Ukraine Population and Economy in the 1990’s

By | December 24, 2021


The Ukraine, Due to aging of the population (the mortality rate is over 15 ‰, compared with a birth to ‘ 11, 2 ‰), have recently shown a slight population decline and residents, which in the census of 1995 were equal to 51. 700. 000, in 1998, according to official estimates, had fallen to 50,861. 000. The capital, Kyjiv (Kiev), welcomes 2. 622. 000 residents (1997) and four other cities exceeding one million: Kharkiv, Dnipropetrovśk, Donec´ (pole of a large and populous metropolitan area formed by numerous urban and industrial centers), Odessa.

Ethnic Ukrainians represent 73 % of the population; compared to the other numerous minorities of low numerical weight (some hundreds of thousands of Jews, Belarusians, Moldavians, Bulgarians, Tatars and others) the conspicuous Russian community stands out, with about 11 million people, equal to 22 % of the total population. Although theoretically similar to the Ukrainians of the Orthodox religion, the Russians, prevalent in the eastern and south-eastern part of the country, make their presence and their ‘diversity’ felt in many ways. Since 1996, only Ukrainian has been accepted as an official language in the whole country and in the same year a new currency, the hryvna, was adopted.

The Ukraine has signed numerous agreements: customs union with Moldova, border agreement with Belarus, friendship treaty with Romania and cooperation treaty with Russia (although the dispute over the division of the former fleet is not fully resolved with the latter Soviet Union of the Black Sea). With Bulgaria, Moldavia and Romania, on the other hand, the Ukraine joins the ‘Black Sea cooperation area’, while it has signed a partnership agreement with NATO. For Ukraine economics and business, please check

Economic conditions

The Ukrainian economy over the last decade has gone through a very difficult period, and only in 1998 did the change in GDP turn positive. There has been no lack of progress in the privatization process, but it has been very slow, especially bearing in mind that the problem of the conversion of the steel and war industries has yet to be tackled. Both sectors represented the production base of the country, linked to the Russian economy.

Over half of the land area, made up of fertile ‘black lands’, is occupied by herbaceous crops, and the Ukraine continues to be a major producer – in extensive mechanized farms, still mostly collective – of cereals and weeding plants: fourth producer in Europe for wheat, second only to Russia for barley, third for potatoes and beets sugar. There is no shortage of vegetable crops (peas, cabbage, tomatoes) and fruit trees (apples), as well as sunflowers, tobacco and grapevines. The meadows and pastures occupy the 12, 4 % of the land area and feed a herd prevalence of cattle, which in 1998 amounted to 11.5 millions of garments. The relatively small forests, however, provide a good quantity of timber. To be added to the primary framework of the economy, which in 1997 still occupied 25.1 % of the working population, a significant fish production in the Black Sea (492. 000 t of fish landed in 1998).

The Ukraine is one of the richest European countries in mineral resources as regards minerals useful for the steel industry: it is the third producer of coal and the second, after the Russian Federation, of iron, even if the extraction takes place with outdated technologies and relatively low costs. high that resulted in substantial production drops: the extracted coal is in fact dropped by 164, 8 million tonnes in 1990 to 73.7 million tonnes in 1998 and, at the same time interval, the iron is increased from 60 to 29.7 million t. The Ukraine it also obtains modest quantities of oil and natural gas from the subsoil, but even more it must import it, today at a high price, from Russia (also making use of the transit rights imposed on Russian gas pipelines heading west). The extraction of uranium is limited, of which however the Ukraine is the first European producer (excluding the Russian Federation). Electricity is mainly obtained from fossil fuels, but a part is of water origin, fed by the large artificial lakes on the Dnipro (Dnieper), and a substantial share comes from five nuclear power plants, including the notorious and obsolete Čornobyl´ (Černobyl ´), the production of which should stop by 2000, thanks to Western pressure and subsidies. Iron and coal fuel a considerable, albeit backward, steel industry (24,445,000 tonnes of steel in 1998), extending along an axis that goes from Kryvyj Rih (Krivoj Rog) to the whole Donbass and up to the Russian border in the east. also the mechanical (including shipyards on the Pontic coast), chemical (in particular fertilizer) and manufacturing industries, but, overall, the industrial sector has registered, in the last decade, a slow, steady decline.

Ukrainian trade is traditionally based on the export of metals, machinery and vehicles, mining products, and has the Russian Federation as its main partner (47 % of total trade in 1997), followed only at a great distance by Germany.

Ukraine Economy in the 1990's