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Beginning in the mid-1950s, outbursts of political protest against the totalitarian system gained momentum in Ukraine. An increasing number of illegal samizdat (samvydav) literature was published, and several dissident organizations and groups appeared. A deep crisis enveloped all walks of life in the 1970-1980s. At the same time Gorbachev's perestroika and glasnost served to slacken the wave of purges. In 1988 the Ukrainian Helsinki Union was organized. In 1989 the Rukh National Movement for Perestroika in Ukraine was farmed (since 1990 known as the Narodny Rukh of Ukraine).

On June 16, 1990, the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine passed the Declaration of State Sovereignty of Ukraine. On August 24, 1991, the Ukrainian Parliament solemnly proclaimed Ukraine's independence and the formation of the independent state of Ukraine.
On December 1, 1991, a referendum took place in Ukraine, involving 84.18 percent of citizens, of which number 90.35 per cent seconded the Independence Act of August 24.
L. Kravchuk was elected President of Ukraine. The nation supported L. Krav-chuk's program aimed at the construction of a New Ukraine with a strong state system, genuine democracy, material well-being. In 1994, L. Kuchma won the Presidential elections and became the new President of Ukraine.

A new state, Ukraine, appeared on the world political map in 1991. It is a democratic state, ruled by the law. It includes 24 administrative regions and the Autonomous Republic of the Crimea.
State power in Ukraine is based on the division of authority into legislative, executive and judicial. The President is the highest official of the Ukrainian state, vested with supreme executive authority. He exercises it through the Government, the Cabinet of Ministers which is accountable to him, and through a system of central and local organs of state executive authority.

The Verkhovna Rada (Parliament) of Ukraine is the sole legislative authority.
Judicial power in Ukraine is vested in the courts of law. The courts are independent and in all their activities abide only by the rules of law.
The National Emblem of Ukraine is a Golden Tryzub (trident) on a blue shield. The National flag of Ukraine is a rectangular cloth with two horizontal stripes of equal width, the upper colored blue and the lower golden yellow. The National Anthem has been performed since January 1992 (music by M. M. Verbytsky).
The National Holiday, Independence Day, is celebrated on August 24.

Ukraine is making strenuous efforts to create an effective economic system, along with advancing the institutions of democracy, and raising the country's prestige in the international arena.
By voluntarily rejecting its recent status as the worlds third nuclear power, Ukraine took the first historic step toward a nuclear-free, peaceful future, bringing mankind closer to the long-cherished goal, total nuclear disarmament.

World War II   The Ancient History of Kyiv