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|Print version. Published on site Rusnet.NL 3 December 2003
The first elected president of Ukraine (1991 - 1994) after it gained independence from the Soviet Union, currently a pro-government lawmaker and parliamentary-faction leader for the Social Democrats, member of the Supreme Rada's Committee on Foreign Relations.
Leonid Kravchuk, who holds a Ph.D. in economics from the Ukraine Academy of Social Sciences, was the deputy secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Ukraine. An advocate of independence and democratic reform, he attempted to restructure the party into a parliamentary-type organisation. He left the party in 1991 when he realised its involvement with the leadership of the Communist party of Soviet Union.
Ukraine's bid for independence, led by Kravchuk, was the last straw for the USSR, and a key reason for its collapse.
Kravchuk was elected head of the Ukrainian Parliament (Supreme Rada) in July, 1990 and president of the Ukraine in December, 1991. He lost the presidency to Leonid Kuchma in a run-off election in the summer of 1994, and was elected to the Ukraine Parliament in September the same year.