Ukraine Recent History

Ukraine Recent History

Territorial development of the Ukrainian SSR

In 1939 the Soviet Union occupied the areas of western Ukraine that had previously belonged to Poland and incorporated them into the Ukrainian SSR. This happened within the framework of the Hitler-Stalin Pact.

In 1941 large parts of the Ukraine were occupied by the German Reich and appointed Reichskommissariat Ukraine. There were mass murders of Jews, Poles and Soviet prisoners of war. Almost the entire Jewish population was wiped out. When retreating, the German troops destroyed villages and towns, leaving behind “scorched earth”.

In 1944 Romania gave part of its national territory to the Soviet Union and Ukraine. The Crimean peninsula initially belonged to the Russian Soviet Republic and was only added to the Ukrainian SSR in 1954.

Independence 1991

According to itypejob, with the end of the Soviet Union, Ukraine declared its independence on August 24, 1991. In December 1991 a referendum confirmed independence. With this began the search for the Ukrainian role between the European Union in the west and Russia in the east. The country’s first president was Leonid Kravchuk. In 1994 Leonid Kuchma was elected as his successor. During his tenure there were several allegations of corruption and freedom of the press was restricted.

Ukraine Recent History

History of Ukraine in the 21st Century

Orange Revolution 2004

In 2004 presidential elections took place. Kuchma could not run after two terms. Viktor Yushchenko advocated an orientation towards the West, while his opponent Viktor Yanukovych was supported by Russia. After a runoff election in November, Yanukovych was declared the winner. Yushchenko was unable to take part in the election campaign for weeks after suffering from dioxin poisoning in September 2004, which, among other things, disfigured his face.

After Yanukovych’s victory, there were protests in the population for weeks, accusing Yanukovych of electoral fraud. Most of the people gathered in the central square in Kiev, the Maidan (also spelled Maidan), and wore orange – Yushchenko’s chosen color. The runoff election was finally repeated in December. From this election now Yushchenko emerged as the winner.

Yushchenko Presidency (2005-2010)

Viktor Yushchenko was sworn in as the new president in 2005. But the electoral alliance that had emerged from the Orange Revolution could not agree on a course. Yushchenko and his supporters faced Yulia Tymoshenko, who initially became Prime Minister of Ukraine. In addition, the country remained divided, because the majority of the south and east of the country voted for Yanukovych. Yushchenko was also accused of having achieved too little during his tenure.

Yanukovych Presidency (2010-2014)

Viktor Yanukovych has now won the 2010 presidential election. He defeated Yushchenko in the first ballot and Yulia Tymoshenko in the runoff election. She and many of her supporters were subsequently charged with abuse of office and were arrested. This has been criticized internationally. On November 21, 2013, Yanukovych refused to sign the Association Agreement with the EU, which provides for political and economic cooperation. As a result, protests broke out again in Maidan Square in Kiev.

Euromaidan protests 2013/14

The protest movement in Ukraine that began on the Maidan in Kiev was soon called the Euromaidan. Their supporters demanded the signing of the agreement with the EU and the impeachment of President Yanukovych.

In February 2014, Yanukovych fled and parliament declared him deposed. Until the next elections in June, Olexander Tortschynow was appointed interim president. The association agreement with the EU has now been signed. Yulia Tymoshenko has been released from custody.

Presidencies of Poroshenko (2014-2019) and Zelenskyi (since 2019)

Petro Poroshenko won the presidential election in June 2014 in the first round. Julia Tymoshenko was also a candidate. Poroshenko received prominent support from boxer Vitali Klitschko, who initially wanted to run himself, but the 2019 elections were won by his rival Volodymyr Selenskyj.

Crimean crisis and war in Ukraine (since 2014)

After Yanukovych’s flight, Russia occupied the Crimean peninsula and there was an upheaval in the Crimean parliament, where Sergei Aksyonov took power. A referendum on the whereabouts of Crimea was held on March 16. According to the official result, 95.5 percent of the population were in favor of the reunification of Crimea with Russia. A day later, Crimea joined Russia. Ukraine continues to regard Crimea as its national territory.

In parts of eastern Ukraine, in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions, efforts to break away from Ukraine also developed. A war developed out of this. Pro-Russian separatists (who are for Russia and a secession from Ukraine) are fighting the Ukrainian government. Agreed ceasefires are not being observed.