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06KIEV2329, UKRAINE: AT THE RADA, PARTY OF REGIONS UPBEAT

June 15, 2006

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
06KIEV2329 2006-06-15 15:25 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Kyiv
VZCZCXRO0460
OO RUEHDBU
DE RUEHKV #2329/01 1661525
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 151525Z JUN 06
FM AMEMBASSY KIEV
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 9916
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 002329 

SIPDIS 

SIPDIS 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 06/15/2016 
TAGS: PGOV PINR SOCI MARR UP
SUBJECT: UKRAINE: AT THE RADA, PARTY OF REGIONS UPBEAT 

REF: A. KIEV 2316 
     B. KIEV 2188 

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

Summary 
------- 

1. (C) The action at the June 15 Rada session was not at the 
rostrum, but on the floor and in the hallways, where Party of 
Regions leader Viktor Yanukovych shook hands, slapped backs 
and assured reporters that Regions would sign a coalition 
agreement on June 20 -- when the Rada reconvenes.  Our 
Ukraine (OU) MPs working the hallways offered a more nuanced 
view, stressing that OU was "consulting" and not yet 
"negotiating" with Regions; OU MP Anatoliy Matviyenko called 
on the Tymoshenko Bloc (BYuT) to join in a grand coalition 
with OU and Regions.  Ukrainska Pravda reported that OU will 
not move into formal negotiations with Regions until Regions 
agrees to change its stance on NATO and drops its insistence 
on a federalist form of government and Russian as a second 
State language.  Senior BYuT MPs told us that the bloc would 
participate in an Orange coalition or go into opposition; 
there would be no cooperation with Regions.  BYuT MPs were 
headed back to their constituencies to prepare local 
supporters for BYuT turning up the heat on Yushchenko.  For 
her part, Yuliya Tymoshenko blasted the president for 
"blessing" the formation of an Orange-Blue coalition, and 
defiantly announced that she would never "hand Ukraine over 
to the clans" by teaming up with OU and Regions; BYuT, she 
stressed, was ready to "fight for Ukraine."  Privately, some 
BYuT MPs told us that they would be reaching out to First 
Lady Kateryna Yushchenko in an effort to get her to persuade 
the president to revive the Orange coalition talks.  A 
well-connected newspaper editor and a senior aide to 
Socialist Party leader Moroz also told us that Moroz would 
see Yushchenko before he departs June 16 for Kazakhstan.  End 
summary. 

Rada Session: Little Action At The Rostrum 
------------------------------------------ 

2. (C) The June 15 Rada session lasted about two hours, with 
MPs spending most of that time discussing whether or not to 
consolidate some of the Rada's committees, specifically the 
committees on social policy and war veterans/persons with 
disabilities.  Prior to adjourning until June 20 at 10:00 
a.m., MPs voted on a Communist Party proposal to amend the 
Rada's agenda to include discussion of forming an ad hoc 
investigatory committee into recent events in Crimea and 
Dnipropetrovsk (Refs A and B); the measure, unanimously 
supported by the Communists and the Party of Regions, did not 
pass.  (Comment:  The Regions support flies in the face of 
Roman Zvarych's June 14 assurance to DCM that OU would "close 
its doors" if Regions backed such a measure.  See septel. 
The fact that the defeated measure was simply to add an item 
to the Rada's agenda, rather than a vote actually to form 
such a committee probably provides enough of a fig leaf, 
however, to save OU's face and keep the OU-Regions 
"discussion" going.) 

...But A Lot On The Floor And In The Hallways 
--------------------------------------------- 

3. (SBU) The real action at Thursday's session was on the 
Rada floor and in the hallways.  With the media reporting 
before the start of the session that an Orange-Blue coalition 
between Our Ukraine (OU) and Regions was imminent, Regions 
MPs were ebullient.  The beaming Regions' leader, Viktor 
Yanukovych, spent much of the session circulating among his 
MPs, shaking hands, slapping backs, kissing cheeks and 
occasionally huddling with Regions' heavyweights Borys 
Kolesnikov and Yevhen Kushnaryov.  (Note:  Regions deputy and 
financial backer Rinat Akhmetov was absent.) 

Coalition Status: Regions' View... 
---------------------------------- 

4. (SBU) Speaking with a small group of journalists and 
diplomats, Regions MPs Andriy Klyuyev and Taras Chornovil 
stressed that Regions now had the initiative in the coalition 
formation process.  They emphasized that Regions was 
negotiating, not consulting, with Our Ukraine, and noted that 
MP Mykola Azarov had the lead for Regions.  They declined to 
predict when a coalition would be formed or who would get key 
positions; Klyuyev stressed quietly and repeatedly that "all 
possibilities" were being discussed.  However, following the 
close of today's session, Yanukovych himself told journalists 
that Regions would sign a coalition agreement on June 20; in 
response to a question about who would serve as prime 
minister, Yanukovych -- in a reference to Regions' 
first-place finish in the March parliamentary elections -- 

KIEV 00002329  002 OF 002 

said that the "Ukrainian people had already determined" who 
the new prime minister would be (i.e., him). 

...The Our Ukraine Take... 
-------------------------- 

5. (SBU) Our Ukraine MPs Roman Zvarych and Anatoliy 
Matviyenko reiterated to us, and to the press, that Our 
Ukraine was engaged in "consultations" not negotiations with 
Regions (septel).  Asked to explain the difference, 
Matviyenko emphasize
d that Our Ukraine truly wanted the 
Tymoshenko Bloc (BYuT) at the negotiating table along with 
Regions.  Our Ukraine was ready to proceed "bilaterally" with 
Regions, but still hoped for a "best-case" broad coalition 
that included OU, Regions and BYuT, Matviyenko claimed. 
(Note: Ukrainska Pravda reported on June 15, citing 
unidentified OU sources, that OU would only move from 
"consultations" to "negotiations" with Regions if Regions 
dropped its support for Federalism and making Russian a 
second State language and changed its stance on NATO. 
Without those concessions, according to the OU sources, 
"there will be no negotiations.") 

...The Tymoshenko Camp Message... 
--------------------------------- 

6. (SBU) Senior BYuT MP Mykola Tomenko, speaking to a crowd 
of journalists and diplomats, declared that BYuT's position 
had not changed: the bloc would participate in an Orange 
coalition or go into opposition.  He urged OU, and President 
Yushchenko, to carefully review the offer made on June 14 by 
Socialist Party leader Oleksandr Moroz (Ref A) and return to 
the negotiating table.  BYuT and the SP were not trying to 
infringe on the president's constitutional powers to appoint 
oblast and rayon chiefs, but simply wanted an equitable 
distribution of government posts based on the results of the 
March parliamentary elections.  BYuT MP and Tymoshenko 
foreign policy guru Hryhoriy Nemirya told us privately that 
BYuT MPs would use the next few days to return to their 
constituencies and prepare people for BYuT going into 
opposition and turning up the heat on Yushchenko.  For her 
part, Yuliya Tymoshenko blasted the president for "blessing" 
the formation of an Orange-Blue coalition, and confirmed to 
reporters at the Rada that she would never "hand Ukraine over 
to the clans" by teaming up with OU and Regions; BYuT, she 
stressed, was ready to "fight for Ukraine." 

...And The Missing Man 
---------------------- 

7. (C) Privately, BYuT MP Volodymyr Polokhalo told us that 
BYuT MPs would try to reach out to the president's wife, 
Kateryna, in the next few days in an effort "to talk some 
sense" into Yushchenko.  The president was being manipulated 
by OU oligarchs like Petro Poroshenko and was now simply a 
figurehead, Polokhalo stressed.  Separately, Vysoky Zamok 
Chief Editor Nataliya Balyuk (a Tymoshenko partisan whose 
husband is a BYuT MP) and longtime Moroz aide Olena Nykulyn 
told us that the Socialist Party chief would see Yushchenko 
prior to the president's departure on June 16 for a two-day 
trip to an energy/regional security conference in Kazakhstan. 
 (Note:  Later on June 15, the President's press service 
reported Yushchenko, who "still supported" an Orange 
coalition, had met with Moroz.)  Balyuk, a veteran observer 
of Ukrainian politics, likened the state of Team Orange to 
that of a cancer patient.  The patient may in the end die 
prematurely of cancer, Balyuk said, "but there's always hope 
for a miraculous recovery." 
Taylor

Wikileaks

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