Matviienko, Anatolii

Matviienko, Anatolii [Матвієнко, Анатолій; Matvijenko, Anatolij], b 23 March 1953 in Bershad, Vinnytsia oblast, d 20 May 2020 in Kyiv. Politician and party leader; head of the Sobor party (from December 1999). Graduating as a mechanical engineer in 1975 from the Lviv Agricultural Institute, he worked in his specialty until 1977 when he began full-time employment at the Communist Youth League of Ukraine (Komsomol), rising to secretary of the Komsomol Central Committee of Ukraine in 1985. In 1988–9, he attended the Higher Party School of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Ukraine (CPU), on graduation becoming first secretary of the Ukrainian Komsomol (1989–91) and simultaneously acquiring a seat in the CC CPU. When first elected to the Supreme Soviet of the Ukrainian SSR from Vinnytsia oblast in 1990, he was head of the committee on youth and a member of the Presidium. From 1993 until February 1996, he headed the Labor Congress of Ukraine (TKU), whereupon he became leader of the People’s Democratic party (NDP), created out of the TKU, Party for the Democratic Rebirth of Ukraine, Nova Ukraina, and other organizations. From June 1996, he was acting head, and from August 1996 to April 1998, head of the Vinnytsia oblast state administration. In 1998 he won election to the Supreme Council of Ukraine in a single-member district in Vinnytsia oblast, and became a member of the parliamentary committee on health, maternity, and childhood. After the 1998 elections, Matviienko headed the 77-member caucus of the NDP in the Supreme Council (May 1998–July 1999, quitting as party leader in May 1999), then became an independent (July 1999–January 2000), and finally joined the self-styled ‘Independents’ grouping (January–March 2000). The rejection of Valerii Pustovoitenko as prime minister at the end of 1999, signaled the decline of the NDP caucus, but also brought Pustovoitenko into the position of party leader. The Sobor party, meanwhile, re-elected Matviienko as leader in February 2001, and demanded the immediate dismissal of President Leonid Kuchma. At the same time, Matviienko emerged as one of the leaders of the anti-Kuchma Forum for National Salvation, a group making the same demand.

In 2002, Matviienko was elected to the fourth convocation of the Supreme Council of Ukraine from the Yuliia Tymoshenko Bloc (BYuT) electoral alliance as number two on its list. It won 22 seats by PR, and none in SMDs. He became plenipotentiary representative of the BYuT fraction, and head of the statehood development and local government committee of the Supreme Council. During the presidential elections of 2004, Matviienko headed Viktor Yushchenko’s election headquarters in Kharkiv oblast. He resigned his seat in May 2005, to become head of the council of ministers (effectively premier) of the Crimea, a post he held until September 2005. From November 2005 to May 2006, he was deputy head of the Secretariat to President Yushchenko.

In the 2006 elections, he abandoned the BYuT alliance bringing his party under the umbrella of Viktor Yushchenko’s Our Ukraine Bloc, where his name appeared as no. 12 on the list. He was re-elected, and repeated this the following year as no. 22 on the list of Yushchenko’s NUNS Bloc, which obtained 72 seats, trailing BYuT and the Party of Regions. In 2011, he was succeeded as leader of ‘Sobor’ platform by Pavlo Zhebrivsky.

For the 2012 elections to the Supreme Council of ukraine, Matviienko at first registered as an independent, self-nominated candidate in his native Vinnytsia oblast in an SMD, but withdrew in favor of the UDAR candidate, Hryhorii Zabolotny, who was successful.

Following the Euromaidan Revolution, Matviienko won election as a member of the Petro Poroshenko Bloc (BPP), number 32 on the list; the bloc took second place in the PR ballot with 21.8 per cent of the vote for 63 seats. He became deputy head of the fraction and a BPP member. During that convocation, Matviienko’s name emerged in the media in 2016, when it was revealed that, according to his e-declaration, he owned a church in the village of Byrlivka, Vinnysia oblast.

Bohdan Harasymiw

[This article was written in 2020.]

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