Viktor A. Yushchenko was born on February 23, 1954 in Khoruzhivka, Sumy Oblast, Ukraine into a family of teachers. In 1975, Mr. Yushchenko graduated from the Ternopil Finance and Economics Institute and returned in 1976 to Sumy, where he worked as an economist and department chief at the regional affiliate of the USSR State Bank.
In 1984, Mr. Yushchenko obtained his graduate degree in Finance and Credit from the Ukrainian Institute of Economics and Agricultural Management. Shortly thereafter, he moved to Kyiv and was appointed Deputy Director for Agricultural Crediting at the Ukrainian Republican Office of the USSR State Bank, a position he held from 1985-1987. Moving to the Ukrainian Agro-Industrial Bank, Mr. Yushchenko served first as Department Director (1987-1991), and later as Deputy Chairman of the Board of Directors (1991-1993). At that time, he was also First Deputy Chairman of the Board at Bank Ukrayina.
In 1993-1999, Mr. Yushchenko was Governor of the National Bank of Ukraine (NBU). As head of one of Europe’s newest central banks, Mr. Yushchenko played a key role in developing that institution’s monetary, fiscal and credit policies. Mr. Yushchenko helped establish the underpinnings of a solid banking system in newly independent Ukraine. Under his tutelage, an effective system of payments was established, as were the Ukrainian Banknote Factory and the Ukrainian Mint. He also oversaw introduction of the Hryvnia, Ukraine’s national currency, in 1996, and promulgated policies that substantially mitigated the impact of the 1998 Russian Ruble Crash upon the Hryvnia and Ukraine’s economy as a whole.
Mr. Yushchenko is best known within the international community for his record as Prime Minister of Ukraine. Confirmed by Parliament in December 1999, he served through April 2001 and, in 16 months in office, oversaw a series of key economic reforms that brought rudimentary order to help turn around Ukraine’s then-struggling economy. As Prime Minister, Mr. Yushchenko restored a measure of public trust in government by cementing fiscal discipline; paying off enormous pension, wage and other social arrears; eliminating unjustified state subsidies; improving conditions for foreign and domestic investment; and implementing land reform that yielded an impressive rise in output and the beginnings of affordable, market-based agriculture financing. He also brought a welcome measure of openness and forthrightness in governance, and pursued administrative and tax reform throughout his term.
In January 2002 Viktor Yushchenko united a broad range of democratic parties and groups to create “Our Ukraine,” an electoral coalition that was the hands down winner at the Parliament elections that year, gaining a quarter of all votes cast in party list voting and forming the largest parliamentary faction with 99 MPs in the 450-seat legislature.
In 1997, Mr. Yushchenko received the prestigious Global Finance Award as the one of the world top 5 central bankers. He is an Academic at the National Academy of Economic Sciences of Ukraine and the Academy of Economic Cybernetics, in addition to holding honorary doctorates from the National University of Kyiv-Mohyla Academy and the Ostroh Academy.
Married, with three daughters, two sons and two grandsons - Irina and Victor, Mr. Yushchenko is a benefactor of music and the arts. In his spare time he raises bees, collects antiques from Ukrainian village life, skis, paints landscapes, works with wood, and sculpts.