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Cablegate: World Vision Increasing Its Ingushetiya Security

VZCZCXRO0269
RR RUEHLN RUEHPOD RUEHVK RUEHYG
DE RUEHMO #3213/01 3051343
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 311343Z OCT 08
FM AMEMBASSY MOSCOW
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 0595
INFO RUEHXD/MOSCOW POLITICAL COLLECTIVE

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 MOSCOW 003213

DEPARTMENT FOR PRM/ECA AND EUR/RUS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREF PGOV PTER EAID RS
SUBJECT: WORLD VISION INCREASING ITS INGUSHETIYA SECURITY

REF: (A) MOSCOW 3137, (B) MOSCOW 3089

1. (SBU) Summary: In the wake of a series of incidents (reftels)
indicative of a worsening safety picture in Ingushetiya, World
Vision Russian Federation is working to improve its staff's
security. Unlike some other PRM implementing partners, the agency
does not intend to move its North Caucasus headquarters from Nazran.
End Summary.

2. (SBU) Refcoord met October 29 in Moscow with World Vision Russian
Federation (WVRF) Program Director Siobhan Kimmerle and
Washington-based World Vision International Program Officer Rebecca
Chandler. Chandler had just completed a 10-day visit to the North
Caucasus to assist with WVRF's internal monitoring and evaluation as
well as the hiring of an adolescent counselor to work with Ingush
high school students (note: under the organization's FY 2009
cooperative agreement with PRM; end note).

Tension Flowing, Travel Ebbing
------------------------------

3. (SBU) Chandler, who last visited Ingushetiya in Spring 2008, said
she noticed that WVRF's chief security officer had now begun to
order the Nazran office's drivers to vary their routes. Also, she
had been impressed to witness what looked like an FSB or Interior
Ministry (MVD) special operation in progress around 3:30 p.m.
October 24 in downtown Nazran. Five minutes by car from WVRF's
headquarters, she and Kimmerle had encountered about six armored
personnel carriers, several unmarked UAZ SUV's, and approximately
100 masked security officers.

4. (U) Kimmerle said it was still unusual to see such a large
display of force, and she had immediately called back to her office
and told the security supervisor to send all staff home within the
next 30 minutes. Kimmerle related additional recent sources of
anxiety for her colleagues:

- In June, a liquor store two blocks from WVRF's office was blown
up, reportedly by radical Islamists who object to the sale of
alcohol;

- Ingush gynecologists have been threatened for performing
abortions; and beauty parlors have been threatened for doing women's
hair (which radical Islamists believe should be covered);

- There are rumors of women who were not wearing headscarves being
pulled off Ingush buses and beaten for their supposed transgression.
Many women, including a member of WVRF's staff, who did not
previously cover their hair have begun to do so as a matter of
personal safety;

- Word has it that rebels intent on murdering (then)Ingush President
Murat Zyazikov no longer are concerned about causing collateral
damage, i.e. the deaths of civil servants or other "innocent"
potential bystanders. Hence the rumor reported ref A - and still
known only as a rumor - that half of Ingushetiya's police are
planning to resign;

- Local staff (note: who live in Ingushetiya, whereas the
organization's international staff reside in still comparatively
secure North Ossetia; end note) pass tanks and checkpoints on their
way to work and hear bombs exploding at night.

5. (U) Given the apprehension associated with frequent travel on
Ingushetiya's roads, WVRF is looking into creating office space at
its Sleptsovskaya IDP community center. The idea is to enable staff
who currently travel the 40 minutes between the Sleptsovskaya center
and Nazran headquarters daily to do so only weekly. Employees over
the past year have furthermore stopped leaving the World Vision
office to visit the local grocery store or outdoor market, emerging
only to conduct official business.

6. (SBU) Kimmerle and Chandler affirmed that in spite of these
challenges they will not move the office from Ingushetiya to
Chechnya as the Danish Refugee Council and the International Rescue
Committee have both done or to North Ossetia as UNHCR has done.
World Vision's work is primarily in Ingushetiya, Kimmerle explained,
and the organization's FY09 plans have been received with enthusiasm
by the republic's ministries of health and interior. Furthermore,
WVRF's Muslim employees, many of whom have loyally served the
organization for years, might be at additional risk if they were to
have to commute to predominantly Christian North Ossetia.

Comment
-------

7. (SBU) Sending employees home early and creating new office space
have costs that will eventually be reflected in program budgets.
Employee stress also may lead to higher operating expenses down the
line. As long as an implementing partner remains committed to our

MOSCOW 00003213 002 OF 002


shared humanitarian mission and beneficiaries and host government
authorities remain grateful, these costs should not deter our
involvement in a troubled region. However, higher overhead costs
may be reflected in future grant proposals.

BEYRLE

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