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06KIEV1851, UKRAINE: UPDATES FROM BEZSMERTNY AND TYMOSHENKO –

May 15, 2006

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
06KIEV1851 2006-05-15 08:07 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Kyiv
VZCZCXRO4151
PP RUEHDBU
DE RUEHKV #1851/01 1350807
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 150807Z MAY 06
FM AMEMBASSY KIEV
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 9294
INFO RUCNCIS/CIS COLLECTIVE
RUEHZG/NATO EU COLLECTIVE

 

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 04 KIEV 001851 

SIPDIS 

SIPDIS 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 05/12/2016 
TAGS: PGOV PREL UP
SUBJECT: UKRAINE: UPDATES FROM BEZSMERTNY AND TYMOSHENKO - 
YUSHCHENKO DIFFERENT POST VILNIUS, BUT NO DONE DEAL 

REF: A. KIEV 1540 

     B. KIEV 1711 
     C. KIEV 1773 

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

1. (C) Summary:  A downbeat and cynical Roman Bezsmertny and 
a more relaxed Yuliya Tymoshenko separately assessed the 
current stated of play in coalition negotiations with Charge 
May 11-12; their characterizations largely tracked, though 
not completely.  Both said that Yushchenko's attitude towards 
formation of an orange coalition had changed for the better 
after Yushchenko's meetings with the Vice President and EU 
High Rep Solana in Vilnius May 4, leading to a two-hour 
Yushchenko-Tymoshenko meeting May 5.  Negotiators for Our 
Ukraine (OU), Tymoshenko's Bloc (BYuT), and the Socialist 
Party of Ukraine (SPU) would attempt agreement on a 
preliminary version of the coalition document by May 14, 
allowing for a group meeting with Yushchenko May 15 or 16. 
That said, neither discounted the possibility that a 
Regions-OU coalition might eventually emerge.  Bezsmertny 
estimated 15 percent of OU MPs supported the Regions option; 
Tymoshenko named names: Petro Poroshenko, Mykola Martynenko, 
Presidential adviser Vira Ulyachenko, PM Yuri Yekhanurov, and 
Anatoliy Kinakh, for starters.  Tymoshenko said that even if 
she detected a warmer attitude by Yushchenko personally 
towards her and an orange coalition, the insider clique led 
by Poroshenko would do everything possible to scuttle orange 
coalition prospects, leading to the Regions option, 
regardless of the damage to Yushchenko's political future. 
Bezsmertny said that he was finished trying to push the 
coalition process faster than internal OU dynamics would 
allow.  Both suggested final cabinet formation could occur as 
late as mid-late July, based on a Rada opening of May 24-25. 

2. (C) Comment:  After several months of uncharacteristic 
constructive optimism, the vintage cynical and caustic 
Bezsmertny was back; Bezsmertny clearly is still nursing 
wounds following criticism by Yushchenko/Our Ukraine's 
Executive Council that he had leaned too far forward April 13 
in reconstituting the Orange Coalition (ref A).  Bezsmertny, 
who seemed deflated, without the energy or drive he exhibited 
the past several months, said the process of coalition 
building was worse that it was a month ago because it has 
lost momentum - confirming what Tymoshenko told us April 28 
when she said OU negotiators were merely going through the 
motions without enthusiasm (ref B).  Tymoshenko was clearly 
much better disposed towards Yushchenko in her May 12 
comments but saw the hand of archrival Poroshenko everywhere 
trying to control Yushchenko and attempting to scuttle the 
orange coalition.  Nemyria, who had met former Polish 
President Kwasniewski earlier in the week, said that 
Kwasniewski would reinforce the need for an orange coalition 
with Yushchenko in Warsaw May 12.  Ambassador will revisit 
the main negotiators the week of May 15 once Yushchenko meets 
with the group.  End Summary and Comment. 

Vilnius had an impact: Yushchenko better disposed to Orange 
--------------------------------------------- -------------- 

3. (C) Coalition-related messages delivered by the Vice 
President and EU High Representative Solana in Vilnius May 4 
had an impact on Yushchenko's thinking and actions, according 
to both Bezsmertny and Tymoshenko.  Bezsmertny said 
Yushchenko,s comments and instructions to his staff after he 
came back from Vilnius showed renewed focus on pushing 
coalition negotiations forward.  Yushchenko met Bezsmertny 
May 5 prior to meeting serially with Tymoshenko, Moroz and 
Yanukovych.  Tymoshenko thanked us for the Vilnius 
intervention.  Before Vilnius, Yushchenko had been quoted 
mentioning a "wide, democratic coalition," interpreted by 
many as including Regions.  After Vilnius, he was talking 
orange.  Their May 5 session had lasted two hours, helping to 
clear the air.  Tymoshenko sensed a change in Yushchenko,s 
attitude towards her.  Before Vilnius, his disdain about a 
coalition with BYuT was palpable.  After, he was warmer both 
to her and to concluding the coalition with BYuT and the SPU. 

4. (C) Bezsmertny said Yushchenko had called him early May 11 
and met with him later that day, just before Bezsmertny met 
Charge.  Yushchenko had asked whether it was already time for 
him to meet with the so-called "troika" (trio) of lead 
negotiators (Bezsmertny, Tymoshenko, and Socialist leader 
Moroz) to put the stamp of approval on the general coalition 
document (note: catching wind of the possible May 11 meeting, 
Tymoshenko canceled a scheduled visit to Vienna to meet with 
Goldman Sachs, sending her foreign policy adviser Nemyria in 
her place, Tymoshenko told us May 12). 

Coalition negotiations: Getting down to details, of a sort 
--------------------------------------------- ------------- 

KIEV 00001851  002.3 OF 004 

5. (C) Bezsmertny, who frankly acknowledged he had been 
burned in the past by pushing the coalition process faster 
than the substance warranted, said that he had recommended 
that Yushche
nko convene such a group meeting with Tymoshenko 
and Moroz May 15-16, allowing for several more days of work 
on the program.  Handing over a copy of the 48 page draft 
coalition document as it stood May 11, Bezsmertny claimed the 
three parties had already reached agreement on the sections 
governing foreign policy and coalition rules, but that they 
had done no meaningful work on economics or agrarian/land 
policy (see ref b).  Bezsmertny placed the blame on BYuT for 
not fully staffing the working groups or taking the process 
seriously; in contrast, the Socialists were effective working 
partners. 

6. (C) In contrast, Tymoshenko said that BYuT was ready to 
agree to anything, sign immediately, and get to work; she 
added there would be a large working meeting on May 14 of the 
main negotiators plus working group representatives to hash 
out/approve a preliminary draft version of the coalition 
program, which could then be discussed with Yushchenko May 
15-16.  She expected they would reach agreement on the 
foreign policy, internal/economic policy, and rules sections 
May 14, leaving aside personnel issues, which would be much 
more contentious.  The foreign policy section would be spun 
off for presentation to the Rada for approval, as required by 
Ukrainian law.  Without referencing the text Bezsmertny 
provided, we asked about characterization of NATO (note: the 
Our Ukraine draft used NATO repeatedly, as opposed to 
Euro-Atlantic).  Nemyria said that references to NATO had 
been changed to Euro-Atlantic to smooth the way for Socialist 
endorsement.  He said he had worked closely with the 
EuroParliament's Socialist Group (PES) and Solana's team to 
bring the SPU along closer to the attitudes of Western 
European Social Democratic parties; Tymoshenko praised 
Nemyria's work in this regard. 

...but no done deal for Orange, and a two-month timeframe 
--------------------------------------------- ------------ 

7. (C) That all said, Bezsmertny and Tymoshenko both stressed 
that Yushchenko still had not decided definitively in favor 
of an Orange Coalition with Tymoshenko as Premier.  Spurred 
on by an influential clique of insiders who favored a deal 
with Regions, Yushchenko had not made a final choice. 
Bezsmertny downplayed the "ongoing conversation" between the 
Presidential Secretariat/Yekhanurov and Regions as not 
serious; there were no documents in preparation that could 
serve as a basis for a coalition.  Tymoshenko claimed that 
the contacts were "serious and continuous," fingering her 
archrival Poroshenko, outgoing OU Rada faction leader 
Martynenko, Kinakh (who submitted a letter of resignation as 
National Security and Defense Council Secretary May 12, 
according to press reports, to assume his Rada mandate), 
influential adviser to Yushchenko and friend of First Lady 
Kataryna Vira Ulyachenko, whom she alleged was accepting 
money from Regions, and PM Yekhanurov, whom Tymoshenko 
suggested thought he could stay on as PM in exchange for 
Yanukovych becoming Rada Speaker and Regions controlling more 
than half the Cabinet slots.  Tymoshenko said it was not even 
clear where Presidential Chief of Staff Rybachuk now stood; 
as strange as it seemed to her, there were indications he was 
leaning in favor of the Regions option now (comment: this 
does not sound right to us; we will follow up with Rybachuk). 

8. (SBU) Note: Yushchenko traveled to Poland May 12-13. 
Ukrainian wire services and media outlets widely reported an 
interview with leading Polish newspaper Gazeta Wyborcza 
published May 12 in which Yushchenko appeared to rule out a 
coalition deal with Regions; however, his actual coalition 
comment was somewhat more nuanced: "An Orange Coalition is 
the best possibility...(the possibility) of an orange-blue 
coalition is excluded for today."  Yushchenko also stated 
that he did not rule out Tymoshenko's return as Premier, the 
first public commentary to that effect he had made since the 
March 26 elections. 

9. (C) Neither Bezsmertny nor Tymoshenko expressed optimism 
that there would be quick movement toward forming a coalition 
government; both predicted ultimate cabinet formation could 
come as late as mid-late July, towards the end of the 60 days 
after the Rada convenes.  While Tymoshenko stressed the 
downsides to continued stalling by OU to Yushchenko's 
political standing and OU's ratings (down to 8-10 percent in 
the latest polls), Bezsmertny helplessly shrugged his 
shoulders and made clear he was done pushing the process 
faster than OU and Yushchenko would accept.  He said the Rada 
would meet for the first time next week (May 24-25), but 
predicted it would be consumed with internal organizational 
issues and would not be quick to turn to the formation of the 

KIEV 00001851  003 OF 004 

coalition.  The lack of a precedent (e.g., that this would be 
the first government formed since constitutional reform went 
into effect, and the coalition, Rada, and president would 
have to feel their way forward) would be an additional factor 
slowing progress. 

10. (C) Tymoshenko stated that reaching agreement on 
personnel choices would be very difficult; Bezsmertny 
expressed a similar view, noting that 80 percent of OU MPs 
favored an orange coalition, but most of them opposed 
Tymoshenko as PM.   She alleged that OU's Zvarych had said in 
the most recent negotiating session that BYuT would need to 
accept Poroshenko as Rada Speaker if coalition discussions 
were to proceed any further (note: Yushchenko and OU publicly 
stick to the line that there would be no discussion of 
positions until after the coalition document were signed). 
Tymoshenko also claimed that Yushchenko/OU were attempting to 
expand Presidential prerogative in the coalition negotiations 
by making a bid to keep all the "siloviki" (law enforcement 
related personnel) in place.  She felt that would be a 
disaster, since the Prosecutor General and his deputies 
(Medvedko, Shokin, Vinokurov), the Security Service (SBU) 
Chief Dryzhchany, and even Interior Minister Lutsenko were 
all affiliated with Poroshenko, if not also connected to 
Regions, in the case of Medvedko, a Donetsk native.  She 
claimed that Socialist leaders Moroz and Vinsky were now 
privately disavowing connections with Lutsenko. 

Two takes on the Rada Working Group, and the hand of Poro 
--------------------------------------------- ------------ 

11. (C) The one issue on which Bezsmertny struck a more 
optimistic note than Tymoshenko concerned the Rada Working 
Group, comprised of MPs-elect from Regions (12), BYuT (9), OU 
(6), SPU (2), and the Communists (2), plus outgoing Speaker 
Lytvyn, established to organize the opening of the new Rada 
prior to formation of a governing coalition.  Bezsmertny 
noted that OU, BYuT, SPU were working together and predicted 
Socialist MP-elect Bokyi would be chosen Working Group Chair, 
perhaps May 15, though OU had nominated Yushchenko's 
representative to the Rada Klyuchkovsky.   (Note: May 11 
pres
s reports indicated that OU, BYuT, and SPU had rejected 
the candidacy of outgoing Communist deputy Speaker Martynyuk, 
supported by Party of Regions and the Communists.) 

12. (C) In contrast, Tymoshenko saw worrying signs in the 
working group, particularly what she termed as the 
destructive role of Poroshenko, whom she blamed for having 
prevented progress in the first three sessions.  Poroshenko 
alone had openly supported the proposal of Regions' MP Azarov 
to require a two-thirds majority to make working group 
decisions, effectively giving Regions a veto (she added that 
Poroshenko and Azarov were close, perhaps business partners). 
 BYuT and the SPU had rejected the proposal, she added.  In 
the next meeting with Yushchenko, she and Moroz would raise 
the problem of the working group dynamics; she would suggest 
that either Poroshenko be replaced or that Yushchenko give 
clear instructions on the attitude and approach OU members 
should adopt. 

13. (C) The main obstacle to formation of the OU-BYuT-SPU 
coalition was Poroshenko, she stressed; it almost seemed that 
Yushchenko was not entirely free to make his own decisions, 
or able to shake loose from those operating not in his 
interests but their own.  Even if the Orange Coalition were 
to form, Poroshenko and his clique would work hard to bring 
it down as quickly as possible; they were already laying such 
plans, she claimed.  This was why it was important to keep 
Poroshenko out of the government and the Rada leadership and 
find some post for him to keep him out of the mix, ideally an 
Ambassadorship out of the country. 

14. (C) The problem appeared to be a seemingly unshakable 
bond between Yushchenko and Poroshenko which she could not 
quite explain.  She wondered out loud whether Poroshenko had 
something he could hold against Yushchenko, perhaps joint 
business deals (she cited rumors allegedly sourced from 
Yushchenko bodyguards that Yushchenko and Poroshenko had a 
relatively recent screaming match).  Poroshenko and others 
acted out of their own interest without regard to the damage 
an alliance with Regions would do to Yushchenko's base, 
reputation, and chances for re-election in 2009.  Ukrainian 
society wanted clarity and decisiveness from its leaders; the 
OU strategy to delay was self-defeating for Yushchenko. 
Acknowledging that OU insiders saw her as Yushchenko's main 
2009 opponent, she said that she had explained to Yushchenko 
May 5 why that was not the case.  She had told Yushchenko 
that Yanukovych would be his only serious opponent in 2009. 
She was ready to support him through 2009 and beyond on a 
common program; giving governorships in Donetsk, Luhansk, and 
Kharkiv to Regions now only buttressed Yanukovych's ability 

KIEV 00001851  004 OF 004 

to mount a serious campaign, which would start in 2008, two 
years away. 

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

 

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