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Ukraine

Ukraine

Overview
Ukraine is a country in Eastern Europe
Eastern Europe
Eastern Europe is the eastern part of Europe. The term has widely disparate geopolitical, geographical, cultural and socioeconomic readings, which makes it highly context-dependent and even volatile, and there are "almost as many definitions of Eastern Europe as there are scholars of the region"...

. It has an area of 603,628 km², making it the second largest contiguous country on the Europe
Europe
Europe is, by convention, one of the world's seven continents. Comprising the westernmost peninsula of Eurasia, Europe is generally 'divided' from Asia to its east by the watershed divides of the Ural and Caucasus Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian and Black Seas, and the waterways connecting...

an continent, after Russia. Ukraine borders the Russian Federation
Russia
Russia or , officially known as both Russia and the Russian Federation , is a country in northern Eurasia. It is a federal semi-presidential republic, comprising 83 federal subjects...

 to the east and northeast, Belarus
Belarus
Belarus , officially the Republic of Belarus, is a landlocked country in Eastern Europe, bordered clockwise by Russia to the northeast, Ukraine to the south, Poland to the west, and Lithuania and Latvia to the northwest. Its capital is Minsk; other major cities include Brest, Grodno , Gomel ,...

 to the northwest, Poland
Poland
Poland , officially the Republic of Poland , is a country in Central Europe bordered by Germany to the west; the Czech Republic and Slovakia to the south; Ukraine, Belarus and Lithuania to the east; and the Baltic Sea and Kaliningrad Oblast, a Russian exclave, to the north...

, Slovakia
Slovakia
The Slovak Republic is a landlocked state in Central Europe. It has a population of over five million and an area of about . Slovakia is bordered by the Czech Republic and Austria to the west, Poland to the north, Ukraine to the east and Hungary to the south...

 and Hungary
Hungary
Hungary , officially the Republic of Hungary , is a landlocked country in Central Europe. It is situated in the Carpathian Basin and is bordered by Slovakia to the north, Ukraine and Romania to the east, Serbia and Croatia to the south, Slovenia to the southwest and Austria to the west. The...

 to the west, Romania
Romania
Romania is a country located at the crossroads of Central and Southeastern Europe, on the Lower Danube, within and outside the Carpathian arch, bordering on the Black Sea...

 and Moldova
Moldova
Moldova , officially the Republic of Moldova is a landlocked state in Eastern Europe, located between Romania to the West and Ukraine to the North, East and South. It declared itself an independent state with the same boundaries as the preceding Moldavian Soviet Socialist Republic in 1991, as part...

 to the southwest, and the Black Sea
Black Sea
The Black Sea is bounded by Europe, Anatolia and the Caucasus and is ultimately connected to the Atlantic Ocean via the Mediterranean and the Aegean seas and various straits. The Bosphorus strait connects it to the Sea of Marmara, and the strait of the Dardanelles connects that sea to the Aegean...

 and Sea of Azov
Sea of Azov
The Sea of Azov , known in Classical Antiquity as Lake Maeotis, is a sea on the south of Eastern Europe. It is linked by the narrow Strait of Kerch to the Black Sea to the south and is bounded on the north by Ukraine mainland, on the east by Russia, and on the west by the Ukraine's Crimean...

 to the south and southeast, respectively.

Established by the Varangians
Varangians
The Varangians or Varyags , sometimes referred to as Variagians, were people from the Baltic region, most often associated with Vikings, who from the 9th to 11th centuries ventured eastwards and southwards along the rivers of Eastern Europe, through what is now Russia, Belarus and Ukraine.According...

 in the 9th century, the medieval state of Kievan Rus'
Kievan Rus'
Kievan Rus was a medieval polity in Eastern Europe, from the late 9th to the mid 13th century, when it disintegrated under the pressure of the Mongol invasion of 1237–1240....

, the first East Slavic
East Slavs
The East Slavs are Slavic peoples speaking East Slavic languages. Formerly the main population of the medieval state of Kievan Rus, by the seventeenth century they evolved into the Russian, Ukrainian, and Belarusian peoples.-Sources:...

 state, emerged as a powerful nation in the Middle Ages
Middle Ages
The Middle Ages is a periodization of European history from the 5th century to the 15th century. The Middle Ages follows the fall of the Western Roman Empire in 476 and precedes the Early Modern Era. It is the middle period of a three-period division of Western history: Classic, Medieval and Modern...

 until it disintegrated in the 12th century.
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Timeline

1651   The Battle of Beresteczko between Poland and Ukraine starts.

1659   At the Battle of Konotop the Ukrainian armies of Ivan Vyhovsky defeat the Russians led by Prince Trubetskoy.

1673   Second Battle of Khotyn in Ukraine: Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth forces under the command of Jan Sobieski defeat the Ottoman army. In this battle, rockets made by Kazimierz Siemienowicz are successfully used.

1917   Ukraine is declared a republic.

1918   The Ukraine declares independence from Bolshevik Russia.

1918   Western Ukraine gains its independence from the Austro-Hungarian Empire.

1941   Nazi Germans massacre Polish scientists and writers in the captured Ukrainian city of Lviv.

1941   World War II: On Jewish New Year Day, the German SS murder 6,000 Jews in Vinnytsya, Ukraine. Those are the survivors of the previous killings that took place a few days earlier in which about 24,000 Jews were executed.

1941   World War II: Holocaust in Kiev, Ukraine: German Einsatzgruppe C begins the Babi Yar massacre, according to the Einsatzgruppen operational situation report.

1941   World War II: Holocaust in Kiev, Ukraine: German Einsatzgruppe C complete Babi Yar massacre.

 
Encyclopedia
Ukraine is a country in Eastern Europe
Eastern Europe
Eastern Europe is the eastern part of Europe. The term has widely disparate geopolitical, geographical, cultural and socioeconomic readings, which makes it highly context-dependent and even volatile, and there are "almost as many definitions of Eastern Europe as there are scholars of the region"...

. It has an area of 603,628 km², making it the second largest contiguous country on the Europe
Europe
Europe is, by convention, one of the world's seven continents. Comprising the westernmost peninsula of Eurasia, Europe is generally 'divided' from Asia to its east by the watershed divides of the Ural and Caucasus Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian and Black Seas, and the waterways connecting...

an continent, after Russia. Ukraine borders the Russian Federation
Russia
Russia or , officially known as both Russia and the Russian Federation , is a country in northern Eurasia. It is a federal semi-presidential republic, comprising 83 federal subjects...

 to the east and northeast, Belarus
Belarus
Belarus , officially the Republic of Belarus, is a landlocked country in Eastern Europe, bordered clockwise by Russia to the northeast, Ukraine to the south, Poland to the west, and Lithuania and Latvia to the northwest. Its capital is Minsk; other major cities include Brest, Grodno , Gomel ,...

 to the northwest, Poland
Poland
Poland , officially the Republic of Poland , is a country in Central Europe bordered by Germany to the west; the Czech Republic and Slovakia to the south; Ukraine, Belarus and Lithuania to the east; and the Baltic Sea and Kaliningrad Oblast, a Russian exclave, to the north...

, Slovakia
Slovakia
The Slovak Republic is a landlocked state in Central Europe. It has a population of over five million and an area of about . Slovakia is bordered by the Czech Republic and Austria to the west, Poland to the north, Ukraine to the east and Hungary to the south...

 and Hungary
Hungary
Hungary , officially the Republic of Hungary , is a landlocked country in Central Europe. It is situated in the Carpathian Basin and is bordered by Slovakia to the north, Ukraine and Romania to the east, Serbia and Croatia to the south, Slovenia to the southwest and Austria to the west. The...

 to the west, Romania
Romania
Romania is a country located at the crossroads of Central and Southeastern Europe, on the Lower Danube, within and outside the Carpathian arch, bordering on the Black Sea...

 and Moldova
Moldova
Moldova , officially the Republic of Moldova is a landlocked state in Eastern Europe, located between Romania to the West and Ukraine to the North, East and South. It declared itself an independent state with the same boundaries as the preceding Moldavian Soviet Socialist Republic in 1991, as part...

 to the southwest, and the Black Sea
Black Sea
The Black Sea is bounded by Europe, Anatolia and the Caucasus and is ultimately connected to the Atlantic Ocean via the Mediterranean and the Aegean seas and various straits. The Bosphorus strait connects it to the Sea of Marmara, and the strait of the Dardanelles connects that sea to the Aegean...

 and Sea of Azov
Sea of Azov
The Sea of Azov , known in Classical Antiquity as Lake Maeotis, is a sea on the south of Eastern Europe. It is linked by the narrow Strait of Kerch to the Black Sea to the south and is bounded on the north by Ukraine mainland, on the east by Russia, and on the west by the Ukraine's Crimean...

 to the south and southeast, respectively.

Established by the Varangians
Varangians
The Varangians or Varyags , sometimes referred to as Variagians, were people from the Baltic region, most often associated with Vikings, who from the 9th to 11th centuries ventured eastwards and southwards along the rivers of Eastern Europe, through what is now Russia, Belarus and Ukraine.According...

 in the 9th century, the medieval state of Kievan Rus'
Kievan Rus'
Kievan Rus was a medieval polity in Eastern Europe, from the late 9th to the mid 13th century, when it disintegrated under the pressure of the Mongol invasion of 1237–1240....

, the first East Slavic
East Slavs
The East Slavs are Slavic peoples speaking East Slavic languages. Formerly the main population of the medieval state of Kievan Rus, by the seventeenth century they evolved into the Russian, Ukrainian, and Belarusian peoples.-Sources:...

 state, emerged as a powerful nation in the Middle Ages
Middle Ages
The Middle Ages is a periodization of European history from the 5th century to the 15th century. The Middle Ages follows the fall of the Western Roman Empire in 476 and precedes the Early Modern Era. It is the middle period of a three-period division of Western history: Classic, Medieval and Modern...

 until it disintegrated in the 12th century. By the middle of the 14th century, Ukrainian territories were under the rule of three external powers—the Golden Horde
Golden Horde
The Golden Horde was a Mongol and later Turkicized khanate that formed the north-western sector of the Mongol Empire...

, the Grand Duchy of Lithuania
Grand Duchy of Lithuania
The Grand Duchy of Lithuania was a European state from the 12th /13th century until 1569 and then as a constituent part of Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth until 1791 when Constitution of May 3, 1791 abolished it in favor of unitary state. It was founded by the Lithuanians, one of the polytheistic...

, and the Kingdom of Poland. After the Great Northern War
Great Northern War
The Great Northern War was a conflict in which a coalition led by the Tsardom of Russia successfully contested the supremacy of the Swedish Empire in northern Central Europe and Eastern Europe. The initial leaders of the anti-Swedish alliance were Peter I the Great of Russia, Frederick IV of...

 (1700–1721) Ukraine was divided between a number of regional powers and, by the 19th century, the largest part of Ukraine was integrated into the Russian Empire
Russian Empire
The Russian Empire was a state that existed from 1721 until the Russian Revolution of 1917. It was the successor to the Tsardom of Russia and the predecessor of the Soviet Union...

 with the rest under Austro-Hungarian
Austria-Hungary
Austria-Hungary , more formally known as the Kingdoms and Lands Represented in the Imperial Council and the Lands of the Holy Hungarian Crown of Saint Stephen, was a constitutional monarchic union between the crowns of the Austrian Empire and the Kingdom of Hungary in...

 control. A chaotic period
Ukraine after the Russian Revolution
Ukrainian territory was fought over by various factions after the Russian Revolution of 1917 and the First World War, which added the collapse of Austria-Hungary to that of the Imperial Russia. The crumbling of the empires had a great effect on the Ukrainian nationalist movement and in the short...

 of incessant warfare ensued, with several attempts at independence from 1917 to 1921, following World War I
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

 and the Russian Civil War
Russian Civil War
The Russian Civil War was a multi-party war that occurred within the former Russian Empire after the Russian provisional government collapsed to the Soviets, under the domination of the Bolshevik party. Soviet forces first assumed power in Petrograd The Russian Civil War (1917–1923) was a...

. Ukraine emerged from this fighting on December 30, 1922 as one of the founding republics of the Soviet Union
Republics of the Soviet Union
The Republics of the Soviet Union or the Union Republics of the Soviet Union were ethnically-based administrative units that were subordinated directly to the Government of the Soviet Union...

. The Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic's territory was enlarged westward shortly before and after World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

, and southwards in 1954 with the Crimea transfer. In 1945, the Ukrainian SSR became one of the founding members of the United Nations
United Nations
The United Nations is an international organization whose stated aims are facilitating cooperation in international law, international security, economic development, social progress, human rights, and achievement of world peace...

.

Ukraine became independent again when the Soviet Union dissolved in 1991. This dissolution started a period of transition to a market economy
Market economy
A market economy is an economy in which the prices of goods and services are determined in a free price system. This is often contrasted with a state-directed or planned economy. Market economies can range from hypothetically pure laissez-faire variants to an assortment of real-world mixed...

, in which Ukraine was stricken with an eight-year recession
Recession
In economics, a recession is a business cycle contraction, a general slowdown in economic activity. During recessions, many macroeconomic indicators vary in a similar way...

. Since then, however, the economy experienced a high increase in GDP growth. Ukraine was caught up in the worldwide economic crisis in 2008
2008–2009 Ukrainian financial crisis
Ukraine was hit heavily by the late-2000s recession, the World Bank expects Ukraine's economy to shrink 15% in 2009 with inflation being 16.4%....

 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
Unitary state
A unitary state is a state governed as one single unit in which the central government is supreme and any administrative divisions exercise only powers that their central government chooses to delegate...

 composed of 24 oblast
Oblast
Oblast is a type of administrative division in Slavic countries, including some countries of the former Soviet Union. The word "oblast" is a loanword in English, but it is nevertheless often translated as "area", "zone", "province", or "region"...

s (provinces), one autonomous republic
Autonomous republic
An autonomous republic is a type of administrative division similar to a province. A significant number of autonomous republics can be found within the successor states of the Soviet Union, but the majority are located within Russia. Many of these republics were established during the Soviet...

 (Crimea
Crimea
Crimea , or the Autonomous Republic of Crimea , is a sub-national unit, an autonomous republic, of Ukraine. It is located on the northern coast of the Black Sea, occupying a peninsula of the same name...

), and two cities with special status: Kiev
Kiev
Kiev or Kyiv is the capital and the largest city of Ukraine, located in the north central part of the country on the Dnieper River. The population as of the 2001 census was 2,611,300. However, higher numbers have been cited in the press....

, its capital and largest city, and Sevastopol
Sevastopol
Sevastopol is a city on rights of administrative division of Ukraine, located on the Black Sea coast of the Crimea peninsula. It has a population of 342,451 . Sevastopol is the second largest port in Ukraine, after the Port of Odessa....

, which houses the Russian Black Sea Fleet
Black Sea Fleet
The Black Sea Fleet is a large operational-strategic sub-unit of the Russian Navy, operating in the Black Sea and the Mediterranean Sea since the late 18th century. It is based in various harbors of the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov....

 under a leasing
Leasing
Leasing is a process by which a firm can obtain the use of a certain fixed assets for which it must pay a series of contractual, periodic, tax deductible payments....

 agreement. Ukraine is a republic
Republic
A republic is a form of government in which the people, or some significant portion of them, have supreme control over the government and where offices of state are elected or chosen by elected people. In modern times, a common simplified definition of a republic is a government where the head of...

 under a semi-presidential system
Semi-presidential system
The semi-presidential system is a system of government in which a president and a prime minister are both active participants in the day-to-day administration of the state...

 with separate legislative, executive, and judicial branches. Since the dissolution of the Soviet Union
Dissolution of the Soviet Union
The dissolution of the Soviet Union was the disintegration of the federal political structures and central government of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , resulting in the independence of all fifteen republics of the Soviet Union between March 11, 1990 and December 25, 1991...

, Ukraine continues to maintain the second largest military in Europe
Europe
Europe is, by convention, one of the world's seven continents. Comprising the westernmost peninsula of Eurasia, Europe is generally 'divided' from Asia to its east by the watershed divides of the Ural and Caucasus Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian and Black Seas, and the waterways connecting...

, after that of Russia
Russia
Russia or , officially known as both Russia and the Russian Federation , is a country in northern Eurasia. It is a federal semi-presidential republic, comprising 83 federal subjects...

. The country is home to 46 million people, 77.8 percent of whom are ethnic Ukrainians
Ukrainians
Ukrainians are an East Slavic ethnic group native to Ukraine, which is the sixth-largest nation in Europe. The Constitution of Ukraine applies the term 'Ukrainians' to all its citizens...

, with sizable minorities of Russians
Russians
The Russian people are an East Slavic ethnic group native to Russia, speaking the Russian language and primarily living in Russia and neighboring countries....

 (17%), Belarusians
Belarusians
Belarusians ; are an East Slavic ethnic group who populate the majority of the Republic of Belarus. Introduced to the world as a new state in the early 1990s, the Republic of Belarus brought with it the notion of a re-emerging Belarusian ethnicity, drawn upon the lines of the Old Belarusian...

 and Romanians
Romanians
The Romanians are an ethnic group native to Romania, who speak Romanian; they are the majority inhabitants of Romania....

. The Ukrainian language
Ukrainian language
Ukrainian is a language of the East Slavic subgroup of the Slavic languages. It is the official state language of Ukraine. Written Ukrainian uses a variant of the Cyrillic alphabet....

 is the official language
Official language
An official language is a language that is given a special legal status in a particular country, state, or other jurisdiction. Typically a nation's official language will be the one used in that nation's courts, parliament and administration. However, official status can also be used to give a...

 in Ukraine. Russian
Russian language
Russian is a Slavic language used primarily in Russia, Belarus, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan. It is an unofficial but widely spoken language in Ukraine, Moldova, Latvia, Turkmenistan and Estonia and, to a lesser extent, the other countries that were once constituent republics...

 is also widely spoken. The dominant religion in the country is Eastern Orthodox Christianity, which has heavily influenced Ukrainian architecture
Ukrainian architecture
Ukrainian architecture is a term that describes the motifs and styles that are found in structures built in modern Ukraine, and by Ukrainians worldwide. These include initial roots which were established in the Eastern Slavic state of Kievan Rus'. After the 12th century, the distinct architectural...

, literature
Ukrainian literature
Ukrainian literature is literature written in the Ukrainian language. Ukrainian literature had a difficult development because, due to constant foreign domination over Ukrainian territories, there was often a significant difference between the spoken and written language...

 and music
Music of Ukraine
Ukraine is a multi-ethnic Eastern European state situated north of the Black Sea, previously part of the Soviet Union. Many of its ethnic groups living within Ukraine have their own unique musical traditions and some have developed specific musical traditions in association with the land in which...

.

Etymology



The traditional view on the etymology of Ukraine is that it came from the old Slavic term ukraina which meant "border region" or "frontier" and thus corresponded to the Western term march. The term can be often found in Eastern Slavic chronicles from 1187 on, but for a long time it referred not solely to the border lands in present-day Ukraine. The plural term ukrainy was used as well in the Grand Duchy of Moscow
Grand Duchy of Moscow
The Grand Duchy of Moscow or Grand Principality of Moscow, also known in English simply as Muscovy , was a late medieval Rus' principality centered on Moscow, and the predecessor state of the early modern Tsardom of Russia....

 as in the Grand Duchy of Lithuania
Grand Duchy of Lithuania
The Grand Duchy of Lithuania was a European state from the 12th /13th century until 1569 and then as a constituent part of Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth until 1791 when Constitution of May 3, 1791 abolished it in favor of unitary state. It was founded by the Lithuanians, one of the polytheistic...

. In the 16th and 17th centuries, particularly the lands across the border to the nomad world (Crimean Khanate
Crimean Khanate
Crimean Khanate, or Khanate of Crimea , was a state ruled by Crimean Tatars from 1441 to 1783. Its native name was . Its khans were the patrilineal descendants of Toqa Temür, the thirteenth son of Jochi and grandson of Genghis Khan...

) were described by this word. Frequent raids from the steppe made life in such regions a special and dangerous challenge. With the migration of the Great Abatis Belt southwards, the application of the term switched to Sloboda Ukraine
Sloboda Ukraine
Sloboda Ukraine was a historical region which developed and flourished in the 17th and 18th centuries on the southwestern frontier of the Tsardom of Russia....

 and then to Central Ukraine where in the course of the time it obtained ethnic meaning for the local South Rus'
Rus' (region)
Rus' is an ethno-cultural region in Eastern Europe inhabited by Eastern Slavs. Historically, it comprises the northern part of Ukraine, the north-western part of Russia, Belarus and some eastern parts of Poland and Slovakia.The name comes from Old East Slavic , and remains the same in modern...

 (Little Russia
Little Russia
Little Russia , sometimes Little or Lesser Rus’ , is a historical political and geographical term in the Russian language referring to most of the territory of modern-day Ukraine before the 20th century. It is similar to the Polish term Małopolska of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth...

 in the ecclesiastic and the imperial Russian
Russian Empire
The Russian Empire was a state that existed from 1721 until the Russian Revolution of 1917. It was the successor to the Tsardom of Russia and the predecessor of the Soviet Union...

 terminology).

Some Ukrainian historians translate the term "u-kraine" as "in-land", "home-land" or "our-country". The accompanying claim that it always had a strictly separate meaning to "borderland" (ukraina vs. okraina) is inconsistent with numerous historical sources.

Although some do not consider it to be appropriate, it is common practice to refer to Ukraine as "the Ukraine" in English.

Early history


Human settlement in Ukraine and its vicinity dates back to 32,000 BCE, with evidence of the Gravettian culture in the Crimean Mountains. By 4,500 BCE, the Neolithic
Neolithic
The Neolithic Age, Era, or Period, or New Stone Age, was a period in the development of human technology, beginning about 9500 BC in some parts of the Middle East, and later in other parts of the world. It is traditionally considered as the last part of the Stone Age...

 Cucuteni-Trypillian Culture flourished in a wide area that included parts of modern Ukraine including Trypillia
Trypillia
Trypillia is a village in the Obukhiv Raion of the Kiev Oblast, in central Ukraine, with 2,800 inhabitants...

 and the entire Dnieper-Dniester
Dniester
The Dniester is a river in Eastern Europe. It runs through Ukraine and Moldova and separates most of Moldova's territory from the breakaway de facto state of Transnistria.-Names:...

 region. During the Iron Age
Iron Age
The Iron Age is the archaeological period generally occurring after the Bronze Age, marked by the prevalent use of iron. The early period of the age is characterized by the widespread use of iron or steel. The adoption of such material coincided with other changes in society, including differing...

, the land was inhabited by Cimmerians
Cimmerians
The Cimmerians or Kimmerians were ancient equestrian nomads of Indo-European origin.According to the Greek historian Herodotus, of the 5th century BC, the Cimmerians inhabited the region north of the Caucasus and the Black Sea during the 8th and 7th centuries BC, in what is now Ukraine and Russia...

, Scythians, and Sarmatians
Sarmatians
The Iron Age Sarmatians were an Iranian people in Classical Antiquity, flourishing from about the 5th century BC to the 4th century AD....

. Between 700 BC and 200 BC it was part of the Scythian Kingdom, or Scythia
Scythia
In antiquity, Scythian or Scyths were terms used by the Greeks to refer to certain Iranian groups of horse-riding nomadic pastoralists who dwelt on the Pontic-Caspian steppe...

.

Later, colonies of Ancient Greece
Ancient Greece
Ancient Greece is a civilization belonging to a period of Greek history that lasted from the Archaic period of the 8th to 6th centuries BC to the end of antiquity. Immediately following this period was the beginning of the Early Middle Ages and the Byzantine era. Included in Ancient Greece is the...

, Ancient Rome
Ancient Rome
Ancient Rome was a thriving civilization that grew on the Italian Peninsula as early as the 8th century BC. Located along the Mediterranean Sea and centered on the city of Rome, it expanded to one of the largest empires in the ancient world....

, and the Byzantine Empire
Byzantine Empire
The Byzantine Empire was the Eastern Roman Empire during the periods of Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages, centred on the capital of Constantinople. Known simply as the Roman Empire or Romania to its inhabitants and neighbours, the Empire was the direct continuation of the Ancient Roman State...

, such as Tyras
Tyras
Tyras , was an ancient Greek city founded as colony of Miletus, probably about 600 BC, situated some 10 m from the mouth of the Tyras River...

, Olbia
Olbia, Ukraine
Pontic Olbia or Olvia is the site of a colony founded by the Milesians on the shores of the Southern Bug estuary , opposite Berezan Island...

, and Hermonassa, were founded, beginning in the 6th century BC, on the northeastern shore of the Black Sea
Black Sea
The Black Sea is bounded by Europe, Anatolia and the Caucasus and is ultimately connected to the Atlantic Ocean via the Mediterranean and the Aegean seas and various straits. The Bosphorus strait connects it to the Sea of Marmara, and the strait of the Dardanelles connects that sea to the Aegean...

, and thrived well into the 6th century AD. The Goths
Goths
The Goths were an East Germanic tribe of Scandinavian origin whose two branches, the Visigoths and the Ostrogoths, played an important role in the fall of the Roman Empire and the emergence of Medieval Europe....

 stayed in the area but came under the sway of the Huns
Huns
The Huns were a group of nomadic people who, appearing from east of the Volga River, migrated into Europe c. AD 370 and established the vast Hunnic Empire there. Since de Guignes linked them with the Xiongnu, who had been northern neighbours of China 300 years prior to the emergence of the Huns,...

 from the 370s AD. In the 7th century AD, the territory of eastern Ukraine was the center of Old Great Bulgaria
Old Great Bulgaria
Old Great Bulgaria or Great Bulgaria was а term used by Byzantine historians to refer to Onoguria during the reign of the Bulgar ruler Kubrat in the 7th century north of the Caucasus mountains in the steppe between the Dniester and Lower...

. At the end of the century, the majority of Bulgar tribes migrated in different directions, and the Khazars
Khazars
The Khazars were semi-nomadic Turkic people who established one of the largest polities of medieval Eurasia, with the capital of Atil and territory comprising much of modern-day European Russia, western Kazakhstan, eastern Ukraine, Azerbaijan, large portions of the northern Caucasus , parts of...

 took over much of the land.

Golden Age of Kiev



The Kievan Rus' were founded by the Rus' people, Varangians
Varangians
The Varangians or Varyags , sometimes referred to as Variagians, were people from the Baltic region, most often associated with Vikings, who from the 9th to 11th centuries ventured eastwards and southwards along the rivers of Eastern Europe, through what is now Russia, Belarus and Ukraine.According...

 who first settled around Ladoga
Staraya Ladoga
Staraya Ladoga , or the Aldeigjuborg of Norse sagas, is a village in the Volkhovsky District of Leningrad Oblast, Russia, located on the Volkhov River near Lake Ladoga, 8 km north of the town of Volkhov. The village used to be a prosperous trading outpost in the 8th and 9th centuries...

 and Novgorod, then gradually moved southward eventually reaching Kiev about 880. The Kievan Rus'
Kievan Rus'
Kievan Rus was a medieval polity in Eastern Europe, from the late 9th to the mid 13th century, when it disintegrated under the pressure of the Mongol invasion of 1237–1240....

 included the western part of modern Ukraine, Belarus, with larger part of it situated on the territory of modern Russia. According to the Primary Chronicle
Primary Chronicle
The Primary Chronicle , Ruthenian Primary Chronicle or Russian Primary Chronicle, is a history of Kievan Rus' from about 850 to 1110, originally compiled in Kiev about 1113.- Three editions :...

 the Rus' elite initially consisted of Varangians from Scandinavia
Scandinavia
Scandinavia is a cultural, historical and ethno-linguistic region in northern Europe that includes the three kingdoms of Denmark, Norway and Sweden, characterized by their common ethno-cultural heritage and language. Modern Norway and Sweden proper are situated on the Scandinavian Peninsula,...

.


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. Kiev
Kiev
Kiev or Kyiv is the capital and the largest city of Ukraine, located in the north central part of the country on the Dnieper River. The population as of the 2001 census was 2,611,300. However, higher numbers have been cited in the press....

, the capital of modern Ukraine, became the most important city of the Rus'.

The Varangians later became assimilated into the local Slavic population and became part of the Rus' first dynasty, the Rurik Dynasty
Rurik Dynasty
The Rurik dynasty or Rurikids was a dynasty founded by the Varangian prince Rurik, who established himself in Novgorod around the year 862 AD...

. Kievan Rus' was composed of several principalities
Principality
A principality is a monarchical feudatory or sovereign state, ruled or reigned over by a monarch with the title of prince or princess, or by a monarch with another title within the generic use of the term prince....

 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
Baptism of Kievan Rus'
The Christianization of Kievan Rus took place in several stages. In early 867, Patriarch Photius of Constantinople announced to other Orthodox patriarchs that the Rus', baptised by his bishop, took to Christianity with particular enthusiasm...

. 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
Mstislav I of Kiev
Mstislav I Vladimirovich the Great was the Grand Prince of Kiev , the eldest son of Vladimir II Monomakh by Gytha of Wessex...

 (1125–1132), Kievan Rus' finally disintegrated into separate principalities following Mstislav's death.

In the 11th and 12th centuries, constant incursions by nomadic Turkic
Turkic peoples
The Turkic peoples are peoples residing in northern, central and western Asia, southern Siberia and northwestern China and parts of eastern Europe. They speak languages belonging to the Turkic language family. They share, to varying degrees, certain cultural traits and historical backgrounds...

 tribes, such as the Pechenegs and the Kipchaks
Kipchaks
Kipchaks were a Turkic tribal confederation...

, caused a massive migration
Human migration
Human migration is physical movement by humans from one area to another, sometimes over long distances or in large groups. Historically this movement was nomadic, often causing significant conflict with the indigenous population and their displacement or cultural assimilation. Only a few nomadic...

 of Slavic
Slavic peoples
The Slavic people are an Indo-European panethnicity living in Eastern Europe, Southeast Europe, North Asia and Central Asia. The term Slavic represents a broad ethno-linguistic group of people, who speak languages belonging to the Slavic language family and share, to varying degrees, certain...

 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 Halych
Principality of Halych
Principality of Halych was a Kievan Rus' principality established in around 1124 established by the grandson of Rostislav Ihor Vasylkovych . According to Mykhailo Hrushevsky the realm of Halych was passed to Rostislav upon the death of his father Vladimir Yaroslavich, but he was banished out of it...

 and Volodymyr-Volynskyi
Volhynia
Volhynia, Volynia, or Volyn is a historic region in western Ukraine located between the rivers Prypiat and Southern Bug River, to the north of Galicia and Podolia; the region is named for the former city of Volyn or Velyn, said to have been located on the Southern Bug River, whose name may come...

, which were merged into the state of Galicia-Volhynia.

Foreign domination




In the mid-14th century, Casimir III of Poland
Casimir III of Poland
Casimir III the Great , last King of Poland from the Piast dynasty , was the son of King Władysław I the Elbow-high and Hedwig of Kalisz.-Biography:...

 gained control of Galicia-Volhynia, while the heartland of Rus', including Kiev, became the territory of the Gediminas, of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, after the Battle on the Irpen' River
Battle on the Irpen' River
The Battle on the Irpin River occurred in early 1320s between the armies of Gediminas, the Grand Duke of Lithuania, and Prince Stanislav of Kiev, allied with Oleg of Pereyaslavl' and Roman of Bryansk. On the small Irpin River about south west of Kiev, Gediminas resoundingly defeated Stanislav and...

. Following the 1386 Union of Krevo, a dynastic union
Dynastic union
A dynastic union is the combination by which two different states are governed by the same dynasty, while their boundaries, their laws and their interests remain distinct...

 between Poland and Lithuania, much of what became northern Ukraine was ruled by the increasingly Slavicised local Lithuanian nobles as part of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania.

By 1569, the Union of Lublin
Union of Lublin
The Union of Lublin replaced the personal union of the Kingdom of Poland and the Grand Duchy of Lithuania with a real union and an elective monarchy, since Sigismund II Augustus, the last of the Jagiellons, remained childless after three marriages. In addition, the autonomy of Royal Prussia was...

 formed the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth, and a significant part of Ukrainian territory was moved from Lithuanian rule to the Polish Crown
Crown of the Polish Kingdom
The Crown of the Kingdom of Poland , or simply the Crown , is the name for the unit of administrative division, the territories under direct administration of Polish nobility from middle-ages to late 18th century...

, thus becoming Polish territory. Under the cultural and political pressure of Polonisation, many upper-class people of Polish Ruthenia (another term for the land of Rus) converted to Catholicism
Catholicism
Catholicism is a broad term for the body of the Catholic faith, its theologies and doctrines, its liturgical, ethical, spiritual, and behavioral characteristics, as well as a religious people as a whole....

 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
Orthodox Christianity
The term Orthodox Christianity may refer to:* the Eastern Orthodox Church and its various geographical subdivisions...

. The Cossacks 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
Zaporozhian Host
The Zaporozhian Cossacks or simply Zaporozhians were Ukrainian Cossacks who lived beyond the rapids of the Dnieper river, the land also known as the Great Meadow in Central Ukraine...

, was established by the Dnieper Cossacks and the Ruthenian peasants fleeing Polish serfdom
Serfdom
Serfdom is the status of peasants under feudalism, specifically relating to Manorialism. It was a condition of bondage or modified slavery which developed primarily during the High Middle Ages in Europe and lasted to the mid-19th century...

. Poland had little real control of this land, yet they found the Cossacks to be a useful fighting force against the Turks and Tatars
Crimean Khanate
Crimean Khanate, or Khanate of Crimea , was a state ruled by Crimean Tatars from 1441 to 1783. Its native name was . Its khans were the patrilineal descendants of Toqa Temür, the thirteenth son of Jochi and grandson of Genghis Khan...

, and at times the two allied in military campaigns
Ottoman wars in Europe
The wars of the Ottoman Empire in Europe are also sometimes referred to as the Ottoman Wars or as Turkish Wars, particularly in older, European texts.- Rise :...

. However, the continued enserfment
SERF
A spin exchange relaxation-free magnetometer is a type of magnetometer developed at Princeton University in the early 2000s. SERF magnetometers measure magnetic fields by using lasers to detect the interaction between alkali metal atoms in a vapor and the magnetic field.The name for the technique...

 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.

The Cossacks aspired to have representation in Polish Sejm, recognition of Orthodox traditions and the gradual expansion of the Cossack Registry
Registered Cossacks
Registered Cossacks is the term used for Cossacks formations of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth armies.-Establishing:The registered cossacks were created on the King's edict of Sigismund II Augustus on June 5, 1572 confirming the orders of the Crown Hetman Jerzy Jazłowiecki. The first senior ...

. These were all vehemently rejected by the Polish nobility, who had power in the Sejm. The Cossacks eventually turned for protection to Orthodox Russia
Tsardom of Russia
The Tsardom of Russia was the name of the centralized Russian state from Ivan IV's assumption of the title of Tsar in 1547 till Peter the Great's foundation of the Russian Empire in 1721.From 1550 to 1700, Russia grew 35,000 km2 a year...

, a decision which would later lead towards the downfall of the Polish–Lithuanian state, and the preservation of the Orthodox Church
Eastern Orthodox Church
The Orthodox Church, officially called the Orthodox Catholic Church and commonly referred to as the Eastern Orthodox Church, is the second largest Christian denomination in the world, with an estimated 300 million adherents mainly in the countries of Belarus, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Georgia, Greece,...

 and in Ukraine.

In 1648, Bohdan Khmelnytsky
Bohdan Khmelnytsky
Bohdan Zynoviy Mykhailovych Khmelnytsky was a hetman of the Zaporozhian Cossack Hetmanate of Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth . He led an uprising against the Commonwealth and its magnates which resulted in the creation of a Cossack state...

 led the largest of the Cossack uprisings
Khmelnytsky Uprising
The Khmelnytsky Uprising, was a Cossack rebellion in the Ukraine between the years 1648–1657 which turned into a Ukrainian war of liberation from Poland...

 against the Commonwealth and the Polish king John II Casimir, starting a chain of events that led to Russia taking over Ukraine. Left-bank Ukraine
Left-bank Ukraine
Left-bank Ukraine is a historic name of the part of Ukraine on the left bank of the Dnieper River, comprising the modern-day oblasts of Chernihiv, Poltava and Sumy as well as the eastern parts of the Kiev and Cherkasy....

 was eventually integrated into Muscovite Russia as the Cossack Hetmanate
Cossack Hetmanate
The Hetmanate or Zaporizhian Host was the Ruthenian Cossack state in the Central Ukraine between 1649 and 1782.The Hetmanate was founded by first Ukrainian hetman Bohdan Khmelnytsky during the Khmelnytsky Uprising . In 1654 it pledged its allegiance to Muscovy during the Council of Pereyaslav,...

, following the 1654 Treaty of Pereyaslav
Treaty of Pereyaslav
The Treaty of Pereyaslav is known in history more as the Council of Pereiaslav.Council of Pereyalslav was a meeting between the representative of the Russian Tsar, Prince Vasili Baturlin who presented a royal decree, and Bohdan Khmelnytsky as the leader of Cossack Hetmanate. During the council...

 and the ensuing Russo-Polish War
Russo-Polish War (1654–1667)
The Russo-Polish War of 1654–1667, also called Thirteen Years' War, First Northern War, War for Ukraine was the last major conflict between Tsardom of Russia and the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. Between 1655 and 1660, the Second Northern War was also fought in the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth,...

. After the partitions of Poland
Partitions of Poland
The Partitions of Poland or Partitions of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth took place in the second half of the 18th century and ended the existence of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth, resulting in the elimination of sovereign Poland for 123 years...

 at the end of the 18th century by Prussia
Prussia
Prussia was a German kingdom and historic state originating out of the Duchy of Prussia and the Margraviate of Brandenburg. For centuries, the House of Hohenzollern ruled Prussia, successfully expanding its size by way of an unusually well-organized and effective army. Prussia shaped the history...

, Habsburg Austria
Habsburg Monarchy
The Habsburg Monarchy covered the territories ruled by the junior Austrian branch of the House of Habsburg , and then by the successor House of Habsburg-Lorraine , between 1526 and 1867/1918. The Imperial capital was Vienna, except from 1583 to 1611, when it was moved to Prague...

, and Russia
Russian Empire
The Russian Empire was a state that existed from 1721 until the Russian Revolution of 1917. It was the successor to the Tsardom of Russia and the predecessor of the Soviet Union...

, Western Ukrainian Galicia was taken over by Austria, while the rest of Ukraine was progressively incorporated into the Russian Empire.

The Crimean Khanate
Crimean Khanate
Crimean Khanate, or Khanate of Crimea , was a state ruled by Crimean Tatars from 1441 to 1783. Its native name was . Its khans were the patrilineal descendants of Toqa Temür, the thirteenth son of Jochi and grandson of Genghis Khan...

 was one of the strongest powers in Eastern Europe until the 18th century; at one point it even succeeded, under the Crimean khan Devlet I Giray
Devlet I Giray
Devlet I Giray was a khan of the Crimean Khanate during whose long reign the khanate rose to the pinnacle of its power....

, to devastate Moscow. The Russian population of the borderlands suffered annual Tatar invasions and tens of thousands of soldiers were required to protect the southern boundaries. From the beginning of the 16th century until the end of 17th century the Crimean Tatar raider bands made almost annual forays into agricultural Slavic
lands searching for captives to sell as slaves
Slavery (Ottoman Empire)
Slavery was an important part of Ottoman society until the Ottoman Empire extinguished slavery of Caucasians in the early 19th century. The practice carried over into Ottoman reign...

. According to Orest Subtelny
Orest Subtelny
Orest Subtelny is a Canadian historian. Born in Kraków, Poland, he received his Ph.D. from Harvard University in 1973. Since 1982 he has been a professor in the departments of History and Political Science, York University, Toronto, Canada.-Career:...

, "...from 1450 to 1586, eighty-six Tatar raids
Tatar invasions
The Mongol invasion of Europe from the east took place over the course of three centuries, from the Middle Ages to the early modern period.The terms Tatars or Tartars are applied to nomadic Turkic peoples who, themselves, were conquered by Mongols and incorporated into their horde...

 were recorded, and from 1600 to 1647, seventy." In 1688, Tatars captured a record number of 60,000 Ukrainians. This was a heavy burden for the state, and slowed its social and economic development. Since Crimean Tatars did not permit settlement of Russians to southern regions where the soil is better and the season is long enough, Muscovy had to depend on poorer regions and labour intensive agriculture. Poland-Lithuania, Moldavia
Moldavia
Moldavia is a geographic and historical region and former principality in Eastern Europe, corresponding to the territory between the Eastern Carpathians and the Dniester river...

 and Wallachia
Wallachia
Wallachia or Walachia is a historical and geographical region of Romania. It is situated north of the Danube and south of the Southern Carpathians...

 were also subjected to extensive slave raiding. The Crimean Khanate was conquered by the Russian Empire
Russian Empire
The Russian Empire was a state that existed from 1721 until the Russian Revolution of 1917. It was the successor to the Tsardom of Russia and the predecessor of the Soviet Union...

 in 1778, bringing an end to what remained of Mongol and Tatar rule in Europe.

The Ruin


In 1657–1686 came "The Ruin," a devastating 30-year war amongst Russia, Poland, Turks and Cossacks for control of Ukraine, which occurred at about the same time as the Deluge of Poland. 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
Battle of Berestechko
The Battle of Berestechko was fought between rebellious Zaporozhian Cossacks, led by Hetman Bohdan Khmelnytsky, aided by their Crimean Tatar allies, and a Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth army under King John II Casimir. It was the largest land battle of 17th century.Lasting from June 28 to June 30,...

, and turned to the Russian Czar for help.


In 1654, Khmelnytsky signed the Treaty of Pereiaslav
Treaty of Pereyaslav
The Treaty of Pereyaslav is known in history more as the Council of Pereiaslav.Council of Pereyalslav was a meeting between the representative of the Russian Tsar, Prince Vasili Baturlin who presented a royal decree, and Bohdan Khmelnytsky as the leader of Cossack Hetmanate. During the council...

, 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
Eternal Peace Treaty of 1686
The Eternal Peace Treaty of 1686 was a treaty between Tsardom of Russia and Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, signed by Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth envoys: voivod of Poznań Krzysztof Grzymułtowski and chancellor of Lithuania Marcjan Ogiński and Russian knyaz Vasily Vasilyevich...

" 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
Ivan Mazepa
Ivan Stepanovych Mazepa , Cossack Hetman of the Hetmanate in Left-bank Ukraine, from 1687–1708. He was famous as a patron of the arts, and also played an important role in the Battle of Poltava where after learning of Peter I's intent to relieve him as acting Hetman of Ukraine and replace him...

 (1687–1709) sided with Sweden against Russia in the Great Northern War
Great Northern War
The Great Northern War was a conflict in which a coalition led by the Tsardom of Russia successfully contested the supremacy of the Swedish Empire in northern Central Europe and Eastern Europe. The initial leaders of the anti-Swedish alliance were Peter I the Great of Russia, Frederick IV of...

 (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
Peter I of Russia
Peter the Great, Peter I or Pyotr Alexeyevich Romanov Dates indicated by the letters "O.S." are Old Style. All other dates in this article are New Style. ruled the Tsardom of Russia and later the Russian Empire from until his death, jointly ruling before 1696 with his half-brother, Ivan V...

 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
Cossack Hetmanate
The Hetmanate or Zaporizhian Host was the Ruthenian Cossack state in the Central Ukraine between 1649 and 1782.The Hetmanate was founded by first Ukrainian hetman Bohdan Khmelnytsky during the Khmelnytsky Uprising . In 1654 it pledged its allegiance to Muscovy during the Council of Pereyaslav,...

 and Ukrainian and Cossack aspirations to autonomy. 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 Poltava
Battle of Poltava
The Battle of Poltava on 27 June 1709 was the decisive victory of Peter I of Russia over the Swedish forces under Field Marshal Carl Gustav Rehnskiöld in one of the battles of the Great Northern War. It is widely believed to have been the beginning of Sweden's decline as a Great Power; the...

 (1709), where the Swedes and their Cossack allies suffered a catastrophic defeat at the hands of Peter's Russian forces

The hetmanate was abolished in 1764; the Zaporizhska Sich
Zaporizhian Sich
Zaporizhian Sich was socio-political, grassroot, military organization of Ukrainian cossacks placed beyond Dnieper rapids. Sich existed between the 16th and 18th centuries in the region around the today's Kakhovka Reservoir...

 abolished in 1775, as Russia centralized control over its lands. As part of the partitioning of Poland
Partitions of Poland
The Partitions of Poland or Partitions of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth took place in the second half of the 18th century and ended the existence of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth, resulting in the elimination of sovereign Poland for 123 years...

 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, while peasants were heavily taxed and 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 convert the Orthodox lesser nobility. In 1596 they set up the "Greek-Catholic" or Uniate Church
Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church
The Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church , Ukrainska Hreko-Katolytska Tserkva), is the largest Eastern Rite Catholic sui juris particular church in full communion with the Holy See, and is directly subject to the Pope...

, 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.

Cossacks led an uprising, called Koliivshchyna
Koliyivschyna
Koliyivshchyna 1768-1769 was a Ukrainian Cossack and peasant rebellion against Poland, which was responsible for the murder of noblemen , Jews, Uniates, and Catholic priests across the part of the country west of the Dnieper river...

, starting in the Ukrainian borderlands of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth in 1768. Ethnicity as one root cause of this revolt, which included Ukrainian violence
Massacre of Uman
The Massacre of Uman was the 1768 massacre of the Jews, Poles and Ukrainian Uniates at Uman in Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth by the Ukrainian rebel Haidamak army....

 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
Catherine II of Russia
Catherine II, also known as Catherine the Great , Empress of Russia, was born in Stettin, Pomerania, Prussia on as Sophie Friederike Auguste von Anhalt-Zerbst-Dornburg...

 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 Russians annexed the Crimean Khanate
Crimean Khanate
Crimean Khanate, or Khanate of Crimea , was a state ruled by Crimean Tatars from 1441 to 1783. Its native name was . Its khans were the patrilineal descendants of Toqa Temür, the thirteenth son of Jochi and grandson of Genghis Khan...

 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 Russian state and church
Russian Orthodox Church
The Russian Orthodox Church or, alternatively, the Moscow Patriarchate The ROC is often said to be the largest of the Eastern Orthodox churches in the world; including all the autocephalous churches under its umbrella, its adherents number over 150 million worldwide—about half of the 300 million...

 offices. At a later period, tsarists established a policy of Russification
Russification
Russification is an adoption of the Russian language or some other Russian attributes by non-Russian communities...

 of Ukrainian lands, suppressing the use of the Ukrainian language in print, and in public.

19th century, World War I and revolution


In the 19th century, Ukraine was a rural area largely ignored by Russia and Austria. With growing urbanization and modernization, and a cultural trend toward romantic nationalism
Romantic nationalism
Romantic nationalism is the form of nationalism in which the state derives its political legitimacy as an organic consequence of the unity of those it governs...

, a Ukrainian intelligentsia committed to national rebirth and social justice emerged. The serf-turned-national-poet Taras Shevchenko
Taras Shevchenko
Taras Hryhorovych Shevchenko -Life:Born into a serf family of Hryhoriy Ivanovych Shevchenko and Kateryna Yakymivna Shevchenko in the village of Moryntsi, of Kiev Governorate of the Russian Empire Shevchenko was orphaned at the age of eleven...

 (1814–1861) and the political theorist Mykhailo Drahomanov
Mykhailo Drahomanov
Mykhailo Petrovych Drahomanov was a Ukrainian political theorist, economist, historian, philosopher, ethnographer and public figure in Kiev. Born to a noble family of Petro Yakymovych Drahomanov who was of a Cossack descent. Mykhailo Drahomanov started his education at home, then studied at the...

 (1841–1895) led the growing nationalist movement.
After Ukraine and Crimea became aligned with the Russian Empire Russo-Turkish War (1768–1774), significant German immigration German Russian Colonies occurred after it was encouraged by Catherine the Great
Catherine II of Russia
Catherine II, also known as Catherine the Great , Empress of Russia, was born in Stettin, Pomerania, Prussia on as Sophie Friederike Auguste von Anhalt-Zerbst-Dornburg...

 and her immediate successors. Immigration was encouraged into Ukraine and especially the Crimea by Catherine in her proclamation of open migration to the Russian Empire. Immigration was encouraged for Germans
History of Germans in Russia and the Soviet Union
The German minority in Russia and the Soviet Union was created from several sources and in several waves. The 1914 census puts the number of Germans living in Russian Empire at 2,416,290. In 1989, the German population of the Soviet Union was roughly 2 million. In the 2002 Russian census, 597,212...

 and other Europeans to thin the previously dominant Turk population and encourage more complete use of farmland.

Beginning in the 19th century, there was a continuous migration from Ukraine to settle the distant areas of the Russian Empire. According to the 1897 census, there were 223,000 ethnic Ukrainians in Siberia
Siberia
Siberia is an extensive region constituting almost all of Northern Asia. Comprising the central and eastern portion of the Russian Federation, it was part of the Soviet Union from its beginning, as its predecessor states, the Tsardom of Russia and the Russian Empire, conquered it during the 16th...

 and 102,000 in Central Asia
Central Asia
Central Asia is a core region of the Asian continent from the Caspian Sea in the west, China in the east, Afghanistan in the south, and Russia in the north...

. Between 1896 and 1906, after the construction of the trans-Siberian railway, a total of 1.6 million Ukrainians migrated eastward.

Nationalist and socialist parties developed in the late 19th century. Austrian Galicia, which enjoyed substantial political freedom under the relatively lenient rule of the Habsburgs, became the center of the nationalist movement.

Ukrainians entered World War I
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

 on the side of both the Central Powers
Central Powers
The Central Powers were one of the two warring factions in World War I , composed of the German Empire, the Austro-Hungarian Empire, the Ottoman Empire, and the Kingdom of Bulgaria...

, under Austria, and the Triple Entente
Triple Entente
The Triple Entente was the name given to the alliance among Britain, France and Russia after the signing of the Anglo-Russian Entente in 1907....

, under Russia. 3.5 million Ukrainians fought with the Imperial Russian Army
Military history of Imperial Russia
The Military history of the Russian Empire encompasses the history of armed conflict in which the Empire participated. This history stretches from its creation in 1721 by Peter the Great, until the Russian Revolution , which led to the establishment of the Soviet Union...

, while 250,000 fought for the Austro-Hungarian Army
Austro-Hungarian Army
The Austro-Hungarian Army was the ground force of the Austro-Hungarian Dual Monarchy from 1867 to 1918. It was composed of three parts: the joint army , the Austrian Landwehr , and the Hungarian Honvédség .In the wake of fighting between the...

. During the war, Austro-Hungarian
Austria-Hungary
Austria-Hungary , more formally known as the Kingdoms and Lands Represented in the Imperial Council and the Lands of the Holy Hungarian Crown of Saint Stephen, was a constitutional monarchic union between the crowns of the Austrian Empire and the Kingdom of Hungary in...

 authorities established the Ukrainian Legion to fight against the Russian Empire. This legion was the foundation of the Ukrainian Galician Army
Ukrainian Galician Army
Ukrainian Galician Army , was the Ukrainian military of the West Ukrainian National Republic during and after the Polish-Ukrainian War. -Military equipment:...

 that fought against the Bolsheviks and Poles in the post World War I period (1919–23). Those suspected of 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 Talerhof
Talerhof
Talerhof was a concentration camp created by the Austro-Hungarian authorities of Franz Joseph I of Austria in the first days of World War I, in a sandy valley in foothills of the Alps, near Graz, the main city of the province of Styria....

, Styria
Styria (state)
Styria is a state or Bundesland, located in the southeast of Austria. In area it is the second largest of the nine Austrian federated states, covering 16,401 km². It borders Slovenia as well as the other Austrian states of Upper Austria, Lower Austria, Salzburg, Burgenland, and Carinthia. ...

, and in a fortress at Terezín
Terezín
Terezín is the name of a former military fortress and adjacent walled garrison town in the Ústí nad Labem Region of the Czech Republic.-Early history:...

 (now in the Czech Republic
Czech Republic
The Czech Republic is a landlocked country in Central Europe. The country is bordered by Poland to the northeast, Slovakia to the east, Austria to the south, and Germany to the west and northwest....

).
When World War I ended, several empires collapsed; among them were the Russian and Austrian empires. The Russian Revolution of 1917
Russian Revolution of 1917
The Russian Revolution is the collective term for a series of revolutions in Russia in 1917, which destroyed the Tsarist autocracy and led to the creation of the Soviet Union. The Tsar was deposed and replaced by a provisional government in the first revolution of February 1917...

 ensued, and a Ukrainian national movement for self-determination reemerged, with heavy Communist/Socialist influence. During 1917–20, several separate Ukrainian states briefly emerged: the Ukrainian People's Republic
Ukrainian People's Republic
The Ukrainian People's Republic or Ukrainian National Republic was a republic that was declared in part of the territory of modern Ukraine after the Russian Revolution, eventually headed by Symon Petliura.-Revolutionary Wave:...

, the Hetmanate, the Directorate
Directorate of Ukraine
The Directorate, or Directory was a provisional revolutionary state committee of the Ukrainian National Republic, formed in 1918 by the Ukrainian National Union in rebellion against Skoropadsky's regime....

 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 Republic and the Hutsul Republic
Hutsul Republic
The Hutsul Republic was a short-lived state, formed in the aftermath of World War I. The republic was declared on January 8, 1919, claiming Ukrainian-speaking areas of Hungary, when original plans to unite this area with the Western Ukrainian National Republic failed.General Stepan Klochurak was...

 emerged briefly in the former Austro-Hungarian territory. This led to civil war, and an anarchist movement called the Black Army led by Nestor Makhno
Nestor Makhno
Nestor Ivanovych Makhno or simply Daddy Makhno was a Ukrainian anarcho-communist guerrilla leader turned army commander who led an independent anarchist army in Ukraine during the Russian Civil War....

 developed in Southern Ukraine during that war.
However, Poland defeated Western Ukraine in the Polish-Ukrainian War
Polish-Ukrainian War
The Polish–Ukrainian War of 1918 and 1919 was a conflict between the forces of the Second Polish Republic and West Ukrainian People's Republic for the control over Eastern Galicia after the dissolution of Austria-Hungary.-Background:...

, but failed against the Bolsheviks in an offensive against Kiev. According to the Peace of Riga
Peace of Riga
The Peace of Riga, also known as the Treaty of Riga; was signed in Riga on 18 March 1921, between Poland, Soviet Russia and Soviet Ukraine. The treaty ended the Polish-Soviet War....

 concluded between the Soviets and Poland
Second Polish Republic
The Second Polish Republic, Second Commonwealth of Poland or interwar Poland refers to Poland between the two world wars; a period in Polish history in which Poland was restored as an independent state. Officially known as the Republic of Poland or the Commonwealth of Poland , the Polish state was...

, western Ukraine was officially incorporated into Poland, who in turn recognised the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic in March 1919. Ukraine became a founding member of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics 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)
Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists
The Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists is a Ukrainian political organization which as a movement originally was created in 1929 in Western Ukraine . The OUN accepted violence as an acceptable tool in the fight against foreign and domestic enemies particularly Poland and Russia...

. 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 civil war that eventually brought the Soviet government to power devastated Ukraine. It left over 1.5 million people dead and hundreds of thousands homeless. In addition, Soviet Ukraine had to face the famine of 1921
Russian famine of 1921
The Russian famine of 1921, also known as Povolzhye famine, which began in the early spring of that year, and lasted through 1922, was a severe famine that occurred in Bolshevik Russia...

. Seeing an exhausted Ukraine, the Soviet government remained very flexible during the 1920s. Thus, under the aegis of the Ukrainization policy pursued by the national Communist leadership of Mykola Skrypnyk
Mykola Skrypnyk
Mykola Oleksiyovych Skrypnyk was a Ukrainian Bolshevik leader who was a proponent of the Ukrainian Republic's independence, and led the cultural Ukrainization effort in Soviet Ukraine. When the policy was reversed and he was removed from his position, he committed suicide rather than be forced to...

, Soviet leadership encouraged a national renaissance in literature and the arts. The Ukrainian culture
Culture of Ukraine
Ukrainian culture refers to the culture associated with the country of Ukraine and sometimes with ethnic Ukrainians across the globe. It contains elements of other Eastern European cultures as well as some Western European influences. Within Ukraine, there are a number of other ethnic groups with...

 and language
Ukrainian language
Ukrainian is a language of the East Slavic subgroup of the Slavic languages. It is the official state language of Ukraine. Written Ukrainian uses a variant of the Cyrillic alphabet....

 enjoyed a revival, as Ukrainisation became a local implementation of the Soviet-wide policy of Korenisation (literally indigenisation) policy. The Bolsheviks were also committed to introducing universal health care
Universal health care
Universal health care is a term referring to organized health care systems built around the principle of universal coverage for all members of society, combining mechanisms for health financing and service provision.-History:...

, education and social-security benefits, as well as the right to work and housing. Women's rights
Women's rights
Women's rights are entitlements and freedoms claimed for women and girls of all ages in many societies.In some places these rights are institutionalized or supported by law, local custom, and behaviour, whereas in others they may be ignored or suppressed...

 were greatly increased through new laws designed to wipe away centuries-old inequalities. Most of these policies were sharply reversed by the early 1930s after Joseph Stalin
Joseph Stalin
Joseph Vissarionovich Stalin was the Premier of the Soviet Union from 6 May 1941 to 5 March 1953. He was among the Bolshevik revolutionaries who brought about the October Revolution and had held the position of first General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union's Central Committee...

 gradually consolidated power to become the de facto communist party leader.
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 significant numbers of 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.

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

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
Collectivisation in the USSR
Collectivization in the Soviet Union was a policy pursued under Stalin between 1928 and 1940. The goal of this policy was to consolidate individual land and labour into collective farms...

 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
Cheka
Cheka was the first of a succession of Soviet state security organizations. It was created by a decree issued on December 20, 1917, by Vladimir Lenin and subsequently led by aristocrat-turned-communist Felix Dzerzhinsky...

. Those who resisted were arrested and deported
Population transfer in the Soviet Union
Population transfer in the Soviet Union may be classified into the following broad categories: deportations of "anti-Soviet" categories of population, often classified as "enemies of workers," deportations of entire nationalities, labor force transfer, and organized migrations in opposite...

 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 sometimes unrealistic quotas were met, starvation
Starvation
Starvation is a severe deficiency in caloric energy, nutrient and vitamin intake. It is the most extreme form of malnutrition. In humans, prolonged starvation can cause permanent organ damage and eventually, death...

 in the Soviet Union became more common. In 1932–33, millions starved to death in a famine known as Holodomor
Holodomor
The Holodomor was a man-made famine in the Ukrainian SSR between 1932 and 1933. During the famine, which is also known as the "terror-famine in Ukraine" and "famine-genocide in Ukraine", millions of Ukrainians died of starvation in a peacetime catastrophe unprecedented in the history of...

 or "Great Famine". Scholars are divided as to whether this famine fits the definition of genocide
Genocide
Genocide is defined as "the deliberate and systematic destruction, in whole or in part, of an ethnic, racial, religious, or national group", though what constitutes enough of a "part" to qualify as genocide has been subject to much debate by legal scholars...

, but the Ukrainian parliament and other countries recognise it as such.


The famine claimed up to 10 million of Ukrainian lives as peasants' food stocks were forcibly removed by the Soviet government by the NKVD
NKVD
The People's Commissariat for Internal Affairs was the public and secret police organization of the Soviet Union that directly executed the rule of power of the Soviets, including political repression, during the era of Joseph Stalin....

 secret police. Some explanations for the causes for the excess deaths in rural areas of Ukraine and Kazakhstan during 1931–34 has been given by dividing the causes into three groups: objective non-policy-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 force peasants into 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
Great Purge
The Great Purge was a series of campaigns of political repression and persecution in the Soviet Union orchestrated by Joseph Stalin from 1936 to 1938...

. 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
Nikolai Yezhov
Nikolai Ivanovich Yezhov or Ezhov was a senior figure in the NKVD under Joseph Stalin during the period of the Great Purge. His reign is sometimes known as the "Yezhovshchina" , "the Yezhov era", a term that began to be used during the de-Stalinization campaign of the 1950s...

 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.

With Joseph Stalin
Joseph Stalin
Joseph Vissarionovich Stalin was the Premier of the Soviet Union from 6 May 1941 to 5 March 1953. He was among the Bolshevik revolutionaries who brought about the October Revolution and had held the position of first General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union's Central Committee...

'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
Great Purge
The Great Purge was a series of campaigns of political repression and persecution in the Soviet Union orchestrated by Joseph Stalin from 1936 to 1938...

 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
Red Army
The Workers' and Peasants' Red Army started out as the Soviet Union's revolutionary communist combat groups during the Russian Civil War of 1918-1922. It grew into the national army of the Soviet Union. By the 1930s the Red Army was among the largest armies in history.The "Red Army" name refers to...

's higher-ranking officers.

World War II




Following the Invasion of Poland in September 1939, German
Nazi Germany
Nazi Germany , also known as the Third Reich , but officially called German Reich from 1933 to 1943 and Greater German Reich from 26 June 1943 onward, is the name commonly used to refer to the state of Germany from 1933 to 1945, when it was a totalitarian dictatorship ruled by...

 and Soviet
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

 troops divided the territory of Poland. Thus, Eastern Galicia and Volhynia
Volhynia
Volhynia, Volynia, or Volyn is a historic region in western Ukraine located between the rivers Prypiat and Southern Bug River, to the north of Galicia and Podolia; the region is named for the former city of Volyn or Velyn, said to have been located on the Southern Bug River, whose name may come...

 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
Battle of France
In the Second World War, the Battle of France was the German invasion of France and the Low Countries, beginning on 10 May 1940, which ended the Phoney War. The battle consisted of two main operations. In the first, Fall Gelb , German armoured units pushed through the Ardennes, to cut off and...

 to Germany, Romania
Romania
Romania is a country located at the crossroads of Central and Southeastern Europe, on the Lower Danube, within and outside the Carpathian arch, bordering on the Black Sea...

 ceded Bessarabia
Bessarabia
Bessarabia is a historical term for the geographic region in Eastern Europe bounded by the Dniester River on the east and the Prut River on the west....

 and northern Bukovina
Bukovina
Bukovina is a historical region on the northern slopes of the northeastern Carpathian Mountains and the adjoining plains.-Name:The name Bukovina came into official use in 1775 with the region's annexation from the Principality of Moldavia to the possessions of the Habsburg Monarchy, which became...

 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
Paris Peace Treaties, 1947
The Paris Peace Conference resulted in the Paris Peace Treaties signed on February 10, 1947. The victorious wartime Allied powers negotiated the details of treaties with Italy, Romania, Hungary, Bulgaria, and Finland .The...

.


German armies
Wehrmacht
The Wehrmacht – from , to defend and , the might/power) were the unified armed forces of Nazi Germany from 1935 to 1945. It consisted of the Heer , the Kriegsmarine and the Luftwaffe .-Origin and use of the term:...

 invaded the Soviet Union
Operation Barbarossa
Operation Barbarossa was the code name for Germany's invasion of the Soviet Union during World War II that began on 22 June 1941. Over 4.5 million troops of the Axis powers invaded the USSR along a front., the largest invasion in the history of warfare...

 on June 22, 1941, thereby initiating four straight years of incessant total war
Total war
Total war is a war in which a belligerent engages in the complete mobilization of fully available resources and population.In the mid-19th century, "total war" was identified by scholars as a separate class of warfare...

. The Axis
Axis Powers
The Axis powers , also known as the Axis alliance, Axis nations, Axis countries, or just the Axis, was an alignment of great powers during the mid-20th century that fought World War II against the Allies. It began in 1936 with treaties of friendship between Germany and Italy and between Germany and...

 allies initially advanced against desperate but unsuccessful efforts of the Red Army
Red Army
The Workers' and Peasants' Red Army started out as the Soviet Union's revolutionary communist combat groups during the Russian Civil War of 1918-1922. It grew into the national army of the Soviet Union. By the 1930s the Red Army was among the largest armies in history.The "Red Army" name refers to...

. In the encirclement battle of Kiev
Kiev
Kiev or Kyiv is the capital and the largest city of Ukraine, located in the north central part of the country on the Dnieper River. The population as of the 2001 census was 2,611,300. However, higher numbers have been cited in the press....

, the city was acclaimed as a "Hero City
Hero City
Hero City is a Soviet honorary title awarded for outstanding heroism during the German-Soviet War of 1941 to 1945. It was awarded to twelve cities of the Soviet Union. In addition the Brest Fortress was awarded an equivalent title of Hero-Fortress...

", because the resistance
Battle of Kiev (1941)
The Battle of Kiev was the German name for the operation that resulted in a very large encirclement of Soviet troops in the vicinity of Kiev during World War II. It is considered the largest encirclement of troops in history. The operation ran from 23 August – 26 September 1941 as part of Operation...

 by the Red Army and by the local population was fierce. More than 600,000 Soviet soldiers (or one quarter of the Western Front
Soviet Western Front
The Western Front was a Front of the Red Army, one of the Red Army Fronts during the Second World War. This sense of the term is different from the more general usage of military front which indicates a geographic area in wartime, although a Soviet Front usually operates within designated...

) were killed or taken captive
Nazi crimes against Soviet POWs
The Nazi crimes against Soviet Prisoners of War relate to the deliberately genocidal policies taken towards the captured soldiers of the Soviet Union by Nazi Germany...

 there.

Although the wide majority of Ukrainians fought alongside the Red Army
Red Army
The Workers' and Peasants' Red Army started out as the Soviet Union's revolutionary communist combat groups during the Russian Civil War of 1918-1922. It grew into the national army of the Soviet Union. By the 1930s the Red Army was among the largest armies in history.The "Red Army" name refers to...

 and Soviet resistance
Soviet partisans
The Soviet partisans were members of a resistance movement which fought a guerrilla war against the Axis occupation of the Soviet Union during World War II....

, 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
Nazi Germany
Nazi Germany , also known as the Third Reich , but officially called German Reich from 1933 to 1943 and Greater German Reich from 26 June 1943 onward, is the name commonly used to refer to the state of Germany from 1933 to 1945, when it was a totalitarian dictatorship ruled by...

 forces and continued to fight the USSR in the years after the war. Using guerilla war tactics, the insurgents targeted for assassination
Assassination
To carry out an assassination is "to murder by a sudden and/or secret attack, often for political reasons." Alternatively, assassination may be defined as "the act of deliberately killing someone, especially a public figure, usually for hire or for political reasons."An assassination may be...

 and terror those who they perceived as representing, or cooperating at any level with, the Soviet state.


At the same time another nationalist movement
Ukrainian Liberation Army
The Ukrainian Liberation Army was formed by the German Army in 1943 to collect the Ukrainian volunteer units that came into being during World War II...

 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
Soviet partisans
The Soviet partisans were members of a resistance movement which fought a guerrilla war against the Axis occupation of the Soviet Union during World War II....

 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 hailed 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
Mass graves in the Soviet Union
This page discusses mass graves in the Soviet Union.-Soviet repression and terror:The government of the USSR under Stalin murdered many of its own citizens and foreigners. These mass killings were carried out by the security organisations, such as the NKVD, and reached their peak in the Great Purge...

 against Jews
History of the Jews in Ukraine
Jewish communities have existed in the territory of Ukraine from the time of Kievan Rus' and developed many of the most distinctive modern Jewish theological and cultural traditions. While at times they flourished, at other times they faced periods of persecution and antisemitic discriminatory...

, deported others to work in Germany
OST-Arbeiter
OST-Arbeiter was a designation for slave workers gathered from Eastern Europe to do forced labor in Germany during World War II. The Ostarbeiters were mostly from the territory of Reichskommissariat Ukraine . Ukrainians made up the largest portion although many Belarusians, Russians, Poles and...

, and began a systematic depopulation of Ukraine (along with Poland) 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
Eastern Front (World War II)
The Eastern Front of World War II was a theatre of World War II between the European Axis powers and co-belligerent Finland against the Soviet Union, Poland, and some other Allies which encompassed Northern, Southern and Eastern Europe from 22 June 1941 to 9 May 1945...

, and Nazi Germany
Nazi Germany
Nazi Germany , also known as the Third Reich , but officially called German Reich from 1933 to 1943 and Greater German Reich from 26 June 1943 onward, is the name commonly used to refer to the state of Germany from 1933 to 1945, when it was a totalitarian dictatorship ruled by...

 suffered 93 percent of all its 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 Einsatzgruppen
Einsatzgruppen
Einsatzgruppen were SS paramilitary death squads that were responsible for mass killings, typically by shooting, of Jews in particular, but also significant numbers of other population groups and political categories...

, 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
Ukrainians
Ukrainians are an East Slavic ethnic group native to Ukraine, which is the sixth-largest nation in Europe. The Constitution of Ukraine applies the term 'Ukrainians' to all its citizens...

. 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
Famine
A famine is a widespread scarcity of food, caused by several factors including crop failure, overpopulation, or government policies. This phenomenon is usually accompanied or followed by regional malnutrition, starvation, epidemic, and increased mortality. Every continent in the world has...

 in 1946–47, which was caused by a drought and the wartime infrastructure destruction. This famine took away tens of thousands of lives.

In 1945, the Ukrainian SSR became one of the founding members of the United Nations
United Nations
The United Nations is an international organization whose stated aims are facilitating cooperation in international law, international security, economic development, social progress, human rights, and achievement of world peace...

 organization. First Soviet computer MESM was built in Kiev Institute of Electrotechnology
Kiev Institute of Electrotechnology
Kiev Institute of Electrotechnology in Kiev, Soviet Union was a part of the Ukrainian Academy of Sciences. It is known primarily for the prominent achievements in the field of computer science, made in early 1950s by Sergei Alekseyevich Lebedev....

 and became operational in 1950.

Postwar ethnic cleansing
Ethnic cleansing
Ethnic cleansing is a purposeful policy designed by one ethnic or religious group to remove by violent and terror-inspiring means the civilian population of another ethnic orreligious group from certain geographic areas....

 occurred in the newly expanded Soviet Union. 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
History of Germans in Russia and the Soviet Union
The German minority in Russia and the Soviet Union was created from several sources and in several waves. The 1914 census puts the number of Germans living in Russian Empire at 2,416,290. In 1989, the German population of the Soviet Union was roughly 2 million. In the 2002 Russian census, 597,212...

 from Ukraine and more than 200,000 Crimean Tatars
Crimean Tatars
Crimean Tatars or Crimeans are a Turkic ethnic group that originally resided in Crimea. They speak the Crimean Tatar language...

 were victims of forced deportations
Population transfer in the Soviet Union
Population transfer in the Soviet Union may be classified into the following broad categories: deportations of "anti-Soviet" categories of population, often classified as "enemies of workers," deportations of entire nationalities, labor force transfer, and organized migrations in opposite...

.

Following the death of Stalin in 1953, Nikita Khrushchev
Nikita Khrushchev
Nikita Sergeyevich Khrushchev led the Soviet Union during part of the Cold War. He served as First Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union from 1953 to 1964, and as Chairman of the Council of Ministers, or Premier, from 1958 to 1964...

 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
Treaty of Pereyaslav
The Treaty of Pereyaslav is known in history more as the Council of Pereiaslav.Council of Pereyalslav was a meeting between the representative of the Russian Tsar, Prince Vasili Baturlin who presented a royal decree, and Bohdan Khmelnytsky as the leader of Cossack Hetmanate. During the council...

 was widely celebrated, and in particular, Crimea
Crimea
Crimea , or the Autonomous Republic of Crimea , is a sub-national unit, an autonomous republic, of Ukraine. It is located on the northern coast of the Black Sea, occupying a peninsula of the same name...

 was transferred from the Russian SFSR to the Ukrainian SSR
Ukrainian SSR
The Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic or in short, the Ukrainian SSR was a sovereign Soviet Socialist state and one of the fifteen constituent republics of the Soviet Union lasting from its inception in 1922 to the breakup in 1991...

.

Already by 1950, the republic fully surpassed pre-war levels of industry and production. During the 1946–1950 five year plan
Five-Year Plan (USSR)
The Five-Year Plans for the National Economy of the Soviet Union were a series of nation-wide centralized exercises in rapid economic development in the Soviet Union. The plans were developed by a state planning committee based on the Theory of Productive Forces that was part of the general...

 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
Arms industry
The arms industry is a global industry and business which manufactures and sells weapons and military technology and equipment. It comprises government and commercial industry involved in research, development, production, and service of military material, equipment and facilities...

 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
Leonid Brezhnev
Leonid Ilyich Brezhnev  – 10 November 1982) was the General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union , presiding over the country from 1964 until his death in 1982. His eighteen-year term as General Secretary was second only to that of Joseph Stalin in...

, who would later oust Khrushchev and become the Soviet leader from 1964 to 1982, as well as many prominent Soviet sports players, scientists and artists. On April 26, 1986, a reactor in the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant
Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant
The Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant or Chornobyl Nuclear Power Plant is a decommissioned nuclear power station near the city of Pripyat, Ukraine, northwest of the city of Chernobyl, from the Ukraine–Belarus border, and about north of Kiev. Reactor 4 was the site of the Chernobyl disaster in...

 exploded, resulting in the Chernobyl disaster
Chernobyl disaster
The Chernobyl disaster was a nuclear accident that occurred on 26 April 1986 at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant in Ukraine , which was under the direct jurisdiction of the central authorities in Moscow...

, the worst nuclear reactor
Nuclear reactor
A nuclear reactor is a device to initiate and control a sustained nuclear chain reaction. Most commonly they are used for generating electricity and for the propulsion of ships. Usually heat from nuclear fission is passed to a working fluid , which runs through turbines that power either ship's...

 accident in history, at least until the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster
Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster
The is a series of equipment failures, nuclear meltdowns, and releases of radioactive materials at the Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant, following the Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami on 11 March 2011. The plant comprises six separate boiling water reactors originally designed by General Electric ,...

. 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, Slavutych
Slavutych
Slavutych is a new city in northern Ukraine, named after the Old Slavic name of the nearby Dnieper River. As of 2007, its population was 24,549.-Geography:...

, 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 Agency
International Atomic Energy Agency
The International Atomic Energy Agency is an international organization that seeks to promote the peaceful use of nuclear energy, and to inhibit its use for any military purpose, including nuclear weapons. The IAEA was established as an autonomous organization on 29 July 1957...

 and World Health Organization
World Health Organization
The World Health Organization is a specialized agency of the United Nations that acts as a coordinating authority on international public health. Established on 7 April 1948, with headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, the agency inherited the mandate and resources of its predecessor, the Health...

 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
Declaration of State Sovereignty of Ukraine
The Declaration of State Sovereignty of Ukraine was adopted on July 16, 1990 by the recently elected parliament of Ukrainian SSR.The Declaration established the principles of Self-Determination of the Ukrainian Nation, Rule of the People, State Power, Citizenship of the Ukrainian SSR, Territorial...

. 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
Declaration of State Sovereignty of the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic
The Declaration on State Sovereignty of the RSFSR was a political act of the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic, then part of the Soviet Union, which marked the beginning of constitutional reform in Russia...

 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
Soviet coup attempt of 1991
The 1991 Soviet coup d'état attempt , also known as the August Putsch or August Coup , was an attempt by a group of members of the Soviet Union's government to take control of the country from Soviet president Mikhail Gorbachev...

 to remove Mikhail Gorbachev
Mikhail Gorbachev
Mikhail Sergeyevich Gorbachev is a former Soviet statesman, having served as General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union from 1985 until 1991, and as the last head of state of the USSR, having served from 1988 until its dissolution in 1991...

 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
Ukrainian presidential election, 1991
The Ukrainian presidential election, 1991 was the first presidential election held in Ukraine following independence from the Soviet Union. The election was contested on December 1, 1991, with all six candidates campaigning in support of Ukrainian independence...

 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
Leonid Kravchuk
Leonid Makarovych Kravchuk is a Ukrainian politician, the first President of Ukraine serving from December 5, 1991 until his resignation on July 19, 1994, a former Chairman of the Verkhovna Rada and People's Deputy of Ukraine serving in the Social Democratic Party of Ukraine faction.After a...

 to serve as the first President
President of Ukraine
Prior to the formation of the modern Ukrainian presidency, the previous Ukrainian head of state office was officially established in exile by Andriy Livytskyi. At first the de facto leader of nation was the president of the Central Rada at early years of the Ukrainian People's Republic, while the...

 of the country. At the meeting in Brest
Belavezha Accords
The Belavezha Accords is the agreement which declared the Soviet Union effectively dissolved and established the Commonwealth of Independent States in its place...

, Belarus on December 8, followed by Alma Ata meeting on December 21, the leaders of Belarus, Russia, and Ukraine, formally dissolved the Soviet Union and formed the Commonwealth of Independent States
Commonwealth of Independent States
The Commonwealth of Independent States is a regional organization whose participating countries are former Soviet Republics, formed during the breakup of the Soviet Union....

 (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
Gross domestic product
Gross domestic product refers to the market value of all final goods and services produced within a country in a given period. GDP per capita is often considered an indicator of a country's standard of living....

 from 1991 to 1999, and suffered five-digit inflation rates. Dissatisfied with the economic conditions, as well as the amounts of crime and corruption, Ukrainians protested and organised strikes.


The Ukrainian economy stabilized by the end of the 1990s. A new currency, the hryvnia
Ukrainian hryvnia
The hryvnia, sometimes hryvnya or grivna ; sign: ₴, code: , has been the national currency of Ukraine since September 2, 1996. The hryvnia is subdivided into 100 kopiyok. In medieval times, it was a currency of Kievan Rus'....

, was introduced in 1996. Since 2000, the country has enjoyed steady real economic growth
Real GDP
Real Gross Domestic Product is a macroeconomic measure of the value of output economy adjusted for price changes . The adjustment transforms the money-value measure, called nominal GDP, into an index for quantity of total output...

 averaging about seven percent annually. A new Constitution of Ukraine
Constitution of Ukraine
The Constitution of Ukraine is the nation's fundamental law. The constitution was adopted and ratified at the 5th session of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine on 28 June 1996. The constitution was passed with 315 ayes out of 450 votes possible .Other laws and other normative legal acts of Ukraine...

 was adopted under second President Leonid Kuchma
Leonid Kuchma
Leonid Danylovych Kuchma was the second President of independent Ukraine from 19 July 1994, to 23 January 2005. Kuchma took office after winning the 1994 presidential election against his rival, incumbent Leonid Kravchuk...

 in 1996, which turned Ukraine into a semi-presidential republic and established a stable political system. Kuchma was, however, criticized by opponents for corruption, electoral fraud
Electoral fraud
Electoral fraud is illegal interference with the process of an election. Acts of fraud affect vote counts to bring about an election result, whether by increasing the vote share of the favored candidate, depressing the vote share of the rival candidates or both...

, discouraging free speech and concentrating too much of power in his office. He also repeatedly transferred public property into the hands of loyal oligarchs
Business oligarch
Business oligarch is a near-synonym of the term "business magnate", borrowed by the English speaking and western media from post-Soviet parlance to describe the huge, fast-acquired wealth of some businessmen of the former Soviet republics during the privatization in Russia and other post-Soviet...

.

In 2004, Viktor Yanukovych
Viktor Yanukovych
Viktor Fedorovych Yanukovych is a Ukrainian politician who has been the President of Ukraine since February 2010.Yanukovych served as the Governor of Donetsk Oblast from 1997 to 2002...

, then Prime Minister, was declared the winner of the presidential elections
Ukrainian presidential election, 2004
The Ukrainian presidential election, 2004 was held on October 31, November 21 and December 26, 2004. The election was the fourth presidential election to take place in Ukraine following independence from the Soviet Union...

, which had been largely rigged, as the Supreme Court of Ukraine
Supreme Court of Ukraine
The Supreme Court of Ukraine is the highest judicial body in the system of courts of general jurisdiction in Ukraine.The Court derives its authority from the Constitution of Ukraine, but much of its structure is outlined in legislation...

 later ruled. The results caused a public outcry in support of the opposition candidate, Viktor Yushchenko
Viktor Yushchenko
Viktor Andriyovych Yushchenko is a former President of Ukraine. He took office on January 23, 2005, following a period of popular unrest known as the Orange Revolution...

, who challenged the outcome of the elections. This resulted in the peaceful Orange Revolution
Orange Revolution
The Orange Revolution was a series of protests and political events that took place in Ukraine from late November 2004 to January 2005, in the immediate aftermath of the run-off vote of the 2004 Ukrainian presidential election which was claimed to be marred by massive corruption, voter...

, bringing Viktor Yushchenko
Viktor Yushchenko
Viktor Andriyovych Yushchenko is a former President of Ukraine. He took office on January 23, 2005, following a period of popular unrest known as the Orange Revolution...

 and Yulia Tymoshenko
Yulia Tymoshenko
Yulia Volodymyrivna Tymoshenko , née Grigyan , born 27 November 1960, is a Ukrainian politician. She was the Prime Minister of Ukraine from 24 January to 8 September 2005, and again from 18 December 2007 to 4 March 2010. She placed third in Forbes Magazine's List of The World's 100 Most Powerful...

 to power, while casting Viktor Yanukovych in opposition. Yanukovych returned to a position of power in 2006, when he became Prime Minister in the Alliance of National Unity
Alliance of National Unity
Alliance of National Unity was the name of the governing coalition of the Party of Regions, the Communist Party and the Socialist Party in Ukraine after the Ukrainian parliamentary election, 2006 and the 2006 Ukrainian political crisis...

, until snap elections in September 2007
Ukrainian parliamentary election, 2007
Early parliamentary elections in Ukraine took place on 30 September 2007. The date of the election was determined following agreement between the President Viktor Yushchenko, the Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych and the Chairman of the Verkhovna Rada Oleksandr Moroz on 27 May 2007, in an attempt...

 made Tymoshenko Prime Minister again. Yanukovych was elected President in 2010
Ukrainian presidential election, 2010
The Ukrainian presidential election of 2010 is Ukraine's fifth presidential election since declaring independence from the Soviet Union in 1991. The first round was held on January 17, 2010...

.

Conflicts with Russia over the price of natural gas briefly stopped all gas supplies to Ukraine in 2006 and again in 2009, leading to gas shortages in several other European countries.

Historical maps of Ukraine


The Ukrainian state has occupied a number of territories since its initial foundation. Most of these territories have been located within Eastern Europe, however, as depicted in the maps in the gallery below, has also at times extended well into Eurasia and South-Eastern Europe.
At times there has also been a distinct lack of a Ukrainian state, as its territories were on a number of occasions, annexed by its more powerful neighbours.


Geography


At 603700 square kilometres (233,089.9 sq mi) and with a coastline of 2782 kilometres (1,728.7 mi), Ukraine is the world's 44th-largest country (after the Central African Republic
Central African Republic
The Central African Republic , is a landlocked country in Central Africa. It borders Chad in the north, Sudan in the north east, South Sudan in the east, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the Republic of the Congo in the south, and Cameroon in the west. The CAR covers a land area of about ,...

, before Madagascar
Madagascar
The Republic of Madagascar is an island country located in the Indian Ocean off the southeastern coast of Africa...

). It is the largest wholly European country and the second largest country in Europe (after the European part of Russia, before metropolitan France
Metropolitan France
Metropolitan France is the part of France located in Europe. It can also be described as mainland France or as the French mainland and the island of Corsica...

). It lies between latitudes 44°
44th parallel north
The 44th parallel north is a circle of latitude that is 44 degrees north of the Earth's equatorial plane. It crosses Europe, the Mediterranean Sea, Asia, the Pacific Ocean, North America, and the Atlantic Ocean....

 and 53° N
53rd parallel north
The 53rd parallel north is a circle of latitude that is 53 degrees north of the Earth's equatorial plane. It crosses Europe, Asia, the Pacific Ocean, North America, and the Atlantic Ocean....

, and longitudes 22°
22nd meridian east
The meridian 22° east of Greenwich is a line of longitude that extends from the North Pole across the Arctic Ocean, the Atlantic Ocean, Europe, Africa, the Indian Ocean, the Southern Ocean, and Antarctica to the South Pole....

 and 41° E
41st meridian east
The meridian 41° east of Greenwich is a line of longitude that extends from the North Pole across the Arctic Ocean, Europe, Asia, Africa, the Indian Ocean, the Southern Ocean, and Antarctica to the South Pole....

.

The Ukrainian landscape consists mostly of fertile plains (or steppes) and plateaus, crossed by rivers such as the Dnieper
Dnieper River
The Dnieper River is one of the major rivers of Europe that flows from Russia, through Belarus and Ukraine, to the Black Sea.The total length is and has a drainage basin of .The river is noted for its dams and hydroelectric stations...

 , Seversky Donets
Seversky Donets
Seversky Donets is a river on the south of the East European Plain. It originates in the Central Russian Upland, north of Belgorod, flows south-east through Ukraine and then again through Russia to join the Don River, about from the Sea of Azov...

, Dniester
Dniester
The Dniester is a river in Eastern Europe. It runs through Ukraine and Moldova and separates most of Moldova's territory from the breakaway de facto state of Transnistria.-Names:...

 and the Southern Buh
Southern Bug
The Southern Bug, also called Southern Buh), is a river located in Ukraine. The source of the river is in the west of Ukraine, in the Volyn-Podillia Upland, about 145 km from the Polish border, and flows southeasterly into the Bug Estuary through the southern steppes...

 as they flow south into the Black Sea
Black Sea
The Black Sea is bounded by Europe, Anatolia and the Caucasus and is ultimately connected to the Atlantic Ocean via the Mediterranean and the Aegean seas and various straits. The Bosphorus strait connects it to the Sea of Marmara, and the strait of the Dardanelles connects that sea to the Aegean...

 and the smaller Sea of Azov
Sea of Azov
The Sea of Azov , known in Classical Antiquity as Lake Maeotis, is a sea on the south of Eastern Europe. It is linked by the narrow Strait of Kerch to the Black Sea to the south and is bounded on the north by Ukraine mainland, on the east by Russia, and on the west by the Ukraine's Crimean...

. To the southwest, the delta
Danube Delta
The Danube Delta is the second largest river delta in Europe, after the Volga Delta, and is the best preserved on the continent. The greater part of the Danube Delta lies in Romania , while its northern part, on the left bank of the Chilia arm, is situated in Ukraine . The approximate surface is...

 of the Danube
Danube
The Danube is a river in the Central Europe and the Europe's second longest river after the Volga. It is classified as an international waterway....

 forms the border with Romania. Its various regions have diverse geographic features ranging from the highlands to the lowlands. The country's only mountains are the Carpathian Mountains
Carpathian Mountains
The Carpathian Mountains or Carpathians are a range of mountains forming an arc roughly long across Central and Eastern Europe, making them the second-longest mountain range in Europe...

 in the west, of which the highest is the Hora Hoverla at 2061 metres (6,761.8 ft), and the Crimean Mountains on the Crimea
Crimea
Crimea , or the Autonomous Republic of Crimea , is a sub-national unit, an autonomous republic, of Ukraine. It is located on the northern coast of the Black Sea, occupying a peninsula of the same name...

n peninsula, in the extreme south along the coast. However Ukraine also has a number of highland regions such as the Volyn-Podillia Upland (in the west) and the Near-Dnipro Upland (on the right bank of Dnieper); to the east there are the south-western spurs of the Central Russian Uplands over which runs the border with Russia. Near the Sea of Azov
Sea of Azov
The Sea of Azov , known in Classical Antiquity as Lake Maeotis, is a sea on the south of Eastern Europe. It is linked by the narrow Strait of Kerch to the Black Sea to the south and is bounded on the north by Ukraine mainland, on the east by Russia, and on the west by the Ukraine's Crimean...

 can be found the Donets Ridge and the Near Azov Upland. The snow melt from the mountains feeds the rivers, and natural changes in altitude form a sudden drop in elevation
Elevation
The elevation of a geographic location is its height above a fixed reference point, most commonly a reference geoid, a mathematical model of the Earth's sea level as an equipotential gravitational surface ....

 and create many opportunities to form waterfalls of Ukraine
Waterfalls of Ukraine
Ukraine is the second-largest country in Europe. Its various regions have diverse geographic features ranging from the highlands to the lowlands. A vast number of rivers run through the mountain ranges in Ukraine, with the Dnipro river traversing north to south and emptying into the Black Sea...

.

Significant natural resources in Ukraine include iron ore, coal, manganese, natural gas, oil, salt, sulfur, graphite, titanium, magnesium, kaolin, nickel, mercury, timber and an abundance of arable land. Despite this, the country faces a number of major environmental issues such as inadequate supplies of potable water; air and water pollution and deforestation, as well as radiation contamination in the north-east from the 1986 accident at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant.

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
Russia
Russia or , officially known as both Russia and the Russian Federation , is a country in northern Eurasia. It is a federal semi-presidential republic, comprising 83 federal subjects...

, differed strongly between Lviv
Lviv
Lviv is a city in western Ukraine. The city is regarded as one of the main cultural centres of today's Ukraine and historically has also been a major Polish and Jewish cultural center, as Poles and Jews were the two main ethnicities of the city until the outbreak of World War II and the following...

, identifying more with Ukrainian nationalism
Ukrainian nationalism
Ukrainian nationalism refers to the Ukrainian version of nationalism.Although the current Ukrainian state emerged fairly recently, some historians, such as Mykhailo Hrushevskyi, Orest Subtelny and Paul Magosci have cited the medieval state of Kievan Rus' as an early precedents of specifically...

 and the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church
Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church
The Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church , Ukrainska Hreko-Katolytska Tserkva), is the largest Eastern Rite Catholic sui juris particular church in full communion with the Holy See, and is directly subject to the Pope...

, and Donetsk
Donetsk
Donetsk , is a large city in eastern Ukraine on the Kalmius river. Administratively, it is a center of Donetsk Oblast, while historically, it is the unofficial capital and largest city of the economic and cultural Donets Basin region...

, predominantly Russian orientated and favorable to the Soviet era, while in central and southern Ukraine, as well as Kiev
Kiev
Kiev or Kyiv is the capital and the largest city of Ukraine, located in the north central part of the country on the Dnieper River. The population as of the 2001 census was 2,611,300. However, higher numbers have been cited in the press....

, such divisions were less important and there was less antipathy toward people from other regions (a poll by the Research & Branding Group
Research & Branding Group
Research & Branding Group is a Ukrainian non-governmental marketing and sociological research company.Worked with Party of Regions during several latest elections....

 held March 2010 showed that the attitude of the citizens of Donetsk to the citizens of Lviv was 79% positive and that the attitude of the citizens of Lviv to the citizens of Donetsk was 88% positive). 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.

Biodiversity


Ukraine is home to a very wide range of animals, fungi, micro-organisms and plants.

Animals



Ukraine is divided into two main zoological areas. One of these areas, in the west of the country, is made up of the borderlands of Europe, where there are species typical of mixed forests, the other is located in eastern Ukraine, where steppe-dwelling species thrive. In the forested areas of the country it is not uncommon to find lynxes, wolves, wild boar and martens, as well as many other similar species; this is especially true of the Carpathian mountains, where a large number of predatory mammals make their home, as well as a contingent of brown bears. Around Ukraine's lakes and rivers beavers, otters and mink make their home, whilst within, carp, bream and catfish are the most commonly found species of fish. In the central and eastern parts of the country, rodents such as hamsters and gophers are found in large numbers.

Fungi


More than 6600 species of fungi (including lichen
Lichen
Lichens are composite organisms consisting of a symbiotic organism composed of a fungus with a photosynthetic partner , usually either a green alga or cyanobacterium...

-forming species) have been recorded from Ukraine., but this number is far from complete. The true total number of fungal species occurring in Ukraine, including species not yet recorded, is likely to be far higher, given the generally accepted estimate that only about 7% of all fungi worldwide have so far been discovered. Although the amount of available information is still very small, a first effort has been made to estimate the number of fungal species endemic to Ukraine, and 2217 such species have been tentatively identified.

Climate


Ukraine has a mostly temperate continental climate
Continental climate
Continental climate is a climate characterized by important annual variation in temperature due to the lack of significant bodies of water nearby...

, although a more Mediterranean climate
Mediterranean climate
A Mediterranean climate is the climate typical of most of the lands in the Mediterranean Basin, and is a particular variety of subtropical climate...

 is found on the southern Crimean coast. Precipitation
Precipitation (meteorology)
In meteorology, precipitation In meteorology, precipitation In meteorology, precipitation (also known as one of the classes of hydrometeors, which are atmospheric water phenomena is any product of the condensation of atmospheric water vapor that falls under gravity. The main forms of precipitation...

 is disproportionately distributed; it is highest in the west and north and lowest in the east and southeast. Western Ukraine receives around 1200 millimetres (47.2 in) of precipitation annually, while Crimea
Crimea
Crimea , or the Autonomous Republic of Crimea , is a sub-national unit, an autonomous republic, of Ukraine. It is located on the northern coast of the Black Sea, occupying a peninsula of the same name...

 receives around 400 millimetres (15.7 in). Winters vary from cool along the Black Sea
Black Sea
The Black Sea is bounded by Europe, Anatolia and the Caucasus and is ultimately connected to the Atlantic Ocean via the Mediterranean and the Aegean seas and various straits. The Bosphorus strait connects it to the Sea of Marmara, and the strait of the Dardanelles connects that sea to the Aegean...

 to cold farther inland. Average annual temperatures range from 5.5 °C (41.9 °F)–7 °C (44.6 °F) in the north, to 11 °C (51.8 °F)–13 °C (55.4 °F) in the south.

Politics



Ukraine is a republic
Republic
A republic is a form of government in which the people, or some significant portion of them, have supreme control over the government and where offices of state are elected or chosen by elected people. In modern times, a common simplified definition of a republic is a government where the head of...

 under a mixed semi-parliamentary semi-presidential system
Semi-presidential system
The semi-presidential system is a system of government in which a president and a prime minister are both active participants in the day-to-day administration of the state...

 with separate legislative, executive, and judicial branches.

The Constitution of Ukraine



After Ukraine proclaimed its independence, on August 24, 1991, and adopted its constitution on June 28, 1996, Ukraine became a presidential-parliamentary republic. But on Dec. 8, 2004, at the request of "political forces of Prime Minister Yanukovich" (who feared that Yushchenko would come to power), deputies introduced radical changes to the Constitution. 402 deputies voted, including the Party of Regions
Party of Regions
The Party of Regions is an Ukrainian political party created on October 26, 1997 just prior to the 1998 Ukrainian parliamentary elections under the name of Party of Regional Revival of Ukraine. It was reformed later in 2001 when the party united with several others...

, the Communist Party
Communist Party of Ukraine
The Communist Party of Ukraine is a political party in Ukraine, currently led by Petro Symonenko.The party fights the Ukrainian national self-determination by identifying any Ukrainian national parties as the National-Fascist ones The Communist Party of Ukraine is a political party in Ukraine,...

, and the Socialist Party
Socialist Party of Ukraine
The Socialist Party of Ukraine is a Socialist political party in Ukraine and part of the Verkhovna Rada from 1994 to 2007.It is one of the oldest parties and was created by the former members of the Communist Party of Ukraine in late 1991 when the Communist Party was banned...

). Since those changes, Ukraine has had a parliamentary-presidential republic.

From 2004 to 2010, the legitimacy of the 2004 Constitution had official sanction, both with the Constitutional Court of Ukraine, and with opposition leader Viktor Yanukovych
Viktor Yanukovych
Viktor Fedorovych Yanukovych is a Ukrainian politician who has been the President of Ukraine since February 2010.Yanukovych served as the Governor of Donetsk Oblast from 1997 to 2002...

 (who has repeatedly spoken out against the alleged intentions of President Yushchenko "to repeal the provisions of the Constitution of 2004"). However, when Yanukovych became President, he appointed new Constitutional Court justices, and on 30 September 2010 the Constitutional Court decided to abolish the 2004 Constitution and return to the 1996 Constitution (thus making Ukraine's political system more presidential in character).

However, such a cancellation of the 2004 Constitution has raised doubts among the public. Part of the concern has been due to the fact that neither the Constitution of 1996 nor the Constitution of 2004 provides the ability to "undo the Constitution", as the decision of the Constitutional Court would have it, even though the 2004 constitution arguably has an exhaustive list of possible procedures for constitutional amendments (articles 154–159). In any case, the current Constitution can arguably be modified only by a vote in Parliament.

The President, Parliament and the Government of Ukraine



The President
President of Ukraine
Prior to the formation of the modern Ukrainian presidency, the previous Ukrainian head of state office was officially established in exile by Andriy Livytskyi. At first the de facto leader of nation was the president of the Central Rada at early years of the Ukrainian People's Republic, while the...

 is elected by popular vote for a five-year term and is the formal head of state
Head of State
A head of state is the individual that serves as the chief public representative of a monarchy, republic, federation, commonwealth or other kind of state. His or her role generally includes legitimizing the state and exercising the political powers, functions, and duties granted to the head of...

.

Ukraine's legislative branch includes the 450-seat unicameral parliament, the Verkhovna Rada
Verkhovna Rada
The Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine is Ukraine's parliament. The Verkhovna Rada is a unicameral parliament composed of 450 deputies, which is presided over by a chairman...

. The parliament is primarily responsible for the formation of the executive branch and the Cabinet of Ministers
Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine
The Cabinet of Ukraine is the highest body of state executive power in Ukraine also referred to as the Government of Ukraine...

, which is headed by the Prime Minister
Prime Minister of Ukraine
The Prime Minister of Ukraine is Ukraine's head of government presiding over the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine, which is the highest body of the executive branch of the Ukrainian government....

. However, the President still retains the authority to nominate the Ministers of the Foreign Affairs and of Defence for parliamentary approval, as well as the power to appoint the Prosecutor General
Prosecutor General of Ukraine
The Prosecutor General of Ukraine heads the system of official prosecution in courts known as the Office of the Prosecutor General of Ukraine...

 and the head of the Security Service.

Laws, acts of the parliament and the cabinet, presidential decrees, and acts of the Crimean parliament
Verkhovna Rada of Crimea
The Supreme Council of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea is the 100-member unicameral parliament of the Ukrainian territory the Autonomous Republic of Crimea...

 may be abrogated by the Constitutional Court
Constitutional Court of Ukraine
The Constitutional Court of Ukraine is the sole body of constitutional jurisdiction in Ukraine. The Constitutional Court of Ukraine interprets the Constitution of Ukraine and decides whether laws and other legal acts are constitutional....

, should they be found to violate the Constitution of Ukraine
Constitution of Ukraine
The Constitution of Ukraine is the nation's fundamental law. The constitution was adopted and ratified at the 5th session of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine on 28 June 1996. The constitution was passed with 315 ayes out of 450 votes possible .Other laws and other normative legal acts of Ukraine...

. Other normative acts are subject to judicial review. The Supreme Court
Supreme Court of Ukraine
The Supreme Court of Ukraine is the highest judicial body in the system of courts of general jurisdiction in Ukraine.The Court derives its authority from the Constitution of Ukraine, but much of its structure is outlined in legislation...

 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 in accordance with the proposals of the Prime-Minister. This system virtually requires an agreement between the President and the Prime-Minister, and has in the past led to problems, such as when President Yushchenko used a legally controversial ways to evade the law by appointing no actual governors or the local leaders, but so called 'temporarily acting' officers, thus evading the need to seek a compromise with the Prime-Minister. This practice was very controversial and required review by the Constitutional Court.

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.

Courts and law enforcement



The courts enjoy legal, financial and constitutional freedom guaranteed by measures adopted in Ukrainian law in 2002. Judges are largely well protected from dismissal (except in the instance of gross misconduct). Court justices are appointed by presidential decree for an initial period of five years, after which Ukraine's Supreme Council confirms their positions for life in an attempt to insulate them from politics. Although there are still problems with the performance of the system, it is considered to have been much improved since Ukraine's independence in 1991. The Supreme Court is regarded as being an independent and impartial body, and has on several occasions ruled against the Ukrainian government.
Prosecutors in Ukraine have greater powers than in most Europe
Europe
Europe is, by convention, one of the world's seven continents. Comprising the westernmost peninsula of Eurasia, Europe is generally 'divided' from Asia to its east by the watershed divides of the Ural and Caucasus Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian and Black Seas, and the waterways connecting...

an countries, and according to the European Commission for Democracy through Law ‘the role and functions of the Prosecutor’s Office is not in accordance with Council of Europe
Council of Europe
The Council of Europe is an international organisation promoting co-operation between all countries of Europe in the areas of legal standards, human rights, democratic development, the rule of law and cultural co-operation...

 standards". In addition to this, from 2005 until 2008 the criminal judicial system maintained a 99.5 percent conviction rate, equal to the conviction rate of the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

, with suspects often being incarcerated for long periods before trial. On March 24, 2010 President
President of Ukraine
Prior to the formation of the modern Ukrainian presidency, the previous Ukrainian head of state office was officially established in exile by Andriy Livytskyi. At first the de facto leader of nation was the president of the Central Rada at early years of the Ukrainian People's Republic, while the...

 Viktor Yanukovych
Viktor Yanukovych
Viktor Fedorovych Yanukovych is a Ukrainian politician who has been the President of Ukraine since February 2010.Yanukovych served as the Governor of Donetsk Oblast from 1997 to 2002...

 formed an expert group to make recommendations how to "clean up the current mess and adopt a law on court organization”. One day after setting this commission Yanukovych stated “We can no longer disgrace our country with such a court system.” Judicial and penal institutions play a fundamental role in protecting citizens and safeguarding the common good. The criminal judicial system and the prison system of Ukraine remain quite punitive. In contemporary Ukraine prison ministry
Ukraine prison ministry
After the fall of the Soviet Union, the independent Ukrainian country underwent tremendous stress when it shifted from a centrally planned economy to certain kind of a free market system. Those changes, being led by the post-communist oligarchy, caused increasing number of needy and homeless people...

 of chaplains does not exist de jure.
Since January 1, 2010 it is allowed to hold court proceedings in Russian
Russian language
Russian is a Slavic language used primarily in Russia, Belarus, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan. It is an unofficial but widely spoken language in Ukraine, Moldova, Latvia, Turkmenistan and Estonia and, to a lesser extent, the other countries that were once constituent republics...

 on mutual consent of parties. Citizens, who are unable to speak Ukrainian
Ukrainian language
Ukrainian is a language of the East Slavic subgroup of the Slavic languages. It is the official state language of Ukraine. Written Ukrainian uses a variant of the Cyrillic alphabet....

 or Russian are allowed to use their native language or the services of a translator. Previously all court proceedings were required to be held in Ukrainian, which is the nation's only language with any truly official administrative status.

Law enforcement agencies in Ukraine are typically organised under the authority of the Ministry of Internal Affairs
Ministry of Internal Affairs of Ukraine
The Ministry of Internal Affairs of Ukraine is the main body in the system of central bodies of exeecutive power that provides formation and realization of the state policy in the sphere of protection the rights and liberties of citizens, unlawful acts against the interest of society and state,...

. They consist primarily of the national police force (Мiлiцiя) and various specialised units and agencies such as the State Border Guard
State Border Guard Service of Ukraine
State Border Guard Service of Ukraine is the border guard of Ukraine. It is an independent law enforcement agency of special assignment, the head of which is subordinated to the President of Ukraine...

 and the Coast Guard
Ukrainian Sea Guard
Ukrainian Sea Guard is the coast guard service of Ukraine, subordinated to its Border Guard Service.Sea Guard vessels bear the Морська охорона inscription on their boards....

 services. In recent years the law enforcement agencies, particularly the police, have faced criticism for their heavy handling of the 2004 Orange Revolution
Orange Revolution
The Orange Revolution was a series of protests and political events that took place in Ukraine from late November 2004 to January 2005, in the immediate aftermath of the run-off vote of the 2004 Ukrainian presidential election which was claimed to be marred by massive corruption, voter...

, this criticism stems from the use by President Kuchma
Leonid Kuchma
Leonid Danylovych Kuchma was the second President of independent Ukraine from 19 July 1994, to 23 January 2005. Kuchma took office after winning the 1994 presidential election against his rival, incumbent Leonid Kravchuk...

 government's contemplated use of Berkut
Berkut (Ukraine)
The "Berkut" is the system of special units of the Ukrainian militsiya within the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Ukraine's successor of the Soviet OMON. Currently it is considered to be part of the Militsiya of Public Security. Its full name is "Berkut" Separate Special Assignment Unit of...

 special operations units and internal troops
Internal Troops of Ukraine
The Internal Troops of Ukraine is an uniformed gendarmerie-like forces in Ukraine...

 in a plan to put an end to demonstrations on Kiev
Kiev
Kiev or Kyiv is the capital and the largest city of Ukraine, located in the north central part of the country on the Dnieper River. The population as of the 2001 census was 2,611,300. However, higher numbers have been cited in the press....

's Maidan Nezalezhnosti
Maidan Nezalezhnosti
Maidan Nezalezhnosti is the central square of Kiev, the capital city of Ukraine. One of the main city squares, it is located on the Khreschatyk Street...

. The actions of the government saw many thousands of police officers mobilised and stationed throughout the capital, primarily to dissuade protesters from challenging the state's authority but also to provide a quick reaction force in case of need; most officers were armed and another 10,000 were held in reserve nearby. Bloodshed was only avoided when Lt. Gen. Sergei Popkov
Sergei Popkov
Sergei Nikolayevich Popkov is a Russian professional football coach.-External links:...

 heeded his colleagues' calls to withdraw.

The Ministry of Internal Affairs is also responsible for the maintenance of the State Security Service; Ukraine's domestic intelligence agency, which has on occasion been accused of acting like a secret police
Secret police
Secret police are a police agency which operates in secrecy and beyond the law to protect the political power of an individual dictator or an authoritarian political regime....

 force serving to protect the country's political elite from media criticism. On the other hand however, it is widely accepted that members of the service provided vital information about government plans to the leaders of the Orange Revolution in order to prevent the collapse of the movement.

Foreign relations


In 1999–2001, Ukraine served as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council. Historically, Soviet Ukraine joined the United Nations in 1945 as one of the original members following a Western compromise with the Soviet Union, which had asked for seats for all 15 of its union republics. Ukraine has consistently supported peaceful, negotiated settlements to disputes. It has participated in the quadripartite talks on the conflict in Moldova and promoted a peaceful resolution to conflict in the post-Soviet state of Georgia. Ukraine also has made a substantial contribution to UN peacekeeping
Peacekeeping
Peacekeeping is an activity that aims to create the conditions for lasting peace. It is distinguished from both peacebuilding and peacemaking....

 operations since 1992.
Ukraine currently considers Euro
Europe
Europe is, by convention, one of the world's seven continents. Comprising the westernmost peninsula of Eurasia, Europe is generally 'divided' from Asia to its east by the watershed divides of the Ural and Caucasus Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian and Black Seas, and the waterways connecting...

-Atlantic
Atlantic Ocean
The Atlantic Ocean is the second-largest of the world's oceanic divisions. With a total area of about , it covers approximately 20% of the Earth's surface and about 26% of its water surface area...

 integration its primary foreign policy objective, but in practice balances its relationship with European Union and the United States with strong ties to Russia. The European Union
European Union
The European Union is an economic and political union of 27 independent member states which are located primarily in Europe. The EU traces its origins from the European Coal and Steel Community and the European Economic Community , formed by six countries in 1958...

's Partnership and Cooperation Agreement (PCA) with Ukraine went into force on March 1, 1998. The European Union (EU) has encouraged Ukraine to implement the PCA fully before discussions begin on an association agreement. The EU Common Strategy toward Ukraine, issued at the EU Summit in December 1999 in Helsinki
Helsinki
Helsinki is the capital and largest city in Finland. It is in the region of Uusimaa, located in southern Finland, on the shore of the Gulf of Finland, an arm of the Baltic Sea. The population of the city of Helsinki is , making it by far the most populous municipality in Finland. Helsinki is...

, recognizes Ukraine's long-term aspirations but does not discuss association. On January 31, 1992, Ukraine joined the then-Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe (now the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe--OSCE), and on March 10, 1992, it became a member of the North Atlantic Cooperation Council
North Atlantic Cooperation Council
The North Atlantic Cooperation Council was a NATO organisation founded in December 1991 and was the precursor to the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council. It initially brought together NATO and nine central and eastern European nations in a consultative forum...

. Ukraine also has a close relationship with NATO and had previously declared interest in eventual membership, this however was removed from the government's foreign policy agenda, upon election of Viktor Yanukovych
Viktor Yanukovych
Viktor Fedorovych Yanukovych is a Ukrainian politician who has been the President of Ukraine since February 2010.Yanukovych served as the Governor of Donetsk Oblast from 1997 to 2002...

 to the presidency, in 2010. It is the most active member of the Partnership for Peace
Partnership for Peace
Partnership for Peace is a North Atlantic Treaty Organisation program aimed at creating trust between NATO and other states in Europe and the former Soviet Union; 22 States are members...

 (PfP). All major political parties in Ukraine support full eventual integration into the European Union. Association Agreement and suspension of visa restrictions with the EU are expected to be signed into effect at the end of 2011. (Ukraine and the European Union
Ukraine and the European Union
Relations between Ukraine and the European Union are currently shaped via the European Neighbourhood Policy , a foreign policy instrument of the EU designed for the countries it borders....

).

Ukraine maintains peaceful and constructive relations with all its neighbours; it has especially close ties with Russia
Russia
Russia or , officially known as both Russia and the Russian Federation , is a country in northern Eurasia. It is a federal semi-presidential republic, comprising 83 federal subjects...

 and Poland
Poland
Poland , officially the Republic of Poland , is a country in Central Europe bordered by Germany to the west; the Czech Republic and Slovakia to the south; Ukraine, Belarus and Lithuania to the east; and the Baltic Sea and Kaliningrad Oblast, a Russian exclave, to the north...

, although relations with the former are complicated by energy dependence and payment arrears.

Administrative divisions


The system of Ukrainian subdivisions
Administrative divisions of Ukraine
Ukraine is subdivided into 24 oblasts , one autonomous republic, and two "cities with special status".- Overview :...

 reflects the country's status as a unitary state
Unitary state
A unitary state is a state governed as one single unit in which the central government is supreme and any administrative divisions exercise only powers that their central government chooses to delegate...

 (as stated in the country's constitution
Constitution of Ukraine
The Constitution of Ukraine is the nation's fundamental law. The constitution was adopted and ratified at the 5th session of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine on 28 June 1996. The constitution was passed with 315 ayes out of 450 votes possible .Other laws and other normative legal acts of Ukraine...

) with unified legal and administrative
Local government
Local government refers collectively to administrative authorities over areas that are smaller than a state.The term is used to contrast with offices at nation-state level, which are referred to as the central government, national government, or federal government...

 regimes for each unit.

Ukraine is subdivided into twenty-four oblast
Oblast
Oblast is a type of administrative division in Slavic countries, including some countries of the former Soviet Union. The word "oblast" is a loanword in English, but it is nevertheless often translated as "area", "zone", "province", or "region"...

s (province
Province
A province is a territorial unit, almost always an administrative division, within a country or state.-Etymology:The English word "province" is attested since about 1330 and derives from the 13th-century Old French "province," which itself comes from the Latin word "provincia," which referred to...

s) and one autonomous republic
Autonomous republic
An autonomous republic is a type of administrative division similar to a province. A significant number of autonomous republics can be found within the successor states of the Soviet Union, but the majority are located within Russia. Many of these republics were established during the Soviet...

 , Crimea
Crimea
Crimea , or the Autonomous Republic of Crimea , is a sub-national unit, an autonomous republic, of Ukraine. It is located on the northern coast of the Black Sea, occupying a peninsula of the same name...

. Additionally, the cities of Kiev
Kiev
Kiev or Kyiv is the capital and the largest city of Ukraine, located in the north central part of the country on the Dnieper River. The population as of the 2001 census was 2,611,300. However, higher numbers have been cited in the press....

, the capital, and Sevastopol
Sevastopol
Sevastopol is a city on rights of administrative division of Ukraine, located on the Black Sea coast of the Crimea peninsula. It has a population of 342,451 . Sevastopol is the second largest port in Ukraine, after the Port of Odessa....

, both have a special legal status. The 24 oblasts and Crimea
Crimea
Crimea , or the Autonomous Republic of Crimea , is a sub-national unit, an autonomous republic, of Ukraine. It is located on the northern coast of the Black Sea, occupying a peninsula of the same name...

 are subdivided into 490 (district
District
Districts are a type of administrative division, in some countries managed by a local government. They vary greatly in size, spanning entire regions or counties, several municipalities, or subdivisions of municipalities.-Austria:...

s), or second-level administrative units. The average area of a Ukrainian raion is 1200 square kilometres (463.3 sq mi); 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 settlement
Urban-type settlement
Urban-type settlement ; , selyshche mis'koho typu ) is an official designation for a type of locality used in some of the countries of the former Soviet Union...

s, which are similar to rural communities, but are more urbanized, including industrial enterprises, educational facilities, and transport connections, and village
Village
A village is a clustered human settlement or community, larger than a hamlet with the population ranging from a few hundred to a few thousand , Though often located in rural areas, the term urban village is also applied to certain urban neighbourhoods, such as the West Village in Manhattan, New...

s.
EWLINE

EWLINE

Military




After the dissolution 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
Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty
The Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, commonly known as the Non-Proliferation Treaty or NPT, is a landmark international treaty whose objective is to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons and weapons technology, to promote cooperation in the peaceful uses of nuclear energy and to...

 as a non-nuclear weapon state. Ukraine ratified the treaty in 1994, and by 1996 the country became free of nuclear weapons.

Ukraine took consistent steps toward reduction of conventional weapons. It signed the Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe
Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe
The original Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe was negotiated and concluded during the last years of the Cold War and established comprehensive limits on key categories of conventional military equipment in Europe and mandated the destruction of excess weaponry...

, 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
Volunteer military
A volunteer military or all-volunteer military is one which derives its manpower from volunteers rather than conscription or mandatory service. A country may offer attractive pay and benefits through military recruitment to attract volunteers...

 not later than in 2011.
Ukraine has been playing an increasingly larger role in peacekeeping operations. Ukrainian troops are deployed in Kosovo
Kosovo
Kosovo is a region in southeastern Europe. Part of the Ottoman Empire for more than five centuries, later the Autonomous Province of Kosovo and Metohija within Serbia...

 as part of the Ukrainian-Polish Battalion
Polish-Ukrainian Peace Force Battalion
Polish–Ukrainian Peace Force Battalion or Ukrainian-Polish Peace Force Battalion is a Polish-Ukrainian peacekeeping battalion, formed in the late 1990s expressly "for participation in international peace-keeping and humanitarian operations under the auspices of international organizations".The...

. A Ukrainian unit was deployed in Lebanon
Lebanon
Lebanon , officially the Republic of LebanonRepublic of Lebanon is the most common term used by Lebanese government agencies. The term Lebanese Republic, a literal translation of the official Arabic and French names that is not used in today's world. Arabic is the most common language spoken among...

, as part of UN Interim Force
United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon
The United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon, or UNIFIL, was created by the United Nations, with the adoption of Security Council Resolution 425 and 426 on 19 March 1978, to confirm Israeli withdrawal from Lebanon which Israel had invaded five days prior, restore international peace and security,...

 enforcing the mandated ceasefire agreement. There was also a maintenance and training battalion deployed in Sierra Leone
Sierra Leone
Sierra Leone , officially the Republic of Sierra Leone, is a country in West Africa. It is bordered by Guinea to the north and east, Liberia to the southeast, and the Atlantic Ocean to the west and southwest. Sierra Leone covers a total area of and has an estimated population between 5.4 and 6.4...

. In 2003–05, a Ukrainian unit was deployed in Iraq
Iraq
Iraq ; officially the Republic of Iraq is a country in Western Asia spanning most of the northwestern end of the Zagros mountain range, the eastern part of the Syrian Desert and the northern part of the Arabian Desert....

, as part of the Multinational force in Iraq
Multinational force in Iraq
The Multi-National Force – Iraq was a military command, led by the United States, which was responsible for Operation Iraqi Freedom. Multi-National Force – Iraq replaced the previous force, Combined Joint Task Force 7, on 15 May 2004, and was later itself reorganized into its successor, United...

 under Polish
Poland
Poland , officially the Republic of Poland , is a country in Central Europe bordered by Germany to the west; the Czech Republic and Slovakia to the south; Ukraine, Belarus and Lithuania to the east; and the Baltic Sea and Kaliningrad Oblast, a Russian exclave, to the north...

 command. The total Ukrainian military deployment around the world is 562 servicemen.

Military units of other states participate in multinational military exercises with Ukrainian forces in Ukraine regularly, including U.S. military forces.

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
Partnership for Peace
Partnership for Peace is a North Atlantic Treaty Organisation program aimed at creating trust between NATO and other states in Europe and the former Soviet Union; 22 States are members...

 since 1994. In the 2000s, the government was leaning towards the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, 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. Current President Viktor Yanukovych
Viktor Yanukovych
Viktor Fedorovych Yanukovych is a Ukrainian politician who has been the President of Ukraine since February 2010.Yanukovych served as the Governor of Donetsk Oblast from 1997 to 2002...

 considers the current level of co-operation between Ukraine and NATO sufficient. Yanukovich is against Ukraine joining NATO. During the 2008 Bucharest summit
2008 Bucharest summit
The 2008 Bucharest Summit or the 20th NATO Summit was a NATO summit organized in Bucharest, Romania on 2 – 4 April 2008. Among other business, Croatia and Albania were invited to join the alliance. Republic of Macedonia was not invited due to its ongoing naming dispute with Greece...

 NATO declared that Ukraine will become a member of NATO, whenever it wants and when it would correspond to the criteria for the accession.

Economy


In Soviet times, the economy of Ukraine was the second largest in the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

, being an important industrial
Industry
Industry refers to the production of an economic good or service within an economy.-Industrial sectors:There are four key industrial economic sectors: the primary sector, largely raw material extraction industries such as mining and farming; the secondary sector, involving refining, construction,...

 and agricultural
Agriculture
Agriculture is the cultivation of animals, plants, fungi and other life forms for food, fiber, and other products used to sustain life. Agriculture was the key implement in the rise of sedentary human civilization, whereby farming of domesticated species created food surpluses that nurtured the...

 component of the country's planned economy
Planned economy
A planned economy is an economic system in which decisions regarding production and investment are embodied in a plan formulated by a central authority, usually by a government agency...

. With the dissolution of the Soviet system, the country moved from a planned economy to a market economy
Market economy
A market economy is an economy in which the prices of goods and services are determined in a free price system. This is often contrasted with a state-directed or planned economy. Market economies can range from hypothetically pure laissez-faire variants to an assortment of real-world mixed...

. 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 dissolution. Day to day life for the average person living in Ukraine was a struggle. A significant number of citizens in rural
Rural
Rural areas or the country or countryside are areas that are not urbanized, though when large areas are described, country towns and smaller cities will be included. They have a low population density, and typically much of the land is devoted to agriculture...

 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
Inflation
In economics, inflation is a rise in the general level of prices of goods and services in an economy over a period of time.When the general price level rises, each unit of currency buys fewer goods and services. Consequently, inflation also reflects an erosion in the purchasing power of money – a...

 to hyperinflation
Hyperinflation
In economics, hyperinflation is inflation that is very high or out of control. While the real values of the specific economic items generally stay the same in terms of relatively stable foreign currencies, in hyperinflationary conditions the general price level within a specific economy increases...

ary 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
Ukrainian hryvnia
The hryvnia, sometimes hryvnya or grivna ; sign: ₴, code: , has been the national currency of Ukraine since September 2, 1996. The hryvnia is subdivided into 100 kopiyok. In medieval times, it was a currency of Kievan Rus'....

, in 1996.

The country was also slow in implementing structural reforms. Following independence, the government formed a legal framework for privatization
Privatization
Privatization is the incidence or process of transferring ownership of a business, enterprise, agency or public service from the public sector to the private sector or to private non-profit organizations...

. 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 privatization 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 2010 GDP (PPP
Purchasing power parity
In economics, purchasing power parity is a condition between countries where an amount of money has the same purchasing power in different countries. The prices of the goods between the countries would only reflect the exchange rates...

), as calculated by the CIA, is ranked 38th in the world and estimated at $305.2 billion. Its GDP per capita in 2010 according to the CIA was $6,700 (in PPP terms), ranked 107rd in the world. Nominal GDP (in U.S. dollars, calculated at market exchange rate) was $136 billion, ranked 53st in the world. By July 2008 the average nominal salary in Ukraine reached 1,930 hryvnias per month. Despite remaining lower than in neighboring central European countries, the salary income growth in 2008 stood at 36.8 percent
According 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
National Space Agency of Ukraine
The State Space Agency of Ukraine is the Ukrainian government agency responsible for space policy and programs....

. Antonov
Antonov
Antonov, or Antonov Aeronautical Scientist/Technical Complex , formerly the Antonov Design Bureau, is a Ukrainian aircraft manufacturing and services company with particular expertise in the field of very large aircraft construction. Antonov ASTC is a state-owned commercial company...

 airplanes and KrAZ
KrAZ
KrAZ is a factory that produces trucks and other special-purpose vehicles in Kremenchuk, Ukraine; particularly heavy-duty off-road models...

 trucks are exported to many countries. The majority of Ukrainian exports are marketed to the European Union
European Union
The European Union is an economic and political union of 27 independent member states which are located primarily in Europe. The EU traces its origins from the European Coal and Steel Community and the European Economic Community , formed by six countries in 1958...

 and CIS
CIS
CIS usually refers to the Commonwealth of Independent States, a modern political entity consisting of eleven former Soviet Union republics.The acronym CIS may also refer to:-Organizations:...

. Since independence, Ukraine has maintained its own space agency, the National Space Agency of Ukraine
National Space Agency of Ukraine
The State Space Agency of Ukraine is the Ukrainian government agency responsible for space policy and programs....

 (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 vehicle
Launch vehicle
In spaceflight, a launch vehicle or carrier rocket is a rocket used to carry a payload from the Earth's surface into outer space. A launch system includes the launch vehicle, the launch pad and other infrastructure....

s, and continues to design spacecraft.

The country imports most energy supplies, especially oil
Oil
An oil is any substance that is liquid at ambient temperatures and does not mix with water but may mix with other oils and organic solvents. This general definition includes vegetable oils, volatile essential oils, petrochemical oils, and synthetic oils....

 and natural gas
Natural gas
Natural gas is a naturally occurring gas mixture consisting primarily of methane, typically with 0–20% higher hydrocarbons . It is found associated with other hydrocarbon fuel, in coal beds, as methane clathrates, and is an important fuel source and a major feedstock for fertilizers.Most natural...

, 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
Central Asia
Central Asia is a core region of the Asian continent from the Caspian Sea in the west, China in the east, Afghanistan in the south, and Russia in the north...

 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
World Bank
The World Bank is an international financial institution that provides loans to developing countries for capital programmes.The World Bank's official goal is the reduction of poverty...

 classifies Ukraine as a middle-income state. Significant issues include underdeveloped infrastructure and transportation, corruption and bureaucracy. In 2007 the Ukrainian stock market
PFTS Ukraine Stock Exchange
The PFTS Stock Exchange is the larger of Ukraine's two main stock exchanges .The trading occures on working days between 11:00 and 17:00 Kiev time . The PFTS index is calculated based on the results of the trading. Daily trade volume is about $30–60 million...

 recorded the second highest growth in the world of 130 percent. According to the CIA, in 2006 the market capitalization of the Ukrainian stock market was $111.8 billion. Growing sectors of the Ukrainian economy include the information technology
Information technology
Information technology is the acquisition, processing, storage and dissemination of vocal, pictorial, textual and numerical information by a microelectronics-based combination of computing and telecommunications...

 (IT) market, which topped all other Central and Eastern European countries in 2007, growing some 40 percent.

Corporations


Ukraine has a very large heavy-industry base and is one of the largest refiners of metallurgical products in Eastern Europe
Eastern Europe
Eastern Europe is the eastern part of Europe. The term has widely disparate geopolitical, geographical, cultural and socioeconomic readings, which makes it highly context-dependent and even volatile, and there are "almost as many definitions of Eastern Europe as there are scholars of the region"...

. However, the country is also well known for its production of high-technological goods and transport products, such as Antonov
Antonov
Antonov, or Antonov Aeronautical Scientist/Technical Complex , formerly the Antonov Design Bureau, is a Ukrainian aircraft manufacturing and services company with particular expertise in the field of very large aircraft construction. Antonov ASTC is a state-owned commercial company...

 aircraft and various private and commercial vehicles. The country's largest and most competitive firms are components of the PFTS index
PFTS index
PFTS index is a benchmark index of PFTS Ukraine Stock Exchange, Ukraine's primary bourse. It was effectively created on October 1, 1997 as a value-weighted index to track the percentage change of the basket of stocks from base period – i.e., from October, 1997...

 which is traded on the PFTS Ukraine Stock Exchange
PFTS Ukraine Stock Exchange
The PFTS Stock Exchange is the larger of Ukraine's two main stock exchanges .The trading occures on working days between 11:00 and 17:00 Kiev time . The PFTS index is calculated based on the results of the trading. Daily trade volume is about $30–60 million...

.

Well known Ukrainian brands include, amongst others, Antonov
Antonov
Antonov, or Antonov Aeronautical Scientist/Technical Complex , formerly the Antonov Design Bureau, is a Ukrainian aircraft manufacturing and services company with particular expertise in the field of very large aircraft construction. Antonov ASTC is a state-owned commercial company...

, Naftogaz Ukrainy, AvtoZAZ
AvtoZAZ
AvtoZAZ is an automotive manufacturing company in Ukraine. It was founded in 1975 as Industrial Association, а holding that incorporated ZAZ, MeMZ, Illichivsk Automobile Parts Plant and a number of other automobile-production facilities in Lutzk and Kherson...

, PrivatBank
Privatbank
PrivatBank is the largest commercial bank in Ukraine, in terms of the number of clients, assets value, loan portfolio and taxes paid to the national budget. Unlike most other large Ukrainian banks, PrivatBank is not based in Kiev, the capital city, but is headquartered in Dnipropetrovsk, a smaller...

, Roshen
Roshen
Roshen is a Ukrainian confectionery- manufacturing group, controlled by politician Petro Poroshenko. It united confectionery factories in Ukrainian cities of Kiev, Vinnytsia, Mariupol and Kremenchuk, as well as in Klaipėda and Lipetsk...

, Yuzhmash
Yuzhmash
The A.M. Makarov Yuzhny Machine-Building Plant, or PA Yuzhmash is a Ukrainian manufacturer of space rockets, agricultural equipment, buses, trolley buses and trams, wind turbines, and satellites...

, Nemiroff
Nemiroff
Nemiroff is a Ukrainian producer of alcoholic beverages, specializing in horilkas, vodkas and other spirits, based in the town of Nemyriv in Vinnytska oblast. The Nemiroff company itself was founded in 1992 by Stepan Glus, and has grown into a worldwide drink, now exported to over 50 countries...

, Motor Sich
Motor Sich
Motor Sich is an airline based in Zaporizhia, Ukraine. It operates passenger and cargo services, including charter and scheduled flights. Its main base is Zaporizhia International Airport....

, Khortytsa, Kyivstar
Kyivstar
Kyivstar is the largest mobile phone operator in Ukraine, serving 24,944,592 subscribers as of October 2010. Kyivstar's wireless network operates using the GSM standard and provides coverage accessible by approximately 99% of the Ukrainian population....

, and Aerosvit.

Ukraine is regarded as being a developing economy with high potential for future success, however such a development is thought to be likely only with new all-encompassing economic and legal reforms. Although Foreign Direct Investment
Foreign direct investment
Foreign direct investment or foreign investment refers to the net inflows of investment to acquire a lasting management interest in an enterprise operating in an economy other than that of the investor.. It is the sum of equity capital,other long-term capital, and short-term capital as shown in...

 in Ukraine has remained relatively strong ever since recession of the early 1990s, the country has had trouble maintaining stable economic growth. Issues relating to current corporate governance in Ukraine are primarily linked to the large scale monopolisation of traditional heavy industries by wealthy individuals such as Rinat Akhmetov
Rinat Akhmetov
Rinat Leonidovych Akhmetov is a Ukrainian businessman. He is the founder and President of System Capital Management, and is ranked among the wealthiest men in the nation. Akhmetov is also the owner and President of the Ukrainian football club Shakhtar Donetsk...

, the enduring failure to broaden the nation's economic base and a lack of effective legal protection for investors and their products. Despite all this, Ukraine's economy is still expected to grow by around 3.5% in 2010.

This list includes the largest companies by turnover in 2008, but does not include major banks or insurance companies:
Rank in
2008
Name of
concern
Location of
headquarters
Revenue
(Mln.
 UAH)
Profit
(Mln.
 UAH)
Employees
1. Naftogaz Ukrainy  Kiev
Kiev
Kiev or Kyiv is the capital and the largest city of Ukraine, located in the north central part of the country on the Dnieper River. The population as of the 2001 census was 2,611,300. However, higher numbers have been cited in the press....

 
61,968.5 11,670.3 682
2. EnergoRynok Kiev
Kiev
Kiev or Kyiv is the capital and the largest city of Ukraine, located in the north central part of the country on the Dnieper River. The population as of the 2001 census was 2,611,300. However, higher numbers have been cited in the press....

 
40,527.2 183.4 26
3. Gaz of Ukraine (subsidiary of Naftogaz Ukrainy) Kiev
Kiev
Kiev or Kyiv is the capital and the largest city of Ukraine, located in the north central part of the country on the Dnieper River. The population as of the 2001 census was 2,611,300. However, higher numbers have been cited in the press....

 
31,179.0 128.3 171,500
4. Metinvest
Metinvest
Metinvest is an international and vertically integrated mining and steel corporation. It was established on 6th June 2006 by the SCM Group. In 2007 Metinvest Ukraine LLC and Metinvest Service Metal Centres LLC were established to function as subsidiaries engaged in production and supply of...

 
Donetsk
Donetsk
Donetsk , is a large city in eastern Ukraine on the Kalmius river. Administratively, it is a center of Donetsk Oblast, while historically, it is the unofficial capital and largest city of the economic and cultural Donets Basin region...

 
30,185.2 1,410.6 408
5. Kryvorizhstal
Kryvorizhstal
Kryvorizhstal is Ukraine's largest integrated steel company located in the Ukrainian city of Kryvyi Rih.Bought in 2005 by Mittal Steel, the company is one of the most important businesses in Ukraine and a globally important steel producer. It is the largest steel manufacturer in Ukraine and...

 
Kryvyi Rih
Kryvyi Rih
Kryvyi Rih or Krivoy Rog is a city in central Ukraine. It is situated in Dnipropetrovsk Oblast, to the southwest of the oblast's administrative center, Dnipropetrovsk, at the confluence of the Inhulets and Saksahan rivers...

 
22,102.9 4,676.5 42,094
6. Ilyich Steel & Iron Works  Mariupol
Mariupol
Mariupol , formerly known as Zhdanov , is a port city in southeastern Ukraine. It is located on the coast of the Azov Sea, at the mouth of the Kalmius River. Mariupol is the largest city in Priazovye - a geographical region around Azov Sea, divided by Russia and Ukraine - and is also a popular sea...

 
21,727.1 1,362.1 54,945
7. Azovstal Steel Works Mariupol
Mariupol
Mariupol , formerly known as Zhdanov , is a port city in southeastern Ukraine. It is located on the coast of the Azov Sea, at the mouth of the Kalmius River. Mariupol is the largest city in Priazovye - a geographical region around Azov Sea, divided by Russia and Ukraine - and is also a popular sea...

 
21,235.3 1,959.1 20,518
8. Alchevsk Steel & Iron Works Alchevsk
Alchevsk
Alchevsk is a town in the Luhansk Oblast of eastern Ukraine. It is separate administrative unit, and is located approximately 45 km from the oblast capital, Luhansk, and right next to the district capital of Perevalsk....

 
15,322.1 −350.4 17,900
9. TNK-BP Kommers
TNK-BP
TNK-BP is a major vertically integrated Russian oil company. It is Russia's third largest oil producer and among the ten largest private oil companies in the world. TNK-BP is Russia's third largest oil company in terms of reserves and crude oil production...

 
Kiev
Kiev
Kiev or Kyiv is the capital and the largest city of Ukraine, located in the north central part of the country on the Dnieper River. The population as of the 2001 census was 2,611,300. However, higher numbers have been cited in the press....

 
14,816.9 −484.0 427
10. Lysychansk Petroleum Investment
TNK-BP
TNK-BP is a major vertically integrated Russian oil company. It is Russia's third largest oil producer and among the ten largest private oil companies in the world. TNK-BP is Russia's third largest oil company in terms of reserves and crude oil production...

 
Lysychansk
Lysychansk
Lysychans'k is a city in the Luhansk Oblast of south-eastern Ukraine. The city is designated as its own separate raion within the oblast, and is located on the high right bank of the Seversky Donets River, approximately 90 km from the oblast capital, Luhansk.Population of 01.05.2010-...

 
14,485.7 −794.1 3,743
11. DTEK (Donbass Energy)  Kiev
Kiev
Kiev or Kyiv is the capital and the largest city of Ukraine, located in the north central part of the country on the Dnieper River. The population as of the 2001 census was 2,611,300. However, higher numbers have been cited in the press....

 
12,968.7 1,985.0 290
12. Donetskstal Metallurgy Donetsk
Donetsk
Donetsk , is a large city in eastern Ukraine on the Kalmius river. Administratively, it is a center of Donetsk Oblast, while historically, it is the unofficial capital and largest city of the economic and cultural Donets Basin region...

 
12,911.5 −360.1 10,966
13. Kyivstar
Kyivstar
Kyivstar is the largest mobile phone operator in Ukraine, serving 24,944,592 subscribers as of October 2010. Kyivstar's wireless network operates using the GSM standard and provides coverage accessible by approximately 99% of the Ukrainian population....

 
Kiev
Kiev
Kiev or Kyiv is the capital and the largest city of Ukraine, located in the north central part of the country on the Dnieper River. The population as of the 2001 census was 2,611,300. However, higher numbers have been cited in the press....

 
12,799.3 5,559.2 4,905
14. ZAZ Automobile
ZAZ
ZAZ or Zaporizhia Automobile Building Plant is the main automobile-manufacturer of Ukraine, based in the south-eastern city of Zaporizhia. It is also known for its former mother company name, AvtoZAZ...

 
Zaporizhia
Zaporizhia
Zaporizhia or Zaporozhye [formerly Alexandrovsk ] is a city in southeastern Ukraine, situated on the banks of the Dnieper River. It is the administrative center of the Zaporizhia Oblast...

 
12,753.5 −390.6 14,943
15. Donbass Industrial Union Donetsk
Donetsk
Donetsk , is a large city in eastern Ukraine on the Kalmius river. Administratively, it is a center of Donetsk Oblast, while historically, it is the unofficial capital and largest city of the economic and cultural Donets Basin region...

 
12,583.5 511.9 519

Tourism


Ukraine occupies 8th place in Europe by the number of tourists visiting, according to the World Tourism Organisation rankings
World Tourism rankings
The World Tourism rankings are compiled by the United Nations World Tourism Organization as part of their World Tourism Barometer publication, which is released three times throughout the year...

.

Ukraine is a destination on the crossroads between central
Central Europe
Central Europe or alternatively Middle Europe is a region of the European continent lying between the variously defined areas of Eastern and Western Europe...

 and eastern Europe
Eastern Europe
Eastern Europe is the eastern part of Europe. The term has widely disparate geopolitical, geographical, cultural and socioeconomic readings, which makes it highly context-dependent and even volatile, and there are "almost as many definitions of Eastern Europe as there are scholars of the region"...

, between north and south. It borders Russia
Russia
Russia or , officially known as both Russia and the Russian Federation , is a country in northern Eurasia. It is a federal semi-presidential republic, comprising 83 federal subjects...

 and is not far from Turkey
Turkey
Turkey , known officially as the Republic of Turkey , is a Eurasian country located in Western Asia and in East Thrace in Southeastern Europe...

. It has mountain ranges – the Carpathian Mountains
Carpathian Mountains
The Carpathian Mountains or Carpathians are a range of mountains forming an arc roughly long across Central and Eastern Europe, making them the second-longest mountain range in Europe...

 suitable for skiing
Skiing
Skiing is a recreational activity using skis as equipment for traveling over snow. Skis are used in conjunction with boots that connect to the ski with use of a binding....

, hiking
Hiking
Hiking is an outdoor activity which consists of walking in natural environments, often in mountainous or other scenic terrain. People often hike on hiking trails. It is such a popular activity that there are numerous hiking organizations worldwide. The health benefits of different types of hiking...

, fishing
Fishing
Fishing is the activity of trying to catch wild fish. Fish are normally caught in the wild. Techniques for catching fish include hand gathering, spearing, netting, angling and trapping....

 and hunting
Hunting
Hunting is the practice of pursuing any living thing, usually wildlife, for food, recreation, or trade. In present-day use, the term refers to lawful hunting, as distinguished from poaching, which is the killing, trapping or capture of the hunted species contrary to applicable law...

. The coastline on the Black Sea
Black Sea
The Black Sea is bounded by Europe, Anatolia and the Caucasus and is ultimately connected to the Atlantic Ocean via the Mediterranean and the Aegean seas and various straits. The Bosphorus strait connects it to the Sea of Marmara, and the strait of the Dardanelles connects that sea to the Aegean...

 is a popular summer destination for vacationers. Ukraine has
Ukrainian wine
The wine industry of Ukraine is well-established with long traditions. Several brands of wine from Ukraine are exported to bordering countries, the European Union, and North America.-History:...

 vineyard
Vineyard
A vineyard is a plantation of grape-bearing vines, grown mainly for winemaking, but also raisins, table grapes and non-alcoholic grape juice...

s where they produce native wine
Wine
Wine is an alcoholic beverage, made of fermented fruit juice, usually from grapes. The natural chemical balance of grapes lets them ferment without the addition of sugars, acids, enzymes, or other nutrients. Grape wine is produced by fermenting crushed grapes using various types of yeast. Yeast...

s, ruins of ancient castles, historical parks, Orthodox and Catholic churches as well as a few mosques and synagogues. Kiev
Kiev
Kiev or Kyiv is the capital and the largest city of Ukraine, located in the north central part of the country on the Dnieper River. The population as of the 2001 census was 2,611,300. However, higher numbers have been cited in the press....

, the country's capital city
Capital City
Capital City was a television show produced by Euston Films which focused on the lives of investment bankers in London living and working on the corporate trading floor for the fictional international bank Shane-Longman....

 has many unique structures such as Saint Sophia Cathedral
Saint Sophia Cathedral in Kiev
Saint Sophia Cathedral in Kiev is an outstanding architectural monument of Kievan Rus'. Today, it is one of the city's best known landmarks and the first Ukrainian patrimony to be inscribed on the World Heritage List along with the Kiev Cave Monastery complex...

 and broad boulevards. There are other cities well-known to tourists such as the harbour town Odessa
Odessa
Odessa or Odesa is the administrative center of the Odessa Oblast located in southern Ukraine. The city is a major seaport located on the northwest shore of the Black Sea and the fourth largest city in Ukraine with a population of 1,029,000 .The predecessor of Odessa, a small Tatar settlement,...

 and the old city of Lviv
Lviv
Lviv is a city in western Ukraine. The city is regarded as one of the main cultural centres of today's Ukraine and historically has also been a major Polish and Jewish cultural center, as Poles and Jews were the two main ethnicities of the city until the outbreak of World War II and the following...

 in the west. The Crimea
Crimea
Crimea , or the Autonomous Republic of Crimea , is a sub-national unit, an autonomous republic, of Ukraine. It is located on the northern coast of the Black Sea, occupying a peninsula of the same name...

, a little "continent" of its own, is a popular vacation destination for tourists for swimming or sun tanning
Sun tanning
Sun tanning or simply tanning is the process whereby skin color is darkened or tanned. The process is most often a result of exposure to ultraviolet radiation from the sun or from artificial sources, such as a tanning bed, but can also be a result of windburn or reflected light...

 on the Black Sea with its warm climate, rugged mountains, plateaus and ancient ruins. Cities there include: Sevastopol
Sevastopol
Sevastopol is a city on rights of administrative division of Ukraine, located on the Black Sea coast of the Crimea peninsula. It has a population of 342,451 . Sevastopol is the second largest port in Ukraine, after the Port of Odessa....

 and Yalta
Yalta
Yalta is a city in Crimea, southern Ukraine, on the north coast of the Black Sea.The city is located on the site of an ancient Greek colony, said to have been founded by Greek sailors who were looking for a safe shore on which to land. It is situated on a deep bay facing south towards the Black...

 – location of the peace conference
Yalta Conference
The Yalta Conference, sometimes called the Crimea Conference and codenamed the Argonaut Conference, held February 4–11, 1945, was the wartime meeting of the heads of government of the United States, the United Kingdom, and the Soviet Union, represented by President Franklin D...

 at the end of World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

. Visitors can also take cruise tours by ship on Dnieper River from Kiev to the Black Sea coastline. Ukrainian cuisine
Ukrainian cuisine
Ukrainian cuisine has significant diversity, historical traditions. "Cuisine - Flavors and Colors of Ukrainian Culture."] . Accessed July 2011. Common foods used include meats, vegetables, mushrooms, fruits, berries and herbs...

 has a long history and offers a wide variety of original dishes.

The Seven Wonders of Ukraine
Seven Wonders of Ukraine
The Seven Wonders of Ukraine are the seven historical and cultural monuments of Ukraine, which were chosen in the Seven Wonders of Ukraine contest held in July, 2007...

 are the seven historical and cultural monuments of Ukraine; the sites were chosen by the general public through an internet-based vote.

Energy


Ukraine is one of Europe’s
Europe
Europe is, by convention, one of the world's seven continents. Comprising the westernmost peninsula of Eurasia, Europe is generally 'divided' from Asia to its east by the watershed divides of the Ural and Caucasus Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian and Black Seas, and the waterways connecting...

 largest energy
Electricity
Electricity is a general term encompassing a variety of phenomena resulting from the presence and flow of electric charge. These include many easily recognizable phenomena, such as lightning, static electricity, and the flow of electrical current in an electrical wire...

 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
Oil
An oil is any substance that is liquid at ambient temperatures and does not mix with water but may mix with other oils and organic solvents. This general definition includes vegetable oils, volatile essential oils, petrochemical oils, and synthetic oils....

 and gas
Natural gas
Natural gas is a naturally occurring gas mixture consisting primarily of methane, typically with 0–20% higher hydrocarbons . It is found associated with other hydrocarbon fuel, in coal beds, as methane clathrates, and is an important fuel source and a major feedstock for fertilizers.Most natural...

, is also imported from the former Soviet Union. Ukraine is heavily dependent on its nuclear power
Nuclear power
Nuclear power is the use of sustained nuclear fission to generate heat and electricity. Nuclear power plants provide about 6% of the world's energy and 13–14% of the world's electricity, with the U.S., France, and Japan together accounting for about 50% of nuclear generated electricity...

. The largest nuclear power plant
Nuclear power plant
A nuclear power plant is a thermal power station in which the heat source is one or more nuclear reactors. As in a conventional thermal power station the heat is used to generate steam which drives a steam turbine connected to a generator which produces electricity.Nuclear power plants are usually...

 in Europe, the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant
Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant
The Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Station in Ukraine is the largest nuclear power plant in Europe and the third largest in the world.The plant is located in Central Ukraine near the city of Enerhodar, on the banks of the Kakhovka Reservoir on the Dnieper river. It has 6 VVER-1000 pressurized light...

, is located in Ukraine.

In 2006, the government planned to build 11 new reactors
Nuclear reactor
A nuclear reactor is a device to initiate and control a sustained nuclear chain reaction. Most commonly they are used for generating electricity and for the propulsion of ships. Usually heat from nuclear fission is passed to a working fluid , which runs through turbines that power either ship's...

 by the year 2030, in effect, almost doubling the current amount of nuclear power capacity
Electricity
Electricity is a general term encompassing a variety of phenomena resulting from the presence and flow of electric charge. These include many easily recognizable phenomena, such as lightning, static electricity, and the flow of electrical current in an electrical wire...

. 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. In 2007 47.4% of power came from coal and gas (approx 20% gas), 47.5% from nuclear (92.5 TWh) and 5% from hydro.

Currently the country has four active nuclear power stations, located in Kuznetsovsk
Rivne Nuclear Power Plant
The Rivne Nuclear Power Plant is a nuclear power plant in Kuznetsovsk, Rivne Oblast, Ukraine.It has four reactors: -External links:* *...

, Enerhodar
Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant
The Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Station in Ukraine is the largest nuclear power plant in Europe and the third largest in the world.The plant is located in Central Ukraine near the city of Enerhodar, on the banks of the Kakhovka Reservoir on the Dnieper river. It has 6 VVER-1000 pressurized light...

, Yuzhnoukrainsk
South Ukraine Nuclear Power Plant
The South Ukraine Nuclear Power Station , is a nuclear power station in Ukraine.It is located near the city of Yuzhnoukrainsk in Mykolaiv province, approximately south of Kiev. The nuclear power station has three VVER-1000 reactors and a net generation capacity of 2,850 megawatts...

 and Netishyn
Khmelnitskiy Nuclear Power Plant
The Khmelnitskiy Nuclear Power Plant is a nuclear power plant in Netishyn, Khmelnytskyi, Ukraine. The plant is operated by Energoatom. Two VVER-1000 reactors are operational, each generating 1000 MW of electricity. Construction of the first reactor started in 1981 and the first unit was put in...

. In addition to these active plants, a fifth reactor complex
Crimean Atomic Energy Station
The Crimean Atomic Energy Station is an abandoned and unfinished nuclear power plant in Ukraine. Construction work on the plant started in 1976, and the nearby town of Shcholkine was constructed in 1978 to house workers working on the project. The station was inspected following the Chernobyl...

 had been planned for the Crimea
Crimea
Crimea , or the Autonomous Republic of Crimea , is a sub-national unit, an autonomous republic, of Ukraine. It is located on the northern coast of the Black Sea, occupying a peninsula of the same name...

, but construction was suspended indefinitely in the wake of the Chernobyl disaster
Chernobyl disaster
The Chernobyl disaster was a nuclear accident that occurred on 26 April 1986 at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant in Ukraine , which was under the direct jurisdiction of the central authorities in Moscow...

, a major nuclear incident which took place at the Chernobyl Atomic Energy Station
Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant
The Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant or Chornobyl Nuclear Power Plant is a decommissioned nuclear power station near the city of Pripyat, Ukraine, northwest of the city of Chernobyl, from the Ukraine–Belarus border, and about north of Kiev. Reactor 4 was the site of the Chernobyl disaster in...

, 110 km north of Kiev.

All of Ukraine's RBMK reactors (the type involved in the Chernobyl disaster
Chernobyl disaster
The Chernobyl disaster was a nuclear accident that occurred on 26 April 1986 at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant in Ukraine , which was under the direct jurisdiction of the central authorities in Moscow...

), were located at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant. All of the reactors there have been shutdown leaving only VVER reactors operating in the country, which are much safer than RBMK units. Three of these new-type reactors were built since 1991 in the independent Ukraine (with the first one in 1995), whilst the other sixteen were inherited from the Soviet Union.

Transportation


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 4500 km (2,796.2 mi) of motorways by 2012. In total, Ukrainian paved roads stretch for 164732 kilometres (102,360 mi). The network of major routes, marked with the letter 'M' for 'International' (Ukrainian
Ukrainian language
Ukrainian is a language of the East Slavic subgroup of the Slavic languages. It is the official state language of Ukraine. Written Ukrainian uses a variant of the Cyrillic alphabet....

: Міжнародний), extends nationwide and connects all the major cities of Ukraine as well as providing cross-border routes to the country's neighbours. Currently there are only two true motorway standard highways in Ukraine; a 175 km stretch of motorway from Kharkiv
Kharkiv
Kharkiv or Kharkov is the second-largest city in Ukraine.The city was founded in 1654 and was a major centre of Ukrainian culture in the Russian Empire. Kharkiv became the first city in Ukraine where the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic was proclaimed in December 1917 and Soviet government was...

 to Dnipropetrovsk
Dnipropetrovsk
Dnipropetrovsk or Dnepropetrovsk formerly Yekaterinoslav is Ukraine's third largest city with one million inhabitants. It is located southeast of Ukraine's capital Kiev on the Dnieper River, in the south-central region of the country...

, and a section of the M03 which extends 18 km (11.2 mi) from Kiev
Kiev
Kiev or Kyiv is the capital and the largest city of Ukraine, located in the north central part of the country on the Dnieper River. The population as of the 2001 census was 2,611,300. However, higher numbers have been cited in the press....

 to Boryspil
Boryspil
Boryspil is a city located in the Kiev Oblast in northern Ukraine. Serving as the administrative center of the Boryspil Raion , the city itself is also designated as a separate raion within the oblast....

, where the city's international airport
Boryspil Airport
Boryspil International Airport is an international airport located west of Boryspil, east of Kiev. It is Ukraine's largest airport, serving the major part of international flights of the country, and is one of three airports that serve Kiev, along with the smaller Zhulyany Airport and Gostomel...

 is located.

Rail transport
Rail transport
Rail transport is a means of conveyance of passengers and goods by way of wheeled vehicles running on rail tracks. In contrast to road transport, where vehicles merely run on a prepared surface, rail vehicles are also directionally guided by the tracks they run on...

 in Ukraine plays the role of connecting all major urban area
Urban area
An urban area is characterized by higher population density and vast human features in comparison to areas surrounding it. Urban areas may be cities, towns or conurbations, but the term is not commonly extended to rural settlements such as villages and hamlets.Urban areas are created and further...

s, port
Port
A port is a location on a coast or shore containing one or more harbors where ships can dock and transfer people or cargo to or from land....

 facilities and industrial centers
Industry
Industry refers to the production of an economic good or service within an economy.-Industrial sectors:There are four key industrial economic sectors: the primary sector, largely raw material extraction industries such as mining and farming; the secondary sector, involving refining, construction,...

 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
Rail usage statistics by country
This article gives rail usage statistics by country according to the International Union of Railways and other sources.-Passenger rail:All figures include passenger rail only, thus including suburban railways, but excluding metros....

. The total amount of railroad
Rail transport
Rail transport is a means of conveyance of passengers and goods by way of wheeled vehicles running on rail tracks. In contrast to road transport, where vehicles merely run on a prepared surface, rail vehicles are also directionally guided by the tracks they run on...

 track in Ukraine extends for 22473 kilometres (13,964.1 mi), of which 9250 kilometres (5,747.7 mi) is electrified. Currently the state has a monopoly on the provision of passenger rail transport, and all trains, other than those with cooperation of other foreign companies on international routes, are operated by its company 'Ukrzaliznytsia'.
The aviation section in Ukraine is developing very quickly, having recently established a visa-free program for EU nationals and citizens of a number of other 'Western' nations, the nation's aviation sector is handling a significantly increased number of travellers. Additionally, the granting of the Euro 2012 football tournament to Poland
Poland
Poland , officially the Republic of Poland , is a country in Central Europe bordered by Germany to the west; the Czech Republic and Slovakia to the south; Ukraine, Belarus and Lithuania to the east; and the Baltic Sea and Kaliningrad Oblast, a Russian exclave, to the north...

 and Ukraine as joint hosts has prompted the government to invest huge amounts of money into transport infrastructure, and in particular airports.

Currently there are three major new airport terminals under construction in Donetsk
Donetsk
Donetsk , is a large city in eastern Ukraine on the Kalmius river. Administratively, it is a center of Donetsk Oblast, while historically, it is the unofficial capital and largest city of the economic and cultural Donets Basin region...

, Lviv
Lviv
Lviv is a city in western Ukraine. The city is regarded as one of the main cultural centres of today's Ukraine and historically has also been a major Polish and Jewish cultural center, as Poles and Jews were the two main ethnicities of the city until the outbreak of World War II and the following...

 and Kiev
Kiev
Kiev or Kyiv is the capital and the largest city of Ukraine, located in the north central part of the country on the Dnieper River. The population as of the 2001 census was 2,611,300. However, higher numbers have been cited in the press....

, a new airport has already opened in Kharkiv
Kharkiv
Kharkiv or Kharkov is the second-largest city in Ukraine.The city was founded in 1654 and was a major centre of Ukrainian culture in the Russian Empire. Kharkiv became the first city in Ukraine where the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic was proclaimed in December 1917 and Soviet government was...

 and Kiev's Boryspil International Airport has recently begun operations at Terminal F, the first of its two new international terminals. Ukraine has a number of airlines, the largest of which are the nation's flag carrier
Flag carrier
A flag carrier is a transportation company, such as an airline or shipping company, that, being locally registered in a given country, enjoys preferential rights or privileges, accorded by the government, for international operations. It may be a state-run, state-owned or private but...

s, Aerosvit and UIA
Ukraine International Airlines
CJSC Ukraine International Airlines , Aviyakompaniya Mizhnarodni Avialiniyi Ukrayiny) is one of the flag carriers of Ukraine, based in Kiev. It operates scheduled domestic and international passenger and cargo services to cities in western Europe...

. Antonov Airlines
Antonov Airlines
Antonov Airlines is a Ukrainian cargo airline. It operates international charter services in the world oversized cargo market. Its main base is Gostomel Airport near Kiev...

, a subsidiary of the Antonov Aerospace Design Bureau
Antonov
Antonov, or Antonov Aeronautical Scientist/Technical Complex , formerly the Antonov Design Bureau, is a Ukrainian aircraft manufacturing and services company with particular expertise in the field of very large aircraft construction. Antonov ASTC is a state-owned commercial company...

 is the only operator of the world's largest fixed wing aircraft, the An-225.

Maritime transport is mainly riverine, with passenger services mainly provided on the Dnieper, Danube
Danube
The Danube is a river in the Central Europe and the Europe's second longest river after the Volga. It is classified as an international waterway....

 and Pripyat
Pripyat River
The Pripyat River or Prypiat River is a river in Eastern Europe, approximately long. It flows east through Ukraine, Belarus, and Ukraine again, draining into the Dnieper....

 rivers, as well as a number of their tributaries. Most large cities have a river port and cater for the embarkation and disembarkation of passengers as well as the loading and unloading of freight and raw materials. International maritime travel is mainly provided through the Port of Odessa
Port of Odessa
The Port of Odessa is the largest Ukrainian seaport and one of the largest ports in the Black Sea basin, with a total annual traffic capacity of 40 million tonnes...

, from where ferries sail regularly to Istanbul
Istanbul
Istanbul , historically known as Byzantium and Constantinople , is the largest city of Turkey. Istanbul metropolitan province had 13.26 million people living in it as of December, 2010, which is 18% of Turkey's population and the 3rd largest metropolitan area in Europe after London and...

, Varna
Varna
Varna is the largest city and seaside resort on the Bulgarian Black Sea Coast and third-largest in Bulgaria after Sofia and Plovdiv, with a population of 334,870 inhabitants according to Census 2011...

 and Haifa
Haifa
Haifa is the largest city in northern Israel, and the third-largest city in the country, with a population of over 268,000. Another 300,000 people live in towns directly adjacent to the city including the cities of the Krayot, as well as, Tirat Carmel, Daliyat al-Karmel and Nesher...

. The largest ferry company presently operating these routes is Ukrferry.

Demographics


According to the Ukrainian Census of 2001
Ukrainian Census (2001)
The first Ukrainian Census was carried out by State Statistics Committee of Ukraine on 5 December 2001, twelve years after the last Soviet Union census in 1989....

, ethnic Ukrainians
Ukrainians
Ukrainians are an East Slavic ethnic group native to Ukraine, which is the sixth-largest nation in Europe. The Constitution of Ukraine applies the term 'Ukrainians' to all its citizens...

 make up 77.8% of the population. Other significant ethnic groups are the Russians
Russians
The Russian people are an East Slavic ethnic group native to Russia, speaking the Russian language and primarily living in Russia and neighboring countries....

 (17.3%), Belarusians
Belarusians
Belarusians ; are an East Slavic ethnic group who populate the majority of the Republic of Belarus. Introduced to the world as a new state in the early 1990s, the Republic of Belarus brought with it the notion of a re-emerging Belarusian ethnicity, drawn upon the lines of the Old Belarusian...

 (0.6%), Moldovans
Moldovans
Moldovans or Moldavians are the largest population group of Moldova...

 (0.5%), Crimean Tatars
Crimean Tatars
Crimean Tatars or Crimeans are a Turkic ethnic group that originally resided in Crimea. They speak the Crimean Tatar language...

 (0.5%), Bulgarians
Bulgarians
The Bulgarians are a South Slavic nation and ethnic group native to Bulgaria and neighbouring regions. Emigration has resulted in immigrant communities in a number of other countries.-History and ethnogenesis:...

 (0.4%), Hungarians (0.3%), Romanians
Romanians
The Romanians are an ethnic group native to Romania, who speak Romanian; they are the majority inhabitants of Romania....

 (0.3%), Poles
Poles
thumb|right|180px|The state flag of [[Poland]] as used by Polish government and diplomatic authoritiesThe Polish people, or Poles , are a nation indigenous to Poland. They are united by the Polish language, which belongs to the historical Lechitic subgroup of West Slavic languages of Central Europe...

 (0.3%), Jews (0.2%), Armenians
Armenians
Armenian people or Armenians are a nation and ethnic group native to the Armenian Highland.The largest concentration is in Armenia having a nearly-homogeneous population with 97.9% or 3,145,354 being ethnic Armenian....

 (0.2%), Greeks
Greeks
The Greeks, also known as the Hellenes , are a nation and ethnic group native to Greece, Cyprus and neighboring regions. They also form a significant diaspora, with Greek communities established around the world....

 (0.2%) and Tatars
Tatars
Tatars are a Turkic speaking ethnic group , numbering roughly 7 million.The majority of Tatars live in the Russian Federation, with a population of around 5.5 million, about 2 million of which in the republic of Tatarstan.Significant minority populations are found in Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan,...

 (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 by over 150,000 a year. The birth rate has recovered in recent years from a catastrophically low level around 2000, and is now comparable to the European average, but would need to increase by another 50% or so to stabilize the population.

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

Life expectancy is falling. The nation suffers a high mortality rate
Mortality rate
Mortality rate is a measure of the number of deaths in a population, scaled to the size of that population, per unit time...

 from environmental pollution, poor diets, widespread smoking, extensive alcoholism, and deteriorating medical care.

In the years 2008 through 2010, more than 1.5 million children were born in Ukraine, compared to fewer than 1.2 million during 1999–2001 during the worst of the demographic crisis. 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
United Nations
The United Nations is an international organization whose stated aims are facilitating cooperation in international law, international security, economic development, social progress, human rights, and achievement of world peace...

 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 children remain tough.

Fertility and natalist policies



The current birth rate in Ukraine, as of 2010, is 10.8 births/1,000 population, and the death rate is 15.2 deaths/1,000 population (see demographic tables
Demographics of Ukraine
The Demographics of Ukraine is about the demographic features of the population of Ukraine, including population growth, population density, ethnicity, education level, health, economic status, religious affiliations, and other aspects of the 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), was 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.

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. In 2008, Ukraine emerged from lowest-low fertility, and the upward trend has continued since then, except for a slight dip in 2010 due to the economic crisis of 2009 (see demographic tables
Demographics of Ukraine
The Demographics of Ukraine is about the demographic features of the population of Ukraine, including population growth, population density, ethnicity, education level, health, economic status, religious affiliations, and other aspects of the population....

).

Urbanization



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.

Religion


The dominant religion in Ukraine is Orthodox Christianity, which is currently split between three Church bodies: the Ukrainian Orthodox Church
Ukrainian Orthodox Church (Moscow Patriarchate)
The Ukrainian Orthodox Church is an autonomous Church of Eastern Orthodoxy in Ukraine, under the ecclesiastic jurisdiction of the Moscow Patriarchate...

 autonomous church body under the Patriarch of Moscow, the Ukrainian Orthodox Church – Kiev Patriarchate, and the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church
Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church
The Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church is one of the three major Orthodox Churches in Ukraine. Close to ten percent of the Christian population claim to be members of the UAOC. The other Churches are the Ukrainian Orthodox Church-Kiev Patriarchate and the Ukrainian Russophile Orthodox...

.

A distant second by the number of the followers is the Eastern Rite Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church
Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church
The Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church , Ukrainska Hreko-Katolytska Tserkva), is the largest Eastern Rite Catholic sui juris particular church in full communion with the Holy See, and is directly subject to the Pope...

, which practices a similar liturgical
Liturgy
Liturgy is either the customary public worship done by a specific religious group, according to its particular traditions or a more precise term that distinguishes between those religious groups who believe their ritual requires the "people" to do the "work" of responding to the priest, and those...

 and spiritual
Spirituality
Spirituality can refer to an ultimate or an alleged immaterial reality; an inner path enabling a person to discover the essence of his/her being; or the “deepest values and meanings by which people live.” Spiritual practices, including meditation, prayer and contemplation, are intended to develop...

 tradition
Tradition
A tradition is a ritual, belief or object passed down within a society, still maintained in the present, with origins in the past. Common examples include holidays or impractical but socially meaningful clothes , but the idea has also been applied to social norms such as greetings...

 as Eastern Orthodoxy, but is in communion
Full communion
In Christian ecclesiology, full communion is a relationship between church organizations or groups that mutually recognize their sharing the essential doctrines....

 with the Holy See
Holy See
The Holy See is the episcopal jurisdiction of the Catholic Church in Rome, in which its Bishop is commonly known as the Pope. It is the preeminent episcopal see of the Catholic Church, forming the central government of the Church. As such, diplomatically, and in other spheres the Holy See acts and...

 of the Roman Catholic Church
Roman Catholic Church
The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the world's largest Christian church, with over a billion members. Led by the Pope, it defines its mission as spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ, administering the sacraments and exercising charity...

 and recognises the primacy of the Pope
Pope
The Pope is the Bishop of Rome, a position that makes him the leader of the worldwide Catholic Church . In the Catholic Church, the Pope is regarded as the successor of Saint Peter, the Apostle...

 as head of the Church.

Additionally, there are 863 Latin Rite Catholic
Catholic
The word catholic comes from the Greek phrase , meaning "on the whole," "according to the whole" or "in general", and is a combination of the Greek words meaning "about" and meaning "whole"...

 communities, and 474 clergy
Clergy
Clergy is the generic term used to describe the formal religious leadership within a given religion. A clergyman, churchman or cleric is a member of the clergy, especially one who is a priest, preacher, pastor, or other religious professional....

 members serving some one million Latin Rite Catholics in Ukraine. The group forms some 2.19 percent of the population and consists mainly of ethnic Poles
Poles
thumb|right|180px|The state flag of [[Poland]] as used by Polish government and diplomatic authoritiesThe Polish people, or Poles , are a nation indigenous to Poland. They are united by the Polish language, which belongs to the historical Lechitic subgroup of West Slavic languages of Central Europe...

 and Hungarians, who live predominantly in the western regions of the country.

Protestant Christians
Protestantism
Protestantism is one of the three major groupings within Christianity. It is a movement that began in Germany in the early 16th century as a reaction against medieval Roman Catholic doctrines and practices, especially in regards to salvation, justification, and ecclesiology.The doctrines of the...

 also form around 2.19 percent of the population. Protestant numbers have grown greatly since Ukrainian independence. The Evangelical Baptist Union of Ukraine
Evangelical Baptist Union of Ukraine
Evangelical Baptist Union of Ukraine aka All-Ukrainian Union of Churches of Evangelical Christian Baptists '; ; is a union of Baptists in Ukraine. It is the largest protestant union in Ukraine.-History:...

 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
Pentecostalism
Pentecostalism is a diverse and complex movement within Christianity that places special emphasis on a direct personal experience of God through the baptism in the Holy Spirit, has an eschatological focus, and is an experiential religion. The term Pentecostal is derived from Pentecost, the Greek...

) 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
Calvinism
Calvinism is a Protestant theological system and an approach to the Christian life...

, Jehovah's Witnesses
Jehovah's Witnesses
Jehovah's Witnesses is a millenarian restorationist Christian denomination with nontrinitarian beliefs distinct from mainstream Christianity. The religion reports worldwide membership of over 7 million adherents involved in evangelism, convention attendance of over 12 million, and annual...

, Lutherans
Lutheranism
Lutheranism is a major branch of Western Christianity that identifies with the theology of Martin Luther, a German reformer. Luther's efforts to reform the theology and practice of the church launched the Protestant Reformation...

, Methodists
Methodism
Methodism is a movement of Protestant Christianity represented by a number of denominations and organizations, claiming a total of approximately seventy million adherents worldwide. The movement traces its roots to John Wesley's evangelistic revival movement within Anglicanism. His younger brother...

 and Seventh-day Adventists
Seventh-day Adventist Church
The Seventh-day Adventist Church is a Protestant Christian denomination distinguished by its observance of Saturday, the original seventh day of the Judeo-Christian week, as the Sabbath, and by its emphasis on the imminent second coming of Jesus Christ...

. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon) is also present.

There are an estimated 500,000 Muslims
Islam in Ukraine
The majority of Muslims in Ukraine are ethnic Crimean Tatars and live in the Crimean peninsula. According to a Pew Forum study, the Muslim population in Ukraine is 393,000, while according to the Spiritual Administration of Muslims of Ukraine there are 2 million Muslims in Ukraine.- History of...

 in Ukraine, and about 250,000 of them are Crimean Tatars
Crimean Tatars
Crimean Tatars or Crimeans are a Turkic ethnic group that originally resided in Crimea. They speak the Crimean Tatar language...

. There are 487 registered Muslim communities, 368 of them on the Crimean peninsula. In addition, some 50,000 Muslims live in Kiev
Kiev
Kiev or Kyiv is the capital and the largest city of Ukraine, located in the north central part of the country on the Dnieper River. The population as of the 2001 census was 2,611,300. However, higher numbers have been cited in the press....

; mostly foreign-born.

The Jewish
History of the Jews in Ukraine
Jewish communities have existed in the territory of Ukraine from the time of Kievan Rus' and developed many of the most distinctive modern Jewish theological and cultural traditions. While at times they flourished, at other times they faced periods of persecution and antisemitic discriminatory...

 population is a tiny fraction of what it was before World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

. (In Tsarist times, Ukraine had been part of the Pale of Settlement
Pale of Settlement
The Pale of Settlement was the term given to a region of Imperial Russia, in which permanent residency by Jews was allowed, and beyond which Jewish permanent residency was generally prohibited...

, to which Jews were largely restricted in the Russian Empire.) The largest Jewish communities in 1926 were in Odessa
Odessa
Odessa or Odesa is the administrative center of the Odessa Oblast located in southern Ukraine. The city is a major seaport located on the northwest shore of the Black Sea and the fourth largest city in Ukraine with a population of 1,029,000 .The predecessor of Odessa, a small Tatar settlement,...

, 154,000 or 36.5% of the total population; and Kiev
Kiev
Kiev or Kyiv is the capital and the largest city of Ukraine, located in the north central part of the country on the Dnieper River. The population as of the 2001 census was 2,611,300. However, higher numbers have been cited in the press....

, 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
Orthodox Judaism
Orthodox Judaism , is the approach to Judaism which adheres to the traditional interpretation and application of the laws and ethics of the Torah as legislated in the Talmudic texts by the Sanhedrin and subsequently developed and applied by the later authorities known as the Gaonim, Rishonim, and...

 has the strongest presence in Ukraine. Smaller Reform
Reform Judaism
Reform Judaism refers to various beliefs, practices and organizations associated with the Reform Jewish movement in North America, the United Kingdom and elsewhere. In general, it maintains that Judaism and Jewish traditions should be modernized and should be compatible with participation in the...

 and Conservative Jewish
Conservative Judaism
Conservative Judaism is a modern stream of Judaism that arose out of intellectual currents in Germany in the mid-19th century and took institutional form in the United States in the early 1900s.Conservative Judaism has its roots in the school of thought known as Positive-Historical Judaism,...

 (Masorti
Masorti
The Masorti Movement is the name given to Conservative Judaism in Israel and other countries outside Canada and U.S. Masorti means "traditional" in Hebrew...

) communities exist as well.

Famines and migration


The famines of the 1930s
Holodomor
The Holodomor was a man-made famine in the Ukrainian SSR between 1932 and 1933. During the famine, which is also known as the "terror-famine in Ukraine" and "famine-genocide in Ukraine", millions of Ukrainians died of starvation in a peacetime catastrophe unprecedented in the history of...

, 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. According to The Oxford companion to World War II, "Over 7 million inhabitants of Ukraine, more than one-sixth of the pre-war population, were killed during the Second World War."

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
Ukrainian Canadian
A Ukrainian Canadian is a person of Ukrainian descent or origin who was born in or immigrated to Canada. In 2006, there were an estimated 1,209,085 persons residing in Canada of Ukrainian origin, making them Canada's ninth largest ethnic group; and giving Canada the world's third-largest...

 of Ukrainian ancestry, giving Canada
Canada
Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean...

 the world's third-largest Ukrainian population behind Ukraine itself and Russia.

Health


Ukraine's healthcare system is state subsidised and freely available to all Ukrainian citizens and registered residents. However, it is not compulsory to be treated in a state-run hospital as a number of private medical complexes do exist nationwide. The public sector employs most healthcare professionals, with those working for private medical centres typically also retaining their state employment as they are mandated to provide care at public health facilities on a regular basis.

All the country's medical service providers and hospitals are subordinate to the Ministry of Health, which provides oversight and scrutiny of general medical practice as well as being responsible for the day to day administration of the healthcare system. Despite this standards of hygiene and patient-care have fallen.
Hospitals in Ukraine are organised along the same lines as most European nations, according to the regional administrative structure; resultantly most towns have their own hospital (Міська Лікарня) and many also have district hospitals (Районна Лікарня). Larger and more specialised medical complexes tend only to be found in major cities, with some even more specialised units located only in the capital, Kiev
Kiev
Kiev or Kyiv is the capital and the largest city of Ukraine, located in the north central part of the country on the Dnieper River. The population as of the 2001 census was 2,611,300. However, higher numbers have been cited in the press....

. However, all Oblasts
Administrative divisions of Ukraine
Ukraine is subdivided into 24 oblasts , one autonomous republic, and two "cities with special status".- Overview :...

 have their own network of general hospitals which are able to deal with almost all medical problems and are typically equipped with major trauma centres; such hospitals are called 'regional hospitals' (Обласна Лікарня).

Ukraine currently faces a number of major public health issues, and is considered to be in a demographic crisis due to its high death rate and low birth rate (the current Ukrainian birth rate is 11 births/1,000 population, and the death rate is 16.3 deaths/1,000 population). A factor contributing to the relatively high death is a high mortality rate
Mortality rate
Mortality rate is a measure of the number of deaths in a population, scaled to the size of that population, per unit time...

 among working-age males from preventable causes such as alcohol poisoning and smoking
Smoking
Smoking is a practice in which a substance, most commonly tobacco or cannabis, is burned and the smoke is tasted or inhaled. This is primarily practised as a route of administration for recreational drug use, as combustion releases the active substances in drugs such as nicotine and makes them...

. In 2008, the country's population was one of the fastest declining in the world at −5% growth. The UN warned that Ukraine's population could fall by as much as 10 million by 2050 if trends did not improve. In addition to this obesity, systemic high blood pressure and the HIV endemic are all major challenges facing the contemporary Ukrainian healthcare system.

As of March 2009 the Ukrainian government to reforming the health care system, by the creation of a national network of family doctors and improvements in the medical emergency services
Emergency medical services
Emergency medical services are a type of emergency service dedicated to providing out-of-hospital acute medical care and/or transport to definitive care, to patients with illnesses and injuries which the patient, or the medical practitioner, believes constitutes a medical emergency...

. former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko
Yulia Tymoshenko
Yulia Volodymyrivna Tymoshenko , née Grigyan , born 27 November 1960, is a Ukrainian politician. She was the Prime Minister of Ukraine from 24 January to 8 September 2005, and again from 18 December 2007 to 4 March 2010. She placed third in Forbes Magazine's List of The World's 100 Most Powerful...

 put forward (in November 2009) an idea to start introducing a public healthcare system based on health insurance in the spring of 2010.

Education


According to the Ukrainian constitution
Constitution of Ukraine
The Constitution of Ukraine is the nation's fundamental law. The constitution was adopted and ratified at the 5th session of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine on 28 June 1996. The constitution was passed with 315 ayes out of 450 votes possible .Other laws and other normative legal acts of Ukraine...

, access to free education
Education
Education in its broadest, general sense is the means through which the aims and habits of a group of people lives on from one generation to the next. Generally, it occurs through any experience that has a formative effect on the way one thinks, feels, or acts...

 is granted to all citizens. Complete general secondary education
Secondary education
Secondary education is the stage of education following primary education. Secondary education includes the final stage of compulsory education and in many countries it is entirely compulsory. The next stage of education is usually college or university...

 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
University
A university is an institution of higher education and research, which grants academic degrees in a variety of subjects. A university is an organisation that provides both undergraduate education and postgraduate education...

 admissions.
The first higher education institutions (HEIs) emerged in Ukraine during the late 16th and early 17th centuries. The first Ukrainian higher education institution was the Ostrozka School
Ostroh Academy
National University "Ostroh Academy" is a Ukrainian self-governed research university that was re-opened in 1994 by the Presidential Decree of April 12, 1994...

, or Ostrozkiy Greek-Slavic-Latin Collegium, similar to Western European higher education institutions of the time. Established in 1576 in the town of Ostrog
Ostroh
Ostroh is a historic city located in Rivne Oblast of western Ukraine, located on the Horyn River. Ostroh is the administrative center of the Ostroh Raion and is itself designated as a special administrative subordination within the oblast...

, the Collegium was the first higher education institution in the Eastern Slavic territories. The oldest university
University
A university is an institution of higher education and research, which grants academic degrees in a variety of subjects. A university is an organisation that provides both undergraduate education and postgraduate education...

 was the Kyiv Mohyla Academy, first established in 1632 and in 1694 officially recognized by the government of Imperial Russia as a higher education institution. Among the oldest is also the Lviv University
Lviv University
The Lviv University or officially the Ivan Franko National University of Lviv is the oldest continuously operating university in Ukraine...

, founded in 1661. More higher education institutions were set up in the 19th century, beginning with universities in Kharkiv
Kharkiv University
The University of Kharkiv or officially the Vasyl Karazin Kharkiv National University is one of the major universities in Ukraine, and earlier in the Russian Empire and Soviet Union...

 (1805), Kiev
Kiev University
Taras Shevchenko University or officially the Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv , colloquially known in Ukrainian as KNU is located in Kiev, the capital of Ukraine. It is the third oldest university in Ukraine after the University of Lviv and Kharkiv University. Currently, its structure...

 (1834), Odessa
Odessa University
The I. I. Mechnikov Odessa National University , located in Odessa, Ukraine, is one of the country's major universities. It was founded in 1865, by an edict of Czar Alexander II of Russia, reorganizing the Richelieu Lyceum of Odessa into the new Imperial Novorossiya University. In the Soviet...

 (1865), and Chernivtsi
Chernivtsi University
The Chernivtsi National University is the leading Ukrainian institution for higher education in northern Bukovina, in Chernivtsi, a city in southwest Ukraine....

 (1875) and a number of professional higher education institutions, e.g.: Nizhyn Historical and Philological Institute (originally established as the Gymnasium of Higher Sciences in 1805), a Veterinary Institute (1873) and a Technological Institute
Kharkiv Polytechnical Institute
The Kharkiv Polytechnic Institute National Technical University , in the city of Kharkiv, is the largest and oldest technical university in eastern Ukraine...

 (1885) in Kharkiv
Kharkiv
Kharkiv or Kharkov is the second-largest city in Ukraine.The city was founded in 1654 and was a major centre of Ukrainian culture in the Russian Empire. Kharkiv became the first city in Ukraine where the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic was proclaimed in December 1917 and Soviet government was...

, a Polytechnic Institute
Kiev Polytechnic Institute
The National Technical University of Ukraine “Kyiv Polytechnic Institute” is a major university in Kiev, Ukraine.-History:The institute was founded in 1898. At that time it had four departments: Mechanical, Chemical, Agricultural, and Civil Engineering. The first enrolment constituted 360 students...

 in Kiev
Kiev
Kiev or Kyiv is the capital and the largest city of Ukraine, located in the north central part of the country on the Dnieper River. The population as of the 2001 census was 2,611,300. However, higher numbers have been cited in the press....

 (1898) and a Higher Mining School (1899) in Katerynoslav
Dnipropetrovsk
Dnipropetrovsk or Dnepropetrovsk formerly Yekaterinoslav is Ukraine's third largest city with one million inhabitants. It is located southeast of Ukraine's capital Kiev on the Dnieper River, in the south-central region of the country...

. Rapid growth followed in the Soviet period. By 1988 a number of higher education institutions increased to 146 with over 850,000 students. Most HEIs established after 1990 are those owned by private organizations.
The Ukrainian higher education system comprises higher educational establishments, scientific and methodological facilities under federal
Federal government
The federal government is the common government of a federation. The structure of federal governments varies from institution to institution. Based on a broad definition of a basic federal political system, there are two or more levels of government that exist within an established territory and...

, 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 UNESCO
UNESCO
The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization is a specialized agency of the United Nations...

 and the UN.

Nowadays higher education
Higher education in Ukraine
Higher education in Ukraine has a long and rich history. Its students, graduates and academics have long been known and appreciated worldwide. The pioneering research of scholars working in the country’s higher education institutions and academies, such as Dmytro Mendeleyev, Mykola Zhukovsky, and...

 is either state funded or private. Students that study at state expense receive a standard scholarship if their average marks at the end-of-term exams and differentiated test is at least 4 (see the 5-point grade system below); this rule may be different in some universities. In the case of all grades being the highest (5), the scholarship is increased by 25%. For most students the level of government subsidy is not sufficient to cover their basic living expenses. Most universities provide subsidized housing for out-of-city students. Also, it is common for libraries to supply required books for all registered students. There are two degrees conferred by Ukrainian universities: the Bachelor's Degree (4 years) and the Master's Degree (5–6th year). These degrees are introduced in accordance with Bologna process
Bologna process
The purpose of the Bologna Process is the creation of the European Higher Education Area by making academic degree standards and quality assurance standards more comparable and compatible throughout Europe, in particular under the Lisbon Recognition Convention...

, in which Ukraine is taking part. Historically, Specialist's Degree (usually 5 years) is still also granted; it was the only degree awarded by universities in the Soviet times.

Culture





Ukrainian customs are heavily influenced by Christianity
Christianity
Christianity is a monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus as presented in canonical gospels and other New Testament writings...

, 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
Ukrainian architecture
Ukrainian architecture is a term that describes the motifs and styles that are found in structures built in modern Ukraine, and by Ukrainians worldwide. These include initial roots which were established in the Eastern Slavic state of Kievan Rus'. After the 12th century, the distinct architectural...

, music and art.

The Communist era had quite a strong effect on the art and writing of Ukraine. In 1932, Stalin made socialist realism
Socialist realism
Socialist realism is a style of realistic art which was developed in the Soviet Union and became a dominant style in other communist countries. Socialist realism is a teleologically-oriented style having its purpose the furtherance of the goals of socialism and communism...

 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
Glasnost
Glasnost was the policy of maximal publicity, openness, and transparency in the activities of all government institutions in the Soviet Union, together with freedom of information, introduced by Mikhail Gorbachev in the second half of the 1980s...

 (openness) was introduced and Soviet artists and writers again became free to express themselves as they wanted.

The tradition of the Easter egg
Easter egg
Easter eggs are special eggs that are often given to celebrate Easter or springtime.The oldest tradition is to use dyed or painted chicken eggs, but a modern custom is to substitute chocolate eggs, or plastic eggs filled with confectionery such as jelly beans...

, 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
Christianity
Christianity is a monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus as presented in canonical gospels and other New Testament writings...

 to Ukraine. In the city of Kolomya near the foothills of the Carpathian mountains
Carpathian Mountains
The Carpathian Mountains or Carpathians are a range of mountains forming an arc roughly long across Central and Eastern Europe, making them the second-longest mountain range in Europe...

 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
Seven Wonders of Ukraine
The Seven Wonders of Ukraine are the seven historical and cultural monuments of Ukraine, which were chosen in the Seven Wonders of Ukraine contest held in July, 2007...

 action.

Language


According to the Constitution
Constitution of Ukraine
The Constitution of Ukraine is the nation's fundamental law. The constitution was adopted and ratified at the 5th session of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine on 28 June 1996. The constitution was passed with 315 ayes out of 450 votes possible .Other laws and other normative legal acts of Ukraine...

, the state language
Official language
An official language is a language that is given a special legal status in a particular country, state, or other jurisdiction. Typically a nation's official language will be the one used in that nation's courts, parliament and administration. However, official status can also be used to give a...

 of Ukraine is Ukrainian
Ukrainian language
Ukrainian is a language of the East Slavic subgroup of the Slavic languages. It is the official state language of Ukraine. Written Ukrainian uses a variant of the Cyrillic alphabet....

. Russian
Russian language
Russian is a Slavic language used primarily in Russia, Belarus, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan. It is an unofficial but widely spoken language in Ukraine, Moldova, Latvia, Turkmenistan and Estonia and, to a lesser extent, the other countries that were once constituent republics...

, which was the de facto
De facto
De facto is a Latin expression that means "concerning fact." In law, it often means "in practice but not necessarily ordained by law" or "in practice or actuality, but not officially established." It is commonly used in contrast to de jure when referring to matters of law, governance, or...

 official language of the Soviet Union, is widely spoken
Russian language in Ukraine
Russian is a minority language in Ukraine It is the most common first language in Donbass and Crimea regions, the predominant language in large cities in the East and South of the country...

, 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 Lviv
Lviv
Lviv is a city in western Ukraine. The city is regarded as one of the main cultural centres of today's Ukraine and historically has also been a major Polish and Jewish cultural center, as Poles and Jews were the two main ethnicities of the city until the outbreak of World War II and the following...

). In central Ukraine, Ukrainian and Russian are both equally used in cities, with Russian being more common in Kiev
Kiev
Kiev or Kyiv is the capital and the largest city of Ukraine, located in the north central part of the country on the Dnieper River. The population as of the 2001 census was 2,611,300. However, higher numbers have been cited in the press....

, 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 restoring the image and usage of Ukrainian language through a policy of Ukrainisation. Today, all foreign films and TV programs, including Russian ones, are subbed or dubbed in Ukrainian.

According to the Constitution of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea
Crimea
Crimea , or the Autonomous Republic of Crimea , is a sub-national unit, an autonomous republic, of Ukraine. It is located on the northern coast of the Black Sea, occupying a peninsula of the same name...

, 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
Crimean Tatar language
The Crimean Tatar language is the language of the Crimean Tatars. It is a Turkic language spoken in Crimea, Central Asia , and the Crimean Tatar diasporas in Turkey, Romania, Bulgaria...

 (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
Old Church Slavonic
Old Church Slavonic or Old Church Slavic was the first literary Slavic language, first developed by the 9th century Byzantine Greek missionaries Saints Cyril and Methodius who were credited with standardizing the language and using it for translating the Bible and other Ancient Greek...

. Historical accounts of the time were referred to as chronicle
Chronicle
Generally a chronicle is a historical account of facts and events ranged in chronological order, as in a time line. Typically, equal weight is given for historically important events and local events, the purpose being the recording of events that occurred, seen from the perspective of the...

s, the most significant of which was the Primary Chronicle
Primary Chronicle
The Primary Chronicle , Ruthenian Primary Chronicle or Russian Primary Chronicle, is a history of Kievan Rus' from about 850 to 1110, originally compiled in Kiev about 1113.- Three editions :...

. 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
Printing
Printing is a process for reproducing text and image, typically with ink on paper using a printing press. It is often carried out as a large-scale industrial process, and is an essential part of publishing and transaction printing....

 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
Duma (epic)
A Duma is a sung epic poem which originated in Ukraine during the Hetmanate Era in the sixteenth century...

 of epic poems, which marked a high point of Ukrainian oral literature
Oral literature
Oral literature corresponds in the sphere of the spoken word to literature as literature operates in the domain of the written word. It thus forms a generally more fundamental component of culture, but operates in many ways as one might expect literature to do...

. 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.

Taras Shevchenko
Taras Shevchenko
Taras Hryhorovych Shevchenko -Life:Born into a serf family of Hryhoriy Ivanovych Shevchenko and Kateryna Yakymivna Shevchenko in the village of Moryntsi, of Kiev Governorate of the Russian Empire Shevchenko was orphaned at the age of eleven...


(1814–1861)
Ivan Franko
Ivan Franko
Ivan Yakovych Franko was a Ukrainian poet, writer, social and literary critic, journalist, interpreter, economist, political activist, doctor of philosophy, the author of the first detective novels and modern poetry in the Ukrainian language....


(1856–1916)
Lesya Ukrainka
Lesya Ukrainka
Larysa Petrivna Kosach-Kvitka better known under her literary pseudonym Lesya Ukrainka , was one of Ukraine's best-known poets and writers and the foremost woman writer in Ukrainian literature. She also was a political, civil, and female activist....


(1871–1913)
Ivan Kotlyarevsky
Ivan Kotlyarevsky
Ivan Petrovych Kotlyarevsky , was a Ukrainian writer, poet and playwright, regarded as the pioneer of modern Ukrainian literature. Kotliarevsky was a veteran of the Russo-Turkish War.- Biography :...


(1769–1838)
Stepan Rudansky
(1834–1873)



The 19th century initiated a vernacular
Vernacular
A vernacular is the native language or native dialect of a specific population, as opposed to a language of wider communication that is not native to the population, such as a national language or lingua franca.- Etymology :The term is not a recent one...

 period in Ukraine, led by Ivan Kotliarevsky’s work , the first publication written in modern Ukrainian. By the 1830s, Ukrainian romanticism
Romanticism
Romanticism was an artistic, literary and intellectual movement that originated in the second half of the 18th century in Europe, and gained strength in reaction to the Industrial Revolution...

 began to develop, and the nation’s most renowned cultural figure, romanticist poet-painter Taras Shevchenko
Taras Shevchenko
Taras Hryhorovych Shevchenko -Life:Born into a serf family of Hryhoriy Ivanovych Shevchenko and Kateryna Yakymivna Shevchenko in the village of Moryntsi, of Kiev Governorate of the Russian Empire Shevchenko was orphaned at the age of eleven...

 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
Ems Ukaz
The Ems Ukaz, or Ems Ukase , was a secret decree of Tsar Alexander II of Russia issued in 1876, banning the use of the Ukrainian language in print, with the exception of reprinting of old documents. The ukaz also forbade the import of Ukrainian publications and the staging of plays or lectures in...

 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
Socialist realism
Socialist realism is a style of realistic art which was developed in the Soviet Union and became a dominant style in other communist countries. Socialist realism is a teleologically-oriented style having its purpose the furtherance of the goals of socialism and communism...

. 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 to express themselves as they wished.

Architecture




Ukrainian architecture is a term that describes the motifs and styles that are found in structures built in modern Ukraine, and by Ukrainians
Ukrainians
Ukrainians are an East Slavic ethnic group native to Ukraine, which is the sixth-largest nation in Europe. The Constitution of Ukraine applies the term 'Ukrainians' to all its citizens...

 worldwide. These include initial roots which were established in the Eastern Slavic state of Kievan Rus'
Kievan Rus'
Kievan Rus was a medieval polity in Eastern Europe, from the late 9th to the mid 13th century, when it disintegrated under the pressure of the Mongol invasion of 1237–1240....

. After the 12th century
Mongol invasion of Rus
The Mongol invasion of Russia was resumed on 21 December 1237 marking the resumption of the Mongol invasion of Europe, during which the Mongols attacked the medieval powers of Poland, Kiev, Hungary, and miscellaneous tribes of less organized peoples...

, the distinct architectural history
Architectural History
Architectural History is the main journal of the Society of Architectural Historians of Great Britain .The journal is published each autumn. The architecture of the British Isles is a major theme of the journal, although it includes more general papers on the history of architecture. Member of...

 continued in the principalities of Galicia-Volhynia. During the epoch of the Zaporozhian Cossacks, a new style unique to Ukraine was developed under the western influences of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth. After the union with the Tsardom of Russia
Tsardom of Russia
The Tsardom of Russia was the name of the centralized Russian state from Ivan IV's assumption of the title of Tsar in 1547 till Peter the Great's foundation of the Russian Empire in 1721.From 1550 to 1700, Russia grew 35,000 km2 a year...

, architecture in Ukraine began to develop in different directions, with many structures in the larger eastern, Russian-ruled area built in the styles of Russian architecture
Russian architecture
Russian architecture follows a tradition whose roots were established in the Eastern Slavic state of Kievan Rus'. After the fall of Kiev, Russian architectural history continued in the principalities of Vladimir-Suzdal, Novgorod, the succeeding states of the Tsardom of Russia, the Russian Empire,...

 of that period, whilst the western Galicia was developed under Austro-Hungarian architectural influences, in both cases producing fine examples. Ukrainian national motifs would finally be used during the period of the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

 and in modern independent Ukraine.

The great churches of the Rus'
Architecture of Kievan Rus
The medieval state of Kievan Rus incorporated parts of what is now modern Ukraine, Russia, and Belarus, and was centered around Kiev and Novgorod. Its architectural style quickly established itself after the adoption of Christianity in 988 and was strongly influenced by the Byzantine...

, built after the adoption of Christianity
Baptism of Kievan Rus'
The Christianization of Kievan Rus took place in several stages. In early 867, Patriarch Photius of Constantinople announced to other Orthodox patriarchs that the Rus', baptised by his bishop, took to Christianity with particular enthusiasm...

 in 988, were the first examples of monumental architecture in the East Slavic lands. The architectural style of the Kievan state, which quickly established itself, was strongly influenced by the Byzantine
Byzantine architecture
Byzantine architecture is the architecture of the Byzantine Empire. The empire gradually emerged as a distinct artistic and cultural entity from what is today referred to as the Roman Empire after AD 330, when the Roman Emperor Constantine moved the capital of the Roman Empire east from Rome to...

. Early Eastern Orthodox churches were mainly made of wood, with the simplest form of church becoming known as a cell church
Cell church
A cell church is a Christian church structure centering on the regular gathering of cell groups. Small group ministries are often called cell groups, but may also be called home groups, home friendship groups, home care groups, house fellowships, or life groups.A church with cell groups is not...

. Major cathedrals often featured scores of small domes, which led some art historians to take this as an indication of the appearance of pre-Christian pagan Slavic temples.


Several examples of these churches survive to this day; however, during the 16th, 17th, and 18th centuries, many were externally rebuilt in the Ukrainian Baroque
Ukrainian Baroque
Ukrainian Baroque or Cossack Baroque is an architectural style that emerged in Ukraine during the Hetmanate era, in the 17th and 18th centuries....

 style (see below). Examples include the grand St. Sophia of Kiev
Saint Sophia Cathedral in Kiev
Saint Sophia Cathedral in Kiev is an outstanding architectural monument of Kievan Rus'. Today, it is one of the city's best known landmarks and the first Ukrainian patrimony to be inscribed on the World Heritage List along with the Kiev Cave Monastery complex...

 – the year 1017 is the earliest record of foundation laid, Church of the Saviour at Berestove
Church of the Saviour at Berestove
The Church of the Saviour at Berestovo is a church located immediately north of the Monastery of the Caves in Kiev, Ukraine. Although it is situated outside the Lavra fortifications, the Saviour Church is part of the Lavra complex and the related World Heritage Site.- Architecture :Berestovo was a...

 – built from 1113 to 1125, and St. Cyril's Church
St. Cyril's Monastery
St. Cyril's Monastery is a medieval monastery in Kiev, the capital of Ukraine. The monastery contains the famous St. Cyril's Church, an important specimen of Kievan Rus' architecture of the 12th century, and combining elements of the 17th and 19th centuries. However, being largely Ukrainian...

, circa 12th century. All can still be found in the Ukrainian capital. Several buildings were reconstructed during the late-19th century, including the Assumption Cathedral in Volodymyr-Volynskyi
Volodymyr-Volynskyi
Volodymyr-Volynsky is a city located in Volyn Oblast, in north-western Ukraine. Serving as the administrative centre of the Volodymyr-Volynsky District, the city itself is also designated as a separate raion within the oblast...

, built in 1160 and reconstructed in 1896–1900, the Paraskevi church in Chernihiv, built in 1201 with reconstruction done in the late 1940s, and the Golden gates in Kiev
Golden Gate (Kiev)
The Golden Gates of Kiev is a major landmark of the Ancient Kiev and historic gateway in the ancient city fortress, located in the capital of Ukraine. Currently it serves as a museum and can be found on the corner of Volodymyr street and Yaroslaviv Val Street...

, built in 1037 and reconstructed in 1982. The latter's reconstruction was criticized by some art and architecture historians as a revivalist fantasy. Unfortunately little secular or vernacular architecture
Vernacular architecture
Vernacular architecture is a term used to categorize methods of construction which use locally available resources and traditions to address local needs and circumstances. Vernacular architecture tends to evolve over time to reflect the environmental, cultural and historical context in which it...

 of Kievan Rus'
Kievan Rus'
Kievan Rus was a medieval polity in Eastern Europe, from the late 9th to the mid 13th century, when it disintegrated under the pressure of the Mongol invasion of 1237–1240....

 has survived.


As Ukraine became increasingly integrated into the Russian Empire
Russian Empire
The Russian Empire was a state that existed from 1721 until the Russian Revolution of 1917. It was the successor to the Tsardom of Russia and the predecessor of the Soviet Union...

, Russian architects had the opportunity to realize their projects in the picturesque landscape that many Ukrainian cities and regions offered. St. Andrew's Church of Kiev (1747–1754), built by Bartolomeo Rastrelli
Bartolomeo Rastrelli
Francesco Bartolomeo Rastrelli was an Italian architect naturalized Russian. He developed an easily recognizable style of Late Baroque, both sumptuous and majestic...

, is a notable example of Baroque
Baroque
The Baroque is a period and the style that used exaggerated motion and clear, easily interpreted detail to produce drama, tension, exuberance, and grandeur in sculpture, painting, literature, dance, and music...

 architecture, and its location on top of the Kievan mountain made it a recognizable monument of the city. An equally notable contribution of Rasetrelli was the Mariyinsky Palace
Mariyinsky Palace
Mariyinsky Palace is an official ceremonial residence of the President of Ukraine in Kiev and adjoins the neo-classical building of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine...

, which was built to be a summer residence to Russian Empress Elizabeth. During the reign of the last Hetman of Ukraine
Hetmans of Ukrainian Cossacks
Hetman of Ukrainian Cossacks as a title was not officially recognized internationally until the creation of the Ukrainian Hetmanate. With the creation of Registered Cossacks units their leaders were unofficially referred to as hetmans, however officially the title was known as the "Senior of His...

, Kirill Razumovsky
Kirill Razumovsky
Count Kirill Grigorievich Razumovsky was a Ukrainian Registered Cossack from the Kozelets regiment in north-eastern Ukraine, who served as the last Hetman of Left- and Right-Bank Ukraine until 1764; Razumovsky was subsequently elected Hetman of the sovereign Zaporozhian Host in 1759, a position...

, many of the Cossack Hetmanate
Cossack Hetmanate
The Hetmanate or Zaporizhian Host was the Ruthenian Cossack state in the Central Ukraine between 1649 and 1782.The Hetmanate was founded by first Ukrainian hetman Bohdan Khmelnytsky during the Khmelnytsky Uprising . In 1654 it pledged its allegiance to Muscovy during the Council of Pereyaslav,...

's towns such as Hlukhiv
Hlukhiv
Hlukhiv or Glukhov is a historic town in Sumy region of Ukraine, just south from the Russian border . As of 2001, the city's population is 35,800...

, Baturyn
Baturyn
Baturyn , is a historic town in the Chernihiv Oblast of northern Ukraine. It is located in the Bakhmatskyi Raion of the oblast, on the banks of the Seym River...

 and Koselets had grandiose projects built by the appointed architect of Little Russia
Little Russia
Little Russia , sometimes Little or Lesser Rus’ , is a historical political and geographical term in the Russian language referring to most of the territory of modern-day Ukraine before the 20th century. It is similar to the Polish term Małopolska of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth...

, Andrey Kvasov
Andrey Kvasov
Andrey Vasilievich Kvasov was a notable Baroque architect who worked in Russia and Ukraine. Very little is known about his life, and its dates are still uncertain. Only a handful of his buildings, though much altered, still stand....

. Russia, winning successive wars over the Ottoman Empire
Ottoman Empire
The Ottoman EmpireIt was usually referred to as the "Ottoman Empire", the "Turkish Empire", the "Ottoman Caliphate" or more commonly "Turkey" by its contemporaries...

 and its vassal Crimean Khanate
Crimean Khanate
Crimean Khanate, or Khanate of Crimea , was a state ruled by Crimean Tatars from 1441 to 1783. Its native name was . Its khans were the patrilineal descendants of Toqa Temür, the thirteenth son of Jochi and grandson of Genghis Khan...

, eventually annexed the whole south of Ukraine and Crimea. Renamed New Russia, these lands were to be colonized, and new cities such as the Nikolayev, Odessa
Odessa
Odessa or Odesa is the administrative center of the Odessa Oblast located in southern Ukraine. The city is a major seaport located on the northwest shore of the Black Sea and the fourth largest city in Ukraine with a population of 1,029,000 .The predecessor of Odessa, a small Tatar settlement,...

, Kherson
Kherson
Kherson is a city in southern Ukraine. It is the administrative center of the Kherson Oblast , and is designated as its own separate raion within the oblast. Kherson is an important port on the Black Sea and Dnieper River, and the home of a major ship-building industry...

 and Sevastopol
Sevastopol
Sevastopol is a city on rights of administrative division of Ukraine, located on the Black Sea coast of the Crimea peninsula. It has a population of 342,451 . Sevastopol is the second largest port in Ukraine, after the Port of Odessa....

 were founded. These would contain notable examples of Imperial Russian architecture.


In 1934, the capital of Soviet Ukraine moved from Kharkiv
Kharkiv
Kharkiv or Kharkov is the second-largest city in Ukraine.The city was founded in 1654 and was a major centre of Ukrainian culture in the Russian Empire. Kharkiv became the first city in Ukraine where the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic was proclaimed in December 1917 and Soviet government was...

 to Kiev
Kiev
Kiev or Kyiv is the capital and the largest city of Ukraine, located in the north central part of the country on the Dnieper River. The population as of the 2001 census was 2,611,300. However, higher numbers have been cited in the press....

. During the preceding years, the city was seen as only a regional centre, and hence received little attention. All of that was to change, but at a great price. By this point, the first examples of Stalinist architecture
Stalinist architecture
Stalinist architecture , also referred to as Stalinist Gothic, or Socialist Classicism, is a term given to architecture of the Soviet Union between 1933, when Boris Iofan's draft for Palace of the Soviets was officially approved, and 1955, when Nikita Khrushchev condemned "excesses" of the past...

 were already showing, and, in light of the official policy, a new city was to be built on top of the old one. This meant that much-admired examples such as the St. Michael's Golden-Domed Monastery
St. Michael's Golden-Domed Monastery
St. Michael's Golden-Domed Monastery is a functioning monastery in Kiev, the capital of Ukraine. The monastery is located on the right bank of the Dnieper River on the edge of a bluff northeast of the Saint Sophia Cathedral...

 were destroyed. Even the St. Sophia Cathedral was under threat. Also, the Second World War contributed to the wreckage. After the war, a new project for the reconstruction of central Kiev was unveiled. This transformed the Khreshchatyk avenue into one of the most notable examples of Stalinism in Architecture
Stalinist architecture
Stalinist architecture , also referred to as Stalinist Gothic, or Socialist Classicism, is a term given to architecture of the Soviet Union between 1933, when Boris Iofan's draft for Palace of the Soviets was officially approved, and 1955, when Nikita Khrushchev condemned "excesses" of the past...

. However, by 1955, the new politics of architecture once again promptly stopped the project from fully being realised.

The task for modern Ukrainian architecture is diverse application of modern aesthetics, the search for an architect's own artistic style and inclusion of the existing historico-cultural environment. An example of modern Ukrainian architecture is the reconstruction and renewal of the Maidan Nezalezhnosti
Maidan Nezalezhnosti
Maidan Nezalezhnosti is the central square of Kiev, the capital city of Ukraine. One of the main city squares, it is located on the Khreschatyk Street...

 in central Kiev, despite the limit set by narrow space within the plaza, the engineers were able to blend together the uneven landscape and also use underground space to set a new shopping centre.

A major project, which may take up most of the 21st century, is the construction of the Kiev City-Centre on the Rybalskyi Peninsula
Rybalskyi Peninsula
Rybalskyi Island is a peninsula on the Dnieper River , located in the Right-Bank Podilskyi Raion of the city of Kiev. Although named as an island it is in fact a peninsula and a former spit. It is now a predominantly industrial area.- History :...

, which, when finished, will include a dense skyscraper
Skyscraper
A skyscraper is a tall, continuously habitable building of many stories, often designed for office and commercial use. There is no official definition or height above which a building may be classified as a skyscraper...

 park amid the picturesque landscape of the Dnieper
Dnieper River
The Dnieper River is one of the major rivers of Europe that flows from Russia, through Belarus and Ukraine, to the Black Sea.The total length is and has a drainage basin of .The river is noted for its dams and hydroelectric stations...

.

Music


Music is a major part of Ukrainian culture, with a long history and many influences. From traditional folk music
Folk music
Folk music is an English term encompassing both traditional folk music and contemporary folk music. The term originated in the 19th century. Traditional folk music has been defined in several ways: as music transmitted by mouth, as music of the lower classes, and as music with unknown composers....

, to classical
Classical music
Classical music is the art music produced in, or rooted in, the traditions of Western liturgical and secular music, encompassing a broad period from roughly the 11th century to present times...

 and modern rock
Modern rock
Modern rock is a rock format commonly found on commercial radio; the format consists primarily of the alternative rock genre...

, Ukraine has produced a long list of internationally recognized musical talent including Tchaikovsky and Okean Elzy
Okean Elzy
Okean Elzy is one of the most successful and popular Ukrainian rock bands. It was formed in 1994 in Lviv, Ukraine. The band's vocalist and frontman is Svyatoslav Vakarchuk. Okean Elzy is the best-loved Ukrainian rock band not only in Ukraine but also in most CIS countries...

. Elements from traditional Ukrainian folk music made their way into Western music and even into modern Jazz
Jazz
Jazz is a musical style that originated at the beginning of the 20th century in African American communities in the Southern United States. It was born out of a mix of African and European music traditions. From its early development until the present, jazz has incorporated music from 19th and 20th...

.

Ukraine found itself at the crossroads of Asia and Europe and this is reflected within the music in a perplexing mix of exotic melismatic singing with chordal harmony which does not always easily fit the rules of traditional Western European harmony.
The most striking general characteristic of authentic ethnic Ukrainian folk music is the wide use of minor modes or keys which incorporate augmented 2nd intervals. This is an indication that the major-minor system developed in Western European music did not become as entrenched or as sophisticated in Ukraine. However, during the Baroque period, music was an important discipline for those that had received a higher education in Ukraine. It had a place of considerable importance in the curriculum of the Kyiv-Mohyla Academy. Much of the nobility was well versed in music with many Ukrainian Cossack leaders such as (Mazepa, Paliy, Holovatyj, Sirko) being accomplished players of the kobza
Kobza
The kobza is a Ukrainian folk music instrument of the lute family , a relative of the Central European mandora...

, bandura
Bandura
Bandura refers to a Ukrainian plucked string folk instrument. It combines elements of a box zither and lute, as well as its lute-like predecessor, the kobza...

 or torban
Torban
The torban is a Ukrainian musical instrument that combines the features of the Baroque Lute with those of the psaltery. The Тorban differs from the more common European Bass lute known as the Theorbo in that it had additional short treble strings strung along the treble side of the soundboard. It...

.

In the course of the 18th century in the Russian Empire court musicians were typically trained at the music academy in Hlukhiv
Hlukhiv
Hlukhiv or Glukhov is a historic town in Sumy region of Ukraine, just south from the Russian border . As of 2001, the city's population is 35,800...

, and largely came from Ukraine. Notable performers of the era include Tymofiy Bilohradsky
Timofiy Bilohradsky
Timofiy Bilohradsky was a lutenist, composer and kobzar-bandurist of Ukrainian ethnicity, active in St. Petersburg and Königsberg....

 who later studied lute
Lute
Lute can refer generally to any plucked string instrument with a neck and a deep round back, or more specifically to an instrument from the family of European lutes....

 under Sylvius Leopold Weiss
Sylvius Leopold Weiss
Silvius Leopold Weiss was a German composer and lutenist.Born in Grottkau near Breslau, the son of Johann Jacob Weiss, also a lutenist, he served at courts in Breslau, Rome, and Dresden, where he died...

 in Dresden, his daughter Yelyzaveta who was a famous operatic soprano, and Oleksiy Rozumovsky
Alexey Razumovsky
Count Alexei Grigorievich Razumovsky , was a Ukrainian Cossack who rose to become lover and, the morganatic spouse of the Russian Empress Elizaveta Petrovna.- Early life :...

, a court bandurist and the morganatic husband of Empress Elizabeth. The first dedicated musical academy was set up in Hlukhiv
Hlukhiv
Hlukhiv or Glukhov is a historic town in Sumy region of Ukraine, just south from the Russian border . As of 2001, the city's population is 35,800...

, Ukraine in 1738 and students were taught to sing, play violin and bandura from manuscripts. As a result many of the earliest composers and performers within the Russian empire were ethnically Ukrainian, having been born or educated in Hlukhiv, or had been closely associated with this music school.
See: Dmytro Bortniansky
Dmytro Bortniansky
Dmitry Stepanovich Bortniansky was a Russian composer of Ukrainian origin; his father however had been born in thePolish village of Bartne, and was of Lemkos stock.....

, Maksym Berezovsky
Maksym Berezovsky
Maksym Sozontovych Berezovsky was a Ukrainian composer, opera singer, and violinist.Berezovsky was the first Ukrainian composer to be recognized throughout Europe and the first to compose an opera, symphony, and violin sonata. His most popular works are his sacred choral pieces written for the...

, Artemiy Vedel
Artemy Vedel
Artem Vedel was one of the most prominent Ukrainian composers of the 18th century. Together with Maksym Berezovsky and Dmytro Bortniansky, Vedel is recognized as one of the big three composers of the period....

.

Ukrainian classical music falls into three distinct categories defined by whether the composer was of Ukrainian ethnicity living in Ukraine, a composer of non-Ukrainian ethnicity who was born or at some time was a citizen of Ukraine, or an ethnic Ukrainian living outside of Ukraine within the Ukrainian diaspora
Diaspora
A diaspora is "the movement, migration, or scattering of people away from an established or ancestral homeland" or "people dispersed by whatever cause to more than one location", or "people settled far from their ancestral homelands".The word has come to refer to historical mass-dispersions of...

. The music of these three groups differs considerably, as do the audiences for whom they cater.
The first category is closely tied with the Ukrainian national school of music spearheaded by Mykola Lysenko
Mykola Lysenko
Mykola Vitaliiovych Lysenko was a Ukrainian composer, pianist, conductor and ethnomusicologist.- Biography :Lysenko was born in Hrynky, Kremenchuk Povit, Poltava Governorate, the son of Vitaliy Romanovich Lysenko . From childhood he became very interested in the folksongs of Ukrainian peasants and...

. It includes such composers as Kyrylo Stetsenko
Kyrylo Stetsenko
Kyrylo Hryhorovych Stetsenko was a prolific Ukrainian composer, conductor, critic, and teacher. Late in his life he became an Ukrainian Orthodox Priest and head of the Music section of the Ministry of Education of the short-lived Ukrainian People's Republic.- Early life and Education :Kyrylo...

, Mykola Leontovych
Mykola Leontovych
Mykola Dmytrovych Leontovych was a Ukrainian composer, choral conductor, priest, and teacher of international renown. His music was inspired by Mykola Lysenko and the Ukrainian nationalist music school, along with Kyrylo Stetsenko, Alexander Koshetz, and Yakiv Stepovy...

, Levko Revutsky
Levko Revutsky
Levko Mykolajovych Revutskyi was a Ukrainian composer, teacher, and activist. Amongst his students at the Lysenko Music Institute were the composers Arkady Filippenko and Valentin Silvestrov.-Early life and education:...

, Borys Lyatoshynsky, Mykola Vilinsky
Mykola Vilinsky
Mykola Vilinsky was a Ukrainian composer and a professor at the Odessa and Kiev Conservatories.He was descended from a Ukrainian family of hereditary nobles...

. Most of their music contains Ukrainian folk figures and are composed to Ukrainian texts. On the other hand, the second category is of particular importance and international visibility, because of the large percentage of ethnic minorities in urban Ukraine. This category includes such composers as Franz Xavier Mozart
Franz Xaver Wolfgang Mozart
Franz Xaver Wolfgang Mozart , also known as F. X. Mozart, W. A. Mozart Son, or Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Jr., was the youngest child of six born to Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and his wife Constanze. He was the younger of his parents' two surviving children...

, Isaak Dunayevsky
Isaak Dunayevsky
Isaak Osipovich Dunayevsky was the biggest Soviet film composer and conductor of the 1930s and 1940s, who achieved huge success in music for operetta and film comedies, frequently working with the film director Grigori Aleksandrov...

, Rheinhold Gliere, Yuliy Meitus and Sergei Prokofiev
Sergei Prokofiev
Sergei Sergeyevich Prokofiev was a Russian composer, pianist and conductor who mastered numerous musical genres and is regarded as one of the major composers of the 20th century...

, performers Volodymyr Horovyts
Vladimir Horowitz
Vladimir Samoylovich Horowitz    was a Russian-American classical virtuoso pianist and minor composer. His technique and use of tone color and the excitement of his playing were legendary. He is widely considered one of the greatest pianists of the 20th century.-Life and early...

, David Oistrakh
David Oistrakh
David Fyodorovich Oistrakh , , David Fiodorović Ojstrakh, ; – October 24, 1974, was a Soviet violinist....

, Sviatoslav Richter
Sviatoslav Richter
Sviatoslav Teofilovich Richter was a Soviet pianist well known for the depth of his interpretations, virtuoso technique, and vast repertoire. He is widely considered one of the greatest pianists of the 20th century.-Childhood:...

 and Isaac Stern
Isaac Stern
Isaac Stern was a Ukrainian-born violinist. He was renowned for his recordings and for discovering new musical talent.-Biography:Isaac Stern was born into a Jewish family in Kremenets, Ukraine. He was fourteen months old when his family moved to San Francisco...

. The music of these composers rarely contains Ukrainian folk motives and more often is written to the texts of Russian or Polish poets. Whilst the third category includes a number of prominent individuals who are often not part of the mainstream Ukrainian culture but who have made a significant impact on music in Ukraine, while living outside of its borders. These include historic individuals such as: Bortniansky
Dmytro Bortniansky
Dmitry Stepanovich Bortniansky was a Russian composer of Ukrainian origin; his father however had been born in thePolish village of Bartne, and was of Lemkos stock.....

, Berezovsky
Maksym Berezovsky
Maksym Sozontovych Berezovsky was a Ukrainian composer, opera singer, and violinist.Berezovsky was the first Ukrainian composer to be recognized throughout Europe and the first to compose an opera, symphony, and violin sonata. His most popular works are his sacred choral pieces written for the...

, Vedel
Artemy Vedel
Artem Vedel was one of the most prominent Ukrainian composers of the 18th century. Together with Maksym Berezovsky and Dmytro Bortniansky, Vedel is recognized as one of the big three composers of the period....

, Tuptalo and Titov
Titov
Titov or Titova is a Russian last name which may refer to people:* Alexey Nikolayevich Titov, a composer* Egor Titov, a soccer player* Gennady Titov, former KGB general* German Titov, an ice hockey player* Gherman Titov, a cosmonaut...

. It also contains "Soviet" composers such as Mykola Roslavets, Isaak Dunayevsky
Isaak Dunayevsky
Isaak Osipovich Dunayevsky was the biggest Soviet film composer and conductor of the 1930s and 1940s, who achieved huge success in music for operetta and film comedies, frequently working with the film director Grigori Aleksandrov...

 who were born in Ukraine but who moved to other cultural centres within the Soviet Union. In North America we have Mykola Fomenko, Yuriy Oliynyk, Zinoviy Lavryshyn and Wasyl Sydorenko.

Since the mid 1960s, Western
Western culture
Western culture, sometimes equated with Western civilization or European civilization, refers to cultures of European origin and is used very broadly to refer to a heritage of social norms, ethical values, traditional customs, religious beliefs, political systems, and specific artifacts and...

 influenced pop music
Pop music
Pop music is usually understood to be commercially recorded music, often oriented toward a youth market, usually consisting of relatively short, simple songs utilizing technological innovations to produce new variations on existing themes.- Definitions :David Hatch and Stephen Millward define pop...

, in its various forms, that has been growing in popularity in Ukraine. One of the most important and truly original musicians to come out of Ukraine in recent years is the ultra avant-garde folk singer and harmonium player Mariana Sadovska
Mariana Sadovska
Mariana Sadovska is a German-based Ukrainian actress, singer, musician, recording artist and composer.-Life:Sadovska began her work with Les Kurbas Theater at Anatole Vasiliev's Festivals in St. Petersburg and Moscow. There she was tapped for the "Slavic Pilgrim Project" by Jerzy Grotowski in...

. Ukrainian pop and folk music arose with the international popularity of groups like Vopli Vidoplyasova, Viy
Viy (band)
Viy is a Ukrainian ethnic-rock band originating from the capital Kiev in 1991.-Discography:* Chorna Rillya * Khata Skrayu Sela * Chorna Rillya Collector's Edition * Rock Legends of Ukraine - Viy...

http://www.viy.in.ua/ and Okean Elzy
Okean Elzy
Okean Elzy is one of the most successful and popular Ukrainian rock bands. It was formed in 1994 in Lviv, Ukraine. The band's vocalist and frontman is Svyatoslav Vakarchuk. Okean Elzy is the best-loved Ukrainian rock band not only in Ukraine but also in most CIS countries...

.



Weaving and embroidery



Artisan textile arts
Textile arts
Textile arts are those arts and crafts that use plant, animal, or synthetic fibers to construct practical or decorative objects.Textiles have been a fundamental part of human life since the beginning of civilization, and the methods and materials used to make them have expanded enormously, while...

 play an important role in Ukrainian culture, especially in Ukrainian wedding traditions
Ukrainian wedding traditions
Ukrainian wedding is the traditional marriage ceremony in Ukrainian culture, both in Ukraine and in the Ukrainian diaspora. The traditional Ukrainian wedding featured a rich assortment of folk music and singing, dancing, and visual art, with rituals dating back to the pre-Christian era...

. Ukrainian embroidery
Ukrainian embroidery
Ukrainian embroidery occupies an important place among the various branches of Ukrainian decorative arts. Embroidery has a rich history in Ukraine, and has long appeared in Ukrainian folk dress as well as played a part in traditional Ukrainian weddings and other celebrations. Appearing all across...

, weaving
Weaving
Weaving is a method of fabric production in which two distinct sets of yarns or threads are interlaced at right angles to form a fabric or cloth. The other methods are knitting, lace making and felting. The longitudinal threads are called the warp and the lateral threads are the weft or filling...

 and lace-making are used in traditional folk dress and in traditional celebrations. Ukrainian embroidery varies depending on the region of origin and the designs have a long history of motifs, compositions, choice of colors and types of stitches. Use of color is very important and has roots in Ukrainian folklore
Ukrainian folklore
Ukrainian folklore is the folk tradition which has developed in Ukraine and among ethnic Ukrainians. The earliest examples of folklore found in Ukraine is the layer of pan-slavic folklore that dates back to the ancient Slavic mythology of the Eastern Slavs. Gradually, Ukrainians developed a layer...

. Embroidery motifs found in different parts of Ukraine are preserved in the Rushnyk Museum in Pereiaslav-Khmelnytskyi
Pereiaslav-Khmelnytskyi
Pereiaslav-Khmelnytskyi is a town located where Alta River flows into Trubizh River in the Kiev Oblast in central Ukraine. Serving as the administrative center of the Pereiaslav-Khmelnytskyi Raion , the town itself is also designated as a separate raion within the oblast...

.

National dress is woven and highly decorated. Weaving
Weaving
Weaving is a method of fabric production in which two distinct sets of yarns or threads are interlaced at right angles to form a fabric or cloth. The other methods are knitting, lace making and felting. The longitudinal threads are called the warp and the lateral threads are the weft or filling...

 with handmade looms is still practised in the village of Krupove, situated in Rivne Oblast
Rivne Oblast
Rivne Oblast is an oblast of Ukraine. Its administrative center is Rivne. The area of the region is 20,100 km²; its population is 1.2 million...

. The village is the birth place of two famous personalities in the scene of national crafts fabrication. Nina Myhailivna and Uliana Petrivna with international recognition. In order to preserve this traditional knowledge the village is planning to open a local weaving center, a museum and weaving school.

Sport



Ukraine greatly benefited from the Soviet emphasis on physical education
Physical education
Physical education or gymnastics is a course taken during primary and secondary education that encourages psychomotor learning in a play or movement exploration setting....

. Such policies left Ukraine with hundreds of stadia, swimming pools, gymnasia, and many other athletic facilities. The most popular sport is football
Football (soccer)
Association football, more commonly known as football or soccer, is a sport played between two teams of eleven players with a spherical ball...

. The top professional league is the Vyscha Liha
Ukrainian Premier League
The Ukrainian Premier League is the highest division of Ukrainian annual football championship. As the Supreme League it was founded in 1991 after the fold of the Soviet Union's Vysshaya Liga. In 2008 it was reformed into a more autonomous entity of the Football Federation of Ukraine and changed...

 ("premier league"). The two most successful teams in the Vyscha Liha are rivals FC Dynamo Kyiv
FC Dynamo Kyiv
FC Dynamo Kyiv is a professional football club based in the Ukrainian capital city of Kyiv. Founded in 1927, the club currently participates in the Ukrainian Premier League and has spent its entire history in the top league of Soviet and later Ukrainian football...

 and FC Shakhtar Donetsk
FC Shakhtar Donetsk
FC Shakhtar Donetsk is a Ukrainian professional football club from the city of Donetsk. Shakhtar has appeared in several European competitions and currently is often a participant of the UEFA Champions League. The club became the first Ukrainian club to win the UEFA Cup in 2009, the last year...

. Although Shakhtar is the reigning champion of the Vyscha Liha, Dynamo Kyiv has been much more successful historically, winning two UEFA Cup Winners' Cup
UEFA Cup Winners' Cup
The UEFA Cup Winners' Cup was a football club competition contested annually by the most recent winners of all European domestic cup competitions. The cup is one of the many inter-European club competitions that have been organised by UEFA. The first competition was held in the 1960–61 season—but...

s, one UEFA Super Cup, a record 13 USSR Championships
Soviet Top League
The Soviet Top League since 1970 was officially known as the Supreme League serving as the top division of Soviet Union football since 1936.It was one of the best football leagues in Europe ranking second among the UEFA members in 1988-1989 seasons...

 and a record 12 Ukrainian Championships; while Shakhtar only won six Ukrainian championships and one and last UEFA Cup
UEFA Cup
The UEFA Europa League is an annual association football cup competition organised by UEFA since 1971 for eligible European football clubs. It is the second most prestigious European club football contest after the UEFA Champions League...

. Ukraine will host the Euro 2012 alongside Poland
Poland
Poland , officially the Republic of Poland , is a country in Central Europe bordered by Germany to the west; the Czech Republic and Slovakia to the south; Ukraine, Belarus and Lithuania to the east; and the Baltic Sea and Kaliningrad Oblast, a Russian exclave, to the north...

.

Some of the world's greatest athletes were Ukrainians
Ukrainians
Ukrainians are an East Slavic ethnic group native to Ukraine, which is the sixth-largest nation in Europe. The Constitution of Ukraine applies the term 'Ukrainians' to all its citizens...

 such as the legend Sergey Bubka whose holding the record in the Pole vault
Pole vault
Pole vaulting is a track and field event in which a person uses a long, flexible pole as an aid to leap over a bar. Pole jumping competitions were known to the ancient Greeks, as well as the Cretans and Celts...

; with a great strength, speed and gymnastic abilities, he is repeatedly voted the world's best athlete.

Many Ukrainians also played for the Soviet national football team, most notably Igor Belanov
Igor Belanov
Ihor Ivanovych Belanov is a retired Ukrainian footballer who played as a striker.He made a name for himself at Dynamo Kyiv, winning five major titles and being named European Footballer of the Year in 1986...

 and Oleg Blokhin
Oleg Blokhin
Oleh Volodymyrovych "Oleg" Blokhin is a Ukrainian football coach and current head coach of the Ukrainian national team. Blokhin was formerly a standout striker for Dynamo Kyiv and the Soviet national team...

, 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 dissolution of the Soviet Union, Andriy Shevchenko
Andriy Shevchenko
Andriy Mykolayovych Shevchenko is a Ukrainian footballer who plays for Dynamo Kyiv and the Ukraine national team as a striker. He is the third-highest scorer in the history of European club competition with 67 goals as of 2011-03-10, behind Filippo Inzaghi and Raúl. With 175 goals scored with A.C...

, the current captain of the Ukrainian national football team. The national team made its debut in the 2006 FIFA World Cup
2006 FIFA World Cup
The 2006 FIFA World Cup was the 18th FIFA World Cup, the quadrennial international football world championship tournament. It was held from 9 June to 9 July 2006 in Germany, which won the right to host the event in July 2000. Teams representing 198 national football associations from all six...

, and reached the quarterfinals before losing to eventual champions, Italy. Ukrainians also fared well in boxing
Boxing
Boxing, also called pugilism, is a combat sport in which two people fight each other using their fists. Boxing is supervised by a referee over a series of between one to three minute intervals called rounds...

, where the brothers Vitaliy Klychko
Vitali Klitschko
Vitaliy Volodymyrovych Klychko is a Ukrainian professional heavyweight boxer and the current WBC heavyweight champion. He is a leader of the political party Ukrainian Democratic Alliance for Reform and a member of the Ukrainian delegation to the Congress of the Council of Europe. He previously...

 and Volodymyr Klychko
Wladimir Klitschko
Wladimir Klitschko is a Ukrainian heavyweight boxer. Klitschko is the WBA , IBF, WBO Super, IBO & Ring Magazine Champion. His older brother Vitali Klitschko is the current WBC champion...

 have held world heavyweight championships.

Ukraine made its Olympic debut at the 1994 Winter Olympics
1994 Winter Olympics
The 1994 Winter Olympics, officially known as the XVII Olympic Winter Games, was a winter multi-sport event celebrated from 12 to 27 February 1994 in and around Lillehammer, Norway. Lillehammer failed to win the bid for the 1992 event. Lillehammer was awarded the games in 1988, after having beat...

. 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.

Cuisine





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
Borscht
Borscht is a soup of Ukrainian origin that is popular in many Eastern and Central European countries. In most of these countries, it is made with beetroot as the main ingredient, giving it a deep reddish-purple color...

 (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
Chicken Kiev
Chicken Kiev is a popular dish of boneless chicken breast pounded and rolled around cold garlic butter with herbs, then breaded and either fried or baked.-Etymology:...

 and Kiev Cake
Kiev cake
Kyiv Cake, or Kiev Cake is a brand of dessert cake, made in Kiev, Ukraine since the 1950s by the Karl Marx Confectionery Factory...

. Ukrainians drink stewed fruit
Kompot
thumb|Dried plum kompotthumb|Apple and quince kompotKompot is a traditional drink in Central and Eastern European countries. It is a light, refreshing drink most often made of dried or fresh fruit boiled in water with sugar and left to cool and infuse...

, juices, milk, buttermilk (they make cottage cheese from this), mineral water, tea and coffee, beer, wine and .

See also


  • :Category:Ukraine-related lists

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 Vol.1 ed by Volodymyr E. KubijovyC; University of Toronto Press. 1963; 1188pp
  • 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
    National Geographic Magazine
    National Geographic, formerly the National Geographic Magazine, is the official journal of the National Geographic Society. It published its first issue in 1888, just nine months after the Society itself was founded...

     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
    Andrew Wilson (historian)
    Andrew Wilson is a historian and political scientist specializing in Eastern Europe, particularly Ukraine. He is a senior lecturer in Ukrainian studies at the School of Slavonic and East European Studies at University College London...

    , 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
    Cambridge University Press
    Cambridge University Press is the publishing business of the University of Cambridge. Granted letters patent by Henry VIII in 1534, it is the world's oldest publishing house, and the second largest university press in the world...

    , 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
    University of Toronto Press
    University of Toronto Press is Canada's leading scholarly publisher and one of the largest university presses in North America. Founded in 1901, UTP has published over 6,500 books, with well over 3,500 of these still in print....

    , 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
    Orest Subtelny
    Orest Subtelny is a Canadian historian. Born in Kraków, Poland, he received his Ph.D. from Harvard University in 1973. Since 1982 he has been a professor in the departments of History and Political Science, York University, Toronto, Canada.-Career:...

    . Ukraine: A History, 1st edition. Toronto: University of Toronto Press
    University of Toronto Press
    University of Toronto Press is Canada's leading scholarly publisher and one of the largest university presses in North America. Founded in 1901, UTP has published over 6,500 books, with well over 3,500 of these still in print....

    , 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 Press
    Princeton University Press
    -Further reading:* "". Artforum International, 2005.-External links:* * * * *...

    , ISBN 0-691-09543-4, Part II
  • Zabarko, Boris, ed. Holocaust In The Ukraine, Mitchell Vallentine & Co, 2005. 394 pp.


External links



  • Website Ukraine-CityGuide
  • Ukraine information from the United States Department of State
    United States Department of State
    The United States Department of State , is the United States federal executive department responsible for international relations of the United States, equivalent to the foreign ministries of other countries...

  • Portals to the World from the United States Library of Congress
    Library of Congress
    The Library of Congress is the research library of the United States Congress, de facto national library of the United States, and the oldest federal cultural institution in the United States. Located in three buildings in Washington, D.C., it is the largest library in the world by shelf space and...

  • Ukraine at UCB Libraries GovPubs


Government