||This biographical article needs additional citations for verification. (March 2012)|
|4th President of Ukraine|
25 February 2010
|Prime Minister||Mykola Azarov|
|Preceded by||Viktor Yushchenko|
|Prime Minister of Ukraine|
4 August 2006 – 18 December 2007
|Preceded by||Yuriy Yekhanurov|
|Succeeded by||Yulia Tymoshenko|
21 November 2002 – 24 January 2005
|Preceded by||Anatoliy Kinakh|
|Succeeded by||Yulia Tymoshenko|
|Governor of Donetsk|
14 May 1997 – 21 November 2002
|Preceded by||Volodymyr Shcherban|
|Succeeded by||Anatoliy Blyzniuk|
|Born||Viktor Fedorovych Yanukovych
9 July 1950
Yenakiieve, Ukrainian SSR, Soviet Union
|Political party||Communist Party of Ukraine (Soviet Union) (Before 1991)1
Party of Regions (2003–2010)
|Alma mater||Donetsk National Technical University
Ukrainian Academy of Foreign Trade
Viktor Fedorovych Yanukovych (Ukrainian: Ві́ктор Фе́дорович Януко́вич, listen (help·info); Russian: Виктор Фёдорович Янукович; born 9 July 1950) is a Ukrainian politician who has been the President of Ukraine since February 2010.
Yanukovych served as the Governor of Donetsk Oblast from 1997 to 2002. Subsequently he was Prime Minister of Ukraine from 21 November 2002, to 31 December 2004, under President Leonid Kuchma, and he was an unsuccessful candidate in the 2004 presidential election, ultimately losing to Viktor Yushchenko. Yanukovych continued to lead his party, the Party of Regions, after the 2004 election, and he served as Prime Minister for a second time from 4 August 2006, to 18 December 2007 under President Yushchenko. On 3 March 2010, Yanukovych transferred the leadership of the party to Mykola Azarov.23
Yanukovych won most votes in the first round of the January 2010 presidential election, and faced Yulia Tymoshenko in the second round of the election.45 Yanukovych won the second round of the election with 48.95% of the vote against Tymoshenko's 45.47%.6
- 1 Early life
- 2 Criminal convictions
- 3 Career
- 4 Political career: 1996–2010
- 5 Presidency
- 6 Political positions
- 7 Personal life
- 8 Cultural and political image
- 9 See also
- 10 Further reading
- 11 Notes
- 12 References
- 13 External links
Viktor Yanukovych was born in the village of Zhukovka near Yenakiieve in Donetsk Oblast, Ukrainian SSR, Soviet Union. He had a very hard childhood, on which he commented by saying: "My childhood was difficult and hungry. I grew up without my mother who died when I was two. I went around bare-footed on the streets. I had to fight for myself every day."7 Yanukovych is not ethnically Ukrainian, but rather of Russian, Polish,89 and Belarusian descent. Yanukovych is a surname of Belarusian origin;10 Yanuk1112 being a derivative of the Catholic name Yan (“John”).101314 His mother was a Russian nurse, who died when Yanukovych was two years old, and his father was a Polish-Belarusian locomotive driver, originally from Yanuki, Vitsebsk Voblast.1516 By the time he was a teenager, Yanukovych had lost both his parents and was brought up by his Polish paternal grandmother, originally from Warsaw. His grandfather and great-grandparents were Lithuanian-Poles. Yanukovych has half-sisters from his father's remarriage, but he has no contact with them.17
On 15 December 1967, at the age of 17, Yanukovych was sentenced to three years incarceration for participating in a robbery and assault.18 The sentence was later reduced to 18 months as part of the amnesty announced in commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the October Revolution. The court did not show Yanukovych clemency, a practice common for young, first-time offenders. At the court trial Yanukovych pleaded guilty and did not appeal his sentence even though he had the chance to do so at the expense of the state.citation needed
On 8 June 1970 he was convicted for a second time on charges of assault and was sentenced to two years of imprisonment. The verdict was not appealed. Decades later, Yanukovych characterized his arrests and incarceration as "errors of youth".19
On 11 July 2005, the office of the Donetsk Oblast Prosecutor charged Mr. Yanukovych with fraud20 stemming alleged irregularities in the way his convictions were expunged twenty years earlier.21 In 2006 the General Prosecutor of Ukraine closed the case due to lack of evidence.22 In 2006 a criminal charge was filed for the falsification of documents regarding the alleged quashing of Yanukovych's prior convictions after it was discovered that two documents had been forged. The signature of the judge in Yanukovych's case had also been forged as a charge of battery.1819 The charge failed because all documentation regarding the conviction had been destroyed due to its expiry.citation needed However, there were no official records regarding the destruction of these documents.original research?
On 29 January 2010 the Prosecutor General of Ukraine Oleksandr Medvedko claimed that Yanukovych was unlawfully jailed in his youth, which astonished the (then) Minister of Internal Affairs Yuriy Lutsenko.2324
In 1972, Yanukovych took a job as an electrician in a local bus company and later enrolled and completed a technicum course.citation needed In July 1974, he succeeded in enrolling into the Donetsk Polytechnic Institute with his first application. In 1974 under strange circumstances he participated in an auto race in Monaco.dubious citation needed In 1976, as a second-year student, he was promoted to director of a small trucking division within the Ordzhonikidzeugol coal mining company.25 In 1980, he graduated (by correspondence) from the institute, with a major in mechanical engineering.citation needed Immediately upon graduation, Yanukovych was appointed chief manager of a transportation company in Yenakiieve and admitted to the Communist Party of the Soviet Union.citation needed His appointment as the chief manager marked the start of his managerial career as a regional transport executive, a position in which he served for two decades.7 Amongst the companies he has worked for have been: Donbasstransremont, Ukrugolpromtrans, and the complex Donetskavtotrans.citation needed
Yanukovych's political career began when he was appointed as a Vice-Head of Donetsk Oblast Administration in August 1996. On 14 May 1997 he was appointed as the Head of the Administration (i.e. Governor).26 Between May 1999 and May 2001 he was also the Head of Donetsk Oblast Council.
In 1980, at the age of 30, Yanukovych completed tertiary studies in mechanical engineering as a correspondence student at the Donetsk Politechnical Institute. In 2001, at the age of 51, he received his Masters in International Law from the Ukrainian Academy of Foreign Trade. The President's site also states that he is an Academic of the Academy of Economic Sciences of Ukraine, Doctor of Economic Sciences, and a Professor.27 In 1999, while in the position of vice head of the Donetsk Oblast Administration, not yet having completed his masters degree, received the honorary title of docent (lecturer) of the (nonexistent) Faculty of Automobile Transport at the Donetsk State Academy of Administration; a tertiary education establishment that specialised in Economics and Management.28 Students of the academy testify that such a faculty did not exist, nor do they remember Yanukovych reading any lectures.28
In 2000, it is reported that Yanukovych received the academic credential of Doctor Habilitatus of Science. In order to receive this academic credential, apart from his dissertation, Yanukovych needed to publish at least ten papers, to prepare five students for their doctoral defense and to be actively involved in academic work. No evidence that he fulfilled these requirements can be found.28
From December 2000 to February 2004, while in the position of Ukrainian Premier, it is stated that Yanukovych headed the faculty of Innovative management at the Donetsk State University of management.29
In 2001, while in the position of Governor General of the Donetsk Oblast it is reported that Yanukovych graduated from the Ukrainian Academy of Foreign Trade as a Master of International Law. However, very few of the then-enrolled students remember him in classes, taking exams, or attending graduation.30 Yanukovych was further grantedby whom? the titles of Professor in Economics.31
The Vernadsky National Library of Ukraine's electronic catalog has a list of 23 publications, text books, and monographs with Yanukovych listed as author. However, on further investigationby whom? the library does not have any copies of the above-mentioned works. The Academy where they were prepared and apparently printed also has no record of the said publications.28
In order to receive the academic title of professor, one needs to lecture for at least 10 years and to publish a number scientific articles in internationally accredited peer publications.28 It remains unknownweasel words how he could have allegedly fulfilled these duties in addition to serving as governor.32
Yanukovych is also a "professor" of the International Academy of Sciences, Education, Industry and Arts, registered to a P.O. Box in Mountain View, California.33
Apart from his academic credentials, Yanukovych has the military rank of major, however, there is no record of him serving in the military.32
President Leonid Kuchma appointed Yanukovych to the post of Prime Minister following Anatoliy Kinakh's resignation.34 Yanukovych began his term as Prime Minister on 21 November 2002 following a 234-vote confirmation in the Verkhovna Rada, only 8 more than needed.3536 Under Yanukovych, the government began to pay more attention to reforming the coal industry.
In foreign affairs, Yanukovych's cabinet was considered to be politically close to Russia, although declaring support for Ukrainian membership in the European Union. Although Yanukovych's parliamentary coalition was not supporting Ukrainian membership in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), his cabinet agreed the commission of Ukrainian troops to the Iraq War in support of the United States' War on Terrorism.
In 2004, as the Prime Minister, Yanukovych participated in the controversial Ukrainian presidential election as the Party of Regions candidate. Yanukovych's main base of support emerged from the southern and eastern regions of Ukraine, which favor close ties with neighbouring Russia. In the first round of voting held on 31 October 2004, Yanukovych took second place with 39.3 percent of the votes to opposition leader Viktor Yuschenko with 39.8 percent. Because no candidate passed the 50 percent threshold, a second round of voting was scheduled.
The third place candidate, with 5.82% of the vote, was the Socialist Party's Oleksandr Moroz, a leader of the anti-Kuchma movement and opponent of the Ukraine's NATO-membership attempts. In fourth place was the Communist Party's Petro Simonenko, with 4.97%. In fifth place was the Progressive Socialists' Natalia Vitrenko with 1.53%. Vitrenko endorsed Yanukovych and Moroz endorsed Yushchenko for the second round of elections; Simonenko did not endorse any of the candidates, however, and so Yushchenko became the favourite to win. In the second round of the election, Yanukovych was initially declared the winner. However, the legitimacy of the election was questioned by many Ukrainians, international organizations, and foreign governments following allegations of electoral fraud. The second round of the election was subsequently annulled by the Supreme Court of Ukraine, and in the repeated run-off, Yanukovych lost to Yushchenko with 44.2 percent to Yushchenko's 51.9 percent.37
After the election, the Ukrainian parliament passed a non-binding motion of no confidence to his government, urging outgoing President Leonid Kuchma to dismiss Yanukovych and appoint a caretaker government. Five days after his electoral defeat, Yanukovych declared his resignation from the post of Prime Minister. In November 2009 Yanukovych stated that he conceded defeat only to avoid violence. "I didn't want mothers to lose their children and wives their husbands. I didn't want dead bodies from Kiev to flow down the Dnipro. I didn't want to assume power through bloodshed."38
Following his electoral defeat in 2004, Yanukovych led the main opposition party against the Tymoshenko government made up of Yushchenko's Our Ukraine, the Yulia Tymoshenko Bloc, and Oleksandr Moroz's Socialist Party. This government was marred by growing conflict between Yushchenko and Tymoshenko. Yanukovych's Party of Regions support allowed for the establishment of Yuriy Yekhanurov's government in late 2005.citation needed
In October 2004, Ukrainian deputy Hryhory Omelchenko accused Yanukovych of having been a member of "a group of individuals who brutally beat and raped a woman, but bought off the victim and the criminal case was closed".39 The press-service of the Ukrainian Cabinet asserted that Yanukovych suffered for the attempt to defend a girl from hooligans.citation needed
In January 2006, the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Ukraine started an official investigation of the allegedly false acquittal of the criminal convictions which Yanukovych received in his youth. Yuriy Lutsenko, the head of the ministry, announced that forensic tests proved the forgery of the respective documents (issued in instead of 1978) and initially claimed that lack of the formal acquittal precluded Yanukovych from running for the seat in the 2006 parliamentary election.40 However, the latter statement was corrected within days by Lutsenko himself who conceded that the outcome of the investigation into the legality of the Yanukovych's acquittal could not affect his eligibility to run for the parliament seat since the deprivation of his civil rights due to the past convictions would have expired anyway due to the statute of limitations.4142 Viktor Yanukovych's Party of Regions won the 2006 Ukrainian parliamentary election. These elections determined the next government's makeup as, due to constitutional changes that came into force on 1 January 2006, the Prime Minister and his cabinet were now appointed by the parliament.citation needed Having ruled out any post-election deals with the parties headed by either Yushchenko or former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, Yanukovych was given an opportunity as squabbling between Yushchenko and Tymoshenko failed to produce a government for weeks, though deals restoring Tymoshenko to the premiership appeared at times to be completed. Yushchenko insisted that one of his allies become speaker of the Rada, even though Oleksandr Moroz coveted the post. Yanukovych offered Moroz the post of speaker, permitting Yanukovych to establish a new government with the Socialist Party and Petro Simonenko's Communist Party. As the presidency maintained control of foreign affairs and defence despite the weakening of its powers under the amended constitution, Yanukovych had to assure that he would not interfere with the president's pro-Western international ambitions.citation needed Yushchenko commissioned Yanukovych to form a government in cooperation with his own Our Ukraine party on 3 August 2006 (several hours after the deadline for doing so expired).citation needed
In 2006 a criminal charge was made for the falsification of documents regarding the retraction of Yanukovych's prior conviction.peacock term According to Rossiyskaya Gazeta two documents had been forged regarding Yanukovych's robbery in association with rape and assault and battery. The signature of the judge for these documents in Yanukovych's retraction was also forged. .1819
In the parliamentary elections on 30 September 2007, the Party of Regions won 175 out of 450 seats (34.37 percent of the votes) in the Verkhovna Rada. Despite increasing its overall percentage of support compared to the 2006 election (when it was 32.14 percent), the party lost 130,000 votes and 11 parliamentary seats.44 This was due in part to the Socialist Party, a coalition ally, just missing the threshold of votes required to enter parliament. After the Our Ukraine and the Yulia Tymoshenko Bloc formed a coalition government on 18 December 2007, the Party of Regions went into the opposition.citation needed
In 2009, Yanukovych announced his intent to run for President in the upcoming presidential election.45 He was endorsed by the Party of Regions.46 In December 2009 Yanukovych's candidacy was also endorsed by the Youth Party of Ukraine.47
During the campaign Yanukovych declared he didn't see any opportunity for Yulia Tymoshenko to be Prime Minister if he is elected the president.48 On 9 December 2009 opposition leader Yanukovych stated that he would consider holding new parliamentary elections in March if a majority coalition cannot be quickly formed after his election as president49 because incumbent Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko "has her own program, and I do not think that she would agree to implement somebody else's. And what is even more important, even if she agrees, I won't believe her; President [Viktor] Yuschenko believed her twice, and she deceived him, I don't and can't have any confidence in Tymoshenko".50
In November 2009, Italian singer and composer Toto Cutugno accused the writers of the pro-Yanukovych song "Leader" written for the 2010 campaign of plagiarism of his song "Ti amo". Yanukovych distanced himself from the song, saying "I have heard nothing and I have ordered nothing".53
On 11 December 2009 Yanukovych stated that his Party of Regions possesses information that "government representatives are currently "motivating" the chairmen of election commissions and seeking options for victory in every possible way" and called for his supporters go to the Maidan Nezalezhnosti in case of election fraud.54
Early vote returns from the first round of the election held on 17 January showed Yanukovych in first place with 35.8% of the vote.4 He faced a 7 February 2010 runoff against Tymoshenko, who finished second (with 24.7% of the vote). Analysts predicted a slight advantage for Tymoshenko in the second (and final) round as she was more likely to attract voters from the other 16 candidates who did not proceed to the second round.55 Viktor Yanukovych refused before the second round of voting to hold debates with his opponent, saying Yulia Tymoshenko should either take responsibility for every word as prime minister, or go to the kitchen.56 After all ballots were counted the Ukrainian Central Election Commission declared that Yanukovych won the election with 48.95% of the vote compared with 45.47% for Tymoshenko.6 Yulia Tymoshenko Bloc members immediately claimed that there was systematic and large-scale vote rigging in this run-off.57585960 On 10 February 2009 Yanukovych called on Tymoshenko to abandon her protests and resign as Prime Minister.60 On 9 February 2010 Yanukovych had stated that Borys Kolesnykov was his preferred next Prime Minister of Ukraine. According to him pre-term parliamentary elections will be imminent if the Ukrainian parliament would not work effectively. Yanukovych also stated that, as the largest faction in the parliament at the time, his party was entitled to nominate the premier.61 On 15 February Yanukovych stated "I do not rule out the candidature of Tigipko (as next Prime Minister). Tigipko is on the list which, in my opinion, will be discussed next week in parliament".62
On 16 February 2010 Ukraine's parliament had fixed 25 February 2010 for the inauguration of Yanukovych as president.63 On 17 February 2010 "the Higher Administrative Court of Ukraine", suspended the results of the election on Yulia Tymoshenko's appeal.6465 On 20 February 2010 Tymoshenko withdrew her appeal after "the Higher Administrative Court of Ukraine" rejected her petition to scrutinize documents:66
— about 300,000 voters who voted but were not in the "Register of Voters of Ukraine";
— about 1.3 million voters who "without right" voted in their homes;
— about falsification in the election in the eastern regions (Donetsk, Luhansk, Kharkiv region, Crimea, etc.) — fixed by law-enforcement officials.67
Tymoshenko stated : "I and my political party will never recognize Yanukovych as the legitimately elected president of Ukraine"; "an honest court will assess that Yanukovych was not elected President of Ukraine, and that the will of the people had been rigged".68
Public Opinion Polls predicted the Party of Regions and Viktor Yanukovych's win in the 2010 Presidential election, which he won in the second round ballot against Yulia Tymoshenko in February 2010. According to an article in Kyiv Post in November 2009, Yanukovych's popularity in the Donbass was fading and Donbass voters voted mainly for Yanukovych to keep Tymoshenko from power.69
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Ukraine's parliament had (on 16 February) fixed 25 February 2010 for the inauguration of Yanukovych as president.63 Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko signed a decree endorsing a plan of events related to Yanukovych's inauguration on 20 February 2010.70 Yushchenko also congratulated and wished Yanukovych "to defend Ukrainian interests and democratic traditions" at the presidential post.71
Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Rus at Yanukovych's invitation conducted a public prayer service at Kiev Pechersk Lavra before Yanukovych's presidential inauguration.73 Patriarch Kirill also attended the inauguration74 along with High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Catherine Ashton, United States National Security Advisor James Jones and speaker of the Russian parliament Boris Gryzlov.7576
The event was attended by many foreign dignitaries.78
Yanukovych wanted to oust the second Tymoshenko Government.7980 On 21 February 2010 Yanukovych did offer three candidates for Prime Minister: Sergiy Tigipko, Our Ukraine faction member Arseniy Yatsenyuk and Party of Regions lawmaker Mykola Azarov.79 The second Tymoshenko Government fell on 3 March 2010 after the Verkhovna Rada (Ukrainian Parliament) had passed a motion of no confidence in the Government.81
On 3 March 2010 Yanukovych suspended his membership in the Party of Regions. Yanukovych was barred by the Constitution from heading a political party,82 and handed over leadership in the party and its parliamentary faction to Mykola Azarov.83
Amid controversy Ukrainian lawmakers formed a new coalition on 11 March 2010 which included Bloc Lytvyn, Communist Party of Ukraine and Party of regions that led to the Azarov Government.85 235 deputies from the 450-member parliament signed the coalition agreement.86
During the 2010 Nuclear Security Summit Yanukovych announced that Ukraine would give up its 90-kilogram stock of highly enriched uranium and convert its research reactors from highly enriched to low-enriched uranium. It intends to accomplish these goals by 2012.87
On 21 April 2010 in Kharkiv Yanukovych and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev signed the 2010 Ukrainian–Russian Naval Base for Natural Gas treaty whereby the Russian lease on naval facilities in Crimea would be extended beyond 2017 by 25 years with an additional 5-year renewal option (to 2042–47) in exchange for a multi-year discounted contract to provide Ukraine with Russian natural gas. This treaty was approved by both the Russian and Ukrainian parliaments (Verkhovna Rada) on 27 April 2010.88 On 22 April Yanukovych stated he does not rule out the possibility of holding a referendum on the stationing of the Russian Black Sea Fleet in Ukraine after the necessary legislative framework is adopted for this in future. Yanukovych did plan to hold plebiscites also on other subjects.89 Opposition members have accused Yanukovych of "selling out national interests".90 According to Yanukovych the main priority of his foreign policy is to integrate Ukraine "into the European mainstream", while improving relations with Russia.90 According to Yanukovych the only way out of holding the state budget deficit down, as requested by the International Monetary Fund, while protecting pensioners and minimal wages was to extend the Russian Navy lease in Crimea in exchange for cheaper natural gas.90
During Spring 2010 Ukrainian journalists and Reporters Without Borders complained of censorship by Yanukovych's Presidential Administration; despite statements by Yanukovych how deeply he values press freedom and that ‘free, independent media that must ensure society’s unimpeded access to information.’91 Anonymous journalists stated early May 2010 that they were voluntarily tailoring their coverage so as not to offend the Yanukovych administration and the Azarov Government.92 The Azarov Government,93 the Presidential Administration and Yanukovych himself denied being involved with censorship.9495 In a press conference 12 May 2010 President Yanukovych’s representative in the Verkhovna Rada Yury Miroshnychenko stated that Yanukovych is against political repression for criticism of the regime.96
On 30 November 2010 Yanukovych vetoed a new tax code made by the Azarov Government and earlier approved by the Verkhovna Rada but protested against in rallies across Ukraine (one of the largest protests since the 2004 Orange Revolution).9899100 Yanukovych signed an new Tax Code on 3 December 2010.101
Yanukovych set in motion a set of administrative reform with the aim to reduce the number of civil servants in Ukraine early December 2010.102103104 According to Yanukovych this is part of a "course of reforms aimed at deep and comprehensive modernization of Ukraine".105 One of the planned reforms is decentralization.106 The fight against corruption is also a spearhead in his domestic policies.84107108 He also promised reforms on 21 directions in 2011.84
President Yanukovych and the Party of Regions have been accused of trying to create a "controlled democracy" in Ukraine and as a means to this are trying to "destroy" main opposition party BYuT, but both have denied these charges.109110110111112113114115116117118119 One frequently cited example of Yankukovych's attempts to centralize power is the 2011 sentencing of Yulia Tymoshenko, which has been condemned by Western governments as potentially being politically motivated.120121 Other high-profile political opponents currently under criminal investigation include Leonid Kuchma,122 Bogdan Danilishin, Igor Didenko,123 Anatoliy Makarenko,124 and Valeriy Ivaschenko.125 According to Yanukovych (on 4 February 2011) "many lies told and attempts made to misinform the international community and ordinary people in Ukraine about the true state of affairs in the country"; he also stated "a crushing blow delivered under his rule to corruption and bureaucracy has been met with resistance".84 He did state in February 2012 the trial of Tymoshenko and other former officials "didn't meet European standards and principles".126
Social benefit cuts for Chernobyl rescue workers, small business owners and veterans of the Soviet war in Afghanistan caused fierce protests in Kiev in October/November 2011 by several thousand protesters.127128
For 2012 he predicted "social standards will continue to grow" and "improvement of administrative services system will continue".129130131 Yanukovich announced $2 billion worth of pension and other welfare increases on 7 March 2012.132133134
In May 2012 Yanukovych set up the Constitutional Assembly of Ukraine; a special auxiliary agency under the President for drawing up bills of amendments to the Constitution of Ukraine; the President then can table them in parliament.135
By January 2013, more than half of the ministers appointed by Yanukovych were either born in the Donbas region or made some crucial part of their careers there, and Yanukovych has been criticized for "regional cronyism" for his staffing of police, judiciary, and tax services "all over Ukraine" with "Donbas people".136 Over 46% of the budget subventions for social and economic development was allotted to the Donbas region's Donetsk Oblast and Luhansk Oblast administrations – 0.62 billion UAH ($76.2 million) versus 0.71 UAH ($87.5 million) for the rest of the country.137
Yanukovych's first foreign visit was to Brussels to visit European Union (EU) officials President of the European Council Herman Van Rompuy and Ashton.76139 During the visit Yanukovych stated that there would be no change to Ukraine's status as a member of the NATO outreach program.140
During his second foreign visit to Moscow in March, Yanukovych vowed to end years of acrimony with Russia, saying that ties between Russia and Ukraine "should never be the way they were for the past five years". He indicated that he was open to compromise with Russia on the Black Sea Fleet's future (this led to the April 2010 Ukrainian–Russian Naval Base for Natural Gas treaty), and reiterated that Ukraine would remain a "European, non-aligned state", referring to NATO membership.141 Both Russian President Dmitry Medvedev (April 2010142) and Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin (June 2010143) soon stated they noticed a big improvement in relations with Ukraine since Yanukovych's presidency.
On 3 June 2010, the Ukrainian parliament excluded, in a bill written by Yanukovych, with 226 votes, Ukrainian membership of any military bloc, but allowed for co-operation with military alliances such as NATO.144145 A day later Yanukovych stated that the recognition of the independence of Abkhazia, South Ossetia and Kosovo violates international law, "I have never recognized Abkhazia, South Ossetia or Kosovo's independence. This is a violation of international law".146
On 22 November 2010 the European Council and Ukraine announced "an action plan for Ukraine toward the establishment of a visa-free regime for short-stay travel".147 In May 2011 Yanukovych stated that he will strive for Ukraine to join the EU.148 Yanukovych's stance towards integration with the EU has, according to The Economist, led him to be "seen in Moscow as a traitor", a reversal of the 2004 presidential election where Moscow openly supported Yanukovych.149150
Yanukovych has said, "Ukraine's integration with the EU remains our strategic aim", with a "balanced policy, which will protect our national interests both on our eastern border – I mean with Russia – and of course with the European Union".147155 According to Yanukovych, Ukraine must be a "Neutral state" which should be part of a "collective defence system which the European Union, NATO and Russia will take part in." Yanukovych wants Ukraine to "neither join NATO nor the CSTO".156 He stated on 7 January 2010 that Ukraine is ready to consider an initiative by Russian President Dmitry Medvedev on the creation of a new Europe collective security system156 stating "And we're ready to back Russia's and France's initiatives".157 Yanukovych stated during the 2010 presidential election-campaign that the current level of Ukraine's cooperation with NATO is sufficient and that the question of the country's accession to the alliance is therefore not urgent.157 "The Ukrainian people don't currently support Ukraine's entry to NATO and this corresponds to the status that we currently have. We don't want to join any military bloc".157 On 27 May 2010 President Yanukovych stated he considered Ukraine's relations with NATO as a partnership, "And Ukraine can't live without this [partnership], because Ukraine is a large country".158
Regarding the European Union (EU) Yanukovych wants to create a free trade zone and visa-free travel between Ukraine and the EU countries. Once "Ukraine achieves those standards that currently exist in Europe", then the country should consider joining the EU. "But today this is an absolutely motivating, stimulating process we must aspire to", he stated in January 2010.159 In May 2011 Yanukovych stated that he will strive for Ukraine to join the EU.148 According to Yanukovych Ukrainian relations with "the West" are "a guide in both social and technical standards that we should strive for in creating a European life level in Ukraine". Yanukovych believes that the European integration of Ukraine is not an end in itself, but a way of implementation of the European standards in the state.160
According to Yanukovych, relations between Ukraine and Russia in the gas sector must be built “according to the rules of the market”.161162 He sees the gas agreement signed in 2009 after the 2009 Russia-Ukraine gas dispute as very unprofitable for Ukraine he and wants to "initiate the discussion of the most urgent gas issues" after the 2010 presidential election.156 Yanukovych has promised before his election as Ukrainian President to "solve the issue" concerning the Russian Black Sea Fleet, currently stationed in the Ukrainian port Sevastopol, "in a way so that the interests of Russia or Ukraine would not be harmed".163 This led to the April 2010 Ukrainian–Russian Naval Base for Natural Gas treaty. Yanukovych had also promised to create a consortium that would allow Russia to jointly operate Ukraine's gas transportation network and he has pledged to help Russia build the South Stream natural gas pipeline.164 As of June 2010 both did not happen. Yanukovych rejected accusations that improvement of Ukrainian-Russian relations harms relations with the European Union. “Our policy is directed to protection of our national interests. We do not live in a fairy tale and understand that our partners also defend their interests”.160 In February 2012 Yanukovych stated, referring to relations with Russia, "It is not wise to fall asleep next to a big bear".165
Yanukovych has stated that his "aim and dream" is a unification of Ukraine, although in his opinion "there are already no borders between the East and West of the country today".166 Yanukovych wants to create a free trade zone and visa regime with the EU as soon as possible. Prospects for Ukraine's joining the European Union first depend on a political decision of the European Union, according to Yanukovych.167
Yanukovych's stance on the Holodomor is: "Holodomor took place, was denounced and the international society gave an evaluation of the famine, but it was never labeled as a genocide of the Ukrainian people. Ukraine's attempts to do so by blaming one of our neighbors are unjust."168 "The Holodomor was in Ukraine, Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan. It was the result of the policies of Stalin's totalitarian regime."169 In 2003 he supported then President Leonid Kuchma’s position that the Holodomor famine was genocide against Ukrainians.170 Yanukovych's press service claims that he does not approve of crimes of the KGB and their predecessors in Soviet times, however, in 2002 he wrote in a book endorsing the KGB and its predecessors, stating that the NKVD and Cheka "firmly stood on guard over the interests of our people and the state” and praised them for launching “a struggle against political extremism, sabotage and criminal activities.”).170
Yanukovych has stated in the past that he wants Russian to become the second state language in Ukraine171 (currently Ukrainian is the only official language of Ukraine; Russian is more spoken in daily communications in Ukraine than Ukrainian172). On the other hand, he stated at a meeting with Taras Shevchenko National Prize winners in Kiev on 9 March 2010 that "Ukraine will continue to promote the Ukrainian language as its only state language".173 In a newspaper interview during the 2010 Ukrainian presidential election-campaign he stated that the status of Russian in Ukraine "is too politicized" and said that if elected President in 2010 he would "have a real opportunity to adopt a law on languages, which implements the requirements of the European Charter of regional languages". He said that this law would need 226 votes in the Ukrainian parliament (50% of the votes instead of the 75% of the votes needed to change the constitution of Ukraine) and that voters told him that the current status of Russian in Ukraine created "problems in the hospital, school, university, in the courts, in the office".174
Yanukovych Party of Regions wants to increase social benefits, and raise salaries and pensions.175 In late 2009, a law that raised the minimum wage and pensions was passed in the Ukrainian Parliament. As a result of this, the International Monetary Fund suspended its 2008–2009 Ukrainian financial crisis emergency lending programme: according to the IMF, the law breached promises to control spending. During the 2010 presidential campaign Yanukovych had stated he would stand by this particular law.176 According to Yulia Tymoshenko Bloc member of parliament Oleh Shevchuk, Yanukovych broke this election promise just three days after the 2010 presidential election when only two lawmakers of Yanukovych's Party of Regions supported a bill to raise pensions for low-incomes.177
Yanukovych thinks that the demographic situation in Ukraine "is unacceptable" and hopes to increase the birth rate in Ukraine by improving the economic situation. He also stated that the Party of Regions is planning to create conditions for the return of Ukrainian migrant workers to Ukraine.178
During the 2010 presidential campaign Yanukovych called for the modernization of Ukraine's energy sector (including technologies to save energy) increase of Ukraine's domestic natural gas production,179 tax reforms (cut the Value Added Tax (VAT) to 17 percent by 2011 from 20 percent and corporate tax to 19 percent from 25 percent, banks should not offer mortgages with more than 7 percent interest rates180), and reforming the legal system in order to fight against corruption.161 He also believed that by 2019 Ukraine should be one of the G-20 major economies.181 Yanukovych believes Ukraine could gain energy security through the development and construction of more nuclear power stations and he wants to modernise the Ukrainian coal industry.180 Yanukovych favors import substitution industrialization and deregulation.182
Immediately after his election as President of Ukraine in February 2010 Yanukovych announced that "The new Cabinet of Ministers should start a war against corrupt practices".183 During the festivities dedicated to the 20th anniversary of the State Tax Service of Ukraine on 1 July 2010 President Yanukovych announced a step up of efforts towards the eradication of corruption.184
As president Yanukovych has stated (early February 2010) he will support the freedom of speech of journalists and protect their interests.185 In general he wants the civil society to be involved in government policy making.186
In a late July 2013 speech Yanukovych stated: "All churches and religious organizations are equal for the state. We respect the choice of our citizens and guarantee everyone’s Constitutional right to freedom of religion. We will not allow the use of churches and religious organizations by some political forces for their narrow interests. This also refers to foreign centres through which religious organizations sometimes seek to affect the internal political situation in Ukraine. This is a matter of the state’s national security".187
During the campaign Yanukovych stated that if elected president in 2010 he would not oblige government representatives to hang his portraits or other symbols portraying him.190
On 25 June 2010 President Yanukovych criticised 2004 amendments in the Ukrainian Constitution which weakened presidential powers such as control over naming government ministers, passing those functions to parliament.191
Yanukovych noted the importance of finding ways of reconciliation between Ukrainians fighting on opposite sides in World War II in his speech at the ceremony to mark Victory Day 2013.193 In this speech he also expressed confidence that Nazi and Soviet totalitarianism of the past would never return.193
Yanukovych is married to Lyudmyla Oleksandrivna. They have two sons, Oleksandr and Viktor.194 Viktor is a member of the Parliament of Ukraine.195 Yanukovych is a member of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (Moscow Patriarchate).
In March 2012 Yanukovych stated it was a problem for him in 2002 to speak Ukrainian but that "once I had the opportunity to speak Ukrainian, I started to do it with pleasure".196
Until 2004, Yanukovych was known as batia ("Dad") among his family members, but since that time he became leader.197198 As Yanukovych himself stated, his wife does not wish for her grandson to pick up the bad habits of his grandfather, albeit Yanukovych did not specify what kind of habits those were.199
Yanukovych acquired the Mezhyhirya estate in a former forest preserve near Kiev in 2007, according to critics through a murky series of companies and transactions. Yanukovych did not reveal the price he paid, although he called it a "very serious price".200
Yanukovych is seen by opponents as representing the interests of Ukraine big business; they point out that his campaigns have benefited from backing by Ukrainian billionaire Rinat Akhmetov.204 Supporters of Yanukovych point out Donetsk Oblast (province) secured unprecedented levels of investment during his governorship.26
Yanukovych draws strong support from Russian-speaking Ukrainians in the east of the country.26 Yanukovych is disliked and distrusted in western Ukraine.205 The People's Movement of Ukraine labeled his election on 10 February 2010 as "an attack by anti-Ukrainian forces in our state" and stated that "all possible legal means should be used to prevent the concentration of power in the hands of anti-state politician Yanukovych and his pro-Moscow retinue".206 On 16 February 2010 Yanukovych issued a statement that read “I can say only one thing to those who anticipate that my presidency will weaken Ukraine – that will never happen.207 Yanukovych refers to himself as Ukrainian.208 Voters for Yanukovych in 2010 believed he would bring "stability and order". They blamed the Orange Revolution for creating broken promises, a dysfunctional economy and political chaos.209210 During the 2010 presidential election campaign Yuriy Yakymenko, director of political research at the Razumkov Centre, stated "I think he has not just changed on the surface but also in his ideas."7
In 2004 Yanukovych was seen as outgoing President Leonid Kuchma and Russian President Vladimir Putin's protégé.26 Although Kuchma in conversation with United States Ambassador to Ukraine John F. Tefft, in a document dated 2 February 2010 uncovered during the United States diplomatic cables leak, called the voters choice between Yanukovych and Yulia Tymoshenko during the second round of the 2010 presidential election as a choice between “bad and very bad" and praised (the candidate eliminated in the first round of the election) Arseniy Yatsenyuk instead.211 In another January 2009 cable (then) Ambassador of Ukraine to Russia Kostyantyn Gryshchenko stated that Putin had a low personal regard for Yanukovych.212 In another Wikileaks diplomatic cable, Volodymyr Horbulin, one of Ukraine's most respected policy strategists and former presidential advisor to then-President Viktor Yushchenko, told the United States Ambassador to Ukraine John E. Herbst in 2006 that Yanukovych’s Party of Regions was partly composed of “pure criminals" and "criminal and anti-democracy figures."213
Yanukovych is not known as a great speaker.214215216 His native language is Russian,217 similar to a majority of the population of his power-base and native Eastern Ukraine.218 He was however making efforts to speak better Ukrainian.204 He did admit in March 2012 that it was a problem for him in 2002 to speak Ukrainian.196 He has made some blunders in Ukrainian however since then.219220221222 For the 2004 Ukrainian presidential election Yanukovych wrote an autobiography for the Central Election Commission, in which he misspelled his academic degree.223 Thereafter, he came to be widely referred to under this nickname in oppositional media and opponents' speeches.223 His autobiographic resume of 90 words contains 12 major spelling and grammatical errors.224 Opponents of Yanukovych made fun of this misspelling and his past (criminal) convictions during the 2004 Ukrainian presidential election campaign and the incident during the campaign (September 2004) in Ivano-Frankivsk when Yanukovych was rushed to hospital after he had been hit with an egg (while government officials claimed he was hit by a brick) was a source of ridicule.223 Other famous blunders by Yanukovych are his claim that Anton Chekhov was "the Ukrainian poet" in January 2010,225226227228 forgetting on 6 January 2011 to congratulate the Greek-Catholic Ukrainian community that by following the Julian calendar also as the rest of Ukrainian people celebrates Christmas that day229 and confusing Kosovo with Serbia and Montenegro, and North Ossetia with South Ossetia in March 2010.230 Over the years, Yanukovych's proficiency in the Ukrainian language has noticeably improved and at the 2013 Yalta European Strategy forum he debated with the President of Lithuania Dalia Grybauskaitė who seemed as provokingly spoke in the Russian language.231
Yanukovych stated in November 2009 that he respects all Ukrainian politicians. "I have never offended anyone. This is my rule of politics."232 Despite of his claim, on 22 September 2007, during 2007 Ukrainian Parliamentary Election campaign, while delivering a speech in Vinnytsia, he compared Yulia Tymoshenko's performance as Prime Minister to "a cow on the ice"233 (" Вона прем'єр-міністр, як корова на льду....", "She is as prime minister as a cow on the ice") most likely referring to her skills and professionalism as a prime minister. Other cases of strong colloquialisms used by Viktor Yanukovych include the incident when he called former president Viktor Yushchenko "a coward and a babbler" ("трус и трепач")234 as well as the speech in Donetsk during 2004 Ukrainian presidential election, when he referred to the electorate of his opponent Viktor Yushchenko as "goats that make our lives difficult" ("эти козлы, которые нам мешают жить"). Later, during the TV debates with Yushchenko he explained, "I called goats the traitors. According to the Bible, the goat is a traitor, and there are also rams, sheep."235
Opinion polls have shown Yanukovych's popularity has sunk since his election as President in 2010, with polls giving him from 13% to 20% of the votes if a presidential election was to be held in 2012 (in 2010 he received 35.8% of the vote in the first round of that election4).195236237 A public opinion poll taken by Sociological group "RATING" gave him 25.1% of the votes in an imaginary February 2013 presidential election.238nb 1
- Order of Merit, 3rd class (13 November 1998), 2nd class (3 July 2000), 1st class (3 July 2002)
- Order "Miner's award" 3, 2, 1 class
- Order "Miner's glory" 3, 2, 1 class
- Certificate from the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine (2000)
- Order of Saint Nestor (1998)
- Order of St. Vladimir (Patriarchate of Russia), 3rd class (1998), 2nd class (2004), 1st class (2010)
- Order of the Holy Prince Daniel of Moscow, 1st class (Patriarchate of Russia, 2004)
- Order of St. Sergius, 1st class (Patriarchate of Russia, 2004)
- Knight Grand Cross of the Legion of Honour (France, 2010)
- Order of the Precious Wand (Mongolia, June 2011)
- Order of St. Mashtots (Armenia, 30 June 2011)
- Order of José Martí (Cuba, 22 October 2011
- Order Ismoili Samoni (Tajikistan, 15 December 2011
- 2006 Ukrainian political crisis
- 2007 Ukrainian political crisis
- Alliance of National Unity
- Ukrainian presidential election, 2010
- Party of Regions
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- According to polling organization Sociological group "RATING" in February 2013 Yanukovych would have lost the second round of the presidential election against Vitali Klitschko and/or Arseniy Yatsenyuk and/or Yulia Tymoshenko; and he would have defeat in a close race Oleh Tyahnybok (with 33.5% of the votes).239
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, RIA Novosti (12 October 2011)
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- Yanukovych imagines how he signs law on Russian language, UNIAN (3 September 2009)
- In an October 2009 poll by FOM-Ukraine 52% of the respondents state they use Russian as their "Language of communication"; 41% of the respondents state they use Ukrainian and 8% stated they use a mixture of both. Source: FOM-Ukraine (bottom of page) (Russian)
- Yanukovych: Ukraine will not have second state language, Kyiv Post (9 March 2010)
- (Russian) "Доверия к Тимошенко у меня нет и быть не может", Kommersant (9 December 2009)
- Yanukovych: Tymoshenko to use issue of increasing social benefits in her presidential campaign, Interfax-Ukraine (16 September 2009)
- "Analysis: West seeks clarity in Ukraine to boost economy", Kyiv Post (8 February 2010)
- Yanukovych back-tracks on his pre-election promises, Z I K (10 February 2010)
- Yanukovych sees demographic situation in Ukraine as unacceptable, Interfax-Ukraine (28 October 2009)
- "Yanukovych: Ukraine should increase its gas production", Kyiv Post (26 November 2009)
- Economic policies of Ukraine's election front-runners, Kyiv Post (18 January 2010)
- "Ukraine should join the G-20 in ten years, says Yanukovych", Interfax-Ukraine (26 October 2009)
- Yanukovych said previous government failed to introduce reform and ensure economic growth, Kyiv Post (3 January 2013)
- Yanukovych appeals to the nation, asks Tymoshenko to step down, Kyiv Post (10 February 2010)
- Yanukovych promises to eliminate corruption among tax officials, Kyiv Post (2 July 2010)
- Yanukovych says he will protect freedom of speech and interests of journalists, Kyiv Post (10 February 2010)
- Yanukovych says good governance depends on involvement of civil society, Kyiv Post (23 September 2011)
- Mission: Impossible, The Ukrainian Week (6 August 2013)
- Yanukovych to participate in congress of United Russia party in Moscow, Kyiv Post (20 November 2008)
- Party of Regions hopes for strengthening collaboration with 'United Russia' party, Kyiv Post (22 November 2009)
- If president, Yanukovych not planning to insist that his portraits hang at institutions, Kyiv Post (19 January 2010)
- Yanukovych criticises limits on his power, Kyiv Post (25 June 2010)
- Yanukovych: Ukraine a leading country in Eastern Europe, Kyiv Post (28 January 2010)
- Yanukovych: We should find ways of reconciliation between all parties participating in World War II, Interfax-Ukraine (9 May 2013)
- "About us: The Leader". for-www.partyofregions.org.ua. Retrieved January.
- All In The Family, Kyiv Post (2 March 2012)
- (Russian) Украина надеется на урегулирование газового вопроса с Россией – президент Украины Виктор ЯНУКОВИЧ, Information Telegraph Agency of Russia (19 March 2012)
- The biography of Yanukovych for who has forgotten it. Pravda.com.ua.
- Interview of Viktor Viktorovich. Pravda.com.ua.
- Ukrainian pravda February 19, 2006. Pravda.com.ua.
- Ukrayinska Pravda exposes president’s Mezhygirya deal, Kyiv Post (6 May 2009)
- янукович поет песенку. Youtube.com (28 November 2009).
- Янукович поет дуэтом с Кобзономdead link
- Mystery surrounds Yanukovych’s book, Kyiv Post (3 October 2011)
- Ukraine's election: portraits of main players, Kyiv Post (1 January 2010)
- Yanukovych faces uphill battle in getting Lviv to accept him, Kyiv Post (18 February 2009)
- Popular Rukh of Ukraine calling on political forces to prevent concentration of power in hands of Yanukovych's team, Kyiv Post (10 February 2009)
- Viktor Yanukovych: My aim is to build a strong and independent Ukraine. For this purpose I will use all tools, Party of Regions Official Information Server (16 February 2010)
- Let's Get Acquainted, Viktor Yanukovych Personal Information Server
- Exit polls favor Yanukovych in Ukraine race, Kyiv Post (7 February 2009)
- Ukraine set for tilt to east as Russia's ally holds poll lead, The Guardian (7 February 2010)
- Kuchma: Yanukovych-Tymoshenko contest a choice between 'bad and very bad', Kyiv Post (3 December 2010)
- Putin shows no respect for Yanukovych, U.S. cable says, Kyiv Post (11 April. 2011)
- Grytsenko, Oksana (23 January 2012). "WikiLeaks: Regions Party partly composed of ‘criminals’". Kyiv Post. Retrieved 24 January 2012.
- Tymoshenko challenges Yanukovych to televised debates, Z I K (21 December 2009)
- Bred-TV and Marazm-cinema. Youtube.com.
- Хроніка конфузів Ялинковича. Youtube.com.
- Viktor Yanukovych promises Ukraine will embrace Russia, guardian.co.uk (5 March 2010)
- Russia's Medvedev in Ukraine visit to boost ties, BBC News (17 May 2010)
- Yanukovych bullish ahead of runoff, Kyiv Post (4 February 2010)
- Янукович и ёлка.avi. Youtube.com (4 December 2010).
- Чисто Йолка. YouTube. 24 December 2010.
- Tymoshenko slams Yanukovych's gift for gaffe, Kyiv Post (29 December 2009)
- Revolution in Orange, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, ISBN 0-87003-221-6 (page 58 + 59 written by Taras Kuzio)
- Тому що "проффесор". Pravda.com.ua.
- (English)"Chekhov is a Ukrainian poet"
- (Russian)raw video footage claiming Chekhov is a poet or is that something of a "slip of a tongue"
- (English)discussion board about Yanukovych literally claims
- (English)Kyiv Post on Yanukovych Presidential program
- Yatseniuk lashes at Yanukovych for ignoring Greek Catholics. Zik.com.ua.
- Ukraine's New President Shows Poor Knowledge of Geography, Pravda.ru (3 March 2010)
- Янукович поспорил с Грибаускайте, у кого дороже газ. Youtube. 20 September 2013.
- "Yanukovych: Tigipko, Yatseniuk will take top posts after presidential elections", Kyiv Post (26 November 2009)
- "5.ua :: Янукович назвав Тимошенко "коровою на льду", YouTube (22 September 2009)
- "Янукович прилюдно обозвал Ющенко!", YouTube
- Orange Revolution Democracy Emerging in Ukraine. Archives.gov.ua (21 December 2004).
- If presidential elections were held next Sunday how would you vote?, Razumkov Centre
Poll: Yanukovych's electoral rating is four percentage points higher than Tymoshenko's, Kyiv Post (14 March 2012)
- Ratings of politicians, Sociological group "RATING"
Electoral moods of the Ukrainian population: February 2012, Sociological group "RATING" (5 March 2012)
- Every fourth Ukrainian ready to vote for Yanukovych in presidential election – poll, Interfax-Ukraine (6 March 2013)
- Ratings of politicians in presidential elections: February 2013, Sociological group "RATING" (6 March 2013)
- EU ambassador to Ukraine:Yanukovych comes short of expectations, Kyiv Post (12 April 2012)
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Viktor Yanukovych.|
- President of Ukraine — Official website (Ukrainian) (Russian) (English)
- "All power to councils – not to a President Czar"
- Yanukovych Personal Information Service
- Viktor Yanukovych on Twitter
- Party of Regions Official Information Server
- Yanukovych’s inner circle – Kyiv Post (21 January 2010)
|Prime Minister of Ukraine
|Prime Minister of Ukraine
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|Leader of the Party of Regions