Welcome to the U.S.-Ukraine Business Council

BBC Monitoring research in English 7 Dec 07
BBC Monitoring Service, UK, December 7, 2007

In a six-year career in public service, newly-elected parliament speaker
Arseniy Yatsenyuk has worked as foreign minister, deputy head of the
presidential secretariat, Ukraine's economics minister, Crimean economics
minister, acting chairman of the National Bank of Ukraine (NBU) and deputy
head of the Odessa regional state administration.

Born in Chernivtsi in 1974, Yatsenyuk graduated from the law department of
Chernivtsi University and the economics department of Kiev Trade and
Economics University. He founded a law firm while still a student.

In 1998, Yatsenyuk moved to Kiev to work for Aval Bank, first as a
consultant with the lending department and then as deputy board chairman.

In late 2001, Yatsenyuk left Aval Bank to join the government of Crimean
Prime Minister Valeriy Horbatov as economics minister. Yatsenyuk was
reportedly viewed as a star of the government, winning plaudits for his
clarity of expression and organizational skills.

When Serhiy Tyhypko was appointed head of the NBU in late 2002, Yatsenyuk
was recalled to Kiev to work as his first deputy. When Tyhypko took leave to
run the presidential campaign of then Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych in
July 2004, Yatsenyuk became acting NBU head.

During the crisis that followed the disputed second round of the election,
Yatsenyuk impressed many with his performance when he managed to maintain
the stability of the country's banking system despite the political turmoil.
He insisted that the NBU would remain politically neutral and boasted that
the bank was working like a "Swiss clock" at the time.

After Tyhypko quit as NBU head, Yatsenyuk was poised to replace him, but, a
former NBU head close to President Viktor Yushchenko, Volodymyr Stelmakh,
got the post.

In February 2005, Yatsenyuk together with the NBU's deputy board chairman,
Oleksandr Shlapak, and the director of the general department, Vadym
Pushkaryov, submitted their resignations citing differences with Stelmakh
over the future development of the domestic banking system.

In March 2005, Yatsenyuk was appointed deputy to the then Odessa regional
governor, Vasyl Tsushko.

On 27 September 2005 Yatsenyuk was appointed Ukraine's economics minister.
In an interview shortly after the appointment, he said that the economy was
in a poor state and promised to do everything possible to restore stability.

As economics minister, Yatsenyuk was praised for a tough stance in talks
with the EU on anti-dumping duties on the import of Ukrainian pipes, which
resulted in the duty's decrease by 2 per cent.

Yatsenyuk also managed to talk the Russians into the complete abolition of a
similar duty. A breakthrough in the talks with the USA on Ukraine's joining
the WTO was also believed to be Yatsenyuk's success.

Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko's faith in Yatsenyuk as a promising
politician became evident on 20 September 2006 when Yatsenyuk was appointed
deputy head of the presidential secretariat and the president's
representative to the Cabinet of Minister of Ukraine. On 25 September 2006,
Yushchenko signed a decree making Yatsenyuk responsible for supervision of
the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU).

Such a show of faith gave grounds to suppose that, by granting Arseniy
Yatsenyuk such powers and giving him control over spheres in which he had
no experience, the president was bringing him to the forefront of Ukrainian
politics and preparing Yatsenyuk for higher offices.

This proved to be true on 20 March 2007, when Yushchenko nominated
Yatsenyuk for the post of Ukrainian foreign minister after the ruling coalition had
twice rejected the candidacy of career diplomat Volodymyr Ohryzko. On 21
March 2007, 426 MPs in the 450-seat parliament confirmed Yatsenyuk as
foreign minister.

He is a state official of the first rank and has the rank of ambassador.

Yatsenyuk's election as parliament speaker on 4 December made him the
youngest chairman of the Supreme Council (parliament) in Ukraine's recent
history and one of the youngest parliament leaders in the world.

This fact triggered a flurry of media reports about his amazing career,
family, childhood, interests and hobbies. Yatsenyuk is married and has two
daughters. He reportedly loves cars (he drives a Skoda and a Mercedes) and
electronic gadgets, from cell phones to laptops.

He is fond of classical Ukrainian literature and speaks fluent English. He
is very modest about food and, as foreign minister, often flew economy
class. As speaker, he drives without a police escort.