When President Viktor Yanukovych took office in 2010, critics dubbed him a creature of the powerful oligarchs who had backed his election campaign.
But in the two years since, he has increasingly relied on a close circle of trusted friends and family. This development comes as his popularity sinks. According to a survey by the Razumkov Centre think tank, only 13 percent of Ukrainians would have voted for Yanukovych if presidential elections had been held in January.
Some in the tight group of relatives and confidantes around him — besides taking the nation’s top government post — also appear to be acquiring wealth and control over major businesses at an astounding pace.