did not need the West, Putin repeated. "They cannot 
intimidate us." At the same time, XXXXXXXXXXXX stressed
that  Putin did not advocate a preemptively punitive response
and  specifically demurred from pulling Russian investments from 
Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, arguing that the markets needed 
more, not less, predictability. Putin maintained that 
Russia wanted to be like China -- to "sit under the roots of 
the tree" and build its power quietly -- but that immediate 
global responsibilities forced it to act. "When Russia is 
challenged, it must respond: we cannot just concede." 
XXXXXXXXXXXX told us that the leadership continued to
brush  aside the market's punishment of Russian policies,
arguing  that they believe the public line that America's
downturn --  and not Georgia -- has precipitated Russia's beating. 

13. (C) The public allegations made by Medvedev and Putin 
that the U.S. turned a blind eye to, or encouraged, Georgia's 
August 7 attack on Tskhinvali continue to be reinforced in 
private. Putin told the editors that the U.S. was engaged in 
cynical electoral politics and needed to create an "enemy" to 
combat, and received no push back in his description of a 
one-sided U.S. policy aimed at shoring up the "puppet," 
Saakashvili. There was also no argument with Putin's 
assessment that the Georgian leader was politically "dead," 
likely insane, and irrelevant to Russia's decision to 
recognize South Ossetia and Abkhazia. XXXXXXXXXXXX
 marveled at  Putin's posture, noting the Prime Minister was 
"convinced that right was on his side," and authoritarian in tone. 
XXXXXXXXXXXX,  warned us that Russian actions were
animated by a wave of  patriotism and anti-American sentiment.
"Never have Russians been so united behind Putin and Medvedev" 
a stance made easier, he noted, by the public revulsion towards 
Saakashvili, which he shared. 

14. (C) In assessing the ruling tandem, XXXXXXXXXXXX
 stressed that "Putin had proved himself" in the crisis; while
discounting  the theory that the Prime Minister intended to return
to the  Kremlin soon, XXXXXXXXXXXX said the war in Georgia
made it  absolutely clear that Putin did not intend to leave
Medvedev  alone. While XXXXXXXXXXXX downplayed the
demise of Medvedev's  reform agenda, he agreed that it had been
put to the side. XXXXXXXXXXXX struck a more pessimistic
note, arguing that the war played to the strengths of the anti-war
camp. Russians looked at U.S. statements and concluded that
America was uncomfortable with Russian independence and
hostile to  Russian strategic interests. XXXXXXXXXXXX
 argued that having "surrounded" Russia, the U.S. should
understand the backlash  that it produced. 

15. (C) XXXXXXXXXXXX told us on  September 9 that
the President had emerged stronger because  of the
Georgian crisis. Whereas Putin appeared to take the 
lead during the fight, Medvedev showed his mettle by 
arranging the terms to stop the conflict. The decision to 
recognize the separatist regions was "unavoidable" after the 
leadership had decided to go beyond the borders of South 
Ossetia (a decision that XXXXXXXXXXXX linked to Putin's
personal  enmity for Saakashvilli) and underscored that
Moscow could  not backtrack on that decision. Medvedev was
apparently  comfortable with the state of affairs
XXXXXXXXXXXX noted that Medvedev looked "relaxed"
during a private dinner at Sochi on  September 2. For the time being,
XXXXXXXXXXXX sawMedvedev as  somewhat boxed in and
forced to take a more aggressive,  "emotional" public stance than his
usual lawyerly approach to policy. In the current Russian political
environment, any effort at taking a "softer approach" would only
make him  appear weak. 

------- 
Comment 
------- 

16. (C) The September 8 Sarkozy-Medvedev document is a step 

MOSCOW 00002701 004 OF 004 

forward in setting clear deadlines for Russian troop 
withdrawal. However, the limits on the EU observer mission, 
as well as questions about the October 15 security 
conference, and Medvedev's insistence that Russia will not 
reverse its decision on recognition, presage the likelihood 
of a new "Cyprus-like" frozen conflict in the Caucasus. 
BEYRLE

http://cablegate.wikileaks.org/cable/2008/09/08MOSCOW2701.html

 

Wikileaks: Importance of Continued Military Engagement with Georgia

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 04 TBILISI 001123

SIPDIS

DEPT FOR P, EUR
WHSR PLEASE PASS TO OVP

E.O. 12958: DECL: 06/18/2019
TAGS: PREL PGOV MARR MOPS PBTS RS GG
SUBJECT: IMPORTANCE OF CONTINUED MILITARY ENGAGEMENT WITH
GEORGIA

REF: MOSCOW 1591

Classified By: Ambassador John F. Tefft for Reasons 1.4(b) and (d).

1. (C) Summary. The June 22 kickoff of the U.S.-Georgia
Charter Commission will raise the question of the future of
our military cooperation. Embassy Moscow's recent cable
(reftel) has highlighted Russian views and the potential
impact on our attempt to reset our relations with Moscow.
There are, however, strong arguments in favor of providing
Georgia a modest, transparent defensive capability. We
provide our views in this cable. In our assessment, the
Russians are effectively using propaganda based in falsehoods
regarding the current state of the Georgian military to
ratchet up tensions, while simultaneously impressing upon the
U.S. that any efforts to provide military assistance to
Georgia will pose potential roadblocks to improving the
U.S.-Russia relationship. Accepting Russian objections,
however, contradicts stated U.S. policies such as rejecting
the notion of spheres of influence; refusing a third party
veto over NATO membership; and maintaining equal commitment
to relations with both Russia and Georgia. It gives Russian
disinformation an undeserved voice in U.S. policy formation.

2. (C) Summary, continued: Embassy Tbilisi believes that
increased transparent military cooperation could help
stabilize the situation in Georgia, as Georgia seeks to
develop its defensive capacity -- and even decrease the size
of its standing army. Retreating from our commitments would
send a profoundly mixed signal to our partners in the region
and in western Europe, especially to those who are
considering opening up their society, increasing
transparency, and seeking increased partnership with the
west. Russia will undoubtedly object to increased military
cooperation, but the answer is not to validate their concern,
but to set the record straight in an organized, aggressive
private and public diplomacy campaign with both Russia and
our broader partners. To do otherwise would be to reward
Russia's aggression in Georgia, as well as its violation of
international law and commitments; encourage a similar stance
in Ukraine; and deal a body blow to our credibility in
Georgia, other Eurasian states, our western partners -- and
ultimately Russia itself. End summary.

THE GEORGIAN ARMY HAS NOT RE-ARMED

3. (C) Russian claims that Georgia has more military
capability now than in August 2008,or that it has been
steadily re-arming its forces, are false. During the August
2008 conflict, Georgia lost extensive capabilities, including
30 percent of its armored vehicles, 40 percent of
U.S.-produced AR-15 rifles, and at least 60 percent of its
air defense capability. These have not been replaced. We
are aware of only two deliveries of lethal military equipment
since the war: Ejder armored personnel carriers from a
Turkish firm, based on a pre-war contract; and 16 armored
HMMWVs for the Special Forces Brigade under a program begun
in 2007. The latter were purchased using Coalition Support
Funds, the case was processed before the August war, and the
vehicles would be used in such coalition operations as those
in Afghanistan. The U.S. and other NATO partners have moved
cautiously since the war. Bilateral military-to-military
events between NATO partners and Georgia have been reduced,
Qevents between NATO partners and Georgia have been reduced,
suspended, even terminated. The U.S. in particular has yet
to renew a capacity-building program begun months ago, and we
have not executed a single kinetic event since August,
despite Georgian desires for more tactical training. The
NATO PfP Lancer/Longbow exercises, publicly used by Russia
against the Alliance and Georgia, were planned more than a
year in advance with full Russian knowledge and possibility
for participation.

JOINING THE AFGHANISTAN COALITION

4. (C) Secretary Gates' approach on security cooperation of
"brains before brawn" (B3) focuses on the intellectual
development of the Georgian armed forces and is non-kinetic
in nature. The U.S. has now told Georgia we accepted their
offer to deploy a battalion for two years in RC-South, one of
the most dangerous areas of Afghanistan. While it is not yet
known how much training and equipping will be needed to bring
Georgia effectively into the coalition, it is in both U.S.
and Russian interests to widen the coalition in Afghanistan.
Some lethal training will undoubtedly be involved, and we
should not allow Russia to twist any such cooperation in

TBILISI 00001123 002 OF 004

Afghanistan, one of the Administration's top priorities, into
a phantom threat.

MINIMAL DEFENSIVE CAPABILITIES NEEDED FOR SURVIVAL

5. (C) Georgia also wants to rebuild its native defensive
capacity, which is currently insufficient to control its own
airspace or hinder an invasion from any of its neighbors.
Current Georgian operational thinking is that if they can
defend Tbilisi from occupation for 72 hours, then
international pressure will force the advance to pause. To
achieve this extremely limited goal, Georgia needs sufficient
anti-armor and air defense capability to stall a ground
advance, which it currently lacks. The development of this
capacity is not solely equipment-based, but it will require
the acquisition of new lethal defensive systems. If Georgia
does not procure the equipment from the U.S., it will almost
surely seek to procure it elsewhere, as it has done in the
past. U.S. involvement would help ensure the transparency of
the procurement process itself, as well as increase our
control over the amount, type and location of the equipment.

6. (C) In addition, Minister Sikharulidze recently approved
an intermediate force structure change that would reduce the
Georgian Armed Forces total personnel strength by 6,000
service members from the current 36,000. (Current actual
personnel is approximately 31,000.) Without prejudging the
ongoing Strategic Assessment process, the Minister has
confided to us that the final Georgian force structure will
be below 30,000. The Georgians have not publicized this
proposed downsizing because they fear that a smaller Georgian
Army could encourage Russian armed incursions. Furthermore,
a recently proposed further 7 percent reduction in the
defense budget will drop Georgia's total defense spending to
less than half of 2008 levels.

7. (C) Georgia's military plan is defensive in nature. As
EUR Assistant Secretary Gordon recently noted to Georgian
Defense Minister Sikharulidze, every country has the right to
defend itself - as described in Article 51 of the UN Charter.
Russia may argue no weapon is only defensive in nature;
anti-tank and air defense systems, however, would not give
Georgia the capacity to launch an offensive attack. Russia
may argue that Georgia is acquiring other, more offensive
systems clandestinely at the same time. There is no evidence
to support this assertion, and we would have a much greater
degree of influence -- and be in a position to keep Russia
well informed -- if we were involved in defensive system
procurement. Finally, Russia will likely level allegations
of increased Georgian offensive capacity regardless of facts,
just as they have done in the Geneva process. Georgia,
however, provides far more transparency on its military
forces than virtually any country in the world, signing MOUs
between the EU Monitoring Mission (EUMM) and its Ministries
of Defense and Internal Affairs that give the observers
unprecedented access to Georgian military and law enforcement
installations. The EUMM, along with the OSCE, has repeatedly
affirmed that Georgia has respected the limits established in
those MOUs and has no offensive capability near Abkhazia and
South Ossetia. Russia essentially ignores these statements
and continues to level the same allegations, but that bluster
Qand continues to level the same allegations, but that bluster
does not change the fact of Georgia's continued restraint.
As we seek to help Georgia develop its defensive capacity, we
could pursue smilar public and/or written commitments from
the Georgians on the exclusively defensive nature of the
program.

8. (C) We believe that providing Georgia with enhanced
defensive capabilities will stabilize the situation. While
Russia, as well as the de facto regimes in Abkhazia and South
Ossetia, may argue otherwise, it is Russia and its proxy
regimes that have dramatically increased the militarization
of Georgia over the past year. Russia has introduced at
least 3,700 troops into sovereign Georgian territory, as well
as heavy military equipment, such as tanks, artillery and
anti-aircraft systems, into the area immediately adjacent to
the administrative boundaries -- in direct violation of the
commitments President Medvedev made in the cease-fire
agreement. It is Georgia that has lost 14 police officers
since the war; kidnappings, cattle thefts, and detentions
continue along the boundary, mostly on the Abkhaz and South
Ossetian sides. Russian helicopters make regular flights
along the boundaries, sometimes crossing them, and Russian
forces move large numbers of troops and heavy equipment along
the boundaries at will. Meanwhile, the EUMM, OSCE and UNOMIG

TBILISI 00001123 003 OF 004

continue to confirm Georgia's cooperative and constructive
approach. There is little to deter Russia from taking
additional military action, except a legitimate defensive
force opposing it. At the same time, such a force would not
pose an offensive threat to the regions.

9. (C) Retreating from military cooperation would be a step
back from commitments we have made to Georgia and other
international partners. Not only will Georgia be
disappointed in our diminished support, and hesitant to trust
us again, but other partners will draw the same conclusions.
The Russia-Georgia war has already led some countries, such
as Azerbaijan and the Central Asian states, to question the
extent of our commitment, even though we never committed to
the direct military defense of Georgia. A step back from
commitments we have made would remove any doubt in our
unreliability and convince countries from Belarus to
Kyrgyzstan, even as they try to recalibrate their own
relationship with Russia, that the risks of continuing
partnership with Russia are less than those of moving toward
cooperation with the United States. One of our specific
commitments has been to NATO membership for Georgia,
politically at the Bucharest Summit, and at the operational
level, with the Georgia-NATO Commission and the Annual
National Plan. A key component of that process is the
development of Georgia's homeland defense capacity. Since
last August we have engaged with Georgia on elements of their
preparation for Euro-Atlantic integration, but the military
component cannot be deferred indefinitely. The longer we
defer action, the clearer the message will be to Georgia and
others that our commitment to membership has diminished.

10. (C) Beyond our specific commitment to Georgia, we have
made broader commitments not to allow Russia to impose its
flawed zero-sum vision on our own strategic view of the
world. The Secretary explicitly rejected Russia's notion of
spheres of influence during her May 7 meeting with Foreign
Minister Lavrov. The Vice President rejected the same notion
at the February Munich Security Conference. The President
himself told President Medvedev the same thing in London.
All three have likewise expressed unequivocal support for
Georgia's NATO aspirations and territorial integrity. Any
perceived or real retreat from these unambiguous statements
-- and our special relationship with Georgia makes it a test
case -- will raise questions about our leadership.

LOOKING AHEAD

11. (C) A difficult, but crucial, element of our strategy for
continuing engagement with Georgia while maintaining a good
relationship with Russia will be an aggressive private, as
well as public diplomacy campaign that is well coordinated
with our western partners. Russia will try to spin any
military cooperation as negatively as possible, but we must
not allow Russian disinformation to go unchallenged. As
noted above, we have already taken the first step in our
engagement with the Georgian military: agreeing together on
the B3 approach. We are currently exploring the best fit for
a Georgian contribution to the effort in Afghanistan.
Neither of these areas could be considered threatening. A
further step, toward helping Georgia improve its defensive
capacity, would not be inherently threatening, and could help
Qcapacity, would not be inherently threatening, and could help
stabilize the situation. We must resist efforts to cast it
any other way. Russia will likely continue to portray NATO
engagement as threatening.

12. (C) More fundamentally, Russia continues to characterize
our differing agendas in the post-Soviet space as a zero-sum,
new "Great Game". Unlike in the 19th century, when two
empires vied to establish control over the intervening
territory in the exclusive pursuit of their own narrow
interests, U.S. policy seeks to enable independent countries
to make their own choices. However real the perception may
be among Russians that the United States is out to get them,
we must resist all efforts to confuse that perception with
our true intentions. Georgia is seeking to choose its own
partners, defend its own country, establish a market-based
economy free of corruption, and further develop its young
democracy -- and we are helping it do so. Georgia poses no
threat to Russia; it wants the political space to pursue its
own path. To step back from our mission because Russia
mitrusts our motives is to cede to Russia the terms of
development in Eurasia for the foreseeable future.

13. (C) There are two practical steps that we might consider

TBILISI 00001123 004 OF 004

pursuing to help both address the real danger of instability
and blunt Russia's momentum in the public diplomacy sphere.
First, we could encourage Georgia to make public and/or
written commitments about the exclusively defensive nature of
its new military programs. Second, we could encourage
Georgia to offer to sign a non-use of force agreement with
Russia. Russia has been pushing hard for such an agreement
between Georgia and its own regions, which Georgia has
understandably been unwilling to consider. If Georgia were
to call Russia's bluff and offer to sign such an agreement
with Russia itself, however, the burden would shift to Russia
to demonstrate the sincerity of its commitment to stability.
It is unlikely that Russia, which still maintains the fiction
that it is not a party to the conflict, would accept
Georgia's offer, but it would be left on the defensive.
Meanwhile Georgia could pursue its defensive development with
a ready answer to any Russian claims of belligerence or
provocation. (Note: Embassy Tbilisi has not explored either
of these steps with Georgia, so they are only ideas at this
point, but experience suggests Georgia would at least be
willing to consider them. The steps Georgia has already
taken to provide transparency on its military and law
enforcement activities suggest they would be willing to take
similar steps. In the months after the war, senior Georgian
officials expressed their willingness to pursue a non-use of
force agreement if Russia made certain concessions. End
note.)

COMMENT: BALANCING RISKS

14. (C) Embassy Tbilisi does not question the importance or
difficulty of managing our relationship with Russia,
especially if we proceed with further military cooperation
with Georgia. No matter how loudly we insist on the true
state of affairs, most Russians at this point will either not
believe us or ignore us, as Embassy Moscow pointed out.
There is indeed a risk that taking the next step with Georgia
will jeopardize the improvement of our relationship with
Russia. There is also a risk, however, that not taking that
step will both foster further instability in Georgia and
jeopardize our credibility in a much broader space.
Furthermore, as past experience has shown, there is yet
another risk: that improvements in relations with Russia,
even if bought with compromises on other U.S. interests, will
not pay off with any real dividends. Embassy Tbilisi would
argue that sacrificing a relationship with a dedicated
partner like Georgia is the greater risk, because it will
only embolden Russia in the future, both to push for more
concessions on our part and to reassert its perceived sphere
of influence further. Up to this point, Russia has paid no
concrete penalty whatsoever for invading and occupying a
neighboring country; unilaterally recognizing two of its
regions as independent states; violating CFE and cease-fire
commitments by vastly increasing its military presence in
those regions and not allowing humanitarian access;
corrupting the original concept of the Geneva process into a
forum to lend legitimacy to the regions; blocking a
status-neutral effort by the international community, through
the OSCE, to promote stability; and killing the UN Observer
Mission in Georgia. Allowing Russia to dictate the pace of
QMission in Georgia. Allowing Russia to dictate the pace of
military engagement with Georgia will be seen as rewarding
Russia for its behavior. It could only be a matter of time
before it takes similar actions in Ukraine or elsewhere.
TEFFT

http://cablegate.wikileaks.org/cable/2009/06/09TBILISI1123.html

Wikileaks – War in Georgia – from US Embassy in Moscow

2006 21 July

S E C R E T SECTION 01 OF 03 MOSCOW 007863 SIPDIS SIPDIS E.O. 12958: DECL: 07/21/2016 TAGS: PREL, MARR, MOPS, GG, RS SUBJECT: GEORGIA-RUSSIA: PUTIN-SAAKASHVILI MEETING OFF, LEAVING LITTLE CLARITY AND MUCH SUSPICION REF: MOSCOW 7769 Classified By: Deputy Chief of Mission Daniel A. Russell. Reason 1.4 ( b, d)

Summary  ——-

1. (C) Georgian President Saakashvili will not meet President Putin in Moscow at the July 21-22 informal CIS Summit. Both sides agreed to announce they would set up a special meeting in the near future. In a bid to improve the atmosphere Georgian DFM Antadze, meeting with Russian DFM Denisov July 19, agreed to start work on a Counter-Terrorism Center and to hold talks in September on Georgia’s NATO aspirations. But on the core issues — separatist conflicts, Russian peacekeepers, and Russian economic measures that express irritation with Saakashvili and his allies — neither side appears willing to budge. The Russians claim to understand that the status quo cannot be eternal, and are working on alternative proposals, but these are not likely to be acceptable to the Georgians. War talk has gripped Moscow. However, both the Russian negotiator for South Ossetia and the Georgian Ambassador believe that the warmongers on both sides can be controlled. End Summary. Off to the Races: The Races Are Off  ———————————–

2. (C) Several CIS heads of state canceled their visits to Moscow July 21 for horse races hosted by President Putin the following day. It became clear that Putin would only have one or two bilateral meetings. On the morning of July 21 the Kremlin informed the Georgian Embassy that Saakashvili would not be among them, and Saakashvili decided not to come. Georgian Ambassador Irakli Chubinishvili told us that both sides agreed to play down the cancellation in public, and to announce that the horse races did not provide a suitable venue for the serious issues they needed to discuss; and that they would set up a separate meeting in the near future.

3. (C) Popov and Chubinishvili, while not upbeat, were convinced that the cancellation would not have serious effects. Chubinishvili told us that DFM Merab Antadze (who has just been nominated to be Minister for Conflict Resolution) had seen Russian DFM Denisov July 19, and had tried to improve the atmosphere by offering to start work on a Counter-Terrorism Center that the Russians had proposed (on June 13, Saakashvili had told Putin that the time was not right to start on that Center). Antadze also agreed with Denisov on talks to start September 7 on Georgia’s NATO aspirations.

4. (C) Both Chubinishvili and Popov questioned what might have come out of a Saakashvili-Putin meeting. Chubinishvili feared that when Saakashvili asked to start negotiations on withdrawing Russian peacekeeping forces per the Georgian Parliament’s July 18 Resolution, Putin would simply say “no,” Saakashvili would reply that the peacekeepers would be illegal, and the conversation would stop there. Popov painted a similar scenario. The Russians read the resolution as a “poorly timed political declaration” couched in the wording of an “ultimatum.” “Our peacekeepers will not leave,” he said flatly. Russian Thinking on the Future ——————————

5. (C) We suggested to Popov that the resolution might have been designed to get Russia to engage in serious negotiations, and that it was the natural result of 14 years without progress. Popov maintained that Russia does not see the status quo as tenable forever, and wants a lasting solution that accommodates the aspirations of both the Georgians and South Ossetians. Russian think tanks, he said, have been trying to come up with an appropriate model. He mentioned a “protectorate” on the order of the Marshall Islands (we assume he meant the Compact of Free Association by which the independent Marshalls receive assistance and benefits from the U.S., which is responsible for defense and has certain other defense-related rights). We asked with whom South Ossetia would be associated — Russia or Georgia? “Perhaps a condominium,” Popov replied. (Comment: the previous day, MFA negotiator for Transnistria Nesterushkin had also raised the Marshall Islands as a model (Reftel). The Kremlin may be about to adopt this as a proposal involving “free association” with the CIS, not Russia. However, such a solution is unlikely to be acceptable to Georgia. Chubinishvili believes Georgia will withdraw from the CIS by the end of the year; the Russian proposal may be an attempt to convince Georgia not to leave. End Comment.) MOSCOW 00007863 002 OF 003

6. (C) We explored with Popov whether Russia was opposed to any changes that might allow a resolution of the current tensions over peacekeepers with something each side could show to its constituency. We asked about international civilian policing, which was mentioned in the Georgian resolution. Popov replied that the issue of bilateral Georgian-South Ossetian policing was raised at the June meeting of Interior Ministers in Tskhinvali. The abortive Joint Control Commission (JCC) meeting that was scheduled for Tbilisi this week was supposed to have discussed the issue. It would be taken up at the next JCC, which was scheduled for Moscow in late July-early August (Popov thought it would actually take place in mid-August). Law enforcement was an absolute necessity, he agreed, but he warned that resistance from those on both sides who earn money from smuggling would have to be overcome. He made clear that the “contraband barons” included both the leadership of South Ossetia and Georgian DefMin Okruashvili. Rumors of War ————-

7. (S) We have been impressed with the unanimity with which Russians of all stripes — in and out of government, and of varying politics — believe Georgia is about to start a war over South Ossetia. Many believe the U.S. has been egging Georgia on. One analyst told us June 20 that he knew that President Bush had given Saakashvili a “green light” when the two met on July 5. Russian intelligence has further alleged that the U.S. is training Okruashvili’s MPs near the borders of South Ossetia.

8. (S) Popov was convinced that neither the Russians nor the South Ossetians would start fighting. Popov said that the Russians were unhappy with Kokoity, whom they viewed as impulsive and erratic, and who would behave irrationally if cornered. One of the main functions of the Russian PKF was to keep the South Ossetians in line. Popov said that the PKF’s commander, General Kulakhmetov, was the best the PKF had ever had, because he refused to let the PKF be drawn into Kokoity’s schemes. Popov said he was confident that Russia could keep things quiet inside South Ossetia

9. (S) Chubinishvili also told us July 18 that he thought there would be no war. He revealed that Saakashvili, when in Moscow in June, had feared that the Ossetians would start driving Georgians out of their villages inside South Ossetia. Saakashvili thought he might have no choice but to respond with force. Chubinishvili and FM Bezhuashvili had tried to convince Saakashvili that this was suicide, and Chubinishvili believed they had convinced Saakashvili — for the moment. But Chubinishvili also recognized that DefMin Okruashvili would be working on Saakashvili to give him the go-ahead. Ultimately, Chubinishvili believed, this was just a tactic — Okruashvili did not really want to fight, but wanted to be able to go on TV and declare that he had been ready and would have gone had he just received an okay. Ultimately, the Russians did not want a war, Chubinishvili believed, because it would upset the status quo (he did not imply that Saakashvili shared that optimism). And the South Ossetians would hold back because the fighting would be in their villages, destroying their houses.

10. (C) Popov remained suspicious of Georgian intentions, however, and especially of DefMin Okruashvili, whose goons had detained him and Russian Land Forces Deputy Commander Yevnevich twice between Tbilisi and Tskhinvali (Popov found bitter amusement in the fact that the “savages” who detained and cursed him had stooped to stealing his two ballpoint pens). He said that Okruashvili was undercutting Saakashvili’s efforts to deal with the Russians. The fact that Okruashvili was still in his post indicated to Popov that both Saakashvili and the U.S. were satisfied with him — since, Popov believed, the U.S. had enough influence to “get rid of” Okruashvili if he were really a hindrance. Nonetheless, Popov said, if the U.S. could ensure that the Georgians did not start fighting, the Russians could ensure that no one else in South Ossetia would, either. Comment ——-

11. (S) While Popov’s remarks about Kokoity conveniently support the case for keeping Russian peacekeepers in South Ossetia, we believe he is sincere both in his assertion that Russia wants to keep a lid on the situation and in his assessment that the Georgians are capable of launching military action. Though most actors appear to want to avoid war, the potential for miscalculation is still significant. MOSCOW 00007863 003 OF 003

12. (C) The Russians will probably view the replacement of Khaindrava by Antadze as a mixed bag. They will be pleased that the new negotiator is a low-key professional diplomat who believes in negotiating in private, and not in the press. But they had also come to see Khaindrava as a member of the “Party of Peace,” and his removal after a very public spat with Okruashvili is already being seen as an indicator of the latter’s power, influence and ability to dictate Saakashvili’s policies. BURNS