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07KYIV1027, UKRAINE: LITTLE POLITICAL OR LEGAL PROGRESS, BOTH

April 27, 2007

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07KYIV1027 2007-04-27 15:26 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Kyiv

VZCZCXRO9744
PP RUEHDBU
DE RUEHKV #1027/01 1171526
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 271526Z APR 07
FM AMEMBASSY KYIV
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 2158
INFO RUEHZG/NATO EU COLLECTIVE
RUCNCIS/CIS COLLECTIVE
RUEHLMC/MILLENNIUM CHALLENGE CORP WASHDC

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 KYIV 001027 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 04/27/2017 
TAGS: PGOV PREL UP
SUBJECT: UKRAINE: LITTLE POLITICAL OR LEGAL PROGRESS, BOTH 
TEAMS TURN BACK TO THE STREETS 
 
REF: A. KYIV 988 
 
     B. KYIV 998 
 
KYIV 00001027  001.2 OF 003 
 
 
Classified By: Deputy Chief of Mission Sheila Gwaltney for reasons 1.4( 
a,b,d). 
 
1. (C) Summary. With President Yushchenko on a one-day trip 
to Poland April 27 and the ruling coalition trying to decide 
on its strategy in the face of the new decree ordering Rada 
elections for June 24, little progress was made on April 27 
toward resolving the political crisis.  The Constitutional 
Court sat behind closed doors--Our Ukraine MP Knyazevych 
claimed to the press that 17 of the 18 judges wanted to throw 
out the case regarding Yushchenko's first decree, but the 
Court press secretary indicated only that the review of the 
case continued.  The coalition's new appeal of Yushchenko's 
second decree, signed by more than 160 MPs, was formally 
registered with the Court.  PM Yanukovych called an 
extraordinary Cabinet meeting for April 28 to discuss the 
CabMin position on the decree; the coalition organized a 
rally on the Maidan starting at 1600, with Yanukovych 
addressing the crowd of about 7,000 calling for Yushchenko to 
annul all decrees and proposing simultaneous presidential and 
parliamentary elections.  In private, Tymoshenko countered 
public statements that her bloc would not go back to the Rada 
to work on pertinent legislation in the event of a 
compromise, telling the Ambassador that if necessary, BYuT 
deputies would return to the Rada for a week to pass 
election-related legislation, but only if early elections 
were agreed.  The opposition has announced a rally for the 
evening of April 28 on European Square, with Yushchenko and 
Tymoshenko scheduled to attend. 
 
2. (C) Comment.  The PM confirmed to the Ambassador today 
that he and the President have not spoken since the second 
decree was issued.  Until Yushchenko and Yanukovych resume 
their direct discussions, there is unlikely to be much 
progress.  Ambassador and his German counterpart continue to 
impress this point on all sides, but with Yanukovych out of 
the country April 26 and Yushchenko away April 27, there has 
been little opportunity.  Ministers and MPs from the 
coalition told former Ambassador Carlos Pascual April 27 that 
the president's team and Tymoshenko deserved the blame for 
the lack of progress, arguing that once again the President 
had been talked into a confrontational move by issuing the 
second decree.  On the coalition's side, the Rada still 
refuses to acknowledge the legality of either decree, pending 
court review, and passed new legislation repeating an earlier 
ban on the the National Bank from financing any elections, 
and the coalition continues to block the Central Election 
Commission's work via a sick-out.  Interestingly, Regions MP 
and financier Rinat Akhmetov told the Ambassador that he 
opposes the idea of simultaneous presidential and 
parliamentary elections.  End summary and comment. 
 
Coalition: The President's Team Doesn't Want Compromise 
--------------------------------------------- ---------- 
 
3.  (C)  During an April 27 meeting with the Ambassador and 
former Ambassador Pascual, PM Yanukovych was clearly still 
angry about President Yushchenko's issuance of a second 
decree, calling the decision a "unilateral act" that "broke 
the agreement on stopping sharp actions and consultations, 
indicated a withdrawal from the discussions" and caused an 
"escalation in tensions."  He confirmed that he had not yet 
spoken to the President since the issuance of the second 
decree.  The PM said that he had been hopeful at the 
beginning of the week about a possible compromise, and he 
still believed that a compromise was an important part of any 
solution.  He still was not ruling out the possibility of 
early elections as part of a deal, but worried about 
establishing a bad precedent.  However, Yanukovych noted that 
even if early elections were agreed, there still needed to be 
a new law on elections and a realistic date that should be 
negotiated among the parties.  Yanukovych stressed that he 
and the coalition "did not want to weaken the President." 
What was now important, in the PM's view, was "finding a way 
to get back to where we were" in the negotiations.  However, 
Yushchenko's second decree meant that they would have to 
start the process from scratch.  Yanukovych said that he has 
called an emergency cabinet meeting on April 28 to discuss 
next steps.  (Embassy Note.  April 28 will be a government 
working day in order to give workers holidays on April 30 and 
May 1 and 2.  End Note.) 
 
4. (SBU) Rada Speaker Moroz contended to former Ambassador 
Pascual and poloff April 27 that Yushchenko knew that a 
political compromise could be reached in three days. 
Unfortunately, the "Mukacheve team" (a reference to 
Zakarpatiya native Baloha, head of the Presidential 
 
KYIV 00001027  002.2 OF 003 
 
 
Secretariat) and Tymoshenko wanted conflict, and they had 
 
SIPDIS 
talked Yushchenko into supporting their line, even though Our 
Ukraine would lose if there were new elections.  The broader 
working group that had met
on April 25 (ref A) had been 
scheduled to present an action plan to Yushchenko and 
Yanukovych on April 27, but the President's team had inserted 
items into the document that they knew were not achievable, 
setting the process up for failure, he claimed. 
 
5. (SBU) Minister of the Cabinet of Ministers Tolstoukhov, in 
the Rada to hear a budget discussion, claimed to Pascual and 
poloff that he had heard about an alleged third Presidential 
decree in preparation that would aim to dismiss the Cabinet. 
When Tolstoukhov had left the broader working group on April 
25 at 2000, he had thought they had made progress (Note: 
press reports at the time said nothing had been achieved. 
End note).  Yushchenko's decree announcement on television 90 
minutes later shocked him.  How, he asked rhetorically, could 
someone conduct negotiations and write such decrees at the 
same time and claim to be working in good faith? 
 
6.  (C) Also on April 27, Regions MP and financier Rinat 
Akhmetov told Ambassadors Taylor and Pascual that it was 
critical to restart negotiations between the President and PM 
in the "small format."  It was important to Akhmetov that the 
country come of this "stronger than it went in," and he 
echoed Yanukovych's concern that no precedents be established 
without legal justification.  Akhmetov argued that the CC 
decision should not be thwarted.  Interestingly, he opposed 
the idea of any compromise that resulted in early elections 
for both President and Parliament and instead floated the 
idea of a nationwide referendum on whether to hold early 
elections at all, noting that this was his own idea, not the 
coalition's.  (Note: an idea that the coalition has supported 
as part of a possible deal for agreeing to early elections. 
End note.) 
 
Perspective from the Rada: Still Working 
---------------------------------------- 
 
7. (SBU) Although Moroz announced that 260 MPs were 
registered in the session hall on April 27, Embassy staff saw 
only 150 or so during our morning visit, highlighting the 
common practice of MPs collecting voting cards to vote for 
absent colleagues.  MPs from the Party of Industrialists and 
Entrepreneurs of Ukraine (PIEU), which broke away from OU in 
late March, provoking Yushchenko to issue his April 2 decree, 
sat in their original OU seats, although they had replaced 
their OU flags with PIEU flags.  Rogue OU MP Holovatiy sat by 
himself in the front of the OU section.  Regions MPs had 
locked the diplomatic and journalist balconies and would not 
let us in, as they have done sporadically since last July. 
The Cabinet, including PM Yanukovych, had been called in to 
discuss budget amendments, but when the issue was not 
discussed, they immediately left the session hall. 
 
8. (SBU) The Rada passed a resolution with 260 votes on April 
26 stating that Yushchenko's second decree was groundless. 
The Rada also instructed the National Bank not to provide 
funding for new elections.  They did, however, commend the 
lack of language in the new April 25 decree immediately 
banning the Rada from working.  (Comment: Yushchenko's April 
2 decree attempted to suspend the Rada's work, seemingly in 
contradiction with Article 81 of the constitution, which 
states that the old Rada works until the new one is seated.) 
 
Tymoshenko: Willing to Give a Little 
------------------------------------ 
 
9. (C) Opposition leader Tymoshenko told Ambassador on April 
26 that she would support suspension of Yushchenko's decree 
and she would bring her faction back to the Rada if necessary 
to complete legislation relevant to holding new elections. 
However, she implied that this would only occur if there were 
an agreement that new elections would happen at some point. 
Her private comments suggest a more flexible position than 
her public statements, which have said only that she supports 
the June 24 election date and highlighted the submission of 
MP resignation letters to Yushchenko.  Tymoshenko also 
confirmed that Yushchenko and she would be present at the 
European Square rally planned for April 28. 
 
Constitutional Court Remains in Closed Session 
--------------------------------------------- - 
 
10. (SBU) OU MP Knyazevych claimed to the press late April 26 
that 17 of the 18 CC judges supported dismissing the petition 
on the first presidential decree because there was no longer 
a valid document to consider.  However, the Court's press 
service would only state April 27 that the Court remained in 
 
KYIV 00001027  003.2 OF 003 
 
 
closed session considering the case.  The Court did 
acknowledge it had received the coalition's new appeal of 
Yushchenko's second decree.  The coalition's new appeal of 
Yushchenko's second decree, signed by more than 160 MPs, has 
now been formally registered with the Court. 
 
Court Rulings, Reinstatements, and judicial appointees 
--------------------------------------------- --------- 
 
11. (SBU) In compliance with an earlier Supreme Court ruling 
from March 13, Yushchenko on April 26 reinstated Yevhen 
Zhovtyak as Kyiv oblast governor; Zhovtyak had successfully 
complained he was fired unfairly (while on leave status). 
The President then immediately fired Zhovtyak again. 
Comment: The Zhovtyak maneuver, coming the same day 
Yushchenko reinstated Piskun as General Prosecutor, is 
suggestive of an effort to show compliance with court rulings 
and thereby lend legitimacy to the legally dubious 
reinstatement of Piskun. 
 
12. (SBU) Regions MP Miroshnychenko told us that the Rada's 
April 27 agenda included the formation of an ad hoc 
investigatory commission to find out why the Shevchenko Court 
had approved Piskun's appeal of his firing as Prosecutor 
General and his demand to be reinstated.  Miroshnychenko 
suggested that some sort of a political deal, not due 
process, was concluded.  Miroshnychenko said the commission 
would also look at several of Yushchenko's recent judicial 
appointments, some of which seemed odd to the coalition. 
 
Taking It Back to the Streets 
----------------------------- 
 
13.  (U)  An April 27 coalition rally on the Maidan attracted 
about 7,000 government supporters, and featured appearances 
by PM Yanukovych, Speaker Moroz and Communist Leader 
Symonenko.  Yanukovych urged Yushchenko to annul all of his 
decrees and called for any early elections to be both for 
president and parliament.  The PM said that he supported the 
constitution, the rule of law and human rights, and argued 
that Yushchenko had been manipulated by his presidential 
administration.  As a result, Yushchenko was attempting to 
usurp power in all branches of government. 
 
14.  (SBU)  An opposition rally is scheduled for European 
Square the evening of April 28.  Tymoshenko and other 
opposition leaders are expected to address the crowd; 
President Yushchenk
o is expected to attend, but it is not 
known yet whether or not he will speak.  (Note.  It will be 
interesting to see how many supporters the opposition will 
attract given the start of a four-day holiday in Ukraine. 
End Note.) 
 
15. (U) Visit Embassy Kyiv's classified website: 
www.state.sgov.gov/p/eur/kiev. 
Taylor

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