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Marie Yovanovitch

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Marie Yovanovitch
Marie L. Yovanovitch.jpg
9th United States Ambassador to Ukraine
In office
August 29, 2016 – May 20, 2019
PresidentBarack Obama
Donald Trump
Preceded byGeoffrey Pyatt
Succeeded byKristina Kvien (Acting)
United States Ambassador to Armenia
In office
September 22, 2008 – June 9, 2011
PresidentGeorge W. Bush
Barack Obama
Preceded byJohn Evans
Succeeded byJohn Heffern
United States Ambassador to Kyrgyzstan
In office
February 4, 2005 – February 4, 2008
PresidentGeorge W. Bush
Preceded byStephen Young
Succeeded byTatiana Gfoeller
Personal details
Born1958 (age 60–61)
Montreal, Canada
EducationPrinceton University (BA)
National Defense University (MS)

Marie Louise Yovanovitch (born 1958)[1] is a member of the senior ranks of the United States Foreign Service who served as the 9th United States Ambassador to Ukraine. She was nominated to the post on May 18, 2016, to replace Geoff Pyatt,[2][3] was sworn in on August 18, 2016,[4] and was recalled as of May 20, 2019.[5] She is a diplomat in residence at the Institute for the Study of Diplomacy at Georgetown University.[6][7]

Yovanovitch was the United States Ambassador to Kyrgyzstan from November 20, 2004, to February 4, 2008, and the United States Ambassador to Armenia from August 1, 2008, to June 3, 2011.[1]

Early life

Marie Yovanovitch is the daughter of Mikhail Yovanovitch and Nadia (Theokritoff) Yovanovitch.[8] Her paternal grandparents were of Russian Serbian origin. She was born in Canada, moved to Connecticut when she was three, and became a naturalized American citizen at age eighteen. She grew up speaking Russian.[6]

Yovanovitch is a graduate of Kent School, a private boarding school in Connecticut, and Princeton University, where she earned a B.A. in History and Russian Studies in 1980. She studied at the Pushkin Institute (1980) and was awarded an M.S. from the National Defense University's National War College in 2001.[9]


Yovanovitch joined the U.S. foreign service in 1986. Her first foreign assignment, in Ottawa, was followed by overseas assignments including Moscow, London, and Mogadishu.[9] From May 1998 to May 2000 she served as the Deputy Director of the Russian Desk in the U.S. Department of State.

From August 2001 to June 2004, as a career member of the Senior Foreign Service, she was the Deputy Chief of Mission of the U.S. Embassy in Kiev, Ukraine.[10] From August 2004 to May 2005 she was the Senior Advisor to the Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs.

Yovanovitch was nominated on June 3, 2005 to serve as the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Kyrgyz Republic, and confirmed by the United States Senate on June 30, 2005. She was the United States Ambassador to Kyrgyzstan from November 20, 2004, to February 4, 2008, and the United States Ambassador to Armenia from August 1, 2008, to June 3, 2011.

Yovanovitch was nominated to be the ambassador to Ukraine on May 18, 2016, to replace Geoff Pyatt, and was sworn in on August 18, 2016.[2][3][4]

Trump–Ukraine controversy

In May 2019, the Trump administration recalled Yovanovitch as ambassador to Ukraine.[11] Although Yovanovitch was respected within the national security community for her efforts to encourage Ukraine to tackle corruption, she had been accused, without firm evidence, by some conservative media outlets and by President Trump's personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, as well as Ukraine’s then-top prosecutor, Yuri Lutsenko, of being part of a conspiracy involving anti-corruption probes in Ukraine and efforts by the Trump administration to investigate ties between Ukrainian officials and the Hillary Clinton campaign.[6][12] [13] However, the U.S. State Department declared some of the allegations by Yuriy Lutsenko to be "an outright fabrication."[12]

Relying upon unnamed sources, the Wall Street Journal reported that Yovanovitch was recalled for undermining and obstructing Trump's efforts to persuade Ukraine to investigate former vice president and 2020 U.S. presidential election candidate Joe Biden.[14]

On October 11, 2019, Yovanovitch gave a closed-door testimony before the House Committees on Oversight and Reform, Foreign Affairs and Intelligence. She released a ten-page opening statement in which she wrote:

Understanding Ukraine’s recent history, including the significant tension between those who seek to transform the country and those who wish to continue profiting from the old ways, is of critical importance to understanding the events you asked me here today to describe. Many of those events—and the false narratives that emerged from them—resulted from an unfortunate alliance between Ukrainians who continue to operate within a corrupt system, and Americans who either did not understand that corrupt system, or who may have chosen, for their own purposes, to ignore it.[15]

See also


  1. ^ a b "Marie L. Yovanovitch". Office of the Historian, United States Department of State. Retrieved October 7, 2019.
  2. ^ a b "President Obama Announces More Key Administration Posts" (Press release). White House Press Office. May 18, 2016.
  3. ^ a b Revesz, Rachel (January 20, 2017). "Donald Trump has fired all foreign US ambassadors with nobody to replace them". The Independent. Retrieved January 20, 2017.
  4. ^ a b "PN1493 – Nomination of Marie L. Yovanovitch for Department of State, 114th Congress (2015–2016)". U.S. Congress. July 14, 2016. Retrieved September 26, 2019.
  5. ^ Rogin, Josh (May 7, 2019). "U.S. ambassador to Ukraine is recalled after becoming a political target". The Washington Post. Retrieved September 27, 2019.
  6. ^ a b c LaFraniere, Sharon; Vogel, Kenneth P.; Baker, Peter (September 26, 2019). "Trump Said Ukraine Envoy Would 'Go Through Some Things.' She Has Already". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved September 27, 2019.
  7. ^ "Ambassador Marie L. Yovanovitch". Institute for the Study of Diplomacy, Georgetown University. Retrieved September 27, 2019.
  8. ^ "Executive Reports of Committees (Senate)". Congressional Record. July 14, 2016. Retrieved October 29, 2016.
  9. ^ a b "Yovanovitch, Marie L." Office of Electronic Information, Department of State. January 15, 2009. Retrieved September 26, 2019.
  10. ^ "New U.S. ambassador expected in Kyiv next week". Ukrainian Independent Information Agency. August 20, 2016. Retrieved October 14, 2019.
  11. ^ King, Laura; Ayres, Sabra (September 30, 2019). "Ousted U.S. diplomat could be crucial to impeachment inquiry". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved October 1, 2019.
  12. ^ a b Farhl, Paul (September 26, 2019). "How a conservative columnist helped push a flawed Ukraine narrative". The Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved September 27, 2019.
  13. ^ Sonmez, Felicia (September 26, 2019). "Four ways to flatter Trump: The Ukrainian President's guide". The Age. Retrieved September 26, 2019.
  14. ^ Ballhaus, Rebecca; Bender, Michael C.; Salama, Vivian (October 2, 2019). "Trump Ordered Ukraine Ambassador Removed After Complaints From Giuliani, Others". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved October 4, 2019.
  15. ^ Ahl, Gordon (October 11, 2019). "Former Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch's Opening Statement Before Congress". Lawfare. Retrieved October 14, 2019.


External links

Diplomatic posts
Preceded by
Stephen Young
United States Ambassador to Kyrgyzstan
Succeeded by
Tatiana Gfoeller
Preceded by
John Evans
United States Ambassador to Armenia
Succeeded by
John Heffern
Preceded by
Geoffrey Pyatt
United States Ambassador to Ukraine
Succeeded by
Kristina Kvien