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08KYIV283, UKRAINE: RADA MANAGES TO OPEN NEW SESSION AND

February 5, 2008

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
08KYIV283 2008-02-05 11:45 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Kyiv

VZCZCXRO9854
PP RUEHLMC
DE RUEHKV #0283/01 0361145
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 051145Z FEB 08
FM AMEMBASSY KYIV
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 4885
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 02 KYIV 000283 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 02/05/2018 
TAGS: PGOV PREL PINR UP
SUBJECT: UKRAINE: RADA MANAGES TO OPEN NEW SESSION AND 
ADOPT AN AGENDA, BUT NOT MUCH ELSE 
 
Classified By: Political Counselor Kent Logsdon for reasons 1.4(b,d). 
 
1. (C) Summary.  The Rada got off to a rocky start on 
February 5 with more blockading and fistfights, but Speaker 
Yatsenyuk did manage to close the old session and open the 
new one as required in the constitution, although the 
President's planned "state of the nation" address to the Rada 
was postponed.  With support from the coalition and the 
20-member strong Lytvyn Bloc, the Rada adopted an agenda that 
addresses about 20 items, including: a resolution to the NATO 
MAP question; the creation of committees to investigate the 
work of Interior Minister Lutsenko and the mayors of Kyiv and 
Kharkiv; and the elimination of deputy's immunity, as well as 
a future address of the President.  BYuT MPs were the first 
into the Rada this morning and were able to take up position 
around the Speaker's chair, giving Yatsenyuk a measure of 
protection and blocking Regions' efforts to block the 
rostrum.  However, with BYuT and Regions MPs coming to blows, 
the President decided to postpone his "state of the nation" 
address and flew to Geneva as planned for the ceremony 
marking the WTO's invitation for Ukraine to join.  During the 
delayed session, Yatsenyuk conducted a roll call and 
announced he will dock the pay of approximately 60 MPs who 
were not present, including some from the coalition.  The 
session was closed for a recess and will not open again until 
Thursday, according to Regions MPs who, stopped from 
blockading Yatsenyuk from getting to the dais, are now 
blockading Yatsenyuk in his office. 
 
2. (C) Comment.  Coalition MPs have expressed frustration 
that Regions has now hamstrung the parliament for most of the 
last month, but there does not seem to be a resolution in 
sight.  The coalition says it is trying to gain a consensus, 
and Regions may be taking advantage of this to halt work. 
For its part, Regions continues to insist that the rostrum 
will be blocked until the Rada passes a resolution formally 
calling for a referendum prior to Ukraine joining NATO and 
firing Yuriy Lutsenko as Interior Minister (as a result of 
his personal "attack" on Kyiv Mayor Chernovetskiy).  That 
Yatsenyuk was able to move forward at all was due in part 
Lytvyn Bloc voting.  He was also helped by BYuT's protection; 
interestingly, we did not see any OU-PSD MPs, members of 
Yatsenyuk's own bloc, up on the rostrum.  End Summary and 
Comment. 
 
Blocking the Blockade 
--------------------- 
 
3. (SBU) According to the constitution, the spring Rada 
session must be opened on the first Tuesday of February, i.e. 
February 5, but Party of Regions's blockade over the past few 
weeks had prevented the official closing of the previous 
session and put the February 5 events in question.  President 
Yushchenko met with all faction heads on February 4. 
Afterwards, he told the media that although there was enough 
on the table for a compromise, he thought that the issues of 
NATO and Lutsenko were just a cover for certain forces that 
do not want the parliament to work.  The Rada Coordinating 
Council (the Speaker, faction leaders, and committee 
chairmen) also held meetings on the evening of February 4 and 
the morning of February 5 to try to find a compromise. 
Yushchenko was also scheduled to give his "state of the 
nation" address to the parliament -- a speech that was 
originally scheduled for last December. 
 
4. (C) OU-PSD MP Kulykov told us that an agreement had been 
reached to start the new session by addressing key issues, 
including resolution to the NATO/MAP letter controversy and 
an investigation of the issue of Interior Minister Lutsenko 
slapping the Kyiv mayor.  However, the agreement clearly fell 
apart before the Rada's 10 am scheduled opening.  Nothing 
happened for almost an hour.  Regions entered the chamber and 
hung banners that read "NATO Will Not Pass" and 
"Lutsenko--one law for everyone."  BYuT, however, had the 
last laugh, having arrived in the chamber even earlier and 
staked out the Speaker's dais.  When Yatsenyuk came in, the 
BYuT MPs flanked him.  Regions tried to charge the dais, but 
were pushed back, leading to a brief scuffle.  In the end, 
Regions had to content itself with blocking the rostrum 
instead and Yatsenyuk was able to close the old session and 
close the new one.  Yatsenyuk also held a roll call to 
determine who was present.  Approximately 60 MPs who did not 
respond will be docked pay, as authorized by the law on the 
status of MPs -- some of the coalition was missing, as well 
as members of the opposition, and all of them will lose a 
day's pay. 
 
Agenda Adopted, Followed by Recess 
---------------------------------- 
 
 
KYIV 00000283  002 OF 002 
 
 
5. (SBU) There was then another long delay, with the rumor 
circulating that Yatsenyuk was delaying because some 
coalition members were still missing, depriving them of the 
majority needed to adopt an agenda and consider pending 
legislation.  Finally, the deputies debated the agenda for 
the day and passed it with
243 votes in support. All 
coalition members in the hall voted, plus Lytvyn Bloc. 
Lytvyn had told the press earlier that day that things in the 
Rada were going from "bad to worse" -- his bloc's vote 
continues their record of jumping in at key moments to keep 
progress moving forward.  Regions and the Communists did not 
participate in the vote. 
 
6. (SBU) On the lengthy agenda are: a vote in support of the 
MAP letter signed by the President, PM, and Speaker; a 
discussion of resolutions regarding MAP submitted by  Regions 
and the Speaker; the creation of ad hoc committees to 
investigate whether the actions of the mayors of Kyiv and 
Kharkiv and Minister Lutsenko comply with the constitution 
and law; an amendment to the constitution to remove 
parliamentary immunity; a presidential draft on the minimum 
living standard to make its calculation more transparent; 
changes to health-related legislation; the President's 
address to the nation; the removal of the heads of several 
key executive bodies, including the State Property Fund; and 
some appointments. 
 
7. (SBU) The Rada then went into recess for lunch with the 
intention to resume in the afternoon.  BYuT continued to 
defend the dais, but Regions changed its tactics and 
barricaded Yatsenyuk in his office.  Regions MP Shufrych 
announced that the Rada will not open again until Thursday 
morning, although there has been no official confirmation. 
The Rada will probably work from the same agenda, although 
they can amend it.  The President's address will also be 
rescheduled.  His spokesperson noted that it would be 
"postponed until another day." 
 
Accusations Fly, No Compromise Found 
------------------------------------ 
 
8. (C) At a February 4 dinner for visiting Congressman Robert 
Wexler, MPs exchanged accusations about why the political 
gridlock was so hard to break.  Regions members Shufrych and 
Akimova charged that the whole political gridlock was 
Yushchenko trying to sabotage Tymoshenko by preventing real 
work from being accomplished and letting her take heat on the 
NATO MAP letter.  In response, coalition MPs accused Regions 
of using the MAP letter as a pretext to politick and delay 
work.  Regarding Lutsenko, Akimova said that the Minister 
needed to be dismissed.  His presence in the Cabinet was a 
disgrace and a signal that the new government did not value 
rule of law.  BYuT MP Semerak argued that most Kyivites 
support slapping Chernovetskiy; the real reason Regions had 
initially blocked the rostrum was to prevent confirmation 
votes to key executive branch positions (such as the head of 
the State Property Fund and the head of the Anti-Monopoloy 
Committee). 
 
9. (C) Coalition MPs seemed genuinely frustrated, but their 
desire for broader consensus has not helped alleviate the 
situation.  OU-PSD MP Vakarchuk said they just want an 
opportunity to work.  When we asked PSD's Kulykov if he would 
fight to protect Yatsenyuk (while BYuT MPs were shielding the 
Speaker), he shrugged and said probably not.  BYuT MP Bilorus 
told us that it was an artificial blockade and an attempt by 
the minority to dictate policy.  He said they had offered the 
opposition half the committee chairmen positions and the post 
of first deputy speaker, and now the opposition felt 
empowered.  The coalition's continued inability to get 226 
MPs into their seats in order to set the agenda and pass 
legislation is also exacerbating the situation. 
 
10. (U) Visit Embassy Kyiv's classified website: 
www.state.sgov.gov/p/eur/kiev. 
Taylor

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