President Viktor Yushchenko appointed Dnipropetrovsk Region governor Yuriy Yekhanurov as caretaker prime minister on 8 September 2005. Yuriy Yekhanurov is one of the most experienced Ukrainian politicians.

In the mid-1990s Yekhanurov managed the start of Ukraine's privatization campaign as head of the State Property Fund. He was deputy chief of Yushchenko's two election campaigns - the parliamentary one in 2002 and the triumphal presidential election campaign last year.

Yuriy Yekhanurov, an ethnic Buryat, was born in August 1948 in a village in Russia's north-eastern Yakutia Republic. Yekhanurov went to a secondary school in Yakutia, but later moved to Ukraine. In 1967 he graduated from a construction school in Kiev, and in 1973 from the local Institute of
People's Economy (now the Economic University).

In 1974, at the age of 26, he became director of a construction materials factory in Kiev. Yekhanurov climbed the career ladder in the construction industry up to the post of deputy chairman of Kiev's main construction directorate in 1988.

As Ukraine gained independence in 1991, Yekhanurov moved to the Cabinet of Ministers, where he headed an economic department. In 1992-93 he served a brief stint as deputy head of the Kiev city administration's economic reform department, then returned to the Cabinet of Ministers as deputy economics minister.

In 1994-97 Yekhanurov steered the early stage of Ukraine's privatization as chairman of the State Property Fund. He joined the People's Democratic Party (PDP) - the then "party of power"- in 1996. In February 1997 he was appointed economics minister in the cabinet of Prime Minister Pavlo

In July 1997, when Lazarenko's cabinet resigned, Yekhanurov took the post of head of the state committee for enterprise. He was elected to parliament in March 1998 from a single-seat constituency in Zhytomyr Region, where his mother lives.

Yekhanurov joined Yushchenko's team in December 1999 as first deputy prime minister and has been with this team ever since. Yekhanurov left the PDP in 2000. When Yushchenko's cabinet was dismissed in May 2001, the then President Leonid Kuchma employed Yekhanurov as first deputy head of his administration.

But he left the administration in November 2001 to become deputy chief of the election headquarters of Yushchenko's newly formed Our Ukraine opposition bloc. Yekhanurov was elected to parliament in March 2002 from Our Ukraine's list. In the legislature he has chaired the committee for industry and business.

Yushchenko appointed Yekhanurov deputy chief of his election headquarters for a second time in summer 2004, this time for the presidential polls, which Yushchenko won. In March 2005 he was elected head of the central executive committee of Yushchenko's governing Our Ukraine People's Union party.

On 1 April 2005 Yushchenko appointed Yekhanurov governor of Dnipropetrovsk Region in place of Serhiy Kasyanov, dismissed amid accusations of combining his post with business and of having backed Yushchenko's rival Viktor Yanukovych in the presidential elections.

Yekhanurov is one of the few members of Yushchenko's team who supports Ukraine's membership of the Single Economic Space with Russia. He also welcomes the participation of Russian capital in Ukraine's privatization.

Being one of the leading members of Yushchenko's Our Ukraine People's Union party, Yekhanurov supports plans to create a bloc of pro-democracy forces on the party's basis for the 2006 parliamentary polls. He has been one of the most caustic critics of the smaller nationalist parties who refused to merge with Our Ukraine People's Party earlier this year. Yekhanurov does not appear to have big stakes in any business. He is married, with one son.


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