30th Anniversary of Ukrainian Independence: Key Events From the Past

30th Anniversary of Ukrainian Independence

Ukraine had a long journey to its Independence. With it always being unique, it was divided between different states until 1991. Today we will talk about key events of Independent Ukraine.

1991 – Independence, Referendum, and the first elections

It was a year of changes, when the Soviet Union collapsed and former Soviet republics faced important decisions.

24 August – The Act of Declaration of Independence of Ukraine

Акт проголо́шення незале́жності Украї́ни was adopted by the Ukrainian parliament. The Act passed with 321 votes in favor, 2 votes against, and 6 abstentions (out of 360 attendants).

Photo credit The poster says: “Ukraine is leaving the USSR.”

1 December – Ukrainian independence referendum

Всеукраї́нський рефере́ндум

Citizens of Ukraine expressed support for Independence: 84.18% of the electorate took part, and among them, 92.3% voted “Yes”.

Photo credit An example of a bulletin that approves Independence.

1994 – Budapest Memorandum on Security Assurances, Nuclear Disarmament

The memorandum included security assurances against threats or use of force against the territorial integrity or political Independence of Ukraine, Belarus and Kazakhstan, which as we know was violated by Russia in 2014 with the annexation of Crimea and war in Donbas.

As a result, between 1994 and 1996, Belarus, Kazakhstan and Ukraine gave up their nuclear weapons. In 1991 Ukraine had the world’s third–largest nuclear weapons stockpile.

1995 – Ukraine became a member of The Council of Europe

31 October 1995 – Supreme Council of Ukraine (Верховна Рада) adopted a law about joining the Council of Europe.

It required Ukraine to implement many democratic changes and it was the first official step towards European integration.

1996 – The Constitution, Hryvnia as a new currency

28 June – Verkhovna Rada adopted the Basic Law. The first Constitution (Конститу́ція) since Independence was approved. 2 September – New currency hryvnia (гри́вня) was issued. It is named after a measure of weight used in medieval Kyivan Rus.

Photo credit Hryvnia in Kyivan Rus
Photo credit Hryvnia as a modern Ukrainian currency

2004 – Orange Revolution, Eurovision

Помара́нчева револю́ція

22 November 2004 – 23 January 2005 – was a series of protests and political events that happened after the 2004 Ukrainian presidential election where Viktor Yanukovich won, which was claimed to be marred by massive corruption.

The goals of the revolution were to have a new, fair election, as well as new laws against corruption and oligarchy. A Ukrainian singer, Ruslana, won the 2004 Eurovision Song Contest with the song “Wild Dances” (Ди́кі та́нці). She received a record 280 points.

2005 – The beginning of EU integration

With the presidency of Viktor Yushchenko, Ukraine started cooperation with the European Union and NATO (The North Atlantic Treaty Organization). Since then, this strategy hasn’t changed.

2012 – UEFA Euro 2012

Ukraine and Poland hosted the 14th European Championship for men’s national football teams organised by UEFA. The games were played in the stadiums in Kyiv, Lviv, Kharkiv, and Donetsk.

The Spanish team was the winner, who beat Italy 4–0 in the final at the Olympic Stadium, Kyiv, Ukraine.

2013 – Euromaidan

After then–president Viktor Yanukovych chose not to sign an agreement with the European Union, active people gathered in Майда́н Незале́жності (Independence Square) to protest against it. Despite government pressure, the size of the protests only grew and turned into револю́ція гі́дності “the revolution of dignity.”

The protests took place until the end of February 2014. They resulted in Russian military intervention in Crimea and Donbas, new presidential and parliamentary elections, and pro–European reforms.

2014 – Crimea annexation and the war in Donbas

The Crimean Peninsula was annexed by the Russian Federation between February and March 2014.

Russian masked troops invaded and occupied key Crimean locations following Putin’s orders. Nowadays, Crimea is fully controlled by the Russian administration.

6 April 2014 – present – War conflict in Donbas

With the help of the Russian military, separatists took control of parts of the Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts. The fights over these territories are still going on.

21 April 2019 – present

The new president Volodymyr Zelenskyi was elected. The main issues he is dealing with are opposition to Russian military aggression and disinformation, economic development of Ukraine and continuation of democratic reforms.

These are the main historical events. What do you think is the most significant achievement of Independent Ukraine? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

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