Although largely unknown to the outside world, Ms. Yovanovitch has now become a sort of heroine to the State Department’s career staff — as well as a cautionary tale to many longtime American diplomats and national security officials. Over the past several months, Ms. Yovanovitch, a decorated 33-year veteran of the State Department, has been vilified in the right-wing news media, denounced by the president’s eldest son as a “joker,” called a Democratic stooge by the president’s personal lawyer and then abruptly recalled from Kiev in May 2019, months ahead of schedule.
Now serving as a diplomat in residence at Georgetown University, Ms. Yovanovitch did not respond to requests for an interview.
Ms. Yovanovitch was born in Canada, moved to Connecticut at age 3 and became a naturalized American citizen at 18. In congressional testimony, she said her father fled the Soviet Union and then the Nazis; her mother grew up “stateless” in Germany.
She grew up speaking Russian, graduated from Princeton and joined the State Department six years later. Her specialty was Eurasia. President George W. Bush appointed her ambassador to Kyrgyzstan, then to Armenia. President Barack Obama named her ambassador to Ukraine in 2016.