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The first year of presidency of Viktor Yanukovych

February 25th, 2011, marked the first anniversary of Viktor Yanukovych's presidency. A great deal of changes have been introduced. On the diplomatic front, the president and the new government renewed an agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for credit, initiated negotiations on a free trade zone with the European Union (EU), agreed on a visa-liberalization regime and signed a protocol to grant Ukraine access to EU programs during an EU-Ukraine summit in 2010.

The IMF decided to renew its loan partnership with Ukraine in the summer of 2010 through a new stand-by program. The program, involving about 15.6 billion U.S. dollars, is the IMF's third biggest assistance package after those for Greece and Romania.

Yanukovych has improved ties with the Kremlin, and the relations between both countries have noticeably thawed during the tenure of former President Viktor Yushchenko. Yanukovych reached a historic deal with Russia's leadership, the so-called Kharkiv Agreements, to resolve a series of thorny issues hindering the development of bilateral relations, such as the presence of Russia's Black Sea fleet in the Crimea, southern Ukraine, and prices on Russian gas exported to Ukraine.

Yanukovych also paid great attention to cooperation with Asia, a region of robust economic growth. Ukraine and China are about to increase their bilateral trade volume to 10 billion U.S. dollars by 2012, five times the volume of 2009. What's more, Ukraine obtained a loan for 120 million dollars from Japan.

A lot of reforms are taking place, among which are administrative reforms that are bringing significant changes to the executive power structure. As a result, political stability has returned to Ukraine.

Ukraine's parliament passed a non-bloc bill in June, formally establishing the country's non-aligned status and dropping its bid to join NATO.