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06KIEV1159, UKRAINE: TYMOSHENKO RALLIES FAITHFUL ON THE MAIDAN

March 24, 2006

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
06KIEV1159 2006-03-24 15:37 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Kyiv
VZCZCXRO1211
PP RUEHDBU
DE RUEHKV #1159/01 0831537
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 241537Z MAR 06
FM AMEMBASSY KIEV
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 8367
INFO RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC PRIORITY
RUCNCIS/CIS COLLECTIVE
RUEHZG/NATO EU COLLECTIVE

 

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 KIEV 001159 

SIPDIS 

SIPDIS 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 03/24/2016 
TAGS: PGOV PHUM KDEM UP
SUBJECT: UKRAINE:  TYMOSHENKO RALLIES FAITHFUL ON THE MAIDAN 

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

1. (SBU) Summary:  During a rally March 23 on Kiev's 
Independence Square (Maidan Nezalezhnosti), the geographical 
and spiritual center of the late 2004 Orange Revolution, 
former PM Yuliya Tymoshenko strived to recreate the spirit of 
the November-December 2004 protests that broke the Kuchma 
regime's ten-year grip on power.  In a rousing 50-minute 
speech, Tymoshenko criticized her opponents but steered clear 
of any personal attack against President Yushchenko.  A crowd 
of well over 10,000 withstood icy winds and below-freezing 
temperatures to show support for their lady in white.  With 
latest polls showing Tymoshenko surging to a statistical tie 
with Yushchenko for second place -- and with 10% of voters 
still undecided -- it is entirely feasible that Tymoshenko's 
eponymous bloc could best Our Ukraine on election day.  End 
summary. 

2. (U) Backed by giant video screens and flanked by the top 
candidates of her party, Yuliya Tymoshenko in a strong and 
unwavering voice told a packed Maidan of well over 10,000 
(estimates ranged from 15-50,000) why people should vote for 
her and her bloc.  Drawing on the themes of the Orange 
Revolution that catapulted her and Our Ukraine to power, 
Tymoshenko urged the voters not to give up hope or succumb to 
cynicism on election day.  In clear phrases, Tymoshenko 
explained that voters should back her bloc to continue and 
finish the revolution that was started a year-and-a-half ago 
in the very same central square.  (See 
http://www.tymoshenko.com.ua/ukr/news/electio ns-news/2990/ 
for speech and visuals.) 

3. (U) Tymoshenko leveled blistering criticism against Party 
of the Regions (PoR) leader Viktor Yanukovych -- 
characterizing him as an illiterate buffoon, liar and bandit 
-- and against the leaders of parties struggling to overcome 
the 3% barrier that would join forces with PoR.  Tymoshenko 
singled out former Rada speaker Ivan Plyushch (who is running 
with ex-Orange ally Yuriy Kostenko on a joint bloc ticket), 
citing Plyushch as saying that he could not ignore PoR's 30% 
poll rating.  "Who would not want to join forces with a bloc 
with that kind of rating?", Tymoshenko quoted him as saying. 
She blasted this kind of logic, saying that forming 
coalitions on the basis of poll ratings was dead wrong. 
Coalitions should be formed on the basis of policies and 
ideals. 

4. (U) With regard to her own plans for a coalition, 
Tymoshenko side-stepped any mention of what she would do 
after election day.  She told the crowd:  "I know that many 
of you have asked me what my intentions are.  Am I fighting 
against the President?  Will I join forces with Our Ukraine? 
Is my campaign only another type of political strategy to 
take away votes from Our Ukraine?  In the end, will I form a 
coalition with OU?"  But she gave no clear answers.  She only 
reiterated her clear distaste for Yanukovych and his "band of 
criminals," and said she would never enter into a coalition 
with PoR. 

5. (U) Tymoshenko steered clear of directly criticizing 
President Yushchenko, saying that he was above the 
parliamentary election and not running for office.  Instead, 
it was the corrupt Our Ukraine bloc with the likes of 
Poroshenko, Bezsmertny, Martynenko and others who had not 
served the President well and were responsible for the 
break-up of the Orange coalition.  "I did every thing I could 
to support our President," Tymoshenko said.  "You know that I 
have given my all to help Ukraine become truly democratic, 
free and civilized."  Other key points included:  "A vote for 
PoR would take us back to the stone age.  We cannot go back 
and we should not."  "We stand on the precipice of a unique 
chance in history -- the kind of chance that only comes once 
in a lifetime.  If we lose on election day, we will lose more 
than the 15 years of progress we have attained.  We simply 
cannot allow that kind of 'revanche' -- the return to the 
criminalization prevalent during Kuchma's regime."  "The PoR 
is nothing more than a return to that era, and we cannot let 
that happen."  "Don,t believe the sociologists, polls and 
what the pundits say; Make the right choice for my bloc, for 
democracy -- a democracy that will be crystal clear."  "And 
don,t believe anything the PoR is telling you.  Their words 
are empty promises." 

6. (U) Tymoshenko's impassioned oratory continued for nearly 
50 minutes as icy winds whipped through the packed square.  A 
close-up of her face was shown across the four huge video 
screens that flanked the stage throughout.  People stood 
fairly quietly, with sporadic chants of "Yu-li-ya, Yu-li-ya." 
 The rally ended with the playing of the Ukrainian national 
anthem -- a blue-and-yellow flag waving on the video screens 
-- and a 10-minute fireworks display. 

KIEV 00001159  002 OF 002 

7. (C) Comment:  Whether Tymoshenko is telling the truth or 
not -- and many pundits, journalists and observers call her a 
liar -- she remains a charismatic speaker.
Employing 
impassioned and eloquent rhetoric, she did not miss a beat, 
never stumbled, spoke extemporaneously, and appeared to hit 
all the right points (at least with her adoring crowd).  The 
tale of her support nationwide will be told election day by 
voters. 

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

Wikileaks

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