Ukraine Basic Information

By | July 21, 2022

Basic information about the territory

Ukraine Basic Information

Subchapters:

  • System of governance and political tendencies in the country
  • Foreign policy of the country
  • Population

The system of governance and political tendencies in the country

Political processes in Ukraine take place within the framework of a semi-presidential system, in which the government is run by a directly elected president for a five-year term; however, he also shares some executive powers with the prime minister proposed by him and approved by the parliament. The winner of the presidential election is the candidate who achieves a majority in the 1st round, or in the 2nd round, to which the two most successful candidates advance. Legislative powers are vested in the unicameral parliament (Verchovna rada), to which 450 (26 deputies from single-mandate constituencies in territories not controlled by the government are not elected) deputies are elected for a four-year term of office. Political parties are usually not ideologically defined, rather they are connected to specific individuals and business interests. The winner of the Ukrainian presidential election on April 21, 2019 was the actor and producer V. Zelenskyi, who in the 2nd round defeated the current president P. Poroshenko (73.22% vs 24.45%). The main theme of Zelenskyi’s campaign was the fight against corruption and the current establishment; he also promised to continue the Euro-Atlantic course. Early parliamentary elections were held on 21 July 2019 at the instigation of the new president. The President’s Servant of the People party won 43.7% of the votes (124 seats). In the single-mandate constituencies, the party won another 130 seats, thus achieving an over-half majority of deputies. Four other parties got into the parliament, the pro-Russian Opposition Platform – For Life (43 mandates), the Vlast of J. Tymoshenko (26), the European Solidarity of former President P. Poroshenko (25) and the Voice of rocker V. Vakarčuk (20). Conversely, nationalist and extreme right-wing parties failed. Check computerminus to learn more about Ukraine political system.

A fundamental change in the domestic political development in Ukraine was brought about by the Russian invasion, which Moscow began on February 24, 2022, which preceded Russia’s recognition of the so-called Donetsk and Luhansk Republics. The original goal was probably to overthrow the legitimate Ukrainian government and install a puppet pro-Russian government. During the war, President Zelenskyi remains in Kyiv, from where he conducts negotiations with a number of foreign statesmen, actively speaks remotely before the parliaments of various countries and at international forums, and receives visits from European representatives. There was a mobilization of society and a ban on pro-Russian political parties led by OPZŽ.

Composition of the government:

1st Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Economy: Yulia Svyrydenko

Deputy Prime Minister for European and Euro-Atlantic Integration: Olga Stefanyšyna

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Reintegration of Temporarily Occupied Territories: Iryna Vereščuk

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Digital Transformation: Mychailo Fedorov

Minister for issues of strategic branches of industry: Pavlo Rjabikin

Minister of Justice: Denys Maljuska

Minister of Finance: Sergej Marchenko

Minister of Environmental Protection and Natural Resources: Ruslan Strilec

Minister of Energy: Herman Halushchenko

Minister of Infrastructure: Oleksandr Kubrakov

Minister of Community and Territorial Development: Oleksij Černyšov

Minister of Education and Science: Serhij Škarlet

Minister of Culture and Information Policy: Oleksandr Tkachenko

Minister of Health: Viktor Ljaško

Minister of Youth and Sports: Vadym Hutcajt

Minister of Social Policy: Maryna Lazebna

Minister of Internal Affairs: Denys Monastyrskyj

Minister of Foreign Affairs: Dmytro Kuleba

Minister of Defense: Oleksiy Reznikov

Minister for Veterans Affairs: Yulia Laputina

Minister for Agrarian Policy and Food Industry: Mykola Solskyj

Minister without portfolio: Oleh Nemčinov

Foreign policy of the country

Ukraine was created after the collapse of the USSR and still struggles with the Soviet legacy in the field of foreign policy. The country is divided in terms of its foreign policy direction. Part of the population (predominantly in the west of the country) wishes for a strong orientation towards the EU and the West in general, while the population in the eastern part of the country, especially in the Donbass, is traditionally politically and economically oriented towards Russia. This imaginary division of the country was manifested during the Orange Revolution in 2004 and subsequently during the so-called Maidan in 2014. In both of these cases, power was seized by pro-Western forces. Check relationshipsplus for Ukraine defense and foreign policy.

A strong orientation towards the EU and the West in general is the main characteristic of current Ukrainian foreign policy. Ambitions to join the EU and NATO are enshrined in the Ukrainian constitution. As a result of the Maidan revolution in 2014, the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement, which had been negotiated for many years, was signed, including the DCFTA free trade agreement. Subsequently, the visa requirement for citizens of Ukraine for tourist trips to the Union was abolished in 2017.

The Maidan events were followed by an aggressive reaction by Russia, which seized Crimea in the spring of 2014 and subsequently launched a war in eastern Ukraine in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions. From Russia’s point of view, Crimea is now an integral part of the Russian Federation, while Ukraine refuses to recognize the annexation of Crimea and is taking all possible steps on the international stage to return it.

Fighting on the contact line in the east of the country with Russian-backed separatists has been ongoing since 2014. In 2014-2015, the so-called Minsk agreements were negotiated, but not implemented. All negotiations to resolve the conflict in the east of the country have failed and the negotiated ceasefire has been constantly violated.

February 24, 2022 became a turning point in Ukraine’s modern history. Russia invaded Ukraine militarily when, according to its propaganda, it launched a so-called “special military operation”, the official goal of which, according to Moscow, was to protect separatist entities in the east of Ukraine, whose independence Russia personally recognized President Putin three days earlier.

Putin argued for the “necessity of denazification and demilitarization” of Ukraine and the protection of the local Russian population. Moscow’s real goal was to take control of the country through its own installed puppet government and return the country to Moscow’s vassalage, similar to how it managed to do with Belarus.

The invasion was not entirely surprising, as Moscow had been massing troops near the Russian-Ukrainian and Russian-Belarusian borders since at least November 2021. Claims that the troops present at the border were only participating in Russian-Belarusian military exercises turned out to be lies. Throughout the military preparations, Moscow asked for guarantees that Ukraine would never join the North Atlantic Alliance. Unsuccessful (and from Russia’s current point of view doomed to failure in advance) negotiations between Moscow and a number of Western representatives have been going on for several weeks.

In addition to Russia, Belarus also became a co-aggressor, whose soldiers did not participate in combat operations, but Russian troops used Belarus as their operational base, and shelling of Ukrainian cities also took place from Belarusian territory.

Both the EU and NATO and other allies have remained united in their stance against Russian aggression, imposing harsh sanctions on Russia and at the same time sending massive financial, humanitarian and military aid to Ukraine.

Population

Since 1990, the reduction of the population in Ukraine has been registered. As of October 1, 2021, the population of Ukraine was 41.32 million. About 70% of the population lives in cities.

Nationality composition:

Ukrainians 77.8%

Russians 17.3%

Belarusians 0.6%

Moldovans 0.5%

Bulgarians 0.4%

Poles 0.3%

Hungarians 0.3%

Ethnic composition:

More than 100 nationalities live in Ukraine, including approximately 5,000 ethnic Czechs.

Religious groups:

Orthodox religion predominates, Greek Catholic and Roman Catholic in the western regions, baptismus the most prominent of Protestants. Minority religions, however, which have a long tradition in Ukraine, are Judaism and Islam. On December 15, 2018, the unified Orthodox Church of Ukraine uniting Ukrainian churches was announced.