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Five facts about Ukraine’s new prime minister Volodymyr Groysman

Petro Poroshenko greets a newly appointed prime minister of Ukraine Volodymyr Groysman in Verkhovna Rada on 14 April 2016. Photo: Bogdan Bortakov

The largest intrigue of the last week is now over: we officially know who Ukraine’s next prime minister is. Despite the fact that he was the most expected candidate having pushed western favorite Natalie Jaresko to the margins of the political debate, the course of political scuffling left even the most informed observers waiting and guessing.

Euromaidan Press collected five most interesting facts about Ukraine’s next prime minister Volodymyr Groysman.

1. A 16 years old director, daddy’s son

Volodymyr Groysman started working when he was 14. His first job comes at his father’s company: new Ukraine’s prime minister started as a locksmith. In two years a 16 years old teenager becomes a commercial director of the “Yunost” company owned by his father.

2. The youngest city mayor

In 2002 the father and the son ran for the local elections. Volodymyr, the son, was chosen by the majority district to become the youngest deputy of the Vinnytsia City Council.

In 2005 Groysman was appointed a City Council secretary. In March 2006 with the support of “Nasha Ukraina” (Victor Yushchenko’s party) and Yulia Tymoshenko Bloc Groysman wins Vinnytsia city mayor elections becoming the youngest city mayor of Ukraine.

In four years, he received a record 77,8% votes during the snap city mayor elections.

3. Efficient city administrator

In 2013 Vinnytsia was acknowledged as the best city for life in Ukraine by an influential business magazine “Focus”. Groysman has brought investors and pushed a great deal in reforming the city.

Among his key successes are program of maximum outdoor lighting, wide scale repair of roads and streets, as well as tackling street commerce. He brought 120 used tram wagons from Swiss Zurich providing Vinnytsia citizens not only with better transportation, but also free wi-fi.

Swiss trams on the streets of Vinnytsia

Switzerland also became the main donor for investments to Vinnytsia. In seven years (since 2007 till 2013) he managed to provide the city with up to 736 mn UAH foreign investments (around $28 mn).

During his mayorship, the “Transparent Office” providing civil services has been created, as well as the rapid response services were launched for utility services monitoring and control.

4. Decentralizator, MH17 commission chief, parliament speaker

In February 2014 Groysman moves to Kyiv. As he claims, it was Arseniy Yatsenyuk who offered him a vice prime minister seat in the new government.

As a vice prime minister of regional development, Groysman was in charge of decentralization reform. He was also responsible for state care for the internationally displaced persons and infrastructure renovation of the war zone in the East of Ukraine.

Another important thing that Groysman was responsible for was heading the Government investigative commission on MH17 catastrophe.

Read also: Volodymyr Groysman: “In the nearest 5-10 years Ukraine will be the most interesting country in Europe” 

Even though now it is not so easy to estimate his achievements in those fields, in the fall of 2014 Groysman decided to try himself in the parliament, running the snap elections as the fourth number in the presidential Petro Poroshenko Bloc. Soon he was elected as the speaker of Ukraine’s parliament, Verkhovna Rada.

5. The youngest prime minister, Poroshenko’s man

Despite his lineup of own political achievements, Groysman is widely referred to as “Poroshenko’s man”.

Groysman’s family has been living in Vinnytsia for five generations. Poroshenko has been developing his business in this city since the early 90’s. It was Vinnytsia where Ukraine’s “Chocolate king” bought his first notorious “Roshen” confectionary factory back in 1996. In 2012 he opened another one there, in 2014 Poroshenko proceeded with a milk canning factory. Poroshenko’s father used to be a member of the Oblast parliament, while his son had been elected to the Vinnytsia City Council in 2014.

Voting for the new prome minister in Verkhovna Rada on 14 April 2016. Screenshot: RADA channel.
Voting for the new prime minister in Verkhovna Rada on 14 April 2016. Screenshot: RADA channel.

After the Orange Revolution, Groysman joined then presidential “Nasha Ukrayina” party. Poroshenko was then known as Yushchenko’s confidant and ran for parliamentary elections of 2006 as the “Nasha Ukrayina” party member.

In 2005, one of the closest Poroshenko’s allies and then Vinnytsia city mayor, Oleksandr Dombrovskyi, was appointed as Vinnytsia Oblast governor. Groysman was appointed a city council secretary who de facto had mayoral credentials.”It is quite difficult to suggest that he became city mayor without guarantees from Poroshenko’s team,” the analytical weekly “Dzerkalo Tyzhnia” commented then.

In the fall of 2014 Groysman, ran for parliamentary elections as a Petro Poroshenko Bloc member.

Introducing the new prime minister candidate to the parliament, the President emphasized Groysman’s extraordinary profile: “I stress that Groysman is a politician of the new generation. According to your decision, he will probably become the youngest prime minister in Ukraine’s history. Despite that, Volodymyr already has a great administrative experience.”

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