Yushchenko, Viktor life and biography

Yushchenko, Viktor picture, image, poster

Yushchenko, Viktor biography

Date of birth : 1954-02-23
Date of death : -
Birthplace : Khoruzhivka, Sumy Oblast, Ukraine
Nationality : Ukrainian
Category : Politics
Last modified : 2010-04-14
Credited as : President of Ukraine, Yulia Tymoshenko,

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Viktor Andriyovych Yushchenko (born February 23, 1954) was the third President of Ukraine. He took office on January 23, 2005, following a period of popular unrest known as the Orange Revolution. He failed to secure a runoff spot during the 2010 Ukrainian Presidential Election. He has been praised for his democratic instincts.

As an informal leader of the Ukrainian opposition coalition, he was one of the two main candidates in the October–November 2004 Ukrainian presidential election. Yushchenko won the presidency through a repeat runoff election between him and Viktor Yanukovych, the government-supported candidate. The Ukrainian Supreme Court called for the runoff election to be repeated because of widespread election fraud in favor of Viktor Yanukovych in the original vote. Yushchenko won in the revote (52% to 44%). Public protests prompted by the electoral fraud played a major role in that presidential election and led to Ukraine's Orange Revolution.

An assassination attempt was made on Yushchenko through dioxin poisoning in 2004. He was left disfigured, but has been slowly recovering in recent years.

In 1976 Yushchenko began a career in banking. In 1983, he became the Deputy Director for Agricultural Credit at the Ukrainian Republican Office of the USSR State Bank. From 1990 to 1993, he worked as vice-chairman and first vice-chairman of the JSC Agroindustrial Bank Ukraina. In 1993, he was appointed Chairman of the National Bank of Ukraine (Ukraine's central bank). In 1997, Verkhovna Rada, the parliament of Ukraine, re-appointed him.

As a central banker, Yushchenko played an important part in the creation of Ukraine's national currency, the hryvnia, and the establishment of a modern regulatory system for commercial banking. He also successfully overcame a debilitating wave of hyper-inflation that hit the country—he brought inflation down from more than 10,000 percent to less than 10 percent—and managed to defend the value of the currency following the 1998 Russian financial crisis.

In 1998, he wrote a thesis entitled "The Development of Supply and Demand of Money in Ukraine" and defended it in the Ukrainian Academy of Banking. He thereby earned a doctorate in economics.

Viktor Yushchenko sprang to international prominence in 2004, when he ran for president of the Ukraine against the incumbent prime minister, Viktor Yanukovych, then forced a re-vote after the deciding election appeared to be tainted by fraud. A former accountant and economist, Yushchenko was appointed head of Ukraine's national bank in 1993, shortly after the country gained independence from the former Soviet Union. Yushchenko was made prime minister in 1999 by president (and longtime Ukrainian power-broker) Leonid Kuchma. In 2001, Kuchma relieved the popular Yushchenko from his duties, and Yushchenko promptly became the leader of a liberal opposition coalition known as Our Ukraine. Handsome, charismatic and politically savvy, he attracted a growing following, especially among young pro-democracy activists. In the presidential elections of 2004, Yushchenko was considered the pro-western candidate, while Yanukovych had the support of both Kuchma and Russian president Vladimir Putin. Voting on 21 November was marred by confusion and apparent fraud, yet Ukraine's Central Electoral Commission still declared Yanukovych the winner. Supporters of Yushchenko swarmed into Kiev, clogging the streets and demanding a re-vote. This 'Orange Revolution' (named for the bright clothing the protesters wore) drew worldwide attention, and Yanukovych agreed to a repeat of the voting, which was held on 26 December 2004. Yushchenko won that election by a margin of roughly 52-44%, but Yanukovych immediately contested the results, claiming that "the constitution and human rights were violated." Ultimately the country's Supreme Court ruled that the results would stand, and Yushchenko was inaugurated as president in January of 2005. Since then he's been caught up in political rivalries while struggling to implement reforms. Besides Yanukovych, Yuschchenko has vied with Yulia Tymoshenko (Prime Minister since the end of 2007) for control of the Ukraine in a cycle of dissolved parliaments and new elections.

Extra: In September of 2004, during the presidential campaign, Yushchenko suddenly became ill and travelled to Austria for treatment. He returned several days later with his face badly pocked and disfigured. In early December of 2004, doctors in Austria who had tested Yushchenko said he appeared to have been poisoned with the chemical dioxin, which possibly had been concealed in soup. Doctors have said the skin condition could take two years to clear up, and the long-term effects on Yushchenko's health are unknown.

Family and personal life

Yushchenko is married to Kateryna Yushchenko-Chumachenko (his second wife). She is a Ukrainian-American born in Chicago who received a degree in Economics from Georgetown University and an MBA from the University of Chicago. She also studied at the Ukrainian Institute at Harvard University. Her resume includes working for the Ukrainian Congress Committee of America, the Bureau for Human Rights and Humanitarian Affairs at the U.S. State Department, the Reagan White House, the U.S. Treasury Department, and the Joint Economic Committee of Congress. In Ukraine she first worked with the US-Ukraine Foundation, then as Country Director for KPMG Barents Group.

Kateryna Yushchenko heads the Ukraine 3000 Foundation, which emphasizes promoting civil society, particularly charity and corporate responsibility. The Foundation implements programs in the areas of children's health, integrating the disabled, improving education, supporting culture and the arts, publishing books, and researching history, particularly the Holodomor. From 1995 to 2005, she worked closely with Pryately Ditey, an organization that helps Ukrainian orphans.

Criticized by her husband's opponents for her US citizenship, Kateryna became a Ukrainian citizen on March 2005 and renounced her US citizenship, as required by Ukrainian law, in March 2007. During the 2004 election campaign, she was accused of exerting influence on behalf of the U.S. government on her husband's decisions, as an employee of the U.S. government or even a CIA agent. A Russian state television journalist had earlier accused her of leading a U.S. project to help Yushchenko seize power in Ukraine; in January 2002, she won a libel case against that journalist. Ukraine's then anti-Yushchenko TV channel Inter repeated the allegations in 2001, but in January 2003 she won a libel case against that channel as well.

Yushchenko has five children and two grandchildren: sons Andriy (1985) and Taras (2004), daughters Vitalina (1980), Sophia (1999) and Chrystyna (2000), grandchildren Domenika (2000) and Victor (2005).

A practicing member of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, Yushchenko often emphasizes the important role of his religious convictions in his life and worldview.

Yushchenko's speech is heavily loaded with Surzhyk elements. His main hobbies are Ukrainian traditional culture (including art, ceramics, and archaeology), mountaineering, and beekeeping. He is keen on painting, collects antiques, folk artefacts, and Ukrainian national dress, and restores objects of Trypillya culture.

Each year he climbs Hoverla, Ukraine's highest mountain. After receiving a checkup in which doctors determined he was healthy despite the previous year's dioxin poisoning, he successfully climbed the mountain again on July 16, 2005.

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