With independence in 1991, the country's education system
was reformed and got a stronger Ukrainian feel. Previously,
the number of Ukrainian-speaking classes had rapidly
decreased in favor of Russian-speakers; Today, basic
education on Ukrainian is mandatory. Ukrainian history and
literature have gained a prominent place in teaching. In
addition, the school books have been revised and modernized.
Since independence, over 500 new titles have been released.
Mandatory compulsory schooling is applied for children
between the ages of 7 and 15, but if the parents wish, the
children can start at the age of 6. After elementary school
there are colleges, lycees and 2–3 year old vocational
schools. In addition, a number of schools have been added to
the state school system on private or confessional grounds.
There are also schools and classes with teaching in whole or
in part in the minority languages Polish, Hungarian,
Romanian and Bulgarian. In some places there are also
special schools for the Roma. See TOPSCHOOLSINTHEUSA for TOEFL, ACT, SAT testing locations and high school codes in Ukraine.
Ukraine has a rapidly growing number of higher education
institutions, including 309 technical schools, 59 academies,
150 institutes and 106 universities (2002). Since 1992 there
is also a private institution of higher education in Kiev,
Mohyla Academy. Teaching has been internationalized, and at
many universities there are foreign lecturers today. In
addition, there are a large number of specialized colleges,
including several medical colleges. The higher education
takes place in Russian and Ukrainian, but also in English in
some academies and universities.
In March 1993, Ukraine suspended the transport of
tactical nuclear weapons to Russia, stating that the reason
was the lack of guarantees for their destruction. The 4
countries of the State Nuclear Society (Russia, Ukraine,
Belarus and Kazakhstan) subsequently agreed to set up an
international commission to monitor the withdrawal and
destruction of nuclear weapons stationed in Ukraine.
The conflict around the Black Sea fleet was further
heightened in April, when both the Russian and Ukrainian
governments each claimed to have supreme authority over the
fleet. Later, however, the two countries agreed to begin
negotiations on the issue.
In September, Prime Minister Vitold Fokin resigned from
the post after the collapse of the country's economy. He was
replaced by Leonid Kuchma, the former employer chairman.
The new government's liberal economic policies and
privatizations encountered resistance in the Supreme Council
(dominated by the Communists) and among the workers. Kuchma
therefore filed his resignation petition on May 21, but it
was rejected. In June, the Supreme Council - in direct
challenge to Kravchuk's moderate foreign policy - decreed
the entire nuclear arsenal the Soviet Union had left behind
for seizure. With the collapse of the Soviet Union, Ukraine
had suddenly become the world's third largest nuclear power.
Kravchuk was politically weakened and in September 1993
transferred the part of the Black Sea fleet to Ukraine to
Russia. It was a compensation for the debt that the country
had built up against Russia for oil and gas supplies. In
addition, the country received support to dismantle the 46
powerful intercontinental SS-24 nuclear missiles that
Ukraine had wanted to maintain until the last minute as a
kind of insurance against possible expansionist Russian
projects. The opposition in Kiev strongly criticized this
Meanwhile, the economy completely collapsed, inflation
reached 100% a month and Kuchma resigned.
In November 1993, the Supreme Council ratified the
START-1 Strategic Nuclear Reduction Agreement and accepted
the gradual dismantling of the country's 1,656 nuclear
The first presidential election following the collapse of
the Soviet Union took place in June and July 1994. Former
Prime Minister Leonid Kuchma beat the outgoing president by
52% of the vote after declaring his willingness to enter
into closer cooperation with Russia and to a full extent
Economic Union of the State Society.
Throughout 1994 and 95, the economic and social situation
continued to deteriorate. The country's gross domestic
product fell by 20% in 1994 and 12% in 1995, which
intensified poverty in the country.
On the occasion of the 10th anniversary of the Chernobyl
reactor accident in April 1986, an international campaign
was carried out against the nuclear power plants of the
former socialist countries. According to studies, 1 million
people are directly exposed to radiation from the Chernobyl
plant, 2.4 million live in affected areas, and 12% of the
Republic's cultivable areas are radioactively contaminated.
Kiev, the capital of Ukraine; 2.9 million residents (2015). The city lies on
the green hills on either side of the Dnepr's middle race and is the center of
science, culture and industry; here you can find electronic, fine mechanical and
chemical industry as well as manufacturing of machinery, rubber, food and wood.
In addition to university (1834), the city has a science academy, agricultural
academy, and architecture school; in addition, opera and several theaters.
Kiev is rich in contrasts. Steep hills (up to 200 m) and completely flat
areas by the river, dense urban areas and large parks, wide boulevards and
highways and narrow alleys and alleys. In the 1000-h. the upper part of the city
was surrounded by a castle wall, from which remains of the famous Golden Gate
can still be seen. The city's subway network was started in 1960 and is
undergoing further development. Several of the older stations are adorned with
Many parts of Kiev were destroyed during World War II, but much has been
rebuilt and new satellite towns shot up in the area. In Soviet times, Russian
was the dominant language in the city; from the 1990's it was replaced by
Kiev is located approximately 100 km south of Chernobyl, where the major nuclear
accident occurred in April 1986. Under normal wind conditions, Kiev's population
would have been hit by irreparable damage, but the wind direction was customary
in the southeast when the accident happened and the radioactive fallout did not
hit actual big cities.
Architecture and museums
From Kiev's heyday, Sofia Cathedral dates from 1000-t. with exterior in
Baroque from 1700-t. Its name and Byzantine character are due to the importance
of Constantinople as a role model for the city under Yaroslav the Vise. The
church houses magnificent mosaics and frescoes from the mid-1000's. Among several
monasteries, the most important is the very large Kyievo-Petjerskaja Lavra (gr.
1051, see the Cave Monastery in Kyjiv) with underground monk cells; Peter the
Great added several richly equipped churches to the monastery, now inhabited by
monks, but also a museum. The Cathedral of Andreas is built in 1747-61 in
Baroque, the Vladimir Cathedral (1862-96) was built on the occasion of the 900
year of Christianity's introduction in 988 and contains monumental murals. From
the 1960's to the 1980's a number of pompous political monuments were erected.
Kiev has three rich art museums: the Museum of Russian Art, the Museum of
Ukrainian Art and the Museum of Western and Oriental Art.
The timing of the city's rise is disputed, but it remained from the
mid-800th. under the name Kænugar∂r, a support point for the Scandinavian
custodians on their way from the Baltic to the Byzantine Empire, and the city
soon became the center of the empire they created. 988-1299, Kiev was the center
of the Russian Church, of which the Sofia Cathedral is still testifying.
During the 1100-t. the political center of gravity shifted towards the NE,
and Kiev's decline culminated when the Mongols in 1240 made it desolate. After
being under the Mongols until approximately In 1362, the city was conquered by the
expanding Lithuanian Principality, and in 1569 entered into union with Catholic
Poland, the entire Kiev area was transferred to it. The city became the seat of
the Russian Orthodox clergy academy, founded in 1632, for the resistance to
Catholic pressure. From 1654 Kiev was again Russian.
The difference between Russian and Ukrainian culture and language was already
considerable, and Kiev came through the academy to play a major role in early
Western European influence in Russia. Through 1700-1800-t. Kiev was a still
insignificant government city. But the University of 1834 made it the center of
emerging Ukrainian nationalism, and railroad connections from 1869-71 provided
the basis for industrial growth.
During the revolutions and the civil war, Kiev was on changing hands, but at
the same time the center of Ukrainian separatism; therefore, in 1934, Kiev first
replaced Kharkiv as the capital of the Ukrainian Socialist Soviet Republic.
1941-43, Kiev was occupied by the Germans, and a large part of the population,
not least Jews, were liquidated or sent to forced labor in Germany (see also
Babij Jar). Since 1991, Kiev has been the capital of independent Ukraine.