|Poroshenko in June 2014|
|5th President of Ukraine|
7 June 2014
|Prime Minister||Arseniy Yatsenyuk|
|Preceded by||Oleksandr Turchynov (Acting)|
|2nd Minister of Trade and Economic Development|
23 March 2012 – 24 December 2012
|Prime Minister||Mykola Azarov|
|Preceded by||Andriy Klyuyev|
|Succeeded by||Ihor Prasolov|
|9th Minister of Foreign Affairs|
9 October 2009 – 11 March 2010
|Prime Minister||Yulia Tymoshenko
Oleksandr Turchynov (Acting)
|Preceded by||Volodymyr Khandohiy|
|Succeeded by||Kostyantyn Gryshchenko|
|4th Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council|
8 February 2005 – 8 September 2005
|Preceded by||Volodymyr Radchenko|
|Succeeded by||Anatoliy Kinakh|
|Born||Petro Oleksiyovych Poroshenko
26 September 1965
Bolhrad, Odessa Oblast, Ukrainian SSR, Soviet Union
|Social Democratic Party
Our Ukraine Bloc (2002–12)
Petro Poroshenko Bloc
|Alma mater||Taras Shevchenko National University|
|Years of service||1984–1986|
|People's Deputy of Ukraine|
|May 12, 1998 – May 14, 2002|
|Elected as: Independent, Vinnytsia Oblast,
|May 14, 2002 – September 8, 2005|
|Elected as: Our Ukraine Bloc, Vinnytsia Oblast, District No.12|
|May 25, 2006 – June 15, 2007|
|Elected as: Our Ukraine Bloc, No.33|
|December 12, 2012 – June 3, 2014|
|Elected as: Independent, Vinnytsia Oblast,
Petro Oleksiyovych Poroshenko (Ukrainian: Петро́ Олексі́йович Пороше́нко. It is pronounced Ukrainian pronunciation: [pɛt'rɔ oɫɛk'sijovɪt͡ʃ poro'ʃɛnko]; born 26 September 1965) is the fifth and current President of Ukraine, in office since 2014. He served as the Minister of Foreign Affairs from 2009 to 2010, and as the Minister of Trade and Economic Development in 2012. From 2007 until 2012, Poroshenko headed the Council of Ukraine's National Bank.
Outside government, Poroshenko has been a prominent man with a lucrative career in acquiring business assets. He owns, along with a number of other companies, a large-scale confectionery business, which has earned him the nickname of 'Chocolate King'. He was elected president on 25 May 2014, capturing more than 54% of the vote in the first round, thereby winning outright and avoiding a run-off.
- 1 Early life and education
- 2 Business career
- 3 Early political career
- 4 Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council
- 5 Foreign Minister and Minister of Trade
- 6 Return to parliament
- 7 Presidency
- 8 Personal life
- 9 Cultural and political image
- 10 Notes
- 11 References
- 12 External links
Early life and education
Poroshenko was born in the city of Bolhrad, in Odessa Oblast, on 26 September 1965. He also spent his childhood and youth in Bendery (Moldavian SSR, now officially Moldova but under de facto control of the unrecognised breakaway state Transnistria.) where his father Oleksiy was heading a machine building plant. In his youth, Poroshenko practiced judo and sambo, and was Candidate for Master of Sport of the USSR. Despite good grades he was not awarded the normal gold medal at graduation, and on his report card he was given a "C" for his behavior. After getting into a fight with four Soviet Army cadets at the military commissariat, he was sent to army service in the distant Kazakh SSR.
In 1989, Poroshenko graduated, having started studying in 1982, with a degree in economics from the international relations and law department (subsequently the Institute of International Relations) at the Kiev State University. In 1984, he married a medical student, Maryna Perevedentseva (born 1962). Their first son, Oleksiy, was born in 1985 (his three other children were born in 2000 and 2001). From 1989 to 1992, he was an assistant at the university’s international economic relations department. While still a student, he founded a legal advisory firm mediating the negotiation of contracts in foreign trade, and then he undertook the negotiations himself, starting to supply cocoa beans to the Soviet chocolate industry in 1991. At the same time, he was deputy director of the ‘Republic’ Union of Small Businesses and Entrepreneurs, and the CEO “Exchange House Ukraine”.
In 1993, Poroshenko, together with his father Oleksiy and colleagues from the Road Traffic Institute in Kiev, created the UkrPromInvest Ukrainian Industry and Investment Company, which specialised in confectionery (and later other agricultural processing industries) and the automotive industry. Poroshenko was director-general of the company from its founding until 1998, when in connection with his entry into parliament he handed the title over to his father, while retaining the title of honorary president.
Between 1996 and 1998, UkrPromInvest acquired control over several state-owned confectionery enterprises which were combined into the Roshen group in 1996, creating the largest confectionery manufacturing operation in Ukraine. His business success in the confectionery industry earned him the nickname "Chocolate King". Poroshenko's business empire also includes several car and bus plants, Leninska Kuznya shipyard, the 5 Kanal television channel, as well as other businesses. In March 2012, Forbes placed him on the Forbes list of billionaires at 1,153rd place, with $1 billion. As of May 2015, Poroshenko's net worth is about $720 million, losing 25 percent profit ever since Russia's ban of Roshen products and the state of the Ukrainian economy.
A number of businesses were once part of the Ukrprominvest which Poroshenko headed in 1993–1998. The investment group was dissolved in April 2012. Poroshenko has stated that upon beginning his political activity he passed on his holdings to a trust fund.
- Bogdan group (Poroshenko sold his share in connection with the collapse of its production after the 2008 economic crisis in 2009)
- Roshen group
- 5 Kanal television channel
- Leninska Kuznya shipyard
Early political career
Poroshenko first won a seat in the Verkhovna Rada (the Ukrainian Parliament) in 1998 for the 12th single-mandate constituency. He was initially a member of the United Social Democratic Party of Ukraine (SDPU), the party loyal to president Leonid Kuchma at the time. Poroshenko left SDPU(o) in 2000 to create an independent left-of-center faction, naming it Solidarity. In 2001 Poroshenko was instrumental in creating the Party of Regions, also loyal to Kuchma, but Solidarity never completed the merger.
Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council
In December 2001 Poroshenko broke ranks with Kuchma supporters to become campaign chief of Viktor Yushchenko's Our Ukraine Bloc opposition faction. After parliamentary elections in March 2002 in which Our Ukraine won the biggest share of the popular vote and Poroshenko won a seat in parliament, Poroshenko served as head of the parliamentary budget committee, where he was accused of "misplacing 47 million hryvnias" (USD$8.9 million). As a consequence of Poroshenko's Our Ukraine Bloc membership tax inspectors launched an attack on his business. Despite great difficulties, UkrPromInvest managed to survive until Yushchenko became President of Ukraine in 2005.
Poroshenko was considered a close confidant of Yushchenko, who is godfather to Poroshenko's daughters. Poroshenko was likely to have been the wealthiest businessman among Yushchenko supporters, and was often named as one of the main financial backers of Our Ukraine and the Orange Revolution. After Yushchenko won the presidential elections in 2004, Poroshenko was appointed Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council.
In September 2005, highly publicized mutual allegations of corruption erupted between Poroshenko and Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko involving the privatizations of state-owned firms. Poroshenko, for example, was accused of defending the interests of Viktor Pinchuk, who had acquired state firm Nikopol Ferroalloy for $80 million, independently valued at $1 billion. In response to the allegations, Yushchenko dismissed his entire cabinet of ministers, including Poroshenko and Tymoshenko. State prosecutors dismissed an abuse of power investigation against Poroshenko the following month, immediately after Yushchenko dismissed Svyatoslav Piskun, General Prosecutor of Ukraine. Piskun claimed that he was sacked because he refused to institute criminal proceedings against Tymoshenko and refused to drop proceedings against Poroshenko.
In the March 2006 parliamentary election Poroshenko was re-elected to the Ukrainian parliament with the support of Our Ukraine electoral bloc. He chaired the parliamentary Committee on Finance and Banking. Allegedly, since Poroshenko claimed the post of Chairman of the Ukrainian Parliament for himself, the Socialist Party of Ukraine chose to be part of the Alliance of National Unity because it was promised that their party leader, Oleksandr Moroz, would be elected chairman if the coalition were formed. This left Poroshenko's Our Ukraine and their ally Yulia Tymoshenko Bloc out of the Government.
Poroshenko did not run in the September 2007 parliamentary election. Poroshenko started heading the Council of Ukraine's National Bank in February 2007. Between 1999 and 2012 he was a board member of the National Bank of Ukraine.
Foreign Minister and Minister of Trade
Ukrainian President Yushchenko nominated Poroshenko for Foreign Minister on 7 October 2009. Poroshenko was appointed by the Verkhovna Rada (Ukraine's parliament) on 9 October 2009. On 12 October 2009, President Yushchenko re-appointed Poroshenko to the National Security and Defense Council. Poroshenko supported Ukrainian NATO-membership. However, he also stated NATO membership should not be a goal in itself. Although Poroshenko was dismissed as foreign minister on 11 March 2010, President Viktor Yanukovych expressed hope for further cooperation with him.
In late February 2012 Poroshenko was named as the new Minister of Trade and Economic Development in the Azarov Government; on 9 March 2012 President Yanukovych stated he wanted Poroshenko to work in the government in the post of economic development and trade minister. On 23 March 2012 Poroshenko was appointed economic development and trade minister of Ukraine by Yanukovych. The same month he stepped down as head of the Council of Ukraine's National Bank.
Poroshenko claims that he became Minister of Trade and Economic Development in order to help bring Ukraine closer to the EU and get Yulia Tymoshenko released from prison. After he took the post, tax inspectors launched an attack on his business.
Return to parliament
Poroshenko returned to the Verkhovna Rada (parliament) after the 2012 Ukrainian parliamentary election after winning (with more than 70%) as an independent candidate in single-member district number 12 (first-past-the-post wins a parliamentary seat) located in Vinnytsia Oblast. He did not enter any faction in parliament and became member of the committee on European Integration. Poroshenko's father Oleksiy did intend to take part in the elections too in single-member district number 16 (also located in Vinnytsia Oblast), but withdrew his candidacy for health reasons. In mid-February 2013, Poroshenko hinted he would run for Mayor of Kiev in the 2013 Kiev mayoral election.
2014 Ukrainian revolution
During the Euromaidan protests, between November 2013 and February 2014, Poroshenko actively supported the protest, including with financial support. This led to an upsurge of his popularity. He did not participate in negotiations between then President Yanukovych and the Euromaidan Maidan parliamentary opposition parties Batkivshchyna, Svoboda and UDAR.
Poroshenko refused to join the Yatsenyuk Government (although he introduced his colleague Volodymyr Groysman, the mayor of Vinnitsa, into it), and nor did he join any of the two newly created parliamentary factions Economic Development and Sovereign European Ukraine. During the 2014 Crimean crisis Poroshenko visited Simferopol, in Crimea, prior to its annexation by Russia; "We have to find a compromise," Poroshenko told a crowd gathered in front of the Crimean parliament, but his appeal was drowned by shouts of "Russia, Russia."
In an interview with Lally Weymouth, Poroshenko said: "From the beginning, I was one of the organizers of the Maidan. My television channel — Channel 5 — played a tremendously important role. ... At that time, Channel 5 started to broadcast, there were just 2,000 people on the Maidan. But during the night, people went by foot — seven, eight, nine, 10 kilometers — understanding this is a fight for Ukrainian freedom and democracy. In four hours, almost 30,000 people were there." The BBC reported, "Mr Poroshenko owns 5 Kanal TV, the most popular news channel in Ukraine, which showed clear pro-opposition sympathies during the months of political crisis in Kiev."
2014 presidential campaign
Following the 2014 Ukrainian revolution and the resulting removal of Viktor Yanukovych from the office of President of Ukraine, new presidential elections were scheduled to take place on 25 May 2014. In pre-election polls from March 2014, Poroshenko garnered the most support of all the prospective candidates, with one poll conducted by SOCIS giving him a rating of over 40%. On 29 March he stated that he would run for president; at the same time Vitali Klitschko left the presidential contest, choosing to support Poroshenko's bid.
On 2 April Poroshenko stated, "If I am elected, I will be honest and sell the Roshen Concern." He also said in early April that the level of popular support for the idea of Ukraine's joining NATO was too small to put on the agenda "so as not to ruin the country." He also vowed not to sell his 5 Kanal television channel. On 14 April, Poroshenko publicly endorsed the campaign of Jarosław Gowin's party Poland Together of neighbouring Poland in this year's elections to the European Parliament, thanking Gowin's party colleague Paweł Kowal for supporting Ukraine.
Poroshenko's election slogan was: "Live in a new way -- Poroshenko!". On 29 May, the Central Election Commission of Ukraine announced that Poroshenko had won the 25 May presidential election, with 54.7% of the votes.
During his visit in Berlin, Poroshenko stated that separatists "don't represent anybody. We have to restore law and order and sweep the terrorists off the street." He described as "fake" a planned 11 May Donbass status referendums.
When it became clear he had won the election on election day evening (on 25 May 2014) Poroshenko announced "My first presidential trip will be to Donbas", where armed pro-Russian rebels had declared the separatist republics Donetsk People's Republic and Lugansk People's Republic and control a large part of the region. Poroshenko also vowed to continue the military operations by the Ukrainian government forces to end the armed insurgency claiming "The anti-terrorist operation cannot and should not last two or three months. It should and will last hours." He compared the armed pro-Russian rebels to Somali pirates. Poroshenko also called for negotiations with Russia in the presence of international intermediaries. Russia responded by saying it did not need an intermediary in its bilateral relations with Ukraine. As president-elect Poroshenko promised to return Crimea, which was annexed by Russia in March 2014.[a] He also vowed to hold new parliamentary elections in 2014.
Poroshenko was inaugurated in the Verkhovna Rada (parliament) on 7 June 2014. In his inaugural address he stressed that Ukraine would not give up Crimea and stressed the unity of Ukraine. He promised an amnesty "for those who do not have blood on their hands" to the separatist and pro-Russia insurgents of the 2014 pro-Russian conflict in Ukraine and to the Ukrainian nationalist groups that oppose them, but added: "Talking to gangsters and killers is not our path". He also called for early regional elections in Eastern Ukraine. Poroshenko also stated that he would sign the economic part of the Ukraine–European Union Association Agreement and that this was the first step towards full Ukrainian EU Membership. During the speech he stated he saw "Ukrainian as the only state language" but also spoke of the "guarantees [of] the unhindered development of Russian and all the other languages". Part of the speech was in Russian.
The inauguration was attended by about 50 foreign delegations, including US Vice President Joe Biden, President of Poland Bronisław Komorowski, President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko, President of Lithuania Dalia Grybauskaitė, President of Switzerland and the OSCE Chairman-in-Office Didier Burkhalter, President of Germany Joachim Gauck, President of Georgia Giorgi Margvelashvili, Prime Minister of Canada Stephen Harper, Prime Minister of Hungary Viktor Orbán, President of the European Council Herman Van Rompuy, the OSCE Secretary General Lamberto Zannier, UN Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs Jeffrey Feldman, China's Minister of Culture Cai Wu and Ambassador of Russia to Ukraine Mikhail Zurabov Former Prime Minister of Ukraine Yulia Tymoshenko was also present. After the inauguration ceremony Tymoshenko said about Poroshenko "I think Ukraine has found a very powerful additional factor of stability".
Peace plan for Eastern Ukraine
At the time of his inauguration armed pro-Russian rebels, after a disputed referendums, considered to be illegitimate by the international community, had declared the separatist republics Donetsk People's Republic and Lugansk People's Republic and control a large part of Eastern Ukraine. Poroshenko (after his inauguration) launched a so-called "peace" plan envisaged for the recognition of the presidential elections in Ukraine by Russia, a cease-fire by the separatists (named "terrorists" by Poroshenko himself) and the establishment of humanitarian corridor for civilians ("who are not involved in the conflict"). Poroshenko warned that he had a "Plan B".
Poroshenko pledged revenge against separatists after 19 Ukrainian soldiers were killed in a rocket attack: "Militants will pay hundreds of their lives for each life of our servicemen. Not a single terrorist will avoid responsibility. Each of them will be punished".
In December 2014, the Kharkiv Human Rights Protection Group (KhPG) condemned Poroshenko for granting Ukrainian citizenship to Belarusian neo-Nazi and Azov Battalion commander of reconnaissance Serhiy Korotkykh.
Poroshenko didn't agree to give the autonomous status for Donbass, saying, "Despite strong insistence, we didn't agree to any autonomous status. .. We didn't agree to any compromise on federalization either. There is no autonomy or federalization in the [Minsk] document."
Decentralization of power
In mid-June Poroshenko started the process of amending Ukraine's constitution to achieve Ukraine's administrative decentralization. According to Poroshenko (on 16 June 2014) this was "a key element of the peace plan". In his draft constitutional amendments of June 2014 proposed changing the administrative divisions of Ukraine, which should include regions (replacing the current oblasts), districts and "hromadas" (communities). In these amendments he also proposed that "Village, city, district and regional administrations will be able to determine the status of the Russian language and other national minority languages of Ukraine in accordance with the procedure established by the law and within the borders of their administrative and territorial units". He proposed that Ukrainian remained the only state language of Ukraine. Poroshenko further proposed to create the post of presidential representatives who would supervise the enforcement of the Ukrainian constitution and laws and the observation of human rights and freedoms in oblasts and raions/raions of cities. In case of an "emergency situation or martial law regime" they will "guide and organize" in the territories they are stationed in. Batkivshchyna, key coalition partner in the Yatsenyuk Government, came out against the plan.
Dissolution of Parliament
On 25 August 2014 Poroshenko called a snap election to the Verkhovna Rada (Ukraine's parliament), to be held 26 October 2014. According to him this was necessary "to purify the Rada of the mainstay of [former president] Viktor Yanukovych". These deputies, Poroshenko said, "clearly do not represent the people who elected them". Poroshenko also said that these Rada deputies were responsible for "the [January 2014] Dictatorship laws that took the lives of the Heavenly hundred". Poroshenko also stated that many of the (then) current MPs were "direct sponsors and accomplices or at least sympathizers of militants-separatists".
During a 27 August 2014 party congress the party "Solidarity" adopted a new name: "Petro Poroshenko Bloc". "Solidarity" was Poroshenko's former party. Because in Ukraine the President is not allowed to be member of a party, Poroshenko became "Bloc of Petro Poroshenko" "Honorary Leader".
On 15 May 2015 Poroshenko signed a bill into law that started a six months period for the removal of communist monuments and the mandatory renaming of streets and other public places and settlements with a name related to Communism. According to Poroshenko this was "I did what I had to"; adding "Ukraine as a state has done its job, then historians should work, while the government should take care of the future". Poroshenko believes that the Nazi crimes are on a par with the communist crimes of the Soviet Union. The legislation (Poroshenko signed on 15 May 2015) also provides "public recognition to anyone who fought for Ukrainian independence in the 20th century", including the controversial Ukrainian Insurgent Army combatants.
At the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe on 26 June 2014 Poroshenko stated that bilateral relations with Russia cannot be normalized unless Russia undoes its unilateral annexation of Crimea and returns its control of Crimea to Ukraine.
On Poroshenko's June 2014 Peace plan for Eastern Ukraine Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov commented "it looks like an ultimatum".
On 26 August 2014 Poroshenko met with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Minsk where Putin called on Ukraine not to escalate its offensive. Poroshenko responded by demanding Russia halt its supplying of arms to separatist fighters. He said his country wanted a political compromise and promised the interests of Russian-speaking people in eastern Ukraine would be considered.
The European Union (EU) and Ukraine signed the economic part of the Ukraine–European Union Association Agreement on 27 June 2014. Poroshenko stated that the day was "Ukraine's most historic day since independence in 1991", describing it as a "symbol of faith and unbreakable will". He saw the signing as the start of preparations for Ukrainian EU Membership.
At his speech at the opening session of the new parliament on 27 November 2014 Poroshenko stated "we’ve decided to return to the course of NATO integration" because "the nonalignment status of Ukraine proclaimed in 2010 couldn’t guarantee our security and territorial integrity". The Ukrainian parliament on 23 December 2013 voted 303 to 8 to repeal a 2010 bill that had made Ukraine a non-aligned state in a bill submitted by Poroshenko. On 29 December 2014 Porohenko vowed to hold a referendum on joining NATO.
Poroshenko has been married to Maryna since 1984. The couple have four children: Olexiy (born 1985), the twins Yevheniya and Oleksandra (born 2000) and Mykhaylo (born 2001). Olexiy is a representative in the regional parliament of Vinnytsia Oblast. Maryna Poroshenko is a cardiologist, who does not take part in public life, apart from her participation in the activities of the Petro Poroshenko Charity Foundation. Poroshenko is godfather to the children of former Ukrainian president Viktor Yushchenko. Poroshenko became a grandfather on the day of his presidential inauguration of 7 June 2014.
Poroshenko is a member of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (Moscow Patriarchate). Poroshenko has financed the restoration of its buildings and monasteries. In high-level meetings he is often seen with a crucifix.
Cultural and political image
In Ukraine, Poroshenko is widely seen as a pragmatic politician who sees Ukraine's future in the European Union, but hopes to mend relations with Russia. He is nicknamed 'Chocolate King' because of his ownership of a large confectionery business.
In 2006, John Herbst, US Ambassador to Ukraine, described Poroshenko as a "disgraced oligarch." Later that same year Sheila Gwaltney, Deputy Chief of Mission at the US Embassy in Ukraine, said that "Poroshenko was tainted by credible corruption allegations."
Poroshenko has stated that "Oligarchs are people who seek power in order to further enrich themselves. But I have long fought against bandits who are robbing our country and have destroyed free enterprise". In early 2014, the Russian government-aligned television station NTV aired a film which portrayed Poroshenko extremely negatively.
- Order of Merit (Ukraine)
- Order of the Republic (Moldova)
- Order of the White Eagle (Poland)
- Order of Civil Merit
- Medal of winner of Ukraine State Prize in Science and Technology
- The status of the Crimea and of the city of Sevastopol is currently under dispute between Russia and Ukraine; Ukraine and the majority of the international community consider the Crimea to be an autonomous republic of Ukraine and Sevastopol to be one of Ukraine's cities with special status, while Russia, on the other hand, considers the Crimea to be a federal subject of Russia and Sevastopol to be one of Russia's three federal cities.
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- Official website for the President of Ukraine
- Official page on Facebook
- Official page on Twitter
- Official channel on YouTube
- Official page on Google+
- Official page on Vkontakte
- Personal website at the Wayback Machine (archived February 2, 2014) (Ukrainian)
- Euromaidan Overview
|Minister for Foreign Affairs
|Minister of Trade and Economic Development
|President of Ukraine