Whatever Happened to… Viktor Yushchenko?
17 September, 2015
Whatever Happened to… Viktor Yushchenko?
Do you remember Viktor Yushchenko? Of course you do

If not, here’s a quick reminder: He was the Ukrainian president who rode the wave of so-called color revolutions, along with Georgia’s Mikheil Saakashvili. The Rose Revolution in Georgia, and Orange in Ukraine, were meant to transform the ex-Soviet states into modern democracies.

“He’s living like a szlachta (a collective name for Polish and Ukrainian nobility), in his country estate, surrounded by beehives (Yushchenko is an avid apiarist, to the point of
being derisively nicknamed “Pasechnik,” or Beekeeper, by the Russian-speaking population) and windmills, frothing over his collection of antique items,” says Irakli Gogava, his former adviser.


While Georgia’s Rose Revolution has been hailed as a resounding success, the Orange one, which brought Yushchenko to power, didn’t quite Pan out. It floundered largely due to the country’s sheer size and its deeply entrenched oligarchs, who are none too keen on letting the reins of power slip from their grasp.

But let’s get back to the subject. In 2004, the whole world (well, almost) turned its head toward Yushchenko when he claimed that he’d been poisoned by his opponents and political enemies. While the claim remains unproven, the severely pockmarked face caused by toxin exposure became his most memorable feature – far more memorable, for some, than his political achievements.

Speaking of which, Yushchenko was no stranger to Ukrainian politics before becoming president. He previously served as chairman of Ukraine’s national bank, and as prime minister. But his successful political record took what could only be called a spectacular fall from grace with his own electorate, party, and former colleagues.

The miserable 5.5 percent of votes scrambled in the 2010 presidential elections (the worst result for any sitting president in history) and 1.1 percent in parliamentary elections are enough of a testimony to that. Whether his fall was orchestrated with outside help or was all of his own doing is a matter of perspective, but one thing is certain: Yushchenko didn’t live up to what was expected from him by the West, the good graces of which he won through his promises of sweeping reforms and steering the country towards the path of Euro-Atlantic integration.

But fortunes change, and those who persevere can rise again. That’s exactly the case for ex-President Saakashvili, who, after having to flee Georgia due to facing possible detention and having Interpol (temporarily) out for his blood, is now attempting to repeat the success of the Rose Revolution on a larger scale, acting as a governor of Odessa, Ukraine’s largest port city. Some say he’s even eyeing the post of Prime Minister.

Is there a realistic scenario of similar resurgence for Yushchenko? Apparently not. Among other things, he doesn’t seem very keen. Unlike comrade-turned-rival Yulia Timoshenko, Yushchenko remained largely silent and inactive during the Maidan events, opting for self-imposed political exile.

“He’s living like a szlachta (a collective name for Polish and Ukrainian nobility), in his country estate, surrounded by beehives (Yushchenko is an avid apiarist, to the point of being derisively nicknamed “Pasechnik,” or Beekeeper, by the Russian-speaking population) and windmills, frothing over his collection of antique items,” says Irakli Gogava, his former adviser.

Indeed, political turmoil seems to be the least of his worries now. He spends his days with his family in a village not far from Kiev, tending to land, trees, and livestock, and eating only what he grows himself in his vast fields.

“He had principles that he was reluctant to part with and that cost him dearly many times. But now he can live as he wants and he seems to have found inner peace,” concludes his former advisor. It’s hard not to agree. It does look like Yushchenko, after bidding politics farewell, and all the wiser from past shortcomings, is enjoying his retirement.

It’s not the triumphant happy ending that he would, have surely liked, but still, it’s a fate some of his contemporaries might be envying.


Originally published here

Print
Other Stories
Zelensky let the genie (Saakashvili) out of the bottle and will regret it many times, Ukrainian media
Stories about former President of Georgia and former governor of Odessa Mikheil Saakashvili are always contradicting, but in Ukraine it became clear that he is no longer needed and he has no support among the people.
Grim Reaper walks around Florida beach
Daniel Uhlfelder, a lawyer and campaigner for public beach access surprised not only the Floridians, but also whole world with his unusual way to protest beach reopening.
2020 NATO-Georgia military drills under question
NATO military drills in Georgia are under question as no one knows when the coronavirus pandemic ends.
French L’Opinion calls European countries to learn from small ones, like Georgia
The French newspaper L’Opinion publishes an article describing global fight against coronavirus and how small countries manage the corona crisis.
The US’ FDA approves emergency use of drug remdesivir
The experimental drug remdesivir has been approved to treat hospitalized patients with severe Covid-19, the US Food and Drug Administration said in a letter, CNN reports.
Mikheil Saakashvili will not be appointed as a Vice PM in Ukraine
Former President of Georgia and ex-governor of Odessa region Mikheil Saakashvili will not be appointed as a deputy Prime Minister in charge of reforms in the Government of Ukraine,
COVID-19 Geopolitics and Oil Market “Black Tuesday”: Tendency or Regularity
Recent “Black Oil Tuesday” has drastically shifted the balance of energy resources deliveries and caused additional landslide of global economic development.
China and Russia unite against the US labs in former Soviet countries
China has complained that U.S. laboratories in former Soviet states could pose a public health risk, one day after a Russian official made the same allegation,
Mikheil Saakashvili may not become Ukraine Vice PM
The Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine will not submit to the Verkhovna Rada this week the candidacy of Mikheil Saakashvili for the post of Deputy Prime Minister for Reforms,
Fow News mistakes Georgia, US state for Marneuli, Georgia
Fow News has recently mistakenly used videos from Marneuli municipality in Georgia instead of the US state Georgia’s while speaking about rising number of protests to end the lockdown in the country.
3.2 million could die due to coronavirus in the most crisis-affected countries
The world could see up to 1 billion infections and 3.2 million deaths due to COVID-19 throughout the pandemic in 34 crisis-affected countries like Afghanistan, Syria, and Yemen, International Rescue Committee (IRC) reports.
Coronavirus vaccine may cost $13 if successful
The University of Oxford is developing a vaccine for coronavirus, hAdOx1 nCoV-19
Pandemic far from over, WHO chief says
WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said on Monday that the new coronavirus pandemic was far from over and the impact of the disruption of normal health services worries him deeply.
Up to 10 people die in every 24 hours, Georgian in the US says
Even though coronavirus has covered almost the whole world since December late last year, some still characterize it as a usual flu or influenza.
Countries worldwide start to ease coronavirus restrictions
As coronavirus cases increase gradually worldwide, some countries still decide to ease restrictions to avoid problems like economic collapse.
Frescos of Putin, Stalin to decorate new Russian military temple
The walls of the main temple dedicated to the Armed Forces of Russia, the construction of which ends in the Patriot park near Moscow, will be decorated with mosaics depicting Vladimir Putin, Sergei Shoygu and Joseph Stalin
World leaders pledge to accelerate COVID-19 drug, vaccine, Reuters reports
World leaders pledged on Friday to accelerate work on tests, drugs and vaccines against COVID-19 and to share them around the globe,
Saakashvili’s appointment may shadow Georgian-Ukrainian relations, Georgian Parliament speaker says
The Chairman of the Parliament of Georgia Archil Talakvadze sent a letter to the Speaker of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine Dmytro Razumkov denouncing the possible appointment of the former President of Georgia Mikhail Saakashvili to the post of Vice Prime Minister of Ukraine.
PM Gakharia threatens to withdraw ambassador from Ukraine is Saakashvili becomes Vice PM
Georgian PM Giorgi Gakharia made strong and resolute statement about appointing former Georgian president Mikheil Saakashvili as Vice Prime Minister in Ukraine.
Mikheil Saakashvili accepts the post of Vice Prime Minister of Ukraine
The former head of the Odessa region and ex-president of Georgia Mikheil Saakashvili agreed with the proposal of the President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky
The US considering WHO replacement, Reuters reports
The US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Washington may never restore WHO funding and could even work to set up an alternative to the U.N. body instead, Reuters reports.
US Ambassador to the OSCE calls Russia to halt “borderization”
US Ambassador to the OSCE, James Gilmore addresses process of illegal borderization by Russia in Georgia
Terrible situation in Russian hospital, writes patient
COVID-19 is a great challenge for every country, but for some, it is even bigger than it seems.
I will not attack Zelensky, Saakashvili claims
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky offered former President and Governor of Odessa Mikheil Saakashvili to become vice-prime minister of the Ukrainian government in charge of reforms.
UN warns of pandemic becoming human rights crisis
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said the coronavirus pandemic is ''a human crisis that is fast becoming a human rights crisis'', DW reports.
PHOTO OF THE DAY
GEL Exchange Rate
Convertor
11.08.2020
12.08.2020
USD
1
USD
3.0743
3.0747
EUR
1
EUR
3.6138
3.6272
GBP
1
GBP
4.0061
4.0294
RUB
100
RUB
4.1709
4.2244
Other Stories
Terrifying accident that took place in Georgia’s one of the most popular Gudauri
La La Land was mistakenly announced as having won Best Picture at the 89th Annual Academy Awards, but the honor actually belonged to Moonlight.
President Donald Trump promised a new era guided by one principle – "only America first"
Iconic pop star George Michael has passed away at the age of 53 on Sunday, December 25th.
Angelina Jolie has filed for divorce from Brad Pitt citing "irreconcilable differences", the actress's lawyer has confirmed.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has denounced a coup attempt as an "act of treason"
A lorry racing into a crowd after Bastille Day celebrations in the French city of Nice has killed at least 84 people, injuring at least 18 more
A gun and bomb attack on Istanbul's Ataturk international airport has killed 36 people and injured more than 140 others, BBC reports.
Georgian journalist Ketevan Kardava took photos of the immediate aftermath of the Brussels attacks one week ago today.
At least 70 people - mostly women and children - have been killed at a crowded park in Pakistan in a suicide blast
GEL Exchange
USD
1
USD
3.0747
EUR
1
EUR
3.6272
GBP
1
GBP
4.0294
RUB
100
RUB
4.2244
August 2020
Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat Sun
1 2
3 4 5 6 7 8 9
10 11 12 13 14 15 16
17 18 19 20 21 22 23
24 25 26 27 28 29 30
31