Ukraine

nds:Ukraine

Ukraine, formerly The Ukraine (when as a part of USSR), is a country in eastern Europe which borders the Black Sea to the south, the Russian Federation to the east, Belarus to the north and Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania and Moldova to the west.

Україна
Ukrayina

(In Detail)

National motto: "Volia, Zlahoda, Dobro"
(Ukrainian: Freedom, Accord, Goodness)
Official language Ukrainian
Capital Kyiv
President Leonid Kuchma
Prime minister Viktor Yanukovych
Area
 - Total
 - % water
Ranked 43rd
603,700 km2
Negligible
Population
 - Total (2002)
 - Density
Ranked 24th
48,396,470
80/km²
Independence
 - Date
From the Soviet Union
August 24, 1991
Currency Hryvnia
Time zone UTC +2
National anthem Sche ne vmerla Ukraina
Internet TLD.UA
Calling Code380

Table of contents
1 History
2 Politics
3 Regions
4 Geography
5 Economy
6 Demographics
7 Culture
8 Miscellaneous topics
9 External links

History

Main article: History of Ukraine

Current Ukrainian territory was a southern part and the site of the capital of the first Slavic state, Kievan Rus. The state was founded by Swedish Vikings, the so called Varangians or Rus' (see Rurik), who gave the Ukraine its first powerful dynasty, the Rurik dynasty. During the 10th and 11th centuries these Vikings in the east created the largest and most powerful state in Europe and, ironically, laid the foundation for Ukrainian nationalism through subsequent centuries. Weakened by internecine quarrels and Mongol invasions, soutern parts of Kievan Rus were incorporated into the Grand Duchy of Lithuania and eventually into the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth; northern parts formed Mongol dependent Muscovy (Moscow Rus). The Ukrainian province of the Commonwealth had considerable amount of freedoms and autonomy, while soon independent Muscovy turned into despotic tyranny.

During the mid-17th century an autonomous Ukrainian state, the Cossack Hetmanate, was established in the central Ukraine that remained for well over a century despite continuous Muscovite pressure. However, the rest of Ukraine, was split between Poland and Russia. During the latter part of the 18th century, central and eastern parts of Ukrainian ethnographic territory were annexed by the Russian Empire, with the west becoming part of Austria-Hungary. Following the Russian Revolution in 1917, Ukraine was briefly independent until 1920.

The country was reconquered and experienced a Soviet rule that engineered two genocidal famines (1921-1922 and 1932-1933) - known as the Holodomor - in which over 8 million died. In World War II, Nazi German and Soviet armies were responsible for some 7 million more deaths. However, after the WWII, Ukraine borders where extended to the West by shifting Poland, see Curzon line, and to the East by acquiring Crimea. Renewed independence was achieved in 1991 with the collapse of the Soviet Union and Ukraine was a founding member of the Commonwealth of Independent States.

Politics

Main article: Politics of Ukraine

Ukraine is a parliamentary democracy with separate executive, judicial, and legislative branches. The president, elected by popular vote for a five-year term, nominates the prime minister as well as the rest of the cabinet, who must be confirmed by the parliament.

The Ukrainian parliament is the unicameral Supreme Council or Verkhovna Rada which holds 450 seats, 225 of which are allocated on a proportional basis to those parties that gain 4% or more of the national electoral vote; the other 225 members are elected by popular vote in single-mandate constituencies. All members serve four-year terms and the parliament initiates legislation, ratifies international agreements, and approves the budget.

The national flag of Ukraine represents the blue sky over the wheat fields of the steppes. The two colours have long been used as banners for the Ukrainian people.

Regions

Main article: Regions of Ukraine

Ukraine is subdivided into 24 regions (oblasti, singular - oblast), 1 autonomous republic (avtomna respublika) in the Crimea, and 2 municipalities (mista, singular - misto) with regional status, marked by a *:

  • Cherkasy
  • Chernihiv
  • Chernivtsi
  • Dnipropetrovs'k
  • Donets'k
  • Ivano-Frankivs'k
  • Kharkiv
  • Kherson
  • Khmel'nyts'kyy
  • Kirovohrad
  • Kyiv *
  • Kyiv region
  • Luhans'k
  • L'viv
  • Mykolayiv
  • Odessa
  • Poltava
  • Republic of Crimea
  • Rivne
  • Sevastopol *
  • Sumy
  • Ternopil'
  • Vinnytsya
  • Volyn
  • Zakarpattya
  • Zaporizhzhya
  • Zhytomyr


Map

Geography

Main article: Geography of Ukraine

The Ukrainian landscape consists mostly of fertile plains or steppes and plateaus, crossed by rivers such as the Dniepr, Donets, Dnister and the Southern Bug as they flow down into the Black Sea and the smaller Sea of Azov. To the southwest the delta of the Danube forms the border with Romania. Mountains are found only in the western range of the Carpathian Mountains, of which the highest is the Hora Hoverla at 2,061 m, and in the Crimean peninsula in the extreme south along the coast.

Ukraine has a temperate continental climate, though a more mediterranean clime is found on the southern Crimean coast. Precipitation is disproportionately distributed; it's highest in the west and north and lesser in the 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, but generally hot in the south.

Economy

Main article: Economy of Ukraine

Formerly an important agricultural and industrial region of the Soviet Union, Ukraine now depends on Russia for most energy supplies, especially natural gas, and the lack of significant structural reform have made the Ukrainian economy vulnerable to external shocks. After 1991 the government liberalised most prices and erected a legal framework for privatisation, 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% the 1991 level. Loose monetary policies pushed inflation to hyperinflationary levels in late 1993.

The current government has pledged to reduce the number of government agencies, streamline the regulatory process, create a legal environment to encourage entrepreneurs, and enact a comprehensive tax overhaul. Reforms in the more politically sensitive areas of structural reform and land privatisation are still lagging. Outside institutions - particularly the IMF - have encouraged Ukraine to quicken the pace and scope of reforms and have threatened to withdraw financial support.

The GDP in 2000 showed strong export-based growth of 6% - the first growth since independence - and industrial production grew 12.9%. The economy continued to expand in 2001 as real GDP rose 9% and industrial output grew by over 14%. Growth was undergirded by strong domestic demand and growing consumer and investor confidence.

Demographics

Main article: Demographics of Ukraine

Ethnic Ukrainians make up about 75% of the total population, ethnic Russians number about 20%. The industrial regions in the east and southeast are the most heavily populated, and about 70% of the population is urban. Ukrainian (the official state language) and Russian are the principal languages and although Russian is very widely spoken most of the population identifies Ukrainian as their native language. Other minorities include small groups of Belarussians, Moldovans, Crimean Tatars, Bulgarians, Hungarians, Romanians, Poles and Jews.

The dominant religions are the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, an Eastern Orthodox church, and the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, which practices eastern Christian rites but recognises the Pope as head of the church. The largest part of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church belongs to the Moscow Patriarchy; however, following Ukrainian independence a separate Kyiv Patriarchy also was established, which declared independence from Moscow. In addition to these, there also is a Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church, as well as smaller Roman Catholic, Protestant, Jewish and Moslem communities.

Culture

Main article: Culture of Ukraine

Miscellaneous topics

External links


Countries of the world  |  Europe  |  Council of Europe

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