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. Last Updated: 03/02/2015

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.

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