Name: Solomiia Bobrovska

Age: 27

Education: Degree in philosophy from Lviv State
University of Ivan Franko

Profession: Human rights activist, ex-public
offi cial

Did you know? At 26, she was the youngest acting
governor in Ukraine’s history.

When Mikheil Saakashvili quit as governor of Odesa Oblast in November 2016, the job went to his deputy, 26-year-old Solomiia Bobrovska.

The former EuroMaidan Revolution activist instantly became famous as the youngest acting governor in Ukraine’s history. The media dubbed her “the young blonde,” insinuating that she had no qualifications for the job.

Bobrovska was questioning herself, too. She hadn’t wanted the job, and was taken by surprise when she got it. “I wasn’t sure I could do it at first,” she recalls.

Odesa, the Black Sea port city of 1 million people nearly 500 kilometers south of Kyiv, wasn’t Bobrovska’s home. She grew up in western Ukraine’s Rivne and studied philosophy in Lviv. After that, she moved to Kyiv to work in the Institute of Political Education, a non-governmental organization.


The EuroMaidan Revolution that drove President Viktor Yanukovych from power in 2014 was a watershed for Bobrovska. She got involved in EuroMaidan SOS, a group of activists. Through her activism, she met another activist, Yulia Marushevska. Two years later, Marushevska invited Bobrovska to join Saakashvili’s team.

After the revolution, Bobrovska served as an assistant to Deputy Prime Minister Oleksandr Sych. She worked on a campaign for Ukraine to join the Rome Statute, a treaty that created an International Criminal Court. Ukraine has yet to join.

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And then came the offer to join Saakashvili, who became Odesa Oblast governor in May 2015. Bobrovska was disappointed with the lack of change in post-revolution Ukraine. She thought that Saakashvili could make a difference, but after 18 months, he resigned. She felt a duty to stay on and oversee plans for next year’s budget. She gritted her teeth and stayed on for two more months, quitting in January.


Her term ended with sparks. In late December, city authorities installed a turnstile at the entrance to the oblast administration. Limiting access was against her values. Officially, she was powerless: the building wasn’t under the governor’s authority. So she called local activists, who took the turnstile down with a circular saw.

After Odesa, she went back to the volunteer sector. In September, Bobrovska co-founded a non-governmental organization in Kyiv — the Center for Political and Legal Studies. She wants to focus on electoral studies and women’s rights.

“My ultimate goal is to do good for my country,” she says. “If a public office or political career becomes the best tool for that, I’ll go for it.”

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