Mykola Azarov resigned as prime minister amid mass protests in January 2014.
President Yanukovych accepted his resignation and that of his cabinet, but asked them to stay on until a new government is formed. It follows a vote by MPs to scrap controversial new laws limiting the rights of demonstrators, which sparked violence when they were introduced.
Mr Azarov, an ethnic Russian born in Russia, is a close associate of President Yanukovych and succeeded him as head of the Party of Regions in 2010. After the government of Mr Yanukovych's chief rival, Yuliya Tymoshenko, fell in a vote of confidence in March 2010, Mr Azarov formed a coalition with the Communists and the centrist Lytvyn Bloc.
Mr Azarov was head of the tax administration in 1996-2002, and his term as finance minister during Mr Yanukovych's subsequent premiership oversaw dramatic economic growth.
He was briefly acting prime minister during the presidential election crisis of 2004-2005, and resumed the post of finance minister during the Yanukovych government of 2006-2007.
A mining specialist, Mr Azarov is a technocrat with neither a political base nor ambitions of his own. His poor command of Ukrainian is often highlighted by his opponents, who see him as a symbol of Mr Yanukovych's alleged pro-Russian orientation.
Ukraine's economy has stagnated under the premiership of Mr Azarov. He has refused to cut expensive gas subsidies, which the IMF says are a block on any further loans. Negotiations with Russia on the price of gas have made little progress, and plans to forge closer ties with the European Union foundered in November 2013 when, after much prevarication, the government decided against signing a free-trade agreement.
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"Ukraine Government Stats", NationMaster. Retrieved from http://www.nationmaster.com/country-info/profiles/Ukraine/Government
"Ukraine Government Stats, NationMaster." 1989-2014. <http://www.nationmaster.com/country-info/profiles/Ukraine/Government>.
'Ukraine Government Stats, NationMaster', <http://www.nationmaster.com/country-info/profiles/Ukraine/Government> [assessed 1989-2014]
"Ukraine Government Stats", NationMaster [Internet]. 1989-2014. Avaliable from: <http://www.nationmaster.com/country-info/profiles/Ukraine/Government>.
"Ukraine Government Stats", NationMaster. Avaliable at: nationmaster.com. Assessed 1989-2014.
"Ukraine Government Stats, NationMaster," http://www.nationmaster.com/country-info/profiles/Ukraine/Government (assessed 1989-2014)
"Ukraine Government Stats", NationMaster, http://www.nationmaster.com/country-info/profiles/Ukraine/Government (last visited 1989-2014)
"Ukraine Government Stats", NationMaster, http://www.nationmaster.com/country-info/profiles/Ukraine/Government (as of 1989-2014)