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09KYIV634, WATCHING MOLDOVA CLOSELY; LITTLE FEAR OF SPILLOVER

April 10, 2009

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
09KYIV634 2009-04-10 16:08 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Kyiv

VZCZCXRO5409
PP RUEHDBU
DE RUEHKV #0634/01 1001608
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 101608Z APR 09
FM AMEMBASSY KYIV
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 7609
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 000634 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 07/05/2019 
TAGS: MD PGOV PREL UP
SUBJECT: WATCHING MOLDOVA CLOSELY; LITTLE FEAR OF SPILLOVER 
 
Classified By: Ambassador for reasons 1.4(b,d) 
 
SUMMARY 
-------- 
 
1. (C)   Kyiv continues to closely monitor events in 
Chisinau, but MFA contacts believe the Communists have 
weathered the storm and will now be able to consolidate 
power.  The MFA view is that the Communists did win the 
election, while acknowledging media bias and manipulation of 
state resources (pension increases, etc.) in the election 
run-up.  Moldova has requested extradition of two purported 
protest leaders detained in Odesa - a request which Ukraine 
will slow-roll to let emotions cool before taking any action. 
 Kyiv sees the protests as generational and pitting young 
urban elites with pro-Romania and pro-EU views against older 
and poorer supporters of the Communists.  Ukrainians are 
unlikely to stage any similar protests against economic 
conditions or the current political stalemate according to a 
recent nationwide poll.  End Summary. 
 
 
MFA SEES COMMUNISTS CONSOLIDATING POWER 
--------------------------------------- 
 
2. (C) Embassy met on April 10 with MFA Moldova Section Head 
Ihor Holovchenko to discuss Ukrainian views on the recent 
Chisinau protests.  Holovchenko said that the Communists 
would move quickly to consolidate power and show that they 
were fully in control following the protests.  In addressing 
opposition claims that the Communists had stolen votes to get 
the 60 seats they garnered in the election, Holovchenko noted 
that exit polls showed the Communists should have received 
approximately 55 seats, which would have given them the 
majority in any event.  He stressed that Ukraine was aware of 
media manipulation and use of state resources (pension 
increases, etc.) by the Communists in the run-up, but that it 
wasn't sufficient to overturn the election results.  He 
concluded that the Communists would "find a way" to convince 
one additional MP to join them for the needed 61 votes to 
elect the President. 
 
COMMUNISTS FACE CHOICES 
----------------------- 
 
3. (C) Holovchenko indicated that Ukraine would carefully 
track over the coming months whether the Communists reacted 
to the protests by moving closer to Moscow or creating 
channels for engagement with Romania and the EU.  Thinking 
within the MFA was that the absence of an effective protest 
leader pushing for engagement with the West might incline the 
Communists to turn towards Moscow.  The likelihood of future 
unrest would increase if no acknowledgment of the protesters' 
goals was forthcoming, and might be triggered by a local 
election (for Mayor of Chisinau for example), according to 
Holovchenko. 
 
 
MOLDOVANS DETAINED; BORDER GUARDS REINFORCED 
-------------------------------------------- 
 
4. (C)  Holovchenko also confirmed press reports that 
Ukrainian border guards had detained two Moldovans at the 
Odesa airport in response to arrest warrants issued in 
Chisinau.  Chisinau was claiming the two individuals, one of 
them a wealthy businessman, were involved in organizing the 
protests and rioting.  Ukraine intended to move slowly on the 
extradition request in order to "let emotions cool," 
according to Holovchenko.  There has been no public statement 
from the GOU on the extradition request to date.  Interior 
Minister Lutsenko said publicly on April 9 that he had 
dispatched Ministry of Interior troops to key border 
crossings with Molodova to reinforce border guards in what he 
described as a "routine emergency response." 
 
 
MOLDOVA SCENARIO UNLIKELY IN KYIV 
--------------------------------- 
 
5. (SBU)  Ukrainians are unlikely to take their current 
economic and political grievances to the street, according to 
Yuriy Bauman, the Deputy Director of local pollsters Image 
Control.  In his company's most recent nationwide focus 
groups, conducted March 23 to April 3, participants 
overwhelmingly said that they were not interested in 
participating in street protests and that demonstrations were 
not effective in swaying government action.  Image Control 
Director Mariya Poznyak told us that their recent polls 
showed only single digit support for widespread 
demonstrations.  Party of Regions (Regions) MP and deputy 
faction leader Volodomyr Makeyenko said that the party was 
finding it difficult to gather Ukrainians for demonstrations. 
 
KYIV 00000634  002 OF 002 
 
 
 He said that Regions was considering postponing future 
protests because the populace did not seem to want to 
participate.  Regions April 3 demonstration on Kyiv's 
Independence Square calling for the resignation of the 
President and Prime Minister gathered 7,000 to 10,000 
demonstrators, much less than the 50,000 the party promised, 
despite widespread reports that organizers paid protesters to 
attend. 
 
 
COMMENT 
------- 
 
6. (C)  Kyiv continues to monitor Chisinau carefully, but 
aside from the potential negative impact on the 5   2 process 
doesn't see any of its equities directly impacted.  Recent 
events in Chisinau and Tblisi have generated an additional 
focus in Kyiv on whether the potenti
al for unrest exists in 
Ukraine.  The absence of a domestic political spark, such as 
the Georgia-Russia conflict or election in Moldova, continues 
to argue against any parallel developments in Ukraine. 
Polling results and the anemic turnout for the Regions 
protests indicate that Ukrainians haven't reached the 
frustration level required to take to the streets. 
TAYLOR

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