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Ukrainian History

Ukraine first came under Russian suzerainty in the 1650s, as an alternative to invasion by the Poles. Although part of Ukraine was annexed by Poland shortly afterwards, the whole of Ukraine was taken over by Russia after the partition of Poland at the end of the 18th century. When the empire of the Tsar collapsed in 1917, Bolshevik forces consolidated their control over Ukraine and the republic was incorporated into the Soviet Union. However, Ukraine became the scene for much of the key fighting during the civil war of the early 1920s and the Soviets subsequently lost some Ukrainian land to Poland, Czechoslovakia and Romania. Even today you will find that people in the capital Kiev, which is in Eastern Ukraine, are more pro-Russian and those people in Lviv, which is in Western Ukraine, are more pro-Ukrainian.

After World War II the Soviets took control of the whole country, till 1986 when the Chernobyl nuclear plant in northern Ukraine exploded. This started a movement towards independence and it was known as ‘Rukh’, as in the 1990 election this group took one-third of the votes during the election. After more pressure the government called a referendum in March 1991 in which over 80 percent of the people voted for independence and soon after they got there wish.

Over the next 10 years the country tried to get itself back on track by tackling economic and nuclear issues. It wasn’t till 2001 when Viktor Yushchenko won huge popularity and this started a pro-western government.

Today, the country is still trying to stick to a pro-western government, but with there still being many pro-Russians in the country it has been hard to pass many measures to make drastic changes.

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