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06KIEV3332, UKRAINE: YUSHCHENKO’S INDEPENDENCE DAY SPEECH

August 29, 2006

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
06KIEV3332 2006-08-29 10:58 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Kyiv
VZCZCXRO3907
PP RUEHDBU
DE RUEHKV #3332/01 2411058
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 291058Z AUG 06
FM AMEMBASSY KIEV
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 1198
INFO RUEHZG/NATO EU COLLECTIVE
RUCNCIS/CIS COLLECTIVE

 

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 KIEV 003332 

SIPDIS 

SIPDIS 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/29/2016 
TAGS: PGOV PREL PINR KDEM PHUM MARR UP
SUBJECT: UKRAINE: YUSHCHENKO'S INDEPENDENCE DAY SPEECH 
REEMPHASIZES WESTERN ORIENTATION 

REF: A. KIEV 3029 
     B. KIEV 3130 
     C. KIEV 3277 
     D. KIEV 553 
     E. KIEV 1773 

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

1. (C) Summary.  During subdued Independence Day celebrations 
August 24, President Yushchenko stressed that the 
western-focussed policies adopted after the Orange Revolution 
(i.e., pursuing EU and NATO membership) would be continued by 
Ukraine's new government led by Viktor Yanukovych that he 
described as: "could be better -- and could be worse." 
Yushchenko also struck a number of his traditional themes, 
including the importance of judicial and law enforcement 
reform, emphasis on Ukrainian as the sole state language, and 
recognition of the 1932-33 Holodomor as genocide.  At the 
President's Independence Day reception later in the evening, 
Minister of Justice and Our Ukraine (OU) insider Zvarych 
informed Charge that Yushchenko and Yanukovych had signed an 
agreement that Ukraine would pursue a Membership Action Plan 
(MAP) with NATO, but that the agreement would not be made 
public.  Zvarych also suggested OU and Regions might merge 
prior to the 2009 Presidential elections as a way of securing 
Yushchenko's reelection. 

2. (C) Comment: Yushchenko's speech seemed more somber and 
less celebratory than his Independence Day address in 2005, 
the first since the Orange Revolution and his inauguration. 
While an OU insider, Zvarych's comments always need to be 
taken with a grain of salt; he was dumped as Minister of 
Justice in 2005 after it was revealed he had misrepresented 
his educational background, inaccurately claiming to have 
received a PhD from Columbia. We should not take Zvarych's 
comments as definitive; as the GOU streams back into Kiev 
from August vacations, we will seek clarification regarding 
MAP. While Yushchenko mentioned his agreement with Yanukovych 
on MAP to Ambassador August 4 (ref a), Yanukovych and 
particularly his foreign policy adviser Orel have seemingly 
adopted different stances since (refs b-c), and institutional 
struggles over defining Ukraine's foreign policy will likely 
play out in the coming months.  End Summary and Comment. 

Yushchenko strikes his main (western oriented) themes 
--------------------------------------------- -------- 

3. (U) Ukraine's low-key 15th Independence Day celebrations 
began with an hour-long prayer service at the 11th century 
St. Sophia's Cathedral attended by the Yushchenko family, PM 
Yanukovych, most ministers, former President Kuchma, and 
former Rada Speaker Lytvyn (former PM Yuliya Tymoshenko was 
notably absent).   Following the service, the VIPs moved to 
the square outside St. Sophia's for a modest military review 
and Yushchenko,s speech, in which he reiterated Ukraine's 
aspirations to join NATO and the EU and stated that these 
goals would be achieved "with the will of the people." 

4. (U) Yushchenko called on government officials at all 
levels to be responsive to the people of Ukraine and to 
remember that government service was a responsibility, not a 
privileged position.  Yushchenko also reminded the Prosecutor 
General and the Minister of Interior of their responsibility 
to bring corrupt officials to justice, as he pledged to 
submit a package of draft legislation on judiciary and law 
enforcement reform to the Rada in the near future (note: in 
his February State of the Nation address, Yushchenko stated 
this would be his top domestic priority for 2006, see ref d). 

5. (SBU) Returning to other themes he has stressed since 
becoming President, Yushchenko called on the Rada to enact a 
resolution recognizing the Holodomor as genocide; the remark 
received applause -- beyond polite, but not thunderous -- 
from the crowd.  Yushchenko stated that Ukrainians wanted one 
united Orthodox Church in Ukraine, a remark that also drew 
applause. 

6. (U) Yushchenko stressed the individual rights and 
liberties of citizens, including the right of every citizen 
to speak his or her native language (note: clearly referring 
to Russian) without fear of persecution.  However he 
emphasized that there "will be no alternative to the 
Ukrainian language as the language of official communication, 
since this is the language of our freedom."  (Note: 
Yushchenko elaborated on the Ukrainian language theme August 
27 in Lviv as part of celebrations marking the 150th 
anniversary of the birth of noted Ukrainian writer Ivan 
Franko. "Ukrainian is and will remain our sole national 
language...the loss of language is the loss of the nation and 
the loss of the foundation for national development.") 

KIEV 00003332  002 OF 003 

7. (U) After the ceremony, most of the Diplomatic Corps in 
attendance drove to the Russian Embassy to sign
the 
condolence book for the August 22 air crash in Donetsk which 
killed 171 people.  In recognition of the tragedy, Yushchenko 
decreed that upbeat Independence Day public festivities and 
the fireworks display planned for later on August 24 be 
postponed until August 26. 

Yush-Yanu agreement on MAP? 
--------------------------- 

8. (C) At the President's Independence Day reception that 
evening, Minister of Justice Roman Zvarych told Charge that 
Yushchenko and Yanukovych had signed an agreement prior to 
the August 4 formation of a Yanukovych-led government in 
which Yanukovych agreed that Ukraine would pursue a NATO MAP 
(note: see ref A for Yushchenko's first mention of the 
agreement to Ambassador).  Zvarych said the agreement would 
not be made public. 

9. (C) At some point before the November Riga Summit -- 
Zvarych said the timing had not been decided yet -- the 
Yanukovych-led government would issue a "declaration" stating 
Ukraine's interest in the "possibility" of pursuing 
negotiations that will lead to MAP (note: Zvarych was very 
careful in his word choice and said that it would not be a 
request for MAP, but a "declaration" stating Ukraine's 
interest.) 

10. (C) Zvarych said that Yushchenko had asked him to 
accompany Yanukovych to Brussels.  While professing not to 
know Yanukovych's intended talking lines for Brussels, 
Zvarych speculated that Yushchenko might tell Yanukovych to 
tell NATO's SecGen about the clause regarding MAP in the 
secret agreement.  Yanukovych was taking Yushchenko,s lead 

SIPDIS 
on foreign policy, he claimed. 

Difficulties of being Orange under Yanu 
--------------------------------------- 

11. (C) On other issues, Zvarych echoed Interior Minister 
Lutsenko by claiming that he had not wanted to be Minister of 
Justice, but that Yushchenko told him to do it.  His job was 
to keep an eye on Yanukovych and his guys, "and they know 
it."  He had to be careful in what he said at Cabinet 
meetings, he claimed, because all believed he was speaking 
for the president.  Zvarych said he was serving as the 
coordinator of the eight "Orange" ministers in the Cabinet, 
who were determined to see that the President's agenda was 
carried out. 

12. (C) Zvarych said that he had drafted the legislation 
enacted by the Rada regarding constitutional reform; he 
claimed that it pertained solely to local administrative 
reform by providing a constitutional framework for local 
administrative reform) and had no implication or link to the 
shift in powers from the President to the PM (Comment: 
Zvarych seems to be confusing the first half of 
constitutional reform passed December 8, 2004, which did 
govern the shift of certain powers from the President to the 
Premier, and the second half, contained in draft Bill 3207, 
which pertains to local administrative reform.  Zvarych later 
touched on the plans to reform local government that will 
give local authorities the right to raise revenues 
independent of the central government and local councils the 
right to elect from their members executive committees that 
will serve as the local executive bodies). 

13. (C) Picking up on one of Yushchenko's themes of the day, 
Zvarych laid out his plan for reform of the law enforcement 
and judicial system: renovating dilapidated courtrooms; 
reforming the Prosecutor General's office and placing it in 
the Ministry of Justice; creating a National Bureau of 
Investigation to fight corruption and major crimes and 
placing it under the control of the Ministry of Justice; and 
removing investigatory authority from the SBU and Customs 
Service.  (note: Zvarych inherited this plan from his 
Ministerial predecessor Holovaty, Yushchenko's hand-picked 
point man on judicial reform who will continue to lead the 
so-called Holovaty Commission). 

Yushchenko's future - as Regions' man? 
-------------------------------------- 

14. (C) Looking forward, Zvarych could "envisage" a merger or 
union between Regions and Our Ukraine (OU) leading up to the 
2009 Presidential elections.  "Everything" OU did between now 
and 2009 would be aimed at securing Yushchenko,s 
re-election, he stated.  When asked how this would affect 
OU's base, Zvarych replied that Regions and OU have much in 
common, especially economic policy (note: We first heard of 

KIEV 00003332  003 OF 003 

the Yushchenko-Regions scenario from a deputy Regions' leader 
in early May, see ref E.  Yushchenko's deal with Yanukovych 
has already split OU, with a minority ready to move into 
opposition to the Yanukovych government.  At least one OU 
leader, Mykola Katerynchuk, has called on People's Union Our 
Ukraine, Yushchenko's party, to expel any party members who 
voted for Yanukovych as PM.  A). 

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

 

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