"She was told she is the reincarnation of Eva Peron," says Dmitry Vydrin, who was Tymoshenko’s close adviser for nearly a decade. "And she believes it. She admits it in closed circles. She copies her consciously and subconsciously."
There's the elaborate, kaleidoscopic wardrobe; the bleached up-do; the theatrical mannerisms; the way the public rustles whenever she appears.
"It's that way of flirting with the public, of addressing them as ‘my loved ones,'" Vydrin says.
And there are the men whom the two women used to get out of poverty, but then brightly eclipsed. For Evita, it was her husband, Argentine President Juan Peron; for Tymoshenko, it was a string of well-connected men, starting with her father-in-law and ending with Ukraine's current president and hero of the 2004 Orange Revolution, Viktor Yushchenko.
But, while Evita never held office, Tymoshenko is within striking distance of her country's presidency.
So can we expect Madonna to play her in the movie?
-- Brian Whitmore