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IdentifierCreatedClassificationOrigin
06MOSCOW12369 2006-11-08 16:18:00 UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY Embassy Moscow
Cable title:  

RUSSIAN NATIONALIST MARCH FIZZLES

Tags:   PGOV KDEM PHUM PINR RS 
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VZCZCXRO3517
OO RUEHDBU RUEHLN RUEHVK RUEHYG
DE RUEHMO #2369/01 3121618
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 081618Z NOV 06
FM AMEMBASSY MOSCOW
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 5052
INFO RUCNCIS/CIS COLLECTIVE
RUEHXD/MOSCOW POLITICAL COLLECTIVE
RUEHLN/AMCONSUL ST PETERSBURG 3542
RUEHVK/AMCONSUL VLADIVOSTOK 1751
RUEHYG/AMCONSUL YEKATERINBURG 2002
					  UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 MOSCOW 012369 

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

DEPT FOR EUR/RUS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV KDEM PHUM PINR RS
SUBJECT: RUSSIAN NATIONALIST MARCH FIZZLES

REF: MOSCOW 12311

MOSCOW 00012369 001.2 OF 002


-------
Summary
-------



1. (SBU) Decisive action by the Moscow city authorities and
waning enthusiasm for the enterprise produced
smaller-then-predicted attendance at the March 4 nationalist
"Russian march." In the end, fewer then three thousand
Muscovites participated on Saturday, a fraction of the number
of police and other law enforcement officials assembled to
ensure that there would be no violence. The march may dent
the reputation of Movement Against Illegal Immigration (DPNI)
Chairman Aleksandr Belov, who had seen his star rise in the
wake of October inter-ethnic violence in the Karelian city of
Kondopoga, but whose efforts to score a public relations coup
this time around were thwarted by a city government
increasingly intolerant of intolerance. End summary.




--------------------------


March Disappoints Its Organizers


--------------------------





2. (SBU) In the end, the much-ballyhooed November 4 Moscow
Russian March (reftel) failed to meet the stated numerical
expectations of its chief organizer, the Movement Against
Illegal Immigration (DPNI). By most estimates, fewer than
three thousand participants converged on Deviche Pole, near
the Park Kultury metro station in central Moscow, where they
joined adherents of the nationalist "People's Will" in
staging a peaceful, legal demonstration. The event occurred
under the watchful eyes of as many as 8 thousand police and
Interior Ministry, and FSB personnel. Backed by water
cannons, numerous detention vans, and assisted from above by
a circling helicopter, Russian law enforcement (some of the
"special police" (OMON) troops were trucked in from as far
away as Tver), made it clear that it would vigorously enforce
the Moscow city administration's ban on the march. As many
as 300 (by some estimates 500 - 600) participants were
detained by the police at various stages of the march,
including Duma Deputy and former LDPR member Nikolay
Kuryanovich.



3. (SBU) As planned, would-be Russian March participants
collected the morning of November 4 at the Komsomolskaya
metro station, then moved by metro to Park Kultury, where
they joined the nationalist "People's Will" in a meeting
sanctioned by city authorities. According to media reports,
DPNI efforts to communicate their movements via SMS were
stymied by electronic interference. Participants arriving at
Park Kultury metro station were met by a phalanx of "special
police" units standing, shoulder-to-shoulder, from the metro
station exit to the entrance of the park. Any participant
carrying a sign or displaying a flag or banner not to the
liking of the authorities was immediately hustled off to
waiting detention vans. Participants --overwhelmingly
young, working-class males-- sporadically chanted "Kondopoga"
(the Karelian locus of an October inter-ethnic confrontation
that has entered DPNI lore), "Russia for Russians," "Moscow
for Muscovites," "Forward, Russia," and "Glory to Russia." A
few young participants offered the Nazi salute for the
cameras, although they were actively discouraged from doing
so by "People's Will" Chairman Sergey Baburin. Sprinkled
among the crowd of thousands were a few anti-Semitic signs,
one terming Chechens the "Jews of the Caucasus." A Japanese
cameral crew near Poloff was the occasional target of
muttered complaints about the presence of "Chinese (sic)
horse faces," but march participants willingly offered the
journalists their views, and there was no threat of physical
violence.



4. (SBU) The rally itself was anticlimactic. There were
less-than-memorable speeches by "People's Will" Chairman
Sergey Baburin, and by Duma deputies Kuryanovich (formerly of
LDPR) and Andrey Savelyev (formerly of Rodina). Baburin
prevented an obviously-disgruntled DPNI leader Aleksandr
Belov, who was on the tribune, from making remarks;
presumably because DPNI had been denied permission to march.
Belov nevertheless through a megaphone attacked Presidential
Administration Deputy Head Vladislav Surkov, allegedly for
ordering Baburin via cellphone to prevent Belov from
speaking.



5. (SBU) The participants, in conversations with Embassy,

MOSCOW 00012369 002.2 OF 002


suggested that they had different agendas for the rally. One
young man expressed the sentiment, echoed by others, that
gatherings of ethnic Russians are too often portrayed as
"extreme nationalist" or even "fascist," while the assemblies
of members of other nationalities are treated more neutrally.
A young woman complained that the current Russian government
was not devoting enough attention to ethnic Russians. Others
worried that illegal immigrants were taking their jobs and
were the source of crime in Moscow.



--------------------------


Anti-Nationalist March


--------------------------





6. (SBU) Complementing the more nationalistic Russian march
was a second, smaller rally, held to counter the collection
of nationalists on Deviche Pole. The fewer than one thousand
persons participating were treated to speeches by Union of
Right Forces Chairman Belykh, Yabloko party Deputy Chairman
Sergey Mitrokhin, and Moscow Helsinki Fund Chair Lyudmila
Alekseyeva. As at its counterpart rally, police presence was
heavy, and the rally took place without incident although,
again, there were a few preemptive detentions.



--------------------------


Comment


--------------------------





7. (SBU) The decisive action of the Moscow city government no
doubt played the key role in countering the intentions of
some on the right to turn this year's march into a pitched
battle between the police and the demonstrators. The
overwhelming presence of large numbers of police at the place
of the demonstrations and at checkpoints throughout the city
made it clear that violence in Moscow would not be tolerated.
At the same time, although some Duma deputies participated
in the rally, and there was much heated rhetoric in the
run-up to November 4, much of the original enthusiasm seemed
to have evaporated by the day of the march itself. DPNI and
its leader Aleksandr Belov had received ever more frequent
media coverage in the wake of the October ethnic conflict in
Kondopoga. Their failure to ride that wave to even more
prominence on November 4 may make them less attractive to
those seeking a vehicle for exploiting festering resentments
here. Moscow Mayor Luzhkov's forceful rejection of the march
shows the important role that leadership from above can play
in thwarting efforts to create unrest.
BURNS