Eastern Ukraine or East Ukraine (Ukrainian: Східна Україна, Skhidna Ukrayina) generally refers to territories of Ukraine east of the Dnieper river, particularly Kharkiv, Luhansk and Donetsk oblasts. Dnipropetrovsk and Zaporizhia oblasts sometimes are also regarded as Eastern Ukraine. Almost a third of the country's population lives within the region, which includes three cities with populations over a million. The major river of eastern Ukraine is Seversky Donets.
The territory is heavily urbanized and commonly associated with the Donbas. The three largest metropolitan cities form an industrial triangle within the region. Among the major cities are:
Russian is the dominant language in the region (in the schools of the Ukrainian SSR learning Ukrainian was mandatory). Effective in August 2012, a new law on regional languages entitles any local language spoken by at least a 10% of the population be declared official within that area. Within weeks, Russian was declared as a regional language in several southern and eastern oblasts and cities. From that point Russian could be used in those cities'/oblasts' administrative office work and documents. However, on 23 February 2014, the law on regional languages was abolished, making Ukrainian the sole state language at all levels even in Eastern Ukraine. Nevertheless, this vote was vetoed by acting President Turchynov on March 2.
Noticeable cultural differences in the region (compared with the rest of Ukraine except Southern Ukraine) are more "positive views" on the Russian language and on Soviet era and more "negative views" on Ukrainian nationalism. Calculating the "yes"-votes as a percentage of the total electorate reveals a lower percentage of all (possible) voters in Eastern and Southern Ukraine supported Ukrainian independence in the 1991 Ukrainian independence referendum than in the rest of the country. In a poll conducted by Kyiv International Institute of Sociology in the first half of February 2014, 25.8% of those polled in East Ukraine believed "Ukraine and Russia must unite into a single state", nationwide this percentage was 12.5.
During elections voters of the Eastern (and Southern) oblasts (provinces) of Ukraine vote for parties (CPU, Party of Regions) and presidential candidates (Viktor Yanukovych) with a pro-Russian and status quo platform. The electorate of CPU and Party of Regions is very loyal to them.
|Oblast (Province)||Ukrainian name||Area in km2||Population at
|Total for 3 Oblasts||84,618||10,285,953||9,418,034|
|Total for 5 Oblasts||143,724||15,776,348||14,530,001|
The Zaporizhia and Dnipropetrovsk Oblasts are more frequently associated with the Southern Ukraine, although the western portion (the Kryvyi Rih basin) of Dnipropetrovsk Oblast is often included with the Central Ukraine.
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UKRAINE: Yushchenko needs Tymoshenko as ally again by Taras Kuzio, Oxford Analytica (5 October 2007)
- All statistics sourced from: State Statistics Committee of Ukraine.