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May 15, 2007

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
07KYIV1133 2007-05-15 03:21 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Kyiv

DE RUEHKV #1133/01 1350321
P 150321Z MAY 07

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 KYIV 001133 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 05/14/2017 
REF: KYIV 282 
KYIV 00001133  001.2 OF 002 
Classified By: Ambassador, reason 1.4 (b,d) 
1. (C) Summary: President Yushchenko and PM Yanukovych 
resumed meetings to resolve the political impasse May 12 
after Yanukovych returned to Ukraine from his Spanish knee 
surgery; Yushchenko said afterwards that the two would meet 
again May 16 to agree on the date for early elections. 
Presidential deputy head Chaliy and PM adviser Hryshchenko 
told Ambassador May 16 that elections would likely occur in 
September.  Comments from the May 14 resumption of the wider 
working group seemed to support the sense that the two sides 
might reach agreement by May 16.  Several odd developments 
occurred over the weekend: the unexpected May 12 resignation 
of National Security and Defense Council Secretary Hayduk, 
who only days earlier seemed to be playing a key constructive 
role in talks aimed at defusing the crisis, and strange 
rumors/commentary late May 11 about alleged assassination 
2. (C) Comment:  Nothing ever seems truly over in Ukrainian 
politics, but for once the working group rhetoric May 14 
seems to be reinforcing, rather than negating, optimistic 
signals coming out of an earlier Yushchenko-Yanukovych 
meeting.  Chaliy's comments suggest that Yushchenko has 
agreed to a key Regions' demand: that elections happen in the 
fall rather than summer.  Chaliy, a long-time close associate 
of Hayduk from their years together at the Industrial Union 
of the Donbas (IUD), told Ambassador May 12 that Hayduk had 
resigned after being asked to convene an NSDC meeting to 
consider dismissing the government, but he said May 14 that 
Hayduk's resignation may have helped lower tensions, the 
President seeming to have recognized the seriousness of the 
step.  The reports of alleged documents revealing unnamed 
elements tracking Yushchenko's movements and targeting 
Secretariat Head Baloha and opposition leaders Tymoshenko and 
Lutsenko strike us as odd.  Then again, Ukraine is a country 
with a sitting President who was poisoned in September 2004, 
and no serious progress has been made, or investigation even 
evident, in the past two and a half years  (reftel). End 
Summary and Comment. 
Talking again, and coming closer to a deal for September? 
--------------------------------------------- ------------ 
3. (SBU)  After a several day hiatus necessitated by PM 
Yanukovych's sudden knee surgery in Barcelona, the two 
Viktors resumed their meetings Saturday May 12 to seek a way 
out of the current political crisis, this time accompanied by 
newly appointed NSDC Secretary Ivan Plyushch and First 
DPM/Finance Minister Azarov.  After the meeting, Plyushch and 
Azarov told reporters that Yushchenko and Yanukovych planned 
to agree on a date for early elections at a May 16 meeting, 
with the normally dour and cautious Azarov suggesting there 
was a "100 percent probability" that the date would be set 
May 16. 
4. (C) Plyushch, in an interview published May 14, suggested 
that elections might take place July 15.  However, Regions' 
financier Akhmetov told Dzerkalo Tyzhnia that July elections 
were "impossible" and that they should take place in autumn. 
Chaliy told Ambassador May 14 that Yushchenko had privately 
informed Polish President Kaczynski while in Warsaw May 11 
that elections would occur in September, adding that 
Presidential Secretariat Head Baloha, seen as the hard-liner 
in Yushchenko's team, was on board with September elections. 
Chaliy noted that ongoing disagreement in the working group 
involved not only the dates for elections, but how long the 
Rada would remain in session to pass needed legislation. 
Another factor was Regions' desire to lock in the right of 
the party with the highest vote total to attempt to form a 
coalition majority first (note: Regions almost certainly will 
score another plurality, but it is clearly worried about the 
possibility of an OU-BYuT accommodation.  As the coalition 
flipping in the summer of 2006 demonstrates, nothing can be 
taken for granted in Ukrainian politics). 
5. (SBU)  Working group negotiations resumed May 14 at 1000 
at the Presidential Secretariat on Bankova.  In contrast to 
past working group sessions, at which oral agreements between 
the two Viktors often fell apart, comments this time 
reinforced the May 12 optimism.   Regions faction leader 
Bohatyryeva told reporters early in the day that the working 
group had almost completed amendments to the law on judicial 
administration (intended to deal with confusing court 
jurisdictional issues, from our understanding) and on the 
status of rada deputies, but that disagreement remained on 
proposed amendments to the parliamentary election law.  With 
negotiations resuming at 1615, OU MP Onischuk suggested 
KYIV 00001133  002.2 OF 002 
agreement on all bills might even be reached "late" on May 14. 
Unexpected switch at the NSDC, and strange rumors 
--------------------------------------------- ---- 
6. (C) The seeming surge forward in
 negotiations was 
accompanied by a curious development: the resignation (or 
firing) of Vitaliy Hayduk as NSDC Secretary early May 12. 
Hayduk had come into the job in late 2006 from his IUD 
business intending to focus on energy issues and bring a 
low-key, apolitical approach to the job.  His connections to 
former partner and sometime business rival Rinat Akhmetov 
helped accelerate efforts to resolve the crisis via early 
elections, and Hayduk appeared much more engaged and in 
command in his May 8 meeting with Ambassador than in past 
sessions.  Hayduk associate Chaliy told Ambassador May 12 
that Hayduk, opposed to any discussion of a state of 
emergency, had been a man of his word and resigned when the 
President's team directed Hayduk to convene an NSDC meeting 
to consider dismissing the government.  Plyushch is a 
two-time former Rada Speaker (1991-93, 2000-2002) who comes 
from the nationalist side of the political spectrum (in 2006 
he ran with Yuri Kostenko's Ukrainian People's Party).  He 
was recently named the MCC political point of contact; the 
Ukrainian MCC operation is just setting up shop. 
7. (SBU) Hayduk's resignation came in the wake of a flurry of 
strange statements and rumors late May 11 about supposed 
assassination plots.  Valeriy Heletei, head of the 
Presidential Secretariat service for law enforcement 
agencies, alleged at a press conference that the Presidential 
Secretariat had documents containing plans to murder 
Secretariat head Baloha and opposition leaders Tymoshenko and 
Lutsenko, as well as detailed information on the movements of 
Yushchenko and his family members.  Claiming that "today, we 
face a real threat" of violence, Heletei stated that criminal 
leaders were working on the plans with radical political 
forces and those connected with the special services of other 
states - the standard way Ukrainian officials refer to Russia 
without naming it outright.  Adding that there were 
compromising documents on several top Interior Ministry 
officials, Heletei alleged the schemes aimed at causing 
political confrontation and split up Ukraine. 
8. (C) Comment: we currently cannot assess the validity of 
Heletei's claims.  Opposition leader Lutsenko, speaking to 
Ambassador March 31 prior to a massive opposition rally on 
the Maidan intended to convince Yushchenko to issue a decree 
to dismiss the Rada and call elections, shared his concerns 
about potential provocations.  He focused in particular on a 
group of ex-security officers from the SBU and the police 
special forces he said were being trained to cause problems; 
he fingered recently named deputy Interior Minister 
Zemlyansky as the organizer of dirty tricks.  As deputy head 
of the SBU in 2004, Zemlyansky had masterminded the planting 
of weapons and explosives on the civic activists of PORA, 
similar to the mid-March actions against his network of civil 
society activists, Lutsenko alleged. 
9. (U) Visit Embassy Kyiv's classified website: 




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