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January 13, 2009

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
09KYIV54 2009-01-13 17:12 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Kyiv


DE RUEHKV #0054/01 0131712
P 131712Z JAN 09

C O N F I D E N T I A L KYIV 000054 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 01/13/2019 
REF: 08 KYIV 2486 
Classified By: Ambassador William Taylor for reasons 1.4(b,d) 
1. (C) As the Rada winds down its session with a final 
plenary week that started on January 13, the coalition 
appears to be stable, with PM Tymoshenko in control.  Rada 
Speaker Lytvyn may harbor presidential ambitions, but he is 
unlikely to scuttle the coalition in pursuit of the 
presidency.  Pro-coalition Our Ukraine-People's Self-Defense 
(OU-PSD) MPs have little choice but to stay with Tymoshenko's 
bloc (BYuT), having left President Yushchenko's camp. 
Coalition opponents have thus far not mounted a serious 
challenge to its validity (Ref A).  Rada contacts say that 
the coalition will likely last as long as it is useful to 
Tymoshenko -- potentially through the upcoming presidential 
election season.  A Regions call for a vote of no-confidence 
in Tymoshenko's government in response to the gas crisis is 
yet another political gambit in the run-up to presidential 
elections, and is unlikely to gather significant support. 
End Summary. 
Tymoshenko "Controls Coalition Destiny" 
2. (C) Rada contacts in and out of the coalition told us that 
the current coalition of BYuT, Lytvyn bloc and a majority of 
OU-PSD MPs is likely to remain stable for as long as 
Tymoshenko deems the coalition necessary.  Pro-coalition 
OU-PSD MP Volodymyr Ariev considered Tymoshenko the 
"strongest politician in Ukraine" -- she controls the destiny 
of the coalition.  BYuT MP Valeriy Pysarenko told us that 
BYuT will likely keep the coalition together in its current 
format through the presidential election.  Pysarenko posited 
that early Rada elections would likely be unnecessary, as 
after the presidential elections, the coalition would likely 
gather support from other MPs looking to gain favor with a 
newly-elected Tymoshenko. 
3. (C) Political Analyst Ihor Kohut said that the coalition 
is neither strong nor weak, but its existence suits most 
parties for now because it allows the Rada to work.  He told 
us that, although the coalition represents a minority of MPs 
in the Rada, Tymoshenko can look to either the rump OU-PSD 
MPs or the Communists for additional votes which gives the 
coalition options.  Echoing Pysarenko, Kohut predicted that 
the coalition would survive until at least 2010.  Regions MP 
Nestor Shufrych told us that his party would continue to 
speak out against the coalition because they are in 
opposition, but that they recognize that the coalition exists 
and it is not going anywhere anytime soon.  He admitted that, 
despite its public rhetoric, the majority of Regions MPs was 
not interested in early Rada elections. 
Lytvyn Likely to Toe the Line 
4. (C) One potential stumbling block to coalition stability 
is Rada Speaker Volodymyr Lytvyn's aspirations for higher 
office.  Rada contacts tell us that he will likely make a run 
at the presidency -- all party heads would -- but he would 
not do so at the expense of his Speaker's seat by pulling out 
of the coalition.  BYuT contacts told us that they expect 
Lytvyn to run for president, but they do not consider him a 
serious contender.  They were confident that Lytvyn would not 
rock the boat.  MP Ariev said Lytvyn knows he cannot win the 
presidency, and he wouldn't want to campaign on being the 
person who destroyed the coalition and lose his position as 
Speaker in the process.  Regions MP Vladimir Makeenko 
concurred, saying that Lytvyn would likely run a "gentle 
campaign" that could set him up for further political favors 
in the second round of the election and beyond. 
OU-PSD Majority Not Likely to Make Waves... 
5. (C) Ariev told us that OU-PSD's pro-coalition majority is 
relatively solid, and would remain with BYuT for the 
foreseeable future.  He lamented Yushchenko's "hysterical" 
reaction in September that resulted in OU-PSD pulling out of 
the coalition, and said that rational MPs in OU-PSD know that 
it is better to work within a coalition.  He suggested that 
there was little that could push a majority of OU-PSD to vote 
to leave the coalition again.  Ariev concluded that, although 
the coalition agreement has a bare majority 37 OU-PSD 
signatures, it enjoys a "comfortable buffer" in case one or 
two MPs decide to quit the coalition.  He pointed to the 
December 26 vote on the 2009 budget, which garnered 46 OU-PSD 
votes out of a total of 72 MPs in the faction. 
...Minority Out to Sea 
6. (C) The dwindling pro-Yushchenko portion of OU-PSD remains 
divided between Presidential Chief of Staff Baloha's seven 
United Center MPs and a small band of Yushchenko loyalists 
that have rallied behind former faction head Vyacheslav 
Kyrylenko's recently-announced "For Ukraine" OU-PSD 
sub-group.  Pro-coalition OU-PSD MPs estimated that the group 
has no more than 17 supporters, and joked that it should be 
renamed "For Yushchenko" because the group's common policy 
platform is blind support for their "icon president." 
7. (C) Pro-
Yushchenko MP Ksenia Lyapina told us that their 
group, whom she dubbed the "pro-Ukraine opposition" to the 
coalition, are not actively working to thwart the coalition 
or bring down the government.  She said that her "For 
Ukraine" colleagues would be united with the government to 
resolve the gas crisis, and would not work with Regions, 
which she described as the "anti-Ukraine opposition." 
No External Challenges to Coalition, No Serious Challenges to 
--------------------------------------------- ------- 
8. (SBU) Coalition contacts tell us that no serious challenge 
to the coalition, legal or otherwise, has been made, and they 
don't expect to see any in the near future.  In response to 
the ongoing gas crisis, however, Regions head Viktor 
Yanukovych and other Regions MPs called for early Rada 
elections and for the Rada to initiate a vote of 
no-confidence in PM Tymoshenko and her government. 
9. (C) Rada contacts, including some Regions MPs, dismissed 
the effort as political grandstanding.  Pro-Yushchenko OU-PSD 
MPs told us they would line up behind the government against 
Regions, and Regions MPs said that even they wouldn't have 
unanimous support within their faction for a no-confidence 
vote.  BYuT MPs welcomed a vote of no-confidence, certain 
that it would fail, and told us they would do nothing to 
block Regions if it made an attempt to put a no-confidence 
vote on the agenda before the end of the current session on 
January 17. 
10. (C)  BYuT MP Pysarenko said that even a successful vote 
of no-confidence would accomplish little beyond becoming a 
part of Yanukovych's presidential campaign stump speech. 
Tymoshenko and her government would go into acting status 
until the coalition forwarded a new PM candidate for 
nomination, an unlikely development from a coalition 
controlled by Tymoshenko. 
11. (C) The current BYuT-led minority coalition will likely 
remain intact so as long as Tymoshenko finds it politically 
beneficial.  The lack of a unified opposition and a fractured 
OU-PSD faction strengthens Tymoshenko's hand in the Rada. 
Regions has been unable to mount serious opposition to the 
coalition or Tymoshenko's government.  The pro-Yushchenko 
OU-PSD group is wary of working with Regions, and the 
Communists have lined up with Tymoshenko when it counts.  So 
- for the present at least - the chances for the coalition to 
remain in power through the December 2009/January 2010 
presidential election are good.  We can expect more of the 
incessant jockeying for position among Tymoshenko, 
Yanukovych, and an increasingly-isolated Yushchenko as the 
presidential race heats up if the economic and gas crises do 
not destroy the political chances of all three. 




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