Mykhailo Dobkin

Mykhailo Markovych Dobkin (Ukrainian: Михайло Маркович Добкін; Russian: Михаил Маркович Добкин; born 26 January 1970)[1] is a Ukrainian politician, former governor of Kharkiv Oblast, former mayor of Kharkiv,[1] and a former deputy of the Ukrainian parliament.[2]

Mykhailo Dobkin
Михайло Добкін
Dobkin in 2008
Member of Parliament in the Verkhovna Rada
In office
27 November 2014  29 August 2019
Governor of Kharkiv Oblast
In office
10 March 2010  2 March 2014
Prime MinisterDimitry Medvedev
Preceded byVolodymyr Babayev (acting)
Succeeded byIhor Baluta
4th Mayor of Kharkiv
In office
26 March 2006  10 March 2010
Preceded byVolodymyr Shumilkin
Succeeded byHennadiy Kernes
Member of Parliament in the Verkhovna Rada
In office
14 May 2002  25 May 2006
Personal details
Mykhailo Markovych Dobkin

(1970-01-26) 26 January 1970 (age 51)
Kharkiv, Ukrainian SSR, Soviet Union

Early life

Dobkin was born to a Jewish father and Ukrainian mother[3] in Kharkiv.[1][4] He graduated from the National University of Internal Affairs (degree in law) and Kharkiv National Economic University (majoring in international economics).[1]

Business career

From 1993 till 2002 Dobkin was an entrepreneur and director of several businesses.[1]

In his 2015 tax declaration Dobkin stated that he owned 12 luxury cars.[5]

Political career

In the 2002 Ukrainian parliamentary election Dobkin was elected People's Deputy of Ukraine.[6] First he was a member of the faction of For United Ukraine, later in the faction of Social Democratic Party of Ukraine (united) (he was a member of this party) and ended his legislature in the faction of Party of Regions.[1] Since late 2005 Dobkin is a member of the political council of Party of Regions.[1]

From March 2006 to March 2010 Dobkin was Mayor of Kharkiv.[1]

In March 2010 President Viktor Yanukovych appointed Dobkin Governor of Kharkiv Oblast.[1]

In 2014, he formed a "Ukrainian Front" organisation, in support of President Viktor Yanukovych, stating the intention to "clean and purify our Ukrainian land of those who come here with plans for occupation."[7] In February 2014, Dobkin called for Ukraine’s capital to be moved from Kyiv to Kharkiv, and for a federal structure of government to be established in Ukraine.[8] He also claimed that by late February 2014 "all peaceful protesters of Euromaidan had left" and that with the remaining protesters "Negotiations with them will be to no avail. They need to disarm, and those who resist and kill people physically destroyed".[9]

After Yanukovich was forced out of power Dobkin was a major participant in a meeting of local officials in Eastern Ukraine which questioned the legality of the new government's actions and declared local officials would take responsibility for their own regions until order was restored.[10] Dobkin was later reported to have fled to Russia along with the mayor of Kharkiv Hennadiy Kernes, but he returned to attend a pro-Russian rally in the city.[11][12] Late February 2014 he indicated that he intended to run for president in the upcoming Ukrainian presidential election due to his concerns regarding the behavior of the revolutionary government towards the Russophone population.[13][14] Dobkin tendered his resignation as governor on 26 February 2014 "following my decision to run for the office of the President of Ukraine".[15] On 2 March 2014 a decree by acting President Oleksandr Turchynov formally dismissed Dobkin.[1]

Percentage of the vote obtained by Dobkin in the 2014 presidential election by oblast

On 10 March 2014 Dobkin was arrested on charges of leading a separatist movement.[16][17] On 20 August 2014 "in the absence of corpus delicti" Dobkin's criminal case was closed.[18]

On 25 March Dobkin filed documents to the Central Election Commission to run for presidency.[19] On 29 March a Party of Regions convention supported Dobkin's nomination as a presidential candidate.[20][21] During the election campaign Dobkin advocated a federalization of Ukraine's oblasts,[22] Ukraine joining the Customs Union of Belarus, Kazakhstan and Russia, "rapid restoration of friendly and partnership relations with Russia, as well as the creation of a common humanitarian space", "defending the joint Russian-Ukrainian history, culture and traditions", maintaining Ukraine's neutral status, tax relief in the agricultural sector over the next 15 years and the formation of an army purely on contract basis.[23] In the 2014 Ukrainian presidential election he received 3.03% of the vote, ranking 6th among all candidates.[24]

In the October 2014 Ukrainian parliamentary election Dobkin was again re-elected into parliament; this time after placing third on the electoral list of Opposition Bloc.[25][26]

On 13 July 2017 the Ukrainian parliament stripped Dobkin of his parliamentary immunity.[6] He is suspected of abuse of office and assistance to fraud in order to get ownership of 78 hectares of land in Kharkiv worth more than $8.5 million.[6] Two days later a Kyiv court ruled Dobkin should be remanded in custody until 14 September 2017 and granted bail at 50 million hryvnia (at the time about US$1.9 million).[27][28] On 19 July, members of the Opposition Bloc posted his $1.9 million bail.[29] Dobkin withdrew himself from the Opposition Bloc in October 2017 because he did not like how the party voted for judicial reform.[30] He was the leader of his party, The Party of Christian Socialists which he had founded in February 2018. In June 2019, he joined Opposition Bloc — Party for Peace and Development, with his party.[31][32] But in the 2019 Ukrainian parliamentary election he did not win a seat because this party did not cross the 5% election barrier.[33]

Although in July 2020 Dobkin had announced his candidacy for the post of Mayor of Kyiv in the 2020 Kyiv local election he stated in September 2020 he had submitted documents for the registration as a candidate for the position of Kharkiv mayor in the 2020 Kharkiv local election (also set for 25 October 2020).[34][35] But on 4 October 2020 he withdrew his candidacy for the post of Kharkiv mayor in favor of incumbent Mayor Hennadiy Kernes.[36]

Personal life

Dobkin is married and has four children; a son and three daughters.[1]

Since they met in 1998 Dobkin was a close friend of Hennadiy Kernes, who was his successor as Mayor of Kharkiv in 2010 until his death in 2020.[1][37][38] A video (containing swearing) leaked in 2007 of Kernes instructing Dobkin is famous in Ukraine and created catchphrases there.[39]

Dobkin's younger brother Dmytro Dobkin was since the 2012 parliamentary election, People's Deputy of Ukraine for the Party of Regions,[1] and since the 2014 parliamentary election for Opposition Bloc.[40] In the 2019 Ukrainian parliamentary election Dmytro Dobkin was also not re-elected.[33]

Dobkin is widely known as "Dopa".[12][41]


  1. (in Russian) Short bio of Mykhailo Dobkin, LIGA
  2. Official website of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine
  5. (in Ukrainian) MPs in 2015 declared 951 "cars", some up to 36, Ukrayinska Pravda (12 July 2016)
  6. Ukraine's parliament gives the thumbs up for arrest of MP Dobkin, UNIAN (13 July 2017)
  7. Daniel McLaughlin, "Ukraine’s revolutionaries reject ‘fascist’ jibe as conflicting histories collide", The Irish Times, 13 February 2014
  8. Roman Olearchyk, Neil Buckley, "Uncertainty in Ukraine as president goes missing",, 22 February 2014
  9. (in Ukrainian) Dobkin decided that BP blow and offers physically destroy Protestants, Ukrayinska Pravda (February 20, 2014)
  10. "Protests in east Ukraine ease separatism fears". Reuters. 22 February 2014. Retrieved 25 February 2014.
  11. Mackinnon, Mark (24 February 2014). "Globe in Ukraine: In Kharkiv, revolution meets a Russophile resistance". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved 25 February 2014.
  12. (in Ukrainian) Dopa and Gepa fled to Russia, Ukrayinska Pravda (22 February 2014)
  13. Booth, William; Englund, Will (24 February 2014). "Russia cries 'mutiny' over change in Ukraine". The Washington Post. Retrieved 25 February 2014.
  14. "Kharkiv region governor decides to run for Ukrainian presidency". Kyiv Post. 24 February 2014. Retrieved 25 February 2014.
  15. Kharkiv governor Dobkin tenders resignation, Interfax-Ukraine (26 February 2014)
  18. (in Ukrainian) The case against Dobkin closed, Ukrayinska Pravda (30 August 2014)
  19. Mikhail Dobkin filed documents to the Central Election Commission on an election of the president of Ukraine, March 25, 2014
  20. Ukraine's Party of Regions expels presidential hopefuls Tigipko, Tsariov and Boiko, Interfax-Ukraine (7 April 2014)
  21. Ukraine: Party of Regions nominates Mykhailo Dobkin as presidential candidate, Euronews (29 March 2014)
  22. Yanukovych's Kharkiv duo in legal trouble: Dobkin arrested, Kernes named as suspect, Kyiv Post (11 March 2014)
  23. (in Ukrainian) Dobkin promises federalization of Ukraine and join the Customs Union, Ukrayinska Pravda (31 March 2014)
  24. "Poroshenko wins presidential election with 54.7% of vote - CEC". Radio Ukraine International. 29 May 2014. Archived from the original on 29 May 2014.
    (in Russian) Results election of Ukrainian president, Телеграф (29 May 2014)
  25. Poroshenko Bloc to have greatest number of seats in parliament, Ukrinform (8 November 2014)
    People's Front 0.33% ahead of Poroshenko Bloc with all ballots counted in Ukraine elections - CEC, Interfax-Ukraine (8 November 2014)
    Poroshenko Bloc to get 132 seats in parliament - CEC, Interfax-Ukraine (8 November 2014)
  26. (in Ukrainian) Full electoral list of Opposition Bloc, Ukrayinska Pravda (19 September 2014)
  27. [Read more on UNIAN:]
  34. (in Ukrainian) Battle for Kyiv. Life, career, promises of Klitschko, Vereshchuk, Palchevsky and others, Ukrayinska Pravda (15 September 2020)
    (in Ukrainian) Dobkin was going to become mayor of Kharkiv and wished Kernes to recover from COVID-19, Ukrayinska Pravda (23 September 2020)
  35. Rada appoints next elections to local self-govt bodies for Oct 25, Interfax-Ukraine (15 July 2020)
  36. (in Ukrainian) Dobkin changed his mind to go to the mayor of Kharkiv, Ukrayinska Pravda (4 October 2020)
  37. Wounded Mayor Is Both Colorful and Powerful, Loved and Loathed, The New York Times (28 April 2014)
  38. Kharkiv mayor Kernes dies, Ukrinform (17 December 2020)
    Помер Геннадій Кернес: мер Харкова, який виграв вибори з реанімації, BBC Ukrainian (17 December 2020) (in Ukrainian)
  39. When politicians fall foul of social media, BBC News (29 September 2017)
  40. Mikhail Dobkin commented on the resonance live with his brother in Parliament, Ukrop News 24 (2 November 2016)
  41. (in Ukrainian) Dobkin and Kernes significant move on the other wheels , Tablo ID (22 September 2011)
Political offices
Preceded by
Volodymyr Babayev (acting)
Governor of Kharkiv Oblast
Succeeded by
Ihor Baluta