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07KYIV296, UKRAINE: YUSHCHENKO NOMINATES OHRYZKO AS FOREIGN

February 5, 2007

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
07KYIV296 2007-02-05 15:56 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Kyiv

VZCZCXRO8292
PP RUEHDBU
DE RUEHKV #0296/01 0361556
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 051556Z FEB 07
FM AMEMBASSY KYIV
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 1116
INFO RUEHZG/NATO EU COLLECTIVE
RUCNCIS/CIS COLLECTIVE

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 KYIV 000296 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 02/05/2017 
TAGS: PGOV PREL UP
SUBJECT: UKRAINE: YUSHCHENKO NOMINATES OHRYZKO AS FOREIGN 
MINISTER 
 
REF: KYIV 223 
 
Classified By: Ambassador for reasons 1.4(a,b,d). 
 
1. (C) Summary. President Yushchenko nominated First Deputy 
(and currently Acting) Foreign Minister Volodymyr Ohryzko 
February 5 to replace former FM Tarasyuk, defying general 
expectations that Deputy Head of the Presidential Secretariat 
Oleksandr Chaliy would be nominated.  Ohryzko's nomination 
now awaits a Rada (parliament) vote, which could come as 
early as the Rada's opening session on February 6.  Given 
recent struggles for control of foreign policy between the 
President, Prime Minister, and the Rada, however, it remains 
unclear how the ruling coalition will react to the nomination 
which appears to have been announced without prior 
coordination with the PM's team.  Ohryzko has a reputation as 
a fervent proponent of NATO and EU integration and an 
opponent of closer ties with Russia, as well as a 
micromanager, much like his predecessor.  End summary and 
comment. 
 
Letter of the Law: Handling FM nominations 
------------------------------------------ 
 
2. (SBU) In the current legal limbo surrounding the amended 
constitution and controversial law on the Cabinet of 
Ministers, published February 2 despite a Presidential claim 
of veto, the President retains the right to name the Foreign 
Minister; the Rada then votes on the nomination.  According 
to the constitution, the Rada is under no time limit to vote 
on the President's nomination, although they could do it as 
soon as February 6 when the new session begins.  In the 
meantime, Ohryzko will continue as acting minister, as he has 
since Tarasyuk resigned January 30.  (Note: The new CabMin 
law states that if the President does not make a nomination 
within 15 days, the Rada majority can do so.  However, the 
constitutionality of that 15-day time limit is dubious.  The 
Rada is scheduled to review several amendments to the CabMin 
law February 8 and it is possible that the clause could be 
removed.) 
 
Ohryzko: Not the Name on Everyone's Lips 
---------------------------------------- 
 
3. (C) While Ohryzko was mentioned on the short list of 
possible candidates to replace Tarasyuk, conventional wisdom 
heavily favored deputy Presidential Secretariat head (and 
former First Deputy FM) Chaliy.  It is not completely clear 
why Yushchenko nominated Ohryzko instead.  On the one hand, 
Ohryzko is a respected technocrat who is expected to adhere 
to Yushchenko's policy directives and who has been a helpful 
and professional embassy contact since his time at the 
presidential administration in the 1990's.  Leading weekly 
newspaper Dzerkalo Tyzhnya reported that Ohryzko was 
Tarasyuk's choice as successor, because the two share the 
same ardent pro-Western policy outlook, including strong 
support for NATO membership (note: Chaliy has dallied with 
advocacy of neutrality.  end note).  Like Tarasyuk, Ohryzko 
is reportedly no fan of Russia.  At the same time, Ohryzko's 
seemingly clear affiliation with Tarasyuk and his role in the 
early December effort to scuttle Yanukovych's trip to the 
U.S. at the last minute could make him unappealing to the 
coalition.  PM Foreign Policy Adviser Gryshchenko told 
Ambassador February 5 that the PM's office/Cabinet of 
Ministers had not been informed ahead of time about the 
nomination, suggesting the nomination was not part of any 
deal between President and PM. 
 
4. (C) A Chaliy associate told us last fall that he had come 
to the Presidential Secretariat with the understanding that 
eventually he would replace Tarasyuk (reftel).  Chaliy was a 
name that most Regions MPs cited as an acceptable nominee. 
The Rada comes back into session on February 6 and there have 
been a number of last minute meetings February 5 as the 
factions prepare themselves for renewed politicking--it is 
not yet clear if the timing of the nomination or the choice 
of Ohryzko is part of this game. 
 
5. (C) In an echo of the December maneuver to scuttle a trip, 
Kyiv was abuzz February 5 over purported efforts by the MFA 
to cancel the scheduled February 6 visit of the EU troika, to 
be led by the German FM.  The German Ambassador fingered DFM 
Veselovskiy a close Tarasyuk associate, as the guilty party. 
The confusion on the eve of an important visit once again 
shows the Ukrainian body politic publicly airing its dirty 
laundry. 
 
Chaliy Speaks:  I support the President 
--------------------------------------- 
 
6.  (C)  Late February 5, Chaliy told the Ambassador that he 
 
KYIV 00000296  002 OF 002 
 
 
supported Yushchenko's choice of Ohryzko as the nominee, 
noting that this was one of the names suggested by Tarasyuk 
as a possible successor.  Chaliy said that Yushchenko 
informed Yanukovych of the nomination at a meeting earlier 
February 5, during which he made clear that there was a 
connection between successfully amending the CabMin law 
(along the lines requested by Yushchenko) and his FM 
nomination.  This would be clear once the Rada began 
discussing possible amendments -- currently on the Rada 
calendar for February 8, but something that could possibly be 
discuss
ed earlier.  According to Chaliy, CabMin and 
Presidential Administration experts were working on possible 
amendments to the CabMin law, in anticipation of a "deal" 
that could see the CabMin law amended and an agreement on the 
foreign minister. 
 
7.  (C)  Embassy Note.  Given the weakness of Yushchenko's 
bargaining position, pushing both for amendments to the 
CabMin law and approval of his FM candidate, there is another 
possible presidential scenario.  Yushchenko might trade 
Ohryzko's candidacy to the parliamentary majority in exchange 
for his amendments to the CabMin law, opening the door 
(again) to waiting in the wings candidate Chaliy.  However, 
in his conversation with the Ambassador, Chaliy said nothing 
about his own candidacy, noting only that he supported the 
President. 
 
Biographic Notes 
---------------- 
 
8. (C) Ohryzko is a career diplomat.  Born April 1, 1956, he 
graduated from Kyiv Shevchenko State University in 1978, 
majoring in foreign relations and German, immediately joining 
the (Soviet) Ukrainian Foreign Ministry.  He worked on press 
issues for the first ten years of his service in the MFA. 
Between 1992-1996, Ohryzko served tours in Germany, Austria, 
and Germany again.  He then ran the Presidential 
Administration's Foreign Policy Department from 1996 to 1999, 
sitting in on all meetings that U.S. officials had with 
President Kuchma, as well as many with National Security and 
Defense Council (NSDC) Secretary Horbulin.  He served from 
1999-2004 as Ukraine's Ambassador to Austria and as Permanent 
Representative to International Organizations based in Vienna 
(note: mainly the OSCE).  He briefly served as Ambassador at 
large in the MFA before being named by Tarasyuk as First 
Deputy Minister in February 2005.  Ohryzko has a reputation 
within the ministry of sharing Tarasyuk's predilection for 
micromanaging. 
 
9. (U) Visit Embassy Kyiv's classified website: 
www.state.sgov.gov/p/eur/kiev. 
Taylor

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