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09KYIV864, PRESIDENTIAL SECRETARIAT CHIEF QUITS, DENOUNCES

May 21, 2009

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
09KYIV864 2009-05-21 15:59 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Kyiv

VZCZCXRO0117
PP RUEHDBU
DE RUEHKV #0864/01 1411559
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 211559Z MAY 09
FM AMEMBASSY KYIV
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 7837
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 000864 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 07/04/2019 
TAGS: PGOV PREL UP
SUBJECT: PRESIDENTIAL SECRETARIAT CHIEF QUITS, DENOUNCES 
YUSHCHENKO 
 
Classified By: Ambassador William Taylor for reasons 1.4(b,d) 
 
SUMMARY 
-------- 
 
1. (C)  Presidential Secretariat head Viktor Baloha, famous 
for vitriolic condemnations of PM Tymoshenko which included 
charges of treason, announced his resignation on May 16.  On 
May 19 Baloha turned his attacks on President Yushchenko, 
saying he had betrayed the promises of the Orange Revolution 
and had no "moral right" to seek a second term. Yushchenko 
appointed Kyiv region Governor Vera Ulyanchenko, a longtime 
ally, on May 20 to replace Baloha.  This garnered approval 
across party lines.  Ulyanchenko's calmer style stands in 
stark contrast to Baloha's and has the potential to improve, 
at least in tone, Yushchenko's relationship with Tymoshenko. 
Baloha has not departed from the political scene.  He retains 
influence over the ten member United Center group in the Rada 
and many regional governors.  His connections and economic 
resources make him an attractive potential partner for such 
forces as the opposition Party of Regions.  That said, Baloha 
has many powerful enemies and is the target of corruption 
allegations.  His influence may wane now that he is removed 
from the Presidential orbit.  End Summary. 
 
 
BALOHA RESIGNS, ATTACKS YUSHCHENKO 
---------------------------------- 
 
2. (U)  Presidential Secretariat head Viktor Baloha announced 
his resignation on May 16 and, in a statement released to the 
press on May 19, attacked President Yushchenko.  Baloha gave 
three reasons for his resignation.  First, Baloha said he 
disagrees with Yushchenko's decision to seek a second term. 
He said that the president has no "moral right" to run again 
because he has not implemented the systemic reforms he 
promised during the Orange Revolution.  Second, he claimed 
that Yushchenko tolerates corruption and nepotism in his 
inner circle.  Finally, he blamed Yushchenko for engineering 
a constant stream of crisis and political conflict in 
Ukraine. 
 
 
BALOHA SAYS HE QUIT, WAS NOT PUSHED 
----------------------------------- 
 
3. (U) In a May 21 press conference Baloha did not further 
criticize Yushchenko and emphasized that he was still willing 
to work with the president and other political parties. 
Baloha emphasized that he personally made the decision to 
resign and that Yushchenko repeatedly asked him to 
reconsider.   He said that while Presidential Secretariat 
head he was a loyal member of Yushchenko,s team and that all 
his actions, including the vitriolic attacks on Tymoshenko, 
were authorized and directed by the President.  Despite his 
earlier criticism of Tymoshenko, however, Baloha did not rule 
out that he could find common ground with her in the future. 
 
 
YUSHCHENKO APPOINTS LONG-TIME ALLY 
---------------------------------- 
 
3. (U)  Yushchenko, who has thus far remained silent on 
Baloha's accusations, on May 20 appointed Kyiv region 
Governor Vera Ulyanchenko as the new head of the Presidential 
Secretariat.  Ulyanchenko, prior to her appointment as 
Governor in 2006, served on Yushchenko's staff while he was 
Prime Minister from 2000-2002, as his Chief of Staff for the 
2004 presidential race, and a principal advisor following his 
election.  Ulyanchenko also served as a Rada MP from 
Yushchenko's Our Ukraine party until becoming Governor. 
While serving as an advisor to Yushchenko, analysts described 
her as the President's gate-keeper and confidant. 
Ulyanchenko was also elected on May 16, before the 
announcement of Baloha's resignation, as the head of Our 
Ukraine party's political council in an effort to reunify and 
revitalize the party. 
 
 
POSITIVE REACTION TO ULYANCHENKO'S APPOINTMENT 
--------------------------------------------- - 
 
4. (U)  Politicians across the political spectrum have 
welcomed Ulyanchenko's appointment.  Opposition Party of 
Regions deputy faction leader Hanna Herman applauded 
Ulyanchenko's appointment and described her as a capable 
manager able to broker compromises between political forces. 
Prime Minister Tymoshenko bloc (BYuT) MP and deputy Rada 
speaker Mykola Tomenko said that Ulyanchenko will be a 
positive force in the president's office and is someone who 
favors cooperation over confrontation.  Our Ukraine-People's 
 
KYIV 00000864  002 OF 002 
 
 
Self Defense bloc (OU-PSD) pro-presidential MP Kseniya 
Lyapina said Ulyanchenko is an effective organizer able to 
take on big challenges. 
 
 
POTENTIAL FOR IMPROVED YUSHCHENKO-TYMOSHENKO RELATIONSHIP? 
--------------------------------------------- ------------- 
 
5. (C)  Ulyanchenko's appointment could also lead to an 
easing in the conflict between Yushchenko and Prime Minister 
Tymoshenko.  OU-PSD deputy faction leader and pro-coalition 
MP Ruslan Knyazevych said that Ulyanchenko could act as a 
mediator between Yushchenko and Tymoshenko.  BYuT MP Serhiy 
Sobolyev told us that Ulyanchenko's appointment points to a 
potential softening of the war between the President and PM. 
He said the appointment may signal Yushchenko's willingness 
to improve cooperation with Tymoshenko.  BYuT MP Konstantin
 
Bondaryev told us that although Yushchenko and Tymoshenko's 
rivalry will continue, he hoped that at least the "dirty 
tricks war" orchestrated by Baloha would end. 
 
 
BALOHA STILL A VALUABLE COMMODITY 
--------------------------------- 
 
6. (C)  Baloha's break with Yushchenko leaves him a 
potentially valuable free agent, according to BYuT MP Valeriy 
Pysarenko.  He told us that with influence over ten Rada MPs, 
many regional governors, and with economic resources at his 
disposal, Baloha could be a valuable addition to another 
political party.  Pysarenko said that despite the animosity 
between Baloha and Tymoshenko, BYuT might even seek Baloha's 
cooperation.  Regions deputy faction leader Volodomyr 
Makeyenko told us that it would be "natural" for Baloha to 
cooperate or join Regions.  He said that one of the main 
themes of Baloha's tenure as Presidential Secretariat head 
was his effort to convince Yushchenko to cooperate more 
closely with Regions.  Makeyenko said that Baloha has close 
contact with most Regions leadership and Baloha's animosity 
to Tymoshenko would push him to back Regions head Yanukovych 
in the upcoming presidential election. 
 
 
COMMENT 
------- 
 
7. (C)  The antagonism between Yushchenko and Tymoshenko 
extends far beyond Baloha, but his departure could at least 
improve the tone of relations.  We expect Baloha to use his 
influence and political connections to remain a political 
player.  His inside knowledge of the Yushchenko 
administration and experience in attacking Tymoshenko would 
make him especially attractive to the Party of Regions in the 
upcoming presidential election.  That said, Baloha has many 
enemies and is the target of corruption allegations.  Now 
removed from the Presidential orbit, his political pull could 
well diminish. 
TAYLOR

Wikileaks

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