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Identifier
Created
Classification
Origin
06KIEV1663
2006-04-27 16:14:00
CONFIDENTIAL
Embassy Kyiv
Cable title:  

UKRAINE: BAPTISTS CAUGHT IN MIDDLE OF RADA

Tags:   PHUM  PGOV  PINR  SOCI  SCUL  UP 
pdf how-to read a cable
VZCZCXRO6947
PP RUEHDBU
DE RUEHKV #1663/01 1171614
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 271614Z APR 06
FM AMEMBASSY KIEV
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 9055
INFO RUCNCIS/CIS COLLECTIVE
RUEHZG/NATO EU COLLECTIVE
						C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 KIEV 001663 

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 04/27/2016
TAGS: PHUM PGOV PINR SOCI SCUL UP
SUBJECT: UKRAINE: BAPTISTS CAUGHT IN MIDDLE OF RADA
COALITION FORMATION STRUGGLE?

REF: A. KIEV 1587


B. KIEV 1531

Classified By: Ambassador for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d).

Summary
-------

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 KIEV 001663

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 04/27/2016
TAGS: PHUM PGOV PINR SOCI SCUL UP
SUBJECT: UKRAINE: BAPTISTS CAUGHT IN MIDDLE OF RADA
COALITION FORMATION STRUGGLE?

REF: A. KIEV 1587


B. KIEV 1531

Classified By: Ambassador for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d).

Summary
--------------


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.

Baptist Union Leader: Help!
--------------


2. (SBU) The longtime President of the All-Ukraine Baptist
Union, Gregoriy Komendant, called on Ambassador April 27 to
ask for assistance in fending off a stepped-up effort by the
Prosecutor General's Office (PGO) to seize the Union's
downtown Kiev headquarters building. Komendant related that
the PGO had opened a criminal case against him for allegedly
"wrongfully acquiring the headquarters building...by means of
misusing an official position." Komendant said the charge
was absurd; the Union, the largest Baptist organization in
Europe, had occupied its headquarters building since Soviet
times and legally owned the property.

Yushchenko Promises To Help, But No Sign That He Has
-------------- --------------


3. (C) Komendant related that several weeks earlier he had
spoken with President Yushchenko about what the PGO was doing
and had given Yushchenko a packet of Union documents about
the case. Yushchenko had asked Komendant "for three of four
days" to resolve the issue. An exasperated Komendant, noting
that it was now late April, averred that Yushchenko had "done
nothing."

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.


6. (SBU) Ambassador promised to raise this property dispute
with the Prosecutor General.


KIEV 00001663 002 OF 002



7. (U) Visit Embassy Kiev's classified website at
www.state.sgov.gov/p/eur/kiev.
Herbst