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April 21, 2009

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
09KYIV691 2009-04-21 18:42 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Kyiv

DE RUEHKV #0691/01 1111842
P 211842Z APR 09

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 KYIV 000691 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 07/06/2017 
REF: 08 KYIV 987 
Classified By: Political Counselor Colin Cleary for reasons 1.4 (b,d) 
1.  (C) World champion boxer Vitaliy Klychko, who lost two 
bids for mayor of Kyiv in 2006 and 2008, hit current mayor 
Chernovetskyi hard for alleged corruption in a recent meeting 
with us.  Although Klychko was vague about another run for 
mayor, he said that his political bloc would continue to 
challenge Chernovetskyi,s control over the city council. 
There has been speculation that the national Rada could 
attempt to remove Mayor Chernovetskyi following continued 
allegations of corruption and a recent Rada commission to 
determine his psychological condition. Embassy contacts, 
however, do not expect his removal or another round of city 
elections in the near term.  Although polls show a drop in 
support for Chernovetskyi, he still has a solid voter base 
and reportedly has the backing of President Yushchenko. 
Chernovetskyi,s critics expect him to use his clout as mayor 
in the upcoming presidential elections to try to ally himself 
with the next president. End Summary. 
The Contenders 
2.  (U) The leading political forces on the city council are 
the Chernovetskyi bloc with 43 seats, PM Tymoshenko's bloc 
(BYuT) with 32 seats, and the Klychko bloc with 15 seats. 
The Party of Regions, with the largest faction in the 
national parliament, has only six seats on the city council. 
Chernovetskyi, who became mayor in 2006, delivered a blow to 
Tymoshenko in his May 2008 pre-term election win over BYuT 
candidate Turchynov and boxer Vitaliy Klychko, who took a 
close third. 
3.  (C) Most observers see Klychko as Chernovetskyi,s most 
serious challenger.  Political Analyst Vitaliy Bala told us 
that although BYuT has significant popular support in the 
city, BYuT does not have a candidate who can beat the Mayor. 
BYuT,s best option, he felt, would be for it to cooperate 
with the other blocs on the city council to form a united 
opposition.  Bala believes that Klychko could knock out 
Chernovetskyi in another challenge for city hall with BYuT in 
his corner. 
Klychko Hits Chernovetskyi Hard on Corruption 
4.  (C) Vitaliy Klychko, who looked fit after his recent WBC 
title defense, made many of the same points he has been 
telling reporters in a recent meeting with Emboff.  He 
asserted that Chernovetskyi had turned the city into a family 
business, appointing his wife, children, and close relatives 
to key posts in the city administration.  He described 
rampant corruption under Chernovetskyi, saying that the 
city's Soviet-era infrastructure was near collapse due to his 
neglect.  Klychko said that the city had reached a "point of 
no return" and that new leaders were needed to replace 
Chernovetskyi and his "young and cynical" supporters in the 
city government. 
A Third Bout? 
5. (C) When asked about his intention to run for Kyiv mayor 
again, Klychko ducked the question and said his German 
friends tell him he should run for the Mayor of Hamburg. 
However, Klychko has previously said that he feels obligated 
to run against Chernovetskyi if elections are held.  He told 
us that his bloc is committed to taking on the mayor in the 
city council. He added that his bloc would run for the 
national Rada if early elections are called. 
Mayor on Ropes but Not Out 
6. (C) Mayor Chernovetskyi, who has held the post since 2006, 
has earned the nickname "Cosmos" and widespread condemnation 
for his eccentric public behavior.  There has been 
speculation that the national Rada would try to remove him 
from office after highly publicized corruption allegations. 
The speculation was further fueled when the national Rada 
formed a special commission in March 2008 to determine his 
mental stability.  He refused to submit to the psychological 
evaluation ordered by the Rada commission countering that it 
was politically motivated.  Polls in recent months show that 
Chernovetskyi has lost support since his reelection. 
Observers attribute this to arbitrary hikes ordered by the 
Mayor for public transport and utility fees and the 
imposition of a widely-criticized decision to charge entry 
fees at city cemeteries.  However, analyst Vitaliy Bala 
estimated the mayor continues to have solid support from 
roughly 15 percent of Kyiv voters, mostly the elderly who 
KYIV 00000691  002 OF 002 
received benefits from city social programs. 
BYuT in Klychko,s Corner, but not for Early Elections 
--------------------------------------------- -------- 
7.  (C) National Rada Deputy Volodymyr Bondarenko of BYuT 
blasted Chernovetskyi for "destroying" the independence of 
the city council.  He accused Chernovetskyi of corrupt land 
deals, nepotism, undue influence over the city-owned media, 
and neglect of the city's infrastructure.  Although 
Chernovetskyi has lost some popular support, Bondarenko felt 
the mayor would not go down easily.  Bondarenko said that the 
opposition lost in 2008 because it was not unified behind a &#x00
0A;single contender. He said that BYuT was consulting with the 
Klychko bloc on how best to challenge Chernovetskyi on the 
city council and future elections.  He strongly denied rumors 
that Tymoshenko had been cooperating with the mayor. 
Tymoshenko, who had engineered the 2008 Rada vote for early 
elections, was opposed to new round of elections, he said. 
Bondarenko explained that Tymoshenko would reconsider a push 
to oust Chernovetskyi after the political and economic crises 
pass - perhaps in 2010. 
Mayor's Cornerman? 
8.  (C) Political Analyst Vitaliy Bala described the Mayor as 
an opportunist who had managed to fend off challenges by the 
PM and other opponents with the quiet support of the 
President.  Bala said that Yushchenko continued to back 
Chernovetskyi because the mayor was the only effective 
counterweight to BYuT in the city.  Bala said that 
Presidential Secretariat Chief of Staff Viktor Baloha would 
block any efforts to remove Chernovetskyi until after the 
presidential election.  Baloha, whom Bala regards as a tough 
political brawler, wants to use Kyiv,s media and 
administrative resources in the presidential elections.  For 
his part, Chernovetskyi needs the support of the President to 
pre-empt corruption investigations by his enemies, said Bala. 
Dirty Fight Ahead 
9.  (C) Klychko felt that Chernovetskyi would offer city 
media coverage and resources to any presidential contender 
who promised to keep him in city hall.  Klychko reminded us 
that the city-owned media did not provide Chernovetskyi,s 
opponents equal coverage in the 2008 city elections - a claim 
supported by media watchdogs (reftel).  Analyst Bala, who 
said Kyiv was still a "blank spot on the political map", 
expects Kyiv to be hotly contested in the presidential 
campaign.  His message was that the gloves will come off in a 
"dirty" presidential campaign because the top contenders have 
"everything to lose." 
10.  (C) Klychko appears to be serious about fighting 
corruption at city hall and he seemed ready to take on 
Chernovetskyi.  Despite a drop in polls, Chernovetskyi shows 
no signs of backing away.  The mayor is in a position to make 
city resources available in the upcoming presidential 
elections and, based on past behavior, will try to use this 
to secure his own political future as presidential contenders 
square off. 




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