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Yulia Tymoshenko of Ukraine

Activism > Politics

SummaryYulia Tymoshenko, Prime Minister of Ukraine, was ranked in 2005 by Forbes Magazine as the third most powerful woman in the world. Tymoshenko was one of the leaders of Ukraine’s Orange Revolution that toppled a stagnant, corrupt regime.

Biography. The following biography was taken from Yulia Tymoshenko’s official website.

Yulia Tymoshenko was born on November 27th, 1960 in Dnepropetrovsk. 

After leaving the school in 1979, she joined the economic faculty of Dnepropetrovsk State University to study cybernetic engineering.

In 1979, while studying there, she married Oleksandr Tymoshenko and her daughter Eugenia was born in 1980.

In 1984 Yulia Tymoshenko was graduated from the University with an honor degree. As any young specialist, she got an assignment (the usual practice in the USSR days) to work as an economy engineer at the machine-building plant inDnepropetrovsk.

The end of Eighties, the beginning of Nineties was the era when so-called “cooperative enterprises” has started, the blueprints for modern business structures. For the young people the newly opened possibilities became the first step to the business of their own. In 1988 Yulia and her husband Oleksandr opened a public service enterprise, a video-renting shop, started with 5.000 of Soviet roubles they borrowed. The profits made from this first venture were used to open the video rentals chain.

From 1989 till 1991 Yulia Tymoshenko worked as the business manager of the “Terminal” youth center of Dnepropetrovsk.

In 1991 she became the managing director of the “Ukrainian Oil” corporation (UOC). All the funds available (including bank credits) UOC has directed to purchasing of oil products. It was the most important business trend for the society: 1991 saw the collapsing of the huge state and economic structure. It was the year of monstrous inflation and the near-instantaneous demise of the Ukrainian agriculture.

The “Ukrainian Oil” Corporation has laid the foundation for the new company, “United Energy Systems of Ukraine” (UESU).

In 1995 Yulia Tymoshenko became the president of UESU. Shortly after, the Corporation devised a new model of supplying the Ukrainian industry with energy sources. The economic was struggling without access to the cash flow as result of the last currency reform and inflation. Factories became victims of the lack of experience in market management. In this situation, UESU undertook the mission of trading, with Russia mostly, the major source of energy resources in the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS). The money were directed to the factories, while the corporation kept some as the payment for its services. Thus, the circulating capital was brought to the domestic economy and it was used to revitalize the production and to pay wages. Meantime, UESU was trading with Russia, delivering metals, pipes and other products of Ukrainian heavy industry in exchange for gas and oil.

By 1997 the multi-billion debts of Ukraine to Russia for the natural gas were fully liquidated due to the UESU’s activity.Ukraine has renewed its international economic relations in the spheres of machinery-building, house-building and pipes production, doubling the Ukrainian export to Russia.

Thus, the development of the UESU corporation got to that level when business outgrows itself, becoming the major political factor. The usual scenario was launched that is still popular today: the corporation leaders were sued for the debt of $ 42 millions to “Ukrgasprom”, the Revenue and Tax police arrested the Corporation’s accounts and the Supreme Court of Arbitration fined UESU on more than $ 300 millions after having it accused of the currency legislation infringement.

It was the hard blow for the “United Energy Systems of Ukraine” which the public and the mass media alike called “the pre-ordered persecution”. The UESU was one of the top five most powerful business structures on the territory of CIS at the time.

The succession of events left only two choices for Yulia Tymoshenko: to stay in the big business and be engaged in confrontation with the state officials or to become a politician and fight for the independence of business from authority and for the state liberalization.

In the end of 1996 Yulia Tymoshenko was nominated for the parliamentary election. She got 92,3% of votes in the majority constituency of the Kirovograd region.

In 1997 Yulia Tymoshenko became the first deputy chief of the “Gromada” party.

Since 1998 she was working as the chairman of the strategic committee on budgeting of the Parliament. During this period, Yulia Tymoshenko has developed projects for the Budget and Tax codes, new systems of pension and medical provision, mechanics of clearing off pensions and salaries. In addition, under her guidance, the Budget committee devised the “100 weeks to the proper life” program.

In 1998 Yulia Tymoshenko becomes the deputy of the Parliament for the second time and again heads the Budget committee. She authors the advanced system of interbudgetary relations and optimization of the Ukraine’s social programs, while leading the development of bills for the Tax and Social codes and also for the Pension reform.

Still in 1998, the Ukrainian Orthodox Church has rewarded Yulia Tymoshenko with the Order of St. Varvara in recognition of her outstanding services for the country.

In 1999 Yulia Tymoshenko became the leader of the All-Ukrainian Union “Batkivschina” (“Fatherland”) party. Meanwhile, she successfully upholds a thesis named “The State Regulation of the Taxation System”, receiving PhD in economics. Still, it was not the end of her scholar activity: Yulia Tymoshenko wrote more than 50 works on different scientific themes.

In December of 1999 the united energy system of Ukraine suffered from the catastrophic lack of fuel supplies. This situation was not helped by the continuing payment crisis, and the President Leonid Kuchma was forced to agree to the proposal of bringing Yulia Tymoshenko to the government led by Viktor Yuschenko.

On the December 30, 1999 Yulia Tymoshenko occupies the post of vice-Premier Minister responsible of the country’s fuel and energy issues. In the same period Yulia Tymoshenko developed “Ukraine’s energy concept and the anti-corruption program “Clear Energy”, which both aimed to end the corruption and the dominant influence of criminal groups on the Ukraine’s fuel and energetic complex. When the energy market was stabilized she developed a new program, “The Coal of Ukraine”. Supported by Prime Minister Viktor Yuschenko, she exposed and promulgated a number of “shadow” schemes of capital export from the energy sector. Naturally, such actions were not applauded by the corrupt officials. Their reaction was quick and ruthless.

In August, 2000 Alexander Tymoshenko and the managing director of the UESU Corporation Valery Falkovich were detained and placed under arrest. One year later the Court announced these arrests as an unlawful acts.

On the January 19, 2001 Yulia Tymoshenko was dismissed from the post of vice-Premier Minister.

On the 13th of February, 2001 she was arrested on the charges brought by the General Prosecutor’s office. The experts and the general public considered it as a violent punishment of all the democratic movement. In March these charges were ruled unsubstantiated by the Court in Kiev and the arrest sanctions were called off.

In September 2001, during the International Economic Forum in Krynitsa Gurskaya (Poland), Yulia Tymoshenko was nominated for the honorary title of “The Person of the Year in Central-Eastern Europe”, being the only woman in the list. Exactly 4 years later, in September 2005, European experts will appreciate the true level of Yulia Tymoshenko’s activity as the Prime Minister of Ukraine awarding her with the title.

In 2001, the disappearance of journalist Georgy Gongadze has caused the huge political scandal searing through the country. The opposition claimed that the President Leonid Kuchma and other authority figures of the highest rank are involved in disappearance and death of the journalist. The ill-famous “cassette scandal” followed. Then the action “Ukraine Without Kuchma” has begun. The tense political situation resulted in Yulia Tymoshenko’s initiative to create “National Rescue Forum” (NRF) aiming to initiate the impeachment and to discharge the Kuchma’s criminal regime. NRF with its members of “Fatherland” party, Republican party of Ukraine, Conservative Republican party of Ukraine, “Sobor”, Social-Democratic party of Ukraine, Christian Democratic party of Ukraine and Patriotic party was the long-awaited unity of the various opposition movements.

In November of 2001 the member parties of NRF made a decision to rename “National Rescue Forum” as the “Yulia Tymoshenko Bloc”. Leading it, Yulia Tymoshenko enters the Parliament elections in March of 2000. As a result, the Bloc gets over 20 chairs in Ukrainian Parliament and forms the faction of its own.

The Yulia Tymoshenko Bloc did continue its oppositional activity after the elections were over. Namely, it raises an initiative to create the alternative Parliament of national trust and the “shadow” Cabinet of Ministers. In September of 2002 Yulia Tymoshenko, among other opposition leaders, heads all-Ukraine action of protest “Rise, Ukraine!”, the first massive movement of resistance, empowering the protest demonstrations.

In 2004 the Yulia Tymoshenko Bloc announced a coalition “Power of the People” with the Victor Yuschenko’s “Our Ukraine” bloc to support Yuschenko during the presidential elections in October.

November of 2004. The second round of presidential elections caused the massive protest actions in Ukraine due to the cynical falsification of the elections’ results. They became known to the entire world as the “Orange revolution” led by Yulia Tymoshenko as one of its heads. On December 3rd of 2004 the Supreme Court of Ukraine ruled that these results (according to which Victor Yanukovich, suppoted by the authorities, was to became the President of Ukraine) were declared invalid and the date of new elections was set. On October 26 Ukraine voted in the third time under the whole world’s attention and Viktor Yuschenko became the winner.

On February 4, 2005 the President Viktor Yuschenko presents Yulia Tymoshenko as the perspective Prime Minister to the Parliament. The new record was set: 373 members of Parliament voted in support of her and she became the head of the Government.

One of the most resonating achievements of Yulia Tymoshenko’s government was the return of the metallurgical plant “Kryvorizhstal” (which was sold dirt-cheap before) to the state and its following honest privatization. According Yulia Tymoshenko, it was merely the beginning of the process of “stripping oligarchs of their power”. In addition, the Cabinet that was led by Yulia Tymoshenko increased the social payments and pensions while keeping the inflation low.

The profits part of the state budget was increased by 70% without raising the taxes. Besides, the equal terms for business enterprises were created and the single system of taxation was formed without any corruption influencing it. For the purpose of the increase of competition the customs duty was reduced, and so on. More than 5.000 of the legal acts that were giving additional power to the officials, creating the ideal environment to the corruption were rescinded by Yulia Tymoshenko as the Prime Minister.

In July of 2005 the trustworthy American magazine Forbes named Yulia Tymoshenko the 3rd of the 100 Most Powerful Women in the World.

Meantime the President’s cronies did provoke a political crisis in the country. In September 2005 Yulia Tymoshenko’s team leaves the government, but continues to work on the perspective projects of the Ukraine’s development.

It is remarkable that simultaneously with resignation from the post of a head of Ukrainian government Yulia Tymoshenko obtains the recognition in Europe: namely, the “Person of the Year in Central-Eastern Europe” reward that was given to her by the forum in Krynitsa Gurskaya (Poland).

On November 18, 2005 the Supreme Court of Ukraine finally restores justice by withdrawing all the criminal cases and prosecutions against Yulia Tymoshenko, members of her family and her colleagues, which were initiated by the authorities of the old regime with the purpose to discredit herself and her associates.

In December of 2005, during the 2nd annual session of Euro Mediterranean Forum in Monaco, Yulia Tymoshenkoreceived another international award, Prix de la Foundation, for her “outstanding leader qualities, the economic achievements and the anti-corruption policy of her Cabinet and for her struggle against the treats to democracy arising in the modern world”.

December 7th, 2005. The interparty congress of the Yulia Tymoshenko Bloc took place in Kiev. During this congress she presented solidarism as the Bloc’s new ideological base to enter the Parliament elections of 2006.

During the elections campaign, Yulia Tymoshenko Bloc practically rejects the TV advertising, while other competitors overcrowd the TV schedule. The Bloc’s leaders chose to visit the regions instead, to meet people face-to-face.

During three months, Yulia Tymoshenko took a part in more than four hundreds of the crowded meetings in the town squares and in the factories of the hundreds of Ukraine’s cities, towns and villages. She met with 4,5 millions of people there, travelling for a distance of 80 thousand of kilometers (which is comparable to two round-the-world tours). The overall length of her speeches on these meetings, along with the TV and radio appearances, is approximately equal to month.

Realizing that the Parliament elections of 2006 fundamentally differ from all the previous rounds (because the Parliament majority chosen will form the future government), Yulia Tymoshenko Bloc called upon all the political forces to name their candidates for the Prime Minister seat (which is the general practice in the European countries) for the people to see the persons they give their votes to. Nevertheless, Yulia Tymoshenko stood as the only candidate who was named.

Anyway, with the elections date approaching, the three political forces that were standing together during the Orange revolution of 2004 (Yulia Tymoshenko Bloc, “Our Ukraine” Bloc and the Socialist party of Ukraine) achieved the preliminary agreement to form the Democratic coalition in the new Parliament. It was approved that one force of the three with the mightiest support of the voters will have the right to nominate its candidate for the Prime Minister post.

The elections of March 26th, 2006 emerged with the following totals: Yulia Tymoshenko Bloc got 22,29% of votes, winning the elections in the half of Ukraine’s regions and in its capital Kiev. Second result (of the “Orange” forces) was achieved by the “Our Ukraine” with 13,95% of votes and third place was won by the Socialist party with its 5,69%. Together, these three democratic forces got the opportunity to compile the parliamentary majority with 243 of the deputy mandates.

Yulia Tymoshenko urged the politics to create the Democratic coalition as soon as possible and to form a government in order to finally offer the people results that were awaited for the few years now.

By Greg Johnson

Greg Johnson is a freelance writer and tech consultant in Iowa City. He is also the founder and Director of the ResourcesForLife.com website. Learn more at AboutGregJohnson.com