Viktor Medvedchuk

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Viktor Medvedchuk
Віктор Медведчук
Medvedchuk3.jpg
Medvedchuk in April 2004
Head of Presidential Administration
In office
June 12, 2002 – January 21, 2005
President Leonid Kuchma
Preceded by Volodymyr Lytvyn
Succeeded by Oleksandr Zinchenko
Personal details
Born Viktor Volodymyrovych Medvedchuk
(1954-08-07) August 7, 1954 (age 60)
Pochyot, Abansky District, Krasnoyarsk Krai, Russian SFSR
Nationality Ukrainian
Spouse(s) Oksana Marchenko (1973)
Children Bohdan (1997)
Daryna (2004)
Alma mater Kiev University (1978)
Occupation Politician and advocate

Viktor Volodymyrovych Medvedchuk (Ukrainian: Віктор Володимирович Медведчук) is a Ukrainian politician, lawyer, and business oligarch.[1][2] Analysts[who?] consider Medvedchuk one of the most important Ukrainian politicians from the mid-1990s till the mid-2000s; although he mainly operated outside the public view.[1] Currently Medvedchuk is chairman of the pro-Russian political organization Ukrainian Choice,[3] Russia's president Vladimir Putin is the godfather of Medvedchuk's daughter Darina (born in 2004).[4] Medvedchuk and his party have marginal popular support in Ukraine.[3]

Early life and education[edit]

Medvedchuk's father, Volodymyr Medvedchuk, avoided being drafted into the Red Army during the "Great Patriotic War" due to his Pott disease. During Nazi Germany's occupation of Ukraine he worked for the German administration in a labor camp from April 1942 to November 1943. The section provided enforced deportation of the local able-bodied Ukrainian youth to work in Nazi Germany. After the retreat of German forces Volodymyr Meddvedchuk was arrested by SMERSH on August 7, 1954 and sentenced to eight years of imprisonment and four of exile in Siberia "for participation in Ukrainian nationalistic activities".

In the mid-1960s the Medvedchuks returned to Ukraine (Kornyn, Zhytomyr Oblast). In 1971 Medvedchuk graduated from high school in Borova, Fastiv Raion (Kiev Oblast). After graduation he unsuccessfully tried to enroll to the Higher School of Militsiya, but was rejected due to his family history. In November 1971 Medvedchuk found a job as sorter at the Kiev Railroad Post office factory producing periodicals, and by the start of 1972 he was an overstaffed militsiya worker at the Motovylivka station (located in Borova). Already in summer of 1972 Medvedchuk successfully passed an entrance exam to the Law School of Kiev State University of Shevchenko, however was not admitted. On September 12, 1972 he was enrolled in the University by the Rector's order #445, based on the authorization from the Ministry of the Interior of Ukrainian SSR.[5] The reason for it, in the opinion of Dmytro Chobot, was "a secret cooperation with militia" which was confirmed by the Supreme Court of Ukraine.[6]

Criminal case and legal career[edit]

In April 1974, Medvedchuk and two of his comrades were convicted by the court of Lenin Raion (today the court of Pechersk Raion) in Kiev under article 102 of the Criminal Code of the Ukrainian SSR (beating up a minor). In June of the same year the court collegiate in criminal cases of the Kiev city court overturned the verdict of the court of Lenin Raion and sent the case back for further investigation. In November 1974 the case was closed due to lack of evidence. Medvedchuk was acquitted and reinstated at the university.

He graduated from the Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv in 1978 as a lawyer and next year he became a member of the Kiev City Collegiate of Attorneys.[2] Medvedchuk defended poet Vasyl Stus during his trial in 1980.[7][8] In the closing speech from the defence Medvedchuk stated all of Stus' crimes deserved punishment; he also told the court to make sure that the defendant fulfilled his daily norm at the factory where he worked at the time, despite alleged serious stomach problems.[7]

Medvedchuk founded a successful legal company, BIM, in the early 1990s.[9]

Politics[edit]

Medvedchuk is a former chairman of the United Social Democratic Party of Ukraine[10] from 1998 till 2 days after the 26 March 2006 parliamentary election (he was a member since 1994).[2][11]

Medvedchuk first entered the Verkhovna Rada (parliament) in 1997 by winning a by-election in the 171th District (in the Zakarpattia Oblast).[2][11][12] Elected back into parliament in 1998[9] he was elected Second Deputy Chairman in July 1998.[13] In 2002 he was reelected to parliament,[9] Medvedchuk was the First Deputy Chairman of the Verkhovna Rada from February 2000 till December 2001 when he was dismissed for abuse of power, biassed treatment of the parliament's agenda and procedural violations.[14] From June 2002[9] till January 2005[15][16] Medvedchuk served as head of President Leonid Kuchma's presidential administration.[10][17] As such, he was a leading target for criticism by the opposition, including Viktor Yushchenko who often spoke out bitterly against Medvedchuk. Medvedchuk was considered the main behind-the-scenes man of then-Prime Minister and pro-Kuchma presidential candidate Viktor Yanukovych in the 2004 Ukrainian presidential election,[2] which was nicknamed the "battle of three Viktors" after them and their main opponent Yushchenko.

In one instance, Medvedchuk paid a "huge amount of money" to the Ukrainian National Assembly leader Eduward Kovalenko to hold a march supporting Yuschenko against his wishes. The march included Nazi-like flags and symbols, and Kovalenko used a Nazi salute in his support speech. The move was meant to discredit the democratic candidate (Yushchenko) in the eyes of Western observers.[18]

Since November 2008 Medvedchuk is a member of the Supreme Council of Justice.[10][19] Focus evaluated Medvedchuk's assets in 2008 to be worth $460 million and labeled him the 57th richest man of Ukraine.[2]

On 21 March 2012 stated he will be "returning to public politics not for the sake of the elections, as I strongly believe that all things that take place are not the result of elections, but the result of our mistakes during elections".[10][20] According to a September/October 2013 poll by Razumkov Centre a party lead by Medvedchuk would score 0.9% of the votes during elections.[21] A December 2013 poll by the Sociological group "RATING" gave it 0,7% and predicted that Medvedchuk's result in the first round ballot of the next (Ukrainian) presidential election would be 0,9%.[22] During 2013 Ukrainian experts have argued that Medvedchuk attempts to influence public opinion have failed.[3]

Currently Medvedchuk is chairman of the pro-Russian political organization Ukrainian Choice.[3] In 2013 he began publicly attacking the European Union, at one point comparing it to the Nazi Third Reich.[23] On 30 November he condemned a series of protests, known as Euromaidan, supporting closer ties between Ukraine and the EU.[24]

Due to the Crimean crisis he was put on the Canadian and the US sanction lists, 17 March 2014.

Accusations in involvement Euromaidan oppression[edit]

Victor Medvedchuk is an open and bitter critic of the popular Euromaidan protest campaign (initially aimed at reverting the second Azarov Government decision to suspended preparations for signing an Association Agreement and Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement with the European Union[25]). After one of his December 2013 meetings with Russia's President Vladimir Putin, Medvedchuk publicly promised to "deal with" pro-European protesters in Ukraine.[citation needed]

Activists of Euromaidan allege that Medvedchuk was among the masterminds of the December 25 attempted murder of Ukrainian journalist Tetiana Chornovol.[26] They call him a "perpetrator" and link his name to the all bloody events of government strike against the Euromaidan.[27] Considering all the recent Medvedchuk's activity directed to push Ukraine into the economic union with Russia, the Euromaidan activists came to one of the Medvedchuks' villas to protest.[27] The same day Victor Medvedchuk claimed that he is "ready for the war" with the Ukrainian opposition parties.[28] The next day Ukrayinska Pravda newspaper published investigative article on Medvedchuk's allegedly illegal takeover a government property back in 2004, while Head of Administration for Ukrainian President. The source of the information is named as Mykhailo Chechetov (the state property chief at the time) who has been "forced" (by his own words) to help Medvedchuk in that deal.[29]

On 8 January 2014 Medvedchuk won a slander lawsuit against Oksana Zabuzhko; in an interview with Radio Liberty the writer had accused Medvedchuk of involvement in the provocations against Euromaidan on November 30 - December 1 (Medvedchuk had demanded a token amount of 0.25 hryvnia as a compensation).[30]

Medvedchuk stated on 9 January 2014 that "The absence of the translation of the text of the [EU] Association Agreement, the provision of excessive asymmetric privileges to European manufacturers - all this indicates that the EU was preparing to turn the Ukrainian economy into its raw material appendage".[31] He also believed that because "the current team" leading Ukraine response to "interference in Ukraine's internal affairs by EU and U.S. diplomats inspire serious doubt that the current team is able to protect Ukraine's economic interests".[31] "Therefore, before the adoption by the Ukrainian people of the direct decision on the choice of the vector of external integration any actions by the authorities on lobbying this policy are only political speculation, which has nothing to do with the will of the people and the protection of the economic interests of our country".[31]

Some[who?] also consider Medvedchuk 'the undisputed leader of Russia’s fifth column in Ukraine'.[32]

Involvement in the 2014 pro-Russian conflict in Ukraine[edit]

Medvedchuk was present at negotiations with the armed separatist in the Donetsk and Luhansk provinces on 21 June 2014 to discuss President Petro Poroshenko peace plan although it was unclear who he represented there.[33][34][34] On 24 June 2014 the Donetsk People's Republic and Lugansk People's Republic informed the OSCE that Medvedchuk was appointed their representative in the negotiations with the Ukrainian Government.[35] But on 8 July 2014 self-proclaimed Prime Minister of the Donetsk People's Republic Alexander Borodai stated that Medvedchuk "has no right to represent either the Donetsk People's Republic or the Lugansk People's Republic" and that he was a "mediator in the negotiations".[36] About the negotiations he wrote on his Facebook page on 28 June 2014 "Hope that a compromise will be found has appeared and we'll manage to find a way of the present situation, retaining the territorial integrity of Ukraine and restoring peace".[37] In further negotiation with the separatists Medvedchuk was not involved.[38][39]

Family[edit]

1) Marina Lebedeva

2) Natalya Gavrilyuk (1952)

3) Oksana Marchenko

  • Children - Irina (1982), Darya (2004)

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Virtual Politics - Faking Democracy in the Post-Soviet World, Andrew Wilson, Yale University Press, 2005, ISBN 0-300-09545-7
  2. ^ a b c d e f (Russian) Медведчук Виктор Владимирович, Информационно-аналитический центр "ЛІГА"
  3. ^ a b c d Kremlin-imposed “Ukrainian choice”, The Ukrainian Week (3 July 2012)
    Playing opposition, Den (15 August 2013)
    Russia's Plan For Ukraine: Purported Leaked Strategy Document Raises Alarm, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (20 August 2013)
  4. ^ Медведчук і Марченко помінялися місцями. Tablo ID (in Ukrainian). 2007-11-11. Retrieved 6 January 2014. 
  5. ^ exlibris.org.ua
  6. ^ The Supreme Court confirmed that KGB trusted Medvedchuk
  7. ^ a b Ukrainian Dissident Hero Poet Vasyl Stus, What's On Kyiv
  8. ^ SHCHERBYTSKYY ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATED FOR THE FIRST TIME IN UKRAINE by Taras Kuzio, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (11 March 2003)
  9. ^ a b c d KUCHMA'S MEN LINE UP FOR PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION, The Jamestown Foundation (10 June 2003)
  10. ^ a b c d Medvedchuk says he returns to public politics, Kyiv Post (21 March 2012)
  11. ^ a b Medvedchuk Victor, Kyiv Post
  12. ^ (Ukrainian) УКРАЇНА ПАРТІЙНА. ЧАСТИНА VI СОЦІАЛ-ДЕМОКРАТИЧНА ПАРТІЯ УКРАЇНИ (ОБ'ЄДНАНА), ZN,UA (16 March 2002)
  13. ^ Parliament ends speaker deadlock, Kyiv Post (10 July 1998)
  14. ^ Ukraine's parliament dismisses first deputy speaker, Kyiv Post (13 December 2001)
  15. ^ Medvedchuk emerges from shadows, Kyiv Post (27 January 2005)
  16. ^ Controversial Presidential Administration head Medvedchuk resigns, Kyiv Post (14 December 2004)
  17. ^ Revolution in Orange: The Origins of Ukraine's Democratic Breakthrough by Anders Aslund and Michael A. McFaul, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, 2006, ISBN 978-0-87003-221-9
  18. ^ http://anton-shekhovtsov.blogspot.se/2014/02/pro-russian-network-behind-anti.html
  19. ^ Medvedchuk returns to state power, UNIAN (5 November 2008)
  20. ^ (Ukrainian) Медведчук перед виборами оселився у Facebook і інших соцмережах, Ukrayinska Pravda (14 March 2012)
  21. ^ (Ukrainian) Електоральні орієнтації громадян України та ставлення до провідних політиків, Razumkov Centre (14 October 2013)
  22. ^ The socio-political situation in Ukraine: December 2013, Sociological group "RATING" (25 December 2013)
  23. ^ Европа прячет свои истинные намерения за так называемыми демократическими ценностями, - Медведчук. RBC (in Russian). 24 September 2013. Retrieved 24 September 2013. 
  24. ^ "Medvedchuk condemns crackdown on Euromaidan protesters in Kyiv". Kviv Post. 30 November 2013. Retrieved 4 December 2013. 
  25. ^ "Ukraine drops EU plans and looks to Russia". Al Jazeera. 21 November 2013. Retrieved 24 November 2013. 
  26. ^ Medvedchuk can be one among the others behinds the attack to Chornovol Ukrayinska Pravda, December 28, 2013
  27. ^ a b Activists came to Medvedchuk and have broken the gate Ukrayinska Pravda, December 29, 2013
  28. ^ Medvedchuk to Euromaidan: You want a war? I'm skilled Ukrayinska Pravda, December 29, 2013
  29. ^ People ask Medvedchuk to tell the history of his property Ukrayinska Pravda, December 30, 2013
  30. ^ Medvedchuk wins slander lawsuit against Zabuzhko, Interfax-Ukraine (9 January 2014)
  31. ^ a b c Government continues political speculation about choice of Ukraine's integration vector - Medvedchuk, Interfax-Ukraine (9 January 2014)
  32. ^ http://www.kyivpost.com/opinion/op-ed/blog-medvedchuk-flexes-muscles-after-protesters-pay-house-call-334464.html
  33. ^ http://www.ukrinform.ua/eng/news/nsdc_says_medvedchuk_not_representing_ukraine_at_peace_plan_talks_323058
  34. ^ a b http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/europe/separatists-in-ukraine-agree-to-honor-cease-fire/2014/06/23/40582a78-fb07-11e3-b1f4-8e77c632c07b_story.html
  35. ^ (Ukrainian) The separatists have informed the OSCE that Medvedchuk - that their representative, Ukrayinska Pravda (24 June 2014)
  36. ^ (Ukrainian) Boroday explained why the gunmen went to the Slavic and the sympathy for Medvedchuk, Ukrayinska Pravda (8 July 2014)
  37. ^ Medvedchuk hopes compromise to be found during consultations on settling situation in east Ukraine, Interfax-Ukraine (28 June 2014)
  38. ^ http://www.ukrinform.ua/eng/news/medvedchuk_wont_be_present_at_tripartite_talks_anymore_323527
  39. ^ http://www.ctv.by/en/minsk-hosting-ukraine-osce-russia-contact-group-meeting-to-settle-conflict-in-eastern-ukraine

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Volodymyr Lytvyn
Head of the Presidential Administration
2002-2005
Succeeded by
Oleksandr Zinchenko