The 2 Ukraines
CBC News Online | December 02, 2004
The disputed election result in Ukraine threatens to divide the country once again between east and west. For 300 years, the traditional Ukrainian territory was divided along the Dnieper River and its system of lakes. The west was governed by either the Polish or Austro-Hungarian empire, and the east was dominated by Russia.
Culturally, the east is primarily Russian-speaking and Christian Orthodox, while the west is Ukrainian-speaking and Greek Catholic.
The east is the country's industrial heart, with coal, steel and chemical production, largely inherited from the former Soviet Union. The west has closer economic ties to the European Union, but the entire country relies on energy from Russia.
Throughout the 20th century, Ukraine has been united, divided and reunited, but the historical differences between east and west remain to some degree.
After the Russian Revolution, 1918
Western Ukraine exists as an independent republic for about two months before merging with the rest of Ukraine in 1919.
After the Polish-Soviet War, 1921
Western Ukraine is incorporated into Poland, and the central and eastern parts become part of the U.S.S.R.
During the Second World War
The Soviet Union invades Poland in 1939, and the borders of Soviet Ukraine are extended west to unite Ukrainians within the U.S.S.R., under a non-aggression agreement with Nazi Germany. The pact lasts only until 1941, when Germany invades the Soviet Union and claims Western Ukraine. Ukraine is reunited after the war.
Crimea as a gift, 1954
Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev transfers Crimea, a peninsula in the Black Sea, from Russia to Ukraine as a gift.
After the collapse of the Soviet Union, 1991
Ukraine declares itself an independent state, and is a founding member of the Commonwealth of Independent States.
After the presidential elections, 2004
The country is divided on geographic lines, with the east supporting Viktor Yanukovych and the west supporting Viktor Yushchenko.
Government type: Republic
Independence: Aug. 24, 1991
Industries: coal, electric power, ferrous and nonferrous metals, machinery and transport equipment, chemicals, food processing (especially sugar)
GDP: $260.4 billion
Unemployment: 3.7% officially registered; large number of unregistered or underemployed workers
Population below poverty line: 29%
Life expectancy: men 61.35 years, women 72.27 years
Languages: Ukrainian, Russian, Romanian, Polish, Hungarian
Ethnic groups: Ukrainian 77.8%, Russian 17.3%, Belarusian 0.6%, Moldovan 0.5%, Crimean Tatar 0.5%, Bulgarian 0.4%, Hungarian 0.3%, Romanian 0.3%, Polish 0.3%, Jewish 0.2%, other 1.8%
Religions: Ukrainian Orthodox Moscow Patriarchate 26.5%, Ukrainian Orthodox Kyiv Patriarchate 20%, Ukrainian Catholic (Uniate) 13%, Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox, Protestant, Jewish
Source: CIA World Factbook