The surzhyk, an unstable and variable mixture of Ukrainian and Russian languages, is a by-product of Soviet Russification.
A similar phenomenon based on Ukrainian and Polish languages existed in western Ukraine but disappeared almost completely after World War II.
Distinctive dialects are the Polissya, Volyn, and Podillya dialects of northern and central Ukraine and the western Boyko, Hutsul, and Lemko dialects.
The 1863 patriotic song "Ukraine Has Not Perished," composed by Myxaylo Verbyts'kyi from a poem of Pavlo Chubyns'kyi, became the Ukrainian national anthem in 1917 and was reaffirmed in 1991.
These symbols were prohibited as subversive under the Soviets, but secretly were cherished by all Ukrainian patriots.
A negative population growth was probably caused by economic and environmental crises, including the Chernobyl disaster.
The 1989 census shows the following percentages of the population's ethnic composition: Ukrainians, 72.7 percent; Russians, 22.1 percent; Jews, 0.9 percent; Belorussians, 0.8 percent; Moldovans, 0.6; Poles, 0.5 percent; Bulgarians, 0.4 percent; Hungarians, 0.3 percent; Crimean Tatars, 0.2 percent; Romanians, 0.2 percent; Greeks, 0.2 percent; Armenians, 0.1 percent; Roma (Gypsies), 0.1 percent; Germans, 0.1 percent; Azerbaijanis, 0.1 percent; Gagauz, 0.1 percent; and others, 0.5 percent. Ukrainian is an Indo-European language of the Eastern Slavic group.
The name Ukraine first appeared in twelfth century chronicles in reference to the Kyivan Rus.
This Eastern Slavic state flourished from the ninth to the thirteenth centuries on the territory of contemporary Ukraine, with Kyiv as its capital.
The national flag colors are commonly believed to represent blue skies above yellow wheat fields.
Heraldically, they derive from the Azure, the lion rampant or coat of arms of the Galician Volynian Prince Lev I.
Ukraine's regional ethnographic cultures, not always congruent with oblast boundaries are: Donbas, Slobozhanshchyna, Zaporizhzhya, Steppes Ukraine, Poltava, Cherkasy, Polissya, Podillya, Volyn, Halychyna, Bukovyna, Transcarpathia, and Crimea.
Crimean Tatar culture predominates in Crimea, and the Hutsul highlanders live in Halychyna, Bukovyna, and Transcarpathia. Ukraine's 1989 census showed a population of 51,452,000.
Mother Ukraine became a byword, not unlike Uncle Sam, but much more emotionally charged.