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Cablegate: Medvedev Speech and Foreign Policy Paper Highlight

VZCZCXRO1106
PP RUEHAG RUEHAST RUEHDA RUEHDF RUEHFL RUEHIK RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHLN
RUEHLZ RUEHPOD RUEHROV RUEHSR RUEHVK RUEHYG
DE RUEHMO #2058/01 2001528
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 181528Z JUL 08
FM AMEMBASSY MOSCOW
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 9084
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE
RUEHXD/MOSCOW POLITICAL COLLECTIVE
RUEHZG/NATO EU COLLECTIVE

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 MOSCOW 002058

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PREL EU NATO RS
SUBJECT: MEDVEDEV SPEECH AND FOREIGN POLICY PAPER HIGHLIGHT
RUSSIAN GOALS AND CONCERNS

REF: A. MOSCOW 2012
B. MOSCOW 229

1. Summary: Medvedev's July 15 address to Russian diplomats
and the release by the Presidential Administration of an
official concept paper laid out Russian policy goals and
concerns without breaking new ground (ref A). The paper
covered in detail many of the same themes Medvedev made in
his speech, including Russia's call for Europe to move beyond
divisions created by a Cold War-era security structure and
genuinely unite through "equal interaction" by Russia, the EU
and U.S. Both Medvedev and the paper criticized those that
chose to selectively interpret history to blame Russia for
events that occurred during WWII and the postwar period. The
concept paper went beyond the speech to say that the GOR
would protect Russians in other countries and promote Russian
language and culture, and highlighted the GOR goal to
positively influence international media. In the part of the
speech that was not public, Medvedev reportedly directed
Russian diplomats to more forcefully protect Russian
interests and respond to criticism of GOR policy, leading one
diplomat to predict a shake-up within the MFA. The Russian
press viewed the speech and paper as demonstrating that
Russia would stick to the principles of Putin's foreign
policy, although one commentator noted that whereas the
previous concept paper issued in 2000 called for a multipolar
system to replace a U.S.-dominated, unipolar world, the 2008
paper assumed that the multipolar world had already arrived.
End summary.

Move Beyond NATO
----------------

2. Russian concern that NATO propagated the artificial
division of Europe was a major theme of both Medvedev's July
speech and the concept paper issued shortly after the address
to an assembly of Russian diplomats. Medvedev said that with
the end of the Cold War there was no longer a need for
"bloc-based policy and bloc discipline," nor for
"paternalism" in which one country dictated to other states.
What was needed instead was a collective security system
"open to all." The paper offered an oblique critique of
NATO, which was a manifestation of the "lingering political
and psychological" need of some to deter Russia. Such
"traditional, bulky political-military unions" were
inadequate to meeting contemporary challenges that required
"diplomacy based on flexible participation in multilateral
structures."

3. The concept paper called for ensuring "greater stability
and predictability" in Russia-U.S. relations. Both needed to
move beyond historical "barriers" and build a contemporary
partnership that took into account the "huge potential for
mutually advantageous bilateral cooperation" while also
recognizing that such a partnership would have great
influence in international affairs.

Opposition to NATO Expansion
----------------------------

4. On NATO expansion, the concept paper criticized "limited
and selective" integration processes that further divided
Europe at a time when a new approach was necessary to
confront modern challenges. Russia would, however, continue
to cooperate with NATO, although future relations would
depend upon whether NATO treated Russia as an equal partner
and complied with the commitment made through the NATO-Russia
Council not to secure NATO's safety at the expense of
Russia's.

Russia Calls for European Unity
-------------------------------

5. The concept paper called for a genuinely united Europe
without dividing lines, achieved through the "equal
integration" of Russia, the EU and U.S. Achieving this
required an "open, democratic system of regional collective
security and cooperation" without the "bloc approach" that
emerged during the Cold War and continued today. Russia
would seek a "long-term strategic partnership" with the EU,
including formal "mechanisms of interaction" in the areas of
security, political, economic, and social policy. The
concept paper also called for further development of
bilateral relations with a list of European countries that
the press noted were major consumers of Russian gas.

Emphasis on Soft Power
----------------------

6. Expanding Russia's ability to influence the foreign media

MOSCOW 00002058 002 OF 002


and provide information was a highlight of the concept paper
not covered in Medvedev's speech. The paper said the GOR
would develop the ability to provide the "international
public...full and precise information about the Russian
attitude to key international problems," as well as internal
Russian developments and cultural and scientific
achievements. The GOR would do so by supporting Russian
media internationally, as well as by responding to
information "threats to national sovereignty and security.
Russia would also finance "foreign political events," an
undefined term that may refer to efforts such as the new GOR
financed Institute for Democracy and Cooperation, a policy
organization with offices in Paris and New York (ref B).

Do Not Reinterpret History
--------------------------

7. GOR concern with the situation of Russian citizens and
Russian-speakers in former Soviet states was a focus of both
Medvedev's speech and the concept paper, which said a Russian
priority was "comprehensively protecting the rights and
legitimate interests of Russian citizens and compatriots
living abroad." The GOR would also expand its cultural
outreach by "popularizing the Russian language and culture of
Russia's peoples in foreign countries." The paper echoed
Medvedev's complaint about countries selectively interpreting
WWII and the postwar period, calling instead for a "common
vision of modern history." Medvedev continued this theme
when he told the press after the speech that it was "immoral"
to blame Russia for the Golodomor, the Soviet-era famine
brought on by collectivization that killed millions.
Medvedev said that the tragedy was "our common grief" and to
single out Russia was politically motivated.

Medvedev Calls for More Action by Diplomats
-------------------------------------------

8. During a closed-door part of the speech, the press
reported that Medvedev took Russian diplomats to task for
failing to aggressively pursue Russian interests and
effectively rebuff criticism of Russia. Medvedev reportedly
pointed to North Korea, where the Russian Embassy had not
been invited to witness the destruction of the Yongbyon
reactor, as an example. Russian Ambassador to NATO Rogozin
told the press he predicted a MFA shakeup because the "old
school" among Russian diplomats was "not ready" to take on
the task Medvedev expected. A prominent analyst told us that
by criticizing Russian diplomats, Medvedev reserved for
himself an opportunity to make future changes within the MFA.
Medvedev also proposed new legislation to improve the living
and working situation of diplomats overseas.

Continuity in a Multipolar World
--------------------------------

9. RIA Novesti contrasted the new concept paper, which laid
out a positive approach to forming an international system
not reliant on Cold War security mechanisms, with its
predecessor from 2000, a time when Russia was still smarting
over the NATO bombing of Serbia and railing against the
so-called unipolar world. Kommersant noted that the 2000
document said Russia would "press for a multipolar system of
international relations," whereas the current document
assumed this result has already occurred. Medvedev picked up
on this theme in his speech, telling the diplomats that
Russia had the ability to address regional and global
challenges.
BEYRLE

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