Welcome to the U.S.-Ukraine Business Council

U.S.-Ukraine Business Council (USUBC) Monitoring Service
Complied from a wide variety of news and other sources
Kyiv, Ukraine, Wednesday, December 26, 2007

KYIV - Ukraine's new Cabinet of Ministers, is composed of 25 nominees of
the Bloc of Yulia Tymoshenko (BYUT) and NUNS (Our Ukraine - People's
Defense bloc) plus two ministers constitutionally-mandated to the president, and four ministers for whom no party/bloc affiliation is shown in the initial

While BYUT and NUNS are fairly balanced so far as numbers of ministries, the strongest ministries are all in the hands on BYUT. Moreover, the evidence strongly suggests that the Cabinet was composed with an eye toward keeping the spotlight on the prime minister.

The first and most evident change in the new Cabinet, when comparing it to
its immediate predecessor, is the number of vice prime ministers, less than
half the previous number.

In addition, there is no specific designation of areas of responsibility for
either of the vice prime ministers. Judging from the backgrounds of the
VPMs, it appears possible they will serve as troubleshooters who will deal
with problems on an assignment basis.

[1] First Vice Prime Minister Oleksandr Turchynov - long-time Tymoshenko
confidant Turchynov served as Ukrainian Security Service (SBU) head in the
previous Tymoshenko government until he was forced out after Tymoshenko's

Turchynov stated publicly after his removal in an RFE/RL interview that
President Viktor Yushchenko himself ordered a halt to some of the SBU's

This is considered of importance because of the current very bad public odor
of RosUkrEnergo, the intermediary that handles gas deliveries to Ukraine.
Turchynov said that an SBU investigation had led to plans to arrest Yuriy
Boyko, the former head of Naftohaz Ukrainy.

Turchynov stated that Yushchenko told him in mid-August 2005 to stop
"persecuting my men" and that the investigation of RosUkrEnergo was
"creating a conflict with Russian President Vladimir Putin."

In many previous governments, the first vice prime minister has been given
responsibility for the fuel-energy sector but it is unclear if this pattern
will obtain in the new government. Some observers suggest that keeping
Turchynov out of this area may have been a part of the deal-cutting that
finally saw the second Tymoshenko government approved.

[2] Vice Prime Minister Ivan Vasyunyk - Vasyunyk, closely associated
with Yushchenko as deputy chief of staff in the Yushchenko premiership,
also has been near the top in the Yushchenko presidential secretariat.

He should be considered the president's top representative in the new
government. Long associated with the Institute of Reforms, Vasyunyk is
also close to FinMin Pynzenyk. Vasyunyk has been in on the action for
some time and is expected to continue his active role for the President.

[3] Vice Prime Minister Grygoriy Nemyria - considered by many one of the
brightest stars in the new Cabinet, Nemyria brings to the Cabinet a very
sharp mind and excellent political skills.

He is generally regarded as the principal architect of Tymoshenko's
parliamentary election success and is expected to have very substantial
impact on Tymoshenko's decision-making.

He has been and is likely to remain the man at Tymoshenko's elbow in
difficult situations requiring speedy and correct decisions. His
effectiveness as an international press spokesman and in dealing with
international political and trade matters is enhanced considerably by his
fluent command of English.  He is well known in Washington and
has made an excellent impression there. 

Hopefully VMP Nemyria will find a way for the Tymoshenko government
to solve the long-running issue between the U.S. government's Overseas
Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) and the government of Ukraine.
The economic development programs of OPIC has been closed for
Ukraine for some time because of the lack of response from the
government of Ukraine.

[4] Minister of Science and Education Ivan Vakarchuk - the 60 year old
Vakarchuk is highly regarded as an intellectual and education expert, hold
a Ph.D. in physics. A nominee of Our Ukraine - People defense bloc, is
expected to be a strong voice for spending on education, particularly
Ukraine's universities. A nominee of the Our Ukraine - People's Defense

[5] Minister of Transport Yosyp Vinsky - a former member of the Rada's
Socialist bloc who was expelled for his disagreement with Moroz's actions
in 2006 that led to Yanukovych's return as prime minister.

He joins the Cabinet as a BYuT nominee and will take over the ministry is
extremely important financially and politically because of its immense
ownership of state assets and its importance in implementing some of the
promises made for Euro-2012. Since leaving the Socialists, has become a
Tymoshenko loyalist. 

This is a key ministry in terms of Ukraine's economic development and
strong leadership is needed.  Ukraine air safety laws do not meet
international standards and need to be brought in line with such standards

[6] Minister of Culture and Tourism Vasyl Vovkun -- a nominee of Our
Ukraine - People defense bloc, Vovkun's agency has usually been an
underfunded backwater. However, the agency takes greater prominence
with his appointment and should attract substantially greater funding in
the buildup to Euro-2012.

Vovkun is very close to President Yushchenko and has produced and
managed many large functions and events for the President and the
Presidential Administration. He is a strong personality and knows how to
get things accomplished quickly....is a can-do person. Vovkun is expected
to be a very strong Minister of Culture and to bring new life and vitality to
this Ministry.

[7] Minister of the Economy Bogdan Danylyshyn - A noted academician,
Danylyshyn was head of the Council on Productive Forces Studies of the
National Academy of Sciences.

He is a co-author of a wide range of important government documents, such as
the Strategic Evaluation and Recommendations on the National Environmental
Policy of Ukraine.

Danylyshyn is thought to have been for quite some time very closely allied
with Vitaliy Hayduk, former National Security Council head and co-owner of
The Industrial Union of Donbas, which may provide a considerable insight
into the appointment of this non-political academician into one of the most
critical jobs in government.

[8] Minister of Labor and Social Policy Lydmyla Denysova - A BYuT nominee,
Denysova is close to Tymoshenko, who considers Denysova a great specialist
in pension reform. Educated as a teacher, Denysova worked as a kindergarten

However, she went on to become one of the most influential people in the
Autonomous Republic of Crimea, serving at various times as Economy
Minister, Finance Minister, and Head of State Treasury Administration.

Also, she was involved in private business, serving as head of the
supervisory board of Gumatex corporation, a manufacturer of technological
textiles. She and the Crimean businessman and television station owner,
Andriy Senchenko, were early supporters of Tymoshenko in Crimea in 2005.

[9] Minister of Defense Yuri Yekhanurov - in one of the two ministries still
controlled directly by the president, Yekhanurov is a highly regarded
professional who has served in a wide range of top positions, including
about a year as prime minister, succeeding Tymoshenko when she was fired.

Yekhanurov has little previous experience in defense, but is considered a
highly competent manager and is a Yushchenko confidant.

[10] Minister of Health Vasyl Knyazevych - a 51 year old medical doctor -
graduate of Ivano-Frankivsk Medical University, with a long history in
hands-on medical practice with increasing levels of responsibility until he
joined the State Affairs Administration in 2005, later being promoted to
deputy head of that agency.

Said to be well-liked in the medical community, he also has a friend at
court; he has been President Yushchenko's personal physician. He is a Our
Ukraine - People's Defense nominee.

[11] Minister of the Cabinet of Ministers Petro Krupko - Krupko returns to a
position he held previously - he served later as deputy justice minister -
with one of the most complete financial disclosures among nominees. He and
his immediate family is reported to have earned 575,258.19 UAH in 2007 from
a number of sources.

A BYuT, this position usually calls for someone close to the PM - Krupko
qualifies in that regard - who is capable of being the enforcer of the PM's
policies among the ministries.

[12] Minister of Reg'nl Development/Construction Vasyl Kuybida - Kuybida a
former Lviv mayor, is considered an expert on local governance. Born in
Russia into a family of political prisoners in 1958, he graduated in applied
mathematics and mechanics, and was leading engineer at "Ukrcivilproekt"

A founder of the Ukrainian Language Society and Rukh, Kiybida was elected
mayor of Lviv in 1994, re-elected in 1998.

A strong internationalist [he speaks English, Czech, Polish and Bulgarian]
and writer, he is a member of the national commission on UNESCO affairs, the
author of several books of poetry, and hold state awards from Ukraine,
Lithuania and the Vatican.

[13] Minister of Household and Utilities Infrastructure Oleksiy Kucherenko -
Born Vinnytsya, 1961, studied computer science and applied mathematics as
undergraduate before taking Ph.D. in Institute of Sociology.

Worked in increasingly responsible positions including head of  Zaporizhya
state administration; president of "AvtoKRAZ" holding company, one of
Ukraine's leading trucks manufacturers; head of State committee of Household
and Utilities; long time deputy chair of the Rada Committee of fuel and
energy complex, nuclear policy and safety. A nominee of Our Ukraine -
People's Defense bloc.

[14] Minister of Internal Affairs Yuriy Lutsenko - Born 1954, Rivne;
graduate in electrical engineering from Lviv Polytech; became chief designer
at Rivne's Hazotron plant before becoming involved in politics.

From a strong Communist family [his father Vitaly Lutsenko, had been
secretary of the Central Committee of Communist Party of Ukraine], Lutsenko
was active in Socialists [1996 - 1998 - Secretary of Social Party of Ukraine
political council].

Became Minister of Internal Affairs as nominee of Socialists, but in 2006
broke with Socialists; later became head of Our Ukraine - Peoples Defense
bloc. Expected to be (or attempt to be) an agent of change in a ministry
that doesn't deal well with changes.

[15] Minister of Agrarian Policy Yuri Melnyk - Born 1962 in Cherkasy region;
long history of study [Ph.D. in Agrarian Science] and work in agriculture,
primarily livestock, cattle breeding and dairy; held increasingly
responsible positions in Ag Ministry; made vice prime minister in Oct 2005;
Aug 2006 made Ag Policy Minister. Only member of the Yanukovych cabinet
to remain in place....has supported severe grain export controls and other
non-market agricultural polices in the past. Hopefully this will change.

[16] Minister of Industrial Policy Volodymyr Novytskiy - Novytskiy is a
specialist in technical processing of oil and gas with a Ph.D. in the field.
Has seen long service in the ministry he now heads, moves up from a position
as deputy minister.

[17] Minister of Justice Mykola Onischuk - Born 1957, Zhytomyr region; law
grad of Kyiv's Shevchenko State University. Earned Ph.D. in legal science
and has published over 40 scientific publications on legal regulation of
economic relations.

As Rada member, he was the first Deputy Head of Verkhovna Rada Committee
on legal policy and worked repeatedly as a member of temporary investigation
commissions, including investigation of possible financial support of 2004
presidential election by Russian tycoon Borys Berezovsky.

[18] Minister of Foreign Affairs Volodymyr Ogryzko - considered one of the
most competent foreign affairs professionals in recent years, Ogryzko was
previously nominated for the job by Yushchenko, but the nomination was
rejected twice by the parliament. The turndown was considered more a jab at
Yushchenko than any question about Ogryzko's highly regarded competence.

Under Ogryzko, the foreign ministry is expected to be run in a highly
organized and professional way, doing everything possible to avoid the
political battles that sank a recent predecessor, Borys Tarasyuk. Even so,
Ogryzko will be a lightning rod for the opposition because of his strong
support of NATO membership and other westward looking initiatives.

[19] Minister of Family, Sports and Youth Yuriy Pavlenko - Born 1975 in
Kyiv; master's degree from the Presidential Academy in state governance;
laster degree in this field from North London University. Worked in wide
range of public relations and event management positions; October 1995 till
March 1997 - journalist, commentator, presenter of "TV-Tabachuk" studio.

Appointed a Minister of Family, Sports and Youth, Sept 2005; August 4,
2006 - March 1, 2007 -the second term on a Minister of Family, Sports and

[20] Minister of Finance Viktor Pynzenyk - Was founder and long-time head of
the Institute of Reforms. Very well known and with years of previous Cabinet
experience, Pynzenyk has become closer to Tymoshenko recently and is
expected to be a loyal and effective spear carrier in this government.

He has the major advantage of being on a first name basis with many in the
United States and European governments.  Minister Pynzenyk needs to find
a way to solve Ukraine's non-payment of VAT refunds quickly. 

Several large agricultural trading companies for instance are owned over
$250 million with payment falling up to one year behind.  Ukraine is the
worst country in the world in terms of paying back VAT refunds.  This
needs to change immediately.

Hopefully Pynzenyk will be the person to find a way to stop the massive
corruption and non-repayment of VAT found today in Ukraine.

[21] Minister of Coal Industry Viktor Poltavets - Born 1937. Considered a
legendary figure person in Ukrainian coal industry; organizer of several
world records in coalmining during USSR. Holder of several academic degrees
and served as a Minister of Coalmining of USSR. Later, built up the coalmine
industry in Vietnam.

Was Ukraine's minister of coal industry in 1995-95, but resigned because of
government inaction. Since November 1999, worked as a Director of
"Luhanskdiproshakht", State project institute for projection of coal
industry enterprises.

[22] Minister of Fuel and Energy Yuriy Prodan - Born 1959; Norilsk, Russia.
Graduate in electric station engineering; followed by decades of work in all
field of electrical engineering. Most recently: 2001-2004 - The Head of
National commission of on Electric energy regulation; 2005-2006 - First
Deputy Minister of Fuel and Energy, president of Energokompaniya Ukrayiny.

Prior to becoming minister, was deputy secretary of National Security and
Defense Council (NSDC). While working in NSDC criticized the Ministry of
Yuriy Boyko for the initiative directed at electricity prices reduction for
large industrial companies.

[23] Minister of Environmental Protection Georgiy Filipchuk - Born 1950 in
Chernivtsi region. Graduate teacher of history with long experience in
classrooms. Was Yushchenko's confidant during presidential elections in
2004. Since 2005 General Director of Ukrainian scientific research center
for the issues of standardization, certification and quality.

[24] Minister of Emergencies/Chernobyl Consequences Volodymyr Shandra -
Born 1963, Ternopil region. Graduate, nuclear power-stations department of

Moscow engineering physics institute, worked his way up to lead engineer for
reactor control. From November, 1992 to June, 1998 he was a director of
Small Enterprise "Shar", Slavuta town.

June, 1998 - April, 2002 - head of the board of Slavuta Ruberoid plant. Was
Minister of Industrial Policy under the Tymoshenko and Yekhanurov