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06KIEV579, UKRAINE: SOCIALIST LEADER MOROZ ON ELECTIONS,

February 13, 2006

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
06KIEV579 2006-02-13 15:53 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 000579 

SIPDIS 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 02/13/2016 
TAGS: PGOV
SUBJECT: UKRAINE: SOCIALIST LEADER MOROZ ON ELECTIONS, 
CONSTITUTIONAL REFORM, GAS 

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 
problem.) 

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: 
www.state.sgov.gov/p/eur/kiev. 
HERBST

 

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