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. Last Updated: 10/20/2014

Viktor Yanukovych

Viktor Yanukovych Viktor Yanukovych (Виктор Федорович Янукович) was born on July 9, 1950, in Yenakiyevo, Ukraine, to a metalworker and a nurse. His mother died when he was 2, and his father died when Yanukovych was in his teens. He was raised by his Polish grandmother. Yanukovych is a native Russian speaker; his Ukrainian is noticeably weaker.

Education: Mechanical engineering, Donetsk Polytechnic Institute (now Donetsk State Technical University), 1980. International law, Ukrainian Academy of Foreign Trade, 2001.

He was twice convicted of violent crimes — robbery and moderate assault (1967) and assault (1970) — as a young man.

Early 1970s: Worked as an electrician in a bus company before entering Donetsk Polytechnic Institute

1980s-early 1990s: Worked in the transportation industry in eastern Ukraine, reaching senior managerial posts. He entered the Communist Party shortly after graduating from university.

1997-2002: Governor of Donetsk, an eastern, coal-producing region

2002-2004: Prime minister under President Leonid Kuchma. He replaced Anatoly Kinakh; critics had characterized Kinakh's government as weak and indecisive. The move was seen by analysts as an effort to stave off Kuchma's political problems and regain political control. At this point, Yanukovych was already being touted as a potential successor to Kuchma (story).

November 2004-January 2005: Orange Revolution. After trailing Viktor Yushchenko in the first round of the presidential election, Yanukovych defeated Yushchenko in a runoff vote that was condemned as fraudulent by the opposition — which organized massive demonstrations — international observers and, eventually, the Supreme Court. Yushchenko decisively won a court-ordered re-run of the vote (story).

2006: Yanukovych's Party of the Regions won parliamentary elections

2006-2007: Prime minister under President Viktor Yushchenko. Appointed after the Orange Revolution parties failed to form a coalition.

Feb. 7, 2010: Elected president of Ukraine, defeating Yulia Tymoshenko by 3.48 percent of the vote in a runoff. Highlights of his tenure include the withdrawing of the hero status bestowed on wartime nationalist leader Stepan Bandera (story), a political balancing act between pro-Russia and pro-Western interests (story), and prosecutions against former opposition leaders, including Yulia Tymoshenko (story) and former President Kuchma (story).

March 2010: Yanokovych replaced Yulia Tymoshenko with Mykola Azarov as prime minister (story).

He is married and has two sons.

Success of Russia-Ukraine Gas Deal Depends on EU's Willingness to Pay

As the Russian and Ukrainian Energy Ministers sit down with European Commission chaperones to resolve their intractable natural gas dispute on Tuesday, the ball will be in the EU's court.

Poroshenko Signs Law Granting Limited Self Rule in Eastern Ukraine

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has signed a law granting three-year limited self-rule status to certain territories in the separatist-minded Luhansk and Donetsk regions.

Ivanov: Support for Ukrainian Rebels Shows Russia Committed to Democracy

The Kremlin's chief of staff has said that Moscow's support for the demands of separatists was a demonstration of its commitment to "real democracy."

Who Will Rule Russia Tomorrow?

Russia currently has no system in place for recruiting a new, qualified ruling elite, which means that the country will inevitably run into problems in the future, writes columnist Georgy Bovt.

Ukraine Parliament Session Marred by Protest Ahead of Election

Ukraine on Tuesday voted sweeping laws to stamp out corruption and curb Soviet-era state surveillance of political life.

Russia Releases Coins Celebrating Crimea Annexation

Russia's Central Bank has released two coins celebrating the fateful annexation of Crimea, or, as Russia would have it, the territory's reunification with its rightful government.

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