The Russian-language weekly news magazine Korrespondent has awarded its 2005 Personality of the Year award to firebrand “orange” revolutionary Yulia Tymoshenko, noting her irrepressible energy and craving for change among the characteristics that earned her the honor.

In its Jan. 12 issue, Korrespondent also highlighted Tymoshenko’s role in the break-up of the “orange” coalition, which had formed the backbone of President Viktor Yushchenko’s first government, as well as the growth in her popularity since heading the Cabinet for much of 2005.

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According to Korrespondent, Tymoshenko’s first great victory occurred in the beginning of last year, when she outmaneuvered her competitors, Socialist Party leader Oleksandr Moroz and close Yushchenko ally Petro Poroshenko, by convincing the president to give her the premiership.

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“Moving to the cabinet, the former opposition leader made it clear that she would work intensely,” Korrespondent wrote. “For a little more than half a year, she [Tymoshenko] managed to frighten away smugglers and foreign investors, to quarrel with tycoons from the old regime and allies from the new one. As prime minister, she declared war against Russian oil traders and middlemen in the transit of Turkmen gas to Ukraine,” the magazine stated.

Political analyst Vadym Karasiov backed the magazine’s choice, adding that events surrounding Tymoshenko were consistently hot topics throughout the year.

“The political year of 2005 started with Tymoshenko’s approval as prime minister by the Ukrainian parliament and ended with her dismissal and the commentaries that followed this event,” he said.

She generated politics for most of 2005 and was the initiator of or a participant in most of the year’s significant political events, Karasiov said.

“Yulia Tymoshenko was the author of most political sensations and conflicts. Her character, brightness and charisma are worthy of the status of personality of the year. Although we can argue about her characteristics as a politician and prime minister, her resolve and ability to attack have really led her to become an influential figure in the political process,” Karasiov added.

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Having openly accused members of the president’s closest circle of corruption in recent months, Tymoshenko has managed to defeat her rivals within the Orange coalition for a second time, Korrespondent wrote. Presently, her eponymous political bloc is among three leading forces poised to win a significant share of seats in the upcoming parliamentary elections. Tymoshenko also remains a potential candidate for prime minister, a post that would become the most influential position in Ukraine, if last year’s constitutional reforms are not reversed by a referendum being planned by Yushchenko.

“Tymoshenko needed less than a year to make a leap from Yushchenko’s shadow to become one of the main candidates for the crucial position in the country, producing a series of scandals on the way. Tymoshenko is the very person who, in Korrespondent’s opinion, can be named the personality under whose mark the year 2005 passed in Ukraine”, wrote Korrespondent.

In 2004, Korrespondent named then-presidential candidate Viktor Yushchenko as that year’s main personality for his role in the presidential race. In 2003, the weekly chose presidential administration chief (under President Leonid Kuchma) Viktor Medvedchuk together with Viktor Yushchenko as the personalities of that year. Kuchma won the award in 2002. Karasiov predicted that in 2006, in addition to the usual cast of movers and shakers, new candidates for Korrespondent’s Personality of the Year prize could appear. Karasiov named retired boxing champion turned politician Vitaly Klitschko as one potential candidate. Klitschko, who retired from heavyweight boxing last fall, is listed as the number one candidate and on the party list of the Pora-Reforms & Order bloc.

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