Search

 

Cablegate: Kremlin Reaction to Yeltsin's Death

VZCZCXRO5114
OO RUEHDBU RUEHLN RUEHPOD RUEHVK RUEHYG
DE RUEHMO #1895/01 1141353
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 241353Z APR 07
FM AMEMBASSY MOSCOW
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 9662
INFO RUCNCIS/CIS COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHXD/MOSCOW POLITICAL COLLECTIVE PRIORITY

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 MOSCOW 001895

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL PGOV PINR RS
SUBJECT: KREMLIN REACTION TO YELTSIN'S DEATH


1. (SBU) SUMMARY: President Putin publicly praised Boris
Yeltsin as a leader of courage and conviction, instrumental
in bringing democracy to Russia. Official media echoed these
themes, focusing on the positives of Yeltsin's leadership and
making little mention of economic woes and instability of
1990s commonly blamed on Yeltsin. After an initial pause, TV
news coverage of Yeltsin's death and legacy was substantial,
but not blanket. In accordance with Russian Orthodox
practice, Yeltsin will be buried on the third day after
death. Putin and most senior Russian officials are expected
to attend the funeral. Foreign representation is still
largely undecided; German President Kohler is one of the few
confirmed European attendees. End Summary.

PUTIN'S TV ADDRESS
------------------

2. (U) In brief televised remarks to the nation on April 23,
Putin called Yeltsin a historic figure not just in Russia,
but throughout the world. Putin credited Yeltsin with
bringing democracy to Russia and establishing the conditions
for a "free, open and peaceful country." He highlighted
Yeltsin's role in establishing a new constitution which "gave
people the opportunity to freely express their thoughts and
to freely choose power in Russia." Putin termed Yeltsin a
"brave, warm-hearted, spiritual person." He commended
Yeltsin for taking upon himself "the trials and tribulations
of Russia, peoples' difficulties and problems." Putin
declared April 25 a national day of mourning, with flags to
be flown at half mast and entertainment programming suspended
on television and radio networks. As part of the day of
mourning, Putin postponed his scheduled address to the
Federal Assembly (the annual State of the Federation) by one
day, to April 26.

MEDIA
-----

3. (SBU) Official media followed the respectful themes laid
out in Putin's remarks, with press and television coverage of
Yeltsin's death and legacy positive. TV repeated images of
Yeltsin on the tank in 1991 and his December 31, 1999
transfer of power to Putin. Russian TV largely glossed over
the political and economic upheavals of the 1990s that most
Russians associate with Yeltsin. Russian television networks
did not interrupt their afternoon programming to announce the
death, but devoted extensive portions of their normal news
broadcasts to Yeltsin. Gazeta.ru noted the delay in
coverage, suggesting that news organizations were waiting for
a cue from the Kremlin on how they should report the story.
Gazeta noted that CNN and the BBC had broken the story, with
reactions from various world capitals and extensive coverage
of Yeltsin's life. Russian networks did not broadcast their
first reports until almost an hour and half after the
official announcement.

4. (U) Print media gave substantial coverage, with few
papers departing from the general laudatory treatment of
Yeltsin's career. Kommersant, under a page one headline "We
Suffered a Great Tragedy Today," referred to Yeltsin's
decision to attack the Parliament in 1993, the
loans-for-shares auctions in 1994-95, and Yeltsin's
relationships with various oligarchs as tactical defeats that
Yeltsin turned into strategic victories.

5. (SBU) Kommersant also touched on the relationship between
Yeltsin and Putin. While most of the quotes from Putin and
Yeltsin that Kommersant printed expressed mutual respect and
admiration, the paper also ran oblique criticisms between the
two. Yeltsin was quoted as saying in 2003 that opposing
opinions should always have a place in society and that he
had told Putin that. Kommersant also published Putin's swipe
at Yeltsin from his address to the nation in 2006 in which he
said that "the hopes of millions had been pinned on the
changes in the 1990s but neither government nor business
lived up to these hopes." Kommersant also ran a commentary
by Dmitriy Kamyshev questioning whether the appointment of
Putin was Yeltsin's biggest mistake.

ARRANGEMENTS
------------

6. (SBU) Yeltsin will receive a state funeral April 25. He
will then be buried at Novodevichiy Cemetery in Moscow. This
follows the Russian Orthodox practice of burial on the third
day after death. The funeral will be held in Christ the
Savior Cathedral. Putin and much of the Russian leadership
are expected to attend. Foreign delegations are still
putting together their delegations. German President Kohler
is coming, but former Chancellor Kohl is not, for health
reasons. The UK Embassy informs us that Prince Andrew will

MOSCOW 00001895 002 OF 002


come; we understand the French have not yet made a decision
on their representation. The Japanese Embassy informs us
that Japan is not sending a delegation; representation will
come from the Embassy. We anticipate that most heads of
State from former Soviet republics will attend.

BURNS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
World Headlines

 

New IPCC Report: ‘Unprecedented Changes’ Needed To Limit Global Warming

Limiting global warming to 1.5°C will require “far-reaching and unprecedented changes,” such as ditching coal for electricity to slash carbon emissions, says a special report that finds some of the actions needed are already under way, but the world must move faster… More>>

ALSO:

Jamal Khashoggi: UK, France, Germany Join Calls For Credible Investigation

Germany, the United Kingdom and France share the grave concern expressed by others including HRVP Mogherini and UNSG Guterres, and are treating this incident with the utmost seriousness. More>>

ALSO:

MSF Not Wanted: Nauru Government Shows Continued Callousness

The Nauruan Government’s decision to ask Doctors Without Borders to immediately leave shows continued callousness towards asylum seekers desperately seeking a safe place to call home, Green MP Golriz Ghahraman said today. More>>

ALSO:

Sulawesi Quake, Tsunami: Aid Response Begins

Oxfam and its local partners are standing by to deploy emergency staff and resources to the Indonesian island of Sulawesi, as an estimated 1.5 million people are thought to be affected by the massive earthquake and tsunami that hit on Friday. More>>

ALSO:

Decriminalising Same-Sex Relationships: UN Rights Chief Applauds Indian Decision

“This is a great day for India and for all those who believe in the universality of human rights," Bachelet said. "With this landmark decision, the Indian Supreme Court has taken a big step forward for freedom and equality...” More>>

ALSO:

 
 
 
 
 
 
  • Pacific.Scoop
  • Cafe Pacific
  • PMC