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Identifier
Created
Classification
Origin
06KIEV2855
2006-07-21 15:37:00
CONFIDENTIAL
Embassy Kyiv
Cable title:  

UKRAINE: THE POLITICAL CHESS GAME: VIEWS FROM THE

Tags:   PREL  PGOV  PARM  UP 
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VZCZCXRO7889
PP RUEHDBU
DE RUEHKV #2855/01 2021537
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 211537Z JUL 06
FM AMEMBASSY KIEV
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 0624
INFO RUCNCIS/CIS COLLECTIVE
RUEHZG/NATO EU COLLECTIVE
						C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 KIEV 002855 

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 07/21/2016
TAGS: PREL PGOV PARM UP
SUBJECT: UKRAINE: THE POLITICAL CHESS GAME: VIEWS FROM THE
SECOND BENCH

REF: A. KIEV 1773


B. KIEV 2781

C. KIEV 2735

D. KIEV 2805

Classified By: Ambassador, reason 1.4 (b,d)

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 KIEV 002855

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 07/21/2016
TAGS: PREL PGOV PARM UP
SUBJECT: UKRAINE: THE POLITICAL CHESS GAME: VIEWS FROM THE
SECOND BENCH

REF: A. KIEV 1773


B. KIEV 2781

C. KIEV 2735

D. KIEV 2805

Classified By: Ambassador, reason 1.4 (b,d)


1. (C) Summary. Conversations with key deputy party leaders
from Our Ukraine (OU), Regions, and the Socialists over the
week of July 17-21 revealed a complicated political chess
game underway in Ukrainian politics. Regions' Volodymyr
Makeyenko and Socialists Mykola Rudkovsky and Yaroslav Mendus
indicated that the Regions-led "Anti-Crisis Coalition" will
continue to push the initiative, seemingly confident that
President Yushchenko will either agree to OU joining a broad
coalition, or accede to a Yanukovych-led government without
reverting to the Rada dismissal option. OU's Mykola
Katerynchuk saw OU's future in rebuilding while in opposition
but expressed ongoing frustration with Yushchenko's
indifferent decision-making style. All predicted dozens of
more "businessmen-MPs" could defect from OU and the
Tymoshenko Bloc (BYuT) in the coming days, though the jury
remained out on what Yushchenko/OU itself would ultimately
decide to do. The end game in the last ten days of July
appears set to revolve around the issues of the
Constitutional Court and Yanukovych's bid for the
Premiership, with Yushchenko constitutionally enabled to
dismiss the Rada as of July 25, and Regions/Socialists
gearing up for confrontation if he were to try. End Summary.

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).


3. (C) Katerynchuk previewed for us July 17 what he expected
would be OU's decision that evening to go into opposition to
a Yanukovych-led coalition, rather than forging a broad
coalition on the terms offered by Regions. Katerynchuk
uncomfortably dodged the question of what would happen if
parts of the OU bloc--or indeed, Yushchenko himself--were to
decide subsequently to cooperate with Regions. He allowed
that Regions might succeed in peeling another 40 "businessmen
MPs" away from the orange opposition parties but predicted
they would not achieve the 300 votes needed to make an
impeachment run.


4. (C) Yushchenko remained uncomfortable with the idea of OU
remaining in opposition, but Katerynchuk said he had pointed
to Chirac and Kwasniewski's co-habitation in France and
Poland as precedents. The main issue for Yushchenko, he
suggested, would be the terms of seating a Constitutional
Court. Katerynchuk felt OU needed to "stay true to the
Maidan and our promises to the Ukrainian people." It would
be easier to build an actual political party structure while
in opposition, attempting now what Katerynchuk had suggested
OU start back in 2005.


5. (C) Katerynchuk expressed frustration with Yushchenko's
management style and seeming indifference to party matters.
Even though Katerynchuk was the head of PUOU's executive
committee, he had only had two conversations with Yushchenko
on party development issues in the past year, and
Yushchenko's indifference to party development had been
clear. While Katerynchuk seemed to rate the possibility of
Yushchenko dismissing the Rada and calling the elections
currently as low, he said a Rada dismissal could offer OU a
new chance, as well as a moment of truth. Either OU reformed
its approach, or it would slowly die, like the sinking
ratings of Yushchenko as President.

Regions' Makeyenko: OU should have taken the June 20 deal
-------------- --------------


6. (C) Volodymyr Makeyenko is an atypical Regions' figure:
not from the east (Chernihiv), affable, and seemingly
genuinely pro-American. He abandoned OU in 2004 out of
frustration with Yushchenko's management style but used old

KIEV 00002855 002 OF 003


relationships to negotiate the September 2005 MOU between
Yushchenko and Yanukovych which secured Yuri Yekhanurov's
confirmation as PM and the rehabilitation of Yanukovych and
Regions. Appointed a deputy chair of the powerful budget
committee July 18, he might emerge as chair if current Chair
Mykola Azarov moves into the Cabinet, as Regions expects.


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.


8. (C) The strain on personal relations between Yushchenko
and Yanukovych in the aftermath of 2004 Presidential election
was the main obstacle to Yushchenko accepting Yanukovych as
PM, said Makeyenko. Regions was confident, however, that by
July 28 Yushchenko would have accepted Regions' terms, since
the June 20 deal which would have given the PM slot to
OU/Yekhanurov was irrevocably off the table. The logic was
strong: unite east and west, form a pro-Ukrainian government
with no need to be pro-Russian, and rid the coalition of the
communists, who would be happy to cash out one last time.

Socialists' Rudkovsky/Mendus: sounding like Regions hardliners
-------------- --------------


9. (C) Mykola Rudkovsky and Yaroslav Mendus are the main
Socialist links to Regions, identified by Socialist dissident
Iosef Vinsky July 6 as the duo who negotiated Moroz' deal
with Regions. Rudkovsky has also been fingered by several
sources as the alleged backdoor connection between the
Kremlin and Moroz to seal Moroz' betrayal of OU and BYuT.
True to reputation, in our July 20 discussion, the duo
sounded like Regions' most unapologetic hardliners, such as
Andriy Kluyev (ref C), often times using the exact same
phrases and threats. Rudkovsky relished the current confused
Ukrainian political scene, calling it a grand chess match.


10. (C) The door of the anti-crisis coalition agreement
remained open for new members, said Mendus, with the July 18
committee assignments for OU a clear signal. They expected
OU would join the coalition in two stages: first individual
businessmen, and then the entirety of OU after Yushchenko saw
the wisdom of joining. If Yushchenko foolishly chose to try
to dismiss the Rada, however, Moroz and their Regions'
partners would not accept such a move. Mendus growled that
calling for new elections was an invitation to a "soft civil
war." Attempts at dismissal would also be grounds for an
impeachment action against Yushchenko, Rudkovsky warned.


11. (C) On Constitutional Court judge nominations, Mendus
claimed that the law required renominations by the President
and the judiciary because the Rada had not acted within 30
days last November (note: the language of Article 17 of the
Constitutional Court law can be read in two ways - requiring
Rada action within 30 days, or requiring renomination after
30 days. Without a Constitutional Court to pass judgment,
both sides will attempt to use their interpretation of the
law to shape public opinion in the coming days. End note).
Alleging that BYuT was planning on trying to use electronic
shock systems to disrupt any Rada vote on the PM, Rudkovsky
threatened that a Rada majority would be ready to vote to
lift MP immunity to allow for an investigation/prosecution of
such a "criminal act" threatening other MP's health and
safety (note: we pushed back, warning against such rash
steps, particularly in the aftermath of the coalition having
seated 2004 Presidential elections falsifier Serhiy Kivalov
as Justice Committee Chair).


12. (C) Rudkovsky and Mendus professed to be indifferent to
rumored plans by Socialists unhappy with Moroz' deal with
Regions to start a new party called the "European left."
Rudkovsky sniffed that it was an idea inspired by Yushchenko
and Acting National Security and Defense Council Secretary
Volodymyr Horbulin, concocted with ex-Socialist Acting
Interior Minister Yuri Lutsenko, but destined for failure.

KIEV 00002855 003 OF 003


The Socialist party had made the right choice to remain in
power and in position to affect policy. Acknowledging that
they would have been left out in the cold if OU and Regions
had consummated the June 20 blue-orange coalition, Mendus
stressed that this made the Socialist July 6 transition to
the "anti-crisis coalition" much easier: the Socialists only
consummated what OU itself had planned to do.


13. (C) That said, the Socialist duo stressed the advantages
to the country of OU joining the broad coalition. It would
provide institutional balance between the Presidency, Cabinet
of Ministers, and Rada, preventing domination by Regions.
The Socialists were ready to work constructively on NATO
relations, Mendus took pains to add. The key to moving
forward would be to change the mentality of the population
and show the benefits of NATO to Ukraine.


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