During Ukraine’s entire history, its territory has also been populated by other peoples, in addition to its indigenous population of Ukrainians. Their settlement was a result of historical events: wars, migration, forced relocation of populations, and natural and social calamities on the territories of other countries. Those very processes formed a bright picture of a multinational state, which Ukraine is today.
According to the latest population census that took place in 2001, more than 37.5 million people are Ukrainian, which comprises 77.8 percent of Ukraine’s total population. After the Ukrainians, the largest group is Russians – about 8.3 million (17.3%). The Belarusians are next, with 275,000 (0.6 percent), followed by the Moldavans, with 258,000 (0.5 percent) and Crimean Tatars, with 248,000 (0.5 percent).
In general, Ukraine is populated by representatives of more than 130 nationalities and ethnic groups. Depending on the particular oblast, after Ukrainians the largest national groups can be Hungarians, as in Zakarpattya region, or Romanians, as in Chernivtsy region, with the reason for this being the history of the development of the territories that had very close economic, social and political connections with neighboring countries. The central part of the country is compactly populated by Ukrainians, while the territories with the largest influence of the Russian Empire – Luhans’k and Donets’k regions – are populated equally by Ukrainians and Russians. As of today, Crimea is dominated by Russian population as an ethnic group, which had been caused by events in the 1940s, when many Crimean Tatars were deported under the Soviet regime and purges were organized of Germans, Bulgarians and Greeks.
However, despite such a large number of nationalities, during the disintegration of the Soviet Union, which was characterized by worsening of interethnic conflict, Ukraine managed to preserve its integrity and avoid conflicts on an interethnic basis.
Today, representatives of different nationalities have the opportunity to study the language, culture and history of their people, create their own people’s centers and celebrate their national holidays. Supreme and local bodies of authority in every way possible support the development and full-fledged existence of ethnic groups and their integration into Ukrainian society.
All-Ukrainian population census