As was revealed by Wikileaks, in their cables US diplomats referred and refer to the capital of Ukraine as Kyiv.
Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin 06KYIV4187 2006-11-03 17:26 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy KyivVZCZCXRO9235 PP RUEHDBU DE RUEHKV #4187/01 3071726 ZNY CCCCC ZZH P 031726Z NOV 06 FM AMEMBASSY KYIV TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 0280 INFO RUCNCIS/CIS COLLECTIVE RUEHZG/NATO EU COLLECTIVEC O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 KYIV 004187 SIPDIS SIPDIS E.O. 12958: DECL: 11/03/2016 TAGS: PGOV PREL UP SUBJECT: UKRAINE: PM YANUKOVYCH ON COOPERATION OR CONFRONTATION, REQUEST FOR A "NEW START" REF: KIEV 3463 Classified By: Ambassador, reason 1.4 (b,d) ¶1. (C) Summary. Ambassador met with a confident PM Viktor Yanukovych Nov. 2 to discuss Yanukovych's planned trip to Washington in December and the current domestic political situation. Yanukovych centered the conversation around two options going forward vis-a-vis President Yushchenko - cooperation or confrontation. He preferred a partnership with Yushchenko, but warned the window was closing, with confrontation in the offing as "radicals" in Regions pushed for action. Yanukovych portrayed himself as a man of principle who had been embarrassed by Kuchma, deserved a new start, and could be trusted to foster good relations with the U.S. In response to the Ambassador's suggestion that Yanukovych take steps on WTO, the NATO information campaign, anti-corruption, VAT refunds, and wheat exports, Yanukovych replied that movement WTO was underway, but that his team would take action according to its own schedule. He brushed off DPM Tabachnyk's recent anti-American article in a Russian newspaper, claiming Tabachnyk was distracted by a young wife and may have not even read the article before cosigning. End Summary. Upcoming trip and possible positive steps ----------------------------------------- ¶2. (C) PM Yanukovych hosted Ambassador for a one-on-one working lunch November 2. Yanukovych was clearly focused on the domestic situation (below) rather than his upcoming trip to Washington planned for early December. Ambassador raised the positive steps the USG like to see Yanukovych's government take in the near term: WTO legislation; NATO information campaign; anti-corruption efforts; VAT refunds; an end to wheat export restrictions. ¶3. (C) Yanukovych replied that he appreciated our advice, and the U.S. would see actions on WTO; however, "we" would take action according to "our own schedule." He had made statements on the WTO and would stick to the timeline. However, such actions would not be pushed through; there was a need to convince people on the merits. Personal pitch: man of principle deserving a new start --------------------------------------------- --------- ¶4. (C) Yanukovych was at pains to convey the sense that he was a man of principle who could be trusted to deliver on his word. From the very beginning of his life, starting as an orphan without a family, he had struggled to succeed, set a pattern of working hard in office as Donetsk governor -- all a very different background than Yushchenko's. On his/Regions first stint in power (2002-04), he stated: "we know our past and do not deny it, but now we must start from scratch and put the past behind." ¶5. (C) Yanukovych said he understood U.S. policy towards Kuchma; he claimed he personally had been embarrassed by Kuchma, but could not change him, and wanted to be seen separately from Kuchma. "Our views" had changed since 2004. Stating that he "harbored no grudge" towards the U.S. for having supported Yushchenko in the Presidential elections, he suggested that now a new history could be written with the U.S. He would be a good partner, fulfilling promises made. Ambassador noted that Washington had read his early October op-ed in the Washington Post and would indeed expect that he would follow-up. ¶6. (C) Note: Yanukovych's effort to burnish his reputation using personal anecdotes from his deprived childhood and brushes with the law followed closely in line with journalist Yuliya Mostova,s psychological portrait of Yanukovych provided to visiting A/S Fried in early September (reftel). On this occasion, Yanukovych shared two new anecdotes about his family being harassed by people "in black shirts and guns" which he claimed were police. The first (undated) involved his son. Someone had killed "a peasant," the corpse then thrown in front of his son,s car in an attempt to implicate him. His son swerved and did not hit the corpse but had been so unnerved that he fled temporarily to Russia. The second involved his wife, in 2005 when he was out of the country at a Czech spa. She was sitting in their courtyard, stroking their cat on her lap, when armed black-clad personnel burst in and allegedly hit her with the gun butt. His bodyguards, bigger than the intruders, appeared and ran them off. Yanukovych's intent in sharing these two stories was not entirely clear. Relations w/ Yushchenko: Cooperation preferred... --------------------------------------------- --- KYIV 00004187 002 OF 002 ¶7. (C) Yanukovych claimed he personally had sympathy for Yushchenko and hoped that they could find a way to cooperate, "but Yushchenko must change." Yanukovych's Regions team had skills to make government work that Yushchenko lacked. Yushchenko had a vision, but he was lazy; "if he worked for me, I would fire him." A partnership and a broad coalition made sense; they had a shared vision, but different electorates. Yushchenko competed with Tymoshenko and the nationalists, Regions with the Communists, Socialists, and Vitrenko. ¶8. (C) Yanukovych claimed that Regions wanted a strong President and would not push Yushchenko around if he worked in partnership. Yushchenko worried about losing his electorate if he struck a deal with Regions, but Tymoshenko would "bury him" he chose the other path. Yanukovych complained that Yushchenko was not seeing him regularly; they needed to meet more often, be seen shaking hands and speaking out together. There was still time to make a partnership work, but the window was closing; Yanukovych suggested resolution had to come by the end of the month. He asked Ambassador to help engage Yushchenko on partnership, claiming Yushchenko "owes the Americans his job." Ambassador replied that was nonsense. ...but ready for Confrontation ------------------------------ ¶9. (C) Yanukovych said the alternative to cooperation was clear. Yushchenko was gradually losing his representatives in the Cabinet; he suggested that could eventually include the MFA, MOD and the SBU chief (note: all Presidential appointees under the constitution). Yushchenko was creating friction by suspending CabMin resolutions and appealing them to the Court; this was increasing the radicalism in Regions, Rada faction. "I'm not a radical; I'm trying to keep those radicals down." Those radicals, along with some Our Ukraine and Tymoshenko bloc MPs, he claimed, had come to him the night previously (Nov. 1) regarding removal of Interior Minister Lutsenko. He thought he had dissuaded them, but they had initiated action in the Rada earlier that morning while he was meeting with the Kazakh Ambassador (note: Regions MPs voted unanimously in support of a motion by deputy Regions leader and firebrand Kushnaryev to investigate Lutsenko and recommend a two-month temporary suspension). ¶10. (C) Yanukovych noted that he had said several times he would not run for President. That would change, however, if Yushchenko forced through a Constitutional Court decision to overturn political reform which had devolved Presidential powers to the Premier, Cabinet, and Rada majority. Such a move, he warned, would end with Yushchenko leaving office early, either through early elections or impeachment. The overturn of political reform would not benefit Yushchenko anyway, claimed Yanukovych, since he was a one-term President. The only beneficiaries would be either Tymoshenko or himself. He noted that new elections could also mean a higher threshold - seven or nine percent - turning Ukraine into a two-party system (Regions and BYuT). Tabachnyk - distracted by a young, new wife? -------------------------------------------- ¶11. (C) Ambassador noted that Yanukovych's entire team was not on line with a shared vision of foreign policy and cooperation with the U.S., citing the recent article in the Russian newspaper "Rossiskiye Vesti" cosigned by DPM Tabachnyk and the paper's Ukrainian bureau chief. Yanukovych suggested that Tabachnyk may have cosigned the article without even reading it; Tabachnyk, according to Yanukovych, was currently in the Maldives with his new 22 year-old wife, not focusing on anything "but her." ¶12. (U) Visit Embassy Kyiv's classified website: www.state.sgov.gov/p/eur/kiev. Taylor