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07KYIV3154, UKRAINE: BOHATYREVA APPOINTMENT MUDDIES REGIONS

December 27, 2007

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
07KYIV3154 2007-12-27 09:30 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Kyiv

VZCZCXRO0199
PP RUEHLMC
DE RUEHKV #3154/01 3610930
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 270930Z DEC 07
FM AMEMBASSY KYIV
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 4632
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 003154 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 12/27/2017 
TAGS: PGOV PREL PINR UP
SUBJECT: UKRAINE: BOHATYREVA APPOINTMENT MUDDIES REGIONS 
ROLE IN OPPOSITION 
 
Classified By: Acting Political Counselor Robert Scott for reasons 1.4( 
b,d). 
 
1. (C) Summary.  With Regions finally settling into its role 
as the opposition, and both Prime Minister Tymoshenko and 
Regions leader Yanukovych making efforts to be constructive, 
President Yushchenko's decision to name deputy leader of 
Party of Regions Raisa Bohatyreva Secretary of the National 
Security and Defense Council (NSDC) has unsettled all sides 
once again.  Many in Regions vocally opposed Bohatyreva 
taking the job, although they have not yet expelled her from 
the party.  The move also elicited sharp reactions from some 
in BYuT and the President's own OU-PSD.  Meanwhile, 
Tymoshenko and Regions leader Yanukovych met December 25 to 
discuss ways to enhance the opposition's oversight powers -- 
including cooperation on the law on the opposition.  Regions 
also finally unblocked the committee formation process, 
allowing 401 MPs to approve the assignments, and is moving 
forward with its shadow Cabinet designed to give Regions an 
outlet to criticize the Tymoshenko government and propose 
alternative policies. 
 
2. (C) Comment.  There appear to be several reasons why 
Yushchenko brought Bohatyreva to the NSDC, but they primarily 
center on keeping both Tymoshenko and Yanukovych off balance. 
 Bohatyreva may be there, in part, as a counterbalance to 
Tymoshenko, someone who will use her political position to 
try to constrain the PM; a role most people also see Defense 
Minister Yekhanurov filling.  It also seems likely that 
Bohatyreva would not have been offered or accepted such a 
position, unless there were some sort of agreement with the 
leaders of her wing of Regions, Rinat Akhmetov and Borys 
Kolesnikov.  Bringing someone from Regions into the 
government constrains the more radical wing of Regions to 
some degree from being in strident opposition -- this is 
probably one reason Yanukovych and others have so harshly 
criticized her decision to take the job.  If Akhmetov and the 
President's team are still hoping for a broad coalition down 
the road, this could be a first step.  Bohatyreva also seems 
to have served the purpose, perhaps accidentally, of setting 
off another round of speculation in the press that there is a 
growing split in Regions, although all sides have denied it. 
Bohatyreva, as a member of Regions, also gives Yushchenko 
some credibility to say that he is reaching out to Eastern 
Ukraine by bringing its representatives into the government. 
Ironically, if Bohatyreva is forced to leave Regions in the 
end -- although for the moment she appears safe -- she will 
lose most of her value for Yushchenko and could be cut loose. 
 If she stays in Regions and at the NSDC, it would be a 
testament to Akhmetov's relative strength within the party 
and his ability to shield her from the Yanukovych wing. 
Whether this new relationship between part of Regions and the 
President further encourages Regions to be a moderate, 
constructive opposition or walks back some of the progress 
Yanukovych and Tymoshenko made this week remains to be seen. 
End summary and comment. 
 
Bohatyreva's Surprise Appointment 
---------------------------------- 
 
3. (SBU) President Yushchenko unexpectedly announced December 
24 that he had signed a decree naming Regions deputy faction 
head Raisa Bohatyreva NSDC Secretary.  For the following two 
days, Regions members criticized the move and others 
discussed it, but it was not clear if Bohatyreva had 
accepted.  Finally, Yushchenko formally introduced her at the 
December 26 Cabinet of Ministers meeting. 
 
4. (SBU) Views within Regions about the appointment are 
mixed, although all deny that this is a sign of a growing 
split within the party.  Regions MP Chechetov said that the 
party does not approve, but it was a personal decision for 
Bohatyreva, and he said they wished her luck with her new 
job. Yanukovych told the press December 25 that the Regions' 
political council had instructed Bohatyreva to decline the 
appointment.  He also claimed the appointment was made 
without Bohatyreva's consent.  Regions MPs Khara and 
Tolstukhov said she should leave the party.  In contrast, 
Regions deputy faction head Hanna Herman said it was an 
attempt by the President to reach out to Eastern Ukraine. 
She also said that Regions knew about the appointment before 
it was announced.  On December 26, deputy faction head Serhiy 
Lyovochkin announced that the party's political council had 
met and decided that Regions will not sanction Bohatyreva. 
He said that they had expressed their views, but would not do 
anything further.  On December 26 Bohatyreva told the press 
that she met twice with Yushchenko before he made the 
appointment.  She added that she is confident that she will 
not be expelled from the party, although she has not seen 
Yanukovych since accepting the job. 
 
KYIV 00003154  002 OF 003 
 
 
 
5. (C) Interestingly, the newspaper Sevodnya, which belongs 
to Akhmetov, cited a source saying that Yanukovych was very 
angry at Bohatyreva, but that she had de
cided to accept the 
position.  The source added that there was no split in the 
party and that, rumors to the contrary, neither Akhmetov nor 
Kolesnikov had plans to leave the party.  Kolesnikov's public 
comments have been fairly neutral, saying that the party 
neither supports nor opposes Bohatyreva's decision to accept 
the position.  He added that she will face some conflicts of 
interest, giving the example that Regions will remain opposed 
to NATO membership, but the NSDC will presumably work towards 
membership.  Kolesnikov also stressed that he and Akhmetov 
will remain in Regions. 
 
6. (C) Members of Regions were not the only ones surprised by 
the appointment.  Although Tymoshenko was careful and 
diplomatic in her public response to the nomination, BYuT 
deputy faction head Yevhen Kornichuk told the press that BYuT 
was surprised by the appointment and that it was probably 
"done to spite Tymoshenko, as a balance to her activities as 
the prime minister."  OU-PSD deputy faction leader Tarasyuk 
held a press conference to strongly criticize Yushchenko and 
his team for making such a nomination for personal reasons 
and without consulting their own party first. 
 
7. (C) Privately, Presidential Secretariat (PS) Head Baloha 
told Ambassador December 26 that the President wants to unite 
the country, which is why he reached out to Bohatyreva to run 
the NSDC.  Some in OU (Tarasyuk) and some in Regions 
(Yanukovych) don't like, Baloha said, but they were not 
trying to split Regions.  In fact, he argued, they want a 
strong Regions.  Deputy PS Head Chaliy and Rada Speaker 
Yatsenyuk also tried to play the Bohatyreva appointment as a 
sign of the President's desire to unite all political forces. 
  However, political analysts and members of OU-PSD, BYuT, 
and former Rada Speaker Moroz have all commented that this 
was done intentionally to split Regions, so that cooperation 
can be increased with the more progressive wing of the 
faction. 
 
Defining the Opposition's Role 
------------------------------ 
 
8. (SBU) Tymoshenko and Yanukovych met December 25 in a well 
publicized meeting and discussed ways to strengthen the 
opposition and to cooperate.  They agreed to form a working 
group to improve the law on opposition.  (Note.  They did not 
say whether they will use the draft law approved in the first 
reading in January 2007, which envisioned wide-ranging powers 
for the opposition.)  Olena Lukash will lead Regions' team in 
the working group.  Tymoshenko also offered to let the 
opposition decide the Rada's agenda once a month and to give 
it the right to report jointly with the government on 
important issues such as the budget -- both ideas are also in 
the January 2007 draft opposition law.  Tymoshenko also 
suggested that they adopt a law on temporary investigative 
commissions and amend the law on the Accounting Chamber (like 
GAO) to allow the opposition to run it and to empower the 
Chamber with the right to take violating officials to court 
rather than simply presenting information to the Rada; both 
proposals would be mechanisms for the opposition to exert 
oversight. 
 
9. (SBU) There is little information on how many of 
Tymoshenko's offers Yanukovych agreed to, although Regions 
declined her offer to let Regions have deputy ministers in 
all ministries with responsibility for oversight.  However, 
Yanukovych said that Regions would support the Tymoshenko 
Cabinet's government program if they included reforms 
proposed by Regions -- although he has been openly critical 
of Tymoshenko's proposal to base the government program on 
her campaign platform.  To that end, Regions MPs Mykola 
Azarov and Iryna Akimova will be involved in drafting the 
government program, which Tymoshenko hope to have ready for a 
Rada vote soon. 
 
10. (SBU) Yanukovych also announced that Regions has prepared 
a draft constitution that would decentralize power, 
increasing the importance of regional governments and making 
governor an elected position.  (Comment.  A more 
decentralized government system would reduce the President 
and Rada's roles in dictating regional policies, giving 
Regions much greater control over it homebase of eastern and 
southern Ukraine.  End comment.) 
 
Shadow Cabinet Sits 
------------------- 
 
11. (SBU) Regions also has formed a shadow government, which 
 
KYIV 00003154  003 OF 003 
 
 
held its first meeting December 21.  Press reported that the 
shadow ministers who participated could not clarify for 
journalists what the agenda was, although Yanukovych 
commented that their main goal is to monitor the actual 
government's work, express their views, and offer alternative 
policies.  Lyovochkin said that they will meet regularly and 
will invite the press to all meetings.  Most of the shadow 
ministers held the equivalent position in the Yanukovych 
government.  Some notable changes include: MP Akimova, who 
runs Akhmetov's think tank at SCM, as shadow Economy 
Minister, Yanukovych foreign policy adviser Gryshchenko as 
shadow Foreign Minister, Lyovochkin as shadow head of the 
National Bank, and new Regions member Inna Bohoslovska as 
shadow head of the State Tax Administration. 
 
Committees Finalized as Regions Gets Out of Way 
--------------------------------------------- -- 
 
12. (SBU) Regions also finally stopped blocking the committee 
assignments by turning in their candidates for all 27 
committees and the standing commission on privatization after 
Yatsenyuk threatened to hold the vote on committee 
distribution without Regions' input.  On December 25, the 
Speaker gave Regions until opening of business December 26 to 
turn in its proposed committee assignments, which they 
complied with.  The committees were then approved by 401 MPs. 
 Committee chairmanships are distributed on a proportional 
basis based on faction size, with deputy chairs coming from a 
different party than the chair.  BYuT received 10 committees, 
Regions - 9, OU-PSD - 4, the Communists - 3, and Lytvyn Bloc 
- 2. 
 
13. (C) The fact that Regions has fewer committee chairs than 
BYuT and the Communists one more than Lytvyn Bloc fuels 
rumors that Regions gave the Communists an extra committe in 
exchange for the choice of First Deputy Rada Speaker.  Lytvyn 
Bloc got the Budget Committee, probably the most powerful 
committee in the Rada, a move some observers attribute to 
Tymoshenko trying to woo Lytvyn into the coalition.  Former 
Defense Minister Anatoliy Hrytsenko will now chair the 
National Security and Defense Committee, which has in the 
past been a cooperative partner for the Embassy. The 
Communists got the special commission on privatization, the 
economic policy committee, and the anti-corruption committee 
-- none of which are traditional areas of Communist interest 
or expertise.  Regions managed to hold on to three important 
committees -- Rules, Justice, which handles appointm
ent of 
all judges, and Finance and Banking.  The coalition split the 
difference on external relations, with BYuT chairing the 
Foreign Affairs Committee and OU-PSD chairing the 
EuroIntegration Committee. 
 
14. (U) Visit Embassy Kyiv's classified website: 
www.state.sgov.gov/p/eur/kiev. 
Taylor

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