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Ukraine ( , transliterated: , ) is a country in Eastern Europe. It is bordered by Russiamarker to the east; Belarusmarker to the north; Polandmarker, Slovakiamarker, and Hungarymarker to the west; Romaniamarker and Moldovamarker to the southwest; and the Black Seamarker and Sea of Azovmarker to the south. The city of Kievmarker ( ) is both the capital and the largest city of Ukraine.

Ukraine's modern history began with the East Slavs. From at least the 9th century, Ukraine was a center of the medieval living area of the East Slavs. This state, known as Kievan Rus' became the largest and most powerful nation in Europe, but disintegrated in the 12th century. After the Great Northern War, Ukraine was divided among a number of regional powers, and by the 19th century, the largest part of Ukraine was integrated into the Russian Empiremarker, with the rest under Austro-Hungarian control. After a chaotic period of incessant warfare and several attempts at independence (1917–21) following World War I and the Russian Civil War, Ukraine emerged in 1922 as one of the founding republics of the Soviet Union. The Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic's territory was enlarged westward shortly before and after World War II, and southwards in 1954 with the Crimea transfer. In 1945, the Ukrainian SSR became one of the co-founding members of the United Nations. Ukraine became independent again after the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991. This began a period of transition to a market economy, in which Ukraine was stricken with an eight year recession. But since then, the economy experienced a high increase in GDP growth. Ukraine was caught up in the worldwide economic crisis in 2008 and the economy plunged. GDP fell 20% from spring 2008 to spring 2009, then leveled off as analysts compared the magnitude of the downturn to the worst years of economic depression during the early 1990s.

Ukraine is a unitary state composed of 24 oblasts (provinces), one autonomous republic (Crimeamarker), and two cities with special status: Kievmarker, its capital, and Sevastopolmarker, which houses the Russian Black Sea Fleet under a leasing agreement. Ukraine is a republic under a semi-presidential system with separate legislative, executive, and judicial branches. Since the collapse of the USSR, Ukraine continues to maintain the second largest military in Europe, after that of Russia. The country is home to 46 million people, 77.8 percent of whom are ethnic Ukrainians, with sizable minorities of Russians, Belarusians and Romanians. The Ukrainian language is the only official language in Ukraine, while Russian is also widely spoken. The dominant religion in the country is Eastern Orthodox Christianity, which has heavily influenced Ukrainian architecture, literature and music.

History

Early history

Human settlement in the territory of Ukraine dates back to at least 4500 BC, when the Neolithic Cucuteni-Trypillian Culture flourished in a wide area that included parts of modern Ukraine including Trypilliamarker and the entire Dnieper-Dniestermarker region. During the Iron Age, the land was inhabited by Cimmerians, Scythians, and Sarmatians. Between 700 BC and 200 BC it was part of the Scythian Kingdom, or Scythia. Later, colonies of Ancient Greece, Ancient Rome, and the Byzantine Empire, such as Tyras, Olbia, and Hermonassa, were founded, beginning in the 6th century BC, on the northeastern shore of the Black Seamarker, and thrived well into the 6th century AD. The Goths stayed in the area but came under the sway of the Huns from the 370s AD. In the 7th century AD, the territory of eastern Ukraine was the center of Old Great Bulgaria. At the end of the century, the majority of Bulgar tribes migrated in different directions and the land fell into the Khazars' hands.

Golden Age of Kiev

In the 9th century, much of modern-day Ukraine was populated by the Slavic tribes.The so-called Kievan Rus was founded by Rus' people, Varangians who first settled around Ladogamarker and Novgorodmarker, then gradually moved southward eventually reaching Kiev about 880. Kievan Rus' included nearly all territory of modern Ukraine, Belarus, with larger part of it situated on the territory of modern Russia. During the 10th and 11th centuries, it became the largest and most powerful state in Europe. In the following centuries, it laid the foundation for the national identity of Ukrainians and Russians. Kievmarker, the capital of modern Ukraine, became the most important city of the Rus'. According to the Primary Chronicle, the Rus' elite initially consisted of Varangians from Scandinavia. The Varangians later became assimilated into the local Slavic population and became part of the Rus' first dynasty, the Rurik Dynasty. Kievan Rus' was composed of several principalities ruled by the interrelated Rurikid Princes. The seat of Kiev, the most prestigious and influential of all principalities, became the subject of many rivalries among Rurikids as the most valuable prize in their quest for power.

The Golden Age of Kievan Rus' began with the reign of Vladimir the Great (980–1015), who turned Rus' toward Byzantine Christianity. During the reign of his son, Yaroslav the Wise (1019–1054), Kievan Rus' reached the zenith of its cultural development and military power. This was followed by the state's increasing fragmentation as the relative importance of regional powers rose again. After a final resurgence under the rule of Vladimir Monomakh (1113–1125) and his son Mstislav (1125–1132), Kievan Rus' finally disintegrated into separate principalities following Mstislav's death.

In the 11th and 12th centuries, constant incursions by nomadic Turkic tribes, such as the Pechenegs and the Kipchaks, caused a massive migration of Slavic populations to the safer, heavily forested regions of the north. The 13th century Mongol invasion devastated Kievan Rus'. Kiev was totally destroyed in 1240. On the Ukrainian territory, the state of Kievan Rus' was succeeded by the principalities of Galich (Halychmarker) and Volodymyr-Volynskyi, which were merged into the state of Galicia-Volhynia.



Foreign domination



In the mid-14th century, Galicia-Volhynia was subjugated by Casimir III of Poland, while the heartland of Rus', including Kiev, fell under the Gediminas of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania after the Battle on the Irpen' River. Following the 1386 Union of Krevo, a dynastic union between Poland and Lithuania, much of what became northern Ukraine was controlled by the increasingly Slavicised local Lithuanian nobles as part of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania.

By 1569, the Union of Lublin formed the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, and a significant part of Ukrainian territory was moved from Lithuanian rule to the Polish administration, as it was transferred to the Polish Crown. Under the cultural and political pressure of Polonisation much upper class of Polish Ruthenia (another term for the land of Rus) converted to Catholicism and became indistinguishable from the Polish nobility. Thus, the commoners, deprived of their native protectors among Rus nobility, turned for protection to the Cossacks, who remained fiercely orthodox at all times and tended to turn to violence against those they perceived as enemies, particularly the Polish state and its representatives.

In the mid-17th century, a Cossack military quasi-state, the Zaporozhian Host, was established by the Dnieper Cossacks and the Ruthenian peasants fleeing Polish serfdom. Poland had little real control of this land, yet they found the Cossacks to be a useful fighting force against the Turks and Tatars, and at times the two allied in military campaigns. However, the continued enserfment of peasantry by the Polish nobility emphasized by the Commonwealth's fierce exploitation of the workforce, and most importantly, the suppression of the Orthodox Church pushed the allegiances of Cossacks away from Poland. Their aspiration was to have representation in Polish Sejm, recognition of Orthodox traditions and the gradual expansion of the Cossack Registry. These were all vehemently denied by the Polish nobility. The Cossacks eventually turned for protection to Orthodox Russiamarker, a decision which would later lead towards the downfall of the Polish-Lithuanian state, and the preservation of the Orthodox Church and in Ukraine.

In 1648, Bohdan Khmelnytsky led the largest of the Cossack uprisings against the Commonwealth and the Polish king John II Casimir. Left-bank Ukraine was eventually integrated into Muscovite Russia as the Cossack Hetmanatemarker, following the 1654 Treaty of Pereyaslav and the ensuing Russo-Polish War. After the partitions of Poland at the end of the 18th century by Prussia, Habsburg Austria, and Russiamarker, Western Ukrainian Galicia was taken over by Austria, while the rest of Ukraine was progressively incorporated into the Russian Empire. From the beginning of the 16th century until the end of 17th century the Crimean Tatar raider bands made almost annual forays into agricultural Slaviclands searching for captives to sell as slaves.

The Ruin

In 1657-1686 came "The Ruin," a devastating 30-year war between Russia, Poland, Turks and Cossacks for control of Ukraine. For three years Khmelnytsky's armies controlled present-day western and central Ukraine, but deserted by his Tatar allies, he suffered a crushing defeat at Berestechko, and turned to the Russian Czar for help. In 1654, Khmelnytsky signed the Treaty of Pereiaslav, forming a military and political alliance with Russia that acknowledged loyalty to the Czar. The wars escalated in intensity with hundreds of thousands of deaths. Defeat came in 1686 as the "Eternal Peace" between Russia and Poland gave Kiev and the Cossack lands east of the Dnieper over to Russian rule and the Ukrainian lands west of the Dnieper to Poland. In 1709 Cossack Hetman Ivan Mazepa (1687-1709) sided with Sweden against Russia in the Great Northern War (1700-1721). Mazepa, a member of the Cossack nobility, received an excellent education abroad and proved to be a brilliant political and military leader enjoying good relations with the Romanov dynasty. After Peter the Great became czar, Mazepa as hetman gave him more than twenty years of loyal military and diplomatic service and was well rewarded. Eventually Peter recognized that in order to consolidate and modernize Russia's political and economic power it was necessary to do away with the hetmanate and Ukrainian and Cossack aspirations to autonomy. Peter refused to assist Cossack forces in protecting Ukraine from imminent attack by Sweden, thus abrogating treaty obligations between Russia and Ukraine. Mazepa accepted Polish invitations to join the Poles and Swedes against Russia. The move was disastrous for the hetmanate, Ukrainian autonomy, and Mazepa. He died in exile after fleeing from the Battle of Poltavamarker (1709), where the Swedes and their Cossack allies suffered a catastrophic defeat at the hands of Peter's Russian forces
Zaporozhian Cossack with a head of a Muslim.
The hetmanate was abolished in 1764; the Zaporizhska Sich abolished in 1775, as centralized Russian control became the norm. With the partitioning of Poland in 1772, 1793, and 1795, the Ukrainian lands west of the Dnieper were divided between Russia and Austria. From 1737 to 1834 expansion into the northern Black Sea littoral and the eastern Danube valley was a cornerstone of Russian foreign policy.

Lithuanians and Poles controlled vast estates in Ukraine, and were a law unto themselves. Judicial rulings from Cracow were routinely flouted. Heavily taxed peasants were practically tied to the land as serfs Occasionally the landowners battled each other using armies of Ukrainian peasants. The Poles and Lithuanians were Roman Catholics and tried with some success to covert the Orthodox lesser nobility. In 1596 they set up the "Greek-Catholic" or Uniate Church, under the authority of the Pope but using Eastern rituals; it dominates western Ukraine to this day. Tensions between the Uniates and the Orthodox were never resolved, and the religious differentiation left the Ukrainian Orthodox peasants leaderless, as they were reluctant to follow the Ukrainian nobles.

The Cossack-led uprising called Koliivshchyna that erupted in the Ukrainian borderlands of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth in 1768 involved ethnicity as one root cause of Ukrainian violence that killed tens of thousands of Poles and Jews. Religious warfare also broke out between Ukrainian groups. Increasing conflict between Uniate and Orthodox parishes along the newly reinforced Polish-Russian border on the Dnepr River in the time of Catherine II set the stage for the uprising. As Uniate religious practices had become more Latinized, Orthodoxy in this region drew even closer into dependence on the Russian Orthodox Church. Confessional tensions also reflected opposing Polish and Russian political allegiances.

After the annexation of the Crimean Khanate in 1783, the region was settled by migrants from other parts of Ukraine. Despite the promises of Ukrainian autonomy given by the Treaty of Pereyaslav, the Ukrainian elite and the Cossacks never received the freedoms and the autonomy they were expecting from Imperial Russia. However, within the Empire, Ukrainians rose to the highest offices of Russian state, and the Russian Orthodox Church. At a later period, the tsaristmarker regime carried the policy of Russification of Ukrainian lands, suppressing the use of the Ukrainian language in print, and in public.

19th century

In the 19th century the Ukrainian was a rural area largely ignored by Russia and Austria. With growing urbanization and modernization, and a cultural trend toward nationalism inspired by romanticism, a Ukrainian intelligentsia committed to national rebirth and social justice emerged. The serf-turned-national-poet Taras Shevchenko (1814-1861) and the political theorist Mykhailo Drahomanov (1841-1895) led the growing nationalist movement. Nationalist and socialist parties developed in the late 19th century. Austrian Galicia, which enjoyed substantial political freedom under the relatively lenient rule of the Hapsburgs, became the center of the nationalist movement. The Russian government responded to nationalism by sponsoring pogroms against Jews and by placing severe restrictions on the Ukrainian language.

World War I and revolution

Ukraine entered World War I on the side of both the Central Powers, under Austria, and the Triple Entente, under Russia. 3.5 million Ukrainians fought with the Imperial Russian Army, while 250,000 fought for the Austro-Hungarian Army. During the war, Austro-Hungarian authorities established the Ukrainian Legion to fight against the Russian Empire. This legion was the foundation of the Ukrainian Galician Army that fought against the Bolsheviks and Poles in the post World War I period (1919–23). Those suspected of the Russophile sentiments in Austria were treated harshly. Up to 5,000 supporters of the Russian Empire from Galicia were detained and placed in Austrian internment camps in Talerhofmarker, Styriamarker, and in a fortress at Terezínmarker (now in the Czech Republicmarker).


With the collapse of the Russian and Austrian empires following World War I and the Russian Revolution of 1917, a Ukrainian national movement for self-determination reemerged. During 1917–20, several separate Ukrainian states briefly emerged: the Ukrainian People's Republicmarker, the Hetmanate, the Directorate and the pro-Bolshevik Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic (or Soviet Ukraine) successively established territories in the former Russian Empire; while the West Ukrainian People's Republicmarker emerged briefly in the former Austro-Hungarian territory. In the midst of Civil War, an anarchist movement called the Black Army led by Nestor Makhno also developed in Southern Ukraine. However with Western Ukraine's defeat in the Polish-Ukrainian War followed by the failure of the further Polish offensive that was repelled by the Bolsheviks. According to the Peace of Riga concluded between the Soviets and Polandmarker, western Ukraine was officially incorporated into Poland who in turn recognised the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic in March 1919, that later became a founding member of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republicsmarker or the Soviet Union in December, 1922.

Inter-war Polish Ukraine

The war in Ukraine continued for another two years; by 1921, however, most of Ukraine had been taken over by the Soviet Union, while Galicia and Volhynia were incorporated into independent Poland.

A powerful underground Ukrainian nationalist movement rose in Poland in the 1920s and 1930s, led by the Ukrainian Military Organization and the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN). The movement attracted a militant following among students and harassed the Polish authorities. Legal Ukrainian parties, the Ukrainian Catholic Church, an active press, and a business sector also flourished in Poland. Economic conditions improved in the 1920s, but the region suffered from the Great Depression in the 1930s.

Inter-war Soviet Ukraine

The revolution that brought the Soviet government to power devastated Ukraine. It left over 1.5 million people dead and hundreds of thousands homeless. The Soviet Ukraine had to face the famine of 1921.

Moscow encouraged a national renaissance in literature and the arts, under the aegis of the Ukrainization policy pursued by the national Communist leadership of Mykola Skrypnyk (1872-1933). Seeing the exhausted society, the Soviet government remained very flexible during the 1920s. Thus, the Ukrainian culture and language enjoyed a revival, as Ukrainisation became a local implementation of the Soviet-wide Korenisation (literally indigenisation) policy. The Bolsheviks were also committed to introducing universal health care, education and social-security benefits, as well as the right to work and housing. Women's rights were greatly increased through new laws aimed to wipe away centuries-old inequalities. Most of these policies were sharply reversed by the early-1930s after Joseph Stalin gradually consolidated power to become the de facto communist party leader and a dictator of the Soviet Union.

The communists gave a privileged position to manual labor, the largest class in the cities, where Russians dominated. The typical worker was more attached to class identity than to ethnicity. Although there were incidents of ethnic friction among workers (in addition to Ukrainians and Russians there were Poles, Germans, Jews, and others in the Ukrainian workforce), industrial laborers had already adopted Russian culture and language to a significant extent. Workers whose ethnicity was Ukrainian were not attracted to campaigns of Ukrainianization or de-Russification in meaningful numbers, but remained loyal members of the Soviet working class. There was no significant antagonism between workers identifying themselves as Ukrainian or Russian; however, anti-Semitism was widespread.

Starting from the late 1920s, Ukraine was involved in the Soviet industrialisation and the republic's industrial output quadrupled in the 1930s.

Famine

The industrialisation had a heavy cost for the peasantry, demographically a backbone of the Ukrainian nation. To satisfy the state's need for increased food supplies and to finance industrialisation, Stalin instituted a program of collectivisation of agriculture as the state combined the peasants' lands and animals into collective farms and enforced the policies by the regular troops and secret police. Those who resisted were arrested and deported and the increased production quotas were placed on the peasantry. The collectivisation had a devastating effect on agricultural productivity. As the members of the collective farms were not allowed to receive any grain until the unachievable quotas were met, starvation in the Soviet Union became widespread. In 1932–33, millions starved to death in a man-made famine known as Holodomor. Scholars are divided as to whether this famine fits the definition of genocide, but the Ukrainian parliamentmarker and more than a dozen other countries recognise it as such.

The famine claimed some 3 to 7 million lives as crops failed and remaining food stocks were forcibly removed by the government. Stalin had full knowledge of the destructive force of the famine. It was a by-product of his war on the peasantry that began with collectivization and dekulakization and as an attempt to eradicate peasant culture in its entirety. Ellman explains the causes for the excess deaths in rural areas of Russia, Ukraine, and Kazakhstan during 1931–34 by dividing the causes into three groups: objective nonpolicy-related factors, like the drought of 1931 and poor weather in 1932; inadvertent result of policies with other objectives, like rapid industrialization, socialization of livestock, and neglected crop rotation patterns; and deaths caused intentionally by a starvation policy. The Communist leadership perceived famine not as a humanitarian catastrophe but as a means of class struggle and used starvation as a punishment tool to teach peasants to work well in the collective farms.

It was largely the same groups of individuals who were responsible for the mass killing operations during the civil war, collectivisation, and the Great Terror. These groups were associated with Efim Georgievich Evdokimov (1891–1939) and operated in Ukraine during the civil war, in the North Caucasus in the 1920s, and in the Secret Operational Division within General State Political Administration (OGPU) in 1929–31. Evdokimov transferred into Communist Party administration in 1934, when he became Party secretary for North Caucasus Krai. But he appears to have continued advising Joseph Stalin and Nikolai Yezhov on security matters, and the latter relied on Evdokimov's former colleagues to carry out the mass killing operations that are known as the Great Terror in 1937–38.

Attack on intellectuals and artists

With Stalin's change of course in the late 1920s, however, Moscow's toleration of Ukrainian national identity came to an end. Systematic state terror of the 1930s destroyed Ukraine's writers, artists, and intellectuals; the Communist Party of Ukraine was purged of its "nationalist deviationists". Two waves of Stalinist political repression and persecution in the Soviet Union (1929–34 and 1936–38) resulted in the killing of some 681,692 people; this included four-fifths of the Ukrainian cultural elite and three quarters of all the Red Army's higher-ranking officers.

World War II

Following the Invasion of Poland in September 1939, German and Sovietmarker troops divided the territory of Poland. Thus, Eastern Galicia and Volhynia with their Ukrainian population became reunited with the rest of Ukraine. The unification that Ukraine achieved for the first time in its history was a decisive event in the history of the nation.

After France surrendered to Germany, Romaniamarker ceded Bessarabiamarker and northern Bukovina to Soviet demands. The Ukrainian SSR incorporated northern and southern districts of Bessarabia, the northern Bukovina, and the Soviet-occupied Hertsa region. But it ceded the western part of the Moldavian Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic to the newly created Moldavian Soviet Socialist Republic. All these territorial gains were internationally recognised by the Paris peace treaties of 1947.

German armies invaded the Soviet Union on June 22, 1941, thereby initiating four straight years of incessant total war. The Axis allies initially advanced against desperate but unsuccessful efforts of the Red Army. In the encirclement battle of Kievmarker, the city was acclaimed as a "Hero City", for the fierce resistance by the Red Army and by the local population. More than 600,000 Soviet soldiers (or one quarter of the Western Front) were killed or taken captive there. Although the wide majority of Ukrainians fought alongside the Red Army and Soviet resistance, some elements of the Ukrainian nationalist underground created an anti-Soviet nationalist formation in Galicia, the Ukrainian Insurgent Army (1942) that at times engaged the Nazi forces and continued to fight the USSR in the years after the war. Using guerilla war tactics, the insurgents targeted for assassination and terror those who they perceived as representing, or cooperating at any level with, the Soviet state. At the same time another nationalist movement fought alongside the Nazis. In total, the number of ethnic Ukrainians that fought in the ranks of the Soviet Army is estimated from 4.5 million to 7 million. The pro-Soviet partisan guerilla resistance in Ukraine is estimated to number at 47,800 from the start of occupation to 500,000 at its peak in 1944; with about 50 percent of them being ethnic Ukrainians. Generally, the Ukrainian Insurgent Army's figures are very undependable, ranging anywhere from 15,000 to as much as 100,000 fighters.
Initially, the Germans were even received as liberators by some western Ukrainians, who had only joined the Soviet Union in 1939. However, brutal German rule in the occupied territories eventually turned its supporters against the occupation. Nazi administrators of conquered Soviet territories made little attempt to exploit the population of Ukrainian territories' dissatisfaction with Stalinist political and economic policies. Instead, the Nazis preserved the collective-farm system, systematically carried out genocidal policies against Jews, deported others to work in Germany, and began a systematic depopulation of Ukraine to prepare it for German colonisation, which included a food blockade on Kiev.

The vast majority of the fighting in World War II took place on the Eastern Front, and Nazi Germany suffered 93 percent of all casualties there. The total losses inflicted upon the Ukrainian population during the war are estimated between five and eight million, including over half a million Jews killed by the Einsatzgruppenmarker, sometimes with the help of local collaborators. Of the estimated 8.7 million Soviet troops who fell in battle against the Nazis, 1.4 million were ethnic Ukrainians. So to this day, Victory Day is celebrated as one of ten Ukrainian national holidays.



Post-World War II



The republic was heavily damaged by the war, and it required significant efforts to recover. More than 700 cities and towns and 28,000 villages were destroyed. The situation was worsened by a famine in 1946–47 caused by the drought and the infrastructure breakdown that took away tens of thousands of lives.

In 1945 Ukraine was one of the founding members of the United Nations organization. First Soviet computer MESM was built in Kiev Institute of Electrotechnology and became operational in 1950.

According to statistics, as of 1 January 1953, Ukrainians were second only to Russians among adult "special deportees", comprising 20% of the total. Apart from Ukrainians, over 450,000 ethnic Germans from Ukraine and more than 200,000 Crimean Tatars were victims of forced deportations.

Following the death of Stalin in 1953, Nikita Khrushchev became the new leader of the USSR. Being the First Secretary of the Communist Party of Ukrainian SSR in 1938-49, Khrushchev was intimately familiar with the republic and after taking power union-wide, he began to emphasize the friendship between the Ukrainian and Russian nations. In 1954, the 300th anniversary of the Treaty of Pereyaslav was widely celebrated, and in particular, Crimeamarker was transferred from the Russian SFSR to the Ukrainian SSR.

Already by 1950, the republic fully surpassed pre-war levels of industry and production. During the 1946-1950 five year plan nearly 20 percent of the Soviet budget was invested in Soviet Ukraine, a five percent increase from prewar plans. As a result the Ukrainian workforce rose 33.2 percent from 1940 to 1955 while industrial output grew 2.2 times in that same period. Soviet Ukraine soon became a European leader in industrial production. It also became an important center of the Soviet arms industry and high-tech research. Such an important role resulted in a major influence of the local elite. Many members of the Soviet leadership came from Ukraine, most notably Leonid Brezhnev, who would later oust Khrushchev and become the Soviet leader from 1964 to 1982, as well as many prominent Soviet sportspeople, scientists and artists. On April 26, 1986, a reactor in the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plantmarker exploded, resulting in the Chernobyl disastermarker, the worst nuclear reactor accident in history. At the time of the accident seven million people lived in the contaminated territories, including 2.2 million in Ukraine. After the accident, a new city, Slavutychmarker, was built outside the exclusion zone to house and support the employees of the plant which was decommissioned in 2000. A report prepared by the International Atomic Energy Agencymarker and World Health Organization attributed 56 direct deaths to the accident and estimated that there may have been 4,000 extra cancer deaths.

Independence

On July 16, 1990, the new parliament adopted the Declaration of State Sovereignty of Ukraine. The declaration established the principles of the self-determination of the Ukrainian nation, its democracy, political and economic independence, and the priority of Ukrainian law on the Ukrainian territory over Soviet law. A month earlier, a similar declaration was adopted by the parliament of the Russian SFSR. This started a period of confrontation between the central Soviet, and new republican authorities. In August 1991, a conservative faction among the Communist leaders of the Soviet Union attempted a coup to remove Mikhail Gorbachev and to restore the Communist party's power. After the attempt failed, on August 24, 1991 the Ukrainian parliament adopted the Act of Independence in which the parliament declared Ukraine as an independent democratic state. A referendum and the first presidential elections took place on December 1, 1991. That day, more than 90 percent of the Ukrainian people expressed their support for the Act of Independence, and they elected the chairman of the parliament, Leonid Kravchuk to serve as the first President of the country. At the meeting in Brestmarker, Belarus on December 8, followed by Alma Atamarker meeting on December 21, the leaders of Belarus, Russia, and Ukraine, formally dissolved the Soviet Union and formed the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS).
Although the idea of an independent Ukrainian nation had previously not existed in the 20th century in the minds of international policy makers Ukraine was initially viewed as a republic with favorable economic conditions in comparison to the other regions of the Soviet Union. However, the country experienced deeper economic slowdown than some of the other former Soviet Republics. During the recession, Ukraine lost 60 percent of its GDP from 1991 to 1999, and suffered five-digit inflation rates. Dissatisfied with the economic conditions, as well as crime and corruption, Ukrainians protested and organised strikes.

The Ukrainian economy stabilized by the end of the 1990s. A new currency, the hryvnia, was introduced in 1996. Since 2000, the country has enjoyed steady real economic growth averaging about seven percent annually. A new Constitution of Ukraine was adopted in 1996, which turned Ukraine into a semi-presidential republic and established a stable political system. Kuchma was, however, criticized by opponents for concentrating too much of power in his office, corruption, transferring public property into hands of loyal oligarchs, discouraging free speech, and electoral fraud. In 2004, Viktor Yanukovych, then Prime Minister, was declared the winner of the presidential elections, which had been largely rigged, as the Supreme Court of Ukraine later ruled. The results caused a public outcry in support of the opposition candidate, Viktor Yushchenko, who challenged the results and led the peaceful Orange Revolution. The revolution brought Viktor Yushchenko and Yulia Tymoshenko to power, while casting Viktor Yanukovych in opposition. However Yanukovych did became Prime Minister again in 2006 until snap elections in September 2007 made Tymoshenko Prime Minister again.

Confilicts with Russia over the price of natural gas (briefly) stopped all gas supplies to Ukraine in 2006 and 2009, with led to gas shortages in several other European countries (both times).

Government and politics

Ukraine is a republic under a mixed semi-parliamentary semi-presidential system with separate legislative, executive, and judicial branches. The President is elected by popular vote for a five-year term and is the formal head of state.

Ukraine's legislative branch includes the 450-seat unicameral parliament, the Verkhovna Radamarker. The parliament is primarily responsible for the formation of the executive branch and the Cabinet of Ministersmarker, which is headed by the Prime Minister.

Laws, acts of the parliament and the cabinet, presidential decrees, and acts of the Crimean parliamentmarker may be abrogated by the Constitutional Court, should they be found to violate the Constitution of Ukraine. Other normative acts are subject to judicial review. The Supreme Court is the main body in the system of courts of general jurisdiction.Local self-government is officially guaranteed. Local councils and city mayors are popularly elected and exercise control over local budgets. The heads of regional and district administrations are appointed by the president.

Ukraine has a large number of political parties, many of which have tiny memberships and are unknown to the general public. Small parties often join in multi-party coalitions (electoral blocs) for the purpose of participating in parliamentary elections.

Military

After the collapse of the Soviet Union, Ukraine inherited a 780,000 man military force on its territory, equipped with the third-largest nuclear weapons arsenal in the world. In May 1992, Ukraine signed the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) in which the country agreed to give up all nuclear weapons to Russia for "disposal" and to join the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty as a non-nuclear weapon state. Ukraine ratified the treaty in 1994, and by 1996 the country became free of nuclear weapons. Currently Ukraine's military is the second largest in Europe, after that of Russia.

Ukraine took consistent steps toward reduction of conventional weapons. It signed the Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe, which called for reduction of tanks, artillery, and armoured vehicles (army forces were reduced to 300,000). The country plans to convert the current conscript-based military into a professional volunteer military not later than in 2011.


Ukraine has been playing an increasingly larger role in peacekeeping operations. Ukrainian troops are deployed in Kosovomarker as part of the Ukrainian-Polish Battalion. A Ukrainian unit was deployed in Lebanonmarker, as part of UN Interim Force enforcing the mandated ceasefire agreement. There was also a maintenance and training battalion deployed in Sierra Leonemarker. In 2003–05, a Ukrainian unit was deployed in Iraqmarker, as part of the Multinational force in Iraq under Polishmarker command. The total Ukrainian military deployment around the world is 562 servicemen.

Following independence, Ukraine declared itself a neutral state. The country has had a limited military partnership with Russia, other CIS countries and a partnership with NATO since 1994. In the 2000s, the government was leaning towards the North Atlantic Treaty Organizationmarker, and a deeper cooperation with the alliance was set by the NATO-Ukraine Action Plan signed in 2002. It was later agreed that the question of joining NATO should be answered by a national referendum at some point in the future.



Administrative divisions

The system of Ukrainian subdivisions reflects the country's status as a unitary state (as stated in the country's constitution) with unified legal and administrative regimes for each unit.

Ukraine is subdivided into twenty-four oblasts (provinces) and one autonomous republic ( ), Crimeamarker. Additionally, the cities of Kievmarker, the capital, and Sevastopolmarker, both have a special legal status. The 24 oblasts and Crimeamarker are subdivided into 490 (districts), or second-level administrative units. The average area of a Ukrainian raion is ; the average population of a raion is 52,000 people.

Urban areas (cities) can either be subordinated to the state (as in the case of Kiev and Sevastopol), the oblast or administrations, depending on their population and socio-economic importance. Lower administrative units include urban-type settlements, which are similar to rural communities, but are more urbanized, including industrial enterprises, educational facilities, and transport connections, and villages.

In total, Ukraine has 457 cities, 176 of them are labeled oblast-class, 279 smaller -class cities, and two special legal status cities. These are followed by 886 urban-type settlements and 28,552 villages.

Geography

At and with a coastline of , Ukraine is the world's 44th-largest country (after the Central African Republicmarker, before Madagascarmarker). It is the largest whole-Europe country and the second largest country in Europe (after the European part of Russia, before metropolitan France).

The Ukrainian landscape consists mostly of fertile plains (or steppes) and plateaus, crossed by rivers such as the Dnieper ( ), Seversky Donetsmarker, Dniestermarker and the Southern Buhmarker as they flow south into the Black Seamarker and the smaller Sea of Azovmarker. To the southwest, the delta of the Danube forms the border with Romania. The country's only mountains are the Carpathian Mountainsmarker in the west, of which the highest is the Hora Hoverlamarker at , and thosemarker on the Crimeanmarker peninsula, in the extreme south along the coast.

Ukraine has a mostly temperate continental climate, although a more Mediterranean climate is found on the southern Crimean coast. Precipitation is disproportionately distributed; it is highest in the west and north and lowest in the east and southeast. Western Ukraine, receives around of precipitation annually, while Crimeamarker receives around . Winters vary from cool along the Black Seamarker to cold farther inland. Average annual temperatures range from – in the north, to – in the south.

Regionalism

There are not only clear regional differences on questions of identity but historical cleavages remain evident at the level of individual social identification. Attitudes toward the most important political issue, relations with Russia, differed strongly between L'viv, identifying more with Ukrainian nationalism and the Greek Orthodox religion, and Donetsk, predominantly Russian and favorable to the Soviet era, while in central and southern regions, as well as Kiev, such divisions were less important and there was less antipathy toward people from other regions. However, all were united by an overarching Ukrainian identity based on shared economic difficulties, showing that other attitudes are determined more by culture and politics than by demographic differences.

Economy

Kiev skyscrapers
Dnipropetrovsk skyscrapers
Kiev, the economic heart of the city
In Soviet times, the economy of Ukraine was the second largest in the Soviet Unionmarker, being an important industrial and agricultural component of the country's planned economy. With the collapse of the Soviet system, the country moved from a planned economy to a market economy. The transition process was difficult for the majority of the population which plunged into poverty. Ukraine's economy contracted severely following the years after the Soviet collapse. Day to day life for the average person living in Ukraine was a struggle. A significant number of citizens in rural Ukraine survived by growing their own food, often working two or more jobs and buying the basic necessities through the barter economy.

In 1991, the government liberalized most prices to combat widespread product shortages, and was successful in overcoming the problem. At the same time, the government continued to subsidize state-run industries and agriculture by uncovered monetary emission. The loose monetary policies of the early 1990s pushed inflation to hyperinflationary levels. For the year 1993, Ukraine holds the world record for inflation in one calendar year. Those living on fixed incomes suffered the most. Prices stabilized only after the introduction of new currency, the hryvnia, in 1996.The country was also slow in implementing structural reforms. Following independence, the government formed a legal framework for privatisation. However, widespread resistance to reforms within the government and from a significant part of the population soon stalled the reform efforts. A large number of state-owned enterprises were exempt from the privatisation process. In the meantime, by 1999, the GDP had fallen to less than 40 percent of the 1991 level, but recovered to slightly above the 100 percent mark by the end of 2006. In the early 2000s, the economy showed strong export-based growth of 5 to 10 percent, with industrial production growing more than 10 percent per year. Ukraine was hit by the economic crisis of 2008 and in November 2008, the IMF approved a stand-by loan of $16.5 billion for the country.

Ukraine's 2007 GDP (PPP), as calculated by the CIA, is ranked 29th in the world and estimated at $359.9 billion. Its GDP per capita in 2008 according to the CIA was $7,800 (in PPP terms), ranked 83rd in the world. Nominal GDP (in U.S. dollars, calculated at market exchange rate) was $198 billion, ranked 41st in the world. By July 2008 the average nominal salary in Ukraine reached 1,930  hryvnias per month. Despite remaining lower than in neighbouring central European countries, the salary income growth in 2008 stood at 36.8 percentAccording to the UNDP in 2003 4.9 percent of the Ukrainian population lived under 2 US dollar a day and 19.5 percent of the population lived below the national poverty line that same year.

Ukraine produces nearly all types of transportation vehicles and spacecraft. Antonov airplanes and KrAZ trucks are exported to many countries. The majority of Ukrainian exports are marketed to the European Union and CIS. Since independence, Ukraine has maintained its own space agency, the National Space Agency of Ukraine (NSAU). Ukraine became an active participant in scientific space exploration and remote sensing missions. Between 1991 and 2007, Ukraine has launched six self made satellites and 101 launch vehicles, and continues to design spacecraft. So to this day, Ukraine is recognised as a world leader in producing missiles and missile related technology.

The country imports most energy supplies, especially oil and natural gas, and to a large extent depends on Russia as its energy supplier. While 25 percent of the natural gas in Ukraine comes from internal sources, about 35 percent comes from Russia and the remaining 40 percent from Central Asia through transit routes that Russia controls. At the same time, 85 percent of the Russian gas is delivered to Western Europe through Ukraine.

The World Bank classifies Ukraine as a middle-income state. Significant issues include underdeveloped infrastructure and transportation, corruption and bureaucracy. In 2007 the Ukrainian stock market recorded the second highest growth in the world of 130 percent. According to the CIA, in 2006 the market capitalisation of the Ukrainian stock market was $111.8 billion. Growing sectors of the Ukrainian economy include the information technology (IT) market, which topped all other Central and Eastern European countries in 2007, growing some 40 percent.



Transportation in Ukraine

Tourism

Ukraine occupies 8th place in the world by the number of tourists visiting, according to the World Tourism Organisation rankings.

The Seven Wonders of Ukraine are the seven historical and cultural monuments of Ukraine, which were chosen in the Seven Wonders of Ukraine.

Culture



Ukrainian customs are heavily influenced by Christianity, which is the dominant religion in the country. Gender roles also tend to be more traditional, and grandparents play a greater role in raising children than in the West. The culture of Ukraine has been also influenced by its eastern and western neighbours, which is reflected in its architecture, music and art.

The Communist era had quite a strong effect on the art and writing of Ukraine. In 1932, Stalin made socialist realism state policy in the Soviet Union when he promulgated the decree "On the Reconstruction of Literary and Art Organisations". This greatly stifled creativity. During the 1980s glasnost (openness) was introduced and Soviet artists and writers again became free to express themselves as they wanted.

The tradition of the Easter egg, known as pysanky, has long roots in Ukraine. These eggs were drawn on with wax to create a pattern; then, the dye was applied to give the eggs their pleasant colours, the dye did not affect the previously wax-coated parts of the egg. After the entire egg was dyed, the wax was removed leaving only the colourful pattern. This tradition is thousands of years old, and precedes the arrival of Christianity to Ukraine. In the city of Kolomya near the foothills of the Carpathian mountainsmarker in 2000 was built the museum of Pysanka which won a nomination as the monument of modern Ukraine in 2007, part of the Seven Wonders of Ukraine action.

The traditional Ukrainian diet includes chicken, pork, beef, fish and mushrooms. Ukrainians also tend to eat a lot of potatoes, grains, fresh and pickled vegetables. Popular traditional dishes include (boiled dumplings with mushrooms, potatoes, sauerkraut, cottage cheese or cherries), borscht (soup made of beets, cabbage and mushrooms or meat) and (stuffed cabbage rolls filled with rice, carrots and meat). Ukrainian specialties also include Chicken Kiev and Kiev Cake. Ukrainians drink stewed fruit, juices, milk, buttermilk (they make cottage cheese from this), mineral water, tea and coffee, beer, wine and .

Language

According to the Constitution, the state language of Ukraine is Ukrainian. Russian, which was the de facto official language of the Soviet Union, is widely spoken, especially in eastern and southern Ukraine. According to the 2001 census, 67.5 percent of the population declared Ukrainian as their native language and 29.6 percent declared Russian. Most native Ukrainian speakers know Russian as a second language.

These details result in a significant difference across different survey results, as even a small restating of a question switches responses of a significant group of people. Ukrainian is mainly spoken in western and central Ukraine. In western Ukraine, Ukrainian is also the dominant language in cities (such as Lvivmarker). In central Ukraine, Ukrainian and Russian are both equally used in cities, with Russian being more common in Kievmarker, while Ukrainian is the dominant language in rural communities. In eastern and southern Ukraine, Russian is primarily used in cities, and Ukrainian is used in rural areas.

For a large part of the Soviet era, the number of Ukrainian speakers declined from generation to generation, and by the mid-1980s, the usage of the Ukrainian language in public life had decreased significantly. Following independence, the government of Ukraine began following a policy of Ukrainisation, to increase the use of Ukrainian, while discouraging Russian, which has supposedly been banned or restricted in the media and films. This would, in principle, mean that Russian-language programmes need a Ukrainian translation or subtitles.

According to the Constitution of the Autonomous Republic of Crimeamarker, Ukrainian is the only state language of the republic. However, the republic's constitution specifically recognises Russian as the language of the majority of its population and guarantees its usage 'in all spheres of public life'. Similarly, the Crimean Tatar language (the language of 12 percent of population of Crimea) is guaranteed a special state protection as well as the 'languages of other ethnicities'. Russian speakers constitute an overwhelming majority of the Crimean population (77 percent), with Ukrainian speakers comprising just 10.1 percent, and Crimean Tatar speakers 11.4 percent. But in everyday life the majority of Crimean Tatars and Ukrainians in Crimea use Russian.



Literature

The history of Ukrainian literature dates back to the 11th century, following the Christianisation of the Kievan Rus’. The writings of the time were mainly liturgical and were written in Old Church Slavonic. Historical accounts of the time were referred to as chronicles, the most significant of which was the Primary Chronicle. Literary activity faced a sudden decline during the Mongol invasion of Rus'.


Ukrainian literature again began to develop in the 14th century, and was advanced significantly in the 16th century with the introduction of print and with the beginning of the Cossack era, under both Russian and Polish dominance. The Cossacks established an independent society and popularized a new kind of epic poems, which marked a high point of Ukrainian oral literature. These advances were then set back in the 17th and early 18th centuries, when publishing in the Ukrainian language was outlawed and prohibited. Nonetheless, by the late 18th century modern literary Ukrainian finally emerged.

The 19th century initiated a vernacular period in Ukraine, lead by Ivan Kotliarevsky’s work , the first publication written in modern Ukrainian. By the 1830s, Ukrainian romanticism began to develop, and the nation’s most renowned cultural figure, romanticist poet-painter Taras Shevchenko emerged. Where Ivan Kotliarevsky is considered to be the father of literature in the Ukrainian vernacular; Shevchenko is the father of a national revival. Then, in 1863, use of the Ukrainian language in print was effectively prohibited by the Russian Empire. This severely curtained literary activity in the area, and Ukrainian writers were forced to either publish their works in Russian or release them in Austrian controlled Galicia. The ban was never officially lifted, but it became obsolete after the revolution and the Bolsheviks’ coming to power.

Ukrainian literature continued to flourish in the early Soviet years, when nearly all literary trends were approved. These policies faced a steep decline in the 1930s, when Stalin implemented his policy of socialist realism. The doctrine did not necessarily repress the Ukrainian language, but it required writers to follow a certain style in their works. Literary activities continued to be somewhat limited under the communist party, and it was not until Ukraine gained its independence in 1991 when writers were free the express themselves as they wished.



Sport

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Ukraine greatly benefited from the Soviet emphasis on physical education. Such policies left Ukraine with hundreds of stadia, swimming pools, gymnasia, and many other athletic facilities. The most popular sport is football. The top professional league is the Vyscha Liha, also known as the Ukrainian Premier League. The two most successful teams in the Vyscha Liha are rivals FC Dynamo Kyiv and FC Shakhtar Donetsk. Although Shakhtar is the reigning champion of the Vyscha Liha, Dynamo Kyiv has been much more successful historically, winning two UEFA Cup Winners' Cups, one UEFA Super Cup, a record 13 USSR Championships and a record 12 Ukrainian Championships; while Shakhtar only won four Ukrainian championships and one and last UEFA Cup. Many Ukrainians also played for the Soviet national football team, most notably Igor Belanov and Oleg Blokhin, winners of the prestigious Golden Ball Award for the best football player of the year. This award was only presented to one Ukrainian after the collapse of the Soviet Union, Andriy Shevchenko, the current captain of the Ukrainian national football team. The national team made its debut in the 2006 FIFA World Cup, and reached the quarterfinals before losing to eventual champions, Italy. Ukrainians also fared well in boxing, where the brothers Vitaliy Klychko and Volodymyr Klychko have held world heavyweight championships.

Ukraine made its Olympic debut at the 1994 Winter Olympics. So far, Ukraine has been much more successful in Summer Olympics (96 medals in four appearances) than in the Winter Olympics (five medals in four appearances). Ukraine is currently ranked 35th by number of gold medals won in the All-time Olympic Games medal count, with every country above it, except for Russia, having more appearances. The new step of Ukraine in the world sport is to place a bid to host 2018 Winter Olympic Games. Ukrainian government bid Bukovelmarker - the newest Ukrainian ski resort to be the host in 2018. The winning bid will be announced in 2011 at the 123rd IOC Session in Durbanmarker, South Africa.

Demographics

Ethnic Ukrainians in Ukraine (2001)
According to the Ukrainian Census of 2001, ethnic Ukrainians make up 77.8% of the population. Other significant ethnic groups are Russians (17.3%), Belarusians (0.6%), Moldovans (0.5%), Crimean Tatars (0.5%), Bulgarians (0.4%), Hungarians (0.3%), Romanians (0.3%), Poles (0.3%), Jews (0.2%), Armenians (0.2%), Greeks (0.2%) and Tatars (0.2%). The industrial regions in the east and southeast are the most heavily populated, and about 67.2 percent of the population lives in urban areas.

Demographic crisis

Ukraine has been in a demographic crisis since the 1980s because of its high death rate and a low birth rate. The population is shrinking 150,000 a year because of the lowest birth rate in Europe combined with one of the highest death rates in Europe.

In 2007, the country's population was declining at the fourth fastest rate in the world.

Population of Ukraine (in millions) from 1950-2009.
Life expectancy is falling. The nation suffers a high mortality rate from environmental pollution, poor diets, widespread smoking, extensive alcoholism, and deteriorating medical care.

In 2008 more than 50,000 children were born in Ukraine, 20 percent more than in 2004. Infant mortality rates have also dropped from 10.4 deaths to 8.9 per 1,000 children under one year of age. This is still high in comparison, however, to many other nations.

According to the United Nations poverty and poor health care are the two biggest problems Ukrainian children face. More than 26 percent of families with one child, 42 percent of families with two children and 77 percent of families with four and more children live in poverty, according to United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund. In November 2009 Ukrainian human rights ombudsman Nina Karpacheva stated that the lives of many of Ukraine’s 8.2 million kids remain tough.

Fertility

The current Ukrainian birth rate is 9.55 births/1,000 population, and the death rate is 15.93 deaths/1,000 population.

The phenomenon of lowest-low fertility, defined as total fertility below 1.3, is emerging throughout Europe and is attributed by many to postponement of the initiation of childbearing. Ukraine, where total fertility (a very low 1.1 in 2001), is one of the world's lowest, shows that there is more than one pathway to lowest-low fertility. Although Ukraine has undergone immense political and economic transformations during 1991-2004, it has maintained a young age at first birth and nearly universal childbearing. Analysis of official national statistics and the Ukrainian Reproductive Health Survey show that fertility declined to very low levels without a transition to a later pattern of childbearing. Findings from focus group interviews suggest explanations of the early fertility pattern. These findings include the persistence of traditional norms for childbearing and the roles of men and women, concerns about medical complications and infertility at a later age, and the link between early fertility and early marriage.

Natalist policies

To help mitigate the declining population, the government continues to increase child support payments. Thus it provides one-time payments of 12,250 Hryvnias for the first child, 25,000 Hryvnias for the second and 50,000 Hryvnias for the third and fourth, along with monthly payments of 154 Hryvnias per child. The demographic trend is showing signs of improvement, as the birth rate has been steadily growing since 2001. Net population growth over the first nine months of 2007 was registered in five provinces of the country (out of 24), and population shrinkage was showing signs of stabilising nationwide. In 2007 the highest birth rates were in the Western Oblasts.

Famines

The government-imposed famines of the 1930s, followed by the devastation of World War II, comprised a demographic disaster. Life expectancy at birth fell to a level as low as ten years for females and seven for males in 1933 and plateaued around 25 for females and 15 for males in the period 1941-44.

Migration

Significant migration took place in the first years of Ukrainian independence. More than one million people moved into Ukraine in 1991–2, mostly from the other former Soviet republics. In total, between 1991 and 2004, 2.2 million immigrated to Ukraine (among them, 2 million came from the other former Soviet Union states), and 2.5 million emigrated from Ukraine (among them, 1.9 million moved to other former Soviet Union republics). Currently, immigrants constitute an estimated 14.7 % of the total population, or 6.9 million people; this is the fourth largest figure in the world. In 2006, there were an estimated 1.2 million Canadians of Ukrainian ancestry, giving Canadamarker the world's third-largest Ukrainian population behind Ukraine itself and Russia.

Religion

[[File:Ukraine religion 2006 Razumkov center.svg|thumb|200px|"What religious group do you belong to?". Sociology poll by Razumkov Centre about the religious situation in Ukraine (2006)

]]

The dominant religion in Ukraine is Eastern Orthodox Christianity, which is currently split between three Church bodies: the Ukrainian Orthodox Church - Kiev Patriarchate, the Ukrainian Orthodox Church autonomous church body under the Patriarch of Moscow, and the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church.

A distant second by the number of the followers is the Eastern Rite Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, which practices a similar liturgical and spiritual tradition as Eastern Orthodoxy, but is in communion with the Holy See of the Roman Catholic Church and recognises the primacy of the Pope as head of the Church.

Additionally, there are 863 Roman Catholic communities, and 474 clergy members serving some one million Roman Catholics in Ukraine. The group forms some 2.19 percent of the population and consists mainly of ethnic Poles and Hungarians, who live predominantly in the western regions of the country.

Protestant Christians also form around 2.19 percent of the population. Protestant numbers have grown greatly since Ukrainian independence. The Evangelical Baptist Union of Ukraine is the largest group, with more than 150,000 members and about 3000 clergy. The second largest Protestant church is the Ukrainian Church of Evangelical faith (Pentecostals) with 110000 members and over 1500 local churches and over 2000 clergy, but there also exist other Pentecostal groups and unions and together all Pentecostals are over 300,000, with over 3000 local churches. Also there are many Pentecostal high education schools such as the Lviv Theological Seminary and the Kiev Bible Institute. Other groups include Calvinists, Jehovah's Witnesses, Lutherans, Methodists and Seventh-day Adventists. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon Church) is also present.

There are an estimated 500,000 Muslims in Ukraine, and about 300,000 of them are Crimean Tatars. There are 487 registered Muslim communities, 368 of them on the Crimean peninsula. In addition, some 50,000 Muslims live in Kievmarker; mostly foreign-born. The Jewish community is a tiny fraction of what it was before World War II. The cities with the largest populations of Jews in 1926 were Odessamarker, 154,000 or 36.5% of the total population; and Kievmarker, 140,500 or 27.3%. The 2001 census indicated that there are 103,600 Jews in Ukraine, although community leaders claimed that the population could be as large as 300,000. There are no statistics on what share of the Ukrainian Jews are observant, but Orthodox Judaism has the strongest presence in Ukraine. Smaller Reform and Conservative Jewish (Masorti) communities exist as well.

Education



According to the Ukrainian constitution, access to free education is granted to all citizens. Complete general secondary education is compulsory in the state schools which constitute the overwhelming majority. Free higher education in state and communal educational establishments is provided on a competitive basis. There is also a small number of accredited private secondary and higher education institutions.

Because of the Soviet Union's emphasis on total access of education for all citizens, which continues today, the literacy rate is an estimated 99.4%. Since 2005, an eleven-year school program has been replaced with a twelve-year one: primary education takes four years to complete (starting at age six), middle education (secondary) takes five years to complete; upper secondary then takes three years. In the 12th grade, students take Government Tests, which are also referred to as school-leaving exams. These tests are later used for university admissions.

The Ukrainian higher education system comprises higher educational establishments, scientific and methodological facilities under federal, municipal and self-governing bodies in charge of education. The organisation of higher education in Ukraine is built up in accordance with the structure of education of the world's higher developed countries, as is defined by UNESCOmarker and the UN.

Infrastructure



Most of the Ukrainian road system has not been upgraded since the Soviet era, and is now outdated. The Ukrainian government has pledged to build some 4,500 km (2,800 mi) of motorways by 2012. In total, Ukrainian paved roads stretch for . Rail transport in Ukraine plays the role of connecting all major urban areas, port facilities and industrial centers with neighbouring countries. The heaviest concentration of railroad track is located in the Donbas region of Ukraine. Although the amount of freight transported by rail fell by 7.4 percent in 1995 in comparison with 1994, Ukraine is still one of the world's highest rail users. The total amount of railroad track in Ukraine extends for , of which is electrified.

Ukraine is one of Europe’s largest energy consumers; it consumes almost double the energy of Germany, per unit of GDP. A great share of energy supply in Ukraine comes from nuclear power, with the country receiving most of its nuclear fuel from Russia. The remaining oil and gas, is also imported from the former Soviet Union. Ukraine is heavily dependent on its nuclear energy. The largest nuclear power plant in Europe, the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plantmarker, is located in Ukraine. In 2006, the government planned to build 11 new reactors by the year 2030, in effect, almost doubling the current amount of nuclear power capacity. Ukraine's power sector is the twelfth-largest in the world in terms of installed capacity, with 54 gigawatts (GW). Renewable energy still plays a very modest role in electrical output, and in 2005 energy production was met by the following sources: nuclear (47 percent), thermal (45 percent), hydro and other (8 percent).

Other


References

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Notes

a. Among the Ukrainians that rose to the highest offices in the Russian Empire were Aleksey Razumovsky, Alexander Bezborodko, Ivan Paskevich. Among the Ukrainians who greatly influenced the Russian Orthodox Church in this period were Stephen Yavorsky, Feofan Prokopovich, Dimitry of Rostov.

b. See the Great Purge article for details.

c. Estimates on the number of deaths vary. Official Soviet data is not available because the Soviet government denied the existence of the famine. See the Holodomor article for details. Sources differ on interpreting various statements from different branches of different governments as to whether they amount to the official recognition of the Famine as Genocide by the country. For example, after the statement issued by the Latvian Sejm on March 13, 2008, the total number of countries is given as 19 (according to Ukrainian BBC: ), 16 (according to Korrespondent, Russian edition: ), "more than 10" (according to Korrespondent, Ukrainian edition: ) Retrieved on 2008-01-27.

d. These figures are likely to be much higher, as they do not include Ukrainians from nations or Ukrainian Jews, but instead only ethnic Ukrainians, from the Ukrainian SSR.

e. This figure excludes POW deaths.

f. According to the official 2001 census data ( by nationality; by language) about 75 percent of Kiev's population responded 'Ukrainian' to the native language (ridna mova) census question, and roughly 25 percent responded 'Russian'. On the other hand, when the question 'What language do you use in everyday life?' was asked in the 2003 sociological survey, the Kievans' answers were distributed as follows: 'mostly Russian': 52 percent, 'both Russian and Ukrainian in equal measure': 32 percent, 'mostly Ukrainian': 14 percent, 'exclusively Ukrainian': 4.3 percent.



g. Such writings were also the base for Russian and Belarusian literature.

h. Without the city of Inhulets.

Print sources

Reference books

  • Encyclopedia of Ukraine (University of Toronto Press, 1984-93) 5 vol; partial online version, from Canadian Institute of Ukrainian Studies
  • Ukraine: A Concise Encyclopedia. ed by Volodymyr E. KubijovyC; University of Toronto Press. 1963; 1188pp online at Questia
  • Dalton, Meredith. Ukraine (Culture Shock! A Survival Guide to Customs & Etiquette) (2001)
  • Evans, Andrew. Ukraine (2nd ed 2007) The Bradt Travel Guide online excerpts and search at Amazon.com
  • Johnstone, Sarah. Ukraine (Lonely Planet Travel Guides) (2005)

Recent (since 1991)

  • Aslund, Anders, and Michael McFaul.Revolution in Orange: The Origins of Ukraine's Democratic Breakthrough (2006)
  • Birch, Sarah. Elections and Democratization in Ukraine Macmillan, 2000 online edition
  • Edwards Mike: "Ukraine - Running on empty" National Geographic Magazine March 1993
  • Kuzio, Taras: Contemporary Ukraine: Dynamics of Post-Soviet Transformation, M.E. Sharpe, 1998, ISBN 0-7656-0224-5
  • Kuzio, Taras. Ukraine: State and Nation Building Routledge, 1998 online edition
  • Shamshur O. V., Ishevskaya T. I., Multilingual education as a factor of inter-ethnic relations: the case of the Ukraine, in Language Education for Intercultural Communication, By D. E. Ager, George Muskens, Sue Wright, Multilingual Matters, 1993, ISBN 1-85359-204-8
  • Whitmore, Sarah. State Building in Ukraine: The Ukrainian Parliament, 1990-2003 Routledge, 2004 online edition
  • Wilson, Andrew, Ukraine's Orange Revolution (2005)
  • Wilson, Andrew, The Ukrainians: Unexpected Nation, 2nd ed. 2002; online excerpts at Amazon
  • Wilson, Andrew, Ukrainian Nationalism in the 1990s: A Minority Faith, Cambridge University Press, ISBN 0-521-57457-9
  • Zon, Hans van. The Political Economy of Independent Ukraine. 2000 online edition


Historical

  • Berkhoff, Karel C. Harvest of Despair: Life and Death in Ukraine Under Nazi Rule. Harvard U. Press, 2004. 448 pp.
  • Gross, Jan T. Revolution from Abroad: The Soviet Conquest of Poland's Western Ukraine and Western Belorussia (1988).
  • Hrushevsky, Michael. A History of Ukraine (1986)
  • Kohut, Zenon E.; Nebesio, Bohdan Y.; and Yurkevich, Myroslav. Historical Dictionary of Ukraine. Scarecrow Press, 2005. 854 pp.
  • Luckyj, George S. Towards an Intellectual History of Ukraine: An Anthology of Ukrainian Thought from 1710 to 1995. (1996)
  • Lower, Wendy. Nazi Empire-Building and the Holocaust in Ukraine. U. of North Carolina Press, 2005. 307 pp.
  • Magocsi, Paul Robert, A History of Ukraine. University of Toronto Press, 1996 ISBN 0-8020-7820-6
  • Overy, Richard : The Dictators, W. W. Norton & Company, 2004, ISBN 0-393-02030-4
  • Piotrowski Tadeusz, Poland's Holocaust: Ethnic Strife, Collaboration with Occupying Forces and Genocide in the Second Republic, 1918-1947, McFarland & Company, 1998, ISBN 0-7864-0371-3
  • Redlich, Shimon. Together and Apart in Brzezany: Poles, Jews, and Ukrainians, 1919-1945. Indiana U. Press, 2002. 202 pp.
  • Reid, Anna. Borderland: A Journey Through the History of Ukraine (2003) online edition
  • Subtelny, Orest. Ukraine: A History, 1st edition. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1988. ISBN 0-8020-8390-0.
  • Weiner, Amir, Making Sense of War: The Second World War and the Fate of the Bolshevik Revolution, Princeton University Pressmarker, ISBN 0-691-09543-4, Part II
  • Zabarko, Boris, ed. Holocaust in the Ukraine. Vallentine Mitchell, 2005. 394 pp.




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