Former Ukrainian President


Viktor Andriyovych Yushchenko

Viktor Andriyovych Yushchenko served as President of Ukraine from 2005 to 2010.  He came to office after the Orange Revolution of 2004, which brought millions of Ukrainians to the streets for weeks to protest against election fraud and demand freedom and democracy.  Accomplishments during his presidential term included free, transparent and fair elections; media freedom; consistent efforts to integrate Ukraine into global economic institutions and the Euro-Atlantic community; higher salaries and pensions; reduced government debt; vast growth in foreign investment; simplified procedures for business creation; reformation of the educational system; improved health care and social policies.  He promoted national consolidation, Ukraine’s culture and history.

Before becoming president, Mr. Yushchenko was a member of parliament and leader of the opposition from 2001 to 2004.  He headed the broad-based democratic coalition party Our Ukraine, which was victorious in the parliamentary elections of 2002.  His popularity caused the existing regime to repress his party and even poison him to keep him from winning against their hand-picked candidate in the 2004 presidential election.

Victor Yushchenko served as Prime Minister of Ukraine from 1999-2001. During his short tenure, he turned around Ukraine’s declining economy by lowering inflation, raising government revenues, advancing privatization, eliminating corrupt barter and subsidy schemes and promoting small and medium sized business.  Although he was a popular prime minister, Mr. Yushchenko was forced out of office by higher ranking government officials.

Mr. Yushchenko was the Governor of Ukraine’s Central Bank, the National Bank of Ukraine, from 1993 to 1999.  During this time, he lowered hyper-inflation from more than 11,000 percent to less than 10 percent, introduced Ukraine’s national currency, the hryvnia, and established a modern regulatory system for commercial banking.  Global Finance magazine named him one of the world’s top central bankers.

Victor Yushchenko began his professional career as a banker. From 1990 to 1993, Mr. Yushchenko was the Vice Chairman of the Agro-Industrial Bank Ukraine.  From 1983 to 1990, he served as the Deputy Director for Agricultural Credit at the Ukrainian Republic Office of the USSR State Bank.

Mr. Yushchenko graduated from the Ternopil Finance and Economics Institute in 1975.  He received his PhD from the Sumy Banking Academy.  He served in the Soviet Army in 1975-76.

Victor Yushchenko was born on February 23, 1954 in eastern Ukraine into a family of village teachers.  His father, Andriy Yushchenko, fought in WWII, was captured by the Nazi forces and imprisoned as a POW in a series of concentration camps in Poland and Germany, including Auschwitz.  Victor Yushchenko is the father of five children and four grandchildren.

Currently, former President Yushchenko heads of the Victor Yushchenko Institute – an independent think tank dedicated to promoting freedom, justice, rule of law, democracy, market reform, European integration and national consciousness.

Source:  Viktor Yushchenko

Former Ukrainian President’s Wife

Kateryna Yushchenko

Kateryna Yushchenko Kateryna Yushchenko, wife of the Third President of Ukraine Victor Yushchenko, is Chairman of the Ukraine 3000 Foundation, which promotes citizen involvement in resolving Ukraine’s problems in medicine, education, history and the arts.  The Foundation has raised and distributed over $6 million dollars in assistance over the past six years, and had established such partner organizations as the Ukrainian Cinema Foundation, Center for Museum Development and National Center for Women and Children’s Health.   She has also raised more than 18 million dollars to help the Ukrainian state build a state-of-the-art children’s hospital in Ukraine.

With an undergraduate degree in International Economics (cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa) from Georgetown University and an MBA from the University of Chicago, from 1993 to 2000 Mrs. Yushchenko served as Country Director and Bank Training Manager for KPMG Peat Marwick-Barents Group in Ukraine.

A child of Ukrainian WWII emigrants to Chicago, she moved to Ukraine in June 1991 to run the US-Ukraine Foundation, which she co-founded to support democratic and free market development in the newly sovereign Ukrainian state.

Before coming to Ukraine, Mrs. Yushchenko held positions at the Joint Economic Committee of Congress, Department of Treasury, White House, State Department, and the Washington office of the Ukrainian Congress Committee of America.

She is a recipient of numerous honors, including Golden Pyramid Award from UNESCO, Golden Medal of the St. Elisabeth High School for Medical and Social Workers, Nadiya Pilman Medal For Attainments in Children’s Ophthalmology, Distinguished Public Service / Public Sector Alumni Award from the University of Chicago Graduate School of Business , Special Award from Children of Chornobyl Relief and Development Foundation, Pope with Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice Medal, Medal of the Order of Saint Lazarus of Jerusalem, Truman-Reagan Medal of Freedom, Swedish Order of the Polar Star. Mrs. Yushchenko is an Honorary Professor of the Kyiv Mohyla Kollegium Gymnasium.

Source:  Kateryna Yushchenko

Ukrainian Journalists

Andriy Shevchenko

Andriy Shevchenko is the current deputy of the Verkhovna Rada, the Ukrainian parliament and a former prominent Ukrainian journalist.

Shevchenko worked as a multi-media journalist beginning in 1994 for 1+1 channel, Novyi Kanal, Radio Voice of America, Channel 5 and others.

During the administration of President Kuchma, Schevchenko was one of the leaders of the journalists’ movement against censorship.  In 2002, Schevchenko left Novyi Kanal due to political pressure.   Later that year he established Kyiv Independent Media Union and was elected to be its first chairman.

In 2003, Schevchenko introduced the idea of created a channel of honest news.  The 5th Channel, a 24-hour news channel, was the only network not controlled by the government.  The channel eventually played a key role during the Orange Revolution of 2004.  Shevchenko was editor in chief of the channel and a presenter.

In 2005, after the Orange Revolution, Schevchenko was appointed vice president o the National Television Company of Ukraine, but left his position in 6 months time after the government refused to transform the state broadcaster into a Public Broadcasting System.

Schevchenko is the president of the Center for Public Media, an NGO promoting public broadcasting in Ukraine.

In 2005, Schevchenko received The Press Freedom Award from Reporters Without Borders.

Ranked 5th by Yulia Tymoshenko’s Bloc, Schevchenko ran for Parliament in 2006 and 2007.   He is serving in the Parliament’s Free Speech Committee.  He is the youngest person to serve as First Deputy Chairman and Chairman.

Schevchenko was born in the town of Hvizdets in the former Soviet Union in 1976.  He attended school in Kiev and in 1993 to 1994, during which time he was an exchange student to Alameda High School in Alameda, CA.  In 1999, Schevchenko received his Masters Degree from the Institute of Journalism at Kiev University.  He also studies Political Science and Economics at Kyiv-Mohyla Academy.  Schevchenko was a Yale World Fellow and a Draper Hills Summer Fellow on Democracy and Development at Stanford in 2009.


Source: Material provided by Andriy Shevchenko

Svyatoslav Tsegolko

Svyatoslav Tsegolko is the Editor-in-Chief for Programmes, Channel 5 in Kiev, Ukraine.  He has been working on television since 2001, since 2004 on Channel 5.  He and his colleagues at Channel 5 were at the forefront of pushing for journalistic independence in the lead-up to the Orange Revolution in 2004.  Tsegolko is considered to be one of the reporters who best covered the events of the Orange Revolution.

For his reporting, he won the Teletriumph Prize in 2005, the year he also became well known for his reports from hotspots in Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan.
  Tsegolko premiered his first talk show, “Time,” in January 2007 and still hosts the program live.  His guests are famous Ukrainian and world politicians, athletes and national heroes, like imprisoned Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, former Ukraine President Viktor Yanukovich and former President of Poland Aleksander Kwaśniewski.  In 2008 he won the “Man of the Year Award” for anchoring the talk show and the “Honored Journalist of Ukraine” award.  In 2009, he won an award for “best journalist in the field of electronic media.”  In 2011, Tsegolko produced a documentary tribute to the 20th anniversary of Ukraine’s independence.

Tsegolko was born in 1979 and is a graduate of Lviv National University.

Prior to his career at Channel 5, he worked as a journalist in print, radio and television since 1996, including with “Lux FM” and “Progress” in Kiev and “Young Diplomacy” and “Together” in Lviv.

Tsegolko is the author of the documentaries Time: Important, Fifth Convocation, Sixth Convocation, Year 2006, Ukrainian independence: The Year 2007, and others.  He also appeared as himself in the 2005 film, The Ukrainian Revolution: By Half a Step to Blood.

Source:  Material provided by Svyatoslav Tsegolko

Ukrainian Opposition Politician

Yulia Volodymyrivna Tymoshenko

Yulia Volodymyrivna Tymoshenko – Born on November 27, 1960 in Dnipropetrovsk, Ukrainian SSR (now Ukraine).  Upon graduating from high school in 1979, she continued her education in Dnipropetrovsk State University, graduating with distinction in 1984.  She married Oleksandr Tymoshenko in 1979 and gave birth to daughter Eugenia in 1980.

After 12 years working in the private energy sector, Tymoshenko became a candidate to Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine (Supreme Rada of Ukraine) in 1996, winning 92.3% of the vote in her Bobrinsky Congressional District.  She was re-elected in 1998, and in 1999 became the leader of All-Ukrainian Union “Fatherland” (Ukrainian: Всеукра нське об’ днання “Батьк вщина”, Vseukrayins’ke Obyednannya Bat’kivshchyna).

On December 30, 1999 Tymoshenko took the post of Vice Prime Minister on the issues of fuel and energy.  But in January of 2001, she was dismissed from this position.  On February 13, 2001, she was arrested and charged by the District Attorney, which the public took as a punishment for her democracy activism. In March, however, the Kiev City Pechersk Court found that the accusations were baseless and annulled the sanctions for the arrest.

On February 9, 2001,Tymoshenko became an initiator of the Forum of National Salvation (FNS), a public union, whose main objective was to get rid of Kuchma’s criminal regime.  In November of that year, the participants of the union decided to rename the FNS into the Yulia Tymoshenko Bloc (Ukrainian: Блок Юл Тимошенко, БЮТ; Blok Yuliyi Tymoshenko, BYuT). As the head of this party, Tymoshenko participated in the parliamentary elections, in which Yulia Tymoshenko Bloc received more than 20 seats in Verkhovna Rada.

In September of 2002, Tymoshenko, as one of the opposition leaders, headed the All-Ukrainian movement “Rebell, Ukraine!” This became a significant element of Ukrainian opposition and organized the first public strike, generating numerous street protests.  In 2004, Yulia Tymoshenko Bloc and Viktor Yushchenko Bloc, “Our Ukraine” (Ukrainian: Наша Укра на, Nasha Ukrayina) announced the creation of the coalition “People’s Power” (Ukrainian: Сила народу, Sila Narodu) in order to support Viktor Yushchenko’s presidential candidacy during the October 2004 election.

In November of 2004, Tymoshenko became one of the leaders of Orange Revolution, which ultimately resulted in the election of Viktor Yushchenko as president.  On February 4th, 2005 the Verkhovna Rada declared Tymoshenko as the Head of Government with 373 votes, which was a record.

In July of 2005, the American magazine “Forbes,” named Tymoshenko as the 3rd most-influential woman of the world on its list of “100 Most Powerful Women in the World.”

In September of 2005, in a political crisis, Tymoshenko left the government.  In 2010, she ran for president, but lost to Viktor Yanukovych.

Since May 2010, a number of criminal cases have been opened against Tymoshenko.  On October 11, 2011, a Ukrainian court sentenced her to seven years in prison after she was found guilty of abuse of office when brokering the 2009 gas deal with Russia. The conviction was seen as “justice being applied selectively under political motivation” by the European Union and other international organizations.


Sources: and

Ukrainian Presidents

Leonid Kuchma

Leonid Kuchma (in archive footage) was the second President of independent Ukraine from July 19, 1994, to January 23, 2005.  Kuchma took office after winning the 1994 presidential election against his rival, incumbent Leonid Kravchuk.  Kuchma won re-election for an additional five-year term in 1999.

His presidency was surrounded by numerous corruption scandals and the lessening of media freedoms.  Corruption accelerated after Kuchma’s election in 1994, but in 2000–2001, his power began to weaken in the face of exposures in the media.

Under his watch the Ukrainian economy continued to decline until 1999, whereas growth was recorded since 2000, bringing relative prosperity to some segments of urban residents. During his presidency, Ukrainian-Russian ties began to improve.

Kuchma’s role in the election’s crisis of 2004 is not entirely clear.  After the second round on 22 November 2004, it appeared that Yanukovych had won the election by fraud, which caused the opposition and independent observers to dispute the results, leading to the Orange Revolution.

Kuchma was urged by Yanukovych and Viktor Medvedchuk (the head of the presidential office) to declare a state of emergency and hold the inauguration of Yanukovych.  Kuchma refused to officially dismiss Prime Minister Yanukovych after the parliament passed a motion of no confidence against the Cabinet on December 1, 2004.  Soon after, Kuchma left the country.  He returned to Ukraine in March 2005.


Viktor Yanukovych

Viktor Yanukovych (in archive footage) 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 November 21, 2002 to December 31, 2004, under President Leonid Kuchma, and he was an unsuccessful candidate in the controversial 2004 presidential election, ultimately losing to Viktor Yushchenko.

After the election, the Ukrainian parliament passed a non-binding motion of no confidence to Yanukovych’s 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.”

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 August 4, 2006 to December 18, 2007 under President Yushchenko.  On March 3, 2010, Yanukovych transferred the leadership of the party to Mykola Azarov.

Yanukovych was the top vote-getter in the first round of the January 2010 presidential election, and faced Yulia Tymoshenko in the second round of the election.   Yanukovych won the second round of the election with 48.95% of the vote against Tymoshenko’s 45.47%.    he was inaugurated President on February 25, 2010.



Myroslava Gongadze

Myroslava Gongadze is a human wrights activist, journalist and television anchor for the Voice of America’s Ukrainian service. She has won numerous awards for her accomplishments as a journalist, including her reporting on the eve of the 2004 Orange Revolution, and as a champion of democracy and independent media. The widow of slain investigative reporter Georhiy Gongadze, she fled Ukraine in 2001, and has labored tirelessly to bring her husband’s case to justice. She won a landmark negligence ruling against the Ukrainian government from the European Court of Human Rights in November 2005.


Kateryna Ryabiko

Kateryna Ryabiko has been involved in democracy building, civil society development and electoral transparency in Central and Eastern Europe for over a decade.  She began her career as a Parliamentary intern in Kyiv, then joining the National Democratic Institute (NDI) to work on Ukraine’s political party building.

Having served as a Government Relations Officer in one of Washington’s lobbying firms – American Continental Group (USA) and later as a Program Officer with Freedom House’s Regional Networking Program in Budapest (Hungary) and Elections and Political Processes Advisor at the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) in Kyiv (Ukraine), she advanced her professional career with international organizations, private sector consultancies and government institutions.

She led and participated in a number of assessment missions on democratization, political party development and elections in Romania, Slovakia, Ukraine, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Belarus and Moldova.  Her election observation experience includes more than a dozen election missions across the region.  In 2010, Kateryna was named a USAID Foreign Service National of the year for outstanding achievements in promoting the democratic development of Ukraine and leadership in guiding US Government’s democracy assistance efforts.

Kateryna graduated with Master’s in Public Administration from the State University of New York (USA).  She was honored by a Stanford University Fellowship for Democracy, Development and Rule of Law (2009), the New York State Senate Excelsior Award (2002) and an Edmund Muskie Fellowship (2000).

Source: Kateryna Ryabiko

Anna Arustamyan

Anna Arustamyan was a student who participated in the street protests that took place in Ukraine during the Orange Revolution.

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