UKraine: The Truth Knowledge And The History Of

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE CIA FACT BOOK)

 

Ukraine

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.
History Early history

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
Main article: Kievan Rus’

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.[7] 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.

Foreign domination

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.

Independence

On July 16, 1990, the new parliament adopted the Declaration of State Sovereignty of Ukraine. The declaration established the principles of the self-determination of the Ukrainian nation, its democracy, political and economic independence, and the priority of Ukrainian law on the Ukrainian territory over Soviet law. A month earlier, a similar declaration was adopted by the parliament of the Russian SFSR. This started a period of confrontation between the central Soviet, and new republican authorities. In August 1991, a conservative faction among the Communist leaders of the Soviet Union attempted a coup to remove Mikhail Gorbachev and to restore the Communist party’s power. After the attempt failed, on August 24, 1991 the Ukrainian parliament adopted the Act of Independence in which the parliament declared Ukraine as an independent democratic state. A referendum and the first presidential elections took place on December 1, 1991. That day, more than 90 percent of the Ukrainian people expressed their support for the Act of Independence, and they elected the chairman of the parliament, Leonid Kravchuk to serve as the first President of the country. At the meeting in 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)
adjective: Ukrainian
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%
male: 99.7%
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: [1] (202) 333-0606
FAX: [1] (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: [380] (44) 490-4000
FAX: [380] (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%
industry: 31.7%
services: 58.9% (2008 est.)
Labor force: 21.71 million (2008 est.)
Labor force – by occupation: agriculture: 19.4%
industry: 24.2%
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%
hydro: 7.9%
nuclear: 43.5%
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

Americans Created Russian President For Life: Vlad ‘The Bad’ Putin

Americans Created Russian President For Life: Vlad ‘The Bad’ Putin

 

I’m not very proud of that title, but I do believe it to be the truth. We here on the news that President Putin has an approval rate of 86% in Russia by their countries people. A lot of our American politicians are on the south side of 20%.  If we are to believe the news programs here in the States then the Russian People are being lied to about what President Putin has been doing with Russia’s Sons and Daughters and the Russian People’s money. If what we are being told here in America is the truth this lowers President Putin to the level of George W Bush for being a liar and a War Criminal. O, by the way, we are being told that anti-American sentiment is at an all time high among the Russian People. What would President Putin’s poll numbers be if the Russian People were being told the truth about Crimea, Ukraine, Syria and His 200 billion dollar personal fortune our news programs say he has amassed for himself while he cuts his staff’s salaries and puts the full weight of the International Sanctions upon his people’s backs that he himself has personally caused? But then, we are forced to understand the fact that not everything we here on the news, or the things that come out of politicians mouths is always necessarily the actual real 100% truth!

 

Does your mind ever cross the thought of how someone like Mr Putin was ever able to get into power in Russia in the first place? I believe that Americans (not all of us) are a huge cause of this World Tragedy (Mr Putin coming into power and now gaining power). As you should be well aware of we have a lot of politicians, D.C Talking Heads, Holly Wood Producers, and some Generals who love to put their mouths in front of a microphone. Soon after the Berlin Wall came down in 1989 we started hearing derogatory comments, not so much about the Soviet Union, but a lot about the country of Russia itself. We would see and hear comments in movies and hear from the fore mentioned mouth pieces how backward the Russians were, often portraying them as less capable or as less educated as we Americans are. But, one big thing that is still being said today about Russia is how we are the only World Superpower, removing Russia and China from the former “Big Three”.

 

What we have done my friends is we have on purpose bad mouthed this Great Nation of Human Beings, we have been stomping on other Human Beings pride and shoving that stupidity in their faces. We went from being considered as a friendly nation into their perceived arch enemies once again. This arrogance, this ignorance, allowed a person like Mr. Putin the opportunity to come to power in Their Nation, with promising the people that he would bring their swagger back. Through his arrogance, his lies, and his evil KGB Mother Russian style brain he has been successful in doing so. There was and is no excuse for how Our Nations mouth pieces have treated the Russian People since the Soviet Union split up. Any nation who has Nuclear Weapons with multiple available delivery systems is a Super Power! If a country has the ability to wipe another country off the face of the earth, they do not need to have their national pride constantly being stomped on. If we as a Nation had/would have been treating the Russian People as respected friends, Mr Putin and Communist minds like his would never have come into power in the first place in Russia. It’s not just the Russian People we have been acting ignorant toward either, if you haven’t noticed there is a Big Red Star rising in the Far East.

Because Of President Putin I feel Sorry For The Russian People

Because Of President Putin I feel Sorry For The Russian People

 

Most people in their lives simply want certain basic things to be a reality for themselves and their loved ones. People want to feel safe in their own homes, communities, and countries. People want a safe and dependable economy so that they can afford housing and food along with such thing as social services, good schools, dependable utilities and regular trash pickup. They also want their government officials to have all these things at the top of their to get it done list, people want the government to work for their best interest, not always the politicians best interest. I am not saying that everything is perfect here in the U.S. because it isn’t. Our government at seemingly every level is only interested in their own bank accounts and getting reelected.

 

Depressing would be one way to describe the evil that saturates the worlds governments, and unfortunately the wonderful country of Russia and all of their people are in the Iron fist of a President that only seems to care about personal power and reforming a Communist Soviet Empire. When Mr Putin first took the reigns of power in Russia I had some high hopes for him and the Russian people because of the knowledge that his Mom was a Christ believing person even though he himself is an atheist.

 

I believe that the vast majority of the people in both of our countries want more than anything to live in peace with all nations and all people’s, but the current reality makes this hope quite futile. Mr Putin just like George W Bush, Dick Cheney, and Donald Rumsfeld, in my opinion, are all guilty of mass murder and they all should be arrested by the ICC, taken the the Hague, and tried for their crimes against humanity. I do believe that because of our current, illegal unconstitutional actions in Syria that President Trump should be added to this list of international criminals along with Presidents Assad and Putin. President Putin seems far more interested in power and domination of people and their countries over peace and prosperity for his own people. Spies and military career type people very seldom manage to be effective peace-loving leaders who put the people’s well-being first. The American leaders (Bush, Cheney) had no legal Constitutional right to invade Iraq and the blood of the people will be upon their hands when they stand at the Judgement Seat of Christ. President Putin is guilty of the spilled blood all over Crimea and Ukraine.  President Putin seems to have set as his main agenda the reoccupation of the former Soviet Satellite countries even though it would have best served all people in the region to have good relations with their neighbors for the purpose of economic growth and prosperity for their people.

 

America and Russia should have enough good sense to forge economic and security ties with each other for the benefit of all their citizens. Divide and conquer has been a war strategy since evil first entered the heart of mankind. There is a war coming that neither Russia, the US, Europe, Asia, or any of the other nations on earth are going to be able to avoid and the blood will run high upon all the lands and I am not speaking about these fore mentioned conflicts. Every nation on Earth will suffer for the current stupidity and egos of many of the worlds leaders actions of today’s time. I will fully explain exactly what Armageddon is in a soon to come post, this is not what I am speaking about at this moment, but what is going on IS a major building block toward that direction.

 

If you as a person who lives in Russia, or China, should be able to understand, as should all our leaders, there is a real Cancer on their door steps called Islam and they will never stop attacking until all of us/you are dead. We the people of the freedom loving world, and I do include the people of all Nations, even if our so-called leaders are either blind, ignorant, or just plain evil, want to be able to live in peace, but that is not going to happen. I know that this is not going to happen, but until all people of the world insist that all people who serve/believe in Allah as a god are removed from all the non-Islamic Nations we will always have hate filled mass murderers among us. Our current President here in the US seems to be ignorant to these realities of the Islamic faith, makes me wonder if he is either ignorant, or a traitor to the ideals of our fore fathers here in America.

 

The Russian and American nations are now at a crossroad in human history. We can all forge strong economic and security ties along with all of Europe and Asia or we can rot from the cancer of ignorance and hate. Any military General knows that if you can infiltrate your target from the inside then you can have a much better chance of victory when you attack from the outside. The last count I know of said there are about 18 million Islamist living within the American borders. There is absolutely nothing that is peaceful about Islam, their prophet orders that all people of the earth must die who are not completely devoted to, and worshiping servants of Allah, and then the spoils of Jihad will be theirs. This so-called “war on terrorism” will never end until the Second Advent of Christ. Life as we in civilized society know it is soon going to explode, these current days are going to be the “good ole days” for our children and their children, and that is a sad reality.

 

I beg the leaders of all Nations to quit fighting against each other, to form strong peaceful relationships with each other. All nations badly need to cultivate all needed energy resources that will totally eliminate all oil imports from all Islamic nations and quit giving the Islamic leaders/worshipers the financial and physical means to kill you and your families with.  Allah is not God, I know that the believers of Islam do believe that they are worshiping God the Father but they are mistaken, they have been mislead. I admire the believers of the Islamic faith for their devoutness to their beliefs, they put the followers of most other religions to shame in that respect. The word Allah is a very old Arabic name for God the Father so believing that they are worshiping God is very understandable. The trouble is that their faith/religion has been high-jacked and it is not God whom they are actually worshiping. Allah is the THE Anti Christ, for those who follow him will lose their Souls, lives, and their countries to pure evil.

Ukraine And Russian ‘Rebels’ Conduct Large Prisoner Swap

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TIME)

 

(HORLIVKA, Ukraine) — Ukrainian authorities and Russian-backed separatist rebels on Wednesday conducted the biggest exchange of prisoners since the start of an armed conflict in the country’s east and a sign of progress in the implementation of a 2015 peace deal.

Rebels from the self-proclaimed separatist republics in the Luhansk and Donetsk regions handed over 74 captives, while Ukraine‘s government delivered 233. Some had been held for more than a year.

Larisa Sargan, a spokeswoman for the Ukrainian prosecutor general’s office, said on Facebook that one of the 74 prisoners released by the separatists indicated she would stay in Donetsk.

Carrying their belonging, the prisoners were turned exchanged in the town of Horlivka and the village of Zaitseve, in an area dividing the separatist regions and Ukraine. One held a cat.

“I’m out of hell. I have survived,” said Yevhen Chudentsov, who served with one of Ukraine’s volunteer battalions in the east and was taken prisoner in February 2015.

Chudentsov said he faced threats and beatings while in rebel custody, and his front teeth were knocked out. He was initially sentenced to capital punishment, which was later changed to 30 years in prison. He said after his release in Horlivka that he would join the Ukrainian military again.

The exchange was supervised by observers from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, a trans-Atlantic security and rights group that has deployed monitors to eastern Ukraine.

The OSCE welcomed the swap and urged the two sides to build on the momentum from it.

“Allowing such a significant number of people, who have been held on both sides, to return home before the New Year and Orthodox Christmas is a very welcome development,” said Austrian Foreign Minister Karin Kneissl, the OSCE chairman. “Today’s exchange is not only a humanitarian act but also a helpful step in confidence-building.”

Ukraine was supposed to release 306 people, but dozens chose to stay in Ukraine or had been freed earlier, said Viktor Medvedchuk, who monitored the exchange on the Ukrainian side.

Many of the captives were not combatants. Some were activists and bloggers who were charged with spying or treason.

Anatoly Slobodyanik, one of the prisoners traded by Ukraine, said he didn’t want to go to the rebel side and would return to his home town of Odessa.

“I’m not guilty of anything and I don’t want to go to the other side,” he said.

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko praised the Ukrainian prisoners held by the rebels for their endurance.

“I’m grateful to all those who remained loyal to Ukraine in those unbearable conditions,” Poroshenko said while greeting the free captives. “They have shown their adherence to the principles of freedom and independence.”

The Ukrainian leader also hailed German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron for helping organize the exchange.

Merkel and Macron welcomed the swap, saying in a joint statement that they “encourage the parties to the conflict also to enable the exchange of the remaining prisoners, grant the International Committee of the Red Cross full access and support the ICRC’s search for missing people.”

The simmering conflict between the separatists and government troops in eastern Ukraine has killed more than 10,000 people since 2014.

The 2015 deal brokered by France and Germany and signed in Minsk, the Belarusian capital, envisioned a prisoner exchange, but the two sides argued continuously over lists of captives and only a few dozen had been traded prior to Wednesday. Separatist leaders and a Ukrainian government representative finally agreed to the exchange last week, with the head of the Russian Orthodox Church acting as mediator.

Merkel and Macron emphasized that the exchange and a recommitment to a comprehensive cease-fire “should also serve to build up confidence between the parties to the conflict, also with a view to the full implementation of the Minsk agreements.”

The North Korean spies Ukraine caught stealing missile plans

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF CNN)

 

The North Korean spies Ukraine caught stealing missile plans

Updated 4:50 PM ET, Thu August 24, 2017

Zhytomyr, Ukraine (CNN) The images are a little grainy, but in the half-light of a dusty Ukrainian garage, you can sense the unbridled enthusiasm of the two North Korean spies who are photographing what they think are top-secret missile designs.

In a rare window into the opaque, deadly and secretive world of missile technology espionage, Ukrainian security services have given CNN surveillance footage and details of an elaborate sting operation they carried out to snare two North Korean spies in 2011.
The revelations are aimed at dispelling claims that a recent leap forward in Pyongyang’s intercontinental missile technology may have been achieved by using designs stolen or originating from Ukraine.

Video from North Korean state media purports to show the launching of an intercontinental ballistic missile.

The claims are made in a report released by analysts at the International Institute of Strategic Studies (IISS) on August 14 which says technology, possibly from Ukraine’s Yuzhnoye Design Office in Dnipro, was used in recent North Korean missile tests.
In July, North Korea successfully tested two intercontinental ballistic missiles(ICBMs) — the KN-14 or Hwasong-14. At the time, Pyongyang claimed they were capable of carrying a “large-sized heavy nuclear warhead” as far as the US mainland.
Ukraine has denied any link to North Korea’s long-range missiles, and said Russia may instead have provided Pyongyang with the improved missile designs. Russia has denied supporting North Korea’s arms program.
An officer with Ukraine’s security service, who worked on the 2011 case of the two North Koreans and who we granted anonymity because of his operational role, insisted it was “impossible” North Korea had obtained any missile technology, as he was sure their espionage attempts had all been intercepted.
He said that in 2011 two other North Koreans — who traveled to Ukraine from the country’s Moscow Embassy — were deported after they were caught trying to obtain “missile munitions, homing missile devices in particular for air-to-air class missiles.” A third North Korean, tasked with transporting the actual devices out of Ukraine, was also deported.
And as recently as 2015, five North Koreans were deported for “assisting North Korea’s intelligence work in Ukraine,” the officer said, without providing further details.
He said, apart from the two in jail, there were no North Koreans left in Ukraine, as those not deported by Ukraine had been voluntarily withdrawn — many working in alternative medicine centers.

The hallway to the cell where X5 is serving out his 8-year sentence in Ukraine.

North Koreans guilty of espionage

The two North Korean spies seen on the grainy surveillance footage are currently serving eight-year prison sentences for espionage in the Ukrainian town of Zhytomyr, 140 kilometers (87 miles) west of Kiev.
Ukrainian officials allowed CNN inside the prison facilities to see if they would grant interviews under guard supervision.
The elder inmate is a man in his fifties from the North Korean capital of Pyongyang who is known in court documents as X5. He is gaunt, compared to the fuller frame he had in the surveillance videos, and speaks lightly-accented Russian.
His younger accomplice is a technical expert known as X32.
They are the only such spies in Ukrainian custody, although officials say they have on several occasions intercepted North Korean attempts to access their missile secrets, and as a result in 2016 effectively barred all North Koreans from the country.

The door to a cell where X5 is serving his prison term.

The sting

The grainy surveillance video provided to CNN was filmed on July 27, 2011, on a hidden camera set up within a garage to capture the end of a sting operation that was months in the planning.
The two suspects can be seen moments before Ukrainian security service agents burst in and arrest them.

How 2 North Korean spies were caught

How 2 North Korean spies were caught 03:37
The Ukrainian missile experts they had been courting in the weeks before had informed on them to Ukrainian counter-intelligence agents.
As a result, authorities had detailed knowledge of the information they sought — “ballistic missiles, missile systems, missile construction, spacecraft engines, solar batteries, fast-emptying fuel tanks, mobile launch containers, powder accumulators and military government standards,” according to the court papers from their 2012 trial.
Some of the information related to the SS-24 Scalpel intercontinental ballistic missile, the court papers add. The SS-24 Scalpel, also known as the RT-23, is a solid-fueled missile capable of carrying up to 10 warheads that was launched via missile silos or railroad cars.
Why North Korea wants nukes and missiles

North Korea has long maintained it wants nuclear weapons and long-range missiles in order to deter the United States from attempting to overthrow the regime of Kim Jong Un.

Pyongyang looks at states like Iraq — where former dictator Saddam Hussein was overthrown by the United States, and Libya — the country’s late leader, Moammar Gaddafi, gave up his nuclear ambitions for sanctions relief and aid, only to be toppled and killed after the US intervened in the country’s civil unrest — and believes that only being able to threaten the US homeland with a retaliatory nuclear strike can stop American military intervention.

The mobile rail missile SS-24 system was banned in the late 1990s under the START-II treaty between the US and Russia, however the ban never came into effect. The design and production of the missile system was most recently held by Ukraine but, according to GlobalSecurity.org, the country ended production of the missile in 1995.
The Ukraine security footage gives a rare window into the elaborate and shadowy world of North Korea’s bid to improve its ability to hit the United States and other adversaries with long-range missiles.
The court documents also reveal startlingly human moments during the operation.
The two nervous men continually whisper to each other the material they seek is “secret,” and worry the flash batteries may run out on their PowerShot and Coolpix cameras as they photograph the dummy designs.
Speaking briefly to CNN in the jail where he now makes cement railings and iron rods to pass prison time, X5 confirmed he had “partially” admitted his guilt.

'X5' is seen working at a prison near Zhytomyr, Ukraine.

The court papers say he insisted his job, as a trade representative in the North Korean embassy in neighboring Belarus, was merely to arrange training in missile technology for North Korean experts — information he didn’t think was classified. He even tried to get one expert, the papers allege, to travel to North Korea and teach there.
Dressed in dark blue overalls and a cloth cap, mixing cement, X5 said he “of course” wanted to return to North Korea, and had not spoken to his family or anyone there since his arrest.
“I am serving my term of punishment. They feed us well here, we work… I don’t want to give an interview for the preservation of my safety and that of my family.”
He shares a well-lit cell with a TV with eight other convicts, and sleeps in a double bunk bed, with pots of vitamins and toiletries his only obvious possessions.

X5 shares a cell with 8 other convicts, and sleeps in a double bunk bed.

The second convict, X32, agreed to meet CNN, but immediately declined to be interviewed, covering the camera lens with his hand and walking away.
He has not admitted his guilt and is held in a more relaxed facility where he makes furniture to pass the time.
Denys Chernyshov, Ukraine’s deputy minister for justice, said the men had been met once by two officials from North Korea’s Moscow embassy, but otherwise had no contact at all with their relatives or North Korea.
“They have asked Ukrainian authorities to be extradited to North Korea to continue their sentence,” he said. “But because they are held for spying for North Korea, we obviously declined their request.”
Chernyshov added the pair were well-trained.
“To be isolated in another country and culture, with different food even, that brings about a particular stress,” he said. “So it is clear these are well prepared, strong people.”
However, he added North Korea may not turn out to be that welcoming when they likely travel home in September 2018, at the end of their sentences.
“That their task was unsuccessful, they cannot expect much of a hero’s welcome on their return.”

The Trump Family: Are They Guilty Of Treason And Tax Evasion/Fraud?

 

This question unfortunately could be directed at the Clinton family or even the Bush family but today I am asking this question about the President and his family. I am not a fan of any of these families as they have all proven to be power-hungry, money hungry habitual liars. I believe that most Americans knew that Hillary Clinton has had real trouble in her life with finding out a way to not lie when she opens her mouth and I believe that this is one of the many reasons that people like myself could not vote for her last November. By what I hear from other folks they said that they were willing to give Donald Trump a chance to see if he would tell the truth on domestic and foreign agendas. I know that a lot of us are now very unhappy with his ability to ever tell the truth. Part of the Presidents issues are his King Kong size ego, and his peanut size brain. During the campaign he often spoke of how intelligent he was, how he knew more that most everyone on every thing, like how he knew more than the Generals concerning the Middle-East. Now that he has been in Office for about six months he has proven to the whole world that he is pretty much nothing but an idiot, and an ass. The whole world has learned that there is no way they can trust anything that he says. Another issue with our President is his constant lying and the fact that he tells so many lies each day that he can’t remember one line of BS he has told from one morning till the afternoon. Yet this article today isn’t about his massive ignorance of almost every issue on the planet, it is about if he and his family have committed treason concerning Russia and if he is guilty of massive tax evasion and tax fraud.

 

 

These are not accusations, they are questions, very important questions that ‘We The People’ absolutely need to know the whole truth about very, very soon. To me it appears there is no doubt about President Trump and several in his inner circle have lied many times about their connections with the Russian government which in Russia means President Putin. They have tried to hide many meetings with Russian officials, lying to the Congress and the American people about those meeting and connections. There are reasons that these people have collective memory loss when it concerns Russia. Even our Attorney General who is supposed to be Americas top ‘law enforcement’ officer lied to Congress and the people more than once on this issue. Folks, do you really think that all of these folks have Dementia? I don’t, there are reasons that these people are lying to us. Just like Attorney General Jeff Sessions who is such a hardliner about putting as many poor people as possible in prisons for as long as possible, is there another reason he is like this? Turns out that Mr. Sessions has a lot of stock in the two largest ‘Prison for Profit” companies in the Country. When Mr. Sessions was confirmed to be the new AG his own personal fortune in these two stocks skyrocketed. And to think, he is the ‘top Cop’ in our Country. As you most likely noticed I said putting poor people in jail, if he was really doing his job he would have to arrest the President and several of his personal staff then resign at once and put himself in one of his own prisons. I know that I am like most folks in that I am sick and tired of these crooked habitual lying “Leaders.”

 

In the years before Mr. Trump officially announced that he was going to run for President again and even early in the campaign he used to openly brag about all of his investments in Russia and business deals he had with well-connected Russians here in the States. Remember, he used to even brag on national television how he had met President Putin before but once elected denied that he ever said that. Maybe if he could learn to be truthful all of the time then maybe his peanut brain could at least remember events correctly then, but I personally doubt it. During these past couple of days there is news coming out from the New York Times about a meeting last June at the New York Trump Tower where Donald Trump Jr., Son-in-law Jarred Kushner, and then Campaign Manager Paul Manafort had an arranged meeting with a Russian lawyer who is well-connected to the Russian government. This meeting seemed to be ‘forgotten’ by all of the Trump ‘team’ that attended, what a coincidence. Paul Manafort is extremely well-connected to the deposed President of UKraine whom was nothing but a Putin proxy who now lives in Moscow. Since Mr. Manafort was forced to step down from being Trumps Campaign Manager he has since registered as a ‘Foreign Agent going all the way back to 2012’ because of his Russian ties just like their former Nation Security Director Michael Flynn had to step down because of lies about his financial ties with the Russian government and with the Dictator Erdogan of Turkey, Flynn has also now registered as a foreign agent.

 

Last fall Jared Kushner met with the Chief Executive of the Russian State owned (VNB) in Moscow. This Bank has been sanctioned by the U.S. and NATO and once this is done we are not supposed to inner act with Officials of sanctioned banks. O, also, Mr. Kushner forgot to mention this meeting too. To me I have an issue concerning Donald Trumps tax returns. With all of these secret meetings with Russian Officials that all these folks lied about under oath it is getting more difficult to believe any thing except this President and his family are simply doing what they have always done they are putting “the Trump Bank Accounts first”, not the American people. Mr. Trump used to brag about his Florida Golf Club being worth one hundred million dollars to his guests yet on his taxes he valued it as being worth one million dollars. Just to be a member there the cost was one hundred thousand dollars per year, when he became President he upped the fee to two hundred thousand per year. If an average citizen of this Country pulled something like that on our taxes we would quickly be convicted of tax evasion and thrown into a Federal Prison for the rest of our lives. I do believe that the Congress and the Senate should do what ever they have to do to make all of the Trump advisers and the President himself required to immediately be forced to release their tax returns for the past ten years. ‘We The People’ have the absolute right to know who our Leaders serve and to know if they are the criminals they appear to be. It does appear that Mr. Trumps slogan should not have been “putting America first” as it should have been “putting the Trump family first, and only.”

 

 

Kiev Pledges Reform for NATO Road Map as US Urges Russia to Ease Tensions in Ukraine

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SAUDI NEWS AGENCY ASHARQ AL-AWSAT)

World

Kiev Pledges Reform for NATO Road Map as US Urges Russia to Ease Tensions in Ukraine

NATO

Ukraine President Petro Poroshenko vowed on Monday that his country will carry out reforms for it to meet the necessary standards to be able to join the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).

He added that Kiev and NATO will begin discussions on a roadmap to get Ukraine into the alliance by 2020.

His announcement came a day after US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson urged, during a visit to Kiev, Russia to take the “first steps” in easing the violence in eastern Ukraine.

At loggerheads with Russia and fighting a Kremlin-backed insurgency in eastern Ukraine, Ukraine passed a law in June prioritizing NATO membership as a foreign policy goal.

Speaking alongside Poroshenko on a visit to the Ukrainian capital, Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg pledged the alliance’s support for Ukraine as it faces a bloody insurgency by pro-Russian separatists in the east.

“Russia has maintained its aggressive actions against Ukraine, but NATO and NATO allies stand by Ukraine and stand on your side,” Stoltenberg said in his opening remarks of the NATO-Ukraine Commission session in Kiev.

Ukraine and the West accuse Moscow of smuggling weapons and troops across the porous border, a charge it denies. The US and European Union have imposed sanctions on Russia, though Moscow has denied backing the rebels.

“Ukraine has clearly defined its political future and future in the sphere of security,” Poroshenko told reporters.

“Today we clearly stated that we would begin a discussion about a membership action plan and our proposals for such a discussion were accepted with pleasure.”

NATO leaders agreed at a summit in 2008 that Ukraine would one day become a member of the alliance and the country already contributes troops to NATO missions including in Afghanistan.

A formal NATO membership plan for Ukraine would mean meeting targets on political, economic and defense reforms, with national plans submitted annually to show progress.

But there are even larger barriers.

NATO rules state that aspiring members must “settle their international disputes by peaceful means”, meaning Ukraine would need to resolve the Donbass conflict — an insurgency by pro-Russian forces — that has so far killed more than 10,000 people.

Responding to Stoltenberg’s comments, the Kremlin said on Monday that Russia does not have troops in Ukraine.

It added: “Ukraine’s possible NATO membership will not boost stability and security in Europe.”

On Sunday, Tillerson visited Kiev and said Russia must make the first move in staunching the violence in eastern Ukraine.

Russia must take the first steps to de-escalate violence in eastern Ukraine, he said after meeting Poroshenko. He added that Washington’s primary goal is the restoration of Ukrainian territorial integrity.

Tillerson’s tough talk clearly pleased Poroshenko, who has long complained about Russian interference in his country’s east and has watched nervously as the Trump administration has sought to improve ties with Moscow.

He thanked Tillerson for the continued US commitment to Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity and expressed deep appreciation for his “symbolic and timely visit immediately after the meetings at the G20 in Hamburg” where US President Donald Trump met with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin.

The conflict in eastern Ukraine and Russia’s annexation of the Ukrainian peninsula of Crimea in 2014 have driven ties between Moscow and the West to their lowest point since the Cold War.

“We are also here to demonstrate NATO’s solidarity with Ukraine and our firm support for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of your country,” Stoltenberg said.

“NATO allies do not and will not recognize Russia’s illegal and illegitimate annexation of Crimea.”

Ukraine sees NATO accession as a way to bolster its defenses against former master Moscow.

However, Kiev has yet to officially apply to start the lengthy and politically challenging process of joining the alliance.

Asharq Al-Awsat English

Asharq Al-Awsat English

Asharq Al-Awsat is the world’s premier pan-Arab daily newspaper, printed simultaneously each day on four continents in 14 cities. Launched in London in 1978, Asharq Al-Awsat has established itself as the decisive publication on pan-Arab and international affairs, offering its readers in-depth analysis and exclusive editorials, as well as the most comprehensive coverage of the entire Arab world.

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