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Ukraine
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"Ukraina" redirects here. For other uses, see Ukraina (disambiguation).
This article is about the country. For other uses, see Ukraine (disambiguation).
Ukraine
Україна

Flag Coat of arms
Anthem: Ще не вмерла України і слава, і воля (Ukrainian)[1]
Shche ne vmerla Ukrayiny i slava i volya (transliteration)
Ukraine's glory has not perished, nor her freedom
Location of Ukraine (green)on the European continent (dark grey) — [Legend]
Location of Ukraine (green)

on the European continent (dark grey) — [Legend]
Capital
(and largest city) Kiev
50°27′N 30°30′E / 50.45°N 30.5°E / 50.45; 30.5
Official language(s) Ukrainian
Recognised regional languages Russian, Crimean Tatar
Ethnic groups 77.8 % Ukrainian
17.3 % Russian
4.9 % others[2]
Demonym Ukrainian
Government Unitary semi-presidential republic
- President Viktor Yanukovych
- Prime Minister Mykola Azarov
- Speaker of Parliament Volodymyr Lytvyn
Legislature Verkhovna Rada
Formation
- Kievan Rus' 8821
- Kingdom of Rus' 11991
- Cossack Hetmanate 1649
- Ukrainian National Republic November 7, 1917
- West Ukrainian National Republic November 1, 1918
- Ukrainian SSR December 30, 1922
- Independence from the Soviet Union August 24, 19912
Area
- Total 603,628 km2 (44th)
233,090 sq mi
- Water (%) 7%
Population
- 2009 estimate 46,011,300[3] (27th)
- 2001 census 48,457,102
- Density 77/km2 (115th)
199/sq mi
GDP (PPP) 2010 estimate
- Total $302.454 billion[4]
- Per capita $6,650[4]
GDP (nominal) 2010 estimate
- Total $127.133 billion[4]
- Per capita $2,795[4]
Gini (2006) 31[5] (medium)
HDI (2007) ▲ 0.796 (medium) (85th)
Currency Hryvnia (UAH)
Time zone EET (UTC+2)
- Summer (DST) EEST (UTC+3)
Drives on the right
Internet TLD .ua
Calling code 380
1 The ancient state of Kievan Rus' was formed in 882 on the territory of modern Ukraine. From the historiographical point of view, Rus' polity is considered by some historians and the Ukrainian parliament as an early predecessor of the Ukrainian nation.[6]
2 An independence referendum was held on December 1 after which Ukrainian independence was finalized on December 26. The current constitution was adopted on June 28, 1996.

Ukraine (pronounced /juːˈkreɪn/ ( listen) ew-KRAYN; Ukrainian: Україна, transliterated: Ukrayina, [ukrɑˈjinɑ]) is the second largest country in Eastern Europe. It is bordered by the Russian Federation to the east; Belarus to the north; Poland, Slovakia, and Hungary to the west; Romania and Moldova to the southwest; and the Black Sea and Sea of Azov to the south. Ukraine is a member of the CIS. From 1923 to 1991 most of the country was a constituent republic within the USSR. The city of Kiev is both the capital and the largest city of Ukraine.

Ukraine's modern history began with the East Slavs. From at least the 9th century, Ukraine was a centre of the medieval living area of the East Slavs. This state, known as Kievan Rus', became a large and powerful nation, but disintegrated in the 12th century. After the Great Northern War, Ukraine was divided among a number of regional powers, and by the 19th century, the largest part of Ukraine was integrated into the Russian Empire, with the rest under Austro-Hungarian control.

After a chaotic period of incessant warfare and several attempts at independence (1917–21) following World War I and the Russian Civil War, Ukraine emerged on December 30, 1922 as one of the founding republics of the Soviet Union. The Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic's territory was enlarged westward shortly before and after World War II, and southwards in 1954 with the Crimea transfer. In 1945, the Ukrainian SSR became one of the co-founding members of the United Nations.[7]

Ukraine became independent again after the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991. This began a period of transition to a market economy, in which Ukraine was stricken with an eight year recession.[8] But since then, the economy experienced a high increase in GDP growth. Ukraine was caught up in the worldwide economic crisis in 2008 and the economy plunged. GDP fell 20% from spring 2008 to spring 2009, then leveled off as analysts compared the magnitude of the downturn to the worst years of economic depression during the early 1990s.[9]

Ukraine is a unitary state composed of 24 oblasts (provinces), one autonomous republic (Crimea), and two cities with special status: Kiev, its capital, and Sevastopol, which houses the Russian Black Sea Fleet under a leasing agreement. Ukraine is a republic under a semi-presidential system with separate legislative, executive, and judicial branches. Since the collapse of the USSR, Ukraine continues to maintain the second largest military in Europe, after that of Russia. The country is home to 46 million people, 77.8 percent of whom are ethnic Ukrainians, with sizable minorities of Russians, Belarusians and Romanians. The Ukrainian language is the only official language in Ukraine, while Russian is also widely spoken. The dominant religion in the country is Eastern Orthodox Christianity, which has heavily influenced Ukrainian architecture, literature and music.
Contents
[hide]

* 1 History
o 1.1 Early history
o 1.2 Golden Age of Kiev
o 1.3 Foreign domination
+ 1.3.1 The Ruin
+ 1.3.2 19th century
o 1.4 World War I and revolution
o 1.5 Inter-war Polish Ukraine
o 1.6 Inter-war Soviet Ukraine
+ 1.6.1 Famine
+ 1.6.2 Attack on intellectuals and artists
o 1.7 World War II
o 1.8 Post-World War II
o 1.9 Independence
* 2 Government and politics
o 2.1 Military
* 3 Administrative divisions
* 4 Geography
o 4.1 Climate
o 4.2 Regionalism
* 5 Economy
* 6 Transportation in Ukraine
* 7 Tourism
* 8 Culture
o 8.1 Language
o 8.2 Literature
o 8.3 Music and Dance
o 8.4 Sport
* 9 Demographics
o 9.1 Demographic crisis
+ 9.1.1 Fertility
+ 9.1.2 Natalist policies
+ 9.1.3 Famines
o 9.2 Migration
* 10 Religion
* 11 Education
* 12 Infrastructure
* 13 International rankings
* 14 See also
* 15 References
* 16 Notes
* 17 Print sources
o 17.1 Reference books
o 17.2 Recent (since 1991)
o 17.3 Historical
* 18 External links

[edit] History
Main article: History of Ukraine
[edit] Early history

Human settlement in the territory of Ukraine dates back to at least 4500 BC, when 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.[10] 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 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.
[edit] 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 modern western Ukraine, Belarus, and western Russia. But it did not include modern central, eastern, and southern Ukraine, which were inhabited by nomads and had a different history.

In the 9th century, much of modern-day Ukraine was populated by the Slavic tribes. The so-called Kievan Rus was founded by Rus' people, Varangians who first settled 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.

During the 10th and 11th centuries, it became the largest and most powerful state in Europe.[5] In the following centuries, it laid the foundation for the national identity of Ukrainians and Russians.[11] 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.[11] 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.[11] 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.[12] The 13th century Mongol invasion devastated Kievan Rus'. Kiev was totally destroyed in 1240.[13] 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.
[edit] Foreign domination
See also: Grand Duchy of Lithuania, Crown of the Polish Kingdom, Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, and Russian Empire
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 III 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, much of what became northern Ukraine was controlled by the increasingly Slavicised local Lithuanian nobles as part of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania.

By 1569, the Union of Lublin formed the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, and a significant part of Ukrainian territory was moved from Lithuanian rule to the Polish administration, as it was transferred to the Polish Crown. Under the cultural and political pressure of Polonisation much upper class of Polish Ruthenia (another term for the land of Rus) converted to Catholicism and became indistinguishable from the Polish nobility.[14] Thus, the commoners, deprived of their native protectors among Rus 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.[15]

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.[16] Poland had little real control of this land, yet they found the Cossacks to be a useful fighting force against the Turks and Tatars,[17] and at times the two allied in military campaigns.[18] 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.[17]
The Khanate of Crimea was one of the strongest powers in Eastern Europe until the end of the 17th century.

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,[16] and the preservation of the Orthodox Church and in Ukraine.[19]

In 1648, Bohdan Khmelnytsky led the largest of the Cossack uprisings against the Commonwealth and the Polish king John II Casimir.[20] Left-bank Ukraine was eventually integrated into Muscovite 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.

From the beginning of the 16th century until the end of 17th century the Crimean Tatar raider bands made almost annual forays into agricultural Slavic lands searching for captives to sell as slaves.[21] For example, from 1450 to 1586, eighty-six Tatar raids were recorded, and from 1600 to 1647, seventy.[22]
[edit] The Ruin
The Battle of Poltava in 1709, drawing by Denis Martens the Younger, 1726.

In 1657-1686 came "The Ruin," a devastating 30-year war between Russia, Poland, Turks and Cossacks for control of Ukraine. 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 Czar for help.

In 1654, Khmelnytsky signed the Treaty of Pereiaslav, forming a military and political alliance with Russia that acknowledged loyalty to the Czar. The wars escalated in intensity with hundreds of thousands of deaths. Defeat came in 1686 as the "Eternal Peace" 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 (1687–1709) sided with Sweden against Russia in the Great Northern War (1700–1721). Mazepa, a member of the Cossack nobility, received an excellent education abroad and proved to be a brilliant political and military leader enjoying good relations with the Romanov dynasty. After Peter the Great became czar, Mazepa as hetman gave him more than twenty years of loyal military and diplomatic service and was well rewarded.

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

The hetmanate was abolished in 1764; the Zaporizhska Sich abolished in 1775, as centralized Russian control became the norm. With 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. Heavily taxed peasants were 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 covert 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.[23]

The Cossack-led uprising called Koliivshchyna that erupted in the Ukrainian borderlands of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth in 1768 involved ethnicity as one root cause of 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.[24]

After the annexation of the Crimean Khanate in 1783, the region was settled by migrants from other parts of Ukraine.[25] 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.[a] 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.[26]
[edit] 19th century

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 nationalism inspired by romanticism, 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.

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. The Russian government responded to nationalism by placing severe restrictions on the Ukrainian language.[citation needed]
[edit] World War I and revolution
Main article: Ukrainian War of Independence
See also: Ukraine in World War I, Russian Civil War, and Ukraine after the Russian 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.[27] 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 Terezνn (now in the Czech Republic).[28]
Soldiers of the Ukrainian People's Army listening to a blind kobzar bandura player

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 and the Hutsul 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.[29]

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.[30]
[edit] Inter-war Polish Ukraine

The war in Ukraine continued for another two years; by 1921, however, most of Ukraine had been taken over by the Soviet Union, while Galicia and Volhynia were incorporated into independent Poland.

A powerful underground Ukrainian nationalist movement rose in Poland in the 1920s and 1930s, led by the Ukrainian Military Organization and the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN). The movement attracted a militant following among students and harassed the Polish authorities. Legal Ukrainian parties, the Ukrainian Catholic Church, an active press, and a business sector also flourished in Poland. Economic conditions improved in the 1920s, but the region suffered from the Great Depression in the 1930s.
[edit] Inter-war Soviet Ukraine
Soviet recruitment poster featuring the Ukrainisation theme. The text reads: "Son! Enroll in the school of Red commanders, and the defence of Soviet Ukraine will be ensured."

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.[31]

Moscow encouraged a national renaissance in literature and the arts, under the aegis of the Ukrainization policy pursued by the national Communist leadership of Mykola Skrypnyk (1872–1933). Seeing the exhausted society, the Soviet government remained very flexible during the 1920s.[32] Thus, the Ukrainian culture and language enjoyed a revival, as Ukrainisation became a local implementation of the Soviet-wide policy of Korenisation (literally indigenisation) policy.[30] The Bolsheviks were also committed to introducing universal health care, education and social-security benefits, as well as the right to work and housing.[33] Women's rights were greatly increased through new laws aimed to wipe away centuries-old inequalities.[34] 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.

The communists gave a privileged position to manual labor, the largest class in the cities, where Russians dominated. The typical worker was more attached to class identity than to ethnicity. Although there were incidents of ethnic friction among workers (in addition to Ukrainians and Russians there were significant numbers of Poles, Germans, Jews, and others in the Ukrainian workforce), industrial laborers had already adopted Russian culture and language to a significant extent. Workers whose ethnicity was Ukrainian were not attracted to campaigns of Ukrainianization or de-Russification in meaningful numbers, but remained loyal members of the Soviet working class. There was no significant antagonism between workers identifying themselves as Ukrainian or Russian; however, anti-Semitism was widespread.
DniproHES hydroelectric power plant under construction circa 1930

Starting from the late 1920s, Ukraine was involved in the Soviet industrialisation and the republic's industrial output quadrupled in the 1930s.[30]
[edit] Famine

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 enforced the policies by the regular troops and secret police.[30] 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 or "Great Famine".[c] 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 such.[c]

The famine claimed up to 10 million of Ukrainian lives as peasants' food stocks were forcibly removed by the Soviet government through NKVD (predecessor of KGB) and secret police. Stalin had full knowledge of the destructive force of the famine. It was his war on the peasantry that began with collectivization and dekulakization and as an attempt to eradicate peasant culture in its entirety. Stalin well understood that no sane person would voluntarily give up all of their hard-earned property for the withering idea of 'bright communist future'. Therefore, the famine's purpose was to break the spirit of Ukrainian farmers - the land owners - by depriving them of private property and means of survival. Ellman explains the causes for the excess deaths in rural areas of Ukraine and Kazakhstan during 1931–34 by dividing the causes into three groups: objective non-policy-related factors, like the drought of 1931 and poor weather in 1932; inadvertent result of policies with other objectives, like rapid industrialization, socialization of livestock, and neglected crop rotation patterns; and deaths caused intentionally by a starvation policy. The Communist leadership perceived famine not as a humanitarian catastrophe but as a means of class struggle and used starvation as a punishment tool to force peasants into collective farms.[35] 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.[36]
[edit] Attack on intellectuals and artists

With 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.[30][b]
[edit] World War II
See also: Eastern Front (World War II)
Soviet soldiers preparing rafts to cross the Dnieper (the sign reads "Give me Kiev!") in the 1943 Battle of the Dnieper.

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.[37][38]

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.[39][40]
Victims of Soviet NKVD in Lviv, June 1941.

Although the wide majority of Ukrainians fought alongside the Red Army and Soviet resistance,[41] 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 and continued to fight the USSR in the years after the war. 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.[42][43]

At the same time 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[41] to 7 million.[44][d] The pro-Soviet partisan guerilla resistance in Ukraine is estimated to number at 47,800 from the start of occupation to 500,000 at its peak in 1944; with about 50 percent of them being ethnic Ukrainians.[45] Generally, the Ukrainian Insurgent Army's figures are very undependable, ranging anywhere from 15,000 to as much as 100,000 fighters.[46][47]
Museum of the Great Patriotic War, Kiev.

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.[48] 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,[48] which included a food blockade on Kiev.[49]

The vast majority of the fighting in World War II took place on the Eastern Front,[50] and Nazi Germany suffered 93 percent of all casualties there.[51] The total losses inflicted upon the Ukrainian population during the war are estimated between five and eight million,[52][53] 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,[54][55][56] 1.4 million were ethnic Ukrainians.[54][56][d][e] So to this day, Victory Day is celebrated as one of ten Ukrainian national holidays.[57]
[edit] Post-World War II
See also: History of the Soviet Union (1953–1985) and History of the Soviet Union (1985–1991)
Sergey Korolyov, 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.[58] 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.[59]

In 1945 Ukraine was one of the founding members of the United Nations organization. First Soviet computer MESM was built in Kiev Institute of Electrotechnology and became operational in 1950.

According to statistics, as of 1 January 1953, Ukrainians were second only to Russians among adult "special deportees", comprising 20% of the total. Apart from Ukrainians, over 450,000 ethnic Germans from Ukraine and more than 200,000 Crimean Tatars were victims of forced deportations.[60]

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.[61]

Already by 1950, the republic fully surpassed pre-war levels of industry and production.[62] During the 1946-1950 five year plan nearly 20 percent of the Soviet budget was invested in Soviet Ukraine, a five percent increase from prewar plans. As a result the Ukrainian workforce rose 33.2 percent from 1940 to 1955 while industrial output grew 2.2 times in that same period. Soviet Ukraine soon became a European leader in industrial production.[63] 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.[64] At the time of the accident seven million people lived in the contaminated territories, including 2.2 million in Ukraine.[65] 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. 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.[66]
[edit] Independence
The first launch of a Ukrainian rocket at the Sea Launch complex

On July 16, 1990, the new parliament adopted the Declaration of State Sovereignty of Ukraine.[67] 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.[68]

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).[69]
Orange-clad demonstrators gather in the Independence Square in Kiev on November 22, 2004

Although the idea of an independent Ukrainian nation had previously not existed in the 20th century in the minds of international policy makers,[70] Ukraine was initially viewed as a republic with favorable economic conditions in comparison to the other regions of the Soviet Union.[71] 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,[72][73] and suffered five-digit inflation rates.[74] Dissatisfied with the economic conditions, as well as the amounts of crime and corruption, Ukrainians protested and organised strikes.[75]

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.[8][76] 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, criticized by opponents for corruption, electoral fraud, discouraging free speech and concentrating too much of power in his office.[77] He also repeatedly transferred public property into the hands of loyal oligarchs.

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.[78] 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.[79] Yanukovych returned to a position of power in 2006, when he became Prime Minister in the Alliance of National Unity,[80] until snap elections in September 2007 made Tymoshenko Prime Minister again.[81] Yanukovych was elected President in 2010.[82]

Conflicts with Russia over the price of natural gas briefly stopped all gas supplies to Ukraine in 2006 and again in 2009, leading to gas shortages in several other European countries.[83][84]
[edit] Government and politics
Main article: Government of Ukraine
See also: Elections in Ukraine, Foreign relations of Ukraine, International membership of Ukraine, and Ukraine and the European Union
Verkhovna Rada, the Parliament of Ukraine

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.[85]

Ukraine's legislative branch includes the 450-seat unicameral parliament, the Verkhovna Rada.[86] The parliament is primarily responsible for the formation of the executive branch and the Cabinet of Ministers, which is headed by the Prime Minister.[87]

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.
[edit] Military
Main article: Military of Ukraine
Ukrainian army soldiers aboard a BTR-80 in Iraq

After the collapse of the Soviet Union, Ukraine inherited a 780,000 man military force on its territory, equipped with the third-largest nuclear weapons arsenal in the world.[88][89] In May 1992, Ukraine signed the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) in which the country agreed to give up all nuclear weapons to Russia for "disposal" and to join the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty as a non-nuclear weapon state. Ukraine ratified the treaty in 1994, and by 1996 the country became free of nuclear weapons.[88] Currently Ukraine's military is the second largest in Europe, after that of Russia.[90]
Add a Comment:
 
:iconvolkrenaissance:
Volkrenaissance Featured By Owner Mar 31, 2017  New Deviant
So beautiful. 
Reply
:iconmuhammetiali:
Muhammetiali Featured By Owner Mar 24, 2017
Nice Work !
Reply
:iconbws2k:
BWS2K Featured By Owner Mar 14, 2017
Very lovely!
Reply
:iconseni-askim:
Seni-Askim Featured By Owner Jan 16, 2017
Amazing work 
Reply
:iconlittlerunningmouse:
LittleRunningMouse Featured By Owner Oct 13, 2016  Student General Artist
One question: If the wind is blowing hard enough to lift her hair like that, wouldn't it blow the candle out?
Reply
:iconjonathon471:
Jonathon471 Featured By Owner Aug 11, 2016  Hobbyist General Artist
Amazing photo and composition! 
Reply
:icondenis-triton:
Denis-Triton Featured By Owner May 17, 2015  Professional Digital Artist
Неужели фотография? Очень красивая.
Reply
:iconwomenslifelink:
womenslifelink Featured By Owner Jan 23, 2015
Hey, I once featured this photo on my site and would now love to include it in my book trailer video. Please let me know if that is OK.

Thanks,
Kellie R. Stone
Author: The Butterfly Payoff
Reply
:iconkaivoetmann:
kaivoetmann Featured By Owner Sep 15, 2014
sooo much text. but still the picture is creative and stunning.
Reply
:iconjetopistolet:
Jetopistolet Featured By Owner May 26, 2014  Hobbyist
Гарно, у москалюг аж дупа підгорає.)
Reply
:iconjeniatiambo:
JeniaTiambo Featured By Owner Feb 19, 2014  Student Digital Artist
5 channel tells a lie about President Yanukovych
Reply
:iconjeniatiambo:
JeniaTiambo Featured By Owner Feb 19, 2014  Student Digital Artist
Ukraine is full of skinheads, "right-hand" America has paid a corrupt western Ukrainians sell their country, dirty Americans know what they're doing
Reply
:iconparu-chinbaka:
Paru-chinBaka Featured By Owner Jun 2, 2016
You...are a very sad person
Reply
:iconwomenslifelink:
womenslifelink Featured By Owner Mar 7, 2013
Hi,

Just wanted to let you know I featured your photo on my site. I've given you full credit and a link here. If you have any objections, please let me know.

Thanks,

Kellie
[link]
Reply
:iconpanzer-gulwen:
panzer-Gulwen Featured By Owner Feb 27, 2013  Professional Photographer
Just perfect picture
Reply
Hidden by Commenter
:iconjeniatiambo:
JeniaTiambo Featured By Owner Feb 19, 2014  Student Digital Artist
не позорься, ведешь себя как фашыст
Reply
Hidden by Commenter
:icondenis-triton:
Denis-Triton Featured By Owner May 17, 2015  Professional Digital Artist
А у тебя?
Reply
:iconxxlibertinagrimmxx:
xXLibertinaGrimmXx Featured By Owner Jan 30, 2012  Hobbyist Artisan Crafter
Slava Ukraina
Reply
:iconrandomgirl1298:
randomgirl1298 Featured By Owner Dec 8, 2011  Hobbyist General Artist
Let's spread the love of this picture!
Reply
:iconviolentpornografy:
ViolentPornografy Featured By Owner Mar 26, 2011  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
I really like)
Reply
:icona-c-e-t-o-n-e:
A-c-e-t-o-n-e Featured By Owner Feb 19, 2011
Appreciatte the spread of Ukranian ideas of beauty
Reply
:iconlatvija-fan:
Latvija-Fan Featured By Owner Jan 30, 2011
Wow, this is an awsome picture!
Reply
:iconkyuubikid213:
kyuubikid213 Featured By Owner Dec 28, 2010
I love the picture, but the comment was REALLY LONG...so I didn't read it.
Sorry...
Reply
:iconma1h1:
MA1H1 Featured By Owner Oct 18, 2010
Целая история! Отличная работа!
Reply
:iconjustwhisper:
JustWhisper Featured By Owner Aug 12, 2010
you should make a tutorial on how you edit your pictures. i cant figure out how to make mine look like that :[
Reply
:iconmasteryan:
masteryan Featured By Owner Aug 3, 2010
Thanks!
Reply
:iconsusan1224:
Susan1224 Featured By Owner Aug 2, 2010  Hobbyist Photographer
That must be the longest Artist's comment ever xD
Anyways I'm suprised it didn't get a dd (daily devination) and that it's got no comments! ;o
Really, really awesome thing... Magical.
Reply
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