There was no announcement on his cause of death, but Zinchenko had survived a tough battle with cancer several years ago.
Oleksandr Zinchenko, a leading politician who became famous for his shifting allegiances, died on June 9. He was 53. There was no announcement on his cause of death, but Zinchenko had survived a tough battle with cancer several years ago.
Zinchenko got involved in politics by joining the Social Democratic Party of Ukraine (united), which never had much electoral success after critics successfully tagged it as the “oligarchs’ party.” Nonetheless, by 1998, Zinchenko managed to rise to deputy party chairman and head the group’s small faction in parliament.
In 2000, he chaired the Freedom of Speech and Information Committee during the era of press intimidation under Leonid Kuchma, the authoritarian former president. Zinchenko's name surfaced during the Melnychenko tapes scandal, when ex-presidential bodyguard Mykola Melnychenko supposedly captured Zinchenko and Kuchma talking about ways to intimidate news media, including the Kyiv Post. Zinchenko reportedly favored economic pressure rather than more aggressive tactics. He denied ever making those remarks.
In 2004, however, Zinchenko switched alliances and served as manager of Viktor Yushchenko’s presidential campaign. However, it was a short-lived alliance. The next year, Yushchenko’s first in power, Zinchenko quit in protest of what he described as corruption in Yushchenko’s inner circle.
He went on to become a member of the Kyiv City Council under the Bloc of Yulia Tymoshenko, but resigned last year, when he became head of the National Space Agency, a post he held until March.
Zinchenko was born to a military counter-intelligence officer and a nurse in Khmelnytsky Oblast on April 16, 1957. He graduated from Chernivtsi University with a degree in physics and also headed the Communist Party's Komsomol youth group. From 1989 to 1992, he studied at the Academy of Social Sciences in Moscow and earned a degree in political science. He went into business and once served as president of Inter TV, the nation’s largest, in 1996. He is survived by a wife and two daughters. The funeral is June 11 and burial is in Kyiv's Baikove Cemetery.