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November 24, 2008

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
08KYIV2305 2008-11-24 15:15 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Kyiv


DE RUEHKV #2305/01 3291515
P 241515Z NOV 08

C O N F I D E N T I A L KYIV 002305 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 11/24/2018 
REF: KYIV 2245 
Classified By: Ambassador William Taylor for reasons 1.4 (b,d). 
1. (C) As Ukraine nears the two-week mark since the November 
12 removal of Parliament (Rada) Speaker Arseniy Yatsenyuk, 
negotiations over his replacement are at a stalemate, claimed 
Speaker contenders and other political leaders in meetings 
with the Ambassador.  None described a clear way out of the 
current impasse.  President Yushchenko encouraged all parties 
to try to find a workable Rada coalition and new Speaker.  He 
has curtailed, for now, his push for early Rada elections. 
Constitutional requirements for coalition-building limit the 
possible coalition variants.  The severe lack of trust 
between Yushchenko, PM Tymoshenko, and other political 
leaders further complicates potential coalitions.  End 
The Rada -- Speakerless -- Adjourns for a Week 
--------------------------------------------- - 
2. (U)  On November 18 the Rada was unable to muster enough 
votes to hold debate over potential Speaker candidates. 
Instead, MPs voted to continue working in committees, spend 
the week of November 24 in constituent districts, and 
continue "consultations" on a new Speaker.  The next Plenary 
session is scheduled for December 2.  President Yushchenko 
has tempered his talk of early elections, announcing that 
elections would not take place in 2008.  He is "sparing no 
effort" to support coalition talks.  Pressed on whether Rada 
elections would be held in 2009, Yushchenko said that the 
2009 budget should "envisage funds" for elections. 
3. (C)  The Ambassador has recently held a series of meetings 
with leading Speaker candidates, as well as ousted Speaker 
Yatsenyuk and Presidential Secretariat head Viktor Baloha to 
discuss the ongoing political crisis.  All agreed that 
"something" had to be done to solve the political stalemate 
over the next Speaker, but none had a clear solution to the 
current impasse.  All contended that a lack of trust among 
Ukraine's political leaders made any agreement more difficult 
to find. 
Volodymyr Lytvyn -- The Man of the Hour? 
4. (C) The Ambassador met with Volodymyr Lytvyn on November 
19.  Lytvyn, considered until recently to be the leading 
contender for the Speaker's chair, has said that he is not 
interested in a short-term speakership that presides over the 
dissolution of the current Rada and early elections.  He said 
he would serve as speaker in "a coalition that unites 
Ukraine's politicians and its people."  Lytvyn stressed to 
the Ambassador that the Rada was in a stalemate, adding that 
the complete lack of trust between Yushchenko and Tymoshenko 
was paralyzing the situation.  Illustrating the point, Lytvyn 
told the Ambassador he had had a deal with Tymoshenko under 
which he would become Speaker.  After he went to a meeting 
with Yushchenko, however, Tymoshenko pulled her support, 
accusing Lytvyn of making a separate deal with the President. 
 Lytvyn claimed that politicians are "too wrapped up in their 
rivalries" to focus on the economic crisis. 
Ivan Plyush -- the Technocrat 
5. (C) On November 21, OU-PSD MP Ivan Plyush, close 
Yushchenko ally and Rada Speaker from 1991 to 1994, told the 
Ambassador that, although a Rada without a Speaker is a 
terrible scenario for Ukraine, "it is the reality" that they 
face now.  Plyush said that Yushchenko and Tymoshenko will 
never reach agreement "on anything" because they are 
"incompatible."  Plyush refused to speculate on whether there 
was sufficient support within OU-PSD to align with Regions, 
with or without Lytvyn, telling the Ambassador that "that is 
Yushchenko's problem."  Plyush contended that Ukraine needed 
a new Speaker and Prime Minister to work itself out of its 
political turmoil.  He laid out a scenario in which 
Yushchenko would bring all political forces together under 
him to work together for the greater good. 
Oleksandr Lavrynovych -- the Seat Warmer? 
6. (C)  In a November 24 meeting with the Ambassador, Acting 
Speaker Lavrynovych stressed that the Rada needed to elect an 
"effective, functioning" Speaker, and not just a placeholder. 
 Short on detail, Lavrynovych told the Ambassador that 
Ukraine's opposing political forces have a history of, in the 
end, finding a way to cooperate.  He was confident the Rada 
would find a way out of the current stalemate.  Lavrynovych 
said that the Rada has shown the ability to find short-term 
majorities that, while passing necessary legislation, do not 
lead to coalitions.  He said that an effective majority could 
be found to pass the 2009 budget, but he did not speculate on 
who would preside over such a majority as Speaker. 
Arseniy Yatsenyuk -- the Former Speaker 
7. (C) Yatsenyuk told the Ambassador on November 21 that 
there is no hope for a new coalition in the Rada, as all 
political leaders consider themselves to be "demigods" and 

can't work together.  Yatsenyuk was sympathetic to 
Tymoshenko's positions, but said that Yushchenko's political 
career was "doomed." Yatsenyuk also had few kind words for 
Lytvyn, calling him "untrustworthy."  Yatsenyuk appeared to 
harbor little bitterness at his ouster, and was focused on 
developing his new political party - Democratic Front.  On 
November 24, OU-PSD MP Kseniya Lyapina publicly called for 
Yatsenyuk's reinstatement as Speaker. 
Viktor Baloha -- the Bogeyman 
8. (C) Echoing MP Plyush, Baloha told the Ambassador that 
Yushchenko wanted to unite all political powers around an 
economic agenda.  He concluded that unity was unlikely as 
neither Regions head Viktor Yanukovych nor PM Tymoshenko were 
interested in sharing power, preferring to lead a coalition. 
Baloha said he told Yushchenko that he had to remove 
Yatsenyuk from the Speaker's chair, as he was "too close" to 
Tymoshenko, adding that Yatsenyuk sees himself as the 
"Ukrainian Obama," and a presidential contender.  Baloha, a 
reported backer of a Yushchenko/Regions-led coalition, was 
somewhat defensive about Yanukovych's attendance at the 
United Russia party congress in Moscow and his provocative 
statements there on the Russia/Georgia conflict.  Yatsenyuk 
told the Ambassador during their meeting that Baloha was at 
the center of the current political storm, and was largely 
responsible for what Plyush called Yushchenko's "isolation." 
9. (C) While speculation and, ostensibly, negotiation 
continues over the next Rada Speaker, the leading candidates 
for the post were unable, or unwilling, to outline a 
realistic solution to Ukraine's ongoing political turmoil. 
With a week without plenary sessions, the Rada's next 
opportunity to find consensus and vote for a new Speaker is 
December 2.  There is, similarly, no clear way out of the 
coalition stalemate at this juncture.  Resolution of the two 
- Speaker and coalition - are intertwined.  Given 
Yushchenko's low popularity, it would be very difficult for 
him to craft the type of unity government that Plyush and 
Baloha envisioned. 




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