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November 5, 2007

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
07KYIV2748 2007-11-05 11:36 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Kyiv

DE RUEHKV #2748/01 3091136
P 051136Z NOV 07

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 KYIV 002748 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 11/05/2017 
KYIV 00002748  001.2 OF 002 
Classified By: Ambassador for reasons 1.4(b,d). 
1. (C) Summary.  A lunch with three young MPs, all under 35 
years old, underscored the fact that the three main factions 
share common policy ideas, but have such strained relations 
that any cooperation in the next year or two could be 
situational and uneven.  Olena Bondarenko (Regions), Yuriy 
Pavlenko (Our Ukraine-People's Self-Defense), and Oleh 
Lyashko (BYuT) met with the Ambassador on November 2 to 
discuss coalition building and needed government policies. 
The three young politicians were not shy in expressing their 
disdain for each others' parties -- Lyashko said internal 
differences within OU-PSD were hurting the orange coalition 
before it even got started and Bondarenko accused OU-PSD of 
hypocrisy in publicly badmouthing Regions and then 
negotiating with them privately.  Bondarenko and Lyashko 
several times sidetracked into mutual recriminations about 
corruption among party leaders.  Both Lyashko and Pavlenko 
believed that the orange coalition would prevail and succeed 
in forming a coalition in the Rada and a government, while 
Bondarenko expressed Regions' willingness to sit back and 
watch them fail.  At the end of the lunch, all three agreed 
that WTO accession would happen soon, that European 
integration was vital, and that the three parties share views 
on social policies.  None had thoughts on ways they could 
change the way the Rada works, and Bondarenko and Lyashko 
were especially dismissive that they, as young 
parliamentarians, had any influence over the decision-making 
of their factions. 
2. (C) Comment.  It was interesting that this new generation 
of politicians was not interested in discussing intraparty 
cooperation or looking for ways to solve problems together, 
but rather strongly defended their party interests and hewed 
to party line.  In fact, an effort to build intraparty ties 
between young politicians that we'd heard about from other 
contacts has now been shelved until the fractious discussions 
regarding a coalition conclude and the new Rada's work is 
underway.  Although the lively conversation never became 
tense or unpleasant, the three young politicians' heated 
debates underscored that despite broad agreement on key 
policy priorities, the rivalry between the three parties will 
continue to overshadow cooperation.  As a result, any 
coalition or government is likely to be short-term and 
possibly unstable.  Comments from Bondarenko and Lyashko 
about their lack of influence with their party leaders also 
highlighted the top down control with which Regions and BYuT 
operate.  End summary and comment. 
Coalitions: Orange First, but For How Long Questionable 
--------------------------------------------- ---------- 
3. (C) Regions MP Bondarenko started off the conversation by 
admitting that BYuT was better prepared for the September 30 
elections and that while Regions had still gotten the most 
votes, it had lost its advantage in the Rada.  She thought 
that a coalition between Regions and OU-PSD would be unstable 
and a "constant headache".  She believed that Regions 
actually shared more in common with BYuT as both parties 
represented big business, but said they would never work 
together because their views on how to run the economy were 
diametrically opposed.  OU, in her opinion, was a party of 
intellectuals; their value-added in any coalition was in 
bettering Ukraine spiritually and culturally.  Bondarenko 
said that because she did not believe there would be any real 
stability in the political system until Ukraine underwent 
another parliamentary election and the 2009/2010 presidential 
election, her preference was for some sort of temporary or 
technocratic government in the short term.  She also said 
that until the next set of elections, policy discussions will 
be focused on questions of balance of power and the 
constitution, instead of on reforms or other needed 
4. (C) BYuT MP Lyashko jumped in next to promise that BYuT 
would never be in a coalition with Regions.  Problems within 
the orange coalition, he argued, were internal OU-PSD issues; 
OU-PSD kept breaking promises.  Lyashko said that they had 
made a lot of concessions to Yushchenko, but there was a 
limit.  He also predicted that if OU-PSD went into a broad 
coalition, they would meet the same fate as the Socialists 
(i.e. not be reelected to the Rada). 
5. (C) OU-PSD MP and former Minister of Youth and Sports 
Pavlenko countered to say he had worked in the 2005 
Tymoshenko Cabinet, and that she had had the opportunity to 
implement her policies, but did not.  This spurred a heated 
exchange between Pavlenko and Lyashko over whether Tymoshenko 
had been constrained in 2005 by Yushchenko and OU or if she 
had failed of her own accord.  Pavlenko then added that he 
did not believe in an OU-Regions coalition.  They had tried 
KYIV 00002748  002.2 OF 002 
it in August 2006 when they signed the Universal and OU got 7 
seats in the Yanukovych Cabinet; that had last
ed at most 100 
days.  Moreover, OU-PSD voters wanted an orange coalition. 
The test will be whether the coalition can get 226 or more 
votes for the Speaker, the PM, and the Cabinet.  If the 
orange coalition can demonstrate that it is viable, Lytvyn 
will support it, according to Pavlenko. 
6. (C) Pavlenko added that he had had lunch recently with 
Regions MP Borys Kolesnikov, Rinat Akhmetov's lieutenant and 
Regions' campaign manager, who had told him that he was in 
favor of a Regions-OU coalition.  This precipitated another 
heated debate among all three party representatives over 
which parties worked better or worse together and which 
parties kept their promises.  Bondarenko suggested that the 
collapse of the orange coalition might actually benefit OU. 
Lyashko countered that Tymoshenko was like a phoenix, coming 
back stronger after every setback -- either she will be PM 
and make lives better or she will go into opposition and 
become President in order to achieve her goals.  Pavlenko 
worried that the three factions would be so busy trying to 
undermine and make each other look bad that the country would 
suffer.  The President, he said, had called on all three 
parties to work together, which was the right thing to do. 
7. (C) Bondarenko then told Pavlenko that OU-PSD was the 
height of hypocrisy and stupidity, shouting to the world that 
it will never work with Regions, then negotiating privately 
with Regions about a possible coalition.  OU leaders, she 
argued, are embarrassed to look their voters in the eyes.  In 
contrast, Regions has always been open to working with anyone 
who wants to work with them and is the "most generous" of all 
the parties.  When Moroz said the speakership was his price, 
Regions gave it to him.  Bondarenko said that people tell 
stories that Regions is not united, but that is a lie. 
Bondarenko finished by saying that she was convinced that no 
one will attack Yushchenko during the next presidential 
elections more than Tymoshenko, but OU-PSD continues to work 
with her. 
Policies: More in Common 
8. (C) When the Ambassador steered the conversation to policy 
priorities, all agreed that their respective parties shared 
major policy goals.  They all thought that WTO accession 
would happen soon and that the Rada would be ready to ratify 
the accession agreement and any last minute additional 
legislation required.  Pavlenko believed that all the major 
factions will support two-thirds to three-quarters of 
legislation, because their positions are the same.  He also 
thought that although there was controversy right now 
surrounding legislative goals listed in the coalition 
agreement, these were technical disagreements that would be 
worked out.  All three also agreed that European integration 
was a key priority, although there was less unanimity over 
NATO, which became another heated discussion with Bondarenko 
dismissing the need for NATO and arguing instead that EU 
membership was the critical goal for Ukraine.  The three 
party representatives, when pressed, also all agreed that 
RosUkrEnergo needed to be removed as middleman in the gas 
relationship with Russia, although Pavlenko and Bondarenko 
warned that it would be difficult to do and would result in 
higher gas prices.  Finally, they admitted that there were 
few differences in their parties' social policies. 
9. (U) Visit Embassy Kyiv's classified website: 




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