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Viewing cable 08MINSK195, GOB SLOW TO INVESTIGATE ANTI-SEMITIC THREAT

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
08MINSK195 2008-03-18 12:12 2010-12-20 21:09 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Minsk
VZCZCXRO7976
RR RUEHFL RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHROV RUEHSR
DE RUEHSK #0195 0781258
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
R 181258Z MAR 08
FM AMEMBASSY MINSK
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 7035
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE
RUEHVEN/USMISSION USOSCE 1881
RHMFISS/HQ USEUCOM VAIHINGEN GE
RUFOADA/JAC MOLESWORTH RAF MOLESWORTH UK
RUEHBS/USEU BRUSSELS
C O N F I D E N T I A L MINSK 000195

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 03/18/2018
TAGS: KIRF PGOV PINR BO
SUBJECT: GOB SLOW TO INVESTIGATE ANTI-SEMITIC THREAT

REF: MINSK 018

Classified By: Charge Jonathan Moore for reason 1.4 (d).

Summary
-------

1. (C) Poloff met March 14 with Yakov Basin, a Jewish
community leader, to discuss an anti-Semitic threat letter
sent by the Vitebsk cell of the neo-Nazi Russian National
Unity (RNE) group to the editor of a regional independent
daily in January. Basin stated that the editor had filed the
case with the regional prosecutor's office. The regional
prosecutor together with police decided not to open a felony
investigation in the matter. The case is now in the hands of
the local BKGB, which, in Basin's opinion, has strong ties to
the neo-Nazi group and is doubtful to investigate further.
End summary.

Authorities Ignoring the Case
-----------------------------

2. (U) The editor-in-chief of the regional independent daily
"Courier from Vitebsk" Vladimir Bazan and independent media
distributor Boris Khomayda received a threatening letter
January 9 from the Neo-Nazi group Russian National Unity
(RNE) (reftel). In the letter, RNE members threatened to
disrupt newspaper distribution and to use their ties to
government circles to punish Bazan and Khomayda if the
newspaper did not publish an article condemning a planned
Holocaust memorial in Vitebsk. (Note: Bazan had received a
similar threat in August 2006. End note.)

3. (C) Poloff discussed the case with Yakov Basin, chairman
of the Religious Association of Progressive Jewish
Communities. According to Basin, Bazan and Khomayda filed a
complaint with the Vitebsk Regional Prosecutor's office,
which passed the case to the local police. Following a
pro-forma investigation in which they determined the letter
represented at most a misdemeanor, the police passed the case
to the BKGB, where, according to Basin, the investigation has
stalled.

4. (C) Authorities refused to investigate threats from RNE
in 2006, explaining that the group is unregistered, and
therefore it is impossible to track down the organizers of
the group. Basin asserts that the BKGB supports the RNE
financially and is using the organization to promote "its
pro-Russia agenda" in Belarus. Therefore, the fact that the
case has been passed to the BKGB is an indication of the
GOB's tacit support for the RNE, according to Basin.

Comment
-------

5. (C) Though post does not have proof that the BKGB
controls or is in any way officially affiliated with Russian
National Unity, it is clear that the GOB tolerates the
neo-Nazi group and has no intention of investigating its
anti-Semitic activities. The GOB's double standard for
investigating unregistered groups is also clear; authorities
assert that it is impossible to crack down on RNE because it
is unregistered, yet use state mechanisms to oppress
unregistered pro-democracy groups such as Malady Front.
MOORE