(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE CIA FACT BOOK)
|Introduction||Ukraine was the center of the first eastern Slavic state, Kyivan Rus, which during the 10th and 11th centuries was the largest and most powerful state in Europe. Weakened by internecine quarrels and Mongol invasions, Kyivan Rus was incorporated into the Grand Duchy of Lithuania and eventually into the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. The cultural and religious legacy of Kyivan Rus laid the foundation for Ukrainian nationalism through subsequent centuries. A new Ukrainian state, the Cossack Hetmanate, was established during the mid-17th century after an uprising against the Poles. Despite continuous Muscovite pressure, the Hetmanate managed to remain autonomous for well over 100 years. During the latter part of the 18th century, most Ukrainian ethnographic territory was absorbed by the Russian Empire. Following the collapse of czarist Russia in 1917, Ukraine was able to bring about a short-lived period of independence (1917-20), but was reconquered and forced to endure a brutal Soviet rule that engineered two artificial famines (1921-22 and 1932-33) in which over 8 million died. In World War II, German and Soviet armies were responsible for some 7 to 8 million more deaths. Although final independence for Ukraine was achieved in 1991 with the dissolution of the USSR, democracy remained elusive as the legacy of state control and endemic corruption stalled efforts at economic reform, privatization, and civil liberties. A peaceful mass protest “Orange Revolution” in the closing months of 2004 forced the authorities to overturn a rigged presidential election and to allow a new internationally monitored vote that swept into power a reformist slate under Viktor YUSHCHENKO. Subsequent internal squabbles in the YUSHCHENKO camp allowed his rival Viktor YANUKOVYCH to stage a comeback in parliamentary elections and become prime minister in August of 2006. An early legislative election, brought on by a political crisis in the spring of 2007, saw Yuliya TYMOSHENKO, as head of an “Orange” coalition, installed as a new prime minister in December 2007.|
Human settlement in the territory of Ukraine dates back to at least 4500 BC, when the Neolithic Cucuteni culture flourished in a wide area that covered parts of modern Ukraine including Trypillia and the entire Dnieper-Dniester region. During the Iron Age, the land was inhabited by Cimmerians, Scythians, and Sarmatians. Between 700 BC and 200 BC it was part of the Scythian Kingdom, or Scythia. Later, colonies of Ancient Greece, Ancient Rome, and the Byzantine Empire, such as Tyras, Olbia, and Hermonassa, were founded, beginning in the 6th century BC, on the northeastern shore of the Black Sea, and thrived well into the 6th century AD. In the 7th century AD, the territory of eastern Ukraine was the center of Old Great Bulgaria. At the end of the century, the majority of Bulgar tribes migrated in different directions and the land fell into the Khazars’ hands.
Golden Age of Kiev
Map of the Kievan Rus’ in the 11th century. During the Golden Age of Kiev, the lands of Rus’ covered much of present day Ukraine, Belarus, and western Russia.
In the 9th century, much of modern-day Ukraine was populated by the Rus’ people who formed the Kievan Rus’. Kievan Rus’ included nearly all territory of modern Ukraine, Belarus, with larger part of it situated on the territory of modern Russia. During the 10th and 11th centuries, it became the largest and most powerful state in Europe. In the following centuries, it laid the foundation for the national identity of Ukrainians and Russians. Kiev, the capital of modern Ukraine, became the most important city of the Rus’. According to the Primary Chronicle, the Rus’ elite initially consisted of Varangians from Scandinavia. The Varangians later became assimilated into the local Slavic population and became part of the Rus’ first dynasty, the Rurik Dynasty. Kievan Rus’ was composed of several principalities ruled by the interrelated Rurikid Princes. The seat of Kiev, the most prestigious and influential of all principalities, became the subject of many rivalries among Rurikids as the most valuable prize in their quest for power.
The Golden Age of Kievan Rus’ began with the reign of Vladimir the Great (980–1015), who turned Rus’ toward Byzantine Christianity. During the reign of his son, Yaroslav the Wise (1019–1054), Kievan Rus’ reached the zenith of its cultural development and military power. This was followed by the state’s increasing fragmentation as the relative importance of regional powers rose again. After a final resurgence under the rule of Vladimir Monomakh (1113–1125) and his son Mstislav (1125–1132), Kievan Rus’ finally disintegrated into separate principalities following Mstislav’s death.
In the 11th and 12th centuries, constant incursions by nomadic Turkic tribes, such as the Pechenegs and the Kipchaks, caused a massive migration of Slavic populations to the safer, heavily forested regions of the north. The 13th century Mongol invasion devastated Kievan Rus’. Kiev was totally destroyed in 1240. On the Ukrainian territory, the state of Kievan Rus’ was succeeded by the principalities of Galich (Halych) and Volodymyr-Volynskyi, which were merged into the state of Galicia-Volhynia.
In the centuries following the Mongol invasion, much of Ukraine was controlled by Lithuania (from the 14th century on) and since the Union of Lublin (1569) by Poland, as seen at this outline of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth as of 1619.
“Reply of the Zaporozhian Cossacks to Sultan Mehmed IV of the Ottoman Empire.” Painted by Ilya Repin from 1880 to 1891.
In the mid-14th century, Galicia-Volhynia was subjugated by Casimir the Great of Poland, while the heartland of Rus’, including Kiev, fell under the Gediminas of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania after the Battle on the Irpen’ River. Following the 1386 Union of Krevo, a dynastic union between Poland and Lithuania, most of Ukraine’s territory was controlled by the increasingly Ruthenized local Lithuanian nobles as part of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. At this time, the term Ruthenia and Ruthenians as the Latinized versions of “Rus'”, became widely applied to the land and the people of Ukraine, respectively.
By 1569, the Union of Lublin formed the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, and a significant part of Ukrainian territory was moved from largely Ruthenized Lithuanian rule to the Polish administration, as it was transferred to the Polish Crown. Under the cultural and political pressure of Polonisation much of the Ruthenian upper class converted to Catholicism and became indistinguishable from the Polish nobility. Thus, the Ukrainian commoners, deprived of their native protectors among Ruthenian nobility, turned for protection to the Cossacks, who remained fiercely orthodox at all times and tended to turn to violence against those they perceived as enemies, particularly the Polish state and its representatives. Ukraine suffered a series of Tatar invasions, the goal of which was to loot, pillage and capture slaves into jasyr.
In the mid-17th century, a Cossack military quasi-state, the Zaporozhian Host, was established by the Dnieper Cossacks and the Ruthenian peasants fleeing Polish serfdom. Poland had little real control of this land (Wild Fields), yet they found the Cossacks to be a useful fighting force against the Turks and Tatars, and at times the two allied in military campaigns. However, the continued enserfment of peasantry by the Polish nobility emphasized by the Commonwealth’s fierce exploitation of the workforce, and most importantly, the suppression of the Orthodox Church pushed the allegiances of Cossacks away from Poland. Their aspiration was to have representation in Polish Sejm, recognition of Orthodox traditions and the gradual expansion of the Cossack Registry. These were all vehemently denied by the Polish nobility. The Cossacks eventually turned for protection to Orthodox Russia, a decision which would later lead towards the downfall of the Polish-Lithuanian state, and the preservation of the Orthodox Church and in Ukraine.
In 1648, Bohdan Khmelnytsky led the largest of the Cossack uprisings against the Commonwealth and the Polish king John II Casimir. Left-bank Ukraine was eventually integrated into Russia as the Cossack Hetmanate, following the 1654 Treaty of Pereyaslav and the ensuing Russo-Polish War. After the partitions of Poland at the end of the 18th century by Prussia, Habsburg Austria, and Russia, Western Ukrainian Galicia was taken over by Austria, while the rest of Ukraine was progressively incorporated into the Russian Empire. Despite the promises of Ukrainian autonomy given by the Treaty of Pereyaslav, the Ukrainian elite and the Cossacks never received the freedoms and the autonomy they were expecting from Imperial Russia. However, within the Empire, Ukrainians rose to the highest offices of Russian state, and the Russian Orthodox Church. At a later period, the tsarist regime carried the policy of Russification of Ukrainian lands, suppressing the use of the Ukrainian language in print, and in public.
The sparsely inhabited area of the Wild Fields, immediately south of Severia, was traditionally used by the Crimean Tatars and Nogai Tatars to launch annual raids into Russian territories along the Muravsky Trail and Izyum Trail. After a number of Russo-Crimean Wars, the Russian monarchs started to encourage the settlement of the Sloboda Ukraine by the Cossacks who acted as a sort of frontier guards against the raids of the Tatars. After the annexation of the Crimean Khanate by the Imperial Russia (1774-1792) following the Russo-Turkish wars, the region was settled by enserfed peasantry mostly from Ukraine and German settlers as New Russia. The Crimean War in the 1850s caused a major exodus of Tatars. The area that was Little Tartary is currently part of Ukraine.
World War I and revolution
Ukraine entered World War I on the side of both the Central Powers, under Austria, and the Triple Entente, under Russia. 3.5 million Ukrainians fought with the Imperial Russian Army, while 250,000 fought for the Austro-Hungarian Army. During the war, Austro-Hungarian authorities established the Ukrainian Legion to fight against the Russian Empire. This legion was the foundation of the Ukrainian Galician Army that fought against the Bolsheviks and Poles in the post World War I period (1919–23). Those suspected of the Russophile sentiments in Austria were treated harshly. Up to 5,000 supporters of the Russian Empire from Galicia were detained and placed in Austrian internment camps in Talerhof, Styria, and in a fortress at Terezín (now in the Czech Republic).
With the collapse of the Russian and Austrian empires following World War I and the Russian Revolution of 1917, a Ukrainian national movement for self-determination reemerged. During 1917–20, several separate Ukrainian states briefly emerged: the Ukrainian People’s Republic, the Hetmanate, the Directorate and the pro-Bolshevik Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic (or Soviet Ukraine) successively established territories in the former Russian Empire; while the West Ukrainian People’s Republic emerged briefly in the former Austro-Hungarian territory. In the midst of Civil War, an anarchist movement called the Black Army led by Nestor Makhno also developed in Southern Ukraine. However with Western Ukraine’s defeat in the Polish-Ukrainian War followed by the failure of the further Polish offensive that was repelled by the Bolsheviks. According to the Peace of Riga concluded between the Soviets and Poland, western Ukraine was officially incorporated into Poland who in turn recognised the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic in March 1919, that later became a founding member of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics or the Soviet Union in December, 1922.
Inter-war Soviet Ukraine
The revolution that brought the Soviet government to power devastated Ukraine. It left over 1.5 million people dead and hundreds of thousands homeless. The Soviet Ukraine had to face the famine of 1921. Seeing the exhausted society, the Soviet government remained very flexible during the 1920s. Thus, the Ukrainian culture and language enjoyed a revival, as Ukrainisation became a local implementation of the Soviet-wide Korenisation (literally indigenisation) policy. The Bolsheviks were also committed to introducing universal health care, education and social-security benefits, as well as the right to work and housing. Women’s rights were greatly increased through new laws aimed to wipe away centuries-old inequalities. Most of these policies were sharply reversed by the early-1930s after Joseph Stalin gradually consolidated power to become the de facto communist party leader and a dictator of the Soviet Union.
Starting from the late 1920s, Ukraine was involved in the Soviet industrialisation and the republic’s industrial output quadrupled in the 1930s. However, the industrialisation had a heavy cost for the peasantry, demographically a backbone of the Ukrainian nation. To satisfy the state’s need for increased food supplies and to finance industrialisation, Stalin instituted a program of collectivisation of agriculture as the state combined the peasants’ lands and animals into collective farms and enforcing the policies by the regular troops and secret police. Those who resisted were arrested and deported and the increased production quotas were placed on the peasantry. The collectivisation had a devastating effect on agricultural productivity. As the members of the collective farms were not allowed to receive any grain until the unachievable quotas were met, starvation in the Soviet Union became widespread. In 1932–33, millions starved to death in a man-made famine known as Holodomor. Scholars are divided as to whether this famine fits the definition of genocide, but the Ukrainian parliament and more than a dozen other countries recognise it as the genocide of the Ukrainian people.
The times of industrialisation and Holodomor also coincided with the Soviet assault on the national political and cultural elite often accused in “nationalist deviations”. Two waves of Stalinist political repression and persecution in the Soviet Union (1929–34 and 1936–38) resulted in the killing of some 681,692 people; this included four-fifths of the Ukrainian cultural elite and three quarters of all the Red Army’s higher-ranking officers.
World War II
Following the Invasion of Poland in September 1939, German and Soviet troops divided the territory of Poland. Thus, Eastern Galicia and Volhynia with their Ukrainian population became reunited with the rest of Ukraine. The unification that Ukraine achieved for the first time in its history was a decisive event in the history of the nation.
After France surrendered to Germany, Romania ceded Bessarabia and northern Bukovina to Soviet demands. The Ukrainian SSR incorporated northern and southern districts of Bessarabia, the northern Bukovina, and the Soviet-occupied Hertsa region. But it ceded the western part of the Moldavian Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic to the newly created Moldavian Soviet Socialist Republic. All these territorial gains were internationally recognised by the Paris peace treaties of 1947.
German armies invaded the Soviet Union on June 22, 1941, thereby initiating four straight years of incessant total war. The Axis allies initially advanced against desperate but unsuccessful efforts of the Red Army. In the encirclement battle of Kiev, the city was acclaimed as a “Hero City”, for the fierce resistance by the Red Army and by the local population. More than 600,000 Soviet soldiers (or one quarter of the Western Front) were killed or taken captive there. Although the wide majority of Ukrainians fought alongside the Red Army and Soviet resistance, some elements of the Ukrainian nationalist underground created an anti-Soviet nationalist formation in Galicia, the Ukrainian Insurgent Army (1942) that at times engaged the Nazi forces; while another nationalist movement fought alongside the Nazis. In total, the number of ethnic Ukrainians that fought in the ranks of the Soviet Army is estimated from 4.5 million to 7 million. The pro-Soviet partisan guerrilla resistance in Ukraine is estimated to number at 47,800 from the start of occupation to 500,000 at its peak in 1944; with about 50 percent of them being ethnic Ukrainians. Generally, the Ukrainian Insurgent Army’s figures are very undependable, ranging anywhere from 15,000 to as much as 100,000 fighters.
Initially, the Germans were even received as liberators by some western Ukrainians, who had only joined the Soviet Union in 1939. However, brutal German rule in the occupied territories eventually turned its supporters against the occupation. Nazi administrators of conquered Soviet territories made little attempt to exploit the population of Ukrainian territories’ dissatisfaction with Stalinist political and economic policies. Instead, the Nazis preserved the collective-farm system, systematically carried out genocidal policies against Jews, deported others to work in Germany, and began a systematic depopulation of Ukraine to prepare it for German colonisation, which included a food blockade on Kiev.
The vast majority of the fighting in World War II took place on the Eastern Front, and Nazi Germany suffered 93 percent of all casualties there. The total losses inflicted upon the Ukrainian population during the war are estimated between five and eight million, including over half a million Jews killed by the Einsatzgruppen, sometimes with the help of local collaborators. Of the estimated 8.7 million Soviet troops who fell in battle against the Nazis, 1.4 million were ethnic Ukrainians. So to this day, Victory Day is celebrated as one of ten Ukrainian national holidays.
Post-World War II
The republic was heavily damaged by the war, and it required significant efforts to recover. More than 700 cities and towns and 28,000 villages were destroyed. The situation was worsened by a famine in 1946–47 caused by the drought and the infrastructure breakdown that took away tens of thousands of lives.
The nationalist anti-Soviet resistance lasted for years after the war, chiefly in Western Ukraine, but also in other regions. The Ukrainian Insurgent Army, continued to fight the USSR into the 1950s. Using guerilla war tactics, the insurgents targeted for assassination and terror those who they perceived as representing, or cooperating at any level with, the Soviet state.
Following the death of Stalin in 1953, Nikita Khrushchev became the new leader of the USSR. Being the First Secretary of the Communist Party of Ukrainian SSR in 1938-49, Khrushchev was intimately familiar with the republic and after taking power union-wide, he began to emphasize the friendship between the Ukrainian and Russian nations. In 1954, the 300th anniversary of the Treaty of Pereyaslav was widely celebrated, and in particular, Crimea was transferred from the Russian SFSR to the Ukrainian SSR.
Already by the 1950s, the republic fully surpassed pre-war levels of industry and production. It also became an important center of the Soviet arms industry and high-tech research. Such an important role resulted in a major influence of the local elite. Many members of the Soviet leadership came from Ukraine, most notably Leonid Brezhnev, who would later oust Khrushchev and become the Soviet leader from 1964 to 1982, as well as many prominent Soviet sportspeople, scientists and artists.
On April 26, 1986, a reactor in the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant exploded, resulting in the Chernobyl disaster, the worst nuclear reactor accident in history. At the time of the accident seven million people lived in the contaminated territories, including 2.2 million in Ukraine. After the accident, a new city, Slavutych, was built outside the exclusion zone to house and support the employees of the plant, which was decommissioned in 2000. Around 150,000 people were evacuated from the contaminated area, and 300,000–600,000 took part in the cleanup. By 2000, about 4,000 Ukrainian children had been diagnosed with thyroid cancer caused by radiation released by this incident. Other Chernobyl disaster effects include other forms of cancer and genetic abnormalities, affecting newborns and children in particular.
On July 16, 1990, the new parliament adopted the Declaration of State Sovereignty of Ukraine. The declaration established the principles of the self-determination of the Ukrainian nation, its democracy, political and economic independence, and the priority of Ukrainian law on the Ukrainian territory over Soviet law. A month earlier, a similar declaration was adopted by the parliament of the Russian SFSR. This started a period of confrontation between the central Soviet, and new republican authorities. In August 1991, a conservative faction among the Communist leaders of the Soviet Union attempted a coup to remove Mikhail Gorbachev and to restore the Communist party’s power. After the attempt failed, on August 24, 1991 the Ukrainian parliament adopted the Act of Independence in which the parliament declared Ukraine as an independent democratic state. A referendum and the first presidential elections took place on December 1, 1991. That day, more than 90 percent of the Ukrainian people expressed their support for the Act of Independence, and they elected the chairman of the parliament, Leonid Kravchuk to serve as the first President of the country. At the meeting in Brest, 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 (CIS).
Orange-clad demonstrators gather in the Independence Square in Kiev on November 22, 2004
Ukraine was initially viewed as a republic with favorable economic conditions in comparison to the other regions of the Soviet Union. However, the country experienced deeper economic slowdown than some of the other former Soviet Republics. During the recession, Ukraine lost 60 percent of its GDP from 1991 to 1999, and suffered five-digit inflation rates. Dissatisfied with the economic conditions, as well as crime and corruption, Ukrainians protested and organised strikes.
The Ukrainian economy stabilized by the end of the 1990s. A new currency, the hryvnia, was introduced in 1996. Since 2000, the country has enjoyed steady economic growth averaging about seven percent annually. A new Constitution of Ukraine was adopted in 1996, which turned Ukraine into a semi-presidential republic and established a stable political system. Kuchma was, however, criticized by opponents for concentrating too much of power in his office, corruption, transferring public property into hands of loyal oligarchs, discouraging free speech, and electoral fraud. In 2004, Viktor Yanukovych, then Prime Minister, was declared the winner of the presidential elections, which had been largely rigged, as the Supreme Court of Ukraine later ruled. The results caused a public outcry in support of the opposition candidate, Viktor Yushchenko, who challenged the results and led the peaceful Orange Revolution. The revolution brought Viktor Yushchenko and Yulia Tymoshenko to power, while casting Viktor Yanukovych in opposition.
|Geography||Location: Eastern Europe, bordering the Black Sea, between Poland, Romania, and Moldova in the west and Russia in the east
Geographic coordinates: 49 00 N, 32 00 E
Map references: Asia, Europe
Area: total: 603,700 sq km
land: 603,700 sq km
water: 0 sq km
Area – comparative: slightly smaller than Texas
Land boundaries: total: 4,566 km
border countries: Belarus 891 km, Hungary 103 km, Moldova 940 km, Poland 428 km, Romania (south) 176 km, Romania (southwest) 362 km, Russia 1,576 km, Slovakia 90 km
Coastline: 2,782 km
Maritime claims: territorial sea: 12 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
continental shelf: 200-m or to the depth of exploitation
Climate: temperate continental; Mediterranean only on the southern Crimean coast; precipitation disproportionately distributed, highest in west and north, lesser in east and southeast; winters vary from cool along the Black Sea to cold farther inland; summers are warm across the greater part of the country, hot in the south
Terrain: most of Ukraine consists of fertile plains (steppes) and plateaus, mountains being found only in the west (the Carpathians), and in the Crimean Peninsula in the extreme south
Elevation extremes: lowest point: Black Sea 0 m
highest point: Hora Hoverla 2,061 m
Natural resources: iron ore, coal, manganese, natural gas, oil, salt, sulfur, graphite, titanium, magnesium, kaolin, nickel, mercury, timber, arable land
Land use: arable land: 53.8%
permanent crops: 1.5%
other: 44.7% (2005)
Irrigated land: 22,080 sq km (2003)
Total renewable water resources: 139.5 cu km (1997)
Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural): total: 37.53 cu km/yr (12%/35%/52%)
per capita: 807 cu m/yr (2000)
Natural hazards: NA
Environment – current issues: inadequate supplies of potable water; air and water pollution; deforestation; radiation contamination in the northeast from 1986 accident at Chornobyl’ Nuclear Power Plant
Environment – international agreements: party to: Air Pollution, Air Pollution-Nitrogen Oxides, Air Pollution-Sulfur 85, Antarctic-Environmental Protocol, Antarctic-Marine Living Resources, Antarctic Treaty, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands
signed, but not ratified: Air Pollution-Persistent Organic Pollutants, Air Pollution-Sulfur 94, Air Pollution-Volatile Organic Compounds
Geography – note: strategic position at the crossroads between Europe and Asia; second-largest country in Europe
|Politics||Ukraine is a republic under a mixed semi-parliamentary semi-presidential system with separate legislative, executive, and judicial branches. The President is elected by popular vote for a five-year term and is the formal head of state.
Ukraine’s legislative branch includes the 450-seat unicameral parliament, the Verkhovna Rada. The parliament is primarily responsible for the formation of the executive branch and the Cabinet of Ministers, which is headed by the Prime Minister.
Laws, acts of the parliament and the cabinet, presidential decrees, and acts of the Crimean parliament may be abrogated by the Constitutional Court, should they be found to violate the Constitution of Ukraine. Other normative acts are subject to judicial review. The Supreme Court is the main body in the system of courts of general jurisdiction. Local self-government is officially guaranteed. Local councils and city mayors are popularly elected and exercise control over local budgets. The heads of regional and district administrations are appointed by the president.
Ukraine has a large number of political parties, many of which have tiny memberships and are unknown to the general public. Small parties often join in multi-party coalitions (electoral blocs) for the purpose of participating in parliamentary elections.
The European Union offered an Association Agreement with Ukraine in September, 2008. The country is a potential candidate for future enlargement of the European Union.
|People||Population: 45,994,288 (July 2008 est.)
Age structure: 0-14 years: 13.9% (male 3,277,905/female 3,106,012)
15-64 years: 70% (male 15,443,818/female 16,767,931)
65 years and over: 16.1% (male 2,489,235/female 4,909,386) (2008 est.)
Median age: total: 39.4 years
male: 36.1 years
female: 42.5 years (2008 est.)
Population growth rate: -0.651% (2008 est.)
Birth rate: 9.55 births/1,000 population (2008 est.)
Death rate: 15.93 deaths/1,000 population (2008 est.)
Net migration rate: -0.12 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2008 est.)
Sex ratio: at birth: 1.06 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.06 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.92 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.51 male(s)/female
total population: 0.86 male(s)/female (2008 est.)
Infant mortality rate: total: 9.23 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 11.48 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 6.85 deaths/1,000 live births (2008 est.)
Life expectancy at birth: total population: 68.06 years
male: 62.24 years
female: 74.24 years (2008 est.)
Total fertility rate: 1.25 children born/woman (2008 est.)
HIV/AIDS – adult prevalence rate: 1.4% (2003 est.)
HIV/AIDS – people living with HIV/AIDS: 360,000 (2001 est.)
HIV/AIDS – deaths: 20,000 (2003 est.)
Nationality: noun: Ukrainian(s)
Ethnic groups: Ukrainian 77.8%, Russian 17.3%, Belarusian 0.6%, Moldovan 0.5%, Crimean Tatar 0.5%, Bulgarian 0.4%, Hungarian 0.3%, Romanian 0.3%, Polish 0.3%, Jewish 0.2%, other 1.8% (2001 census)
Religions: Ukrainian Orthodox – Kyiv Patriarchate 50.4%, Ukrainian Orthodox – Moscow Patriarchate 26.1%, Ukrainian Greek Catholic 8%, Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox 7.2%, Roman Catholic 2.2%, Protestant 2.2%, Jewish 0.6%, other 3.2% (2006 est.)
Languages: Ukrainian (official) 67%, Russian 24%, other 9% (includes small Romanian-, Polish-, and Hungarian-speaking minorities)
Literacy: definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 99.4%
female: 99.2% (2001 census)
School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education): total: 14 years
male: 14 years
female: 15 years (2006)
Education expenditures: 6.3% of GDP (2006)
|Government||Country name: conventional long form: none
conventional short form: Ukraine
local long form: none
local short form: Ukrayina
former: Ukrainian National Republic, Ukrainian State, Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic
Government type: republic
Capital: name: Kyiv (Kiev)
geographic coordinates: 50 26 N, 30 31 E
time difference: UTC+2 (7 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
daylight saving time: +1hr, begins last Sunday in March; ends last Sunday in October
Administrative divisions: 24 provinces (oblasti, singular – oblast’), 1 autonomous republic* (avtonomna respublika), and 2 municipalities (mista, singular – misto) with oblast status**; Cherkasy, Chernihiv, Chernivtsi, Crimea or Avtonomna Respublika Krym* (Simferopol’), Dnipropetrovs’k, Donets’k, Ivano-Frankivs’k, Kharkiv, Kherson, Khmel’nyts’kyy, Kirovohrad, Kyiv**, Kyiv, Luhans’k, L’viv, Mykolayiv, Odesa, Poltava, Rivne, Sevastopol’**, Sumy, Ternopil’, Vinnytsya, Volyn’ (Luts’k), Zakarpattya (Uzhhorod), Zaporizhzhya, Zhytomyr
note: administrative divisions have the same names as their administrative centers (exceptions have the administrative center name following in parentheses)
Independence: 24 August 1991 (from Soviet Union)
National holiday: Independence Day, 24 August (1991); note – 22 January 1918, the day Ukraine first declared its independence (from Soviet Russia) and the day the short-lived Western and Central Ukrainian republics united (1919), is now celebrated as Unity Day
Constitution: adopted 28 June 1996
Legal system: based on civil law system; judicial review of legislative acts; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction
Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal
Executive branch: chief of state: President Viktor A. YUSHCHENKO (since 23 January 2005)
head of government: Prime Minister Yuliya TYMOSHENKO (since 18 December 2007); First Deputy Prime Minister Oleksandr TURCHYNOV (since 18 December 2007); Deputy Prime Ministers Hryhoriy NEMYRYA and Ivan VASYUNYK (since 18 December 2007)
cabinet: Cabinet of Ministers selected by the prime minister; the only exceptions are the foreign and defense ministers, who are chosen by the president
note: there is also a National Security and Defense Council or NSDC originally created in 1992 as the National Security Council; the NSDC staff is tasked with developing national security policy on domestic and international matters and advising the president; a Presidential Secretariat helps draft presidential edicts and provides policy support to the president
elections: president elected by popular vote for a five-year term (eligible for a second term); note – a special repeat runoff presidential election between Viktor YUSHCHENKO and Viktor YANUKOVYCH took place on 26 December 2004 after the earlier 21 November 2004 contest – won by YANUKOVYCH – was invalidated by the Ukrainian Supreme Court because of widespread and significant violations; under constitutional reforms that went into effect 1 January 2006, the majority in parliament takes the lead in naming the prime minister
election results: Viktor YUSHCHENKO elected president; percent of vote – Viktor YUSHCHENKO 52%, Viktor YANUKOVYCH 44.2%
Legislative branch: unicameral Supreme Council or Verkhovna Rada (450 seats; members allocated on a proportional basis to those parties that gain 3% or more of the national electoral vote; to serve five-year terms)
elections: last held 30 September 2007 (next to be held in 2012)
election results: percent of vote by party/bloc – Party of Regions 34.4%, Yuliya Tymoshenko Bloc 30.7%, Our Ukraine-People’s Self Defense 14.2%, CPU 5.4%, Lytvyn bloc 4%, other parties 11.3%; seats by party/bloc – Party of Regions 175, Yuliya Tymoshenko Bloc 156, Our Ukraine-People’s Self Defense 72, CPU 27, Lytvyn bloc 20
Judicial branch: Supreme Court; Constitutional Court
Political parties and leaders: Christian Democratic Union [Volodymyr STRETOVYCH]; Communist Party of Ukraine or CPU [Petro SYMONENKO]; European Party of Ukraine [Mykola KATERYNCHUK]; Fatherland Party (Batkivshchyna) [Yuliya TYMOSHENKO]; Forward Ukraine! [Viktor MUSIYAKA]; Labor Party of Ukraine [Mykola SYROTA]; People’s Union Our Ukraine [Viktor YUSHCHENKO]; Party of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs [Anatoliy KINAKH]; Party of the Defenders of the Fatherland [Yuriy Karmazin]; People’s Movement of Ukraine (Rukh) [Borys TARASYUK]; People’s Party [Volodymyr LYTVYN]; Peoples’ Self-Defense [Yuriy LUTSENKO]; PORA! (It’s Time!) party [Vladyslav KASKIV]; Progressive Socialist Party [Natalya VITRENKO]; Reforms and Order Party [Viktor PYNZENYK]; Party of Regions [Viktor YANUKOVYCH]; Sobor [Anatoliy MATVIYENKO]; Social Democratic Party [Yevhen KORNICHUK]; Social Democratic Party (United) or SDPU(o) [Yuriy ZAHORODNIY]; Socialist Party of Ukraine or SPU [Oleksandr MOROZ]; Ukrainian People’s Party [Yuriy KOSTENKO]; United Center [Ihor Krill]; Viche [Inna BOHOSLOVSKA]
Political pressure groups and leaders: Committee of Voters of Ukraine [Ihor POPOV]
International organization participation: Australia Group, BSEC, CBSS (observer), CE, CEI, CIS, EAEC (observer), EAPC, EBRD, FAO, GCTU, GUAM, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC, ICCt (signatory), ICRM, IDA, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, IMSO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO, ITU, ITUC, LAIA (observer), MIGA, MONUC, NAM (observer), NSG, OAS (observer), OIF (observer), OPCW, OSCE, PCA, PFP, SECI (observer), UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UNMIL, UNMIS, UNOMIG, UNWTO, UPU, WCL, WCO, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO, ZC
Diplomatic representation in the US: chief of mission: Ambassador Oleh V. SHAMSHUR
chancery: 3350 M Street NW, Washington, DC 20007
telephone:  (202) 333-0606
FAX:  (202) 333-0817
consulate(s) general: Chicago, New York, San Francisco
Diplomatic representation from the US: chief of mission: Ambassador William B. TAYLOR Jr.
embassy: 10 Yurii Kotsiubynsky Street, 01901 Kyiv
mailing address: 5850 Kiev Place, Washington, DC 20521-5850
telephone:  (44) 490-4000
FAX:  (44) 490-4085
Flag description: two equal horizontal bands of azure (top) and golden yellow represent grain fields under a blue sky
|Culture||Ukrainian customs are heavily influenced by Christianity, which is the dominant religion in the country. Gender roles also tend to be more traditional, and grandparents play a greater role in raising children than in the West. The culture of Ukraine has been also influenced by its eastern and western neighbours, which is reflected in its architecture, music and art.
The Communist era had quite a strong effect on the art and writing of Ukraine. In 1932, Stalin made socialist realism state policy in the Soviet Union when he promulgated the decree “On the Reconstruction of Literary and Art Organisations”. This greatly stifled creativity. During the 1980s glasnost (openness) was introduced and Soviet artists and writers again became free to express themselves as they wanted.
The tradition of the Easter egg, known as pysanky, has long roots in Ukraine. These eggs were drawn on with wax to create a pattern; then, the dye was applied to give the eggs their pleasant colours, the dye did not affect the previously wax-coated parts of the egg. After the entire egg was dyed, the wax was removed leaving only the colourful pattern. This tradition is thousands of years old, and precedes the arrival of Christianity to Ukraine. In the city of Kolomya near the foothills of the Carpathian mountains in 2000 was built the museum of Pysanka which won a nomination as the monument of modern Ukraine in 2007, part of the Seven Wonders of Ukraine action.
The traditional Ukrainian diet includes chicken, pork, beef, fish and mushrooms. Ukrainians also tend to eat a lot of potatoes, grains, fresh and pickled vegetables. Popular traditional dishes include varenyky (boiled dumplings with mushrooms, potatoes, sauerkraut, cottage cheese or cherries), borscht (soup made of beets, cabbage and mushrooms or meat) and holubtsy (stuffed cabbage rolls filled with rice, carrots and meat). Ukrainian specialties also include Chicken Kiev and Kiev Cake. Ukrainians drink stewed fruit, juices, milk, buttermilk (they make cottage cheese from this), mineral water, tea and coffee, beer, wine and horilka.
|Economy||Economy – overview: After Russia, the Ukrainian republic was far and away the most important economic component of the former Soviet Union, producing about four times the output of the next-ranking republic. Its fertile black soil generated more than one-fourth of Soviet agricultural output, and its farms provided substantial quantities of meat, milk, grain, and vegetables to other republics. Likewise, its diversified heavy industry supplied the unique equipment (for example, large diameter pipes) and raw materials to industrial and mining sites (vertical drilling apparatus) in other regions of the former USSR. Shortly after independence was ratified in December 1991, the Ukrainian Government liberalized most prices and erected a legal framework for privatization, but widespread resistance to reform within the government and the legislature soon stalled reform efforts and led to some backtracking. Output by 1999 had fallen to less than 40% of the 1991 level. Ukraine’s dependence on Russia for energy supplies and the lack of significant structural reform have made the Ukrainian economy vulnerable to external shocks. Ukraine depends on imports to meet about three-fourths of its annual oil and natural gas requirements. A dispute with Russia over pricing in late 2005 and early 2006 led to a temporary gas cut-off; Ukraine concluded a deal with Russia in January 2006 that almost doubled the price Ukraine pays for Russian gas. Outside institutions – particularly the IMF – have encouraged Ukraine to quicken the pace and scope of reforms. Ukrainian Government officials eliminated most tax and customs privileges in a March 2005 budget law, bringing more economic activity out of Ukraine’s large shadow economy, but more improvements are needed, including fighting corruption, developing capital markets, and improving the legislative framework. Ukraine’s economy was buoyant despite political turmoil between the prime minister and president until mid-2008. Real GDP growth reached roughly 7% in 2006-07, fueled by high global prices for steel – Ukraine’s top export – and by strong domestic consumption, spurred by rising pensions and wages. The drop in steel prices and Ukraine’s exposure to the global financial crisis due to aggressive foreign borrowing has lowered growth in 2008 and the economy probably will contract in 2009. Ukraine reached an agreement with the IMF for a $16.5 billion standby arrangement in November 2008 to deal with the economic crisis. However, political turmoil in Ukraine as well as deteriorating external conditions are likely to hamper efforts for economic recovery.
GDP (purchasing power parity): $359.9 billion (2008 est.)
GDP (official exchange rate): $198 billion (2008 est.)
GDP – real growth rate: 5.3% (2008 est.)
GDP – per capita (PPP): $7,800 (2008 est.)
GDP – composition by sector: agriculture: 9.3%
services: 58.9% (2008 est.)
Labor force: 21.71 million (2008 est.)
Labor force – by occupation: agriculture: 19.4%
services: 56.4% (2005)
Unemployment rate: 2.1% officially registered; large number of unregistered or underemployed workers; the International Labor Organization calculates that Ukraine’s real unemployment level is nearly 7% (2008 est.)
Population below poverty line: 37.7% (2003)
Household income or consumption by percentage share: lowest 10%: 3.4%
highest 10%: 25.7% (2006)
Distribution of family income – Gini index: 31 (2006)
Investment (gross fixed): 23.4% of GDP (2008 est.)
Budget: revenues: $65.02 billion
expenditures: $68.48 billion; note – this is the planned, consolidated budget (2008 est.)
Fiscal year: calendar year
Public debt: 10% of GDP (2008 est.)
Inflation rate (consumer prices): 25% (2008 est.)
Central bank discount rate: 8% (31 December 2007)
Commercial bank prime lending rate: 13.9% (31 December 2007)
Stock of money: $35.97 billion (31 December 2007)
Stock of quasi money: $41.51 billion (31 December 2007)
Stock of domestic credit: $87.13 billion (31 December 2007)
Market value of publicly traded shares: $111.8 billion (31 December 2007)
Agriculture – products: grain, sugar beets, sunflower seeds, vegetables; beef, milk
Industries: coal, electric power, ferrous and nonferrous metals, machinery and transport equipment, chemicals, food processing (especially sugar)
Electricity – production: 182.4 billion kWh (2006 est.)
Electricity – consumption: 148.1 billion kWh (2006 est.)
Electricity – exports: 12.52 billion kWh (2006 est.)
Electricity – imports: 2.082 billion kWh (2006 est.)
Electricity – production by source: fossil fuel: 48.6%
other: 0% (2001)
Oil – production: 102,400 bbl/day (2007 est.)
Oil – consumption: 344,000 bbl/day (2006 est.)
Oil – exports: 190,500 bbl/day (2005)
Oil – imports: 441,200 bbl/day (2005)
Oil – proved reserves: 395 million bbl (1 January 2008 est.)
Natural gas – production: 19.5 billion cu m (2007 est.)
Natural gas – consumption: 84.9 billion cu m (2007 est.)
Natural gas – exports: 4 billion cu m (2006 est.)
Natural gas – imports: 65.4 billion cu m (2007 est.)
Natural gas – proved reserves: 1.104 trillion cu m (1 January 2008 est.)
Current account balance: -$14.22 billion (2008 est.)
Exports: $64.89 billion (2008 est.)
Exports – commodities: ferrous and nonferrous metals, fuel and petroleum products, chemicals, machinery and transport equipment, food products
Exports – partners: Russia 23.3%, Turkey 7.9%, Italy 5.8% (2007)
Imports: $82.52 billion (2008 est.)
Imports – commodities: energy, machinery and equipment, chemicals
Imports – partners: Russia 23.9%, Germany 11.8%, China 8.5%, Poland 8.1%, Turkmenistan 5.4% (2007)
Economic aid – recipient: $409.6 million (1995); IMF Extended Funds Facility $2.2 billion (2005)
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold: $31.92 billion (1 November 2008)
Debt – external: $82.07 billion (31 December 2008 est.)
Stock of direct foreign investment – at home: $44.08 billion (2008 est.)
Stock of direct foreign investment – abroad: $1.13 billion (2008 est.)
Currency (code): hryvnia (UAH)
Currency code: UAH
Exchange rates: hryvnia (UAH) per US dollar – 4.9523 (2008 est.), 5.05 (2007), 5.05 (2006), 5.1247 (2005), 5.3192 (2004)
|Communications||Telephones – main lines in use: 12.858 million (2007)
Telephones – mobile cellular: 55.24 million (2007)
Telephone system: general assessment: Ukraine’s telecommunication development plan emphasizes improving domestic trunk lines, international connections, and the mobile-cellular system
domestic: at independence in December 1991, Ukraine inherited a telephone system that was antiquated, inefficient, and in disrepair; more than 3.5 million applications for telephones could not be satisfied; telephone density is rising and the domestic trunk system is being improved; about one-third of Ukraine’s networks are digital and a majority of regional centers now have digital switching stations; improvements in local networks and local exchanges continue to lag; the mobile-cellular telephone system’s expansion has slowed, largely due to saturation of the market which had reached 100 mobile phones per 100 people by early 2007
international: country code – 380; 2 new domestic trunk lines are a part of the fiber-optic Trans-Asia-Europe (TAE) system and 3 Ukrainian links have been installed in the fiber-optic Trans-European Lines (TEL) project that connects 18 countries; additional international service is provided by the Italy-Turkey-Ukraine-Russia (ITUR) fiber-optic submarine cable and by an unknown number of earth stations in the Intelsat, Inmarsat, and Intersputnik satellite systems
Radio broadcast stations: 524 (station types NA) (2006)
Radios: 45.05 million (1997)
Television broadcast stations: 647 (2006)
Televisions: 18.05 million (1997)
Internet country code: .ua
Internet hosts: 524,202 (2008)
Internet Service Providers (ISPs): 260 (2001)
Internet users: 10 million (2007)
|Transportation||Airports: 437 (2007)
Airports – with paved runways: total: 193
over 3,047 m: 13
2,438 to 3,047 m: 53
1,524 to 2,437 m: 27
914 to 1,523 m: 5
under 914 m: 95 (2007)
Airports – with unpaved runways: total: 244
2,438 to 3,047 m: 3
1,524 to 2,437 m: 11
914 to 1,523 m: 13
under 914 m: 217 (2007)
Heliports: 10 (2007)
Pipelines: gas 33,721 km; oil 4,514 km; refined products 4,211 km (2007)
Railways: total: 21,852 km
broad gauge: 21,852 km 1.524-m gauge (9,648 km electrified) (2007)
Roadways: total: 169,422 km
paved: 165,611 km (includes 15 km of expressways)
unpaved: 3,811 km (2007)
Waterways: 2,176 km (most on Dnieper River) (2007)
Merchant marine: total: 189
by type: bulk carrier 6, cargo 141, chemical tanker 1, container 3, passenger 6, passenger/cargo 3, petroleum tanker 9, refrigerated cargo 11, roll on/roll off 7, specialized tanker 2
foreign-owned: 2 (Luxembourg 1, Russia 1)
registered in other countries: 204 (Belize 7, Cambodia 34, Comoros 8, Cyprus 4, Dominica 4, Georgia 18, Liberia 25, Lithuania 1, Malta 30, Moldova 5, Mongolia 1, Panama 10, Russia 11, Saint Kitts and Nevis 9, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines 11, Sierra Leone 10, Slovakia 12, Tuvalu 1, unknown 3) (2008)
Ports and terminals: Feodosiya, Kerch, Kherson, Mariupol’, Mykolayiv, Odesa, Yuzhnyy
|Military||Military branches: Ground Forces, Naval Forces, Air Forces (Viyskovo-Povitryani Syly), Air Defense Forces (2002)
Military service age and obligation: 18-25 years of age for compulsory and voluntary military service; conscript service obligation – 18 months for Army and Air Force, 24 months for Navy (2004)
Manpower available for military service: males age 16-49: 11,457,562
females age 16-49: 11,767,357 (2008 est.)
Manpower fit for military service: males age 16-49: 7,141,814
females age 16-49: 9,428,876 (2008 est.)
Manpower reaching militarily significant age annually: male: 288,605
female: 276,324 (2008 est.)
Military expenditures: 1.4% of GDP (2005 est.)
|Transnational Issues||Disputes – international: 1997 boundary delimitation treaty with Belarus remains un-ratified due to unresolved financial claims, stalling demarcation and reducing border security; delimitation of land boundary with Russia is complete with preparations for demarcation underway; the dispute over the boundary between Russia and Ukraine through the Kerch Strait and Sea of Azov remains unresolved despite a December 2003 framework agreement and ongoing expert-level discussions; Moldova and Ukraine operate joint customs posts to monitor transit of people and commodities through Moldova’s break-away Transnistria Region, which remains under OSCE supervision; the ICJ gave Ukraine until December 2006 to reply, and Romania until June 2007 to rejoin, in their dispute submitted in 2004 over Ukrainian-administered Zmiyinyy/Serpilor (Snake) Island and Black Sea maritime boundary; Romania opposes Ukraine’s reopening of a navigation canal from the Danube border through Ukraine to the Black Sea
Illicit drugs: limited cultivation of cannabis and opium poppy, mostly for CIS consumption; some synthetic drug production for export to the West; limited government eradication program; used as transshipment point for opiates and other illicit drugs from Africa, Latin America, and Turkey to Europe and Russia; Ukraine has improved anti-money-laundering controls, resulting in its removal from the Financial Action Task Force’s (FATF’s) Noncooperative Countries and Territories List in February 2004; Ukraine’s anti-money-laundering regime continues to be monitored by FATF