A lot of countries are currently fighting a war within their own territories ranging from Middle East to South Asia. One such turmoil-hit place, in the last few months has been Ukraine. With the impeachment of their President Viktor Yanukovych and new announced elections, an important contender running for the President is a well known face in Ukraine-Yulia Tymoshenko. Other than her unique golden braid that she wears like a crown around her head, her entire life is an entity much talked about.
Born in 1960, an economist and engineer by profession, later turned out to be a successful business woman and made a huge fortune from her now defunct corporation United Energy Systems Ukraine(UESU) .It was in 1990 that she decided of entering politics. She led the Orange Revolution in Kiev, Ukraine’s capital, which were a series of protests from November2004 to January 2005 against the Presidential elections believed to be rigged. It was in the same year that she was named to be the third most powerful woman in the world by Forbes. Since then, she has been actively involved in the country’s politics and leads the All Ukrainian Union “Fatherland”, the leading opposition party of Ukraine. Her party is in strong support of Ukraine integrating with the European Union rather than with the Customs Union with Russia, Kazakhstan and Belarus.
She has held the post of Prime Minister in her country twice before. Amidst the continuing protests and tensions she was announced a 7 year imprisonment in relation to cases of ‘abuse of power’ during her tenure and other corruption charges concerning a gas contract with Russia and now with Yanukovych ousted from power and her being released from her imprisonment after 2.5 years, has announced her candidature for the presidential elections. On the point of worldwide opinions about her stature, she has always had a whole lot of influential people from the Western community (US and EU included) vouching for her; reiterating the significance of justice and independent judicial procedures in Ukraine. Among other supporters is Leonid Kuchma, second president of Ukraine in whose words “She is the only man in the Ukrainian politics”.
In the words of Eugenia, Yulia’s daughter who had been giving interviews all this time her mother was in imprisonment to keep the fight going ,” My mother had a lot of responsibility to bring change to Ukraine but she did not have sufficient instruments to bring it through and had to focus on problems with the economy." It is yet to be proved whether she is guilty of charges she faces or merely a victim of her situation; however it is impossible to deny and brush aside the powerful contribution and role that she has played in her country’s revival and struggles. Her willpower, energy and her fighting spirit are in huge ways inspirational to woman all across the world. President or no President-she still remains a Leader who holds the strength to influence and make considerable change in the state of politics of Ukraine a nation which is looking forward to a new beginning.
By Aastha Kapoor
1. “Eugenia Tymoshenko: the fight to save my mother Yulia”, Tim Bouquet, The Observer, Sep 23, 2014.
2. “Is Tymoshenko guilty or a victim?”, Zu Hongenn, China Daily, Feb 25,2014.