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For the British musical group, see The Ukrainians
Total population 44-45 million (2005 est.)
Regions with significant populations Ukraine:
  37,541,700 (2001 census)

  2,860,000 (2002 census)
  550,000 (2005 census)
  375,0001 [4]
  65,262 (2005 estimate)1[8]
  61,589 (2002 census)[9]
  50,4421 (1999 census) [12]
  30,0001 (1999 census)[15] Lithuania:
  22,488 (2001 census)1[16] Estonia:
  22,300 1 [17]
Rest of World:
  140,000 (est)

Language Ukrainian
Religion Eastern Orthodox (most commonly) and Greek Catholic, some practice Protestantism. Atheism is also widespread <tr>
<th style="background-color:#fee8ab;">Related ethnic groups</th>
<td style="background-color:#fff6d9;">other Slavic peoples, especially East Slavs (Belarusians, Russians)</td>


Ukrainians (Ukrainian: Українці, Ukrayintsi) are an East Slavic ethnic group primarily living in Ukraine.


[edit] Origin

These people included numerous nomadic tribes such as Iranic-speaking Scythians and Sarmatians, and also Greeks from the Black Sea colonies; Germanic-speaking Goths and Varangians as well as Turkic-speaking Khazars, Pechenegs and Cumans. However, Ukrainian origins are overwhelmingly Slavic while non-Slavic nomads who mostly lived in the steppes of southern Ukraine had little influence on the ancestors of modern Ukrainians.[citation needed] Several East Slavic tribes, such as Polans, Drevlyans, Severians, Dulebes (that later likely became Volhynians and Buzhans), White Croats, Tivertsi and Ulichs lived on the territory of today's Ukraine. The Ukrainian language is an East Slavic language and Ukrainian people belong to the same subdivision of Slavs as Russian and Belarusian. Slavic tribes inhabited modern-day lands of Ukraine since the ancient times and by the 5th century A.D. became dominant there and founded the city of Kiev – later capital of a powerful state known as Kievan Rus'. Kniaz Volodymyr of Kievan Rus adopted Christianity in 988.

[edit] History

Ukraine had a very turbulent history, a fact explained by its geographical position. Up to the fifteenth century, Ukrainians were part of the Old East Slavic stock which also gave rise to the Belarusians and Russians. However, long history of separation and foreign influences have perceptibly reshaped their ethnolinguistic identity splitting them from the rest of East Slavs.

The history of independent statehood in Ukraine is started with the Cossacks. The Cossacks of Zaporizhia since the late fifteenth century controlled the lower bends of the river Dnieper, between Russia, Poland and the Tatars of the Crimea, with the fortified capital, Zaporizhian Sich. They were formally recognized as a state, the Zaporozhian Host, by treaty with Poland in 1649.

Modern Ukrainian national identity developed in opposition to foreign rule in the nineteenth century. In Imperial Russia the use of the Ukrainian language was discouraged at different times in history (see Russification); however, as most people were illiterate, persecutions had little effect. The policy of persecution towards Ukrainians was even more pronounced in Poland (see Polonization) and Austria-Hungary. During the Soviet era, the Ukrainian language was at times suppressed at others tolerated or even encouraged.

Ukraine originally formed part of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania and Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, later of the Russian, Ottoman and Austo-Hungarian empires, Poland and the Soviet Union, finally gaining its independence on August 24 1991.

Ukrainians in traditional dress

[edit] Population

Ukrainians are one of the largest European ethnic groups with a population of more than 44 million people worldwide. Most ethnic Ukrainians, about 37 million in total, live in Ukraine where they make up over three-quarters of the population. The largest Ukrainian community outside of Ukraine is in Russia, about 3 million Russian citizens consider themselves ethnic Ukrainians, while millions of others (primarily in southern Russia and Siberia) have some Ukrainian ancestry. There are also almost 2 million Ukrainians in North America (890,000 in USA and 1,000,000 in Canada). Large numbers of Ukrainians live in Brazil (550,000), Kazakhstan (about 500,000), Moldova (450,000), Poland (300,000), Belarus (250, 000), Slovakia (200,000) and Argentina (305,000). There are also Ukrainian diasporas in Germany, UK, Portugal, Romania, Latvia and former Yugoslavia.

[edit] Religion

Ukrainians are predominantly of the Orthodox Christian faith. In eastern and southern Ukraine most common is the canonically recognised Ukrainian Orthodox Church which recognises the authority of the Moscow Patriarchy of the Russian Orthodox Church. Central and west Ukraine show some support to the unrecognized Ukrainian Orthodox Church - Kiev Patriarchy headed by Patriarch Filaret. Some Ukrainians. especially in the Western region of Galicia, belong to the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, one of the Eastern Rite Catholic churches. Various Protestant churches as well have a growing presence among Ukrainians. (See History of Christianity in Ukraine).

[edit] See also

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