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Useful info about Ukraine

The historical roots of the Ukrainian state can be traced back to the Middle Ages epoch, when in the 9th century Scandinavian Konung (Prince) Oleg proclaimed Kyiv as the «mother of all Russian cities». The flourishing of the Prince’s Empire — the Kievan Rus — lasted until the 13th century, when the country became a part of the Tatar Khanate. In the 14th century Ukraine joined the united Polish-Lithuanian Princedom — Rzeczpospolita. In the 17th century Malorossiya became a part of the Russian Empire. In 1917 the Ukrainian elites declared the country’s independence, but already in 1922 the Ukrainian People’s Republic turned into the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic. The Soviet period had lasted for 70 years up to the moment when in 1991 the country became independent. The absolute majority of its citizens — 90.32% — supported the idea of independence at the All-Ukrainian referendum.
Conditions of entry to the country
Citizens of Russia and other countries of the CIS do not need a visa to visit Ukraine. Presentation of a foreign passport or a national passport (for Russian Federation citizens) at the border will be enough.
In addition to that, no visa to Ukraine for a term, not exceeding 90 days, is required for citizens of the European Union countries, Switzerland, the USA, Canada, Japan, and a number of other countries.
The staff of the frontier admission points puts a stamp on the entry to the foreign passport. In case of a trip to Ukraine with the national passport of the Russian Federation you will need to fill in a migration card, which will be later used for putting stamps on the entry and departure (no stamps are put to Russian national passports).
More information on the entry regime can be found at the website of the Ukrainian Ministry of Foreign Affairs
The discussion on the number of official languages in Ukraine was a hot-button issue back in the 19th century in debates between Westernizers and Russophiles. Although the 21st century has already come, nothing has changed — different parts of the country still speak different languages. In 2012 an Act was adopted, according to which Ukraine has only one official language — the Ukrainian one, while Russian gets the status of the regional language. This idea provides for the possibility to use Russian in the activities of government bodies and agencies, to study this language at schools and institutions of higher education, and to use it at all aspects and spheres of the social life without any restrictions. The Russian language has actually become the second official language of the country.
Russian and English are international communication languages, and approximately 1.7 billion people living on the planet make use of them. That is exactly why the bilingual format has been chosen to conduct the Congress — speakers and lecturers will communicate with the audience both in Russian and English. Organizers will ensure the simultaneous translation into other languages, if 50 participants or more are going to need it.
Hryvnya, the national currency of Ukraine, appeared back in the 11th century, during the period of reign of Vladimir the Great. This silver coin had been used as the main monetary unit for Ukrainians for four centuries. In 1917-1918 the Central Council and Directory made several attempts to introduce own monetary units — carbovantsy, but when the Soviet power came in 1922 they were abolished, and tchervonets (a ten-ruble banknote) was used as a payment unit. In 1991, when Ukraine became independent, it introduced coupon-carbovantsy as the principal national currency. They had remained in operation until 1996, when a currency reform was conducted and hryvnya was put into circulation. From then on hryvnya has changed its appearance three times. Modern banknotes contain all state-of-the-art features for protection against forgery: a watermark in the form of a portrait with a paler tint than the banknote color; 1.0-1.3 mm wide polymeric metallized band, clearly seen at the daylight; and displaced picture at the banknote face and tail, the elements of which coincide when seen at the daylight. You can get more information on the differences of counterfeit hryvnya from the genuine ones following this link:
The following banknotes and coins are currently in circulation in Ukraine: banknotes of 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200, and 500 hryvnya, subsidiary coins of 1, 2, 5, 10, 25, and 50 kopecks, and circulating coins of 1 hryvnya.
The actual hryvnya exchange rates against foreign currencies can be found at the website of the National Bank of Ukraine
Traditional Ukrainian dishes are well-known all over the world — restaurants with our national cookery can be found in all corners of the planet from New York to Beijing. Peculiarities of the Ukrainian cuisine result from the method of cooking — this is the area where, since olden times, food was cooked at the closed-type fires — in the so-called «kitchen ovens». Even Cossacks, after hitting a wild fowl or an animal, cooked it into a bouillon — a broth, and did not broil it on the fire like, for instance, Germans did. Great influence upon the national cuisine has been also exerted by the traditions of our neighbors — Ukrainians fried foodstuff in oil like Tatars or Turks; grounded meat like Germans; and seasoned food with paprika like Hungarians did. Selection of foodstuffs had certain political implication — for instance, our ancestors started to eat pork to spite Tatars that loved mutton, and Russians, preferring beef. In the 18th century, the epoch of great geographic discoveries, the ration of the Ukrainians was enriched with potatoes, becoming almost the «second bread». But the current «appearance» of the Ukrainian cuisine was formed later — in the 19th century, when tomatoes and eggplants were planted at our chernozem soils. From then on the trademarks of the Ukrainian repast have not changed — salo (lard), seasoned with garlic and greens, potato deruny (fritters) with meat and mushrooms, borsch (red-beet soup) with galushki (pasta dumpling), vareniki (dumpling) with cabbage.
You can try dishes of the high Ukrainian cuisine and listen to live music in the Ukrainian baroque atmosphere at the «Lipsky mansion» restaurant
«О» Panas" restaurant, located at the central part of Kyiv, will bring you to the Ukrainian village of the 19th century
The restaurant museum of the Ukrainian family life «Shinok» will help you in tasting delicious dishes and learning more about the traditions of Ukrainians
A time machine has not been invented yet, but thanks to the «Spotykach» restaurant you will be able to travel back to 1960-s, trying the best dishes of Soviet housewives
«Mlyn» restaurant, located at the Hydro-park, offers Ukrainian dishes at quite democratic prices
Remoteness of Ukraine from oceans and continental Eurasia, and the predominantly flat territory define the country’s climate as a temperate continental one, gradually changing from the West to the East.
The city of Kyiv, hosting the Congress, is located at the northern part of Ukraine, comparatively close to the country’s center. It has a temperate continental climate with mild winters and warm summers. Indian summer starts in September here, representing a period of the summer-like weather on the threshold of autumn. The temperature reaches 15 — 20°С, so, most likely, no warm clothes will be required. But an umbrella will be quite useful — although, most often, September rejoices city residents with sunny days, exceptions are not very rare: for instance, in 2008 the monthly rate of precipitation was exceeded by a factor of three.
The following website gives the online weather forecast for Kyiv: