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09KYIV406, RADA OUSTS FOREIGN MINISTER

March 3, 2009

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
09KYIV406 2009-03-03 15:55 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Kyiv

VZCZCXRO8206
PP RUEHDBU
DE RUEHKV #0406/01 0621555
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 031555Z MAR 09
FM AMEMBASSY KYIV
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 7404
INFO RUCNCIS/CIS COLLECTIVE
RUEHZG/NATO EU COLLECTIVE

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 KYIV 000406 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 03/03/2019 
TAGS: PGOV PREL UP
SUBJECT: RADA OUSTS FOREIGN MINISTER 
 
Classified By: Ambassador William Taylor for reasons 1.4 (b,d). 
 
ummary 
------- 
 
1. (C) On March 3, PM Tymoshenko's BYuT faction delivered the 
decisive votes to oust Foreign Minister Ohryzko, a President 
Yushchenko ally.  Opposition Party of Regions and the 
Communists initiated the measure.  BYuT's coalition partners 
Our Ukraine-People's Self-Defense (OU-PSD) and Speaker 
Lytvyn's bloc did not support it.  OU-PSD contacts were 
"shocked" by the vote, and said that it throws the coalition 
into a crisis.  BYuT members who voted in favor said they did 
so in response to Ohryzko's actions against the Tymoshenko 
government, notably his issuance of instructions to Embassies 
to deliver a message to key capitals harshly critical of the 
PM.  Party of Regions MPs worked to remove Ohryzko because of 
what they see as his "anti-Russian" bias -- as evidenced by 
his recent threat to PNG Russian Ambassador Chernomyrdin over 
comments made to the media about Yushchenko.  End Summary. 
 
BYuT VOTES FM OHRYZKO OUT 
------------------------- 
 
2. (SBU)  Surprising coalition partners, 49 BYuT MPs voted 
together with Party of Regions and the Communists to dismiss 
Foreign Minister Volodymyr Ohryzko on March 3.  250 MPs, 
including 174 Regions and 27 Communists, voted to oust 
Ohryzko, a Yushchenko ally.  The resolution was thought to be 
a symbolic measure that would be supported only by Regions 
and the Communists.  However, after the vote, Ohryzko claimed 
he was "not surprised" by the outcome as "unwanted 
politicians" were being removed from the government. 
President Yushchenko released a statement saying that 
Ohryzko's dismissal was "untimely and unfounded" at a time of 
economic crisis.  He said, however, that he would nominate a 
new Foreign Minister.  First Vice Foreign Minister Volodymyr 
Khandogiy will be acting Minister until a new Minister is 
confirmed. 
 
OHRYZKO SEEN AS ANTI-TYMOSHENKO 
--------------------------------- 
 
3. (C) OU-PSD MP Roman Zvarych told us that Tymoshenko had 
not originally included Ohryzko's name on the list of 
ministers slated for replacement.  However, Ohryzko's recent 
issuance of instructions to Embassies in Europe and the US to 
deliver a letter from the National Security and Defense 
Council harshly critical of PM Tymoshenko (related to the gas 
crisis) had changed that.  BYuT MP Valeriy Pysarenko 
confirmed to us March 3 that when Ohryzko distributed the 
blatantly anti-Tymoshenko instruction to Embassies, many in 
BYuT decided he had to go.  Ohryzko told the Ambassador that 
the instruction was not his idea; the Presidential 
Secretariat had ordered him to do it. 
 
4. (SBU) BYuT MPs claimed that Tymoshenko did not order the 
decision to vote for Ohryzko's dismissal.  Rather, each MP 
was allowed to decide for him/herself.  OU-PSD deputy faction 
leader Taras Stetskiv argued that, based on who voted in 
favor of dismissal, especially MPs Portnov, Pysarenko and 
Zabzalyuk (all close to Tymoshenko), it was clear that this 
was her decision.  After the vote, Tymoshenko announced that 
she "understood" why some of her bloc's deputies voted to 
dismiss Ohryzko. 
 
REGIONS: MAKING POINTS WITH MOSCOW 
---------------------------------- 
 
5. (C) Before the vote, Regions MP Vladimir Makeienko told us 
that Regions was pushing the resolution largely to curry 
favor with Moscow, where Ohryzko is seen as anti-Russian. 
Makeienko said that Tymoshenko returned from the gas 
negotiations in Moscow with a "plus" in her column.  Regions 
needed to do something to "get their own plus" from Moscow. 
Ohryzko had recently criticized Russian Ambassador Viktor 
Chernomyrdin for an interview that was seen as insulting and 
demeaning to President Yushchenko.  Regions and Communist MPs 
seized on this as cause for Ohryzko's ouster.  (Meeting with 
the Ambassador March 2, Chernomyrdin was dismissive of 
Ohryzko -- making fun of Ohryzko's name, saying it is similar 
to the verb for gnawing like a rodent in Russian. 
Chernomyrdin joked that only because of the dispute, 
"everyone now knows who Ohryzko is."  After the vote 
Chernomyrdin told the media that MFA should learn to "think 
before talking.") 
 
COALITION PARTNERS "SHOCKED" 
---------------------------- 
 
6. (C) After the vote, OU-PSD deputy faction leader Taras 
Stetskiv told us that his faction was surprised by BYuT's 
 
KYIV 00000406  002 OF 002 
 
 
votes.  Stetskiv called it "a vote to end the coalition" as 
it contravened a coalition council decision not to support 
the resolution.  OU-PSD coalition member Vladislav Kaskiv 
said he and his colleagues were "shocked" by the vote.  Other 
OU-PSD contacts told us that the vote, and the way it 
happened, showed divisions within the coalition, but did not 
necessarily mean the coalition would collapse. 
 
7. (C) Some coalition members, including coalition agreement 
signatory Borys Tarasyuk, announced that they would leave the 
coalition over the vote.  Kaskiv told us that a majority of 
OU-PSD faction leaders expressed support for leaving the 
coalition in a hastily-arranged faction political council &#x000
A;meeting, but that a final decision on the coalition would be 
voted on at a full faction meeting, which has not yet been 
scheduled.  Tarasyuk has tabled a resolution to annul the 
vote to dismiss Ohryzko. 
 
COMMENT 
------- 
 
8. (C) BYuT has a track-record of voting discipline in the 
Rada.  We doubt Tymoshenko would let individual MPs decide 
for themselves on such a controversial resolution unless she 
was comfortable with the outcome.  Some of the BYuT members 
who voted to oust Ohryzko are, after all, close to 
Tymoshenko.  What impact this might have on the coalition 
remains to be seen.   If the OU-PSD faction were to vote to 
pull out, the coalition -- which had appeared relatively 
solid -- would collapse. 
 
 
TAYLOR

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