Petro Poroshenko was recently elected to president of Ukraine.

9 Things You Should Know About Ukraine’s Newly Elected President

Photo courtesy of the Office of the President of Ukraine.

Who is the new president of Ukraine?

On June 7, 2014, Petro Poroshenko was inaugurated as the new president of Ukraine, after months of turmoil and violence. Here are 9 facts you should know about him:

1. He’s called the “Chocolate king” and he’s worth $1.3 billion.

Photo courtesy of Wikipedia.
Photo courtesy of Wikipedia.

Often called a classic oligarch, Poroshenko made his post-Soviet fortune as the head of the chocolate company Roshen. He also runs autoplants, the TV channel 5 TV, and a shipyard in Crimea.

2. A first for a Ukrainian president, Poroshenko speaks fluent English:

3. He has close ties to former President Viktor Yushchenko, the Orange Revolution leader disfigured by poison in 2004.

Petro Poroshenko has close ties with former Ukrainian President Viktor Yuschenko.
Photo courtesy of Wikipedia.

Poroshenko was among the main proponents of the pro-West Orange Revolution, backing his ally Viktor Yushchenko for the presidency. He is also the godfather of Yushchenko’s children.

4. Since joining politics in 1998, he has often encouraged both EU and NATO membership for Ukraine…

5. … but has worked at various points for both pro-EU and pro-Russia governments.

After resigning as National Security and Defense Council chief over a 2006 corruption scandal, he returned to politics in 2009 as foreign minister for Yanukovich, the now-ousted pro-Russia president.

Later, he opposed the Yanukovich regime and joined the Euromaidan protests.

6. He’s willing to talk to Russia, but he’s not giving up on Crimea.

Poroshenko and Putin met briefly during D-Day celebrations.
Photo courtesy of the Office of the President of the Russian Federation.

While he opened his inaugural address with tough words on separatists and the Russian annexation of Crimea, he’s widely seen as a facilitator whose business ties will help him come to terms with Russia. The two met briefly during the D-Day commemorations in Normandy.

7. Like Putin, he studied international law and relations – as well as judo.

8. He has publicly stated that he will sell his chocolate business if he’s elected.

A chocolate bar made by Roshen, Petro Poroshenko's chocolate business.
Photo courtesy of Charles Kremenak via Flickr.

9. Peace and reconciliation with pro-Russians are his stated policy goals.

While he rejects the federalization of Ukraine, which he says would empower separatists, Poroshenko is advocating peace and pushing for more decentralized power, an amnesty for rebel fighters, and local elections.

Ole Skaar