Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Ukraine Facts Essay Example for Free

Ukraine Facts Essay Ukraine is located in southeastern Europe, occupying the northern shore of the Black Sea. Its former ruler, Russia, borders it to the east and northeast, with Belarus to the north and Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, Rumania, and Moldova to the west. Europe’s second-largest nation (behind Russia), it occupies 603,700 square miles in area, 56% percent of which includes rich arable land, found in the nation’s plains (steppes) and plateaus; only the far western and Crimean regions are relatively mountainous and the nation’s highest point, Hora Hoverla, is 6762 feet above sea level (The World Factbook). The Dnieper River, Ukraine’s most important waterway, bisects the country and is the location of the capital, Kiev. Its climate and precipitation vary greatly, with the Crimea enjoying a Mediterranean climate and cool winters. The remainder of the country is temperate, with generally warm summers and winters varying from moderately to extremely cold. History Though modern Ukrainian independence arrived in 1991, after the Soviet Union dissolved, it was a strong nation in the tenth and eleventh centuries, before internal divisions and foreign invasions placed it under Polish and Lithuanian rule for several centuries. Between the mid-seventeenth and late eighteenth centuries, Ukrainian Cossacks (the nomadic peoples known for their horsemanship and fighting skill) helped win the nation its independence. However, Ukraine fell under Russian rule in the late eighteenth century and remained Russian-controlled, except for a brief period between 1917 and 1920. During Russia’s rule, Ukraine was afflicted by famines (particularly in 1921-22 and 1932-33) which killed over eight million citizens, and it suffered considerably during World War II, losing an additional eight million during the Nazi invasion and subsequent Soviet offensive (The World Factbook). Though Ukraine achieved independence again in 1991, it remained a dictatorship under some degree of Russian control, afflicted by corruption that stymied efforts at political and economic reform. The 2004 election of reformer Viktor Yushchenko as president (despite the opposition’s efforts to rig the election and poison the pro-democracy candidate) marks a potential turning point in Ukrainian history Culture Despite its long periods of foreign occupation, Ukraine has managed to retain its distinctive culture, particularly its language, which closely resembles Russian and uses the Cyrillic alphabet like most other Slavic languages. However, its ethnic minorities continue to use their own languages, though (mainly Russian, with small pockets of Poles, Rumanians, and Hungarians). Communist rule discouraged religion, but since 1991 Ukraine’s religious practices revived, with slightly less than half of the population adhering to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church. Slightly more than one-third of Ukrainians still practice no religion or belong to no church, while there also rather small minorities of Protestants, Catholics, and Jews (The World Factbook). After attaining independence, Ukraine was slow to adopt democracy, though calls for reform and Yushchenko’s election signal the nation’s desire to orient itself toward Western Europe and adopt both democracy and a free-market economy. Its economy, initially slow to prosper, has opened itself to foreign business and improved within the last few years. REFERENCES Anonymous. (1996). Welcome to Ukraine. Retrieved 30 January 2006 from http://www. ukraine. org/. (2006). CIA – The World Factbook – Ukraine. Retrieved 30 January 2006 from http://www. cia. gov/cia/publications/factbook/print/up. htm

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