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06KIEV1994, UKRAINE: KRAMER-WOOD 5/22 MEETING WITH FORMER

May 24, 2006

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
06KIEV1994 2006-05-24 15:13 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Kyiv
VZCZCXRO6212
PP RUEHDBU
DE RUEHKV #1994/01 1441513
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 241513Z MAY 06
FM AMEMBASSY KIEV
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 9483
INFO RUCNCIS/CIS COLLECTIVE
RUEHZG/NATO EU COLLECTIVE

 

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 KIEV 001994 

SIPDIS 

SIPDIS 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 05/23/2016 
TAGS: PGOV PINR SOCI ECON PREL UP RS
SUBJECT: UKRAINE: KRAMER-WOOD 5/22 MEETING WITH FORMER 
CHIEF OF STAFF OLEKSANDR ZINCHENKO 

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

Summary 
------- 

1. (C) In a May 22 meeting with visiting EUR DAS David 
Kramer, OVP Deputy NSA Joseph Wood, and Ambassador, former 
State Secretary Oleksandr Zinchenko stressed that Ukraine's 
next prime minister should be a politically independent 
technocrat -- not a politician.  Zinchenko had advised 
President Yushchenko's Our Ukraine (OU) to build bridges to 
the rival Party of Regions, the first-place finisher in the 
March 26 parliamentary elections; without Regions' support, 
President Yushchenko would not be able to govern effectively 
in the east and south.  Zinchenko characterized OU as a 
"mess," asserting that "nobody in OU listens to Yushchenko." 
Ukraine's relations with Russia were in "total chaos," 
according to Zinchenko.  The Russian mass media, at the 
behest of the Kremlin, was presenting the Russian public with 
an extremely negative image of Ukraine; Kiev's official 
reaction, championed by Foreign Minister Tarasyuk, had simply 
further antagonized Moscow.  Zinchenko stressed that 
Yushchenko needed a respected, competent special envoy to 
patch up relations with Russia; Zinchenko said he would take 
such a job if he had Yushchenko's full support.  In 
particular, Zinchenko said that he would smooth the rough 
edges of Ukraine's NATO accession effort, listening to 
Russian concerns and building Ukrainian public support for 
accession.  Zinchenko complained about the Ukrainian 
government's failure to reach out to Kazakhstan, 
Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan to diversify energy supplies; 
the controversial January gas deal with Russia had been "a 
crime," Zinchenko said, adding that "somebody" had betrayed 
Ukraine "because he wanted to become a millionaire." 
Zinchenko claimed that Yushchenko still did not know all the 
details of the January deal -- or "does not want to know." 
End summary. 

The Man Who Lit the Fuse 
------------------------ 

2. (C) EUR DAS David Kramer and Deputy National Security 
Adviser to the Vice President Joseph Wood, accompanied by 
Ambassador, met May 22 with former State Secretary Oleksandr 
Zinchenko, whose September 2005 public allegations of 
corruption against members of President Yushchenko's inner 
circle sparked the breakup of the original Orange coalition. 
Yushchenko answered Zinchenko's accusations by sacking Prime 
Minister Yuliya Tymoshenko (who was not the subject of 
Zinchenko's corruption allegations) and removing 
anti-Tymoshenko close associates National Security and 
Defense Council (NSDC) Secretary Petro Poroshenko and senior 
presidential aide Oleksandr Tretyakov (who were in 
Zinchenko's sights).  The moves sent Ukraine into a period of 
political limbo from which it has yet to fully emerge. 
(Note: The media reported on May 24 that Zinchenko may soon 
be dismissed as leader of his Party of Patriotic Forces of 
Ukraine, which finished 30th -- with 0.10 percent of the 
total vote -- in the March 26 parliamentary and local 
elections.) 

Next Prime Minister? Technocrat 
------------------------------- 

3. (C) Addressing the current prolonged Rada majority 
coalition formation negotiations that have followed the March 
26 parliamentary elections, Zinchenko said he could not 
answer the question of who would serve as the next prime 
minister.  Zinchenko dismissed current Prime Minister Yuriy 
Yekhanurov as weak and characterized Tymoshenko as decisive 
and charismatic but unable to create a winning team. 
Zinchenko asserted that Yushchenko would be best served by 
choosing a compromise figure who was capable and politically 
independent; the country needed a strong, professional 
manager in the prime minister's chair -- not a politician. 

Building Bridges With Regions 
----------------------------- 

4. (C) Zinchenko said that the results of the March 
parliamentary and local elections made it clear that, while 
distasteful, Our Ukraine (OU) had to build bridges to the 
rival Party of Regions.  Regions had won decisive political 
control in seven eastern and southern oblasts; unless 
Yushchenko reached out to Regions and included it in a "Grand 
Coalition," Yushchenko would not be able to govern these 
oblasts.  Zinchenko speculated that the price of coaxing 
Regions into the proverbial Big Tent would be a deputy prime 
minister and a deputy Rada Speaker slot, as well as some key 
Rada committee chairmanships.  Zinchenko had advised OU to 
work directly with Regions politicians at the local level, 

KIEV 00001994  002 OF 002 

which he claimed would weaken and isolate Regions Chairman 
and Yushchenko rival Viktor Yanukovych. 

OU: "A Mess" 
------------ 

5. (C) Zinchenko characterized OU as a "mess" of a political 
party over which Yushchenko now had little control. 
Asserting that "nobody in OU listens to Yushchenko," 
Zinchenko stressed that a housecleaning was need
ed; 
Yushchenko had to assert his authority by appointing three or 
four young leaders to unify the party, enforce discipline and 
turn it into the "dynamic force" that it once had been. 

Relations With Russia: "Total Chaos" 
------------------------------------ 

6. (C) Ukraine's relations with Russia, according to 
Zinchenko, were in state of "total chaos."  The message from 
the Kremlin, dutifully repeated by the Russian mass media, 
was that "everything is bad in Ukraine."  This negative image 
of Ukraine was having a significant impact on trade 
relations, which Zinchenko asserted were in bad shape and 
getting worse.  Zinchenko groused that the Ukrainian 
government's reaction to Moscow's hostility had been crude 
and  counterproductive; Foreign Minister Tarasyuk, in 
particular, had done nothing but antagonize the Kremlin. 

7. (C) Zinchenko argued that Yushchenko needed to reach out 
to Moscow.  The best way to do that was to appoint a special 
representative to handle relations with Russia.  That person 
needed to be a professional, and someone respected in Moscow. 
 Responding to a question from DAS Kramer, Zinchenko said he 
would be willing to serve as Yushchenko's emissary to the 
Kremlin, but only if Yushchenko fully supported him in 
attempting to patch things up with Russia.  Asked for an 
example of what he would do differently than Tarasyuk, 
Zinchenko cited Ukraine's NATO accession effort.  Tarasyuk, 
he said, regularly and deliberately stoked the Kremlin's 
already considerable anxiety about Ukraine joining NATO. 
Zinchenko said he would take a "professional" approach, 
listening to Russian concerns while at the same time using a 
PR campaign to build public support in Ukraine for accession, 
highlighting the fact that Russia itself had a robust 
relationship with the alliance. 

Gas Deal 
-------- 

8. (C) Zinchenko also blamed Tarasyuk, and the Ukrainian 
government more broadly, for failing to reach out to 
Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan in an effort to 
diversify Ukraine's energy supplies.  Instead, Zinchenko 
said, Ukraine had "voluntarily given Russia monopoly control" 
of its energy sector via the January gas deal, which 
Zinchenko characterized as "a crime."  "Somebody" had 
betrayed Ukraine "simply because he wanted to become a 
millionaire," Zinchenko asserted, adding that Yushchenko 
still did not know the details of the January agreement -- 
"or does not want to know." 

9. (U) The delegation cleared this cable. 
Herbst

 

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