6 березня 2012, 06:51

Хамелеон Тигипко и слияние партий Регион и Сильная Украина


Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin

10KYIV107 2010-01-22 13:48 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Kyiv



DE RUEHKV #0107/01 0221348


O 221348Z JAN 10








C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 KYIV 000107



E.O. 12958: DECL: 01/21/2020




Classified By: Ambassador John F. Tefft for Reasons 1.4 (b) and (d)

¶1. (C) Summary. Serhiy Tihipko may accept the position of

Prime Minister of Ukraine, but only if he is guaranteed

support from the new President and the Rada (parliament) to

tackle economic and administrative reforms, and only after

the presidential race concludes. Having just finished third

in Ukraine's January 17 first round presidential election,

Tihipko told the Ambassador that he would support neither

Yulia Tymoshenko nor Viktor Yanukovych prior to the February

7 second round vote. Tihipko said he had been underestimated

and unsupported by elites in Ukraine and abroad, but his lack

of political debts now provided him leverage and

independence, especially in ongoing negotiations with

Ukraine's major faction leaders and in his upcoming trip to

Moscow. End summary.



¶2. (C) Millionaire businessman and former Deputy Prime

Minister and National Bank Governor Serhiy Tihipko, who

placed third in Ukraine's January 17 first round presidential

election, told the Ambassador on January 21 that he would

"stay away from the fight" between Yanukovych and Tymoshenko

before the second round. Tihipko's primary rationale was

that he did not want to take responsibility for what either

candidate would say on the campaign trail. He noted that

both were "bad alternatives" for Ukraine, since neither alone

would make the "democratic changes and economic

modernizations" the country needed. Tihipko commented that

each had served as Prime Minister twice and had already

received plentiful chances. Voters were now faced with a

choice of the "lesser evil."

¶3. (C) Tihipko said there was a danger the second round

election results could be delayed due to litigation, and he

feared the courts would be unable to resolve the situation.

Tihipko said any extended delay or cancellation of the

election would be "bad for Ukraine but good for me." He

reasoned that if second round election results were cancelled

because of Party of Regions-BYuT fighting in the courts,

Ukrainians would vote in droves against both candidates in a

new election. Tihipko confidently projected that, in such an

instance, he would become Ukraine's next President, since the

country's population had learned that a vote cast for Tihipko

would not be wasted.

¶4. (C) Tihipko told the Ambassador that he had talked to

incumbent President Yushchenko earlier in the day about the

possibility of a declaration of emergency. Tihipko said he

would back Yushchenko if extreme post-election stasis

prevented an announcement of the second round results.

Noting that both he and the President "knew what to do and

where to support each other," Tihipko described Yushchenko as

a "democrat" who had retained enough support from the

population to make such a bold decision.



¶5. (C) Although he would not endorse Tymoshenko or

Yanukovych or accept either's offer to become Prime Minister

prior to the second round, Tihipko said he would continue to

"conduct all political negotiations." After the presidential

election, Tihipko said it was "possible" he could agree to

become Prime Minister, but only under very clear conditions.

He would need an 18-month "guarantee of support from the

President through the Rada" to allow him to undertake

"difficult steps."

¶6. (C) Tihipko reasoned that if Yanukovych won the

presidency, the Party of Regions would be able to construct a

coalition and remove Tymoshenko as Prime Minister.

Yanukovych would not need to call early elections to

accomplish this, since the Lytvyn and Our Ukraine blocs would

migrate to the new power center. Tihipko noted that talks in

the Rada were already underway, and that forming a new

coalition without pre-term parliamentary elections would be

"very easy to do," implying that this could result in his

premiership. Tihipko said a decision to hold pre-term Rada

elections would also work in his favor, since he expected to

gain about 15% of the seats in parliament in a snap vote.



KYIV 00000107 002 OF 003

¶7. (C) As an alternative to the post of Prime Minister,

Tihipko said he had entertained the idea of running for Kyiv

mayor in the May 2010 municipal elections, while working at

the same time to build his political party. This would

enable him to run again for President in five years with a

strong party infrastructure in place throughout the country.

¶8. (C) Tihipko thought Ukraine's oligarchs would now fully

support him, since they trusted he could prevent a calamitous

two or three-fold fall in assets prices that would result

from ongoing political instability. Above all else, Tihipko

believed Ukraine's elites respected him because he owed

favors to no one. Gesturing with his thumb and forefinger

together, Tihipko emphasized he had taken "zero, not one

kopek" from others and had funded his campaign entirely with

his own money. It was the best possible position for a

politician emerging onto the national stage.

¶9. (C) Tihipko said that he had approached the campaign like

a business proposition. He had laid out a strategy to target

voters, cultivated a message, and delivered a product. He

told the Ambassador he had sought to attract young, well

educated, urban entrepreneurs and government workers by

staying away from populism. This strategy had been developed

in consultation with French advisors in charge of political

party building, along with American experts from a U.S.-based

"democratic institute." Tihipko acknowledged that

American-style campaigns were the "future" of politics in

Ukraine, since Americans tended to take a more business-like

approach, though he admitted that the lack of a party

infrastructure and support network in the regions had hurt

his presidential campaign.



¶10. (C) Tihipko said he desired to be featured in Ukrainian

history as a reformer and that "he would not lose this

chance." His top priorities were the economic policy changes

the country needed to exit the crisis. Tihipko pledged to

balance the budget and get right with the IMF. Both steps

would be taken immediately, Tihipko said, sending prompt

signals to investors and foreign partners. Next, Tihipko

would focus on deregulation and tax reform to bring small and

medium firms "out of the shadows," where he said 40% of

business activity in Ukraine now resided. He would roll back

intrusive state inspections and streamline taxation to combat

corruption and bolster budget revenues.

¶11. (C) Tihipko also cited the need for energy,

agricultural, and transportation reforms. He told the

Ambassador he would immediately raise gas prices to levels

sufficient for cost recovery. It would not be necessary for

the next Prime Minister to "sell" such increases to the

public; the government "just needs to do it," while targeting

support for the most vulnerable populations. If people were

spoken to in an honest manner, Tihipko felt, there would be

no political backlash.

¶12. (C) Tihipko addressed the necessity to reform Naftohaz,

the state energy monopoly. He proposed first splitting the

company into two separate units, coinciding with its gas

transit and production functions. Then, Tihipko said,

Naftohaz should be turned into a joint stock company, with

Ukraine controlling 50%, and the remaining shares divided

evenly between the European Union (24.99%) and Russia

(24.99%). This would cause both East and West to take a

stake in the company's future, as well as diminish the demand

for alternative transit routes via the Nord and South Stream

pipelines. Tihipko proposed to use revenues from Naftohaz's

stock sale to modernize Ukraine's gas transit infrastructure,

as well as to pay off Naftohaz's mounting debts.

¶13. (C) Tihipko agreed with the Ambassador that Ukraine

could learn from steps Georgian President Saakashvili had

taken to lower corruption aQ reform Georgia's economy. Upon

hearing that Saakashvili still enjoyed an approval rating of

over 70%, Tihipko noted that Georgia's economy now ranked

among the world's most investor friendly. Tihipko added that

he was scheduled to meet with the Georgian ambassador later

in the day and was contemplating a visit to Georgia.



KYIV 00000107 003 OF 003

¶14. (C) Tihipko told the Ambassador that he planned to

travel to Russia in the coming days. He could "feel the

interest" of Moscow in his emergence as a leading politician.

Tihipko stated twice that he expected to be received "at the

highest level," noting that it was now easy for him to have

such consultations. Moscow had been even more skeptical than

Washington about his candidacy and had avoided engagement

until after the first round presidential election. Because

nobody had believed in him or helped his campaign (in Ukraine

or abroad), Tihipko said he could operate more independently

while holding talks with the Kremlin.

¶15. (C) Tihipko said Ukraine needed to improve relations

with Russia, but he felt "Russia always wanted to dominate."

Winning against Moscow meant being more competitive and

attractive to outsiders and having a better democracy and a

more open market economy. Tihipko was "afraid" both

Yanukovych and Tymoshenko misunderstand this and ultimately

would give into Russia. Such a conciliatory stance would

hurt both Ukraine and Russia, Tihipko felt, since Moscow was

prone to overplaying its hand. A Russian strategy of

domination would provoke a reaction "throughout all parts" of

Ukraine. If Russia did not follow a predictable, pragmatic

policy in the shared interests of Ukraine, there would be a

"second Maidan" – a reference to Kyiv's Independence Square

and the 2004 Orange Revolution.



¶16. (C) Ukraine's "Europe-oriented vector" would remain in

place, despite Russian attempts to constrain Kyiv, and

further EU integration was "priority number one" for the new

government, Tihipko said.
NATO expansion needed to wait

until relations between Washington and Moscow improved. In

any case, Tihipko could not imagine NATO expansion under

current Russian leadership, saying it would cause the Kremlin

to unleash a fifth column to destabilize Ukraine. Tihipko

would maintain cooperation with NATO to build Ukraine's

military to NATO standards. Any government public relations

campaign on NATO should focus less on membership accession

and more on military reform.



¶17. (C) Tihipko noted that he had enjoyed his recent

consultations in the U.S. He commented specifically about

his longstanding friendship with White House economic advisor

David Lipton, whom Tihipko said still served as a mentor and

sounding board. Tihipko mentioned that U.S. interlocutors

(specifically "former Ambassadors") had underestimated his

chances, but Moscow had underestimated him even more. He

said he hoped to visit the U.S. again soon to continue his




¶18. (C) Tihipko spoke in fluent, flawless Ukrainian with the

Ambassador, a language he has increasingly used in media

appearances during and since the presidential campaign. In

prior meetings with embassy officials and in speeches at

economic conferences, Tihipko had interacted solely in


¶19. (C) Leaning forward and communicating earnestly, Tihipko

engaged the Ambassador throughout the conversation,

responding succinctly to questions. His style of speech was

direct and without any unnecessary flourishes, except at the

outset when he went out of his way to praise the assistance

of U.S. government officials during Ukraine's economic




¶20. (C) Tihipko was in full command of his political

strategy, as well as his priority reform items, revealing how

his background as a banker and business leader would inform

his approach to the post of Prime Minister. While he

appeared to take satisfaction in his new found popularity,

his attacks on both Tymoshenko and Yanukovych showed that any

compromise with either could be fraught with tensions.



Thursday, August 5, 2010

Tigipko to be Yanukovych's Successor as Party of Regions Leader

By Taras Kuzio

In an interview in Kyiv's Segodnya Nestor Shufrych revealed that the gas lobby is financing Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Tigipko as a future leader of the Party of Regions to replace Viktor Yanukovych and Nikolai Azarov. Azarov and Yanukovych have shared leadership of the Party of Regions since it was established in 2001 and are now 62 and 60 years old, respectively.

Tigipko was the dark horse of the 2010 presidential elections, coming in third place as an allegedly 'new face candidate' with thirteen percent of the vote. Ukrainians joke that Tigipko and Tymoshenko were both born in 1960 and both entered politics in 1998 but somehow the former is a 'new face' and the latter an 'old hand'.

The RUE's (RosUkrEnergo) support for Tigipko is not out of character as it also initially invested in Arseniy Yatseniuk, who came fourth with seven percent, as another 'new face' in the early part of the 2010 election campaign. Yatseniuk – like Tigipko – was seen as the best alternative to Tymoshenko, whom the Party of Regions sees as the main opposition and threat to its interests. In a recent Ukrayinska Pravda interview Levochkin praised Yatseniuk, Tigipko and some other minor opposition politicians as exhibiting future potential but ignored Tymoshenko.

Both Yatseniuk and Tigipko have always supported a 'constructive opposition' stance, a peculiar mid-way position between being in power and in opposition, that does not exist in a typical European democracy. Tymoshenko has described 'constructivists' as a 'pocket opposition' loyal to the authorities.

Following the 2010 elections Tigipko agreed to join the Azarov government, after initially stating he would not, while Yatseniuk remained in 'constructive opposition'. 'Constructivists' like Yatseniuk have refused to join the Committee in Defence of Ukraine, established in May as an umbrella opposition group. One reason could be Yatseniuk's new source of funding being Deputy Prime Minister Borys Kolesnykov, a fact revealed to the author by a Ukrainian political consultant once close to Yatseniuk.

Yatseniuk has admitted that Viktor Pinchuk, Ukraine's second wealthiest oligarch and Kuchma's son-in-law, provided his 2010 election campaign with the largest amount of financing. In return, Pinchuk demanded in June 2009 that Yatseniuk replace his Ukrainian with Russian political consultants that proved to be disastrous and reduced his popularity.

Conspiracy theorists, such as the political consultant who talked with the author on the condition of anonymity, believed the switch to Russian consultants was undertaken deliberately to open up space for Tigipko as a late 'new face' candidate. With Shufrych revealing the Party of Regions future plans for Tigipko, we now know why the Yanukovych campaign wanted Tigipko to do well in this year's elections. Yatseniuk, who in the early part of the campaign was only a few percentage points behind Tymoshenko and could have therefore entered the second round, ended up in fourth place, receiving only half of Tigipko's vote.

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