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Viewing cable 09MOSCOW2749, SCENESETTER FOR VISIT OF FBI DIRECTOR MUELLER TO

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
09MOSCOW2749 2009-11-09 05:05 2010-12-01 21:09 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Moscow
VZCZCXYZ0000
OO RUEHWEB

DE RUEHMO #2749/01 3130518
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 090518Z NOV 09
FM AMEMBASSY MOSCOW
TO RHMFISS/FBI WASHINGTON DC IMMEDIATE
RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 5334
INFO RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC IMMEDIATE
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC IMMEDIATE
C O N F I D E N T I A L MOSCOW 002749

SIPDIS

FBI FOR DIRECTOR MUELLER FROM AMBASSADOR BEYRLE

E.O. 12958: DECL: 11/05/2019
TAGS: KJUS PINS PREL PTER SOCI RS
SUBJECT: SCENESETTER FOR VISIT OF FBI DIRECTOR MUELLER TO
MOSCOW, NOVEMBER 15-17, 2009

Classified By: AMBASSADOR JOHN BEYRLE, REASONS 1.4 (B), (C), (D), AND (
F)

1. (C) Summary. Director Mueller: Your engagement with
Russia's top law enforcement and security service officials
is a tangible sign that U.S.-Russian relations are improving
markedly after hitting bottom in the summer of 2008. Recent
visits by President Obama and Secretary Clinton have
demonstrated to the Russians that we take their concerns
seriously and have produced more positive momentum in our
bilateral ties than I have seen in over a decade. The
Bilateral Presidential Commission (BPC) will play a key role
in building confidence and giving us regular contact with key
elements of the GOR bureaucracy, including the often
obstructionist law-enforcement organs. The BPC can
strengthen joint efforts to combat terrorism, organized crime
and other shared concerns.

2. (C) Summary continued. You should harbor no illusions
about your counterparts: FSB Director Aleksandr Bortnikov,
SVR Director Mikhail Fradkov, and Internal Affairs Minister
Rashid Nurgaliyev represent institutions that feel threatened
-- ideologically and materially -- by the "reset" in our
relations. At the same time, they appreciate the benefits
that cooperation with the U.S. provides, not only in
achieving their assigned missions, but also in enhancing
their country's position internationally. End Summary.

Domestic Political Context
--------------------------

3. (C) After almost two years of tandem leadership, President
Medvedev and Prime Minister Putin govern based on a
still-evolving division of labor. Medvedev, the junior
partner, has been a steady advocate of modernization --
economic, political and technological. Constitutionally, he
has the lead in foreign policy, but makes no major decisions
without some form of consultation with Putin, most of which
is obscure to the outside world. In addition to governing
behind the scenes, Putin has been visible in tackling recent
crises such as the conflict with Georgia, gas supply
negotiations with Ukraine, and localized unrest due to the
economic crisis. Although there is evidence that their
closest advisors spar privately over policies and personnel
matters, the two leaders appear united and project complete
ease with one another in the media. Medvedev has yet to make
major changes to the senior staff he inherited from Putin.
Putin remains more popular than Medvedev.

Three Skeptics
--------------

4. (C) Russia's recent economic problems and uncertainty
about the future of the Medvedev-Putin "tandem" have
reinforced long-standing elite divisions between the
"siloviki" (officials from the security and intelligence
services) and the modernizers. Your interlocutors are leading
representatives of the siloviki; they are Putin proteges who
believe a strong state exercising effective political and
economic control is the answer to most problems. They
advocate tightening the screws against domestic opposition
and their alleged external supporters -- principally the U.S.
and its Western allies. The modernizers recognize that
Russia's future depends on integration with the world economy
and that confronting some of the country's most stubborn
problems -- such as corruption -- requires transparency and
the impartial application of the law.

5. (C) The security services are skeptical about the West's
motivations and are the most influential opponents of the
engagement agenda. Bortnikov, Fradkov, and Nurgaliyev tend
toward a Cold War mentality, which sees the U.S. and its
allies intent on undermining Russia -- and they have made
public accusations to that effect. None of them is within the
"inner circle" of Kremlin decision-making, but instead enjoy
the reflected power of their sponsors and allies. According
to one expert, Fradkov and Bortnikov share a background in
dealing with economic issues -- working behind the scenes to
check the influence of Russia's powerful business magnates
and advance the interests of their allies. Fradkov, a former
prime minister under Putin who allegedly worked for Soviet
intelligence in the 1970s in brokering arms sales to India,
has a mandate to protect the interests of Russian companies
abroad. Fradkov works closely with the powerful state
corporations and has ties to the influential First Deputy
Prime Minister Igor Sechin. Bortnikov spent his entire career
in the FSB working on economic issues, including a stint as
head of the FSB Economic Security Service. In that role

Bortnikov worked on the government's campaign against the
oligarchs. Many consider Bortnikov as the protege of his
predecessor, Nikolay Patrushev, now the Secretary of the
Security Council, and also indirectly allied with Sechin. Of
the three, only Fradkov has any real experience in foreign
relations gained during his tenure as Russian Ambassador to
the EU from 2003-2004 and his work in the Ministry of Foreign
Trade during the 1990s.

6. (C) Nevertheless, there are indications that they value
work with other services on specific issues of mutual
interest. Perhaps most telling, Nurgaliyev has supported
cooperative relationships with his counterparts around the
globe, demonstrated by his personal efforts to secure an
INTERPOL training center in Moscow, and he has been a good
partner for the U.S. in its efforts to protect intellectual
property rights. Moreover, Nurgaliyev has openly lamented the
culture of corruption with Russia's law enforcement system
and has been a strong supporter of Medvedev's well-publicized
campaign against corruption.

State Security
--------------

7. (C) Despite the changes since the collapse of the Soviet
Union, Russia's security services more closely resemble the
model of the Czarist-era Okhrana (secret police) than Western
law-enforcement institutions. State security remains the
services' primary responsibility and all three organizations
devote considerable attention and resources to
counter-intelligence and domestic intelligence work. While
the FSB and MVD nominally share the FBI's responsibilities --
criminal prosecution, organized crime, and counter-terrorism
-- they are also fully immersed in Russia's political
battles. Political factors determine the services'
enthusiasm for pursuing investigations and independent
analysts believe individuals within the security services are
linked with organized crime.

8. (C) Russian security service leaders play a far more open
political role than their counterparts in the West. Your
three interlocutors accrue political power in the Russian
system by using the legal system against political enemies --
turning the courts into weapons of political warfare rather
than independent arbiters. They control large numbers of men
and resources -- the MVD alone has more than 190,000 soldiers
in its internal security divisions. Despite their similar
outlook and background, they are often competitors for
influence against each other -- with shadowy conflicts
occasionally bubbling to the surface.

Regional Unrest
---------------

9. (C) After the "color" revolutions in Georgia and Ukraine,
Russian security services stepped up their efforts against
the U.S. and other Western powers, whom they blame for
inciting the protests and overthrowing the governments in
Tbilisi and Kyiv. Their officers maintain constant vigilance
against the U.S. government representatives through active
surveillance and they have sought to stifle U.S. humanitarian
programs in the North Caucasus. MVD forces harass and
intimidate political opposition protests while
"investigations" against Western-supported NGOs for trumped
up charges (like using pirated software) have hindered the
work that those organizations seek to accomplish.

10. (C) Concern about potential social unrest associated with
the recent economic crisis provided justification for the
security services' push earlier this year to eliminate jury
trials and to broaden the definition of "treason" to include
the organization of protests against the government; the
former became a law, while Medvedev withdrew the treason law
for revision. In December, the MVD deployed special "OMON"
forces in Vladivostok against demonstrators protesting new
taxes on imported automobiles, key economic sector in that
region. They have shelved plans to reduce the number of MVD
internal troops, ostensibly to retain a security force for
the 2014 Olympic Games in Sochi.

11. (C) The marked deterioration of security in the North
Caucasus over the past three months has alarmed regional and
national leaders. The car bomb that nearly killed Yunus-bek
Yevkurov, President of the Republic of Ingushetia, has
dampened the initial optimism that Yevkurov could bring
ethnic and religious groups together. The continued threat of
separatism, extremism, and terrorism -- particularly in the
North Caucasus -- is a priority issue for the security

services. Ethnic conflict and social unrest continue to
simmer in Ingushetia, Dagestan, and other republics in the
troubled Caucasus region. The MVD has more than 15,000
soldiers stationed in Chechnya, an additional regiment in
Ingushetia, and has created three "special forces" (spetznaz)
counter-terrorism units in Moscow, Smolensk, and Chelyabinsk.

A Challenging Relationship
--------------------------

12. (C) While portions of the FSB are working cooperatively
with US law enforcement, some sections, particularly those
dealing with counterintelligence, are not. Harassing
activity against all embassy personnel has spiked in the past
several months to a level not seen in many years. Embassy
personnel have suffered personally slanderous and falsely
prurient attacks in the media. Family members have been the
victims of psychologically terrifying assertions that their
USG employee spouses had met accidental deaths. Home
intrusions have become far more commonplace and bold, and
activity against our locally engaged Russian staff continues
at a record pace. We have no doubt that this activity
originates in the FSB. Counterintelligence challenges remain
a hallmark of service at Embassy Moscow. This fact is
unlikely to change in the medium term.

13. (C) Despite the challenges of working with our Russian
counterparts, your visit takes place in the context of strong
Kremlin backing and a climate of renewed opportunity. Since
your 2004 trip to Russia, the success of joint investigation
programs with the MVD and FSB on organized crime,
counter-terrorism, and cybercrime has demonstrated the
potential gains that a cooperative relationship can provide.
It is premature to say we have reached a turning point in
overcoming security service suspicions about U.S. intentions,
but the vigor in which the FSB has pursued your visit
(including covering the cost of the over flight and airport
landing fees) shows a definite thaw after last year's war in
Georgia. At a minimum, we can expect the Russian side to
welcome your continued advocacy for the Joint FBI-MVD working
group on organized crime, efforts to work together to fight
cybercrime, and other cooperative projects. We also expect
them to be receptive to a renewed invitation for a law
enforcement officer to attend the FBI's National Academy at
Quantico.


Beyrle