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The issues of cronyism, corruption and alleged voting irregularities came to a head during the heavily-disputed 2004 Presidential election, where allegations of vote-rigging sparked what became known as the "Orange Revolution".This revolution eventually resulted in the election of opposition candidate Viktor Yushchenko as President.Citizens of Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Moldova, and Uzbekistan can visit and stay in Ukraine indefinitely visa free.However, citizens of Moldova and Uzbekistan must hold proof of sufficient funds on arrival.During the following five years the Orange coalition broke up and Viktor Yushchenko lost the support of the majority of Ukranians.Ironically, his former adversary Viktor Yanukovich was elected President.Following the results of a referendum in 17 March 1991 which indicated overwhelming popular support (80% in favour of independence), the Ukraine's Parliament declared its Independence Day 24 August 1991.Initially, there were severe economic difficulties with hyperinflation, and oligarchic rule prevailed in the early years.
While tourists are unlikely to be the intended targets of violence, government services (police, hospitals, firefighters) are not available in these areas.
Crimea has been under Russian control since its annexation in 2014 and should not be considered a part of Ukraine for travel purposes. Wandering off or travelling without a tour can result in fines and radiation exposure that may cause serious illnesses, death or coma.
Travelling to Chernobyl and the whole radiation zone which includes the ghost city of Prypiyat should at all costs only be done with tours. It lies at the northwest end of the Black Sea, with Russia to the east, Belarus to the north, Poland to the northwest, Slovakia and Hungary to the west, and Romania to the south west and south, with Moldova in between.
Petro Poroshenko, a pro-Unity Ukrainian politician won the 2014 presidential election and is the fifth president of independent Ukraine.
The Ukrainian government is now actively fighting against the Russian occupation.
As a Soviet republic, the Ukrainian language was often sidelined to Russian and actively Russified, for example: during Stalinist repressions during the 1930s; during attempts at decentralization during the Khrushchev administration; and tightening of control again during the Brezhnev-Kosygin era of the 1970s and early 1980s.