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06KIEV473, UKRAINE: EXTREME MAKEOVER FOR THE PARTY OF REGIONS?

February 3, 2006

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
06KIEV473 2006-02-03 12:16 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 KIEV 000473 

SIPDIS 

NSC FOR DAMON WILSON 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 02/02/2016 
TAGS: PGOV
SUBJECT: UKRAINE: EXTREME MAKEOVER FOR THE PARTY OF REGIONS? 

REF: A. KIEV 408 
     B. KIEV 400 

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

Summary 
------- 

1. (C) As part of an effort to transform itself its image 
into that of a democratic political force, Ukraine's Party of 
Regions -- long a haven for Donetsk-based mobsters and 
oligarchs -- is in the midst of an "extreme makeover."  The 
effort enlists the help and advice of veteran K Street 
political tacticians.  The fact that Ukraine's Human Rights 
Ombudsman, Nina Karpachova, is number two on the Region's 
list for the March parliamentary elections does not help; 
despite the title, the ombudsman gets failing grades from 
Ukraine's human rights community and, among other things, 
publicly defends the Castro regime.  End summary. 

Extreme Makeover 
---------------- 

2. (C) Enjoying a lead in the polls since the fall 2005 
Orange team split, ex-PM Yanukovych's Party of Regions is 
working to change its image from that of a haven for mobsters 
into that of a legitimate political party.  Tapping the deep 
pockets of Donetsk clan godfather Rinat Akhmetov, Regions has 
hired veteran K street political help for its "extreme 
makeover" effort.  According to the Internet news site 
Glavred.info, Davis, Manafort & Freedman is among the 
political consultants that have been hired to do the nipping 
and tucking. 

We're Real People...Real Bad People 
----------------------------------- 

3. (C) Ukraine's Parliamentary Commissioner for Human Rights 
(known as the Human Rights Ombudsman), Nina Karpachova, is 
number two on the party's list for the March elections. 
Karpachova's presence on the list does not help the attempted 
image makeover.  Despite her title, Karpachova is a 
Soviet-style bureaucrat who has done little to promote human 
rights in Ukraine and, generally speaking, gets very poor 
marks from the country's human rights community.  In 
December, the leaders of 18 of Ukraine's major human rights 
groups sent Karpachova an open letter, which was released to 
the media, calling on her to step down.  The letter noted 
that her decision to run on the Region's ticket undermined 
the "independence and impartiality" of the Ombudsman's 
office. 

Vintage Karpachova 
------------------ 

4. (SBU) Karpachova was in rare form during the Regions party 
congress in December.  During a feisty speech, she declared 
that her lowest professional moment had come during the 2005 
session of U.N. Commission on Human Rights in Geneva, where 
Ukraine's Orange government had instructed her to vote 
"against Cuba, a small island nation that has helped us." 
Pressed to explain that comment at a January 16 meeting with 
Ambassador, during which he passed her information about 
Cuba's dismal human rights record, Karpachova launched into a 
lengthy defense of the Castro regime, praising the dictator 
for, among other things, curbing illiteracy and running 
summer camps for Ukrainian children affected by the 1989 
Chornobyl disaster.  (Note:  Karpachova neglected to mention 
that, while the summer camps are intended for children 
affected by Chornobyl, media reports established that during 
her watch the camps also hosted a number of children of 
Kuchma cronies.) 

5. (SBU) Karpachova even blamed Cuba's poor economic record 
on the U.S. embargo, which she advocated lifting.  Ambassador 
expressed surprise that a representative of a party that 
purportedly believes in business would ignore the fact that 
the socialist policies of the Castro regime were the primary 
cause of Cuba's economic problems.  She had no response. 

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

 

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