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06KIEV3029, UKRAINE: TALE OF TWO VIKTORS: YUSHCHENKO NOMINATES

August 4, 2006

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
06KIEV3029 2006-08-04 06:46 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Kyiv
VZCZCXRO0308
PP RUEHDBU
DE RUEHKV #3029/01 2160646
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 040646Z AUG 06
FM AMEMBASSY KIEV
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 0812
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 003029 

SIPDIS 

SIPDIS 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/04/2016 
TAGS: PGOV KDEM UP
SUBJECT: UKRAINE: TALE OF TWO VIKTORS: YUSHCHENKO NOMINATES 
YANUKOVYCH AS PM, BROAD COALITION IN THE OFFING 

REF: A. 04 KIEV 4952 

     B. KIEV 2888 

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

1. (C) Summary. In another last minute decision crucial to 
the political future of Ukraine, President Viktor 
Yushchenko initiated the procedures required for 
dissolution of the Rada (parliament) August 2, only to 
agree in the middle of the night instead to endorse 
Regions' leader Viktor Yanukovych's nomination as Prime 
Minister.  The reversal came after Yushchenko conducted a 
final round of multi-hour negotiations with Yanukovych and 
Speaker Oleksandr Moroz.  By mid-day August 3, both Regions 
and OU sources were suggesting that a new coalition had 
been formed between Regions and Our Ukraine (OU) although 
the details, including participation by the Socialists and 
Communists, remained unclear.  In the mid-afternoon 
roundtable signing of the Declaration of National Unity, or 
Universal, sparks flew between Yushchenko and Yuliya 
Tymoshenko, who accused Yushchenko of capitulating to 
Regions on all important issues and then refused to sign 
the document. Yushchenko told Ambassador August 3 that the 
developments over the previous 24 hours had been very 
important for Ukraine, helping to remove the divisions 
between eastern and western Ukraine while reinforcing his 
domestic and foreign policy priorities: integration into 
NATO and the EU as Ukraine's strategic orientation; the 
unity of the Ukrainian state; removal of the artificial 
issue of the status of the Russian language; support for 
creation of a unified Ukrainian Orthodox church; and 
development of a land market.  Our Ukraine heavyweight 
Poroshenko later confirmed to the Ambassador that a new 
coalition agreement, drawing on elements of the Universal, 
would be signed in the Rada by OU and Regions on August 4, 
but it was unclear whether the Socialists or Communists 
would sign too. 

2. (C) Comment:  This is at least the third time in two 
years that Yushchenko has made a critical last-minute 
change of heart on a key political decision.  On December 
8, 2004, he waited until after Rada voting had started to 
call on Our Ukraine (OU) to abandon its position and 
support constitutional changes weakening the power of the 
Presidency as part of a "big package" deal which also 
secured a revote of the falsified second round (ref A). 
After greenlighting an OU-Regions coalition deal initialed 
June 20 in which Yuri Yekhanurov would serve as PM, 
Yushchenko reversed course at the last moment the morning 
of June 22, authorizing OU to sign the Coalition of 
Democratic Forces text with Yuliya Tymoshenko's Bloc (BYuT) 
and the Socialists instead.  Yushchenko and OU had flirted 
with forming a coalition with Regions ever since OU slipped 
to a weak third place showing behind BYuT in the March 26 
elections.  In the aftermath of Moroz' July 6 defection 
from the so-called "Orange Coalition," Yushchenko and OU 
appear to have made the best deal available for themselves, 
one which may also give Ukraine a chance to surmount the 
orange-blue divide existing since the 2004 Presidential 
election cycle.  How the two Viktors will work together in 
office after the bitter enmity of the 2004 and 2006 
election cycles will remain an open question.  End Summary 
and Comment. 

Surprising End-game, with a two Viktor solution 
--------------------------------------------- -- 

3. (SBU) When Yushchenko initiated a roundtable political 
discussion of a possible Declaration of National Unity 
leading to a coalition of National Unity July 27, opinion 
was split on whether the exercise would lead to substantive 
progress in overcoming the political impasse, merely serve 
as cover for OU accommodation with Regions, or expose 
unreconcilable rifts between Yushchenko/OU and Regions, 
leading to possible Rada dissolution and new elections. 
The televised July 27 marathon session showed Yushchenko in 
command, acting Presidential.  Subsequent late night 
sessions lasting up to 10 hours started July 28 and 
occurred behind closed doors, involving Yushchenko, 
Yanukovych, and Moroz (July 28, August 2), Yushchenko and 
Yanukovych (August 1), and a working group involving key 
deputy leaders of OU, Regions, the Socialists, occasionally 
the Communists, and the Presidential Secretariat haggling 
over the text of the Universal and a possible reconfigured 
coalition. 

4. (SBU) Initial reports during the late night August 1 
session indicated tentative agreement had been reached 
between Yushchenko and Yanukovych and OU and Regions. 
However, Regions took a tougher line in the morning of 
August 2, categorically ruling out signing of the Universal 

KIEV 00003029  002 OF 004 

version that Yushchenko supported.  Yushchenko subsequently 
initiated mid-afternoon consultations with the Rada 
leadership and party faction leaders in line with Article 
90 of the Constitution governing dissolution of the Rada, 
which in turn triggered Moroz calling a special session of 
the Rada to discuss Rada reaction to a possible dissolution 
in line with its July 24 resolution (ref b). 


5. (SBU) The unfolding drama took multiple turns in rapid 
succession August 2 and 3.  Regions MPs, led by in-house 
lawyer Olena Lukash, rushed to register a draft impeachment 
resolution at the Rada's Secretariat at 1730; on the way, 
they stopped to show it to Socialist deputy leader 
Rudkovsky as he was talking to us in the Rada lobby.  OU 
staffers and deputies such as MP Mustafa Jemilev told us at 
1800 that Yushchenko would dismiss the Rada and was 
recording an address to the nation with a supportive 
explanation; press reports later claimed that such a taped 
address was delivered to State TV channel UT-1 at 1900, 
only to be recalled an hour later. 

6. (SBU) Moroz at the podium and other Regions MPs in the 
lobby, however, expressed confidence that Yushchenko would 
"do the right thing" and nominate Yanukovych as PM.  Rather 
than an early evening address to the nation, Yushchenko 
resumed closed-door negotiations with Moroz and Yanukovych 
at 2000, concluding close to 0200 with Yushchenko agreeing 
to endorse Yanukovych's nomination as PM.  The press had 
spotted key Regions deputy leader Kluyev arriving 
separately after 2000, amidst reports that Kluyev and OU 
heavyweight Poroshenko had hammered out a possible list of 
cabinet members in the event an accord was reached between 
Yushchenko and Yanukovych allowing for Yanukovych to be PM 
and OU to join the coalition. 

Yushchenko: unifying the country, reiterating policy 
priorities 
--------------------------------------------- -------------- 
- 
--- 

7. (SBU) Speaking before the media at 0200 August 3, 
Yushchenko described the chance to unify the country as the 
decisive factor in his decision to forward Yanukovych's 
nomination.  He attributed his change of heart to success 
in securing agreement by Yanukovych and Moroz to sign a 
version of a Declaration of National Unity, the so-called 
"Universal," which endorsed what he called "constitutional 
values" on the five issues of critical importance to him 
and Ukraine: unity of the Ukrainian state; language; 
religion; domestic democratic reforms; and the strategic 
direction of foreign policy. 

8. (C) Yushchenko reiterated these themes to Ambassador 
August 3 while elaborating on foreign policy and NATO in 
particular.  He said that agreement on the Universal had 
removed the divisions between eastern and western Ukraine 
while reinforcing his domestic and foreign policy 
priorities, including: integration into NATO and the EU as 
Ukraine's strategic orientation; the unity of the Ukrainian 
state; removal of the artificial issue of the status of the 
Russian language; support for creation of a unified 
Ukrainian Orthodox church; and development of a land 
market.  Yushchenko said that Ukraine would make all 
possible efforts to secure a Membership Action Plan (MAP) 
at the Riga Summit.  Yanukovych as PM would send a letter 
in 10 days to NATO with this request; Yushchenko had urged 
Yanukovych to visit Brussels and Washington early on to 
demonstrate the commitment to the principles contained in 
the Universal and to specific steps needed to fulfill this 
vision. 

Next Coalition: Blue-Orange or National Unity? 
--------------------------------------------- - 

9. (SBU) As the Rada opened August 3 at 1000, it initially 
appeared as if the existing anti-crisis coalition of 
Regions, Socialists, and Communists would vote in 
Yanukovych as PM; Socialist faction leader Tsushko 
predicted to the press that a broad coalition of Regions, 
Socialists, OU, and the Communists would subsequently 
emerge.  "Deep orange" OU deputy leader Mykola Katerynchuk 
told us he was prepared to go into "constructive 
opposition" rather than join a coalition with Regions. 

10. (SBU) The ground appeared to shift again around 1130, 
however, when OU deputy leader Roman Zvarych informed 
journalists in the Rada lobby that a new coalition 
agreement had been signed between OU and Regions, while 
still open to others.  He added that on August 4, the Rada 
would create the conditions for the swearing in of the 

KIEV 00003029  003 OF 004 

Constitutional Court, and that the new coalition would 
support all bills and actions designed to facilitate closer 
cooperation with NATO, while leaving the ultimate question 
of membership until after a national referendum. 
Corroborating Zvarych's claim of an emerging new alignment, 
Yanukovych's press secretary Rodion Myroshnyk told us that 
the day's schedule had changed: the Universal would be 
signed formally at 1400, followed by a joint caucus meeting 
of Regions and OU, and then the vote approving Yanukovych 
as PM. 

11. (SBU) Sparks flew between Yushchenko and Tymoshenko at 
the roundtable signing of the Universal.  Tymoshenko, 
talking as the leader of the parliamentary opposition, 
accused Yushchenko of caving into Regions' demands for 
textual changes on all the important issues: language, 
NATO, Single Economic Space with Russia, a national church; 
she called the declaration an "orange political 
capitulation."  Yushchenko first attempted to cut her off, 
belittled her intervention as language fit for the bazaar, 
and later termed her comments "demagoguery." (note: our 
analysis, septel, of the final version compared to 
Yushchenko's initial text from July 27 and Regions' 
counterproposals suggests that Tymoshenko's 
characterization of the textual changes is largely 
accurate.)  Tymoshenko refused to sign the Universal; 
Communist leader Symonenko "signed" it while announcing his 
refusal to endorse five key paragraphs on NATO, language, 
religion, land reform, and economic policy. 

12. (SBU) A lengthy Our Ukraine caucus meeting to decide on 
joining a new coalition forced the Rada's timetable to slip 
late August 3; Socialist Tsushko predicted that the 
swearing in of both Yanukovych as PM and Constitutional 
Court judges would take place August 4.  While Tsushko 
predicted that a new Coalition of National Unity would 
emerge August 4 and a full Cabinet approved in a special 
Saturday session August 5, he squirmed uncomfortably when 
asked about the fate of the Communists.  Later Poroshenko 
confirmed to the Ambassador that the OU caucus had agreed 
to sign a new coalition agreement with Regions at the 
Rada.  According to Poroshenko, the new agreement will 
include numerous elements from the Universal.  When asked 
by the Ambassador whether all the OU deputies would agree 
to the new coalition, Poroshenko said that majority were in 
favor, but one or two would probably refuse to sign and 
effectively join the opposition.  At this point, Poroshenko 
said that Yanukovych was scheduled to be sworn in at the 
Rada at 11 am on August 4.  (Note: This could change 
numerous times in the next few hours.  end note).  BYuT 
deputy leader Tomenko told us that BYuT would stay out of 
the Rada chamber August 4-5, returning when the Rada 
reconvenes in September. 

13.  (C)  In his conversation with the Ambassador, 
Poroshenko said that the Regions-OU coalition had also 
paved the way for ending the long-delayed convening of the 
constitutional court.  According to Poroshenko, the new 
coalition would vote on the Rada's candidates for the 
constitutional court at 10 am on August 4.  Then the full 
Rada, in the presence of the newly-elected PM, the acting 
Chief Justice of the Supreme Court and probably President 
Yushchenko -- would swear in all the new constitutional 
court justices -- those newly nominated by the Rada and the 
nominees forwarded to the Rada by Yushchenko and the 
Council of Judges last November, giving the constitutional 
court a quorum for the first time in nine months. 
Poroshenko also noted that discussions were ongoing between 
Yanukovych, Regions and OU regarding the make-up of the 
Cabinet of Ministers, suggesting that lists were being 
readied now in order to present to Yushchenko over the next 
few days.  Poroshenko predicted that a new government would 
probably be voted in by the Rada by early next week.  It 
could not happen this week.  He also suggested that as part 
of the agreement on the Universal, the Rada would pass 
several key pieces of legislation, including the 
long-delayed approval to hold military exercises involving 
foreign forces in Ukraine, before going out of session for 
the rest of August. 

What next? questions heading into the August vacation 
--------------------------------------------- -------- 

14. (C) Comment: The dizzying pace of developments leaves 
many loose ends as Ukraine's political elite heads into its 
delayed traditional August vacation, now set to begin 
August 7.  Regions' preferred coalition partner all along 
has been OU, given closer policy affinity on economic 
issues than with the Socialists and Communists.  Zvarych's 
comments about a new but open coalition agreement may have 
been targeted at potential BYuT businessmen defectors 

KIEV 00003029  004 OF 004 

rather than the Socialists; both Tymoshenko and Regions MPs 
have told us recently that 50 BYuT MPs are ready to defect 
to any governing coalition.  Socialists like Tsushko, 
however, talked as if OU would merely join a new 
configuration of the existing Regions-Socialist-Communist 
coalition, to be renamed the "Coalition of National 
Unity."  Yushchenko told Ambassador that he planned on 
signing a Presidential-PM-Speaker declaration with 
Yanukovych and Moroz next week that would reiterate the 
unchanging nature of Ukraine's domestic and foreign policy 
priorities, suggesting that trilateral cooperation will 
likely continue. 

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

Taylor

Wikileaks

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