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Viktor Fedorovych Yanukovych (born July 9 1950) was Prime Minister of
Ukraine from November 21, 2002 to December 31, 2004 and current leader
of Ukrainian Party of Regions. He was appointed prime minister after
previously serving as governor of Donets’ka oblast’ in the east of the
In the Ukrainian presidential election of 2004, Yanukovych was declared
the winner. However, the legitimacy of his official victory was
questioned by many Ukrainians, international organisations, and foreign
governments. The second round of the election was subsequently annulled
by the Supreme Court, and in the repeated run-off, Yanukovych lost to
the opposition leader Viktor Yushchenko.
The Ukrainian parliament also passed a non-binding motion of no
confidence in his government, urging outgoing president Leonid Kuchma to
dismiss Yanukovych and appoint a caretaker government. Five days after
the defeat at the presidential election, Yanukovych declared his
resignation from the post of prime minister.
In 1968 and 1970, Yanukovych (according to officials) was convicted and
imprisoned for robbery and bodily injury. It was recently announced that
he was acquitted in 1978, although without documentation.
In 1972, Yanukovych became an electrician in a local bus company and
later finished tehnikum. In 1980, he graduated (by correspondence) from
Donets’k Polytechnic Institute, where he qualified as a mechanical
engineer. Immediately after that, Yanukovych was appointed chief manager
of a transportation company in Yenakiyeve (Donets’ka oblast’) and
admitted to the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. This was the start
of a quick management career in regional automotive transport.
Yanukovych’s political career began when he was appointed Head of State
Administration (i.e., oblast’ government) of Donets’ka oblast’, in 1997.
In 2001, he graduated from the Ukrainian Academy of Foreign Trade as a
Master of International Law. Later, Yanukovych was granted the titles of
Doctor of Science and Professor.
His primary language is Russian, which is by far the dominant language
in the eastern parts of Ukraine, and Crimea. Publication of his
handwritten documents revealed that he made numerous spelling mistakes
in Ukrainian; in particular, he was unable to write his title, position
or wife’s name, properly.
Yanukovych has been long patronized by Georgi Beregovoi, a Soviet
cosmonaut of Ukrainian background. Being, then, the Soviet member of
parliament for Donbas, Beregovoi was said to be protecting an unjustly
convicted youngster and promoting his further career.
Yanukovych has been accused by his opponents of being connected to local
organized crime since the late 1980s and being its lobbyist up to
national-level politics. Indeed, he is closely linked to the so-called
Donets’ky clan, an eastern-Ukraine-based business and political group,
and its leader Rinat Akhmetov. Although there have been no judicial
convictions, it is commonly alleged that these businessmen have
connections to organized crime.
Yanukovych’s opponents also allege that he is in secret co-operation
with the KGB (which supposedly started during his imprisonment).
Proponents of this story argue that as an ex-convict, Yanukovych could
not enter the Donets’k Polytechnic Institute, travel to the West and
later make a career for himself, unless he was protected by some «shadow
force» more powerful than a local MP. There is no documented proof to
support such allegations, however.
Viktor Yanukovych is a member of the Russian Orthodox Church. He is
married and has two children. His hobbies include (at least included in
youth) auto racing and sports (boxing in particular).
Victor Yanukovich was born in 1950 in Enakievo city, Donetsk region.
He graduated Donetsk Polytechnic Institute (presently Donetsk State
Technical University) with a degree in engineering and Ukrainian Academy
of foreign commerce with a master’s degree in international law.
He started his working activity in 1969. He worked as a gas-works
employer of Enakievo metallurgical plant, auto mechanic. Over 20 years
he held leading posts. He worked as a general director of industrial
associations – «Donbasstransremont», «Ukrvuglepromtrans» and Donetsk
regional territorial association of motor transport.
In August 1996 Victor Yanukovich was appointed the deputy chief and in
September – the first deputy chief of Donetsk regional state
From May 1997 to November 2002 – the head of Donetsk regional state
administration, the deputy of Donetsk regional council.
In November 21, 2002 he was appointed the prime minister of Ukraine.
Victor Yanukovich is a doctor of economics, professor, full member of
Academy of economic sciences of Ukraine, the member of Presidium of
National academy of sciences of Ukraine.
Married, has two sons.
It is known that for the first time he was sentenced to three years of
jail for robbery in December 1967. In honour of 50th anniversary of
October revolution he was included in the amnesty. His term was reduced
twice, but Yanukovich was released even earlier, in half of the year
In June 1970 Yanukovich was again sentenced to two years of jail for
assault and battery. Oppositional Ukrainian press, referring to some
witnesses, asserted that in reality the criminal action had been brought
according to the article about «rape in unnatural way» (the article 118
of Criminal Code of Ukrainian Soviet Socialistic Republic). However, the
press-service of Ukrainian Cabinet, which organized the mass excursion
of Yanukovich’s native city for journalists, asserts that Yanukovich
suffered for the attempt to defend a girl from hooligans.
Nowadays information has been promulgated that Yanukovich was relieved
of the both convictions before the appointed time in 1973, and in 1978
Yanukovich was brought in a verdict of not guilty by the decision of the
presidium of Donetsk regional court. For today all documents concerning
those criminal cases are annihilated, and the investigator and judges,
according to the press-service, died long ago.