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Template:Ethnic group

Ukrainians (Ukrainian: Українці, Ukrayintsi) are an East Slavic ethnic group native to Ukraine.


Ukrainians are the descendants of several peoples who inhabited the vast area extending from north of the Black Sea to the borders of Russia, Poland, Moldova, Belarus and Slovakia. These people included numerous nomadic tribes such as Persian-speaking Scythians and Sarmatians ; 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. The Ukrainian language is an East Slavic language and Ukrainian people belong to the same subdivision of Slavs as Russian and Belarusian. Early East Slavs 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.


Ukraine had a very turbulent history, a fact explained by its geographical position. Up to the fourteenth 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 supressed 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


Ukrainians are one of the largest European ethnic groups with a population of more than 42 million people worldwide. Most ethnic Ukrainians, about 36 million in total, live in Ukraine where they make up over three-quarters of the population. 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 Kazakhstan (about 500,000), Moldova (450,000), Poland (300,000), Slovakia (200,000) and Argentina (100,000). There are also Ukrainian diasporas in Brazil, Belarus, Romania, Germany and former Yugoslavia.


Ukrainians are predominantly of the Orthodox Christian faith, in eastern and southern Ukraine most common is Ukrainian Orthodox Church (UOC-MP) under the Patriarch of Moscow of the Russian Orthodox Church (ROC). Some Ukrainians especially in the Western region of Galicia belong to Eastern Rite of the Catholic Church more specifically to the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church. Various Protestant churches as well as un-canonical UOC-KP church headed by Patriarch Filaret (Mykhailo Denysenko) have a growing presence among Ukrainians. (See History of Christianity in Ukraine).

See also


  • Andrew Wilson. The Ukrainians: Unexpected Nation. Yale University Press; 2nd edition (2002) ISBN 0-3000-9309-8.

Online references

External links


1. ^  Statistics include non-primary ancestry reports. "Ukrainians" being of partial descent figured in numbers.

de:Ukrainer ko:우크라이나인 ka:უკრაინელები la:Ucraini ja:ウクライナ人 pl:Ukraińcy pt:Ucranianos ru:Украинцы fi:Ukrainalaiset uk:Українці