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06KYIV4362, UKRAINE: “ORANGE” RIFTS DEEPENING TWO YEARS AFTER

November 22, 2006

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06KYIV4362 2006-11-22 16:25 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Kyiv

VZCZCXRO6780
PP RUEHDBU
DE RUEHKV #4362/01 3261625
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 221625Z NOV 06
FM AMEMBASSY KYIV
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 0467
INFO RUEHZG/NATO EU COLLECTIVE
RUCNCIS/CIS COLLECTIVE

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 KYIV 004362 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 11/22/2016 
TAGS: PGOV PREL UP
SUBJECT: UKRAINE: "ORANGE" RIFTS DEEPENING TWO YEARS AFTER 
REVOLUTION 
 
 
Classified By: Pol Counselor Kent Logsdon for reasons 1.4(a,b,d). 
 
1. (C) Summary.  On the second anniversary of the Orange 
Revolution, November 22, a crowd of 500 or so gathered on the 
Maidan to commemorate the rise of democracy in Ukraine.  Few 
leaders of the Maidan were there to share in the event. 
Disheartened by the failure to form a new "orange" government 
after the March Rada elections and the subsequent return of 
Yanukovych, the Maidan team has become mired in 
fingerpointing and allocating blame.  Although they continue 
to have contact, for example, Tymoshenko reportedly meets 
with the presidential team every week, increasingly divergent 
views on the way forward suggest future cooperation between 
Tymoshenko, Yushchenko, and the Our Ukraine leadership will 
be superficial at best. 
 
2. (C) A new generation of political reformers, frustrated by 
OU and BYuT, have begun to publicly and privately discuss a 
new political project to regain popular support for a 
pro-Euroatlantic, pro-market reform, and anti-corruption 
platform.  The two most vocal proponents of this idea are 
Minister of Internal Affairs Yuriy Lutsenko and Rada deputy 
(Our Ukraine faction) Mykola Katerynchuk.  Such an effort, 
which could redraw the political map of Ukraine in a way that 
positively incorporated the legacy of the Orange Revolution 
rather than continuing the same preexisting forces with the 
same political personalities, is what many people both inside 
and outside Ukraine expected would happen immediately after 
the Orange Revolution, but did not.  Instead, very little new 
blood and new perspectives made it into the party lists for 
the Rada elections, even for post-Orange lists like OU and 
BYuT.  Whether such a new political project proves any more 
effective in organization, message, platform, and electoral 
success than OU remains to be seen.  End Summary and Comment. 
 
Lutsenko Looking for Way "Forward" 
---------------------------------- 
 
3. (C) Internal Affairs Minister Lutsenko seems to be on the 
tip of many tongues these days as a potential leader of the 
future.  On November 17, Lutsenko told the Ambassador that he 
was planning a new political force to engage the populace at 
the grassroots level and to get back to the Orange 
Revolution's reformist ideals.  There was a real need for a 
"third force" besides the "totalitarians" of Yuliya (BYuT) 
and Rinat (Regions); Lutsenko was ready to lead it. Real 
activity would start in the spring. The first step would be a 
loose union of civic groups, local political efforts, perhaps 
to be called the "List of 22", named for  November 22  (note: 
the start of the Orange Revolution). Like Vaclav Havel's 
Charter 77 in the Czech Republic, this could be an open 
declaration that like-minded people could affiliate 
themselves with. Lutsenko and others would take advantage of 
the national month-long holiday break to reinforce 
preexisting informal networks, particularly in western and 
central Ukraine.  Lutsenko's third force (tentatively: 
"Forward, Ukraine") would be created from the grassroots up, 
uniting democrat-minded left- and right-centrists. Lutsenko 
would help lead a series of provincial "plebiscite meetings" 
between February-May that would act as primary system, 
allowing people to endorse the leaders they wanted, not those 
imposed from above by an OU congress or the diktat of 
Yushchenko or Poroshenko. 
 
4. (C) A young group of truly democratic-minded, 
western-oriented, not discredited politicians would serve as 
the core of this new party: Lutsenko, Yatsenyuk ("his 
economic good sense balances my revolutionary fervor"), 
Katerynchuk, Kyrylenko, Stetskiv.  They would draw on Pora, 
the youth movement that helped organize the 2004 Maidan 
events, as well.  Lutsenko added that it was important to 
keep OU in the fold because as a Rada faction, it had the 
right to representatives on 33,000 election precinct 
committees.  It was also important to keep OU MPs from 
defecting to Regions and creating a 300 MP constitutional 
majority that would give Yanukovych the ability to override 
presidential vetoes.  It was important too to destroy the 
image of East-West enmity; better to contrast oligarchs and 
crime with honest people and honest economic activity. 
Lutsenko didn't think there would be elections in the short 
term (i.e. spring), which would allow time to construct this 
new political force.  Recent articles, however, in Ukrainska 
Pravda and Dzerkalo Tyzhnya speculated that if Lutsenko could 
pull off his project, his "mega orange bloc" could get 20 
percent in early elections. 
 
Katerynchuk Heeding the Call 
---------------------------- 
 
5. (C) Another new leader searching for a fresh political 
movement is Mykola Katerynchuk.  After months of speculation 
 
KYIV 00004362  002 OF 003 
 
 
that he would leave OU, he finally resigned from the People's 
Union Our Ukraine party on November 13 after the party 
congress rejected his ideas for reform.  Katerynchuk had told 
us privately on October 27 that he thought the party needed 
to clean house and get back to advocating the democratic 
principles it had
embraced on the Maidan.  Katerynchuk 
outlined his vision for reforming the party in Ukrainska 
Pravda on the eve of the November 11 party congress, which 
earned him attacks from party leadership and delegates from 
central and eastern Ukraine.  Two days later, he stepped 
down; he remains in the OU Rada faction, although it has been 
speculated that if he left OU for BYuT, he could take 12-14 
MPs with him. After announcing his resignation, Katerynchuk 
said that the time was near for a new political force and 
that his political career was linked with up-and-comers 
Yatsenyuk, Stetskiv, Kyrylenko, and Lutsenko. 
 
Tymoshenko: Opposing on Her Own 
------------------------------- 
 
6. (C) The potential for cooperation between BYuT and OU is 
dwindling as both sides target the same electorate and 
continue to snipe at each other.  In the most recent edition 
of Dzerkalo Tyzhnya, Tymoshenko wrote a stirring editorial 
about the Orange Revolution and called on Yushchenko not to 
go out on the street and celebrate it, but to sit at home and 
reflect on what was gained and then lost.  She placed a lot 
of blame on Yushchenko and the Our Ukraine camp for losing 
sight of their reform goals.  In meetings over the past two 
months with Tymoshenko and her foreign policy adviser 
Nemyria, they talk about cooperation with OU, but their 
criticisms--they're indecisive; Bezsmertniy is a bad leader, 
future cooperation in early elections only with announcement 
that Tymoshenko will be next PM--belie their stated 
intentions.  In her most recent meeting with EUR A/S Fried on 
November 16, Tymoshenko sounded a little more openly 
disgusted with Yushchenko and his circle. and said that BYuT 
was trying to cooperate with OU enough to at least stop 
Regions from gaining a 300-deputy majority, but there was not 
much potential beyond that. 
 
7. (C) In another strike against broader cooperation, 
Tymoshenko's new political ally, the Reforms and Order party 
(led by former Finance Minister Pynzenyk) expelled 
up-and-comer Taras Stetskiv from its ranks on November 16 for 
allegedly working on a new political project for Yushchenko 
and criticizing Pynzenyk's decision to sign a cooperation 
agreement with Tymoshenko. 
 
Our Ukraine: Losing Momentum, Members 
------------------------------------- 
 
8. (C) Meanwhile, the People's Union Our Ukraine (PUOU) party 
is still trying to find its way.  After a party congress on 
November 11 that failed to provide any qualitative changes to 
its leadership or political strategy, party leaders are 
bailing and fingerpointing.  First Katerynchuk quit on 
November 13.  Then businessman David Zhvaniya resigned from 
the political council on November 19 because he thinks "the 
party leadership is unreformable."  At the congress itself, 
leaders of the political council--including Bezsmertniy, 
Poroshenko, Martynenko, and Yekhanurov--were resistant to 
accepting any blame for party problems, which elicited boos 
from delegates from Western Ukraine.  Bezsmertniy has begun 
to reach out to pro-reform parties that did not make it into 
Rada in March, such as Kostenko's People's Movement of 
Ukraine, Reforms and Order, and Pora to form a new "European 
Choice" confederation.  Yekhanurov said in an interview with 
Ukrainska Pravda on November 17 that Poroshenko, Tretyakov, 
and Zhvaniya should all resign to prevent the party from 
slowly dying. In addition, one of the Our Ukraine faction's 
constituent parties, Rukh, announced it will negotiate with 
BYuT independently of OU. 
 
9. (C) OU is suffering regionally as well, especially in the 
West, traditionally its bastion of support.  In Lviv, one of 
only three oblasts to deliver a plurality to OU in the March 
elections, supporters have been flocking to BYuT, according 
to an academic contact.  The Ivano-Frankivsk and Lviv 
branches left the party congress early to show solidarity 
with Katerynchuk.  Following the congress, a number of 
Zhytomyr members resigned from PUOU. 
 
Yushchenko and OU moving apart? 
------------------------------- 
 
10. (C) There seems to be a growing distance between 
Yushchenko and the party leadership.  The President skipped 
the party congress to attend a concert by Italian pop singer 
Toto Cutugno.  Then, in a November 22 interview with the top 
three national TV networks, the President indicated that he 
 
KYIV 00004362  003 OF 003 
 
 
supports, if is not an outright participant in, Lutsenko and 
Katerynchuk's project.  He said that he could not be held 
responsible for the split in the "orange team," because he 
was above the political process.  He regretted, however, the 
internal discord among the Maidan forces and suggested that 
they should all reconsolidate around a new political project 
that would be led by people who are not members of Our 
Ukraine (note: presumably a reference to Lutsenko et al).  He 
also called on OU to "cleanse" itself. 
 
11. (C) From its side, the party has started to demonstrate 
independence from Yushchenko.  OU members told the press on 
November 10 that Yushchenko was urging OU to reform itself 
under the leadership of someone new, like Lutsenko, Bondar, 
or Yatsenyuk, but at the party congress, party leaders 
Bezsmertniy, Poroshenko, and Martynenko repelled efforts to 
get his "new team" into the leadership.  They also indicated 
that Yushchenko's position as honorary head of the party is 
mostly symbolic at this point. 
 
"Orange Team": Going Forward, Separately 
---------------------------------------- 
 
12. (C) Significant cooperation between the various groups 
seems unlikely.  Lutsenko told the Ambassador that BYuT has 
been trying hard to unseat him because Tymoshenko feared his 
popularity might now equal hers.  While he didn't agree with 
her politics, he respected Tymoshenko as a politician. 
Unfortunately, she didn't reciprocate, and she would continue 
to focus on settling old scores (against erstwhile orange 
allies) at the expense of achieving success.  In his private 
comments to us, Katerynchuk underscored that he did not want 
Tymoshenko to be the only opposition leader.  For her part, 
Tymoshenko appears increasingly skeptical of Yushchenko's 
role in the opposition, especially as he continues to pursue 
cooperation with Yanukovych.  It may be that Yushchenko 
cannot be President and leader of the opposition at the same 
time in this system, but as BYuT becomes the only prominent 
voice of opposition, OU will lose even more stature, and 
Yushchenko will lose influence.  Whether Lutsenko and 
Katerynchuk's new political project can bring together 
reformist forces any more effectively than existing parties 
remains to be seen. 
 
13. (U) Visit Embassy Kyiv's classified website: 
www.state.sgov.gov/p/eur/kiev. 
Taylor

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