Viktor Medvedchuk

Viktor Volodymyrovych Medvedchuk (Ukrainian: Ві́ктор Володи́мирович Медведчу́к; born 7 August 1954 in Pochet, Abansky District, Krasnoyarsk Krai, Russian SFSR, Soviet Union) is a Ukrainian politician, lawyer, and business oligarch.[1][2][3][4] Medvedchuk served as chief of staff to former Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma.[3][4] Medvedchuk is an ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Viktor Medvedchuk
Віктор Медведчук
Viktor Medvedchuk (2019-09-05) 2.jpg
Medvedchuk in September 2019
Head of Presidential Administration
In office
12 June 2002 – 21 January 2005
PresidentLeonid Kuchma
Preceded byVolodymyr Lytvyn
Succeeded byOleksandr Zinchenko
Personal details
Viktor Volodymyrovych Medvedchuk

(1954-08-07) 7 August 1954 (age 65)
Pochet, Abansky District, Krasnoyarsk Krai, Russian SFSR, Soviet Union
Political partyOpposition Platform — For Life
Other political
Ukrainian Choice
Spouse(s)Oksana Marchenko (1973)
ChildrenBohdan (1997)
Daryna (2004)
Alma materKiev University (1978)
OccupationPolitician, lawyer

Currently Medvedchuk is chairman of the pro-Russia political organization Ukrainian Choice and an opponent of Ukraine joining the European Union.[5] Russian president Vladimir Putin is the godfather of Medvedchuk's daughter Darina (born in 2004).[6] Medvedchuk and his Ukrainian Choice are estimated in second place in upcoming elections.[7] In November 2018 Medvedchuk was elected chairman of the political council of the political party For Life, which later merged into the Opposition Platform — For Life party.[8]

Early life and educationEdit

Medvedchuk's father, Volodymyr Medvedchuk, avoided being drafted into the Red Army during the Great Patriotic War due to his suffering from Pott disease. During Nazi Germany's occupation of Ukraine, he worked for the German administration in a labor camp from April 1942 to November 1943. The section provided enforced deportation of the local able-bodied Ukrainian youth to work in Nazi Germany. After the retreat of German forces Volodymyr Medvedchuk was arrested by SMERSH on 7 August 1954 and sentenced to eight years of imprisonment and four of exile in Siberia "for participation in Ukrainian nationalistic activities." Viktor was born in Pochet, Krasnoyarsk Krai, Russian SFSR.

In the mid-1960s, the Medvedchuks returned to the Ukrainian SSR, settling in Kornyn, Zhytomyr Oblast. In 1971, Medvedchuk graduated from high school in Borova, Fastiv Raion (Kyiv Oblast). In 1978, he graduated from the law faculty of KSU. Shevchenko (now Kyiv national University-KNU. T. Shevchenko). While training at the University Medvedchuk was a combatant, helping the police catch offenders, and while on patrol with his squad he beat a student. He was sentenced to prison, but was soon acquitted and reinstated at the University.[9] After graduation, he tried to enroll at the Higher School of Militsiya, but was rejected due to his family history. In November 1971, Medvedchuk found a job as sorter at the Kiev Railroad Post office factory producing periodicals, and by the start of 1972 he was an overstaffed militsiya worker at the Motovylivka station (located in Borova). Already in summer of 1972 Medvedchuk successfully passed an entrance exam to the Law School of Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv, however was not admitted. On 12 September 1972 he was enrolled in the University by the Rector's order #445, based on the authorization from the Ministry of the Interior of the Ukrainian SSR.[10] The reason for it, in the opinion of Dmytro Chobot, was "a secret cooperation with militia" which was confirmed by the Supreme Court of Ukraine.[11]

Criminal case and legal careerEdit

In April 1974, Medvedchuk and two of his comrades were convicted by the court of Lenin Raion (today the court of Pechersk Raion) in Kyiv under article 102 of the Criminal Code of the Ukrainian SSR (beating up a minor). In June of the same year the court collegiate in criminal cases of the Kyiv city court overturned the verdict of the court of Lenin Raion and sent the case back for further investigation. In November 1974, the case was closed due to lack of evidence. Medvedchuk was acquitted and reinstated at the university.

He graduated from the Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv in 1978 as a lawyer and next year he became a member of the Kyiv City Collegiate of Attorneys.[1] Medvedchuk "defended" poet Vasyl Stus during his trial in 1980.[12][13] In the closing speech from the defence, Medvedchuk stated all of Stus' crimes deserved punishment; he also told the court to make sure that the defendant fulfilled his daily norm at the factory where he worked at the time, despite alleged serious stomach problems.[12] In a 2018 interview with The Independent Medvedchuk claimed he could not have operated differently: “Stus denounced the Soviet government, and didn’t consider it to be legitimate. Everyone decides their own fate. Stus admitted he agitated against the Soviet government. He was found guilty by the laws of the time. When the laws changed, the case was dropped. Unfortunately, he died.”[4]

Medvedchuk founded a successful legal company, BIM, in the early 1990s.[14]

Participation in political trials against dissidentsEdit

In 1979, he was a lawyer for the repressed poet Yuri Litvin, and in the early 1980s, the poet Vasily Stus. In his last word on the court, Yuri Litvin described the work of Medvedchuk as a lawyer on 17 December 1979: “The passivity of my lawyer Medvedchuk in defense is not due to his professional profanity, but to the instructions he received from above and his subordination: he does not dare to reveal the mechanism implemented provocations against me ”[15]. Both clients Viktor Medvedchuk received convictions and died in prison.

In 1980, the lawyer appointed by the trial of Vasil Stus. According to the testimony of people close to Vasil Stus (his wife and friend Yevgeny Sverstyuk), Stus refused Medvedchuk, who was appointed as his lawyer, because “he immediately felt that Medvedchuk was an aggressive Komsomol type person, he didn't protect him , he didn't want to understand him, and, in fact, not interested in his business. ”Nevertheless, Medvedchuk remained in the case contrary to the protests of the client, thereby violating the foundations of advocacy ethics. [16]. The “Chronicle of Current Events” retold Medvedchuk’s speech at the Stus trial: “The lawyer said in his speech that all of Stus’s crimes deserve to be punished, but he asks to pay attention to the fact that Stus, working in 1979-1980. at the enterprises of Kiev, fulfilled the norm; in addition, he underwent a severe stomach operation. ”[17]. . According to Ukrainian lawyers Roman Titikalo and Ilya Kotin, “Recognizing the guilt of his client Stus (in the denial of guilt the most defendant), the lawyer Medvedchuk violated his professional duty, in fact, refused Stus's defense, which grossly violated the last's right to defense in court ”[18] In 1985, a lawyer at the trial of poet Mikola Kuntsevich. According to Kuntsevich’s memoirs, Medvedchuk “poured more dirt on him than the prosecutor.” After Medvedchuk asked the court to dismiss one of Kuntsevich’s motions, he challenged him and repeated the challenge several times, but each time the court dismissed it. In his last word, Medvedchuk said: “I completely agree with a comrade prosecutor in determining the sentence. But, for reasons incomprehensible to me, comrade prosecutor forgot that the defendant had not yet left one year and nine months from the previous term. I consider it necessary to add this period to the new punishment. ”This request was granted by the court[19]


Medvedchuk has been a member of the Social Democratic Party of Ukraine (united), a party of centrist orientation, since 1994. He served as chairman from 1998 till two days after the 26 March 2006 parliamentary election.[1][20][21]

Medvedchuk first entered the Verkhovna Rada (Ukrainian Parliament) in 1997 by winning a by-election in the 171th District (in the Zakarpattia Oblast).[1][21][22] Elected back into parliament in 1998[14] he was elected Second Deputy Chairman in July 1998.[23] In 2002 he was reelected to parliament,[14] Medvedchuk was the First Deputy Chairman of the Verkhovna Rada from February 2000 till December 2001 when he was dismissed for abuse of power, biassed treatment of the parliament's agenda and procedural violations.[24] From June 2002[14] till January 2005[25][26] Medvedchuk served as head of President Leonid Kuchma's presidential administration.[20][27] As such, he was a leading target for criticism by the opposition, including Viktor Yushchenko who often spoke out bitterly against Medvedchuk. Medvedchuk was considered the main behind-the-scenes man of then-Prime Minister and pro-Kuchma presidential candidate Viktor Yanukovych in the 2004 Ukrainian presidential election,[1] which was nicknamed the "battle of three Viktors" after them and their main opponent Yushchenko.

In one instance, Medvedchuk paid a "huge amount of money" to the Ukrainian National Assembly leader Eduard Kovalenko to hold a march supporting Yushchenko against his wishes. The march included Nazi-like flags and symbols, and Kovalenko used a Nazi salute in his support speech. The move was meant to discredit the democratic candidate (Yushchenko) in the eyes of Western observers.[28]

Since November 2008 Medvedchuk has been a member of the Supreme Council of Justice.[20][29] Focus evaluated Medvedchuk's assets in 2008 to be worth $460 million and labeled him the 57th richest man of Ukraine.[1]

On 21 March 2012, he stated he will be "returning to public politics not for the sake of the elections, as I strongly believe that all things that take place are not the result of elections, but the result of our mistakes during elections".[20][30] According to a September/October 2013 poll by Razumkov Centre a party led by Medvedchuk would score 0.9% of the votes during elections.[31] A December 2013 poll by the Sociological group "RATING" gave it 0.7% and predicted that Medvedchuk's result in the first round ballot of the next (Ukrainian) presidential election would be 0.9%.[32] During 2013 Ukrainian experts have argued that Medvedchuk attempts to influence public opinion have failed.[5]

Currently Medvedchuk is chairman of the pro-Russian political organization Ukrainian Choice.[5] In 2013 he began publicly attacking the European Union, at one point comparing it to the Nazi Third Reich.[33] On 30 November he condemned a series of protests, known as Euromaidan that supported closer ties between Ukraine and the EU.[34]

Due to the Crimean crisis he was put on the Canadian and the U.S. sanction lists, 17 March 2014.[3][4]

In November 2018 Medvedchuk was elected chairman of the political council of (the political party) For life.[8]

Accusations of involvement in Euromaidan suppressionEdit

Viktor Medvedchuk is an open and bitter critic of the Euromaidan protest campaign (initially aimed at reverting the second Azarov government decision to suspend preparations for signing an Association Agreement and Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement with the European Union[35]). After one of his December 2013 meetings with Russia's President Vladimir Putin, Medvedchuk publicly promised to "deal with" pro-European protesters in Ukraine.[citation needed]

Activists of Euromaidan allege that Medvedchuk was among the masterminds of 25 December 2013 attempted murder of Ukrainian journalist Tetiana Chornovol.[36] They call him a "perpetrator" and link his name to the all bloody events of the government strike against the Euromaidan.[37] Considering all Medvedchuk's recent activity directed to push Ukraine into the economic union with Russia, the Euromaidan activists came to one of the Medvedchuks' villas to protest.[37] The same day Victor Medvedchuk claimed that he was "ready for the war" with the Ukrainian opposition parties.[38] The next day Ukrayinska Pravda newspaper published investigative article on Medvedchuk's allegedly illegal takeover a government property back in 2004, while Head of Administration for Ukrainian President. The source of the information is named as Mykhailo Chechetov (the state property chief at the time) who has been "forced" (by his own words) to help Medvedchuk in that deal.[39]

On 8 January 2014 Medvedchuk won a slander lawsuit against Oksana Zabuzhko; in an interview with Radio Liberty the writer had accused Medvedchuk of involvement in the provocations against Euromaidan on 30 November – 1 December (Medvedchuk had demanded a token amount of 0.25 hryvnia as a compensation).[40]

Medvedchuk stated on 9 January 2014 that "The absence of the translation of the text of the [EU] Association Agreement, the provision of excessive asymmetric privileges to European manufacturers - all this indicates that the EU was preparing to turn the Ukrainian economy into its raw material appendage".[41] He also believed that because "the current team" leading Ukraine response to "interference in Ukraine's internal affairs by EU and U.S. diplomats inspire serious doubt that the current team is able to protect Ukraine's economic interests".[41] "Therefore, before the adoption by the Ukrainian people of the direct decision on the choice of the vector of external integration any actions by the authorities on lobbying this policy are only political speculation, which has nothing to do with the will of the people and the protection of the economic interests of our country".[41]

The Kyiv Post newspaper called Medvedchuk "the undisputed leader of Russia’s fifth column in Ukraine."[42]

Involvement in the 2014 pro-Russian conflict in UkraineEdit

Medvedchuk was present at negotiations with the armed separatist in the Donetsk and Luhansk provinces on 21 June 2014 to discuss President Petro Poroshenko peace plan although it was unclear whom he represented there.[43][44]

On 24 June 2014, the Donetsk People's Republic and Lugansk People's Republic informed the OSCE that Medvedchuk was appointed their representative in the negotiations with the Ukrainian Government.[45] But on 8 July 2014 self-proclaimed Prime Minister of the Donetsk People's Republic Alexander Borodai stated that Medvedchuk "has no right to represent either the Donetsk People's Republic or the Lugansk People's Republic" and that he was a "mediator in the negotiations".[46] About the negotiations he wrote on his Facebook page on 28 June 2014 "Hope that a compromise will be found has appeared and we'll manage to find a way of the present situation, retaining the territorial integrity of Ukraine and restoring peace".[47] In further negotiations with the separatists, Medvedchuk was not involved,[48][49] until he became Ukraine's special representative for humanitarian affairs in the Trilateral Contact Group on Ukraine on 5 June 2015.[50][51]


1) Marina Lebedeva

2) Natalya Gavrilyuk (1952)

3) Oksana Marchenko

  • Children - Irina (1982), Daryna (2004)

In the 2019 Ukrainian parliamentary election Medvedchuk's brother Serhiy lost as an Opposition Platform — For life candidate in single-seat constituency 105 (Luhansk Oblast).[52]


  1. ^ a b c d e f (in Russian) Медведчук Виктор Владимирович, Информационно-аналитический центр "ЛІГА"
  2. ^ Virtual Politics - Faking Democracy in the Post-Soviet World, Andrew Wilson, Yale University Press, 2005, ISBN 0-300-09545-7
  3. ^ a b c Kinstler, Linda (28 May 2015). "The 12 people who ruined Ukraine". POLITICO.
  4. ^ a b c d "How Putin's best friend in Ukraine is staging an improbable political comeback". The Independent. 30 August 2018.
  5. ^ a b c Kremlin-imposed "Ukrainian choice", The Ukrainian Week (3 July 2012)
    Playing opposition, Den (15 August 2013)
    Russia's Plan For Ukraine: Purported Leaked Strategy Document Raises Alarm, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (20 August 2013)
  6. ^ Медведчук і Марченко помінялися місцями. Tablo ID (in Ukrainian). 11 November 2007. Retrieved 6 January 2014.
  7. ^ "Krátce před ukrajinskými volbami jasně vede strana Zelenského, druzí jsou proruští oligarchové". iROZHLAS.
  8. ^ a b "Medvedchuk elected head of political board of Za Zhyttia party". Interfax-Ukraine.
  9. ^ "Медведчук Виктор". 6 December 2018.
  10. ^ "З РАННЬОЇ БІОГРАФІЇ". Ex Libris.
  11. ^ "Financial Times: Проди и Берлускони стремятся вернуть Украину на европейский курс". Archived from the original on 30 September 2007.
  12. ^ a b "Ukrainian Dissident Hero Poet Vasyl Stus". What's On Kiev.
  13. ^ SHCHERBYTSKYY ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATED FOR THE FIRST TIME IN UKRAINE by Taras Kuzio, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (11 March 2003)
  14. ^ a b c d KUCHMA'S MEN LINE UP FOR PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION, The Jamestown Foundation (10 June 2003)
  15. ^ "Сучасність (журнал)" (PDF) (in Ukrainian).
  16. ^ "Адвокат Василя Стуса". 3 August 2005. Archived from the original on 27 September 2007.
  17. ^ ""ХРОНИКА ТЕКУЩИХ СОБЫТИЙ", №58 (МОСКВА, САМИЗДАТ, 1980. — С.74-78)". Права Людини в Україні.
  18. ^ Стус без шансу на захист: ведмежа послуга Медведчука, 23 серпня 2016, Українська Правда
  19. ^ "Адвокат Медведчук лив на мене більше бруду, ніж прокурор – дисидент Кунцевич". Радіо Свобода (in Ukrainian). Retrieved 2 September 2019.
  20. ^ a b c d Medvedchuk says he returns to public politics, Kyiv Post (21 March 2012)
  21. ^ a b Medvedchuk Victor, Kyiv Post
  23. ^ Parliament ends speaker deadlock, Kyiv Post (10 July 1998)
  24. ^ Ukraine's parliament dismisses first deputy speaker, Kyiv Post (13 December 2001)
  25. ^ Medvedchuk emerges from shadows, Kyiv Post (27 January 2005)
  26. ^ Controversial Presidential Administration head Medvedchuk resigns, Kyiv Post (14 December 2004)
  27. ^ Revolution in Orange: The Origins of Ukraine's Democratic Breakthrough by Anders Aslund and Michael A. McFaul, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, 2006, ISBN 978-0-87003-221-9
  28. ^ Anton Shekhovtsov (3 February 2014). "Pro-Russian network behind the anti-Ukrainian defamation campaign".
  29. ^ Medvedchuk returns to state power, UNIAN (5 November 2008)
  30. ^ (in Ukrainian) Медведчук перед виборами оселився у Facebook і інших соцмережах, Ukrayinska Pravda (14 March 2012)
  31. ^ (in Ukrainian) Електоральні орієнтації громадян України та ставлення до провідних політиків, Razumkov Centre (14 October 2013)
  32. ^ The socio-political situation in Ukraine: December 2013, Sociological group "RATING" (25 December 2013)
  33. ^ Европа прячет свои истинные намерения за так называемыми демократическими ценностями, - Медведчук. RBC (in Russian). 24 September 2013. Retrieved 24 September 2013.
  34. ^ "Medvedchuk condemns crackdown on Euromaidan protesters in Kyiv". Kviv Post. 30 November 2013. Retrieved 4 December 2013.
  35. ^ "Ukraine drops EU plans and looks to Russia". Al Jazeera. 21 November 2013. Retrieved 24 November 2013.
  36. ^ Medvedchuk can be one among the others behinds the attack to Chornovol Ukrayinska Pravda, 28 December 2013
  37. ^ a b Activists came to Medvedchuk and have broken the gate Ukrayinska Pravda, 29 December 2013
  38. ^ Medvedchuk to Euromaidan: You want a war? I'm skilled Ukrayinska Pravda, 29 December 2013
  39. ^ People ask Medvedchuk to tell the history of his property Ukrayinska Pravda, 30 December 2013
  40. ^ Medvedchuk wins slander lawsuit against Zabuzhko, Interfax-Ukraine (9 January 2014)
  41. ^ a b c Government continues political speculation about choice of Ukraine's integration vector - Medvedchuk, Interfax-Ukraine (9 January 2014)
  42. ^ "Mark Rachkevych: Medvedchuk flexes muscles after protesters pay house call". Kyiv Post.
  43. ^ "NSDC says Medvedchuk not representing Ukraine at peace plan talks". UKR Inform.
  44. ^ "Separatists in Ukraine agree to honor cease-fire". Washington Post.
  45. ^ (in Ukrainian) The separatists have informed the OSCE that Medvedchuk - that their representative, Ukrayinska Pravda (24 June 2014)
  46. ^ (in Ukrainian) Boroday explained why the gunmen went to the Slavic and the sympathy for Medvedchuk, Ukrayinska Pravda (8 July 2014)
  47. ^ Medvedchuk hopes compromise to be found during consultations on settling situation in east Ukraine, Interfax-Ukraine (28 June 2014)
  48. ^ "Medvedchuk won't be present at tripartite talks anymore". UKR Inform.
  49. ^ "Minsk hosting Ukraine-OSCE-Russia contact group meeting to settle conflict in eastern Ukraine". Столичное телевидение - СТВ.
  50. ^ Medvedchuk: Ukraine nixes '25-for-50' prisoner swap, Interfax-Ukraine (14 March 2014)
  51. ^ (in Ukrainian) Medvedchuk will represent Ukraine in the subgroup of Humanitarian Affairs Tripartite Working Group 1852, Ukrainian News Agency (5 June 2015)
  52. ^ "Брат Медведчука програв вибори в Раду". Українська правда.

External linksEdit

Political offices
Preceded by
Volodymyr Lytvyn
Head of the Presidential Administration
Succeeded by
Oleksandr Zinchenko