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Ukraine was the center of the first eastern Slavic state, Kyivan Rus, which during the 10th and 11th centuries was the largest and most powerful state in Europe. Weakened by internecine quarrels and Mongol invasions, Kyivan Rus was incorporated into the Grand Duchy of Lithuania and eventually into the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. The cultural and religious legacy of Kyivan Rus laid the foundation for Ukrainian nationalism through subsequent centuries.
A new Ukrainian state, the Cossack Hetmanate, was established during the mid-17th century after an uprising against the Poles. Despite continuous Muscovite pressure, the Hetmanate managed to remain autonomous for well over 100 years. During the latter part of the 18th century, most Ukrainian ethnographic territory was absorbed by the Russian Empire. Following the collapse of czarist Russia in 1917, Ukraine was able to bring about a short-lived period of independence (1917-20).
Although final independence for Ukraine was achieved in 1991 with the dissolution of the USSR, democracy remained elusive. A peaceful mass protest "Orange Revolution" in the closing months of 2004 forced the authorities to overturn a rigged presidential election and to allow a new internationally monitored vote that swept into power a reformist slate under Viktor Yushchenko.
24 provinces (oblasti, singular - oblast'), 1 autonomous republic* (avtonomna respublika), and 2 municipalities (mista, singular - misto) with oblast status**
Note: Administrative divisions have the same names as their administrative centers (exceptions have the administrative center name following in parentheses).
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FamilySearch has four publications that might be helpful to you in searching for your ancestors from Ukraine:
- File:German Gothic Handwriting Guide.pdf
- Hamburg Passenger Lists
- Jewish Genealogy
- Germans from Russia
- Beginning Ukrainian Research
- Guide to reading Old Church Slavonic
- Obtaining Civil Documents in Ukraine
- Research Outline for the Ukraine by BYU
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