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06KIEV3866, UKRAINE: OUR UKRAINE MOVES INTO OPPOSITION – OR NOT

October 5, 2006

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
06KIEV3866 2006-10-05 12:04 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Kyiv

VZCZCXRO0730
PP RUEHDBU
DE RUEHKV #3866/01 2781204
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 051204Z OCT 06
FM AMEMBASSY KIEV
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 1839
INFO RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC PRIORITY
RUCNCIS/CIS COLLECTIVE
RUEHZG/NATO EU COLLECTIVE

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 KIEV 003866 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 10/05/2016 
TAGS: PREL PGOV UP
SUBJECT: UKRAINE: OUR UKRAINE MOVES INTO OPPOSITION - OR NOT 
 
REF: KIEV 3862 
 
Classified By: The Ambassador for reasons 1.4(a,b,d). 
 
1.  (C) Summary:  After months of negotiations over whether 
or not to enter the governing coalition, President 
Yushchenko's Our Ukraine coalition announced October 4 that 
it would not join the coalition, but would formally join the 
opposition in parliament.  OU's Roman Bezsmertniy told the 
press that negotiations had broken down over the coalition's 
refusal to include the text of the "Universal" document, 
adopted and signed by Yushchenko and the heads of the 
political factions in parliament (with the exception of 
Yuliya Tymoshenko).  Yushchenko, traveling in Germany when 
the announcement was made, noted only that if the Universal 
was not included in a new coalition agreement, then OU should 
not join.  Bezsmertniy went on to say that the OU faction 
would formally call on the "orange" ministers in the 
Government to resign during the October 5 Rada session. 
 
2. (C)  Comment.  Even if OU formally does announce the end 
of coalition talks and joins the opposition, it remains 
unclear whether any of the "orange" ministers will feel the 
need to resign or whether the Party of Regions-led coalition 
might seek to force out these ministers in a Rada vote (only 
a simple majority is needed).  As of 1500 on October 5, the 
OU faction leaders were in an extended meeting with 
Yushchenko, with no further public decision -- or 
confirmation -- of the decision not to join the coalition. 
Even Tymoshenko told the press that she was ready to welcome 
OU into opposition, but that she was waiting for a final 
decision from Yushchenko and the party.  Whether or not OU 
joins the ruling coalition will have no effect on the 
government; the ruling Anti-Crisis Coalition has plenty of 
votes to maintain its parliamentary majority. 
 
3.  (C)  Comment continued.  In our conversations with OU 
figures and the Prime Minister (reftel), all expressed 
confidence that this was a temporary conflict that would be 
resolved over the next few days.  PM Yanukovych, out of Kyiv 
all day on October 5, told visiting DAS Kramer that he 
wouldn't be able to control his parliamentary allies if they 
decided to vote on the "orange" ministers, but there was no 
sense of concern about what might happen.  Even FM Tarasyuk, 
widely believed to be in Regions' sights as the first 
ministerial head on the chopping block, was relaxed, telling 
visiting DAS Kramer that even if he is voted out of his 
office, he fully expected to return in an "acting" capacity 
-- something that would not affect his ability to lead the 
Ministry.  What is still unknown is what Yushchenko will 
decide to do regarding the possible move into opposition and 
the status of "his" ministers in the government. 
Yushchenko's extended meeting with OU's leadership implies 
that Bezsmertniy's announcement was not a final decision. 
Also of interest, if OU really does join the opposition, will 
be the next round of consultations between Yuliya 
Tymoshenko's BYuT faction and OU over the possibility of 
forming a united coalition - not a done deal by any means. 
End comment. 
 
OU - Heading for Opposition? 
---------------------------- 
4.  (SBU)  Roman Bezsmertniy appeared almost giddy with 
excitement as he appeared on local television the evening of 
October 4 to announce that OU was breaking off negotiations 
with the Party of Regions' led Anti-Crisis Coalition and 
joining the parliamentary opposition.  Citing irreconcilable 
differences between the blocks over including the text of the 
"universal" document in new coalition agreement, Bezsmertniy 
said that talks were finished and that OU would now begin 
negotiations with Yuliya Tymoshenko's BYuT faction, the only 
declared opposition force in the Rada.  Interestingly enough, 
earlier that same day, Bezsmertniy had set a deadline of 4 pm 
for reaching agreement on new coalition agreement.  However, 
over the past weeks, deadlines had come and gone, without any 
decision.  The OU announcement followed an earlier decision 
the same day by FM Tarasyuk's "Rukh" party, one of the six 
constituent members of OU, to enter into opposition. 
 
5.  (C)  The only bombshell dropped by Bezsmertniy during his 
statement was that OU would call on its ministers to resign 
from the Government and would call on President Yushchenko to 
do the same (presumably with reference to his two nominees -- 
Foreign Minister Tarasyuk and Defense Minister Hrytsenko). 
As always in Ukrainian politics, Bezsmertniy did offer an 
"out" to the "orange ministers."  They could resign from 
their own parties and factions and remain in the government. 
However, he concluded that they could not remain in the 
government with their party and bloc allegiances intact. 
 
6.  (C)  After Bezsmertniy's announcement, OU's Anatolii 
 
KIEV 00003866  002 OF 002 
 
 
Kinakh told the press that talks with the anti-Crisis 
Coalition had not been terminated, but merely "suspended." 
Comments from PR's Taras Chornovil and Socialist Rada Speaker 
Moroz both said that the doors of a broad coalition "remain 
open," questioning Bezsmertni
y's characterization of the 
situation.  Moroz told the press that an OU decision to 
withdraw from coalition negotiations "would not lead to a 
Cabinet crisis" and that this was an issue that would have to 
be discussed by the President, PM and Speaker.  Out on the 
stump October 5 in Mykolaiv, PM Yanukovych continued to 
stress the positive saying "I think that the president and I 
can handle the emotions of certain politicians, finalize the 
process and sign a coalition agreement with Our Ukraine in 
the near future.  I hope that the problem will be resolved 
soon." 
 
7.  (C)  Further confirmation that OU's move to the 
opposition was not a done deal was the lack of action at the 
Rada on October 5.  The entire OU political leadership 
started a closed door meeting with President Yushchenko at 
1030 am Kyiv time to decide the faction's next move. 
Although the meeting was common knowledge at the Rada, 
Yushchenko's press service said that they could neither 
confirm nor deny the meeting.  However, as time passed, 
politicians at the Rada began to suggest that Bezsmertniy's 
announcement of an OU in opposition might have been premature. 
 
Where in the World is Viktor Yushchenko? 
---------------------------------------- 
8.  (C)  Once again during a political moment of crisis, 
Yushchenko was out of the country, this time in Berlin 
receiving, as one disgusted "orange" politician noted, 
"another award for the Orange Revolution."  Speaking in 
Berlin, Yushchenko told the press that a coalition between OU 
and the Anti-Crisis Coalition forces was only possible if the 
new coalition agreement reflected all ten articles of the 
universal.  Arguing that the only reason for OU to join the 
coalition was to "unite the nation," Yushchenko said that if 
the decision not to include the language of the Universal was 
a "mere political trick" than talks on coalition should be 
discontinued.  Yushchenko returned from Berlin at 3 o'clock 
in the morning on October 5 to meet with the OU leadership. 
He made no public comment about the issue of whether or not 
his ministers would resign. 
 
Can There Be a United Opposition? 
--------------------------------- 
9.  (SBU)  The Ukrainian politician who did appear at the 
Rada on October 5 was Yuliya Tymoshenko.  Speaking to the 
press, Tymoshenko said that her team had spoken briefly with 
OU today and that "their decision (to join the opposition) is 
not yet final -- there are some doubts and possibilities to 
return to (discussions) of a pro-government coalition."  When 
asked whether OU and BYuT discussed the formation of a single 
opposition, Tymoshenko responded "the talks have not started 
yet.  The opposition should get a clear message from OU that 
they are really ready to join the opposition and that they 
are not blackmailing Party of Regions and the (Anti-Crisis) 
coalition in order to come back."  Tymoshenko added that if 
OU decided to join the opposition, BYuT would not demand the 
signing of any additional agreements.  OU statements inside 
the Rada Chamber and its votes will demonstrate whether OU is 
in the opposition. 
 
10.  (SBU)  OU MP Martynenko told us at the Rada October 5 
acknowledged that it might not be easy to have a united 
opposition with Tymoshenko and BYuT.  He noted that "we have 
much in common with BYuT and we will coordinate some of our 
actions, as the two political forces have a certain history 
of relations and cooperation.  Unfortunately these relations 
were not always positive .. we, OU and BYuT, will have to 
consider all our past mistakes in order to have a normal 
perspective of cooperation." 
 
11. (U) Visit Embassy Kiev's classified website: 
www.state.sgov.gov/p/eur/kiev. 
Taylor

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