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Cablegate: Russia: Nationalists to March On November 4

VZCZCXRO9146
OO RUEHDBU RUEHLN RUEHVK RUEHYG
DE RUEHMO #2311/01 3071625
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 031625Z NOV 06
FM AMEMBASSY MOSCOW
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 4958
INFO RUCNCIS/CIS COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHXD/MOSCOW POLITICAL COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHLN/AMCONSUL ST PETERSBURG PRIORITY 3537
RUEHVK/AMCONSUL VLADIVOSTOK PRIORITY 1746
RUEHYG/AMCONSUL YEKATERINBURG PRIORITY 1997

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 MOSCOW 012311

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

DEPT FOR EUR/RUS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV KDEM PHUM PINR PINS RS
SUBJECT: RUSSIA: NATIONALISTS TO MARCH ON NOVEMBER 4

MOSCOW 00012311 001.2 OF 002


1. SUMMARY: On Russia Unity Day, November 4, a large
nationalist "Russia March" is planned for several Russian
cities, including Moscow. Russia March is being organized by
the Movement Against Illegal Immigration (DPNI) and is
supported by several other nationalist and fascist groups,
and by some Duma members. Mayor Luzhkov has banned the march
in Moscow, but organizers are undeterred, creating the
potential for clashes with the police. Liberal groups are
split between those who want extremist speech banned and
those who support the right to assemble. The Embassy plans
to observe the marches from a safe distance. END SUMMARY.

-----------------------------------------
2005 March: Neo-Nazis on Moscow's Streets
-----------------------------------------

2. Russia Unity Day was first celebrated in 2005, when it
replaced the November 7 "Accord and Reconciliation Day,"
which had in turn replaced the October Revolution holiday.
Officially, the new holiday marks Russia's expulsion of
Polish-Lithuanian troops from the country in 1612.

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3. In November 2005, a nationalist march was organized by the
anti-American Eurasian Youth Union (EYU). Several
nationalist, fascist, and Russian Orthodox groups joined the
march. EYU, which is nationalistic, but fiercely
anti-fascist, attempted to prohibit the display of fascist
symbols, but some marchers (including DPNI members) wore
swastika arm bands and shouted "Sieg Heil." The presence of
neo-Nazis in the streets of Moscow caused an uproar.

4. Television coverage of the 2005 march was minimal in
Russia, and it downplayed the presence of neo-Nazis and
fascist symbols. Except for a few minor altercations with
the liberal youth group "Defense" and the communist youth
group "Vanguard of the Red Youth," the 3,000 participants
marched without incident.

--------------------------------------------- --------
2006 Russia March - Banned in Moscow and Other Cities
--------------------------------------------- --------

5. Russia March organizer DPNI is a nationalist,
anti-immigrant group that supports the deportation of all
illegal migrants, stricter immigration legislation and visa
requirements, reduced employment opportunities for foreign
workers, and the creation of volunteer anti-migrant brigades.
DPNI emerged in July 2002, following violent clashes between
locals and migrants in Krasnoarmeysk and Novosibirsk, which
resulted in several deaths. It recently gained media
attention following clashes between ethnic Russians and
Chechens in the northwestern city of Kondopoga. DPNI
currently claims branches in more than forty cities.

6. The 2006 Russia March, planned for nine cities, has been
banned in Moscow, St. Petersburg, Nizhny Novgorod,
Krasnoyarsk, Chita, Vladivostok, and Blagoveshchenk. Several
State Duma deputies wrote to Moscow Mayor Yuriy Luzhkov
asking him to allow the march, but to no avail.

7. The organizers plan to hold the march despite the city's
decision. In response, the city has announced 6,500
policemen will be deployed to enforce Luzhkov's ban. In a
November 3 meeting, Chairman of the Moscow City Duma Vladimir
Platonov promised that the police would "crush" any group
defying the ban, although he allowed that some, "peaceful"
groups had received permission to mark the holiday.

8. Due to the ban, the Russia March first planned to
literally move underground and assemble in a metro station.
In a November 3 press conference, Duma deputy and Russia
March "Chairman" Viktor Alksnis announced that DPNI would
join a rally to be staged by the People's Will party and
permitted by the city. We do not know if this was
coordinated with People's Will or if DPNI is being
opportunist. The Russia March website is now directing people
to meet at the site of that rally and asks the city and
federal authorities to allow them to assemble.

-----------------------------
Some Duma Deputies Will March
-----------------------------

9. DPNI claims that 23 State Duma deputies will take part in
the march, including former Rodina leader Dmitry Rogozin,
Rodina deputies Nikolay Pavlov and Andrey Saveliev, and LDPR
deputy Nikolay Kuryanovich. On November 1, the LDPR expelled

MOSCOW 00012311 002.2 OF 002


Kuryanovich from the party for his support of this march,
among other things. Rogozin has declared the decision to
march as a necessary act of civil disobedience.

10. Rogozin's decision to participate has worried some human
rights workers, including the Movement for Human Rights
leader Lev Ponomarev, who stated that Rogozin's participation
"makes it an event backed up by prominent politicians, and
not something concocted by those on the margins."

---------------------------------------------
Organizers Emphasize Nationalism, not Fascism
---------------------------------------------

11. DPNI organizers are trying to portray a strongly
nationalistic, but not ultra-nationalistic face. On their
websites (www.rusmarch.org and www.DPNI.org), they have
posted recommended posters and slogans to be used during the
march. Signs include "Glory to Russia!", "Russians,
Forward!", and "Kondopoga is a Hero City." Many of the signs
are designed to attract young men to the march, including
several featuring alluring young women saying, "I'm going,
are you?" The fascist Slavic Union, unhappy with the march's
moderate tone, withdrew from the march's planning committee
but nevertheless plans to be on the streets with them.

---------------------------
Other Groups Holding Events
---------------------------

12. In addition to the Russia March and the People's Will
rally, one other nationalist and one anti-fascist event are
planned. A group of nationalist Russian Orthodox
organizations will participate in a rally organized by the
Orthodox Patriots. The liberal Russian Anti-Fascist Front,
which includes leaders from the Union of Rightist Forces
(SPS), Yabloko, the Helsinki Group, and the committee "For
Civil Rights," is planning a Fascism-Free Russia rally.

--------------------------------------------- --
Liberals' Dilemma: Oppose the March or the Ban?
--------------------------------------------- --

13. In an open letter to Luzhkov, a group of liberal and
human rights activists wrote that the Russia March should be
banned "in the event that anti-constitutional or extremist
banners and slogans are used." Other liberals, while opposed
to the march, believe the city's ban only helps the
nationalists. Andrey Babushkin, chairman of the "For Civil
Rights" committee and organizer of the Fascism-Free Russia
rally, said, "The ban on the march was wrong. Permitting the
march would strengthen the (nationalist) moderate wing and
weaken the radical wing."

14. Human Rights Ombudsman Vladimir Lukin opposes the ban on
legal grounds and told the press, "Both freedom of assembly,
which is in the Constitution, and the laws governing
demonstrations must be observed." He urged the government to
allow the march, but to observe it closely and act if
marchers violate laws on extremist speech.

15. On October 27, skinheads attacked anti-fascist
demonstrators who were protesting against the Russia March
outside of the Russian White House. The two groups were
quickly separated by the militia. There is a potential for
additional clashes between pro-and anti-fascist groups, and
for clashes with the police. Pro-fascist websites are
calling for attacks on members of the anti-fascist
demonstrators following their rally. The embassy will attempt
to observe Saturday's events from a safe distance.

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

16. Last year's appearance of neo-Nazis in the capital was an
embarrassment to city and federal officials, and Moscow
authorities have been very clear that the neo-Nazis will not
march this year.
BURNS

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