Viktor Yanukovych

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Viktor Yanukovych
Віктор Янукович
Viktor Yanukovych Greece 2011 (cropped).jpg
4th President of Ukraine
In office
25 February 2010 – 22 February 2014
Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko
Oleksandr Turchynov (Acting)
Mykola Azarov
Serhiy Arbuzov (Acting)
Preceded by Viktor Yushchenko
Succeeded by Oleksandr Turchynov
(acting since 22 February 2014)
9th and 12th Prime Minister of Ukraine
In office
4 August 2006 – 18 December 2007
President Viktor Yushchenko
Deputy Mykola Azarov
Preceded by Yuriy Yekhanurov
Succeeded by Yulia Tymoshenko
In office
28 December 2004 – 5 January 2005
President Leonid Kuchma
Deputy Mykola Azarov
Preceded by Mykola Azarov (Acting)
Succeeded by Mykola Azarov (Acting)
In office
21 November 2002 – 7 December 2004
President Leonid Kuchma
Deputy Mykola Azarov
Preceded by Anatoliy Kinakh
Succeeded by Mykola Azarov (Acting)
4th Governor of Donetsk
In office
14 May 1997 – 21 November 2002
Preceded by Volodymyr Sherban
Succeeded by Anatoliy Blyzniuk
Personal details
Born Viktor Fedorovych Yanukovych
(1950-07-09) 9 July 1950 (age 63)
Yenakiieve, Soviet Union
(now Ukraine)
Political party
Spouse(s) Lyudmilla Oleksandrivna
Children Oleksandr
Alma mater Donetsk National Technical University
Kiev National University of Trade and Economics
Religion Ukrainian Orthodoxy
Website Government website

Viktor Fedorovych Yanukovych (Ukrainian: Ві́ктор Фе́дорович Януко́вич, About this sound listen ; Russian: Виктор Фёдорович Янукович; born 9 July 1950) is a Ukrainian politician who was the President of Ukraine from February 2010 until his removal from power by the Ukrainian parliament in February 2014.[1][2][3] He has claimed to still be “the legitimate head of the Ukrainian state elected in a free vote by Ukrainian citizens”[4] and is recognised as such by the government of Russia.[5]

He has an estimated net worth of $12 billion, which he is widely accused of plundering from Ukraine’s treasury.[6][7][8][9]

Yanukovych’s first attempt to become president in 2004 failed when the Ukrainian Supreme Court nullified and ordered a re-run of the initial second-round ballot electing him, which was fraught with allegations of fraud and voter intimidation amid widespread citizen protests and occupation of Kiev’s Independence Square in what became known as the Orange Revolution. (See also Ukrainian presidential election, 2004.) Yanukovych lost the court-ordered second 2004 presidential run-off election to Viktor Yushchenko. However, Yanukovych continued to lead his party, the Party of Regions.

Yanukovych served as the governor of Donetsk Oblast from 1997 to 2002. Subsequently he was Prime Minister of Ukraine from 21 November 2002 to 31 December 2004 under President Leonid Kuchma. After the failed 2004 presidential election, Yanukovych served as prime minister for a second time from 4 August 2006 to 18 December 2007 under President Yushchenko. On 3 March 2010, Yanukovych transferred the leadership of the party to Mykola Azarov.[10][11]

November 2013 saw the beginning of a series of events that led to President Yanukovych’s removal from office.[12] Yanukovych rejected a pending EU association agreement, choosing instead to pursue a Russian loan bailout and closer ties with Russia. This led to peaceful popular protests and the occupation of Kiev’s Independence Square dubbed “Euromaidan” by young pro-European Union Ukrainians. In January 2014 this developed into deadly clashes in Independence Square and in areas across Ukraine, pitting ordinary Ukrainians against Yanukovych’s[13] special police units.

Opposition talks with Yanukovych failed in February 2014. Ukraine was on the brink of civil war, as violent clashes led to the deaths of at least 77 protesters and 1,100 injuries to people.[14][15][16][16] On 22 February 2014, members of parliament found that the president was unable to fulfill his duties, and they set an election for May 25 to select his replacement.[17] He was later disowned by his party.[18]

Yanukovych left the capital on 21 February, fleeing to Crimea first, and further to southern Russia.[19] A warrant for his arrest was issued on 24 February, accusing him of “mass killing of civilians.”[20]

President Yanukovych in Warsaw 4 February 2011, speaking about Ukrainian corruption and cronyism

“Bureaucracy and corruption are today hiding behind democratic slogans in Ukraine. The Ukrainian nation is wise and it will understand. Because a small handful of people, who have been plundering the country for 20 years is only a handful, from which the whole society, the whole state and our image in the world have been suffering. The interest of the Ukrainian nation is that the practice was put an end to… The country has to change. We need to reverse our approaches 180 degrees, and we will do it. The Ukrainian nation stimulates us to.”[21]

Early life and career[edit]

Viktor F. Yanukovych was born in the village of Zhukovka near Yenakiieve in Donetsk Oblast, Ukrainian SSR, Soviet Union. He had a very hard childhood about which he has said: “My childhood was difficult and hungry. I grew up without my mother who died when I was two. I went around bare-footed on the streets. I had to fight for myself every day.”[22] Yanukovych is of Russian, Polish,[23][24] and Belarusian descent. Yanukovych is a surname of Belarusian origin;[25] Yanuk[26][27] being a derivative of the Catholic name Yan (“John”).[25][28][29] His mother was a Russian nurse who died when Yanukovych was two years old, and his father was a Polish-Belarusian locomotive driver, originally from Yanuki, Vitsebsk Voblast.[30][31] By the time he was a teenager, Yanukovych had lost both his parents and was brought up by his Polish paternal grandmother, originally from Warsaw. His grandfather and great-grandparents were Lithuanian-Poles. Yanukovych has half-sisters from his father’s remarriage, but has no contact with them.[32]

In July 1974, Yanukovych enrolled at the Donetsk Polytechnic Institute. In 1976, as a second-year student, he was promoted to director of a small trucking division within the Ordzhonikidzeugol coal mining company.[33] Immediately upon graduation, Yanukovych was appointed chief manager of a transportation company in Yenakiieve and admitted to the Communist Party of the Soviet Union.[34] His appointment as the chief manager marked the start of his managerial career as a regional transport executive, a position in which he served for two decades.[22]

Criminal convictions[edit]

On 15 December 1967, at the age of 17, Yanukovych was sentenced to three years incarceration for participating in a robbery and assault.[35]

On 8 June 1970, he was convicted for a second time on charges of assault. He was sentenced to two years of imprisonment and did not appeal against the verdict. Decades later, Yanukovych characterized his arrests and incarceration as the “mistakes of youth”.[36]

On 11 July 2005, the office of the Donetsk Oblast Prosecutor charged Yanukovych with fraud,[37] stemming from alleged irregularities in the way his convictions were expunged twenty years earlier.[38] In 2006, the General Prosecutor of Ukraine closed the case due to lack of evidence.[39] In 2006, a criminal charge was filed for the falsification of documents regarding the alleged quashing of Yanukovych’s prior convictions after it was discovered that two documents had been forged. The signature of the judge in Yanukovych’s case had also been forged as a charge of battery.[35][36]

On 29 January 2010, the Prosecutor General of Ukraine Oleksandr Medvedko claimed that Yanukovych was unlawfully jailed in his youth, which astonished the (then) Minister of Internal Affairs Yuriy Lutsenko.[40][41]

Alleged higher education[edit]

Yanukovych was granted several academic qualifications during his political career, however there seems to be little evidence to justify these. The President’s site states that he is an Academic of the Academy of Economic Sciences of Ukraine, Doctor of Economic Sciences, and a Professor.[42] In 1999, while in the position of vice head of the Donetsk Oblast Administration, not yet having completed his masters degree, he received the honorary title of docent (lecturer) of the (nonexistent) Faculty of Automobile Transport at the Donetsk State Academy of Administration, a tertiary education establishment that specialised in Economics and Management.[43] Students of the academy assert that such a faculty did not exist, nor do they remember Yanukovych reading any lectures.[43]

It was reported in 2000 that Yanukovych received the academic credential of Doctor Habilitatus of Science. In order to receive this academic credential, in addition to his dissertation, Yanukovych needed to publish at least ten papers, prepare five students for their doctoral defense, and be actively involved in academic work. No evidence that he fulfilled these requirements could be found.[43]

From December 2000 to February 2004, while in the position of Ukrainian Premier, Yanukovych reportedly headed the faculty of Innovative management at the Donetsk State University of management.[44]

In 2001, while Governor General of the Donetsk Oblast Yanukovych supposedly graduated from the Ukrainian Academy of Foreign Trade as a Master of International Law. However, very few of the then-enrolled students remember him in class, taking exams, or attending graduation.[45] Yanukovych was further granted[by whom?] the titles of Professor in Economics.[46]

The Vernadsky National Library of Ukraine’s electronic catalog has a list of 23 publications, text books, and monographs with Yanukovych listed as the author. However, the library does not have any copies of the above-mentioned works. The Academy where they were prepared and apparently printed also has no record of the publications.[43]

Yanukovych is also a “professor” of the International Academy of Sciences, Education, Industry and Arts, registered to a post office box in Mountain View, California.[47]

In addition to his other academic credentials, Yanukovych has the military rank of major. However, there is no record of him serving in the military.[48]

Political career: 1996–2010[edit]

Yanukovych’s political career began when he was appointed as a Vice-Head of Donetsk Oblast Administration in August 1996. On 14 May 1997 he was appointed as the Head of the Administration (i.e. Governor).[49]

Prime Minister (2002–2004)[edit]

President Leonid Kuchma appointed Yanukovych to the post of Prime Minister following Anatoliy Kinakh‘s resignation.[50] Yanukovych began his term as Prime Minister on 21 November 2002 following a 234-vote confirmation in the Verkhovna Rada, only 8 more than needed.[51][52]

In foreign affairs, Yanukovych’s cabinet was considered to be politically close to Russia, although declaring support for Ukrainian membership in the European Union. Although Yanukovych’s parliamentary coalition was not supporting Ukrainian membership in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), his cabinet agreed the commission of Ukrainian troops to the Iraq War in support of the United States’ War on Terrorism.

2004 presidential campaign[edit]

Viktor Yanukovych (First round) – percentage of total national vote

Viktor Yanukovych (Second round) – percentage of total national vote

Viktor Yanukovych (Final round) – percentage of total national vote

In 2004, as the Prime Minister, Yanukovych participated in the controversial Ukrainian presidential election as the Party of Regions candidate. Yanukovych’s main base of support emerged from the southern and eastern regions of Ukraine, which favor close ties with neighbouring Russia. In the first round of voting held on 31 October 2004, Yanukovych took second place with 39.3 percent of the votes to opposition leader Viktor Yuschenko with 39.8 percent. Because no candidate passed the 50 percent threshold, a second round of voting was scheduled. In the second round of the election, Yanukovych was initially declared the winner. However, the legitimacy of the election was questioned by many Ukrainians, international organizations, and foreign governments following allegations of electoral fraud. The second round of the election was subsequently annulled by the Supreme Court of Ukraine, and in the repeated run-off, Yanukovych lost to Yushchenko with 44.2 percent to Yushchenko’s 51.9 percent.[53]

After the election, the Ukrainian parliament passed a non-binding motion of no confidence in Yanukovych’s government, urging outgoing President Leonid Kuchma to dismiss Yanukovych and appoint a caretaker government. Five days after his electoral defeat, Yanukovych declared his resignation from the post of Prime Minister. In November 2009 Yanukovych stated that he conceded defeat only to avoid violence. “I didn’t want mothers to lose their children and wives their husbands. I didn’t want dead bodies from Kiev to flow down the Dnipro. I didn’t want to assume power through bloodshed.”[54]

After the Orange Revolution[edit]

Following his electoral defeat in 2004, Yanukovych led the main opposition party against the Tymoshenko government made up of Yushchenko’s Our Ukraine, the Yulia Tymoshenko Bloc, and Oleksandr Moroz‘s Socialist Party. This government was marred by growing conflict between Yushchenko and Tymoshenko. Yanukovych’s Party of Regions support allowed for the establishment of Yuriy Yekhanurov‘s government in late 2005.[citation needed]

In October 2004, Ukrainian deputy Hryhory Omelchenko accused Yanukovych of having been a member of “a group of individuals who brutally beat and raped a woman, but bought off the victim and the criminal case was closed”.[55] The press-service of the Ukrainian Cabinet asserted that Yanukovych suffered for the attempt to defend a girl from hooligans.[citation needed]

In 2005 the Party of Regions signed a collaboration agreement with the Russian political party United Russia.[56] In 2008 Yanukovych spoke at a congress of the United Russia party.[57][58]

2006–2007 elections and Second premiership[edit]

Russian President Vladimir Putin meets Prime Minister Yanukovych during a visit to Kiev (22 December 2006).

In January 2006, the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Ukraine started an official investigation of the allegedly false acquittal of the criminal convictions which Yanukovych received in his youth. Yuriy Lutsenko, the head of the ministry, announced that forensic tests proved the forgery of the respective documents (issued in instead of 1978) and initially claimed that lack of the formal acquittal precluded Yanukovych from running for the seat in the 2006 parliamentary election.[59] However, the latter statement was corrected within days by Lutsenko himself who conceded that the outcome of the investigation into the legality of the Yanukovych’s acquittal could not affect his eligibility to run for the parliament seat since the deprivation of his civil rights due to the past convictions would have expired anyway due to the statute of limitations.[60][61] Viktor Yanukovych’s Party of Regions won the 2006 Ukrainian parliamentary election.

In 2006 a criminal charge was made for the falsification of documents regarding the retraction of Yanukovych’s prior conviction.[peacock term] According to Rossiyskaya Gazeta two documents had been forged regarding Yanukovych’s robbery in association with rape and assault and battery. The signature of the judge for these documents in Yanukovych’s retraction was also forged.[35][36]

On 25 May 2007, Viktor Yanukovych was assigned the post of appointed chairman of the Government Chiefs Council of the Commonwealth of Independent States.[62]

Presidental campaign & election[edit]

Supporters of Viktor Yanukovych in Dnipropetrovsk, eastern Ukraine, December 2009

Viktor Yanukovych (First round) – percentage of total national vote (35.33%)

Viktor Yanukovych (Second round) – percentage of total national vote (48.95%)

In 2009, Yanukovych announced his intent to run for President in the upcoming presidential election.[63] He was endorsed by the Party of Regions[64] and the Youth Party of Ukraine.[65]

Minister of Internal Affairs Yuriy Lutsenko accused Yanukovych of financial fraud during the campaign.[66] Yanukovych’s campaign was expected to have cost $100 to $150 million.[67]

On 11 December 2009, Yanukovych called for his supporters go to Maidan Nezalezhnosti Kiev’s Independence Square, in case of election fraud.[68]

Early vote returns from the first round of the election held on 17 January showed Yanukovych in first place with 35.8% of the vote.[69] He faced a 7 February 2010 runoff against Tymoshenko, who finished second (with 24.7% of the vote). After all ballots were counted, the Ukrainian Central Election Commission declared that Yanukovych won the runoff election with 48.95% of the vote compared with 45.47% for Tymoshenko.[70] Tymoshenko withdrew her subsequent legal challenge of the result.[71]

Presidency (2010-2014)[edit]


Ukraine’s parliament had (on 16 February) fixed 25 February 2010 for the inauguration of Yanukovych as president.[72] Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko signed a decree endorsing a plan of events related to Yanukovych’s inauguration on 20 February 2010.[73] Yushchenko also congratulated and wished Yanukovych “to defend Ukrainian interests and democratic traditions” at the presidential post.[74]

Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Rus at Yanukovych’s invitation conducted a public prayer service at Kiev Pechersk Lavra before Yanukovych’s presidential inauguration.[75] Patriarch Kirill also attended the inauguration[76] along with High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Catherine Ashton, United States National Security Advisor James Jones and speaker of the Russian parliament Boris Gryzlov.[77][78]

Yanukovych’s immediate predecessor, Yushchenko, did not attend the ceremony, nor did the Prime Minister, Yulia Tymoshenko, and her party, Bloc Yulia Tymoshenko.[79]

The event was attended by many foreign dignitaries.[80]

First days[edit]

On 3 March 2010, Yanukovych suspended his membership in the Party of Regions as he was barred by the Constitution from heading a political party while president,[81] and handed over leadership in the party and its parliamentary faction to Mykola Azarov.[82]

On new alliances

Yanukovych said, “Ukraine’s integration with the EU remains our strategic aim”, with a “balanced policy, which will protect our national interests both on our eastern border – I mean with Russia – and of course with the European Union”.[83][84] According to Yanukovych, Ukraine must be a “Neutral state” which should be part of a “collective defence system which the European Union, NATO and Russia will take part in.” Yanukovych wants Ukraine to “neither join NATO nor the CSTO“.[85] He stated on 7 January 2010 that Ukraine is ready to consider an initiative by Dmitry Medvedev on the creation of a new Europe collective security system[85] stating “And we’re ready to back Russia’s and France’s initiatives”.[86] Yanukovych stated during the 2010 presidential election-campaign that the current level of Ukraine’s cooperation with NATO is sufficient and that the question of the country’s accession to the alliance is therefore not urgent.[86] “The Ukrainian people don’t currently support Ukraine’s entry to NATO and this corresponds to the status that we currently have. We don’t want to join any military bloc”.[86] On 27 May 2010 President Yanukovych stated he considered Ukraine’s relations with NATO as a partnership, “And Ukraine can’t live without this [partnership], because Ukraine is a large country”.[87]

In early November 2011, Yankukovych claimed that “arms are being bought in the country and armed attacks on government agencies are being prepared.”[88] These claims were met with disbelief.[88]

2012 Presidential predictions

For 2012 Yanukovych predicted “social standards will continue to grow” and “improvement of administrative services system will continue”.[89][90][91] Yanukovich announced $2 billion worth of pension and other welfare increases on 7 March 2012.[92][93][94]

Constitutional assembly

In May 2012, Yanukovych set up the Constitutional Assembly of Ukraine, a special auxiliary agency under the President for drawing up bills of amendments to the Constitution of Ukraine; the President then can table them in parliament.[95]

Presidential powers of appointment[edit]

On 25 June 2010, President Yanukovych criticised 2004 amendments in the Ukrainian Constitution which weakened presidential powers such as control over naming government ministers, passing those functions to parliament.[96]

During the 2011 World Economic Forum Yanukovych called Ukraine “one of the leaders on democratic development in Eastern Europe”.[97]

Domestic policy[edit]

Amid controversy Ukrainian lawmakers formed a new coalition on 11 March 2010 which included Bloc Lytvyn, Communist Party of Ukraine and Party of regions that led to the Azarov Government.[98] 235 deputies from the 450-member parliament signed the coalition agreement.[99]

Financial policy[edit]

Tax code[edit]

On 30 November 2010 Yanukovych vetoed a new tax code made by the Azarov Government and earlier approved by the Verkhovna Rada but protested against in rallies across Ukraine (one of the largest protests since the 2004 Orange Revolution).[100][101][102] Yanukovych signed an new Tax Code on 3 December 2010.[103]

Domestic spending vs. debt[edit]

Yanukovych Party of Regions wants to increase social benefits, and raise salaries and pensions.[104] In late 2009, a law that raised the minimum wage and pensions was passed in the Ukrainian Parliament. As a result of this, the International Monetary Fund suspended its 2008–2009 Ukrainian financial crisis emergency lending programme. According to the IMF, the law breached promises to control spending. During the 2010 presidential campaign Yanukovych had stated he would stand by this particular law.[105] According to Yulia Tymoshenko Bloc member of parliament Oleh Shevchuk, Yanukovych broke this election promise just three days after the 2010 presidential election when only two lawmakers of Yanukovych’s Party of Regions supported a bill to raise pensions for low-incomes.[106]

Energy policy[edit]

Russian gas[edit]

According to Yanukovych, relations between Ukraine and Russia in the gas sector were to be built “according to the rules of the market”.[57][107] He saw the gas agreement signed in 2009 after the 2009 Russia-Ukraine gas dispute as very unprofitable for Ukraine and wants to “initiate the discussion of the most urgent gas issues” after the 2010 presidential election.[85] Yanukovych has promised before his election as Ukrainian President to “solve the issue” concerning the Russian Black Sea Fleet, currently stationed in the Ukrainian port Sevastopol, “in a way so that the interests of Russia or Ukraine would not be harmed”.[108] This led to the April 2010 Ukrainian–Russian Naval Base for Natural Gas treaty. Yanukovych had also promised to create a consortium that would allow Russia to jointly operate Ukraine’s gas transportation network and he has pledged to help Russia build the South Stream natural gas pipeline.[109] As of June 2010 both did not happen. Yanukovych rejected accusations that improvement of Ukrainian-Russian relations harmed relations with the European Union. “Our policy is directed to protection of our national interests. We do not live in a fairy tale and understand that our partners also defend their interests”.[110] In February 2012 Yanukovych stated, referring to relations with Russia, “It is not wise to fall asleep next to a big bear“.[111]

Downgrading uranium stock[edit]

Before the beginning of the Nuclear Security Summit with President of France Nicolas Sarkozy and Dmitry Medvedev.

During the 2010 Nuclear Security Summit Yanukovych announced that Ukraine would give up its 90-kilogram stock of highly enriched uranium and convert its research reactors from highly enriched to low-enriched uranium. It intends to accomplish these goals by 2012.[112]

Cultural policy[edit]

East/West Ukraine unification[edit]

Yanukovych has stated that his “aim and dream” is a unification of Ukraine, although in his opinion “there are already no borders between the East and West of the country today”.[113] Yanukovych wants to create a free trade zone and visa regime with the EU as soon as possible. Prospects for Ukraine’s joining the European Union first depend on a political decision of the European Union, according to Yanukovych.[114] Yanukovych noted the importance of finding ways of reconciliation between Ukrainians fighting on opposite sides in World War II in his speech at the ceremony to mark Victory Day 2013.[115] In this speech he also expressed confidence that Nazi and Soviet totalitarianism of the past would never return.[115]


Yanukovych and then Russian President Dmitry Medvedev on 17 May 2010 near Memorial to the Holodomor Victims in Kiev.

The Soviet famine of 1932–33, called Holodomor in Ukrainian, claimed up to 10 million Ukrainian lives as peasants’ food stocks were forcibly removed by Stalin‘s regime by the NKVD secret police.[116]

Yanukovych’s stance on the Holodomor is: “Holodomor took place, was denounced and the international society gave an evaluation of the famine, but it was never labeled as a genocide of the Ukrainian people. Ukraine’s attempts to do so by blaming one of our neighbors are unjust.”[117] “The Holodomor was in Ukraine, Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan. It was the result of the policies of Stalin’s totalitarian regime.”[118] In 2003 he supported then President Leonid Kuchma’s position that the Holodomor famine was genocide against Ukrainians.[119] Yanukovych’s press service claims that he does not approve of crimes of the KGB and their predecessors in Soviet times, however, in 2002 he wrote in a book endorsing the KGB and its predecessors, stating that the NKVD and Cheka “firmly stood on guard over the interests of our people and the state” and praised them for launching “a struggle against political extremism, sabotage and criminal activities.”).[119]

Russian as an official language[edit]

Yanukovych stated in the past that he wanted Russian to become the second state language in Ukraine.[120] Currently Ukrainian is the only official language of Ukraine. According to one Russian poll, Russian is more spoken in daily communications in Ukraine than Ukrainian.[121] On the other hand, he stated at a meeting with Taras Shevchenko National Prize winners in Kiev on 9 March 2010 that “Ukraine will continue to promote the Ukrainian language as its only state language”.[122] In a newspaper interview during the 2010 Ukrainian presidential election campaign, he stated that the status of Russian in Ukraine “is too politicized” and said that if elected President in 2010 he would “have a real opportunity to adopt a law on languages, which implements the requirements of the European Charter of regional languages“. He said that this law would need 226 votes in the Ukrainian parliament (50% of the votes instead of the 75% of the votes needed to change the constitution of Ukraine) and that voters told him that the current status of Russian in Ukraine created “problems in the hospital, school, university, in the courts, in the office”.[123]

Effective in August 2012, a new law on regional languages entitles any local language spoken by at least a 10% minority be declared official within that area.[124] On 23 February 2014, following the 2014 Ukrainian revolution, a bill was passed by the parliament which would have abolished the law on regional languages, making Ukrainian the sole state language at all levels.[125] This bill was blocked by acting President Turchynov, until a replacement bill is ready.[126]


In a late July 2013 speech Yanukovych stated: “All churches and religious organizations are equal for the state. We respect the choice of our citizens and guarantee everyone’s Constitutional right to freedom of religion. We will not allow the use of churches and religious organizations by some political forces for their narrow interests. This also refers to foreign centres through which religious organizations sometimes seek to affect the internal political situation in Ukraine. This is a matter of the state’s national security”.[127]

Social policy[edit]

Chernobyl workers’ benefits cut[edit]

Social benefit cuts for Chernobyl rescue workers, small business owners and veterans of the Soviet war in Afghanistan caused fierce protests in Kiev in October/November 2011 by several thousand protesters.[88][128]

Foreign policy[edit]

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is greeted by Yanukovych in Kiev, Ukraine, July 2, 2010

Barack Obama talks with President Viktor Yanukovych during a pull aside at the 2012 Nuclear Security Summit at the Coex Center in Seoul

Yanukovych’s first foreign visit was to Brussels to visit the President of the European Council, Herman Van Rompuy, and the EU Foreign Affairs chief, Catherine Ashton.[77][129] During the visit Yanukovych stated that there would be no change to Ukraine’s status as a member of the NATO outreach program.[130]

During his second foreign visit to Moscow in March, Yanukovych vowed to end years of acrimony with Russia, saying that ties between Russia and Ukraine “should never be the way they were for the past five years”. He indicated that he was open to compromise with Russia on the Black Sea Fleet’s future (this led to the April 2010 Ukrainian–Russian Naval Base for Natural Gas treaty), and reiterated that Ukraine would remain a “European, non-aligned state”, referring to NATO membership.[131] Both Russian President Dmitry Medvedev (April 2010[132]) and Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin (June 2010[133]) soon stated they noticed a big improvement in relations with Ukraine since Yanukovych’s presidency.

On 3 June 2010, the Ukrainian parliament excluded, in a bill written by Yanukovych, with 226 votes, Ukrainian membership of any military bloc, but allowed for co-operation with military alliances such as NATO.[134][135] A day later Yanukovych stated that the recognition of the independence of Abkhazia, South Ossetia and Kosovo violates international law, “I have never recognized Abkhazia, South Ossetia or Kosovo’s independence. This is a violation of international law”.[136]

On 22 November 2010, the European Council and Ukraine announced “an action plan for Ukraine toward the establishment of a visa-free regime for short-stay travel”.[83] In May 2011, Yanukovych stated that he will strive for Ukraine to join the EU.[137] Yanukovych’s stance towards integration with the EU has, according to The Economist, led him to be “seen in Moscow as a traitor”, a reversal of the 2004 presidential election where Moscow openly supported Yanukovych.[138][139]

Alleged attempt to remove opposition[edit]

President Yanukovych and the Party of Regions have been accused of trying to create a “controlled democracy” in Ukraine and as a means to this are trying to “destroy” main opposition party BYuT, but both have denied these charges.[140][141][141][142][143][144][145][146][147][148][149][150] One frequently cited example of Yankukovych’s attempts to centralize power is the 2011 sentencing of Yulia Tymoshenko, which has been condemned by Western governments as potentially being politically motivated.[151][152] Other high-profile political opponents currently under criminal investigation include Leonid Kuchma,[153] Bogdan Danilishin, Igor Didenko,[154] Anatoliy Makarenko,[155] and Valeriy Ivaschenko.[156] According to Yanukovych (on 4 February 2011), “[M]any lies [have been] told and attempts made to misinform the international community and ordinary people in Ukraine about the true state of affairs in the country.” He also stated, “[A] crushing blow delivered under [my] rule to corruption and bureaucracy has been met with resistance”.[21] He stated in February 2012 that the trial of Tymoshenko and other former officials “didn’t meet European standards and principles”.[157]

Press censorship allegation[edit]

2013 Press Freedom Index[158]

  Very serious situation
  Difficult situation
  Noticeable problems
  Satisfactory situation
  Good situation
  Not classified / No data

Ukraine moved from “noticing problems” 89th place in 2009, now ranking 126th

As president, Yanukovych stated in early February 2010 that he would support the freedom of speech of journalists and protect their interests.[159] In general he wants the civil society to be involved in government policy making.[160] During spring 2010 Ukrainian journalists and Reporters Without Borders complained of censorship by Yanukovych’s Presidential Administration; despite statements by Yanukovych how deeply he values press freedom and that ‘free, independent media that must ensure society’s unimpeded access to information.’[161] Anonymous journalists stated early May 2010 that they were voluntarily tailoring their coverage so as not to offend the Yanukovych administration and the Azarov Government.[162] The Azarov Government,[163] the Presidential Administration and Yanukovych himself denied being involved with censorship.[164][165] In a press conference 12 May 2010 President Yanukovych’s representative in the Verkhovna Rada Yury Miroshnychenko stated that Yanukovych is against political repression for criticism of the regime.[166]

Crimea naval base[edit]

Signing documents with President Dmitry Medvedev

On 21 April 2010 in Kharkiv, Yanukovych and Dmitry Medvedev, the Russian President, signed the 2010 Ukrainian–Russian Naval Base for Natural Gas treaty, whereby the Russian lease on naval facilities in Crimea would be extended beyond 2017 by 25 years with an additional 5-year renewal option (to 2042–47) in exchange for a multi-year discounted contract to provide Ukraine with Russian natural gas. This treaty was approved by both the Russian and Ukrainian parliaments (Verkhovna Rada) on 27 April 2010.[167]

On 22 April 2010, Yanukovych stated he did not rule out the possibility of holding a referendum on the stationing of the Russian Black Sea Fleet in Ukraine after the necessary legislative framework is adopted for this in future. Yanukovych did plan to hold plebiscites also on other subjects.[168] Opposition members accused Yanukovych of “selling out national interests”.[169] According to Yanukovych the main priority of his foreign policy is to integrate Ukraine “into the European mainstream”, while improving relations with Russia.[169] According to Yanukovych the only way out of holding the state budget deficit down, as requested by the International Monetary Fund, while protecting pensioners and minimal wages was to extend the Russian Navy lease in Crimea in exchange for cheaper natural gas.[169]

2012 parliamentary elections[edit]

In 2012, during the Ukrainian parliamentary elections of that year, Yanukovych’s party of Regions won the poll with 30% against 25.5% for imprisoned Yulia Tymoshenko‘s Fatherland party.[170]

Impeachment and vote to remove[edit]

On 22 February 2014[17] 328 of 449 members of the Ukrainian parliament (MPs) voted to “remove Viktor Yanukovych from the post of president of Ukraine” and hold early presidential elections on 25 May.[171] The vote came an hour after Yanukovych said in a televised address that he would not resign. According to a written report by Radio Free Europe, the impeachment did not follow the procedure[172] provided by the constitution enacted during Yanukovych’s administration. There was doubt whether the ousting of him was legal because Yanukovich had not signed the bills that would restore the constitution to the way it was between 2004 and 2010. Article 111 of the prior constitution would have allowed for a president to be impeached “if he commits treason or other crime.” The constitutional guidelines provide for a review of the case by Ukraine’s Constitutional Court and a three-fourths majority vote by parliament (338 deputies). However, the same report noted, “That discrepancy may soon become irrelevant, with parliament expected to elect a new prime minister no later than February 24.”[173] The decision to remove Yanukovich was supported by 328 deputies.[174] Ukraine’s parliament dismissed five judges of the Constitutional Court on February 24 for violating their oaths, who were then investigated for alleged malpractice.[175] Yanukovych was disowned by the Party of Regions, whose representative Oleksandr Yefremov “strongly condemn[ed] the criminal orders that led to human victims, an empty state treasury, huge debts, shame before the eyes of the Ukrainian people and the entire world.” [18]

Arch rival’s release[edit]

On the same day parliament removed Yanukovych from office, it released his arch rival Yulia Tymoshenko from a prison hospital.[176] She had been imprisoned since 2011, in what many saw as political payback by Yanukovych. Her release had been an unmet condition for Ukraine’s signing a European Union trade pact.[177]

Arrest warrant[edit]

A warrant for Yanukovych’s arrest was issued on 24 February, accusing him of mass murder of protesters.[20] Acting Ukrainian Interior Minister Arsen Avakov declared that Yanukovych has been placed on Ukraine’s most wanted list and that a criminal case on mass killings of civilians has been opened against him.[178]

On 28 February the General Prosecutor of Ukraine Oleh Makhnitsky formally asked Russia to extradite Yanukovych.[179]

Abandoned estate[edit]

Yanukovych abandoned his large estate, Mezhyhirya, near Kiev.[180] Protesters walked unchallenged into the former president’s office and residential compounds after police and security left their posts in Kiev. Protesters had free access to government buildings, and to the presidential mansion and estate. They were amazed at the opulence and extravagance of what they found, including a private zoo, a fleet of cars, and a large boat.[181]

In his press conference in Rostov-on-Don on 28 February, Yanukovych stated that all his possessions had been legally declared and accounted for.[182] The same day Swiss and Austrian authorities blocked the assets of Yanukovych and his associates, and launched a corruption probe.[19]

Background to removal[edit]

Euromaidan protests[edit]

The Euromaidan protests started in November 2013 when Ukrainian citizens demanded stronger integration with the European Union. The origins of EuroMaidan began as a smaller protest that had started in Independence Square in the center of Kiev on 21 November, the day Yanukovych abruptly changed his mind on an Association Agreement with the European Union, deciding to strengthen economic ties with Russia instead. But it was not until 30 November, when a group of student protesters were attacked by police leading to several injuries and hospitalizations, that the protest became a national movement. Many people joined the protest in Independence Square, whose numbers had swelled to nearly 1 million by 8 December.[citation needed]

Mass protests in Kiev

Anti-riot police forces consisting of Internal Troops holding protective position and Berkut special policemen shooting in Kiev riots, Jan. 22

Yanukovych signing de-facto capitulation agreement with opposition, February 21, 2014

The protesters refused to leave the square until their demands were met. These included that the government should release jailed protesters, sign the EU agreement, and change the Constitution of Ukraine, and that Yanukovych should resign.

The public protests were attacked by police, resulting in civil unrest across Western Ukraine. Yanukovych dismissed them as the work of his political opponents; instead, protesters called all the more for his resignation, saying he was aloof and unresponsive.

Violence escalated after 16 January 2014 when Yanukovych signed Bondarenko-Oliynyk laws, also known as Anti-Protest Laws. Demonstrators occupied provincial administration buildings in at least 10 regions, sending the police fleeing through rear exits in some instances. Verkhovna Rada lawmakers repealed nine of the 12 restrictive laws that had been passed on 16 January by a show of hands, without debate. Outrage ensued at the limits the laws imposed on free speech and assembly in the country. In a striking concession aimed at defusing Ukraine’s civil uprising and preserving his own grip on power, President Yanukovych offered to install opposition leaders in top posts in a reshaped government, but they swiftly rebuffed the offer to the delight of thousands of protesters on the streets craving a fuller victory in the days ahead.[citation needed]

Mykola Azarov, the prime minister of Ukraine, resigned on 28 January. In a statement he wrote that he was resigning “for the sake of a peaceful resolution” to the civil unrest.[183]

Talks with Yanukovych failed in February 2014, and Ukraine appeared to be on the brink of civil war since 28 protesters were killed including seven policemen and a civilian bystander, with 335 injured on 18 February and dozens of others on 20 February in bloody clashes in the capital Kiev.[184] Altogether, at least 77 people were reportedly killed in Euromaidan, and estimates ranged to over 100 deaths and 1,100 injuries.[16][16]

Personal excesses[edit]

In a feature with photos on the mansion at Mezhyhirya estimated to have cost more than $75 million U.S. dollars, Sergii Leshchenko notes, “For most of [Yanukovych’s] career he was a public servant or parliament deputy, where his salary never exceeded 2000 US dollars per month.” Under a photo showing the new home’s ornate ceiling, Leschenko remarks, “In a country where 35% of the population live under poverty line, spending 100 000 dollars on each individual chandelier seems excessive, to say the least.” Crowned with a pure copper roof, the mansion was the largest wooden structure ever created by Finnish log home builder Honka, whose representative suggested to Yanukovych that it be nominated for the The Guinness Book of Records. The property contained a private zoo, underground shooting range, 18-hole golf, tennis, and bowling. After describing the mansion’s complicated ownership scheme, the article author noted, “The story of Viktor Yanukovych and his residence highlights a paradox. Having completely rejected such European values as human rights and democracy, the Ukrainian president uses Europe as a place to hide his dirty money with impunity.” [185]

Documents recovered from Yanuvych’s compound show among other expenses $800 medical treatment for fish, $14,500 spent on tablecloths, and a nearly 42 million dollar order for light fixtures. Also recovered were files on Yanukovych’s perceived enemies, especially media members, including beating victim Tetyana Chornovol. The cost of monitoring the mass media was reportedly $5.7 million just for the month of December 2010.[186]

Reports of “massive corruption and cronyism”[edit]

Yanukovych has been widely criticized for “massive” corruption and cronyism.[185][187][188][189][190]

By January 2013, more than half of the ministers appointed by Yanukovych were either born in the Donbas region or made some crucial part of their careers there, and Yanukovych has been accused of “regional cronyism” for his staffing of police, judiciary, and tax services “all over Ukraine” with “Donbas people”.[191] Over 46% of the budget subventions for social and economic development was allotted to the Donbas region’s Donetsk Oblast and Luhansk Oblast administrations – 0.62 billion UAH ($76.2 million) versus 0.71 billion UAH ($87.5 million) for the rest of the country.[192]

Anders Åslund, a Swedish economist and Ukraine analyst, has described the consolidation of Ukrainian economic power in the hands of a few “elite industrial tycoons”, one of the richest and most influential of whom has become President Yanukovych’s own son Oleksandr Yanukovych. The exact distribution of wealth and precise weight of influence are difficult to gauge, but most of the country’s richest men are afraid to cross the Yanukovich family, even in cases where their own economic interests favor an economically pro-EU Ukraine.[187] Young “robber capitalis[ts] have been buying up both public and private businesses at “rock bottom” prices available in the stagnating economic conditions brought on by Yanukovych’s economic policies.[193] According to Aslund, one notable exception to the Yanukovych family’s influence is Petro Poroshenko, who is described as “uncommonly courageous”, although his confectionery empire is less susceptible to ruin by the substantial power the Yanukovych family wields in the heavy industry sectors located in Yanukovych’s geographic power base of Donetsk.[187]

In an overview The Ukrainian Week claimed in March 2013 that Yanukovych had failed to meet his 2010 election promises.[194]

Accusations of police abuse and vote rigging[edit]

Yanukovych has been accused, including by Amnesty International, of using the Berkut to threaten, attack, and torture Ukrainian protesters. The Berkut were a controversial national special police force under his personal command. The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe confirmed witness accounts of voters being blocked from access to polls and being attacked along with local election officials who tried to frustrate the Berkut’s practice of falsifying voters’ ballots in favor of Yanukovych‘s Party of Regions candidates. Individual cases have been reported of citizens grouping together and fighting back against the Berkut in order to preserve election integrity and results.[13] Upon coming to power Yanukovych had reversed oversight measures established during the Yushchenko administration to curb Berkut abuse of citizens whereupon the special force “upped its brutality.”[195]

Exile in Russia[edit]

Yanukovych left Kiev the night of 21 February 2014, fleeing initially to Kharkiv with bodyguards and personal effects.[196] In his press conference in Rostov-on-Don on 28 February Yanukovych claimed that at the time he did not “flee anywhere”, but that his car was shot at “by automatic rifles” as he left Kiev for Kharkiv “to meet the representatives of local parties” and he was then forced to move around Ukraine amid fears for the safety of himself and his family.[19] “When we arrived in Kharkiv, on the early morning of 22 February, the security service started to receive information that radical groups were arriving in Kharkiv”.[197]

On 26 February the Russian information agency RosBusinessConsulting reported[198] that Yanukovich was in Moscow. According to their sources Yanukovich arrived at the Radisson Royal Hotel, Moscow (often referred by its former name as “Hotel Ukraine”) on the night of 25 February 2014. Then he moved to Barvikha Sanatorium, the health resort of the President of Russia in Moscow Oblast. RosBusinessConsulting also reported sightings of Viktor Pshonka, a former Prosecutor General of Ukraine in the hall of Radisson Royal Hotel.[198] The Press Secretary of the Department that manages Barvikha Sanatorium denied the report stating that he has no information of Yanukovich settled in Barvikha Sanatorium.[198][199] According to Russian politician Oleg Mitvol, Yanukovich bought a house in Barvikha for $52 million on 26 February 2014.[200]

On 27 February, it was reported that Yanukovich had asked the authorities of the Russian Federation to guarantee his personal security in the territory of Russia, a request that was accepted.[201] Yanukovich claimed that the decisions of Rada adopted “in the atmosphere of extremist threats” are unlawful and he remains the “legal president of Ukraine”. He accused the opposition of violation of the 21 February agreements and asked the armed forces of Ukraine not to intervene in the crisis. The exact whereabouts of Yanukovich when he made this statement remains unclear.[202][203]

28 February press conference[edit]

Yanukovich gave a press conference in Rostov-on-Don (in southwestern Russia, near the Ukrainian border) on 28 February (in Russian[19][nb 1]).[19][205] In this press conference Yanuvych stated he had been able to escape to Russia “thanks to patriotic officers who did their duty and helped me stay alive”.[206] In the press conference he stated that he was still President of Ukraine and “I can’t find words to characterise this new authority. These are people who advocate violence – the Ukrainian parliament is illegitimate”.[19][197] He described the new Ukrainian authorities as “pro-fascist thugs” and that they “represent the absolute minority of the population of Ukraine“.[19][197][207] He apologised to the Ukrainian people for not having “enough strength to keep stability” and for allowing “lawlessness in this country”.[19] And vowed to return to Ukraine “as soon as there are guarantees for my security and that of my family”.[19] He insisted he had not instructed Ukrainian forces to shoot at Euromaidan protesters.[197] He also announced he would not take part in the 2014 Ukrainian presidential election since he “believe[d] they are unlawful…”.[208] He also said he was surprised (“knowing the character of Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin”[197]) by the silence of Russia’s president, Vladimir Putin, on the events in Ukraine.[209] He hoped to find out more on Russia’s position when he meets with Mr. Putin “as soon as he has time”.[209] He also claimed “eastern Ukraine will rise up as soon as they have to live without any means”.[197] He insisted that military action was “unacceptable” and that he would not request Russian military intervention.[197][210]

Request for Russian military intervention[edit]

On 4 March 2014, Russia’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Vitaly Churkin, displayed a photocopy of a letter allegedly signed by Victor Yanukovich on 1 March 2014. In the letter Yanukovich demanded Russian military intervention in Ukraine.[211]

Personal life[edit]

Yanukovych is married to Lyudmyla Oleksandrivna. They have two sons, Oleksandr and Viktor.[212] Viktor is a member of the Parliament of Ukraine.[213] Yanukovych is a member of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (Moscow Patriarchate).

In March 2012 Yanukovych stated it was “a problem” for him in 2002 to speak Ukrainian but that “once I had the opportunity to speak Ukrainian, I started to do it with pleasure”.[214]

Until 2004, Yanukovych was known as batia (“Dad”) among his family members, but since that time he became leader.[215][216] As Yanukovych himself stated, his wife does not wish for her grandson to pick up the bad habits of his grandfather, albeit Yanukovych did not specify what kind of habits those were.[217]

Yanukovych has been accused of plagiarism regarding a book by him published in August 2011.[218]

Cultural and political image[edit]

Anti-presidential inscriptions concerning Yanukovych’s criminal background (Luhansk, 2011)

Yanukovych is seen by opponents as representing the interests of Ukraine big business; they point out that his campaigns have benefited from backing by Ukrainian billionaire Rinat Akhmetov.[219] Supporters of Yanukovych point out Donetsk Oblast (province) secured unprecedented levels of investment during his governorship.[49]

Yanukovych drew strong support from Russian-speaking Ukrainians in the east of the country.[49] Yanukovych is disliked and distrusted in western Ukraine.[220] The People’s Movement of Ukraine labeled his election on 10 February 2010 as “an attack by anti-Ukrainian forces in our state” and stated that “all possible legal means should be used to prevent the concentration of power in the hands of anti-state politician Yanukovych and his pro-Moscow retinue”.[221] On 16 February 2010, Yanukovych issued a statement that read: “I can say only one thing to those who anticipate that my presidency will weaken Ukraine – that will never happen.”[222] Yanukovych refers to himself as Ukrainian.[223] Voters for Yanukovych in 2010 believed he would bring “stability and order”. They blamed the Orange Revolution for creating broken promises, a dysfunctional economy and political chaos.[224][225] During the 2010 presidential election campaign Yuriy Yakymenko, director of political research at the Razumkov Centre, stated: “I think he has not just changed on the surface but also in his ideas.”[22]

In 2004, Yanukovych was seen as outgoing President Leonid Kuchma and Russian President Vladimir Putin‘s protégé.[49] Although Kuchma 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.[226] In another January 2009 cable (then) Ambassador of Ukraine to Russia Kostyantyn Gryshchenko stated that Putin had a low personal regard for Yanukovych.[227] In another Wikileaks diplomatic cable, Volodymyr Horbulin, one of Ukraine’s most respected policy strategists and former presidential advisor to then-President Viktor Yushchenko, told the United States Ambassador to Ukraine John E. Herbst in 2006 that Yanukovych’s Party of Regions was partly composed of “pure criminals” and “criminal and anti-democracy figures.”[228]

Yanukovych is not known as a great speaker.[229] His native language is Russian,[230] similar to a majority of the population of his power-base and native Eastern Ukraine.[231] He was however making efforts to speak better Ukrainian.[219] He did admit in March 2012 that it was a problem for him in 2002 to speak Ukrainian.[214] He has made some blunders in Ukrainian however since then.[232][233] For the 2004 Ukrainian presidential election Yanukovych wrote an autobiography for the Central Election Commission, in which he misspelled his academic degree.[234] Thereafter, he came to be widely referred to under this nickname in oppositional media and opponents’ speeches.[234] His autobiographic resume of 90 words contains 12 major spelling and grammatical errors.[235] Opponents of Yanukovych made fun of this misspelling and his past (criminal) convictions during the 2004 Ukrainian presidential election campaign and the incident during the campaign (September 2004) in Ivano-Frankivsk when Yanukovych was rushed to hospital after he had been hit with an egg (while government officials claimed he was hit by a brick) was a source of ridicule.[234]

Yanukovych and Putin during moleben celebrated by metropolitan Lazarus of Crimea in memory of 1025th anniversary of Christianization of Kievan Rus’.

Other famous blunders by Yanukovych are his claim that Anton Chekhov was “the Ukrainian poet” in January 2010,[236][237][238] forgetting on 6 January 2011 to congratulate the Greek-Catholic Ukrainian community that by following the Julian calendar also as the rest of Ukrainian people celebrates Christmas that day[239] and confusing Kosovo with Serbia and Montenegro, and North Ossetia with South Ossetia in March 2010.[240] Over the years, Yanukovych’s proficiency in the Ukrainian language has noticeably improved.[citation needed]

Yanukovych stated in November 2009 that he respects all Ukrainian politicians. “I have never offended anyone. This is my rule of politics.”[241] Despite of his claim, on 22 September 2007, during 2007 Ukrainian Parliamentary Election campaign, while delivering a speech in Vinnytsia, he compared Yulia Tymoshenko‘s performance as Prime Minister to “a cow on the ice”[242] (” Вона прем’єр-міністр, як корова на льду….”, “She is as prime minister as a cow on the ice”) most likely referring to her skills and professionalism as a prime minister.

Other cases of strong colloquialisms used by Viktor Yanukovych include the incident when he called former president Viktor Yushchenko “a coward and a babbler”,[citation needed] as well as the speech in Donetsk during 2004 Ukrainian presidential election, when he referred to the electorate of his opponent Viktor Yushchenko as “goats that make our lives difficult” (“эти козлы, которые нам мешают жить”). Later, during the TV debates with Yushchenko he explained, “I called goats the traitors. According to the Bible, the goat is a traitor, and there are also rams, sheep.”[243] After his February 2014 escape to Russia, during his 28 February press-conference in Rostov-on-Don, Yanukovych said, “Ukraine is our strategic partner” (misspeaking and confusing Ukraine with Russia).[244] During the same press-conference he also broke a pen in an emotional outburst, while trying to apologize to the Ukrainian people.[245]

Opinion polls have shown Yanukovych’s popularity has sunk since his election as President in 2010, with polls giving him from 13% to 20% of the votes if a presidential election was to be held in 2012 (in 2010 he received 35.8% of the vote in the first round of that election[69]).[213][246][247] A public opinion poll taken by Sociological group “RATING” gave him 25.1% of the votes in an imaginary February 2013 presidential election.[248][nb 2]

American consultant Paul J. Manafort has advised Yanukovych since 2005.[67]

The Ambassadors of the European Union to Ukraine, Jose Manuel Pinto Teixeira, stated at an April 2012 interview with Korrespondent that Yanukovych’s presidency “fell short of expectations”.[250]


This article incorporates information from the equivalent article on the Italian Wikipedia.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ According to the Ukrainian constitution, the state language of Ukraine is Ukrainian.[204] Russian is however widely spoken, especially in eastern and southern Ukraine.[204]
  2. ^ According to polling organization Sociological group “RATING” in February 2013 Yanukovych would have lost the second round of the presidential election against Vitali Klitschko and/or Arseniy Yatsenyuk and/or Yulia Tymoshenko; and he would have defeat in a close race Oleh Tyahnybok (with 33.5% of the votes).[249]


  1. ^ Постанова про усунення і результати голосування по ній на сайті верховної ради України (Ukrainian)
  2. ^ Рада усунула Януковича – на сайті Української правди [1]
  3. ^ “Archrival Is Freed as Ukraine Leader Flees”. The New York Times. February 22, 2014. Retrieved February 23, 2014. 
  4. ^ “Yanukovych reportedly declares he is Ukraine’s president and plans press conference in Russia on Feb. 28”. KyivPost. February 27, 2014. Retrieved February 27, 2014. 
  5. ^
  6. ^ Семья Януковича владеет $12 млрд, – Financial Times – Фокус.ua
  7. ^ Shaun Walker and Oksana Grytsenko (27 February 2014). “Ukraine’s new leaders begin search for missing billions”. Guardian News and Media Limited. Retrieved 3 March 2014. 
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  10. ^ Янукович припинив членство у Партії регіонів : Новини УНIАН.
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  12. ^ Rajan Menon (28 January 2014). “Ukraine: Is Yanukovych Finished?”. The National Interest. p. 3. Retrieved 30 January 2014. 
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    Ukraine protests timeline, BBC News (23 February 2014)
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  69. ^ a b Marson, James (18 January 2010). “Ukrainian Presidential Election Set for Runoff”. The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 2010-01-18. 
  70. ^ (Ukrainian)Regular elections of the President of Ukraine 17/01/2010, Central Election Commission of Ukraine
  71. ^ Yulia Tymoshenko will not challenge election results in Supreme Court, Official website of Yulia Tymoshenko (20 February 2009)
  72. ^ Update: Ukraine’s Yanukovych to be sworn in on Feb. 25, Kyiv Post (16 February 2010)
  73. ^ Yushchenko endorses plan of presidential inauguration events, Kyiv Post (20 February 2010)
  74. ^ Yushchenko congratulates Yanukovych on being legally elected Ukrainian president, Kyiv Post (20 February 2010)
  75. ^ Patriarch Kirill to conduct prayer service in Kyiv before Yanukovych’s inauguration, Kyiv Post (February 2010)
  76. ^ Russian patriarch to attend Yanukovych’s inauguration in Kiev, RIA Novosti (19 February 2010)
  77. ^ a b Ukraine Yanukovych sets visits to Moscow, Brussels, Kyiv Post (25 February 2010)
  78. ^ New Ukraine president pledges neutrality, Agence France-Presse (24 February 2010)
  79. ^ Half-empty chamber greets Ukraine’s new president, Kyiv Post (25 February 2010)
  80. ^ Armenian News – PanARMENIAN.Net | Armenian News Agency – Inauguration of Viktor Yanukovich held in Kiev:, PanARMENIAN.Net (26 February 2010)
  81. ^ Ukraine’s Party of Regions to choose new leader, RIA Novosti (23 April 2010)
  82. ^ Yanukovych suspends his membership in Party of Regions, hands over party leadership to Azarov, Kyiv Post (3 March 2010)
  83. ^ a b EU, Ukraine Agree On ‘Road Map’ For Visa-Free Travel , Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (22 November 2010)
  84. ^ Ukraine’s political cat-fight leaves voters cold, BBC News (2 December 2009)
  85. ^ a b c “Yanukovych: Ukraine will remain a neutral state”, Kyiv Post (7 January 2010)
  86. ^ a b c Yanukovych describes current level of Ukraine’s cooperation with NATO as sufficient, Interfax-Ukraine (12 January 2010)
  87. ^ Yanukovych: Ukraine currently not ready to join NATO, Kyiv Post (27 May 2010)
  88. ^ a b c Creeping Paranoia, Kyiv Post (10 November 2011)
  89. ^ President:Social standards will continue to grow in 2012, (16 February 2012)
  90. ^ President:Improvement of administrative services system will continue, (16 February 2012)
  91. ^ President:We need to bring perinatal care in Ukraine to European standards, (16 February 2012)
  92. ^ Yanukovych outlines four areas of social reforms in Ukraine, Kyiv Post (7 March 2012)
  93. ^ Ukraine government earmarks $2 billion in pre-election spending, Kyiv Post (7 March 2012)
  94. ^ Azarov:Government to cope with tasks set by Yanukovych, Kyiv Post (7 March 2012)
  95. ^ Klitschko:UDAR won’t join work of Constitutional Assembly, Kyiv Post (7 December 2012)
  96. ^ Yanukovych criticises limits on his power, Kyiv Post (25 June 2010)
  97. ^ Yanukovych: Ukraine a leading country in Eastern Europe, Kyiv Post (28 January 2010)
  98. ^ Ukrainian parliament creates new coalition, Kyiv Post (11 March 2010)
  99. ^ Update: Former finance minister nominated as Ukraine prime minister, Kyiv Post (11 March 2010)
  100. ^ Tax code protests intensify, Kyiv Post (26 November 2010)
  101. ^ Update: Yanukovych vetoes tax code after protests, Kyiv Post (30 November 2010)
  102. ^ Yanukovych vetoes the tax code, Kyiv Post (30 November 2010)
  103. ^ Yanukovych signs new tax code, Kyiv Post (3 December 2010)
  104. ^ Yanukovych: Tymoshenko to use issue of increasing social benefits in her presidential campaign, Interfax-Ukraine (16 September 2009)
  105. ^ “Analysis: West seeks clarity in Ukraine to boost economy”, Kyiv Post (8 February 2010)
  106. ^ Yanukovych back-tracks on his pre-election promises, Z I K (10 February 2010)
  107. ^ “It is necessary to restore law and order in our country”, Euronews (12 October 2009)
  108. ^ “Ukraine presidential candidates trade warnings, promises”, Earth Times (13 January 2010)
  109. ^ What Yanukovych presidency would mean for Ukraine, Kyiv Post (8 February 2010)
  110. ^ Yanukovych: we do not live in fairy tale, UNIAN (2 February 2011)
  111. ^ Yanukovych gives rare and long television interview (VIDEO), Kyiv Post (25 February 2012)
  112. ^ Wilson, Scott (12 April 2010). “Ukraine to Give up Highly Enriched Uranium, Convert Nuclear Reactors”. The Washington Post. Retrieved 12 April 2010. 
  113. ^ Yanukovych said about his big dream. UNIAN. (28 September 2009).
  114. ^ “Prospects for Ukraine’s joining EU depend on EU’s political decision, says Yanukovych”, Interfax-Ukraine (28 September 2009)
  115. ^ a b Yanukovych: We should find ways of reconciliation between all parties participating in World War II, Interfax-Ukraine (9 May 2013)
  116. ^ Ukraine remembers famine horror“. BBC News. November 24, 2007.
  117. ^ Ukraine must not blame neighbors for famine – Yanukovych, RIA Novosti (16 January 2010)
  118. ^ Yanukovych: Famine of 1930s was not genocide against Ukrainians, Kyiv Post (27 April 2010)
  119. ^ a b In 2002, Yanukovych as Donetsk Oblast governor endorsed book glorifying Stalin-era secret police, Kyiv Post (16 December 2011)
  120. ^ Yanukovych imagines how he signs law on Russian language, UNIAN (3 September 2009)
  121. ^ In an October 2009 poll by FOM-Ukraine 52% of the respondents state they use Russian as their “Language of communication”; 41% of the respondents state they use Ukrainian and 8% stated they use a mixture of both. Source: FOM-Ukraine (bottom of page) (Russian)
  122. ^ Yanukovych: Ukraine will not have second state language, Kyiv Post (9 March 2010)
  123. ^ (Russian) “Доверия к Тимошенко у меня нет и быть не может”, Kommersant (9 December 2009)
  124. ^ “Yanukovych signs language bill into law”. 2012-08-08. Retrieved 2014-01-26. 
  125. ^ Traynor, Ian (24 February 2014). “Western nations scramble to contain fallout from Ukraine crisis”. The Guardian. 
  126. ^ “Ukraine’s 2012 Language Law to Stay Until New Bill Ready – Turchynov”. RIA Novosti. 2014-03-03. 
  127. ^ Mission: Impossible, The Ukrainian Week (6 August 2013)
  128. ^ Ukrainian protesters storm parliament, Kyiv Post (4 November 2011)
  129. ^ Yanukovych Will Visit EU Before Russia, Moscow Times (24 February 2010)
  130. ^ Ukraine’s Yanukovych: EU ties a ‘key priority’, Kyiv Post (1 March 2010)
  131. ^ Ukraine vows new page in ties with Russia, The News International (6 March 2010)
  132. ^ Russia and Ukraine improve soured relations – Russian President, RIA Novosti (16 May 2010)
  133. ^ Putin satisfied with state of Ukrainian-Russian relations, Kyiv Post (28 June 2010)
  134. ^ Ukraine drops Nato membership bid, EUobserver (6 June 2010)
  135. ^ Ukraine’s parliament votes to abandon Nato ambitions, BBC News (3 June 2010)
  136. ^ Yanukovych: Recognition of independence of Abkhazia, South Ossetia and Kosovo violates international law, Kyiv Post (4 June 2010)
  137. ^ Yanukovych Drives Ukraine Toward EU as Russian Natural Gas Agreement Looms, Bloomberg L.P. (25 May 2011)
  138. ^ Stay informed today and every day (23 November 2013). “Charlemagne: Playing East against West”. The Economist. Retrieved 28 December 2013. 
  139. ^ Ian Traynor in Brussels. “Ukraine suspends talks on EU trade pact as Putin wins tug of war”. Retrieved 28 December 2013. 
  140. ^ Ukraine right-wing politics: is the genie out of the bottle?, (3 January 2011)
  141. ^ a b Ukraine viewpoint: Novelist Andrey Kurkov, BBC News (13 January 2011)
  142. ^ Ukraine ex-PM Tymoshenko charged with misusing funds, BBC News (20 December 2010)
  143. ^ The Party of Regions monopolises power in Ukraine, Centre for Eastern Studies (29 September 2010)
  144. ^ Ukraine launches battle against corruption, BBC News (18 January 2011)
  145. ^ Ukrainians’ long wait for prosperity, BBC News (18 October 2010)
  146. ^ Ukraine:Journalists Face Uncertain Future, Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting (27 October 2010)
  147. ^ Yanukovych Tells U.K’s Cameron No Fears for Ukraine’s Democracy, Turkish Weekly (6 October 2010)
  148. ^ Yulia Kovalevska:Only some bankrupt politicians try to use the Day of Unification with the aim of self-PR, Party of Regions official website (21 January 2011)
  149. ^ President: Ukraine must fulfill its commitments to Council of Europe, (13 January 2011)
  150. ^ Our Ukraine comes to defense of Tymoshenko, Lutsenko, Didenko, Makarenko in statement, Interfax-Ukraine (25 May 2011)
  151. ^ US Embassy, Kiev, (24 September 2011)
  152. ^ BBC News, (24 September 2011)
  153. ^ ‘Kyiv Post” (24 September 2011)”. 2011-09-02. Retrieved 2013-12-28. 
  154. ^,1518,736745,00.html, Der Spiegel (24 September 2011)
  155. ^ Kyiv Post (24 September 2011)
  156. ^ Kyiv Post (24 September 2011)
  157. ^ Trials of Tymoshenko, other officials fall short of European standards, Yanukovych admits, Kyiv Post (25 February 2012)
  158. ^ “Press Freedom Index 2013”, Reporters Without Borders, 30 January 2013
  159. ^ Yanukovych says he will protect freedom of speech and interests of journalists, Kyiv Post (10 February 2010)
  160. ^ Yanukovych says good governance depends on involvement of civil society, Kyiv Post (23 September 2011)
  161. ^ 1+1 TV journalists claim censorship of news reports, Kyiv Post (6 May 2009)
  162. ^ Journalists, in defensive crouch, swing news coverage to Yanukovych’s favor, Kyiv Post (6 May 2009)
  163. ^ Semynozhenko: No examples of censorship on Ukrainian TV channels, Kyiv Post (13 May 2009)
  164. ^ Opposition benefiting from topic of censorship at mass media, says Hanna Herman, Kyiv Post (13 May 2009)
  165. ^ (Ukrainian) Янукович: Україна готова, якщо Європа готова, BBC Ukrainian (10 May 2010)
  166. ^ Yanukovych bears no grudges against Tymoshenko, Z I K (12 May 2010)
  167. ^ Update: Ukraine, Russia ratify Black Sea naval lease, Kyiv Post (27 April 2010)
  168. ^ Yanukovych: Referendum on Russian Black Sea Fleet’s stationing in Ukraine may be held, Kyiv Post (22 April 2010)
  169. ^ a b c Yanukovych snipes at opponent, defends fleet move, Kyiv Post (13 May 2009)
  170. ^ Interfax-Ukraine (Nov. 8, 2012). “With all party lists ballots counted, Regions Party gets 30%, Batkivschyna 25.54%, UDAR 13.96%, Communists 13.18%, Svoboda 10.44%”. KyivPost. 
  171. ^ Parliament votes 328-0 to impeach Yanukovych on Feb. 22; sets May 25 for new election; Tymoshenko free (LIVE UPDATES, VIDEO)
  172. ^ США отказались считать события на Украине переворотом
  173. ^ Sindelar, Daisy. “Was Yanukovych’s Ouster Constitutional?”. Retrieved 2014-02-25. 
  174. ^ Rada removes Yanukovych from office, schedules new elections for May 25, Interfax-Ukraine (24 February 2014)
  175. ^ “Rada dismisses Constitutional Court judges appointed from its quota”. Retrieved 2014-02-25. 
  176. ^ “Ukraine’s parliament votes to oust president; former prime minister is freed from prison”. The Washington Post. 2014-02-22. Retrieved 2014-02-27. 
  177. ^ “Ukraine ex-PM Tymoshenko freed”. BBC News. BBC. Retrieved 2014-02-22. 
  178. ^ Interfax-Ukraine (24 February 2014). “Avakov: Yanukovych put on wanted list”. Kyiv Post. 
  179. ^ Yanukovych Extradition: Ukraine Officially Asks Russia To Extradite Ukrainian President. The Huffington Post February 28, 2014
  180. ^ “With Viktor Yanukovych gone, Ukraine hunts for secrets of former leader”. Retrieved 23 February 2014. 
  181. ^ Oliver Poole. “Ukraine uprising: The private zoo, the galleon moored on a private lake, the fleet of vintage cars – Ukrainians left open-mouthed”. The Independent. Retrieved 2014-02-25. 
  182. ^ Yanukovych: I have never had any bank accounts, property abroad, Interfax-Ukraine (28 February 2014)
  183. ^ Ukrainian Prime Minister Azarov resigns
  184. ^ Ukraine protests: 28 killed and more than 300 injured in bloody clashes in Kiev – Mirror Online
  185. ^ a b Sergii Leshchenko (8 June 2012). “Yanukovych, the luxury residence and the money trail that leads to London”. Open Democracy free thinking for the world. Retrieved 30 January 2014. 
  186. ^ “Yanukovych Spent $800 on Fish Medical Treatment, Leaked Documents Show”. Moscow Times. 26 February 2014. 
  187. ^ a b c “Ukraine crisis: Yanukovych and the tycoons”. BBC News Europe online. 11 December 2013. Retrieved 11 December 2013. 
  188. ^ Alexander J. Motyl (11 December 2013). “Yanukovych Must Go Ukrainians Will Protest as Long as His Corrupt Regime Exists”. Foreign Affairs. The Council on Foreign Relations. Retrieved 29 January 2014. 
  189. ^ “Anti-Corruption Action Center calls for freeze of Yanukovych, other assets abroad”. Kyiv Post online. 27 January 2014. Retrieved 30 January 2014. 
  190. ^ Benjamin Bidder (16 May 2012). “Profiting from Power? The Dubious Business of the Yanukovych Clan”. Spiegel Online International. Spiegel. Retrieved 30 January 2014. 
  191. ^ “Спецтеми | Експрес – онлайн”. Retrieved 2013-12-28. 
  192. ^ “Бюджет-2013: золоті гори для сходу, заходу – мізер | Економічна правда”. Retrieved 2013-12-28. 
  193. ^ “Yanukovych opts for robber capitalism”. Kyiv Post. 22 November 2013. Retrieved 27 February 2014. 
  194. ^ Three Years of Promises, The Ukrainian Week (15 March 2013)
  195. ^ Harrison Jacobs (27 January 2014). “Why Ukraine’s Berkut Special Police Force Is So Scary”. Retrieved 1 February 2014. 
  196. ^ Ukraine parliament ousts Yanukovich, Tymoshenko freed | Reuters
  197. ^ a b c d e f g “Ukraine crisis live: Russia admits its troops are moving in Crimea”. UK Telegraph. Retrieved February 28, 2014. 
  198. ^ a b c “Источники РБК: Виктор Янукович находится в Подмосковье”. RosBusinessConsulting. 26 February 2014. 
  199. ^ “Управделами президента РФ: информации о том, что Янукович в Барвихе, нет”. Argumenty i Fakty. 26 February 2014. 
  200. ^ “Янукович купил дом в Барвихе за $52 млн – российский политик”. Korrespondent. 27 February 2014. 
  201. ^ BBC News – Russia ‘grants Ukraine’s Viktor Yanukovych protection’
  202. ^ “Янукович попросил Россию о защите”. Interfax. 27 February 2014. 
  203. ^ СМИ: Янукович выступил с заявлением – считает себя президентом
  204. ^ a b Serhy Yekelchyk Ukraine: Birth of a Modern Nation, Oxford University Press (2007), ISBN 978-0-19-530546-3
  205. ^ Завтра Янукович проведет пресс-конференцию в Ростове-на-Дону – СМИ | Новости на
  206. ^ Yanukovych says “patriotic officers” got him to Russia, Interfax-Ukraine (28 February 2014)
  207. ^ Yanukovych ‘Is Finished’: Experts Dismiss Ruler’s Comeback Bid, NBC News (28 February 2014)
  208. ^ Yanukovych: Presidential elections slated for May 25 unlawful, I won’t run, Interfax-Ukraine (28 February 2014)
  209. ^ a b Armed Men Occupy Two Airports in Ukraine’s Crimea, The Wall Street Journal (28 February 2014)
  210. ^ Ukrainian ex-leader Viktor Yanukovych vows fightback, BBC News (28 February 2014).
  211. ^ “Чуркин сообщил об обращении Януковича к Путину”. 4 March 2014. 
  212. ^ “About us: The Leader”. 
  213. ^ a b All In The Family, Kyiv Post (2 March 2012)
  214. ^ a b (Russian) Украина надеется на урегулирование газового вопроса с Россией – президент Украины Виктор ЯНУКОВИЧ, Information Telegraph Agency of Russia (19 March 2012)
  215. ^ The biography of Yanukovych for who has forgotten it.
  216. ^ Interview of Viktor Viktorovich.
  217. ^ Ukrainian pravda February 19, 2006.
  218. ^ Mystery surrounds Yanukovych’s book, Kyiv Post (3 October 2011)
  219. ^ a b Ukraine’s election: portraits of main players, Kyiv Post (1 January 2010)
  220. ^ Yanukovych faces uphill battle in getting Lviv to accept him, Kyiv Post (18 February 2009)
  221. ^ Popular Rukh of Ukraine calling on political forces to prevent concentration of power in hands of Yanukovych’s team, Kyiv Post (10 February 2009)
  222. ^ Viktor Yanukovych: My aim is to build a strong and independent Ukraine. For this purpose I will use all tools, Party of Regions Official Information Server (16 February 2010)
  223. ^ Let’s Get Acquainted, Viktor Yanukovych Personal Information Server
  224. ^ Exit polls favor Yanukovych in Ukraine race, Kyiv Post (7 February 2009)
  225. ^ Ukraine set for tilt to east as Russia’s ally holds poll lead, The Guardian (7 February 2010)
  226. ^ Kuchma: Yanukovych-Tymoshenko contest a choice between ‘bad and very bad’, Kyiv Post (3 December 2010)
  227. ^ Putin shows no respect for Yanukovych, U.S. cable says, Kyiv Post (11 April. 2011)
  228. ^ Grytsenko, Oksana (23 January 2012). “WikiLeaks: Regions Party partly composed of ‘criminals’”. Kyiv Post. Retrieved 24 January 2012. 
  229. ^ Tymoshenko challenges Yanukovych to televised debates, Z I K (21 December 2009)
  230. ^ Viktor Yanukovych promises Ukraine will embrace Russia, (5 March 2010)
  231. ^ Russia’s Medvedev in Ukraine visit to boost ties, BBC News (17 May 2010)
  232. ^ Yanukovych bullish ahead of runoff, Kyiv Post (4 February 2010)
  233. ^ Tymoshenko slams Yanukovych’s gift for gaffe, Kyiv Post (29 December 2009)
  234. ^ a b c Revolution in Orange, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, ISBN 0-87003-221-6 (page 58 + 59 written by Taras Kuzio)
  235. ^ Тому що “проффесор”.
  236. ^ (English)“Chekhov is a Ukrainian poet”
  237. ^ (English)discussion board about Yanukovych literally claims
  238. ^ (English)Kyiv Post on Yanukovych Presidential program
  239. ^ Yatseniuk lashes at Yanukovych for ignoring Greek Catholics.
  240. ^ Ukraine’s New President Shows Poor Knowledge of Geography, (3 March 2010)
  241. ^ “Yanukovych: Tigipko, Yatseniuk will take top posts after presidential elections”, Kyiv Post (26 November 2009)
  242. ^ “ :: Янукович назвав Тимошенко “коровою на льду” on YouTube (22 September 2009)
  243. ^ Orange Revolution Democracy Emerging in Ukraine. (21 December 2004).
  244. ^ Defiant Yanukovych Emerges in Russia, Vows to Return to Power. The Wall Street Journal (28 February 2014).
  245. ^ Yanukovych snaps pen in anger at press conference. Euronews (28 February 2014).
  246. ^ If presidential elections were held next Sunday how would you vote?, Razumkov Centre
    Poll: Yanukovych’s electoral rating is four percentage points higher than Tymoshenko’s, Kyiv Post (14 March 2012)
  247. ^ Ratings of politicians, Sociological group “RATING”
    Electoral moods of the Ukrainian population: February 2012, Sociological group “RATING” (5 March 2012)
  248. ^ Every fourth Ukrainian ready to vote for Yanukovych in presidential election – poll, Interfax-Ukraine (6 March 2013)
  249. ^ Ratings of politicians in presidential elections: February 2013, Sociological group “RATING” (6 March 2013)
  250. ^ EU ambassador to Ukraine:Yanukovych comes short of expectations, Kyiv Post (12 April 2012)

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Anatoliy Kinakh
Prime Minister of Ukraine
Succeeded by
Mykola Azarov
Preceded by
Mykola Azarov
Prime Minister of Ukraine
Preceded by
Yuriy Yekhanurov
Prime Minister of Ukraine
Succeeded by
Yulia Tymoshenko
Preceded by
Viktor Yushchenko
President of Ukraine
Succeeded by
Oleksandr Turchynov
Sporting positions
Preceded by
Ivan Fedorenko
President of the National Olympic Committee
Succeeded by
Sergey Bubka
Party political offices
Preceded by
Volodymyr Semynozhenko
Leader of the Party of Regions
Succeeded by
Mykola Azarov

This article uses material from the Wikipedia article Viktor Yanukovych, which is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.