News / Europe

    Profile: Presidential Candidate Yulia Tymoshenko, Ukraine’s ‘Joan of Arc’

    Presidential Candidate Yulia Tymoshenko, Ukraine's 'Joan of Arc'i
    X
    April 09, 2014 2:22 AM
    Ukraine's former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko is trailing in polls ahead of presidential elections scheduled for May. She is one of the country's best-known political figures, but many analysts say she is struggling to throw off her old pre-revolution image in the minds of the electorate. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Presidential Candidate Yulia Tymoshenko, Ukraine's 'Joan of Arc'
    Henry Ridgwell
    Ukraine’s former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko is trailing in polls ahead of presidential elections scheduled for May.  She is one of the country’s best-known political figures, but many analysts say she is struggling to throw off her old pre-revolution image in the minds of the electorate.

    Tymoshenko’s dramatic return to frontline politics came with her release from the hospital in February. She had been in jail -- and then hospitalized under guard -- since 2011, following her conviction on charges of abuse of office.

    Her appearance that night in a wheelchair in Independence Square was met with cheers - but also some disapproval.

    “She is quite controversial and the difficulty with her candidacy is to project the hope of the future. In a way she belongs to the older generation of Ukrainian politics, something that in many minds is associated with the former corrupt regime,” said Orysia Lutsevych, who is from the London-based analyst group Chatham House.

    Tymoshenko was a central figure in the 2004 Orange Revolution and was appointed Prime Minister under President Viktor Yuschenko. Their alliance later fell apart - paving the way for the now-ousted Viktor Yanukovych to become president.

    Observers say Tymoshenko is trying to shake off that past and play to her strengths as one of Ukraine’s best-known figures. At a recent news conference, she was asked how she would wrest Crimea back from Russia, following the region’s annexation last month.

    "A lot of factors in returning Crimea to Ukraine depend on how we can build an economically strong, democratic and European state on the continental part of Ukraine," she said.  "I think that an example of well-ordered lives, freedom that will become the spirit and sense of life in the new Ukraine, will set a strong example for anyone who once might have considered Russia as a possible new Motherland."

    To become the leader of that new Ukraine, Tymoshenko is trading on her striking image, says Orysia Lutsevych.

    “She’s called the Ukrainian ‘Joan of Arc’, somebody who can bring hope in a way of personalizing suffering, being ready not to compromise with [ousted president] Yanukovych’s regime and his people, she is believed to be a tough politician you know, someone who can fight the oligarchs,” she said.

    In recent days pro-Russian armed groups have stormed city offices in several eastern Ukrainian cities.

    Just tens of kilometers away, Russian forces are massed on Ukraine’s borders.

    Tymoshenko has talked a tough game against President Vladimir Putin - but that may not help Ukraine in the long run, says Andrew Foxall of the analyst group the Henry Jackson Society.

    “Recently she called President Putin ‘Ukraine’s enemy number one,’" he said. "And that I think would be a grave concern, in terms of how she would take the country forward with regards to Russia.”

    Tymoshenko is resolutely pro-European and retains strong support in Ukraine’s west. But at a time when the country appears to be pulling itself apart, analysts say she remains a divisive figure.

    You May Like

    US, Somalia Launch New Chapter in Relations

    US sends first ambassador to Somalia in 25 years; diplomatic presence and forces pulled out in 1993, after 18 US soldiers were killed when militiamen shot down military helicopter

    Brexit Vote Ripples Across South Asia

    Experts say exit is likely to have far-reaching economic, political and social implications for a region with deep historic ties to Britain

    Russian Military Tests Readiness With Snap Inspections

    Some observers see surprise drill as tit-for-tat response to NATO’s recent multinational military exercises in Baltic region

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Not Again from: Canada
    April 09, 2014 4:38 PM
    Tymoshenko...."analysts say she remains a divisive figure" and that is exactly what Ukraine does not need, neither now nor in the near future. It is the divisionists that have brought the country, in great part, to its current disastrous situation; the other part, of the downfall, were those in power, and supported corrupt affairs. In 20 yrs, Ukraine's well being slid back, year after year. Ukraine has almost reached its economic bottom, extremely painfull reforms will be required to restore Ukraine's economy; it is quite likely to take a decade or longer to significantly improve the economy.
    At this point in time, Ukraine needs a competent, technocrat, that can manage Western technical help; that can appeal to all the people/ethnic groups in Ukraine; such a person needs to put the country ahead of his personal gain/bank account; and like it or not, this super leader needs to be able to restore relations with Russia, to ensure the common interests are assured, and the differences are minimized.
    Ukraine will need to continue to rely on Russian markets for quite some time, its industrial base is not up to par to compete on EU markets; this is a key issue given that most of Russian speaking Ukrainians are connected to Russia's economy; it is their main market.
    Unless most of the people are convinced, that the new gvmt will look after everyone's prosperity, secessionist feelings will remain high. The restrictive language and cultural laws, are the first ones that need to go.
    Does Ukraine have such a super leader? hard to tell, none of their past leaders fits the bill. And the EU's grandstanding agrandizing politicians, needs to back off, unless they are prepared to invest 300 to 500, million euros, in the next 5-10 yrs in the Ukraine project.
    It is a very difficult situation. And lastly, the Russian Czar, needs to get back to the 21rst century, and even free its own people, feed his people, rather than have extravagant gatherings, be it in Moscow, or be it at Ukraine's borders, or he will also have a difficult life in the near future, as Nicholas did.

    by: john from: usa
    April 09, 2014 3:57 PM
    this is a bunch of propaganda. She is a crook.
    In Response

    by: seemeseemenot from: germany
    April 09, 2014 10:24 PM
    she is a nazi and is portrayed in this article as a freedom fighter. the american-british administrations love her because she fits in their central-banking concept.

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Testing Bamboo as Building Materiali
    X
    June 27, 2016 9:06 PM
    For thousands of years various species of bamboo - one of the world's most versatile plants - have been used for diverse purposes ranging from food and medicine to textiles and construction. But its use on a large scale is hampered because it's not manufactured to specific standards but grown in the ground. A University of Pittsburgh professor is on track to changing that. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Testing Bamboo as Building Material

    For thousands of years various species of bamboo - one of the world's most versatile plants - have been used for diverse purposes ranging from food and medicine to textiles and construction. But its use on a large scale is hampered because it's not manufactured to specific standards but grown in the ground. A University of Pittsburgh professor is on track to changing that. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Orphanage in Iraqi City Houses Kids Who Lost their Parents to Attacks by IS

    An orphanage in Iraqi Kurdistan has become home to scores of Yazidi children who lost their parents after Islamic State militants took over Sinjar in Iraq’s Nineveh Province in 2014. Iraqi Kurdish forces backed by the U.S. airstrikes have since recaptured Sinjar but the need for the care provided by the orphanage continues. VOA’s Kawa Omar filed this report narrated by Rob Raffaele.
    Video

    Video Re-Opening Old Wounds in a Bullet-Riddled Cultural Landmark

    A cultural landmark before Lebanon’s civil war transformed it into a nest of snipers, Beirut’s ‘Yellow House’ is once again set to play a crucial role in the city.  Built in a neo-Ottoman style in the 1920s, in September it is set to be re-opened as a ‘memory museum’ - its bullet-riddled walls and bunkered positions overlooking the city’s notorious ‘Green Line’ maintained for posterity. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Brexit Resounds in US Presidential Contest

    Britain’s decision to leave the European Union is resounding in America’s presidential race. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, Republican presumptive nominee Donald Trump sees Britain’s move as an affirmation of his campaign’s core messages, while Democrat Hillary Clinton sees the episode as further evidence that Trump is unfit to be president.
    Video

    Video New York Pride March A Celebration of Life, Mourning of Loss

    At this year’s march in New York marking the end of pride week, a record-breaking crowd of LGBT activists and allies marched down Manhattan's Fifth Avenue, in what will be long remembered as a powerful display of solidarity and remembrance for the 49 victims killed two weeks ago in an Orlando gay nightclub.
    Video

    Video NASA Juno Spacecraft, Nearing Jupiter, to Shed Light on Gas Giant

    After a five-year journey, the spacecraft Juno is nearing its destination, the giant planet Jupiter, where it will enter orbit and start sending data back July 4th. As Mike O'Sullivan reports from Pasadena, California, the craft will pierce the veil of Jupiter's dense cloud cover to reveal its mysteries.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.
    Video

    Video Tunisian Fishing Town Searches for Jobs, Local Development Solutions

    As the European Union tries to come to grips with its migrant crisis, some newcomers are leaving voluntarily. But those returning to their home countries face an uncertain future.  Five years after Tunisia's revolution, the tiny North African country is struggling with unrest, soaring unemployment and plummeting growth. From the southern Tunisian fishing town of Zarzis, Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at a search for local solutions.
    Video

    Video 'American Troops' in Russia Despite Tensions

    Historic battle re-enactment is a niche hobby with a fair number of adherents in Russia where past military victories are played-up by the Kremlin as a show of national strength. But, one group of World War II re-enactors in Moscow has the rare distinction of choosing to play western ally troops. VOA's Daniel Schearf explains.
    Video

    Video Muslim American Mayor Calls for Tolerance

    Syrian-born Mohamed Khairullah describes himself as "an American mayor who happens to be Muslim." As the three-term mayor of Prospect Park, New Jersey, he believes his town of 6,000 is an example of how ethnicity and religious beliefs should not determine a community's leadership. Ramon Taylor has this report from Prospect Park.
    Video

    Video Internal Rifts Over Syria Policy Could Be Headache for Next US President

    With the Obama administration showing little outward enthusiasm for adopting a more robust Syria policy, there is a strong likelihood that the internal discontent expressed by State Department employees will roll over to the next administration. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports.
    Video

    Video Senegal to Park Colorful ‘Cars Rapides’ Permanently

    Brightly painted cars rapide are a hallmark of Dakar, offering residents a cheap way to get around the capital city since 1976. But the privately owned minibuses are scheduled to be parked for good in late 2018, as Ricci Shryock reports for VOA.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora