Ukrainians (formerly Ruthenians, Little Russians ) is the name for a Slavic nation, which forms the majority of the population in Ukraine. As a minority living Ukrainians worldwide in the successor states of the Soviet Union and as emigrants in many states. Altogether there are about 46 million Ukrainians. They speak East Slavic languages: Ukrainian, Russian, Russinisch and a mixed language Surschyk.


The Ukrainian- Belarusian border area ( Polesia ) is regarded as a possible area of ​​origin of the Slavs as a whole. East Slavic tribes such as Poljanen, Drevlianians, Sewerjanen, Volhynians and Tiwerzen inhabited in the Early Middle Ages the territory of Ukraine and fused together with other Eastern Slavs to the ancient Russian ethnicity of Kievan Rus. When that fell apart as a result of the Mongol invasion, reached their western territories in the influence zone of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania and later in Poland. This caused linguistic and cultural differences between the East Slavs, the transitions were geographically very fluently until the 20th century. About the Ukrainian Cossacks who lived in the southern steppe on the Dnieper River, the Ukrainian national dress and language also took up turktatarische elements. Nevertheless, the majority of Ukrainians kept the Orthodox faith by his membership first for autonomous Kievan Metropolia of Konstantinopoler Patriarchate and from 1686 to the Russian Orthodox Church. In the western part of the Ukrainian settlement area however there were large parts of the population as a result of the Polish pressure to the Catholic faith of the Byzantine rite.

In the late 18th century expanded as a result of the Russian victories over the Ottomans the area of ​​settlement of Ukrainians, just like the Russians, to the Black Sea, the Ukrainian Cossacks as compensation for the abolition of their autonomy and new areas in the Krasnodar and Stavropol - were allowed to colonize territory. A Ukrainian cultural and linguistic impact in these southern Russian regions still felt today.

Distribution of Ukrainians by country

In Moldova, a third of Ukrainians living in Transnistria, which broke away from Moldova in 1992. 28.9 % of residents there are Ukrainians.

In Germany the end of 2005, there were 130 674 Ukrainian citizens. In 2004, 3,844 naturalized.

In Portugal, tens of thousands of Ukrainians are mainly employed as a construction worker.

In Croatia, most Ukrainians living in the County of Brod - Posavina ( in Slavonski Brod), the Vukovar- Syrmia ( in Vukovar ) and in the Sisak - Moslavina.

Related ethnic groups

There are several ethnic groups in Eastern Europe, which are not counted in their home countries for various reasons, the Ukrainians. These assignments are partly due to heavy discussions. The most important group are the Rusyns ( often, especially in the past called Ruthenians ). In Ukraine and in Romania they are regarded as Ukrainians in Poland, Slovakia, Czech Republic, Hungary, Croatia, Serbia, the United States and Canada, they are recognized as separate from the Ukrainians a national minority, but also in those countries by some researchers classified as a subgroup of Ukrainians.