Ukrainians - people living in Ukraine

People of Ukraine

About 65% of people live in urban areas. Eastern Ukraine is much more urbanized than the western part. Kiev is the largest city, with a population of about 2.8 million people. Women make up 53% of Ukraine’s population. This gender imbalance is the result of the World War II.

Ukrainians is the largest nationality living in Ukraine, constituting about 73% of the population. Russians make up another 21%, and they live primarily in cities and towns of Eastern Ukraine. The remaining 6% is divided between Jews, Belorussians, Moldavians, Bulgarians, and Poles.

About 7 million Ukrainians live in other former republics of the Soviet Union, including 4 million in Russia. Also, there are Ukrainians living in Kazakhstan, Moldova, Belarus, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Poland, Romania, the United States, Canada, Brazil, Argentina, Italy, Germany and other countries all over the world.

Ukrainians national clothes

Ukrainians national clothes

Since 1989, Ukrainian is the state language of the country. Under Soviet rule, from the 1930s through the 1980s, Soviet government promoted cultural russification. Ukrainian culture and language were treated as provincial.

Today, Ukrainian has regained its social and legal status, and its use in educational, media, and governmental institutions has grown sharply. Ukrainian government has reassured its minorities that their linguistic and cultural rights will be respected.

Most Ukrainians belong to one of several religious denominations: Orthodox Christian, Creek Catholic (Uniate), Protestant (particularly Baptist), or Jewish.

By historic tradition, over 75% of Ukrainians identify with the Orthodox faith that dominates in Eastern Ukraine. The self-governing Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church, which was legalized only in 1990, competes with the previously state-favored Ukrainian (formerly Russian) Orthodox Church. The latter had been an instrument of cultural russification in Ukraine during Soviet period.

Greek Catholics, or Uniates, are prominent in Western Ukraine. From 1946 to 1990, legally banned Uniates survived as an underground church. Since legalization, Greek Catholics have been reclaiming church buildings confiscated by Soviet state and given over to Russian Orthodox Church. Religious rivalry between Orthodox and Catholics in Ukraine has been long standing.

Baptists represent the largest Protestant group in Ukraine, and they tend to live in cities. The number of Ukrainian Jews, another notable religious denomination, decreased noticeably in recent decades because of the World War II losses and emigration to Israel and the United States.

Ukrainian girl wearing traditional costume

Ukrainian girl wearing traditional costume

The questions of our visitors

Steve asks: Are Ukrainian jails much different to English jails?
Expert's answer:

It is hard for me to talk about the situation in English jails and prisons, but here are a few figures about the situation in Ukraine. There are about 150 prisons in Ukraine. The total number of prisoners is about 60 thousand people (2017). The state spends 1,500-2,400 USD per year on one prisoner. The average monthly salary of working prisoners is about 60 USD per month.

The main problems include police brutality (obtaining confessions by force), poor medical support, complicated access of detainees to lawyers, exceeding of a 72-hour period of detention without a court decision. There is also a problem with prison staff leaving the service because of low salaries and stress. There is evidence of ill-treatment of life-guilty prisoners too.

guest asks: What are some basic similarities (mindset/history parallels) between Ukrainians and Americans?
Expert's answer:

This is a rather complicated issue, because Ukraine gained independence only recently and the Ukrainian nation is in the process of its active formation now. You can draw historical parallels in terms of how the United States was a British colony, and Ukraine was under the control of Russia. However, it was not a colony in the full sense of the word.

Today, Ukraine is fighting to preserve its independence obtained after the collapse of the USSR (the conflict with Russia in the east of the country). And this conflict will definitely play an important role the formation of the Ukrainian nation.

In some ways, Ukrainians have similarities with Canadians - there are two main languages of communication: Ukrainian and Russian. There is a relatively large Ukrainian diaspora in Canada.

After the last Ukrainian revolution of 2013-2014 (Euromaidan), the level of patriotism in Ukraine is very high, which also makes Americans and Ukrainians very similar.

Guest asks: What's Ukraine's religion?
Expert's answer:
Ukraine is a secular state. About 60% of the population of the country doesn't consider themselves believers or belong to any confession. The absolute majority of the remaining religious population - over 90% - profess Christianity, of which about 20% are Catholics, 30% - Protestants, the rest - Orthodox. The number of people professing Islam is about 1%.

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