Viktor Yushchenko

yuschenkoViktor Yushchenko was born 23 February 1954 in Khoruzhivka, Ukraine.

He best known as popular leader of the 2004 'Orange Revolution' in the Ukraine.

Viktor Yushchenko sprang to international prominence in 2004, when he ran for president of the Ukraine against the incumbent prime minister, Viktor Yanukovych, then forced a re-vote after the deciding election appeared to be tainted by fraud. A former accountant and economist, Yushchenko was appointed head of Ukraine's national bank in 1993, shortly after the country gained independence from the former Soviet Union.

Yushchenko was made prime minister in 1999 by president and longtime Ukrainian power-broker Leonid Kuchma.

In 2001, Kuchma relieved the popular Yushchenko from his duties.

Yushchenko promptly became the leader of a liberal opposition coalition known as Our Ukraine

Handsome, charismatic and politically savvy, he attracted a growing following, especially among young pro-democracy activists.

In the presidential elections of 2004, Yushchenko was considered the pro-western candidate, while Yanukovych had the support of both Kuchma & Russian president Vladimir Putin.

Voting on 21 November was marred by confusion and apparent fraud, yet Ukraine's Central Electoral Commission still declared Yanukovych the winner. Supporters of Yushchenko swarmed into Kiev, clogging the streets and demanding a re-vote.

This 'Orange Revolution' - named for the bright clothing the protesters wore - drew worldwide attention. Yanukovych agreed to a repeat of the voting, which was held on 26 December 2004.
Yushchenko won that election by a margin of roughly 52-44%,. Yanukovych immediately contested the results, claiming that "the constitution and human rights were violated." Ultimately the country's Supreme Court ruled that the results would stand.

Yushchenko was inaugurated as president in January of 2005.

In August of 2006 Yushchenko accepted the appointment of his rival Yanukovych to the position of prime minister. Yanukovych and Yushchenko continued to battle for power, and in April of 2007 Yushchenko dissolved the parliament and claimed control of the government, setting new elections for May of 2007.
In September of 2004, during the presidential campaign, Yushchenko suddenly became ill. He travelled to Austria for treatment. He returned several days later with his face badly pocked and disfigured. In early December of 2004, doctors in Austria who had tested Yushchenko said he appeared to have been poisoned with the chemical dioxin, which possibly had been concealed in soup. Doctors have said the skin condition could take two years to clear up, and the long-term effects on Yushchenko's health are unknown.



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