Ukraine: Yulia Tymoshenko sentenced to 7 years Jail

Former Prime Minister of Ukraine, Yulia Tymoshenko, 50, was recently was sentenced to seven years in prison for abuse of office. Some vital facts:

  • Born in November 1960, Tymoshenko shot to fame when she helped lead the “Orange Revolution” street protests in Kiev in 2004-05 that doomed President Viktor Yanukovich’s first bid for power.
  • Her peasant-style hairbraid has become her political trademark. She is known for fiery speeches in which she portrays herself as Ukraine’s savoir from corruption and criminality.
  • Her early involvement in the gas industry in the 1990s, after Ukraine had gained its independence with the break-up of the Soviet Union, earned her the nickname “gas princess.”
  • She entered parliament in 1996 and was made a deputy prime minister in charge of the energy sector in 2000 by the new premier, Viktor Yushchenko.
  • Since losing to Yanukovich in her bid for the presidency, she has been out of parliament.
  • Why in Jail? It was alleged that she abused her power by railroading the state energy firm, Naftogaz, into signing a gas import agreement with Russia in 2009. The Yanukovich leadership says this saddled Ukraine with an exorbitant price for supplies of Russian gas. She was sentenced to seven years, in a lengthy judgment at the end of a three-month trial that has polarized society in the former Soviet republic.

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