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Yuriy Shcherbak

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Yuriy Mykolayovych Scherbak
Юрій Миколайович Щербак
1st Minister of Natural Environment Protection
In office
June 1991 – October 1992
Prime MinisterVitold Fokin
Preceded byState Committee Chairman
Succeeded byYuriy Kostenko
Ambassador of Ukraine to Israel
In office
October 29, 1992 – October 22, 1994
PresidentLeonid Kravchuk
Preceded byPost created
Succeeded byOleksandr Maidannyk
Ambassador of Ukraine to the United States
In office
PresidentLeonid Kuchma
Preceded byOleh Bilorus
Succeeded byAnton Buteyko
Ambassador of Ukraine to Canada
In office
March 9, 2000 – April 7, 2003
PresidentLeonid Kuchma
Preceded byVolodymyr Khandohiy
Succeeded byMykola Maimeskul
Personal details
Born (1934-10-12) 12 October 1934 (age 86)
Kyiv, Soviet Union
Political partyParty of Greens of Ukraine
Alma materKyiv Medical Institute

Yuriy Mykolayovych Scherbak (Shcherbak) (born October 12, 1934) – Ukrainian writer, screenwriter, publicist, epidemiologist, politician, diplomat, and environmental activist. Doctor of Medicine (1983), Laureate of Y. Yanovsky Literary Prize (1984) and O. Dovzhenko State Prize (1984).


He was born in Kyiv in 1934, about the time when his father was arrested by NKVD, predecessor of KGB. During World War II the family was evacuated to Russia. He returned to his native city in the beginning of March 1944. His older brother, Mykola Scherbak (1927–1998), famous scientist-zoologist, was head of the Zoological Museum of the Academy of Sciences of Ukraine, and in his student's years was accused (1948) and condemned by KGB (1948–1954) for nationalism.[1]

Yuriy Scherbak graduated from Kyiv Medical Institute in 1958. During 1958–1987 he worked in the Kyiv L. Gromashevsky Research Institute of Epidemiology and Infectious Diseases as Junior and then Senior Researcher. His PhD (1965) and MD (1983) theses devoted to the epidemiology of especially dangerous infectious diseases. He took part in the fight against epidemics of cholera and other diseases in Ukraine and Uzbekistan, for which he was awarded the Order of Red Banner of Labour (1971).

Yuriy Scherbak is the author of about 100 scientific papers and more than 20 books. His career in literature began in the mid-1950s at the literary association of his medical school. His first stories were published in the magazine "Yunost" and illustrated by his own illustrations. The first story "Like at the war" (1966) tells of doctor's everyday life. He has been a Member of the Writer's Union of Ukraine since 1966 (Secretary of the Board in 1987–1991), and a Member of the Union of Cinematographers of Ukraine since 1971. His debut as a playwright was with the play "Discovery" at the Kharkiv Pushkin academic theatre in 1975. He has an excellent command of Polish, and translated Polish poetry and writers, often lecturing to students at Warsaw University.

In the novel "The Chronicle of Yaropol Town" (1968) he described the grotesque, fantastic story of the small town of Yaropol, chronicling and describing all manner of real and incredible events which happened there over several centuries. The story combines elements of science fiction, legends and fairy tales. He has also written several fantastic stories: "Interrogation", "Synthesis", "Odyssey −2482" and many others.

Most of his works can be attributed to the conventional genre of "urban prose". He is the author of the novel "The Barrier of Incompatibility" which concerns the moral problems of heart transplantation, the documentary novel "The Causes and Consequences" regarding the struggle against rabies, novels, digests of short stories, poems and plays, screenplays and a number of artistic, scientific and documentary movies. He was awarded the Y. Yanovsky literary prize (1984) for a collection of short stories "The Bright Dances of the Past", and the O. Dovzhenko state prize for the screenplay of the film "Public Attitudes". Soviet period books were published in Germany, Poland, Hungary, Czechoslovakia, Romania and other countries. As a publicist Yuriy Scherbak became known with documentary novel about the Chernobyl tragedy. "Chornobyl" (1987–1991) was published in the US, Canada, Germany, Poland, Switzerland, Japan and other countries.

Yuri Scherbak in 2014
Yuri Scherbak in 2014

During the collapse of the Soviet Union and Ukraine's independence (1989–1991), he moved away from the literary work and engaged in politics. Never having been affiliated with the Soviet Communist Party, Yuriy Scherbak is one of the founders and Chairman of the Ukrainian Environmental Association "Green World", and the first leader of the Green Party of Ukraine. During the period 1992–1998 he was engaged with diplomatic work. In 1998, the Institute of Ukrainian Studies at Harvard University published his book "The Strategic Role of Ukraine", and subsequently in 2003 his other political book "Ukraine: Challenges and Choices (Perspectives of Ukraine in a Globalized World of the XXI Century)" was published. He is internationally recognized as one of Ukraine's foremost specialists on geo-political strategic issues, and is the author of numerous studies, articles and books on Chornobyl, ecology, public health, NATO and Ukraine's relations with Russia, the European Union and the United States. Throughout the years he has been internationally sought as a political analyst and commentator by all media outlets, conferences and seminars, and is a respected diplomat in the international arena. Yuriy Shcherbak was elected a member of the World Academy of Art and Science (WAAS) in 2013. He is married and has daughter and son, speaks Polish and English.

Public career

  • 1988 - Founder and leader of Ukrainian Green movement[2]
  • 1989–1991 – Deputy of the USSR, Chairman of the sub-Committee on Nuclear Energy and Environment, member of oppositional Interregional Deputy Group headed by Academician Andrei Sakharov
  • 1990–1992 – Chairman of the Green Party of Ukraine (formerly Ukrainian Green movement)
  • 1991–1992 – First environment Minister of independent Ukraine, Member of the National Security Council of Ukraine
  • 1992–1994 – Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary Ambassador of Ukraine to Israel
  • 1994–1998 – Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary Ambassador of Ukraine to the USA (since 1997 also to Mexico)
  • 1998–2000 – Advisor to the President of Ukraine
  • 2000–2003 – Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary Ambassador of Ukraine to Canada (also Representative of Ukraine at the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO, Montreal).
  • Since 12/2009 – Co-founder and Member of the Council on Foreign and Security Policy
  • 2004–2006 – Advisor to the Chairman of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine
  • Since 2006 – President of the V. Vernadsky Institute for Sustainable Development.

Awards and honours

  • Order of Red Banner of Labour (1971)
  • Order for Cultural Merit of Poland (1977)
  • Laureate of Y. Yanovsky Literary Prize (1984)
  • Laureate of O. Dovzhenko State Prize (1984)
  • Order "For merits", III grade (1996)
  • Mexican Order of the Aztec Eagle (1998)
  • Diploma of the Supreme Council of Ukraine (2004)
  • Order "For merits", II grade (2009)
  • Order of Christ the Saviour, Orthodox Church Kyiv Patriarchate (2011).
  • Antonovych prize (2018)

Books and publications

  • "Like at the war", stories and novels (1966)
  • "The Chronicle of Yaropol town" (1968)
  • "Barrier of incompatibility", novel (1971)
  • "Little football team", stories and novels (1973)
  • "Signs", short stories and novels (1984)
  • "Causes and Consequences", novel (1986)
  • "Chernobyl", documentary novel (1987)
  • "To hope", collection of plays (1989)
  • "Doctors", novel and stories (1990)
  • "Strategic Role of Ukraine", political and journalistic essays (1998)
  • "Ukraine: Challenge and choice" (2003)
  • "Ukraine in the area of turbulence" (2010)
  • "Time of Christothanatists: Mirages 2077", political action-thriller (2011)
  • "The big game: Phantoms 2079", continuation of "Time of smertohrystiv" (2012).

Cinematic works (movie scripts and films)

  • "We are students from different continents" (1965)
  • "They defended spring" (1965)
  • "Morning Island" (1966)
  • "Sons of Bashtanka Republic" (1967)
  • "Years and seconds" (1967)
  • "Quarantine" (1968)
  • "Khortytsia" (1969)
  • "The way to the heart" (1970)
  • "V.M. Glushkov, cybernetist" (1980, co-author)
  • "Island singing sands" (1981, TV film)
  • "Discovery" (1982, TV film)
  • "Public attitudes" (1983)
  • "Approaching the Future" (1986, co-author)

A TV film "Once in December" (1988) was made after Scherbak's story "Harmonic inspiration".


  1. ^ Cullen, Robert (January 27, 1992). "Report from Ukraine". The New Yorker
  2. ^ ""UKRAINE REPORT-2004"". Retrieved January 30, 2019.
Political offices Preceded by Leader of Party of Greens of Ukraine1990–1992 Succeeded byVitaliy Kononov
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Yuriy Shcherbak
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