Hurenko, Stanislav

Hurenko, Stanislav [Гуренко, Станіслав], b 30 May 1936 in Ilovaisk, Khartsyzk municipal district, Donetsk oblast, d 14 April 2013 in Kyiv. Communist Party and government official, businessman, politician, and last first secretary of the Communist Party of Ukraine (CPU). He graduated (1958) from the Kyiv Polytechnical Institute and obtained a candidate of economic sciences degree (1975) at the Institute of Industrial Economics of the Academy of Sciences of the Ukrainian SSR in Donetsk. He worked in the Donetsk Machine-building Plant almost continuously from 1958, starting as an engineer and ending as director in 1970. He joined the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU) in 1961. In 1976 he was appointed secretary of the Donetsk oblast committee of the CPU, and in 1980–7 he was deputy head of the Council of Ministers of the Ukrainian SSR. In 1986, as a head of the commission set up to deal with the Chornobyl nuclear disaster, he exposed himself to excessive radiation which later impacted his health. In March 1987 he became a secretary of the CC CPU as well as candidate member of the Politburo, and on 18 October 1989, second secretary and full member of the Politburo. Initially a supporter of perestroika for its prospect of generational renewal, Hurenko soon became critical of the Gorbachev team and its policies which he saw as weakening the USSR. It was thus against Mikhail Gorbachev’s wishes—but thanks to the patronage of Volodymyr Shcherbytsky—that Hurenko became in July 1990 first secretary of the CC CPU (replacing Volodymyr Ivashko) and a member of the CC CPSU Politburo. He remained first secretary until the banning of the CPU in August 1991, later ruled illegal by the Constitutional Court largely due to Hurenko’s efforts on behalf of the Party’s reinstatement. During his time in the top leadership of the CPU, he represented the more conservative wing of the Party, whereas Leonid Kravchuk led a more national communist faction. In terms of his parliamentary career, he was a USSR people’s deputy in 1989–91; in March 1990 Hurenko was elected to the Supreme Soviet of the Ukrainian SSR in the first and only contested Soviet-era elections and became a member of the parliamentary commission on the Chornobyl nuclear catastrophe. In September 1991 Hurenko was granted a pension, but he continued serving as a parliamentarian until 1993 when he voluntarily gave up his seat. He returned to the Supreme Council of Ukraine under the CPU banner in 1998, and was re-elected in 2002, serving until 2006. During this latter period (1998–2006), he was member and then chair of the Council’s commission on the economy. Outside politics, Hurenko acted as a private school consultant, administrator of a military cadet unit, advisor and board member of the National Bank of Ukraine, as well as deputy head of a private enterprise. In 2002–2006, Hurenko sat on the CC CPU Presidium.

Bohdan Harasymiw

[This article was written in 2019.]

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