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Identifier
Created
Classification
Origin
06KIEV3130
2006-08-11 14:41:00
CONFIDENTIAL
Embassy Kyiv
Cable title:  

UKRAINE: PEACEFUL COEXISTENCE? "ORANGE" MINISTERS

Tags:   PREL  PGOV  PARM  UP 
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VZCZCXRO8278
PP RUEHDBU
DE RUEHKV #3130/01 2231441
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 111441Z AUG 06
FM AMEMBASSY KIEV
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 0911
INFO RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC PRIORITY
RUCNCIS/CIS COLLECTIVE
RUEHZG/NATO EU COLLECTIVE
						C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 KIEV 003130 

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/11/2016
TAGS: PREL PGOV PARM UP
SUBJECT: UKRAINE: PEACEFUL COEXISTENCE? "ORANGE" MINISTERS
SHIFT UNCOMFORTABLY UNDER YANUKOVYCH

REF: KIEV 2962

Classified By: Political Counselor Kent Logsdon, reason 1.4 (b,d)

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 KIEV 003130

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/11/2016
TAGS: PREL PGOV PARM UP
SUBJECT: UKRAINE: PEACEFUL COEXISTENCE? "ORANGE" MINISTERS
SHIFT UNCOMFORTABLY UNDER YANUKOVYCH

REF: KIEV 2962

Classified By: Political Counselor Kent Logsdon, reason 1.4 (b,d)


1. (C) Summary. Interior Minister Yuri Lutsenko, who
repeatedly vowed publicly in July that he would never serve
under Viktor Yanukovych, revealed his continuing ambivalence
in an August 11 press conference to explain why he had
remained Interior Minister in Yanukovych's government,
stating that he had chosen duty over political purity and
would resign if pressured to do the wrong thing. Lutsenko's
attitude is not unique; Justice Minister Zvarych made similar
public comments August 5, and Defense Minister Anatoly
Hrytsenko and First Deputy Defense Minister Leonid Polyakov
expressed similar feelings privately to us in recent days.
At issue is the legacy of key programs launched by Yushchenko
at the heart of his agenda, and on which the US closely
cooperates/supports: in the case of Lutsenko, law enforcement
reform; in the case of Hrytsenko, defense reform and the
drive towards NATO via a Membership Action Plan (MAP).


2. (C) Comment: Yanukovych's office sent an ambiguous warning
signal late August 7 on the latter issue, with wire services
quoting a statement suggesting that Ukraine's request for MAP
would be delayed, despite assurances by President Yushchenko
to Ambassador August 3 that Yanukovych would send a letter to
NATO requesting MAP this year and comments by Yanukovych
himself to EUR DAS Kramer July 28 that he "agreed with the
President" on this issue (reftel). It appears that the
statement on NATO, which had not appeared on any official
website by late August 11, was orchestrated by Yanukovych
foreign policy adviser Orel, known during the Kuchma era for
his strongly pro-Russian stances. We will need to ensure
that Yanukovych is not spurned during genuine efforts to
pursue Euro-Atlantic integration, since failure would
strengthen advisers like Orel who oppose closer cooperation
with the West; in this regard, Yanukovych's visit to Brussels
September 14-15 will be crucial. While Lutsenko predicted

that blue and orange forces could successfully replicate the
"peaceful coexistence" between the USSR and West during the
Cold War, many worried pro-orange commentators and officials
predict that Regions, driven by behind-the-scenes figures
like Orel with agendas at variance with the principles
expressed in the negotiated "Universal," will start squeezing
orange ministers out of office by the end of the year. End
Summary and Comment.

Lutsenko: No way...okay, I'll stay
--------------


3. (SBU) Interior Minister Yuri Lutsenko, who served as one
of four "field commanders" on the Maidan during the 2004
Orange Revolution and helped lead the 2001 "Ukraine without
Kuchma" movement, was likely the most colorful government
rhetorician outside of Yuliya Tymoshenko in 2005 targeting
the "banditry" of key Regions leaders, repeatedly vowing many
should serve time behind bars. He resigned from the
Socialist Party in early July in disgust after Socialist
Party leader Moroz abandoned the "Orange Coalition" to make
common cause with Party of Regions and its leader Viktor
Yanukovych. Lutsenko stated publicly and repeatedly that he
would not serve in a government led by Yanukovych. There was
widespread surprise, therefore, that when the Rada
(parliament) approved the new Cabinet late in the evening
August 4, the name forwarded by PM Yanukovych for Interior
Minister was none other than Yuri Lutsenko.


4. (SBU) In his August 11 news conference, Lutsenko
apologized to his supporters but stated that he chose "a
feeling of duty over a feeling of political purity." When he
had learned August 3 of President Yushchenko's intent to
nominate him to stay in place as Interior Minister (note:
Yushchenko successfully insisted on being able to name the
Interior Minister in coalition negotiations with Yanukovych
as part of the deal not to dismiss the Rada and call new
elections), he tried to resist, suggesting several other
civilians instead. Lutsenko added simply that Yushchenko saw
no need to replace him.


5. (SBU) Mentioning that he had met August 3 with Regions'
financier Akhmetov at the latter's request, and subsequently
with Yanukovych, Lutsenko said he had told Yanukovych that he
would resign if he were barred from carrying out the current
reform efforts, was undermined, or given unlawful orders to
implement. He said he told Yanukovych that he would submit a
letter of resignation to Yushchenko August 4 but, if asked to
stay, would insist on continuing current policy and personnel
issues.


6. (SBU) Myhailo Prytula, Lutsenko's aide during the Orange

KIEV 00003130 002 OF 003


Revolution, told us August 8 that the situation was more
nuanced. Lutsenko indeed went to the Presidential
Secretariat August 4 with a letter of resignation in hand to

SIPDIS
tell Yushchenko he would not serve under Yanukovych, but was
left waiting six hours and ultimately denied the chance to
meet Yushchenko face to face. Instead, Our Ukraine Party
Leader Roman Bezsmertny emerged and told Lutsenko that he had
no choice; Yushchenko had already made his decision to
reappoint Lutsenko and would not review it. According to
Prytula, when Lutsenko met Yanukovych and Akhmetov August 3,
they asked Lutsenko to make some personnel changes in eastern
Ukraine (Interior and police); Lutsenko refused, but agreed
to "give up" control over naming the First Deputy Interior
Minister.

Peaceful Coexistence, "like Brezhnev and Reagan"?
-------------- --------------


7. (SBU) In his August 11 press conference, Lutsenko pulled
few punches, promising to continue to be outspoken on
high-profile issues. The 40 year old Lutsenko, barely out of
university when the Soviet Union fell, evoked the era of
Brezhnev and Reagan in likening the blue-orange accommodation
in the Yanukovych cabinet to "peaceful coexistence of two
systems." Lutsenko revealed that the group of ministers
appointed to the Cabinet on Yushchenko's quota, largely from
Our Ukraine with the exception of Lutsenko and Defense
Minister Hrytsenko, had held an organizational meeting,
adding: "we share common democratic values, and such a group,
formal or informal, will exist."


8. (SBU) Lutsenko stated that he personally was mostly
concerned about the return of odious persons from the past
"whose criminal cases are at the Prosecutor's" and who had
fled prosecution for refuge abroad, recommending that "they
stay where they are" (note: largely in Russia). Lutsenko
said that, while Yanukovych's two youthful convictions (for
theft and assault) were not important after Yanukovych's
appointment as PM, he had told Yanukovych August 3 that his
position on the illegal annulment of Yanukovych's convictions
by a Donetsk court had not changed. He claimed he had also
told Yanukovych that he would pursue any politician,
regardless of political affiliation, if there was evidence
they had committed a crime, and that Yanukovych had replied
that anyone who stole private or state property should be
held accountable before the law.

Hrytsenko uneasy too...battle on NATO policy?
--------------


9. (C) Lutsenko is not the first "orange" minister to express
public ambivalence about serving under Yanukovych and
threaten resignation if things turned sour. Justice Minister
Zvarych made similar comments August 5 after his appointment
to the same job he held in the Tymoshenko government
(February - September 2005). Similarly, Defense Minister
Hrytsenko told visiting EUR DAS Kramer and Ambassador July 28
that he would not continue to serve if the Defense Ministry
and the military were not adequately funded and there was not
an open prospect for improved relations with NATO, including
a MAP (reftel). His long-time associate and First Deputy
Minister Polyakov shared his similar ambivalence about
serving under Yanukovych with us August 6.


10. (SBU) PM Yanukovych's office appeared to justify their
concerns and throw a wrench into renewed Ukrainian efforts to
obtain a MAP by the NATO Riga summit in November late August

10. Wire stories, quoting an apparent statement issued by
the Cabinet press service in the aftermath of Yanukovych's
press conference but which had not appeared on any website
(Cabinet of Ministers, Party of Regions, or Yanukovych's
personal site) by late August 11, claimed that the GOU would
refrain from "immediately applying for membership in NATO" in
favor of continuing annual action plans, the intensified
dialogue, and implementing necessary reforms. With
Yanukovych traveling to Crimea August 11, it was difficult to
obtain any authoritative clarification. Yanukovych's chief
of staff Vasyl Demchyshyn initially told us that the media
reports must have overstated the situation; Yanukovych would
not have made such a categorical statement.


11. (SBU) However, Yanukovych's recently appointed foreign
policy adviser Anatoliy Orel, who freely admitted to us
August 11 that he had not attended Yanukovych's press
conference and did not know what Yanukovych had said, went
into detail about the statement cited in wire stories. The
statement did not violate the text of the Universal
(Declaration on National Unity), claimed Orel; Point 27
discussed cooperation with NATO and deciding on accession
after a referendum. Orel claimed that since MAP application

KIEV 00003130 003 OF 003


constituted an application for membership, and Ukraine could
not signal an intent to make an accession decision until
after a referendum, it was not worth risking the government's
stability immediately after its formation. Unlike other
parties, Regions had never radically opposed cooperation with
NATO; it would support continued cooperation to show the
benefits of close relations. In the meantime, however, they
would postpone the MAP application, work on specific projects
with NATO to show people the practical benefits of
cooperation, and work on public education efforts.


12. (C) Comment: While Orel's approach has its own internal
logic if taken at face value, the uncoordinated statement
immediately after Yanukovych himself said nothing about NATO
in an extensive press conference raises the question of
foreign policy coordination between the PM's office, the
President's office, and the affected ministries, apart from
any ulterior motives people like Orel may have. MFA Acting
Director General for the US and Europe Serhiy Kyslytsya
warned us August 9 that Yanukovych's advisers would be
looking for ways to undermine Yushchenko's pro-Western
ministers like Tarasyuk and Hrytsenko in the eyes of
Yanukovych, shaping the latter's perceptions through informal
memos and suggested talking points. Kyslytsya echoed the
concerns voiced by politicians and commentators alike that
Regions might start targeting Yushchenko-affiliated ministers
towards the end of 2006, citing poor performance as a reason
for removal via a simple majority vote in the Rada. This
fear is balanced for now by Lutsenko's ambivalent optimism
that "peaceful coexistence" can indeed be maintained between
orange and blue.


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