Also: Украина.
English: Ukraine.
Seat of government: Киев / Київ.
Status: Democratic.
Structure: Parliament (Верховна Рада) is elected through geographical constituencies and party-list proportional representation, and must approve the ministers; the president is the head of government, elected directly.
Governing parties: Блок Петра Порошенка; Народний Фронт.
Heads of government: Петро Порошенко, president; Володимир Гройсман, prime minister.
Other parliamentary parties: Самопоміч; Опозиційний Блок; Радикальна Партія; Батьківщина; Всеукраїнське Об’єднання – Свобода; Сильна Україна; Заступ; Правий Сектор; Воля.
Assessment: Largely polarized between a west and north oriented towards Western Europe and speaking Українська, and an east and south oriented towards Россия and speaking Русский. President Леонід Кучма (1994-2005) met with opposition to his autocracy, in part for a scandal involving the murder of journalist Георгій Ґонґадзе. An election drama in 2004 including the obvious fixing of a presidential vote by the outgoing Кучма and prime minister Виктор Янукович (both easterners) in favor of Янукович ended with the inauguration of opposition leader Віктор Ющенко as president (known as the Помаранчева Революція). But parliament became the most powerful element of state under reforms passed that year, and elections for a new parliament were similarly divisive. The coalition that elected Ющенко split over personality and the division of power, particularly between Ющенко and prime minister Юлія Тимошенко (2005, 2007-10), and Янукович, whose Партия Регионов won a plurality in general elections in 2006, 2007, and 2012, again became prime minister in 2006. After disputes with Ющенко over constitutional issues, snap polls were agreed; the reunited coalition of the Помаранчева Революція (chiefly Блок Юлії Тимошенко and Блок Наша Україна – Народна Самооборона) made Тимошенко prime minister. A 2010 presidential election ended with a runoff between Янукович and Тимошенко, which Янукович won; Тимошенко was then replaced with Янукович ally Николай (Микола) Азаров (2010-4). Also in 2010, the constitutional court disallowed the redistribution of power to parliament, giving the presidency again the control of the government. Партия Регионов won another plurality in the 2012 parliamentary election. In 2014, Янукович shifted policy away from an EU orientation towards Россия, prompting protests; when he used force on those small protests, much larger protests (Євромайдан) eventually drove him from office. This prompted rebellion among Русский-speakers, intervention by Россия itself in Крым (now formally annexed) and the Донбасс (now effectively independent), and new elections in which Western-oriented politicians dominated.
FH: 3-2, free. Econ: 6.94 (53), flawed democracy.
Updated: 2016 August 19.