Cablegate: Staffdel Bruder Visit to Moscow


DE RUEHMO #2490/01 2731229
R 301229Z SEP 09



E.O. 12958: N/A

1. (SBU) Summary: Senate Staff Delegation Bruder visited Moscow
August 31-September 4 to seek ways to sustain momentum in the
U.S.-Russian relationship after the successful July 2009
Presidential meeting in Moscow. While Federation Council Foreign
Affairs Committee Chairman Margelov suggested rebuilding U.S.-Russia
trust levels via joint projects in Somalia, Sudan, or the Congo, the
MFA urged the U.S. to form an interparliamentary group as an
umbrella for activities at lower levels, and said Russia would
welcome the joint development of President Medvedev's proposed
European Security Architecture. U.S. Civilian Research and
Development Foundation representatives highlighted successful joint
programs with Russia, including the establishment of Research
Education Centers and Technology Transfer Offices at Russian
universities. Analysts proposed that Russian Muslims should seek
closer ties with the West than with the Middle East, but did not
think that Chinese migration to the Russian Far East posed a threat
to Russia. End summary.

Federation Council

2. (SBU) During their August 31-September 4 visit to Moscow,
Staffdel Bruder (Senate Foreign Relations Committee Staff Member
Jason Bruder and Senator Shaheen's Legal Assistant Chad Kreikemeier)
met with Federation Council Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman
Margelov, who urged the U.S. and Russia to work together in areas
that were not in "either's backyard." He noted that Russia was
still in the process of nation building and therefore sought
friendly relations with neighboring countries in order to
concentrate on domestic issues. Russia today was not a "new USSR"
that wanted to impose its will on independent states or buy
influence in foreign countries by selling cheap oil and gas, he
added. Claiming that a unipolar or multipolar world did not work,
Margelov said that the U.S. and Russia instead needed to adopt a
pragmatic, strategic orientation towards each other and global
politics. Noting that the U.S. and Russia shared the same goals of
a stable, functioning and predictable African continent, Margelov
suggested finding pilot projects in Somalia, Sudan, or the Congo, in
which the U.S. and Russia could work together. As the Russian
President's Special Envoy to Sudan, Margelov lauded the "200
percent" understanding he shared with U.S. Envoy Gration on the
issues in Sudan, and proposed a joint U.S.-Russia resolution on
Sudan. On other issues, Margelov revealed that Russian and Georgian
officials still meet in Moscow at prayer breakfasts, one of which he
had attended that morning, and claimed that both Russia and Turkey
could play a roll in solving the Iran nuclear problem. Margelov
closed by restating his open invitation to Senator Kerry to visit


3. (SBU) At the MFA, Staffdel met with representatives from the
North America Department, the Department of European Cooperation,
and the IVth CIS Department. North America Department Section Head
Alexey Korzhuev indicated Russia's strong desire to refresh the
interparliamentary connections that previously existed, giving as an
example Senator Bill Nelson's unexplained cancelation of his yearly
meeting with Margelov. Korzhuev explained that the GOR needed
formality in contacts in order to arrange meetings and visits. As
such, an interparliamentary group could act as an umbrella for
propelling activities at lower levels. However, the MFA was unsure
about how to move forward in cooperation with the U.S. Congress.

4. (SBU) Deputy Director of the European Cooperation Department
Saltanovskiy agreed that more confidence building measures between
the U.S. and Russia were needed, and said Russia would welcome the
joint development of President Medvedev's proposed European Security
Architecture. Saltanovskiy also discussed ways that the NATO-Russia
Council could be more effective.

5. (SBU) IVth CIS Deputy Director Alexey Dvinyanin stressed that
the issue of restoring Georgia's territorial integrity was moot.
Russia had no plans to absorb South Ossetia, and would defend
Russian citizens abroad.

--------------------------------------------- ----
U.S. Civilian Research and Development Foundation
--------------------------------------------- ----

6. (U) U.S. Civilian Research and Development Foundation (CRDF)
representatives told Staffdel the Russian government was striving to
make science more competitive, by basing government funding on
outputs, such as publications, rather than prior years' budgets.
Russian scientists continued to have difficulty publishing their
research without Western co-authors. Brain drain and aging of the
scientific community were problems, despite government programs to
attract and retain scientists. CRDF staff did not believe recent
budget cuts in science funding would adversely affect President
Medvedev's innovation priorities, citing as an example continued GOR
support for Rusnano, a state corporation which partners with private
investors to commercialize nanotechnology products. CRDF praised a
new law allowing universities and institutes to commercialize the
results of their R&D programs. Some of CRDF's successful joint
programs in Russia included the establishment of 20 Research
Education Centers (RECs) and eight Technology Transfer Offices at
Russian universities -- a model which the Russian government hopes
to replicate by creating 450 additional RECs in the next three years
-- and the Lake El'gygytgyn drilling project that will provide new
insights into the climate evolution of the Arctic.


7. (SBU) Aleksey Malashenko, a recognized expert on religion and
society at the Carnegie Center's Moscow office, claimed that radical
Islamism was a normal tendency, not a deviation from true Islam.
Islamic jihadism was always a reaction against something, for
example, against the failure of reforms in Iran. Malashenko did not
believe Islam was compatible in society with Western values, but
speculated that an evolution in Islam would be driven by contact
with the West, and not arise from Islam itself. Therefore, Russian
Muslims should seek closer ties with the West than with the Middle
East. However, Malashenko contended that imposing European-style
democracy on Islam would result in more Hamas-like organizations.

8. (U) Dr. Gontmakher of the Institute for Contemporary Development
told Staffdel that the proportion of the population that fit the
Institute's rather restrictive definition of "middle class" had
stagnated since 2000 at 10 percent. He said that of the
approximately 500 "mono-cities" (cities that depend on one company
and massive subsidies) in Russia, 80-100 were in dire straits, while
10-30 should be completely shut down and the inhabitants relocated.
Gontmakher did not share the belief that Chinese migration to the
Russian Far East posed a threat. He noted that the migrants were
seasonal and did not want to permanently reside in that
"inhospitable region," while demographic pressures in China would
abate in the coming decades. Aside from illegal logging to feed
Chinese demand, Gontmakher noted that an intergovernmental agreement
with the government of North Korea allowed the clear-cutting of
40,000 hectares of forest in the Russian Far East.


© Scoop Media

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