Yulia Tymoshenko. Photo: SERGEI SUPINSKY/AFP/Getty Images

Yulia Tymoshenko has had a varied career. She started off working as an economist and academic before becoming involved in the gas industry. This led to her becoming one of the wealthiest people in the Ukraine.

She went on to become involved in politics and was one of the co-leaders of the Orange Revolution, a series of rallies and protests in the Ukraine in late 2004. These protests were in response to the general elections of 2004 which were marred in controversy. They ultimately led to another election in 2005 which saw her become the first female Prime Minister of the Ukraine. That year she was named on Forbes magazine list of most influential people. Her tenure was not smooth, however. In-fighting between her and the President led to her government being dismissed by the President.

She went to work immediately to try and gain re-election. In 2007 she won enough votes to lead a coalition government. Her second term as Prime Minister saw more infighting from her own party as well as strong accusations of corruption from her opponents. Ultimately this led to her losing the 2010 election by 3%. After her defeat she decided to run for President of Ukraine. Her campaign was an expensive one: it’s estimated it cost around $150 million. Ultimately she lost this election by less than 3%.

Almost immediately after this members of her party and her supporters accused the opposition of vote rigging during the election.Tymoshenko herself faced corruption charges the following year. She was accused of embezzlement as well as abuse of power while Prime Minister. The European Parliament condemned these charges. Even so, she was found guilty in 2011 and sentenced to seven years in prison. During her time in prison she went on a couple of hunger strikes in protest. Her sentence was viewed by many world politicians as a politically motivated decision and was condemned. She was eventually released in 2014.

Since her release she has stayed involved in politics in Ukraine and is leading the party once again. She is aiming to run in the next general election.

-Michelle O’Brien
Junior Girl
Girl Museum Inc.

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