Yulia Tymoshenko (Юлія Володимирівна Тимошенко) was born Yulia Grigyan on Nov. 27, 1960, into a poor family in Dnipropetrovsk, Ukraine. She was raised by a single mother.
Education: Economics-cybernetics, Dnipropetrovsk State University, 1984. Ph.D., economics, Kiev National University of Economics, 1999 (thesis: "National Regulations of the Taxation System").
After graduation, she worked as an engineer-economist at a Dnipropetrovsk machine-building plant.
1989: Started her first family business, a video rental shop in Dnipropetrovsk
1991: CEO of Ukrainian Gasoline, which supplied fuel to the agriculture industry of Dnipropetrovsk
1995-1997: President of United Energy Systems of Ukraine (UESU), which provided Russian gas to some 2,000 Ukrainian enterprises. The company became the main importer of Russian natural gas in 1996. She was accused of shady business practices and acquired the nickname "gas princess." By some estimates, she became one of the richest people in Ukraine during the 1990s, many say with help from Prime Minister Pavlo Lazarenko.
1996: Became a member of the 450-seat Verkhovna Rada, Ukraine's parliament, representing the Bobrinsky district in the Kirovograd region
1998: Re-elected to the Verkhovna Rada on the Hromada party list. Shortly thereafter, she became chairwoman of the Budget Committee. (She officially left parliament in March 2000.)
1999: Became a leader of All-Ukrainian Union Fatherland party, which was set up after Hromada leader Pavlo Lazarenko fled to the United States to avoid an embezzlement investigation
December 1999-January 2001: Became deputy prime minister, in charge of fuel and energy. She fell out with Kuchma when she was restructuring the country's energy sector — the reforms angered many influential tycoons and some economists — and was ousted in early 2001, when she was charged with forgery and smuggling gas. The case was linked to her activities with the gas monopoly in the mid-1990s, and she dismissed it as a witch-hunt. After spending a month in custody, she was cleared by a court, although prosecutors continued to investigate her, her husband and her father-in-law (source).
In the years after she left government, she relentlessly called for Kuchma to resign. After her dismissal from the Cabinet she returned to the Verkhovna Rada.
November 2001: Founded the Yulia Tymoshenko Bloc. (She remained head of Fatherland.) The party received 7.2 percent of the vote in 2002 parliamentary elections.
2004: Yulia Tymoshenko Bloc and Viktor Yushchenko Bloc Our Ukraine announce the creation of People's Power coalition (Ukrainian: Сила народу, Sila Narodu) to support Viktor Yushchenko's presidential candidacy during October presidential elections
September 2004: As the presidential campaign got under way, Russian prosecutors dusted off an old case and demanded her extradition on charges of bribing Russian Defense Ministry officials in 1996. Again, Tymoshenko said the charges were politically motivated, part of a Kremlin effort to discredit the opposition.
November 2004: Co-led the Orange Revolution (she was dubbed the "princess of the Orange Revolution"), which secured the victory of Viktor Yushchenko — a liberal who favored market reforms and closer ties with the West — after the pro-Russia candidate, Viktor Yanukovych, won presidential elections widely considered rigged
January-September 2005: Prime minister. Her brief tenure was plagued by conflicts within the Orange Revolution coalition, and she was dismissed by President Yushchenko.
December 2007-March 2010: Prime minister. Her second tenure as prime minister was marked by continued political squabbling and a worsening economic crisis.
February 2010: Loses presidential election to Viktor Yanukovych, winning 45.47 percent of the vote to Yanukovych's 48.95 percent in a runoff. Tymoshenko campaigned on a pro-EU platform.
December 2010: Charged with misusing state funds raised by selling carbon emission rights during her tenure as prime minister. Tymoshenko dismissed the charge as politically motivated (story).
May 2011: Charged with abuse of office for signing a gas import contract with Russia at prices that officials say were too high. Tymoshenko says she is a victim of political repression (story).