10MOSCOW315, RUSSIAN PUBLIC REACTIONS TO UKRAINE ELECTIONS

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
10MOSCOW315 2010-02-12 13:52 2011-08-30 01:44 UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY Embassy Moscow

VZCZCXRO2543
RR RUEHIK
DE RUEHMO #0315/01 0431352
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 121352Z FEB 10
FM AMEMBASSY MOSCOW
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 6212
INFO RUEHXD/MOSCOW POLITICAL COLLECTIVE
RUCNCIS/CIS COLLECTIVE
RUEHZG/NATO EU COLLECTIVE

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 MOSCOW 000315 
 
SENSITIVE 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958:  N/A 
TAGS: PREL PGOV UP RS
 
SUBJECT: RUSSIAN PUBLIC REACTIONS TO UKRAINE ELECTIONS 
 
MOSCOW 00000315  001.2 OF 002 
 
 
1.  (SBU) Summary:  The Russian press and analysts in public 
statements overwhelmingly welcomed Viktor Yanukovych's victory in 
the February 7 presidential run-off elections in Ukraine, although 
they do not expect Yanukovych to be a pro-Russian push-over.  Some 
see his victory as the end of Orange revolution ideas, while others 
enviously point to Ukraine's freedom of choice as a fruit of the 
revolution.  Almost all expect Yanukovych to continue Ukraine's 
course towards western integration (apart from NATO).  In the eyes 
of some, Yulia Tymoshenko's political career has passed its prime. 
End Summary. 
 
--------------- 
Congratulations 
--------------- 
 
2.  (SBU) Despite the close result of the February 7 Ukrainian 
presidential run-off elections and allegations from second-placed 
Yulia Tymoshenko about fraud, Russia has recognized the results of 
elections.  On February 9, President Medvedev congratulated Viktor 
Yanukovych on what the Kremlin cautiously phrased as the "completion 
of the election campaign" and Yanukovych's success in the 
presidential elections.  The MFA issued a statement hoping that the 
new administration of "friendly Ukraine" will develop 
good-neighborly relations with Russia.  Patriarch Kirill, leader of 
the Russian Orthodox Church, congratulated Yanukovych on his victory 
and praised Yanukovych for having the talent and experience to 
justify the trust placed in him.  Although State Duma Speaker Boris 
Gryzlov suggested that Yanukovych should only be congratulated after 
his inauguration, Vladimir Zhirinovsky, leader of the Liberal 
Democratic Party, was among the first to congratulate Yanukovych. 
He also sent a consolation letter to Tymoshenko. 
 
3.  (SBU) Russian political analysts such as Duma Deputy Konstantin 
Zatulin agreed with Presidential adviser Viktor Chernomyrdin that 
mass protests against the results of election were unlikely.  Former 
State Duma deputy Vladimir Ryzhkov stated publicly that if Russia, 
the U.S., and the EU all recognized Yanukovych's victory, there 
would be no chance for street protests. 
 
----------------- 
Orange Revolution 
----------------- 
 
4.  (SBU) Pundits are divided over whether Yanukovych's victory 
spells the defeat of the Orange Revolution.  Ryzhkov thought the 
elections confirmed the principles of the Orange Revolution because 
it showed Ukraine possessed freedom of speech and competitive 
elections.  Matvey Ganapolskiy on the independent radio station Ekho 
Moskviy praised Ukrainians for being free to choose anyone they 
liked to be Ukrainian president. 
 
5.  (SBU) Zatulin said Yanukovych's victory showed the "orange color 
has lost appeal much faster than the red", and accused the Orange 
Revolution parties of splitting the country.  Pro-government daily 
Izvestia noted that the revolutionary fervor of five years ago was 
gone. 
 
--------------------- 
Yanukovych's policies 
--------------------- 
 
6.  (SBU) Although the chairman of the Russian State Duma 
International Affairs Committee, Konstantin Kosachev, praised 
Yanukovych on Russian Defense Ministry-controlled Zvezda TV for 
"aspiring to become a national leader," analysts are not all 
starry-eyed about Yanukovych.  Former Head of Russian Presidential 
Administration Internal Policy Directorate Modesty Kolerov called 
Yanukovych a weak politician who will not be able to maintain his 
achievements, due to his need to balance between Western and Eastern 
Ukraine, Russia and the West, nationalists and Russian-speakers, and 
various business groups. 
 
7.  (SBU) Almost all experts and politicians expect Yanukovych to 
continue Ukraine's course towards western integration, albeit 
without anti-Russian rhetoric.  Chief editor of the academic journal 
"Russia in Global Politics", Fedor Lukyanov, believes that 
Yanukovych will continue former president Kuchma's policy -- "very 
careful movement toward the West, but with curtsies in the direction 
of Russia" -- in part to secure budgetary assistance from both 
sides.  General Director of the Center for Political Technologies 
Igor Bunin predicts renewed bargaining with Russia over gas prices, 
but agreed with Sergei Strokan's Kommersant op-ed that Yanukovych's 
"gas blackmail" will be less dramatic than Belarus'.  Deputy General 
Director of the Center for Political Technologies Boris Makarenko 
suggested that Russia could strengthen its relations with Ukraine by 
deepening its own cooperation with the EU. 
 
8.  (SBU) In contrast, Leonid Slutsky, First Deputy Chairman of the 
Committee on International Affairs of the Duma, went as far as to 
 
MOSCOW 00000315  002.2 OF 002 
 
 
suggest that Yanukovych might seek the "integration" of the Ukraine 
with Russia. 
 
---------- 
Tymoshenko 
---------- 
 
9.  (SBU) Kosachev said that Tymoshenko's unwillingness to concede 
was a test of her commitment to democracy.  He accused he
r, like 
President Yushchenko, of acting in the interest of her party and not 
Ukraine's national interest.  Many Russian experts agree that 
Tymoshenko used her administrative resources in Western Ukraine to 
inflate her vote.  Duma Deputy Sergey Markov, who was a member of 
the State Duma delegation of election observers, suggested 2.5 
percent of ballots in Tymoshenko's favor were fraudulent.  Igor 
Bunin believed her campaign was too aggressive, and focused on ideas 
only popular in Western Ukraine.  Examples are the glorification of 
Stepan Bandera and other nationalist movements.  Although Lukyanov 
said Tymoshenko has passed the peak of her political career due to 
excessive political maneuvering, she remains a force to be reckoned 
with.  Boris Nemtsov of the Solidarity opposition movement suggested 
Yanukovych would face a powerful opposition in the person of 
Tymoshenko, saying Tymoshenko is more at home in opposition than in 
the Cabinet of Ministers. 
 
BEYRLE

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