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07KYIV223, UKRAINE: TARASYUK RESIGNS AS FOREIGN MINISTER,

January 31, 2007

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
07KYIV223 2007-01-31 16:34 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Kyiv

VZCZCXRO3911
PP RUEHDBU
DE RUEHKV #0223/01 0311634
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 311634Z JAN 07
FM AMEMBASSY KYIV
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 1062
INFO RUCNCIS/CIS COLLECTIVE
RUEHZG/NATO EU COLLECTIVE

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 KYIV 000223 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 01/31/2017 
TAGS: PREL PGOV RU UP
SUBJECT: UKRAINE: TARASYUK RESIGNS AS FOREIGN MINISTER, 
BLASTING OPPONENTS ON THE WAY OUT 
 
REF: KYIV 186 
 
Classified By: Ambassador, reason 1.4 (b,d) 
 
1.  (SBU) Summary. Borys Tarasyuk ended two months of 
uncertainty and political confrontation over his lame-duck 
tenure as Ukraine's Foreign Minister by offering his 
resignation to President Yushchenko January 30, after a 
district court deferred a decision on his legal challenge to 
the Rada's December 1 dismissal vote.  Tarasyuk told 
Ambassador January 31 that he planned to devote more time to 
political party efforts (Tarasyuk heads the small Rukh party, 
part of the Our Ukraine bloc) but would continue to be 
involved in foreign policy work.  In press appearances 
announcing and explaining his resignation late January 30, 
Tarasyuk stressed the importance and professionalism of the 
institution of the Foreign Ministry, as well as Presidential 
prerogative in foreign policy, blasted the government 
ministers he blamed for withholding financing from the MFA 
and damaging Ukraine's national interests (DPM Azarov, DPM 
Tabachnyk, Minister of the Cabinet Tolstoukhov), and accused 
Tabachnyk, Transport Minister Rudkovskiy, and the Communist 
Party of representing Russian rather than Ukrainian national 
interests. 
 
2. (SBU) Comment:  Tarasyuk's official departure -- the 
ruling coalition led by PM Yanukovych considered his tenure 
to have ended December 1, when the Rada (parliament) voted to 
dismiss him -- leaves Defense Minister Hrytsenko as the sole 
remaining "Orange" minister of the eight temporarily retained 
in the Cabinet named by Yanukovych in early August, though 
Hrytsenko belongs to no political party.  Speculation 
immediately shifted to whom Yushchenko might nominate to 
replace Tarasyuk, with conventional wisdom focused on current 
Presidential Secretariat deputy head Oleksandr Chaliy, who 
served as deputy Foreign Minister during Tarasyuk's first 
tenure from 1997-2000.  End Summary and Comment. 
 
Tarasyuk finally bows out of the Ministry 
----------------------------------------- 
 
3. (SBU) Despite a vigorous two-month legal campaign to 
defend his right to remain Foreign Minister as long as 
Yushchenko supported him, Tarasyuk finally ended rear-guard 
efforts to stay in office January 30 after the Shevchenko 
District Court, citing a court brief filed by a 
representative of the Cabinet of Ministers, deferred a 
decision on Tarasyuk's case to countermand the Rada's 
December 1 dismissal decision until February 13.  After 
discussing the situation with Yushchenko, Tarasyuk offered 
his resignation and Yushchenko accepted it, Tarasyuk told a 
press conference afterwards.  As a politician, diplomat, and 
citizen, he understood there was no sense in pushing his 
effort  further, even though he remained convinced the 
Constitutional Court would eventually affirm the President's 
constitutional prerogative both to name and to dismiss the 
foreign minister. 
 
4. (C) Defense Minister Hrytsenko, now the sole remaining 
"Orange" minister in the cabinet, had told Ambassador January 
29 that Tarasyuk's departure might be pegged to the January 
30 court session, which had been expected to rule in 
Tarasyuk's favor, and by extension support presidential 
prerogatives.  Such a decision would have allowed Tarasyuk 
and the President's team to claim he was not being forced out 
but had chosen to leave in order to end a dispute that was 
damaging to the nation's interests. 
 
5. (SBU) In the end, Tarasyuk, sounding neither broken nor 
resentful, chose to leave rather than continue a nasty spat 
which had seen the Cabinet of Ministers physically prevent 
him from attending two cabinet meetings in December and led 
DPM/Finance Minister Azarov to cut off funding for the MFA 
for the first 20 days of January.  Tarasyuk told Channel 5 in 
an evening interview that his decision to leave was based on 
his concern for the professionals at the MFA and Ukrainian 
national interests; he laid the blame for damage inflicted to 
both at the feet of Azarov, Tabachnyk, and Tolstoukhov.  He 
cited the defense of the constitutional prerogatives of the 
President -- who had been elected directly by the people, 
receiving a majority of votes -- to guide foreign policy as a 
second major factor in both his efforts to stay and his 
ultimate decision, in consultation with Yushchenko, to resign. 
 
Who might be the next FM? Focus on Chaliy 
----------------------------------------- 
 
6. (SBU) At his press conference, Tarasyuk stated that 
Ukraine's next foreign minister would continue the foreign 
policy course of Yushchenko and supported by a majority of 
Ukrainians - a implied reference to western orientation 
 
KYIV 00000223  002 OF 003 
 
 
chosen in the 2004 Presidential elections. 
 
7. (C) Speculation immediately focused on whom Yushchenko 
might nominate as the next FM, with Oleksandr Chaliy the 
leading contender.  Chaliy joined the Presidential 
Secretariat in September based on an informal understanding 
 
SIPDIS 
that, sooner or later, he would get a shot at becoming &#x0
00A;Foreign Minister, a Chaliy associate told us at the time. 
Since serving as Tarasyuk's deputy Foreign Minister in charge 
of European Integration from 1997-2000, Chaliy had worked as 
an executive in the Kyiv offices of the Industrial Union of 
the Donbas (IUD), the second large Donetsk-based conglomerate 
to Regions' MP Rinat Akhmetov's Systems Capital Management. 
IUD had quietly supported Yushchenko in the 2004 Presidential 
election, but not enough to rile Regions; Chaliy's name was 
included in a list of four possible FMs Regions' MP Leonid 
Kozhara told us in August that Regions had passed to 
Yushchenko for consideration, and Regions representatives 
told the media January 30 after Tarasyuk's resignation that 
Chaliy remained acceptable to them.  From 2004-06, Chaliy 
publicly advocated Ukraine consider neutrality, but both IUD 
and Presidential Secretariat associates have suggested to us 
that Chaliy in his heart remained a supporter of Ukraine's 
Euro-Atlantic choice. 
 
8. (SBU) Other names in press play included: former FM and 
current PM foreign policy adviser Konstantijn Hryshchenko, 
whom Chornovil admitted had little chance; First Deputy FM 
Volodymyr Ohryshko, who was confirmed Acting Foreign Minister 
January 31; OU MP and ex National Security and Defense 
Council (NSDC) Secretary Petro Poroshenko, rejected out of 
hand by Regions commentators; and deputy Presidential 
Secretariat head Arseniy Yatsenyuk. 
 
SIPDIS 
 
Tarasyuk's future... 
-------------------- 
 
9. (SBU) In his comments to Ambassador, Tarasyuk said he was 
looking forward to devoting more time to political efforts as 
head of the Rukh party but would remain active on foreign 
policy (note: Tarasyuk is the director of the Institute of 
Euro-Atlantic Cooperation).  Elaborating on Channel 5, 
Tarasyuk described the rapprochement between Rukh and the 
Ukrainian People's Party, led by Yuri Kostenko, which had 
split acrimoniously in the mid-1990s.  It was important for 
all patriotic, democratic forces to unite efforts in 
opposition to the Regions-led coalition, rather than 
bickering amongst themselves, he stressed.  During his press 
conference, Tarasyuk said he respected Yuri Lutsenko but 
would not join his People's Self-Defense project. 
 
...and legacy: western focused, irritant to Russia 
--------------------------------------------- ----- 
 
10. (C) Tarasyuk's legacy in his second tenure as FM will 
likely be seen in his efforts to bring the attitudes of the 
Orange Revolution into previously cautious Ukrainian foreign 
policy, as well as a return to a more vigorous advocacy of a 
Euro-Atlantic future and defense of Ukrainian national 
interests vis-a-vis Russia that had marked his previous 
tenure (1997-2000).  Internally, Tarasyuk was seen as an 
oppressive micromanager by much of the ministry staff, few of 
whom will be sorry to see him depart, even if they agreed 
with the policies he promoted. 
 
11. (C) Shortly after assuming office in February 2005, 
Tarasyuk overruled his subordinates by changing Ukraine's 
traditional abstention votes on Cuban and Belarusian human 
rights resolutions to be in line with U.S. and EU positions. 
In 2005 Ukraine actively sought to associate itself with all 
EU foreign policy positions/votes in international fora; 
helped restart the Transnistria negotiations with U.S. and EU 
participation under the "Yushchenko plan"; launched the 
Community for Democratic Choice initiative as a regional 
democracy promotion vehicle; invigorated the GUAM grouping as 
a western-leaning counterbalance to Russia in CIS gatherings; 
and significantly improved nonproliferation cooperation and 
dialogue with the U.S.  Tarasyuk also pushed hard on the NATO 
front, advocating a move to a Membership Action Plan (MAP) as 
soon as possible to lay the groundwork for a possible 
membership invitation at the 2008 NATO summit. 
 
12. (SBU) Tarasyuk's domestic and external critics, 
particularly in Moscow, faulted him for his handling of 
Ukrainian-Russian relations.  Tarasyuk defended his record on 
Channel 5, noting that Ukraine had succeeded in placing the 
long-buried issue of a Russian Black Sea Fleet (BSF) 
inventory on the bilateral agenda and stressing that there 
were no quick solutions to the unresolved issues of border 
demarcation, lighthouse control, or BSF rental terms. 
Interestingly, Tarasyuk expressed understanding of Russian 
 
KYIV 00000223  003 OF 003 
 
 
hard line negotiating positions, explaining that the first 
obligation of any government official is to defend his 
nation's interests, and Kyiv should expect no less from 
Russian officials.  What was inexplicable and unacceptable 
for him was that a part of Ukraine's political elite 
continued to prioritize meeting Moscow's demands at the 
expense of Ukrainian national interests.  Asked to name 
names, Tarasyuk hesitated only slightly before answering: the 
Communist Party; Minister of Transportation Rudkovskiy; and 
DPM Tabachnyk. 
 
13. (C) Note: Socialist Rudkovskiy recently has been involved 
in a controversy over invitations to Turkmen opposition 
leaders to meet in Kyiv after Niyazov's death in what some 
suggest was a Moscow-inspired provocation (reftel); others 
claimed in July 2006 that Rudkovsky had done Moscow's bidding 
in convincing Socialist leader Moroz to defect to a 
Regions'-led coalition, terms of which he negotiated along 
with Moroz' lieutenant Yaroslav Mendus.  Tabachnyk in late 
2006 co-signed an op-ed in a Russian newspaper with the 
Russian bureau chief in Kyiv that was notable for its 
strident anti-American, pro-Russian argumentation.  In early 
August 2006, shortly after the formation of the Yanukovych 
cabinet, First Deputy Defense Minister Polyakov told us 
Tabachnyk was in the core pro-Russian contingent within the 
Yanukovych government, along with Energy Minister Boiko and 
PM adviser Orel. 
 
14. (U) Visit Embassy Kyiv's classified website: 
www.state.sgov.gov/p/eur/kiev. 
Taylor

Wikileaks

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