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06KIEV579 2006-02-13 15:53:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Kyiv
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This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
					  C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 KIEV 000579 


E.O. 12958: DECL: 02/13/2016

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

1. (C) Summary: In a February 13 meeting with Ambassador,
Socialist Party leader Oleksandr Moroz opined that new
Constitutional Court judges would not be selected until after
the March 26 parliamentary elections because of concerns that
the court would otherwise revisit constitutional reform.
Moroz dismissed President Yushchenko's calls for a referendum
on constitutional reform, averring that the issue had been
thoroughly discussed over several years and did not need
revisiting. Moroz thought that his Socialist Party would
garner 10-11% of the popular vote, giving them 14-16% of the
seats in the Rada. Moroz considered Bloc Yuliya Tymoshenko
(BYuT) his party's main competition, referring to ex-Orange
PM Tymoshenko as the main source of conflict in Ukrainian
society. Moroz thought that any coalition building would
have to wait until after the elections, when the parties knew
where they stood in terms of Rada seats, and offered that
Tymoshenko, not Yushchenko, might come in second place after
ex-Kuchma PM Yanukovych. Moroz thought the recent
Ukraine-Russia natural gas deal was a "catastrophe" for
Ukraine, and questioned whether some people around Yushchenko
had been bought off in order to clear the way for a gas deal
advantageous to Russia. End summary.

Constitutional Court: Not until after elections



2. (C) Ambassador opened a February 13 meeting with Socialist
Party leader Oleksandr Moroz by asking about the fate of the
Constitutional Court (which has been without a quorum since
October 2005). Moroz said that new judges would be selected
and confirmed and the court would be seated soon after the
March 26 Rada (Parliament) elections, but there was no chance
of it being seated before elections because of fears the
government might use it to revisit constitutional reform.
When queried about President Viktor Yushchenko's statements
calling for a referendum on constitutional reform, Moroz
thought that a referendum would not take place because there
was little support for a referendum, and the issue had
already been thoroughly discussed.

3. (C) Moroz pointed out that, while Yushchenko's primary
argument against constitutional reform was that the December
8, 2004 adoption of the reform package had been taken without
open debate, in fact the idea of constitutional reform had
been discussed in Ukrainian politics since 2000, and debated
both in government and by the public. Moroz said
Yushchenko's Our Ukraine party leaders met to discuss
constitutional reform before they decided to support it as
part of the December 8 compromise that led to the repeat
second round of presidential elections. (Comment: Moroz has
long supported constitutional reform that strengthened the
Rada vis-a-vis the Presidency, as the recent measures do.
This makes sense, as the Socialist Party, with popular
support levels long between 5 and 10%, has no near-term hope
of gaining the Presidency.)

Socialists main competition: Tymoshenko


4. (C) On the topic of the Socialist Party's election
prospects, Moroz thought that his party would garner 10-11%
of the vote, equating to 14-16% of the seats in the Rada (15%
of the Rada's 450 seats would be 67-68 seats). Moroz
asserted that his party could count on the support of a
strong party structure, with real people on the ground
getting out the vote. (Note: Observers say the Socialist
Party indeed has the strongest grass roots structure of all
parties in Ukraine.) When asked who his main competitor was,
Moroz replied that the Socialists competed for the many of
the same voters as Yuliya Tymoshenko's Bloc (BYuT),
particularly in the eastern and southern cities of Donetsk,
Kharkiv, Sumy, and Odesa, as well as Crimea. Moroz
characterized former ally Tymoshenko as the main source of
conflict in Ukrainian society, citing a book "Kill Yuliya,"
which used fictionalized versions of political figures (Moroz
appears as "Morozenko") to demonize her opponents. According
to Moroz, the book sold approximately 800,000 copies and was
paid for by Tymoshenko.

5. (C) Moroz decried the composition of Tymoshenko's party
list, noting that the top 10 were legitimate political
figures, but the rest were corrupt businessmen and criminals.
To avoid criticism of the electoral list composition, Moroz
claimed, BYuT held a closed party congress. Moroz argued
that Yushchenko's People's Union Our Ukraine (PUOU) had
similar problems, citing corruption among Yushchenko family
members and associates. (Comment: Tymoshenko's electoral
list, like that of Yanukovych's Regions -- but not to the
same extent -- and those of other parties/blocs, includes
some unsavory politicians and businesspeople seeking
parliamentary immunity and a place to further their business
interests, but Moroz's characterization "all beyond the top
ten are corrupt or criminal" overstates the Tymoshenko list

Coalitions: Too early to tell


6. (C) When queried about possible post-election Rada
coalitions, Moroz responded that any deal-making would have
to wait until after the elections when the numbers were
known. Moroz predicted that ex-PM Viktor Yanukovych's Party
of Regions would receive the most votes, with Tymoshenko's
BYuT likely coming in second. When questioned about polls
showing Yushchenko having passed Tymoshenko in the polls,
Moroz attributed this to Yushchenko-connected pollsters
spinning the numbers. Moroz asserted that neither Yushchenko
nor Tymoshenko had a strong party structure on the ground, a
deficiency that could not be overcome through charisma.
(Note: In a conversation before the meeting, a Moroz aide
said she thought a Yushchenko-Yanukovych coalition was a
possibility, with Socialist involvement possible if they were
given enough say in government policy.)

Gas Deal: A Russian Win?


7. (C) Moroz termed the recent Ukraine-Russia natural gas
deal a "catastrophe" for Ukraine's economy, and called it a
round that Russia had won. Moroz lamented how bad and
non-transparent the deal was, noting that it seemed as though
nobody involved in making the deal had been looking out for
the interests of Ukraine. Moroz questioned why third-rank
officials had been negotiating a deal with national security
implications and why First Deputy Prime Minister Stashevsky
had no information on the gas agreement. Ambassador
questioned why on January 4 the Ukrainians had accepted such
a deal when, from the U.S. perspective, they were negotiating
from a position of strength with Europe highly critical of
the Russian gas shut-off. Moroz speculated that some people
around Yushchenko had been bought off in order to make the
deal happen, opening the door for Russia to gain control of
Ukraine's gas transport system, Ukraine's one piece of
leverage. Moroz pointed up as an alternative a plan proposed
by ex-Deputy Prime Minister for Energy Vitaliy Hayduk to
purchase a Russian company for use as an intermediary in the
gas market.

8. (U) Visit Embassy Kiev's classified website: