The Ukrainian literature has the same origin
as the Russian, namely early chronicles like the
Igorkvädet. The first truly Ukrainian literature
consists of folk poetry, which was compiled and recorded
in a systematic form only in the 19th century.
Modern Ukrainian literature begins with Ivan
Kotljarevskyi (1769-1838), who wrote a travesty on
Vergilius Aeneiden. Nationalist Taras Shevchenko
(1814-1861), who also represents early modern
literature, became an interpreter for demands of
Latest population statistics of Ukraine, including religious profiles and major languages spoken as well as population growth rates in next three decades.
Despite the policy of refreshment, Ukrainian
literature flourished during the late 19th century. In
part, this was due to the cultural freedom that existed
in the then Austrian Galicia, where writers like Ivan
Among the Ukrainian-speaking authors in the then
Russian part of Ukraine are Lesia Ukrajinka, Mychajlo
Kotsiubynskyj and Volodymyr Vynnytchenko. Most
significant of the writers who chose to write in Russian
is Nikolaj Gogol (1809–1852), who has depicted Ukrainian
folk life in several works. Russian writers such as
Mikhail Bulgakov have also portrayed Ukrainian
After an unprecedented cultural boom during the years
of the October Revolution of 1917, Ukrainian art
practitioners were forced to adapt to the socialist
realism celebrated in the Soviet system. Ukrainian
cultural life was severely affected by persecution
during the 1930s and Ukrainian culture was reduced to
Songaah: List and lyrics of songs related to the country name of Ukraine. Artists and albums are also included.
It was not until the late 1980s that repression
ceased and a new generation of young Ukrainian writers
emerged. Among the most famous is the poet Oksana
Zabuzhko. She has also written prose works that depict
current social issues from a feminist point of view,
including Sestro, sestro (Sister, sister).
A feature film about the famine in Ukraine in the
1930s touches on the fact that the phenomenon of "fake
news" existed before social media. Polish director
Agnieszka Holland has filmed how a correspondent in
Moscow wrote misleading articles to hide the famine in
Ukraine, which was largely a work of Soviet dictator
Stalin (see Older history). The articles were awarded
awards in the United States before the truth came out.
The movie Mr. Jones, which premiered in 2019, bears the
name of a reporter who risked his life to reveal what
Ukraine has a rich folk music tradition with songs
for special holidays, such as the harvest. Art music has
its roots in older church music. Since the end of the
17th century, a number of Ukrainian musicians have made
themselves known outside the country. Great efforts for
domestic music were made by pianist and composer Mykola
Lysenko, who founded a music institute in Kiev in the
19th century. Among other things, Lysenko wrote two
Ukrainian national operas, one of which, Taras Bulba, is
based on a story by Gogol.
Popular music gained a boost after independence in
1991. Ukrainian singer Ruslana won the Eurovision Song
Contest in 2004 with Wild Dances. In 2016, Jamala won
with the controversial song 1944, which was about
Stalin's deportation of Crimean Tatars during the Second
World War, among them her own family members. Russia
tried to get the song disqualified because it was
interpreted as criticism of the annexation of Crimea in
Several of Ukraine's cities are rich in historical
monuments and other attractions, notably Kiev, Lviv and
Odessa. Among other things, the Sofia Cathedral in Kiev
and the old city center in Lviv are listed on the UN
agency UNESCO World Heritage List.
IMF-adjusted budget is approved
After a long and heated debate, Parliament adopts a budget for 2016 with a
deficit of 3.7% of GDP. This is the level required by the IMF to pay off the $
1.7 billion withheld from the loan totaling $ 17.5 billion. Before voting on the
budget, Parliament approved a number of changes to tax rules, including reduced
corporate tax and more uniform income tax. Taxes on tobacco, alcohol and fuel
are being raised. Parliament also gives the government the right to impose a
trade embargo on Russia.
The Communist Party is banned
A Kiev court bans the Ukrainian Communist Party. Amnesty International
condemns the ruling as a gross violation of freedom of expression.
Putin admits military involvement
President Putin says at his annual press conference that Russia has had
personnel in Ukraine who "performed some military duties", but he still denies
that there are or have been regular Russian affiliations in the neighboring
country. A few days later he says that Russia cannot abandon the
Russian-speakers in southeastern Ukraine and "let the nationalists eat them up".
Ukraine is excluded from the "ex-Soviet" free trade zone
Russia excludes Ukraine from the free-trade zone, which covers most of the
former Soviet republics. The decision applies from the turn of the year, when
Ukraine's free trade agreement with the EU enters into force. President Putin
said that the Ukrainian cooperation with the EU could lead to European goods
entering the Russian market.
UN alarm about continued Russian interference in the east
The UN Commission on Human Rights reports that weapons and soldiers are still
being imported into eastern Ukraine from Russia. In the separatist-controlled
areas there are still murders, tortures and general lawlessness.
Attacks in Crimea intensify conflict
A state of emergency is proclaimed in the Russian-affiliated peninsula of
Crimea after the power lines from Ukraine ruptured. Large parts of the peninsula
are darkened and about 1.6 million people are without electricity. Russia
accuses Ukraine of deliberately sabotaging the repair of power lines and says
that gas supplies to Ukraine should be interrupted. Russia also threatens to
stop exporting coal to neighboring countries. Ukraine cancels all goods
deliveries to Crimea and threatens to counter Russian boycott of Ukrainian food
with a boycott of Russian food. A few days later, the Minister of Energy reports
that the collections from Russia have begun to decline.
Criticism of violence against protesters
The International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague says after a preliminary
investigation that the security forces resorted to "excessive and
indiscriminate" violence against protesters in Kiev in 2014, but that the
violence cannot be described as a crime against humanity. The ICC continues to
investigate developments in Crimea and in eastern Ukraine.
Discrimination against homosexuals is prohibited
Parliament adopts a law that prohibits discrimination against homosexuals in
the workplace. This has been one of the requirements for Ukrainians to be
allowed to enter EU countries without a visa. In two previous votes, Parliament
has refused to approve the law, and on the third attempt six votes are needed
before the bill is supported by enough members. The President stressed that the
law did not mean that Ukraine would approve same-sex marriage, which was put
forward as an argument against it.
Many people ignore local elections
Local elections are conducted, and are considered by many as an indirect
referendum on President Poroshenko's efforts. The breakaway republics in the
east do not participate, and even in the important port city of Mariupol the
election is canceled. OSCE observers say that the elections were generally
conducted correctly and in a democratic way. But the government is urged to
prevent rich " oligarchs"to try to control the electoral process and the OSCE
regrets that virtually all monitoring of the electoral movement in the media was
purchased by the parties and candidates. The parties around Poroshenko make
relatively good choices in the western parts of the country, while supporters of
the deposed President Yanukovych have some success in the east and the south,
but the results are not considered to be able to influence national politics.
Investigator: "Russian robot from rebel area shot down plane"
The Dutch Accident Investigation Board, which investigated the shooting down
of the Malaysian passenger plane over eastern Ukraine in the summer of 2014,
states in its report that the plane was hit by splits from a Russian Buk robot.
The Commission states that the robot was fired from a rebel-controlled area, but
the chairman notes that the question of who is behind is not within the
Commission's mandate. The Russian Foreign Ministry immediately rejects the
information that the robot should have been suspended from rebel-controlled
territory and Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Rjabkov calls the entire
investigation "angled". According to Russia, the particles that damaged the
planet were of a kind found only in older weapons, which were phased out in
Russia but which Ukraine still has in stock.
President Poroshenko and Chancellor of Germany Merkel express "cautious
optimism" after a Paris summit aimed at stabilizing the ceasefire in eastern
Ukraine. Russian President Putin and France's President Hollande also attend the
meeting. The Praetorian separatists in Donetsk and Luhansk announce that local
elections they announced in September, and would hold in October and November,
are postponed until next year. The message is welcomed by the Ukrainian
government as well as by the US and the EU.
Air and train traffic to Russia is stopped
Since the Kiev government banned Russian airlines from flying to Ukraine,
Russia has been responding to closing Russian airspace for Ukrainian companies.
The Ukrainian state railway company terminates the cooperation with the Russian
state rail freight companies.
Separatists force out voluntary organizations
Luhansk's separatist leaders ban ten foreign NGOs, including MSF, and order
them to leave the area immediately. They are charged with "serious crimes"
against local regulations. UN personnel in Luhansk also receive orders to leave
immediately. In October, MSF is also banned from working in Donetsk, where the
organization is accused of spying.
Russian orders are believed to have dampened the fighting
President Poroshenko says that the ceasefire in the east has been respected
for the first time in a whole week. There is much evidence that the Russian
government has urged separatists to avoid new fighting so far. Russia is
shifting foreign policy focus from Ukraine to Syria, where it wants to
strengthen support for the regime in its fight against the Islamic State
The truce gets another chance
The Ukrainian army and the Russian-backed separatists agree to make another
attempt to make the ceasefire work.
Constitutional change provokes nationalist anger
In a first vote, Parliament approves a constitutional amendment that gives
the country's provinces, including the rebel-controlled areas in the east,
increased self-government. The proposal is one of the elements of the ceasefire
agreement concluded in Minsk in February. Outside Parliament, nationalists are
mainly demonstrating against the proposed constitutional change. Three policemen
also die from a grenade thrown at them and over 130 people, most of them police
and national guard, are injured during a couple of days of turmoil. The
government accuses the Nationalist Party of Svoboda of having been behind the
unrest. A member of Svoboda who is suspected of throwing a hand grenade was
arrested. The Radical Party, which has 21 of the coalition parties' 302 seats in
parliament, announces that it is leaving the government in protest of the
Private lenders grant debt relief
Ukraine is promised by private lenders to have 20 percent of its debt of US $
18 billion written off and the repayment of the remainder extended to 2019.
Finance Minister Jaresko says the saved sum will be used for social support and
defense. Prime Minister Jatsenjuk describes the debt relief as a blow to "the
enemy of Russia", which he said was aimed at a Ukrainian state bankruptcy.
Ukrainian director imprisoned in Russia
Ukrainian film director Oleh Sentsov is sentenced to 20 years in prison for
terrorism by a Russian military court. He is accused of organizing assassination
fires in pro-Russian party offices in Crimea in connection with the Russian
annexation in 2014. Among other things, the EU and Amnesty International
criticize the verdict for being politically motivated and based on unsavory
Alarms about threats to observers
OSCE observers say that they have never been exposed to threats and
provocations during the recent weeks during the conflict in eastern Ukraine. For
the most part, it is the Russian-backed separatists who are responsible for the
harassment, says the Turkish chief of the observer force.
Russian-friendly artists are blacklisted
The government publishes a list of 13 artists and actors whose work must not
be performed in Ukrainian radio, television or in the country's cinemas because
of their views on Russian President Putin and Russia's intervention in Ukraine.
Most are popular Russian artists but among them is also the French actor Gérard
Depardieu, who is close friend of Putin. In addition, 38 books are banned by
Russian writers and journalists accused of "advocating fascism" and humiliating
the Ukrainian nation.
Russia stops UN court on downed plane
Russia vetoes the UN Security Council against the establishment of an
international court to investigate those responsible for the shooting of a
Malaysian passenger plane over eastern Ukraine in 2014. The Dutch Prime Minister
vainly appeals to President Putin before the UN vote not to stop the court.
Russia claims it is too early to start investigating any before the
international investigation into the crash is over.
"Pure" police force is inaugurated
In Kiev, a new police force of about 2,000 members will be inaugurated, which
in the long term will replace the previously unknown police known for
corruption. The new corps has been trained by US police and has been selected
from 33,000 candidates. Similar police forces are to be deployed in a number of
other major cities.
Protests against "human shields" in the east
Several hundred civilians conduct an unusual protest demonstration outside
the headquarters of the "People's Republic of Donetsk". They demand that the
separatists move the rocket ramps located in residential areas because they
attract fire from the government forces. The protesters accuse the separatists
of using civilians as human shields.
Heavy escalation to the east
Struggles surrounding the government-controlled communities of Marinka and
Krasnohorivka west of Donetsk are reported to be among the hardest to plummet
since the ceasefire was signed in February. The OSCE reports that large
quantities of weapons have been transported to a rebel-controlled area nearby,
shortly before the fighting broke out.
Georgian ex-president becomes Ukrainian
Poroshenko announces that former Georgian President Micheil Saakashvili has
been granted Ukrainian citizenship and appointed governor of Odessa. Saakashvili
is contentious in his home country that he left after his presidency
(2004–2013), and has been requested to be extradited there by the current
Russian opposition testifies to Russian involvement in Ukraine
A report completed by colleagues to the murdered Russian opposition
politician Boris Nemtsov in February claimed that at least 220 Russian soldiers
have been killed in the fighting in eastern Ukraine. The data is based on media
reports and interviews with relatives of Russian soldiers who have been killed
in battle in the neighboring country. The report claims that Russian forces have
made two major offenses into Ukraine, in the summer of 2014 and the winter of
2015, and that both intrusions were of crucial importance in strengthening the
position of the separatists. According to the report, which was largely compiled
by Nemtsov before being shot to death a short distance from the Kremlin, all
Russian soldiers must have formally concluded their contracts with the army
before being sent across the border. Their relatives were threatened with
prosecution if they revealed anything. Support to the Ukrainian separatists has,
according to the report, cost the Russian state over SEK 8 billion. The Russian
leadership refuses to comment on the information.
American soldiers to Ukraine
About 300 U.S. Army soldiers arrive to train Ukrainian soldiers over the next
six months. A Russian spokesman says this could lead to serious destabilization
of the situation.
Supporters of Yanukovych are killed
A Russian-friendly journalist and a former MP who supported former President
Yanukovych are both found dead in Kiev. In a short period of time, several
politicians with close ties to Yanukovych have apparently committed suicide,
though under unclear circumstances.
Russia is identified as a threat
Ukraine adopts a new security doctrine which, among other things, identifies
Russia as a long-term threat to the country and states that membership in NATO
is Ukraine's only credible guarantee of its security and territorial integrity.
Totalitarian propaganda is prohibited
Parliament bans communist and Nazi propaganda. Among other things, street and
city names with communist sounds, as well as symbols and songs, are forbidden.
At the same time, Parliament adopts a separate law recognizing the role played
by the nationalist movement during the Second World War, sometimes in
collaboration with Nazi Germany.
Right-wing extremist gets top job in defense
The leader of the right-wing movement The Right Sector is appointed as
advisor to the Chief of Defense Staff. The appointment is said to be part of the
work of coordinating the volunteer forces' efforts with the army. The leader
Dmytro Yarosh is internationally called for by the Russian regime for "stirring
New Russian films are banned
A law comes into force that prohibits the viewing of Russian films and TV
series recorded after January 1, 2014.
Crimean TV in Crimea is silenced
The Crimean Tatar TV station ATR is forced to stop broadcasting after the
Russian state media agency refused to renew its license. Ever since the
annexation of Crimea, the pro-Ukrainian media voice has generally been subject
to harassment by the Russian authorities.
Self-government in the east - on Ukrainian terms
Parliament adopts two laws on increased self-government for the
rebel-controlled areas in the east; However, the autonomy requires that the
separatists first conduct local elections under Ukrainian law under
international supervision. The laws are condemned by the rebels and the Russian
government as a violation of the ceasefire agreement.
IMF support comes into force
The IMF grants a US $ 17.5 billion aid program, of which $ 5 billion is paid
out immediately. The program replaces one that was promised less than a year ago
but which was constructed in a way that was not enough to stabilize the
Ukrainian economy. The IMF loan is part of a total international support of
around $ 40 billion, which is, among other things, given as bilateral loans from
a number of countries. Sweden contributes an interest-free loan of $ 100
million. International support is largely to strengthen the Ukrainian foreign
Putin acknowledges early Russian involvement in Crimea
Russian President Putin tells in a TV documentary how he ordered the military
and security services to prepare for the annexation of Crimea several weeks
before the "referendum" on self-government conducted by separatists on the
Ukrainian peninsula. He has previously acknowledged in retrospect that the
Russian military participated in the conquest of Crimea but did not allow such
detailed Russian involvement at the political level at such an early stage.
Heavy interest rate hike
The central bank raises the key interest rate from 19.5 to 30 percent in an
attempt to stabilize the currency and curb inflation. The hryvnia has lost 80
percent of its value against the US dollar since the turn of the year. In
January, prices were on average 28.5 percent higher than a year earlier.
Explosion attacks in Kharkiv
In the large city of Kharkiv, which has been mostly quiet so far, three
people are killed and ten injured when an explosive charge according to
eyewitnesses is thrown from a car into a crowd during a peace demonstration.
Police describe the act as a terrorist attack.
A new ceasefire agreement is signed, but the fighting continues
After 17 hours of negotiations in Minsk, Poroshenko, Putin, Hollande and
Merkel agree on a new ceasefire agreement signed by the so-called contact group
- the Ukrainian and Russian governments, separatists and the OSCE. The ceasefire
is to take effect after three days, which means, among other things, that heavy
weapons must be pulled away from the front line and that a five to seven mile
wide buffer zone is created there. This is far from a broad political solution
to the conflict. The political status of the separatist-controlled areas is
unclear, as is how the Russian-Ukrainian border is being guarded. During the
first day after the ceasefire agreement was signed, at least 18 people are
killed in ongoing fighting, according to Ukrainian sources. Three days after the
ceasefire came into force, the Ukrainian soldiers begin to withdraw from
Debaltseve, where the attacks by the separatists became overwhelming. According
to the Ukrainian government, the separatists have, over the past 24 hours,
received support from Russian tanks, artillery and ground troops. The EU, The US
and the OSCE jointly condemn the advancement of separatists as a clear violation
of the ceasefire. Despite the ongoing fighting, a prisoner exchange is carried
out. 139 Ukrainian soldiers and 52 rebels are released outside Luhansk.
Military escalation ahead of a peace meeting
The days before a new planned summit in Minsk, Russian soldiers in Crimea and
near the Ukrainian border begin exercises. Separatists in eastern Ukraine are
intensifying their fighting to the highest level since the war broke out. The
day before the summit, according to the Ukrainian government, at least 46 people
were killed, including 16 in a rocket attack against the government-controlled
city of Kramatorsk, where the Ukrainian army has its eastern headquarters.
Acute economic crisis
The Ukrainian economy has almost collapsed. The central bank gives up
attempts to keep the hryvnia rate up through support purchases, whereupon the
value of the currency immediately collapses by 30 percent against the US dollar.
Instead, the policy rate is raised from 14 to 19.5 percent in an attempt to
curb inflation, which in December was almost 25 percent on an annual basis.
The worsening crisis situation leads to feverish diplomatic activity
The fighting hardens on all fronts. One week into February, the most panic
situation prevails. After negotiations with President Poroshenko, German
Chancellor Merkel and President Hollande of France travel to Moscow to hand over
a peace plan to President Putin, but a spokesman for Merkel says there are no
signs of an imminent breakthrough.
Failed attempt for ceasefire
At the end of January, new attempts are made to negotiate a ceasefire, but
the meeting in Minsk will end in nothing. According to OSCE representatives who
took part in the talks, the rebels refuse to even discuss the application of the
agreement signed in September.
More Western money
EU finance ministers agree to give Ukraine a new loan of EUR 1.8 billion to
avoid the country's bankruptcy. They argue that more money can be allocated
later. At the same time, the United States provides an equally large loan and
says that the country is prepared to tighten sanctions against Russia once again
At least 5,000 killed so far
The death toll in the war passes 5,000 on 22 January and, according to the
UN, may be significantly higher. At least 30 people are killed and about 80
injured when the Donetskrebeller launches long-range rockets at Mariupol.
Setback for the army in Donetsk
A few days after President Poroshenko accused Russia of sending at least
another 500 regular soldiers and tanks to eastern Ukraine, the Ukrainian army is
forced to retire from the Donetsk airport. Ukraine and the US accuse separatists
of having expanded their territory beyond what was stipulated in the ceasefire
agreement they signed in September. During one of the most bloody days of the
war, about 30 people were killed, eight of them civilians when a bus is shot in
Donetsk. The Donetsk rebels say they are preparing for a new offensive after
taking the airport after eight months of fighting.
Civil bus shot to the east
At least twelve civilians are killed and several injured when a bus is shot a
few miles from Donetsk. The shooting should have happened when the bus was at
one of the army roadblocks, leading the suspects to the rebels. However, they
deny that they were behind the fire.
Interpol is looking for Yanukovych
Interpol puts Ukraine's former President Viktor Yanukovych on his list of
aspiring people. He is wanted for embezzlement and financial mismanagement.