Introducing Ukraine (Україна: Ukrayina)

From Left to Right: Row 1: Row 2: Row 3: Row 4: Row 5: Row 6:

1. Introduction / Вступ

Kiev-Pechersk Lavra Complex (National Reserve of Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra), Kiev, Lavra Str.

Ukraine, Europe’s ‘under-discovered gem’ is a democratic state, headed by a nation-wide elected president.

The Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine (the Ukranian parliament) is the country’s highest legislative body, consisting of 450 members. They are elected for 4 terms according to the proportional majority system.

Ukraine derives its name from the Old East Slavic word “ukraina” meaning “borderland or march (militarized border region)” and began to be used extensively in the 19th century.

Derived from the medieval Rus state (Kyivan Rus), Ukrainians used to refer to themselves as Rusyny (Rusyns, Ruthenians, or Ruthenes).

2. History / Історія

Modern day Ukraine was the center of the first eastern Slavic (related to the Indo-European language family e.g. Russian, Ukrainian, and Belorussian) state, Kyvian Rus’.

Kyvian Rus’

Kyivan Rus’ was the largest and most powerful state in Europe during the 10th and 11th centuries.

The name Kievan Rus is a modern-day (19th century) designation. It means ‘land of the Rus’, as it was referred to in the Middle Ages (5th — 15th centuries). The Rus ruled from the city of Kiev and so `Kievan Rus’ simply meant “the lands of the Rus of Kiev”.

Principalities of Kyivan Rus’ (1054–1132); Map of Kievan Rus territories during the feudal split, after the death of Prince Yaroslav the Wise in 1054.

Kyvian Rus’ was the first state to arise among the Eastern Slavs.

It is named after the city of Kyiv, the seat of the grand prince (9th — 13th centuries).

At its prime, its territory stretched from the Carpathian Mountains to the Volga River, and from the Black Sea to the Baltic Sea.

Kievan Rus’ has been considered the cultural ancestor of several modern-day eastern European states.

“…its territory stretched from the Carpathian Mountains to the Volga River…”

The strategic intersection which linked major (North-south and East-west) land and water trade routes (not to mention involving access to two major seas), and conditions favoring agriculture led to Kyvian Rus’ rapid development as a hub of trade and commerce.

Primitive farming which provided for the people’s subsistence and foreign trade via transshipment were the main components of the state’s activities and economy.

Foreign domination

1237–40 — Mongols invade the Rus principalities, destroying many cities and ending Kievan Rus’s power. The Tatars, as the Mongol invaders were known, establish the empire of the Golden Horde.

1349–1430 Poland and later the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth gradually annex most of what is now western and northern Ukraine.

1441 — Crimean Khanate breaks free of the Golden Horde and conquers most of modern southern Ukraine.

1596 — Poland establishes Greek-Catholic or Uniate Church, in union with Rome, which comes to predominate western Ukraine. The rest of Ukraine remains overwhelmingly Orthodox.

1648–1657 — Cossack uprising against Polish rule establishes Hetmanate, founded by the Hetman of Zaporizhian Host, Bohdan Khmelnytsky. The state is regarded as the forerunner of the modern independent state. The Hetmanate state consisted of most of what is now central Ukraine.

Fast forward, Ukraine declares itself as an independent state on August 24, 1991. Ukraine has since opened its doors to foreign investors, businessmen, and foremost to tourists in an effort to develop itself.

Since 1992, the 24th of August is celebrated in Ukraine as Independence Day.

3. Demographics / Демографія

Beset with various issues, the population of Ukraine has declined over 2% every year the past several years.

The population is currently declining at a rate of 0.59%, a rate has increased every year since 2015.

The United Nations estimates that Ukraine could lose nearly one-fifth of its population by 2050.

On 1 July 2021 the total population of Ukraine was estimated to be 41,383,182 by the State Statistics Service of Ukraine.

4. Developments / Розвиток

Derzhprom building in 2020.

The Palace of Industry (Derzhprom) is the first skyscraper in Europe. Constructed in 1928, it was to become the tallest structure in Europe for its time. The building also became the most spacious single structure in the world.

Paton Bridge, the world’s first all-welded bridge.

Paton Bridge is one of the bridges across the Dnieper in Kyiv, Ukraine named after its constructor Evgeny Paton. Built between 1941 and 1953, it is one of the world’s first all-welded bridge and is also the longest bridge in Kyiv having a length of 1,543 metres (5,062 ft). Traffic across the bridge was opened on 5 November 1953.

Left: Zoloti Vorota is a Metro stations in Kyiv, named after the Golden Gates, the station is one of the most stunning achievements in the country. Right: Mosaic depicting Yaropolk II of Kiev with one of the chandeliers seen in the background.

Zoloti Vorota is the 29th station of the Kyiv Metro system that serves Kyiv, the capital city of Ukraine.

The original design plans for the station called for a clean utilitarian structure typical of metro stations of that period. Due to the efforts of the city’s chief architect Mykola Zharikov, the design was scrapped in favor of one that resembles an ancient Kievan Rus’ temple.

5. Geography / География

Today, Ukraine’s geography remains a strategic position at the crossroads between Europe and Asia; second-largest country in Europe.

The landscape of Ukraine consists mostly of fertile plains (or steppes) and plateaus, crossed by rivers such as the Dnieper (Dnipro) and Seversky Donets, as they flow into the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov to the south.

To the southwest, a delta forms the border with Romania.

Ukraine’s mountains, the Carpathian Mountains are in the west. The highest is the Hora Hoverla at 2,061 metres (6,762 ft), and the Crimean Mountains on Crimea, in the extreme south along the coast.

From Left to Right: The Carpathian Mountains, The Hora Hoverla (which is actually part of the Carpathian Mountains), and the Crimean Mountains.

6. Education / Освіта

Ukraine has a 99.4% literacy rate, produces the fourth largest number of academic graduates in Europe, and is a popular destination for education among Asian and African students.

The Ukrainian educational system is organized into five levels: preschool, primary, secondary, upper secondary and postgraduate education. Access to free education is granted to all citizens according to the Ukrainian constitution.

7. Languages / Мови

The language structure of Ukraine, according to the All-Ukrainian census data.

Significant numbers of people in the country speak Polish, Yiddish, Rusyn, Belarusian, Romanian or Moldovan, Bulgarian, Crimean Turkish, or Hungarian however the vast majority of people in Ukraine speak Ukrainian, which is written in a variation of the Cyrillic script. About 20 languages are spoken in Ukraine, according to Translators without Borders.

8. Culture / Культура

Embroidered towels, icons, and drying herbs and flowers decorate the interior of a peasant home at the Museum of Folk Architecture and Life in Pyrohiv, south of Kyiv (Left). A view along Rynok (Market) Square in Lviv (Right). Source.
Geranium blossoms peer through a cottage window at the outdoor Museum of Folk Architecture and Life in Pyrohiv, just south of Kyiv (Left). The ornate Neo-Baroque decorations of the National Museum in Lviv (Right). Source.

9. Nature / Природа

10. Interaction with the world / Взаємодія зі світом

Ukraine pursues an active multilateral policy within the framework of universal and regional international organizations. Participation in the UN is aimed primarily at advancing Ukraine’s interests in the process of making the most important decisions for the entire world community. Activities within the OSCE will remain an important factor in complementing and enhancing regional and overall stability and security in Europe.

11. Notable People / Видатні люди

Mikhail Grushevsky (1866–1934)

Polymath Mikhail Grushevsky was a historian, scholar, literary critic, sociologist, publicist, writer, public figure, and political figure. He earned his fame for his fundamental research on local history, which he published in his work, History of Ukraine-Rus, a work requiring three decades to complete (a monumental 10-volume monographic series).

Moreover, he was also the head of the first national parliament (Central Rada) of the Ukrainian Independent Republic.

Nataliya Polonska-Vasylenko (1884–1973)

Polonska-Vasylenk, a prominent historian was amongst the leading representatives of the statehood school in Ukrainian historiography (the study of the writing of history and of written histories), author of nearly 200 academic articles about the history of Zaporizhzhya and Southern Ukraine. Her work is a major source for Ukrainian historical research.

She was an active member of the Shevchenko Scientific Society, academician of the Ukrainian Free Academy of Sciences and the International Academy of Sciences in Paris, and professor at the Ukrainian Free University in Prague and Munich.

Sergei Korolev (1906 — 1966)

Regarded by many as the father of practical astronautics, Sergei Korolev was involved in the development of the R-7 Rocket, Sputnik 1, launching Laika, Belka and Strelka, and the first human being, Yuri Gagarin, into space. Although Korolev trained as an aircraft designer, his greatest strengths proved to be in design integration, organization and strategic planning. His biography has been translated into 63 different languages on wikipedia.

Tsvelykh Tamara Ivanivna (1910–2010)

Tsvelykh Ivanivna was an Ukrainian teacher of renown, she specialized in methodology of preschool education, and was a founder of the scientific school of aesthetic education.

12. Links of Interest / Посилання, що представляють інтерес

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Christian, Engineer, Journalist. (Aspire) Teacher, Artist, Translator, Disaster Relief Worker, Anti-Human Trafficking, Ch. Pl. Ecclesiastes 12:13–14.

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Christian, Engineer, Journalist. (Aspire) Teacher, Artist, Translator, Disaster Relief Worker, Anti-Human Trafficking, Ch. Pl. Ecclesiastes 12:13–14.

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