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Ukraine

 

The second (after Russia) most powerful former republic of the USSR, both economically and in terms of population, Ukraine experienced a steep decline in living standards after obtaining independence. The main reason for this was the severance of vital ties that used to bind Russia and Ukraine in a single, unitary economy.  

UKRAINE

Despite the present difficulties in relations between the two countries, prospects for Russian-Ukrainian economic and cultural reintegration remain strong. Economically, Ukraine depends heavily on Russian energy supplies and on the export of its agricultural produce to Russia. Most importantly, blood ties bind the two peoples not just in a metaphoric but also in a direct sense: millions of Russian speakers live in Ukraine, and millions of Ukrainians live in Russia; many thousands of mixed Russian-Ukrainian families have become artificially separated as a result of the breakup of the Soviet Union.

The process of reintegration between Russia and Ukraine, however, is hampered by the legacy of the troubled Soviet past. It includes militant nationalism, rife in Ukraines western provinces, and the problem of the Crimean peninsula, ceded to Ukraine by Khrushchev on a whim, at a time when the administrative borders between the republics of a unitary empire did not matter. Crimea is vital to Russia as home to its main Black Sea naval base of Sebastopol.

In 2004, the so-called "Orange Revolution" brought to power pro-Western Viktor Yushchenko whose political program included the goals of NATO and European Union memberships for Ukraine.

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