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id: 51813

date: 2/6/2006 4:54

refid: 06DUSHANBE239

origin: Embassy Dushanbe

classification: CONFIDENTIAL

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----------------- header ends ----------------

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 DUSHANBE 000239

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

STATE FOR P, R, EUR, SA, S/P

NSC FOR MERKEL

E.O. 12958: DECL:  2/6/2016

TAGS: PREL, PROP, KDEM, KPAO, RS, ZK

SUBJECT: THE CIS NEEDS A CNN RUSSIAN-LANGUAGE SERVICE

CLASSIFIED BY: Richard E. Hoagland, Ambassador, EXEC, Embassy

Dushanbe.

REASON: 1.4 (b), (d)

1.  (C) This message is Central Asia specific, but it is

relevant to the other countries of the former Soviet Union,

including Russia, as the other U.S. ambassadors to CIS countries

agreed during a January 4 meeting in the Department with U/S

Burns.

2.  (C) Russia is increasingly flexing its political and

economic muscles in the region.  In principle, there is nothing

wrong with this, but it is doing so as a way to carve out a

"sphere of influence" - a concept that the United States

rejects.  A World Bank study released on January 31 warned that

two blocs are forming in Europe-Eurasia - a relatively rich and

traditionally liberal bloc identified with Western values, and a

poorer, authoritarian bloc in the former Soviet Union led by

Russia.

3.  (C) It has become clear that Russia's goal is to limit the

influence and presence of the West in "Russia's bloc" to the

fullest extent possible.  The unrelenting Kremlin attack on U.S.

democracy NGOs over the past 18 months, asserting they are U.S.

intelligence-agency tools working to overthrow existing

governments in order to encircle, isolate, and weaken Russia,

has been especially harmful.  Russia's promise, yet to be

delivered, of massive investments in Central Asia gives these

governments less reason to pursue economic reform to meet

international standards.  And so, both our political and

economic agendas for this region are increasingly challenged.

4.  (C) In Central Asia, 90 percent and more of the population

rely on television and, to a slightly lesser extent, radio for

news, information, and general world-view.  Even poor villages

bristle with satellite dishes.  What is available to these

populations is state-controlled broadcast media and, most

popular of all, Russian television broadcasts.  Russian

television is now state-controlled, and the Russian press is

increasingly state-influenced.  Because of this, it is

increasingly hard to get the U.S. message to the general public

in Central Asia.  What the people know about the United States

and its policies is largely what the Kremlin wants them to know

- and that is not to the benefit of the United States.

5.  (C) Traditional U.S. public diplomacy will always have a

role to play, but it relies increasingly on Internet-based

products.  Internet is still not broadly used in Central Asia,

especially at home, and users who do access our sites are a

specialized, self-selecting audience likely to be already

well-disposed toward the United States.  Speakers, artists, and

other special programs are one-off events.  They are almost

always extremely well-received and make a momentary splash, but

they reach a miniscule portion of the population.

6.  (C) RFE/RL radio broadcasts reach at very best 15 percent of

the population, VOA radio much less, and VOA TV programs, where

they are rebroadcast (not in Tajikistan), reach even fewer.  In

theory, the United States could mount a major new broadcast

effort, but considering priorities and budget limitations we

acknowledge that is most unlikely.  Further, the generally

literate adult populations of Central Asia lived under the

Soviet media regime, and the younger part of the population has

grown up with rigidly controlled, and head-bangingly boring,

state broadcasts.  All want something independent from

government, including from the U.S. government.

7.  (C) We need to think outside the box.  One way to achieve

this would be through a Russian-language service of CNN

International.  CNN already has language services - e.g.,

Arabic, Turkish, Spanish - and in theory could initiate a

Russian service.  The demographics would seem to be promising,

with an increasingly wealthy Russia, and also Kazakhstan.  In

fact, EUR DAS Bryza is aware of a generally progressive (for the

region) broadcasting corporation in Kazakhstan that might

welcome a joint venture with CNN that could broadcast direct by

DUSHANBE 00000239  002 OF 002

satellite throughout the CIS.

8.  (C) CNN Russian service would be beneficial for the entire

CIS, not the least Russia, especially as Moscow moves toward the

2008 presidential election, and beyond.  The World Bank report

emphasizes that the emergence of two blocs in Europe-Eurasia is

not yet necessarily a given.  We should do everything possible

to ensure that we do not drift into an ideological Cold War-II.

9.  (C) If the Department decides it is worthwhile to pursue a

CNN Russian option, the point of contact is CNN International

Managing Director Chris Cramer (404-827-3491).  We would suggest

that the best contact from the Department to initiate this

discussion would perhaps be U/S Hughes or U/S Burns.

HOAGLAND

=======================CABLE ENDS============================

id: 51881

date: 2/6/2006 12:36

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----------------- header ends ----------------

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 DUSHANBE 000246

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

STATE FOR EUR/CACEN, EUR/PPD, DRL, SA

E.O. 12958: N/A

TAGS: PREL, PTER, PINR, PROP, KDEM, KPAO, TI

SUBJECT: ROUNDTABLE WITH U.S. AMBASSADOR AND LOCAL MEDIA

DUSHANBE 00000246  001.2 OF 002

1.  The Ambassador and PAO met on February 3 with 15 local

editors and other prominent journalists for a 90-minute informal

but on-the-record roundtable.

------------

U.S. PATRIOT ACT

------------

2.  The journalists covered a variety of topics, starting with

the State of the Union address and the President's comments on

the Patriot Act.  The Ambassador explained that the Act was a

response to the events of September 11, 2001, and gave

law-enforcement agencies in the U.S. more leeway to track down

terrorists.  He added that historically during wartime, the U.S.

has experienced some abridgement of civil liberties, but the

issue has always been vigorously debated in our democratic

society.

--------

U.S. NGOS

--------

3.  The journalists asked about the status of foreign NGOs

working in the United States.  The Ambassador pointed out that

although there is certainly no restriction on foreign NGOs in

the United States (with the exception of the limits on providing

money to political parties), most international NGOs work in

developing countries.  The Ambassador stated that media reports

of U.S. NGOs being linked to intelligence agencies with the goal

of overthrowing governments in the region is nothing more than

intentionally harmful "black propaganda."

-------------------------

EXTREMISM VS. TERRORISM:  THE HT EXAMPLE

--------------------------

4.  The journalists were very interested in the definition of a

terrorist versus extremist organization, and wondered why

extremists like Hizb-ut-Tahrir (HT) are allowed to operate in

the United States.  The Ambassador explained that unless the

group is violent or espouses violence, its members are entitled

to their rights under the U.S. Constitution, including the

freedom of speech and of assembly.  There is never, however, the

right to hurt other people or destroy property.  The Ambassador

acknowledged that HT is an extremist organization that bears

close observation, but it is not a terrorist organization

because there is no proof that it has ever employed violence.

-----------------------

THE DANISH CARTOON CONTROVERSY

----------------------

5.  The journalists asked about the "Danish cartoons," noting

their lack of sensitivity to Islam.  A lively discussion ensued

as to when it becomes like shouting "fire" in a crowded theater

and goes beyond freedom of speech.  The journalists bemoaned the

lack of sensitivity to Islam in Western culture.

6.  After these more philosophical topics, the journalists moved

to the tougher questions:  U.S. policy on Iran and Hamas.  The

Ambassador hewed closely to the Department's Echo Chamber

talking points.

---------------------------------------

DNI SAYS CENTRAL ASIA TO COLLAPSE INTO CHAOS?

---------------------------------------

7.  A journalist asked the Ambassador to comment on DNI

Negroponte's statement that Central Asia is in danger of

collapsing into chaos.  The Ambassador said he could not comment

DUSHANBE 00000246  002.2 OF 002

because he had not yet seen the original statement and did not

know if the DNI had been correctly quoted.  (COMMENT:  We have

now seen the statement and expect it will elicit much media

discussion in coming days.  END COMMENT.)

8.  The journalists unanimously concurred that an informal

roundtable at the Ambassador's residence was better than a

formal press conference, and that it should occur on an

occasional basis.  Post fully concurs and will make this a

regular part of our public diplomacy outreach.

HOAGLAND

=======================CABLE ENDS============================

id: 51986

date: 2/7/2006 4:07

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----------------- header ends ----------------

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 DUSHANBE 000250

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

STATE FOR EUR/CACEN, SA, DRL

NSC FOR MERKEL

E.O. 12958: DECL:  2/7/2016

TAGS: PREL, PGOV, KDEM, TI

SUBJECT: DPT ACTING LEADER:  "WE DON'T FEEL YOUR SUPPORT"

REF: A) DUSHANBE 0151  B) CEP20020206027174

CLASSIFIED BY: Richard E. Hoagland, Ambassador, EXEC, Embassy

Dushanbe.

REASON: 1.4 (b), (d)

1.  (C) The Ambassador and PolOff met for an hour on February 6

with Deputy Chairman of the Democratic Party of Tajikistan

(DPT), Rahmatullo Valiyev.  The imprisoned Mahmadruzi Iskandarov

is still the DPT's titular head.  The meeting was within the

context of a DPT effort, as evidenced by its February 6 press

release, to engage foreign embassies and international

organizations to press for Iskandarov's release.  In fact,

Valiyev had little to say on this account and, instead, made a

long and sometimes emotional plea for more overt U.S. support

for his party.

2.  (C) Valiyev opened by noting Russian Ambassador Ramazan

Abdulatipov has already endorsed President Rahmonov for

re-election this year and commented, properly, that this is

interference in Tajikistan's internal affairs (refs).  He

accused the U.S. Embassy of "going silent" on support for

democracy and independent media - "We don't feel your support" -

and made a veiled request for U.S. financial support for his

party, because its membership base is urban intelligentsia "who

are poor."  Although independent polls show the DPT with only

about 1.5% support in the Tajik electorate, Valiyev argued that

his party's real support is at least 60%, "because the one

million Tajiks who have gone to Russia to work have done so

because they hate Rahmonov."  (COMMENT:  His glaring fallacy is

that they are all, therefore, DPT supporters.  END COMMENT.)

3.  (C) The Ambassador explained that the United States supports

the democratic process, not specific parties and personalities.

He noted his widely publicized December speech to youth

activists calling for greater democracy and independent media,

and reminded Valiyev that U.S. NGOs continue to work to build

civil society in Tajikistan, which is the long-term foundation

for true democracy.  The Ambassador further noted that he and

his colleagues continue to work intensively through quiet

diplomacy to keep Tajikistan from going further down the wrong

path, but he acknowledge this is frustrating for Tajikistan's

democratic forces because it is not visible cannot be

publicized.  The Ambassador noted it would be as inappropriate

for him or the U.S. Embassy to endorse the DPT as Abdulatipov's

open support for Rahmonov.

4.  (C) Valiyev criticized the International Monetary Fund for

forgiving Tajikistan's $99 million debt under the Highly

Indebted Poor Countries mandate, and he said the United States

should "stop giving Rahmonov money."  The Ambassador explained

that U.S. assistance funds programs, not the government and

individuals, and is for activities in the interest of the nation

and people of Tajikistan, like border security and

counter-narcotics.  Valiyev acquiesced but disagreed with the

strategy, because his view is the sooner Rahmonov is "cut off,"

the sooner the DPT can come to power.   (COMMENT:  According to

independent polls, without the President's Peoples Democratic

Party in the mix, the Communist Party and the Islamic

Renaissance Party would rise to the top of the lists at this

time.  END COMMENT.)

5.  (C) Valiyev criticized U.S. exchange programs for sending

Tajik government officials, who are predominantly from the

President's party, to the United States.  The Ambassador

explained that exchange participants are chosen not for their

political party allegiance, but for their expertise and

likelihood of rising to more important positions in the future.

DUSHANBE 00000250  002 OF 002

He emphasized that we find many reform-minded younger officials

whom we want to encourage.

6.  (C) Valiyev reminded us that he had sent Secretary Rice a

letter shortly after her October 13 visit to Dushanbe, asking

her to intervene for Iskandarov at the European Court of

Justice.  He asked, in the name of his party presidium, if she

had yet done so.  The Ambassador assured Valiyev that the

Secretary surely had read his letter, but that it would be

SIPDIS

inappropriate for her to intervene in a court action on behalf

of an individual.

7.  (C) Valiyev pressed that only the United States can bring

democracy to Tajikistan - neither Russia, China, nor Iran will

do so.  The Ambassador assured Valiyev that working to enlarge

the democratic space in Tajikistan is one of his highest

priorities.

8.  (C) COMMENT:  The three so-called democratic parties in

Tajikistan have miniscule support, in part because they are to

varying degrees personality-based, and also because they do not

have a critical mass of party workers to build broader support.

Also, none at this time has a savvy and charismatic politician

as a leader.  That said, should such a leader improbably emerge,

Rahmonov would certainly quash him, as he did Iskandarov.  While

we must acknowledge that Rahmonov's action against Iskandarov

was politically motivated, we also should not forget in a more

unguarded moment in the past Valiyev admitted to the Ambassador

that Iskandarov had surely been corrupt when he was Chairman of

TojikGaz - "He's a rich man!  How do you think he got his

money?" - one of the charges on which he was eventually

convicted.  We continue to believe that the Tajik people would

naturally gravitate toward a populist democratic leader, should

one ever emerge.  However, at this time, no such leader exists.

Our long-term task is to remain committed to building civil

society in Tajikistan.  There is no reason democracy cannot

blossom here, but it will not happen in the short term.  END

COMMENT.

HOAGLAND

=======================CABLE ENDS============================

id: 52191

date: 2/8/2006 12:18

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----------------- header ends ----------------

UNCLAS DUSHANBE 000268

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A

TAGS: KDEM, PREL, PINR, PGOV, TI

SUBJECT: NDI REGISTRATION: YOUR DOG'S TAIL IS CROOKED

REF: A) DUSHANBE

1. (SBU)  Tajik folk wisdom has it that even if all your papers

are in order, inspectors will find something wrong -- your dog's

tail is crooked -- for example.  After many promises that

re-registration for National Democratic Institute (NDI)

personnel was solved, it turns out to be unsolved.  DCM spent an

hour and a half at the "OVIR" registration office, with many

cell phone calls to the MFA, to no avail.  OVIR's English

equivalent is printed at the entrance.  The bronze plaque reads:

Departament of Viza and Registration of Foreing Citizens,"

(sic).

2. (SBU)  The normally two-minute process dragged on and on as

the OVIR Chief Inspector found excuse after excuse for not

re-registering NDI Program Director Nurul Rakhimbekov, a CIS

citizen who must keep a current registration on file.  First,

the inspector simply said "no, come back in the afternoon."

Then, she needed the NDI landlord's passport.  We dispatched a

driver and 30 minutes later complied.  (We learned later that

the landlord has already been summoned to the Prosecutor's

Office for questioning.)  Then she complained that Rakhimbekov

could not be registered as an individual since he works for an

NGO.  DCM took exception to all of these technicalities and said

the Ambassador has an understanding with the Deputy Foreign

Minister that Rakhimbekov will be registered as an individual,

then local Director Gegham Sargsyan will be registered, also as

an individual, and then we can fight about NDI's registration as

an NGO.

3. (SBU)  Two cell phone calls with the MFA bought us some time,

but no decision before lunchtime, when we were escorted out.  At

that point, the final word was that Rakhimbekov is still legal

until February 15, and so he should not re-register until then.

Throughout the process we kept many other applicants waiting,

and there were groups of other seemingly unoccupied men giving

us malevolent glares.

4. (SBU)  In the afternoon, DCM again discussed the issue with

MFA North American Chief Nasriddinov, who said he would inform

the Minister of the latest developments.

5. (SBU)  At about 4:30 DCM called Nasredinov again.  He said

the Minister would probably call the Ambassador in on Thursday.

First to discuss a security incident in Washington, then to

assure the Ambassador, once again, that the NDI issue is

"solved."  Regarding the security incident, the Tajiks are

looking for a diplomatic note from the State Department about

how to proceed in a case in which their driver was allegedly

assaulted.

6. (SBU)  COMMENT:  The NGO problem is a long way from being

solved.  In fact, according to the American Councils' Director,

the Prosecutor's Office has given the green light to

investigators to initiate investigations at any NGO office.  The

fine line between investigation and harassment is not always

recognized in Tajikistan and this signal to lower level

officials is likely to be interpreted as open season on NGOs,

particularly American NGOs.  Even dogs with straight tails are

likely in for a rough period.

7. (U) Kabul minimize considered.

HOAGLAND

=======================CABLE ENDS============================

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----------------- header ends ----------------

UNCLAS DUSHANBE 000269

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A

TAGS: KDEM, PREL, PINR, PGOV, TI

SUBJECT: NDI REGISTRATION: YOUR DOG'S TAIL IS CROOKED

REF: A) DUSHANBE

1. (SBU)  Tajik folk wisdom has it that even if all your papers

are in order, inspectors will find something wrong -- your dog's

tail is crooked -- for example.  After many promises that

re-registration for National Democratic Institute (NDI)

personnel was solved, it turns out to be unsolved.  DCM spent an

hour and a half at the "OVIR" registration office, with many

cell phone calls to the MFA, to no avail.  OVIR's English

equivalent is printed at the entrance.  The bronze plaque reads:

Departament of Viza and Registration of Foreing Citizens,"

(sic).

2. (SBU)  The normally two-minute process dragged on and on as

the OVIR Chief Inspector found excuse after excuse for not

re-registering NDI Program Director Nurul Rakhimbekov, a CIS

citizen who must keep a current registration on file.  First,

the inspector simply said "no, come back in the afternoon."

Then, she needed the NDI landlord's passport.  We dispatched a

driver and 30 minutes later complied.  (We learned later that

the landlord has already been summoned to the Prosecutor's

Office for questioning.)  Then she complained that Rakhimbekov

could not be registered as an individual since he works for an

NGO.  DCM took exception to all of these technicalities and said

the Ambassador has an understanding with the Deputy Foreign

Minister that Rakhimbekov will be registered as an individual,

then local Director Gegham Sargsyan will be registered, also as

an individual, and then we can fight about NDI's registration as

an NGO.

3. (SBU)  Two cell phone calls with the MFA bought us some time,

but no decision before lunchtime, when we were escorted out.  At

that point, the final word was that Rakhimbekov is still legal

until February 15, and so he should not re-register until then.

Throughout the process we kept many other applicants waiting,

and there were groups of other seemingly unoccupied men giving

us malevolent glares.

4. (SBU)  In the afternoon, DCM again discussed the issue with

MFA North American Chief Nasriddinov, who said he would inform

the Minister of the latest developments.

5. (SBU)  At about 4:30 DCM called Nasredinov again.  He said

the Minister would probably call the Ambassador in on Thursday.

First to discuss a security incident in Washington, then to

assure the Ambassador, once again, that the NDI issue is

"solved."  Regarding the security incident, the Tajiks are

looking for a diplomatic note from the State Department about

how to proceed in a case in which their driver was allegedly

assaulted.

6. (SBU)  COMMENT:  The NGO problem is a long way from being

solved.  In fact, according to the American Councils' Director,

the Prosecutor's Office has given the green light to

investigators to initiate investigations at any NGO office.  The

fine line between investigation and harassment is not always

recognized in Tajikistan and this signal to lower level

officials is likely to be interpreted as open season on NGOs,

particularly American NGOs.  Even dogs with straight tails are

likely in for a rough period.

7. (U) Kabul minimize considered.

HOAGLAND

=======================CABLE ENDS============================

id: 52450

date: 2/10/2006 5:31

refid: 06DUSHANBE272

origin: Embassy Dushanbe

classification: CONFIDENTIAL

destination:

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DE RUEHDBU #0272/01 0410531

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RUEHBUL/AMEMBASSY KABUL PRIORITY 1279

RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON PRIORITY 1367

RUEHNE/AMEMBASSY NEW DELHI PRIORITY 1311

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RUEHKO/AMEMBASSY TOKYO PRIORITY 1162

RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHINGTON DC

RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHDC

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RHMFISS/HQ USEUCOM VAIHINGEN GE

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RUCNCIS/CIS COLLECTIVE

RUEHDBU/AMEMBASSY DUSHANBE 7769

----------------- header ends ----------------

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 DUSHANBE 000272

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

STATE FOR SCA/CEN, EUR/RUS, EUR, E, EB, INL

E.O. 12958: DECL:  2/10/2016

TAGS: PGOV, PREL, PINR, ECON, EINV, ENRG, SNAR, RS, TI

SUBJECT: TAJIKISTAN:  MURKY BUSINESS AND GEO-POLITICS

CLASSIFIED BY: Richard E. Hoagland, Ambassador, EXEC, Embassy

Dushanbe.

REASON: 1.4 (b), (d)

1.  (C) SUMMARY:  In two meetings with U.S. businessmen on

February 9, a reliable CEO passed along the rumor that the

largest cell-phone and Internet company in Tajikistan,

Babilon-T, is founded on drug money and may sooner or later be

bought by Moscow's Sistema-MTS.  A less reliable U.S.

interlocutor asserted that Tajikistan knows that Russia/RusAl is

jerking it around with the promise to build Rogun Dam and

Hydroelectric Station.  He says Tajikistan is wide open to U.S.

leadership to build Rogun.  END SUMMARY.

POTENTIAL MONEY LAUNDERING?

2.  (SBU) The Ambassador met on February 9 with long-standing

friend of the Embassy, Richard Seney (please protect), President

and CEO of Alexandria-based MTC Corporation, which is the parent

company of Indigo Cellular in Tajikistan, a joint venture with

the Aga Khan Group.  Seney is a credible interlocutor.  MTC is

also heavily invested in Afghanistan and elsewhere in Central

Asia.

3.  (C) Seney reported an "explosion" of cell-phone use in

Tajikistan, with his company registering an increase during the

past five months from 5M minutes to 25M minutes.  His

explanation:  "The cell-phone culture is catching on."   He said

his company feels secure because its largest volume of business

is in Khujand and surrounding Sogdh Oblast, where it is

autonomous from the Indigo leadership in Dushanbe, where it

could be subject to political whim.  Even so, Seney remains a

tad uneasy because his major partner in Sogdh is Governor Qosim

Qosimov's brother, and the Qosimov's dominant position in Sogdh

is subject to Dushanbe's political winds.

4.  (C) Seney reported that the biggest cell-phone company in

Tajikistan is Babilon-T (NOTE:  The Embassy's Internet provider.

 END NOTE).  Babilon-T's real ownership remains shrouded in

mystery.  The minority shareholder is believed to be "security

agencies" in Tajikistan.  The majority owners are extremely

closely held, but rumored to be big drug money.  According to

Seney, there is clear evidence that Babilon-T's business

leadership is positioning the company to sell it, by ineptly

driving up the number of users, which is not the true value of a

cellular company - minute-usage is the true value.  Sistema-MTS

from Moscow has long been in talks with Babilon-T, but has not

yet reached an agreement, although in the end is expected to

conclude the deal, because Tajikistan is the only place in

Central Asia  (apart from Kazakhstan) where Sistema does not

have a footprint.  Seney agreed with the Ambassador that a sale

of Babilon-T, if the rumors are true, would be tantamount to

major drug money laundering.

"TAJIKISTAN KNOWS RUSSIA IS JERKING IT AROUND ON HYDRO"

5.  (SBU) The Ambassador met on February 9 with EurasiaLink's

(also Superior Engineering-American Hydro) Rudolph Rubiner

(please protect), who has a TDA-funded feasibility study on the

table with the Ministry of Energy for the Varzob and Karakum

Cascades hydroelectric projects.

6.  (C) We do not consider Rubiner a fully credible

interlocutor, and so report the following for what it is worth.

DUSHANBE 00000272  002 OF 002

7.  (C) Rubiner first presented himself as already having the

contract to build the Varzob and Karakum projects.  When

challenged on this, he became defensive and agitated, and then

suggested what he really has is agreement-in-principle for EBRD

to finance the project and, thus, will surely win the final

contract because he is so close to the Energy Minister.

8.  (C) A former Soviet citizen at ease operating in this

environment, Rubiner has been spending a lot of "quality time"

with Energy Minister Nurmahmadov at his dacha's sauna and in

other social settings.  Rubiner claims that Nurmahmadov, and

thus President Rahmonov, are convinced that Russia/RusAl will

never build Rogun Dam and Hydro-electric station, even though

Russia keeps telling the West, "Hands off Rogun."  They are

especially dyspeptic that RusAl's Deripaska is now playing

footsie with the Uzbeks, including with First Daughter Gulnora

Karimova.

9.  (C) According to Rubiner, the top-level Tajik view is that

Putin threw in the promise on Rogun, via RusAl, at the October

14, 2004, summit in Dushanbe as a honey-trap to ensure that

Moscow would get permanent status for its military base in

Tajikistan and to build political capital.  (NOTE:  It is worth

remembering that Deripaska's appearance at the October 14 summit

was a surprise for all, even for most in the Russian delegation,

as suggested by "Kommersant" articles and then-Russian

Ambassador Maksim Peshkov.  END NOTE.)  According to Rubiner,

all the hoopla that RusAl keeps slinging around in Tajikistan -

pop-star concerts, billboards, relatively minor philanthropy -

may be little more than eyewash to keep the Tajiks dangling for

geo-political purposes.

10.  (C) Rubiner asserted that Nurmahmadov and other senior

Tajiks are desperate for U.S. leadership in the International

Financial Institutions to take the lead on Rogun.  "If you do

that, Tajikistan will do anything you want," Rubiner insisted

Nurmahmadov said.  Rubiner pressed the Ambassador to spend the

evening in Nurmahmadov's sauna.  The Ambassador countered that

he would be pleased to meet Nurmahmadov at any time in the

Energy Minister's office.

11.  (C) When asked if the business climate in Tajikistan has

changed in the five years he has been involved here, Rubiner

hesitated, then responded, "There's more money, but it's still

Communist, or authoritarian - same thing.  The President and his

team control everything.  It's all insider dealing.  A deputy

minister of energy just got the main factory for repairing city

transformers, so he can profit from all the government

contracts."

12.  (C) COMMENT:  This alleged Tajik understanding about

Russia's intentions, or non-intentions, about Rogun does not

indicate what they think about Deripaska's interest in the TadAZ

aluminum plant, which is supposedly linked to the Rogun project.

 We know that the main business-political contact for Deripaska

is Orien Bank's Chairman, First Brother-in-Law Hasan Sadullayev,

but we know almost nothing about their business dealings.   We

occasionally hear rumors that the top Tajiks know that Deripaska

is playing games with TadAZ, and that they are ever more leery

of him since he allegedly accepted Uzbek President Karimov's

complaint that TadAZ is polluting Uzbekistan.  Whatever the

truth, foreign businesses need a rather strong stomach to

operate successfully here, or need a strong backbone of

international transparency and rectitude, like Seney's MTC.  END

COMMENT.

HOAGLAND

=======================CABLE ENDS============================

id: 52503

date: 2/10/2006 12:35

refid: 06DUSHANBE275

origin: Embassy Dushanbe

classification: UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY

destination:

header:

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PP RUEHLN RUEHVK RUEHYG

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RUEHNE/AMEMBASSY NEW DELHI 1313

RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS 1268

RUEHKO/AMEMBASSY TOKYO 1164

----------------- header ends ----------------

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 DUSHANBE 000275

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE

SIPDIS

STATE FOR SCA/CEN, G

EMBASSY TASHKENT FOR EVELYNN PUTNAM

E.O. 12958: N/A

TAGS: PGOV, PREL, ECON, EIND, ETRD, SENV, RS, TI

SUBJECT: TADAZ CLAIMS POLLUTION HAS DECREASED

DUSHANBE 00000275  001.2 OF 002

1.  (U)  SUMMARY:  Central Asia's Regional Environment, Science,

Technology and Health Officer (REO) and PolOff visited the

Tajikistan Aluminum (TadAZ) plant in Tursun-Zoda near the

Uzbekistan border February 9.  Uzbekistan blames the Tajik

government for allowing TadAZ to pollute the environment, which

affects Uzbek towns just across the border.  TadAZ officials

claimed air and water pollution from the plant has decreased

tremendously and painted a rosy picture of an ideal company

town.  END SUMMARY.

2.  (U)  Rustam Latifov, current deputy chairman of the State

Committee for Environmental Protection (SCEP), explained one

reason for the friction between the Uzbek and Tajik governments

on pollution issues is each country has different methodology,

standards and statistics for measuring pollution.  Latifov added

that the Uzbeks pollute more than the Tajiks.  According to

Tajik standards, the TadAZ pollution levels are acceptable.

3.  (U)  TadAZ has its own Department for Environmental

Protection, headed by Nurali Kadirov.   TadAZ lab tests of the

water and air quality show pollution declining since the

nineties.  A possible reason for the decline is that in 1992 and

1997 TadAZ installed $16 million worth of pollution prevention

technology from Norway.  According to TadAZ environmental

officials, a TadAZ scientist patented a process he developed to

recycle aluminum waste into other products.  Last year TadAZ

produced 380,000 tons of aluminum and also 15,000 tons of

aluminum waste.  TadAZ officials would not give PolOffs copies

of their assessment, explaining that the document had sensitive

commercial information as well.  Their assessment was derived

from the work of three laboratories in Tajikistan.  The SCEP has

a laboratory in Dushanbe and TadAZ has two laboratories equipped

with Soviet-era equipment-one at their plant facilities and one

in a suburb of Tursun-Zoda.

4.  (U)  Most of TadAZ's newer equipment and technology comes

from Russia, although the original equipment is early 1970s

French.  TadAZ officials mentioned that RusAl is considering

modernizing the plant.  When asked about RusAl's relationship

with the plant, TadAZ officials would not comment.   They said

their role as environmental monitors prevented them from knowing

whom their clients or suppliers are and said TadAZ processes raw

materials brought from an intermediary who also sells their

products.  (Note: Although they did not come out and directly

say it, the intermediary is a Russian company.)

5.  (U)  TadAZ is the largest employer in the city and like

other large Soviet company towns, continues to provide services

to its workers.  In 2000, TadAZ built a hospital where employees

and their families can seek free medical treatment.  City

residents can also go to the hospital for a negotiated, but

nominal fee.  In addition, TadAZ has also set up a "green zone"

where they planted trees.  TadAZ officials noted that not only

does the park benefit the community; the plant life is also used

as an indicator of pollution.  "If the trees are alive and well,

then there is no pollution problem."

6.  (U)  Factory workers, according to Kadirov, can earn up to

$300/month depending on how much they produce.  EmbOffs were

permitted to walk right up to the machines and aluminum

production sites.  Few safety measures were seen.  All employees

wore helmets, but none had on masks to prevent inhaling the

metallic dust and chemical fumes swirling around the plant.

7.  (U)  The meeting with TadAZ was originally scheduled just

between EmbOffs and TadAZ officials.  The day before, Latifov

requested to participate, and during the meetings answered most

of EmbOffs' questions.  Latifov often sided with the TadAZ

DUSHANBE 00000275  002.2 OF 002

Department on Environmental Protection's responses on

environmental issues.  Their common stance was an inherent

conflict of interest exists between businesses and the

environment, and businesses naturally act in their own interest.

 In a private comment, Latifov sounded surprised by the notion

gaining currency in U.S. environmental circles that the cost of

a product should include its environmental effects.

8.  (SBU)  COMMENT:  The state-owned TadAZ provides Tajikistan,

along with cotton, significant export earnings and plays a

critical role in the weak economy.  Officials are unlikely to be

overly concerned with environmental impact, particularly if it

occurs on the other side of the border.  SCEP is in no position

to act as a watchdog, particularly given the fact that much of

TadAZ's aluminum is likely controlled by the giant RusAl.  The

question of TadAZ pollution is also geopolitical.  RusAl's

Deripaska, seeking investment in Uzbekistan, seems to have

bought, at least in part, the Uzbek complaints about TadAZ

pollution, much to Tajik officials' annoyance.  Given the

quality of the lab and equipment that EmbOffs saw, as well the

fact that TadAZ's labs are company-owned, TadAZ's results are

questionable and its evaluation of its environmental impact

cannot be taken at face value.

9.  (SBU)  BIO NOTE: Latifov, a former deputy chairman at the

State Committee for Environmental Protection, was recently

dismissed and most likely will be promoted to a post in a new

regional water commission.  His brother, Oumed Latifov, is AES

Director for Energy Development in Central and South Asia.  END

COMMENT.

HOAGLAND

Источник: ИА "Авеста"
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