Yuriy Ivanovych Yekhanurov (Юрій Іванович Єхануров) is a former Prime Minister of Ukraine and current Minister of Defense in the government of Yulia Tymoshenko . He was born on August 23, 1948 in the village Belkachi in the far-north Yakut ASSR, which is currently the Sakha Republic within the Russian Federation. Yekhanurov, an ethnic Buryat, moved to Ukraine during Soviet times, where he has spent most of his life and career. He holds a PhD-equivalent degree in Economics, is married, and has one son.
Yekhanurov graduated from the Kiev Construction tekhnikum in 1967, and the Kiev Institute of National Economy in 1973. He was appointed manager of the "Kievgorstroy-4"'s Plant of reinforced concrete as his first job in 1974. Yekhanurov quickly rose the ranks, already heading the "Stroydetal'" industrial group from 1985 to 1988. In that year, he was appointed deputy chairman of the Kiev construction directorate, the "Glavkievgorstroy".
When Ukraine gained independence in 1991, Yekhanurov started working for the Kiev municipal government, overseeing economic reforms. He was appointed Deputy Minister of Economy of Ukraine in 1993, and later headed the State Property Fund of Ukraine (which coordinated the privatisation) from 1994 to 1997. Yekhanurov also served for a short time as Minister of Economy in the cabinet of Pavlo Lazarenko in 1997. He was elected member of the Ukrainian parliament, the Verkhovna Rada, in 1998.
When Viktor Yushchenko was appointed as Prime Minister of Ukraine in 1999, Yekhanurov joined his cabinet as First Vice Prime Minister. After the ousting of the government in 2001, Yekhanurov joined Yushchenko's People's Union Our Ukraine and was elected again a member of parliament. In June 2002, he was appointed Head of the State Committee for Industrial Policy and Entrepreneurship.
After the Orange Revolution in 2005, Yekhanurov was appointed Head of the Dnipropetrovsk Oblast State Administration (i.e. a governor) on April 1 2005. He was also elected head of the Central Executive Committee of People's Union Our Ukraine party.
On September 8 2005 Yekhanurov was appointed Acting Prime Minister by President Viktor Yushchenko, after the President had sacked the previous Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine. He was succeeded by Victor Yanukovich on August 4 2006. Yekhanurov's candidacy was hotly contested in parliament, most notably by former Prime Minister and Yushchenko's ally Yulia Tymoshenko. His confirmation required two rounds of voting; in the first round on September 20 2005, Yekhanurov was only three votes short of the 226 needed for approval. On September 22 2005, after negotiations between President Yushchenko and opposition groups, he was approved by 289 deputies out of 339 present. The CPU and SDPU(o) factions abstained from voting.
Yekhanurov was widely regarded as an experienced administrator, a caretaker rather than a politician. Like Yushchenko, he is a supporter of economic liberalization and privatisation, but opposed "reprivatization" of previously sold companies that were thought to have been privatized illegally under the administration of President Leonid Kuchma.
After the signing of a coalition agreement (June 22, 2006) by the political parties behind the "Orange Revolution" it was agreed that Yulia Tymoshenko would be restored as Prime Minister of Ukraine after nearly three months of negotiating and political uncertainty. Yulia Tymoshenko election was expected to be only a formality but opposition members (Party of Regions & Communist Party of Ukraine) have blocked the parliament from Thursday, 29 June 2006 till Thursday, July 6th 2006 because the felt the didn't get enough chairmen in parliamentary committees Yekhanurov was sceptical about the new government, he wanted the Party of Regions to be a part of the new government He felt that would have been better for the stability of Ukraine.
In January 2006, Russia and Ukraine had a serious dispute over the import of gas. Russia had been charging Ukraine traditionally low prices for gas, but surprisingly decided to increase them to reflect the market price. After cutting off the flow of gas to Ukraine for several days, a complicated deal was struck on January 4 2006. According to President and Yekhanurov, it was a compromise.
Nonetheless, the Ukrainian parliament was not happy with the deal, and passed a vote of no-confidence on January 10 2006. But President Yuschenko "quickly dismissed the vote as a publicity stunt by the opposition Yekhanurov continued to perform his duties until the newly elected Verkhovna Rada convened and formed a majority in July. He was succeeded by Viktor Yanukovych.