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Russia without Ukraine is a country;
Russia with Ukraine is an empire.

Ukraine Politics


Leonid M. Kravchuk 01 Dec 1991 19 Jul 1994Social Democratic Party
Leonid Kuchma19 Jul 199423 Jan 2005People's Democratic Party
Viktor Yushchenko23 Jan 200525 Feb 2010Our Ukraine
Viktor Yanukovich 25 Feb 2010 22 Feb 2014 Party of Regions
Oleksandr Turchynov23 Feb 2014 07 Jun 2014 Yulia Tymoshenko Bloc
Petro Poroshenko07 Jun 2014 Jun 2019 UDAR

Prime Minister

Vitold Fokin23 Oct 199002 Oct 1992KPU/Non-party
Leonid Kuchma13 Oct 199222 Sep 1993Non-party
Yukhim Zvyahilsky22 Sep 199316 Jun 1994Non-party
Vitalii Masol16 Jun 199401 Mar 1995Non-party
Yevhen Marchuk01 Mar 199528 May 1996Non-party
Pavlo Lazarenko28 May 199602 Jul 1997Hormada
Valerii Pustovoitenko16 Jul 199722 Dec 1999NDP
Viktor Yushchenko22 Dec 199929 May 2001Non-party
Anatolii Kinakh29 May 200121 Nov 2002PPPU
Viktor Yanukovich21 Nov 200205 Jan 2005 Party of Regions
Mykola Azarov07 Dec 200424 Jan 2005Party of Regions
Yuliya Tymoshenko24 Jan 200508 Sep 2005Yulia Tymoshenko Bloc + VOB
Yurii Yekhanurov08 Sep 200504 Aug 2006NU
Viktor Yanukovich 04 Aug 2006 18 Dec 2007 Party of Regions
Yuliya Tymoshenko18 Dec 2007 11 Mar 2010 Yulia Tymoshenko Bloc + VOB
Mykola Azarov11 Mar 201028 Jan 2014Party of Regions
Sergei Arbuzov 05 Feb 2014 Mar 2014Party of Regions
Arseniy YatsenyukMar 2014?? VOB
excludes brief acting PMs
Ethno-LiungisticAll East European nations experienced a traumatic twentieth century, but Ukraine's trials were particularly tragic - millions were killed in the Great War, Stalin's genocidal famine, and Hitler's invasion. The trauma's of this period echo down generation upon generation to the present. Corruption is a significant problem. The Ukrainian Government openly acknowledges that corruption remains a major issue in society. Their efforts to fight corruption effectively are hampered by the general public's widespread tolerance and apathetic response.

Ukraine is two nations in one country. Eastern Ukraine looks to Russia, and Western Ukraine looks to Europe. The population of Ukraine is over 45 million. Ethnic Ukrainians make up approximately 78% of the total; ethnic Russians number about 17%, ethnic Belarusians number about 0.6%. The industrial regions in the east and southeast are the most heavily populated, and the population is about 69% urban. Ukrainian and Russian are the principal languages. Although Russian is very widely spoken, in the 2001 census (the latest official figures) 85.2% of the ethnic Ukrainian population identified Ukrainian as their native language. While members of the three Orthodox churches comprise a majority of believers in the western part of the country overall, the Greek Catholic communities constitute a majority in three of the eight western oblasts: Lviv, Ivano-Frankivsk, and Ternopil.

The entrepreneurial dynamism and pro-European sentiment is palpable in western Ukraine, with construction visible in the cities and countryside, coffee houses full of students, and European Union flags proudly displayed and dreams of NATO accession unabashedly uttered. But overt Russian-affiliated intervention into internal Ukrainian politics includes both advocacy of a Ukrainian political force and via participation of a handful of Kremlin sponsored or tolerated fringe groups and NGOs.

Conventional wisdom divides Ukraine into the Orange provinces in the West, the center of support for politicians leaning towards Europe, and the Blue provinces in the South and East, the center of support for pro-Russian politicians. At times it seems that Ukraine's emerging two-party system could be dangerous for Ukrainian unity, leading to a possible East/West split of the country. Some speculate that Ukraine could be divided into three parts, with the east/south annexed by Russia, a Russian-controlled central region, and a European-oriented rump Ukraine in the west. But nothing in Ukraine is so simple. While Prime Minister, Orange leader Yuliya Tymoshenko made deals favorable to Moscow, and the Blue Party of Regions includes pro-European factions.

The fraudulent conduct of the 2004 presidential elections resulted in massive but peaceful demonstrations - referred to commonly as the Orange Revolution - which brought Viktor Yushchenko to the Presidency, with support from Western Ukraine. The March 2006 parliamentary elections were the freest and fairest in the country's history. The Party of Regions, led by former Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych with support from Eastern Ukraine, garnered a plurality of votes and formed a majority coalition with the Socialist and Communist parties in the Rada (parliament), which allowed Yanukovych to become Prime Minister once again. However, accusations of vote-buying led Yushchenko to dismiss the parliament in April 2007.

Pre-term parliamentary elections in September 2007 were judged to be free and fair by international standards. Although Russia-leaning Party of Regions once again won a plurality, the Europe-leaning Bloc Yuliya Tymoshenko (BYuT) and the pro-Yushchenko Our Ukraine-People's Self-Defense bloc (OU-PSD) garnered enough seats in the Rada to form a narrow majority. Thus the main players in the government that took office in 2005 immediately after the Orange Revolution returned to power, including Tymoshenko as Prime Minister. Mutual recriminations between the President and Prime Minister quickly surfaced again in 2008.

Ukraine had been free of significant civil unrest or disorder since the November-December 2004 Orange Revolution. After President Yushchenko dissolved the Ukrainian Parliament in April 2007, there were large but peaceful street demonstrations which lasted for several months. President Yushchenko's decision to again dissolve the parliament in October 2008, resulted in scattered and much smaller (but peaceful) demonstrations. More recently, there were a number of political demonstrations with several hundred to several thousand participants in the center of Kyiv in the lead-up to the presidential elections in February 2010 which saw Viktor Yanukovych victorious over Yuliya Tymoshenko. In 2011 and 2012, there was an increase in the number of demonstrations in response to domestic political and economic issues. In late 2012, there were a number of minor demonstrations, fights, and protests in response to alleged falsifications during the parliamentarian elections in October 2012.

According to the results of a public opinion survey conducted by the Research & Branding Group, 20.8% of Ukrainians would vote for the incumbent President Viktor Yanukovych if the next presidential elections were held on Sunday, October 6. Further results reveal that: 11.7% of Ukrainians would vote for Leader of UDAR Party Vitali Klitschko; 10.9% for Leader of the Batkivschyna Party Yulia Tymoshenko; 6.3% for leader of the Batkivschyna faction in Parliament Arseniy Yatseniuk; Leader of the Communist Party of Ukraine Petro Symonenko would get 4.9% of the vote; independent MP Petro Poroshenko would poll 3.2%; and Leader of Svoboda Party Oleh Tiahnybok would poll 3.1%. At the same time, 11.5% of respondents said they would not go to the polls, 16.6% were undecided, and 7.9% said they would vote against all candidates. The survey was conducted by R&B Group in all regions of Ukraine on September 15-25, 2013. A total of 3,117 respondents aged over 18 years were polled. The margin of error is 2%.

Russian President Vladimir Putin said that it would be impossible for Ukraine to join a Moscow-led Customs Union if the country signs an association agreement with the European Union. “It will be impossible since such association stipulates the creation of a free-trade zone between the European Union and Ukraine,” Putin said 24 October 2013 at a session of the Supreme Eurasian Economic Council in Minsk. The EU reinforced the Russian zero-sum logic by stating that Ukraine had to choose between the EU agreement and the Moscow-led customs union. Putin has said that Russia will be obliged to use stiffer customs regulations to protect itself from a flood of European and Turkish goods that would be re-exported to Russia via Ukraine if trade with the EU were increased.

Ukraine's Cabinet said 21 November 2013 it was suspending preparations to sign the historic trade and cooperation agreement with the EU. The decision resulted in a multi-billion-dollar bailout from Russia that analysts said staved off near-certain bankruptcy for the impoverished country. Moscow offered Kiev a more attractive deal than what was on offer from Europe. Moscow needed Kiev more than Europe, and tended to view Europe's approach to Kiev as a third effort to grab Ukraine, after failed attempts in the Great War and World War II.

Pro-European protesters were angered by the turn toward Moscow and took to the streets of Kyiv, where they maintained a presence ever since. The decision triggered massive protests in the Ukrainian capital and some other large cities. The protesters initially demanded that President Viktor Yanukovich overturn his decision. But as the EU summit passed without a trade deal for Ukraine, they turned their anger on the government and demanded its resignation. As the confrontation continued, European and American politicians and top officials flocked to Ukraine to cheer up the opposition crowds and criticize the Yanukovich government for not following their demands.

President Viktor Yanukovich fled Ukraine 21 February 2014 citing security concerns last month. Russia considers Yanukovich Ukraine’s legitimate leader and does not recognize the new Ukrainian authorities, but the West claims they are legitimate. A vote by Crimeans to join the Russian Federation was quickly accepted by Russian President Vladimir Putin. Crimea signed a treaty with Russia to become its constituent member on 18 March 2014 after a referendum two days earlier in which most Crimeans voted to secede from Ukraine and join Russia.

Ukraine's Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk announced 24 July 2014 that he was resigning, amid the break-up of the country’s ruling coalition in parliament. Ukraine’s Svoboda and UDAR parties announced their factions were quitting the majority coalition. Yatsenyuk made the announcement hours after the two major political parties in the ruling coalition pulled out. Usually mild-mannered and even-keeled, he expressed frustration over parliament’s failure to pass crucial energy legislation and increase army financing as the county battles pro-Russia separatists in its east and tried to deal with the aftermath of a plane downing that killed 298 people.

Deputy Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman was appointed as acting prime minister. The Cabinet of Ministers, dissolved by the Verkhovna Rada (Ukrainian parliament), would continue to function until the new government is formed. President Petro Poroshenko welcomed the break-up of the coalition saying that early parliamentary elections will give Ukrainians the opportunity of a “full reset.”

Extraordinary elections would be held on September 28.

On 31 July 2014 Ukraine's parliament rejected the resignation of Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk, who had announced his intention to step down after the two parties supporting him left the ruling coalition. The legislature voted not to accept Yatsenyuk's resignation, despite his loss of political backing. The lawmakers also approved legislation backed by Yatsenyuk to help fund the fight against pro-Russian separatists in the east. The prime minister had warned that without the funding, Ukraine would default on its debt, undermining a $17 billion loan package from the International Monetary Fund.

The mayor of Kiev took the lead on 09 August 2014 in work to dismantle the remaining barriers and tents on the Ukrainian capital's main street, nine months after pro-EU demonstrators took to the streets. Vitali Klitschko, an ex-boxing champion who was active in the protests during the winter, turned out with dozens of volunteers and council workers. He told reporters that Kreschatik Street had to be re-opened to traffic. A few hundred demonstrators had still occupied a camp on the square. Days before, protesters had clashed with security forces in Kiev in scenes reminiscent of the unrest which eventually brought down Ukraine's pro-Russian President, Viktor Yanukovych, in February.

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko signed the law on the "Purification of the government" on 09 October 2014. The law determines the legal and administrative grounds for examining officials "with the aim of restoring trust to the government and the creation of conditions for the construction of a new system in accordance with European standards." The lustration (a term for the purging of government officials affiliated with the former regime) committees will be created in each ministry. The law says that officials will have to submit consent in writing to undergoing checks, as well as provide an autobiography and a copy of their passport. Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseny Yatsenyuk has initially calculated the number of people who may be subjected to lustration at 1 million. The law's main target is Soviet functionaries, security forces and the close entourage of deposed president Victor Yanukovych.

By the end of November 2014 political pressure was mounting both at home and abroad on Ukraine's President Petro Poroshenko, with critics arguing he lacked direction in combating a pro-Moscow insurgency in the east and not moving fast enough on reform. With government formation delayed, so, too, were the sweeping reforms called for by the Maidan protesters who unseated Yanukovych earlier this year. And activists warn of trouble ahead if reform is not taken up quickly, and endemic political corruption stamped out.

Prime Minister Arseny Yatseniuk emerged strengthened from the October elections with a hard-line stance on Russia that risked making the more diplomatic President Petro Poroshenko look weak. Some are concerned that emerging cracks between Ukraine's leaders - Poroshenko and Yatseniuk - might widen, as they did a decade ago between the previous leadership duo, Viktor Yushchenko and Yulia Tymoshenko.

In a widely expected move, Ukraine's new parliament elected Arseniy Yatsenyuk for a new term as prime minister. The Verkhovna Rada on 27 November 2014 confirmed Yatsenyuk to stay on as prime minister with the backing of 341 deputies out of 390 present. The five parties in the governing coalition have 288 seats, suggesting that about half the 96 independent members voted with the majority.

Yatsenyuk was in favor of re-appointing Oleksandr Turchynov, a leader of Yatsenyuk's party, as parliamentary chairman. The Ukrainian parliament elected former Deputy Prime Minister Vladimir Groysman, a representative from the Petro Poroshenko Bloc, to the post of speaker. The parliamentary chairman is the first to stand in for the president if the head of state is unable to fulfill his duties.

French President Francois Hollande said October 02, 2015 local elections slated to be held in Ukraine this month will likely be postponed until 2016 amid Kyiv’s standoff with Russian-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine. The rebels were planning separate elections in territory under their control, which Western government said would violate the terms of a Ferbruary peace agreement that was signed in Minsk. The separatists' representatives in Donetsk and Luhansk have previously announced they would conduct on elections on their own terms on October 18 and November 1, respectively, without the involvement of the Ukrainian government.

The local elections began on Oct. 25, continued with runoff elections on Nov. 15 and ended on Nov. 29 with votes in two cities, Mariupol and Krasnoarmyisk, where problems forced a rescheduling of elections in both Donetsk Oblast municipalities. The local election results can be considered a win for Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko and his Solidarnist party. An analysis by the Rating sociological group shows that the Poroshenko allies got just 19 percent of the overall vote in Ukraine’s local elections and mayoral races. If accurate, that puts his forces ahead of others, but the results hardly constitute a resounding endorsement. Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk’s People’s Front party chose not to even put up candidates due to its dismal ratings.

Ukraine’s next presidential vote isn’t due until 2019, but two years after the massive protests that led to the ousting of Yanukovych, widespread discontent is simmering once more. Frustration at the slow pace of change is threatening the present government’s stability. Its approval ratings have plummeted. Polling in December 2015 showed Poroshenko's approval rating had fallen so low that he was less popular than his ousted predecessor Viktor Yanukovych, and the prime minister and his cabinet are faring no better.

Another indication that endemic corruption and a failure to establish rule of law plague reform efforts arrived on 03 February 2016, when Lithuanian-born Economy Minister Aivaras Abromavicius announced he would resign over what he called a 'sharp escalation in efforts to block systemic and important reforms.' He likened recent developments to 'the style of the old authorities.'

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