Ukraine, who is Rustan Umerov: the portrait of the new Minister of Defense chosen by Zelensky

Crimean Tatar, Deputy, Negotiator with Russia and Turkey for the Wheat Agreement. These are the highlights of the biography of Rustan Umerov, chosen by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky as the new Defense Minister. Umerov was born 41 years ago in Samarkand, in what was then Soviet Uzbekistan, where his family was deported by Stalin in 1944, along with the other Crimean Tatars. When this Turkish-speaking Muslim minority was allowed to return home in the 1980s and 1990s, Umerov’s parents, two engineers, returned to Crimea. While still in high school, Umerov participated in the US Department of State’s Future Leaders Exchange program and attended school in the United States for a year, staying with a family.

Graduated in economics, with a master’s degree in management, Umerov founded a telecommunications company (Astem) in 2013. Since 2019 he has been a member of the Ukrainian parliament for the liberal and pro-European Holos party. He was co-chairman of the Crimean Platform, which coordinated diplomatic efforts against the Russian annexation of the peninsula in 2014, and a longtime adviser to the longtime leader of the Crimean Tatars, Mustafa Dzhemilev.

Since September 2022, Umerov has headed the State Property Fund that controls the privatization of public assets, an institution at the center of corruption scandals prior to his tenure. Active in protecting Tatars fleeing Russian-occupied Crimea, Umerov is also a man of dialogue. In 2017 he played a role in the release of two Tatars detained in Russia, in March 2022 he participated in the failed peace talks with Moscow immediately after the Russian invasion of Ukraine and later was part of the Kiev delegation to the realization of the agreement on grain corridors in the Black Sea, under the aegis of Turkey and the UN. Now, the new mission at a crucial moment in the war.

Source: IL Tempo