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August 15, 2007

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
07KYIV2001 2007-08-15 07:35 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Kyiv

DE RUEHKV #2001/01 2270735
P 150735Z AUG 07

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 KYIV 002001 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 07/06/2017 
REF: 06 KIEV 3570 
Classified By: Political Counselor Kent Logsdon, reason 1.4 (b,d) 
1. (C) Summary: Ten years after the signing of the 
NATO-Ukraine Charter and two and a half years after the 
Orange Revolution, many policy makers and experts in Ukraine 
and in the West hoped that Ukraine would jump on a fast track 
to NATO membership.  However, today public support for NATO 
membership hovers in the 20-25% range, lower than it did in 
2002, at the fifth anniversary.  In stark contrast, the 
percentage of support for NATO membership among policy elites 
-- academics/think tankers, journalists, government and 
military officials -- continues to rise, to 80% in November 
2006, the last systemic polling of experts.  The low level of 
public support can be explained by several factors: the 
lingering legacy of Soviet stereotypes of NATO as an 
aggressive military bloc; the deleterious impact of two hotly 
contested election cycles in 2004 and 2006 in which current 
PM Yanukovych and his Party of Regions abandoned their 
previous insider support of NATO membership for a public 
anti-NATO line designed to lock in support in Ukraine's east 
and south, where suspicions of NATO are strongest; and an 
anemic and poorly organized information campaign effort to 
explain what the new NATO is and why it is in Ukraine's 
national interest to join.  NGOs, universities, and some 
provincial governments have become more active in education 
efforts, but overall coordination of an effective strategy, 
better messaging targeting specific population groups, and 
adequate financing remain lacking. 
2. (C) Comment:  The ten year anniversary of the NATO-Ukraine 
relationship has come and gone without much notice; a missed 
opportunity that fell victim to the April/May political 
crisis.   With slow progress on the institutional reforms 
needed for Ukraine to meet Euro-Atlantic standards, most 
notably wider security sector reform, the hopes of 2005-06 
for a Membership Action Plan and an invitation to membership 
within several years have disappeared.  Given the 
disorganized and to date ineffective information effort, the 
low level of public support would have made early membership 
difficult in any event.  Recent discussions at NATO show the 
onset of Ukraine fatigue among some allies, particularly the 
French, backed by Spain and Greece.  Even though the path 
forward will be longer and more winding than we and the 
Ukrainians hoped/expected two years ago, Ukrainian inclusion 
in the Euro-Atlantic community remains an important element 
of completing the long-term vision of a Europe whole, free, 
and at peace -- a real consideration as we prepare for the 
next NATO Summit in Bucharest.  The U.S. also has a vested 
interest in the success of the information campaign because 
in the public mind, NATO and U.S. foreign policy are 
intertwined.  End Summary and Comment. 
Key Issues of Public Support and Government Inaction 
--------------------------------------------- ------- 
3. (SBU) In the 1990s, there was general consensus among 
Ukraine's political and policy elite that its future should 
be European, and ultimately include membership in the 
European Union and NATO, although both seemed distant goals. 
Their aspirations were enshrined in law as the basis for 
Ukrainian foreign policy in 2003 under PM Yanukovych, with 
unanimous support from Party of Regions MPs.  Through 2002, 
public opinion was roughly split into thirds: in favor, 
against, and unsure about NATO membership.  The contentious 
election cycles of 2004 and 2006, however, broke the 
political elite consensus, as Yanukovych/Regions adopted an 
anti-NATO stance as part of an effort to lock in core voters 
in the South and East of Ukraine, and drove public support 
down to the 10-20 percent range.  Embassy comment: polls 
depend widely on the precise wording of the question posed. 
End comment. 
4. (SBU) With Yanukovych/Regions' return to government in 
August 2006 on the heels of a Universal political declaration 
which reaffirmed NATO membership as a strategic goal (albeit 
to be put to public referendum after all necessary 
preparations were complete), the dynamic changed.  Regions 
adopted a more positive, though skeptical stance on 
membership, stressing practical cooperation and the need for 
an information campaign but as PM Yanukovych's key September 
14 speech at NATO underscored (reftel), not a request for a 
MAP as Yushchenko had expected.  Following Yanukovych's 
positive words on an information campaign, close Yanukovych 
ally Eduard Prutnik, the new State and Radio TV Chair, 
pledged to the Political Committee on Thanksgiving that the 
Yanukovych government would set aside 10 million hryvnia ($2 
million) in the 2007 budget. 
KYIV 00002001  002 OF 003 
5. (C) The situation on the ground back in Kyiv did not back 
up Yanukovych and Prutnik's positive words.  The Regions 
drafted 2007 budget, in the hands of DPM/Finance Minister 
Azarov, slashed the information budget for 2007 to 5 million 
hryvnia, of which 4 million hryvnia was earmarked for EU 
information efforts and only 1 million for NATO.  The 
Government also removed
 the authority for administering this 
budget from two pro-NATO institutions - the MFA and the 
Center for Euro-Atlantic Integration, headed by Volodymyr 
Horbulin - and handed it to the Education Ministry under a 
NATO-skeptic Socialist Minister Nikolayenko answerable to a 
NATO-hostile DPM, Dmytro Tabachnyk. 
6.  C) In December, Prutnik's Committee spent 4 million 
hyrvnia ($800,000), of the 2006 budget his predecessor had 
refused to spend, on a single seminar which had nothing to do 
with security issues and at which NATO was not mentioned 
once.  In March 2007, Nikolayenko's Education Ministry rushed 
through a nontransparent tender process with little notice 
for the 3.416 ml hryvnia ($680,000) at its disposal; it 
remains unclear as to who won or what happened.  It was 
particularly strange that the Government could not find ways 
to support NATO information campaigns in the country while 
grassroots organizations with very small budgets were finding 
ways to get the word out.  For example, the Association of 
School Principals, on its own and in cooperation with a 
Polish NGO, initiated an innovative nationwide competition 
for school kids to write essays on the meaning of NATO for 
Ukrainian security. 
7. (SBU) At present, the GOU continues to talk about the 
information campaign, prepares and publishes plans of 
activities, but financial constraints remain.  Extensive 
documents promise coverage of joint NATO-Ukraine operations, 
appearances on talk shows and press conferences by state 
officials to discuss the advantages and disadvantages of 
membership, training for journalists and contests for best 
NATO-related coverage, military and NGO exchanges with NATO 
countries, and a strong focus on the younger generation. 
However, there is little emphasis on the southern and eastern 
parts of the country, where the information is needed most, 
and the programs that are implemented, do not necessarily 
reach their intended audiences (such as the "NATO: Friend or 
Alien?" documentary that aired at 1AM). 
NGO Efforts Well-Meaning, but Disorganized 
8. (SBU) By early 2007, civil society activists on NATO 
issues had concluded that, for now, they would have to press 
forward on information efforts without notable government 
support.  Most activists also had reached consensus that the 
time of seminars in Kyiv for policy experts had passed 
(preaching to the converted), and that efforts needed to be 
refocused on reforging political elite consensus and on a 
more effective outreach campaign outside Kyiv to the general 
populace.  In the absence of a central government coordinator 
and financing, however, the effort lacks a defined "center of 
gravity."  The well-intentioned Ukraine-NATO Civic League, a 
loose affiliation of more than 50 NGOs nationwide, has 
little/no resources and largely lacks any strategic 
campaign/marketing planning capacity, outside of Democratic 
Initiatives' Ilko Kucheriv (one of the country's leading 
political sociologists). 
9. (C) The first activist to try to provide such a focus for 
efforts was Presidential adviser Oleh Rybachuk, DPM for 
Euro-Atlantic integration issues in the first post-Orange 
Revolution government and Yushchenko's chief-of-staff during 
the second.  Rybachuk aimed to engage Ukrainian oligarchs of 
all political colors to finance a combined European and 
Euro-Atlantic future campaign, featuring notable pop stars 
and policy heavyweights and media coverage to get the word 
out.  Rybachuk launched his effort at a March 2, 2007 seminar 
most notable for the clear consensus on the European future 
and negotiating with the EU as opposed to pursuing the all 
but dead Single Economic Space project.  There was little 
discussion of the differences of opinion on timing and 
tactics for NATO, particularly the wisdom of entering a MAP 
or holding a referendum.  When the political crisis began 
several weeks later, Rybachuk all but disappeared from the 
scene with no follow-up, in what domestic and international 
friends critically characterized as "typical Oleh." 
10. (C) The latest pretender is pop star/Our Ukraine MP 
Ruslana (Lyzhychko), who has engaged US policymakers in 
Washington and in Kyiv with increasing regularity in 2007 on 
the NATO issue, and who attended a specialized seminar at the 
Marshall Center in Garmisch in May (along with young BYuT MP 
Andriy Shevchenko) to try to bolster her ability to speak 
KYIV 00002001  003 OF 003 
more credibly on NATO related issues.  Although she recently 
decided to give up her Rada seat to pursue her music career, 
she intends to remain active in Ukraine's political scene. 
Ruslana wants to form a working group of primarily Ukrainian 
activists/experts, but drawing on international experience, 
with a heavier focus on sociologists and marketing 
professionals to design a campaign that uses tested messages 
on segments of the population, resamples opinion, and 
readjusts messages and marketing techniques - essentially 
treating NATO as a brand in the Ukrainian marketplace.  This 
approach tracks the more sustained and professional efforts 
in the Baltics and central Europe in trying to engage a 
skeptical population.  Even if an effective working group can 
be formed, an effective information campaign would still face 
the challenge of financing, as well as successfully 
convincing a more complex and difficult market audience than 
existed in any previous aspirant country. 
Marking Ten Years of NATO-Ukraine 
11. (C) NATO membership advocates in the GOU were 
disappointed that the ten year anniversary of the 
NATO-Ukraine partnership was by and large overshadowed by the 
April/May political crisis and months of political stalemate. 
 After succeeding in delivering a President and Prime 
Minister endorsed invitation to the North Atlantic Council 
(NAC) for a July visit to Kyiv, the pro-Euro integration 
cadre was crestfallen when the NAC balked for fear of 
contributing to the turmoil.  NATO Secretary General de Hoop 
Scheffer also kept a distance, but did participate in an 
anniversary video teleconference that included GOU officials 
and national media. 
12. (SBU) An event that did attract media attention was a 
Kyiv - Washington video teleconference co-sponsored by the 
Atlantic Council and the Democratic Initiatives Fund, with 
Embassy support.  The DVC included Ambassador Taylor, First 
Deputy Foreign Minister Ohryzko, MP Ruslana, and Slovak 
Ambassador Rusnak in Kyiv and EUR Deputy Assistant Secretary 
of State David Kramer and Ukrainian Ambassador to the U.S. 
Shamshur in DC.  Three messages emerged from the 
well-attended discussion: first, NATO and Ukraine continue to 
work well together in practical terms; second, statistics 
show that public support for Ukraine's NATO membership 
aspirations increases as people receive more information; and 
third, the Ukrainian
government must make the case to its 
citizens.  On the last point, U.S. officials agreed that NATO 
Allies can provide support, but the effort can only succeed 
if the GOU owns the information campaign and makes a tangible 
13. (U) Visit Embassy Kyiv's classified website: 




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