2008-01-26 08:44:00

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Flag Coat of arms
Anthem: Ще не вмерла України ні слава, ні воля  (Ukrainian)
Shche ne vmerla Ukrayiny ni slava, ni volya  (transliteration)
Ukraine's glory has not yet perished, nor her freedom

Location of  Ukraine  (orange) on the European continent  (white)
(and largest city) Kiev (Kyiv)
50°27′N, 30°30′E
Official languages Ukrainian
Demonym Ukrainian
Government Semi-presidential unitary state
 -  President Viktor Yushchenko
 -  Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko
 -  Speaker of the Parliament Arseniy Yatsenyuk
Independence from the Soviet Union 
 -  Declared August 24, 1991 
 -  Referendum December 1, 1991 
 -  Finalized December 25, 1991 
 -  Total 603,628 km² (44th)
233,090 sq mi 
 -  Water (%) 7%
 -  2007 estimate 46,490,400 (27th)
 -  2001 census 48,457,102 
 -  Density 78/km² (115th)
199/sq mi
GDP (PPP) 2007 estimate
 -  Total $364.3 billion (28th)
 -  Per capita $7,832 (84th)
GDP (nominal) 2006 estimate
 -  Total $106.11 billion [1] (51rd)
 -  Per capita $2,830 (100th)
Gini (2006) 31[2] 
HDI (2005)  0.788 (medium) (76th)
Currency Hryvnia (UAH)
Time zone EET (UTC+2)
 -  Summer (DST) EEST (UTC+3)
Internet TLD .ua
Calling code +380
Ukraine (English pronunciation /juːˈkreɪn/; Ukrainian: Україна, Ukrayina, /ukrɑˈjinɑ/) is a country in Eastern Europe. It borders Russia 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. The city of Kiev (Kyiv) is Ukraine's capital.

From at least the 9th century, the territory of present-day Ukraine was a center of the medieval East Slavic civilization forming the state of Kievan Rus', which disintegrated in the 12th century. From the 14th century on, the territory of 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 the Austro-Hungarian control. After a chaotic period of incessant warfare and several attempts at independence (1917–1921) following the Russian Revolution and the Great War, Ukraine emerged in 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 the Second World War, and again in 1954 with the Crimea transfer. In 1945, the Ukrainian SSR became one of the co-founding members of the United Nations.[3] Ukraine became independent again after the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991. This began a transition period to a market economy, in which Ukraine was stricken with eight straight years of economic decline.[4] But since about the turn of the century, the economy has been experiencing a stable increase, with real GDP growth averaging about seven percent annually.[4]

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.[5] Ukraine is a republic under a semi-presidential system with separate legislative, executive, and judicial branches. At the end of 2004, the country underwent an extensive constitutional reform that has changed the balance of power among the parliament, the prime minister, and the cabinet, as well as their relationship with the president.

Contents [hide]
1 Name etymology
2 History
2.1 Early history
2.2 Golden Age of Kiev (800–1349)
2.3 Under foreign domination (1349–1914)
2.4 World War I and revolution (1914–1922)
2.5 Interwar Soviet Ukraine (1922–1939)
2.6 World War II (1939–1945)
2.7 Postwar development (1945–1990)
2.8 Independence (1990– )
3 Government and politics
3.1 Administrative divisions
3.2 Military
4 Geography
5 Economy
6 Infrastructure
7 Demographics
7.1 Education
7.2 Health
8 Religion
9 Culture
9.1 Language
9.2 Sport
10 See also
11 Footnotes
11.1 References
11.2 Notes
12 Further reading
13 External links

[edit] Name etymology
Main article: Name of Ukraine
The Ukrainian word Ukrayina is from Old East Slavic ukraina "borderland", from u "by, at" and the Slavic root kraj "edge; region".[6] In the Ukrainian language krayina simply means "country". In English, the country is referred to without the definite article, conforming to the usual English grammar rules for names of countries.[7] Before the country's independence in 1991, usage with the article as "The Ukraine" was of some occurrence. The term 'Ukraine' rather than 'The Ukraine' is established in diplomacy[8] and journalism. [9][10][11][12][13][14].

[edit] History
Main article: History of Ukraine

[edit] Early history
Human settlement on the territory of Ukraine dates back to at least 4500 BC, when the Neolithic Tripillian culture flourished. During the Iron Age, the land was inhabited by Cimmerians, Scythians, and Sarmatians.[15]

Colonies of Ancient Greece, Ancient Rome, and Byzantine Empire were founded starting from the 6th century BC on the northeastern shore of the Black Sea, and thriving well into the 6th century AD. Tyras, Olbia, and Hermonassa are examples of these settlements.

[edit] Golden Age of Kiev (800–1349)
Main article: Kievan Rus'
Map of the Kievan Rus', 11th century. During the Golden Age of Kiev the lands of Rus' covered much of present day Ukraine, as well as western Russia and Belarus.During the 10th and 11th centuries, the territory of Ukraine became the center of a European state, the Kievan Rus'. It laid the foundation for the national identity of Ukrainians, as well as other East Slavic nations, through subsequent centuries.[16] This nation's capital was Kiev, which later became the capital of modern Ukraine, wrested from Khazars by Askold and Dir in about 860 AD. According to the Primary Chronicle, the Kievan 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.[16]

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. These were sometimes contested through intrigue, but more often through bloody conflicts. The Golden Age of Kievan Rus' began with the reign of Vladimir the Great (Volodymyr, 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 regions 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. The 13th century Mongol invasion devastated Kievan Rus'. Kiev was totally destroyed in 1240.[17][16][18]

On the Ukrainian territory, the state of Kievan Rus' was succeeded by the principalities of Halych and Volodymyr-Volynskyi, which were merged into the state of Halych-Volynia.

[edit] Under foreign domination (1349–1914)
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.In the mid-14th century, Halych-Volhynia was subjugated by Casimir the Great of Poland, while the heartland of Rus', including Kiev, fell under the Gediminids of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. Following the 1386 Union of Krevo, a dynastic union between Poland and Lithuania, most of Ukraine's territory was controlled by the local as well as increasingly Ruthenized Lithuanian nobles as part of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. At this time, the term Ruthenia and Ruthenians as the Latinized versions of "Rus'", became widely applied to the land and its people, respectively.

By 1569, the Union of Lublin formed the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, and a significant part of Ukrainian territory was moved from largely Ruthenized Lithuanian rule to the Polish administration, as it was transferred to the Polish Crown. Under the cultural and political pressure of Polonization much of the Ruthenian upper class converted to Catholicism and became indistinguishable from the Polish nobility.[19] Thus, the Ukrainian commoners, deprived of their native protectors among Ruthenian nobility, turned for protection to the Cossacks, who remained fiercely orthodox at all times and tended to turn to violence against those they perceived as enemies, particularly the Polish state and its representatives.[20]

"Reply of the Zaporozhian Cossacks to Sultan Mehmed IV of the Ottoman Empire." Painted by Ilya Repin from 1880 to 1891.In the mid-17th century, a Cossack quasi-state, the Zaporozhian Sich, was established by the Dnieper Cossacks and the Ruthenian peasants fleeing Polish serfdom.[21] Poland had little real control of this land in what is now central Ukraine, which became an autonomous military state, at times allied with the Commonwealth in the military campaigns. However, the enserfment of peasantry by the Polish nobility emphasized the Commonwealth's fierce exploitation of the workforce. Also, and perhaps most importantly, the suppression of the Orthodox Church pushed the allegiances of Cossacks away from Poland. Their aspiration was to have representation in Polish Sejm, recognition of Orthodox traditions and the gradual expansion of the Cossack Registry, all being vehemently denied by the Polish kings. The Cossacks eventually turned to Orthodox Russia, a decision, which would later lead towards the downfall of the Polish-Lithuanian state.[21]

Map of the Russian Empire, 1682-1762.In 1648, Bohdan Khmelnytsky led the largest of the Cossack uprisings against the Commonwealth and the Polish king John II Casimir.[22] This uprising finally led to a partition of Ukraine between Poland and Russia.[23] Left-bank Ukraine was eventually integrated into Russia as the Cossack Hetmanate, following the 1654 Treaty of Pereyaslav and the ensuing Russo-Polish War. After the partitions of Poland at the end of the 18th century by Prussia, Habsburg Austria, and Russia, Western Ukrainian Galicia was taken over by Austria, while the rest of Ukraine was progressively incorporated into the Russian Empire.

Despite the promises of Ukrainian autonomy given by the treaty of Pereyaslav, Ukrainians never received the freedoms they were expecting from Imperial Russia. Because of its geographic location, Ukraine played an important role in the frequent wars between East European monarchies and the Ottoman Empire. As a result of Russian successes in the wars against Ottoman Empire and Crimean Khanate of 1768–74 and 1787–1792, the territories along the Black Sea coast were annexed to the Russian Empire as well.

Within the Empire, Ukrainians frequently rose to the highest offices of Russian state (e.g., Aleksey Razumovsky, Alexander Bezborodko, Ivan Paskevich), and the Russian Orthodox Church (e.g., Stephen Yavorsky, Feofan Prokopovich, Dimitry of Rostov). At a later period, the tsarist regime began implementing a harsh policy of Russification, suppressing the use of the Ukrainian language in print, and in public.[24]

[edit] World War I and revolution (1914–1922)
See also: Ukraine in World War I , Ukraine after the Russian Revolution , and Ukrainian War of Independence
During World War I, Austro-Hungarian authorities established the Ukrainian Legion, along with the Polish Legion, to fight against the Russian Empire. These legions were the foundations of the successful Polish Army and the abortive Ukrainian Galician Army that fought against the Bolsheviks and Poles in the post World War I period (1919-1923).

Soldiers of the Ukrainian People's Army.Those suspected of the Russophile sentiments were treaty harshly. Up to 20,000 supporters of Russia from Galicia were detained and placed in an Austrian internment camp in Talerhof, Styria, and in a fortress at Terezín (now in the Czech Republic).[25]

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 and the Directorate successively established territories in the former Russian Empire, while the West Ukrainian People's Republic emerged briefly in the former Austro-Hungarian territory. In the midst of the civil war, a Ukrainian anarchist movement called the Black Army led by Nestor Makhno, also developed. It maintained control of Crimea until early 1921.[26] However with the latter defeat in the Polish-Ukrainian War and the failure of the Polish Kiev Offensive (1920), Ukraine lost its initial independence. The Peace of Riga, was concluded in March 1921. It split up Ukraine between Poland, and the newly formed Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. The western part of Ukraine had been incorporated into the newly organized Second Polish Republic. The larger central and eastern part, established as the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic in March 1919, later became a constituent republic of the Soviet Union in December 1922.

[edit] Interwar Soviet Ukraine (1922–1939)
In the early Soviet years, the Bolsheviks introduced free universal health care, education and social-security benefits, as well as the right to work and housing. Women's rights were greatly increased through new laws aimed to wipe away centuries-old inequalities.[27] The Ukrainian culture and language also enjoyed a revival, as Ukrainization became a local implementation of the Soviet-wide Korenization (literally indigenization) policy.[28] These culture policies were sharply reversed by the early-1930s.

DniproGES hydroelectric power plant. Completed in 1932.Starting from the late 1920s, Ukraine was involved in the Soviet industrialization and the republic's industrial output quadrupled in the 1930s.[29] However, the industrialization 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 industrialization, Stalin instituted a program of collectivization of agriculture as the state combined the peasants' lands and animals into collective farms and enforcing the policies by the regular troops and secret police. Those who resisted were arrested and deported and the increased production quotas were placed on the peasantry. The collectivization 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 became widespread. In 1932-33, millions starved to death in a man-made famine known as Holodomor.[a] Scholars are divided as to whether this famine fits the definition of genocide, but 15 governments and the Ukrainian parliament recognize it as the genocide of the Ukrainian people.[30]

The times of industrialization and Holodomor also coincided with the Soviet assault on the national political and cultural elite often accused in "nationalist deviations". These policies of Ukrainization were reversed at the turn of the decade. Two waves of purges (1929–1934 and 1936–1938) resulted in the elimination of four-fifths of the Ukrainian cultural elite.[29]

[edit] World War II (1939–1945)
See also: Eastern Front (World War II)
Red Army cavalry marching into Lviv, 1939.Following the Ribbentrop-Molotov pact in September 1939, German and Soviet troops divided the territory of Poland, including Galicia with its Ukrainian population. 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 recognized 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. In 1941, the Axis allies initially advanced against desperate but unsuccessful efforts of the Red Army. In the encirclement battle of Kiev, the city was acclaimed by the Soviets as a "Hero City", for the fierce resistance of the Red Army and of the local population. More than 600,000 Soviet soldiers (or one quarter of the Western Front) were killed or taken captive.[31][32] Although the wide majority of Ukrainians fought alongside the Red Army,[33] some elements of the Ukrainian nationalist underground fought both Nazi and Soviet forces, forming the Ukrainian Insurgent Army in 1942. While other Ukrainians initially collaborated with the Nazis, having been ignored by all other powers. In total, about 4.5 million ethnic Ukrainians fought in the ranks of the Soviet Army[33][b] and another 43,500 Ukrainians as pro-Soviet partisan guerrilla units at their peak in 1943.[34] On the other hand, due to the Ukrainian Insurgent Army's unconventional structure, estimates are much less accurate, ranging anywhere from 25,000 to 200,000 Ukrainians.[35]

Soviet soldiers preparing rafts to cross the Dnieper (the sign reads "To Kiev!") in the 1943 Battle of the Dnieper.Initially, the Germans were received as liberators by some Ukrainians, especially in western Ukraine, which had only joined the Soviet Union in 1939. However, brutal German rule in the occupied territories eventually turned many of its supporters against the occupation. Nazi administrators of conquered Soviet territories made little attempt to exploit the population of Ukrainian territories' dissatisfaction with Soviet political and economic policies.[36] Instead, the Nazis preserved the collective-farm system, systematically carried out genocidal policies against Jews, deported others (mainly Ukrainians) to work in Germany, and began a systematic depopulation of Ukraine to prepare it for German colonization,[37] which included a food blockade on Kiev. Under these circumstances, most people living in the occupied territory either passively or actively opposed the Nazis.

Total civilian losses inflicted upon the Ukrainian population during the war are estimated between five and eight million,[38][39] 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,[40][41][42] 1.4 million were ethnic Ukrainians .[42][40][b][c] Ukraine is distinguished as one of the first nations to fight the Axis powers in Carpatho-Ukraine, and one that saw some of the greatest bloodshed during the war.

[edit] Postwar development (1945–1990)
See also: History of the Soviet Union (1953–1985)
Cleanup and restoration of Khreshchatyk, the central street of Kiev, heavily damaged in the war.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.[29] The situation was worsened by a famine in 1946–47, when the Soviet authorities were forcibly confiscating grain crops in accordance with a plan, ignoring drought conditions of 1946. Collected grain was distributed to the other regions of the Soviet Union, and 2.5 million tonnes were exported. In Ukraine, about one million people, predominantly in rural areas, died from the famine.[43][44]

In western Ukraine, some Ukrainians continued to resist Soviet rule. The Ukrainian Insurgent Army, formed in World War II to fight both Soviets and Nazis, continued to fight the USSR into the 1950s. Using guerilla war tactics, the insurgents were assassinating Soviet party leaders, NKVD and military officers. In particular, due to the resistance, the 1946-47 famine was less severe in Western Ukraine than in other Ukrainian regions.[43]

Following the death of Stalin in 1953, Nikita Khrushchev became the new leader of the USSR. Being the First Secretary of Communist Party of Ukrainian SSR in 1938-49, Khrushchev played a role in Stalin's repressions, the liberation of Ukraine from the Nazis, organization of the man-made famine in 1946-47, and suppression of resistance in Western Ukraine. But after taking power, he began forming 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.[45]

In the times of the Khrushchev Thaw of the 1960s, there were many dissident movements in Ukraine by prominent figures such as Vyacheslav Chornovil, Vasyl Stus, Levko Lukyanenko. As in the other regions of USSR, the movements were quickly suppressed. During the 1960s, it is estimated that over fifty percent of all political prisoners in the USSR were Ukrainians.[46]

Largest airplane in the world An-225, produced by Antonov in 1980s.
Map of the radiation levels around Chernobyl in 1996.Already by the 1950s, the republic fully surpassed pre-war levels of industry and production.[47] It also became the center of 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 1962 to 1984, as well as many prominent Soviet sportsmen, scientists and artists.

The rule of Shcherbytsky, leader of the Communist Party of Ukraine, was characterized by the expanded policies of Russification. He used his influence as the First Secretary of CPU, and a Politburo member for over 25 years, to advocate economic interests of Ukraine within the USSR.

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.[48][49] The disaster was the result of a flawed reactor design, and serious mistakes by plant operators. The explosions and the resulting fire sent a plume of highly radioactive fallout into the atmosphere and over an extensive geographical area, resulting in mandatory evacuation or voluntary resettlement of about 350,000 people. At the time of the accident seven million people lived in the contaminated territories, including 2.2 million in Ukraine.[50]

After the accident, a new city, Slavutych, was built outside the exclusion zone to house and support the employees of the plant, which was decommissioned in 2000. Around 150,000 people were evacuated from the contaminated area, and 300,000–600,000 took part in the cleanup. As of 2000, about 4,000 Ukrainian children have been diagnosed with thyroid cancer caused by radiation released by this incident.[51]

[edit] Independence (1990– )
On July 16, 1990, the new parliament adopted the Declaration of State Sovereignty of Ukraine.[52] The declaration established the principles of the self-determination of the Ukrainian nation, 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 March 1991, a referendum was organized by Soviet authorities, asking people whether they wanted to live in a "renewed" Soviet Union. The Ukrainian parliament added a second question, asking Ukrainian citizens whether they wished to live in the Soviet Union on the principles established in the Declaration of State Sovereignty. The citizens of Ukraine responded positively to both questions.

In August 1991, the conservative Communist leaders of the Soviet Union attempted a coup to remove Gorbachev and to restore the Communist party's power. After the attempt failed, on August 22, 1991 the Ukrainian parliament adopted the Act of Independence in which the parliament declared Ukraine as an independent democratic state.[53] 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.[54]

Ukrainian Zenit-3SL launch vehicle stationed at Sea Launch complex.Ukraine was initially viewed as a republic with favorable economic conditions in comparison to the other regions of the Soviet Union.[55] 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,[56][57] and suffered five-digit inflation rates.[58] Dissatisfied with the economic conditions, as well as crime and corruption, Ukrainians protested and organized strikes.[59]

In 1994, President Kravchuk agreed to hold presidential elections ahead of schedule, in which he lost the presidential post to former Prime Minister Leonid Kuchma who served two terms as the president.

The Ukrainian economy stabilized by the end of 1990s. A new currency, the hryvnia, in was introduced in 1996. Since 2000 the country has enjoyed steady economic growth averaging about seven percent annually,[60][4] which is one of the highest growth rates in Europe and the world. A new Constitution of Ukraine was adopted in 1996, which turned Ukraine into a semi-presidential republic and established a stable political system. Kuchma was, however, criticized by opponents for concentrating too much of power in his office, corruption, transferring public property into hands of loyal oligarchs, discouraging free speech, and electoral fraud.[61][62]

The first astronaut of the National Space Agency of Ukraine to enter space under the Ukrainian flag was Leonid Kadenyuk on May 13, 1997. Ukraine became an active participant in scientific space exploration and remote sensing missions. Between 1991 and 2007, Ukraine has launched six self made satellites and 101 launch vehicles, and continues to design spacecraft.[63]

Orange-clad demonstrators gather in the Independence Square in Kiev on November 22, 2004.In 2004, Viktor Yanukovych, then Prime Minister, was declared the winner of the presidential elections, which had been largely rigged, as many observers agreed. The results caused a public outcry in support of the opposition candidate, Viktor Yushchenko, who challenged the results and led the peaceful Orange Revolution. The revolution brought Viktor Yushchenko and Yulia Tymoshenko to power, while casting Viktor Yanukovych in opposition.[64]

In late March and early April 2007, Ukraine dealt with yet another constitutional crisis. President Viktor Yushchenko dissolved the Ukrainian parliament and ordered an early election to be held May 27, 2007. This decision rallied wide spread support from the 'Orange' opposition, and wide spread denial from Yanukovych's fraction, the Party of Regions.[65] Eventually, a compromise between Yushchenko and Yanukovych was reached to hold early parliamentary elections.[66] The early elections were held on September 30, 2007. In the elections, the combined parties of Yulia Tymoshenko and 'Our Ukraine' emerged victorious. On December 18, 2007, Yulia Tymoshenko once again became the prime minister of Ukraine.[67]

On April 18, 2007 in Cardiff, Wales, Ukraine won a joint bid with Poland to host the UEFA Euro 2012 football championship, which is the third-largest sporting event in the world after the FIFA World Cup and the Olympics. This is the first time in Ukrainian history that the country got a chance to host such a major international event. Experts and politicians have noted that it will boost Ukrainian infrastructure development, tourist attractiveness and overall investments into the country. Among the most significant developments that will take place in the process of preparation are the road infrastructure improvement, expanding hotel networks in at least six major cities, in particular Kiev, Dnipropetrovsk, Kharkiv, Donetsk, Odessa and Lviv, modernization of airports and construction of modern football stadiums. One of the stadiums (under construction) is the Shakhtar Stadium in Donetsk, which received a five-star FIFA rating as one of the best in the world.[68]

[edit] Government and politics
Main articles: Government of Ukraine, Elections in Ukraine, and Foreign relations of Ukraine
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.[69]

Ukraine's legislative branch includes the 450-seat unicameral parliament, the Verkhovna Rada.[70] The parliament is primarily responsible for the formation of the executive branch, the Cabinet of Ministers, which is headed by the Prime Minister.[71]

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] Administrative divisions
Main article: Administrative divisions of Ukraine
The system of Ukrainian subdivisions reflects the country's status as a unitary state (as stated in the country's constitution) with unified legal and administrative regimes for each unit.

Ukraine is subdivided into twenty-four oblasts (provinces) and one autonomous republic (avtonomna respublika), Crimea. Additionally, the cities of Kiev, the capital, and Sevastopol both have a special legal status. Furthermore, the 24 oblasts and Crimea are subdivided into 490 raions (districts), or second-level administrative units. The average area of a Ukrainian raion is 1,200 km²., the average population of a raion is 52,000 people.[72]

Urban areas (cities) can either be subordinated to the state (as in the case of Kiev and Sevastopol), the oblast or raion administrations, depending on their population and socio-economic importance. Lower administrative units include urban-type settlements, which are similar to rural communities, but are more urbanized, including industrial enterprises, educational facilities, and transport connections, and villages.

In total, Ukraine has 457 cities, 176 of them are labeled oblast-class, 279 smaller raion-class cities, and two special legal status cities. These are followed by 886 urban-type settlements and 28,552 villages.[72]

Administrative divisions of Ukraine Oblasts
Autonomous republic Municipalities
Autonomous Republic of Crimea
 City of Kiev
City of Sevastopol

[edit] Military
Main article: Military of Ukraine
Ukrainian army soldiers aboard BTR-80 during the US led invasion of 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 weapon arsenal in the world.[73] 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.[74]

Ukraine also took consistent steps toward reduction of conventional weapons. It signed the Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe, which called for reduction of tanks, artillery, and armored vehicles (army forces were reduced to 300,000). The country plans to convert the current con******-based army into a professional volunteer army. [75]

A Ukrainian peacekeeper in Kosovo.Ukraine has been playing an increasingly larger role in peacekeeping operations. Ukrainian troops are deployed in Kosovo as part of the Ukrainian-Polish Battalion.[76] A Ukrainian unit is deployed in Lebanon, as part of UN Interim Force enforcing the mandated ceasefire agreement. There is also a maintenance and training battalion deployed in Sierra Leone. In 2003-2005, a Ukrainian unit was deployed in Iraq, as part of the Multinational force in Iraq under Polish command. The total Ukrainian military deployment around the world is about 2,800 troops.[77]

Following independence, Ukraine declared itself a neutral state.[78] The country has had a limited military partnership with Russia, other CIS countries and a partnership with NATO since 1994. In the 2000s, Ukraine was leaning towards the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, and a deeper cooperation with the alliance was set by NATO-Ukraine Action Plan signed in 2002. As of 2006, this issue is a subject of extensive debate within Ukraine as to whether the country should join NATO. In August 2006, the leading political parties signed the Universal of National Unity, a nonbinding document, in which it was agreed that the question of joining NATO should be answered by a national referendum at some point in the future.[75]

[edit] Geography
Main article: Geography of Ukraine
A topographic map of Ukraine.At 603,700 km² (233,074 sq mi) and with a coastline of 2,782 km (1,729 sq mi), Ukraine is the world's 44th-largest country (after the Central African Republic, before Madagascar). It is the second largest country in Europe (after European part of Russia, before metropolitan France).[2]

The Ukrainian landscape consists mostly of fertile plains (or steppes) and plateaus, crossed by rivers such as the Dnieper (Dnipro), Seversky Donets, Dniester and the Southern Buh as they flow south into the Black Sea and the smaller Sea of Azov. To the southwest, the delta of the Danube forms the border with Romania. The country's only mountains are the Carpathian Mountains in the west, of which the highest is the Hora Hoverla at 2,061 m (6,762 ft), and those on the Crimean peninsula, in the extreme south along the coast.[79]

Ukraine has a mostly temperate continental climate, although a more Mediterranean climate is found on the southern Crimean coast. Precipitation is disproportionately distributed; it is highest in the west and north and lesser in the east and southeast. Western Ukraine, receives around 1,200 millimetres of precipitation, annually. While Crimea, receives around 400 millimetres of precipitation. Winters vary from cool along the Black Sea to cold farther inland. Average annual temperatures range from 5.5°–7 °C in the north, to 11°–13 °C in the south.[80]

[edit] Economy
Main article: Economy of Ukraine
The building of the National Bank of Ukraine.
A 20 hryvnia banknote depicting the Ukrainian poet Ivan Franko.In Soviet times, the economy of Ukraine was the second largest in the Soviet Union, being an important industrial and agricultural component of the country's planned economy. With the collapse of the Soviet system, the country moved from a planned economy to a market economy. The transition process was difficult for the majority of the population which plunged into poverty.[29] Ukraine's economy contracted severely following the years after the Soviet collapse.[29] Day to day life for the average person living in Ukraine was a struggle.[29] A significant number of citizens in rural Ukraine survived by growing their own food, often working two or more jobs and buying the basic necessities through the barter economy.[29]

In 1991, the government liberalized most prices to combat widespread product shortages, and was successful in overcoming the problem. At the same time, the government continued to subsidize government-owned industries and agriculture by uncovered monetary emission. The loose monetary policies of the early 1990s pushed inflation to hyperinflationary levels. For the year 1993, Ukraine holds the world record for inflation in one calendar year.[81] Those living on fixed incomes suffered the most.[29] Prices stabilized only after the introduction of new currency, the hryvnia, in 1996.

The country was also slow in implementing structural reforms. Following independence, the government formed a legal framework for privatization. However, widespread resistance to reforms within the government and from a significant part of the population soon stalled the reform efforts. A large number of government-owned enterprises were exempt from the privatization process. In the meantime, by 1999, the output had fallen to less than 40 percent of the 1991 level,[82] but recovered to slightly above the 100 percent mark by the end of 2006.[83]

Ukraine's 2006 GDP (PPP) is ranked 28th in the world and estimated at $364.3 billion.[2] Nominal GDP (in U.S. dollars, calculated at market exchange rate) was $106.11 billion, ranked 51st in the world.[1]

A Ukrainian made Antonov An-148.In the early 2000s, the economy showed strong export-based growth of 5 to 10 percent, with industrial production growing more than 10 percent per year.[84] The growth was largely attributed to a surge in exports of metals and chemicals to China.

The World Bank classifies Ukraine as a middle-income state.[85] Significant issues include underdeveloped infrastructure and transportation, corruption and bureaucracy. But the rapidly growing Ukrainian economy has a very interesting emerging market with a relatively big population, and large profits associated with the high risks.[86] The Ukrainian stock market grew significantly 10 times between 2000 and 2006, including 341 percent growth in 2004, 28 percent in 2005, and 24 percent in 2006. Growing sectors of the Ukrainian economy include the IT Outsourcing market, which was expected to grow over 25 percent in 2007.[87]

Ukrainian oblasts (provinces) by monthly salary.By November 2007 the average nominal salary in Ukraine reached 1,485 hryvnias per month.[88] Despite remaining lower than in neighboring central European countries, the annual growth of average salary income in real terms is about 20 percent for several years (2001-2006) in a row.[89]

Ukraine produces nearly all types of transportation vehicles and spacecraft. Antonov airplanes and KrAZ trucks are exported to many countries. The majority of Ukrainian exports are marketed to the European Union and CIS.[90]

The country imports most energy supplies, especially oil and natural gas, and to a large extent depends on Russia as an energy supplier. While 25 percent of the natural gas in Ukraine comes from internal sources, about 35 percent comes from Russia and the remaining 40 percent from Central Asia through transit routes that Russia controls. At the same time, 85 percent of the Russian gas is delivered to Western Europe through Ukraine.[91]

[edit] Infrastructure
Main article: Transport in Ukraine
Ukraine's road Network.
Ukrainian power production in 2005.Since the Soviet-Era, several attempts have been made to improve Ukraine’s aging infrastructure. Upon the announcement of Ukraine’s winning joint bid to host UEFA 2012, a deadline was set for these improvements.[92] Although the Ukrainian road system covers all major populated centers, it is considered to be by European standards, of low quality.[93] In total, Ukrainian paved roads stretch for 164,732 km.[2]

Rail transport in Ukraine plays the role of connecting all major urban areas, port facilities and industrial centers with neighboring countries. The heaviest concentration of railroad track is located in the Donbas region of Ukraine, since it is the most densely populated. Although the amount of freight transported by rail fell by 7.4% in 1995 in comparison with 1994, Ukraine is still one of the world's highest rail users.[94] The total amount of railroad track in Ukraine extends for 22,473 km, of which 9,250 km is electrified.[2]

Ukraine is one of Europe’s largest energy consumers, it consumes almost double the energy of Germany, per unit of GDP.[95] A great share of energy supply in Ukraine comes from the country's uranium and large coal resources. The remaining oil and gas, is mostly imported from Russia. Ukraine is heavily dependent on its nuclear energy. The largest nuclear power plant in Europe, the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant, is located in Ukraine. In 2006, the government planned to build 11 new reactors by the year 2030, in effect, doubling the current amount of nuclear power capacity.[96] Renewable energy plays a very modest role in electrical output. In 2005 energy production was met by the following sources: nuclear (48%), thermal (45%), hydro and other (8%).[96]

[edit] Demographics
Ethnic composition of Ukraine
Ukrainians    77.8%
Russians    17.3%
Belarusians    0.6%
Moldovans    0.5%
Crimean Tatars    0.5%
Bulgarians    0.4%
Hungarians    0.3%
Romanians    0.3%
Poles    0.3%
Jews    0.2%
Armenians    0.2%
Greeks    0.2%
Tatars    0.2%
Source: Ethnic composition of the population of Ukraine, 2001 Census
Main article: Demographics of Ukraine
According to the Ukrainian Census of 2001, ethnic Ukrainians make up 77.8% of the population. Other significant ethnic groups are Russians (17.3%), Belarusians (0.6%), Moldovans (0.5%), Crimean Tatars (0.5%), Bulgarians (0.4%), Hungarians (0.3%), Romanians (0.3%), Poles (0.3%), Jews (0.2%), Armenians (0.2%), Greeks (0.2%) and Tatars (0.2%).[97]

Ukraine is considered to be in a demographic crisis due to its high death rate and a low birth rate. In 2007 country's population was declining at the fourth fastest rate in the world.[98] The demographic trend is showing signs of improvement, as the birth rate has been growing for several consecutive years. Net population growth over the first nine months of 2007 was registered in five provinces of the country (out of 24), and population shrinkage was showing signs of stablising nationwide. The highest birth rates were in Western provinces.[99] Immigrants constitute an estimated 14.7% of the total population.[100]

The industrial regions in the east and southeast are the most heavily populated, and about 67.2% of the population lives in urban areas.[101]

Demography, 1990-2006. Number of inhabitants in millionsRomanians and Moldavians are another significant minority in Ukraine, concentrated mainly in the Chernivtsi, Odessa, Zakarpattia and Vinnytsia oblasts.

Jews played a very important role in Ukrainian cultural life, especially in the 19th and first half of the 20th century. Today Yiddish, the Ukrainian Jews' traditional language, is only used by a small number of older people.

Significant migration took place in the first years of Ukrainian independence. More than one million people moved into Ukraine in 1991-1992, mostly from the other former Soviet republics. In total, between 1991 and 2004, 2.2 million immigrated to Ukraine (among them, 2.0 million came from the other former Soviet Union states), and 2.5 million emigrated from Ukraine (among them, 1.9 million moved to other former Soviet Union republics).[102]

In the context of low salaries and unemployment within Ukraine, labor emigration became a mass phenomenon at the end of the 1990s. Although estimates vary, about two to three million Ukrainian citizens are currently working abroad, many illegally, in construction, service, housekeeping, and agriculture industries. Moreover, a significant number of young women from Ukraine had been dragged into prostitution and sex slavery in foreign lands, mainly Western Europe and Turkey.[102]

Cities by population Rank City Administrative division Population Rank City Administrative division Population



1 Kiev Kiev 2,611,327 11 Luhansk Luhansk Oblast 463,097
2 Kharkiv Kharkiv Oblast 1,470,902 12 Makiivka Donetsk Oblast 389,589
3 Dnipropetrovsk Dnipropetrovsk Oblast 1,065,008 13 Simferopol Crimea 358,108 
4 Odessa Odessa Oblast 1,029,049 14 Vinnytsia Vinnytsia Oblast 356,665 
5 Donetsk Donetsk Oblast 1,016,194 15 Sevastopol Sevastopol 342,451
6 Zaporizhia Zaporizhia Oblast 815,256 16 Kherson Kherson Oblast 328,360
7 Lviv Lviv Oblast 732,818 17 Poltava Poltava Oblast 317,998
8 Kryvyi Rih Dnipropetrovsk Oblast 668,980 18 Chernihiv Chernihiv Oblast 304,994
9 Mykolaiv Mykolaiv Oblast 514,136 19 Cherkasy Cherkasy Oblast 295,414
10 Mariupol Donetsk Oblast 492,176 20 Sumy Sumy Oblast 293,141
2001 Census[135]

[edit] Education
Main articles: Education in Ukraine and List of universities in Ukraine
Ukraine produces the fourth largest number of tertiary graduates in Europe, while being ranked seventh in population.According to the Ukrainian constitution, the access to free education is granted to all citizens. Complete general secondary education is compulsory in the state schools which constitute the overwhelming majority. Free higher education in state and communal educational establishments is provided on a competitive basis.[103] There is also a small number of accredited private secondary and higher education institutions.

Due to the state supported free education, the literacy rate is an estimated 99.4%.[2] Since 2005, an eleven-year school program has been replaced with a twelve-year one: primary education takes four years to complete (starting at age six), middle education (secondary) takes five years to complete. There are then three years of upper secondary school.[104] In the 12th grade students write the Government Tests or school-leaving exams. The Government tests act as both school-leaving exams and university admission tests.

The Ukrainian higher education system comprises higher educational establishments, scientific and methodological facilities under federal, municipal and self-governing bodies in charge of education.[105] The organization of higher education in Ukraine is built up in accordance with the structure of education of the world's higher developed countries, as is defined by UNESCO and the UN.[106]

[edit] Health
Universal health care is granted to all the citizens of Ukraine by the constitution,[107] while private institutions are also encouraged and provide a complementary role. As of 2006, the average life expectancy in Ukraine is 62.16 years for males and 73.96 years for females. The biggest factor contributing to this relatively low life expectancy for males is a high mortality rate among working-age males from preventable causes[108]. As a result, there are 0.857 males to every female in Ukraine.[2]

Countries which provide universal healthcare.The death rate in 2007 is estimated to be 16.07 per 1000 people, compared with the European Union average of 10.00 per 1000.[109] Ukraine's birth rate is 9.45 per 1000 people, compared with the European Union average of 10.00 per 1000.[109] Although the natural increase rate has been showing increasing signs of improvement in recent years, these statistics illustrate a near demographic crisis for Ukraine. Ukraine suffers from the highest per capita rate of cardiovascular diseases in the world.[110] HIV/AIDS, which was virtually non-existent in the Soviet Union, rapidly spread following its collapse. As of 2001, Ukraine had 300,000 people living with HIV/AIDS.[2] The number of physicians in Ukraine is currently at 2.95 per 1000 people. This is comparable to the United States, which has 2.56 physicians 1000 people.[111] Nominal spending on the Ukrainian health care system nearly doubled from 1996 to 2000. Thus, in 2000, health care spending sat at 7.4 billion hryvnias, and was still increasing.[112]

[edit] Religion
See also: History of Christianity in Ukraine
St. Michael's Golden-Domed Cathedral is an example of Ukrainian Baroque architecture
The Crimean Khan's palace in Bakhchisaray was the center of Islam in Ukraine for more than 300 years.The dominant religion in Ukraine is Eastern Orthodox Christianity, which is currently split between three Church bodies: the Ukrainian Orthodox Church autonomous church body under the Patriarch of Moscow, the Ukrainian Orthodox Church - Kiev Patriarchate, and the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church.[113]

A distant second by the number of the followers is the Eastern Rite Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, which practices a similar liturgical and spiritual tradition as Eastern Orthodoxy, but is in communion with the See of Peter (Roman Catholic Church) and recognizes the primacy of the Pope as head of the Church.[114]

Additionally, there are 863 Roman Catholic (Latin or Western Rite) communities, and 474 clergy members serving some one million Roman Catholics in Ukraine.[113] The group forms some 2.19% of the population and consists mainly of ethnic Poles, who live predominantly in the western regions of the country.

Protestant Christians also form around 2.19% of the population. Protestant numbers have grown greatly since Ukrainian independence. The Evangelical Baptist Union of Ukraine is the largest group, with more than 150,000 members and about 3000 clergy. The second largest Protestant church is the Ukrainian Church of Evangelical faith (Pentecostals)[115] with 110000 members and over 1500 local churches and over 2000 clergy, but there also exist other Pentecostal groups and unions and together all Pentecostals are over 300,000, with over 3000 local churches. Also there are many Pentecostal high education schools such as the Lviv Theological Seminary[116] and the Kiev Bible Institute. Other groups include Calvinists, Lutherans, Methodists and Seventh-day Adventists. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is also present.[113]

There are an estimated 500,000 Muslims in Ukraine. About 300,000 Muslims are Crimean Tatars. There are 487 registered Muslim communities, 368 of them on the Crimean peninsula. In addition, some 50,000 Muslims live in Kiev, mostly foreign-born.[117]

The Jewish community is a tiny fraction of what it was before World War II. Jews form 0.63% of the population. A 2001 census indicated 103,600 Jews, although community leaders claimed that the population could be as large as 300,000. There is no statistics on what share of the Ukrainian Jews are observant but the Orthodox Judaism has a stronger presence in Ukraine,[e] than a smaller Reform denomination. Additionally, there is a presence of the middle-ground sect, Conservative Judaism (aka Masorti Judaism) as well.

As of January 1, 2006, there were 35 Krishna Consciousness and 53 Buddhist registered communities in the country.[117]

[edit] Culture
Main article: Culture of Ukraine
A collection of traditional pysanky from Volyn.Ukrainian customs are heavily influenced by Christianity, which is the dominant religion in the country.[113] The culture of Ukraine has been also influenced by its eastern and western neighbors, which is reflected in its architecture, music and art.

Communist rule had quite a strong effect on the art and writing of Ukraine.[118] In 1932, Stalin made socialist realism state policy in the Soviet Union when he promulgated the decree "On the Reconstruction of Literary and Art Organizations". This greatly stifled creativity. During the 1980s glasnost (openness) was introduced and Soviet artists and writers again became free to express themselves as they wanted.[119]

The tradition of the Easter egg, known as pysanka, has long roots in Ukraine. These eggs were drawn on with wax to create a pattern; then, the dye was applied to give the eggs their pleasant colours, the dye did not affect the previously wax-coated parts of the egg. After the entire egg was dyed, the wax was removed leaving only the colourful pattern. This tradition is thousands of years old, and precedes the arrival of Christianity to Ukraine.[120]

The Ukrainian diet includes chicken, pork, beef, fish and mushrooms. Ukrainians eat a lot of potatoes, grains, fresh and sour vegetables, different kinds of bread. Popular traditional dishes include varenyky (boiled dumplings with mushrooms, potatoes, sauerkraut, cottage cheese or cherries), borsch (soup made of beets, cabbage and mushrooms or meat) and holubtsy (stuffed cabbage rolls filled with rice, carrots and meat). Ukrainian specialties also include Chicken Kiev and Kiev Cake. Ukrainians drink stewed fruit, juices, milk, sour milk (they make cottage cheese from this), mineral water, tea and coffee, beer, wine and horilka.[121]

In Ukraine, gender roles tend to be more traditional, and grandparents play greater role in raising children than in the West.[122]

[edit] Language
Main article: Ukrainian Language
The main square of Kiev.According to the Constitution, the state language of Ukraine is Ukrainian. Russian, which was the de facto official language of the Soviet Union, is widely spoken, especially in eastern and southern Ukraine. According to the 2001 census, 67.5% of the population declared Ukrainian as their native language and 29.6% declared Russian.[123]

It is sometimes difficult to determine the extent of the two languages.[124] Many people use a Surzhyk (a mixture of Ukrainian and Russian where the vocabulary is often combined with Ukrainian grammar and pronunciation) while claiming in surveys that they speak Russian or Ukrainian (though most can speak both literary languages). Some ethnic Ukrainians, while calling Ukrainian their native language, use Russian more frequently in their daily lives.[125]

These details result in a significant difference across different survey results, as even a small restating of a question switches responses of a significant group of people.[d] Standard literary Ukrainian is mainly spoken in western and central Ukraine. In western Ukraine, Ukrainian is also the dominant language in cities (such as Lviv). In central Ukraine, Ukrainian and Russian are both equally used in cities, with Russian being more common in Kiev,[126][d] while Ukrainian is the dominant language in rural communities. In eastern and southern Ukraine, mainly Russian is used in cities, and Surzhyk is used in rural areas.

A Cossack and horse monument in Odessa.By the end of the Soviet era, there was a real threat to the very existence of the Ukrainian language in the Ukrainian republic of USSR.[127] The number of Ukrainian speakers was diminishing from generation to generation.[128] Following independence, the government of Ukraine began following a policy of Ukrainization,[129] to increase the use of Ukrainian. This generally comes at the expense of Russian, which was often imposed on Ukrainians throughout history. This takes the form of use of Ukrainian in various spheres that are under government control, such as schools, government offices, and some media. This is even done in areas, which are largely Russian speaking. However, in non-government areas of life, the language of convenience (usually Russian) is used.[130]

According to the Constitution of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea, Ukrainian is the only state language of the republic. However, the republic's constitution specifically recognizes Russian as the language of the majority of its population and guarantees its usage 'in all spheres of public life'. Similarly, the Crimean Tatar language (the language of a sizeable 12% minority of the republic[131]) is guaranteed a special state protection as well as the 'languages of other ethnicities'. Russian speakers constitute an overwhelming majority of the Crimean population (77%), with Ukrainian speakers comprising 10.1%, and Crimean Tatar speakers 11.4%.[132] But in everyday life the majority of Crimean Tatars and Ukrainians in Crimea use Russian.[133]

[edit] Sport
Main article: Sport in Ukraine
Olympic stadium in Kiev.Ukraine greatly benefited from the Soviet emphasis on physical education. Such policies left Ukraine with hundreds of stadiums, swimming pools, gymnasiums, and many other athletic facilities.[134] Of the many different sports Ukraine plays, the major sport is football. The top professional league is the Vyscha Liha, also known as the Ukrainian Premier League. The most decorated and known team is FC Dynamo Kyiv. The Ukraine national football team debuted in 2006 FIFA World Cup, and reached the quarterfinals before losing to eventual champions, Italy.

Other sports are also popular in Ukraine. Boxers Vitali Klitschko and Wladimir Klitschko have held heavyweight world champion titles. Ukraine has an ice hockey league and a national ice hockey team. They also have a basketball league, and cricket clubs.

Ukraine made its Olympic debut at the 1994 Winter Olympics. After attending 3 out of 25 Summer Games and 4 out of 22 Winter Games, Ukraine is ranked 36th by number of gold medals won in the All-time Olympic Games medal count. Many athletes who represented and won medals for the Soviet Union were Ukrainians.

[edit] See also
[hide]v • d • e Topics on Ukraine
History Early East Slavs · Kievan Rus' · Mongol invasion · Halych-Volynia · Grand Duchy of Lithuania · Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth · Cossack era · Imperial Russia · Austrian Galicia · After the Russian Revolution: (UNR · ZUNR) · Ukrainian SSR · Independent Ukraine ...
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Religion History of Christianity · UOC (MP) · UOC – KP · UAOC · Roman Catholicism · UGCC · Protestantism · Islam · Judaism ...
Law Constitution · Judicial system: (Constitutional Court · Supreme Court · Prosecutor General) · Ministry of Internal Affairs · Security Service
Military Ministry of Defence · Air Force · Ground Forces · Navy · Marine Corps · Airmobile Forces · Naval Aviation · Ukrainian Guards  ...
Subdivisions Historical regions · Territories: (by area · by population) · Raions · Cities: (by population · by subdivision) · Urban-type settlements · Villages ...
Economy Hryvnia (г) · National Bank · Companies · Communications · Transport: (Airports · Rail · Roads · Water) · Tourism · Income  ...
Demographics Language · People: (Famous Ukrainians) · Diaspora · National census ...
Culture Education · Cuisine: (Wine) · Dance · Sport · Literature · Music · Name · Symbols: (Flag · Coat of arms · Anthem) · Hero ...
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[edit] Footnotes

[edit] References
^ a b Total GDP 2006 (.pdf). The World Bank. Retrieved on 2007-12-25.
^ a b c d e f g h Ukraine. CIA World Factbook (December 13, 2007). Retrieved on 2007-12-24.
^ List of Member States. United Nations. Retrieved on 2007-12-16.

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