Yushchenko Viktor Andriyovych – Exclusive interview for the magazine “Fashion of diplomacy”


Viktor Yushchenko, a banker and incorrigible aesthete-Ukrainophile, a former Chairman of the National Bank of Ukraine, a former Head of the Ukrainian government, who, not without a reason, was considered to be reformatory at the beginning of the 2000s, the “father” of the hryvnia, which had not diminished yet, became the President of Ukraine in 2005.

His ascension to the throne was preceded by a series of dramatic and not very safe for the state events, which were called the “Orange Revolution” or the first Maidan. That was in November and December of 2004, when our Homeland almost split along the boundaries of the old Hetmanate.

Yushchenko Viktor Andriyovych - Exclusive interview for the magazine "Fashion of diplomacy"

Yushchenko declared his presidential ambitions when Leonid Kuchma’s days were nearly over. Yushchenko’s reformatory activity in a position of the Prime Minister and Chairman of the National Bank of Ukraine worked in his favour.

– I got the post of the Head of government when all of you received salaries in millions of coupon-karbovantzs… when there was barter… when there was nothing to pay pensions with… I broke this system…” — says the third President.

Yushchenko Viktor Andriyovych - Exclusive interview for the magazine "Fashion of diplomacy"

Kuchma made a controversial, but a powerful capitalistic revolution in the economy and greatly Ukrainisized the humanitarian sphere in the country. This proved to be enough for a “middle class” of a new sort to emerge in Ukraine — people, in whose environment there was access to the Internet, internship in the USA and involvement in the world artistic events, perfectly and calmly corresponded with wearing an embroidered Ukrainian shirt and interest in Ukrainian ethnography and Ukrainian history.

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These people wanted another country — they were not satisfied with the post-Soviet, soft-authoritarian Leonid Kuchma’s style. They wanted to go to Europe without visas. Putin’s Russia did not attract them at all and did not look as the land of promise in their sight. They did not comprise the majority in Ukraine-2004, they were political minority, but a passionate and determined minority. And they saw their president in the banker, who was in love with the hetman and Trypillian antiquities. It is thanks to these people Yushchenko won — their standing on the freezing Maidan, their determination and persistency, multiplied by the fact that Kuchma was tired of the power and that Akhmetov’s clan did not get used to behaving impudently and adultly outside Donbass, made Viktor Yushchenko the third President of independent Ukraine.

There was a very quick disenchantment with him. Those who stood on the Maidan wanted a miracle — they wanted now, here and desirably immediately. The miracle did not hurry to Ukraine and Yushchenko was accused of this. His delicacy began to be considered weakness, his endurance — indecisiveness, and admiration for Ukrainian antiquity – an unnecessary lord’s whim. From the folk’s deification to folk’s censuring there was not a step, but half a step — even the commemoration of the Holodomor victims, which during Yushchenko’s reign became a state event, turned into an object of cynical and rather ugly jokes. However President Yushchenko was well aware of all the challenges facing Ukraine. First of all, geopolitical ones:

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– Such a neighbourhood as we have nobody in Europe has… The history of our relations with neighbours is too difficult and too bloody… Once I advised the President of Russia in order to better understand the history of Ukraine, to watch Jerzy Hoffman’s film “Fire and Sword”… Two episodes… In the first series the Ukrainians cut the Poles, in the second — the Poles cut the Ukrainians… Blood flows like a river…

Yushchenko Viktor Andriyovych - Exclusive interview for the magazine "Fashion of diplomacy"

It is now customary to say that Yushchenko was a weak President and a weak politician. However, in 2007, he disbanded the Verkhovna Rada because the parliament gradually but inevitably turned into a deadly for Ukraine alliance of Donetsk gangsters with the left parties’ representatives. Disbanded, without having the necessary powers. A similar voluntarist step surprised former supporters and shocked the opponents.

Since 2004 Ukraine has found itself on the verge of a serious civil conflict for the second time. The Donetsk clan and the left parties tried to organize their own Maidan, but it turned out to be surprisingly notorious and secondary — as well as everything that comes from resentment. Fights among people of different political preferences broke out in the capital’s centre. The internal armed forces, which that “weak” President brought out of the command of the Ministry of Internal Affairs and moved directly under his own control, went for Kyiv.

However, then it did not come to blood. At night of the Trinity 2007 negotiations between Yushchenko, for one part, and Oleksandr Moroz (from the left-wingers) and Viktor Yanukovych (from the Donetsk clan) for the other part, took place. They agreed on something. Donetsk communist Maidan disbanded home. The internal armed forces returned to the barracks. Evil tongues and arrogant politicians are keen to say that it was that night when it was decided that Yushchenko would convey power to Yanukovych, which, finally, happened in 2010.

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The majority of Ukrainians like to remember the five years of the third President’s reign as a blatantly wasted time, forgetting about the return of historical memory, the commemoration of the most sad and tragic events at the state level (for the first time in the history of independent Ukraine) and, finally, about the creation of a bank credit system of the European model in Ukraine.

Yushchenko Viktor Andriyovych - Exclusive interview for the magazine "Fashion of diplomacy"

Yes, of course, there were a few loud failures – first of all in foreign politics. In domestic politics, too many people censured the President because he did not press the left-wingers and Donetsk ones, doing nothing for his own part. One way or another, but Ukrainian Ukraine (sorry for the tautology) increased during the reign of the third President. It is this Ukrainian Ukraine, that finished school and went to colleges between 2005 and 2010, became the main militant force of the second Maidan and the first Ukrainian-Russian war in the twenty-first century…