This week’s blogpost is about the Ukraine, a country located at the northern shores of the Black Sea, bordered by Belarus, Russia, Moldova, Romania, Hungary, Slovakia and Poland. From 882 through 1240 the Kievan Rus´ united the East Slavic tribes which are the cultural ancestors of the people of Belarus, Russia and Ukraine. Vladimir the Great (980–1015) introduced Christianity to the region, which reached its greatest extent under Yaroslav I (1019–1054), but collapsed during the invasion of the Mongolians in 1240. Later, the territory of what nowadays is the Ukraine was occupied by various countries and forces, Poland, Lithuania, Cossacks, Tartars, Turks and finally Russia.
During the first and the second world war the struggles continued for the Ukraine, being located between strongly opposing empires. After World War II, Ukraine became part of the Soviet Union, but declared 16 July 1990 its independence and formed a mixed semi-parliamentary semi-presidential system with separate legislative, executive, and judicial branches. The economy of Ukraine was the second largest during the Soviet era, being an important industrial and agricultural component of the country’s planned economy. Mining, steel production, heavy industry and the aerospace and defense sector were highly developed. For example, the Antonov An-225 Mriya was designed and built as the world´s largest strategic airlift cargo aircraft with largest wingspan of any aircraft in operational service.
After the shift from the Soviet-style planned economy to a market-oriented economy, many companies stalled, unemployment rates increased significantly and oligarchs took over many of the former state-owned companies, making a fortune and preventing the countries to turn into a democratic system. The Ukrainian Revolution in 2014, the annexation of the Crimea by Russia, the war against separatists in the Eastern (Donbass) region and economic sanctions caused the economy to stall even further. 2014 and 2015 the economy declined by 10%, the currency lost about 70% of its value against the US-Dollar and the loss of Luhansk and Donetsk regions to the separatists caused a major loss in the industrial production capabilities and thus export revenues. The Ukraine is relatively rich in natural resources (e.g. mineral deposits) and energy sources (e.g. coal, nuclear fuel raw materials). Furthermore, the country exports agricultural products (e.g. seeds, wheat).
Large projects are ongoing in the energy and construction sectors, for example the restructuring of gas transmission and storage and the New Safe Confinement (NSC) for the containment of the nuclear reactor at Chernobyl. I was able to visit that long-term programme in 2009. Thirty years after the explosion of Chernobyl, the primary goal of the NSC is to prevent the reactor complex from leaking radioactive material into the environment and the secondary goal is to allow a future partial demolition of the old structure within the next 100 years.
In 1991, the Ukrainian Project Management Association (UPMA) was established as an independent association and became in 1993 member of the International Project Management Association (IPМA). The efforts of the Association are aimed at developing the project management culture in the country. International certification of professional project managers, organizations, advisers and coaches (educators) on basis of the IPMA 4-Level-Certification system is offered and widely used. The UPMA is closely connected to the major universities of the countries and holds three project management conferences throughout the year, one in Kiev, one in the Carpathian Mountains and one in Nikolayev. The Young Crew is having several meetings a year and several chapters throughout the country enhance the experience exchange in the field of project management.