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October 26, 2007

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
07KYIV2713 2007-10-26 12:40 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Kyiv

DE RUEHKV #2713/01 2991240
P 261240Z OCT 07

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 04 KYIV 002713 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 10/26/2017 
Classified By: Ambassador, reason 1.4 (b,d) 
1. (C) Summary and Comment: PM Yanukovych and his potential 
successor, Yuliya Tymoshenko, met separately October 24-26 
with Colin Powell and Richard Holbrooke, both of whom were in 
Kyiv to deliver speeches at the invitation of the Pinchuk 
Foundation, established by businessman and Kuchma son-in-law 
Viktor Pinchuk.  The conversations all reflected the waiting 
game going on in Kyiv, with both Yanukovych and Tymoshenko 
keenly aware that at this point, the next step in coalition 
building must be President Yushchenko's.  Yanukovych 
attempted to portray a good working relationship with 
Yushchenko, arguing that the two of them shared a common 
vision for the future -- constitutional reform and the need 
for a clear division of power.  The PM acknowledged that 
politically, Yushchenko had no choice but to support an 
orange coalition, but argued that a Tymoshenko-led government 
was sure to fail, sooner or later, leading to a broad 
coalition with the Party of Regions.  Until then, Regions 
would work in constructive opposition.  Tymoshenko underlined 
that her assumption of the PM slot was not a done deal, 
comparing the current situation with the "wasted 
opportunities" following the 2004 and 2006 elections and 
worrying that Yushchenko might not even support an orange 
coalition.  She further noted that the last three elections 
had underlined Ukraine's support of integration into the 
West, adding that resolution of energy issues with Russia 
would have to be tackled first by a new government before 
consideration of a way forward toward NATO membership. 
Yanukovych speechwriter and Regions MP Hanna Herman told us 
that they were exploring several ways to cooperate with Our 
Ukraine-People's Self-Defense without a formal coalition. 
End Summary. 
2. (SBU) In other election-related news, the High 
Administrative Court ruled at 11:15 pm on October 25, just 45 
minutes before its five-day timeline for deciding the case 
expired, that the Central Election Commission had not 
violated election laws.  The five political parties who 
brought suits can only appeal to the Supreme Court if they 
could show that the CEC or Administrative Court had violated 
human or citizen rights, which is unlikely.  Deputy CEC 
Chairman Usenko-Chorno announced that the CEC will review its 
paperwork one last time and the election results will be 
published in government papers Holos Ukrainy and Uradoviy 
Kuryer on October 27.  The promulgation of the results will 
start new clocks, with the preparatory committee for the new 
Rada expected to convene within 10 days and the Rada being 
required to open within 30 dates of the promulgation.  If 
they stick to the schedule, the Rada should open by November 
26, although the President and members of the orange team 
have called for it to convene sooner. 
Yanukovych - I Have Good Relations with the President 
--------------------------------------------- -------- 
3.  (C)  Although carefully prefacing his comments with a 
note that the Party of Regions had won the September 30 
elections, the PM told both Powell and Holbrooke that since 
no one side had an advantage, this had made coalition 
negotiations particularly difficult.  In his meeting with 
Powell, the PM indicated that this opened the door to setting 
up an immediate "coalition of national unity" (with Our 
Ukraine-People's Self Defense) in order to stabilize the 
political situation for many years.  With Holbrooke, the PM 
acknowledged that this process would be slightly more 
complicated.  The election results made an orange coalition 
"theoretically possible;" however, in the PM's view, 
Yushchenko was very aware that an orange coalition would be 
unstable.  Nevertheless, Yushchenko politically "had to be on 
the orange side" and, according to Yanukovych, Regions 
understands this.  However, on the other hand, the 
participants in both the OU-PSD and BYuT blocs have more 
potential internal conflicts than the number of conflicts 
that exist between Yanukovych and Yushchenko.  The PM noted 
that "Yushchenko knows this, but he does not want to be the 
reason for not establishing the orange coalition." 
4.  (C)  As a result, in the PM's view, Yushchenko wants to 
"give them a chance to do it."  However, Regions was 
convinced that an orange coalition would not happen -- or 
would not survive for long -- and the President was also 
aware of this point of view.  As a result, Yanukovych was 
confident that Regions would soon participate in formal 
negotiations with Our Ukraine regarding the creation of a 
coalition that would be more stable and allow the country to 
continue to develop in a more stable environment.  The 
economy had been developing well -- a stable environment 
would allow Ukraine to attract more foreign investment. 
Yanukovych argued that Regions and Our Ukraine were "very 
KYIV 00002713  002 OF 004 
close" to joining forces.  However, if that did not happen, 
Yanukovych said that Regions would work in the opposition in 
parliament.  He argued that there was "nothing negative about 
this" and that the party was ready.  If the Party o
f Regions 
was in opposition, Yanukovych argued that the party would be 
a constructive opposition, joining in with the government in 
areas of agreement and working as partners for the national 
interest.  He noted that there was a big part of the Regions' 
faction who wanted to sit back and give Tymoshenko and BYuT a 
chance to comply with all of the promises made during the 
campaign that could not be complied with and then watch her 
5.  (C)  In both meetings, Yanukovych went to great lengths 
to talk about his shared point of view with President 
Yushchenko, their agreement on 90 percent of all policy 
issues, and the great potential for the two of them to work 
as partners.  He argued that he and the President were the 
two key political leaders in the country, and carefully 
avoided mentioning Yuliya Tymoshenko.  The main goal for 2008 
was to agree on a new constitution and a clear division of 
powers.  The PM also mentioned the idea of reaching some kind 
of political "constitutional agreement" that might be 
concluded while the politicians worked on a new constitution 
(see section on Herman below).  To Powell, Yanukovych argued 
that he and Yushchenko made a good team -- "I am not a 
humanitarian like he is; he is not a strong manager like I 
am."  He also described himself as a representative of the 
east, with Yushchenko as a representative of the west -- and 
by uniting, the two could unite the country.  To Holbrooke, 
he acknowledged that their relations over the past year 
"could have been better," but since 2005 the level of 
mistrust between them has decreased and they have become 
partners.  With regard to relations with Russia, they were on 
the same page -- they needed to protect Ukrainian national 
interests, but that good relations were key -- in fact, 
unavoidable as a neighbor who was engaged in 30% of Ukrainian 
international trade.  The PM recalled that after the 2006 
elections, he had offered Yushchenko a partnership and a 
broad coalition, even placing Our Ukraine ministers in his 
government.  In spite of the President's agreement to sign a 
formal coalition agreement after the August 2006 holidays, 
this had not happened primarily due to the internal conflicts 
within the large and disparate Our Ukraine bloc. 
6.  (C)  Yanukovych told both Powell and Holbrooke that the 
Party of Regions was committed to Europe and eventual 
membership in the European Union.  However, with regard to 
Ukraine's relationship with NATO, Yanukovych said that his 
government had made progress in calming popular fears about 
membership -- something that former Foreign Minister Tarasyuk 
had whipped up by telling people that Ukraine would join the 
EU and NATO tomorrow.  Instead, the Yanukovych Government had 
taken a pragmatic and moderate approach to NATO, primarily 
because Regions "represented that part of society that wants 
pragmatism in these relations."  When asked about his 
attitude toward NATO, the PM said that he always responded 
that Ukraine could not afford to ignore an organization that 
provided security for all of Europe; cooperation was 
necessary.  Regions had a dialogue with Ukrainians who didn't 
want Ukraine to have a dialogue with NATO.  By doing this, 
Regions was keeping this part of the population engaged in 
the discussion and stopping the "radicalization" of the issue 
by left-wing parties and others. 
Tymoshenko - Not my Job Yet 
7. (C) In both her meetings, Yuliya Tymoshenko said that she 
and her party were ready to lead and that they were ready for 
their "third chance."  Noting that the same infighting that 
doomed the orange coalition following the 2004 and 2006 
elections was again occurring, she worried about problems 
within the "democratic forces."  Tymoshenko told Holbrooke 
that her party has accepted all of "their" demands (a 
reference to OU and the President), and that although there 
are new demands each day, she will accept them all.  It was 
important that her party not be the cause of failure this 
time.    She told Powell that she saw a "small chance" of 
becoming PM, but said that her path forward was being blocked 
by "powerful forces with powerful economic interests." 
Tymoshenko was more direct with Holbrooke, saying that people 
around Yushchenko did not want an orange coalition to 
succeed.  She confided later that she was particularly 
worried about Presidential Chief of Staff Baloha.  When 
Holbrooke asked whether Yushchenko and Tymoshenko were now 
working well together, she noted that "nothing has changed. 
They treat us as enemies, but now that we have 30% of the 
vote, things are different."  Unfortunately, according to 
Tymoshenko, 30% was not enough to rule alone and therefore, a 
KYIV 00002713  003 OF 004 
coalition agreement was needed.  Tymoshenko said that 
Yushchenko had two options -- to limit BYuT in the coalition, 
or to not let BYuT in at all.  She said that many in her 
faction during the negotiations with Yushchenko had urged her 
to stop because this was political suicide.  However, in her 
view, she had "no right" to quit. 
8.  (C)  According to Tymoshenko, the President may himself 
not even support an orange coalition. In her view, Yushchenko 
would prefer to establish a coalition with Yanukovych, but he 
was not free to do so.  If it weren't for the  15% of the 
people in the country who voted for him, he would already be 
in a broad coalition.  In Tymoshenko's view, this was not an 
ideological issue, but a matter of presidential campaign 
politics that would start next year.  She had already told 
the President that they could unite and that she would not 
run against him for President.  In fact, she would support 
him.  When Holbrooke asked whether it might be better for her 
presidential aspirations to remain in opposition, Tymoshenko 
agreed that this could be advantageous politically, but that 
this would not be good for the country.  She argued to Powell 
that any broad coalition (to include Regions) would be a 
"step backwards and a step towards Russia" which would go 
against the voters' choice in the past three elections for 
orange and for integration into the West.  According to 
Tymoshenko, the Russians had already tried to take control of 
Ukraine's energy systems and bankrupt the gas transportation 
system and interfered in "tens of other spheres."  She told 
Holbrooke that two or three more years of Yanukovych would 
put threaten both Ukraine's energy security and its political 
independence.  In particular, she was worried that a broad 
coalition would focus on revising the constitution -- and 
since Yushchenko could not be popularly elected again as 
president, he would choose a variant of election by the Rada 
and "all would be lost." 
9.  (C)  Tymoshenko recalled those who had criticized her 
anti-corruption campaign during her previous stint as PM, 
noting that Ukrainian business unfortunately still ran 
primarily "through the back door."  She agreed with Powell 
that providing stability for foreign in
vestors was a key 
priority, underlining that she would work to create an open 
and transparent system that treated domestic and foreign 
investors equally.  She told Holbrooke that corruption is "in 
the air that our businessmen breathe" and that her efforts 
last time around as PM to establish rules and competition 
were criticized. 
10. (C) Tymoshenko highlighted increased engagement on the 
Transnistria issue as a priority issue for Ukraine. Regarding 
NATO, Tymoshenko indicated that she would proceed carefully, 
focusing initially on increased funding for an effective 
public information campaign and engaging personally on the 
issue.  She indicated that responsibility for NATO issues had 
been placed at the FM level by the current government, which 
did not provide sufficient energy/weight behind the issue. 
Hryhoriy Nemyria, Tymoshenko's primary foreign policy 
advisor, had earlier told Powell that Yushchenko's attempt to 
have Tymoshenko sign a letter supporting a push for a NATO 
Membership Action Plan (MAP) at the April 2008 Summit was a 
non-starter.  Regions would "jump on this and make her a 
scapegoat", and it would also limit her operating room in 
trying to reach a settlement with Russia on gas/energy 
issues.  Tymoshenko told Holbrooke that she wanted normal 
relations with Russia, but on equal terms.  The goal for her 
government was EU integration.  She said a strategy was 
needed for EU and NATO; Ukrainian society was radically split 
and she envied Poland because there it did not matter who the 
elected leader was -- they were all committed to Europe. 
11 (C) Discussion also focused on Tymoshenko's announced goal 
of eliminating conscription and shifting to a professional 
armed forces in 2008.  Reflecting the sharp criticism she has 
received on this issue, Tymoshenko noted that her proposal 
had been a starting point and that she was open to discussion 
and compromise.  She noted that annual conscription levels 
remained at 40 thousand per year, but that only three months 
of training was provided to inductees which reduced them to 
"nothing more than free manual labor."  Powell described his 
personal experiences regarding the post-Vietnam shift to a 
professional military in the U.S., underlining the sharp 
increase in costs associated with competing for recruits in 
an open labor market. 
Hanna Herman: OU Will Be With Regions One Way or Another 
--------------------------------------------- ----------- 
12. (C) Regions MP Hanna Herman, who is close to Yanukovych 
and writes many of the PM's speeches, told us October 27 that 
KYIV 00002713  004 OF 004 
there were several paths to cooperation between Regions and 
OU-PSD.  One would be that Tymoshenko will be confirmed, but 
her government will collapse within the first few months of 
2008, leading to a broad coalition.  A second way would be a 
"situational majority," where they would come together on 
votes without signing a formal coalition agreement.  The 
third option, which Yanukovych is now discussing with 
Yushchenko, would be a "constitutional agreement" (mentioned 
above).  Although Herman was somewhat cagey about the 
details, the two Viktors would agree to suspend or cancel the 
current constitution while a new one was being written.  This 
would remove the requirement that there be a formal coalition 
and it would leave some form of the Yanukovych government in 
place temporarily.  (Note. Presumably this scenario would see 
OU-PSD members take some Cabinet positions.  End note.) 
13. (C) Herman argued that any form of cooperation between 
Regions and OU-PSD would be good for the country and they 
would get a lot done.  For example, she said, they could 
quietly change the public's views on NATO by improving 
standards in the military to NATO levels and use that success 
as a concrete example of why NATO was good.  That, she 
argued, was a far more effective method than Tarasyuk's 
aggressive tactics.  Herman thought that as a first show of 
good faith, the Rada should vote on a bill making it a crime 
to deny the 1934-35 Holodomor famine.  (Note.  This has long 
been a desire of Yushchenko's.  End note.)  Such steps would 
help reconcile the public to the idea of a broad coalition. 
Herman said that she did not think there would be any balking 
within OU-PSD about this plan -- they would go along with 
whatever the plan turned out to be. 
14. (U) Visit Embassy Kyiv's classified website: 




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