Ukraine. The year turned politically very turbulent and the old contradictions of the Orange Revolution brought Ukraine to the brink of armed conflict.
In January, the majority in Parliament voted to cut President Viktor Yushchenko’s power. According to CountryAAH, Kiev is the capital city of Ukraine. It was the President’s rival Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych and the President’s former ally, Julia Tymoshenko, who joined forces against Yushchenko. According to Prime Minister Yanukovych, the change meant that the government’s work was streamlined, while Yanukovych was accused of taking “monopoly” in power.
The president threatened to dissolve parliament and trigger new elections. The conflict developed into a political position war, and at the end of March the supporters of both sides gathered for huge demonstrations in the capital Kiev with a total of about 100,000 people out on the streets. In April, President Yushchenko announced his decision to dissolve Parliament because of its “unconstitutional” activities. New elections were announced in May. In Parliament, Yushchenko’s decree was seen as a step toward a coup d’état and the majority decided to dismiss the country’s electoral commission and refuse funding for the election.
After a temporary compromise on the re-election, the fight flared up again when Yushchenko began to launch a criminal investigation against the interior minister and took control of the police and domestic forces himself. The Minister of the Interior had personally brought police into the Prosecutor’s Office to support him, set aside by the President. According to the President of Parliament, a coup was underway. While the president gathered the political leaders for the crisis meeting, forces loyal to him tried to get to Kiev, but they were stopped by police forces loyal to the prime minister. However, no gunfire occurred, and after nightly negotiations, Yushchenko and Yanukovych agreed that the new elections should be held on September 30.
The bitter political conflict in Ukraine raised concerns in the West, where confidence in President Yushchenko waned and Ukraine’s prospects for EU membership seemed to decline. However, the country’s economic growth was high, 7.6 percent, and the stock market rose due to high metal prices on the world market. Swedish banks were among the foreign investors who invested in Ukraine as a market with growth potential.
The September elections were a battle between President Yushchenko and Yulia Tymoshenko, who became allies again, and Prime Minister Yanukovych and his allies in the Communist Party. The battle was about power sharing more than the previous conflict between West and East – Yanukovych had joined Yushchenko’s quest for Ukrainian membership in the EU and NATO.
Prime Minister Yanukovych’s Party of Regions was the largest with 34.4 percent of the vote, but lost some seats and remained at 175. Yanukovych’s Allied Communist Party gained 5.4 percent and 27 seats. Yulia Tymoshenko’s bloc went well, taking 30.7 percent and 156 seats, while President Yushchenko’s Ukraine with about 14 percent of the votes lost several seats and stayed on 72. However, Tymoshenko and Yushchenko together conquered a majority with 228 of Parliament’s 450 mandate. Yushchenko admittedly wanted to see a broad coalition including his rival Yanukovich, but the close talks that ended two months ago ended with the parties behind the Orange Revolution forming a coalition government with Julia Tymoshenko as new prime minister.
The country’s worst mining disaster so far occurred in November, when 101 workers lost their lives following a methane explosion in the Zasiadko coal mine in Donetsk, eastern Ukraine. A fire raged for many hours and thick smoke developed in the mine shaft, which made the rescue work more difficult. With 10,000 employees, the mine is one of the country’s largest but also one of the most casualties in Ukraine, whose old coal mines with worn equipment from the Soviet era are among the most dangerous in the world. A few weeks after the major disaster, new explosions occurred in the Zasiadko mine, when at least four workers were killed and several injured.
Ukraine became an independent state when the Soviet Union disbanded in 1991. The time after has been marked by disagreement over the country’s foreign policy direction and about the political rules of the game. On two occasions, this has led to popular uprisings and political crises: In 2004-2005, the Orange Revolution led to a new presidential election, in 2013–2014 led to a widespread rebellion that the president was ousted. In the wake of this, the Crimean Peninsula was annexed by Russia, and a war broke out in eastern Ukraine that is still ongoing.
Ukraine weather in March, April and May
According to Bridgat.com, average daily temperatures between 3 ° C and 20 ° C can be expected over the next three months. In Kiev, May is still the mildest, while March is noticeably colder. Temperatures in Kiev are between 3 and 20 ° C, in Lviv between 4 and 18 ° C and in Odessa between 6 and 19 ° C.
Do you want to go on a beach holiday? The water temperatures are in March, April and May 2-15 ° C. So the weather is hardly suitable for swimming.
In March it rains on 6 (Odessa) to 10 days (Lemberg), in April on 7 (Odessa) to 10 days (Lemberg) and in May on 6 (Odessa) to 11 days (Lemberg), depending on the region.
In the period from March to May the sun shines on average between 4 and 9 hours a day. The sunniest weather is in May in Odessa, with less sun you will have to make do with Kiev in March.
From 1923, Ukraine had been a Union Republic of the Soviet Union, but on July 16, 1990, the Ukrainian Supreme Soviet (Verkhovna rada) adopted a declaration of sovereignty. Among other things, it stated that Ukrainian law was above Soviet law and that Ukraine should be a nuclear-free zone. When the Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev conducted a referendum on the continuation of the Soviet Union in March 1991, 70 percent voted in favor of this. However, the Ukrainian authorities had added an extra question on the ballot, asking the Ukrainians to support the Ukrainian declaration of sovereignty. 80 percent supported the proposal. The result was thus not clear for the preservation of the Union.
The decisive turning point came in 1991, when conservative leadership figures in the Soviet state tried to conduct a coup d’état in Moscow against the reform-friendly Boris Yeltsin. After the coup that was implemented to save the Union failed, a number of leading Ukrainian communists emerged with one as nationalists. On August 24, the Verkhovna Rada adopted full independence for the Republic. In a December 1 referendum, the Declaration of Independence received support from 90 percent of voters. Equally important was that there was a majority for independence in all regions of the country, including the Crimean Peninsula.
On December 8, 1991, Ukraine’s Leonid Kravchuk together with Belarus’s Stanislaw Shushchevich and Russia’s Boris Yeltsin in Minsk signed an agreement on the establishment of the Commonwealth of Independent States (SUS), an agreement that effectively put an end to the existence of the Soviet Union. While the other SUS partners saw this as the prelude to a new, close cooperation to replace the Soviet Union, the Ukrainian leaders wanted to make the SUS an institutional framework for a “civilized divorce” between the former Soviet republics. An overriding goal of Ukrainian foreign policy since 1991 has been to avoid being drawn too closely into Russia’s embrace.
Ukraine under Kravchuk
At the same time, Ukraine’s first presidential election was held. Former party ideologist in the Ukrainian Communist Party, Leonid Kravchuk, already won 62 percent of the vote in the first round. Kravchuk received a majority of the votes in almost all of the country’s constituencies.
Kravchuk regime succeeded in defending Ukrainian sovereignty and brought Ukraine both out of the ruble zone in November 1992 and away from plans for a common SUS line defense. However, Kravchuk was criticized for economic policy. A lack of grip on the reforms led to a sharp fall in production and hyperinflation (ie more than 50 percent inflation per month). In 1993, inflation reached almost 10,000 percent on an annual basis. At the same time, the new Ukrainian monetary unit karbovanets fell dramatically in price. Therefore, many Ukrainians began to reject the Ukrainian state-building project.
The Ukrainian Communist Party sailed on a wave of Soviet nostalgia. The party had been banned after August 1991, but became legal again in 1994, and by the election of the Verkhovna Rada in the spring of 1994, the party became the country’s largest party. Rukh and other National Democratic parties clearly declined. At the same time, the election revealed what would become an important dividing line in Ukrainian politics over the next few years; the distinction between a more nationalist West and a Soviet-nostalgic, Socialist East.
Nuclear power in Ukraine
The question of the further fate of the nuclear arsenal in Ukraine quickly became a Russian-Ukrainian conflict issue. At the collapse of the Soviet Union, there were approx. 1600 nuclear warheads on Ukrainian soil. By signing START I of the Lisbon Protocol, in May 1992 Ukraine committed to transfer all nuclear weapons to Russia for destruction. However, Ukrainian authorities waited to implement the agreement. Only after US pressure did Ukraine ratify the START I agreement in February 1994, and in November of that year the country joined the Non-Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. The last Ukrainian nuclear weapons were delivered to Russia in June 1996.