- Leonid Kuchma
nationality = Ukrainian
order = 2nd
President of Ukraine
July 19, 1994
January 23, 2005
birth_date = Birth date and age|1938|8|9|mf=y
Chaikyne, Chernihiv Oblast
spouse = Ludmila Tumanova
Leonid Danylovych Kuchma ( _uk. Леонід Данилович Кýчма; born
August 9, 1938) was the second President of Ukrainefrom July 19, 1994, to January 23, 2005. The last five years of his presidency were mired in controversy when tape recordings of him seemingly discussing the possible murder of journalist Georgiy R. Gongadzeappeared. Gongadze disappeared in September 2000 and opposition politician Oleksandr Morozbrought them to light two months later in November.
Kuchma was born in
Chaikynevillage of Chernihiv Oblast( Ukrainian SSR). His father was killed in a battlefield during the World War IIin 1944. Kuchma attended DnipropetrovskUniversity and graduated with a degree in rocket engineering. He moved into senior management posts of the Yuzhmashindustrial company in Dnipropetrovsk, eventually becoming its top executive, as well as in the Communist Party elite. As such, Kuchma played an important role in Soviet strategic missile and space rocketprograms.
Some researchers believe that Kuchma's earlier career was significantly boosted by his marriage to
Lyudmila Tumanova, the daughter of a local CPSUchief.
Kuchma was an amateur
guitarplayer in his younger years. He was also known for his skill at the complicated card game preferans.
From 1990 to 1992 Kuchma was a member of the Ukrainian parliament (Committee on Defence and State Security), and became
Prime Minister of Ukrainein 1992.
Kuchma resigned from this position in September 1993 to successfully run for the presidency in 1994 on a platform to boost the economy by restoring economic relations with Russia and faster pro-market reforms. He was re-elected in 1999 to his second term.
In October 1994, Kuchma announced comprehensive economic reforms, including reduced
subsidies, lifting of price controls, lower taxes, privatizationof industryand agriculture, and reforms in currencyregulation and banking. The parliament approved the plan's main points. The International Monetary Fund promised a $360 million loan to initiate reforms.
He was re-elected in 1999 to his second term. Opponents accused him of involvement in the killing in 2000 of journalist
Georgiy Gongadze(see also SBU, " Cassette Scandal", Mykola Mel'nychenko), which he has always denied. They also blamed him for restrictions on press freedom. Kuchma is believed to have played a key role in sacking the Cabinet of Viktor Yushchenkoby Verkhovna Radaon April 26, 2001.
Kuchma's Prime Minister from 2002 until early January 2005 was
Viktor Yanukovych, after Kuchma dismissed Anatoliy Kinakh, his previous appointee.
Kuchma signed a "Treaty of Friendship, Cooperation, and Partnership" with Russia, and endorsed a round of talks with the CIS. Additionally, he referred to Russian as "an official language". He signed a special partnership agreement with
NATOand even raised the possibility of membership of the alliance.
After Kuchma's popularity at home and abroad sank as he became mired in corruption scandals, he turned to
Russiaas his new ally, saying Ukraine needed a "multivector" foreign policy that balanced eastern and western interests.
Role in the Crisis of 2004
Kuchma's role in the election's crisis of 2004 is not entirely clear. After the second round on
November 22, 2004, it appeared that Yanukovych had won the election by fraud, which caused the opposition and independent observers to dispute the results, leading to the Orange Revolution.
Kuchma was urged by Yanukovych and
Viktor Medvedchuk(the head of the presidential office) to declare a state of emergencyand hold the inauguration of Yanukovych. He denied the request by admittedly stating in a phone conversation with Russian President Vladimir Putinthat he refused to pass the government into the hands of an alleged Donetsk criminal. Fact|date=February 2007 Later, Yanukovych publicly accused Kuchma of a betrayal.
Nevertheless, Kuchma refused to officially dismiss Prime Minister Yanukovych after the parliament passed a
motion of no confidenceagainst the Cabinet on December 1, 2004.
Soon after, Kuchma left the country. He returned to Ukraine in March 2005.
In September 2000 journalist
Georgiy R. Gongadzedisappeared and his headless corpse was found on 3 November 2000. On 28 November, opposition politician Oleksandr Morozpublicised secret tape recordings implicating Kuchma in Gongadze's murder. In 2005 the Ukrainian Prosecutor General’s office instigated criminal proceedings against Kuchma and members of his former administration in connection with the murder of Gongadze. [ [http://www.mosnews.com/news/2005/10/09/caseagainstkuchma.shtml Mosnews.com ] ] It is rumoured however that Kuchma has been unofficially granted immunity from prosecution in return for his graceful departure from office in 2005. [ [http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2005/apr/06/pressandpublishing.ukraine Guardian] ]
In 2005 Kuchma started to smoke, first appearing with
cigarettes and cigars publicly. It is a return to the habit he quit back in 1992. [http://www.tabloid.com.ua/news/2006/6/2/568.htm]
Politicians closely associated with Kuchma
Aides and advisors that became public figures after or before
Volodymyr Horbulin- personal friend, aide, later Head of the National Security and Defense Council
Volodymyr Lytvyn- long-term first aide, later Head of Presidential Administration, then Speaker of the Verkhovna Rada(parliament)
Viktor Medvedchuk- business oligarch, then First Vice Speaker of Verkhovna Rada, Head of Presidential Administration in 2001-2004
Dmytro Tabachnyk- manager of the Kuchma's first successful election campaign, later Head of Presidential Administration, then Vice Prime Minister (in cabinet of Yanukovych)
Leonid Derkach- personal friend, Head of the Security Service of Ukraine
Yuri Kravchenko- Minister of Internal Affairs ( policechief), "committed suicide after the fall of Kuchma's regime"
Oleksandr Omelchenko- long-term governor and mayor of the capital cityof Kiev
Business oligarchs and managers of important state-owned companies
Ihor Bakai- business oligarch, later head of Naftohaz Ukrainynational gas and oil company, then Head of the State Accommodation Department, "escaped to Russia after the fall of Kuchma's regime, refusing to ever return permanently"
Heorhiy Kirpa- long-term head of the Ukrzaliznytsianational railways, then Minister of Transportation, "committed suicide after the fall of Kuchma's regime"
Viktor Pinchuk- second son-in-law, business oligarchin control of several important media
Elena Franchukfounded the ANTIAIDS Foundationin 2003. [ [http://antiaids.org/en/about/publications/440/831 Elena Franchuk ANTIAIDS Foundation : The daughter of Kuchma will be fighting against AIDS and her husband Pinchuk will provide his media support ] ] She is married to politician Viktor Pinchuk, a famous industrialist. [ [http://antiaids.org/en/about/publications/440/831 Elena Franchuk ANTIAIDS Foundation : The daughter of Kuchma will be fighting against AIDS and her husband Pinchuk will provide his media support ] ] She is rumoured to have just bought the world's most expensive house, in London, for £80 million. [ [http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2008/03/01/nhomes101.xml Times] ] [ [http://www.elitechoice.org/2008/03/01/worlds-most-expensive-home-sells-for-80-mn/ World's Most Expensive Home, Elena Franchuk, Sir Elton John, Worlds Most Expensive, Property, Estate ] ]
* Sochor, Zenovia A. 1994. "Political Culture and Foreign Policy: Elections in Ukraine 1994." Printed in: Tismăneanu, Vladmir (ed.). 1995. "Political Culture and Civil Society in Russia and the New States of Eurasia." ISBN 1-56324-364-4. pp.208-224.
President of Ukraine
Government of Ukraine
Prime Minister of Ukraine
*ru icon [http://www.vremya.ru/2005/43/13/120564.html "Yushchenko Won the Competition of Personalities"] (Kuchma's 2005 interview for Russian "Vremia Novostey" newspaper)
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