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BBC Monitoring research in English 24 Dec 07
BBC Monitoring Service, UK, Monday, December 24, 2007

Yuriy Lutsenko became interior minister for a second time in December 2007, as his candidacy was approved by parliament along with other ministers of Yuliya Tymoshenko's new cabinet.

Lutsenko is leader of the People's Self-Defence movement and an ally of
President Viktor Yushchenko. He was one of the leaders of the 2004 Orange
Revolution, which brought Yushchenko to power. Lutsenko has strained
relations with the main opposition Party of Regions (PRU).

Several criminal cases were launched against PRU leaders when he became
interior minister for the first time in early 2005, and when he was
dismissed in December 2006, corruption probes were launched against him.
Neither his probes nor the probes against him were brought to conclusion, as no substantial evidence was found.

Born in the western region of Rivne in 1964, he graduated as an electronics
engineer from the Lviv Polytechnic Institute in 1989. Lutsenko's father was
a top Communist party functionary in Rivne Region.

He served as a deputy minister for science and technology in 1997-98. And in
1998-99, he was an aide to the then Prime Minister Valeriy Pustovoytenko.

A member of the Socialist Party since 1991, Lutsenko was an aide to party
leader Oleksandr Moroz and a top member of his campaign team for the 1999
presidential election. For many years he was the editor of the opposition
newspaper Hrani Plyus. He came to national prominence during the Ukraine
Without Kuchma campaign of 2000-01.

He was elected to parliament in 2002 on the Socialist Party list. Lutsenko
was seen as a key figure in the right wing of the Socialist Party, favouring
cooperation with the non-Communist opposition including far-right parties.
Ahead of the 2004 presidential election, Lutsenko was a leading figure in
the election campaign of Oleksandr Moroz.

After Moroz was eliminated in the first round, he backed Viktor Yushchenko
in the run-off. He was one of the "field commanders" in the Orange
Revolution protests that followed the disputed second round, organizing the
protests and addressing protesters from the stage on Independence Square.

After Yushchenko's victory in the third round of the election, Lutsenko was
chosen for the post of interior minister in the first government of Yuliya
Tymoshenko. He defined his task as to clear out corruption from the

He quickly made enemies among the supporters of the former authorities by
launching criminal investigations against Donetsk regional council head
Borys Kolesnykov and former Sumy Region governor Volodymyr Shcherban.
He also launched an investigation into the early activities of Donetsk tycoon
Rinat Akhmetov. However, no charges were filed.

Lutsenko continued to serve as interior minister in the second Orange
government of Yuriy Yekhanurov. Lutsenko did not run in the 2006 parliament
election though he did appear in campaign ads for the Socialist Party.

After the Socialists joined Viktor Yanukovych's Party of Regions and the
Communist in a coalition in summer 2006, Lutsenko criticized Moroz and
threatened to resign. However, Lutsenko eventually agreed to continue as
interior minister under Prime Minister Yanukovych under a deal between the
president and prime minister.

Lutsenko's relations with Yanukovych were strained. Yanukovych regularly
criticized him for combining his post with political activity. Parliament
set up an ad hoc commission to investigate allegations of corruption in the
police force in a critical newspaper article.

Lutsenko was accused of illegally distributing pistols and of using
government flights for private purposes. Lutsenko was eventually dismissed
by parliament on 1 December 2006.

Several weeks later, Lutsenko announced the setting up of the People's
Self-Defence movement. He said that the movement was intended to protect
individuals against the government's economic policy. Lutsenko admitted that
the movement was financed by Davyd Zhvaniya, a Kiev-based tycoon who also
helped organize the Orange Revolution protests.

Lutsenko held a series of rallies across the country, criticizing the
Yanukovych government. Prosecutors meanwhile carried out a high-profile
search of his Kiev flat, saying they were investigating allegations of abuse
of office and reports that Lutsenko had an Israeli passport. The
investigation produced no result and was later suspended by a court ruling.

In April 2007, Lutsenko joined Tymoshenko and the propresidential Our
Ukraine party to urge Yushchenko to dissolve parliament. He topped the Our
Ukraine-People's Self-Defence bloc list for the 30 September 2007 early
parliamentary election. Together with Our Ukraine leader Vyacheslav
Kyrylenko, Lutsenko toured Ukraine for several months, drumming up support
for their bloc.

Lutsenko wanted to return to the post of interior minister, saying that he
would resume his crusade against corruption. The parliamentary majority of
Our Ukraine-People's Self-Defence and the Yuliya Tymoshenko Bloc
approved his return on 18 December 2007.

Lutsenko on 22 December announced that police should focus on five
priorities under his leadership: introducing order on motorways, illegal
migration fighting, eliminating impunity and helping prosecutors to bring
criminal cases to conclusion, efficient use of special police units and
interior troops to guard public order and prevention of confrontation
between regular police and interior troops, which are part of the Interior