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07KYIV452, UKRAINE: RADA REJECTS FM/SBU NOMINEES IN ANOTHER

February 22, 2007

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07KYIV452 2007-02-22 16:37 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Kyiv

VZCZCXRO5276
PP RUEHDBU
DE RUEHKV #0452/01 0531637
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 221637Z FEB 07
FM AMEMBASSY KYIV
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 1304
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 000452 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 02/22/2017 
TAGS: PGOV PREL UP
SUBJECT: UKRAINE: RADA REJECTS FM/SBU NOMINEES IN ANOTHER 
SLIGHT OF YUSHCHENKO 
 
REF: A. KYIV 296 
     B. KYIV 223 
 
Classified By: DCM Sheila Gwaltney for reasons 1.4(a,b,d). 
 
1. (C) Summary.  The Party of Regions-led Rada majority on 
February 22 rejected presidential nominees for Foreign 
Minister and Security Service (SBU) Chief in what appears to 
be the latest skirmish between the President and Prime 
Minister in the long-running struggle for power. 
Presidential Secretariat head Viktor Baloha claimed to 
Ambassador February 20 that Yanukovych had in fact agreed to 
Volodymyr Ohryzko's candidacy prior to the nomination, but 
admitted there had been no consultation on Viktor Korol for 
the SBU slot.  Yushchenko, visiting Crimea February 22, told 
journalists that he would conduct further consultations but 
would insist on the two candidacies, suggesting that he may 
renominate both Ohryzko and Korol.  In a later live 
interview, he stressed the need for cooperation rather than 
confrontation. 
 
2. (C) Comment: The explanations given by members of the Rada 
majority during voting on FM-designate Ohryzko--that he was 
professional but too anti-Russian--seemed to be weak 
pretexts.  It is clear that Regions decided between the 
January 30 resignation of Tarasyuk and Yanukovych's public 
signals February 15 to back away from what Baloha describes 
as Yanukovych's initial agreement to Ohryzko's candidacy. 
Baloha himself was at a loss to explain to Ambassador 
February 20 what a negative vote portended, beyond Yanukovych 
not delivering on his initial word.  The most likely 
explanation is another tactical move to further reduce 
Yushchenko's authority in favor of the Cabinet and Rada 
coalition majority.  The Constitution is clear that 
nomination of the FM is the President's prerogative.  While a 
nomination does need to achieve 226 votes in favor, in effect 
requiring majority support, there is nothing that says the 
Cabinet or coalition has a formal role in the nomination and 
confirmation process for the Foreign Minister, Defense 
Minister, the SBU chief, and several other agency heads, or 
that the President needs to pre-clear the nomination with the 
coalition.  Despite Yushchenko's initial reaction in Crimea 
that he would insist on both candidates, many are presuming 
that deputy Presidential Secretariat head Oleksandr Chaliy, 
the previous front-runner to replace former FM Tarasyuk, may 
end up as FM (ref B).  End summary and comment. 
 
Explanation One--No Consultations 
--------------------------------- 
 
3. (C) Acting Foreign Minister Ohryzko's nomination to become 
FM failed February 22, receiving only 196 votes from Our 
Ukraine and the Tymoshenko Bloc out of a needed 226 (the 
three coalition parties--Regions, Socialists, Communists--did 
not cast a vote).  When Yushchenko nominated Ohryzko on 
February 5 (ref A), there was much discussion that Ohryzko 
was much like his predecessor Borys Tarasyuk in terms of 
outspoken pro-NATO and EU views and alleged strong dislike of 
Russia, but that the coalition would consider him because he 
was the President's choice.  Presidential Secretariat Head 
Viktor Baloha told Ambassador February 20 that Yushchenko had 
raised Ohryzko,s candidacy with PM Yanukovych and Rada 
Speaker Moroz prior to Tarasyuk,s resignation and making the 
nomination public. According to Baloha, Yanukovych had not 
expressed opposition to Ohryzko at the time, agreed that 
Ohryzko was suitable, and said Ohryzko would receive the 
necessary support. 
 
4. (SBU) However, on February 15, Yanukovych publicly warned 
that the coalition would probably not support Ohryzko because 
Yushchenko had not sought Cabinet approval of the nomination. 
 During the discussion before the February 22 vote, a Regions 
MP also complained that Ohryzko had not met with Regions MPs 
prior to the vote.  Ohryzko responded that he had made 
several attempts to set up a meeting with the Regions 
faction, but the faction refused to meet him.  Chairman of 
the Foreign Relations Committee Shybko, a Socialist, said 
that most deputies on the committee praised Ohryzko's 
professional and personal qualities, but Regions MPs Kozhara 
and Chornovil had blocked the committee from making a final 
recommendation on the nomination, claiming the candidacy 
should be supported by factions, not committees. 
 
5. (SBU) Regions MP Hanna Herman claimed to us after the vote 
that nominations failed because Yushchenko refused to 
introduce his candidates himself; instead, Presidential 
representative to the Rada Roman Zvarych had presented the 
candidates.  She acknowledged that Regions did not meet with 
Ohryzko, but argued that: "if Ohryzko wanted to convince us 
that he was the right candidate, he should have met with all 
members of our faction individually." 
 
KYIV 00000452  002 OF 002 
 
 
 
Explanation Two--Too Anti-Russian 
--------------------------------- 
 
6. (SBU) A number of representatives of the Anti-Crisis 
Coalition criticized Ohryzko for his "evident anti-Russian 
bias."  In particular, his has repeatedly been chastised in 
the press and in the Rada for refusing to speak Russi
an at a 
conference in Crimea hosted by the CIS Institute (whose 
leaders, Konstantin Zatulin and Kiril Frolov, are now on 
Ukraine's black list for their anti-Ukrainian agitation in 
Crimea).  One Communist MP called Ohryzko a lackey of the 
U.S. Senate for failing to criticize a resolution by Senator 
Lugar to offer support to Ukraine and Georgia in joining 
NATO.  However, many acknowledged that he was very 
professional. 
 
Korol Gets Rejected Too 
----------------------- 
 
7. (C) Yushchenko's nomination of Viktor Korol to lead the 
SBU failed a short time later, garnering only 190 votes.  The 
discussion before the vote on Korol's candidacy was much 
shorter than the one on Ohryzko, and the rejection was 
expected.  Regions has been lukewarm at best on Korol since 
Yushchenko announced his nomination on February 5; Baloha 
admitted that Yushchenko had nominated Korol without any 
prior consultation with Yanukovych.  Our Ukraine MP Serhiy 
Bychkov told us after the vote that he thinks Yushchenko will 
renominate Korol, suggesting that Korol will be approved the 
second time. 
 
Internal Politics is Likeliest Motivator 
----------------------------------------- 
 
8. (C) Comment: It is possible Regions would have rejected 
Yushchenko's first FM nominee, no matter who he was, simply 
to demonstrate that they had the power to do so.  The 
comments from Regions members in the Rada and Cabinet 
underscore that they believed they had the right to clear 
Yushchenko's nominees, regardless of constitutional mandate. 
Moreover, after the vote MP Chornovil reminded the press that 
under the new, controversial CabMin law, the President has to 
name a new candidate within 15 days or the coalition will 
pick the FM itself.  Although Yushchenko appealed the law to 
the Constitutional Court, for now the law is in force, and 
the time limit stands.  Chornovil suggested both Deputy Head 
of the Presidential Secretariat Chaliy and PM foreign policy 
adviser Hryshchenko as more acceptable nominees.  Regions 
also could be hoping to extract concessions out of 
Yushchenko, both in terms of who is nominated and in terms of 
what Yushchenko might offer Regions in exchange.  For 
example, Den newspaper suggested that Regions would support 
the President's nominations in exchange for the latter 
withdrawing his constitutional appeal of the CabMin law. 
 
9. (C) In turn, Yushchenko may be trying to demonstrate that 
it is his right alone to name the FM and SBU Chief or he may 
be taking a harder line in hopes of gaining concessions from 
Regions.  Yushchenko announced at a press conference in 
Simferopol after the vote that he will insist on both 
candidates and conduct another round of consultations. 
However, given the consensus, including Chaliy himself, in 
January that Chaliy would be the next FM, Yushchenko may be 
open to compromise.  Herman argued this last point to us, 
saying the Presidential Secretariat was playing games when 
everyone knows that Chaliy will be appointed FM.  End comment. 
 
10. (U) Visit Embassy Kyiv's classified website: 
www.state.sgov.gov/p/eur/kiev. 
Taylor

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