Ukraine - education
After the independence in 1991, increasing emphasis is placed on Ukrainian
culture in the education system, and teaching takes place mainly in Ukrainian. A
number of private, including religious, schools have also been established,
which have especially gained a foothold at primary school level.
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The public education system is free and includes nine years of compulsory
schooling. The four-year primary school for 7-11-year-olds is followed by a
superstructure with a five-year and a two-year level. The latter is divided into
general, technical and business-oriented lines.
Higher education takes place at the country's 11 universities and a number of
other educational institutions.
ETYMOLOGY: The name comes from oldruss. Ukraine 'border country', originating only in
the regions east of the river Bug.
OFFICIAL NAME: Ukraine
CAPITAL CITY: Kyjiv
POPULATION: 45,800,000 (Source: COUNTRYaah)
AREA: 603,700 km²
OFFICIAL LANGUAGE (S): Ukrainian, Russian, other
RELIGION: Ukrainian Orthodox 30%, Unified Christians 7%, Protestants 4%, Other Orthodox
2%, Catholics 1%, Jews 1%, others el. no 55%
COIN: Гривня, hryvna
CURRENCY CODE: UAH
ENGLISH NAME: Ukraine
INDEPENDENCE: 24.8.1991 by the Soviet Union
POPULATION COMPOSITION: Ukrainians 73%, Russians 22%, Jews 1%, others 4%
GDP PER residents: $ 959 (2007)
LIFE EXPECTANCY: men 63 years, women 74 years (2007)
INDEX OF LIVING CONDITIONS, HDI: 0.774
INDEX OF LIVING CONDITIONS, POSITION: 77
INTERNET DOMAIN NAME: .ua
Ukraine, Republic of Eastern Europe on the Black Sea. Ukraine was the second
most important of the republics in the Soviet Union with large agricultural
production on the fertile black soil, chernozem, and an extensive
industrial sector, especially heavy industry based on large iron and coal
Following the dissolution of the union, the country is embarking on a
comprehensive and painful restructuring, where relations with Russia are
problematic. In 2004, popular protests, the so-called Orange Revolution, led to
a system change; however, it did not immediately lead to a solution to Ukraine's
political and economic problems, and in late 2013, violent unrest erupted in the
country. In early 2014, the Russian-oriented government fell and there was an
international crisis centered on the Crimean peninsula and especially on the
eastern regions of Ukraine, where there have been regular fighting between
Ukrainian troops and local, Russian-oriented militias.
Ukraine - language
Since independence in 1991, Ukrainian has been the official language. Before
that it was spoken by almost 3/4 of the population
(1989), and the counts are not made in the 1990's.
Ukrainian is most prevalent west of the Dnieper River, while Russian is
mainly spoken in the eastern part of the country and in the Crimea.
A small part of the population uses the so-called surzhyk, a mixed
language of Ukrainian and Russian. Minority languages are spoken
Polish, Russian, Belarusian, Hungarian, Romanian, Bulgarian and Greek.
Ukraine - religion
With the Christianization of Kiev in 988, the foundation was laid for the
Ukrainian Orthodox Church. During the Polish-Lithuanian period, the Ukrainian
Catholic Church was created, with parts of the church at the Council of 1595 in
Brest-Litovsk being united with the Roman Catholic Church (see unified
churches). With the expansion of the Russian Empire in parts of Ukraine, the
Ukrainian Orthodox Church in 1686 became subject to the Russian Orthodox Church.
Internal ecclesiastical strife following the Ukrainian Declaration of
Independence in 1991 led to a church split. In addition to the Moscow Autonomous
Ukrainian Orthodox Church, there is now also a united Ukrainian Orthodox Church
that claims autocaphalism (independence) and is supported by those in power.
The United Ukrainian Catholic Church was banned in 1946 and forcibly
incorporated into the Orthodox Church; in 1989 it regained legal status in the
western Ukrainian territories.
Ukraine - political parties
The Communist Party, which was banned after the August coup in 1991, was
restored in 1993, and the Communists, together with left-wing parties such as
Hromada, have formed the largest grouping in the Supreme Council; in the
parliamentary elections in 1998, the two together received approximately a quarter of
The second largest group is made up of independent members, as half of the
council is elected in single-member constituencies. In addition, there are a
number of smaller center-right parties such as the moderate-nationalist Rukh,
the environmental party PZU and the Social Democrats.
There are rarely decided parties in government; instead, an independent prime
minister is often appointed, as in 1999, when Leonid
Kravchuk appointed Governor Viktor Yushchenko (b. 1954). He was supported by the
Ukraine - Constitution
The Constitution of the Republic of Ukraine is from 1996. The legislative
power lies with a unicameral parliament, the Supreme Council, Verkhovna Rada,
with 450 members elected for four-year terms by universal suffrage. Parliament
can amend the Constitution and it can decide to bring the President of the
The executive power lies with the president, who is elected by direct
election for five years. He may immediately be re-elected only once. The
president appoints a prime minister and, on his proposal, the other government,
which must, however, be approved by parliament. The Prime Minister is the head
of government and responsible for the policies pursued.
The Constitution allows for a significant degree of decentralization; Ukraine
is divided into 24 districts and one autonomous republic, Crimea. The city of
Kyiv and the port city of Sevastopol, which is the base of the Russian Black Sea
Fleet, have special status and are only accountable to the Ukrainian central
government in Kiev. Local councils and executive authorities elected every four
years are responsible for their districts' taxes, budgets, schools, roads, and
The Autonomous Republic of Crimea has if. far-reaching self-government with
its own constitution, parliament and government, but can not pursue a policy
that is contrary to Ukraine's constitution. Crimea's status is uncertain after
the republic was occupied and annexed by Russia in 2014.
Ukraine - economy
After the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, Ukrainian companies could not
compete on the world market. The government refused to implement market economy
reforms and instead tried to keep the production apparatus alive by letting the
banknote press run.
The consequence was hyperinflation; Consumer prices rose by 7000% in the
second half of 1993, and the economy was on the verge of collapse when Leonid
Kuchma set a more reform-friendly course in 1994 with the support of, among
others, International Monetary Fund (IMF). The IMF's counter-demand was the
implementation of a stabilization program, which entailed a significant
reduction in the budget deficit, a tightening of monetary policy and structural
The tightening of economic policy brought inflation so much under control
that a new currency, the hryvna, could be introduced in the autumn of
1996. The currency was pegged to the dollar, but has since been frequently
written down, e.g. in the wake of the 1997-98 international financial crisis.
The government has also liberalized parts of the economy, and most small and
medium-sized enterprises have been privatized, often through sales to employees,
while the privatization of large and often unprofitable state-owned enterprises
has been very slow.
This is a major reason why Ukraine has attracted foreign investors only to a
small extent. In 1998, market economic reforms of agriculture began, and in
2004, the country's largest steelworks was sold to a consortium with the
participation of President Kuchma's son-in-law. After the "orange revolution",
sales were rejected in 2005, and the work was sold the same year at a much
The transition to a market economy is hampered by a fragile financial sector
and underdeveloped capital markets, although many banks and stock exchanges were
established in the 1990's. Barter as a means of payment between companies was
widespread until 2000, and the black economy accounts for a large part of the
total economic activity.
A more efficient tax collection has since increased the authorities' ability
to influence economic and social development. GDP fell by almost 70% in 1991-99,
but from 2000 Ukraine experienced five years of annual growth rates of around
10%, a pace that plunged to 2.5% in 2005. The registered unemployment rate in
the same year was approximately 3%, but real unemployment is significantly higher and
poverty is widespread.
Ukraine has had a trade and balance of payments surplus since 1999. Although
Russia remains the country's largest trading partner, Ukraine has chosen not to
join the CIS customs union and has to some extent reoriented its foreign trade.
In January 2006, a disagreement over the price of Russian natural gas led to
a three-day shutdown of supplies, which was also felt in Western Europe, which
receives Russian gas through pipelines from Ukraine. On the Ukrainian side, it
was claimed that the action had political reasons, which was rejected by
Russia. Ukraine had to accept a doubling of the gas price.
In 2005, Denmark exported DKK 1408 million. DKK to Ukraine, while imports
from there were 528 mill. kr.
Ukraine (Health conditions)
Life expectancy for men was 62.7 years in 1997; it has been declining since
1970, when it was 66.3 years old. For women, it has been fairly constant at 74.3
years in 1970 and 73.3 in 1997. Infant mortality was 16.2 per year. 1,000 live
births in 1981, while in 1997 it was 14.2. For both sexes, the leading cause of
death is cardiovascular disease. The frequency of this has been slowly
increasing in 1981-97 in contrast to the trend in Western Europe. Cancer is the
second leading cause of death; the frequency has shown a slight increase since
1981. Violent death is for men a prominent cause of death with an increasing
number in the 1990's.
The health service has been organized according to the Soviet model with
central control, but is undergoing changes with regard to decentralization and
partial privatization. In 1996, Ukraine spent 3.8% of GDP on health care. In the
same year, there were 10.8 hospital beds, 4.4 doctors and 11.4 nurses per. 1000
The Armed Forces is (2006) at 187,600. The army is 125,000, the navy 13,500
and the air force 49,100. The service period is 18-24 months. Ukraine became
independent 24.8.1991 and 17.3.1992 Ukraine's armed forces were formed. They
took over Soviet equipment left behind in Ukraine. The equipment of the forces
is therefore of more recent Soviet make. However, nuclear weapons and
the ICBM were handed over to Russia.
The Army has two territorial headquarters and one corps headquarters. It is
still very heavily equipped according to the Soviet model for high-intensity
combat efforts in the plains. The five divisions of the Army are: the Mechanized
and Armored Forces, the Rocket and Artillery Forces, the Helicopter Force,
the Air Land Forces and the Air Defense Forces.
The fleet has 1 cruiser, 2 frigates, 8 smaller combat units, 1 submarine,
5 demining vessels, 7 landing and 9 support vessels as well as naval aircraft,
coastal missile batteries and a small navy. The fleet operates in the Black
Sea and the Azov Sea. There was a major controversy between Kiev and Moscow over
the division of the former Soviet Black Sea Fleet and it was not until 1997 that
an official division came into house. The status of the navy following Russia's
annexation of Crimea in 2014 is uncertain.
The Air Force advises over 26 heavy bombers and 416 other fighters. It
is divided into five divisions: the bomber command with the Tupolev Tu-22
and Sukhoj Su-24, the fighter command with the Su-27 and Mikojan-Gurevich MiG
29, the fighter bomber command with the Su- 25, the reconnaissance command with
the Su-17 and Su-24, and the transport command with Ilyushin Il-76
and Antonov An-26.
The overall strength continues to be judged to be significantly greater than
it is possible for the country's economy to support. The total strength of the
security forces and the border guard is 84,900.
Ukraine - architecture and visual arts
Kyjiv was 988-1299 the center of the Russian Church, and from this period
stems the Sofia Cathedral and several churches and monasteries (see Kyjiv). In
the 1700's. several of them were rebuilt in baroque.
A nationally conscious visual art was heralded by the poet, painter and
graphic artist Taras Shevchenko, whose depictions of Ukrainian historical scenes
in painting and graphics gained great importance. The most important Ukrainian
artists of the second half of the 1800's, such as Ilya Repin and Arkhip
Kuindzhi, came to belong to the history of Russian art.
In the 1900's. there was a flourishing in the art of painting with an
orientation towards expressionism, fauvism and abstraction with artists such as
Alexander Shevchenko (1883-1948), Alexander Bogomazov (1880-1930), Alexei
Gritjenko (1883-1977), Alexander Arkhipenko, Aleksandra Ekster and Kazimir
Around the magazine Nova Generatsia, a group emerged in the late 1920's with
Anatoly Petritsky (1895-1964) as a prominent figure, oriented towards
the Bauhaus and European-Russian constructivism.
The group was affected by the Stalinist clash with Ukrainian nationalism in
the 1930's, after which the socialist-realistic doctrine became dominant. After
1989, a varied Ukrainian visual art has re-emerged.
Ukraine - literature
The Ukrainian, Russian and Belarusian literature have common origins in the
East Slavic, Byzantine-influenced culture that originated in the Kyiv War
(900-1100-t.). First from 1300-t. one can speak of an independent Ukrainian
literature with its own language. Kyjiv, Ostrog, and Lviv became centers of the
printing press and translations of religious writings.
With the formation of the Polish-Lithuanian Union in 1569, a massive
polonization began. The opposition of the Orthodox Church was supported by the
learned writer Mileti Smotritsky (1577-1633), and the Athos monk Ivan Vyshensky
(approximately 1550-1620) became the founder of Ukrainian satire. Poetry was deeply
influenced by the Polish Baroque, both in terms of verse and the religious-moral
theme. Within prose, translations of Western hagiographies (saint biographies)
and knightly novels were all-dominating.
In the 1700's. the anonymous school dramas flourished, while mountain stalls
and puppet theaters constituted a popular counterculture. Hryhoryj Skovoroda
(1722-94) wrote Enlightenment philosophical writings as well as sensitive
elegies and burlesque-satirical poems. Ivan Kotljarevskyj (1769-1838) gave
poetry new, flexible verse measures, which were adapted to the natural rhythm of
language. His Vergil travesty, The Aeneid in the Ukrainian Way (1798,
complete ed. 1842), is a national classic. But also Russian literature has
absorbed lasting impulses from this grotesque-satirical tradition, conveyed by a
large number of Ukrainian-born writers, ranging from N. Gogol to M. Bulgakov.
1800-t. was the heyday of national romanticism. In the 1830's, a systematic
collection of folklore began, especially the richly varied fairy tales and dumy,
i.e. the heroic poems of the Cossacks. Mykola Kostomarov (1817-85) and
Pantelejmon Kulisj (1819-97) contributed historical novels and headed the
Kyrillo-Methodist Brotherhood and other literary groups. Tara Shevchenko was the
innovative and rebellious genius of the era and is still honored as Ukraine's
In the second half of the 1800's. the realistic prose made its
breakthrough. Maria Aleksandrivna Vilinska-Markovytj (1834-1907) published in
1860, under the pseudonym Marko Vovtsjok, The Institute Miss, the
first Ukrainian narrative with a conscious socio-critical aim. Ivan
Karpenko-Karyj (1845-1907) created debate with his tragicomic plays. Ivan Franko
marked the culmination of the socially critical wave. Others such as Lesja
Ukrainka (pseudonym for Larysa Kossatj-Kvitka, 1871-1913) instead sought
reflection and immersion in their poetry and essays.
In the 1900's. the nationalist and socialist currents on regular fronts
culminated with the formation of the Soviet Union in 1922. Many writers,
including the symbolist Pavlo Tychyna (1891-1967) and the learned neoclassical
poet Maksym Rylsky (1895-1964), declared their allegiance to Soviet
power. Others such as the playwright Volodymyr Vynnytenko (1880-1951) chose
exile. Several of them later perished in the Nazi concentration camps, eg Olha
Kobyljanska (1863-1942). After World War II, the United States became the center
of the active but gradually isolated Ukrainian exile culture.
In the 1930's, Stalin began systematic purges of the Ukrainian
intelligentsia. The author and filmmaker Alexander Dovzhenko was among the many
persecuted artists who were first fully rehabilitated during the thaw. Through
the many political upheavals, Oles Hontjar (1918-95) stood as a significant
gathering point due to his years of work in the writers' association, but also
due to his extensive lyrical-realistic writing with major works such as
the novel trilogy Bannerførerne (1946-48) and Mennesker
og våpen (1960). The unofficial literature was disseminated via samizdatreleases. Among
the most significant contributions were Vassyl Stus' (1938-85) system-critical
poems and Valeryj Martjenko's (1947-84) urgent essays on human rights.
Gorbachev's reform policy from 1985 received its very special response in
Belarus and Ukraine, where the crash at the Chernobyl plant in 1986 activated
both environmental awareness and the latent anti-Soviet and anti-Russian
sentiments. A number of writers joined the Rukh organization in 1989. After the
dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991, forces worked to reintroduce the
Ukrainian language into all sections of society and into the literature, where
it eventually accounted for only 3% of publications. In 1995, the
Writers' Association contributed to the manifesto of the Ukrainian
intelligentsia and to the organization of a large-scale congress, aimed at
the government's pro - Russian policy. But by the beginning of 2000-t. Ukrainian
literature and identity are deeply divided between West and East.
Ukraine - music
At the introduction of Christianity in the late 900-t. the Byzantine song
came to Ukraine. Unanimous church singing and vocal polyphony reached a peak in
the 1600's. with Kyjiv as the center. In the 1700's. the music life unfolded on
the large estates with international repertoire.
Mykola Lysenko (1842-1912) founded the national school. After World War I,
composers, such as Boris Lyatoshynsky (1894-1968), sought inspiration primarily
in folk music, while the next generation, including Valentin Silvestrov (b.
1937), joined the Western European avant-garde.
Folk music includes old ritual and newer lyrical songs, in addition to the
epic duma, which is sung in a free, ornamented form, and historical
songs in polyphonic performance. The instrumental music uses flute, shepherd
trumpet, bagpipe and mouth harp; the most famous ensemble, troïsta muzyka,
consists of violin and chopping board with bass or frame drum.
With a production of approximately 3 mio. hl of wine from an area of 180,000 ha
is Ukraine No. 3 after Russia and Moldova in the former Soviet Union. The most
important areas are Crimea, Odessa and Kherson, from which approximately 700
collectives and state farms supply wine for bottling in factories near the big
cities. Most wines are made from local grape varieties, but French grapes are
mainly used for export wines. The sweet and durable muscat wine from Massandra
was enjoyed at the Tsar's court and at the Yalta Conference, and a few old
bottles were sold by the auction company Sotheby's in 1990.