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. Last Updated: 10/24/2014

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.

Ukraine's Donetsk Has Turned Into 'European Kashmir,' Expert Says

The tug-of-war between Russia and Ukraine over the separatist stronghold city of Donetsk has created a European Kashmir and will lead to several years of conflict, an expert on Russia has said.

To Many, Ukraine's Revolution Remains Unfinished

Ahead of Sunday's parliamentary elections and eight months on after the ousting of Viktor Yanukovych, millions of Ukrainians are still waiting for their revolution.

Ukraine Prime Minister Warns Russia May Try to Disrupt Sunday's Election

Ukraine's prime minister warned on Thursday of possible attempts by Russia to disrupt an election in Ukraine on the weekend, a vote being held against a background of Russian support for separatists and an unresolved dispute over gas.

Poroshenko Signs Law Allowing Ousted Yanukovych to Be Tried in Absentia

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, in a move to head off discontent before an election, signed a law that will allow ousted leader Viktor Yanukovych to be tried by court in his absence.

Russia and Ukraine Aim to Break Gas Deadlock at EU Meeting

Russia and Ukraine aim to resolve an impasse over natural gas supplies on Tuesday as their energy ministers meet in Brussels for talks.

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.

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