March 5, 2014

Armenian Arsen Avakov is a Key Player in Ukraine Crisis

Armenian Arsen Avakov is a Key Player in Ukraine Crisis -



Viktor Yanukovych

Ukraine's president Viktor Yanukovych speaks on live TV in December 2013


Mr Yanukovych was elected as Ukraine president in 2010 elections, however his decision to walk away from a trade agreement with the European Union in favour of closer economic ties with Russia last November sparked bloody protests that led to his ouster this month. He appears to be gone from the capital, Kiev, however it is unclear whether he plans to resign. RIA has cited Russian prime minister Dimitry Medvedev as saying that under Ukraine's constitution Mr Yanukovych is the legitimate head of state, despite his authority being practically non-existent.

Vitali Klitschko

Ukraine opposition leader Vitali Klitschko speaks to anti-government protesters on January 25, 2014 in Kiev

Mr Klitschko (aka. Dr Ironfist) has been one of the main voices of opposition to Mr Yanukovych. The 42-year-old former WBC heavyweight boxing champion heads the Ukrainian Democratic Alliance for Reform and has confirmed that he will nominate for the presidency at the May 25 national election. However, despite his high profile he has failed twice to be elected mayor of Kiev. In an interview with former ABC Moscow correspondent Eric Campbell, he spoke of his political motivations: "We're fighting for the future, for our family, and for our kids. We want to live in a democratic country."

Yulia Tymoshenko

Ukrainian opposition leader Yulia Tymoshenko addresses protesters gathered in Kiev's Independence Square.

Ms Tymoshenko, who lost the 2010 presidential election to Mr Yanukovych, looks set to be Mr Klitschko's main rival in any elections. The former prime minister was freed from prison on February 22 after serving two years of a seven-year sentence for abuse of authority over a natural gas deal negotiated with Russia, a punishment the US and Europe saw as politically motivated. The pro-EU politician is a divisive figure in Ukraine, commanding devotion from some and contempt from others who are disillusioned with a political class widely seen as a corrupt and elitist. In an address to protesters in Kiev's Independence Square upon her release, she called those who died in recent clashes "liberators".

Oleksandr Turchynov

Olexander Turchynov acting president of Ukraine

Mr Turchynov, the former parliamentary speaker named as Ukraine's acting president, was an important figure in the 2004 Orange Revolution and considered the right-hand man of Ms Tymoshenko as first deputy leader of her Batkivshchyna (Fatherland) party. Mr Turchynov was said to have angered some protesters when, after Mr Yanukovych's apparent departure from Kiev, he told them that they had achieved their goals and should go home. He has called for the formation of a unity government as soon as possible and says priorities include saving the economy and "returning to the path of European integration".

Arseniy Yatsenyuk

Ukraine Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk


Mr Yatsenyuk, Ukraine's new prime minister, has led the opposition Fatherland party since December 2012. The 39-year-old former lawyer, a prominent figure during the recent protests, held top posts in previous governments, including foreign minister and governor of the central bank. He stood in the first round of the 2010 presidential election but won less than 7 per cent of the vote, despite an intercepted phone call in which US envoy Victoria Nuland described him as the "guy who's got the economic experience, the governing experience".

Arsen Avakov

Arsen Avakov

Mr Avakov took over the powerful post of interior minister after Ukraine MPs dismissed Vitaly Zakharchenko, an ally of Mr Yanukovych, following two days of carnage in Kiev. An active Facebook user, he has been posting Russian-language updates on the hunt for Mr Yanukovych, often before official sources are told. He also posted an update on what he called Russia's "armed invasion and occupation" by Russian forces of a military airport near the port of Sevastopol, where the Russian Black Sea fleet has a base. Another member of Ms Tymoshenko's Fatherland party, the ethnic Armenian former businessman has also flagged an inquiry into the shootings of demonstrators in Kiev between February 18 and 20.

       Kantsasar Weekly  Diario Armenia