A Hard Right: Ukrainian Opposition Leader Vitaly Klitschko

The press is reporting today that fires are burning in the Ukrainian capital city of Kiev in the second night of violent clashes between police and dissident demonstrators.  Among the goals of the dissidents is the resignation of President Viktor Yanukovych, who has ties to and is backed by Russian President Putin.  Putin sees the Ukraine, perhaps the richest of the former Soviet satellite nations, as the key to rebuilding what has been called a new mini-Soviet.  Vitaly Klitschko has announced that he will run for President of Ukraine next year against Yanukovych.  As it happens, Klitschko is a very interesting guy.  An excerpt from John Hindraker’s recent article about him on Powerline:

Vitaly Klitschko is one of the more interesting figures in world politics.  He first earned fame as a boxer: Vitaly and his younger brother Wladimir have dominated the heavyweight division for the last 15 years, and have played a major role in Europe’s boxing renaissance.  Vitaly held one or more heavyweight belts on and off between 1999 and 2013, when he retired to focus exclusively on politics.  His record in world title bouts is 15-2.  At 6-feet, 7-inches and 240 pounds, Klitschko is an imposing force.

and

Vitaly Klitschko has the second highest knockout ratio in the history of the heavyweight division — second to Rocky Marciano.  But Klitschko is much more than a Hall of Fame boxer.  The son of a major general in the Soviet Air Force, he is a very smart guy.  He has a PhD and is an excellent chess player.

And on top of that, the guy has an 80-inch reach!  Here is a video with highlights of Klitschko’s matches in the United States before he retired to engage full-time in Ukrainian politics.  He fights in the heavyweight division, of course, and the heavyweights always have the potential for spectacular damage, including knockouts,

For more on the troubles in Ukraine and the underlying causes, check out THIS article from CNN.