Kravchuk, Leonid Makarovich

Kravchuk, Leonid Makarovich

(lĭŭnyēt` məkär`əvyĭch kräf`cho͝ok), 1934–, Ukrainian leader, president of Ukraine (1991–94), b. Velyky Zhityn, Ukraine. A political economist and long-time Communist party ideologue, he became chairman of Ukraine's Supreme Soviet in 1990. When hard-liners attempted to overthrow Russian president Mikhail GorbachevGorbachev, Mikhail Sergeyevich
, 1931–, Soviet political leader. Born in the agricultural region of Stavropol, Gorbachev studied law at Moscow State Univ., where in 1953 he married a philosophy student, Raisa Maksimovna Titorenko (1932?–99).
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 in 1991, Kravchuk did not initially oppose the coup. However, he abruptly reversed himself and adopted nationalist views, resigning from the party and strongly advocating Ukrainian independence. In Dec., 1991, he became Ukraine's first popularly elected president, as Ukrainians simultaneously voted for independence. He was a leading force, along with Russia's President Boris YeltsinYeltsin, Boris Nikolayevich
, 1931–2007, Soviet and Russian politician, president of Russia (1991–99). Born in Yekaterinburg (then Sverdlovsk) and educated at the Urals Polytechnic Institute, Yeltsin began his career as a construction worker (1953–68).
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 and Belarus's Stanislav ShushkevichShushkevich, Stanislav Stanislavovich,
Belarusian Stanislau Stanislavavich Shushkevich, 1934–, Belarusian political leader and scientist, first head of state of independent Belarus after the dissolution of the Soviet Union, b. Minsk.
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, in the establishment of the Commonwealth of Independent StatesCommonwealth of Independent States
(CIS), community of independent nations established by a treaty signed at Minsk, Belarus, on Dec. 8, 1991, by the heads of state of Russia, Belarus, and Ukraine. Between Dec. 8 and Dec.
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, which completed the demise of the Soviet Union. He clashed with the parliament over Ukraine's slow pace of economic reform, and during his tenure Ukraine suffered economic reverses and frequently quarreled with Russia. He failed to win a second presidential term in 1994 and was succeeded by Leonid KuchmaKuchma, Leonid Danylovych
, 1938–, Ukrainian politician, president of Ukraine (1994–2005). Formerly the manager of the Soviet Union's largest missile factory, he was a member of the Ukrainian Communist party's central committee (1981–91).
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. Kravchuk then served in parliament until 2006 and later was Ukraine's representative (2020–) in talks on the conflict in E Ukraine.
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