Ce billet est une simple annexe à ce billet.
2010, Feb 23
Scenesetter: National Security Advisor Jones’ Attendance At Yanukovych Inauguration
Messages for Poroshenko ———————–
¶18. (SBU) Possible messages in the event of a meeting with FM Poroshenko: -Look for success of April Nuclear Summit, particularly in security agreement to move forward on HEU issue. -Offer state of play on post-START negotiations. (Ukraine had sought to be a participant in Post-START process.) -Express hope that Ukraine can sign Association Agreement and Free Trade Agreement with EU in 2010. Key to energizing reforms.
2010, Feb 17
Ambassador’s Meeting With Fm Poroshenko
¶1. (C) Foreign Minister Poroshenko embraced President-elect Yanukovych and distanced himself from PM Tymoshenko in a February 12 meeting with the Ambassador. Poroshenko criticized Tymoshenko’s unwillingness to concede the election and her denigration of the work of international election observers. This had damaged Ukraine’s image. Poroshenko appealed for a senior U.S. delegation at Yanukovych’s inauguration. He said Yanukovych planned to make his first trip as President to Brussels to play against his pro-Russia stereotype. President Obama’s call of congratulations made a major positive impression on Yanukovych. End Summary.
President’s Phone Call/Nuclear Security Summit ——————————————— –
¶2. (C) Ambassador called on Foreign Minister Petro Poroshenko February 12. Poroshenko had met earlier that day with Viktor Yanukovych, who was “elated” by President Obama’s February 11 phone call of congratulations. Poroshenko said the President’s call sent an important message to Yanukovych — and also to Tymoshenko. It had helped foster stability in an uncertain post-election environment. Alluding to Tymoshenko, Poroshenko condemned “politicians who apply unacceptable methods” to undermine elections. The essential thing was to support democracy, as President Obama had done with his call. Poroshenko added that he had “tried to deliver such messages” himself.
¶3. (C) Poroshenko noted that he had prepared Yanukovych’s talking points for the call. He was pleased Yanukovych had used the points highlighting the importance of nuclear non-proliferation with President Obama. He briefed Yanukovych on the priority the U.S. had placed on working with the GOU to eliminate HEU that remains in Ukraine. Poroshenko agreed that April’s Nuclear Security Summit, coming shortly after Yanukovych’s inauguration, offered the chance to move the HEU issue forward. Ukraine would be open to receiving a team from the U.S. to brief on the issue, he affirmed.
¶4. (C) Poroshenko pledged that MFA would dedicate itself to making sure Yanukovych’s inauguration (since scheduled for February 25) was a success. Poroshenko appealed for a high-level U.S. delegation, preferably led by Secretary Clinton. He recalled how he had raised the issue weeks before in a side meeting with the Secretary in London.
International Observers ———————–
¶5. (C) Poroshenko praised the work of international election observers and stressed that he had made a point of meeting with them during the election campaign. He said Tymoshenko later criticized him privately for his embrace of the observers, saying that it had undercut her allegations of fraud. Poroshenko disagreed. Ukraine, he insisted, should be proud of the fact that so many observers had positive reports on the election; it reflected well on Ukraine. Poroshenko concurred with the Ambassador’s assessment of the constructive role that ODIHR’s Ambassador Heidi Tagliavini had played.
This is not 2004…. ——————–
¶6. (C) Noting his prominent role in the Orange camp in 2004, Poroshenko said that Yanukovych’s election this year was consistent with the fundamental goals of the Orange Revolution: free and transparent elections and the peaceful transition of power. To be consistent with 2004, Tymoshenko needs to accept the result. However, she is not consistent. In 2004, the Orange side used exit polling to show that the Central Election Commission’s numbers were fraudulent. This year, when all exit polls give the victory to Yanukovych, Tymoshenko rejects exit polls as invalid.
¶7. (C) What is really happening, Poroshenko said he suspects, is that Tymoshenko is using the court challenges as a power play to keep her coalition together and allow her to remain in office as PM. Poroshenko had favored last year the idea of a Regions-Tymoshenko Bloc unity coalition. However, given hostilities and mistrust on both sides, he did not see this happening now.
First Trip: Brussels KYIV 00000246 002 OF 002 ——————–
¶8. (C) Poroshenko said Yanukovych had agreed with his suggestion that Yanukovych play against type and make his first foreign visit to Brussels. Yanukovych should make clear that he too seeks to secure an Association Agreement with the EU, including a Free Trade Agreement and clear membership perspective. Yanukovych would also underline the importance of liberalization of the visa regime with Europe. To keep him on the right track, Yanukovych needs “encouraging messages” from Europe, Poroshenko said. Sarkozy’s letter of congratulations had struck such a tone.
NATO, Security Guarantees ————————-
¶9. (C) Yanukovych does not want to talk about NATO membership now but is open to enhancing Ukraine’s cooperation with NATO, Poroshenko said. He urged the U.S. not to read too much into language in Yanukovych’s speeches favorable to Medvedev’s proposal for new security architecture. Yanukovych will be open to discussing Russia’s ideas but this does not mean Yanukovych will favor changing the architecture. NATO membership remains an aspiration, albeit a distant one, Poroshenko insisted.
¶10. (C) Poroshenko asserted that Ukraine would continue its quest for security guarantees. Ukraine’s goal would be to make the 1994 Budapest Memorandum legally binding, with all nuclear powers guaranteeing Ukraine’s security. Poroshenko stressed that the focus would be on multilateral guarantees, and not on a bilateral guarantee from the U.S.
New Coalition? ————–
¶11. (C) Poroshenko mentioned his connections to the “Our Ukraine” bloc in the Rada. Party of Regions is working hard to entice the Our Ukraine-People’s Self Defense (OU-PSD) faction to break from Tymoshenko’s coalition. From a foreign policy standpoint, Poroshenko contended that it would be good to have OU-PSD in coalition with Regions. It would help guide Regions to a more pro-Europe, pro-Euro-Atlantic orientation.
¶12. (C) Poroshenko sought to use the meeting to highlight his closeness (or what he portrayed as closeness) to Yanukovych. He gave no signal that he planned to step down soon as FM; indeed, quite the opposite. While Poroshenko remains on the short list for prospective FMs under Yanukovych, other names figure more prominently. Ukraine’s former FM and Ambassador to the U.S. and current Ambassador to Russia, Konstantin Gryshchenko, is the name senior Regions contacts mention to us most often. TEFFT
2010, Feb 10
Tymoshenko Readies Court Challenges; Regions Negotiating To Oust Her As Pm
Analyst: New Coalition No Done Deal ———————————–
¶9. (C) Regions is ready to bargain, Fesenko said, and will be willing to offer a compromise candidate, more palatable to OU-PSD as PM. Fesenko thought Yuriy Yekanurov, former PM and Defmin and Yushchenko loyalist, a possible compromise choice. He is an experienced administrator and, unlike Yatsenyuk, does not have presidential ambitions. Fesenko said that Serhiy Tihipko, third place finisher in round one of the presidential elections, could be another compromise choice. However, Tihipko’s ambitions pose challenges for Yanukovych. For Foreign Minister, Fesenko thought current FM Poroshenko or current Ambassador to Russia Gryshchenko to be the front runners.
2010, Feb 2
Ukrainian-russian Relations After Yushchenko: A Preview
IT DOESN’T GET ANY BETTER THAN THIS ———————————–
¶3. (C) Embassy contacts believe that either of the runoff contenders, PM Yulia Tymoshenko or former PM Viktor Yanukovych, would be seen as a good interlocutor by Moscow, and expect that Russian-Ukrainian relations would improve no matter which candidate wins. FM Poroshenko told the Ambassador that Russia is providing more money and help to Yanukovych than to Tymoshenko; that might be so, but from our perspective, the more striking phenomenon has been Moscow’s public even-handedness. Notwithstanding the expected windfall for Russian interests from a new Ukrainian president, observers here detect a certain ambivalence from Moscow. As Kostyantyn Hryshchenko, Ukraine’s ambassador to Moscow, told Ambassador Tefft, “Putin likes Tymoshenko but doesn’t trust her; the Russians trust Yanukovych more, but they don’t especially like him.”
¶10. (C) The Party of Regions is a broad coalition that combines disparate elements, ranging from crypto-Communists to oligarchic business interests, so it is difficult to say whose views a President Yanukovych would heed on foreign policy in general, or policy toward Russia in particular. The appointment of an experienced individual as foreign minister (e.g., former FM Zlenko, Amb. Hryshchenko, or current FM Poroshenko) would indicate a pragmatic approach that would seek to put relations with Russia on a positive footing without burning bridges to the West.
2010, Jan 26
Lavrov-poroshenko Deal On New Russian Ambassador To Ukraine
¶1. (C) At a January 26 meeting with the Ambassador, Ukrainian FM Poroshenko explained how he had cut a deal with Russian FM Lavrov to facilitate the arrival of the new Russian ambassador to Ukraine, Mikhail Zurabov. Moscow had burned all bridges with Ukrainian President Yushchenko and had not wanted to send a new ambassador to Kyiv until Yushchenko left office following the February 7 Ukrainian runoff election. On the other hand, both sides were interested in moving forward expeditiously on a number of bilateral issues. Poroshenko therefore got Lavrov to agree that Amb. Zurabov would arrive in Kyiv bearing written credentials addressed to Ukrainian President Yushchenko, as required by protocol and Ukrainian national sensitivities. Indeed, FM Poroshenko even showed the credential document, with Yushchenko’s name, to Ukrainian TV cameras. However, Zurabov will not formally present his credentials until the new Ukrainian president has taken office, at which time he will have a new document with the new Ukrainian president’s name written in place of Yushchenko’s. In this way, a) the sitting Ukrainian president was shown due respect; and b) Zurabov was allowed to arrive and begin working; but c) the Russians were not required to suffer the indignity of Zurabov presenting his credentials to Yushchenko.
¶2. (C) Zurabov is indisputably a Putin man, said Poroshenko, adding that Zurabov made a good impression by making his first statement to the press here in Ukrainian. Zurabov will be presenting a list of areas for cooperation as part of the bilateral “reset.” The one area Poroshenko mentioned was trivial — the possible coordination of an announcement about changing the age of retirement in both countries. Poroshenko said he asked Zurabov if he wanted to talk about the Russian Black Sea Fleet; Zurabov indicated that it is not a topic for immediate discussi
2010, Jan 14
Eu-ukraine Association Agreement: Long Way Still To Go
¶1. (C) Ukrainian Foreign Minister Poroshenko has declared the signing of an Association Agreement with the EU in 2010 to be one of Ukraine’s top two foreign policy goals. At the same time, tough EU criticism of Ukraine’s reforms stole the show at the December 4 Ukraine-EU Summit. GOU negotiators contend that both Ukraine and the EU will need to demonstrate determination to resolve remaining differences to reinforce the credibility of Ukraine’s European aspirations. However, there is doubt as to whether either of the two front runners in the January/February Presidential election — PM Tymoshenko or opposition leader Yanukovych — would be willing to make the hard political choices needed to conclude in 2010 the Free Trade Agreement, which is the main impediment to wrapping up the Association Agreement. End Summary.
2009: FM Puts Positive Spin on EU-Ukraine Relations ——————————————— ——
¶2. (C) Calling 2009 a “breakthrough” year for EU-Ukraine relations, Foreign Minister Poroshenko said Ukraine’s two main foreign policy goals for 2010 will be to sign the Association Agreement with the EU (which will necessitate the finalization of difficult Free Trade Area negotiations), and to achieve new security guarantees for Ukraine.
The December Summit: EU Takes Off the Gloves ——————————————–
¶4. (C) While echoing EU officials’ statements on possible goals for the relationship in 2010, Poroshenko‘s December 30 remarks did little to address the strong reservations expressed at the Summit by the EU earlier in the month. The frank and public nature of these reservations set a negative tone at the outset of those meetings, resulting in public perceptions that what might otherwise have been a quiet and uneventful meeting had ended up as a “trip to the EU woodshed” for Yushchenko and the GoU.
2009, Dec 24
Yatsenyuk Urges Ambassador To Finalize U.s.-ukraine Action Plan
¶5. (C) Yatsenyuk also claimed that FM Poroshenko had already offered him the Prime Ministership on behalf of Tymoshenko. Yanukovych’s camp has also requested his support. He would not confirm whether or not he would accept Tymoshenko’s offer. “I want to support Ukraine,” he added, “not become a technical candidate for either of them.”
2009, Dec 18
Russian Banks Active In Ukraine
OTHER MAJOR RUSSIAN ACQUISITIONS ——————————–
¶7. (U) VTB Bank purchased a 98% stake in Kyiv-based Mriya Bank in 2006, then owned by Ukraine’s current Foreign Minister Poroshenko. In early 2009, VEB (Russia’s economic development bank), bought 98% of Prominvestbank, an embattled lender that had been in state receivership since October 2008. Sberbank acquired small Kyiv-based NRB in December 2007. CEO German Gref said then he planned to inject $400 million in capital and expand the bank’s assets so that Sberbank could become one of Ukraine’s top-ten banks within three years.
2009, Dec 16
Dpm Nemyria’s Case For Ukraine Imf Tranche
MORE FREQUENT FLIER MILES ————————-
¶2. (C) In a December 15 meeting with the Ambassador, Nemyria revealed his talking points for December 17 and 18 meetings with senior IMF officials. Nemyria heads back to Washington only ten days after talks with IMF Managing Director Dominique Strauss-Kahn, and less than a week since Foreign Minister Poroshenko saw IMF Deputy Managing Director Lipsky. The follow-up trip was apparently prompted by Prime Minister Tymoshenko’s December 14 call with Strauss-Kahn, who allegedly expressed his openness to ongoing negotiations with Ukrainian authorities. Nemyria will be accompanied by acting Finance Minister Ihor Umanskiy, Deputy Finance Minister (and budget expert) Anat
¶6. (C) Tymoshenko and her cabinet were concerned that the IMF’s Lipsky and staff-level “mathematicians” failed to see their point. Lipsky had insisted in his meeting with Foreign Minister Poroshenko that the 2010 budget be passed. IMF staff had been allowed to “dictate the pace of the program”, especially over whether budget passage should be a lynchpin requirement. Timing was crucial, and the IMF board needed to be convinced quickly. Ukraine was willing to “compromise” and accept a partial $2 billion tranche (instead of the full $3.8 billion).
¶8. (C) Note: The first point above was mentioned by Nemyria and Poroshenko to the IMF last week. Nonetheless, while legislation governing the powers of the NBU bans direct lending to the GOU to finance the budget deficit, it does not forbid the NBU from buying government treasury bills. According to NBU official figures, the central bank purchased UAH 27.7 billion in domestic treasury bills during the first nine months of 2009. The IMF estimates the NBU has room to print billions more, while holding enough reserves to protect movement in the exchange rate. On the second point above, according to Ukrainian legislation, loans to any one borrower should not exceed 25% of a bank’s capital. However, state-owned Oshchadbank, the government’s chief conduit for monetization, has 53% of its loan portfolio booked with Naftohaz, a sum roughly equal to 120% of its capital. A bigger problem with domestic debt issuance to commercial banks is that it crowds out other investment, given that t-bill yields now exceed 24-25%. On the third point above, the 2009 situation is qualitatively different from the 1990s. Inflation this year will not reach higher than 15%, and Ukraine’s overall sovereign debt burden remains relatively modest. End note.
2009, Dec 15
Ukraine Foreign Minister’s Case For Imf Loan
¶1. (C) Summary. Ukrainian Foreign Minister Poroshenko described meetings with IMF deputy managing director Lipsky as “not constructive” and relations more generally with the IMF as “very bad”. Poroshenko told the Ambassador on December 13 that he had weighed in with the Constitutional Court to strike down the IMF-criticized social standards law, and that he had asked the President to overcome his “politically motivated” opposition to the IMF Letter of Intent (LOI). Describing Ukraine’s situation as “dangerous”, Poroshenko said even a partial IMF disbursement would ensure payments to Gazprom and foreign creditors. End summary.
FOREIGN MINISTER DOWNBEAT ON IMF ———————————
¶2. (C) Foreign Minister Poroshenko told the Ambassador that, after meeting with IMF deputy managing director Lipsky in Washington on December 11, it was clear Ukraine’s current situation was “dangerous” and relations with the IMF were “very bad”. Talks with Lipsky over disbursing the IMF’s fourth tranche were described as “not constructive”.
¶3. (C) Addressing recent IMF-criticized legislation increasing social payments, Poroshenko told the Ambassador that he had spoken with the Chairman of the Constitutional Court. The Court had indicated it would cancel provisions of the budget-busting social standards law on constitutional grounds, according to Poroshenko, but only after the presidential election.
¶4. (C) Poroshenko conceded that President Yushchenko had refused to sign the LOI for political reasons. Even though the President otherwise had “no influence” over economic policy, Poroshenko had called Yushchenko from Washington to brief him on his December 10 meeting with the Secretary and had asked him to consider accommodating the IMF.
¶5. (C) In any case, Poroshenko argued, Yushchenko’s signature would be meaningless, since there was no prospect of the Rada adopting an IMF-compliant budget before the election. (Comment: With this statement, Poroshenko may have been attempting to deflect criticism of the President’s refusal to sign the LOI. However, the IMF would have considered disbursing at least a partial fourth tranche had Yushchenko signed the LOI and had the Cabinet of Ministers re-submitted a draft 2010 budget. With a presidential signature, the IMF would have waived the requirement to pass the 2010 budget. End comment.)
¶6. (C) Poroshenko suggested that a partial IMF disbursement would be adequate for Ukraine’s budget, gas, and debt payment needs. Additionally, an IMF disbursement would also free up contingent loan offers from the EBRD, World Bank, and the European Investment Bank. Poroshenko said the IMF’s Lipsky had suggested getting a “bridge loan” from some other source to pull the country through the immediate crisis. Shaking his head, Poroshenko told the Ambassador that, without any monies forthcoming, the $12 billion disbursed so far by the IMF would have been “wasted.” (Note: Poroshenko‘s calculations likely include three tranches of the IMF’s Stand-By Arrangement, as well as roughly $2 billion transferred in IMF Special Drawing Rights. End note.)
GLOOMY ON FINANCES ——————
¶7. (C) Although Ukraine could probably pay its gas bill in January, it would likely not be able to do so in February, according to Poroshenko. External debt had grown in 2010 but remained modest overall. The Foreign Minister said there was a real possibility of loan defaults threatening the already fragile banking system. This would affect not just Ukrainian banks, he said. December revenues for the government were abysmally low, reflecting low business profits and general credit problems throughout the economy. VAT arrears were a major and growing concern. The Foreign Minister admitted that he did not have a complete read on government finances, as acting Finance Minister Umanskiy had not assented to his request for details.
¶8. (C) Poroshenko said he told Lipsky that even a limited KYIV 00002135 002 OF 002 disbursement to cover gas and other foreign debts would be enough to save Ukraine from massive defaults. Lipsky had replied that Ukraine’s external debt could be financed out of NBU reserves. Poroshenko commented that this would over-expose state-owned banks to particular borrowers, since such banks are the only institutions that can legally receive central bank disbursements. Poroshenko pointed to current exposure by state-owned banks to Naftogaz, which he said was already dangerous and threatened the stability of the banking system.
CEYLA TO BE REPLACED ——————–
¶9. (C) Poroshenko informed the Ambassador that IMF interlocutors had indicated Ceyla Pazarbasioglu was being replaced as Ukraine mission director. The Foreign Minister expressed concern that this would hamper the IMF’s engagement with Ukraine.
¶10. (C) Poroshenko had been tasked by Prime Minister Tymoshenko to ask Lipsky whether Ukraine could be included on the agenda of the IMF’s next board meeting (ref B). Based on what we heard separately from IMF resident representative Max Alier (ref A), Poroshenko‘s request was likely rebuffed by Lipsky, further underscoring the firm line the IMF has taken on Ukraine. Reaching out to the Ambassador, Poroshenko was clearly seeking an ally on the IMF loan. Yet, he made pains to show he was not taking sides in the dispute among Ukraine’s presidential candidates, focusing instead on the country’s dire predicament that he said would affect both current authorities and their successors. TEFFT
2009, Dec 14
Ukraine’s “scare Tactics” Over Imf Loan
GOU MEDIA SPIN ON IMF LOAN ————————–
¶5. (C) Prior to his meeting with IMF deputy managing director Lipsky in Washington, Foreign Minister Poroshenko was similarly quoted on December 11 to have said there would be a “higher risk” of gas supply disruptions to Europe if Ukraine did not receive an IMF tranche. (Note: Poroshenko privately clarified his position with the Ambassador on December 13, suggesting that Ukraine could probably pay its gas bill in January, but that the situation was precarious and would be even worse in February without external support.)
GOU PRESSURE FOR DISBURSAL ————————–
¶7. (C) The IMF’s Alier characterized Nemyria and Poroshenko‘s public statements as “scare tactics” designed to pressure the European Union, Russia, and the United States to weigh in with the IMF. “You can’t imagine the number of calls” the IMF had received in response to the media stories, including from Russia, Alier said. “The Prime Minister was playing all sides, not necessarily against each other but to her advantage,” the IMF had concluded. Alier warned that Ukraine’s partners should take Tymoshenko’s assurances “with a big grain of salt”.
2009, Dec 11
“urgent” Worries From Ukraine Finance Ministry
¶1. (C) Ukrainian Deputy Minister of Finance Andriy Kravets notified the embassy on December 11 that Foreign Minister Poroshenko was planning today to ask IMF first deputy managing director John Lipsky to consider including Ukraine on the agenda of the next IMF board meeting. Poroshenko had received direct instructions from Prime Minister Tymoshenko, after acting Minister of Finance Umanskiy briefed her on Deputy Prime Minister Nemyria’s December 6 meetings in Washington (reftel). Kravets characterized Poroshenko‘s message as “extremely urgent” and expressed hope that Ukraine “still had a chance” to get an IMF disbursement before the end of 2009.
¶5. (C) Deputy Minister Kravets was harried and anxious when explaining the GOU’s predicament to Econoff. He did not ask for specific USG intervention with the IMF, but mentioned that the Prime Minister had been “grateful” for recent meetings between Poroshenko, Nemyria and USG officials in Washington. Kravets’ mention of a possible external default scenario, which would be triggered by a default on domestic debt, was the first the embassy had heard of such grave and immediate GOU concerns.
2009, Dec 8
Ambassador Presents Credentials; Yushchenko Stresses Russia Threat
¶1. (C) Ambassador presented his credentials to President Yushchenko December 7. In the monologue that followed, Yushchenko asserted that Ukraine is facing the most serious challenge to its sovereignty since the fall of the USSR. The pro-Russian policies of PM Tymoshenko and Regions party leader Yanukovych would put Ukraine’s sovereignty at risk. Yushchenko termed “inadequate” the December 4 U.S.-Russia joint statement on security assurances. He called for higher level contact with the U.S. and welcomed the visit of FM Poroshenko to Washington December 9. Yushchenko blamed Tymoshenko for negotiating inferior energy contracts with Moscow and bringing the state-run gas company Naftohaz near bankruptcy. He said the EU would not stand up to Moscow, as the Georgia events had proven; hence the importance to Ukraine of close relations with the U.S. If Russia succeeds in holding sway over Ukraine, it will move in short order to dominate Georgia, Moldova and Belarus. End Summary.
RUSSIAN THREATS TO SECURITY —————————
¶2. (C) After the credentialing ceremony, President Yushchenko, accompanied by Foreign Minister Poroshenko and Presidential Foreign Policy Advisor Honcharuk, told the Ambassador that Ukraine is facing the most serious challenge to its sovereignty since independence. Moscow would use all available levers to prevent Ukraine from further integrating with the West. The President emphasized that there was “no difference” between the pro-Russia policies of PM Tymoshenko and opposition leader Yanukovych; they are “like a pair of boots.” Yanukovych is naive and Tymoshenko is cynical, but the result is the same — deference to Russia. As for Russia, “it is all about geopolitics.” Yushchenko said that giving into Russian pressure to allow the Black Sea Fleet to stay in Crimea past 2017 and abandoning Ukraine’s NATO membership quest would put Ukraine’s independence at risk.
EU WEAK ON RUSSIA; UKRAINE NEEDS U.S. ————————————
¶5. (C) Yushchenko emphasized the importance to Ukraine of frequent, high-level contact with the U.S., especially at the Foreign Minister level. He cited Foreign Minister Poroshenko‘s December 9 visit to Washington as an important signal that the U.S. was still engaged with Kyiv. Yushchenko underlined the role the Strategic Partnership Commission could play in improving bilateral ties, but said that the level of representation should be raised higher to demonstrate U.S. support and help keep Ukraine on a westward course. He said that Ukraine’s relationship with the U.S. was particularly important because the European Union was timid; when Moscow causes trouble, the EU “runs away.” The EU made this clear by its inadequate response to the Georgia conflict of August 2008, when it came up with an “empty plan” and gave “carte blanche” to Russia. If democracy fails in Ukraine (via the election of Tymoshenko or Yanukovych as President), Russia will move quickly to assert itself further over Georgia, Moldova and Belarus.
2009, Dec 1
The President’s Announcement On The Way Forward In Afghanistan And Pakistan
¶2. (SBU) Oliynyk underscored the importance for Ukraine of defeating al Qaida, and undertook to convey our message to his leadership, noting that he would be flying with Minister Poroshenko to Brussels on December 3 for a NATO-Ukraine Commission ministerial.
2009, Nov 25
Requesting Additional Contributions In Afghanistan
¶1. (C) Charge delivered reftel message to MFA A/S-equivalent Ihor Hrushko November 25, noting favorably the decision earlier in the week by the Ukrainian National Security and Defense Council (NSDC) to triple the size of Ukraine’s deployment to Afghanistan from ten to thirty personnel. Charge recognized Ukrainian sensitivities regarding Afghanistan, and understood that Ukraine would have no combat role. Hrushko admitted that Ukraine’s budget situation gives the country “very limited possibilities,” and the political squabbling and pre-election jockeying render decision-making “rather impossible.” He was pleased that Ukraine’s agreement on overflights to Afghanistan is working well, but regretted that he could give us no update on getting the ground-transit agreement through the Cabinet of Ministers. Hruskhko pledged to pass our message to the appropriate MFA officials, and to share any additional information about the NSDC decision as it becomes available. He hoped that FM Poroshenko would have more information to share when he meets with Secretary Clinton on December 9.
2009, Nov 13
Tymoshenko’s Desperate Budget Scramble
“ZERO CHANCE” FOR DRAFT 2010 BUDGET ———————————–
¶8. (C) Makeyenko said “billions” had been set aside for pet projects that benefitted Rada MPs close to Tymoshenko, including orders for Foreign Minister Petro Poroshenko‘s Bohdan bus factory and tax benefits to companies favored by BYuT MP Valeriy Sushkevych. The draft budget’s finances reflected a “pyramid scheme.” Revealingly, Makeyenko said that even if the draft budget had been perfect, he and fellow Party of Regions MPs would be forced to cast their lot against it in this pre-election season.
2009, Nov 10
U.s. Strategy For Nato Enlargement Goals For The December Foreign Ministerial
¶2. (C) Oliynyk told us that his main task in his new assignment is to increase the pace of Ukraine’s integration into NATO. Ukraine plans to send FM Poroshenko and Deputy FM Yeliseyev to the December Ministerial. He added that Kyiv would like to see a positive assessment of Ukraine’s Annual National Program (ANP) in the Ministerial communique.
¶4. (C) Comment: Oliynyk is a breath of fresh air after his languid predecessor. However, his ability to pursue an active agenda with NATO will be hampered by Ukraine’s fiscal straits, and by the likelihood that the Ukrainian president elected in early 2010 will soft-pedal or even reverse the country’s policy to seek NATO membership. Oliynyk appeared reassured and cooperative in reaction to our demarche. We’ll see if that carries over at the NUC to Deputy FM Yeliseyev, who has a tendency to harp on Ukraine being in a strategic vacuum. The Ministerial will also be an introduction for new FM Poroshenko.
2009, Nov 4
Ukraine’s Flu Levels Similar To Other Affected Countries
VACCINES AND SURGICAL MASKS —————————
¶3. (SBU) According to WHO’s Pokanevych, two H1N1 vaccines, produced by Russia and Canada, are currently undergoing a registration process in Ukraine and could be available in December 2009-January 2010. Ukraine is also expected to procure 700,000 doses of Tamiflu from Swiss drug manufacturer Hoffmann-La Roche Ltd, in addition to 300,000 doses already purchased (ref C). Prime Minister Tymoshenko also reportedly tasked Foreign Minister Poroshenko with procuring additional medication from international companies “at a special pandemic price.” In a more populist move, Tymoshenko said that all Ukrainian will be provided with a surgical mask within one week, according to Interfax news service.
2009, Nov 2
Ukraine: Death Toll And Panic Rising While Politicians Trade Accusations
APPEAL FOR HELP AND INTERNATIONAL RESPONSE ——————————————
¶4. (SBU) President Yushchenko appealed for international help on October 30 and, according to the Presidential Secretariat’s website, sent letters to his counterparts in Belarus, Hungary, Poland, Russia, Romania, Slovakia, the United States, as well as to the EU President, and NATO Secretary General. According to Foreign Minister Poroshenko, 12 countries have agreed to supply Ukraine with equipment and medicine to tackle the outbreak. Meanwhile, Ukraine negotiated a purchase of 300,000 doses of Tamiflu from Swiss drug maker Hoffmann-La Roche Ltd at a price of UAH67 (about US$8.40) per dose. The shipment arrived at the Kyiv Boryspil International Airport to great fanfare this morning, with Prime Minister Tymoshenko, Poroshenko and Kyiv governor Ulyanchenko welcoming the shipment. The drug will reportedly be distributed to hospitals in western Ukraine and provided to sick patients free of charge. According to news reports, a World Health Organization (WHO) team is expected to arrive in Ukraine today, November 2, to evaluate the outbreak.
2009, Oct 30
Ukraine-eu Summit Outlook: Not What Yushchenko Wanted
Yushchenko’s Last Hurrah ————————
¶3. (C) Yushchenko has not repeated his comments. Deputy FM Yeliseyev confirmed to the Charge (ref A) that MFA fully understood that the FTA was integral to the Association Agreement. He added that the FTA negotiations, and thus the Association Agreement, would take a “long time” to wrap up. Yeliseyev said that he had explained this to new FM Poroshenko and that Poroshenko agreed on the approach that the quality of an agreement, not timing of the signing, was paramount. Yaremenko surmised that Yushchenko’s last minute proposal to decouple FTA from the AA stemmed from the fact that he believes so strongly in Ukraine’s destiny in Europe, that he could not bring himself to accept that the Association Agreement would not happen during his tenure. Yaramenko added that Yushchenko is at times in his “own world.”
2009, Oct 29
Russian-ukrainian Relations: Bottoming Out?
¶1. (C) Several high-level meetings in October suggest that the Ukrainians and Russians have decided to halt the alarming slide in their bilateral ties (refs A and B) and resume correct, if not yet warm, relations. Acting Ukrainian FM Khandogiy and Russian FM Lavrov, together with interagency delegations and representatives of oblasts in the border regions, met October 6-7 in Kharkiv, Ukraine. Contacts from the Ukrainian MFA and National Security and Defense Council (NSDC) who attended the Kharkiv sessions said that, although there were no breakthroughs, the atmosphere was businesslike and forward-looking. On October 9, Petro Poroshenko was confirmed as Ukraine’s new foreign minister (ref C), and immediately set out to join the Ukrainian delegation to the Chisinau CIS Summit, which was already in progress.
¶2. (C) Shortly after the Chisinau Summit, Ukraine and Russia announced that Poroshenko would travel to Moscow, which occurred on October 23. Oleksandr Bondarenko, Deputy Director of the First Territorial Directorate (which includes Russia) in the Ukrainian MFA, characterized the talks as substantive and frank, with agreement to continue meeting at high levels, and to activate the work of a number of the committees and subcommittees within the framework of the bilateral Russia-Ukraine Commission headed by the prime ministers of each country. Working groups that expect to meet in late 2009 or early 2010 include the Economic Committee, the subcommittee on the Black Sea Fleet, and the subcommittee on demarcating the maritime border. There are also supposed to be MFA consultations in December, and separate consultations on European security architecture. Bondarenko said the Ukrainian side was satisfied with Russia’s explanation of its revised Law on Defense, the final text of which was reportedly “softened.” He added that Ukraine underscored the need for Russia to observe all relevant Ukrainian laws while the Russian Black Sea Fleet is based in Sevastopol.
2009, Oct 21
Eu-ukraine Fta: Still A Ways Off
¶5. (U) On October 13th, President Yuschenko restated his hopes that Ukraine would conclude an Association Agreement with the European Union by December 2009, in time for the Ukraine-EU Summit. Possibly recognizing the difficulties of concluding an FTA with the EU in such a short time frame, President Yuschenko further stated that the Ukraine-EU FTA negotiations should be completed a few months later, effectively splitting the two. However, the EU’s longstanding policy position is that the FTA is an integral part of the Association Agreement and a pre-requisite to the Association Agreement. Media reports indicated that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs was taken by surprise by Yuschenko,s announcement of a December target date for signing of the KYIV 00001834 002.2 OF 005 Association Agreement. Some speculated that this may be a move by Yuschenko to discredit the new Foreign Minister, Pyotr Poroshenko, purportedly a current ally of Prime Minister Tymoshenko (despite earlier close ties to Yuschenko), by giving him an impossible deadline.
2009, Oct 9
Poroshenko Confirmed As New Foreign Minister
¶1. (C) The Rada approved President Yushchenko’s nominee, Petro Poroshenko, as Ukraine’s new Foreign Minister on October 9. The position has been vacant since March when the Rada ousted former FM Oryzhko over his vocal opposition to Prime Minister Tymoshenko’s policies. Poroshenko, a wealthy businessman with broad political connections, called for increased European integration and more pragmatic relations with Russia. His ability to balance the demands of Yushchenko and PM Tymoshenko is likely key to his nomination. Among other holdings, Poroshenko controls the popular national TV Fifth Channel. End Summary.
COALITION BACKS PRESIDENT’S NEW PICK ————————————
¶2. (U) The Rada on October 9 approved Petro Poroshenko as Ukraine’s new Foreign Minister. President Yushchenko announced Poroshenko‘s nomination the previous day when he withdrew his earlier nomination of the current Ukrainian Ambassador to the U.S., Oleg Shamshur. Poroshenko was backed by 240 of 450 MPs, including two from the opposition. Yushchenko and the coalition led by Prime Minister Tymoshenko have been at loggerheads over a replacement for former FM Volodomyr Oryzhko who was ousted by the Rada on March 3 (ref). The Rada’s refusal to consider Yushchenko’s nomination of Ambassador Shamshur left the position vacant for more than six months. After his Rada confirmation, Poroshenko called for Ukraine to continue its efforts at European integration and for “pragmatic, mutually beneficial relations with Russia, based on respect for mutual sovereignty.”
CAREER MIXES BUSINESS AND POLITICS ———————————-
¶3. (U) Poroshenko is one of Ukraine’s richest businessmen. Estimates vary, but many consider him a (dollar) billionaire. Poroshenko controls Ukrprominvest, which has interests in bus manufacturing, shipyards, banking, and media. He also owns Roshen, Ukraine’s largest confectionery company, which has factories in both Ukraine and Russia. Poroshenko served as a member of parliament from 1998 to 2005 in various political parties and was the Chairman of the National Security and Defense Council in 2005. Since 2007 he has served as the Chairman of the National Bank’s Supervisory Council. In addition to his business and political activities, in 2002 Poroshenko completed his doctoral studies at the Kyiv Institute of International Relations. He speaks English.
COMPROMISE CARETAKER? ———————
¶4. (C) Tymoshenko bloc (BYuT) MP Valeriy Pysarenko told us BYuT backed Poroshenko‘s nomination because he may be able to help normalize relations with Russia. Pysarenko explained that unlike previous FM Oryzhko, Poroshenko can engage constructively with Moscow and would not needlessly provoke the Kremlin. Pysarenko said that Poroshenko is also willing to cooperate with the Prime Minister on foreign policy rather than oppose her as Oryzhko had. Ihor Kohut, Director of the Agency for Legislative Initiatives told us that Poroshenko was a good compromise candidate for the FM job. He said that Poroshenko has good personal relations with both the President and PM and was strong enough to balance between each of their demands. Kohut described Poroshenko as a “caretaker” Foreign Minister who has the chance to “steady the weak Ministry of Foreign Affairs” until a new president is elected.
OR PM CURRYING FAVOR? ———————
¶5. (SBU) Party of Regions MP Nestor Shufrych criticized PM Tymoshenko’s bloc for its support of Poroshenko‘s nomination. He said that Tymoshenko’s sole reason for backing Poroshenko was to gain access to his media and financial resources, including the popular television station Kanal 5, for the upcoming presidential election. Kohut agreed that Tymoshenko likely considered the benefits of Poroshenko‘s media and financial resources, but doubted that this was the most important factor in his approval.
KYIV 00001753 002 OF 002
¶6. (C) Deputy Prime Minister Nemyria, commenting to visiting Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense Wallander October 8, noted that Poroshenko‘s wealth — he called him a billionaire — created potential conflicts of interest. While Poroshenko was National Security and Defense Council Secretary, he came under criticism that his business interests in Russia had created a conflict. Nemyria said that Yushchenko had consulted more on Poroshenko‘s nomination than he had Shamshur’s. The President had floated the nomination with Poroshenko a month to two before and gave time for Poroshenko to build support. Nemyria highlighted Poroshenko‘s ambitious nature but added that there was no “ideal candidate” at this juncture.
JUMPING RIGHT IN —————-
¶7. (SBU) Poroshenko jumped right into his role, reportedly joining Yushchenko in Chisinau October 9 for the CIS Summit. He will have the opportunity to present himself to Ukrainian Ambassadors from around the world as they meet in Kyiv October 12-13.
2009, Sep 11
National Bank Caught In Ukrainian Politics
NBU INDISCRETIONS —————–
¶4. (SBU) Nonetheless, Petro Poroshenko, an influential businessman and head of the NBU’s council, criticized the media frenzy caused by the government’s investigation. He defended the NBU, suggesting that the central bank had already admitted to the “inefficiencies” of previous currency interventions. He pointed out that in two currency auctions this week, the NBU’s intervention rate had been within close range of the interbank rate. He also said that all interested banks had been allowed to participate in the auctions.
2009, May 12
Nec’s Lipton Warns Of Ukraine’s Economic Hazards
Pynzenyk, Poroshenko, Bankers Downbeat on NBU ———————————————
¶9. (SBU) Former Finance Minister Viktor Pynzenyk, who resigned earlier this year, told Lipton that the recapitalization plan was still not being implemented quickly enough. During an animated dinner conversation hosted by the Ambassador and also attended by businessman Viktor Pinchuk, the NBU’s Petro Poroshenko, Ambassador Roman Shpek of Alfa Bank, Raiffeisen Aval chairman Volodymyr Lavrenchuk, and former Finance Minister Oleh Mytiukov, Pynzenyk questioned whether the procedures for liquidation were actually in place. Too many high level GOU officials still did not understand the concept of recapitalization and resolution, he said. In addition, the NBU did not have qualified talent to manage the resolution and recapitalization program, Pynzenyk said, urging the U.S. to provide experts for the central bank. Poroshenko, Chairman of the NBU Supervisory Council (a non-executive position with some, albeit limited influence over the governing board), also said the recapitalization plan needed to be implemented more rapidly, and more transparently. Representatives from several foreign banks separately echoed these views, telling Lipton that major aspects of the GOU’s and NBU’s recapitalization plan were still unclear. They were also skeptical that any western banks would be interested in purchasing and recapitalizing Ukrainian banks in the current environment. There was agreement that the largest state-owned Russian banks might be able and interested in using the crisis to buy up Ukrainian banks. Otherwise, only the state-owned Ukrainian banks Oshchadbank and Ukreximbank could be expected to come to the rescue of other banks in the current environment.
2009, Jan 29
Corrected Copy: Ukraine: Nbu Governor On His Way Out?
Rada Action Unconstitutional —————————-
¶5. (SBU) According to these experts, Stelmakh will remain the nominal NBU governor until his five-year term expires KYIV 00000169 002 OF 002 in December 2009, unless he resigns or is fired by Yushchenko, with subsequent Rada approval. Yushchenko’s public statements continue to support the wounded Governor. Appearing on television Kanal 5, owned by Yushchenko ally and National Bank council chairman Petro Poroshenko, the President said that he would appeal to the Constitutional Court against the Rada’s decision, in order to “safeguard the NBU” from political forces in the Cabinet. The President is not challenging the substance of the Rada action, which has no legal implications, but instead hopes to get a ruling to block the Rada from taking such actions in the future.
2009, Jan 28
Ukraine: Nbu Governor On His Way Out?
Rada Action Unconstitutional —————————-
¶5. (SBU) According to these experts, Stelmakh will remain the nominal NBU governor until his five-year term expires in December 2009, unless he resigns or is fired by Yushchenko, with subsequent Rada approval. Yushchenko’s public statements continue to support the wounded Governor. Appearing on television Kanal 5, owned by Yushchenko ally and National Bank council chairman Petro Poroshenko, the President said that he would appeal to the Constitutional Court KYIV 00000167 002 OF 002 against the Rada’s decision, in order to “safeguard the NBU” from political forces in the Cabinet. The President is not challenging the substance of the Rada action, which has no legal implications, but instead hopes to get a ruling to block the Rada from taking such actions in the future.
2008, Dec 19
“cynical” Pm Blasts “inflexible” Ukraine Bank Chief
¶3. (C) Stelmakh’s fall has been widely rumored in Ukraine’s financial circles. One of Stelmakh’s key deputies told the Ambassador on December 18 that the NBU Governor was “old school, non-transparent, and inflexible.” Oleksiy Berezhniy, a former senior GOU economic advisor and now head of department at the NBU, speculated that four possible replacements for Stelmakh were being considered. He listed former Rada speaker Arseniy Yatseniuk, current NBU council chief Petro Poroshenko, former NBU Governor Sergiy Tihipko, and current first deputy head of the Presidential Secretariat Oleksander Shlapak as the key front runners. As a confidant of President Yushchenko, Shalpak may be too closely associated with presidential chief of staff Viktor Baloha to be confirmed, according to Berezhniy. These insider NBU speculations are consistent with those made by Minister of Finance Viktor Pynzenyk, who had insinuated to the Ambassador on December 4 that a possible replacement of Stelmakh was imminent (Ref B).
2008, Dec 11
Unsteady Ukraine Response Worries Imf Team
Unsteady Hands at Finance, NBU ——————————
¶5. (C) As an institution, the NBU has a “Soviet mentality” toward its core economic functions, and it thinks “very differently” from other central banks. Pazarbasioglu recalled an example of the NBU’s explanation of its monetary policy controls. Stelmakh equated any potential interest rate increase with higher rates of inflation, even as Ukraine struggles with falling GDP and a large current account deficit. Pazarbasioglu and Horvath reiterated accusations of conflicts of interest at the NBU’s council, where business and political influences seep into the central bank’s policy making. NBU council head Petro Poroshenko was singled out as a particular epitome of the council’s deleterious role.
2008, Dec 9
Ukraine Finance Minister’s Peculiar Avowals
¶6. (C) The December 4 meeting came just five days after Pynzenyk hastily called the Ambassador for an impromptu Saturday appointment to discuss the financial crisis. Among the topics mentioned during the weekend meeting, which took place in the Minister’s office on November 29, Pynzenyk voiced particular enthusiasm for converting hard currency loans into hryvnia. Pynzenyk asserted that such a measure would spread risk and enhance loan performance. On December 4, the Ambassador returned to the subject, passing the U.S. Treasury Department%s strong concerns about the scheme. Referring only to media rumors, Pynzenyk sharply denounced the notion of hryvniazation. He blamed journalists for fanning public worries, and he stated that Ukraine had no intention of introducing such a plan. As he backed away from speculation about the Ministry’s role in converting dollar loans to hryvnia, Pynzenyk gave the impression he wanted to forget his previous endorsement to the Ambassador. Without being specific, Pynzenyk then said the NBU was discussing other voluntary actions “of a different measure.” (Comment: Pynzenyk’s reversal corresponded to President Yushchenko’s public denial that his Secretariat was working on a hryvniazation scheme. It appears the idea of hryvniazation is dead for now, although NBU Council Chairman Petro Poroshenko suggested in recent days that borrowers be able to service at least the interest payments on dollar-based loans in hyrvnia. End comment.)
2008, Oct 14
Ukraine: Nbu Intervenes To Slow Hryvnia Currency Slide
¶1. (U) Responding to the weakening hryvnia (UAH), National Bank of Ukraine (NBU) Council Chairman Petro Poroshenko on Tuesday announced that the official exchange rate for this year would be changed to UAH 4.95/$ plus or minus 8 percent from the previous UAH 4.85/$ plus or minus 4 percent. Despite the announcement, the UAH continued its slide yesterday, trading in the morning between UAH 5.60 to UAH 5.80 to the U.S. dollar on the interbank currency market, well outside the new “official” exchange rate.
2008, Oct 9
Nbu Intervenes To Slow Hryvnia Currency Slide
¶1. (U) Responding to the weakening hryvnia (UAH), National Bank of Ukraine (NBU) Council Chairman Petro Poroshenko on Tuesday announced that the official exchange rate for this year would be changed to UAH 4.95/$ plus or minus 8 percent from the previous UAH 4.85/$ plus or minus 4 percent. Despite the announcement, the UAH continued its slide yesterday, trading in the morning between UAH 4.60 to UAH 4.80 to the U.S. dollar on the interbank currency market, well outside the new “official” exchange rate.
2008, Oct 7
Ukrainian Currency In Slide
¶3. (SBU) As the currency has depreciated, embassy contacts and news reports stated that the NBU would not intervene under any circumstances. Then, on October 3, the National Bank announced it had sold $342 million in reserves at the rate of 5.0 UAH to the dollar, in order to stave off speculation and change the “psychology” of the market. Bankers now say the intervention did little to reverse the UAH slide and raised more questions about the competence of NBU policymakers. In response to criticism, NBU Council Chairman Petro Poroshenko stated unequivocally that the National Bank would not engage in further currency intervention to support the hryvnia. However, representatives from the arguably more powerful NBU Board have been largely silent.
2008, Jul 3
Ukraine: Yatsenyuk, Rising Politician
Friends in High Places, Sharing the Wealth ——————————————
¶14. (SBU) Leshchenko wrote that Yatsenyuk moved to Kyiv in 1997 to enter the banking industry, and was then put forward to be the Crimean Minister of Economy by the then head of the Crimean government, who was a member of oligarch Viktor Pinchuk’s Working Ukraine (Trudova Ukraina) — Leshchenko says Yatsenyuk and Pinchuk remain close. (Note. Serhiy Tihipko, Yatsenyuk’s boss at the NBU before Yatsenyuk took over as Acting Governor, was also from Working Ukraine. End note.) The article says Yatsenyuk attends every Davos and Yalta (YES) event hosted by Pinchuk. Leshchenko says that Yatsenyuk also formed ties to Defense Minister Yuriy Yekhanurov, Deputy Secretariat Head Oleksandr Shlapak, Yushchenko backer Petro Poroshenko, and former Presidential Chief of Staff Oleh Rybachuk — and when Yekhanurov became PM in September 2005, he recommended Yatsenyuk to be Minister of Economy. Yatsenyuk also has ties to Vitaliy Haiduk and Katerina Yushchenko, according to Leshchenko.
2008, Apr 25
Ukraine: Kyiv Mayor’s Race Heats Up
Don’t Count Chernovetskiy Out —————————–
¶12. (C) Chernovetskiy’s other advantage is that so far he has faced no negative television coverage. He has strong influence over Kyiv stations (reftel) which have focused newscasts on the conflict within the Rada coalition and with the Prime Minister. In addition, Ukrainska Pravda wrote that several national channels/media holdings — including Pinchuk’s ICTV, Poroshenko‘s Channel 5, and Tretyakov’s media company Glavred, which includes Unian, Glavred, and Gazeta Po-Kyivskiy among others — have abstained from criticizing the mayor. Chernovetskiy will also benefit from the fact that the elections will be held during Kyiv Days, the last weekend in May, when many residents, especially the younger ones leave town for the weekend, thereby skewing the voting population towards the older voters who tend to support Chernovetskiy.
2008, Apr 17
Ukraine: Visits Highlight Positive And Stable Mid East Relations
Iranian Gas – Too Good to be True ——————————–
¶14. (C) Shved and Saprykin say that Ukrainian politicians are initially interested in a gas pipeline to Ukraine from Iran but quickly discard the idea when faced with the actual realities. Shved noted that as Prime Minister both Yanukovych and Yushchenko had studied the issue briefly. Yushchenko went as far as sending Petro Poroshenko (a top Yushchenko aide and advisor) in early 2005 to visit Iran and explore the feasibility of pipeline projects. The Iranian Ambassador to Ukraine, Said Musa Kazemi, lamented in a recent newspaper interview the lack of progress in Ukranian-Iranian relations in the last few years. Shved and Saprykin agreed saying that since early 2005, Iranian-Ukrainian relations have been effectively dead. Both noted that the Iranians have been very aggressive in trying to restart talks but none of the major political players in Ukraine are remotely interested. According to Saprykin, all three politicians (Yushchenko, Tymoshenko, Yanukovych) are keenly aware of the major technical issues to overcome. Apart from the technical problems, Ukraine’s political leaders of all stripes see engaging Iran as at least detrimental and potentially suicidal as far as Ukraine’s EU or NATO aspirations.
2007, Dec 20
Ukraine: Who’s Who In The Tymoshenko Government
Yuriy Yekhanurov: Defense (President) ————————————-
¶11. (C) When Yushchenko made the surprise nomination of Yekhanurov to run the Defense Ministry on December 11, several MPs told us that they thought Yekhanurov would be the new “Poroshenko” in the Tymoshenko government, in other words a close Yushchenko ally whose job was to try to keep Tymoshenko’s ambitions in check — Petro Poroshenko filled this role as NSDC Secretary in 2005. Others believed the KYIV 00003102 003 OF 008 position was the price Yushchenko had to pay to get Yekhanurov’s agreement to sign the coalition agreement — Yekhanurov acknowledged to the Ambassador that although he signed the agreement, he still objected to many parts of it, and it was not clear until the final minute that Yekhanurov would vote for Tymoshenko.
2007, Sep 28
Ukraine: Mykolayiv — Running On Issues But Fearful Of Fraud
Russian Influence —————–
¶10. (U) On August 3, a group of unidentified armed men occupied the grounds of the Black Sea Shipyard and reinstated former Chairman of the Board Oleksandr Sahaidakov. Press reports alleged that another Russian businessman, Vadim Novinsky, was behind the forcible attempt to gain control of the shipyard and was in cahoots with Petro Poroshenko in the confiscation of the shipyard. (Note: Novinskiy this week has been in the news, as his Smart Group announced a merger of his iron ore and steel assets with those of Ukrainian oligarch Rinat Akhmetov.) Oblast governor Harkusha announced that Sahaidakov’s reinstatement was the first move in returning the shipyard to state ownership.
2007, Sep 18
Ukraine: Coalition Scenarios In A Close Race
Choice Lies with Yushchenko: Orange, Broad, or Technocratic ——————————————— ————–
¶8. (C) On the other hand, Yanukovych may have enough backing within Regions to fight off a technocratic variant. Oligarch Viktor Pinchuk told the Ambassador September 14 that he believed Yanukovych, who was now more popular than even a year ago, would not agree to a OU-PSD/Regions deal in which he would be replaced by a technocrat PM. Pinchuk believed Yanukovych could convince Regions voters to support NATO, suggesting that some in OU would be okay with Yanukovych as PM. Mostava argued that Yanukovych was simply too popular with his voters to be denied the PM’s chair. OU financier Poroshenko also discounted a possible broad coalition with a technocrat PM, saying Regions would not support it because Yanukovych was immensely popular among the party’s core voters and integral for Regions’ plans for the 2009 presidential election. He argued, however, that he saw no alternative to a broad coalition if the country is to address much needed constitutional and economic reforms; Ukraine KYIV 00002401 003.2 OF 004 needed a coalition of economically liberal, forward learning thinkers that were present in both OU and PR.
Golden Share: Lytvyn’s Possible Comeback —————————————-
¶11. (C) Lytvyn, who has been accused by both sides of accepting campaign contributions from the other, has noted his preference for entering a coalition with OU-PSD as the lesser of two evils. However, he told us that his main focus was on keeping Tymoshenko out of power, repeatedly describing her as power hungry and a disaster for the country. He implied that he would join any coalition, including with Regions, to block BYuT. Moreover, Lytvyn has financial and political support from proponents of a Regions-OU-PSD coalition. Poroshenko confided that he has acted as an informal consultant to Lytvyn’s campaign and has supported polling on Lytvyn’s behalf. He argued that Lytvyn’s presence in the Rada would create more stability and more motivation for a broad coalition, because he also does not want to see Tymoshenko in power. Moreover, Poroshenko said Lytvyn would not fight hard for a specific position, such as the PM job in a broad coalition. (Note. Lytvyn recently commented publicly that he would seek a top position, such as the speakership or premiership, should he make it into the Rada. End note.) Pinchuk also confirmed that he was “supporting” Lytvyn’s efforts, adding that they have been friends for many years.
¶13. (C) Similar presidential calculations have made many KYIV 00002401 004.2 OF 004 skeptical that Regions would agree to a coalition without Yanukovych as PM. Poroshenko believed that Regions would not jettison Yanukovych because the party needs a strong candidate for the presidency in 2009 if it is to become a lasting institution in Ukrainian politics. Yanukovych is Regions’ figurehead, the glue that keeps the party together. He is immensely popular among the party’s core voters. And the party simply does not have an alternative leading figure. Lytvyn said that he believed a broad coalition could be formed if Yanukovych and Regions promised to back Yushchenko to receive Regions support for 2009 — since both are focused on keeping Tymoshenko out of power.
2007, Aug 10
Ukraine: The Orange Revolution And Uneasy Bedfellows: Our Ukraine-people’s Self Defense Congress
¶1. (C) Summary. The nine parties of the democratic megabloc came together August 7 to formally become the Our Ukraine-People’s Self Defense (OU-PSD) election bloc, with a youth-oriented message and an attempt to rekindle the fervor of the Orange Revolution. The bloc consists of People’s Union Our Ukraine; the three parties in People’s Self Defense–the Christian Democrats, Forward Ukraine, and European Party; the three parties in Pravitsya–Rukh, the Ukrainian People’s Party, and Sobor; Pora; and the Defenders of the Motherland Party. President Yushchenko opened the congress and bloc leader Yuriy Lutsenko closed it, with all speakers emphasizing key themes: values of the Orange Revolution, democracy, eliminating complete immunity for parliamentarians, national unity, and no broad coalition. The speeches were punctuated with rock acts reprising songs from the Orange Revolution. The top of the party list presents faces both young and new, with former Interior Minister Lutsenko, Foreign Minister Yatsenyuk, and Defense Minister Hrytsenko replacing elder statesmen like former PMs Yuriy Yekhanurov and Anatoliy Kinakh (now on the Regions list) and former FM Borys Tarasyuk as the face of the party. Notably absent from the list was presidential confidant and party financier Petro Poroshenko. Privately, several party leaders confided to us that they were not completely happy with the new bloc, particularly PSD deputy leader Mykola Katerynchuk, who felt their interests were being subordinated to People’s Union Our Ukraine, the core party inside the current Our Ukraine faction.
Who’s Who on the List ———————
¶14. (C) A striking change was the removal of several notable “dear friends”, including Petro Poroshenko, Mykola Martynenko, and Vira Ulyachenko. When asked why they were removed, Lutsenko explained to the press that the bloc was listening to public requests for the list to be purged of people with questionable reputations. Interestingly, when KYIV 00001971 004.2 OF 005 asked why, in that case, Lutsenko had added former Kyiv mayor Omelchenko, known for his corruption, to the list, Lutsenko made references to needing to fight Kyiv mayor Chernovetskiy. (Note. Rumors continue that Lutsenko has his eye on becoming mayor of Kyiv, and he seems to calculate that Omelchenko can aid him in that goal. In addition, there are rumors that Poroshenko will be rewarded after the elections with a senior appointment, such as Chair of the National Bank–perhaps bolstered by current NBU Chair Stelmakh’s presence on the list. End note.)
Katerynchuk: Not all in Megabloc are Pleased ——————————————–
¶18. (C) MP Mykola Katerynchuk, former member of PUOU leadership and current number 2 in PSD, was less enthusiastic than Kyrylenko about the joining of their forces during an August 1 conversation with Ambassador. He said that PSD had basically been politically blackmailed into joining with OU. The new election law, he explained, says that now only Rada factions, not political parties, can nominate commissioners to the polling stations and district election commissions–without merging with OU, PSD would have no way to monitor the voting. After Lutsenko’s spring tour across Ukraine, PSD’s rating was six percent–he and financial backer David Zhvaniya had strongly opposed a bloc with OU. PSD had its own program and would have done better alone, he contended. On the plus side, it was a pragmatic consolidation of democratic forces that could stop the Regions-Communists-Socialists, and they had agreed to put new names on the list, not just the same old faces. (Embassy Note. In 2006, as a member of the OU Executive Council, Katerynchuk had pushed OU to run a campaign based on new faces and personalities, but had lost the battle to the old guard, led by Poroshenko, who centered the campaign on known OU figures with disastrous results. End Note.)
2007, Apr 25
Ukraine: Defmin Hrytsenko Optimistic On Political Situation And International Military Exercises
Why is Hrytsenko going political? Presidential request ——————————————— ———
¶8. (C) Yushchenko had indicated that OU would run a joint listed with People’s Self-Defense leader (and former Interior Minister) Yuri Lutsenko. Hrytsenko agreed to be associated with OU because OU had always supported the proposals of the Minister of Defense; it has been the only major political faction not afraid to voice support for NATO membership; it was the President’s party; all the main players were well known to Hrytsenko, and, after experiencing three separate governments, he had a more favorable opinion of the OU faction. Hrytsenko did state preconditions before he would agree: he must be one of the top five names on the list; OU oligarch Poroshenko could not be on the list; Hrytsenko would not voice criticism of other factions during the campaign but would only speak in positive terms on the way forward for the future; and he would not actively campaign until a week or two prior to the elections.
2007, Apr 13
Ukraine: Politicians Calculating On Election/negotiation Outcomes
¶1. (C) Summary. While President Yushchenko and Prime Minister Yanukovych continue to negotiate over whether there will be new Rada elections at some point this year, political playmakers from all parties are angling for best outcomes in the face of possible political compromise or snap elections. Opposition leader Tymoshenko, Our Ukraine MP and former party chair Bezsmertniy, Our Ukraine MP and financial backer Poroshenko, and Socialist Rada Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Shybko all told the Ambassador in meetings April 11-12 that a negotiated political compromise was a better outcome than a Constitutional Court (CC) decision; they disagreed, however, over early elections. Tymoshenko and Bezsmertniy argued that early elections had to be part of the solution; Tymoshenko pushed for a summer rather than a fall vote, while Bezsmertniy adopted the Yushchenko line that the date is flexible as long as there was agreement on holding elections. Poroshenko, a representative of the OU wing interested in broad cooperation with the Party of Regions, and Shybko, whose Socialist party would be in danger of not crossing the three-percent threshold in a new election, both advocated a compromise that did not involve voting.
¶2. (C) Comment: Amidst uncertainty over how or whether the CC will rule, many key players continue to express preference for a political solution. Elections always produce winners and losers, and likely losers not surprisingly do not favor elections. Poroshenko has been edged out of OU’s leadership over the past six months and would have even less influence after new elections; Shybko’s comments underscore Socialist concern that they could be cut out of the political puzzle entirely after elections, with Regions, BYuT, and OU the main three forces likely to emerge if elections are held, and the Communists and Nataliya Vitrenko’s Progressive Socialists, rather than the Socialists, with better chances of getting over the threshold. End summary and comment.
Bezsmertniy: We Took Strong, But Necessary Action ——————————————— —-
¶9. (C) In terms of logistics, Bezsmertniy claimed necessary changes in the election law and CEC could be done without Rada approval or involvement. The current election law already empowered the CEC to run early elections; Yushchenko could issue additional decrees if need be to move the process forward. Somewhat cryptically, he added that there needed to be decisions taken regarding the PGO and some (unnamed) ministers. Yushchenko’s camp also had to ensure that NSDC decisions were implemented (referring to the order to finance the elections), and that those who refused were held responsible. Finally, and validating rumors which had arisen a week ago, Yushchenko could “if necessary” recall the six CC judges on the presidential quota. Combined with two other judges who had recused themselves on April 10, would leave only 10 judges sitting, denying the Court of the necessary 12 to constitute a quorum. (Note: Poroshenko confirmed such thinking within parts of OU but thought such efforts would not be successful.)
Poroshenko: New Elections Bad, Political Compromise Needed ——————————————— ————-
¶10. (SBU) Our Ukraine “oligarch” Poroshenko, who largely controlled OU’s leadership in 2005-06 but was pushed aside in late 2006 in favor of Presidential Head Baloha and current party leader Vyacheslav Kyrylenko, who stripped regional OU branches of many Poroshenko allies, expressed grave concern about the current political situation April 12. He felt that neither pre-term elections not a CC ruling could resolve the current impasse because in either case it would ultimately work to the benefit of the ruling coalition and hurt democracy in Ukraine. He saw compromise between the President and PM, facilitated by the international community, before the CC reached a decision, as the only way out of the crisis. He said he had told the President not to dissolve the Rada, but had found little support in OU.
¶11. (SBU) Poroshenko suggested time was not on Yushchenko’s side–the economy is starting to suffer and an election would divide the country anew. Elections would not supported by most of the country and would be impossible to organize by May 27. Yanukovych and Akhmetov had been willing to compromise right after Yushchenko signed the decree, but now Regions think they will win, either through a CC decision or early elections. In a matter of weeks, Poroshenko claimed, the coalition will have a majority in the CC; Yushchenko will not be able to refute the Court’s decision and could even see impeachment proceedings started against him. The international community had to help break the two leaders’ hardened positions and reach a compromise.
2007, Mar 29
Ukraine: New Elections Or Broad Coalition? All Eyes On Yushchenko
¶2. (C) Comment. With two key allies of the President, former Prime Minister Yekhanurov and financial backer Poroshenko, threatening to jump to the coalition and Tymoshenko, Lutsenko, and part of Our Ukraine planning a protest on the Maidan on March 31, the pressure is on Yushchenko to decide how he will end the stand-off. Our own calculations suggest that if all the MPs in OU and BYuT who have the potential to defect do so, the new National Unity Coalition will have a slim 301 vote constitutional majority. However, we are not convinced that Yekhanurov and Poroshenko would want to join the coalition, as BYuT has argued they will, when they could sit in the middle and trade their votes. Moreover, it is hard to believe that some of these OU defectors would support all of Regions’s agenda, such as abolishing the presidency or joining the Single Economic Space. The constitutional/legal argument for new elections is questionable and an issue for the Constitutional Court, although frankly we do not anticipate a Court ruling. In the absence of Court validation, if Yushchenko goes ahead with dissolving the Rada, the way forward will be messy, contentious, and potentially damaging to the country. But with power almost fully consolidated in Yanukovych’s hands, the President’s team feels their backs are up against the wall and are clearly pushing hard for confrontation and new elections. End summary and comment.
Tymoshenko: Dissolution is the Only Way —————————————
¶3. (C) On March 26, Tymoshenko told Ambassador that the majority coalition will soon have 304 votes if something is not done. She said that she had agreement from the people around the President that new elections were the solution, but she was not sure if Yushchenko himself was on board yet. There was no way to stop MPs from defecting and there was no time left to wait for Constitutional Court (CC) rulings. Because the coalition was usurping power so quickly, Yushchenko might need to move as soon as March 31 to disband the Rada. Poroshenko had been offered the Ministry of Finance if he came over to Regions’s side and they might give someone else the National Bank. The legal rationale for disbanding the Rada would be Article 102 of the constitution, which says that the President must protect the rights of the people. (Comment. A stretch constitutionally.)
The Disputed MPs in the Rada —————————-
¶13. (C) At the center of this constitutional fight are 43 MPs who are waiting to see which side prevails before deciding if they will stay in OU and BYuT or join the coalition. Some, like Yekhanurov and Poroshenko, may still hope that Yushchenko might go with them into the new coalition. If new elections seem likely, MPs may stay with their blocs. If the PM and the coalition prevail, they will likely switch their allegiance. In response to Ambassador’s question as to whether these MPs will formally be in the coalition or just vote with them, Tymoshenko and MP Nemyria argued that it is not just a question of numbers, but of psychology. Regions wants the President to know and see that they control the Rada. BYuT MP Shvets echoed that argument–Regions needs to demonstrate complete dominance, not just win votes on a case-by-case basis. New elections, in our understanding, seem constitutionally shaky right now, but the fact that Yushchenko is even considering such a move suggests how much he feels that he has few options left.
2007, Mar 23
Ukraine: Das Kramer’s Discussions Of Domestic Politics
United Opposition is divided —————————-
¶8. (C) Views in OU remain split, however, over the wisdom of the path of confrontation. Tarasyuk stated that OU had taken the political decision to work for early elections, even though the legal conditions currently do not exist. However, Prokopovych and even Tymoshenko herself acknowledged that the Kinakh, Yekhanurov and Poroshenko groups in OU were not comfortable with this strategy of working with the opposition. Kinakh was the first to jump, agreeing March 22 to become Minister of Economy; his six MPs formally joined the majority coalition March 23.
2007, Mar 22
Ukraine: Das Kramer Discusses Nato/security Issues In Ukraine
Is Yanukovych Helping or Hindering NATO aspirations? ——————————————— ——-
¶8. (SBU) Such optimism was countered at a dinner attended by Fialko as well as former FM Tarasyuk and BYuT foreign policy adviser Nemyria. Tarasyuk noted that Yanukovych had abolished the governmental coordinating committee on European and Euro-Atlantic Integration soon after returning to power. Yanukovych also had stripped information campaign budgets from two pro-NATO bodies, the MFA and Horbulin’s Center for Euro-Atlantic Integration, and given it to the Ministry of Education, run by a Socialist skeptic on NATO and overseen by DPM Tabachnyk, a vocal NATO opponent. Yanukovych was just like Kuchma, claimed Tarasyuk. Kuchma had made pro-NATO declarations, but pursued an alternate reality. Nemyria recalled his late February appearance with DPM Tabachnyk on a “Freedom of Speech” talk show focused on US foreign policy and missile defense. According to Nemyria, only he and OU’s Petro Poroshenko had defended the U.S. and NATO against fierce criticism from Tabachnyk, the Socialists, and Communists. In his view, DPM Azarov also was a confirmed NATO-hater.
2007, Mar 20
Ukraine: Alliance Shifts – Broad Coalition In The Offing?
OU split over cooperation with Tymo vs. Yanu ——————————————–
¶5. (C) Chair of the EuroIntegration Committee Natalya Prokopovych, aligned with Yekhanurov, told Sterling March 20 that many OU MPs were frustrated with the faction’s decision to cooperate with Tymoshenko and be in staunch opposition. She said that post-election discussions in 2006 between OU and Regions showed that they agreed on 80 percent of their policy agendas (note: a coalition agreement was actually initialed June 20, only for Yushchenko to change his mind and back the alternate deal with BYuT and Socialists; Regions and OU also almost formed a broad coalition August 4 after Yushchenko named Yanukovych PM, but that deal foundered over Poroshenko‘s insistence at being named first deputy PM).
2007, Feb 7
Ukraine: Scenesetter For Secdef’s Meeting With Ukrainian President Yushchenko
Regions Takes the Lead ———————-
¶6. (C) Another area of contention has been the fate of senior officials designated as presidential appointments by the Constitution. After two months of fighting over whether the KYIV 00000315 002 OF 006 Rada had the right to remove the Foreign Minister, as they voted to do on December 1, FM Tarasyuk stepped down on January 30. The two minority parties in the governing coalition, the Communists and Socialists, have now set their sights on Defense Minister Hrytsenko–a Yushchenko appointee and friend and confidant of your predecessor–although Yanukovych may protect him. Yushchenko appears to be seeking to regain the policy lead in foreign and security policy. Neither of his nominations for FM or Head of the Security Service (SBU), both of which he announced this week, is a sure bet for confirmation by the Rada; neither is a compromise candidate. FM-designate Ohryzko is ardently pro-NATO and anti-Russian, which makes him unappealing to some in the coalition. SBU Chief-designate Korol is someone with little background in the intelligence field, who has ties to one of Yushchenko’s oligarch allies, Petro Poroshenko.
2007, Feb 2
Ukraine: Old Faces, Practices Return To Ministry Of Interior/police
Changing of the guard: first at the Ministry… ——————————————— —
¶3. (C) The turnover in Interior Ministry management from the team which arrived in February 2005 after the Orange Revolution and remained after Yanukovych’s August 2006 appointment as PM started in Lutsenko’s waning weeks. Lutsenko told Ambassador in November that Yanukovych and chief Regions’ financier Rinat Akhmetov had pressured him to allow them to propose candidates for provincial police chiefs, particularly in eastern Ukraine. Lutsenko said that he had refused but had offered Regions the First Deputy Minister slot as a compromise (note: the former First Deputy Minister, Oleksandr Bondarenko, a perceived ally of Our Ukraine heavyweight Petro Poroshenko, died unexpectedly September 2). Named to replace Bondarenko in early October was Major General Ihor Bilozub, most recently chief of security services for Akhmetov’s Systems Capital Management (SCM) empire, and prior to the Orange Revolution the longtime First Deputy Chief of the Donetsk provincial police in charge of combating organized crime (2000-2004).
2007, Jan 31
Ukraine: Tarasyuk Resigns As Foreign Minister, Blasting Opponents On The Way Out
Who might be the next FM? Focus on Chaliy —————————————–
¶8. (SBU) Other names in press play included: former FM and current PM foreign policy adviser Konstantijn Hryshchenko, whom Chornovil admitted had little chance; First Deputy FM Volodymyr Ohryshko, who was confirmed Acting Foreign Minister January 31; OU MP and ex National Security and Defense Council (NSDC) Secretary Petro Poroshenko, rejected out of hand by Regions commentators; and deputy Presidential Secretariat head Arseniy Yatsenyuk.
2006, Dec 22
Ukraine: Our Ukraine Regrouping
Whither the Dear Friends? ————————-
¶8. (C) In another change, the “lubi druzi” or dear friends–the financial backers of the party like Poroshenko, Martynenko, Zhvaniya, and Tretyakov, who had great influence over Yushchenko in 2004-05—were removed from the presidium as part of the housecleaning, with the exception of Kyiv governor Vira Ulyachenko. Deputy Chairman of the Budget Committee Zhebrivskiy, considered part of Poroshenko‘s camp, warned publicly that their removal from the party leadership would put an end to their financing of the party, but the people we spoke with in the party seemed doubtful that there would be much impact. Guminyuk stated that the big businessmen had already stopped financing the party–they had invested their money and were waiting for the dividends to pay off–so pique over their ouster would not have much effect. Kachur said the party had removed the “money-bags” to neutralize their influence on the party because the presidium had become a shareholders meeting. He added that OU had so many debts that the “dear friends” could not have been funding much anyway–or else they were holding out and using the debts like blackmail to protect their positions. Mokridi suggested the opposite: in the end the “Yushchenko oligarchs” would continue to pay their PUOU contributions because it was easier to support a “brand-name party” than try to create something new.
2006, Dec 8
12/8 Ukraine Wto Update
Domestic Auto Industry Still Fighting ————————————-
¶8. (C) Comment: While Svyatash is a recent convert to the pro-WTO camp, he appears to have ulterior motives for fighting the automotive subsidies. Only the two largest automobile producers in Ukraine, ZAZ and LuAZ, would qualify for the GOU’s old package of subsidies, leaving smaller producers at a comparative disadvantage. Svyatash appears to have links to Ukraine’s smaller auto producers and is likely lobbying on their behalf. Meanwhile, Yulia Tymoshenko Bloc MP Tariel Vasadze, chief oligarch of the automotive industry and the Honorary President of the Ukrainian Automobile Corporation, was clear in a November 21 meeting with Econ Counselor that he was desperate to do whatever he could to protect the domestic industry (ref B). Vasadze, who has interests in ZAZ, and Our Ukraine MP Petro Poroshenko, who has interests in LuAZ, are likely the chief figures behind the push to reinstate subsidies. End Comment.
2006, Nov 22
Ukraine: “orange” Rifts Deepening Two Years After Revolution
Lutsenko Looking for Way “Forward” ———————————-
¶3. (C) Internal Affairs Minister Lutsenko seems to be on the tip of many tongues these days as a potential leader of the future. On November 17, Lutsenko told the Ambassador that he was planning a new political force to engage the populace at the grassroots level and to get back to the Orange Revolution’s reformist ideals. There was a real need for a “third force” besides the “totalitarians” of Yuliya (BYuT) and Rinat (Regions); Lutsenko was ready to lead it. Real activity would start in the spring. The first step would be a loose union of civic groups, local political efforts, perhaps to be called the “List of 22”, named for November 22 (note: the start of the Orange Revolution). Like Vaclav Havel’s Charter 77 in the Czech Republic, this could be an open declaration that like-minded people could affiliate themselves with. Lutsenko and others would take advantage of the national month-long holiday break to reinforce preexisting informal networks, particularly in western and central Ukraine. Lutsenko’s third force (tentatively: “Forward, Ukraine”) would be created from the grassroots up, uniting democrat-minded left- and right-centrists. Lutsenko would help lead a series of provincial “plebiscite meetings” between February-May that would act as primary system, allowing people to endorse the leaders they wanted, not those imposed from above by an OU congress or the diktat of Yushchenko or Poroshenko.
Our Ukraine: Losing Momentum, Members ————————————-
¶8. (C) Meanwhile, the People’s Union Our Ukraine (PUOU) party is still trying to find its way. After a party congress on November 11 that failed to provide any qualitative changes to its leadership or political strategy, party leaders are bailing and fingerpointing. First Katerynchuk quit on November 13. Then businessman David Zhvaniya resigned from the political council on November 19 because he thinks “the party leadership is unreformable.” At the congress itself, leaders of the political council–including Bezsmertniy, Poroshenko, Martynenko, and Yekhanurov–were resistant to accepting any blame for party problems, which elicited boos from delegates from Western Ukraine. Bezsmertniy has begun to reach out to pro-reform parties that did not make it into Rada in March, such as Kostenko’s People’s Movement of Ukraine, Reforms and Order, and Pora to form a new “European Choice” confederation. Yekhanurov said in an interview with Ukrainska Pravda on November 17 that Poroshenko, Tretyakov, and Zhvaniya should all resign to prevent the party from slowly dying. In addition, one of the Our Ukraine faction’s constituent parties, Rukh, announced it will negotiate with BYuT independently of OU.
Yushchenko and OU moving apart? ——————————-
¶11. (C) From its side, the party has started to demonstrate independence from Yushchenko. OU members told the press on November 10 that Yushchenko was urging OU to reform itself under the leadership of someone new, like Lutsenko, Bondar, or Yatsenyuk, but at the party congress, party leaders Bezsmertniy, Poroshenko, and Martynenko repelled efforts to get his “new team” into the leadership. They also indicated that Yushchenko’s position as honorary head of the party is mostly symbolic at this point.
2006, Nov 17
Ukraine: Defmin Hrytsenko On Yushchenko, Yanukovych, And The First 100 Days
Yushchenko’s style prevents effective leadership ——————————————— —
¶2. (C) Hrytsenko, who recently removed all the Orange Revolution pictures which previously had hung for 20 months on the walls of his office, replacing them with standard photos of the Ukrainian military in action, stated that Yushchenko’s style and lack of connection to his ministers was a real impediment to effective leadership. The lack of connection is less important now, with Yushchenko effectively reduced to only several ministers, but when there had been serious intra-orange fights in 2005 between Tymoshenko and Poroshenko, Yushchenko’s detachment had been debilitating, assessed Hrytsenko.
2006, Nov 17
Ukraine: The Long Road To Reforming Constitutional Reform
The Orange Team: Slow to Challenge Status Quo ———————————————
¶8. (SBU) In past weeks, Our Ukraine members have begun calling for amending constitutional reform, with a formal decision taken in this regard at the party congress on November 11. On November 8, Yushchenko’s then representative to the Rada, Yuriy Kluchkovskiy, said that constitutional reform should be annulled because the Yanukovych government was taking advantage of it to gain authoritarian powers. One of Our Ukraine’s leaders, Petro Poroshenko, also said publicly that the reforms needed to be revisited. At a November 8 briefing on the activities of the National Commission on Rule of Law, Yushchenko decided that the commission’s top priority for next year should be constitutional reform, although he did not specify what kind of actions he would like to see.
2006, Nov 3
Ukraine: Tarasyuk On Coordinating Foreign Policy In Ukraine, Our Ukraine’s Indecision
OU still in crisis, Yushchenko still dithering ——————————————— –
¶8. (C) While noting that his travels meant that he was not up to date on the latest developments, Tarasyuk confirmed that Yushchenko’s PUOU party remained in internal crisis, claiming the old split between “Petro (Poroshenko) and Roman (Bezsmertny)” continued to play out. A second lingering issue remained whether Yushchenko would take an active leadership role of the party. Tarasyuk suggested that Yushchenko and Yanukovych were to meet early Nov. 1 to discuss whether a coalition was still possible or not. Tarasyuk,s Rukh party (one of six in the OU bloc) was adamantly against going into coalition with the Socialists and Communists, but wanted Tarasyuk to stay as FM.
2006, Oct 11
Ukraine: Overhauling The President’s Men – Yushchenko’s New Team Complete, For Now
Signs of Yushchenko’s Strain with Our Ukraine? ——————————————— –
¶8. (C) At the same time, Yushchenko signed a decree appointing his first Presidential Secretariat Head Zinchenko as a Presidential adviser. Zinchenko’s return was more of a surprise than Haiduk’s appointment, since Zinchenko had denounced corruption in Yushchenko’s inner circle at the time of his early September 2005 resignation, triggering the collapse of the Tymoshenko government (ref A). His appointment could only be taken as a slap in the face of key Our Ukraine insiders whom Zinchenko had denounced, including Tretyakov and Petro Poroshenko; Our Ukraine immediately demanded that the Zinchenko appointment be rescinded, but Baloha refused (note: in contrast, Baloha quickly backtracked on his recent appointment of Vasyl Baziv as his adviser. After the media complained that Baziv had been involved in the infamous temnyki issued from the Presidential Secretariat under feared Kuchma Presidential Administration head Viktor Medvedchuk, Baloha acknowledged his mistake and dismissed Baziv after three days).
¶9. (SBU) Ihor Kolyushko Presidential Adviser and Head of the Secretariat’s Institutional Development Service, told us SIPDIS October 4 that the new Secretariat leadership carried into office a strong sense of distrust towards Yushchenko’s previous team. OU party leaders like Poroshenko had long followed their own interests without supporting Yushchenko, claimed Kolyushko, who characterized OU’s recent announced (although not implemented) decision not to join a broad coalition but to go into opposition (ref B) as the latest such move of self-preservation. (note: Kolyushko who joined the Secretariat in November 2005 after the first shakeup, is affiliated politically with the Reforms and Order Party, which split from the rest of the Our Ukraine bloc in late 2005. Several Reforms and Order politicians, including fellow Presidential adviser Taras Stetskiv, have been mentioned in speculation about possible efforts to create a new pro-presidential reformist political force separate from Our Ukraine).
2006, Sep 28
Ukraine: Engaging The New Ukrainian Reality After 50 Days Of Pm Yanukovych
Tymoshenko in opposition for now, NSDC and Court wildcards ——————————————— ————-
¶12. (C) Tymoshenko also has two stealth wild cards in play: reconciliation with Yushchenko, and a Constitutional Court gambit. She told a visiting EU official September 27 that she had met Yushchenko several times over the past week and that Yushchenko might offer the NSDC Secretary job to her, which would set the stage for a repeat of the counterbalancing situation prevalent in early 2005 when Yushchenko named her archrival Petro Poroshenko as NSDC Secretary with a specific mandate and enhanced authority to SIPDIS counter Tymoshenko as PM (that decision ended in disaster, with a bickering orange team and ultimately the dismissal of Tymoshenko’s government in September 2005). Comments from OU and BYuT insiders starting in mid-July indicate that Yushchenko has been mulling such a move on and off for months.
2006, Aug 31
Ukraine: Scenesetter For A/s Fried’s Sept 6-7 Visit To Kyiv
Coalition reformulation: Whither Our Ukraine? ———————————————
¶6. (SBU) Even after Yushchenko made his decision August 3 to nominate Yanukovych as PM and form a blue-orange-pink government, however, an expected new blue-orange coalition agreement failed to materialize, and only 30 of 80 OU MPs followed Yushchenko’s lead in the votes for Yanukovych and the new cabinet. OU heavyweight Petro Poroshenko, denied a deputy premiership by Regions, scuttled the new coalition deal and kept his supporters out of August 4 votes. The entire Rada and most of official Kyiv then decamped for the August vacation season.
¶7. (C) OU is scheduled to meet September 1 to consider formally joining the coalition. Presidential Chief of Staff Rybachuk told us in early August that Poroshenko was so angry about losing a DPM slot that he might block any OU movement towards joining the coalition. The size of the OU contingent willing to join a coalition will be crucial in terms of balancing the Socialists and Communists in the coalition over certain policy issues. It now appears most likely that there will be an expansion of the existing Anti-Crisis Coalition rather than a separate new OU-Regions coalition agreement. Now that Regions has succeeded in obtaining the premiership for Yanukovych, there would be little to gain in abandoning the Socialists and Communists in favor of the divided and potentially unreliable Our Ukraine faction. An OU minority is guaranteed to refuse to join and could move instead into opposition — although not out of the bloc itself in order to maintain their Rada seats.
2006, Aug 4
Ukraine: Tale Of Two Viktors: Yushchenko Nominates Yanukovych As Pm, Broad Coalition In The Offing
¶1. (C) Summary. In another last minute decision crucial to the political future of Ukraine, President Viktor Yushchenko initiated the procedures required for dissolution of the Rada (parliament) August 2, only to agree in the middle of the night instead to endorse Regions’ leader Viktor Yanukovych’s nomination as Prime Minister. The reversal came after Yushchenko conducted a final round of multi-hour negotiations with Yanukovych and Speaker Oleksandr Moroz. By mid-day August 3, both Regions and OU sources were suggesting that a new coalition had been formed between Regions and Our Ukraine (OU) although the details, including participation by the Socialists and Communists, remained unclear. In the mid-afternoon roundtable signing of the Declaration of National Unity, or Universal, sparks flew between Yushchenko and Yuliya Tymoshenko, who accused Yushchenko of capitulating to Regions on all important issues and then refused to sign the document. Yushchenko told Ambassador August 3 that the developments over the previous 24 hours had been very important for Ukraine, helping to remove the divisions between eastern and western Ukraine while reinforcing his domestic and foreign policy priorities: integration into NATO and the EU as Ukraine’s strategic orientation; the unity of the Ukrainian state; removal of the artificial issue of the status of the Russian language; support for creation of a unified Ukrainian Orthodox church; and development of a land market. Our Ukraine heavyweight Poroshenko later confirmed to the Ambassador that a new coalition agreement, drawing on elements of the Universal, would be signed in the Rada by OU and Regions on August 4, but it was unclear whether the Socialists or Communists would sign too.
Surprising End-game, with a two Viktor solution ——————————————— —
¶6. (SBU) Moroz at the podium and other Regions MPs in the lobby, however, expressed confidence that Yushchenko would “do the right thing” and nominate Yanukovych as PM. Rather than an early evening address to the nation, Yushchenko resumed closed-door negotiations with Moroz and Yanukovych at 2000, concluding close to 0200 with Yushchenko agreeing to endorse Yanukovych’s nomination as PM. The press had spotted key Regions deputy leader Kluyev arriving separately after 2000, amidst reports that Kluyev and OU heavyweight Poroshenko had hammered out a possible list of cabinet members in the event an accord was reached between Yushchenko and Yanukovych allowing for Yanukovych to be PM and OU to join the coalition. Yushchenko: unifying the country, reiterating policy priorities
Next Coalition: Blue-Orange or National Unity? ——————————————— –
¶12. (SBU) A lengthy Our Ukraine caucus meeting to decide on joining a new coalition forced the Rada’s timetable to slip late August 3; Socialist Tsushko predicted that the swearing in of both Yanukovych as PM and Constitutional Court judges would take place August 4. While Tsushko predicted that a new Coalition of National Unity would emerge August 4 and a full Cabinet approved in a special Saturday session August 5, he squirmed uncomfortably when asked about the fate of the Communists. Later Poroshenko confirmed to the Ambassador that the OU caucus had agreed to sign a new coalition agreement with Regions at the Rada. According to Poroshenko, the new agreement will include numerous elements from the Universal. When asked by the Ambassador whether all the OU deputies would agree to the new coalition, Poroshenko said that majority were in favor, but one or two would probably refuse to sign and effectively join the opposition. At this point, Poroshenko said that Yanukovych was scheduled to be sworn in at the Rada at 11 am on August 4. (Note: This could change numerous times in the next few hours. end note). BYuT deputy leader Tomenko told us that BYuT would stay out of the Rada chamber August 4-5, returning when the Rada reconvenes in September.
¶13. (C) In his conversation with the Ambassador, Poroshenko said that the Regions-OU coalition had also paved the way for ending the long-delayed convening of the constitutional court. According to Poroshenko, the new coalition would vote on the Rada’s candidates for the constitutional court at 10 am on August 4. Then the full Rada, in the presence of the newly-elected PM, the acting Chief Justice of the Supreme Court and probably President Yushchenko — would swear in all the new constitutional court justices — those newly nominated by the Rada and the nominees forwarded to the Rada by Yushchenko and the Council of Judges last November, giving the constitutional court a quorum for the first time in nine months. Poroshenko also noted that discussions were ongoing between Yanukovych, Regions and OU regarding the make-up of the Cabinet of Ministers, suggesting that lists were being readied now in order to present to Yushchenko over the next few days. Poroshenko predicted that a new government would probably be voted in by the Rada by early next week. It could not happen this week. He also suggested that as part of the agreement on the Universal, the Rada would pass several key pieces of legislation, including the long-delayed approval to hold military exercises involving foreign forces in Ukraine, before going out of session for the rest of August.
2006, Jul 21
Ukraine: The Political Chess Game: Views From The Second Bench
OU’s Katerynchuk: hoping for a chance to rebuild in opposition ——————————————— —————–
¶2. (C) Mykola Katerynchuk, the young, photogenic “deep orange” head of the executive committee of Yushchenko’s “People’s Union Our Ukraine” (PUOU) party, has the image and attitude around which Yushchenko and Our Ukraine could have based their 2005 efforts to create a real political party not tied to one political personality. Instead OU followed the advice of discredited orange oligarch Petro Poroshenko, who ultimately ran the 2006 show and embodied all of OU’s weaknesses. Katerynchuk told us in May that he had advocated building a grass-roots, European-style political party in 2005 but had been overruled by others favoring a more typical Ukrainian “pro-Presidential electoral project” for the 2006 parliamentary and local elections; in making such a mistake, OU reaped what it had sowed (ref A).
Regions’ Makeyenko: OU should have taken the June 20 deal ——————————————— ————-
¶7. (C) As Regions’ heavyweights Yanukovych, Akhmetov, and Kluyev had done in recent conversations with Ambassador, Makeyenko rued Yushchenko’s decision to “walk away” from a Regions-OU coalition agreement which Makeyenko claimed they had all signed June 20, in favor of the “Coalition of Democratic Forces” signed with Tymoshenko’s Bloc (BYuT) and the Socialists June 22 instead. Makeyenko called July 18, the day Rada committee assignments had been approved, a key day in Ukrainian political history. The telling greed in the eyes of OU heavyweights like Poroshenko and Martynenko when offered plum committee chairs showed they were “no longer with the President,” said Makeyenko. Businessmen from both BYuT and OU, particularly the Poroshenko, Kinakh, and Yekhanurov groups, would soon flock to the anti-crisis coalition, he predicted confidently. Poroshenko in particular had expressed bitterness at how Yushchenko had treated/dismissed him last September and had made clear “his people,” including Korol and Zhebrivsky, were ready to cooperate.
2006, Jul 7
Ukraine: Moroz As Speaker; Regions-socialist-communist Coalition Under Pm Yanukovych To Come?
¶3. (C) Comment: The political earthquake continues to rattle Ukraine’s political landscape late July 7; Our Ukraine and BYuT were left flat-footed and stunned July 6, unable to comprehend what was unfolding. A theoretical Our Ukraine decision in the coming days to join a broad coalition could lead Regions to drop the Communists in the Regions-led coalition, significantly changing its makeup. Our Ukraine should have seen Moroz’ move coming, since he consistently told them the Socialists would not support Poroshenko as Speaker–as recently as the morning of July 6, when he offered Socialists’ support for anyone but Poroshenko. Moroz’ ambition to return as Speaker (he served as Speaker from 1994-98) and desire to push his personal causes of parliamentarism and political reform, combined with Regions’ money and wile and Our Ukraine’s self-defeating support of Poroshenko, ultimately made the difference. While many will debate “who lost the orange coalition,” Vinsky’s first take – assigning principal blame to Yushchenko and Moroz — will likely stand the test of time. End Comment and Summary
BYuT and OU outfoxed by Moroz and Regions —————————————–
¶4. (SBU) Regions has been confident since the March 26 elections that no orange coalition would take office, despite the June 22 establishment “Coalition of Democratic Forces” formal Rada majority (reftel). With their 10 day blockade of the Rada buying time, ensuring a sec-ret vote for Speaker, and keeping the attention of Our Ukraine and BYuT distracted on a complicated roundtable agreement between the majority and the opposition, Regions took advantage of the personal ambition of Socialist Leader Moroz and deep antipathy for OU nominee for Speaker Petro Poroshenko to wreck the so-called “Orange” coalition. After OU nominated Poroshenko as Speaker and Regions nominated Mykola Azarov to stand against Poroshenko, the Socialists held a mid-afternoon session July 6 to support common cause with Regions. With BYuT and Our Ukraine worried that Azarov might secure the necessary 226 votes to be elected Speaker, the Socialists nominated Moroz as well. OU then withdrew Poroshenko‘s name and begged the Socialists to do likewise with Moroz. Regions and the Communists threw their votes behind Moroz instead. In the end, all 238 MPs who picked up ballots voted for Moroz, including two MPs from OU, Zaplatinsky (former SPDU), and Volkov (Ex-Soviet basketball gold medallist linked by the media to RosUkrEnergo frontman Dmytro Firtash).
¶5. (C) The speed and deftness of the maneuvering late July 6 left well-informed members of Our Ukraine, BYuT, and the media stunned, literally unable to comprehend what was KIEV 00002651 002 OF 003 unfolding. At the Embassy’s Independence Day reception, Acting Foreign Minister Tarasyuk (a member of OU’s Political Council), BYuT MP and Tymoshenko foreign policy adviser Hrihoriy Nemyria, and Yuliya Mostova, the country’s leading political journalist, all refused to believe at 2030 hours that Regions and the Communists would vote in support of Moroz less than an hour later, and that the vote would serve as a prelude to a Regions-Socialist-Communist accommodation. All felt Moroz’ maneuver was aimed at knocking out Poroshenko‘s candidacy, that Moroz and Azarov would split the initial vote, and that the orange parties would have the night to reconsider options. Tarasyuk somewhat sheepishly acknowledged that Moroz had told them that morning that the Socialists would support any OU nominee save Poroshenko, but if OU insisted on tabling Poroshenko‘s name, the Socialists would not support him. He added that in retrospect he was surprised at how quickly Regions had unblocked the Rada that morning. Tarasyuk and Nemyria both held out hope that even if Moroz were to be elected with Regions/Communist support, he might double-cross Regions on July 7 and return to the orange camp rather than form a government with Regions. A Moroz call to Tymoshenko later in the evening July 6 suggesting that he would still be willing to support her as PM if BYuT and OU backed him as speaker–described by Nemyria to Ambassador–bolstered such hopes.
2006, Jun 29
Ukraine: Ambassador Taylor’s First Meeting With Opposition Leader Viktor Yanukovych
Politics: Yushchenko Wrong To Spurn Us… —————————————–
¶2. (C) In his first meeting with Ambassador Taylor, a relaxed-looking Party of Regions leader Viktor Yanukovych, speaking mostly in Ukrainian, emphasized on June 29 that President Yushchenko had made a major mistake by spurning Regions and blessing the formation of an Orange coalition. Yushchenko had been pressured to go Orange, Yanukovych asserted, by the USG; the president had not been “responsible” enough to stand up to Washington and argue for an Orange-Blue Grand Coalition. The Orange coalition, Yanukovych said, had serious internal divisions, would be unable to make serious progress on economic reform, and, he predicted, was so feeble that it may not be able to get its candidate, Our Ukraine (OU) MP Petro Poroshenko, elected as the new Rada Speaker. We wanted to unite with OU, Yanukovych said, but were rejected; the president, Yanukovych added, had “lost his chance.”
2006, Jun 22
Ukraine: Coalition Of Democratic Forces Finally Creates A Parliamentary Majority, Personnel Tbd
¶2. (C) A coalition briefing to the diplomatic corps late June 22 made clear that Our Ukraine has still not decided on whom its Speaker nominee will be. Two names have been forwarded by constituent parties–People’s Union Our Ukraine’s Petro Poroshenko, and the Industrialists and Entrepreneurs’ Party’s (IEP) Anatoliy Kinakh–but neither the Our Ukraine political council nor the OU faction have discussed/approved the position. That will occur early June 23; two members of the seven-man OU Political Council did not rule out the possibility of another name emerging. Acting FM Tarasyuk later explained to us that fuzzy language in the coalition document on NATO notwithstanding, the coalition had agreed that the new PM will write a letter to NATO countries on behalf of the new government clearly restating Ukraine’s Euro-Atlantic policy and desire for a Membership Action Plan in 2006.
Finally: a Rada majority forms ——————————
¶4. (SBU) June 22 began inauspiciously as usual for Team Orange at the Rada. Shortly after the session opened, with most of OU’s MPs not on the floor, the BYuT representative on the provisional presidium, deputy leader Oleksandr Turchynov, was forced to ask for a short break to allow OU to “finish gathering signatures” for the coalition agreement document. (Note: OU and SP sources told us that Kinakh’s faction MPs had refused to sign the agreement, as they wanted Kinakh to serve as the new Rada Speaker, and not Poroshenko.) Following the break, Tymoshenko herself strode to the rostrum, bathed in camera flashes, to announce triumphantly that a “Coalition of Democratic Forces” had been formed with 239 MP signatures on the coalition document, adding with a dramatic flourish: “Glory to Ukraine!”
Regions Lands A Punch On Yuliya… ———————————-
¶5. (U) Regions MP Oleksandr Yefremov, the former governor of Luhansk Oblast, followed Tymoshenko at the podium and blasted the Orange coalition. At times pounding the podium with his fist, Yefremov bellowed that the coalition would not take care of the people of eastern Ukraine, who had largely voted for Regions. In a reference to a much-publicized incident during January’s severe cold snap, Yefremov blamed the Yushchenko administration for “letting the people of Alchevesk freeze” rather than allocate money needed to repair the city’s dilapidated central heating system. “We have no faith in your coalition,” he said, wagging his finger at Tymoshenko. Yefremov’s comments were seconded by Communist Party leader Petro Symonenko, who chided Tymoshenko for agreeing to allow Poroshenko to serve as Rada Speaker, noting — to the cheers of Communist and Regions MPs — that “last KIEV 00002461 002 OF 003 year, you called him the most corrupt person in Ukraine.”
What next? Coalition Caucuses and Personnel Choices ——————————————— ——-
¶7. (SBU) Acting FM and OU Political Council member Tarasyuk chaired a coalition briefing for the diplomatic corps late July 22, introducing BYuT Foreign Policy Adviser Hrihoriy Nemyria, OU Party Secretary Roman Zvarych, and SPU MP Shybko in turn. Highlights of the coalition agreement will be reported septel. The main conclusions and the way forward follow: — there will be a full coalition caucus meeting at the Rada June 23 of all MPs in the three parties forming the parliamentary majority. — The coalition agreement allots only positions to the three parties; there are no individuals named. — That said, everyone understands that Tymoshenko will be PM. — No party has a veto over the other two parties’ selections. — Our Ukraine (the bloc, the faction) has not yet determined who its choice to fill the Speaker Slot will be. The Political Council of Yushchenko’s People’s Union Our Ukraine, which controls 40 of the 81 OU MPs, chose Poroshenko as its nominee June 21 (reftel), but IEP nominated its leader Kinakh. Neither the OU faction nor the bloc’s political council has met to discuss who will be the approved OU Speaker nominee, according to Tarasyuk, who sits on the latter council as Rukh Party leader, but they would meet June 23 prior to the full coalition caucus meeting to discuss the matter Tarasyuk and Zvarych — also on the council as party and bloc Secretary — did not rule out another candidate emerging. — Notwithstanding the no veto principle, Zvarych acknowledged the Speaker role would come up in the wider coalition discussion June 23 (note: SPU leader Moroz had stated from the Rada floor that Poroshenko as Speaker was not a done deal). — The coalition hoped for a vote on both PM and Speaker Tuesday June 27 when the Rada reconvenes. — Ideally, that would be followed by a vote June 29 on other Cabinet nominees. Those nominees would likely come in two batches: those whose names are proposed by the PM, and the two (Foreign Affairs and Defense Ministers) proposed by KIEV 00002461 003 OF 003 President Yushchenko. — Once the Cabinet is set, Rada Committee Chairs would be selected, perhaps June 30, to allow the Rada to start substantive work on legislation in committee.
2006, Jun 21
Ukraine: Orange Coalition Deal “under Threat” – Or Tymoshenko-poroshenko Ii In The Works?
¶1. (C) Ukraine’s coalition drama continued June 21, inching closer to an Orange Coalition, but also featuring a potential obstacle — Petro Poroshenko as Our Ukraine’s Rada Speaker nominee — that could possibly cause the deal to unravel or create discord in the months to come. The Rada met briefly on June 21 before again adjourning until June 22 at 10:00 a.m., without voting on forming a governing coalition. Our Ukraine (OU) MP and Party Chair Roman Bezsmertny opened the day by announcing that OU, Bloc Tymoshenko (BYuT) and the Socialist Party (SP) had agreed to form an Orange coalition; he called for a vote on adjourning until June 23 to permit the three parties to formally ratify the deal. Socialist leader Oleksandr Moroz and BYuT chief Yuliya Tymoshenko argued against delay, stressing that OU had to “mobilize” its MPs and immediately seal the Orange deal. The normally bombastic Party of Regions MP Yevhen Kushnaryov pleaded for the creation of a grand coalition, emphasizing that the country needed a government capable of uniting all Ukrainians. The vote on Bezsmertny’s proposal was a fiasco for the badly disorganized Orange forces; only 154 MPs voted “for,” including only half of BYuT and no Socialists. A senior Socialist MP told us privately following today’s adjournment that the Orange coalition agreement was “under threat”; the Poroshenko faction of OU (14 MPs) had declared its opposition to Tymoshenko as Premier and could work with Regions, and other potential Orange camp defectors, to elect a new Rada Speaker on June 22. A BYuT MP suggested that OU was in “serious internal turmoil,” declining to predict what would happen June 22. Separately, the People’s Union Our Ukraine (PUOU) political council endorsed Tymoshenko-archrival Petro Poroshenko as its candidate for speaker, putting the onus of sealing an Orange coalition back on Tymoshenko’s shoulders. Several BYuT MPs suggested that Tymoshenko would ultimately swallow the difficult pill of Poroshenko as Speaker as the price to pay for returning as PM, despite the difficulties of 2005, when Tymoshenko was PM and Poroshenko served as National Security and Defense Council Secretary. End summary.
Prognosis From Socialists, rebuttal from OU leaders ——————————————— ——
¶7. (SBU) Senior Socialist MP and longtime Embassy interlocutor Vitaliy Shybko privately told us that the Orange coalition deal reached on the evening of June 20 was “under threat.” He asserted that OU was “not ready” to sign an agreement. Specifically, he claimed that, at the June 20 late-night meeting of the OU political council, the Poroshenko faction (14 MPs) had announced that it would not vote in favor of a coalition government that included Yuliya Tymoshenko as prime minister and would, moreover, work with Regions. Shybko confided to us that with 14 OU rebels, Regions only needed three more Orange MPs to defect to be able to amend the Rada’s Rules of Procedure and elect a new Rada Speaker. And, Shybko claimed, Regions was working hard to find more defectors. (note: OU deputy leader Mykola Katerynchuk told the press later June 21 that “nearly 100 percent” of PUOU’s Political Council had endorsed the coalition document; fellow OU deputy leader and deputy negotiator Roman Zvarych told journalists that all three parties had initialled each of the 103 pages of the coalition agreement and that OU’s Rada contingent would meet en masse before the June 22 session to endorse the agreement).
The Poroshenko gambit: the price to pay, or a poison pill? ——————————————— ————-
¶10. (C) The afternoon focus switched to Our Ukraine’s internal deliberations, and the prospect of another high profile pairing of archrivals Tymoshenko and Poroshenko in office. Yushchenko’s People’s Union Our Ukraine (PUOU) party endorsed both the coalition document and Petro Poroshenko as its candidate for Rada Speaker, after Party Chair Bezsmertny and acting PM Yekhanurov withdrew their candidacies (note: Poroshenko, a deeply unpopular politician, has widespread support among party leaders due to his past financial/organizational roles). The wider Our Ukraine bloc political council continued to meet as of 1900 but was expected to endorse PUOU’s line. Online paper Ukrainska Pravda published the text of the draft agreement, indicating that MPs were already signing it. BYuT MP Andriy Shevchenko, number five on the BYuT list and a former journalist at Poroshenko-owned Fifth Channel, told us recently that he thought Tymoshenko would ultimately accept Poroshenko as Speaker. BYuT deputy leader Mykola Tomenko made a similar comment late June 21, suggesting that BYuT was weary of negotiations and would seek assurances that Poroshenko would “behave” as Speaker. A reported deal which would give the First Deputy Speakership to BYuT, in exchange for the Socialists securing the First Deputy PM slot, would be one “control” mechanism. In any event, the Ukrainian coalition formation drama continues.
2006, Jun 16
Ukraine: Orange-blue Coalition Talks Allegedly Moving Quickly
Tymoshenko Bloc: Still Doing CPR On Team Orange… ——————————————— —–
¶5. (C) Tymoshenko Bloc (BYuT) MP and Tymoshenko foreign KIEV 00002359 002 OF 002 policy guru Hryhoriy Nemirya told us June 16 that Yushchenko and Tymoshenko met in the late afternoon of June 16. In the morning of the same day, the Orange troika had met at the Rada, with Tymoshenko and Oleksandr Turchynov representing BYuT, Oleksandr Moroz and Yosef Vinsky representing the Socialist Party (SP), and Roman Bezsmertny and Prime Minister Yuriy Yekhanurov from OU. The talks, Nemirya said, went nowhere; Bezsmertny and Yekhanurov had urged BYuT and the SP to join OU and Regions in a grand coalition, a proposition that Tymoshenko immediately rejected and Moroz rejected after consulting with the Socialist Party’s political council. The troika agreed, though, to meet again on June 17. Nemirya said OU and Regions were, in fact, at the negotiating table; OU was being led by oligarch Petro Poroshenko, and Regions by MPs Mykola Azarov and Raisa Bohatyrova.
…And OU: We’ll Call You ————————-
¶8. (SBU) As of 1800, OU’s political council was meeting; Bezsmertny pledged to call DCM with a readout when the leadership huddle ended. Separately, Bezsmertny’s longtime aide confirmed to us that MPs Petro Poroshenko and Roman Zvarych were representing OU in the talks with Regions. Bezsmertny and Yekhanurov were the designated Tymoshenko-Moroz interlocutors for OU.
2006, Jun 15
Ukraine: Our Ukraine Insider Zvarych On Orange-blue Consultations
Distribution of jobs in Orange-Blue ———————————–
¶5. (C) Zvarych reported that only a “preliminary discussion” had been held June 14 with Regions on job distribution in a potential coalition. OU would not vote for a coalition with Regions unless OU got the PM job; Regions would get the position of Rada speaker. Zvarych thought either Regions head Viktor Yanukovych or Regions MP Raisa Bohatyrova would get the speakership. PM Yuriy Yekhanurov would “possibly” be PM, though when pressed Zvarych said he had not been privy to the discussion and did not have details on who were candidates for what jobs. (Comment: Perhaps he did not have the details, but Zvarych also could have been sidestepping because OU-insider Petro Poroshenko was in the running for the PM job. Tymoshenko claimed to us many times previously that Zvarych was in Poroshenko‘s corner.)
2006, Jun 15
Ukraine: At The Rada, Party Of Regions Upbeat
…And The Missing Man ———————-
¶7. (C) Privately, BYuT MP Volodymyr Polokhalo told us that BYuT MPs would try to reach out to the president’s wife, Kateryna, in the next few days in an effort “to talk some sense” into Yushchenko. The president was being manipulated by OU oligarchs like Petro Poroshenko and was now simply a figurehead, Polokhalo stressed. Separately, Vysoky Zamok Chief Editor Nataliya Balyuk (a Tymoshenko partisan whose husband is a BYuT MP) and longtime Moroz aide Olena Nykulyn told us that the Socialist Party chief would see Yushchenko prior to the president’s departure on June 16 for a two-day trip to an energy/regional security conference in Kazakhstan. (Note: Later on June 15, the President’s press service reported Yushchenko, who “still supported” an Orange coalition, had met with Moroz.) Balyuk, a veteran observer of Ukrainian politics, likened the state of Team Orange to that of a cancer patient. The patient may in the end die prematurely of cancer, Balyuk said, “but there’s always hope for a miraculous recovery.”
2006, Jun 13
Ukraine: What May Happen At Wednesday’s (june 14) Rada Session
…Here’s What May Happen At The Rada ————————————-
¶3. (C) Echoing what Bloc Tymoshenko leader Yuliya Tymoshenko told the DCM on the evening of June 12 (reftel), our contacts predicted that Communist MP Adam Martynyuk, one of the five members of the Rada’s provisional presidium, would chair the session. Martynyuk would likely call for an immediate vote to amend Article 14 of the Rada’s Rule of Procedures to permit the election of a new Speaker in the absence of a governing coalition. Again echoing Tymoshenko, our interlocutors asserted that the Party of Regions had the votes to amend Article 14. (Note: Tymoshenko’s MP head count was 186 Regions, 21 Communists, 20 Our Ukraine from the Poroshenko and Kinakh factions, and 3 defectors from the SP.)
2006, Jun 12
Ukraine: Tymoshenko Says Coalition Talks Are Deadlocked; Bezsmertny Says Crucial Decision To Come June 13
¶1. (C) Yuliya Tymoshenko told DCM on June 12 that talks on forming an Orange coalition were deadlocked over Socialist Party leader Oleksander Moroz’ insistence on being made Rada Speaker. Tymoshenko had tried to reason with Moroz, but he was dug in, knowing that this would be his “political swansong.” The key player now was President Yushchenko, who could easily give in to Moroz, as the Speaker would be a figurehead bound by the coalition agreement, Tymoshenko argued. Yushchenko, however, was disengaged and refusing to meet with Tymoshenko and Moroz; during a meeting on June 9, Tymoshenko asserted that Yushchenko had been agitated, at times yelling at her. The president was being fed misinformation by Our Ukraine (OU) insider Petro Poroshenko, Tymoshenko claimed. Addressing reports that OU was preparing to negotiate with the Party of Regions, Tymoshenko emphasized that Yushchenko was foolish to believe he could control Regions in a coalition. Regions would quickly buy off Yushchenko’s advisers and dominate the coalition, making its influence felt in foreign policy and other areas. During the June 14 scheduled Rada session, Tymoshenko related that it was likely that Regions would call for secret vote to elect a new Speaker and two deputies; with defectors from OU and the Socialists, Regions had the votes to make it happen. Tymoshenko spoke at length about the negative role that Russia has played in the coalition formation process, and alleged that the Russian FSB was behind recent anti-U.S. and anti-NATO protests in Crimea; she appealed for senior USG intervention with Yushchenko to revive the Orange talks. Separately, OU’s point man in the negotiations, Roman Bezsmertny, told DCM that he, Prime Minister Yekhanurov and Yushchenko would meet on the morning of June 13 to make a coalition decision. He predicted that Yushchenko would “give in” to Moroz so the Orange coalition can form. Bezsmertny added that Yushchenko told Yekhanurov earlier on June 12 that they should support the Orange coalition. End summary.
Yushchenko “Not Himself” ————————
¶3. (C) The key player now, Tymoshenko said, was Yushchenko. The president had spoken about his desire to be a peacemaker, bridging differences within the Orange camp, and 70% of the Ukrainian public wanted to see an Orange coalition, Tymoshenko claimed. This was a “second chance” for the Orange Team. Unfortunately, Tymoshenko asserted, Yushchenko was doing nothing. She had called the president three times on June 12 asking him to meet with her and Moroz, separately if need be; she had received no response. Tymoshenko said she had met with Yushchenko on June 9, and he had clearly “not been himself”; he had been agitated, at times yelling. Tymoshenko claimed that the president was in an information bubble, with “people around him” telling him that OU deputies strongly opposed giving Moroz the Speakership. In fact, she said, it was only a small group of OU deputies, led by Petro Poroshenko, who “radically” opposed Moroz. Tymoshenko noted that the president was currently behaving like he did just before he sacked her last September. (Note: On the way out of the meeting, Tymoshenko’s foreign policy guru, BYuT MP Hryhoriy Nemirya, added that Yushchenko had used his Saturday KIEV 00002281 002 OF 003 national radio address to make Tymoshenko the scapegoat for deadlocked talks.)
Regions Will Own Yushchenko —————————
¶4. (C) Addressing reports that Our Ukraine (OU) was now preparing to work out a coalition deal with the rival Party of Regions, Tymoshenko said that Yushchenko was wrong to think that he could control Regions. She predicted that all of Yushchenko’s key advisers would be paid off by Regions “within a week.” The president would be isolated in such a coalition, Tymoshenko said, dependent on OU oligarchs cut from the same cloth as Regions godfather Rinat Akhmetov and “those behind RosUkrEnergo.” The Prosecutor General, she asserted, would listen not to the president but to “Petro Poroshenko.” Tymoshenko predicted that within six months, Regions would completely dominate the coalition with OU, making its influence felt in foreign policy, relations with Russia, and by chilling press freedoms gained during the Orange Revolution. She said she “did not want to see that happen” to Ukraine.
Rada On Wednesday —————–
¶5. (C) Turning to the Rada’s scheduled session on June 14, Tymoshenko asserted that she expected Communist MP Adam Martenyuk, a member of the Provisional Presidium, to take the Speaker’s chair and call for a secret vote to elect a new Speaker and two deputies. Tymoshenko said that Regions appeared to have the election pre-wired; 226 votes were needed, and Regions likely had 230 (186 Regions, 21 Communists, 20 from the Poroshenko and Kinakh factions of OU, and 3 defectors from the SP.) There was still time to prevent such a scenario from unfolding at the Rada, but the Orange team needed to get a deal done immediately. (Note: It is not clear if a vote on the Speaker is possible from a procedural standpoint in the absence of the formation of a coalition majority. But in Ukraine’s fluid political landscape, we rule out nothing.)
2006, Jun 7
Ukraine: Rada Convenes, Coalition Formation Gets Punted Again
¶1. (C) Nearly 11 weeks after national parliamentary and local elections, Ukraine remains without a Rada majority coalition. A June 7 Rada session opened and closed quickly, with 227 Orange MPs voting to adjourn until June 14. Deputies from the Party of Regions and the Communist Party stayed on the Rada floor to hold a “meeting” featuring a parade of speakers criticizing the Yushchenko administration, the USG, and the U.S.-Ukraine Sea Breeze military exercise in Crimea (Ref A). Regions MP Leonid Kozhara stressed to us that Regions did not oppose joint military exercises per se, just the way the Yushchenko government had mishandled the issue. Tymoshenko Bloc (BYuT) MP Hryhoriy Nemyrya told Charge that Orange forces punted on coalition formation because they needed more time to reach agreement, a view seconded by Presidential chief of staff Oleh Rybachuk, who asserted that a deal could be announced as early as June 8. Rybachuk added that when a deal was reached, an extraordinary Rada session would be called to seek legislative approval for Sea Breeze. An aide to Roman Bezsmertny, Our Ukraine’s point man in the coalition talks, told us that Socialist Party leader Oleksandr Moroz late on June 6 had issued President Yushchenko an ultimatum, demanding to be made Rada Speaker in return for joining the Orange Team. A senior BYuT MP, Andriy Shevchenko, separately told us that Moroz “smelled blood in the water” and would not easily back down from the ultimatum; Moroz was also being wooed by Regions with promises of becoming Speaker, an assertion that Bezsmertny earlier denied had any basis (Ref B). Shevchenko predicted that Bezsmertny would emerge as the compromise Orange choice to become Speaker; Our Ukraine insider Petro Poroshenko did not have the votes to become Rada chief. Shevchenko added that Regions’ inflammatory handling of the situation in Crimea had enraged President Yushchenko and squashed prospects for a so-called Orange-Blue coalition. End summary.
…The Bezsmertny Camp Version… ———————————
¶7. (SBU) Roman Bezsmertny’s longtime aide, Svitlana Gumenyuk, gave us a different version of why Team Orange punted. She related that at the June 6 talks Moroz had given Yushchenko an ultimatum: make me Rada Speaker or there will be no new Orange coalition. Gumenyuk told us that Yushchenko had pushed back, noting that OU came in second (among the Orange forces) in the March elections, and rightfully deserved the Speaker’s post. Gumenyuk claimed that Regions was now engaged in a proverbial full-court press to get Moroz to defect and join in a Regions/Communists/SP alliance. She added that there was now consensus within OU that Bezsmertny, and not Petro Poroshenko, should be the next Rada Speaker. (Note: In a June 5 meeting reported Ref B, Bezsmertny told us that Regions had not offered the Speakership to Moroz.)
…And the “This Is Embarrassing” View ————————————–
¶8. (C) BYuT MP and former journalist Andriy Shevchenko, number five on the BYuT list, described today’s Rada session as an “embarrassment” for Team Orange. The Ukrainian people, he told us, were losing patience with the prolonged bickering and haggling between BYuT, OU and the SPU. Echoing what Gumenyuk told us, Shevchenko claimed that Moroz “had smelled the blood in the water” during the June 6 late-night talks; he was not going to give in easily, and was “listening” to Regions. The “action,” he said, was now between OU and Moroz; BYuT was “on the sideline” watching its partners “slug it out.” Shevchenko predicted that Moroz would back down and Bezsmertny would emerge as the Team Orange choice to be Rada Speaker; OU insider Petro Poroshenko, whom Shevchenko said he respected and worked well with at Fifth Channel, “did not have the votes” to become Speaker.
2006, May 26
Ukraine: Eur Das Kramer And Ovp Dnsa Wood’s 5/23 Meeting With Our Ukraine’s Roman Bezsmertny
¶1. (C) In a lengthy May 23 discussion with Ambassador, EUR DAS David Kramer, and OVP Deputy NSA Joseph Wood, Our Ukraine’s (OU) lead negotiator in the coalition formation talks predicted that an “Orange variant” would soon prevail and that a new government would be in place by mid-July. The new Team Orange would feature Yuliya Tymoshenko as prime minister and her rival, Petro Poroshenko, as the new Rada speaker. Poroshenko was tainted by credible corruption allegations, but wielded significant influence within OU; Poroshenko‘s price had to be paid. Given the bad blood between Poroshenko and Tymoshenko, Bezsmertny said he had serious doubts about the coalition’s viability. He argued, though, that President Yushchenko could force the two antagonists to “behave” by threatening to call new Rada elections — a scenario both wished to avoid. Bezsmertny read from an updated copy of the Orange coalition agreement, which he said was detailed and would provide fixed boundaries for both Tymoshenko and Poroshenko. The holdup right now was Yushchenko, as the President continued to review his options and insist that the Party of Regions be brought on board in some fashion — something Bezsmertny strongly opposed. End summary.
Speaker Poroshenko, or Else —————————
¶3. (C) According to Bezsmertny, the new Team Orange would feature Yuliya Tymoshenko in an encore performance as prime minister and her rival Petro Poroshenko as the new Rada Speaker. In response to questions about the logic of making Poroshenko Rada speaker, Bezsmertny said there was no other way to create an Orange coalition. Poroshenko‘s reputation was tainted by serious corruption allegations, but he wielded significant influence within Our Ukraine, and his interests had to be accommodated — it was as simple as that, Bezsmertny emphasized. Current Prime Minister Yuriy Yekhanurov could be expected to head the National Security and Defense Council (NSDC), while recently resigned NSDC chief Anatoliy Kinakh would become the head of the Rada’s National Security and Defense Committee. (Note: It is not clear how this jibes with reports that this committee has been split into two committees.) Socialist Party leader Oleksandr Moroz would shepherd the Rada majority, Bezsmertny said.
How Long Will It Last? ———————-
¶4. (C) Bezsmertny acknowledged that, given the bad blood between Tymoshenko and Poroshenko, he had “serious doubts” about the viability of an Orange coalition; he declined to predict how long the arrangement would last. He argued, though, that President Yushchenko could “make them behave” by threatening to dissolve parliament and call new elections — a prospect that Bezsmertny said Tymoshenko and Poroshenko both dreaded. Noting that “there is a thin line between love and hate,” Bezsmertny suggested that Tymoshenko and Poroshenko might appear in public, shake hands, agree to “do business” together, and jointly blame former State Secretary Oleksandr Zinchenko for causing last September’s political blowup that prompted President Yushchenko’s Solomonic decision to sideline both Tymoshenko and Poroshenko.
Good Luck ———
¶5. (C) Responding to questions about whether a Poroshenko-controlled Rada would be able and/or willing to pass needed legislation, Bezsmertny read selected passages from the latest version of the Orange coalition agreement, which both Tymoshenko and Poroshenko would be obligated to heed. Bezsmertny asserted that the extremely detailed document would form the “boundaries” for Tymoshenko and Poroshenko; failure to stick to the agreement would be cause for Yushchenko to step in and call new elections. In KIEV 00002038 002 OF 002 response to a question from Ambassador, Bezsmertny acknowledged that Tymoshenko had not read, let alone agreed to, this latest text.
2006, May 24
Ukraine: Kramer-wood 5/22 Meeting With Former Chief Of Staff Oleksandr Zinchenko
The Man Who Lit the Fuse ————————
¶2. (C) EUR DAS David Kramer and Deputy National Security Adviser to the Vice President Joseph Wood, accompanied by Ambassador, met May 22 with former State Secretary Oleksandr Zinchenko, whose September 2005 public allegations of corruption against members of President Yushchenko’s inner circle sparked the breakup of the original Orange coalition. Yushchenko answered Zinchenko’s accusations by sacking Prime Minister Yuliya Tymoshenko (who was not the subject of Zinchenko’s corruption allegations) and removing anti-Tymoshenko close associates National Security and Defense Council (NSDC) Secretary Petro Poroshenko and senior presidential aide Oleksandr Tretyakov (who were in Zinchenko’s sights). The moves sent Ukraine into a period of political limbo from which it has yet to fully emerge. (Note: The media reported on May 24 that Zinchenko may soon be dismissed as leader of his Party of Patriotic Forces of Ukraine, which finished 30th — with 0.10 percent of the total vote — in the March 26 parliamentary and local elections.)
2006, May 24
Ukraine: Farewell Call On Pm-hopeful Tymoshenko On Eve Of Rada Opening
¶1. (C) Summary: Ambassador paid his farewell call on PM-aspirant Yuliya Tymoshenko May 24, the day prior to the opening of the new parliament (Rada) May 25. Tymoshenko said she and her team had stayed up “all night” analyzing the completely new coalition proposal Our Ukraine (OU) had sprung on the Tymoshenko Bloc (BYuT) and the Socialists May 23, a day on which “all of my optimism (on coalition prospects) fell away.” Tymoshenko, who had just completed a phone call with President Yushchenko trying to agree on the way forward in the coming days, felt slightly better about the coalition May 24. However, she complained again about maneuvering by her archrival Petro Poroshenko, who she said was forging working arrangements with ex-PM Yanukovych’s Regions Party, lining up support for a potential vote in favor of Yanukovych as PM, and spiking chances for an Orange coalition. While BYuT could live with the OU-proposed program elements on foreign and domestic policy and the program for the next government, the suggested new coalition rules were a recipe to destroy an effective Orange coalition, not to maintain it; the section on personnel choices was also objectionable. Tymoshenko said she and Moroz would make a joint public appeal at 1300 May 24 to send a positive signal to Ukrainian society about coalition prospects and seek to secure a joint meeting with Yushchenko after the Rada opening; she would meet OU chief negotiator Bezsmertny at 1500 hours to sort through what exactly the new OU proposal was intended to accomplish. Tymoshenko thanked Ambassador for his contributions to Ukraine over the past three years, particularly during the Orange Revolution, and suggested it was regrettable to have a gap between Ambassadors at this critical moment of coalition formation. End summary.
Expected “May Surprise” Emerges from OU, Poroshenko ——————————————— ——
¶2. (C) Yuliya Tymoshenko, accompanied by foreign policy adviser and MP Hryhoriy Nemyrya, told Ambassador that she and her team had stayed up all night assessing the “completely new” OU coalition proposal passed by courier mid-day May 23. Two months of work had been lost, with the Rada opening May
¶25. BYuT had been expecting such a maneuver from OU from the beginning. While BYuT could accept the foreign, domestic, economic, and social policy programs, as well as the proposed agenda for the new government, the new rules and personnel sections were completely unacceptable; they were designed to destroy an Orange coalition, not keep it intact. Poroshenko had secured the OU Political Council’s endorsement of his candidacy as Rada Speaker, which would be a disaster; his collaboration with Regions in the Rada Working Group (below) would continue, voting one day with Regions and the next with the government, dooming any effectiveness of an Orange coalition. Poroshenko‘s team also aimed to have presidential confidant Oleksandr Tretyakov return to the Presidential Secretariat, ex-Ministers Zhvaniya and Chervonenko to the SIPDIS Cabinet, Martynenko as head of OU’s Rada faction, and PM Yekhanurov as the head of the National Security and Defense Council (NSDC), she claimed.
¶3. (C) May 23 had been a down day for Orange prospects across the board, since Poroshenko had maneuvered within the Rada Working Group working with Regions, not BYuT and the Socialists, on planning for the next Rada, including folding the Euro-Integration Committee (note: which took the lead on NATO issues) into the Foreign Policy Committee, and splitting the National Security and Defense Committee into a Defense Committee to be headed by OU and a National Security Committee to be headed by Regions. BYuT deputy leader Turchynov had met with Poroshenko, but the trilateral OU-BYuT-Socialist preparatory work on both the coalition document and in the working group had been ignored.
¶4. (C) For its part, Regions was busy attempting to buy MPs to secure a majority that would vote in favor of Yanukovych as PM, alleged Tymoshenko. She was aware of 16 BYuT MPs who had met with Regions at Regions’ invitation; the money offered to support Yanukovych ranged from $1.5 million to $10 million; in addition, Poroshenko had secured roughly 12 OU MPs willing to turn. The alleged plan was for Regions to “spontaneously” raise a vote for a possible PM candidate, attain roughly 230 votes in favor of Yanukovych (Regions plus bought deputies from the Communists as well as BYuT, OU, and the Socialists), and then use that as leverage against Yushchenko, forcing his hand in favor of an OU-Regions coalition. Tymoshenko warned that this was a dangerous but potentially successful gambit, particularly if the prices rose to $15 million; few MPs could resist the lure to secure the future of themselves and their children. Whither Yushchenko? KIEV 00001992 002 OF 002
¶6. (C) Ambassador asked about Yushchenko’s views on Poroshenko‘s play for the Rada Speakership. Tymoshenko replied that she did not sense Yushchenko supported Poroshenko, but acknowledged the situation was complex; Yushchenko did not seem to have an entirely free hand to run his party. BYuT had mapped out the various OU MP groupings and leaders and was engaging them. Kinakh, Rukh (Tarasyuk), Katerynchuk, and Stretovych’s small factions seemed to be approaching the coalition negotiation process normally.
2006, May 19
Ukraine: Kinakh And Fm Tarasyuk On Coalition Negotiations As Of May 17
¶4. (C) Commenting on Tymoshenko’s public claim on the Premiership and suggestion that Socialist leader Moroz should be made Rada Speaker because Our Ukraine had the Presidency (Yushchenko), Kinakh rejected efforts to “drag the Presidency” down to a bargaining chip in coalition negotiations. In response to Ambassador’s question about whether OU would accept Tymoshenko as Premier if she were to KIEV 00001940 002 OF 003 accept an OU Speaker, Kinakh hedged, replying: “basically, yes.” Poroshenko was not a serious OU candidate for Speaker, Kinakh suggested, his name mentioned more to make him feel good and to increase pressure on Tymoshenko; Yushchenko would not back Poroshenko as Speaker. Yekhanurov and Bezsmertny were more realistic, and Moroz would eventually back down because he knew he would have more influence inside an Orange coalition than outside the alternative (OU-Regions).
¶5. (C) The real issue, Kinakh continued, would be whether Tymoshenko could secure 226 votes in the Rada, even with a signed coalition agreement behind her. Kinakh claimed that in all three potential factions with 243 MPs — OU, Socialists, and even BYuT itself — there were MPs who would vote against Tymoshenko’s PM candidacy. Regions was working hard at peeling away MPs, claimed Kinakh. With 186 MPs of their own and 21 Communist MPs “willing to vote however they are paid,” Regions only needed to find another 19 MPs to block action. Were they to succeed and defeat a Tymoshenko premiership vote, that would be a serious blow to the Orange team and to the system. As a result, if OU were to embrace the Tymoshenko option, there would have to be a guarantee of success. Kinakh suggested that Yushchenko was not yet ready to cut the final deal with Tymoshenko, but that unspecified others were already at work preparing ways of forcing her eventual resignation were she to emerge as PM. (Note: Tymoshenko has told us Poroshenko is leading this charge; see ref B.)
2006, May 19
Ukraine: Defense Minister On Coalition Talks, Honest Officials, Belarus, And Nato Pfp Trust Fund
The Integrity Meter ——————-
¶2. (C) When Ambassador told Hrytsenko that he was one of the handful of senior officials who clearly put the good of the country first, Hrytsenko asked who were the others. Ambassador mentioned Presidential Chief of Staff Oleh Rybachuk, Foreign Minister Borys Tarasyuk, Interior Minister Yuri Lutsenko, Economics Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk and Finance Minister Viktor Pynzenyk. Hrytsenko agreed with all, save Lutsenko. When Ambassador said he was not commenting on competence (Our Ukraine bloc official Roman Zvarych told us recently that Lutsenko was not effective), Hrytsenko responded that there might also be issues of integrity, but he had no details. (Comment: The first such allegations we have heard about Lutsenko.) Hrytsenko also criticized Rybachuk’s ability to get things done. Hrytsenko then praised the integrity of DPM Vyacheslav Kyrylenko and young Transportation Minister Viktor Bodnar (who was rumored to be a creature of Yushchenko adviser Petro Poroshenko and Zaporizhzhya Governor Yevhen Chervonenko), saying that he had taken some difficult stands.
2006, May 15
Ukraine: Updates From Bezsmertny And Tymoshenko – Yushchenko Different Post Vilnius, But No Done Deal
¶1. (C) Summary: A downbeat and cynical Roman Bezsmertny and a more relaxed Yuliya Tymoshenko separately assessed the current stated of play in coalition negotiations with Charge May 11-12; their characterizations largely tracked, though not completely. Both said that Yushchenko’s attitude towards formation of an orange coalition had changed for the better after Yushchenko’s meetings with the Vice President and EU High Rep Solana in Vilnius May 4, leading to a two-hour Yushchenko-Tymoshenko meeting May 5. Negotiators for Our Ukraine (OU), Tymoshenko’s Bloc (BYuT), and the Socialist Party of Ukraine (SPU) would attempt agreement on a preliminary version of the coalition document by May 14, allowing for a group meeting with Yushchenko May 15 or 16. That said, neither discounted the possibility that a Regions-OU coalition might eventually emerge. Bezsmertny estimated 15 percent of OU MPs supported the Regions option; Tymoshenko named names: Petro Poroshenko, Mykola Martynenko, Presidential adviser Vira Ulyachenko, PM Yuri Yekhanurov, and Anatoliy Kinakh, for starters. Tymoshenko said that even if she detected a warmer attitude by Yushchenko personally towards her and an orange coalition, the insider clique led by Poroshenko would do everything possible to scuttle orange coalition prospects, leading to the Regions option, regardless of the damage to Yushchenko’s political future. Bezsmertny said that he was finished trying to push the coalition process faster than internal OU dynamics would allow. Both suggested final cabinet formation could occur as late as mid-late July, based on a Rada opening of May 24-25.
¶2. (C) Comment: After several months of uncharacteristic constructive optimism, the vintage cynical and caustic Bezsmertny was back; Bezsmertny clearly is still nursing wounds following criticism by Yushchenko/Our Ukraine’s Executive Council that he had leaned too far forward April 13 in reconstituting the Orange Coalition (ref A). Bezsmertny, who seemed deflated, without the energy or drive he exhibited the past several months, said the process of coalition building was worse that it was a month ago because it has lost momentum – confirming what Tymoshenko told us April 28 when she said OU negotiators were merely going through the motions without enthusiasm (ref B). Tymoshenko was clearly much better disposed towards Yushchenko in her May 12 comments but saw the hand of archrival Poroshenko everywhere trying to control Yushchenko and attempting to scuttle the orange coalition. Nemyria, who had met former Polish President Kwasniewski earlier in the week, said that Kwasniewski would reinforce the need for an orange coalition with Yushchenko in Warsaw May 12. Ambassador will revisit the main negotiators the week of May 15 once Yushchenko meets with the group. End Summary and Comment.
…but no done deal for Orange, and a two-month timeframe ——————————————— ————
¶7. (C) That all said, Bezsmertny and Tymoshenko both stressed that Yushchenko still had not decided definitively in favor of an Orange Coalition with Tymoshenko as Premier. Spurred on by an influential clique of insiders who favored a deal with Regions, Yushchenko had not made a final choice. Bezsmertny downplayed the “ongoing conversation” between the Presidential Secretariat/Yekhanurov and Regions as not serious; there were no documents in preparation that could serve as a basis for a coalition. Tymoshenko claimed that the contacts were “serious and continuous,” fingering her archrival Poroshenko, outgoing OU Rada faction leader Martynenko, Kinakh (who submitted a letter of resignation as National Security and Defense Council Secretary May 12, according to press reports, to assume his Rada mandate), influential adviser to Yushchenko and friend of First Lady Kataryna Vira Ulyachenko, whom she alleged was accepting money from Regions, and PM Yekhanurov, whom Tymoshenko suggested thought he could stay on as PM in exchange for Yanukovych becoming Rada Speaker and Regions controlling more than half the Cabinet slots. Tymoshenko said it was not even clear where Presidential Chief of Staff Rybachuk now stood; as strange as it seemed to her, there were indications he was leaning in favor of the Regions option now (comment: this does not sound right to us; we will follow up with Rybachuk).
¶10. (C) Tymoshenko stated that reaching agreement on personnel choices would be very difficult; Bezsmertny expressed a similar view, noting that 80 percent of OU MPs favored an orange coalition, but most of them opposed Tymoshenko as PM. She alleged that OU’s Zvarych had said in the most recent negotiating session that BYuT would need to accept Poroshenko as Rada Speaker if coalition discussions were to proceed any further (note: Yushchenko and OU publicly stick to the line that there would be no discussion of positions until after the coalition document were signed). Tymoshenko also claimed that Yushchenko/OU were attempting to expand Presidential prerogative in the coalition negotiations by making a bid to keep all the “siloviki” (law enforcement related personnel) in place. She felt that would be a disaster, since the Prosecutor General and his deputies (Medvedko, Shokin, Vinokurov), the Security Service (SBU) Chief Dryzhchany, and even Interior Minister Lutsenko were all affiliated with Poroshenko, if not also connected to Regions, in the case of Medvedko, a Donetsk native. She claimed that Socialist leaders Moroz and Vinsky were now privately disavowing connections with Lutsenko.
Two takes on the Rada Working Group, and the hand of Poro ——————————————— ————
¶11. (C) The one issue on which Bezsmertny struck a more optimistic note than Tymoshenko concerned the Rada Working Group, comprised of MPs-elect from Regions (12), BYuT (9), OU (6), SPU (2), and the Communists (2), plus outgoing Speaker Lytvyn, established to organize the opening of the new Rada prior to formation of a governing coalition. Bezsmertny noted that OU, BYuT, SPU were working together and predicted Socialist MP-elect Bokyi would be chosen Working Group Chair, perhaps May 15, though OU had nominated Yushchenko’s representative to the Rada Klyuchkovsky. (Note: May 11 press reports indicated that OU, BYuT, and SPU had rejected the candidacy of outgoing Communist deputy Speaker Martynyuk, supported by Party of Regions and the Communists.)
¶12. (C) In contrast, Tymoshenko saw worrying signs in the working group, particularly what she termed as the destructive role of Poroshenko, whom she blamed for having prevented progress in the first three sessions. Poroshenko alone had openly supported the proposal of Regions’ MP Azarov to require a two-thirds majority to make working group decisions, effectively giving Regions a veto (she added that Poroshenko and Azarov were close, perhaps business partners). BYuT and the SPU had rejected the proposal, she added. In the next meeting with Yushchenko, she and Moroz would raise the problem of the working group dynamics; she would suggest that either Poroshenko be replaced or that Yushchenko give clear instructions on the attitude and approach OU members should adopt.
¶13. (C) The main obstacle to formation of the OU-BYuT-SPU coalition was Poroshenko, she stressed; it almost seemed that Yushchenko was not entirely free to make his own decisions, or able to shake loose from those operating not in his interests but their own. Even if the Orange Coalition were to form, Poroshenko and his clique would work hard to bring it down as quickly as possible; they were already laying such plans, she claimed. This was why it was important to keep Poroshenko out of the government and the Rada leadership and find some post for him to keep him out of the mix, ideally an Ambassadorship out of the country.
¶14. (C) The problem appeared to be a seemingly unshakable bond between Yushchenko and Poroshenko which she could not quite explain. She wondered out loud whether Poroshenko had something he could hold against Yushchenko, perhaps joint business deals (she cited rumors allegedly sourced from Yushchenko bodyguards that Yushchenko and Poroshenko had a relatively recent screaming match). Poroshenko and others acted out of their own interest without regard to the damage an alliance with Regions would do to Yushchenko’s base, reputation, and chances for re-election in 2009. Ukrainian society wanted clarity and decisiveness from its leaders; the OU strategy to delay was self-defeating for Yushchenko. Acknowledging that OU insiders saw her as Yushchenko’s main 2009 opponent, she said that she had explained to Yushchenko May 5 why that was not the case. She had told Yushchenko that Yanukovych would be his only serious opponent in 2009. She was ready to support him through 2009 and beyond on a common program; giving governorships in Donetsk, Luhansk, and Kharkiv to Regions now only buttressed Yanukovych’s ability KIEV 00001851 004 OF 004 to mount a serious campaign, which would start in 2008, two years away.
2006, Apr 28
Ukraine: Somber Tymoshenko Down On Orange Prospects Amid Our Ukraine-regions Machinations
Our Ukraine and Regions form local coalitions ———————————————
¶3. (C) The real action, Tymoshenko stressed, was now happening at the local level, where local alliances were forming between Our Ukraine (OU) and Regions. As if on cue, her cell phone rang; a Tymoshenko Bloc (BYuT) representative on the Kiev municipal council informed her that Our Ukraine, Regions, and the Chernovetsky bloc had just formed a 65-person majority and elected the council leadership. This culminated a string of similar alliances in neighborhood district councils across Kiev in recent days, Tymoshenko claimed, except where BYuT had an outright majority and could elect its own chair. While outgoing OU Rada faction leader Martynenko was the formal OU leader in Kiev, OU insider Petro Poroshenko was the informal leader of the effort. OU, Regions, and Chernovetsky’s bloc formally had only 46 seats, but they had bought the loyalties of others. BYuT council members had come under intense pressure to switch factions, she claimed, being offered $100,000 as a carrot on the one hand and being threatened with a loss of business from the municipality as a stick on the other. Shaking her head, she said that OU had made a big mistake delivering Kiev into the hands of Regions.
2006, Apr 28
Ukraine: Our Ukraine Insider Poroshenko On Rada Majority Coalition Talks, Tymoshenko
¶1. (C) During an April 28 meeting with Ambassador, Our Ukraine (OU) insider Petro Poroshenko emphatically denied he was using his influence with the Prosecutor General to put pressure on Tymoshenko lieutenant Oleksandr Turchynov (refs A and B). Coalition talks with the Tymoshenko Bloc (BYuT) were continuing, but there was no progress to report; President Yushchenko still seemed unwilling to accept Tymoshenko as prime minister and was “listening” to influential advocates of cooperation with the Party of Regions. Poroshenko claimed that he was personally opposed to an “Orange-Blue” pairing. Poroshenko related that he had spoken at length with Tymoshenko on April 27; she had sought, and then spurned, his assistance in forming a BYuT-OU coalition in the Kiev city council. Poroshenko confided that he had spoken with Tymoshenko during the Orthodox Easter weekend (April 22-23); she had called him to ask “what he wanted” in return for his support for her serving again as PM. Poroshenko said he had replied that he wanted her to be more flexible and less high-handed in the coalition talks. Poroshenko groused that Tymoshenko could not be trusted, stressing that she was not candid and not “principled.” It was very possible, Poroshenko warned, that there could be a crisis scenario in which Tymoshenko and Yushchenko simply could not get a coalition deal done. End summary.
Poroshenko: Denies Pressuring Turchynov… ——————————————
¶2. (C) During an April 28 meeting with Ambassador, Our Ukraine (OU) insider Petro Poroshenko denied that he was behind Prosecutor General Oleksandr Medvedko’s recent decision to issue an arrest warrant for Tymoshenko lieutenant Oleksandr Turchynov (ref A). Poroshenko claimed he had not spoken with Medvedko “for three or four months”; informally, Poroshenko had heard that the PG’s office did not want to actually arrest Turchynov, but simply question him about the alleged destruction of SBU files on organized crime figure Seymon Mogilievich. Poroshenko added that he thought Turchynov was innocent; the files had been destroyed by Turchynov’s then-deputy at the SBU/now Tymoshenko Bloc MP-elect, Andriy Kozhemyakin. Poroshenko protested that he had “no motivation” to put pressure on Turchynov (ref B).
…Offers Version of Latest Coalition Talks… ——————————————— –
¶3. (C) Poroshenko said that the new Rada would likely convene after May 20. He noted that coalition talks with Bloc Tymoshenko (BYuT) were continuing, but there was no progress to report. Poroshenko had spoken briefly with President Yushchenko following an Orthodox Easter (April 23) church service, and Yushchenko “still did not seem ready” to accept Tymoshenko as an Orange coalition prime minister. As for the prospect of an Orange-Blue pairing between OU and the Party of Regions, Poroshenko claimed that he was “90 percent certain” he would vote against such a deal; however, Yushchenko, listening to the whispers of advisers like Prime Minister Yekhanurov, seemed “more ready than I am” to form a coalition with Regions. Poroshenko added that he had spoken on April 27 with Party of Regions leader Viktor Yanukovych about the possibility of OU cooperation with Regions at the local level.
…Provides Details on Phone Conversations with Tymoshenko… ——————————————— —————-
¶4. (C) Poroshenko also related that he had spoken at length on April 27 with Tymoshenko, who sought his help in building an OU-BYuT coalition in the Kiev city council. Poroshenko said he had met with Tymoshenko’s emissaries and agreed to support BYuT’s preferences for positions on the council and in Kiev’s district governments. Following those discussions, Tymoshenko had called Poroshenko to abruptly declare that BYuT no longer needed to work with OU; BYuT candidates did not need OU’s help to secure their positions — a prediction that Poroshenko said turned out to be wrong.
…And (Again) Emphasizes that Tymoshenko Cannot be Trusted ——————————————— ————–
¶5. (C) Confiding to Ambassador that he had also spoken with Tymoshenko during Orthodox Easter weekend (April 22-23), Poroshenko complained that Tymoshenko was getting KIEV 00001706 002 OF 002 increasingly difficult to deal with. She had called him to ask “what he wanted” in return for supporting an Orange coalition with her as prime minister. Poroshenko had replied that “what he wanted” was for her to be more flexible and “not issue ultimatums” during the coalition talks, as her high-handedness was senselessly antagonizing key OU players. Repeating a familiar refrain, Poroshenko stressed that Tymoshenko could not be trusted; she was not candid and was not a “principled” person. It was “very possible,” Poroshenko warned, that there would be a crisis scenario in which Tymoshenko and Yushchenko could not get a coalition deal done. After speaking with Tymoshenko, it was clear that she “did not trust” OU, Poroshenko said. And when there is no trust, he added, “it is hard to get things done.”
¶6. (C) As with much of what we are hearing about the motivations, goals, characters, etc. of the various “other sides” in the majority coalition talks, Poroshenko‘s claims about his arch-nemesis Tymoshenko and his protestations of innocence re PG moves against Tymoshenko lieutenant Turchynov have to be taken with a large grain of salt. But this grain may be larger than most of the others. While we have no proof in hand, too many interlocutors point to Poroshenko as one of OU’s leading proponents of a coalition with Regions to simply believe he would be at most a reluctant follower were Yushchenko and Yekhanurov to take the party that direction.
2006, Apr 28
Ukraine: Our Ukraine’s Zvarych On Agreements, Working Groups, And Maybe A Coalition
Tymoshenko vs. Poroshenko: still adversaries ——————————————–
¶8. (C) Zvarych opined that Tymoshenko was “locked in a dialectic” in which she was continually fighting with Yushchenko advisor Petro Poroshenko and wanted to “ruin” him. Zvarych said he had not had any conversations with Tymoshenko where she had not mentioned Poroshenko in “irate” terms. Zvarych said Tymoshenko “went off” whenever Poroshenko was mentioned for government positions during coalition negotiations. Asked about the criminal investigation of BYuT negotiatior and Tymoshenko lieutenant Oleksandr Turchynov and its possible effect on coalition negotiations, Zvarych defended the prosecution, citing Turchynov’s illegal eavesdropping while at the SBU, destruction of documents concerning crimeboss Seymon Mogilievich, and mishandling of the Gongadze case.
OU-Regions contacts: informal only ———————————-
¶9. (C) Queried about contacts between OU and Viktor Yanukovych’s Party of Regions, Zvarych asserted that there were only informal contacts between specific people in the parties, and that there was no formal working group between OU and Regions. (Note: This contradicts what Yanukovych told us April 27 — see septel.) Zvarych said that Poroshenko was in contact with Regions, as were local party leaders, but that only one local coalition agreement had been signed. That was in Zakarpattya and had been brokered by Emergency Situations Minister and local powerbroker Viktor Baloha. Zvarych averred that the coalition situation outside Kiev was “total chaos” and that the local party structures were hard to control. Zvarych said local OU organizations were working against BYuT, because outside Kiev, BYuT KIEV 00001698 003 OF 003 initially refused to deal with OU. Zvarych said that in the Kiev city Rada, BYuT’s Mykhaylo Brodsky refused to work with OU, trying to form an alliance with Mayor Leonid Chernovetsky, forcing OU to work with Regions. Zvarych said Regions oligarch and MP-elect Rinat Akhmetov and Yushchenko advisor Oleksandr Tretyakov were talking informally because they had issues in common as businessmen.
2006, Apr 27
Ukraine: Baptists Caught In Middle Of Rada Coalition Formation Struggle?
¶1. (C) In an April 27 meeting with Ambassador, the longtime head of the All-Ukraine Baptist Union, Gregoriy Komendant, asked for help in stopping the Prosecutor General’s Office from seizing the Union’s downtown Kiev headquarters building. Beginning in November 2005, the PGO has accused the Union, and Komendant personally, of “wrongfully acquiring” the facility, which the Baptists have documents showing they legally own and have used since Soviet times. Komendant characterized the PGO charges as “absurd.” Komendant said he could not rule out the possibility that the Union’s difficulties were linked to Ukraine’s contentious political infighting, including the ongoing post-election parliamentary majority coalition formation process. He acknowledged that this move by Prosecutor General Medvedko (a crony of presidential Our Ukraine insider and Tymoshenko rival Petro Poroshenko) to seize the Union’s headquarters was quite possibly an attempt to put pressure on Tymoshenko lieutenant Oleksandr Turchynov, a prominent Baptist minister and key player in the coalition talks. End summary.
Pressuring Turchynov ——————–
¶4. (C) In a letter that he gave Ambassador, Komendant wrote that “we do no know who ordered this attack…or whether it is due to religious prejudice, political motivation or a corrupt attempt to steal a tiny plot of land in central Kiev without offering to pay fair market or replacement value. Whatever the cause…it is a contemptible abuse of government power.” In response to a question from Ambassador, Komendant said he could not rule out the possibility that Prosecutor General Oleksandr Medvedko, a crony of Our Ukraine insider and Tymoshenko rival Petro Poroshenko, was attempting to seize the Union’s headquarters to put pressure on Tymoshenko lieutenant Oleksandr Turchynov, a prominent Baptist minister and key player in the bruising coalition formation talks (ref A). According to press reports, Turchynov remains hospitalized in Kiev with hepatitis.
Comment: Collateral Damage ————————–
¶5. (C) Like the PGO’s arrest warrant for Turchynov (ref B), it is quite possible that Petro Poroshenko is behind the Baptist Union’s current difficulties, which only began after the September 2005 Yushchenko-Tymoshenko split, in which Poroshenko and Turchynov were key players. If so, this incident further highlights the lengths to which Poroshenko will go in his rivalry with Tymoshenko, who, along with Turchynov, publicly tarred him as corrupt during the September 2005 struggle that led to Tymoshenko’s ouster as prime minister and Poroshenko‘s resignation as National Security and Defense Council Secretary.
2006, Apr 27
Ukraine: Rada Majority Coalition Talks Resume; Socialist Negotiator Vinsky’s Take On Progress And Prospects
Joint instruction to local branches ———————————–
¶5. (C) Vinsky confirmed press reports that he and his Tymoshenko and Our Ukraine bloc counterparts in the latest talks had signed a joint instruction to provincial/local party branches about forming local alliances between the three parties. He acknowledged that it would be impossible to undo all the damage from the past several weeks, but said that sending a clear signal of intent was important to stabilize the situation and move forward. Vinsky would meet KIEV 00001662 002 OF 003 with 800 local Socialist leaders May 1 to deliver the message in person; the bigger issue was whether Our Ukraine would take action. He claimed that certain Our Ukraine provincial factions controlled by Petro Poroshenko, such as in Vinnytsya and Zhytomyr, would likely not cooperate with BYuT and would continue to seek alliances with Regions and Lytvyn’s bloc, the latter of which did not make it into the national Rada but did win seats in provincial and local councils.
Dealing with Our Ukraine, Tymoshenko, not Regions ——————————————— —-
¶10. (C) Vinsky declined to characterize either Yushchenko or Tymoshenko as a true democrat, adding that Yushchenko aspired instead to be the “good tsar.” Yushchenko’s handling of his KIEV 00001662 003 OF 003 family, his entourage, and his Sumy clique supported this assessment, Vinsky asserted. Vinsky claimed he had raised the matter with Yushchenko directly in early 2005, telling him, “If you are a democrat, then act like one, and choose people who will lead the country democratically, not the people who ran the campaign” (i.e., Poroshenko, Zhvaniya, Chervonenko, etc.). An infuriated Yushchenko did not respond and had not talked to him since, Vinsky said.
2006, Apr 26
Ukraine: Dnsa Crouch’s Nato-themed Dinner Includes A Spicy Serving Of Rada Coalition Talk
Summary and Comment ——————-
¶2. (C) Comment: It was striking that FM Tarasyuk, who previously has been an olive-branch wielding proponent of Orange reconciliation dating back to September 2005 in the aftermath of the dismissal of the Tymoshenko government, sounded more like Our Ukraine’s leading anti-Tymoshenko voice Poroshenko in criticizing Tymoshenko and outlining what would be necessary to make the Orange coalition work. While Tarasyuk said an Orange coalition would eventually form, his tone and body language left his sympathies in doubt. In contrast, Hrytsenko who claimed to be non-partisan (and formally belongs to no party), clearly leaned in sympathies toward Tymoshenko and more forcefully made the case for resolving differences and reaching agreement sooner rather than later. End summary and comment.
2006, Apr 20
Ukraine: President Yushchenko’s Our Ukraine Changes Its Public Tune On Coalition Negotiations
¶1. (SBU) Summary. For several weeks in the wake of the March 26 elections in which it was soundly defeated by Yuliya Tymoshenko’s Bloc (BYuT), Our Ukraine (OU) bloc leaders offered primarily positive public commentary, with reservations, about the formation of an Orange Rada majority coalition and its potential coalition partners, BYuT and the Socialist Party of Ukraine (SPU). OU Negotiators Roman Bezsmertny and Roman Zvarych, the lead advocates for such a “coalition of democratic forces,” provided the public voice for Our Ukraine. However, in the wake of the April 14 rejection of a key component of the coalition protocol negotiated April 13 by Bezsmertny and Zvarych, OU has switched its messengers and the tone of its message. PM Yekhanurov, empowered by Yushchenko to talk to all five parties that made it past the three-percent threshold into the Rada, including Regions and the Communists, assumed a higher public profile and emphasized the supposed high correlation between the platforms of Party of Regions and OU, in pointed comparison supposedly to those of BYuT and the SPU. OU insider Petro Poroshenko repeatedly trashed Tymoshenko as a liar and a blackmailer in an April 18 evening TV appearance, a tone maintained in an April 19 Our Ukraine press release, which sought to lay the blame for lack of coalition talk progress completely on BYuT and the SPU. Several OU MPs openly said that not all OU MPs would vote for Tymoshenko as PM, even if the coalition leaders and President Yushchenko eventually endorsed her candidacy. Even though many OU-BYuT-SPU coalitions had already formed in oblast and city councils across Ukraine, on April 19 People’s Union Our Ukraine (PUOU) forbade local party branches from forging coalitions outside the Our Ukraine camp in oblasts and municipalities without specific authorization from the national party. Meanwhile, no coalition negotiation sessions took place April 14-19, and as of late April 20, none were scheduled. Instead, the parties resorted to increasingly shrill accusations and insults delivered via the media, even while claiming commitment to eventual formation of the three-way coalition.
¶2. (C) Comment: It was perhaps inevitable that, in the wake of the April 14 rejection, Our Ukraine would reduce the role and prominence of the two “Romans” who had negotiated the April 13 protocol on the formation of a coalition with BYuT and the SPU, and take a go-slower approach to coalition formation. But it is also unlikely to be mere coincidence that two of Tymoshenko’s fiercest critics within Our Ukraine, Poroshenko and Yekhanurov, suddenly became the public voices of the party, while the two strongest advocates for an Orange coalition, negotiators Bezsmertny and Zvarych, went completely silent. This is the second time such a switch has happened; after Bezsmertny and Zvarych expressed public willingness on election night to recognize Tymoshenko’s claim on the Premiership based on her strong showing, Yushchenko temporarily yanked Bezsmertny off the negotiating and public voice roles in favor of Yekhanurov, before handing the mandate back to Bezsmertny. Whether this second shift is simply a negotiating tactic designed to place more pressure on Tymoshenko and Moroz to meet Our Ukraine demands or proves to be a harbinger for a more fundamental shift in strategy on coalition formation remains to be seen. End Summary and Comment.
Different messengers, and a harsher message ——————————————-
¶3. (SBU) After the March 26 election in which BYuT delivered a stunning defeat of Our Ukraine (22 to 14 percent of the national Rada vote), the public voice and face of Our Ukraine was largely that of People’s Union Our Ukraine (PUOU) Party and Our Ukraine (OU) Bloc chair Roman Bezsmertny, the most conciliatory advocate of an Orange coalition with BYuT and the SPU, and of accepting Tymoshenko as PM. The PUOU and OU Political Councils empowered Bezsmertny and Zvarych to conduct negotiations with BYuT and the SPU. However, there was always a significant minority of PUOU leaders against accommodating Tymoshenko, and by extension, open to consideration of a deal with Regions as an alternative. In the wake of the April 14 partial rejection by the People’s Union Our Ukraine (PUOU) Executive Council of the April 13 protocol, PUOU and OU Chair Bezsmertny largely disappeared from public view. After several days of silence, the OU vacuum was filled by prominent critics of Tymoshenko, chiefly PM Yekhanurov and Poroshenko.
¶5. (U) Poroshenko-owned Fifth Channel invited both Tymoshenko and Poroshenko to appear on its prime time interview show April 18. Tymoshenko declined a live co-appearance but delivered a taped broadside, saying she would never work with Poroshenko, Yekhanurov, and OU Rada faction leader Martynenko, a trio she accused of attempting to scuttle Orange coalition negotiations in favor of an OU deal with Regions. Poroshenko replied in the studio, repeatedly accusing Tymoshenko of lies, lies, and more lies (brekhnya), twice calling her a blackmailer, and placing the entire blame for the 2005 Orange team divorce on her. He also said OU was ready to contest a repeat election if it came to that.
Playing the blame game, rather than negotiating ——————————————— —
¶7. (SBU) In the absence of any contact by Our Ukraine negotiators with BYuT and SPU from April 14-18, BYuT and SPU leaders met April 18, then held separate news conferences in which Tymoshenko and SPU deputy leader Iosyp Vinsky both voiced support for Tymoshenko to become PM and Moroz to serve as Rada Speaker. Both accused Our Ukraine of holding up the negotiating process and flirting with Regions. Tymoshenko went further, accusing Poroshenko and Martynenko of conspiring with prosecutors to have BYuT MPs-elect (and ex-SBU leaders) Turchynov and Kozhemyatin arrested in an effort to try to provoke BYuT to withdraw from coalition talks.
¶8. (U) The April 19 statement issued by Our Ukraine in reply continued Poroshenko‘s combative tone from the previous evening: “The Yuliya Tymoshenko Bloc is continuing the list of lies that was started during Rada elections. We point out that they are doing everything possible and impossible to break up a coalition with Our Ukraine by reducing the negotiating process to granting the Premier’s position to Tymoshenko and the position of Rada Speaker to the Socialist Party. We emphasize that all responsibility for disrupting the negotiations on setting up a coalition of democratic forces lies with our partners in the negotiations.”
¶10. (SBU) The gamesmanship continued on April 20, with Poroshenko seeking to split the BYuT-SPU alliance by saying KIEV 00001587 003 OF 003 that Our Ukraine would not object to Moroz becoming Rada speaker as long as Our Ukraine retained the Premiership. BYuT, in his opinion, should get several ministerial and oblast governor posts.
¶11. (C) Comment: Given that BYuT received more votes than Our Ukraine and the SPU combined, Poroshenko‘s comment can only be taken as another calculated insult in Tymoshenko’s direction, and an indication that despite OU’s claims to be focused solely on policy issues, jostling over positions continues in parallel. Meanwhile, an entire week has passed without a single trilateral negotiating session having occurred since the April 13 signing of the protocol to form a coalition.
2006, Apr 14
Ukraine: Yushchenko’s Party “endorses” Previous Day’s Coalition Protocol, But Rejects Key Component
¶6. (C) Bezsmertny said that the PUOU meeting, which included all of the party heavyweights save Tymoshenko nemeses Petro Poroshenko and David Zhvaniya, mostly expressed support for the protocol but also included significant criticism of Tymoshenko. In addition, Yushchenko had called Bezsmertny to discuss the negotiations both late on April 13, after the protocol had been signed, as well as early in the morning April 14. The message the first time was: “It is good that you are working at negotiations, but don’t exceed your instructions.” The second time: “It is good to negotiate, but do not give answers before you should. Treat it like a play in the theater; people should not applaud too early.”
Primer on the multiple kitchens of Our Ukraine ——————————————— –
¶12. (SBU) The Our Ukraine electoral bloc also has a little-mentioned Strategic Council which resolved “operational issues” and day-to-day decisions related to the election campaign (what advertising to purchase, etc). If the Political Council acted like the bloc’s board, the Strategic Council acted as the campaign’s management executives. All six are members of PUOU; two stayed in government after the September 2005 shakeup; three were “orange oligarchs” forced from office after unproven allegations of corruption. –Bezsmertny –Zvarych –PM Yekhanurov –Petro Poroshenko –Oleksandr Tretyakov –David Zhvaniya
¶13. (SBU) The People’s Union Our Ukraine Party formed in mid-2005 on the basis of two of the five parties which had formed the 2002 Our Ukraine electoral bloc: Razom (Bezsmertny), and Solidarity (Poroshenko). Of the other three forces, Tarasyuk’s Rukh refused to join the new PUOU party but eventually returned to the 2006 edition of the Our Ukraine electoral bloc. In contrast, Finance Minister Pynzenyk’s Reforms and Order Party and Yuri Kostenko’s Ukrainian People’s Party refused to join both the new party and the electoral bloc, contested the March 26 elections separately, and failed to make it past the three percent threshold. In the immediate aftermath of the March 26 elections, PUOU was the last of the six forces in the Our Ukraine electoral bloc to endorse pursuit of a “Coalition of Democratic Forces” with BYuT and the Socialists. PUOU’s Executive Council (“Presidium”) has seven members, plus Zvarych as secretary. According to Bezsmertny’s assistant, Zhvaniya often “shows up” but is not a formal member. –Bezsmertny (Chair) –Yekhanurov –Tretyakov —Poroshenko –Mykola Martynenko (note: OU Rada faction leader in the outgoing Rada) –Pavlo Zhebrivsky (note: former Zhytomyr governor, associated with Poroshenko) –Borys Bespaly (note: has a generally good reputation for integrity)
2006, Apr 14
Ukraine: Interior Minister Ordered To Arrest Tymoshenko Lieutenant
¶1. (C) Interior Minister Yuriy Lutsenko told Ambassador on April 14 that he had been ordered by the Prosecutor General (PG) to arrest senior Tymoshenko Bloc politicians Oleksandr Turchynov and Andriy Kozhemyakin for illegally destroying Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) files on the January gas deal with Russia and on organized crime figure Seymon Mogilievich. Turchynov had served as SBU head when Tymoshenko was prime minister (February-September 2005); Kozhemyakin had been Turchynov’s deputy in charge of combating corruption and organized crime. A lengthy March 16 Ukrainska Pravda (UP) article, citing sources within the SBU, asserted that Kozhemyakin had signed the destruction order for the Mogilievich files just one day before then-Prime Minister Tymoshenko was sacked (September 8, 2005); the UP article speculated that the files may have been destroyed because they contained evidence of illegal wiretapping against Tymoshenko rivals like Petro Poroshenko and/or evidence of shady business deals between Mogilievich and Tymoshenko when she headed United Energy Systems in the mid-late 1990s. Lutsenko characterized the PG Medvedko’s arrest order as “crazy” and clearly instigated by Tymoshenko nemesis and purported Medvedko patron Petro Poroshenko; nonetheless, the Interior Ministry was legally obligated to carry it out. Lutsenko related that his ministry would “go through the motions” but not actually take Turchynov and Kozhemyakin into custody — an approach personally blessed by President Yushchenko. Echoing comments made to DCM (reftel), Lutsenko warned that it would be dangerous for Turchynov to serve as Interior Minister as part of an Orange coalition deal. Tymoshenko only wanted Turchynov in the ministry to collect damaging information about her enemies, Lutsenko said. End summary.
X Files ——-
¶4. (U) The UP article, again citing unidentified sources within the SBU, sketched out three possible reasons for Turchynov’s alleged destruction order: — The files contained evidence that the SBU had illegally wiretapped then-National Security and Defense Council Chief (and Tymoshenko rival) Petro Poroshenko, presidential senior aide Oleksandr Tretyakov, and President Yushchenko’s brother, Petro; — The documents were photocopied before being destroyed, so they can be used in the future to discredit President Yushchenko and other major politicians. (Note: Under Ukrainian law, with the originals destroyed, law enforcement agencies cannot pursue criminal charges for “disclosing investigative sec rets.”); and/or, KIEV 00001531 002 OF 002 — The files contained information about Tymoshenko’s cooperation with Mogilievich when she ran United Energy Systems in the mid-late 1990s.
Poroshenko to Blame ——————-
¶5. (C) Lutsenko characterized the PG’s order to arrest Turchynov and Kozhemyakin as “crazy.” However, the Interior Ministry was legally obliged to carry it out. Lutsenko said that his ministry would “go through the motions” but would not actually take the politicians into custody. Lutsenko added that he had called President Yushchenko and explained his planned course of inaction; Yushchenko had agreed. In response to a question from Ambassador, Lutsenko confirmed that the PG had issued the arrest orders at the request of Poroshenko. Lutsenko added that Turchynov “knew about all of this.”
¶7. (C) This incident highlights the extremes to which Poroshenko will go in his rivalry with Tymoshenko. He is clearly sparing no effort to pay her back for publicly tarring him as corrupt during the September 2005 struggle that led to Tymoshenko’s ouster as prime minister and Poroshenko‘s resignation as NSDC Secretary. Lutsenko’s concerns about Turchynov as Interior Minister are not farfetched.
2006, Apr 3
Ukraine: Looking Toward A Renewed Orange Coalition Amid Calls For A Recount
¶1. (C) Summary: Amid increasing signs that Ukraine might see a renewed Orange “Maidan” coalition in the wake of March 26 elections, there have been calls by some for a recount of the election results. Most of the pressure comes from a handful of parties that failed to reach the three-percent threshold for representation in the parliament (Verkhovna Rada), even though evidence supporting claims of miscounts mostly relates to provincial and local elections. However, Our Ukraine insider Petro Poroshenko has also endorsed the recount concept, perhaps as a means to delay or prevent the return of archrival Yuliya Tymoshenko to the PM’s chair. Two non-binding resolutions, one calling for partial vote counts at PSCs where falsification has been alleged, and a second calling for a nation-wide recount, will be considered by the lame duck Rada April 4; Yushchenko has signaled his intent to address the Rada prior to consideration of the measures. The Rada will also swear in Constitutional Court judges nominated in November 2005 by the judiciary and Yushchenko, at long last giving the Court a quorum again. The Central Election Commission (CEC) expects to receive the remaining original protocols of polling station vote counts April 3; CEC Chair Davydovych suggested March 31 that official final results should be announced by April 10. Rada contacts predicted the first sitting of the new Rada would occur in early May, at which time efforts to elect a new Speaker and divide up committee chairs and assignments would begin, and the clock on the 30-day period to form a parliamentary majority would start. End summary.
No April Fools joke: a Maidan reunion in the works ——————————————— —–
¶2. (U) In an April 1 radio address to the nation, President Yushchenko said that the next government coalition based on a Rada majority should be formed by the political forces which defended democracy on the Maidan during the Orange Revolution. The next steps, said Yushchenko, would be to sign an agreement on the coalition’s policy objectives, and then a negotiated distribution of governmental posts. Yushchenko also called for all parties/blocs elected to the Rada to sign a “stability pact,” in which the sides would agree on principles related to “the consolidation of the Ukrainian nation.”
3, (C) Note: The Maidan parties that made it past the three-percent threshold are the Tymoshenko bloc (BYuT), Our Ukraine, and the Socialist Party (SPU). The three are projected to have 243 of 450 seats in the new Rada (129, 81, 33 seats, respectively). Tymoshenko’s desire to return as PM is well-known; Moroz and the SPU have laid down a public claim for their share of all positions. Some of the Our Ukraine insiders forced from office in the September 2005 government reshuffle but still close to Yushchenko, particularly ex-National Security and Defense Council Secretary Petro Poroshenko, however, have been SIPDIS resisting/delaying a renewed alliance with Tymoshenko.
What next? Lame duck Rada consideration of recount ——————————————— ——
¶5. (SBU) Calls for a recount in the aftermath of a sporadically messy vote count, particularly for races at the local level, have been led by a handful of the 40 parties that failed to make it over the three-percent threshold into the national Rada: Natalya Vitrenko’s People’s Opposition bloc (2.93%), Speaker Lytvyn’s bloc (2.43%), Kostenko-Plyushch’s bloc (1.87%), Viche (1.71%), Pora-Reforms and Order (Pora-PRP – 1.47%), NeTak (1.01%), and the National Democratic Party (NDP – 0.49%). Citing a list of alleged falsifications and inaccuracies in preparation of the voting protocols, the minor parties have jointly called for a re-count. Some of the successful parties have also complained about incidents of alleged fraud, and in the March 31 edition “Svoboda Slova” (“Freedom of Speech,” a popular TV show), Regions, the Socialists, and Our Ukraine’s Petro Poroshenko said they would support recount resolutions to be considered by the Rada April 4.
¶7. (C) Comment: Petro Poroshenko, in supporting a recount, would be seeking to at least slow down the return of archrival Tymoshenko to the PM’s chair. In addition to his public comments on “Svoboda Slova” March 31, he admitted as much in a recent meeting with the UK embassy, according to UK DCM Martin Harris (please protect). Yushchenko’s publicly expressed sentiments on the issue also suggest he is not in a hurry to put the issue to rest and move forward. In his April 1 radio address, he said that while the March 26 election was conducted without massive fraud, at times local officials tried to alter the results in favor of some forces. Ukrainska Pravda reported that Yushchenko subsequently requested CEC Chair Davydovych to give careful consideration to the minor parties’ request for a recount.
2006, Mar 30
Ukraine Election 2006: Winners, Losers, Trends
The Big Losers: Lytvyn and Our Ukraine ————————————–
¶11. (C) Our Ukraine’s disappointing performance — which has been characterized by many as a defeat for Yushchenko — is also a reminder that Yushchenko’s electorate in 2004 voted for him out of several motivations, not just in favor of Yushchenko. One early 2005 survey indicated that only 37 percent of those who said they had voted for Yushchenko had done so primarily because they supported Yushchenko personally; 34 percent did so primarily to protest Kuchmaism, and 29 percent did so primarily to defend their right to choose. PUOU’s party leadership is currently dominated by the same unpopular Orange oligarchs — Poroshenko, Zhvaniya, Tretyakov, Chervonenko — who Yushchenko was forced to jettison in the September 2005 government shakeup, but who still form Yushchenko’s “kitchen cabinet.” Our Ukraine’s poor organization for the 2006 election cycle does not bode well either for Yushchenko’s presumed run for re-election in 2009 or for the next Rada cycle in 2011, unless it follows Rybachuk’s advice and rebuilds its organization.
2006, Mar 29
Ukraine: Socialist Moroz On Coalition Negotiations: “maidan” Reunited Is Only Feasible Option
Maidan reunited is the only option… ————————————-
¶3. (C) Moroz supported the widely perceived notion that the largest stumbling block to an Orange rapprochement remained personality conflicts between Tymoshenko and not only Yushchenko, but also his inner circle, in particular ex-National Security and Defense Council Secretary Petro Poroshenko. Yushchenko’s inner circle would do all that it could to prevent Tymoshenko from becoming Premier again, but it was Moroz’s assessment that that group favored an Orange coalition if it could be arranged without Tymoshenko as PM. Our Ukraine’s leaders knew that if they were to cut a deal with Regions, they would lose the support of their political base.
2006, Mar 27
Ukraine: Orange Coalition Talks Stall
¶1. (C) Summary: On the basis of exit polls projecting a surprisingly strong second-place showing in the March 26 parliamentary elections for her eponymous bloc, Yuliya Tymoshenko is driving to close a deal that will reunite the original Orange coalition and return her to the PM slot. Oleksandr Moroz’ Socialist Party reportedly is on board to reunite. Despite early positive statements by leaders in President Yushchenko’s Our Ukraine bloc, Yushchenko has not yet spoken publicly about the election results or a possible majority coalition in the Rada. A Tymoshenko-driven press conference to sign the coalition agreement was postponed the morning of March 27 due to an ongoing meeting of the Our Ukraine political council. Close Yushchenko advisor and former Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council Petro Poroshenko told Ambassador March 27 that Tymoshenko was putting great pressure on Yushchenko to make a deal. Other Our Ukraine insiders told Ambassador that Yushchenko had accepted his bloc’s unexpected weak third-place showing, but not a return by Tymoshenko to the premiership. Yushchenko has instructed current PM Yekhanurov to being consultations with all parties, on a bilateral basis, to form a majority coalition, which could be with the opposition Party of Regions, which received its expected one-third plurality of the votes, or with Tymoshenko. This move to engage Regions, as well as other parties, indicates that the principal opposition to an Orange coalition now is Yushchenko, plus his entourage. End summary.
Warning signs ————-
¶3. (C) Indications that negotiations over the reuniting the Orange coalition were having difficulty became clear later the morning of March 27. Yushchenko has not made any public statements on the election results or on a possible coalition with Tymoshenko and the Socialist Party. Both Our Ukraine’s and BYuT’s separate press conferences were been postponed indefinitely due to an ongoing meeting of the Our Ukraine party political council. Former NSDC Secretary and Yushchenko advisor Poroshenko told Ambassador March 27 that Tymoshenko was putting great pressure on Yushchenko to make a deal. Poroshenko blamed Our Ukraine’s disappointing electoral showing on the bloc’s poor campaign tactics, and specifically on Yushchenko’s push late in the campaign for the PORA-PRP and Kostenko-Plyushch blocs — a move that Poroshenko said cost Our Ukraine 7% of the vote. Poroshenko also said that Yushchenko had not endorsed the public statements by his bloc’s leadership.
2006, Mar 24
Ukraine: Tymoshenko Rallies Faithful On The Maidan
¶5. (U) Tymoshenko steered clear of directly criticizing President Yushchenko, saying that he was above the parliamentary election and not running for office. Instead, it was the corrupt Our Ukraine bloc with the likes of Poroshenko, Bezsmertny, Martynenko and others who had not served the President well and were responsible for the break-up of the Orange coalition. “I did every thing I could to support our President,” Tymoshenko said. “You know that I have given my all to help Ukraine become truly democratic, free and civilized.” Other key points included: “A vote for PoR would take us back to the stone age. We cannot go back and we should not.” “We stand on the precipice of a unique chance in history — the kind of chance that only comes once in a lifetime. If we lose on election day, we will lose more than the 15 years of progress we have attained. We simply cannot allow that kind of ‘revanche’ — the return to the criminalization prevalent during Kuchma’s regime.” “The PoR is nothing more than a return to that era, and we cannot let that happen.” “Don,t believe the sociologists, polls and what the pundits say; Make the right choice for my bloc, for democracy — a democracy that will be crystal clear.” “And don,t believe anything the PoR is telling you. Their words are empty promises.”
2006, Mar 23
Ukraine: In This Corner! Ex-champion Klychko Runs For Kiev Mayorality Against Heavyweight Incumbent
An “Orange” City Rada, likely supporting Omelchenko, but without PORA-PRP ——————————————— ——
¶9. (SBU) Calling Our Ukraine “a business holding company,” he alleged that influential Our Ukraine figures including Mykola Martynenko and Petro Poroshenko had business interests in Kiev that made them primarily interested in preserving ties with Omelchenko. Ties between Tymoshenko and Omelchenko were more indirect, he claimed, through oligarch Mykhaylo Brodsky, deputy chair of her campaign, and representatives of the “Zaporizhzhya clan” who had common business interests with the current mayor. (Note: There is no such clan that we know of; even within Zaporizhzhya, the main industrial magnates split their support across a range of parties. This is probably a reference to the two Zaporizhzhyan businessmen on BYuT’s Rada list, No. 41 Tariel Vasadze and No. 60 Vasyl Khmelnytskyy, who allegedly owns the building in the historic Podil section of Kiev to which Tymoshenko recently moved her party headquarters.) Bondarenko also observed that, in the current city Rada, Omelchenko controlled 72 percent of its 90 deputies, allowing him to effectively control its decisions, and a contingent of these old faces were retained on the lists of various parties.
2006, Feb 16
Ukraine: Regions’ Boss Yanukovych On Wto, Election Politics
¶1. (C) Party of Regions’ leader Viktor Yanukovych told Ambassador on February 15 that Ukraine had to coordinate its WTO entry with Russia and said that President Yushchenko would be making a “huge mistake” if he formed an “Orange Coalition” with ex-PM Yuliya Tymoshenko before or after the March parliamentary elections. Such a coalition, Yanukovych asserted, would divide Ukraine, empower the charismatic Tymoshenko, and turn Yushchenko into a lame duck. Yanukovych acknowledged that Regions was conducting separate talks with both the Tymoshenko and Yushchenko camps about forming an “Orange/Blue” coalition. He complained, though, that discussions with Yushchenko’s team were being complicated by what he alleged was the continuing “repression” of his supporters. In particular, separatism charges against former Kharkiv Governor Yevhen Kushnaryov and Luhansk Oblast Council Chief Viktor Tykhonov were a needless thumb in Regions’ eye. In a follow-on conversation with Ambassador, Presidential Chief of Staff Oleh Rybachuk said he would not be surprised if, “in certain areas,” Yushchenko supporters were going after Regions officials. Rybachuk denied, though, that there had been any “instructions from the top.” Separately, former Ukrainian Foreign Minister Hryshchenko, running as part of the SPDU(o)-led Ne Tak! bloc, told Ambassador on February 16 that former National Security and Defense Council Chief Petro Poroshenko had recently visited Donetsk and urged local officials to “resume cases” against Regions politicians. Hryshchenko claimed that Poroshenko appeared to be working hard to scuttle a possible deal between Yushchenko and Yanukovych, because such a coalition would likely freeze out the disgraced oligarch. End summary.
Checking the Allegations
¶9. (C) During a February 16 breakfast meeting with Ambassador, former Ukrainian Foreign Minister and deputy head of the Ukrainian Republican Party Kostyantyn Hryshchenko asserted that former National Security and Defense Council Chief Petro Poroshenko had recently visited Donetsk and urged Interior Ministry and PGO officials to “resume cases against Regions officials.” Hryshchenko offered that Poroshenko appeared to be stirring up trouble in order to kill any possibility of a Yushchenko/Yanukovych coalition, because such an arrangement would likely leave no significant role for the disgraced oligarch. (Note: Hryshchenko’s party leader is Yuri Boyko, ex-Naftohaz Chief and allegedly a listed Ukrainian partner in RosUkrEnergo’s founding documents. They are contesting the elections as part of the SPDU(o)-led Ne Tak Bloc, running on an anti-NATO, pro-Russian language, pro-Single Economic Space with Russia, Belarus, and Kazakhstan platform).
2006, Feb 1
Ukraine: Shifting Sands And Post-election Scenarios – Ukrainian Politics In Transition
Post-election scenarios: Orange, Blue-Red, Orange-Blue
¶8. (SBU) Taran and Medvedev both described the most natural coalition — and their preferred choice if the math worked — as the Maidan Orange team reunited: Our Ukraine, BYuT, Socialists, and PORA-PO. Despite Lytvyn’s falling star recently, his votes might prove necessary to cobble together a majority. Medvedev, who worked for the Yushchenko 2004 Presidential campaign, cautioned, however, that the personal animosity between Tymoshenko and Our Ukraine’s leaders, not only Yushchenko but Bezsmertny, Poroshenko, Martynenko, and Zhvaniya, was deep enough to possibly scuttle the Orange scenario.
Our Ukraine and Regions: the best fit?
¶12. (SBU) Makeyenko spouted a common Regions line: Yushchenko had no one else to turn to if he wished to be an effective President. Yushchenko and Tymoshenko’s mutual animosity dated back years; Lytvyn had stabbed Yushchenko in the back the past two months; Yushchenko despised the SPDU(o) and the Communists; Our Ukraine’s discredited figures like Poroshenko were a net minus; Russia was like a crocodile looking to devour him; Europe was silent as a wall after the departure of Polish President Kwasniewski; Moldova and Georgia were more millstones than friends; the U.S. blew many air kisses but delivered nothing. In contrast, “Regions knows how to deal with Russians, because we see them as business competitors. Regions is Yushchenko’s only real option if he wishes to rule effectively and not run Ukraine into the ground,” Makeyenko concluded.