||The neutrality of this article is disputed. (February 2014)|
|Tymoshenko in March 2011|
|Prime Minister of Ukraine|
18 December 2007 – 4 March 2010
|Cabinet||Second Tymoshenko Government|
|Preceded by||Viktor Yanukovych|
|Succeeded by||Oleksandr Turchynov (Acting)|
24 January 2005 – 8 September 2005
Acting 24 January 2005 – 4 February 2005
|Cabinet||First Tymoshenko Government|
|Preceded by||Mykola Azarov (Acting)|
|Succeeded by||Yuriy Yekhanurov|
|Minister of Fuel and Energy|
30 December 1999 – 19 January 2001
|Prime Minister||Viktor Yushchenko|
|Preceded by||Aleksey Sheberstov (Energy)|
|Succeeded by||Viktor Yushchenko|
|Born||Yulia Volodymyrivna Hrihyan
27 November 1960
Dnipropetrovsk, Ukrainian SSR, Soviet Union
|Political party||Hromada (1997–1999)
All-Ukrainian Union "Fatherland" (1999–present)
|Yulia Tymoshenko Bloc (2001–present)
Dictatorship Resistance Committee (2011–present)
|Spouse(s)||Oleksandr Tymoshenko (1979–present)|
|Alma mater||National Mining University of Ukraine
Dnipropetrovsk National University
Kyiv National Economic University
Yulia Volodymyrivna Tymoshenko (Ukrainian: Ю́лія Володи́мирівна Тимоше́нко, pronounced [ˈjulʲijɐ voɫoˈdɪmɪrʲivnɐ tɪmoˈʃɛnko], née Hrihyan, Грігян, born 27 November 1960) is a Ukrainian politician and businesswoman. She co-led the Orange Revolution and was the first woman appointed Prime Minister of Ukraine, serving from 24 January to 8 September 2005, and again from 18 December 2007 to 4 March 2010.
Tymoshenko is the leader of the All-Ukrainian Union "Fatherland" political party, which received the second most votes in the 2012 Ukrainian parliamentary election, winning 101 of parliament's 450 seats. In the 2014 Ukrainian presidential election Tymoshenko received 12.81% of the vote, coming in second place after Petro Poroshenko who won the election with 54.7.
Tymoshenko finished second in the Ukrainian presidential election of 2010 runoff with a 3.5% loss to the winner, Viktor Yanukovych. After the election, a number of criminal cases were brought against her. On October 11, 2011, she was convicted of embezzlement and abuse of power, and sentenced to seven years in prison and ordered to pay the state $188 million. The prosecution and conviction were viewed by many governments – most prominently the European Union, who repeatedly called for release of Yulia Tymoshenko as the primary condition for signing the EU Association Agreement, and the USA – and international organizations such as Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International as politically biased. She was released on February 22, 2014, in the concluding days of the Euromaidan revolution, following a revision of the Ukrainian criminal code that effectively decriminalized the actions for which she was imprisoned. She was officially rehabilitated on February 28, 2014. Just after Euromaidan revolution, the Ukrainian Supreme Court closed the case and found that "no crime was committed". Prior to her political career, Tymoshenko was a successful but controversial businesswoman in the natural gas industry, becoming by some estimates one of the richest people in the country. In 2005 she placed third in the Forbes Magazine's list of the world's most powerful women. Tymoshenko strives for Ukraine's integration into the European Union and strongly opposes the membership of Ukraine in the Customs Union of Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Russia. On August 30, 2014 Tymoshenko announced the start of preparations for a NATO accession referendum.
Tymoshenko was born Yulia Hrihyan November 27, 1960, in Dnipropetrovsk, Soviet Ukraine, Soviet Union. Her mother, Lyudmila Telehina (née Nelepova), was born August 11, 1937, also in Dnipropetrovsk. Yulia's father, Volodymyr Abramovych Hrihyan, who according to his Soviet passport was Latvian, was born December 3, 1937, also in Dnipropetrovsk. He abandoned his wife and young daughter when Yulia was between one and three years old; Yulia used her mother's surname.
Yulia's paternal grandfather, Abram Kelmanovych Kapitelman (Ukrainian: Абрам Кельманович Капітельман), was born in 1914. After graduating from Dnipropetrovsk State University in 1940, Kapitelman was sent to work in Western Ukraine, where he worked "one academic quarter" as the director of a public Jewish school in the city Sniatyn. Kapitelman was mobilized into the army in the autumn of 1940 and subsequently was killed while taking part in the Great Patriotic War (1941–1945) on November 8, 1944, with the rank of "lieutenant communications".
In 1978 Tymoshenko was enrolled in the Automatization and Telemechanics Department of the Dnipropetrovsk Mining Institute. In 1979 she transferred to the Economics Department of the Dnipropetrovsk State University, majoring in cybernetic engineering and graduating in 1984 with first degree honors as an engineer-economist.
Tymoshenko has been a practicing economist and academic. Prior to her political career, she was a successful but controversial businesswoman in the gas industry, becoming by some estimates one of the richest people in the country. Before becoming Ukraine's first female Prime Minister in 2005, Tymoshenko co-led the Orange Revolution. She was placed third in Forbes Magazine's List of The World's 100 Most Powerful Women 2005.
After graduating from the Dnipropetrovsk State University in 1984, Tymoshenko worked as an engineer-economist in a "Dnipro Machine-Building Plant" (which produced missiles) in Dnipropetrovsk until 1988.
In 1988, as part of the perestroika initiatives, Yulia and Oleksandr Tymoshenko borrowed 5000 Soviet rubles and opened a video rental cooperative, perhaps with the help of Oleksander's father, Gennadi Tymoshenko, who presided over a regional film distribution network in the provincial council.
In 1991 Tymoshenko established (jointly with her husband Oleksandr, Gennadi Tymoshenko, and Olexandr Gravets) "The Ukrainian Petrol Corporation", a company that provided the agriculture industry of Dnipropetrovsk with fuel from 1991 to 1995. Tymoshenko worked as a General Director. In 1995 this company was reorganized into United Energy Systems of Ukraine. Tymoshenko was the president of United Energy Systems of Ukraine, a privately owned middleman company that became the main importer of Russian natural gas to Ukraine, from 1995 to January 1, 1997. During that time she was nicknamed the "gas princess". She was also accused of "having given Pavlo Lazarenko kickbacks in exchange for her company's stranglehold on the country's gas supplies", although Judge Martin Jenkins of the United States District Court for the Northern District of California, on May 7, 2004, dismissed the allegations of money laundering and conspiracy regarding UESU, Somoli Ent. et al. (companies affiliated with Yulia Tymoshenko) in connection with Lazarenko’s activities. During this period, Tymoshenko was involved in business relations (either co-operative or hostile) with many important figures of Ukraine. Tymoshenko also had to deal with the management of the Russian corporation, Gazprom. Yulia Tymoshenko claims that, under her management, UESU successfully solved significant economic problems: in 1995–1997, Ukraine’s multi-billion debt for Russian natural gas was paid; Ukraine resumed international cooperation in machine building, the pipe industry and construction; and Ukraine’s export of goods to Russia doubled. In the period 1995–1997, Tymoshenko was considered one of the richest business people in Ukraine. When Tymoshenko made her initial foray into national politics, her company became an instrument of political pressure on her and her family. UESU top management faced prosecution. Since 1998, Tymoshenko has been one of the most important politicians in Ukraine. She was removed from the list of "100 richest Ukrainians" in 2006.
Yulia Tymoshenko entered politics in 1996, when she was elected to the Verkhovna Rada (the Ukrainian parliament) in constituency #229, Bobrynets, Kirovohrad Oblast, winning a record 92.3% of the vote. In Parliament, Tymoshenko joined the Constitutional Centre faction. In February 1997 this centrists faction was 56 lawmakers strong and, according to Ukrayinska Pravda, it supported the policies of Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma. In late November 1997, the General Prosecutor of Ukraine asked the Verkhovna Rada to lift Tymoshenko's parliamentary immunity, but the deputies voted against it. In late 1997, Tymoshenko called for the next Ukrainian Presidential elections to be held not in 1999, but in the fall of 1998.
Tymoshenko was re-elected in 1998, winning a constituency in the Kirovohrad Oblast, and was also number six on the party list of Hromada. She became an influential person in the parliament, and was appointed the Chair of the Budget Committee of the Verkhovna Rada. After Hromada's party leader Pavlo Lazarenko fled to the United States in February 1999 to avoid investigations for embezzlement, various faction members left Hromada to join other parliamentary factions, among them Tymoshenko, who set up the All-Ukrainian Union "Fatherland" faction in March 1999 in protest against the methods of Lazarenko. "Fatherland" was officially registered as a political party in September 1999, and began to attract the voters who had voted for Yevhen Marchuk in the October 1999 presidential election. In 2000, "Fatherland" went in opposition to President Kuchma.
From late December 1999 to January 2001, Tymoshenko was the Deputy Prime Minister for the fuel and energy sector in the cabinet of Viktor Yushchenko. She officially left parliament on 2 March 2000. Under her guidance, Ukraine's revenue collections from the electricity industry grew by several thousand percent. She scrapped the practice of barter in the electricity market, requiring industrial customers to pay for their electricity in cash. She also terminated exemptions for many organizations which excluded them from having their power disconnected. Her reforms meant that the government had sufficient funds to pay civil servants and increase salaries. In 2000, Tymoshenko’s government provided an additional 18 billion Hryvna for social payments. Half of this amount was collected due to withdrawal of funds from shadow schemes, the ban on barter payments and the introduction of competition rules to the energy market.
On August 18, 2000, Oleksandr Tymoshenko, CEO of United Energy Systems of Ukraine (UESU) and Yulia Tymoshenko’s husband, was detained and arrested. Tymoshenko herself stated that her husband’s arrest was the result of political pressure on her. On January 19, 2001, president Leonid Kuchma ordered Yulia Tymoshenko to be dismissed. Then prime minister Viktor Yushchenko silently accepted her dismissal, despite her achievements in the energy sector. Ukrainian media called it "the first betrayal of Viktor Yushchenko". Soon after her dismissal, Tymoshenko took leadership of the National Salvation Committee and became active in the Ukraine without Kuchma protests. The movement embraced a number of opposition parties, such as Yulia Tymoshenko Bloc, “Fatherland”, Ukrainian Republican Party, Ukrainian Conservative Republican Party, “Sobor”, Ukrainian Social-Democratic Party, Ukrainian Christian-Democratic Party and Patriotic Party.
On 9 February 2001, Tymoshenko founded the Yulia Tymoshenko Bloc (the National Salvation Committee merged into it), a political bloc that received 7.2% of the vote in the 2002 parliamentary election. She has been head of the Batkivshchina (Fatherland) political party since the party was organised in 1999.
On February 13, 2001, Tymoshenko was arrested and charged with forging customs documents and smuggling gas in 1997 (while president of United Energy Systems of Ukraine). Her political supporters organized numerous protest rallies near the Lukyanivska Prison where she was held in custody. In March 2001, Pechersk District Court (Kiev) found the charges groundless and cancelled the arrest sanction. According to Tymoshenko, the charges were fabricated by Kuchma's regime at the behest of oligarchs threatened by her efforts to eradicate corruption and institute market-based reforms. On April 9, 2003, the Kiev Court of Appeal issued a ruling that invalidated and cancelled proceedings on the criminal cases against Yulia and Oleksandr Tymoshenko. Despite Tymoshenko being cleared of the charges, Moscow maintained an arrest warrant for her should she enter Russia. In 2005, all charges were declared groundless and lifted.
The criminal case was closed in Ukraine in January 2005 due to lack of evidence, and in Russia in December 2005 by reason of lapse of time. The case was reopened in Ukraine on 24 October 2011, after Yanukovych came to power.
Tymoshenko's husband, Oleksandr, spent two years (2002–2004) in hiding in order to avoid incarceration on charges the couple said were unfounded and politically motivated by the former Kuchma administration.
Once the charges were dropped, Tymoshenko reassumed her place among the leaders of the grassroots campaign against President Kuchma for his alleged role in the murder of the journalist Georgiy Gongadze. In this campaign, Tymoshenko first became known as a passionate, revolutionist leader, an example of this being a TV broadcast of her smashing prison windows during one of the rallies. At the time Tymoshenko wanted to organise a national referendum to impeach President Kuchma.
On 11 August 2001, civilian and military prosecutors in Russia opened a new criminal case against Tymoshenko accusing her of bribery. On 27 December 2005, Russian prosecutors dropped these charges. Russian prosecutors had suspended an arrest warrant when she was appointed Prime Minister, but reinstated it after she was fired in September 2005. The prosecutors suspended it again when she came to Moscow for questioning on 25 September 2005. Tymoshenko didn't travel to Russia during her first seven months as Prime Minister (the first Tymoshenko Government).
In January 2002, Tymoshenko was involved in a mysterious car accident that she survived with minor injuries – an episode some believe to have been a government assassination attempt. Her Mercedes, part of a four-vehicle convoy, collided with a Lada in Kiev. The driver of the other car suffered head injuries and police said initial investigations suggested that Tymoshenko's chauffeur had been at fault.
In the Autumn of 2001, both Tymoshenko and Viktor Yushchenko attempted to create a broad opposition bloc against the incumbent President, Leonid Kuchma, in order to win the Ukrainian presidential election of 2004.
In late 2002, Tymoshenko, Oleksandr Moroz (Socialist Party of Ukraine), Petro Symonenko (Communist Party of Ukraine) and Viktor Yushchenko (Our Ukraine) issued a joint statement concerning "the beginning of a state revolution in Ukraine". In the 2004 Ukrainian presidential election, the communist party stepped out of the alliance, but the other parties remained allied and Symonenko was against a single candidate from the alliance (until July 2006).
In March 2004, Yulia Tymoshenko announced that leaders of "Our Ukraine", BYuT and Socialist Party of Ukraine were working on a coalition agreement concerning joint participation in the presidential campaign. Tymoshenko decided not to run for president and give way to Viktor Yushchenko. On 2 July 2004, Our Ukraine and the Yulia Tymoshenko Bloc established the Force of the people, a coalition which aimed to stop "the destructive process that has, as a result of the incumbent authorities, become a characteristic for Ukraine." The pact included a promise by Viktor Yushchenko to nominate Tymoshenko as Prime Minister if Yushchenko should win the October 2004 presidential election. Tymoshenko was actively campaigning for Yushchenko, touring and taking part in rallies all over Ukraine. After Viktor Yushchenko had dropped out of the campaign due to his mysterious poisoning, Tymoshenko continued campaigning on his behalf.
After the initial vote on October 31, two candidates – Viktor Yanukovych and Viktor Yushchenko – proceeded to a runoff. As Tymoshenko earlier envisaged, Yushchenko received endorsement from former competitors who didn't make it to the runoff, such as Oleksandr Moroz (Socialist Party), Anatoliy Kinakh (Party of Industrials and Entrepreneurs), former Kyiv city mayor Oleksanrd Omelchenko and others.
On November 6, 2004, Tymoshenko asked people to spread the orange symbols (orange was the color of Yushchenko's campaign). "Grab a piece of the cheapest orange cloth, make ribbons and put them everywhere" she said. "Don't wait until the campaign managers give those to you".
When allegations of fraud began to spread, the "orange team" decided to conduct a parallel vote tabulation during the November 21, 2004 runoff and announce the results immediately to people on Independence Square (Maidan Nezalezhnosti) in Kyiv. Tymoshenko called Kyiv residents to gather on the square and asked people from other cities and towns to come and stand for their choice. “Bring warm clothes, lard and bread, garlic and onions and come to Kyiv” she said. On 22 November 2004, massive protests broke out in cities across Ukraine: The largest, in Kiev's Maidan Nezalezhnosti, attracted an estimated 500,000 participants. These protests became known as the Orange Revolution. On November 23, 2004, Tymoshenko led the participants of the protest to the President’s Administration. On Bankova Street, special riot police prevented the procession from go any further, so people lifted Tymoshenko up and she walked on the police's shields to the Administration building.
On December 3, 2004, the Supreme Court of Ukraine invalidated the results of the runoff and scheduled the re-run for December 26, 2004. After the cancellation of Viktor Yanukovych's official victory and the second round of the election, Viktor Yushchenko was elected President with 51.99% of votes (Yanukovych received 44.2% support).
During the protests, Tymoshenko's speeches on Maidan kept the momentum of the street protests going. Her popularity grew significantly, and she was unofficially called the "Ukrainian Joan of Arc" the "orange princess", and the "princess of the Orange revolution". Additional nicknames include "goddess of the Revolution", the "Princess Leia of Ukrainian politics", and "a Slavic Joan of Arc".
On 24 January 2005, Tymoshenko was appointed acting Prime Minister of Ukraine under Yushchenko's presidency. On 4 February, Tymoshenko's premiership appointment was ratified by the parliament with an overwhelming majority of 373 votes (226 were required for approval). The Tymoshenko cabinet did not have any other members of Tymoshenko's party besides Tymoshenko herself and Oleksandr Turchynov, who was appointed the chief of Security Service of Ukraine. The ministers who were working with her took her side in the later confrontation with Viktor Yushchenko.
On 28 July, Forbes named Tymoshenko the third most powerful woman in the world, behind only Condoleezza Rice and Wu Yi. However, in the magazine's list published on 1 September 2006, Tymoshenko's name was not among the top 100.
Several months into her government [nb 1], internal conflicts within the post‐Revolution coalition began to damage Tymoshenko's administration. On August 24, 2005, Viktor Yushchenko gave an Independence Day speech during which he called Tymoshenko’s government "the best".
Yet on 8 September, after the resignation of several senior officials, including the Head of the Security and Defense Council Petro Poroshenko and Deputy Prime Minister Mykola Tomenko, Yulia Tymoshenko's government was dismissed by President Viktor Yushchenko during a live television address to the nation. Yushchenko went on to criticize her work as head of the Cabinet, suggesting it had led to an economic slowdown and political conflicts within the ruling coalition. He said that Tymoshenko was serving interests of some businesses, and the government’' decision to re-privatize the Nikopol Ferroalloy Plant (previously owned by Leonid Kuchma’s son in law Viktor Pinchuk) "was the last drop" that made him dismiss the government. On September 13, 2005, Yushchenko accused Tymoshenko of betrayal of "Orange Revolution" ideas. In his interview for the Associated Press, he said that during the time of her presidency at UESU, Tymoshenko accumulated an 8 million Hryvna debt, and that she had used her authority as prime minister to write off that debt. Tymoshenko has repeatedly stated that the mentioned amount was not a debt, but fines imposed by the Tax Inspection in 1997–1998, and that all the cases regarding UESU had been closed before she became prime minister.
Tymoshenko blamed Yushchenko’s closest circle for scheming against her and undermining the activities of her Cabinet. She also criticised Yushchenko, telling the BBC that he had "practically ruined our unity, our future, the future of the country", and that the president's action was absolutely illogical.
At the time, Tymoshenko saw a rapid growth of approval ratings, while president Yushchenko's approval ratings went down. This tendency was later proved by the results of parliamentary elections in 2006, when for the first time ever BYuT outran "Our Ukraine" party, winning 129 seats vs. 81, respectively. During the previous parliamentary elections of 2002, BYuT had only 22 members of parliament, while "Our Ukraine" had 112.
The work of Yulia Tymoshenko as prime minister in 2005 was complicated due to internal conflicts in the "orange" team. According to Tymoshenko, President Yushchenko and Petro Poroshenko were trying to turn the National Security and Defense Council into the "second Cabinet of Ministers".
Soon after Tymoshenko's discharge in September 2005, the General Prosecutor Office of the Russian Federation dismissed all charges against her. On November 18, 2005, the Supreme Court of Ukraine issued a ruling which invalidated all criminal cases against Yulia Tymoshenko and her family.
After her dismissal, Tymoshenko started to tour the country in a bid to win the 2006 Ukrainian parliamentary election as the leader of her Bloc.[nb 2] Tymoshenko soon announced that she wanted to return to the post of Prime Minister. She managed to form a strong team that started a political fight on two fronts – with Viktor Yanukovych's and Viktor Yushchenko's camps.
With the Bloc coming second in the election, and winning 129 seats, many speculated that she might form a coalition with Yushchenko's "Our Ukraine" party and the Socialist Party of Ukraine (SPU) to prevent the Party of Regions from gaining power. Tymoshenko again reiterated her stance in regard to becoming Prime Minister. However, negotiations with "Our Ukraine" and SPU faced many difficulties as the various blocs fought over posts and engaged in counter-negotiations with other groups.
On Wednesday, 21 June 2006, the Ukrainian media reported that the parties had finally reached a coalition agreement, which appeared to have ended nearly three months of political uncertainty.
Tymoshenko's nomination and confirmation as the new Prime Minister was expected to be straightforward. However, the political intrigue that took place broke the plan. BYuT partners "Our Ukraine" and Socialist Party of Ukraine (SPU) could not come to agreement regarding distribution of powers, thus creation of the Coalition of Democratic Forces was put on hold. Yushchenko and oligarchs from his narrow circle were trying to impede Tymoshenko from returning to the office of prime minister. Her nomination was preconditioned on the election of her long-time rival Petro Poroshenko from "Our Ukraine" to the position of speaker of the parliament. Oleksandr Moroz, the chairman of the Socialist Party of Ukraine, also expressed his interest in becoming speaker. Tymoshenko stated that she would vote for any speaker from the coalition. Within a few days of the signing of the coalition agreement, it became clear that the coalition members mistrusted each other, since they considered it a deviation from parliamentary procedures to hold a simultaneous vote on Poroshenko as the speaker and Tymoshenko as Prime Minister.
The Party of Regions announced an ultimatum to the coalition demanding that parliamentary procedures be observed, asking that membership in parliamentary committees be allocated in proportion to seats held by each fraction, and demanding chairmanship in certain Parliamentary committees as well as Governorships in the administrative subdivisions won by the Party of Regions. The Party of Regions complained that the coalition agreement deprived the Party of Regions and the communists of any representation in the executive and leadership in parliamentary committees, while in the local regional councils won by the Party of Regions the coalition parties were locked out of all committees as well.
After lengthy negotiations, SPU suddenly pulled out of the Coalition and joined the alliance with the Party of Regions and the Communist Party of Ukraine. Oleksandr Moroz assured that the team of Viktor Yushchenko was conducting secret negotiations with the Party of Regions. According to that deal, Viktor Yanukovych was supposed to become the speaker, while Yuriy Yekhanurov kept the prime minister portfolio. These negotiations were conducted by Yekhanurov himself upon Yushchenko’s request. Later, Yekhanurov admitted this fact in his interview with the “Ukrainska Pravda” website.
Following the surprise nomination of Oleksandr Moroz from the Socialist Party of Ukraine as the Rada speaker and his subsequent election late on 6 July with the support of the Party of Regions, the "Orange coalition" collapsed. (Poroshenko had withdrawn his candidacy and had urged Moroz to do the same on 7 July.) After the creation of a large coalition of majority, led by the former prime minister Viktor Yanukovych and composed of the Party of Regions, the Socialist Party of Ukraine and the Communist Party of Ukraine, Yanukovych became Prime Minister, and the other two parties were left in the wilderness. On August 3, 2006, Tymoshenko refused to sign the "Universal of National Unity" declaration initiated by president Yushchenko. The document, signed by Yushchenko, Yanukovych and leaders of Socialist and Communist parties, sealed Yanukovych's appointment as prime minister. Tymoshenko called it "the act of betrayal". In September 2006, Tymoshenko announced that her political force would be in opposition to the new government. Our Ukraine stalled until 4 October 2006, when it too joined the opposition. On January 12, 2007, a BYuT vote in the parliament overrode the president's veto of the "On the Cabinet of Ministers" law that was advantageous for the president. (In exchange, BYuT voted for the "On Imperative Mandate" and "On Opposition" laws). This vote was one of many steps undertaken by BYuT to ruin a fragile alliance between president Yushchenko and prime minister Yanukovych.[nb 3]
In March 2007, Yulia Tymoshenko traveled to the United States, where she held high-level meetings with Vice President Dick Cheney, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Stephen Hadley, the National Security Advisor under President George W. Bush.[nb 4] On March 31, 2007, Tymoshenko initiated a "100 thousand people Maidan" aimed to urge the president to call an early parliamentary election.[nb 5]
On April 4, 2007, president Yushchenko issued an edict "On early termination of duties of the Verkhovna Rada" as a reaction to violation of the Constitution by the Party of Regions, which had started dragging individual deputies into the "ruling coalition" (this being illegal, as coalitions should be formed by factions and not by individual deputies). In doing so, the Party of Regions was trying to achieve a constitutional majority of 300 votes which would enable prime minister Yanukovych to override the president's veto and control the legislative process. Party of Regions didn't obey this edict. In order to dismiss the Verkhovna Rada, Yulia Tymoshenko and her supporters in the parliament (168 deputies from BYuT and "Our Ukraine" factions) quit their parliamentary factions on June 2, 2007. That step invalidated the convocation of the Verkhovna Rada and cleared the path to an early election.
An early parliamentary election was held on September 30, 2007.
Following balloting in the 2007 parliamentary elections held on 30 September 2007, Orange Revolution parties said they had won enough votes to form a governing coalition. On 3 October 2007, an almost final tally gave the alliance of Tymoshenko and President Yushchenko a slim lead over the rival party of Prime Minister Yanukovych, thanks in part to a vigorous BYuT campaign in the industrial east, a Party of Regions stronghold. Although Yanukovych, whose party won the single biggest share of the vote, also claimed victory, one of his coalition allies, the Socialist Party of Ukraine, failed to gain enough votes to retain seats in Parliament.
On 15 October 2007, the Our Ukraine–People's Self-Defense Bloc and the Yulia Tymoshenko Bloc agreed to form a majority coalition in the new parliament of the 6th convocation. On 29 November, a coalition was signed between the Yulia Tymoshenko Bloc and Our Ukraine–People's Self-Defense Bloc, which was associated with President Yushchenko. Both parties are affiliated with the Orange Revolution. On December 11, 2007, the Coalition failed in its attempt to appoint Tymoshenko prime minister, falling one vote short (225 members of parliament supported her nomination). On December 12, 2007, the media reported on the possible attempted assassination of Yulia Tymoshenko. BYuT and Tymoshenko herself said it was an intimidation. On 18 December, Tymoshenko was once again elected as Prime Minister (supported by 226 deputies, the minimal number needed for passage), heading the second Tymoshenko Government.
On July 11, 2008, Party of Regions tried to vote no-confidence to Tymoshenko’s government in the parliament, but could not collect enough votes.
The coalition of Tymoshenko's Bloc (BYuT) and Yushchenko's Our Ukraine–People's Self-Defense Bloc (OU-PSD) was put at risk due to deliberate misinterpretation of Tymoshenko's opinion on the ongoing 2008 South Ossetia War between Georgia and Russia.Yushchenko's office accused her of taking a softer position in order to gain support from Russia in the upcoming 2010 election. Andriy Kyslynskyi, the president's deputy chief of staff, went as far as to accuse her of 'high treason'. According to Ukrainska Pravda and Newswire.ca Yulia Tymoshenko expressed her solidarity with Georgia on the August 13 and August 14 and later preferred to stay neutral on the issue as according to Constitution President Yuschenko headed foreign policy issues.
According to BYuT, Viktor Baloha (Chief of Staff of the Presidential Secretariat) criticized the premier at every turn, doing the dirty job for the President and accusing her of everything from not being religious enough to damaging the economy and plotting to kill him, and the accusation of 'betrayal' over Georgia was simply one of the latest and most pernicious attacks directed at the premier.
After Tymoshenko's BYuT voted alongside the Communist Party of Ukraine and the Party of Regions to pass legislation that would facilitate the procedure of impeachment for future Presidents and limit the President's power while increasing the Prime Minister's powers, President Yushchenko's OU-PSD bloc pulled out of the coalition and Yushchenko promised to veto the legislation and threatened to hold an election if a new coalition was not formed soon. This resulted in the 2008 Ukrainian political crisis, which culminated in Yushchenko calling an early parliamentary election on 8 October 2008.
Tymoshenko was fiercely opposed to the snap election, stating "No politician would throw Ukraine into snap elections at this important time. But, if Yushchenko and Yanukovych – who are ideologists of snap elections – throw the country into snap elections, then they will bear responsibility for all the consequences of the global financial crisis on Ukraine". Initially, the election was to be held on 7 December 2008, but was later postponed to an unknown date. Tymoshenko had no intention of resigning until a new coalition was formed.
In early December 2008, there were negotiations between BYuT and Party of Regions to form a coalition, but after Volodymyr Lytvyn was elected Chairman of the Verkhovna Rada (parliament of Ukraine) on 9 December 2008, he announced the creation of a coalition between his Lytvyn Bloc, BYuT and OU-PSD. After negotiations, the three parties officially signed the coalition agreement on 16 December. It was not known whether this coalition would stop the snap election, although Speaker Volodymyr Lytvyn predicted the Verkhovna Rada would work until 2012.
On February 5, 2009, Tymoshenko’s opponents in the parliament were trying to dismiss her government again, but again the vote failed. The following day, president Yushchenko strongly criticized Tymoshenko and the economic policies of her government. Tymoshenko accused him of spreading "a mix of untruths, panic and hysteria.".
A large part of Tymoshenko's second term as prime minister coincided in time with the global financial crisis of 2008, which required her government to respond to numerous challenges that could have led the country's economic collapse.[nb 6]
Tymoshenko's government launched an anti corruption campaign and identified it as one of its priorities. [nb 7]
The conditions leading to the 2009 gas dispute were created back in 2006, under the Viktor Yushchenko government, when Ukraine started buying Russian gas through an intermediary, Swiss-registered RosUkrEnergo. (Fifty percent of RosUkrEnergo shares were owned by the Russian "Gazprom", with 45 percent and 5 percent owned by Ukrainian businessmen Dmytro Firtash and Ivan Fursin, respectively). Some sources indicate that notorious criminal boss Sergiy Shnaider (nick Semion Mogilevich, associated with Dmytro Firtash) also owned shares in the company.
When Tymoshenko resumed her prime minister duties in 2007, she initiated direct relations between Ukraine and Russia with regard to gas trading. An October 2, 2008 Memorandum signed by Tymoshenko and Vladimir Putin stipulated liquidation of intermediaries in gas deals between the two countries and outlined detailed conditions for future gas contracts. The gas conflict of 2009 broke out because of two factors, the lack of a gas contract for 2009 and a $2.4 billion debt that Ukraine had yet to pay for gas received in 2008. Prime Minister Tymoshenko stated that it was the "RosUkrEnergo" company that was responsible for the debt, rather than the state of Ukraine. She called for an end to corruption in the gas trade area and the establishment of direct contracts with the Russian Federation.
"RosUkrEnergo", with the aid of its ties to Yushchenko's administration, managed to disrupt the signing of a gas contract scheduled for December 31, 2008. Oleksiy Miller, head of "Gazprom", stated that trader "RosUkrEnergo" broke down talks between "Gazprom" and "Naftogaz Ukrainy": "Yes indeed, in late December 2008, the prime ministers of Russia and Ukraine came to agreement, and our companies were ready to seal the deal for $235 per 1000 cubic meters of natural gas with the condition that all the export operations from Ukraine will be done bilaterally. RosUkrEnergo then suggested to buy gas at $285 price." On December 31, 2008, president Viktor Yushchenko gave Oleg Dubyna, head of "Naftogaz Ukrainy", a direct order to stop talks, not sign the agreement and recall the delegation from Moscow. The decision made by the president of Ukraine brought on the crisis.
On January 14, 2009, prime minister Tymoshenko said, "The negotiations on $235 gas price and $1.7–1.8 transit price, that started on October 2 and successfully have been moving forward since, have been broken up because, unfortunately, Ukrainian politicians were trying to keep "RosUkrEnergo" in business as a shadow intermediary... The negotiations between the two prime ministers and later between "Gazprom" and "Naftogaz Ukrainy" were ruined by those Ukrainian political groups, who have gotten and are planning to get corrupt benefits from "RosUkrEnergo"." On January 17, 2009, president of Russia Dmitriy Medvedev said, "I think that our Ukrainian partners and us can trade gas without any intermediaries, especially without intermediaries with questionable reputation. The problem is that some participants of negotiations insisted on keeping the intermediary referring to the instructions from the top."
On January 1, 2009, at 10 AM, "Gazprom" completely stopped pumping gas to Ukraine. On January 4, the Russian monopolist offered to sell Ukraine gas for $450 per 1000 cubic meter (minus a fee for gas transit through Ukraine), which was defined as a standard price for Eastern European countries. On January 8, 2009, the prime minister of Russia, Vladimir Putin, said that Ukraine would have to pay $470 for 1000 cubic meters of natural gas.
Between January 1 and 18, Central and Eastern European countries received significantly less gas. Ukrainian heat-and-power stations were working to utmost capacity. Due to sub-zero temperatures, the entire housing and public utilities sectors were on the verge of collapse. On January 14, the European Commission and the Czech presidency in the European Union demanded the immediate renewal of gas deliveries in full capacity lest the reputations of Russia and Ukraine as reliable EU partners be seriously damaged. On January 18, 2009, after five day-long talks, prime ministers Putin and Tymoshenko came to agreement on the renewal of gas delivery to Ukraine and other EU countries. The parties agreed upon the following: A return to direct contract deals between "Gazprom" and "Naftogaz Ukrainy"; the removal of non-transparent intermediaries; the introduction of formula-based pricing for Ukraine (which also works for other Eastern European countries); and a switch to a $2.7 transit fee, which is close to the average price in Europe. According to the new gas contract, in 2009 Ukraine paid an average price of $232.98 per 1000 cubic meters, while other European consumers were paying above $500 per 1000 cubic meters.
Tymoshenko was a candidate in the Ukrainian presidential elections of 2010, but lost that election to Viktor Yanukovych (Tymoshenko received 45.47% of the votes in the second and final round of the election, 3% less than her rival).
Leonid Kuchma had stated in conversation with United States Ambassador to Ukraine John F. Tefft, in a document dated 2 February 2010 uncovered during the United States diplomatic cables leak, called the voters choice between Yanukovych and Yulia Tymoshenko during the second round of the 2010 presidential election as a choice between "bad and very bad" and praised (the candidate eliminated in the first round of the election) Arseniy Yatsenyuk instead.
In 2009, the relations between Tymoshenko and President Yushchenko, the Secretariat of the President of Ukraine and the oppositional Party of Regions remained hostile. According to Tymoshenko, her conflict with the President was a political competition and not ideological antagonism, and she emphasized early in February 2009 that the "election struggle for the next presidential elections has virtually begun."
"This is a competition during economic crisis; [some people] prefer to collect political benefits from these problems instead of solving them together", Tymoshenko said in an interview with German newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung in February 2009. Later, in an interview with the French paper Le Monde, the prime minister said that "the president treats her as a rival striving for president's office." She also added that the previously mentioned political instability fuels economic crisis. Tymoshenko then called for an early presidential election.
Having long being considered a possible candidate for President of Ukraine in the 2010 election, Tymoshenko announced that she would indeed compete in the upcoming presidential election in a statement broadcast live on national TV on 7 June 2009. Tymoshenko also stated that if she lost the presidential election she would not challenge the results. On 12 September 2009, a tour in support of Tymoshenko's candidacy, called "With Ukraine in Heart", began on Kiev's Maidan Nezalezhnosti. Popular Ukrainian singers and bands took part in the tour.
On October 24, 2009, the delegates of all-Ukrainian union “Batkivshchyna” formally and unanimously endorsed Yulia Tymoshenko as their candidate for the next Presidential election. The 200 thousand congress took place on Kyiv’s Independence Square. On October 31, 2009, the Central Election Commission registered Tymoshenko as a candidate for presidential election in 2010.
The Tymoshenko candidacy was also endorsed by prominent Ukrainian politicians such as Borys Tarasyuk, Yuriy Lutsenko, former President Leonid Kravchuk, the Christian Democratic Union, the European Party of Ukraine and others. Analysts suggested that Tymoshenko was the Russian Government's preferred candidate in the election. On 3 December 2009, Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin denied this. Putin stated that he was cooperating with Tymoshenko as Prime Minister of Ukraine, but that he was not supporting her in the election.
Tymoshenko's campaign was expected to have cost $100 to $150 million.
On 1 December 2009, Tymoshenko urged "national democratic forces" to unite around the candidate who garnered the largest number of votes after the first round of the presidential elections. "If we are not able to strengthen our efforts and unite the whole national-patriotic and democratic camp of Ukraine... we will be much weaker than those who want revenge." On 5 December 2009, she declared she would go into opposition if she lost the presidential election. She also complained of flaws in the election legislation, and expressed her certainty that attempts were being made by her opponents to carry out vote rigging.
In the first round of the presidential election on 17 January 2010, Tymoshenko took second place with 25% of the vote, and Yanukovych took first place with 35%. The two proceeded to a runoff.
On February 3, 2010, two days before the run-off, the deputies from Party of Regions, Communist Party of Ukraine, “Our Ukraine – People’s Self-Defense” bloc and independent MPs amended the Law on Election of President, which changed the mode of composition and functioning of election commissions. BYuT warned that these amendments would create opportunities for the massive rigging of elections. Yulia Tymoshenko called on president Yushchenko to veto the law. Hanne Severinsen, former rapporteur of PACE Monitoring Committee on Ukraine, also called on the president to veto the law. Severinsen’s statement read: “"Unfortunately, the Party of Regions, as in 2004, is trying to create conditions for vote fraud.”
Despite these requests, president Yushchenko signed the amended Law. This action generated vast international criticism from the Council of Europe and from members of the US congress' Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe. The Committee of Voters of Ukraine stated that the amendments to the Law on Election of President “contained the biggest threats for democratic mode of the run-off.”
Tymoshenko did not receive endorsement from other candidates who had not survived the first round of voting. In the run-off held on 7 February 2010, Yanukovych was elected President of Ukraine. According to the Central Election Commission, he received 48.95% of the votes; Tymoshenko received 45.47% of the votes. Yulia Tymoshenko won 17 of 27 constituencies in the western, central and north regions of Ukraine and in Kyiv.
Yulia Tymoshenko Bloc members immediately claimed that there was systematic and large-scale vote rigging in the run-off election. However, Tymoshenko herself did not issue a statement about the election until a live televised broadcast on 13 February 2010, in which she said that she would challenge the election result in court. Tymoshenko alleged widespread fraud (according to Tymoshenko, a million votes were invalid) and said Yanukovych was not legitimately elected. "Whatever happens in future, he will never become the legitimately elected President of Ukraine." Tymoshenko did not call people into the streets to protest, and stated that she "won't tolerate civil confrontation."
On 10 February 2010, Yanukovych called on Tymoshenko to abandon her protests and resign as Prime Minister. Yanukovych stated he wanted to form a new coalition, and may try to call snap parliamentary elections. On 12 February, Yanukovych stated he would not rule out talks with Tymoshenko if she would publicly apologize to him for accusations she made during her election campaign. Tymoshenko's government did not want to resign voluntarily.
On 17 February 2010, the Higher Administrative Court of Ukraine suspended the results of the election on Tymoshenko's appeal. The court suspended the Central Election Commission of Ukraine ruling that announced that Viktor Yanukovych won the election. Tymoshenko withdrew her appeal on 20 February 2010, after the Higher Administrative Court in Kiev rejected her petition to scrutinize documents from election districts in Crimea and to question election and law-enforcement officials. According to Tymoshenko, "It became clear that the court is not out to establish the truth, and, unfortunately, the court is as biased as the Central Election Commission, which includes a political majority from Yanukovych." Tymoshenko also stated, "At the very least there was rigging of votes using the main methods of falsification, and I think that for history this lawsuit with all the documentation will remain in the Higher Administrative Court of Ukraine, and sooner or later, an honest prosecutor's office and an honest court will assess that Yanukovych wasn't elected President of Ukraine, and that the will of the people had been rigged."
On February 22, 2010, Tymoshenko announced in a televised speech that she believed the presidential election to have been rigged and did not recognize its results. "As well as millions of Ukrainians, I state: Yanukovych is not our president", she said. She called on the democratic parliamentary factions to not seek "political employment" at the Party of Regions (meaning to avoid negotiations with the Party of Regions regarding the new coalition) and to "quit arguing and create a united team that would not let an anti-Ukrainian dictatorship usurp the power".
During a nationally televised address on 22 February, Tymoshenko said of President-elect of Ukraine Viktor Yanukovych and "Yanukovych's team" (she referred to them in the speech as "The oligarchy"): "They need cheap labour, poor and disenfranchised people who can be forced to work at their factories for peanuts, they also need Ukraine's riches, which they have been stealing for the last 18 years." During the speech she also accused outgoing President Viktor Yushchenko of "opening the door to massive and flagrant election rigging" days before the 7 February runoff of the January 2010 presidential election by amending the election law. During a Cabinet of Ministers meeting on 24 February, Tymoshenko stated, "The moment of truth has arrived: The decision whether or not to side with Yanukovych will show who values the preservation of Ukraine's independence and self-identity and who does not." Tymoshenko and her party, Bloc Yulia Tymoshenko, boycotted the inauguration ceremony of President Yanukovych on 25 February 2010.
If the Second Tymoshenko Government could not be preserved, Tymoshenko stated on 22 February 2010, she would go into Parliamentary opposition. On 3 March 2010, the Ukrainian Parliament passed a motion of no confidence in the second Tymoshenko Government in which the cabinet was dismissed with 243 lawmakers voting in favour out of 450 (including seven lawmakers of Bloc Yulia Tymoshenko). (Prime Minister Tymoshenko had demanded this vote herself on 1 March 2010.) On 2 March 2010, the coalition had already lost the parliamentary majority. Before the vote on 3 March, Prime Minister Tymoshenko again stated, "If the dismissal of the government is passed today, at that very same moment our government will leave the cabinet. Our political force will cross into the opposition." Tymoshenko blamed the Lytvyn Bloc and "Our Ukraine, including the leader of Our Ukraine, who announced the position of the faction" for the fall of the cabinet. Tymoshenko resigned from the Prime Minister post on 4 March 2010. Fellow BYuT member Oleksandr Turchynov was empowered to fulfill the Prime Minister's duties until a new government was formed on 4 March 2010. On 9 and 15 March, 2010, Tymoshenko called on "all of the national patriotic forces" to unite against Yanukovych. On 10 March 2010, Viktor Yushchenko warned that her leadership of that opposition would end in disaster, saying, "Every political force that united with Tymoshenko ended badly." On 16 March, a shadow government including BYuT was established. On 10 May 2010, the People's Committee to Protect Ukraine was established, of which Tymoshenko is one of the representatives. Tymoshenko was against the 2010 Ukrainian-Russian Naval Base for Natural Gas treaty, as she believes the agreement harms Ukraine's national interests.
On 12 May 2010, Ukraine's prosecutor's office re-opened a 2004 criminal case against Tymoshenko regarding accusations that she had tried to bribe Supreme Court judges. The prosecutor's main investigation section said Tymoshenko had been called in on 12 May 2010, and formally told that the case, which had been prematurely closed by the Supreme Court of Ukraine in January 2005 without a proper investigation, had been re-opened. As she left the prosecutor's office on 12 May, Tymoshenko told journalists she had been summoned to see investigators again on 17 May, and she linked the move to Russian President Medvedev's visit to Ukraine on 17–18 May 2010. Tymoshenko also claimed that she was told by "all the offices of the Prosecutor General's Office" that President Yanukovych had personally instructed the Prosecutor General's Office to find any grounds to prosecute her. In a press conference on 12 May, President Yanukovych's representative in the Verkhovna Rada, Yury Miroshnychenko, dismissed Tymoshenko's statement about Yanukovych's personal interest in prosecuting her. "Yanukovych is against political repression for criticism of the regime," Miroshnychenko stated.
On 15 December 2010, the General Prosecutor's Office instituted a criminal case against Tymoshenko, alleging that she misused funds received by Ukraine within the framework of the Kyoto Protocol. She was officially charged on 20 December 2010. Tymoshenko denied the money had been spent on pensions, insisting it was still at the disposal of the environment ministry. She called the investigation against her a witch-hunt. Tymoshenko was not arrested, but ordered not to leave Kiev while the inquiry was under way. In the same case, the environment minister in the second Tymoshenko Government, Georgiy Filipchuk, was detained. Filipchuk was the third minister from this government to face criminal charges since its fall in March 2010 (prosecutors charged former Interior Minister Yuriy Lutsenko with abuse of office in early December, 2010, and former economy minister Bohdan Danylyshyn was detained in the Czech Republic in October 2010 on similar charges). Lawmakers of BYuT blocked the rostrum and presidium of the Verkhovna Rada the next day in protest against this. That same day, the European People's Party issued a statement in which it "condemns the growth of aggressive, politically motivated pressure by the Ukrainian authorities on the opposition and its leader Yulia Tymoshenko." Tymoshenko dismissed the probe as "terror against the opposition by President Yanukovych." Earlier that month, Ukraine's Prosecutor General Viktor Pshonka had stated that there were no political reasons for the interrogations of the opposition leaders Tymoshenko, Lutsenko and Oleksandr Turchynov. According to government officials, the criminal case against Tymoshenko was a legitimate attempt to uncover corruption by the previous administration. New corruption charges against Tymoshenko were filed on 27 January 2011. She was accused of using 1,000 medical vehicles for campaigning in the presidential elections of 2010. According to Tymoshenko, the charges were false and part of "Yanukovych's campaign to silence the opposition." A third criminal case against Tymoshenko in connection with alleged abuse of power during the 2009 Russia–Ukraine gas dispute was opened on 10 April 2011. This case was labelled "absurd" by Tymoshenko. On 24 May 2011, prosecutors charged her in connection with this (third criminal) case. She was not arrested.
On 26 April 2011, Tymoshenko sued businessman Dmytro Firtash and Swiss-based RosUkrEnergo in a US District Court in Manhattan, accusing them of "defrauding Ukraine's citizenry by manipulating an arbitration court ruling" and "undermining the rule of law in Ukraine" in connection with a 2010 international arbitration court ruling in Stockholm that ordered Ukraine's state energy company Naftogaz to pay RosUkrEnergo 11 billion cubic meters (bcm) of natural gas to compensate for fuel it had "expropriated" plus 1.1 billion bcm as a penalty.
Throughout Yanukovych's presidency, Tymoshenko stayed very critical of his and the Azarov Government's performances and intentions which, among others, she accused of selling out to Russia and of being a "funeral of democracy." Tymoshenko has accused "many of Ukraine's neighbours" of turning a blind eye to "Yanukovych's strangulation of Ukraine's democracy, some openly celebrate the supposed 'stability' that his regime has imposed." She believes "Ukraine can return to a democratic path of development only with an active civil society and support from the international community."
Since May 2010 a number of criminal cases were brought against Tymoshenko. On June 24, 2011, a trial started in the “gas case”, concerning a contract with Russian gas company Gazprom to supply natural gas to Ukraine, which had been signed in 2009. Tymoshenko was charged with abuse of power and embezzlement, as the court found the deal anti-economic for the country and abusive.
Tymoshenko's trial (she was charged in May 2011) for abuse of office concerning a natural gas imports contract signed with Russia in January 2009 started on 24 June 2011, in Kiev. A number of criminal cases were also opened against former officials from the second Tymoshenko Government.[nb 8] According to Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych, those cases were indiscriminately made to fight corruption in Ukraine. Former President Viktor Yushchenko testified against Tymoshenko during the trial, which he called "a normal judicial process." The trial against Tymoshenko has been referred to as "selective justice" and "political persecution" in statements by the U.S.A, Russia, United Kingdom, Germany, Italy, Spain and other European countries; in statements by the European Union, NATO, the European People's Party; and in statements by human rights organizations such as Transparency International, Freedom House, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch. Following her conviction, Tymoshenko remained under criminal investigation for ten criminal acts; Ukrainian prosecutors have claimed Tymoshenko committed even more criminal acts.
Early in July 2011, the Ukrainian security service (SBU) opened a new criminal investigation into alleged non-delivery of goods by United Energy Systems of Ukraine (in 1996) to Russia for $405.5 million, the SBU maintains that Russia may claim this sum to the State budget of Ukraine (this criminal case was closed in Russia in December 2005 due to lapse of time).
On 11 October 2011, the court found Tymoshenko guilty of abuse of power and sentenced her to seven years in prison, banned her from seeking elected office for her period of imprisonment, and ordered her to pay the state $188 million. She was convicted for exceeding her powers as Prime Minister by ordering Naftogaz to sign the gas deal with Russia in 2009. Tymoshenko did appeal the sentence, which she compared to Stalin's Great Terror, on 24 October 2011.
A 2001 criminal case on state funds embezzlement and tax evasion charges against Tymoshenko was reopened in Ukraine on 24 October 2011.
Tymoshenko was re-arrested (while in prison) on 8 December 2011, after a Ukrainian court ordered her indefinite arrest as part of the investigation of alleged tax evasion and theft of government funds (between 1996 and 2000) by United Energy Systems of Ukraine. Again the European Union showed concern over this.
On 23 December 2011, Tymoshenko lost her appeal against her sentence of abuse of power. She and her lawyers had boycotted the appeal proceedings, claiming that the "Judicial system and justice are totally non-existent in Ukraine today." Tymoshenko has lodged a complaint against the verdict at the European Court of Human Rights, which was given priority treatment by the court.
In early April, 2012, the General Prosecutor's Office began examining the possible involvement of Tymoshenko and former Prime Minister Pavlo Lazarenko in the murder of Donetsk businessman Olexandr Momot in 1996.
A trial concerning the criminal investigation into alleged misappropriating public funds of United Energy Systems of Ukraine started on 19 April 2012, in Kharkiv. Tymoshenko refused to attend the trial, citing problems with her health. Tymoshenko was then moved against her will from Kachanivska prison to a hospital where she began a hunger strike on 20 April to protest – according to her lawyer Serhiy Vlasenko – "what is happening in the country and what is happening to her in prison." She ended the hunger strike on 9 May 2012. Since 9 May 2012, she has been receiving treatment at the hospital after being diagnosed with a spinal disc herniation. The Supreme Court of Ukraine upheld the verdict against Tymoshenko on 29 August 2012.
Fatherland United Opposition nominated Tymoshenko as its candidate for the Ukrainian presidential elections of 2015 on 7 December 2012. On 14 June 2013, the congress of her party approved the decision to nominate her as its candidate in the 2015 Ukrainian presidential election.[nb 9]
On 18 January 2013, Tymoshenko was notified that she is a suspect in the murder of businessman and lawmaker Yevhen Shcherban, his wife and two other people in 1996. In May 2013, the Shcherban murder case was suspended.
From 25 November to 6 December 2013 (during the Euromaidan protests), Tymoshenko was again on hunger strike in protest of "President Yanukovych's reluctance to sign the DCFTA" on 6 December.
On October 24, 2011, Yulia Tymoshenko filed an appeal to the decision of Pechersk district court of Kyiv regarding the "gas case". On December 1, the Kyiv Court of Appeal started hearing the case. Tymoshenko herself was not present in the courtroom because of her health condition. After the hearing, the judge, Olena Sitaylo, had to call an ambulance and was hospitalized. On December 13, 2011, the Kyiv Court of Appeal resumed the hearing. All subsequent court sessions took place without Tymoshenko's presence. Immediately prior to the hearing of the appeal, the board of judges was altered: Sitaylo, the chief justice, was appointed the day before the first hearing; other justices were appointed several days prior to the court session. Thus, the judges did not have time to study the 84-page case log. The manner of the process proved that the decision to alter the board of judges was made beforehand. At the very end, Tymoshenko’s defense boycotted the court session.
On December 23, 2011, the Kyiv Court of Appeal issued a ruling which fully supported the verdict of the Pechersk court. The judges didn't find any violations during the pre-trial investigation or trial on the "gas case", overruling the claims of Tymoshenko's defense.
On January 26, 2012, Yulia Tymoshenko’s defense submitted a cassation appeal to the High Specialized Court for Civil and Criminal Cases regarding the “gas case” verdict. On August 16, 2012, after a 7-month delay that impeded filing the case to the European Court of Human Rights, the panel of judges of the aforementioned court began hearing the case. The panel finished hearing the case on August 21 and went to the jury room to make decision. The ruling of the Court, issued on August 29, 2012, stated that the appeal of ex prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko’s defense on the "gas case" should not be satisfied.
Media, diplomats, members of parliament and members of an EU special monitoring mission, Pat Cox and Aleksander Kwasniewski, attended the court sessions. The ruling was announced on the day following public hearing of "Tymoshenko vs Ukraine" (regarding unlawful arrest of ex-prime minister and holding her in custody) case at the European Court of Human Rights.
The European Union, PACE, and governments of the United States, Great Britain and Canada expressed frustration with the cassation ruling. "We are deeply disappointed with the consequences of the current situation, when two important opposition leaders cannot stand in the upcoming parliamentary elections, [and] when the court disrespects international standards for fair and transparent processes", a representative of the European Commission, Michael Mann, said in Brussels on August 29, 2012.
The "gas case" trial was viewed by many European and American organizations as a politically charged persecution that violates the law. The European Union and other international organizations see the conviction as "justice being applied selectively under political motivation." The European Union has shelved the European Union Association Agreement and Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement with Ukraine over the issue. The EU has repeatedly called for release of Yulia Tymoshenko as a primary condition for signing the EU Association Agreement. [nb 10]
In June 2012, the European Parliament established a special monitoring mission to Ukraine, conducted by former European Parliament President Pat Cox and former Polish President Aleksander Kwasniewski. Both politicians have observed trials, repeatedly visited Tymoshenko in custody and conducted meetings with Ukraine's authorities regarding her release.
On April 30, 2013, the European Court of Human Rights issued a judgment asserting that "Ms. Tymoshenko’s pre-trial detention had been arbitrary; that the lawfulness of her detention had not been properly reviewed; and, that she had no possibility to seek compensation for her unlawful deprivation of liberty."
Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) has adopting a resolution on “Keeping political and criminal responsibility separate” in which former Prime Minister of Ukraine Yulia Tymoshenko is recognized as a political prisoner.
The United States Senate has passed two resolutions calling for the release from prison of former prime minister Tymoshenko. The most recent, presented in the Senate in June 2013, called for Tymoshenko's release in light of the recent European Court of Human Rights ruling, and was adopted on November 18, 2013. An earlier resolution, passed in 2012, condemned the politically motivated prosecution and imprisonment of former Prime Minister of Ukraine Yulia Tymoshenko.
On October 2, 2013, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) adopted a resolution calling for the immediate release of Yulia Tymoshenko and, two days later, Pat Cox and Aleksander Kwasniewski, representatives of the European Parliament mission, handed president Yanukovych a petition to pardon Tymoshenko.
Following the 2014 Ukrainian Revolution, on 21 February 2014, Parliament voted for her release in a 310–54 veto-proof vote. To do so, the members of parliament decriminalized the Article on which Tymoshenko was charged and brought it into compliance with Article 19 of the UN Convention against corruption. That could enable immediate release of Tymoshenko through the corresponding court ruling. Yet Viktor Yanukovych fled the country after massive violent clashes in Kiev that killed more than 80 people. and didn't sign the bill into the law. On February 22, 2014, the Verkhovna Rada with 322 votes adopted a decree based on the decision of the European Court of Human Rights and corresponding decision of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe.
On the same day Tymoshenko was released from the Kharkiv-based Central Clinical Hospital No. 5, where she had been receiving treatment after being diagnosed with a spinal disc herniation since May 2012 under police surveillance. Her release was praised by western leaders. On February 28, 2014, the parliament rehabilitated Yulia Tymoshenko and restored her rights. That enabled her to run for office, however she has ruled out becoming Prime Minister again.
Kyivsky District Court of Kharkiv closed the criminal case on financial abuse of the United Energy Systems of Ukraine on 28 February 2014. And on April 14 the Supreme Court of Ukraine closed the “gas case” against Tymoshenko for “absence of a criminal act”.
On 25 April 2014 the General Prosecutor of Ukraine launched a pre-trial investigation against a number of officials from its own office and the Pechersky district court and Kiev’s court of appeals (the judges who had sentenced Tymoshenko) because of allegedly "deliberate, systematic and flagrant violation of accused Yulia Tymoshenko’s rights to defense, which are granted by Ukraine’s current laws".
Immediately after her release on 22 February 2014, Yulia Tymoshenko came to Kyiv, where she attended a makeshift memorial to the first slain protesters on Hrushevskogo Str. and gave a speech on Maidan stage. Within the following days she conducted a number of meetings and phone conversations with USA, EU, OSCE officials. With the beginning of Russia’s invasion of Ukrainian territories, former prime minister suggested the Verkhovna Rada an action plan that included urgent signing of EU Association Agreement. Tymoshenko addressed the European Union, leaders of western democracies and countries, that guaranteed Ukraine’s territorial unity according the Budapest Memorandum and called for action in order to stop aggression.
On March 6–7 she attended a political conference of the European People's Party in Dublin, where she was able openly to discuss events with Angela Merkel, Jose Manuel Barroso, Viviane Reding, Michel Barnier, Mariano Rajoy and Donald Tusk, amongst other notable figures. On 7 March 2014, she was admitted to the Charité hospital in Berlin, Germany, for treatment of her severe back problems.
Upon her arrival to Kyiv Tymoshenko gathered military and defense experts and suggested to launch a special headquarter that would elaborate response to threats coming from Russia.
On March 27, 2014, at a press conference in Kiev Tymoshenko stated that she would run in the 2014 presidential election. Two days later the congress of Batkivshchyna party officially nominated her and on March 31 Central Election Commission officially registered her as a candidate. The election was held on May 25. Tymoshenko came a distant second behind Petro Poroshenko. She received 12.39% of the vote.
In a recording that was purported as being a leaked phone conversation with Nestor Shufrych, former deputy secretary of the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine, Tymoshenko appeared to say in reference to the reunification of Crimea with Russia “This is really beyond all boundaries. It’s about time we grab our guns and go kill those damn Russians together with their leader; and nuke 8 million Russians who are now exiles in Ukraine”. In a statement, while admitting she had spoken to him on the telephone, Tymoshenko denied having advocated the use of nuclear bombs against ethnic Russians in Ukraine, and avowed that the recording had been deliberately edited to discredit her.
On August 30, 2014 Tymoshenko announces start of preparations for NATO accession referendum.
Tymoshenko wants her country to become a member of the EU, while also expressing concern about antagonizing Russia. "I try to defend our interests so that we can find a balance in our relations both with the EU and Russia".
Tymoshenko supports Ukraine joining NATO, stating it would be "uncomfortable" for Ukraine to remain "in a void, outside all existing security systems". But, according to Tymoshenko, the question of Ukraine joining any system of collective security would "be resolved only by referendum." Tymoshenko favours close relations with the EU, including the creation of a free trade area between Ukraine and the EU and later a full membership. According to Tymoshenko, "The European project has not been completed as yet. It has not been completed because there is no full-fledged participation of Ukraine." She opposes foreign intervention in internal Ukrainian affairs: "Ukraine's realization of its sovereign rights, forming a modern political nation, cannot be considered as a policy aimed against anyone." Tymoshenko does not want to expand the lease contract of the Russian Black Sea fleet in Ukraine because, "The Constitution of Ukraine quite clearly stipulates that foreign military bases cannot be deployed in Ukraine, and this constitutional clause is the fundamental basis of the state's security." She also believes in "building a genuine civil society" as the best way to help democracy.
Tymoshenko regards Ukraine as a "unitary and indivisible state". Tymoshenko considers separatist attitudes in Ukraine unacceptable: "Love one another, from Donetsk, Crimea, Luhansk, Dnipropetrovsk, Kharkiv, Lviv, Ternopil, Ivano-Frankivsk, Kyiv and all the other corners of our native land." According to Tymoshenko, citizens in Russian-speaking Dnipropetrovsk already understood Ukrainian in Soviet times and that problems surrounding the Russian language in Ukraine were "exaggerated and don't exist".
Tymoshenko opposes the introduction of Russian as a second official state language. But on 7 April 2014 she stated she supported the 2012 language law (which is aimed at giving Russian and other minority languages (if in a region the percentage of a national minority exceeded 10%) the status of regional language). About her own attitude toward the Ukrainian language, Tymoshenko has stated that "today I am thinking in Ukrainian... and the fact that I know Russian very well, I think it is not a secret for you... you all know that I was brought up in the Russian speaking region in Dnipropetrovsk, to my mind, I spared no effort to speak Ukrainian as soon as possible as I came in the Government."
Tymoshenko wrote an article called "Containing Russia" that was published in the May–June 2007 edition of the journal Foreign Affairs. In the article she criticized Russian expansionism. Consequently, the article irked Russia and more than a week after the article was published, Russia responded by calling it an "anti-Russian manifesto" and "an attempt to once again draw dividing lines in Europe."[nb 11]
The first Tymoshenko Government was in favor of transparent and honest re-privatization of 3,000 enterprises, as with the case of the Kyvorizhstal steel mill. Tymoshenko believes that Ukraine's economy is excessively monopolized. Tymoshenko is against privatization of the gas transportation system in Ukraine. Tymoshenko lists the salvation of the economy of Ukraine during the 2008–09 Ukrainian financial crisis as one of her achievements. The second Tymoshenko Government has spent 1.6 billion hryvnya on modernizing the coal mining industry.
Tymoshenko wants to raise the general level of social standards by equalizing salaries in the industrial and social spheres, and pledged in November 2009 to revamp Ukraine's hospitals and health system within two years. She also pledged tax breaks for farmers. Other economic policies included compensation for depositors who lost Soviet-era savings, price controls on food and medicines to bring inflation down, and calls for a review of murky privatisations and high social spending. Tymoshenko wants to cut the number of taxes by a third to simplify the system, and wants to cut the Value Added Tax (VAT) and offer tax breaks to importers of new technologies to poor regions to boost investment there. In December 2009, the second Tymoshenko Government proposed creating independent anti-corruption bureaus in Ukraine.
Tymoshenko believes Ukraine can gain energy security and independence, and she wants to speed up exploration and extraction of oil and natural gas from the Black Sea shelf. Considering Nuclear power provides almost 50% of the electricity supply in Ukraine, Tymoshenko’s government agreed to cooperate with the company Westin to establish factory production of nuclear fuel in Ukraine, independent of Russia. She also suggested a 10-year tax break for enterprises that would develop alternative energy sources in Ukraine.
Tymoshenko is for the cancellation of Verkhovna Rada deputies' immunity from prosecution. For Ukraine, Tymoshenko prefers the proportional representation voting system with open lists. Tymoshenko wants to reform the forming of state executive bodies, and favours giving parliamentary opposition "real instruments of influence on the authorities". She also wants Ukrainian court system reforms and wants devolution of executive power to local authorities. Together with representatives of regional governments, Tymoshenko expanded a Law that aimed to empower local authorities. In the summer of 2009, she claimed she tried to bring together different political parties in order to amend the constitution and switch to a parliamentary form of government. In February 2011, Tymoshenko stated "Viktor Yanukovych’s naked attempt to hijack the election that precipitated the Orange Revolution should have resulted in him being banned from running in future elections."
In November 2009, Tymoshenko called Ukraine "an absolutely ungovernable country" due to the changes to the Constitution of Ukraine as a part of a political compromise between the acting authorities (former-President Kuchma) and opposition during the Orange Revolution. (Tymoshenko has characterised those reforms as "incomplete", and the Yulia Tymoshenko Bloc voted against them in December 2004). In January of 2010, Tymoshenko called for urgent amendments to the Constitution via the majority of the Verkhovna Rada after a survey or plebiscite is conducted. In April 2011, she still believed the constitution "didn't work".
Yulia Tymoshenko's mother, Lyudmila Mykolayivna Telehina (born Nelepova), was born on 11 August 1937 in Dnipropetrovsk. Her father, Volodymyr Abramovych Hrihyan, was born on 3 December 1937, also in Dnipropetrovsk. His Soviet passport gave his nationality as Latvian. His mother was Maria Yosypivna Hrihyan, born in 1909.
Ukrainian media have published speculation regarding the genealogy of Tymoshenko. Some of the hypotheses have no scientific evidence (for example, the hypothesis of the Armenian origin of the surname "Grigyan");  some of the hypotheses (concerning her Jewish roots) have been labelled as provocative, or could be designed to create negative PR, although her Minister of Communications had in 2005 described her origins as half-Jewish, half-Armenian.
About her ethnicity, Yulia Tymoshenko herself has said: "On my father's side – everyone is Latvian for ten generations, and on my mother's side – everyone is Ukrainian for ten generations." Tymoshenko's parents were both born in Ukraine and are, therefore, Ukrainian as defined by the Law on Citizenship of Ukraine and by the Ukrainian Constitution.
Tymoshenko has said that, like most Soviet citizens, she spoke only Russian in her childhood (although she studied the Ukrainian language and Ukrainian literature at school for 10 years, as did all schoolchildren in Soviet Ukraine). In January 2010 Tymoshenko stated that in Dnipropetrovsk she did not have to speak Ukrainian until she was 36 (i.e. before 1996). According to Tymoshenko her braids are a family tradition.
In 1979 Yulia married businessman Oleksandr Tymoshenko (born 11 June 1960). The couple have a daughter – Yevhenia (Eugenia) Tymoshenko (born 20 February 1980) – a graduate of the London School of Economics (Bsc "Government", Msc "Russian and Post-Soviet Studies").
Tymoshenko and her husband rent a house in Kiev and own an apartment in Dnipropetrovsk. Houses in Dnipropetrovsk belong to their relatives. Tymoshenko has declared she never used and will never use or move into a state-owned summer house, in contrast with all former-Presidents and many high-ranking officials of Ukraine, who are living in state-owned dachas in Koncha-Zaspa. According to Ukrainian media Tymoshenko lives in an estate in Koncha-Zaspa, "rented from a friend". In March 2014 Tymoshenko opened the door of her house to public activists and guided them around.
In her spare time, before she was imprisoned, Tymoshenko ran on a treadmill for exercise and listened to the music of Andrea Bocelli, Sarah Brightman, Anna Netrebko and Alessandro Safina. Ukrayinska Pravda and Лівий берег is her favourite news source. Tymoshenko has stated she has watched the Tunisian Revolution and Egyptian Revolution of 2011 "with joy and admiration".
Tymoshenko's critics have suggested that, as an oligarch, she gained her fortune improperly. Some have speculated that her familiarity with the illegal conduct of business common in Ukraine uniquely qualifies her to combat corruption—if she is willing to do so. Her former business partner, former Ukrainian Prime Minister Pavlo Lazarenko, was convicted in the United States on charges of money laundering, corruption and fraud, the magnitude of which was in the billions of dollars. However, Judge Martin Jenkins of the US District Court for the Northern District of California on May 7, 2004 dismissed the allegations of Tymoshenko's involvement in Lazarenko's murky business.
Her transition from oligarch to reformer was believed by many voters to be both genuine and effective. Discrepancies between her declared income and her seemingly luxurious lifestyle (mostly because of her designer outfits) have been pointed out in the Ukrainian tabloids.
When Tymoshenko joined the Yushchenko government she did not speak Ukrainian. According to fellow Ukrainian politician Borys Tarasyuk in 2002 Tymoshenko "only spoke Russian even when I spoke to her in Ukrainian", but since then she has made the transition to speaking only Ukrainian.
During her second stint as Prime-Minister her ratings in opinion polls fell. In early 2008 in opinion polls for the Ukrainian presidential election, 2009 she stood at 30% but by late-April 2009 that had shrunk to 15% According to a poll carried out between 29 January and 5 February 2009 by the Kyiv International Institute of Sociology just over 43% of the Ukrainian voters believed Tymoshenko should leave her post, whereas just over 45% believed she should stay. According to an opinion poll carried out between 3 and 12 February 2009 by the "Sofia" Center for Social Studies some 59.1% of those polled believed that the activities of (then) Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko were aimed at the defense of her own interests and that of her entourage, some 4.2% said her activities were aimed at the defense of interests of foreign states and some 23.9% believed that Tymoshenko worked for the sake of national interests. 77.7% of the respondents were unsatisfied with the economic policy of the second Tymoshenko Government. Some 71.8% believed that this government was not able to lead the Ukrainian economy out of the 2008–09 Ukrainian financial crisis or even change the situation in Ukraine to better; 18.1% of respondents did think that the government could do that. 1. Despite the neck-to-neck 2010 presidential race, many experts believed that Tymoshenko would win the vote due to her ability to "hike her popularity just before the voting day". JP Morgan Securities Inc. experts said that Yulia Tymoshenko's victory in presidential election would "bring stability in 2010, with budget consolidation, better terms of crediting and higher influx of capital. As a result, the economy will have better prospects of growing in the second half of 2010 and 2011".
Tymoshenko has been ranked three times by Forbes magazine among the most powerful women in the world. During her first term, in 2005 she was ranked third (behind Condoleezza Rice and Wu Yi), in 2008 she was number 17 and in 2009 at number 47. According to the Ukrainian magazine Focus Lady Yu was placed first in annual ranking of the most influential women in Ukraine in 2006–2010 (five years). During the Orange Revolution some Western media publications dubbed her the "Joan of Arc of the Revolution". In December 2011 Tymoshenko's party BYuT-Batkivschyna nominated her for the Nobel Peace Prize.
Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has stated (in November 2009) he found it comfortable to work with his (then) Ukrainian counterpart Yulia Tymoshenko and also praised her for strengthening Ukrainian sovereignty and building stable ties with Moscow and called the second Tymoshenko Government "efficient and a force for stability". It has been suggested by Reuters that the Russian government, after seeing her opposition to Viktor Yushchenko, supported her since late 2008, although Putin denied it.
Former ally and President of Ukraine Victor Yushchenko stated in November 2009 "I am sure that every week spent by Yulia Tymoshenko in the post of Prime Minister leads the country to a catastrophe. Because of Yulia Tymoshenko, it is a crisis, a crisis in everything". Yushchenko has repeatedly accused his former ally turned rival Tymoshenko of acting in the interests of Russia, she firmly denied the allegations. On 31 May 2010 Yushchenko stated that Tymoshenko was his "worst mistake", "The most serious mistake was to give the power to her twice". Expert in Ukrainian politics Dr. Taras Kuzio believes that he has always prioritized personal revenge against Tymoshenko over Ukraine’s national interests. In her turn, Tymoshenko has blamed President Viktor Yushchenko for obstructing the government-proposed anti-crisis measures and efforts to form a broad coalition to battle the crisis. "The president is using flashy words today to deprive the nation, first of all its government, of the opportunity to counter the crisis, and to leave the nation without a government it logically needs" she said. "Viktor Yushchenko has no right to any criticism. He is the incumbent president. He only has the right to work and to serve Ukraine. He will have the right to criticize when he joins the opposition. Now he must work and answer for his moves".
Former Ukrainian Minister of Finance of Ukraine Viktor Pynzenyk has called Tymoshenko's decisions "normally guided by 'adventurous populism'", which she saw as a tool to "consolidate power in her own hands" and believed Tymoshenko should have "taken advantage of the opportunity presented by the 2008–2009 Ukrainian financial crisis to reform".
Party of Regions Deputy Head Borys Kolesnykov stated on 11 February 2010 "Tymoshenko was the most effective politician during the entire period of Ukraine's recent history". Former European High Representative for Common Foreign and Security Policy Javier Solana has called Tymoshenko "a patriot regardless of the position in which you have found yourself". President Viktor Yanukovych stated about Tymoshenko on 13 May 2010 "She likes to create a sensation. We have grown used to this extravagant woman".
In some press-media Tymoshenko is sometimes referred to as Lady Yu (Ледi Ю, Леди Ю).
Opinion polls since early 2011 show that the percentage of votes that Tymoshenko would gain in a future presidential election stands about 15%. Yet recent opinion polls show increase of Tymoshenko's rating. Thus, according to the survey conducted by "Rating" sociology think tank in September 2013, 21% of respondents would vote for Tymoshenko according to Russian held Interefax.
2005 Korrespondent magazine, TOP 100 the most influential politics of Ukraine, 2nd place (Women with nimbus), Person of the year
2007 Yulia Tymoshenko, Focus magazine, the most influential women of Ukraine, 1st place. Yulia Tymoshenko, Korrespondent magazine, TOP 100 the most influential politics of Ukraine, 4th place (Woman-brand), Person of the year. Yulia Tymoshenko, Focus magazine, 200 the most influential Ukrainians, 2nd place.
2009 Yulia Tymoshenko, Korrespondent magazine, TOP 100 the most influential Ukrainians, 1st place (Dream women). Yulia Tymoshenko, Focus magazine, the most influential women of Ukraine, 1st place. Yulia Tymoshenko, Focus magazine, TOP 200 the most influential politicians of Ukraine, 1st place.
2007–2013 In Ukraine, Yulia Tymoshenko is the most popular politician on the Internet , in blogs and social networks. Yulia Tymoshenko is the most popular foreign politician in the Russian media. 2012 The national rating (December 28, 2012) by the Razumkov Center and the "Foundation for Democratic Initiatives": Yulia Tymoshenko is recognized as the best Prime Minister of Ukraine — 19.5%, Viktor Yanukovych — 11.4%, Mykola Azarov – 8.6%, Leonid Kuchma – 5.6%, Viktor Yushchenko – 3.9%, Pavel Lazarenko – 2.2%.
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