Country report of Ukraine

Seminar Paper, 2007

27 Pages


A Table of Contents

B List of Figures

C List of Abbreviations
1 Introduction
2 Basic country information
2.1 Geography
2.2 Ethnic minorities
2.3 Cities
2.4 Climate
2.5 Environmental Problems
2.6 Infrastructure
2.7 Religion
2.8 Education
2.9 Language
2.10 Holidays
3 National symbols
3.1 The National Flag
3.2 The State Emblem
3.3 The State Anthem
4 History
5 Political Facts
5.1 The Political System
5.2 Political situation in the past
5.3 Elections of 2004
5.4 The Legislative branch
6 Economy
6.1 Economic situation
6.2 Role of Ukraine in former Soviet Union
6.3 Agriculture and Industry
6.4 Currency
6.5 Energy dependency
7 Culture in Ukraine
7.1 Music
7.2 Dance
7.3 Greetings
7.4 Gestures
7.5 Forms of Address
7.6 Negotiating
7.7 Equality and Inequality
7.8 Decision Making
7.9 Traditional Folk Beliefs
7.10 Art and Writing
7.11 The Easter Egg
8 Current Issues
8.1 Trade Relations to the EU
8.2 Ukraine’s Foreign Policy
8.2.1 NATO
8.2.2 European Union
8.2.3 Russia
9 Outlook

D Bibliography

B List of Figures

Figure 1: Ukraine’s main political groups

C List of Abbreviations

illustration not visible in this excerpt

1 Introduction

Since 1991, when Ukraine declared its indepence, the country has experienced enormous changes. The country is the largest country by size within Europe, and it is inhabited by more than 46 million people. Yet, many facts about the country remain unknown to most of the people living in Germany. The following paper will give further information about Ukraine, including basic country information, history, political facts, the country’s economy as well as culture and issues Ukraine currently deals with.

2 Basic country information

2.1 Geography

Ukraine is located in the East-Europe plain and it is the largest country measured by size within Europe spanning 603 700 km². 46.71 million inhabitants live in Ukraine. The median age of Ukraine’s population in 2006 is 39.2 years, compared to 42.6 years in Germany in 2006. Currently the birth rate is at 8.82 births per 1000 inhabitants, in comparison to 14.39 deaths per 1000 inhabitants, which shows that death rate is almost twice as high as the birth rate. Ukraine has a negative net migration rate, with -0.43 migrants per 1000 inhabitants in the year 2006 (cf Life expectancy at birth is 69.98 years for the total population, with the female expectancy a little higher at 75.59 years than the men expectancy at 64.71 years. Per woman, in 2006 1.17 chilcren were born in 2006 (cf More than 70% of inhabitants live in cities, about 2.6 Million of them in the capital Kijev. It is remarkable that the ukrainian population is shrinking, about -0.6% per year. This is due to the fact that many ukrainians move to foreign countries because of better work conditions and higher life standarts (cf

Ukraine borders Russia and The Republic of Belarus in the North and East, as well as Poland, Slovakia and Hungary in the West and Romania and Moldawia in the South. Also, the Black Sea, the Sea of Azov and the Carpathians are bordered (cf About 22,000 rivers are located in the country, the longest being the Dnieper river, which crosses the Ukraine from north to south, ending in the Black Sea. The Dnieper river is very important to the country. Also, many ponds and lakes are located in the country (cf Bogovin 2001). Ukraine has enormous natural resources, including very fertile soil. Three fifths of the total land area are made up by arable land. Also the country is very rich in minerals, such as iron ore, natural gas, anthracite, aluminium, graphite, brown coal and bituminous coal. One of the largest reserves in the world of manganese-bearing ores can be found in the country as well. (cf The size of irrigated land in Ukraine is 22,080 sq km. The coastline of Ukraine amounts to 2,782 km. The lowest point of the country is the Black Sea with 0 m, and the highest point is Hora Hoverla with 2,061 m (cf ).

2.2 Ethnic minorities

Of the ukrainian population, 17.3% are ethnic russians. They are concentrated in the east and the south of Ukraine. Additionally, many ethnic Ukrainians living in the east and south of the country speak russian, and are in favor of close ties to Russia (cf Woehrel 2006, p.8 a). Other ethnic minorities living in Ukraine include Belarus, Moldawians, Bulgarians and Polish (cf

2.3 Cities

Kiev is the capital and has about 2.6 million inhabitants (cf The city even holds the status of a region, due to the great economic potential as well as the administrative structure. The capital of Ukraine is placed in the centre of the country, next to the dams of the river Dnieper. Many museums and sights can be found in the university city, including the Cathdral of Santa Sofia with its Byzantine mosaics and paintings (cf Other big cities are Charkow with 1.47 million inhabitants, Dnjepropetrowsk inhabited by 1.1 million people, Odessa with 1.03 million inhabitants as well as Donezk with 1.01 million inhabitants (cf

2.4 Climate

Ukraine has a temperate continental climate. The average in July is about 10°C compared to about -6°C average in January. Rainfall is about 50 cm per year with a not evenly distributed precipitation. Summers are warm to hot, especially in the south of the country. Winters range from cool to very cold (cf Mountains can be found in the west, the Carpathians, and in the south of the country, the Crimean Peninsula (cf

2.5 Environmental Problems

The northeast of Ukraine still suffers under radiation from the nuclear accident at the Chornobyl power plant in the year 1986. In addition, the country has to cope with air and water pollution as well as deforestation (cf

2.6 Infrastructure

In the year 2006, Ukraine counts 499 airports and 10 heliports. There are 22,473 km of railways in total and 164,772 km of paved roadways. There are more than 20,000 km of gas pipelines and about 4,500 of oil pipelines. The ukrainian marine has 202 ships and there are several ports (cf Railroads are most heavily concentrated in the Donets Basin. International airports include Borispol near Kiev, Lviv, Odessa, Kharkiv and Simferopol. The Danube River has its port at Izmayil, and on this river, goods that are traded with other european countries are carried, whereas carrying goods within Ukraine is mainly done on Dnieper and the tributaries of this river (cf a).

2.7 Religion

The two dominant religions represented in Ukraine are Ukrainian Orthodox, meaning Kiev Patriarchate, which 19% of the population belong to, and Orthodox with 16% of the population belonging to it. Other religions include Ukrainian Orthodox, meaning Moscow Patriarchate, with 9%, Ukrainian Greek Catholic with 6% and Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox with 1.7%. More than one third of the population, 38%, do either not belong to any religious group, are protestant or jewish (cf

2.8 Education

Back in 1917, about 70% of the ukrainians were illiterate. (cf 235441). Today, Ukraine has a literacy rate of 99.7%, which means that this percentage of people of 15 years can read and white. The literacy rate is even higher than in Germany with 99% in the year 2003. This is due to the fact that the school systems has been changed enormously, and today all children in Ukraine have to go through secondary level education. Altogether, over 100 institutions of higher learning can be found in Ukraine (cf b).

2.9 Language

The official language in Ukraine is ukrainian with about 67% of the population speaking this language. 24% of the people speak russian. Other languages spoken include romanian, polish and hungarian (cf The language ukrainian belongs to the East Slavic language group, and it is written in Cyrillic letters. Today, Ukrainian is the main language for education in Ukraine (cf c).

2.10 Holidays

Ukrainians like celebrating holidays a lot. Orthodox and Soviet holidays are celebrated, as well as some western holidays such as St.Valentine’s Day, St.Patrick’s Day, Halloween and others. New Year’s Day, Orthodox Christmas, Orthodox Easter, Labor Day, Holy Trinity Day and others are celebrated (cf Each fall, the end of the harvest is celebrated as a festival in the country (cf a). On June 28, Constitution Day is celebrated in Ukraine, in memory of the day when the Ukrainian Constitution was signed in 1996. August 24 is Independence Day, celebrating that in 1991 Ukraine became independent from the Sovie Union. On this day, military parades are held and people visit festivals. Also, there are city days for each city within Ukraine, which is the day when the city was founded; for example, Kiev Day is on the last weekend of May each year (cf

3 National symbols

3.1 The National Flag

The ukrainian National flag shows two bands, the tope one is azure blue and the bottom one yellow. It represents the sky and grain fields of the country (cf On January 28, 1992, the National flag was adopted in Ukraine (cf Even though officially, the flag consists of the the colors blue and yellow, slight changes in color, such as as dark marine blue or light blue can be found, and are accepted by ukrainian people (cf Grechylo 2004).

3.2 The State Emblem

The State Emblem of Ukraine is the trident, which consists of a great as well as a small coat of arms. It was adopted by law on March 22, 1918 (cf

3.3 The State Anthem

The State Anthem is called Shche ne vmerla Ukraina, meaning Ukraine has not yet perished. After the title was sung during the ukrainian revolution in 1917, it was adopted as the state anthem back then, of the Ukrainian Republic (cf

4 History

Ukraine has been inhabited by slavic peoples for a very long time. It is known, that they were there 2000 years before Christ was born, maybe even earlier. Kiev, as the capital of Ukraine, also is one of the oldest cities of the country, dating back to the eigth century before Christ. Prince Vladimir of Kiev has been converted to Orthodoxy in the year 988 A.D., and this is when christianity was brought to Ukraine. In 1240, Kiev was taken over by the mongols, who then ruled Ukraine for a while, but eventually they were driven back. In the year 1392, Ukraine was taken over by Lithuania (cf Morrison et al 1994). In the year 1569, almost the whole Ukraine becomes part of the Kingdom of Poland. In 1772, Poland was split up and Galicia becomes part of Austria, and then in 1793, parts of Ukraine become russian protectorates. In 1918, the West Ukrainian Republic is founded. Then in the year 1922, the Soviet Union was founded and Ukraine becomes part of it. During the years 1932 and 1933, Ukraine had to suffer from starvation, and it is estimated that seven to eight million people died during this period. In 1939, in course of the Hitler-Stalin pact, the West Ukraine becomes part of the Soviet Union as well. During World War II, german troups occupy Ukraine. World War II had a big impact on Ukraine, as more than 700 cities were destroyed, and about five million ukrainians died. Another three million people were brought to Germany as workers (cf Morrison et al 1994, p.397f). In August 1991, Ukraine declared its independence. In December of 1991, Ukraine’s first president Leonid Krawtschuk was elected (cf


Excerpt out of 27 pages


Country report of Ukraine
University of Cooperative Education Mannheim
Intercultural Management
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ISBN (eBook)
ISBN (Book)
File size
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Includes Basic County Information (such as Geography, Population, Climate, Education, Language etc.), National Symbols, History and Political Facts, Economy, Culture, Current Issues (Trade Relations to EU, Foreign Policy).
Country, Ukraine, Intercultural, Management
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Anja Müller (Author), 2007, Country report of Ukraine, Munich, GRIN Verlag,


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