Ukraine

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This article is about the country. For other uses, see Ukraine (disambiguation).
Ukraine
Україна
FlagCoat of arms
Anthem: Shche ne vmerla Ukraina


"Ukraine has Not Yet Died"


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Location of  Ukraine  (green)in Europe  (dark grey) (disputed territory in light green)
Location of  Ukraine  (green)

in Europe  (dark grey)
(disputed territory in light green)
Capital


and largest city
Coat of arms of Kiev.svg Kiev


50°27′N 30°30′E / 50.450°N 30.500°E / 50.450; 30.500
Official languagesUkrainian
Recognised regional languages
Ethnic groups (2001)
  • 77.8% Ukrainians
  • 17.3% Russians
  • 4.9% others/unspecified
DemonymUkrainian
GovernmentUnitary semi-presidential


constitutional republic
 - PresidentPetro Poroshenko
 - Prime MinisterArseniy Yatsenyuk
 - Chairman of ParliamentOleksandr Turchynov
LegislatureVerkhovna Rada
Formation
 - Kievan Rus'882 
 - Kingdom of


Galicia–Volhynia
1199 
 - Zaporizhian Host17 August 1649 
 - Ukrainian National Republic7 November 1917 
 - West Ukrainian National Republic1 November 1918 
 - Ukrainian SSR10 March 1919 
 - Carpatho-Ukraine8 October 1938 
 - Soviet annexation


of Western Ukraine
15 November 1939 
 - Declaration of


Ukrainian Independence
30 June 1941 
 - Independence from


the Soviet Union
24 August 1991a 
Area
 - Total603,628 km2 (46th)


or 233,062 sq mi
 - Water (%)7
Population
 - 2013 estimate44,573,205 (29th)
 - 2001 census48,457,102
 - Density73.8/km2 (115th)


191/sq mi
GDP (PPP)2013 estimate
 - Total$337.360 billion
 - Per capita$7,422
GDP (nominal)2013 estimate
 - Total$175.527 billion
 - Per capita$3,862
Gini (2010)25.6


low
HDI (2012)Increase 0.740


high · 78th
CurrencyUkrainian hryvnia (UAH)
Time zoneEastern European Time (UTC+2)
 - Summer (DST)Eastern European Summer Time (UTC+3)
Drives on theright
Calling code+380
ISO 3166 codeUA
Internet TLD
  • .ua
  • .укр
a.An independence referendum was held on 1 December, after which Ukrainian independence was finalized on 26 December. The current constitution was adopted on 28 June 1996.
Ukraine (Listeni/juːˈkreɪn/; Ukrainian: Україна, transliterated: Ukrayina, [ukrɑˈjinɑ]) is a country in Eastern Europe. It has an area of 603,628 km2 (233,062 sq mi), making it the largest country entirely within Europe. Ukraine borders Russia to the east and northeast, Belarus to the northwest, Poland, Slovakia and Hungary to the west, Romania and Moldova to the southwest, and the Black Sea and Sea of Azov to the south and southeast, respectively.

The territory of Ukraine has been inhabited for at least 44,000 years, and is the prime candidate site for the domestication of the horse and for the origins of the Indo-European language family.

In the Middle Ages, the area became a key center of East Slavic culture, as epitomized by the powerful state of Kievan Rus'. Following its fragmentation in the 13th century, the territory of Ukraine was contested, ruled and divided by a variety of powers. A Cossack republic emerged and prospered during the 17th and 18th centuries, but Ukraine remained otherwise divided until its consolidation into a Soviet republic in the 20th century, becoming an independent state only in 1991.

Ukraine has long been a global breadbasket because of its extensive, fertile farmlands. As of 2011, it was the world's third-largest grain exporter with that year's harvest being much larger than average. Ukraine is one of the ten most attractive agricultural land acquisition regions. Additionally, the country has a well-developed manufacturing sector, particularly in aerospace and industrial equipment.

Ukraine is a unitary republic under a semi-presidential system with separate powers: legislative, executive, and judicial branches. Its capital and largest city is Kiev. Since the dissolution of the Soviet Union, Ukraine continues to maintain the second-largest military in Europe, after that of Russia, when reserves and paramilitary personnel are taken into account.

The country is home to 45.4 million people (including Crimea), 77.8% of whom are Ukrainians by ethnicity, and with a sizable minority of Russians (17%), as well as Belarusians, Tatars, Moldavians and Hungarians. Ukrainian is the official language of Ukraine; its alphabet is Cyrillic. Russian is also still widely spoken. The dominant religion in the country is Eastern Orthodox Christianity, which has strongly influenced Ukrainian architecture, literature and music.

There are different hypotheses as to the etymology of the name Ukraine. According to the older and most widespread hypothesis, it means "borderland", while more recently some linguistic studies claim a different meaning: "homeland" or "region, country". "The Ukraine" was once the usual form in English but since the Declaration of Independence of Ukraine, "the Ukraine" has become much less common in the English-speaking world and style-guides largely recommend not using the definite article.

Contents

                History

                Main article: History of Ukraine

                Early history

                Human settlement in Ukraine and its vicinity dates back to 32,000 BC, with evidence of the Gravettian culture in the Crimean Mountains. By 4,500 BC, the Neolithic Cucuteni-Trypillian Culture flourished in a wide area that included 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. The Goths stayed in the area but came under the sway of the Huns from the 370s AD. In the 7th century AD, the territory of eastern Ukraine was the centre of Old Great Bulgaria. At the end of the century, the majority of Bulgar tribes migrated in different directions, and the Khazars took over much of the land.

                Golden Age of Kiev

                Main article: Kievan Rus'



                The baptism of the Grand Prince Vladimir led to the adoption of Christianity in Kievan Rus'.
                Kievan Rus' was founded by the Rus' people, Varangians who first settled there around Ladoga and Novgorod, then gradually moved southward eventually reaching Kiev about 880. Kievan Rus' included the western part of modern Ukraine, Belarus, with larger part of it situated on the territory of modern Russia. According to the Primary Chronicle the Rus' elite initially consisted of Varangians from Scandinavia.

                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'.

                The Varangians later assimilated into the local Slavic population and became part of the first Rus' dynasty, the Rurik Dynasty. Kievan Rus' was composed of several principalities ruled by the interrelated Rurikid knyazes ("princes"). The seat of Kiev, the most prestigious and influential of all principalities, became the subject of many rivalries among Rurikids because it was 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 II Monomakh (1113–1125) and his son Mstislav (1125–1132), Kievan Rus' finally disintegrated into separate principalities following Mstislav's death.

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

                Danylo Romanovych (Daniel I of Galicia or Danylo Halytskyi) son of Roman Mstyslavych, re-united all of south-western Rus', including Volhynia, Galicia and Rus' ancient capital of Kiev. Danylo was crowned by the papal archbishop in Dorohychyn 1253 as the first King of all Rus'. Under Danylo's reign, the Kingdom of Galicia–Volhynia was one of the most powerful states in east central Europe.

                Foreign domination

                See also: Grand Duchy of Lithuania, Crown of the Kingdom of Poland, Crimean Khanate, Ottoman Empire, Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth and Russian Empire



                The Tatar Khanate of Crimea was one of the strongest powers in Eastern Europe until the end of the 17th century.



                Bohdan Khmelnytsky, "Hetman of Ukraine", established an independent Ukraine after the uprising in 1648 against Poland.
                In the mid-14th century, upon the death of Bolesław Jerzy II of Mazovia, king Casimir III of Poland initiated campaigns (1340–1366) to take Galicia-Volhynia. Meanwhile the heartland of Rus', including Kiev, became the territory of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, ruled by Gediminas and his successors, after the Battle on the Irpen' River. Following the 1386 Union of Krewo, a dynastic union between Poland and Lithuania, much of what became northern Ukraine was ruled by the increasingly Slavicised local Lithuanian nobles as part of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, and by 1392 the so-called Galicia–Volhynia Wars ended. Polish colonisers of depopulated lands in northern and central Ukraine founded or refounded many towns. In 1430 Podolia was incorporated under the Crown of the Kingdom of Poland as Podolian Voivodeship. In 1441, in the southern Ukraine, especially Crimea and surrounding steppes, Genghisid prince Haci I Giray founded the Crimean Khanate.



                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) was included in the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth as of 1619, seen in this outline.



                The Cossack Hetmanate is considered as a direct ancestor of today's Ukraine.
                In 1569 the Union of Lublin established the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth, and a considerable part of Ukrainian territory was transferred from the Grand Duchy of Lithuania to the Crown of the Kingdom of Poland, becoming Polish territory de jure. Under the demographic, cultural and political pressure of Polonisation begun already in late 14th century, many landed gentry of Polish Ruthenia (another name for the land of Rus) converted to Catholicism and became indistinguishable from the Polish nobility. Deprived of native protectors among Rus nobility, the commoners (peasants and townspeople) began turning for protection to the emerging Zaporozhian Cossacks, who by the 17th century became devoutly Orthodox. The Cossacks did not shy from taking up arms against those they perceived as enemies, including the Polish state and its local representatives.

                The Crimean Khanate was one of the strongest powers in Eastern Europe until the 18th century; at one point it even succeeded, under the Crimean khan Devlet I Giray, in capturing and devastating Moscow. The population of the borderlands suffered annual Tatar invasions and tens of thousands of soldiers were required to protect the southern boundaries. From the beginning of the 16th century until the end of 17th century, the Crimean Tatar raiding bands made almost annual forays into agricultural Slavic lands in search of captives for sale as slaves, exporting about 2 million slaves from Russia and Ukraine over the period 1500–1700. According to Orest Subtelny, "from 1450 to 1586, eighty-six Tatar raids were recorded, and from 1600 to 1647, seventy." In 1688, Tatars captured a record number of 60,000 Ukrainians. The Tatar raids took a heavy toll, discouraging settlement in more southerly regions where the soil was better and the growing season was longer. Muscovy, Poland-Lithuania, Moldavia and Wallachia were all subjected to extensive slave raiding. The last remnant of the Crimean Khanate was finally conquered by the Russian Empire in 1783. The Taurida Governorate was formed to govern this territory.

                In the mid-17th century, a Cossack military quasi-state, the Zaporozhian Host, was formed by Dnieper Cossacks and by Ruthenian peasants who had fled Polish serfdom. Poland exercised little real control over this population, but found the Cossacks to be a useful opposing force to the Turks and Tatars, and at times the two were allies in military campaigns. However the continued harsh enserfment of peasantry by Polish nobility and especially the suppression of the Orthodox Church alienated the Cossacks.

                The Cossacks sought representation in the Polish Sejm, recognition of Orthodox traditions, and the gradual expansion of the Cossack Registry. These were rejected by the Polish nobility, who dominated the Sejm.

                In 1648, Bohdan Khmelnytsky and Petro Doroshenko led the largest of the Cossack uprisings against the Commonwealth and the Polish king John II Casimir.

                The Ruin

                Main article: The Ruin (Ukrainian history)



                The Battle of Poltava in 1709, as depicted by Denis Martens the Younger, 1726



                Kyrylo Rozumovskyi, the last Hetman of left- and right-bank Ukraine 1750–1764, was, in May 1763, the first person to declare Ukraine to be a sovereign state.
                In 1657–1686 came "The Ruin", a devastating 30-year war amongst Russia, Poland, Turks and Cossacks for control of Ukraine, which occurred at about the same time as the Deluge of Poland. For three years, Khmelnytsky's armies controlled present-day western and central Ukraine, but, deserted by his Tatar allies, he suffered a crushing defeat at Berestechko, and turned to the Russian tsar for help.

                In 1654, Khmelnytsky signed the Treaty of Pereyaslav, forming a military and political alliance with Russia that acknowledged loyalty to the tsar. The wars escalated in intensity with hundreds of thousands of deaths. Defeat came in 1686 as the "Eternal Peace" between Russia and Poland gave Kiev and the Cossack lands east of the Dnieper over to Russian rule and the Ukrainian lands west of the Dnieper to Poland.

                In 1709, Cossack Hetman Ivan Mazepa (1639–1709) sided with Sweden against Russia in the Great Northern War (1700–1721). This brilliant political and military leader enjoyed good relations with the Romanov dynasty. After Peter the Great became tsar, Mazepa as hetman gave him more than twenty years of loyal military and diplomatic service and was well rewarded.

                Eventually Peter recognized that to consolidate and modernize Russia's political and economic power it was necessary to do away with the hetmanate and Ukrainian and Cossack aspirations to autonomy. Mazepa joined the Poles and Swedes against Russia. The move was disastrous for the hetmanate, Ukrainian autonomy, and Mazepa. He died in exile after fleeing from the Battle of Poltava (1709), where the Swedes and their Cossack allies suffered a catastrophic defeat at the hands of Peter's Russian forces.

                The hetmanate was abolished in 1764; the Zaporizhska Sich abolished in 1775, as Russia centralised control over its lands. As part of the partitioning of Poland in 1772, 1793 and 1795, the Ukrainian lands west of the Dnieper were divided between Russia and Austria. From 1737 to 1834, expansion into the northern Black Sea littoral and the eastern Danube valley was a cornerstone of Russian foreign policy.

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

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

                After the Russians annexed the Crimean Khanate in 1783, the region called New Russia was settled by Ukrainian and Russian migrants. Despite the promises of Ukrainian autonomy given by the Treaty of Pereyaslav, the Ukrainian elite and the Cossacks never received the freedoms and the autonomy they were expecting from Imperial Russia. However, within the Empire, Ukrainians rose to the highest Russian state and church offices. [a] At a later period, tsarists established a policy of Russification of Ukrainian lands, suppressing the use of the Ukrainian language in print, and in public.

                19th century, World War I and revolution

                Main article: Ukrainian War of Independence
                Further information: Ukraine during World War I, Russian Civil War and Ukraine after the Russian Revolution



                Mykhailo Hrushevskyi, President of the Central Council of Ukraine.



                Leonid Perfetsky picture representing a conflict between the soldiers of Ukrainian Galician Army and Volunteer Army in the streets of Kiev during their joint operation against the Bolsheviks in August 1919.



                Ukraine in 1918



                Pavlo Skoropadskyi, Hetman of Ukraine



                Symon Petliura — national leader, head of Directory of Ukraine.
                In the 19th century, Ukraine was a rural area largely ignored by Russia and Austria. With growing urbanization and modernization, and a cultural trend toward romantic nationalism, a Ukrainian intelligentsia committed to national rebirth and social justice emerged. The serf-turned-national-poet Taras Shevchenko (1814–1861) and the political theorist Mykhailo Drahomanov (1841–1895) led the growing nationalist movement.

                After Ukraine and Crimea became aligned with the Russian Empire in the Russo-Turkish War (1768–1774), significant German immigration occurred after it was encouraged by Catherine the Great and her immediate successors. Immigration was encouraged into Ukraine and especially the Crimea by Catherine in her proclamation of open migration to the Russian Empire. Immigration was encouraged for Germans and other Europeans to thin the previously dominant Turk population and encourage more complete use of farmland.

                Beginning in the 19th century, there was a continuous migration from Ukraine to settle the distant areas of the Russian Empire. According to the 1897 census, there were 223,000 ethnic Ukrainians in Siberia and 102,000 in Central Asia. An additional 1.6 million emigrated to the east in the ten years after the opening of the Trans-Siberian Railway in 1906.

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

                Ukrainians entered World War I 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 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).

                World War I brought about the end of the Russian and Austro-Hungarian empires. The Russian Revolution of 1917 ended the Russia empire, led to the founding of the Soviet Union under the Bolsheviks, and subsequent civil war in Russia. A Ukrainian national movement for self-determination reemerged, with heavy Communist and Socialist influence. 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 and the Hutsul Republic emerged briefly in the former Austro-Hungarian territory. This led to civil war, and an anarchist movement called the Black Army led by Nestor Makhno, developed in Southern Ukraine during that war.

                However, Poland defeated Western Ukraine in the Polish-Ukrainian War, but failed against the Bolsheviks in an offensive against Kiev. According to the Peace of Riga concluded between the Soviets and Poland, western Ukraine was officially incorporated into Poland, which in turn recognised the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic in March 1919. With establishment of the Soviet power in Ukraine, the country lost half of its territory: the eastern Galicia was given to Poland, Pripyat marshes region – to Belarus, half of Sloboda Ukraine and northern fringes of Severia were passed to Russia, while on the left bank of Dniester River was created Moldavian autonomy. Eventually, Ukraine became a founding member of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics or the Soviet Union in December 1922.

                Western Ukraine, Carpathian Ruthenia and Bukovina




                Portrait of Hutsuls, living in Carpathian Ruthenia, c. 1902
                See also: Ruthenians and Ukrainians in Czechoslovakia (1918–1938)
                The war in Ukraine continued for another two years; by 1921, however, most of Ukraine had been taken over by the Soviet Union, while Galicia and Volhynia (West Ukraine) were incorporated into independent Poland. Bukovina was annexed by Romania and Carpathian Ruthenia, with mediation of the United States, was admitted to the Czechoslovakian Republic as an autonomy.

                A powerful underground Ukrainian nationalist movement arose in Poland in the 1920s and 1930s due to Polish national policies in Western Ukraine, which was led by the Ukrainian Military Organization and the Organisation of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN). The movement attracted a militant following among students. Hostilities between state authorities and the popular movement led to a substantial number of fatalities. The autonomy which had been promised Eastern Galicia (West Ukraine) was never implemented. A number of Ukrainian parties, the Ukrainian Catholic Church, an active press, and a business sector existed in Poland. Economic conditions improved in the 1920s, but the region suffered from the Great Depression in the 1930s.

                Inter-war Soviet Ukraine




                Children affected by famine in the aftermath of the civil war in southern Ukraine, Berdyansk, 1922.
                The civil war that eventually brought the Soviet government to power devastated Ukraine. It left over 1.5 million people dead and hundreds of thousands homeless. In addition, Soviet Ukraine had to face the famine of 1921. Seeing an exhausted Ukraine, the Soviet government remained very flexible during the 1920s. Thus, under the aegis of the Ukrainization policy pursued by the national Communist leadership of Mykola Skrypnyk, Soviet leadership encouraged a national renaissance in literature and the arts. The Ukrainian culture and language enjoyed a revival, as Ukrainisation became a local implementation of the Soviet-wide policy of Korenisation (literally indigenisation) policy. The Bolsheviks were also committed to introducing universal health care, education and social-security benefits, as well as the right to work and housing. Women's rights were greatly increased through new laws designed to wipe away centuries-old inequalities. Most of these policies were sharply reversed by the early 1930s after Joseph Stalin gradually consolidated power to become the de facto communist party leader.



                Two future leaders of the Soviet Union, Nikita Khrushchev (pre-war CPSU chief in Ukraine) and Leonid Brezhnev (an engineer from Dniprodzerzhynsk) depicted together.
                The communists gave a privileged position to manual labour[citation needed], the largest class in the cities, where Russians dominated. The typical worker was more attached to class identity than to ethnicity[citation needed]. Although there were incidents of ethnic friction among workers (in addition to Ukrainians and Russians there were many Poles, Germans, Jews and others in the Ukrainian workforce), industrial laborers had already adopted Russian culture and language to a great extent[citation needed]. Few workers whose ethnicity was Ukrainian were attracted to campaigns of Ukrainianisation or de-Russification, but remained loyal members of the Soviet working class[citation needed]. There was allegedly little antagonism between workers identifying themselves as Ukrainian or Russian[citation needed].

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

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



                Dnieper Hydroelectric Station, hydroelectric power station under construction circa 1930.
                The famine claimed up to 10 million Ukrainian lives as peasants' food stocks were forcibly removed by the Soviet government by the NKVD secret police. Some explanations for the causes for the excess deaths in rural areas of Ukraine, southern Russia and Kazakhstan during the Soviet famine of 1932–33 have been given by dividing the causes into three groups: objective non-policy-related factors, like the drought of 1931 and poor weather in 1932; inadvertent result of policies with other objectives, like rapid industrialisation, socialisation of livestock and neglected crop rotation patterns; and deaths caused intentionally by a starvation policy. The Communist leadership perceived famine not as a humanitarian catastrophe but as a means of class struggle and used starvation as a punishment tool to force peasants into collective farms. It was largely the same groups of individuals who were responsible for the mass killing operations during the civil war, collectivisation, and the Great Terror. These groups were associated with Efim Georgievich Evdokimov (1891–1939) and operated in Ukraine during the civil war, in the North Caucasus in the 1920s, and in the Secret Operational Division within General State Political Administration (OGPU) in 1929–31. Evdokimov transferred into Communist Party administration in 1934, when he became Party secretary for North Caucasus Krai. But he appears to have continued advising Joseph Stalin and Nikolai Yezhov on security matters, and the latter relied on Evdokimov's former colleagues to carry out the mass killing operations that are known as the Great Terror in 1937–38.

                On 13 January 2010, Kiev Appellate Court posthumously found Stalin, Kaganovich and other Soviet Communist Party functionaries guilty of genocide against Ukrainians during the Holodomor famine.

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

                World War II

                See also: Eastern Front (World War II)



                Kiev suffered significant damage during World War II, and was occupied by Nazi Germany from 19 September 1941 until 6 November 1943.
                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.

                In 1940, Romania ceded Bessarabia and northern Bukovina in response to Soviet demands. The Ukrainian SSR incorporated northern and southern districts of Bessarabia, northern Bukovina, and the 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.



                Soviet soldiers preparing rafts to cross the Dnieper (the sign reads "Let's go, Kiev!") in the 1943 Battle of the Dnieper
                German armies invaded the Soviet Union on 22 June 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", because the resistance by the Red Army and by the local population was fierce. More than 600,000 Soviet soldiers (or one-quarter of the Soviet Western Front) were killed or taken captive there.

                Although the 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). At times it allied with the Nazi forces, it also carried out the massacres of ethnic Poles, and, after the war, continued to fight the USSR. Using guerrilla war tactics, the insurgents targeted for assassination and terror those who they perceived as representing, or cooperating at any level with, the Soviet state.

                At the same time, the Ukrainian Liberation Army, another nationalist movement, fought alongside the Nazis.

                In total, the number of ethnic Ukrainians who fought in the ranks of the Soviet Army is estimated from 4.5 million to 7 million.[dead link][d] 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% being ethnic Ukrainians. Generally, the Ukrainian Insurgent Army's figures are not very reliable, with figures ranging anywhere from 15,000 to as many as 100,000 fighters.

                Most of the Ukrainian SSR was organised within the Reichskommissariat Ukraine, with the intention of exploiting its resources and eventual German settlement. Initially, some western Ukrainians, who had only joined the Soviet Union in 1939 under pressure, hailed the Germans as liberators. But brutal German rule in the occupied territories eventually turned its supporters against them. Nazi administrators of conquered Soviet territories made little attempt to exploit the dissatisfaction of Ukraine with Stalinist political and economic policies. Instead, the Nazis preserved the collective-farm system, systematically carried out genocidal policies against Jews, deported men to work in forced labour camps in Germany, and began a systematic depopulation of Ukraine (along with Poland) to prepare it for German colonisation. They blockaded the transport of food on the Kiev River.

                The vast majority of the fighting in World War II took place on the Eastern Front. It has been estimated that 93% of all German casualties took place on the Eastern Front. The total losses inflicted upon the Ukrainian population during the war are estimated between 5 and 8 million, including estimated one and a half 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.[d][e] Victory Day is celebrated as one of ten Ukrainian national holidays.

                Post-World War II

                Further information: Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic, History of the Soviet Union (1953–1964), History of the Soviet Union (1964–1982) and History of the Soviet Union (1982–1991)



                Ukrainian territorial evolution, 1918-1991



                Sergey Korolyov, a native of Zhytomyr, the head Soviet rocket engineer and designer during the Space Race
                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, which was caused by a drought and the wartime destruction of infrastructure. The death toll of this famine varies, with even the lowest estimate in the tens of thousands.

                In 1945, the Ukrainian SSR became one of the founding members of the United Nations organization. The first Soviet computer, MESM, was built at the Kiev Institute of Electrotechnology and became operational in 1950.

                Post-war ethnic cleansing occurred in the newly expanded Soviet Union. As of 1 January 1953, Ukrainians were second only to Russians among adult "special deportees", comprising 20% of the total. In addition, over 450,000 ethnic Germans from Ukraine and more than 200,000 Crimean Tatars were victims of forced deportations.

                Following the death of Stalin in 1953, Nikita Khrushchev became the new leader of the USSR. Having served as First Secretary of the Communist Party of Ukrainian SSR in 1938–49, Khrushchev was intimately familiar with the republic; 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. Crimea was transferred from the Russian SFSR to the Ukrainian SSR.



                Kharkiv during the late Soviet era (1981)
                By 1950, the republic had fully surpassed pre-war levels of industry and production. During the 1946–1950 five-year plan, nearly 20% of the Soviet budget was invested in Soviet Ukraine, a 5% increase from prewar plans. As a result, the Ukrainian workforce rose 33.2% from 1940 to 1955 while industrial output grew 2.2 times in that same period.

                Soviet Ukraine soon became a European leader in industrial production, and an important centre 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. He later ousted Khrushchev and became the Soviet leader from 1964 to 1982. Many prominent Soviet sports players, scientists, and artists came from Ukraine.

                On 26 April 1986, a reactor in the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant exploded, resulting in the Chernobyl disaster, the worst nuclear reactor accident in history. This was the only accident to receive the highest possible rating of 7 by the International Nuclear Event Scale, indicating a "major accident", until the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster in March 2011. At the time of the accident, 7 million people lived in the contaminated territories, including 2.2 million in Ukraine.

                After the accident, the new city of Slavutych was built outside the exclusion zone to house and support the employees of the plant, which was decommissioned in 2000. A report prepared by the International Atomic Energy Agency and World Health Organization attributed 56 direct deaths to the accident and estimated that there may have been 4,000 extra cancer deaths.

                Independence




                Ukrainian President Leonid Kravchuk and Russian President Boris Yeltsin signed the Belavezha Accords, dissolving the Soviet Union, December 8, 1991
                On 16 July 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 24 August 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 1 December 1991. That day, more than 90% of the electorate 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 8 December, followed by the Alma Ata meeting on 21 December, the leaders of Belarus, Russia, and Ukraine, formally dissolved the Soviet Union and formed the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS).

                Although the idea of an independent Ukrainian nation had previously not existed in the 20th century in the minds of international policy makers, Ukraine was initially viewed as a republic with favorable economic conditions in comparison to the other regions of the Soviet Union. However, the country experienced deeper economic slowdown than some of the other former Soviet Republics. During the recession, Ukraine lost 60% of its GDP from 1991 to 1999, and suffered five-digit inflation rates. Dissatisfied with the economic conditions, as well as the amounts of crime and corruption in Ukraine, Ukrainians protested and organised strikes.

                The Ukrainian economy stabilized by the end of the 1990s. A new currency, the hryvnia, was introduced in 1996. Since 2000, the country has enjoyed steady real economic growth averaging about seven percent annually. A new Constitution of Ukraine was adopted under second President Leonid Kuchma in 1996, which turned Ukraine into a semi-presidential republic and established a stable political system. Kuchma was, however, criticised by opponents for corruption, electoral fraud, discouraging free speech and concentrating too much power in his office. He also repeatedly transferred public property into the hands of loyal oligarchs.[citation needed]

                Orange Revolution

                Main article: Orange Revolution



                Protesters at Independence Square on the first day of the Orange Revolution
                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 outcome of the elections. This resulted in the peaceful Orange Revolution, bringing Viktor Yushchenko and Yulia Tymoshenko to power, while casting Viktor Yanukovych in opposition.

                Activists of the Orange Revolution were funded and trained in tactics of political organisation and nonviolent resistance by a coalition of Western pollsters and professional consultants who were partly funded by a range of Western government and non-government agencies but received most of their funding from domestic sources.[nb 1] According to The Guardian, the foreign donors included the U.S. State Department and USAID along with the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs, the International Republican Institute, the NGO Freedom House and George Soros's Open Society Institute. The National Endowment for Democracy, a foundation supported by the U.S. government, has supported non-governmental democracy-building efforts in Ukraine since 1988. Writings on nonviolent struggle by Gene Sharp contributed in forming the strategic basis of the student campaigns.

                Yanukovych returned to a position of power in 2006, when he became Prime Minister in the Alliance of National Unity, until snap elections in September 2007 made Tymoshenko Prime Minister again. Amid the 2008–09 Ukrainian financial crisis the Ukrainian economy plunged by 15%. Disputes with Russia over debts for natural gas briefly stopped all gas supplies to Ukraine in 2006 and again in 2009, leading to gas shortages in several other European countries. Viktor Yanukovych was elected President in 2010 with 48% of votes.

                Euromaidan and 2014 revolution

                Main articles: Euromaidan and 2014 Ukrainian revolution
                For more details on the ongoing protests, see Timeline of the Euromaidan.



                Euromaidan. State flag of Ukraine carried by a protester to the heart of developing clashes in Kiev. Events of 18 February 2014
                The Euromaidan (Ukrainian: Євромайдан, literally "Eurosquare") protests started in November 2013 after the president, Viktor Yanukovych, began shying away from an association agreement that had been in the works with the European Union and instead chose to establish closer ties with Russia. Some Ukrainians took to the streets to show their support for closer ties with Europe. Over time, Euromaidan came to describe a wave of demonstrations and civil unrest in Ukraine, the scope of which evolved to include calls for the resignation of President Yanukovych and his government. Violence escalated after 16 January 2014 when the government accepted Bondarenko-Oliynyk laws, also known as Anti-Protest Laws. Anti-government demonstrators occupied buildings in the centre of Kiev, including the Justice Ministry building, and riots left 98 dead with approximately fifteen thousand injured and 100 considered missing from 18–20 February. Owing to violent protests on 22 February 2014, Members of Parliament found the president unable to fulfill his duties and exercised "constitutional powers" to set an election for 25 May to select his replacement. The results of the 25 May 2014 election were reported by The New York Times as "a decisive victory in the Ukrainian presidential election" for Petro Poroshenko running on a pro-European Union platform, winning with over fifty percent of the vote, and therefore not requiring a run-off election since Tymoshenko, his closest rival during the election, was only able to garner less than a third of his number of votes. Upon his election, Poroshenko announced that his immediate priorities would be to take action in the civil unrest in Eastern Ukraine and mend ties with Russia. Poroshenko was inaugurated as president on 7 June 2014, as previously announced by his spokeswoman Irina Friz in a low-key ceremony without a celebration on Kiev's Maidan Nezalezhnosti square (the center of the Euromaidan protests) for the ceremony.

                Pro-Russian conflict in the South-East

                Main articles: 2014 pro-Russian conflict in Ukraine, 2014 Crimean crisis and 2014 Russian military intervention in Ukraine



                Pro-Russian protesters in Donetsk, March 8, 2014
                In the wake of the collapse of the Yanukovych government and the resultant 2014 Ukrainian revolution in February 2014, a secession crisis began on Ukraine's Crimean Peninsula which has a significant number of Russophone people. Unmarked, armed Russian soldiers began being moved into Crimea on 28 February 2014. On 1 March 2014, exiled Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych requested that Russia use military forces "to establish legitimacy, peace, law and order, stability and defending the people of Ukraine". On the same day, Putin requested and received authorization from the Russian Parliament to deploy Russian troops to Ukraine and took control of the Crimean Peninsula by the next day. In addition, NATO was perceived by most Russians as encroaching upon Russia's borders. This weighed heavily upon Moscow’s decision to take measures to secure her Black Sea port in Crimea.

                On 6 March 2014, the Crimean Parliament voted to "enter into the Russian Federation with the rights of a subject of the Russian Federation" and later held a referendum asking the people of these regions whether they wanted to join Russia as a federal subject, or if they wanted to restore the 1992 Crimean constitution and Crimea's status as a part of Ukraine. Though passed with an overwhelming majority, the vote was not monitored by outside parties and the results are internationally contested, also it is claimed it was enforced by armed group which intruded and enforced voting according to their demands. Crimea and Sevastopol formally declared independence as the Republic of Crimea and requested that they be admitted as constituents of the Russian Federation. On 18 March 2014, Russia and Crimea signed a treaty of accession of the Republic of Crimea and Sevastopol in the Russian Federation, though the United Nations General Assembly voted in favor of a non-binding stateme
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