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07KYIV283, UKRAINE: OLD FACES, PRACTICES RETURN TO MINISTRY

February 2, 2007

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
07KYIV283 2007-02-02 15:20 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Kyiv

VZCZCXRO6649
PP RUEHDBU
DE RUEHKV #0283/01 0331520
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 021520Z FEB 07
FM AMEMBASSY KYIV
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 1111
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 000283 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 01/26/2017 
TAGS: PGOV UP
SUBJECT: UKRAINE: OLD FACES, PRACTICES RETURN TO MINISTRY 
OF INTERIOR/POLICE 
 
REF: A. KYIV 135 
     B. 06 KYIV 4433 
     C. 05 KIEV 3144 
     D. 05 KIEV 1794 
 
Classified By: Ambassador, reason 1.4 (b,d) 
 
1.  (C) Summary.  Since the ouster of outspoken "orange" 
Interior Minister Yuri Lutsenko December 1 and the 
appointment of compliant Vasyl Tsushko in his place, some old 
faces and practices from the pre-Orange Revolution era have 
returned to the Ministry and police.  Of note were the 
appointments, as deputy Interior Ministers, of Serhiy Popkov, 
the Commander of Interior Forces in November 2004, who 
mobilized troops in the middle of the night for a potential 
crackdown on Maidan demonstrators, and Mykola Plekhanov, the 
ex-Sumy police chief who ordered police to beat up student 
activists in August 2004, an event which sparked civic 
outrage and fueled the movement leading into the Orange 
Revolution.  Past practices which were largely in abeyance 
during Lutsenko's tenure but appear to have returned in the 
past two months include mandatory payments to serve in high 
police posts, regular payments to superiors, and a proposal 
to resume on-the-spot payment of traffic fines.  Still 
unclear--and important--is the role newly appointed deputy PM 
Volodymr Radchenko will play in overseeing law enforcement 
and security structures. 
 
2. (C) Comment: Radchenko told the Ambassador January 31 that 
one of his top priorities in law enforcement would be 
promoting anti-corruption activities, but it is too early to 
know what kind of impact he might have.  His appointment, 
personnel shifts at the Ministry of Interior, and recent 
comments made to us by the Border Guards make clear that the 
PM/Cabinet now influence the Ministry/police more than the 
President, as had been the case as long as Lutsenko was in 
place.  Personnel changes were inevitable; still unclear is 
the overall direction of Ministry policy under the new 
leadership and the commitment of the PM's team to law 
enforcement reform.  End Summary and Comment. 
 
Changing of the guard: first at the Ministry... 
--------------------------------------------- -- 
 
3. (C)  The turnover in Interior Ministry management from the 
team which arrived in February 2005 after the Orange 
Revolution and remained after Yanukovych's August 2006 
appointment as PM started in Lutsenko's waning weeks. 
Lutsenko told Ambassador in November that Yanukovych and 
chief Regions' financier Rinat Akhmetov had pressured him to 
allow them to propose candidates for provincial police 
chiefs, particularly in eastern Ukraine.  Lutsenko said that 
he had refused but had offered Regions the First Deputy 
Minister slot as a compromise (note: the former First Deputy 
Minister, Oleksandr Bondarenko, a perceived ally of Our 
Ukraine heavyweight Petro Poroshenko, died unexpectedly 
September 2).  Named to replace Bondarenko in early October 
was Major General Ihor Bilozub, most recently chief of 
security services for Akhmetov's Systems Capital Management 
(SCM) empire, and prior to the Orange Revolution the longtime 
First Deputy Chief of the Donetsk provincial police in charge 
of combating organized crime (2000-2004). 
 
4. (C) Once Lutsenko was ousted December 1 (ref B), more 
extensive changes followed.  Lutsenko's replacement, the 
genial Socialist Vasyl Tsushko, known for his willingness to 
take orders and not make waves (ref D), soon announced a 
series of personnel changes which returned figures associated 
with either Donetsk, Regions base, or other Kuchma-era 
figures, to office.  Most notable in the initial December 
appointments was Mykola Plekhanov (deputy Minister for Human 
Resources and Internal Security).  Plekhanov, who had served 
as a law enforcement adviser to PM Yanukovych since August 
2006, is best known as a former Sumy oblast police chief and 
close associate of former Sumy governor Volodymyr Shcherban 
(ref C).  In August 2004, at Shcherban's direction, Plekhanov 
ordered Sumy police to use violence in breaking up a student 
march on the road to Kyiv, an incident which sparked outrage, 
helped fuel the PORA! student movement which acted as the 
vanguard for the Orange Revolution, and was mentioned in the 
2004 Human Rights Report.  Plekhanov was also implicated, 
though never charged, in using the Sumy police to commit 
election fraud and pressure on election commissioners and 
observers during the 2004 election. 
 
5. (SBU) Two other deputy ministers appointed December 13 
were: Mykola Krupiansky as Chief of the Criminal Police 
(Krupiansky had worked for Bilozub from 2000-2004 in the 
Donetsk division for combating organized crime); and Vasyl 
Marmazov, in charge of legal issues (Marmazov is a former 
Communist Rada MP and a close ally of communist leader Petro 
 
KYIV 00000283  002 OF 003 
 
 
Symonenko). 
 
6. (SBU) On January 11, Tsushko appointed General Serhiy 
Popkov as deputy Interior Minister; Popkov served as 
Commander of the Interior Ministry's ground forces from 
2001-04 and, at the height of the Orange Revolution, issued 
orders, subsequently rescinded, for Interior Troops to deploy 
in the mi
ddle of the night of November 27, 2004 to clear the 
Maidan of protesters (Popkov subsequently claimed the 
deployment was a no-notice exercise; he issued the rescind 
order after other security force commanders, including 
Military Intelligence Chief Halaka, called to warn Popkov 
they would counter the deployment). 
 
7. (C) First Deputy Defense Minister Leonid Polyakov told us 
January 12 that he considered Popkov's appointment to 
contravene Yushchenko's decree on Ministry of Interior 
appointments and that he would resign before being forced to 
sit next to Popkov at a cabinet meeting, adding: "Having to 
sit next to (recently appointed Emergencies Minister) 
Shufrych in Cabinet meetings is bad enough." (Note: Shufrych 
gained notoriety October 23, 2004 by running over several 
Yushchenko supporters in his Mercedes SUV at an an election 
rally and brawling with Yushchenko and his lieutenants later 
that night inside the Central Election Commission after thugs 
assaulted Yushchenko supporters outside.  End note). 
Polyakov characterized Shufrych and Popkov's appointments as 
clear signals by Regions to government and police personnel 
that Regions rewarded loyalty and would take care of those 
who carried out their orders. 
 
...then in the police... 
------------------------ 
 
8. (SBU) Tsushko next turned his attention to oblast police 
chiefs, according to the press, summoning them all to a 
January 18 meeting in which he suggested that most of them 
should consider resigning.  After none did so voluntarily, 
Tsushko replaced 12 (of 26 nationwide) January 25.  Of note 
 
SIPDIS 
was new Kyiv police chief Oleksiy Krykun, former 
Dnipropetrovsk oblast chief and Chief of Police Supervision 
in Kuchma's Presidential Administration.  Media reports 
linked Krykun not only to Kuchma but to former Interior 
Minister Bilokon (in Moscow since the Orange Revolution 
avoiding an arrest warrant), as well as Kuchma Chief of Staff 
Medvedchuk.  During the 2004 Presidential elections, Krykun 
reportedly ordered the confiscation of a million copies of 
the "Vecherniye vesti" newspaper owned by Tymoshenko which 
contained Yushchenko campaign materials.  Krykun has also 
been linked in the press to Russian organized crime-linked 
businessman Maksim Kurochkin, currently in Ukrainian 
detention on extortion charges related to Crimean land deals; 
in 2003, several media outlets accused Krykun of aiding 
Kurochkin in an ownership dispute over Dnipropetrovsk's 
"Ozerka" open-air market, one of Ukraine's largest and most 
lucrative. 
 
9. (SBU) Other notable provincial police chief appointments 
made January 25 included: Vasyl Biryukov in Crimea (Biryukov 
worked in the Donetsk Combating Organized Crime division in 
the 1990s with Bilozub); Myhailo Tsymbalyuk in Lviv 
(Tsymbalyuk was Kuchma's Ternopil governor in 2004, dismissed 
after the Orange Revolution); and Valeriy Nonik in Chernihiv 
(Nonik served as provincial police chief in Kirovohrad and 
Zhytomyr in 2003-04). 
 
10. (C) Note: Lutsenko told Ambassador November 18, in the 
middle of the campaign to oust him, that four reasons kept 
him battling to stay in place as long as possible.  He 
specifically cited success in foiling recent efforts by 
Kurochkin to reseize control of the "Ozerka" market as an 
example of preventing the police from overtly interfering in 
business or being used as a tool in business disputes.  His 
other three rationales were to: prevent the wide-scale return 
of criminal schemes within the police force itself, like car 
smuggling rings; prevent the police from pressuring the 
political process (as in 2004, absent in 2006); and protect 
the police "and by extension the people" from a return to old 
habits for as long as he could. 
 
...and a reversion to old practices? 
------------------------------------ 
 
11. (SBU) Anecdotal evidence suggests some of those old 
habits may have returned since Lutsenko's ouster.  The family 
friend of an embassy LE staffer claimed that he will soon 
lose his relatively high-ranking police post because he could 
not afford to pay the "price" assigned to the position.  He 
alleged that the new team had set mandatory payments for all 
high and medium positions.  He also said that the previous 
practice of subordinates being forced to pass a certain sum 
 
KYIV 00000283  003 OF 003 
 
 
of money to superiors had also resumed, after being in 
abeyance since Lutsenko's appointment in February 2005. 
 
12. (SBU) Oleksiy Kalinsky, the newly appointed Chief of the 
Vehicle Inspection Department (DAI) lent some credence to 
such claims in his comments to the press after his January 24 
appointment.  Kalinsky said that he favored the restoration 
of the DAI structure which existed prior to recent reforms 
(Lutsenko had combined the DAI with the foot patrol in an 
effort to reduct corruption).  He also proposed restoring the 
previous DAI right to demand on-the-spot payment of traffic 
fines, as well as an increase in the average amount of fines 
for breaking traffic rules (note: "DAI" is an unintentionally 
appropriate acronym, since it is also the imperative form of 
the verb "to give," the gruff request of the traffic police 
for roadside payments to avoid larger fines.  Yushchenko 
tried to abolish the DAI in August 2005 as a populist way of 
reducing corruption, with plans to replace it with a more 
modern highway patrol force but faced traffic safety issues 
in the interim.  DAI presence on Ukrainian roads gradually 
increased throughout 2006. end note) 
 
Will Radchenko Make a Differece? 
-------------------------------- 
 
13.  (C)  The January appointment of Volodymr Radchenko to a 
newly-created Deputy Prime Minister position signals 
increased attention from PM Yanukovych to law enforcement 
structures and reforms, long a priority area for President 
Yushchenko.  Radchenko, who has held leadership roles in the 
NSDC, SBU, and the Interior Ministry, has the experience and 
authority to promote change and is getting cautiously 
optimistic reviews from a number of reformers who work 
closely with the Embassy on our assistance programs.  At a 
January 31 meeting with the Ambassador, Radchenko emphasized 
the importance he places on modernizing law enforcement 
organs and practices to bring them into line with European 
norms.  He told the Ambassador that he had ordered all key 
law enforcement agencies, specifically naming the SBU, 
Interior Ministry, Border Guards, and the Tax Administration, 
to provide within one month their current anti-corruption 
programs and policies.  At that point, Radchenko said that he 
will be in a better position to move forward.  He also noted 
that another priority would be to oversee the functioning of 
UkrSpetsExport (state arms exporter) and the honoring of 
Ukrainian obligations to enforce export controls. 
 
14.  (C)  Radchenko said that he had great faith in younger, &#x
000A;western-oriented reformers leading the process of modernizing 
Ukrainian law enforcement.  In particular, he pointed to 
Acting SBU head Naliyavachenko as an example of a 
western-oriented, progressive thinker who is doing good work 
in pushing ahead SBU reform.  Radchenko noted that he would 
work closely with NSDC Secretary Haiduk, and his presumed 
deputy, former SBU head Drizchany, on reform.  He also said 
that he had talked to Presidential Administration Head Baloha 
and even met with President Yushchenko to ensure that CabMin 
and presidential team efforts were coordinated.  In 
Radchenko's view, the MCC Threshold program could do a great 
deal to support the Government's anti-corruption work. 
 
15.  (C)  Comment.  Radchenko presented himself as a 
professional, dedicated to solving problems and getting 
results as he promotes reform in the law enforcement sector. 
With one exception, a mini-tirade about the dangers of former 
Interior Minister Lutsenko, whom he called corrupt and a 
drunk, using his new civic movement to change the government 
undemocratically, Radchenko focused on anti-corruption and 
the importance of reform.  What remains to be seen is whether 
he and the CabMin will simply stay focused on high policy in 
general or also wade in to reverse the trend at the Interior 
Ministry described above.  End Comment. 
 
16. (U) Visit Embassy Kyiv's classified website: 
www.state.sgov.gov/p/eur/kiev. 
Taylor

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