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07KYIV2286, UKRAINE: IUD’S TARUTA ON REGIONS, ELECTIONS, AND

September 13, 2007

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07KYIV2286 2007-09-13 10:05 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Kyiv

VZCZCXRO6447
PP RUEHDBU
DE RUEHKV #2286/01 2561005
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 131005Z SEP 07
FM AMEMBASSY KYIV
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 3721
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 002286 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 09/13/2017 
TAGS: PGOV EPET PINR UP
SUBJECT: UKRAINE: IUD'S TARUTA ON REGIONS, ELECTIONS, AND 
GAS DEALS 
 
 
KYIV 00002286  001.2 OF 003 
 
 
Classified By: Ambassador for reasons 1.4(b,d). 
 
1. (C) Summary. In a marathon three-hour meeting, reclusive 
Industrial Union Donbas (IUD) owner Serhiy Taruta and his 
more politically-active partner Vitaliy Haiduk gave the 
Ambassador their views on the elections, Regions party 
leaders, and the current gas deal with Russia, especially 
their concerns over shady middleman RosUkrEnergo.  Taruta has 
tried to stay out of politics and focus on running the 
business, while Haiduk has drifted between government 
positions and IUD.   (Note. They were recently ranked 6 and 7 
on Korrespondent's richest men in Ukraine issue, with about 
$1.7 billion each.  End note.)  Both made their money in 
1990s Donetsk, and Taruta and Regions oligarch Rinat Akhmetov 
were once close business allies.  Even though IUD and Systems 
Capital Management have gone their separate ways, Taruta and 
Haiduk have insights into the Party of Regions's leadership 
that few others have.  End summary. 
 
Politics: Not My Cup of Tea 
--------------------------- 
 
2. (C) During an August 6 meeting, Taruta told the Ambassador 
that he is not involved in politics, although it is hard to 
avoid it sometimes.  He added that the June 1 amendments to 
the election law increased the mix of business and politics, 
what he termed "a very dangerous merger," and characterized 
the influence of money on changes in the country as 
substantial.  He said that was the problem of having no 
political party culture.  Some of the MPs currently in the 
Rada were of such low quality, he said, that if they were in 
another parliament, their parties would be discredited by now. 
 
Donetsk Clan: Then and Now 
-------------------------- 
 
3. (C) Taruta provided a detailed history of the Donetsk clan 
and the relations between key Regions figures.  He said that 
he had worked for ten years as director of sales at the steel 
plant in Mariupol when Haiduk invited him to Donetsk city to 
get involved in a gas project stemming from the non-payment 
crisis with Central Asia and Russia in the mid-1990s.  The 
end result of this partnership was IUD, which was involved in 
the gas trade for eight years -- at its peak, they made up to 
$1 billion of gas/year in credits, equal to Donetsk's total 
gas consumption. 
 
4. (C) According to Taruta, Akhmetov personally convinced 
President Kuchma to appoint Yanukovych governor of Donetsk in 
1997.  In those days, Akhmetov was very different -- he was 
totally private with no public persona, and was trying to 
find ways to deal with his "difficult past."  At the time, 
there was a unique relationship between business and 
government in Donetsk -- business funded regional and local 
government salaries, the government developed oblast 
infrastructure and economics, and they got good results. 
Haiduk and Andriy Klyuyev were both working under Yanukovych 
as deputy governors.  Then Klyuyev provoked a change in the 
relationship by making Yanukovych his business partner, so he 
would get preferences.  Taruta did not know if they were 
still business partners, but said they have a special 
relationship. 
 
5. (C) Taruta described Klyuyev as different from the others 
from Donetsk.  He was in a different business, which was 
relatively well-run and honest.  (Note. Klyuyev has interests 
in ball bearings and electricity distribution, whereas most 
Donetsk business made their money in metals and/or coal.  End 
note.)  Taruta thought Klyuyev was smart enough to implement 
reforms.  Unfortunately, he had learned early that he could 
make money from holding a senior position, now he was abusing 
his office for self-enrichment.  For example, according to 
Taruta, Klyuyev was smuggling huge amounts of chicken through 
a Special Economic Zone.  Taruta thought Yanukovych might be 
getting a taste of the chicken smuggling as well, although he 
wasn't sure.  Taruta said that Klyuyev knows that the 
RosUkrEnergo deal was bad -- that's why he has a conflict 
with Energy Minister Boyko.  If Boyko wins and RUE stays in 
the gas business, it means that Yanukovych now depends more 
on Boyko, financially and politically.  Haiduk said Klyuyev 
sold his energy business to Akhmetov. 
 
6. (C) Taruta believed that Akhmetov and Kolesnikov might 
have a different mindset -- they were younger and therefore, 
they lacked the experience of working in Soviet production. 
Regardless of whether they are interested in EU accession, in 
Taruta's view, both want liberal economic policies.  They 
would have liked to do business in the Yeltsin-era Russia, 
but they can't operate in today's Russia, so they have no 
interest in a pro-Russian policy. 
 
KYIV 00002286  002.2 OF 003 
 
 
 
7. (C) In contrast, Azarov is from the generation of 
soviet-era administrators and red directors, like Kuchma. 
Taruta said that Azarov and his generation don't know how to 
formulate economic policies that are
 different from what they 
grew up with.  They want to concentrate resources and divide 
them up among themselves.  Yanukovych is also from this 
latter system - a Communist Party apparatchik who prefers 
centralized authority.  He knows if he gives a little here, 
he can take a little there.  Azarov fulfills important 
functions well -- he knows how to create an effective 
government machine, first the State Tax Authority, and now 
the general fiscal system.  How he uses his government 
machine is another question, but he gets the job done.  In 
summing up, Taruta dismissed the whole Donetsk-Regions group, 
saying "they're all looters." 
 
2006 Gas Deal: Bad News for Ukraine 
----------------------------------- 
 
8. (C) Taruta said that the 2006 gas deal that the Yushchenko 
administration signed with Moscow is one of few issues that 
really riles him up because it was so absolutely contrary to 
Ukraine's interests and criminal in nature.  Taruta said 
Ukraine was losing $3 billion/year from the 2006 gas deal. 
Yushchenko had inherited the bad gas situation -- Kuchma 
created it after relations with West soured and he turned to 
Russia, but Yushchenko has not been able to fix it.  Taruta 
thought Yanukovych was not interested in a transparent gas 
deal. 
 
9. (SBU) Note. On January 4, 2006, Ukraine's state oil and 
gas company NaftoHaz signed a deal with Gazprom in the 
aftermath of Russia's brief shut-off of gas supplies.  The 
deal raised Ukraine's wholesale price from $50/billion cubic 
meters (bcm) to $95 for 2006, fixed Ukrainian gas transit 
rates for five years, and made RosUkrEnergo (ostensibly owned 
half by Gazprom and half by two Ukrainians, Dmytro Firtash 
and Ivan Firsun) Ukraine's counter-party.  In addition, the 
deal created UkrHazEnergo, a joint venture between RUE and 
NaftoHaz, to market imported gas to industrial users.  The 
deal remains in effect although the price of gas rose to $130 
in 2007.    End note. 
 
10. (C) There were three reasons, Taruta argued, why the deal 
was still in force.  To begin with, the agreement was upheld 
in court --  IUD went to court in 2006 to argue that gas deal 
did not meet international standards, but lost.  In addition, 
although Russia has no alternative transit capacity for at 
least six to eight more years, Moscow scared the Ukrainian 
population, government, and Yushchenko himself by showing 
that it could cut supplies for a long time.  In reality, 
according to Taruta, it wouldn't have been possible to shut 
off the supply for more than a day.  Finally, Russia has no 
alternative buyer other than Europe so the gas will continue 
to flow west through Ukraine. 
 
11. (C) Taruta believed a pro-Ukrainian, pro-European 
government in Kyiv could resolve gas problem at the 
presidential level by finding a compromise between $50/tcm 
and $130/tcm, back somewhere around the $90-$95/tcm that 
Ukraine paid in 2006.  Then the price could rise gradually 
over five to six years, finally reaching European levels 
minus the difference in transit costs.  If President needed 
leverage in new negotiations with Moscow, he should take the 
case to a Western court and argue that the Russians abrogated 
a binding contract in 2006 by insisting on the new deal. 
(Comment:  Several, including former PM Tymoshenko, have 
argued Ukraine should take the Russians to court and 
re-instate the pre-2006 pricing.  However, others in the GOU 
at the time, who had access to the details of the agreements, 
argued to us that Ukraine's chances in court would not be 
good.  End Comment.) 
 
12. (C) In the interim, in Taruta's view, industries should 
switch to energy-saving technologies.  For example, Ukraine 
could save 6 bcm of internal reserves in its gas transit 
system by replacing gas-fired compressors with electric ones. 
 The metals sector alone, Taruta argued, could save 2 bcm a 
year; for example, Alchevsk steel plant moved away from gas 
and electricity consumption in the last two years, its 
production is greater than Kryvoryzhstal. 
 
13. (C) Taruta said he had shared his views with Lyovochkin, 
but the PM's Chief of Staff replied that if they didn't 
steal, someone else will, so why bother to fix the problem. 
Taruta thought every government was worse than the last one 
in this regard -- before, at least Ministers were scared of 
being punished, now they are confident in their impunity. 
 
 
KYIV 00002286  003.2 OF 003 
 
 
RUE is Problem that No one Wants to Tackle 
------------------------------------------ 
 
14. (C) Taruta said that everyone knows who is behind shady 
has middleman RosUkrEnergo (RUE) and that there was blame on 
both sides.  On the Prime Minister's team, PM Chief of Staff 
Serhiy Lyovochkin managed the RUE deal for the Ukrainian 
government, while Energy Minister Yuiry Boyko was the point 
of contact for Moscow.  On the President's side, Taruta 
believed that Yushchenko had helped with the deal, but was 
not personally corrupt; however, his brother Petro and 
adviser Oleksandr Tretyakov were.  In addition, both he and 
Haiduk had heard Firtash was now meeting regularly with 
Yushchenko.  Haiduk chimed in that Deputy Prime Minister 
Medvedev runs the RUE deal from the Russian side, making him 
the Kremlin's link to Yanukovych. 
 
15. (C) In response to the Ambassador's question of who could 
tackle RUE, Taruta was very complimentary of Tymoshenko as 
the only politician who might be able to do so.  At least she 
had tried when she was PM.  Haiduk had tried when he was 
running the NSDC, but got sidetracked by other issues.  At 
heart, Yushchenko wants a new gas deal and might be able to 
do so if he had a new PM to work with.  However, such an 
effort would face resistance.  Big enterprises know gas 
prices will go up, but some don't have the money or 
understanding to change technology.  In addition, any rise in 
household gas prices is politically sensitive and anyone who 
wants to run for president in 2009 knows that he or she can 
not be tagged as the person who increased gas prices. 
 
16. (C) Haiduk added that he thought Yushchenko will not try 
to tackle RUE.  He had been in two bilateral meetings between 
Yushchenko and Putin, and Yushchenko never raised it.  In 
addition, the Presidential Secretariat is out of the game 
right now and no one in Russia will talk to NSDC Secretary 
Plyushch.  Haiduk also warned that Firtash may 
change his scheme again soon anyway and find a new agent for 
gas deals. 
 
Haiduk's Political Predictions 
------------------------------ 
 
17. (C) After Taruta departed for a press conference, Haiduk 
offered his own thoughts on the current political situation. 
Regions will do well in the September 30 elections, and 
Tymoshenko will not get enough votes on her own to form the 
majority.  He thought Our Ukraine was not aiming to increa
se 
its support in the center and east, just trying to get back 
votes they lost to Tymoshenko in 2006, with the help of 
foreign consultants. 
 
18. (C) Haiduk said that he believed that if Tymoshenko and 
OU got enough seats, they would form the majority. 
Tymoshenko would become PM in exchange for backing Yushchenko 
in the 2009 presidential election.  If that arrangement 
failed, Yushchenko would try a coalition with Regions, but it 
would not work out well for the President.  A broad coalition 
would not help Yushchenko's standing in the east, but it 
would hurt him in the west, and he would lose to Tymoshenko 
in 2009. In Haiduk's view, there was no good combination of 
political forces for the country.  A broad coalition was 
nonsense because polarization in politics between the east 
and west is too strong. 
 
What the Partners Are Up To 
--------------------------- 
 
19. (C) Haiduk and Taruta said they had reached the stage 
where they are not involved in day-to-day management of IUD, 
which frees them to work on other projects.  Haiduk said he 
had bought into a new institute of international management 
in order to give MBAs to Ukrainians.  He also wanted to get 
involved in the health care industry.  Taruta said IUD just 
bought shares in a steel plant in the U.S. (Note:  As part of 
the deal, IUD will supply steel billets to the U.S. mill.) 
He also mentioned that IUD is part-owner of the new Hyatt in 
Kyiv, into which they had invested $80 million. 
 
20. (U) Visit Embassy Kyiv's classified website: 
www.state.sgov.gov/p/eur/kiev. 
Taylor

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