Meet Yulia Tymoshenko, Prime Minister of Ukraine and leader of the Bat’kivshchyna (Motherland) party and the Yuliya Tymoshenko Bloc. Read her biography and see photos and a video of her below.

History has shown us repeatedly that politics in the Ukraine is not for the faint of heart. At first glance, one might be excused for thinking that Yulia Tymoshenko is a lamb among the wolves, but that is hardly the case. Her beauty and demure appearance are just that, appearance. She is a ruthless businesswoman who came from humble beginnings to become a wealthy woman and a savvy politician who has survived numerous attempts to oust her from power. She holds her own in the world of Russian and Ukrainian politics and is considered one of the most powerful women in the world.

Tymoshenko recently survived a no-confidence vote in Parliament brought about by former Prime Minister and leader of the Party of Religions, Viktor Yanukovych. She was accused of not dealing with the government’s economic problems. She is also at the center of a political battle between herself and her former ally, Ukraine President Viktor Yushchenko over the price of gas that is piped from Russia to the rest of Europe through the Ukraine. The outcome of this battle will affect how much the rest of Europe pays for gas. The argument is over Tymoshenko’s insistence on eliminating the middle-man company that regulates the gas prices bought from Russia. She is insisting on buying gas directly from Russia without the middle-man. Her enemies believe that once the gas prices are unregulated, she will install her own allies to manage the gas prices. Meanwhile, the rest of Europe will see skyrocketing prices.

Tymoshenko, of course, denies she has ulterior motives in what she calls the ‘change of concept’ in how gas is delivered through Ukraine. However, both she and her key adviser, Vitaly Gayduk, have amassed fortunes in gas deals. Her argument is that these changes will take away Russia’s ability to dictate gas prices. However, both she and Gayduk have contacts in the Russian government and have a great deal of influence in the gas markets in both countries.

Yulia Tymoshenko Biography

Yulia Tymoshenko (Юлі�? Володимирівна Тимошенко) (‘julijɑ ʋɔlɔ’dɪmɪriʋnɑ tɪmɔ’ʃɛnkɔ) was born on November 27, 1960 in Dnipropetrovs’k, Ukrainian SSR. She is 48 years old. Her parents are Vladimir Abramovich Grigean and Ludmila Nikolaevna Telegina. Her father left the family when she was about 3-years-old. There is a dispute over whether her maiden name is Grigean or Telegina. Her enemies claim that her maiden name is Grigean and that she is half Armenian on her father’s side. Her supports disregard her father’s name and claim her maiden name is Telegina.

Tymoshenko’s political career started with her 1979 marriage to Oleksandr Tymoshenko, whose father was a mid-level Soviet Communist Party bureaucrat. She began to rise through positions under the Soviet Communist Youth Organization (Komsomol). In 1984 she received a degree in economics from Dnipropetrovsk State University and went on to get the equivalent of a Ph.D. in economics.

She started a video rental company under the Komsomol, which she later privatized and made successful. As the Soviet system fell apart, she began amassing a significant fortune in gas companies, privatization of formerly Soviet held corporations and exporting metals. She became one of the wealthiest and most powerful people in the Ukraine during the 1990s.

She rose to political power as part of the ‘Orange Revolution’. She has been dubbed the ‘Joan of Arc of the Revolution’ and ‘the Orange Princess’. She was a stanch ally of President Viktor Yushchenko during that period. However, they have since been at odds and engaged in power struggles from time to time.

She became the first female Prime Minister of the Ukraine on January 24, 2005. She served until September 8, 2005 when she was dismissed by Yushchenko’s administration. She was elected again on December 18, 2007. So she has served as the 13th and now the 16th Prime Minister of Ukraine. She is the leader of the Bat’kivshchyna (Motherland) party and the Yuliya Tymoshenko Bloc. It is generally expected that she will be a candidate for President of Ukraine in 2010.

About her hair …. everyone asks. During the revolution, she started wearing her hair in the traditional style of Ukrainian peasant women as a symbolic gesture. Traditionally, a Ukrainian woman’s beauty was judged by the thickness and golden hue of her braid. It should look ‘like wheat’, she has said. She has continued to wear the braid and discusses it at length on her website. She has been accused of wearing a wig instead of it being her real hair. She has been known to respond to those accusations by taking her hair down in meetings to prove that it is her hair.

In 2001, The Globe and Mail wrote that she was one of the most beautiful women to ever enter politics. She has graced the cover of Elle Ukraine magazine and is noted to have stated that she would prefer to have been on the cover of Playboy. She notably said that Playboy would be “the best choice for any real woman”.

The Tymoshenkos have one daughter, Yevhenia, who was born in 1980. She graduated from a university in Britain and is married to British rock musician, Sean Carr.

Yulia Tymoshenko – Video
Greeting for women with a day on March 8th