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06KIEV3862, UKRAINE: PM YANUKOVYCH — DEFENDER OF THE

October 5, 2006

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
06KIEV3862 2006-10-05 07:10 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Kyiv

VZCZCXRO0347
PP RUEHDBU
DE RUEHKV #3862/01 2780710
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 050710Z OCT 06
FM AMEMBASSY KIEV
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 1830
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 003862 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 10/04/2016 
TAGS: PGOV PREL PINR UP
SUBJECT: UKRAINE: PM YANUKOVYCH -- DEFENDER OF THE 
CONSTITUTION? 
 
Classified By: Ambassador for reasons 1.4 (b,d). 
 
1. (C) Summary: Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych stressed 
with EUR DAS Kramer and Ambassador October 4 that 
constitutional reform had created a new governing framework 
in which Parliament (Rada) established government policy, and 
President Yushchenko together with Yanukovych and the cabinet 
of ministers implemented it.  Yanukovych claimed that he was 
holding "radical elements" of the governing coalition in 
check and attempting to preserve presidential prerogatives 
within this new framework.  A strong president would benefit 
the government as a whole.  Yanukovych said he was attempting 
to maintain good relations with Yushchenko and had downplayed 
an incident when Yushchenko had snubbed him by failing to 
appear at an event after saying he would attend.  Yanukovych 
predicted Our Ukraine would join the coalition within "a 
week."  (Embassy Note:  Yanukovych's statement was made as 
OU's Bezsmertniy was announcing to the press that his faction 
had voted to move into opposition.  End Note.) 
 
2. (C) Comment: Yanukovych projected himself as a reasonable 
and statesman-like politician, beginning the meeting with an 
anecdote about his youthful aversion to becoming a 
politician, and placed the blame for continued political 
wrangling entirely on President Yushchenko.  His comments 
regarding his intention to try to work with the president, to 
fight corruption, and to seek WTO membership were clearly 
targeted toward his audience.  His relaxed attitude also 
indicated that he senses that he has the upper hand over 
Yushchenko.  His argument that the Rada sets government 
policy, however, favors his position as leader of the Rada's 
largest political force and glosses over the real ambiguities 
regarding the process by which constitutional reform was 
adopted.  Whether the pro-presidential Our Ukraine bloc joins 
his coalition or not, Yanukovych could begin turning his 
attention from politics to the serious issues of governance 
still facing him.  President Yushchenko's lack of sustained 
engagement increases Yanukovych's chance of success.  End 
summary/comment. 
 
3. (C) EUR DAS David Kramer and Ambassador met with Prime 
Minister Viktor Yanukovych October 4 in a 2 1/2-hour meeting 
that was supposed to be just one hour.  PM Foreign Policy 
Adviser Anatoliy Orel, MFA DFM Andriy Veselovsky, and PM 
Chief of Staff Sergiy Lovochkin also joined the meeting. 
This report covers Yanukovych's comments on the domestic 
political situation; his comments on economic and bilateral 
issues will be reported septel. 
 
Relations with Our Ukraine 
-------------------------- 
 
4. (C) Yanukovych said that, while a governing coalition had 
been formed on the basis of a democratic process, the 
coalition still did not include the pro-Presidential Our 
Ukraine bloc (OU) for both objective and subjective reasons. 
Principally, the governing coalition and OU had a different 
understanding of the implications of new constitutional 
reforms.  Yanukovych and his supporters were working 
patiently to overcome this difference so that powers could be 
properly allocated between the President and the government. 
Once this was done, Yanukovych intended to work on creating a 
mechanism of cooperation between the President and 
government.  Yanukovych said cooperation with the President 
was a personal priority and he would not allow "radical 
elements" in his Party of Regions to divert him from this 
goal.  Of the 186 Regions deputies in the Rada, no more than 
10 were radicals, so he would be guided by the majority view 
of his party. 
 
5. (C) Another obstacle to the formation of a coalition with 
OU was the lack of unity within OU that resulted because OU 
was a coalition of six different parties, Yanukovych 
explained.  Unfortunately, OU's expectations exceeded the 
strength of its seats in the Rada.  OU's leadership 
constantly appealed to President Yushchenko when dissatisfied 
with the results of direct talks with Party of Regions, 
putting Yushchenko in an awkward position.  After all, 
Yanukovych noted, Yushchenko could not take cabinet minister 
posts from other parties and arbitrarily award them to OU. 
In one-on-one meetings, Yushchenko requested Yanukovych's 
help in satisfying OU, but Yanukovych had replied frankly 
that OU should have worked harder to get a higher proportion 
of Rada seats.  Yushchenko had said he could not reply in 
such a fashion to his supporters. 
 
The Rada's Role 
--------------- 
 
6. (C) Yanukovych said he could understand Yushchenko's 
demand that he preserve his prerogatives to the maximum 
 
KIEV 00003862  002 OF 002 
 
 
possible, but, while "desire is desire, the constitution is 
the constitution."  Yushchenko should have tried to preserve 
his powers during negotiations on the constitutional reforms, 
but now it was too late.  Rather than resorting to the 
Constitutional Court, Yanukovych preferred to leave 
constitutional reform implications for the legal experts of 
the Presidential Secretariat and Cabinet of Ministe
rs to sort 
out. 
 
7. (C) Constitutional questions had arisen during his visit 
to Brussels, but Yanukovych argued that he had acted 
properly.  He had taken a balanced and careful approach to 
questions of European and Euro-Atlantic integration after 
consultations with the Rada and in line with policies worked 
out between the Rada and the Cabinet of Ministers.  This was 
in line with the constitutional reforms, Yanukovych argued, 
that made the Rada responsible for establishing government 
policies, which the President and Cabinet then implemented. 
Yanukovych had discussed the Rada's directives with 
Yushchenko beforehand, but Yushchenko had not agreed with the 
Rada. 
 
8. (C) Yanukovych said he urged Yushchenko to hold a meeting 
of the coordinating council.  Yanukovych did not want to be 
put in the position of former Prime Minister Yekhanurov, who 
had been unable to obtain the Rada's passage of an 
international military exercises bill.  Future cooperation 
with NATO would require the Rada's support.  With Rada 
support, public understanding and support for NATO membership 
would grow.  Otherwise, public support for NATO would not 
recover from the 20 percent decline of the last few years. 
 
Yanukovych the Statesman 
------------------------ 
 
9. (C) Yanukovych later in the meeting cited Yushchenko's bad 
faith.  He said Yushchenko had agreed to participate with 
Yanukovych and Rada Speaker Moroz at a September 28 
presentation of the government plan of action.  Yushchenko 
said he wanted to meet an hour beforehand to discuss the plan 
of action.  Yanukovych and Moroz arrived at 9:00 a.m., but, 
at 10:00, a member of Yushchenko's staff telephoned to say 
that Yushchenko would not be showing up.  Journalists had 
asked why Yushchenko was absent at a high-level event that 
included every other important government figure, but 
Yanukovych had said the question of whether to attend had 
been Yushchenko's.  Yanukovych had waited two days to sign 
the plan of action in order to allow Yushchenko and his staff 
to provide comments, but none had been received. 
 
10. (C) Yanukovych ended his initial presentation by 
stressing he wanted to be honest and predictable in his 
relations with other partners.  He wanted to be sure to 
follow through on his commitments so that his partners 
trusted him and were not humiliated by broken promises. 
Yushchenko's agreement with his views was immaterial; 
everyone had to obey the constitution.  OU should sign the 
agreement soon, since continued uncertainty was bad for the 
country.  (Later, when Kramer asked, Yanukovych confidently 
predicted that OU would join the coalition "in a week.") 
Yanukovych added that he wanted to move Ukraine in a more 
positive direction by targeting corruption, moving toward WTO 
membership, and working steadily to enhance European and 
Euro-Atlantic integration. 
 
11. (U) Visit Embassy Kiev's classified website: 
www.state.sgov.gov/p/eur/kiev. 
Taylor

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