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06KIEV367, UKRAINE: WHO ARE THE PEACEMAKERS? BUILDING

January 27, 2006

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06KIEV367 2006-01-27 17:03 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Kyiv
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 000367 

SIPDIS 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 01/26/2016 
TAGS: PGOV PREL PHUM UP
SUBJECT: UKRAINE: WHO ARE THE PEACEMAKERS? BUILDING 
POSSIBLE POST-ELECTION COALITIONS 

REF: KIEV 293 

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

1. (SBU) Summary and Comment:  The public political posturing 
about potential post-election coalitions kicked off in 
earnest January 24 with President Yushchenko's party Our 
Ukraine releasing a letter calling for the forces of the 
Maidan -- Our Ukraine, Tymoshenko's bloc (BYuT), Moroz' 
Socialists, Kostenko's Ukrainian People's Party, and 
PORA-Reforms and Order (RO) -- to work together in forming a 
government.  Rada Speaker Lytvyn's political forces were 
pointedly left off the list.  BYuT and PORA leaders 
immediately claimed credit for the latest peacemaker 
initiative, claiming Our Ukraine had responded to their idea. 
 Moroz suggested that non-Maidan parties like Regions could 
end up in government to help bridge the Orange-Blue divide. 
Rada Speaker Lytvyn has been running animated campaign ads on 
TV depicting himself as the bridge builder between "Team 
Orange" and "Team Blue" engaged in a tug of war.  Regions MP 
Makeyenko derided the Our Ukraine letter to us January 25 as 
"empty words" designed to make Yushchenko look good in the 
West, and suggested that the lines of communication between 
Our Ukraine and Regions remained open despite a ploy to 
decertify Yanukovych as a candidate based on his past 
criminal convictions. 

2. (C) Comment:  The flurry of claims to the mantle of 
bridge-building peacemaker is likely a reaction to public 
weariness over constant political infighting.  Public 
posturing and talk of unity aside, privately the parties 
continue to talk with a wide range of potential partners, 
advancing conditions and probing for possible common ground. 
The reality two months prior to the March 26 elections is 
that no one can say for sure which forces will be in a 
post-election position to form a parliamentary majority and 
to negotiate a coalition arrangement.  The two most likely 
scenarios would be a government formed around a reunited -- 
for practical, not ideological reasons -- Our Ukraine-BYuT 
partnership, or alternatively, an even more utilitarian Our 
Ukraine-Regions accommodation.  While reform prospects in the 
short term would be brighter under the former, we must be 
prepared for the possibility of the latter.  In fact, the 
longer-term workability of either potential coalition is a 
legitimate question.  End summary and comment. 

Call for Team Orange to reassemble (with conditions) 
--------------------------------------------- ------- 

3. (U) Our Ukraine Legal Department head Roman Zvarych 
announced at a January 24 press conference that Our Ukraine 
had sent a letter to BYuT, the Socialists, the 
Kostenko-Plyushch electoral bloc, and the PORA-RO bloc 
proposing to form a post-election coalition and divide 
ministerial slots in the next government, as well as 
positions in the Rada and other government agencies. 
Zvarych's letter came with pre-conditions -- cancellation of 
the January 10 Rada vote to dismiss the Yekhanurov, and 
recognition of Yushchenko as the "leader of the Orange 
coalition" -- and asked for answers by February 2. 

Others claim credit (with other conditions) 
------------------------------------------- 

4. (U) Four days earlier, during the January 20 "Freedom of 
Speech" live talk show on ICTV, a wide range of politicians 
headlined by Tymoshenko and Moroz had appeared jointly to 
discuss the current political scene.  After Moroz repeatedly 
expressed his regret over the breakup of "Team Orange," PORA 
leader Vlad Kaskiv suggested that the way out of the present 
domestic political impasse would be an agreement on 
post-election coalition building.  Kaskiv said PORA-RO was 
ready to help broker such a coalition.  Tymoshenko reacted 
with enthusiasm but said Our Ukraine also needed to step 
forward.  On January 24, Kaskiv told the press that the quick 
reaction of both Our Ukraine and BYuT hopefully indicated 
that principles rather than narrow interests were again 
prevailing.  Kaskiv stated there should be no pre-conditions; 
nor would there be negotiations with "criminals and 
Kuchmaists." 

5. (U) BYuT deputy leader Mykola Tomenko also issued a quick 
statement in response to the Our Ukraine letter, claiming 
that Zvarych had merely responded to a BYuT initiative to 
form a coalition and regretting that Our Ukraine had not 
engaged on the conception forwarded by BYuT.  BYuT supported 
unity based on ideology and programs rather than personal 
loyalty to the President, he added.  Tymoshenko, speaking 
later January 25 on Dnipropetrovsk TV, rejected a separate 
Our Ukraine coalition proposal with a ten-page attachment of 
proposed distribution of positions that she said Our Ukraine 
campaign chief Bezsmertny had sent to her. 

Lytvyn the true bridge or a Kuchmaist? 
-------------------------------------- 

6. (U) For his part, Rada Speaker Lytvyn ran animated TV 
campaign ads promoting himself as the country's true 
reconciler bringing together "Team Orange" and "Team Blue" 
locked in a tug of war over Ukraine.  On January 26, he 
slammed the Our Ukraine proposal as an effort to divide power 
among a select group of parties.  He also somewhat bizarrely 
cited the intent of the January 24 letter to ration
alize the 
Rada's refusal to swear in nominated Constitutional court 
judges since November, in contradiction to requirements for 
the Rada to act within 30 days. 

7. (C) Comment:  Rada Speaker Lytvyn's electoral bloc was 
pointedly left off Our Ukraine's list of proposed partners. 
Notwithstanding his January 23 claim to A/S Fried that he was 
a supporter of the Orange Revolution (reftel), Lytvyn was 
never "Orange," pointedly refused to attend the November 22 
Maidan first anniversary event, claiming "he would not 
participate in a event which had split the nation," and 
welcomed the highest number of former "Kuchmaist" MPs into 
his  electoral bloc.  From the Our Ukraine perspective, 
Lytvyn also played an unhelpful role most recently in 
December and January, positioning himself and the Rada as an 
alternative source of power and legitimacy to Yushchenko. 
While post-election cooperation may still occur based on the 
necessity to build a parliamentary majority, Our Ukraine's 
omission of Lytvyn preempted criticism from PORA-RO and 
Tymoshenko that Yushchenko sought to cut deals with "the 
Kuchmaists." 

Moroz: predicting Regions will be in government? 
--------------------------------------------- --- 

8. (SBU) Despite his public longing January 20 for a 
reassembly of Team Orange, Socialist Party leader Moroz, when 
commenting on the Our Ukraine letter during an internet chat 
session hosted by the web journal Ukrainska Pravda January 
25, voiced his expectation that the post-election 
parliamentary majority would likely include a non-Orange 
party, specifically citing Regions, as a way of easing 
Orange-Blue political tensions.  (Note: it has been widely 
presumed that the Socialists would not serve together with 
Regions due to past mutual antipathy). 

Regions MP: Empty words, everything remains in play 
--------------------------------------------- ------ 

9. (C) Regions MP Volodymyr Makeyenko, who served as Our 
Ukraine's deputy campaign chair for the 2002 Rada campaign 
before defecting to Regions, dismissed the Our Ukraine 
initiative to us January 25 as "empty words designed to 
impress friends in the West."  Behind the scenes, he noted, 
conversations between Our Ukraine and Regions continued; 
indeed, his phone rang soon after we arrived in Makeyenko's 
office with an invitation from Presidential Secretariat 
deputy chief of staff Vasyunnyk to meet Vasyunnyk January 26 
at the Presidential Secretariat.  Makeyenko claimed that he 
and Vasyunnyk had served as primary negotiators for the 
September 22 MOU between Yushchenko and Yanukovych that had 
paved the way for PM Yekhanurov's confirmation vote. 
Yushchenko had failed to uphold his commitments under the 
agreement, Makeyenko charged, but the door remained open to 
future Our Ukraine-Regions cooperation if Yushchenko were 
more flexible. 

10. (C) Makeyenko said that efforts by Zvarych and Interior 
Minister Lutsenko (Socialist) to deregister Yanukovych as a 
candidate based on his two youthful convictions had 
temporarily infuriated Regions.  He argued to us, however, 
that a politically weakened Yushchenko, who truly despised 
Tymoshenko as well as the Communists and the SPDU(o), needed 
the experience of Regions MPs and leaders to unite Ukraine's 
east and west and to provide more competent stewardship of 
the Ukrainian economy.  To wit, Makeyenko, who participated 
in previous rounds of Ukrainian-Russian gas negotiations as 
head of UkrHazBank, derided the amateurism of Naftohaz Chair 
Ivchenko and Energy and Fuels Minister Plachkov; they had 
been rolled by the more experienced Russians, in his view. 
Regions leaders knew how to deal with Russians, particularly 
since they viewed them as business competitors, he claimed. 
"We know how to defend Ukraine's interests." 

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

 

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