SYSTEM OF GOVERNMENT: Multiparty Republic
AREA: 603,700 Sq Km (233,100 Sq Mi)

Direct Link to Political MapDirect Link to Physical MapLOCATION AND GEOGRAPHY: Ukraine is located in East Europe and is a former republic of the USSR. It is bound by Belarus to the north, Russia to the north and east, the Black Sea to the south, Moldova and Romania to the southwest as well as Poland, Hungary and Slovakia to the west. The country is a vast undulating plain bound by the Carpathian Mountains to the southwest and the Black Sea to the south. The Carpathian Mountain region is heavily forested while the undulating plain is sparsely wooded and the Black Sea Lowlands are completely flat consisting of steppe. In the northwest the country extends into the Great Pripet Marshes and the country's principal rivers are the Bug, Dnepr, Donets, Dnestr, Prut and Tisza. Major Cities (pop. est.); Kiev 2,645,000, Kharkiv 1,599,000, Dnipropetrovsk 1,176,000, Donetsk 1,114,000, Odessa 1,073,000 (1994). Land Use; forested 17%, pastures 12%, agricultural-cultivated 57%, other 14% (1993).

CLIMATE: Ukraine has a continental climate with hot summers and long cold winters. Average annual precipitation varies from 300 mm (12 inches) in the south to 600 mm (24 inches) in the northwest and increases to more than 750 mm (30 inches) in the mountains. Average temperature ranges in the northeast are from -8 degrees Celsius (18 degrees Fahrenheit) in January to 29 degrees Celsius (85 degrees Fahrenheit) in July while in the south they range from -2 degrees Celsius (28 degrees Fahrenheit) in January to 32 degrees Celsius (90 degrees Fahrenheit) in July.

PEOPLE: The principal ethnic majority are the Ukrainians who account for 73% of the population while 22% are Russians. Other ethnic minorities include Belarussians, Moldovans, Tartars and Jews.

DEMOGRAPHIC/VITAL STATISTICS: Density; 87 persons per sq km (225 persons per sq mi) (1993). Urban-Rural; 67.8% urban, 32.2% rural (1993). Sex Distribution; 46.4% male, 53.6% female (1992). Life Expectancy at Birth; 66.0 years male, 75.0 years female (1991). Age Breakdown; 21% under 15, 21% 15 to 29, 21% 30 to 44, 18% 45 to 59, 11% 60 to 69, 8% 70 and over (1991). Birth Rate; 12.1 per 1,000 (1991). Death Rate; 12.9 per 1,000 (1991). Increase Rate; -0.8 per 1,000 (1991). Infant Mortality Rate; 13.9 per 1,000 live births (1991).

RELIGIONS: Mostly Christians with 85% of the population Orthodox Christian while 10% are Byzantine Catholic, 3% are Protestant and 1% are Jewish.

LANGUAGES: The official language is Ukrainian, although Russian is also widely spoken and each ethnic minority also has its own language.

EDUCATION: Aged 15 or over and having attained: incomplete primary education 6.8%, primary 13.8%, incomplete secondary 18.4%, secondary 31.1%, incomplete post secondary 19.5%, higher 10.4% (1989). Literacy; N/A.

MODERN HISTORY - WWII TO 1993: In August 1991 Ukraine declared its independence, although prior to independence its history was closely tied with that of the former Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR). In Mar. 1953 Yosef Stalin died and was succeeded by Georgy Malenkov who was in turn forced to relinquish the party leadership to Nikita Khrushchev after a little over one week in power. In 1955 the Warsaw pact militarily aligned the Soviet Union with other communist countries and in Nov. 1956 the Soviet Red Army invaded Hungary to quell uprisings. In 1957 three communist ministers unsuccessfully attempted to depose Khrushchev which resulted in their expulsion from the central committee. In 1962 under Khrushchev's rule the USSR was involved in the Cuban Missile crisis and in the same year relations with China were broken off as a result of ideological differences. In Oct. 1964 Khrushchev was forced to retire and was succeeded by Leonid Brezhnev. In Aug. 1968 the Warsaw Pact forces led by the Red Army invaded Czechoslovakia to halt their Prague Spring reforms. In 1977 Breshnev was elected President. In Nov. 1982 Brezhnev died and was succeeded by Yuri Andropov, the former head of the KGB. Andropov introduced limited economic reforms and established an anti-corruption program. In Feb 1984 Andropov died and was succeeded by Konstantin Chernenko who in turn died on Mar. 10, 1985. On Mar. 11, 1985 Mikhail Gorbachev was elected as Chernenko's successor and Gorbachev embarked on a program which restructured the USSR's relations with the West. Gorbachev also established Glasnost (openness) as well as Perestroika (restructuring and reform). In Apr. 1986 a meltdown in the reactor of the Chernobyl nuclear power station in Ukraine sent radioactive fallout across northern Europe. In Dec. 1987 the USSR and USA signed the Treaty on Intermediate Nuclear Forces (INF). In Feb. 1988 a dispute erupted between Armenia and Azerbaijan over the enclave of Nagorno-Karabakh which resulted in mass demonstrations and strikes in the two republics. In Dec. 1988 an earthquake in Armenia killed some 50,000 people. In Apr. 1989 troops violently repressed demonstrations in Tbilisi, the capital of Georgia. In Dec. 1989 the Lithuanian Parliament adopted multiparty politics. In Jan. 1990 Gorbachev visited Lithuania and was met by some 250,000 pro-independence demonstrators. In Feb. 1990 some 18 people were killed in riots over housing discrimination in Tajikistan. In May 1990 Boris Yeltsin was elected President of the Russian Federation and on Nov. 1, 1990 launched a 500 day plan to give the Russian Republic a free market economy. In June 1990 Nakhichevan an Azerbaijani enclave bordering Iran declared its intention for a unification with Iran while a civil war was escalating between Azerbaijan and Armenia. In the same month around 150 people were killed during ethnic clashes in Kyrgyzstan. In Jan 1991 another 15 people were killed as the Red Army seized a television station in Lithuania while in Latvia the Soviet Black Berets killed 5 people in an attack on the ministry building. In the same month troops were being deployed in Ukraine, Georgia, Armenia and Moldova. In Mar. 1991 pro-Yeltsin demonstrators held a mass rally. On Aug. 18, 1991 as Gorbachev was vacationing in the Crimea, the Politburo hard liners attempted a coup to remove Gorbachev from power through the declaration of a State of Emergency under the control of a State Committee. Almost immediately republic leaders declared the emergency committee illegal as well as unconstitutional and began to barricade their parliaments as troops and tanks were deployed throughout the republics. By Aug. 20 senior officers had refused to order their troops to use force against the civilians and on Aug. 21, 1991 the coup collapsed as troops were ordered to return to their barracks. Immediately following the unsuccessful coup many republics suspended or purged the communist party and on Sept. 5, 1991 after 3 days of debate the 74 years of centralized communist control came to an end. On Dec. 1, 1991 a referendum resulted in 90% of the population voting for independence while Presidential elections held on the same day were won by Leonid Kravchuk. In Jan. 1992 Ukraine became a founding member of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS). In 1992 tension between Ukraine and Russia increased over the latter assuming control of all ex-USSR embassies and overseas property. Additionally, there were concerns about Russia taking over the USSR's permanent seat on the UN Security Council as well as the costs in dismantling the former USSR's strategic nuclear weapons left on its' territory. In May 1992 the mostly Russian population of Crimea demanded independence from Ukraine, following which Pres. Kravchuk mobilized support for the returning Crimean Tartars that forced the Crimean Russians to negotiate a deal with Kravchuk to remain part of Ukraine. In June 1992 Pres. Kravchuk and Russia's Pres. Yeltsin negotiated a deal regarding the bitter dispute over the former USSR's Black Sea Fleet. The compromise involved a 3 year joint command over the fleet. In the same month, Ukraine aligned itself with Russia announcing its' support for an autonomous Dniester republic within Moldova. In Nov. 1992 Prime Minister Leonid Kuchma announced austerity measures that included "forced" privatization, tax reforms and the promotion of agriculture. Also in 1992 territorial tension rose between Ukraine and Romania who had demanded the return of Chernivtsi province and southern Bessarabia. In 1993 following the country's spiral into a state of "economic crisis" Prime Minister Kuchma and his Ministers formed a extraordinary committee. The committee introduced strict limits on the supply of money, faster privatization and greater incentives for foreign investment. In June 1993 miners began a strike in the Donbass coal fields calling for pay increases, the return of the region to Russia or economic autonomy as well as the right for a confidence vote in the government. Pres. Kravchuk responded by announcing economic concessions and called for new Parliamentary and Presidential elections. In July 1993 tensions with Russia increased over Russia's claim to the Crimean city of Sevastopol due to the fact that it wasn't included in the 1954 treaty that ceded Crimea to Ukraine. In Aug. 1993 Deputy Prime Minister, Viktor Pynzenyk, who was responsible for the economic reforms resigned claiming that the conservative Parliament was making it impossible to pass the reforms. On Oct. 21 1993 the government announced that it would not shut down the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant by the end of 1993 as originally planned. On Nov. 18, 1993 the government ratified the START I Treaty conditional upon adequate compensation for the surrender of nuclear tactical warheads to Russia in 1992. Also in 1993 the government announced a plan that called for the Army size to be reduced.

CURRENCY: The official currency is the Hryvnia (UAH).

ECONOMY: Gross National Product; USD $99,589,000,000 (1993). Public Debt; USD $7,100,000,000 (1994). Imports; USD $9,767,862,000 (1994). Exports; USD $9,882,560,000 (1994). Tourism Receipts; N/A. Balance of Trade; R -548,700,000,000 (1993). Economically Active Population; 23,900,000 or 45.9% of total population (1993). Unemployed; 14.2% (1994).

MAIN TRADING PARTNERS: Its main trading partner is the CIS.

MAIN PRIMARY PRODUCTS: Asbestos, Barley, Coal, Corn, Flax, Gas, Graphite, Gypsum, Iron Ore, Kaolin, Limestone, Livestock, Manganese, Marble, Mercury, Nickel, Oil, Ozocerite, Peat, Rye, Salt, Sugar Beets, Titanium, Tobacco, Wheat.

MAJOR INDUSTRIES: Agriculture, Chemical Refining, Excavators, Hydroelectricity, Iron and Steel, Locomotives, Mining, Oil Refining, Planes, Railroad Cars, Ships, Tractors, Turbines.

MAIN EXPORTS: Chemicals, Coal, Heavy Machinery, Iron and Steel, Minerals, Ores.

TRANSPORT: Railroads; route length 22,799 km (14,167 mi) (1991), passenger-km 76,000,000,000 (47,224,000,000 passenger-mi) (1991), cargo ton-km 474,000,000,000 (324,643,000,000 short ton-mi) (1991). Roads; length 167,800 km (104,266 mi) (1991). Vehicles; cars 2,920,000 (1988). Merchant Marine; N/A. Air Transport; N/A.

COMMUNICATIONS: Newspapers; total of 90 with a total circulation of 6,083,000 (1992). Radio; receivers 14,520,000 (1991). Television; receivers 17,024,000 (1991). Telephones; lines 2,225,000 (1993).

MILITARY: 517,000 (1994) total active duty personnel with 59.6% army, 40.4% air force while military expenditure accounts for 3.9% (1993) of the Gross National Product (GNP).

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