Petro Poroshenko is the incumbent President of Ukraine who assumed office on 7 June 2014 as the successor of Oleksandr Turchynov. Formerly, he was Minister of Trade and Economic Development (2011 – 2013), Minister of Foreign Affairs (2008 – 2011) and Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council.
Early Life and Education
Petro Poroshenko was born on 26 September 1965 in Bolhard. Raised in Bendery, Poroshenko, he completed high school education from a local school and joined Kiev State University in 1982. Having completed an undergraduate study in economics from the university, Poroshenko graduated in 1989.
Petro Poroshenko is married to Maryna Poroshenko since 1984. They have four children: Olexiy, Yevheniya, Oleksandra and Mukhaylo.
Always a business-minded and visionary person, Poroshenko founded UkrPromInvest Ukranian Industry and Investment Company in 1993 in collaboration with his father Oleksiy. As the company grew, it became the largest confectionary enterprise in Ukraine. It acquired Roshen group, Bogden group Leninska Kuznya shipyard, 5 Kanal and a few other businesses. As of 2012, Poroshenko was ranked 1153rd in Forbes’ Billionaires List with a net worth of $1 billion. And, as of March 2014, he has a net worth of $1.3 billion. Some other sources say that Petro’s net worth to $720 million in 2015.
Having been a renowned Ukrainian businessman, Petro Poroshenko quickly progressed in the field of Ukrainian politics. He joined politics as a member of Social Democratic Party in 1990. Later, he entered Our Ukrainian Bloc in 2001 and left the party in 2013. A year later, he founded Petro Poroshenko Bloc.
In the 2002 parliamentary election, Our Ukraine Bloc became the largest national party. As a result, under Viktor Yushchenko’s support, he ascended a seat in the parliament and, most importantly, served as head of the parliamentary budget committee. As Yushchenko assumed office as President in 2005, Poroshenko was appointed as Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council on 8 February. However, due to various corruption allegations, Poroshenko had to leave the office seven months later.
Despite controversies and allegations of corruption, Poroshenko ran in the 2006 parliamentary election and was even successful to gain a seat. However, he didn’t intend to run in the 2007 parliamentary election, instead became the head of Council of Ukrainian National Bank. Subsequently, in October 2008, Poroshenko entered Yulia Tymoshenko’s cabinet as Minister of Foreign Affairs. As Tymoshenko quickly left the office, Poroshenko served under acting Prime Minister Oleksandr Turchynov until 19 March 2011. As Mykola Azarov assumed office as the new Prime Minister, Poroshenko joined his cabinet as Minister of Trade and Economic Development.
In December 2013, Petro Poroshenko left the Ministry of Trade and Economic Development to run for President of Ukraine. With campaign slogan ‘Live in a new way – Poroshenko!’, he won the presidential election gaining 54.7% votes in favor. Consequently, Poroshenko officially succeeded Oleksandr Turchynov as President of Ukraine on 7 June 2014.
As Poroshenko was inaugurated, he devised a peace plan for Eastern Ukraine which included Russian recognition of Ukrainian presidential election, a cease-fire between the government and rebel groups and safe humanitarian pathway for the future of Ukrainian civilians. Besides this historical plan, Poroshenko was crucial in constitutional reforms on decentralization of power, dissolution of parliament, nuclear weapons, decommunization and deoligarchisation and corruption. For instance, he stood against acquiring nuclear power and having presence of any communist monuments or names in Ukraine.
Talking about foreign policy, Poroshenko has been very open to the western nations. In June 2014, he met US President Obama and, in 2015, US VPOTUS Joe Biden had an official visit to Kiev. Likewise, he has been calling for stronger diplomatic relations with the European Union, NATO, and other nations from around the world. However, in regard to Russia, Poroshenko seems very aggressive. As of 2014, he doesn’t want any military cooperation with Vladimir Putin.
- Ukraine: Order of Merit
- Moldova: Order of the Republic
- Poland: Order of the White Eagle
- Spain: Order of Civil Merit
- Ukraine: Medal of winner of Ukraine State Prize in Science and Technology
Donald Trump and Petro Poroshenko
Although from different countries, US President Donald Trump and Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko have a similar background: they both are successful businessmen. In the recent years, the relationship between Ukraine and US has strengthened significantly. We might expect a similar kind of situation with Trump and Poroshenko as well. President Trump has vowed to act against bloodshed in order to restore peace in the area. However, it can be speculated that Trump’s inclination towards Vladimir Putin might affect the relationship between US and Ukraine.