Serhiy Leonidovych Tihipko (born February 13, 1960) is a Ukrainian politician and finance specialist who has been Vice Prime Minister of Ukraine. Tihipko was Minister of Economics in 2000 and subsequently served as Chairman of the National Bank of Ukraine from 2002 to 2004. He was a candidate for President of Ukraine in the 2010 presidential election. Tihipko is also former Vice Prime Minister–Minister of social policy.
In the build up to the 2010 Ukrainian presidential election Tihipko stated that Ukraine should conduct the most constructive policy possible in relations with neighboring countries, including both Russia and the West. In September 2009 he wrote an article that was published in the Ukrainian edition of Komsomolskaya Pravda in which he criticized Ukraine’s foreign policy over the past five years, saying its goal had been to “participate in a cordon sanitaire” around Russia, which has done “enormous economic damage” to Ukraine, weakened Ukraine’s position in the post-Soviet realm, and turned Moscow into a “powerful opponent of Ukrainian interests.” According to Tihipko (in January 2010) Ukraine is not yet ready to seek membership in the European Union or NATO and must first focus on forming a unified government that can stimulate the country’s economy. In the long term he seeks European integration for Ukraine. In December 2012 Tihipko stated that European integration was more advantageous to Ukraine than accession to the Customs Union of Belarus, Kazakhstan and Russia.
Tihipko supports legalization of prostitution in Ukraine. In November 2009 he stated, “…we should not be hypocrites. If certain things exist we should speak about them openly and resolve [them] if necessary.”
Tihipko supports the privatization of Ukraine’s gas-pipeline system and its joint management by Russia and Europe, but warned that he would “not support the seizure of the pipeline” by Russia, which he believed the conditions (late 2009) where being set for. He was critical about the April 2010 natural gas agreement stating that while the deal might make economic sense “The procedure of debating the agreement and completing it behind closed doors is not what the Ukrainian people want.”