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06KIEV3936, UKRAINE: ORANGE MINISTERS FATE UNDECIDED

October 13, 2006

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06KIEV3936 2006-10-13 14:53 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Kyiv

VZCZCXRO8830
PP RUEHDBU
DE RUEHKV #3936/01 2861453
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 131453Z OCT 06
FM AMEMBASSY KIEV
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 1964
INFO RUEHZG/NATO EU COLLECTIVE
RUCNCIS/CIS COLLECTIVE

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 KIEV 003936 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 10/13/2016 
TAGS: PGOV PREL UP
SUBJECT: UKRAINE: ORANGE MINISTERS FATE UNDECIDED 
 
REF: A. KIEV 3866 
 
     B. KIEV 3923 
 
Classified By: Pol Counselor Kent Logsdon for reasons 1.4(a,b,d). 
 
1. (SBU) Summary:  Rumors continue to swirl in Kiev as to the 
fate of the "orange" ministers in the Ukrainian Government. 
On October 11, an aide to Our Ukraine's Roman Bezsmertniy 
told us that all "orange" ministers in the Cabinet had 
submitted letters of resignation, later confirmed publicly by 
Bezsmertniy.  The announcement came the same day after 
Yushchenko held a long meeting with the "orange" ministers in 
the Cabinet to discuss Bezsmertniy's October 4 announcement 
that OU was moving into opposition and recalling its minister 
from the government (see reftel A for more details).  Since 
the second announcement, ministers and members of OU have 
made contradictory comments about whether there is really a 
plan to resign and which ministers are expected to resign. 
 
2. (C) Comment: Earlier in the week the OU threat of 
resignation seemed more likely a political move to force the 
Party of Regions to be more constructive on coalition 
negotiations that have now dragged on for months.  More 
recent statements suggest, however, that some in the Our 
Ukraine leadership are really committed to being in the 
opposition and leaving the government, but that this view is 
not shared by President Yushchenko or all of the ministers 
being asked to resign.  With the People's Union Our Ukraine 
(the dominant element in the bloc) party congress coming up 
October 21, this could be a pivotal time for the future of 
Yushchenko and his bloc.  End summary and comment. 
 
Resignation: Serious Plan or Political Ploy? 
-------------------------------------------- 
3. (SBU) On Wednesday October 11, an aide to Bezsmertniy 
announced that all the "orange" ministers, including Foreign 
Minister Tarasyuk and Defense Minister Hrytsenko, had written 
letters of resignation.   In his own public comments, 
Bezsmertniy unequivocally underscored that OU was in the 
opposition and the recall of its ministers would not be 
reversed.  He said the delay was purely technical in nature 
and the resignation would take place soon.  (Comment: the 
Rada was not in plenary session this week, so the earliest it 
could take up this issue is next Tuesday October 17.) 
 
4. (C) Later on October 11, Health Minster Polyachenko and 
Family, Youth, and Sports Minister Pavlenko confirmed to 
journalists that all the OU ministers had indeed submitted 
their resignations to Bezsmertniy.  He stressed, however, 
that because their resignations went to the head of their 
party instead of to the Rada, it was a political gesture, not 
a legally binding decision.  Pavlenko reiterated Yushchenko's 
long-standing position that if the Universal was made into a 
law, then OU would reverse its decision and potentially join 
a coalition.  Yushchenko's comments this week also suggested 
that he believes that negotiations could resume; he may hope 
the threat of resignation could force Yanukovych to 
cooperate.  Interestingly, Justice Minister Zvarych refused 
to tell journalists if had submitted his resignation or not 
and Culture Minister Likhovy said outright that he did not, 
suggesting the plan had not been well-coordinated. 
 
Who is Orange Anyway? 
--------------------- 
5. (SBU) There seems to some confusion within Yushchenko's 
camp as to who actually would be expected to resign if the 
decision became final.  The Our Ukraine bloc has five 
official Cabinet slots--Health, Family, Justice, Culture, and 
Emergency Situations (although this last post has been vacant 
since Minister Baloha became Head of the Presidential 
Secretariat).  In addition, two ministers--Foreign Affairs 
 
SIPDIS 
and Defense--are appointed under the "presidential quota." 
Finally, when former Socialist Yuriy Lutsenko was held over 
as Minister of Internal Affairs from the previous Cabinet at 
Yushchenko's request, he became a de facto member of the 
presidential quota, although he is not in the constitutional 
arrangement of portfolios. 
 
6. (U) Defense Minister Hrytsenko, however, has been adamant 
that he is not an Our Ukraine member of the Cabinet and 
therefore not bound by any of Bezsmertniy's pronouncements. 
He said that he has not written any resignation letter and 
Yushchenko has not asked him to step down.  Lutsenko, who is 
also not a member of Our Ukraine, has been silent on the 
whole issue. 
 
7. (C) Tarasyuk's status is somewhat unique, because he is 
technically on the presidential, not the Our Ukraine, quota, 
but he is a member of OU. Moreover, his party Rukh, one of 
the six parties that make up the OU bloc, announced it was 
going into opposition even before Our Ukraine made the 
decision to do so.  And because Regions would like to see him 
 
KIEV 00003936  002 OF 002 
 
 
go (see reftel B), there has been more public and private 
discussion of him leaving than of other ministers. 
 
What Does this Mean for Our Ukraine? 
------------------------------------ 
8. (C) Some of the questions about
the status of People's 
Union Our Ukraine and its ministers could be sorted out at 
its upcoming party congress, which is scheduled for October 
21.  Kyiv Governor Vira Ulyachenko, a longtime friend of 
Yushchenko's, said that there will be changes made within the 
party, although she discounted a formal split.  Former PM 
Yekhanurov told the Ambassador October 13 that the party 
congress would feature a real struggle for control of the 
party and heated discussion about a possible split.  In 
Yekhanurov's view, after the party congress meets, some 
members of OU's parliamentary faction might decide to vote 
with Yuliya Tymoshenko's BYuT in opposition, but he thought 
that the majority, approximately 50 deputies, would continue 
to vote with the Party of Regions and the ruling majority. 
Presidential Secretariat Chief Baloha told the press that 
Yushchenko may step down as honorary head of party, which 
would further distance him from OU and its oppositionist 
stance. 
 
9. (C) Bezsmertniy continues to state publicly that the Our 
Ukraine parliamentary faction would be in opposition in the 
Rada no matter what Yushchenko said, underscoring the 
apparent disagreement over political strategy between him and 
the President.  Bezsmertniy also announced the beginning of 
talks on October 12 on the formation of a new "European 
Ukraine" opposition.  The talks took place between 10 
political parties, many of which are constituent parties of 
Our Ukraine and the Yuliya Tymoshenko Bloc.  The possibility 
of this new confederation suggests that the parties are not 
committed to working only within their bloc structures, which 
could affect future party discipline or how the blocs vote in 
the Rada. 
 
Response from the Other Side 
---------------------------- 
10. (SBU) In public appearances around the country this week, 
Yanukovych continued to state that that he believes that 
negotiations are not finished.  He asked the Our Ukraine 
ministers to be patient and said he believes a coalition 
agreement could soon be signed. He also said that he and 
Yushchenko had met October 10 and agreed to "maintain 
stability" in the government.  At the same time, he has not 
shown any willingness to compromise with OU and again 
rejected the bloc's calls to turn the Universal into a 
legally-binding government plan of action. 
 
11. (C) Meanwhile, members of the Communist party have begun 
to grumble about the ongoing machinations. Party leader 
Symonenko asked Regions to formally and permanently end 
negotiations, while another Communist MP told the press that 
she thinks either Regions or the Socialists will soon leave 
the Anti-Crisis Coalition entirely.  This is the first time 
we have seen such open and public dissension within the 
governing coalition since it was formed in July. 
 
12. (U) Visit Embassy Kiev's classified website: 
www.state.sgov.gov/p/eur/kiev. 
Taylor

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