In 2002, Ukraine was an independent country located in Eastern Europe with a population of approximately 50 million people. Its official language was Ukrainian but Russian was also widely spoken. According to computerannals, the country had a semi-presidential republic government with Leonid Kuchma serving as the President since 1994. The economy of Ukraine was largely based on heavy industry and exports such as steel, iron ore and coal. It also had a large agricultural sector with crops such as wheat, barley and sunflowers being grown in large quantities. Tourism played an important role in the economy and visitors came to experience its unique culture and natural attractions such as the Carpathian Mountains or the Black Sea Coast. Education was free for all citizens up to secondary school level and the literacy rate was estimated to be around 98%. Healthcare services were provided by the government at no cost for all citizens but many suffered from diseases such as tuberculosis due to poor sanitation practices and lack of access to clean water sources. In 2002, Ukraine had made some progress in terms of economic development but still had high levels of poverty compared to other countries in Europe.
Ukraine. The March parliamentary elections were criticized by foreign observers, who testified about irregularities. However, the election was a success for former Prime Minister Viktor Yushchenko, who was forced to resign after a vote of no confidence the year before. According to Countryaah website, national day of Ukraine is every August 24. Yushchenko’s newly formed electoral union, the right-wing liberal and nationalist Our Ukraine, received just over 23% of the vote. Communist Party and President Leonid Kuchmas For a united Ukraine each took about 20%, while the Socialist Party and Julija Tymoshenko’s blocs each got about 7% of the vote.
The election results were interpreted as supporting Viktor Yushchenko’s reform policy, which was voted down in the former parliament. However, many independent members had been elected and neither government nor opposition succeeded in creating a clear majority.
President Kuchma announced in May that Ukraine had decided to apply for membership in the NATO military alliance. The request was made to NATO’s Secretary General when he visited Ukraine in July to mark the fifth anniversary of the country’s accession to NATO’s Partnership for Peace program. However, the NATO commander explained that much reform work remains for Ukraine before it can join the military alliance.
In July, 83 people were killed and about 115 injured when a fighter plane crashed and caught fire in the midst of a spectator mass at an aerial display in Lviv in western Ukraine. President Kuchma dismissed the Air Force commander and commander-in-chief. The defense minister also resigned and the president banned future military aviation demonstrations.
Police said in August that they had arrested a suspect for the murder of regime-critical journalist Georgij Gongadze in 2000. The opposition has long accused President Kuchma of ordering the murder. At the two-year commemoration of Gongadze’s disappearance in September, the opposition launched new demonstrations against Kuchma demanding his departure. In Kiev, over 15,000 people gathered and protests were held in several cities. The campaign was led by former Deputy Prime Minister Julija Tymoshenko, who demanded national court for Kuchma. Former Prime Minister Viktor Yushchenko also joined the protests. Police stormed a tent camp that protesters set up outside the presidential office. Many were arrested, but the protests continued, among other things. by about 50 members of parliament going on hunger strike. According to an opinion poll, 70% of the population wanted Kuchma to step down.
Another journalist was found dead in the fall. The government’s finance minister was suspected of being involved in the death.
The pressure on the president increased with accusations from the US that Ukraine sold the advanced radar system Koltjuga to Iraq and that Kuchma personally approved the deal. The US stopped its assistance to Ukraine, which denied the allegations and in October, US and British experts admitted an investigation into the alleged radar deal. The head of the coal-fired plant was killed in a car accident earlier this year, shortly before a parliamentary commission announced that it had received information on illegal arms sales to Iraq.
In the fall, some of the opposition members went to the government side, which, just over six months after the election, managed to create a majority with 231 of Parliament’s 449 seats. But in November, Kuchma surprisingly dismissed Prime Minister Anatoly Kinach and replaced him with Viktor Yanukovich, who until then had been governor of the Donetsk region. Parliament approved Yanukovich, but the opposition boycotted the vote.
In May 2007, Prime Minister Tymoshenko published an article in the journal Foreign Affairs. The article called “Containing Russia” created a diplomatic crisis with the big neighbor in the east.
In 2008, Georgia’s attacks on South Ossetia and Abkhazia, and Russia’s subsequent invasion, however, created a deep political conflict between the president and the prime minister. While the president condemned Russia’s intervention in the conflict, Tymoshenko was more reluctant. The president’s chief of staff went so far as to call her a traitor. Tymoshenko’s party now agreed with the opposition to curtail the president’s power, prompting the president to pull his party out of the coalition with Tymoshenko and print re-election in October. The election was eventually postponed indefinitely, and instead Tymoshenko formed a new government coalition, replacing the presidential party with the largest opposition party: the Regions Party. Thus they managed to divide the forces behind the “orange revolution” and did not meet again.
During 2009, anti-Russian rhetoric grew in the Ukrainian government and in August, Russian President Medvedev declared that Russia could not cooperate with Ukraine with the political composition of parliament and its anti-Russian policy. Ukraine responded again by criticizing Russia’s “Empire complex”.
The February 2010 presidential election was won by Viktor Yanukovych, who in the second round received 48.95% of the vote, while Yulia Tymochenko got 45.47%. In the first round, he had gained 35.32% while Tymochenko got 25.05%. The political scene from before the “orange revolution” in 2005 was thus restored. Yanukovych received predominant support in the country’s eastern part, while Tymochenko picked up his support in the western part.
After the election, Yanukovych resigned as leader of his party, the Party of Regions, and the new president, Mykola Azarov, took over the prime minister’s post in March after Tymochenko was toppled by a vote of no confidence.
In April 2010, Ukraine signed an agreement with Russia to extend Russia’s base facilities on the Black Sea for another 25 years, while Russia lowered the price of gas sold to Ukraine by 30%. At the same time, Ukraine hopes that the annual Russian shutdowns of gas supplies in the coldest months will stop. Deliveries have been stopped when Ukraine has been unable to pay for the gas.
In April 2010, Yanukovych attended the Nuclear Security Summit in Washington, where he agreed to abandon Ukraine’s $ 90 high-enriched uranium stock, while downgrading the country’s experimental reactors from using high-enriched uranium to using low-enriched uranium.
In December 2010, the President initiated a series of administrative reforms with the perspective of reducing the number of public servants through decentralization of public institutions. He also stated that the fight against corruption in the public domain was a high priority.
In late 2011, the president reduced pensions to the Chernobyl rescue workers, smaller businessmen and veretans of the Afghanistan war in the 1980s. The cuts triggered violent demonstrations in Kiev in October-November.