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IdentifierCreatedClassificationOrigin
09HANOI927 2009-12-15 02:43:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Hanoi
Cable title:  

Preliminary Assessment of Politburo Bad Boy To Huy Rua

Tags:   PGOV PREL PHUM PINR ECON EAID MARR VM 
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TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 0564
INFO RHEHAAA/NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL WASHINGTON DC
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RHMFISS/JOINT STAFF WASHINGTON DC
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					  C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 HANOI 000927 

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SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 2019/12/15
TAGS: PGOV PREL PHUM PINR ECON EAID MARR VM
SUBJECT: Preliminary Assessment of Politburo Bad Boy To Huy Rua

REF: A) HANOI 809; B) HANOI 60; C) HANOI 330; D) HANOI 672
E) HANOI 820; F) HANOI 899; G) HCMC 649; H) HANOI 537; I) HANOI 827
J) HANOI 881

CLASSIFIED BY: Michael Michalak, Ambassador; REASON: 1.4(B), (D)



1. (C) Following is Post's evaluation of To Huy Rua, Chairman of
the CPV Propaganda and Education Commission, whom many identify as
a leading hard-line voice within the Politburo. We welcome comment
from INR/B and other analysts.





2. (C) The Politburo's newest member, To Huy Rua, is considered by
many to be a dark-horse contender for the position of General
Secretary in 2011 (ref A). His selection to the Politburo at the
Ninth Plenum in January (ref B) corresponded with a hardening of
the Party's rhetoric, with "peaceful evolution" now augmented by
references to "self-evolution" (ref C). His ascension, in our
view, both reflected and reinforced a hard-line trend in evidence
since the arrests of the PMU-18 journalists over one year ago (ref
D). It also marked an increase in stature for the Commission on
Propaganda and Education, which Rua has chaired since 2006. Rua's
fingerprints were clearly on the decision to air taped confessions
of Le Cong Dinh (ref E), as well as Central Committee Decree 34
(ref F).





3. (C) Rua is a hardliner, to be sure. Tempting as it is, though,
it would be a mistake to attribute all our difficulties to Rua's
plotting -- a point explicitly made by blogger Huy Duc immediately
after he was fired from Saigon Tiep Thi magazine in August (ref G).
Rua answers directly to CPV Standing Secretary Truong Tan Sang and
through him to General Secretary Nong Duc Manh, and there is very
little that Rua could do without significant backing from Sang,
Manh, or Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung. (Sang has, in fact,
overruled decisions made by Rua, for example on media coverage of
bauxite. See ref H). Some restrictive decisions, such as Decision
97, originated not from Rua but from PM Dung, who is often
mistakenly identified as a political reformer (ref I). As best we
can tell, the current crackdown on political dissent reflects a
consensus among Politburo members and is consistent with past
practice in advance of CPV Party Congresses.





4. (C) So, what exactly is To Huy Rua's influence and how is it
brought to bear? Rua appears to have no say on economic matters.
Nor has his anti-U.S. rhetoric thwarted significant advances in the
mil-mil relationship, though it has found voice in prominent
editorials in Quan Doi Nhan Dan. And, again, it is likely that
Vietnam would be cracking down on political dissent anyway, with or
without Rua. Rua's influence is probably most directly felt in
increased restrictions on the press, on a heightened attention to
ideology in the recruitment of cadre (though how much is lip
service is hard to tell), and in literature and the arts. He is
likely to rally opposition to U.S. programs such as the Peace Corps
and Fulbright and to obstruct efforts to engage on governance.
Rua's influence can also, we would argue, be felt in what is not
happening -- in today's climate, Rua's ideological palaver has
crowded out arguments for reform. In terms of factional politics,
Rua is probably adding support to conservative elements affiliated
with former General Secretary Le Kha Phieu, an archrival of the
former reformist Prime Minister Vo Van Kiet, whose followers have
seen their influence steadily diminish in the year since Kiet's
death.





5. (C) Biographical Notes: Like Le Kha Phieu, To Huy Rua hails
from Thanh Hoa, though unlike Phieu, Rua probably did not begin to
acquire real influence over patronage and appointments -- money --
until he entered the Central Committee in 1996 and was named
Haiphong Party Secretary in 1999. Rua is a prime example of an
"ideological cadre," a member of the Hanoi-centered elite who rose

HANOI 00000927 002 OF 002


to prominence through academia and the Party ideological/propaganda
structure, rather than through the provinces or ministries (ref J).
In 1965, when he was 18, Rua joined the Youth Volunteers to Combat
the Americans, a civilian organization that provided logistical
support for PAVN and NLF forces, and in 1970 he began his studies
in Marxist philosophy at the Central Political Propaganda and
Training School, while also studying math at Hanoi University.
(Details are sketchy, but it appears that Rua did not take part in
the U.S. war, though he did earn a medal for "anti-U.S. struggle.")
In the early 1980s, Rua completed his graduate studies at the
Soviet Academy of Social Sciences, earning a Ph.D. From his return
to Hanoi until his appointment in Haiphong, Rua rose steadily
through the academic/Party hierarchy and was named as the Deputy
Director of the Ho Chi Minh Political Academy in 1996. In 2004 he
became the Academy's Director. Rua joined the CPV Secretariat in
2006, the same year he took over as Chair of the Propaganda and
Ideology Commission, a position he continues to hold.
Michalak