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07KYIV3157, UKRAINE: SHAPING OUR MESSAGE

December 27, 2007

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
07KYIV3157 2007-12-27 11:50 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Kyiv

VZCZCXYZ0000
OO RUEHWEB

DE RUEHKV #3157/01 3611150
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 271150Z DEC 07
FM AMEMBASSY KYIV
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 4636
INFO RUCNCIS/CIS COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHZG/NATO EU COLLECTIVE PRIORITY

C O N F I D E N T I A L KYIV 003157 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 12/26/2017 
TAGS: PGOV PINR PREL UP
SUBJECT: UKRAINE: SHAPING OUR MESSAGE 
 
 
Classified By: Charge a.i. Jim Pettit for Reasons 1.4 (b,d) 
 
1. (C) Summary and Comment.  Prime Minister Tymoshenko's 
government has begun delineating its internal setup/workflow 
and the structures and processes for interacting with the 
President's team and parliamentary opposition.  In turn, 
President Yushchenko is pushing forward his own initiatives 
aimed at maintaining leverage in his dealings with 
Tymoshenko, such as his attendance at Cabinet meetings and a 
newly-instituted weekly meeting between the President, PM, 
and Rada Speaker.  The Ambassador's meetings over the past 
week with the PM, DPM Nemyria, Rada Speaker Yatsenyuk, 
Presidential Chief of Staff Baloha, and others, have 
underlined that the public commitment from both camps to 
cooperate is tempered by continued personal skepticism 
regarding the trustworthiness of their coalition partner -- 
especially as related to the upcoming 2009/2010 presidential 
elections.  Comments from Baloha indicate that the President 
feels he now has the upper hand, while Tymoshenko is 
proceeding cautiously in her public comments on the President 
and his decisions, and is more accommodating in their private 
meetings -- a change in behavior several presidential allies 
commented upon to us. 
 
2. (C) We recommend a strong and consistent core message to 
all our Ukrainian interlocutors: PM and President need to 
support each other in their respective areas of 
responsibility; and any return to the infighting of 2005 will 
be disastrous and PM and President will share responsibility. 
 Whether the coalition survives and can govern effectively 
will depend on the personal commitment by leaders to an 
initial political accommodation for the good of the country. 
End Summary and Comment. 
 
Baloha: We'll Monitor Carefully 
------------------------------- 
 
3. (C) The wait-and-see attitude of the President's camp was 
underlined by Presidential Chief of Staff Baloha at a meeting 
with the Ambassador on December 26.  After stating that 
Yushchenko wanted to work with Tymoshenko and avoid any 
misunderstandings, Baloha indicated that they still did not 
trust the PM and would evaluate her actions over the next few 
months to see whether she was launching an overt campaign for 
the 2009 presidential race.  Baloha, when pressed, further 
defined their evaluation as dependent on how Tymoshenko 
presented her successes -- as either "hers" or "theirs."  If 
they believed she had launched her campaign they would 
respond immediately and forcefully (he provided no 
specifics).  In addition, he noted that the President was now 
in a stronger position, as he "controlled" new Rada Speaker 
Yatsenyuk and no longer faced intense opposition from PM 
Yanukovych. 
 
4. (C) The President is extending his oversight of Cabinet 
and Rada activities. Baloha indicated that it had been his 
idea for Yushchenko to meet every Monday morning with 
Yatsenyuk and Tymoshenko.  (Note.  Interestingly, this idea 
could backfire on Baloha -- Party of Regions shadow FM 
Gryshchenko argued to the Ambassador December 25 that these 
weekly meetings could erode Baloha's position as Yushchenko's 
main channel of information.  End note.)  In addition, the 
President has announced that he will begin to attend the 
weekly Cabinet of Ministers (CabMin) meetings and intends to 
hold daily telcons with the PM and Speaker.  The surprise 
appointment on December 26 by Yushchenko of Regions deputy 
faction head Raisa Bohatyreva as National Security and 
Defense Council (NSDC) Secretary has been seen as another way 
for the President to counterbalance Tymoshenko -- in this 
case by reaching out to Regions through Bohatyreva (see 
septel for details).  In addition, new Defense Minister 
Yekhanurov told the Ambassador December 25 that Yushchenko 
had named him "dean of the Corps of Ministers, " a position 
designed to give Yekhanurov influence over other ministers by 
making him the senior minister in the Cabinet.  Yekhanurov 
said he was already involved in helping other ministers 
select their deputies.  (Comment.  This is not a position we 
are familiar with, and it seems odd that the President should 
have the right to make the selection given that the PM is 
elected by the Rada, not the President, but it gives 
Yushchenko another oversight mechanism in the government. 
End comment.) 
 
5. (C) Presidential foreign policy advisor Oleksandr Chaliy, 
who also met with the Ambassador December 25, had a slightly 
more upbeat assessment than Baloha and said that Yushchenko 
sincerely wanted to work together with Tymoshenko.  However, 
he also put forward a "strategic 7-year plan" that would have 
Tymoshenko support Yushchenko's reelection in 2009/2010 and 
then succeed him five years later.  He indicated that he was 
already working with DPM Nemyria on the PM's foreign travel 
schedule and that they would determine visits based on whose 
portfolio tracked the key bilateral issues most closely.  He 
also noted an initial problem had arisen with Tymoshenko's 
invitation to the Davos Economic Forum, which was causing 
heartburn for Yushchenko as he had not received an 
invitation.  Ch
aliy said that Yushchenko would like a 
reversal, with Tymoshenko disinvited and the President 
participating at Davos. 
 
6. (C) Comment. Yushchenko's initiatives signal his intention 
to engage closely with Tymoshenko, increasing his ability to 
monitor/control her activities, but also tying himself 
publicly to her policies.  This increased level of 
interaction between the President, PM, and Speaker could 
potentially enhance cooperation and deliver a smoother 
political process, but could also come to an abrupt end if 
the President's team perceives the first hint of Tymoshenko 
launching a presidential campaign.  In addition, the fragile 
Rada majority has so far pushed Tymoshenko to seek 
compromise, but the ambitious and headstrong PM may 
eventually buck at all the constraints and monitoring being 
thrown at her by the President.  End Comment. 
 
Tymoshenko's Wiring Diagram 
--------------------------- 
 
7. (C) Tymoshenko has forged ahead with organizing her 
Cabinet and with efforts to shape the wider political playing 
field, recently announcing her intention to introduce a law 
specifying the rights/responsibilities  of the opposition 
early in the new year.  (Note: Tymoshenko and Yanukovych 
agreed on December 25 to form a working group to finalize the 
law; it is unclear if they will be using as a starting point 
the draft law adopted in its first reading in January 2007. 
End Note).  New DPM for Eurointegration (and Tymoshenko 
foreign policy advisor) Hryhoriy Nemyria on December 21 
provided some insights into how the PM's team will organize 
itself and an in-depth overview of his new role.  Ministers 
will report directly to Tymoshenko, but be required to keep 
at least one of three DPMs in the loop on ministry 
activities.  In contrast, under PM Yanukovych there were six 
DPMs, each of whom had greater direct management authority 
over ministries. 
 
8. (C) As DPM for Eurointegration, Nemyria sees his 
responsibility as coordinating ministry activities that 
affect Ukraine's efforts - principally MFA, Ministry of 
Justice and Ministry of Economy, and to a lesser extent 
Ministry of Energy.  He intends to increase the CabMin's EU 
integration staff from its current 24 to 39, a large plus-up 
given that there were only 15 staff in this unit in 2005. 
Nemyria underlined that he would focus on internal aspects of 
EU preparation, while the MFA would handle all interactions 
with foreigners, but also noted that the MFA is already 
viewing his position with a degree of suspicion. 
 
9. (C) Comment.  Tymoshenko has to date refrained from any 
open conflicts with the President, focusing on domestic 
policy issues (the budget, re-privatization, repayment of 
lost Soviet bank deposits, audits of ministries, etc), and 
remaining publicly neutral even on Yushchenko's appointment 
of Bohatyreva to the NSDC slot.  Her approach has been noted 
at Bankova, with Chaliy characterizing her as a "different 
person", quieter and more agreeable since being appointed PM. 
 Yekhanurov echoed this sentiment, saying she was acting in a 
very tolerant manner and seeking agreement out of necessity 
of getting things done.  However, by providing First DPM 
Turchynov with a security portfolio (in addition to handling 
economic reforms) and allowing Nemyria to strengthen his 
CabMin EU staff, Tymoshenko risks a clash with the 
President's team, given that the Constitution places foreign 
policy and security issues in the President's purview. 
Control over security policy was also a major problem between 
Yushchenko and Yanukovych.  Whether these potential frictions 
are allowed to take hold will depend on the tone set by the 
PM and President. We should encourage both sides to continue 
their current constructive approach. End Comment. 
 
10. (U) Visit Embassy Kyiv's classified website: 
www.state.sgov.gov/p/eur/kiev. 
Pettit

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