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06KIEV3923, UKRAINE: WHAT IF FOREIGN MINISTER TARASYUK GOES?

October 12, 2006

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
06KIEV3923 2006-10-12 14:17 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Kyiv

VZCZCXRO7150
PP RUEHDBU
DE RUEHKV #3923/01 2851417
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 121417Z OCT 06
FM AMEMBASSY KIEV
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 1940
INFO RUCNCIS/CIS COLLECTIVE
RUEHZG/NATO EU COLLECTIVE

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 KIEV 003923 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 10/25/2016 
TAGS: PREL PGOV MARR NATO PINR UP
SUBJECT: UKRAINE: WHAT IF FOREIGN MINISTER TARASYUK GOES? 
 
REF: A. KIEV 3919 
 
     B. KIEV 3862 
     C. KIEV 1036 
 
Classified By: Ambassador for reasons 1.4 (b,d). 
 
1. (C) Summary: With rumors rife that Foreign Minister 
Tarasyuk will leave the Cabinet -- either by resigning with 
his Our Ukraine colleagues or being voted out of his job by 
the Rada, pundits tout current Presidential Secretariat 
Deputy Chief of Staff for foreign policy Oleksandr Chaliy as 
the leading candidate to be Tarasyuk's successor.  Chaliy was 
former First Deputy Foreign Minister when Yanukovych was 
previously prime minister and at that time was a strong 
supporter of NATO and EU membership for Ukraine.  Before his 
appointment to the Presidential Secretariat, however, Chaliy 
received public attention in May 2006 for his advocacy of 
Ukraine's non-aligned status.  During an October 5 meeting 
with Ambassador, Chaliy portrayed himself as loyally 
protecting President Yushchenko's foreign policy 
prerogatives.  And in recent public comments, Chaliy has 
asserted that Ukrainian foreign policy would remain 
unchanged, regardless of the composition of the Ukrainian 
cabinet. 
 
2. (C) Comment: Other than personal style, the most 
pronounced policy difference between Chaliy and Tarasyuk 
appears to lie in their respective approaches to NATO 
membership -- although some argue that Chaliy's apparent 
change of heart on NATO may have only been a temporary 
tactical political move.  This may not matter, since, in the 
near term, there may not be much of a need for MFA political 
heavy-lifting on NATO now that the possibility of obtaining a 
MAP appears to be receding.  The burden for bringing Ukraine 
closer to NATO will remain with the Ministry of Defense, 
which continues to carry out defense reforms under the 
Ukraine-NATO Intensified Dialogue.  As foreign minister, 
Chaliy might influence the MFA's management of the NATO 
information campaign, however.  (Chairman of the State TV and 
Radio Committee Eduard Prutnik claimed to Ambassador October 
12 that MFA has the lead and the ball is in MFA's court.)  A 
more likely immediate result of a Tarasyuk departure is 
expected to be the removal of some of his key deputies from 
their current positions.  End summary/comment. 
 
Tarasyuk's Final Bow? 
--------------------- 
 
3. (C) If Our Ukraine (OU) negotiations with Party of Regions 
break down and President Yushchenko agrees to allow the 
OU-affiliated "orange" cabinet ministers to resign, the fate 
of the remaining three "orange" ministers -- Interior 
Minister Yuriy Lutsenko (formerly a socialist now loyal only 
to Yushchenko), as well as Defense Minister Anatoliy 
Hrytsenko, and Foreign Minister Borys Tarasyuk nominated by 
Yushchenko according to the constitution -- remains unclear. 
However, aside from OU's political machinations about joining 
the ruling coalition or not, FM Tarasyuk appears to be in the 
Party of Regions' sights as the orange minister most likely 
to be removed from his position by a simple majority vote in 
parliament (Rada). 
 
4.  (C)  During an October 4 meeting with EUR DAS David 
Kramer and Ambassador, PM Yanukovych singled out Tarasyuk for 
criticism.  The PM said that he regretted the previous day's 
decision by the political council of Tarasyuk's People's 
Movement of Ukraine (Rukh) party to go into opposition even 
as the Our Ukraine bloc was continuing its negotiations. 
This had led to pressure in the Rada to seek Tarasyuk's 
resignation.  Yanukovych described Tarasyuk's position as an 
irresponsible one for a sitting minister to take, but he said 
he would not let Party of Regions bring up the issue in the 
Rada until he had approved the move.  Yanukovych's comments 
suggested that he did link Tarasyuk's appointment to 
President Yushchenko and that he would treat the Presidential 
appointments separately from the other OU ministers. 
 
Chaliy Next? 
----------- 
 
5. (SBU) Nevertheless, rumors are circulating that Tarasyuk 
is on his way out and that Deputy Presidential Chief of Staff 
Oleksandr Chaliy is being positioned to replace Tarasyuk. 
According to this reasoning, Chaliy sits midway between the 
Yushchenko and Yanukovych camps in terms of his background 
and views and is thus acceptable to both.  (Embassy Note. 
Chaliy worked most recently in the Industrial Union of Donbas 
with newly appointed NSDC Secretary Vitaly Hayduk and, in 
July, then-Yanukovych foreign policy adviser Leonid Kozhara 
listed Chaliy as one of four possible foreign minister 
candidates acceptable to Party of Regions.) 
 
 
KIEV 00003923  002 OF 003 
 
 
6. (C) Tarasyuk, however, seems to be carrying on at MFA as 
if nothing has changed.  MFA Arms Control Department Director 
Belashov told us that Tarasyuk had chaired an October 9 
meeting of department directors and gave no indication that 
he was preparing to leave the ministry and chaired the 
meeting in a business-as-usual manne
r.  While difficult to 
read the tea leaves (for example, Tarasyuk and Hrytsenko 
continued on in the Yanukovych cabinet even as both gave us 
clear indications that they were on their way out before the 
government was formed), Tarasyuk could find it increasingly 
less tenable to serve in the government should his party and 
political allies move into opposition.  At the end of the 
day, Tarasyuk (and Hrytsenko) have made it clear that he 
serves at the pleasure of Yushchenko -- implying that a 
voluntary departure from the Foreign Ministry would only take 
place at Yushchenko's instruction. 
 
Tarasyuk's Record 
----------------- 
 
7. (C) Tarasyuk has been a staunch advocate of European and 
Euro-Atlantic integration and a stronger defender of the 
Orange Revolution and Orange Revolution values.  Under his 
leadership, the Foreign Ministry has attempted to exercise 
regional leadership for the first time.  Ukraine took the 
potentially painful step of reinstating a customs agreement 
with Moldova that created additional pressure on the 
Transnistrian authorities to mend its relationship with 
Chisinau.  Ukraine also took the leadership to launch the 
"Community of Democratic Choice" and to work to establish 
GUAM as a regional group with standing as an international 
organization.  Tarasyuk's strong views and forthright 
comments, however, have alienated the Russian government in 
particular, and his grating style has created enemies among 
political parties and figures, particularly those who support 
closer ties with Russia. 
 
8. (C) On the practical side, Tarasyuk's departure could lead 
to warmer relations between Ukraine and Russia and perhaps 
also between Ukraine and Belarus.  The Kremlin has long 
resisted an official visit by President Putin to Kyiv, but 
this might happen under a different foreign minister.  This 
improvement is likely to be temporary, however, since 
Ukraine's differences with its two neighbors result from 
fundamental differences in their strategic interests. 
Tension over the stationing of the Russian Black Sea Fleet is 
likely to continue, since the Ukrainian constitution does not 
allow the permanent stationing of foreign forces on Ukraine 
after the current agreement expires in 2017 but Russia has 
made no preparations for the Fleet's withdrawal.  Russia will 
also continue to base its approach to natural gas supply 
arrangements on its own strategic interests rather than the 
personality of the foreign minister.  Russia will continue to 
want to exert influence on the neighbors with which it was 
once joined in the Soviet Union, and Ukraine is likely to 
continue resisting this pressure, no matter what government 
or foreign minister is in power. 
 
9. (C) The buzz at lower levels at MFA suggests that a number 
of career diplomats are anticipating a change in leadership 
and expect some of those closest to Tarasyuk would be quickly 
removed.  First Territorial Department Director Valentyn 
Adomaytis, for example, is curiously hostile to Russia for 
someone who has primary responsibility in MFA for the 
Ukraine-Russia relationship.  Another potential big loss for 
us would be the departure of Deputy Foreign Minister Andriy 
Veselovsky, who is also special negotiator for Transnistria 
issues and closely linked to Tarasyuk.  Various MFA officials 
complain about Tarasyuk's authoritarian style of leadership 
and micromanagement tendencies.  Some foreign diplomats agree 
that Tarasyuk is sometimes a difficult person with whom to 
deal.  At an October 5 E-PINE dinner, Tarasyuk went out of 
his way to bash Yanukovych in public remarks.  Europeans have 
tried to get Tarasyuk to restrain himself, to no avail. 
 
Chaliy's Lobbying 
---------------- 
 
10. (C) In an October 5 meeting with Ambassador, Chaliy gave 
no overt indication that he was preparing to become foreign 
minister, other than to obliquely criticize Tarasyuk for not 
being able to work with Yanukovych.  On the other hand, as he 
noted, Chaliy himself had been in MFA when Yanukovych was 
previously prime minister and was familiar with Yanukovych's 
style and approach.  Chaliy touted himself as a man of 
compromise and referred to his varied background as a lawyer 
by training and with experience as both a diplomat and 
businessman.  He also worked to convey the impression that he 
was loyally supporting President Yushchenko's foreign policy 
prerogatives.  He said he was doing this by preparing 
presidential directives on key foreign policy issues so as to 
avoid the confusion surrounding purely oral interactions, as 
 
KIEV 00003923  003 OF 003 
 
 
had happened before Yanukovych's trip to Brussels. 
 
Chaliy's Record 
-------------- 
 
11. (C) On substance, however, Chaliy's track record is 
mixed.  The influential Dzerkalo Tyzhnya weekly in its 
September 23 issue noted the irony of the "pro-NATO and 
pro-EU" President Yushchenko's appointment of Chaliy to the 
Presidential Secretariat.  In May 2006, Chaliy joined with 
other prominent figures in a move to promote Ukraine' 
non-aligned status in accordance with a December 1991 
referendum.  While First Deputy Foreign Minister, however, 
Chaliy had been a strong advocate of EU and NATO membership 
and left MFA in 2003 after publicly criticizing Ukraine's 
decision to join the Single Economic Space with Russia, 
Belarus, and Kazakhstan.  According to Vadym Doroshenko, who 
moved from MFA to the Industrial Union of Donbas with Chaliy, 
Chaliy's advocacy of neutrality might have been temporary and 
tactical.  (While he speaks English well, Chaliy is less 
fluent than Tarasyuk, speaking with a stronger accent and 
sometimes using fairly stilted language.) 
 
12. (C) Dzerkalo Tyzhnya also opined that, due to his varied 
background, Chaliy would be able to synthesize interesting 
ideas from different fields.  As an example of "an 
interesting idea," OSCE Mission in Moldova Head Lou O'Neill 
was aghast to hear Chaliy, apparently seriously, suggest that 
Ukraine should pressure Transnistria to negotiate seriously 
by imposing an economic blockade of the region.  To be fair, 
Chaliy also strongly condemned the September 17 Transnistria 
"independence" referendum in an appearance on national UT-1 
television two days later and characterized Transnistria as 
Ukraine's top national security threat. 
 
13. (U) Interfax quoted Chaliy October 11 as saying, "In my 
view, there will be no changes in the foreign policy course 
even if some changes occur to the composition of the 
Ukrainian cabinet."  To internet news website Obozravatel, 
Chaliy said he personally continued to support Ukrainian 
neutrality, but, as a public servant, he would support 
Ukrainian law.  (Note:  The June 19, 2003, Law on the 
Fundamental Principles of Ukraine's National Security states 
that EU and NATO membership are a Ukrainian strategic goal.) 
 
14. (U) Visit Embassy Kiev's classified website: &#x000A
;www.state.sgov.gov/p/eur/kiev. 
Taylor

Wikileaks

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