Oleh Valeriovich Lyashko (Ukrainian: Олег Валерійович Ляшко; born. 3 December 1972) is a Ukrainian politician and journalist who was a long time member of the Verkhovna Rada and leader of the Radical Party.
|People's Deputy of Ukraine|
25 May 2006 – 12 June 2007
|Constituency||Yulia Tymoshenko Bloc, No.26|
23 November 2007 – 12 December 2012
|Constituency||Yulia Tymoshenko Bloc, No.29|
12 December 2012 – 27 November 2014
|Constituency||Radical Party, Chernihiv Oblast,|
27 November 2014 – 24 July 2019
|Constituency||Radical Party, No.1|
Oleh Valeriovich Lyashko
3 December 1972
Chernihiv, Ukrainian SSR, Soviet Union
|Political party||Batkivshchyna (Before 2012)|
Radical Party (2012–present)
|Spouse(s)||Rosita Sayranen (2018-present)|
|Alma mater||Kharkiv National Pedagogical|
Lyashko was elected as a deputy to the Verkhovna Rada in the 2006 and 2007 parliamentary election for the Yulia Tymoshenko Bloc (YTB) and in the 2012 parliamentary election and 2014 parliamentary election for his Radical Party. Prior to this, he was a journalist.
Lyashko was born in Chernihiv on 3 December 1972, but grew up in the village of Lozovivka in Starobilsk Raion, where his mother lived. When Lyashko was two years old, his parents separated, and his mother was forced to send him to an orphanage. Lyashko studied in three boarding schools: Yablunivskoy, Komarovskaya, and Borznyansky. He worked as a shepherd at the Progress collective farm. After completing his secondary education he went to college to study as a tractor operator. In a September 2015 interview, Lyashko stated that shepherd was his summer job back in 1987-88: he used to travel to Luhansk Oblast by train and earn up to 300 rubles per summer (around US$500 at the time). After that Lyashko would buy clothing and shoes in Starobilsk. When he graduated from boarding school, Lyashko had around 2,000 rubles in savings, the value of which was completely wiped out by post-Soviet inflation.
In 1998 he graduated from the Faculty of Law H.S. Skovoroda Kharkiv National Pedagogical University.
From 1990 till 1992 Lyashko was a correspondent and head of the newspaper Young Guard (based in Kyiv). In 1992 he became an editor of Commerce Herald of the Ministry of Foreign Economic Relations of Ukraine.
On 21 June 1993 Lyashko was arrested and indicted for grand funds embezzlement. On 9 December 1994, the Criminal College of the Kyiv City Court found Lyashko guilty according to articles 86–1, 191, and 194 part 3 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine. The court found Lyashko guilty of embezzlement of 1,300,000 rubles personally, and 1,100,000 roubles collectively with accomplices. Lyashko was sentenced to six years in prison and sequestration of the property. The Supreme Court reduced the time to four years' imprisonment. Lyashko was released in May 1995 under the amnesty due to the "50th anniversary of the Victory over Nazi Germany". In 1998, the criminal case was erased. Lyashko himself claims the case was payback for his critical journalism. He claims that his case was falsified by deputy minister of Internal Affairs Veniamin Bartashevych.
In 1995 and 1996, Lyashko was an editor at the newspapers Politika and Pravda Ukraine. In August 1996, he became Chief Editor of the newspaper Politika. In 1999, the publication was closed by decision of the Moscow District Court in Kyiv for "divulging state secrets". From 2000 till 2006, Lyashko was chief editor of Freedom (for "Newspaper "Policy").
Lyashko was elected as a deputy to the Verkhovna Rada (Ukraine's parliament) in the 2006 parliamentary election for the Yulia Tymoshenko Bloc (YBT) (No. 26 in the party list). During this term he served as Chairman of the Subcommittee on the organization of the Supreme Council of the Parliamentary Committee on Rules, Ethics and maintenance of the parliament.
On 18 October 2010, he was expelled from the YBT faction "for cooperating with the majority coalition". YTB had previously stated that a video leaked a week before would not be the reason for excluding of Lyashko from the faction.
On 8 August 2011, Lyashko was elected the new party leader of the Ukrainian Radical Democratic Party during its third party congress. On the same day, the party changed its name to Radical Party of Oleh Lyashko (shortened to the Radical Party).
In the 2012 parliamentary election, he was re-elected to the Verkhovna Rada after winning single-member constituency number 208 in the Cherninihv Oblast (as candidate of the Radical Party) with 55.57% of the votes. During this term he was Deputy Chairman of the Parliamentary Committee on Finance and Banking. He did not join any faction in parliament.
During the 2014 Crimean crisis, he introduced a bill which proposed to deem the participants of "separatist rallies for joining Russia", as well as those who obstruct the movement of soldiers and military equipment, to be saboteurs and accomplices of the occupiers. At the time of "military aggression" the death penalty should be applied to them. The bill provided for the introduction of a visa regime with Russia, denunciation of the agreements made with this country, the prohibition of the Communist Party of Ukraine and the Party of Regions, called for the EU to ban the entry of Crimean residents with Russian passports and other events.[nb 1]
During the 2014 pro-Russian conflict in Ukraine and two days before the May 25, 2014 presidential election, Lyashko claimed responsibility for the storming of a local government building in Torez (by "Soldiers from the Lyashko Battalion 'Ukraine'") that killed a pro-Russian separatist and supporter of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic while critically wounding another. Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International have condemned the activities of the Lyashko Battalion 'Ukraine' and Lyashko's actions in Eastern Ukraine. Amnesty International, while noting "abuses perpetrated by both sides of the conflict," pointed to Lyashko as "one particularly errant MP." (published as videos on his website). According to Lyashko his actions should be seen as citizen's arrests and he accused Amnesty International of being "obviously biased".
Lyashko was elected to the Kyiv City Council since his party won three seats and he headed its party list in the 2014 Kyiv local election. However, he decided not to become a deputy in the Kyiv City Council.
In the 2019 Ukrainian parliamentary election, Lyashko lost his parliamentary seat. His party lost all its parliamentary seats because it only gained about 1%, which was to little to clear the 5% election threshold. The party also did not win any electoral district seats.
Lyashko unsuccessfully ran for a parliamentary seat (Chernihiv) in the sole additional election to the Verkohvna Rada held on October 25, 2020 at the same time as the country's 2020 local elections. Lyashko took 31.78% of the vote, while his closest rival, Anatoliy Hunko from Servant of the People won with 34.10%.
Cooperation with Rinat AkhmetovEdit
In 2013, Oleh Lyashko described Rinat Akhmetov as the guarantor of Ukraine's independence. In 2016, a special investigation conducted by Radio Liberty (Ukraine) recorded the facts of secret meetings between Oleh Lyashko and Rinat Akhmetov. In February 2018, the former director of a Mariupol factory belonging to the Metinvest group, Yuriy Zinchenko headed the executive committee of the Radical Party of Oleh Lyashko. On May 9, 2018, the journalist of Ukrayinska Pravda Oleksiy Bratushchak published the blog "Lyashko becomes Akhmetov's talisman", in which Lyashko was directly accused of cooperating with Akhmetov. Lyashko makes frequent appearances during broadcasts of the TV channel Ukraine, which belongs to Akhmetov. As media expert Natalia Lihacheva, Chairman of "Detector Media" NGO stated: "According to our monitoring, there is almost no day when Lyashko does not appear there for any reason".
Family and personal lifeEdit
On 2 June 2018, Lyashko married Rosita Sayaranen, formalizing a 20-year partnership. The couple have one daughter, Vladislava.
Lyashko's private life is surrounded by rumours that he is gay, something Lyashko has always firmly denied. In early October 2010, a video shot in 1993 was leaked onto the internet in which a young man who looks and sounds like Lyashko talks about having sexual relations with another man, a certain high-ranking official. Lyashko had been rumored to be gay for a long time before the video appeared. The day after the video was leaked he issued a statement accusing political opponents of doctoring the video using "modern technologies". And he stated "Personally, I have a traditional sexual orientation". In an interview in October 2012, Lyashko was told by a spoof interviewer that the reporter's friend believed Lyashko represented sexual minorities in parliament. Lyashko was handed a mobile phone, spoke to the supposed friend and then promised to beat his face in while being filmed on camera. Lyashko had stressed in May 2011 he had nothing against sexual minorities. In an interview in September 2015, he stated that being LGBT "is the choice of each individual. I can not condemn".
- The status of Crimea and of the city of Sevastopol is currently under dispute between Russia and Ukraine; Ukraine and the majority of the international community consider the Crimea to be an autonomous republic of Ukraine and Sevastopol to be one of Ukraine's cities with special status, while Russia, on the other hand, considers the Crimea to be a federal subject of Russia and Sevastopol to be one of Russia's three federal cities.
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- (in Russian) Ляшко Олег Валерьевич, Информационно-аналитический центр "ЛІГА"
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