The same is true of many post-Soviet states, including Ukraine, where nation- and state-building are as much part of their transition as are liberal democratic and market economic reforms. Viktor Yushchenko's government is thus taking the same degree of interest in national integration as it is in economic reform. Government measures aimed at enhancing national integration can be divided into four areas.
First, there are measures related to the Ukrainian language. In December 1999, the Constitutional Court ruled that provisions on the Ukrainian language in the June 1996 constitution should be more strictly enforced. In February 2000, the newly appointed Yushchenko government drew up a draft program of measures on implementing the Constitutional Court ruling, a modified version of which was adopted in June.
The program outlines plans to expand Ukrainian-language training for students, state officials, the security forces, national minorities, and employees working in the private sector. The number of Ukrainian-language books and encyclopaedias as well as foreign films dubbed into Ukrainian for television and video are to be increased, Ukrainian coverage on state television boosted, and festivals and concerts organized.
Some Russian-language media outlets are being transformed into Ukrainian-Russian media. "Zerkalo Nedeli," the leading weekly Russian-language newspaper since 1994, which is read by Ukraine's ruling elite, launched a Ukrainian-language edition, "Tserkalo Tyzhnia," in July. The television station Inter, formerly Ukrainian State Television Channel Three, also became bilingual in the summer. Inter is mainly watched in eastern Ukraine and was the only channel, apart from cable television, that re-translated Russian Public Television into Ukrainian for Russian-language audiences.
Second, the presidential administration has promoted its own personality cult as part of the nation-building project. An annual concert to commemorate independence day, held on 23 August in Ukraine Palace, included film clips of historical events leading to Ukraine's independence. The culmination of the tortuous process to gain independence was not only independence itself, the film explained, but Leonid Kuchma's presidency. Kuchma's alleged personal contribution to the establishment of Ukrainian independence was also advertised on independence day (24 August), with large placards bearing quotations from his speeches strategically located along the Khreshchatyk, Kyiv's main thoroughfare.
Moreover, Kuchma's collected speeches have just been published under the title "I Believe in the Ukrainian People." In the summer, two Ukrainian-language publications-- "Prezydent" and "Prezydentskyi Visnyk"--appeared. "Prezydent" is a glossy Ukrainian-English journal geared toward "New Ukrainians," foreign diplomats, journalists, and governments. Both the Ukrainian-language "Prezydentskyi Visnyk" and "Prezydent" provide a positive spin on their coverage of Kuchma in both domestic and foreign settings.
Third, there are efforts to promote the country's national symbols. A presidential decree on 29 November 1999 introduced new presidential symbols in time for Kuchma's second inauguration as president. These include the president's standard, a symbol consisting of an order chain of a drop and six enameled medallions and 12 decorated links, a heraldic seal with the national symbol, the "tryzub" (trident), and presidential mace (based on a Cossack Hetman's "bulava").
A few months later, the non-leftist majority took control of the Ukrainian parliament in a velvet revolution. It promptly exchanged the large hammer and sickle on the old Supreme Soviet building with the "tryzub" (the Ministry of Foreign Affairs had done the same in May 1998 on its building, the former headquarters of the Kyiv City Committee of the Communist Party of Ukraine).
This year, Kyiv instituted a new state holiday, "National Flag" day, on 24 July. The tryzub was adopted as the "small symbol" in 1992 but a larger, more elaborate state symbol had still to be approved. In the summer, a new state symbol was unveiled after a lengthy competition that had remained undecided since the adoption of the constitution. The new state symbol consists of a "tryzub" flanked by a lion, the symbol of Lviv, and a Cossack with a musket adorned by a crown and the words "Freedom-Harmony-Prosperity."
Fourth, there are also efforts related to the country's historiography. The 22 January 1919 union of western and eastern Ukraine was officially commemorated for the first time in January as "Unity Day." On the evening before the ninth anniversary of independence, an open air concert of Ukrainian classical spiritual music was attended by the cabinet. The concert was held next to the monument to the 7 million Ukrainian victims of the terror famine of 1932-1933, which has been officially commemorated each year since 1999. The concert's political message was clear; namely, that Ukraine will be spared another famine only if it is an independent state.
Plans have also been unveiled for a large monument to independence to be unveiled next year on the 10th anniversary of the declaration of Ukrainian independence. The monument resembles the Risorgimento monument in central Rome, commemorating Italy's unification in the mid-19th century. It is located on the site where Kyiv's largest statue of Vladimir Lenin stood until 1991 on Independence (formerly October) Square. The monument will be decorated with a mural of important historical figures ranging from leaders of Kyiv Rus, the Galician-Volhynian Principality, the Cossack Hetmans (including Ivan Mazepa), and Mykhailo Hrushevskyi, who was the doyen of Ukrainian historiography and first president of the Ukrainian People's Republic of 1917-1918.
It is not planned, however, to include Kuchma, the leader of Ukraine since 1994, on the mural. Although he voted for independence on 24 August, he had other pressing engagements and was absent from the parliament during the crucial vote on the Declaration of Sovereignty on 16 July 1990.