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07KYIV642, UKRAINE: LUTSENKO RAIDED, INTERROGATED BY

March 20, 2007

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
07KYIV642 2007-03-20 17:44 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Kyiv

VZCZCXRO0556
PP RUEHDBU
DE RUEHKV #0642 0791744
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 201744Z MAR 07
FM AMEMBASSY KYIV
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 1596
INFO RUCNCIS/CIS COLLECTIVE
RUEHZG/NATO EU COLLECTIVE

C O N F I D E N T I A L KYIV 000642 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 03/20/2017 
TAGS: PREL PGOV PHUM UP
SUBJECT: UKRAINE: LUTSENKO RAIDED, INTERROGATED BY 
PROSECUTOR GENERAL'S OFFICE 
 
Classified By: Ambassador, reason 1.4 (b,d) 
 
1.  (SBU) Summary:  On a busy political day that heralded a 
potential tectonic shift in the basic blue-orange divide in 
Ukrainian politics, which has existed since the 
November-December 2004 Orange Revolution (septel), a 
Prosecutor General Office (PGO) investigative team launched a 
seven- hour search of former Interior Minister Yuri 
Lutsenko's apartment shortly after 6:00 am March 20 as part 
of a criminal investigation widely seen as politically 
motivated.  Lutsenko later reported to the PGO for 
interrogation. 
 
2.  (C) Comment:  As we have reported previously, Lutsenko 
clearly has the ruling Regions' party rattled by his populist 
"People's Self Defense" rallies across Ukraine, which have 
started encroaching on their "blue" territory (reftel).  The 
PGO raid and subsequent interrogation is the culmination of 
pressure against Lutsenko since his December 1, 2006, ouster 
as Interior Minister.  Lutsenko took the apartment raid in 
stride.  Separately, management at the state TV channel UT-1, 
decided not to rebroadcast its weekly live political 
talk-show from the evening prior, as usual; the show featured 
interviews with opposition leaders Yuliya Tymoshenko (BYuT) 
and Vyacheslav Kyrylenko (Our Ukraine - OU).  The UT-1 
decision, while lower profile, raises potentially concerns 
about government interference in media freedom, largely 
absent since the Orange Revolution.  End Summary and Comment. 
 
Upping the pressure:  Lutsenko apartment raided 
--------------------------------------------- ------- 
 
3. (SBU) Shortly after 6:00 am March 20, a five-person PGO 
team started a seven-hour raid on Yuri Lutsenko's apartment; 
Lutsenko was home at the time.  His lawyers and media were 
denied access until after 9:00 am, nearly half-way through he 
raid, but a half-dozen OU MPs, led by financial backer David 
Zhvaniya and activist partner Mykola Katerynchuk, used their 
deputy status to gain access and take pictures of the raid, 
which were posted on the  OU website midday 
(www.razom.org.ua/ru/news/14784). 
 
4. (SBU) Lutsenko, who smiled for cameras during the raid, 
told reporters that he did not think the PGO really intended 
to imprison him but wanted to restrict his movement around 
the country leading his People's Self-Defense Movement 
rallies; the team confiscated his internal passport, two 
external passports, and his drivers' license.   Lutsenko 
signed an agreement to come to the PGO's office for 
questioning for four days but not an entire month.  Lutsenko 
said that the investigators refused to produce the court 
decision ordering the search of his apartment; his lawyers 
later claimed that there were multiple procedural violations 
during the search, carried out in support of charges of abuse 
of office and illegal use of weapons.  Lutsenko appeared at 
the PGO's office at 4:30 pm for further interrogation; 
several dozen of his supporters are picketing the PGO, 
according to press reports. 
 
5.  (SBU) PM Yanukovych told reporters that he had learned 
about the raid at 10:00 am, four hours after it started, and 
that he phoned PGO head Medvedko after talking to President 
Yushchenko.  Yanukovych said that Medvedko claimed the raid 
was the decision of the investigator and was based on a court 
order; he said he would not intervene in the work of the PGO 
and law enforcement agencies.  (note:  the court 
authorization came from Pechersk Court, notorious for its 
politically-related decisions, particularly in the later 
Kuchma years, 2001-2004.) 
 
6.  (U) Visit Embassy Kyiv's classified website: 
www.state.gov.sgov.gov/p/eur/kiev. 
Taylor

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