After independence, Ukraine has sought to maintain the social and family policy inherited from the Soviet era. Visit AbbreviationFinder to see the definitions of UKR and acronym for Ukraine. Child benefits and multi-child allowances occur, and employers are expected to pay up to three years of leave for new mothers. Costs for nursery homes, and in some cases holiday homes, also fall on employers. Since 1956, pensions are generally paid to men at the age of 60, to women at 55. Pursuant to the 1990 decision, the pension shall constitute 55 percent of the final salary. Pensions are also paid to disabled and surviving family members. Social grants are paid to vulnerable groups such as low-income earners, single mothers and the victims of the Chernobyl disaster, both in cash and in the form of food and clothing. In addition, legislation from 1992 stipulates that low-income earners should be compensated for price liberalization and reduced food subsidies. Unemployment benefit, amounting to 3/4 of the salary, is paid after three months. In the event of termination, the employer is responsible for severance pay and full compensation of non-paid salary for the first three months.
Most of the social programs, however, have remained ideal rather than reality due to the crunch of the economy. The vast majority of beneficiaries, as well as the population in general, have had to seek alternative ways to cope with their living. Self-management, retailing and other informal work have been commonplace.
Health care, which is well developed, albeit of varying quality, has also been hit hard by the poor state financial situation. From being nominally free of charge, care has begun to be charged with patient fees. In 2012, there were 35 doctors per 10,000 residents. Extensive environmental degradation, a degraded physical infrastructure (especially water and wastewater) and poor nutrition have degraded the health of the population and exposed the health care sector to great stress. In 1997, the pension system was changed to larger elements of private funds.
1997 was marked by allegations of corruption against the Prime Minister, Pavlo Lazarenko. He was forced to resign in July and was replaced 2 weeks later by Valery Pustovoytenko. At the same time, the president and parliament collided due to the slow processing of the law on the composition of the new parliament. The enacted law stated that 250 of Parliament’s 500 members are elected in the electoral districts, while the other 250 are elected by the political parties.
In September 1997, the United States, Belarus, Russia, Kazakhstan and Ukraine signed a disarmament agreement, which according to. Observers brought the previous START-2 agreement (signed in 1993) out of the stalemate it had been in for several years.
In the March 1998 parliamentary elections, the Communist Party gained 24.7% of the vote and 113 seats. There was thus a center-left majority in parliament. In April 1998, a new reactor at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant was reopened.
In the second round of the December 14 presidential election, independent Leonid Kuchma was re-elected with 56% of the vote, while Communist Party candidate Petro Symonenko got 38%. Kuchma promised to continue the market reforms and pro-Western policy – approximation to the EU, the US and NATO. Symonenko, on the other hand, based his campaign on the need for closer relations with Russia. International observers were able to confirm that the election was far from free and without urgency.
In line with its election promises, on November 26, Kuchma called on the EU to consider the inclusion of Ukraine in the list of candidate countries when the Union should discuss enlargement in December. Acc. the Ukrainian ambassador to the EU could be included when the country met the EU’s political and economic requirements. In agreement with the opposition, at the end of December, Kuchma appointed National Bank Director Viktor Yushchenko new prime minister.
In January 2000, 11 center-right parties formed a coalition in support of Kuchma and to curb the “conservative” left wing, which they declared. During a trip to London a month later, Prime Minister Yushchenko declared that Ukraine’s foreign debt must be restructured, a tighter economic policy pursued and massive privatizations implemented. In accordance with the demands of the Council of Europe, the President abolished the death penalty on March 22. On April 16, 90% of the population approved a Presidential Reform Bill, which allows him to dissolve parliament when he does not get a majority for his proposals. The opposition took the opportunity to declare that Ukraine is on its way to becoming a dictatorship.
At an April 18 meeting, Leonid Kuchma agreed with his Russian colleague Vladimir Putin to increase technological and military cooperation between the two countries based in the Ukrainian city of Sevastopol on the Black Sea. The two countries still have to agree on how the Black Sea Fleet should be distributed between them. Russia is constantly increasing its presence in the Crimean peninsula, which is predominantly populated by Russians.
On April 25, 2000, the International Labor Organization (ILO) informed the Ukrainian government that despite the official unemployment rate being only 5%, the country is heading into a deep economic crisis with far greater poverty than accepted by the UN. In order to curb the negative economic development, the ILO recommended a restructuring of the Ukrainian labor market.
After the disappearance of a journalist who was critical of the regime, opposition politicians declared that a bond existed where the president discussed, before the disappearance, a “solution” to the problem of said journalist with officials from the security service. In February 2001, demonstrations were held in support of the opposition’s demand for Kuchma to resign. The disappeared journalist’s decapitated shout appeared, and put Ukraine’s approach to the West on hold. The demonstrations against Kuchma continued and increased in scope.