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07KYIV466, UKRAINE: SHALL WE DANCE? TYMOSHENKO AND YUSHCHENKO

February 23, 2007

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07KYIV466 2007-02-23 15:29 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Kyiv

VZCZCXRO6387
PP RUEHDBU
DE RUEHKV #0466/01 0541529
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 231529Z FEB 07
FM AMEMBASSY KYIV
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 1314
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 000466 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 02/23/2017 
TAGS: PGOV PREL UP
SUBJECT: UKRAINE: SHALL WE DANCE? TYMOSHENKO AND YUSHCHENKO 
TRYING TO COOPERATE, AGAIN 
 
REF: A. KYIV 452 
 
     B. KYIV 89 
 
Classified By: Ambassador for reasons 1.4(a,b,d). 
 
1. (C) Summary.  Opposition leader Yuliya Tymoshenko and 
Presidential Secretariat Head Viktor Baloha separately told 
the Ambassador February 20-21 that there was a new, deeper 
cooperation agreement between Our Ukraine (OU) and the 
Tymoshenko Bloc (BYuT) in the works; both were guardedly 
optimistic that this current state of cooperation would last 
longer than the failed post-election effort in 2006.  The 
political vision and intent of Yushchenko and Tymoshenko 
continue to differ greatly, however, with Tymoshenko focusing 
on confrontation with Regions and Yushchenko stressing the 
need for cooperation and compromise.  The BYuT-OU cooperative 
plan is currently scheduled to be announced at a February 24 
press conference.  Tymoshenko, who met with President 
Yushchenko February 21 immediately before seeing the 
Ambassador, claimed the two sides would agree that Yushchenko 
would veto all laws put forward by the Anti-Crisis Coalition 
(ACC) passed without consultations with the opposition and 
that BYuT will not support any veto overrides, forcing the 
Regions-led coalition to coordinate laws with OU and BYuT or 
risk bringing the Rada's legislative activities to a halt. 
According to Tymoshenko, her medium-term goal is still early 
Rada elections.  However, distrust between the BYuT and OU, 
coupled with a Constitutional Court that is increasingly 
looking like it will back Regions's position on the political 
balance of powers, could make the new cooperation effort as 
rocky as it has been in the past.  End summary and comment. 
 
Tymoshenko: Orange Reconciliation against Regions? 
--------------------------------------------- ---- 
 
2. (C) Tymoshenko told Ambassador that she had just come from 
a meeting with Yushchenko and his political team in which the 
two sides were finalizing the details of a new cooperation 
plan.  They would hold a press conference on Saturday, 
February 24, at which they would declare a unification of 
their efforts and sign a long-term, strategic agreement.  The 
plan consisted of three parts.  The first would be their 
program and vision for Ukraine.  It would be based on the 
torturously negotiated post election coalition agreement from 
late spring 2006 that would have formed the basis for a 
BYuT-OU-Socialist coalition.  The second part of the 
agreement would be a set of rules of procedure on how 
cooperation will work, both in and out of the Rada.  Finally, 
the third part would outline how relations would work during 
and after new Rada elections, if there were preterm 
elections. 
 
3. (C) Tymoshenko explained that BYuT's actions this week in 
the Rada--blocking the rostrum and disconnecting electricity 
in the session hall to disrupt the plenary session--were 
intentional steps to escalate the confrontation and force new 
elections (note: Regions conducted retaliatory rostrum 
blocking and succeeded in forcing votes February 22 to reject 
Yushchenko's nominations for Foreign Minister and SBU chief - 
see ref A). 
 
4. (C) There were a number of conceptual issues, Tymoshenko 
said, that affect how this agreement would function.  The 
agreement stipulated that Yushchenko would veto any bill that 
received less than 300 votes; in other words, he would 
support no bill passed without BYuT and OU support.  In 
exchange, BYuT would not vote to override any presidential 
veto, as it had on the CabMin law in January (ref B).  This 
would mean that Yanukovych's Anti-Crisis Coalition (ACC) 
would not be able to legislate without cooperating with the 
BYuT-OU opposition. 
 
5. (C) Calling early elections was a core goal of the 
cooperation, she claimed (note: which would favor BYuT at 
OU's expense. End note).  In addition, they would try to 
raise the election barrier to 5 percent, to weed out 
Regions's junior partners (note: the Communists and 
Socialists.  There were earlier indications Regions might be 
in favor of this move to push Ukraine towards a two-party 
system.  End Note).  If Yushchenko agreed to lead Our 
Ukraine, Tymoshenko claimed he would attract back some of the 
smaller parties the OU bloc lost in the 2006 election and OU 
might score 15 percent of the vote (Note: no opinion polls 
suggest such support; this may be part of Tymoshenko's pitch 
to Yushchenko.  End Note).  Tymoshenko anticipated that BYuT 
could get 25 percent and Regions 26-27 percent of a vote; if 
no other parties passed the threshold, BYuT and OU could form 
a Rada majority and the next government. 
 
Baloha Says Cooperation is Only Option 
-------------------------------------- 
 
KYIV 00000466  002 OF 002 
 
 
 
6. (C)  Baloha, acting party head of People's Union Our 
Ukraine, the largest party in the six-party OU faction, told 
Ambassador on February 20 that Yushchenko and his "team" have 
decided to fully cooperate with Tymoshenko both in and out of 
the Rada, to ensure unity of effort of all democratic forces. 
 OU would not make the same mistake that they had in 2006 
af
ter the elections, when they conducted parallel 
negotiations with Tymoshenko and Regions, a failed strategy 
which eventually led to the formation of the 
Regions-Socialist-Communist coalition.   Baloha said the two 
sides had been meeting day and night to hammer out the new 
agreement.  200 MPs and the power of the veto, Baloha argued, 
would strengthen the President's authority.  There was a 
necessity to ensure a system of balance so that no one force 
completely dominated Ukraine's power structure.  The OU-BYuT 
rapproachement was designed to create that balance that had 
been missing the past six months. 
 
But Will It Work? 
----------------- 
 
7. (C) Tymoshenko claimed to Ambassador that Yushchenko had 
told her that he could not reach an agreement with Yanukovych 
and was now on board with cooperating with Tymoshenko, 
although she somewhat skeptically added that since so many 
agreements between the OU and BYuT camps in the past had 
fallen through, it was hard to be overly optimistic.  If 
Yushchenko and his camp prove sincere, BYuT would follow 
through on the cooperative efforts.  In an attempt to 
discourage competition between the two forces, the new 
agreement would also stipulate that all posts in a potential 
new government would be divided 50-50.  She claimed the 
bottom line was that Ukrainian politics should not stay in 
its current state of disorganization forever--either 
Yanukovych would amass all the power in his hands, or the two 
Orange forces would return to power.  Tymoshenko claimed both 
were realistic scenarios, but nothing would be solved through 
roundtables and commissions.  It was time for more drastic 
measures. 
 
8. (SBU) Yushchenko for his part, in a live February 22 
interview in Crimea, struck a different tone when asked about 
the current political situation in the aftermath of the 
coalition's rejection of his nominees for the posts of 
Foreign Minister and SBU chief.  He said that the 2004 
constitutional amendments had upset the constitutional 
balance of power in the country, leading to political 
confrontation evident in recent weeks and the need to ensure 
checks and balances to avoid authoritarian tendancies. 
However, he added that Ukrainian political forces needed to 
learn to live together and preferably cooperate.  New 
elections would not bring a radical realignment of the 
political landscape; there was no alternative to talk and 
compromise. 
 
9. (C) Comment: As Regions has increasingly demonstrated that 
it will deal with Yushchenko solely on its terms, Yushchenko 
appears to have agreed on the need to try to work with 
Tymoshenko as a counterbalance.  Even with the best of 
intentions, however, the history of distrust between the two 
leaders and their blocs will make cooperation a bumpy road. 
One other possible wrench in Tymoshenko's plans is her 
reliance on Constitutional Court (CC) rulings on key issues, 
particularly her assertion that Yushchenko has the right to 
disband the Rada because the Government was formed improperly 
last summer.  However, the preliminary vote on the first key 
ruling from the CC did not go in the Orange team's favor; on 
February 15, the Court suggested it would uphold the law 
passed in August 2006 that bans the CC from reviewing the 
2004 constitutional reforms.  Although a final ruling has not 
been issued, such a decision would be the reverse of Marbury 
vs. Madison, undermining the principle of judicial review. 
If the trend continued, it would be very difficult for 
Yushchenko to call for new Rada elections, absent a 
(unlikely) defection by the Socialists or Communists from the 
majority coalition. 
 
10. (U) Visit Embassy Kyiv's classified website: 
www.state.sgov.gov/p/eur/kiev. 
Taylor

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