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Cablegate: Great Russia Party Protests Registration Denial

VZCZCXRO6962
RR RUEHDBU RUEHLN RUEHPOD RUEHVK RUEHYG
DE RUEHMO #3735/01 2121405
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 311405Z JUL 07
FM AMEMBASSY MOSCOW
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 2508
INFO RUCNCIS/CIS COLLECTIVE
RUEHXD/MOSCOW POLITICAL COLLECTIVE
RUEHLN/AMCONSUL ST PETERSBURG 4347
RUEHVK/AMCONSUL VLADIVOSTOK 2304
RUEHYG/AMCONSUL YEKATERINBURG 2601

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 MOSCOW 003735

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PINR SOCI RS
SUBJECT: GREAT RUSSIA PARTY PROTESTS REGISTRATION DENIAL

REF: MOSCOW 3262 (NOTAL)

MOSCOW 00003735 001.2 OF 002


1. (SBU) Summary: Following the Federal Registration
Service's (FRS) July 24 refusal to register it, Dmitriy
Rogozin's nationalist Great Russia party has begun mapping
strategies for getting on the ballot for the December Duma
elections. The party's Central Committee Secretary told us
that the FRS's arguments for denying registration were weak
and legally indefensible, and that the party was planning
multiple strategies for overturning or by-passing the
decision. Options under consideration are a court appeal and
a possible merger with an already-registered party of the
same political stripe, such as Patriots of Russia. End
Summary.

--------------------------------------
Great Russia Party Denied Registration
--------------------------------------

2. (U) As expected, on July 24 the Federal Registration
Service (FRS) denied registration to the Great Russia party,
citing alleged errors in their registration documents.
(Great Russia was founded on May 5 by members who had left
the Rodina party after it had been merged with two other
parties in the creation of the pro-Kremlin "A Just Russia."
It filed for registration on June 25.) Party leaders noted
that Great Russia's application had been copied verbatim from
"A Just Russia's" registration application, which the FRS had
effortlessly approved, and Great Russia leader Andrey Savelev
had written a point-by-point rebuttal of the FRS rejection,
which had been posted on Great Russia's website.

3. (U) Great Russia Central Committee Secretary Sergey
Pykhtin, a former Rodina member of the Moscow City Duma,
confirmed to us July 30 that the denial had not been
unexpected (reftel). Pykhtin insisted that Great Russia met
the minimal legal requirements for registration: it was not
an extremist organization, it had more than 50,000 registered
party members in at least 45 federal regions, and its
constituent assembly had approved the party's charter. The
FRS letter had cited violations that Pykhtin said were
impossible to confirm without additional information. For
example, it alleged that 135 people (on what Pykhtin said was
a list of more than 60,000) had not actually applied for
party membership, but it had not provided the names of the
135 alleged offenders. Even if the 135 applications were
ruled invalid, Pykhtin added, that would not invalidate Great
Russia's application, as only 50,000 valid names were
required by law. In addition, the FRS had made no attempt to
consult with Great Russia representatives before rejecting
the application.

----------
Next Steps
----------

4. (SBU) Pykhtin told us that Great Russia would continue its
efforts to get the FRS to reconsider its refusal, and
Savelev's letter was the first step in that effort. If that
failed, Great Russia would file a legal appeal. Pykhtin said
that while one appeal should be sufficient, Great Russia was
considering filing appeals for each of the 60,000 party
members disenfranchised by the FRS decision.

5. (SBU) If legal appeals fail, Great Russia could merge with
another registered party in order to get its candidates on
the ballot. The Patriots Party was the closest ideologically
to Great Russia, Pykhtin said, but that issue would be
discussed at a party presidium meeting on July 31.

----------------------------------------
The Media and Ties to Nationalist Groups
----------------------------------------

6. (SBU) Pykhtin said that Russian media had thus far covered
the Great Russia registration story fairly, and had fully and
accurately printed comments from the Great Russia leadership
explaining their complaints against the FRS. He lamented
that the Western media had unquestioningly accepted as true
allegations by organizations such as the Moscow Bureau for
Human Rights and the SOVA Center that Great Russia was
extremist, anti-Semitic, and racist. "I think the Western
nations make a great mistake when they fund these
organizations that are looking for danger where there is
none," Pykhtin said. He denied that the Movement Against
Illegal Immigration (DPNI), with which Great Russia
cooperates, was racist or anti-Semitic. Participants in the
2005 DPNI-sponsored "Russia March" who had carried pro-Nazi

MOSCOW 00003735 002.2 OF 002


signs and given the Nazi salute as they marched down Moscow
streets were "provocateurs," he contended. (Note: Among
Great Russia's followers are DPNI's Aleksandr Belov, Andrey
Savelev and Yuriy Popov who have, at times, made anti-Semitic
and/or racist statements.)

-----------------------
Rogozin on Great Russia
-----------------------

7. (U) In the wake of the FRS's refusal, Rogozin has been
everywhere in the print media, arguing both that Great Russia
had been artificially excluded, and expressing his continued
determination to advance an "ideology of national interests"
which, he insisted, would in the end triumph. Rogozin held
little hope that the court would back Great Russia's appeal
of the FRS's decision, but he thought that a large number of
individual appeals to regional courts by those whose rights
had been allegedly denied by the FRS might force a reversal.
Should that fail, Rogozin reported that Great Russia would
have recourse to "plan B," which would have party members
seek places on the list of an ideologically-similar party.

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

8. (SBU) All signs to date, however, suggest that the
Kremlin is unlikely to allow Rogozin to find his way into the
Duma via any of these routes. He appears to be on the
government-controlled media's "black list," and it seems that
the Kremlin has decided that, if given a national platform in
the form of a political party able to mine Russian
nationalism, the charismatic Rogozin might be just too
difficult to manage.
RUSSELL

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
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