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

    Video As Refugees Perish, Greek Graveyards Fill

    Before burial at overflowing cemeteries, unidentified dead being swapped for DNA, in case some day relatives come to learn their fate

    Russian Opposition Leader Sues Putin for Conflict of Interest

    Alexei Navalny tells VOA in exclusive interview why transfer of $2 billion from country’s wealth fund to company with ties to President Putin’s son-in-law triggered lawsuit

    Clinton, Sanders Fight for African American Votes

    Some African American lawmakers lining up to support Clinton in face of perceived surge by Sanders in race for Democratic nomination in presidential campaign

    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.
    NATO to Target Migrant Smugglersi
    X
    Jeff Custer
    February 11, 2016 4:35 PM
    NATO has announced plans to send warships to the Aegean Sea to target migrant smugglers in the alliance's most direct intervention so far since a wave of people began trying to reach European shores.
    Video

    Video NATO to Target Migrant Smugglers

    NATO has announced plans to send warships to the Aegean Sea to target migrant smugglers in the alliance's most direct intervention so far since a wave of people began trying to reach European shores.
    Video

    Video Russia's Catholics, Orthodox Hopeful on Historic Pope-Patriarch Meeting

    Russia's Catholic minority has welcomed an historic first meeting Friday in Cuba between the Pope and the Patriarch of Russia's dominant Orthodox Church. The Orthodox Church split with Rome in 1054 and analysts say politics, both church and state, have been driving the relationship in the centuries since. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video Used Books Get a New Life on the Streets of Lagos

    Used booksellers are importing books from abroad and selling them on the streets of Africa's largest city. What‘s popular with readers may surprise you. Chris Stein reports from Lagos.
    Video

    Video After NH Primaries All Eyes on South Carolina

    After Tuesday's primary in New Hampshire, US presidential candidates swiftly turned to the next election coming up in South Carolina. The so-called “first-in-the-South” poll may help further narrow down the field of candidates. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video US Co-ed Selective Service Plan Stirs Controversy

    Young women may soon be required to register with the U.S. Selective Service System, the U.S. government agency charged with implementing a draft in a national emergency. Top Army and Marine Corps commanders told the Senate Armed Services Committee recently that women should register, and a bill has been introduced in Congress requiring eligible women to sign up for the military draft. The issue is stirring some controversy, as VOA’s Bernard Shusman reports from New York.
    Video

    Video Lessons Learned From Ebola Might Help Fight Zika

    Now that the Ebola epidemic has ended in West Africa, Zika has the world's focus. And, as Carol Pearson reports, health experts and governments are applying some of the lessons learned during the Ebola crisis in Africa to fight the Zika virus in Latin America and the Caribbean.
    Video

    Video Smartphone Helps Grow Vegetables

    One day, you may be using your smartphone to grow your vegetables. A Taipei-based company has developed a farm cube — a small, enclosed ecosystem designed to grow plants indoors. The environment inside is automatically adjusted by the cube, but it can also be controlled through an app. VOA's Deborah Block has more on the gardening system.
    Video

    Video Illinois Voters Have Mixed Emotions on Obama’s Return to Springfield

    On the ninth anniversary of the launch of his quest for national office, President Barack Obama returned to Springfield, Illinois, to speak to the Illinois General Assembly, where he once served as state senator. His visit was met with mixed emotions by those with a front-row seat on his journey to the White House. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.
    Video

    Video Exhibit Turns da Vinci’s Drawings Into Real Objects

    In addition to being a successful artist, Renaissance genius Leonardo da Vinci designed many practical machines, some of which are still in use today, although in different forms. But a number of his projects were never realized — until today. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Heated Immigration Debate Limits Britain’s Refugee Response

    Compared to many other European states, Britain has agreed to accept a relatively small number of Syrian refugees. Just over a thousand have arrived so far -- and some are being resettled in remote corners of the country. Henry Ridgwell reports on why Britain’s response has lagged behind its neighbors.
    Video

    Video Russia's Car Sales Shrink Overall, But Luxury and Economy Models See Growth

    Car sales in Russia dropped by more than a third in 2015 because of the country's economic woes. But, at the extreme ends of the car market, luxury vehicles and some economy brands are actually experiencing growth. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video Jordanian Theater Group Stages Anti-Terrorism Message

    The lure of the self-styled “Islamic State” has many parents worried about their children who may be susceptible to the organization’s online propaganda. Dozens of Muslim communities in the Middle East are fighting back -- giving young adults alternatives to violence. One group in Jordan is using dramatic expression a send a family message. Mideast Broadcasting Network correspondent Haider Al Abdali shared this report with VOA. It’s narrated by Bronwyn Benito
    Video

    Video Civil Rights Pioneer Remembers Struggle for Voting Rights

    February is Black History Month in the United States. The annual, month-long national observance pays tribute to important people and events that shaped the history of African Americans. VOA's Chris Simkins reports how one man fought against discrimination to help millions of blacks obtain the right to vote
    Video

    Video Helping the Blind 'See' Great Art

    There are 285 million blind and visually impaired people in the world who are unable to enjoy visual art at a museum. One New York photographer is trying to fix this situation by making tangible copies of the world’s masterpieces. VOA correspondent Victoria Kupchinetsky was there as visually impaired people got a feel for great art. Joy Wagner narrates her report.