Born in Chaikine in Ukraine's Chernihiv oblast on 8 August 1938, Leonid Kuchma graduated from Dniepropetrivsk University in 1960. He worked as an engineer and later as a manager in a highly classified Soviet design bureau in Dniepropetrivsk and then at Baikonur, the Soviet space facility in Kazakhstan. Between 1986 and 1992, he was general director of the world's largest missile factory in Dniepropetrivsk. An avid tennis player and soccer fan, he and his wife, Lydmila, have a daughter and grandson.
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