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09KYIV338, UKRAINE: TIGIPKO’S READY, BUT STILL NO DECISION ON

February 19, 2009

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
09KYIV338 2009-02-19 15:57 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Kyiv

VZCZCXRO7085
PP RUEHDBU
DE RUEHKV #0338 0501557
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 191557Z FEB 09
FM AMEMBASSY KYIV
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 7318
INFO RUCNCIS/CIS COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHZG/NATO EU COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEATRS/DEPT OF TREASURY WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RUCPDOC/DEPT OF COMMERCE WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RHEHAAA/NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY

C O N F I D E N T I A L KYIV 000338 
 
SIPDIS 
 
DEPT FOR EUR, EUR/UMB, EEB/OMA 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 02/19/2019 
TAGS: EFIN EREL ETRD PGOV PREL XH UP
SUBJECT: UKRAINE: TIGIPKO'S READY, BUT STILL NO DECISION ON 
CRISIS COORDINATOR 
 
REF: A. KYIV 311 
     B. KYIV 250 
     C. KYIV 295 
 
Classified By: AMBASSADOR WILLIAM B. TAYLOR, REASONS 1.4 (B) AND (D) 
 
1.  (C) Summary.  Sergey Tigipko (a.k.a. Serhiy Tyhipko, see 
note on name transliteration in paragraph 6) told Econoff on 
February 19 that he is still being considered for a 
high-level position in Yulia Tymoshenko's government, though 
the situation remains fluid and no decisions on ministerial 
positions have yet been made by Ukraine's Cabinet of 
Ministers.  Comparing Ukraine's current crisis with its 
condition after the Soviet Union's collapse, Tigipko repeated 
his previous calls for an overall crisis management strategy 
and immediate implementation of coordinated reforms.  End 
summary. 
 
2.  (C) Econoff spoke to Sergey Tigipko on the margins of a 
business leaders' conference on February 19, as rumors 
continue to swirl non-stop and every bit of speculation about 
top cabinet appointments is taken with a grain of salt. 
"This is not for broad advertisement," Tigipko told us before 
he spoke publicly, "but (the Cabinet of Ministers) is laying 
names down one after another, engaging in horse trading, then 
pulling the names back if the deal is not right.  It's all 
politics.  And I am not going to assert myself until I'm 
called."  Tigipko added, "when they call me (as deputy prime 
minister for economics and overall crisis coordinator), I'll 
be in a better position to negotiate." 
 
3.  (C) When asked about recent suggestions that he may back 
out of a potential government job, due to the lack of 
authority a crisis coordinator would have over the ministries 
(a concern expressed to the Ambassador by President 
Yushchenko aide Oleksander Shlapak on February 17, which 
Shlapak said he passed to Tigipko), Tigipko replied that the 
"position is only as strong as the coordinator."  On taking 
over the Finance Ministry, he said, the Minister's portfolio 
is what the coordinator naturally should also have (Ref A). 
Clenching his jaw and pumping his fist, he said, "It's where 
the money and real power to do something will be." 
 
4.  (U) In his public comments at the conference, Tigipko 
compared Ukraine's current crisis to its situation when the 
Soviet Union collapsed, a time when "everything was broken 
and (Ukraine) needed to start over from scratch.  Except it 
was easier then, because foreign investors were interested." 
 
5.  (U) Tigipko presented his vision of a crisis strategy to 
the crowd of business leaders.  "We can't talk about the 
budget or legislation or reforms until we have a coordinated 
strategy."  A strategy is a relatively simple thing to 
produce in this situation, "just as it is relatively easy to 
know what to do when you get a flat tire."  The politicians 
at the highest level are "not capable of developing or 
implementing a strategy" because of the upcoming elections 
(Ref B).  But "now is not the time for populism.  I'm 
convinced", he continued, "that at the expert level (in the 
ministries) there will be plenty of collaboration and joint 
implementation, because the work has to be done today." 
 
6.  (U) Note: The former Deputy Prime Minister and National 
Bank of Ukraine Governor's preferred name transliteration is 
"Sergey Tigipko," as he is exclusively a Russian speaker, 
although his name has been transliterated as "Serhiy 
Tyhipko," "Sergiy Tihipko," or "Serhiy Tyhypko" in 
English-language sources. 
 
7.  (C) Comment: We have heard numerous permutations of 
possible nominations for Minister of Finance, one of the 
hottest topics of conversation in the local media and among 
the business elite.  Neither Prime Minister Tymoshenko on 
February 17 nor President Yushchenko on February 18 commented 
to the Ambassador on changes at the Ministry, which has been 
leaderless since the February 12 resignation of Viktor 
Pynzenyk (Ref C).  However, both they and their staffs have 
repeatedly mentioned Tigipko as a "uniquely qualified" 
candidate.  End comment. 
TAYLOR

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