In his first address as Ukraine's new president, Petro Poroshenko declared that Crimea "is, was and will be Ukrainian." The billionaire businessman took the oath of office in Kyiv 07 June 2014, in front of parliament, world leaders and dignitaries including U.S. Vice President Joe Biden.
The National Exit Poll of Ukraine's Presidential Poll put Petro Poroshenko at well over 55 percent of the vote on 25 May 2014. This made a runoff unnecessary. Former Prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko was reported to have come in second, at 12.9 percent. Voter turnout was extremely high in the capital. But more than 15 percent of the electorate, in Russian-annexed Crimea and two eastern regions of Donetsk and Luhansk, were unable to cast their votes as polls were blocked by pro-Russian separatists.
US Secretary of State John Kerry met with three of Ukraine's opposition leaders February 01, 2014 in Germany, after exchanging sharp words with Russia over the future of the former Soviet republic. Kerry met the opposition figures - Arseniy Yatsenyuk, Vitali Klitschko and Petro Poroshenko - on the sidelines of the Munich Security Conference. Kerry reiterated US support for the opposition leaders' efforts "to speak out to defend democracy and choice" for the Ukrainian people. But he encouraged them to remain peaceful and to continue discussions with the government.
The meeting was interesting as Kerry met not with the First Triumvirate of Arseniy Yatsenyuk, Vitali Klitschko and Oleh Tyahnybok, the trio which had figured so prominently in protest rallies to date, but rather with the Second Triumvirate, minus the neo-fascist Tyahnybok, who was replaced by Ukrainian lawmaker and businessman Petro Poroshenko, a safe establishment figure who, along with Yatsenyuk, might figure in a new government in coming weeks.
Poroshenko is one of Ukraine's richest businessmen. Estimates vary, but many consider him a (dollar) billionaire. Poroshenko controls Ukrprominvest, which has interests in bus manufacturing, shipyards, banking, and media and includes businesses that sell foreign-made automobiles and motorcycles, and also manufactures domestic motor vehicles. He also owns Roshen, Ukraine's largest confectionery company, which has five confectionary plants factories in both Ukraine and Russia. Poroshenko has been dubbed the country's "Chocolate King." Poroshenko served as a member of parliament from 1998 to 2005 in various political parties and was the Chairman of the National Security and Defense Council in 2005. Since 2007 he has served as the Chairman of the National Bank's Supervisory Council. In addition to his business and political activities, in 2002 Poroshenko completed his doctoral studies at the Kyiv Institute of International Relations. He speaks English.
Petro Poroshenko was born on 26 September 1965 in the city of Bolhrad, Odesa Oblast, near the Ukrainian-Moldovan border and near the Danube Delta. Born in one of the southern oblasts of Ukraine, Poroshenko constantly stresses his affiliation with the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (Moscow Patriarchate). It is said the greatest challenge he faces is keeping his southern temper in check.
His formative years as a politician were during the tenure of former president Leonid Kuchma, when the multi-vector foreign policy was elevated to the level of the highest wisdoms of statehood. He debuted in big politics in March 1998, when he was elected to the Verkhovna Rada from a first-past-the-post constituency in Vinnytsya Oblast. At that time, Poroshenko was a member of the Social Democratic Party-united (SDPU-o) led by Viktor Medvedchuk and was on its Political Bureau. In 2000, Poroshenko quit the SDPU-o and formed its own parliamentary caucus, called Solidarity, and a political party called the Party of Solidarity of Ukraine. By the end of 2000 his party joined the Party of Regions of Ukraine (headed by Yanukovych), of which he become a cochairman.
In 2001, Poroshenko left the Party of Regions, recast his former party into a Solidarity Party and joined Yushchenko's Our Ukraine election bloc. By 2003 Poroshenko led the party Working Solidarity of Ukraine (Solidarnist). Working Solidarity of Ukraine (Solidarnist) began life as a parliamentary faction in February 2000. In March 2000, it opened its ranks to members of the Peasant Party, which disbanded its parliamentary faction after its members defected en masse to Solidarity. In 2003 it had 21 parliamentary seats. Although Poroshenko kept a low profile in politics, his maneuverings in party politics and the Verkhovna Rada demonstrated that he was capable of forging political alliances with oligarchic groups, a talent that no doubt boosted his stock as a potential prime minister.
Poroshenko had headed the parliamentary Budget Committee since 2002. Poroshenko said in a press interview in mid-2004 that it is quite possible for the Ukrainian budget to immediately have annual revenues of 100 billion hryvnyas ($19 billion) by recovering part of the money from the shadow economic sector. The budget revenues projected for 2005 stood at 86.5 billion hryvnyas.
Poroshenko is the owner of the Channel 5 television station, which made a huge propaganda contribution to the success of the Yushchenko-driven "Orange Revolution" in Ukraine. Channel 5 was the country's only television channel sympathetic to Yushchenko's presidential bid throughout the 2004 election campaign and in the first week of the "Orange Revolution" that followed the discredited 21 November second election round that favored then-Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych. Poroshenko's financial contribution to the Yushchenko presidential campaign -- in addition to that from Tymoshenko -- was surely hefty, though exactly who paid what in sponsoring Yushchenko's campaign was never made public.
Poroshenko announced in January 2005 on his Channel 5 that he is prepared to accept the post of prime minister from Viktor Yushchenko, whom the Central Election Commission on 10 January 2005 announced as the official winner of the 26 December presidential vote. Poroshenko's public declaration of readiness to head Ukraine's new cabinet followed those of Yushchenko's two other political allies -- Yuliya Tymoshenko and Anatoliy Kinakh.
Some divisions in the Orange Revolution coalition were personal — the product of competition for top jobs after the 2004 election. For example, the broad remit given to Petro Poroshenko, who had hoped to become prime minister, as head of the National Security Council, created the potential for 'turf wars' with Tymoshenko, and friction between the two persisted.
In the midst of the Orange Revolution, the Ukrainian parliament adopted a package of legislation, consisting of an amendment to the existing election law to prevent fraud in the repeat run-off of the vote and a bill on constitutional reform. The constitutional reform reduced some of the powers that were currently enjoyed by the president of Ukraine and awarded them to the parliament and the prime minister. The most important of these powers is the right to appoint and to discharge the prime minister as well as several key ministers, such as defense and foreign ministers. Critics of the constitutional reform, such as Secretary of the National Security Council Petro Poroshenko, argued that these changes are not timely because a strong office of the president would ensure that the much-needed radical reforms are implemented, and awarding key powers to the parliament through weakening the executive decreases the potential for change.
In September 2005, President Yushchenko’s entourage was accused of corruption leading to the dismissal of many business allies, such as Petro Poroshenko (secretary of the National Security and Defense Council). He came under criticism that his business interests in Russia had created a conflict of interest.
The Rada on 09 October 2009 approved Petro Poroshenko as Ukraine's new Foreign Minister. President Yushchenko announced Poroshenko's nomination the previous day when he withdrew his earlier nomination of the current Ukrainian Ambassador to the U.S., Oleg Shamshur. Poroshenko was backed by 240 of 450 MPs, including two from the opposition. Yushchenko and the coalition led by Prime Minister Tymoshenko had been at loggerheads over a replacement for former FM Volodomyr Oryzhko who was ousted by the Rada on March 3. The Rada's refusal to consider Yushchenko's nomination of Ambassador Shamshur left the position vacant for more than six months.
Tymoshenko bloc (BYuT) backed Poroshenko's nomination because he may be able to help normalize relations with Russia. Unlike previous FM Oryzhko, Poroshenko can engage constructively with Moscow and would not needlessly provoke the Kremlin. Poroshenko was also willing to cooperate with the Prime Minister on foreign policy rather than oppose her as Oryzhko had. some said that Tymoshenko's sole reason for backing Poroshenko was to gain access to his media and financial resources, including the popular television station Kanal 5, for the upcoming presidential election. Tymoshenko likely considered the benefits of Poroshenko's media and financial resources, but that this was probably not the most important factor in his approval.
Poroshenko was a good compromise candidate for the FM job. Poroshenko had good personal relations with both the President and PM and was strong enough to balance between each of their demands. Poroshenko was seen as a "caretaker" Foreign Minister who had the chance to "steady the weak Ministry of Foreign Affairs" until a new president was elected. After his Rada confirmation, Poroshenko called for Ukraine to continue its efforts at European integration and for "pragmatic, mutually beneficial relations with Russia, based on respect for mutual sovereignty."
In the 17 January 2010 Ukrainian presidential election Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, a key figure in the 2004 Orange Revolution, faced former Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovich, whose apparent victory in a presidential race that year was annulled by the country's supreme court amid allegations of fraud.
Foreign Minister Poroshenko said his government had invited more than 1,000 international observers to "guarantee the character" of the election. He said the fact that polls show the race as too close to call shows that democratic processes in Ukraine have been strengthened. "We now demonstrate one of the greatest achievements of the Ukraine - this is the freedom of speech, freedom of mass media, the equal access of all the candidates to all these resources," said Petro Poroshenko. "And from my point of view, the fact is that nobody knows this is the first presidential election in Ukraine where nobody knows who will be the next president. This is also the symbol of democracy. And from my point of view, I think that Ukraine successfully passed these exams for democracy, for the members of civilized society."
Foreign Minister Poroshenko embraced President-elect Yanukovych and distanced himself from PM Tymoshenko. Poroshenko criticized Tymoshenko's unwillingness to concede the election and her denigration of the work of international election observers. Poroshenko condemned "politicians who apply unacceptable methods" to undermine elections.
On 12 March 2010, Yanukovych appointed a new foreign minister, Kostyantyn Hryshchenko. deputy head of the Yanukovych office Hanna Herman said ex-Foreign Minister Petro Poroshenko might become vice premier for European integration in the Azarov cabinet. “I think, Petro Poroshenko is a very interesting diplomat. I believe, he will find his place in the cabinet as there is still no vice premier for Eurointegration,” Herman said. “I’m not going to rush the matters, but if I was to decide, Poroshenko would become the VP,” she said.
On 23 March 2012 the President of Ukraine Viktor Yanukovych appointed Petro Poroshenko to the post of the Minister of Economic Development and Trade of Ukraine. Prime Minister Mykola Azarov introduced to the Ministry of Economic development and Trade new Minister Petro Poroshenko. The Head of the Government noted that in the structure of executive power the Ministry of Economic Development and Trade is one of the fundamental jobs, without which agreement cannot happen in any decision of the Government. "The Ministry of Economic Development and Trade is responsible for economic development, the modernization of the economy, by reducing energy consumption and energy efficiency, price stability and for many other tasks", - Mykola Azarov emphasized, pointing the high professional quality of the newly appointed Minister of Economic Development and Trade Petro Poroshenko and hope for a successful work at a new position. "We need to ensure the economic reforms and not only" - the Prime Minister said.
On 28 October 2012 Ukrainians voted in parliamentary elections that produced a new government, and the resignation of the existing government in December 2012. Seven government members were dismissed under separate decrees due to their election as MPs. In particular, the president dismissed Economic Development and Trade Minister Petro Poroshenko. On 12 December 2012 the Ex-Minister of economic development and trade of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko said that he did not intend to become a member of any faction. In December 2012 the opposition parliamentary faction All-Ukrainian Association Batkivshchyna considered Petro Poroshenko's candidature for a post of head of one of the Verkhovna Rada Committees, however, he did not respond to this proposal.
Ukraine had no alternative to its movement to the EU, and it should develop the most extensive ties with Russia, MP and former Ukrainian Foreign Minister Petro Poroshenko said live on Radio Liberty 15 January 2013. "If it comes to the strategic interests of our country, they remain unchanged. And there's currently no alternative to Ukraine's movement to the European Union," Poroshenko said. Poroshenko also stressed the need to develop comprehensive relations with Russia: "We have to develop the most extensive humanitarian, cultural, economic and other relations with Russia, as with our major trading and strategic partner, but any integration processes should take place in one direction. And this direction is the European Union."
In late July 2013 the Russian Federal Consumer Rights Service (Rospotrebnadzor) imposed a ban on the supply of confectionery products to Russia from Ukrainian factories of Roshen Corporation in connection with its alleged non-compliance with quality standards. By that time Poroshenko was sadi to be actively preparing for elections in 2015, without specifying what elections he means – a mayoral election in Kyiv or presidential elections.
The blocking of Ukrainian goods at the Russian border had no signs of a trade war, Petro Poroshenko MP said this at Shuster Live talk show on 07 September 2013. "The situation with the blocking of Ukrainian goods by Russia has no signs of a trade war. This is a confrontation. A confrontation aimed at reaching Russia’s geo-strategic interests," Poroshenko said, noting that the purpose of such actions of Moscow is not economic, but political. At the same time, he noted that Russia is not economically viable to block Ukrainian goods. "The Russian Federation is interested in Ukraine. The Russians are interested in using our aircraft and our rockets, and I'm sorry, in eating Kyiv’s cake and Roshen. And today, they are sad without it!" Poroshenko said.
As a People's Deputy, Poroshenko served as Co-chairman of the Ukrainian part of the Ukraine-EU Parliamentary Cooperation Committee. Poroshenko announced 01 November 2013 his readiness to vote for all laws to help Tymoshenko go for treatment and which will solve the problem of selective justice that currently remains the only obstacle to the signing of the EU Association Agreement.
|Join the GlobalSecurity.org mailing list|