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Ukraine (Ukrainian Ukraina), country in eastern Europe, and the second largest country in Europe after Russia. Much of Ukraine is a fertile plain suited for agriculture. Ukraine is rich in natural resources, and has a developed economy with significant agricultural and industrial sectors. The country has a democratic form of government headed by a president. Kyiv (Kiev) is the nation’s capital and largest city.

From the 9th century ad northern Ukraine was part of Kievan Rus, the first significant East Slavic state, which succumbed to the Mongol invasions of the 13th century. Ukraine was for centuries thereafter under the rule of a succession of foreign powers, including Poland and the Russian Empire. In 1918 a Bolshevik (Communist) government was established in Ukraine, and in 1922 the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic (SSR) was one of the four founding republics of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR). Ukraine’s declaration of independence, approved by a popular vote on December 1, 1991, was a major factor in the USSR’s collapse later that month.


For younger readers

Clay, Rebecca. Ukraine: A New Independence. Marshall Cavendish, 1997. For readers in grades 5 to 7.

Corona, Laurel. Ukraine. Lucent, 2001. For readers in grades 5 to 8.

Kummer, Patricia. Ukraine. Children's Press, 2001. For readers in grades 6 to 9.

Zemliansky, Pavel. Welcome to Ukraine. Gareth Stevens, 2003. For readers in grades 3 to 5.


Kuzio, Taras. Ukraine: Perestroika to Independence. St. Martin's, 1998. Provides the background to understanding Ukraine after independence.

Magocsi, Paul R. A History of Ukraine. Seattle, University of Washington Press, 1996. Accessible work on Ukraine politics, culture, and history.

Reid, Anna. Borderland: A Journey Through the History of Ukraine. Westview, 2000. A history of Ukraine.

Struk, Danylo Husar. Encylopedia of Ukraine. Toronto, University of Toronto Press, 1993. Comprehensive work on Ukraine and Ukrainians in the diaspora.

Subtelny, Orest. Ukraine: A History. 2nd ed. University of Toronto Press, 1994. Highly recommended survey from the earliest times to the late 1980s.

Wilson, Andrew. Ukrainian Nationalism in the 1990s: A Minority Faith. Cambridge University Press, 1997. Well-researched study.

Wolchik, Sharon L., and Vladimir Zviglianich, eds. Ukraine: The Search for a National Identity. Rowman & Littlefield, 1999. Discusses the challenges Ukraine encountered as it became an independent state.


Subtelny, Orest, B.A., M.A., Ph.D. Professor of History and Political Science, York University, Canada. Author of Ukraine: A History and other books.

Microsoft ® Encarta ® 2009. © 1993-2008 Microsoft Corporation.

Article key phrases:

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