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Cablegate: E-Pine: Finland Commits to Send Observers To

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

C O N F I D E N T I A L HELSINKI 001132

SIPDIS

STATE FOR EUR/NB

E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/31/2014
TAGS: KNEI PGOV PREL PHUM FI OSCE
SUBJECT: E-PINE: FINLAND COMMITS TO SEND OBSERVERS TO
UKRAINE ELECTIONS

REF: SECSTATE 181293 (NOTAL)

Classified By: POLOFF DAVID ALLEN SCHLAEFER FOR REASONS 1.4 (B) and (D)

1. (C) Per reftel instructions, Pol Chief and Poloff
demarched Tuula Yrjola, the desk officer for Ukraine, and
Terhi Hakala, Director on the Unit for East Europe and
Central Asia, about the need for additional election
observers in Ukraine during upcoming elections. Poloffs
noted the interest Finland had expressed at the last e-PINE
PolDirs' meeting about democratization in Ukraine, and
stressed that this was an excellent opportunity to use the
e-PINE framework to advance our shared agenda in Kiev.
Hakala agreed, and said that Finland was prepared to commit
up to 4 election observers for the October first-round and
November run-off elections. She said that it would be
difficult to commit more than 4 since Finland had also been
asked to send observers to Minsk to cover Belorussian
elections during the same time period. However, Hakala said
that Finland was extremely interested in what happens in
Ukraine and would consider sending additional observers if
possible.

2. (C) Hakala and Yrjola also shared their views about the
upcoming Ukrainian elections. Hakala opined that while it
was unrealistic to hold out hope for "fair and free"
elections in Ukraine now, the GoF was at least looking for
progress toward that goal. She said the Finns take every
opportunity they can to stress to the Ukrainian government
the need for democratic reform. She said that Finnish
observers would be monitoring issues such as the incidence of
ballot stuffing, how much pressure there was on voters at
polling precincts to select certain candidates, and how much
pressure was put on the media (and the media's reaction) to
slant coverage of the candidates. Hakala said that it was
still unclear which of the two leading candidates would
likely win the election, although Yanukovych was clearly
Putin's choice, and this gave him a marked advantage. Both
Hakala and Yrjola said that a Yanoukovych victory would lead
to a realignment in the power balance among Ukraine's
organized crime/business "clans," and also likely lead to a
change in Ukraine's policy toward the EU.

3. (C) Yrjola said that the Ukrainian foreign minister
might visit Helsinki shortly before the October 14 e-PINE
meeting in Washington, and that the visit might profitably
inform the e-PINE discussion of Ukraine. Asked if she
thought there were any Ukraine-related projects that might
benefit from discussion under the e-PINE umbrella, Hakala
said that GoF wants to pay more attention to freedom of the
media, and plans to invite Ukrainian journalists to Helsinki
to learn some fundamentals. She said that it might be useful
to gather journalists from several FSU nations at once for an
English-language or Russian-language program.
MACK

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