Skip to content

08KYIV474, UKRAINE: PRESIDENT CALLS FOR COALITION

March 4, 2008

WikiLeaks Link

To understand the justification used for the classification of each cable, please use this WikiSource article as reference.
Discussing cables
If you find meaningful or important information in a cable, please link directly to its unique reference number. Linking to a specific paragraph in the body of a cable is also possible by copying the appropriate link (to be found at theparagraph symbol).Please mark messages for social networking services like Twitter with the hash tags #cablegate and a hash containing the reference ID e.g. #08KYIV474.
Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
08KYIV474 2008-03-04 13:59 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Kyiv

VZCZCXRO4912
PP RUEHLMC
DE RUEHKV #0474/01 0641359
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 041359Z MAR 08
FM AMEMBASSY KYIV
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 5118
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 000474 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 03/04/2018 
TAGS: PGOV PREL PINR UP
SUBJECT: UKRAINE: PRESIDENT CALLS FOR COALITION 
COOPERATION, BUT REFORMATTING TALKS CONTINUE 
 
REF: KYIV 00453 
 
Classified By: Ambassador for reasons 1.4(b,d). 
 
Summary and Comment 
 
1. (C) Summary.  Meetings with Deputy Head of the 
Presidential Secretariat Roman Bezsmertniy, Deputy Prime 
Minister Hryhoriy Nemyria, Regions MP Andriy Klyuyev, and 
Regions financier Rinat Akhmetov in the past week revealed 
that efforts are being made to reformat the coalition, but 
opinions varied on the pace and potential outcome of such 
talks.  Bezsmertniy was circumspect in his conversation, 
although he clearly preferred Tymoshenko be removed. 
However, he said the President had ordered the Secretariat to 
improve relations with the Cabinet and ensure the coalition 
got to work.  Nemyria told the Ambassador that President 
Yushchenko was now directly engaged in talks with Regions 
leader Yanukovych, and that Secretariat head Baloha was 
working on a group of 22 MPs from OU-PSD to vote no 
confidence in the Tymoshenko government a in a move that 
would end with Baloha as interim PM.  Klyuyev confirmed that 
Regions was actively working towards the goal of a 234-member 
majority with Yanukovych returning to the PM's seat. 
Akhmetov was much more cautious, saying that a broad 
coalition was desirable, but if events moved too fast and 
Tymoshenko was removed before she had a chance to discredit 
herself, she would become a martyr and the next president. 
Therefore, he was urging Regions to proceed slowly. 
Meanwhile, the Rada was unable to reach a political agreement 
on March 4 and Regions continued to block the Speaker's dais. 
 With the constitution giving the President the right to 
dissolve parliament if it does not meet within 30 days of its 
last sitting -- meaning it must meet by March 13 -- many are 
now talking about early elections. 
 
2. (C) Comment.  Bezsmertniy's comments indicate that the 
President may have decided to put any plans for a new 
coalition on hold for now.  No one doubts that Baloha is 
scheming and negotiating, but it could simply be an effort to 
get Regions back in to the Rada chamber and to increase 
pressure on the Prime Minister with the threat that she could 
be removed if she does not cooperate.  The President's team 
must be carefully calculating about optics in Kyiv leading up 
the April 2-4 NATO summit in Bucharest, as well as the impact 
on presidential elections of removing Tymoshenko versus 
leaving her in office.  With so much at stake, no one is 
likely to make a move until they are sure of the outcome. 
The talk of early elections is most likely a game of 
political chicken, but meanwhile the legislature remains 
paralyzed.  End summary and comment. 
 
Bezsmertniy: President Says Make Coalition Work 
--------------------------------------------- - 
 
3. (C) The Ambassador's March 3 meeting with the usually 
cynical Bezsmertniy took a much more serious tone, in large 
part because of a frustrating meeting he had just had with 
Yushchenko.  (Note. On the way into the meeting, 
Bezsmertniy's aide Svitlana Gumenyuk told the Ambassador that 
Bezsmertniy had come out of the Yushchenko meeting looking 
ashen.  End note.)  Although Bezsmertniy did not talk about 
the meeting with the President until the very end of his time 
with the Ambassador, it appeared that Yushchenko had ordered 
his Secretariat to improve cooperation with the Cabinet, a 
policy Bezsmertniy clearly disapproved of.  Bezsmertniy said 
he was not authorized to share details, but the President had 
just gathered the Secretariat leadership to give them the 
task of unblocking the Rada, stopping infighting with the 
Cabinet, stopping personal disagreements with the PM, and 
strengthening the coalition.  Bezsmertniy said he believed 
this policy would hurt Yushchenko personally and he had 
argued vehemently against it at the meeting, but the 
President had insisted, so the Secretariat would work 
seriously at the task.  He said in the very nearest future, 
we would see the realization of this task. 
 
4. (C) Bezsmertniy said the situation in the Rada will not be 
improved quickly.  There are objective reasons, what he 
termed the "illness of development," that the President, PM, 
and government cannot work together as they would in a fully 
developed democratic country.  Everyone knew what Tymoshenko 
and Yushchenko's relations were like before the government 
was formed -- why is it a surprise what is happening now? 
Yushchenko has a choice - Tymoshenko or Yanukovych.  Neither 
signals that Yushchenko is choosing anything other than a 
European course.  Bezsmertniy argued that the President was 
the only sign of stability in the country.  Yushchenko's 
public criticisms of Tymoshenko should not be interpreted as 
him trying to undermine the Cabinet.  They were like a 
 
KYIV 00000474  002 OF 003 
 
 
father's criticism.  Moreover, the President should criticize 
the PM or people won't know who is in charge.  Frankly 
speaking, Bezsmertniy added, he did not think Yushchenko was 
strong enough in his criticisms, and the President would not 
let the Secretariat criticize her either.  (Note.  Apparently 
that pr
ohibition does not include Baloha.  End note.)  If the 
Cabinet presents provocative economic policies, Yushchenko 
must raise this issue.  Moreover, Tymoshenko was trying to 
cut deals with Putin behind Yushchenko's back.  The 
President, Bezsmertniy stated, has endless patience.  He 
ended the meeting on a somewhat cryptic note, saying that the 
key thing to remember was this is not Yushchenko's Cabinet. 
 
Nemyria: They're Plotting to Remove Tymoshenko 
--------------------------------------------- - 
 
5. (C) A frazzled and worn-down DPM Nemyria stopped by the 
Ambassador's late on February 28 to pass on BYuT's concerns 
that negotiations between the Presidential Secretariat and 
Regions had taken a more serious turn.  He said that he had 
information that Yushchenko and Yanukovych had met to discuss 
a "reformatted" coalition, and that Baloha and Regions MP 
Kolesnikov were meeting as well.  He also believed that 
Regions MPs Andriy Klyuyev and Anton Pryhodskiy, the latter a 
close friend of Yanukovych's, were also involved to a lesser 
degree.  Nemyria said the plan he had heard about would 
involve several stages.  First, 22 MPs from OU-PSD would be 
convinced to vote, along with Regions, Lytvyn Bloc, and at 
least some Communists, no confidence in the Tymoshenko 
government.  Then this new majority would appoint an interim 
or acting PM, presumed to be Baloha, and elect Yanukovych 
Speaker.  Nemyria opined that Yatsenyuk would then either go 
back to the National Bank or the Foreign Ministry.  Once this 
had been accomplished, they would be able to convince 15 more 
members of OU-PSD to defect, formally dissolving the current 
coalition and forming a new one. (Note.  37 members of 
OU-PSD, one more than half the faction size, are required to 
sign a new coalition agreement.  End note.) 
 
6. (C) Nemyria also commented on Tymoshenko's health, which 
has been reported on widely in the press here as the PM 
canceled meetings to go the hospital on February 29.  He said 
that she had complications from the flu that had led to a 
high fever and eventually an operation.  (Note.  Nemyria did 
not know the English for what the operation was, but said the 
doctors had removed something that sounded like "gnoids". 
End note.) 
 
Klyuyev Cuts to the Chase -- 234 Votes Expected 
--------------------------------------------- -- 
 
7. (C) Klyuyev described to the Ambassador on March 3 
Regions's vision of a short-term situational majority that 
would become a new coalition, a plan that sounded a lot like 
what Nemyria had described.  Klyuyev said that he believed 
Baloha controls 12 MPs in OU-PSD (not 22 votes that Nemyria 
attributed to him).  If those 12 MPs were added to the 175 
Regions, 27 Communists, and 20 Lytvyn Bloc members, this 
would create a 234-vote majority.  This majority could pass 
needed laws that the current 226-member coalition is 
incapable of passing, such as the CabMin law.  Klyuyev said 
that 234 votes would also allow for a no confidence vote in 
the Tymoshenko government, a vote Klyuyev described as going 
"like clockwork."  Then Rada rules of procedure could be 
changed to allow "individual membership in a coalition." 
(Note.  Klyuyev's explanation does not address all the 
constitutional nuances, such as that a no confidence vote in 
the Cabinet does not inherently bring down the coalition -- 
that would still require 37 members of OU-PSD to cooperate -- 
but it does acknowledge the constitutional provision that 
says the Rada cannot be without a coalition for more than 30 
days.  End note.) 
 
8. (C) Klyuyev said that they believed Yanukovych could again 
become PM.  He said Regions had not considered him for 
Speaker, as he had "lots of job experience" as PM.  Klyuyev 
said Yushchenko had recently told him that it was easier 
working with Regions than now with Tymoshenko.  Klyuyev also 
indicated that Yushchenko and Tymoshenko were not talking 
anymore - they "won't even shake hands." 
 
Akhmetov: New Coalition Someday 
------------------------------- 
 
9. (C) In a meeting later on March 3, Akhmetov was more 
circumspect than his Klyuyev in addressing potential shifts 
in the coalition.  He began by claiming that Regions was not 
interested in a Rada blockade and suggested that maybe it was 
the Cabinet that benefited because they did not have to worry 
about cooperating with the parliament.  (Note.  We have heard 
 
KYIV 00000474  003 OF 003 
 
 
this specious argument from many Regions MPs, but it does not 
address the fact that it is their faction who has been 
physically blocking the rostrum and Speaker's chair.  End 
note.)  When the Ambassador asked about rumors of attempts to 
form a new broad coalition, Akhmetov said sometimes rumors 
were just wishes.  He did not care what color the coalition 
was, just what it did.  The problem today was that although 
the coalition existed de jure, but in reality it could do 
nothing.  Akhmetov said it was clear that the President and 
PM held different positions on many topics.  Everyone 
understood that it was worse now than in 2005, that the 
conflicts were more visible.  Akhmetov said his Fund and his 
McKenzie Group advisers -- which had put forward 
recommendations for 22 reform steps -- were wary of working 
with the current Cabinet.  The President might be interfering 
in the Cabinet's area of responsibility, Akhmetov argued, but 
things would be much worse if he did not.  He believed that 
the President was criticizing Tymoshenko publicly only 
because she ignored his private comments. 
 
10. (C) The main task for Regions, he argued, was to proceed 
with caution.  Some were negotiating with Tymoshenko, some 
with Yushchenko -- no decision should be made in a hurry. 
His main concern was that if Tymoshenko were removed now, she 
could play the martyr and claim she had not been allowed to 
work -- if she was not allowed to continue with the Sberbank 
repayments, she will become a hero.  The public would never 
have the opportunity to learn how dangerous her policies 
really were in the long run.  In principle, there was nothing 
inherently wrong with changing the coalition and Regions 
should push for a Tymoshenko dismissal.  However, with the 
presidential election only two years away, firing Tymoshenko 
hastily based on emotional reasons would be the best way to 
ensure that she wins that election.  Moreover, Yushchenko and 
Tymoshenko were fighting for the same electorate -- time was 
needed to show the difference between them and their 
policies, to show the President and Regions had been right to 
criticize her. 
 
11. (C) Regarding a broad coalition, Akhmetov said that when 
the time comes for a new coalition, he will be pleased. 
Akhmetov said that he had always wanted Regions, Lytvyn Bloc, 
and OU together.  After the September 2007 elections, he had 
advised Yanukovych that it would be better to be in the 
opposition than in a coalition with just OU-PSD, because the 
coalition wou
ld be weak.  Even now, if Regions did join a 
coalition, Akhmetov would prefer that Regions not take the PM 
or Speaker post.  Better to let OU-PSD pick the PM and let 
Lytvyn be Speaker.  Yanukovych could be head of the 
coalition.  (Note.  Presumably to distance Yanukovych and 
Regions from the possible short term negative effects of 
economic reforms that a new Cabinet might pursue in the 
run-up to the presidential election. End note.) 
 
Rada Remains Blocked 
-------------------- 
 
12. (C)  With the coalition rumors swirling in the 
background, the five Rada factions remain unable to reach 
consensus on a political agreement that would see the 
parliament reopened.  Despite the draft agreement announced 
on February 26 (reftel), when the Rada leadership reconvened 
on March 3, Regions, Lytvyn Bloc, and the Communists refused 
to sign it.  Yatsenyuk announced further talks for the 
morning of March 4, but they produced no results.  At 4 pm 
Kyiv time on March 4, 30 Regions MPs encircled the rostrum 
and two sat in the Speaker's chair.  Coalition deputies were 
present in the chamber, but made no move to unblock the 
rostrum.  Yatsenyuk entered, had a brief chat with 
Yanukovych, then announced that Regions had refused to reach 
a compromise.  If a resolution was not reached by 10 am on 
March 5, the Speaker said, then he, Yatsenyuk, would stop 
trying to unblock the Rada and would allow the 30-day clock 
to tick down to zero, saying "if we fail to resume plenary 
work tomorrow, that will be an end to this Rada." 
Afterwards, OU-PSD faction leader Kyrylenko told the press 
that his faction was ready to start consultations with the 
President about dismissing the parliament, following up on 
comments by NSDC Secretary Bohatyreva about new elections. 
(Note.  We believe that no party really wants new elections, 
because the financing and energy required are so significant. 
 Nevertheless, this threat is increasingly being bandied 
about in an effort to make one side or the other cave in 
negotiations.  End note.) 
 
13. (U) Visit Embassy Kyiv's classified website: 
www.state.sgov.gov/p/eur/kiev. 
Taylor

Wikileaks

Advertisements

From → CONFIDENTIAL

Leave a Comment

Post tour comment here

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: