A negative population growth was probably caused by economic and environmental crises, including the Chernobyl disaster.
Distinctive dialects are the Polissya, Volyn, and Podillya dialects of northern and central Ukraine and the western Boyko, Hutsul, and Lemko dialects.
Their characteristics derive from normatively discarded old elements that reappear in dialectic usage.
The surzhyk, an unstable and variable mixture of Ukrainian and Russian languages, is a by-product of Soviet Russification.
A similar phenomenon based on Ukrainian and Polish languages existed in western Ukraine but disappeared almost completely after World War II.
Its main geographical features are the Polissya and Volyn northern forests, the central forest steppes, the Donetsk eastern uplands (up to 1,600 feet [500 meters] above sea level), and the coastal lowlands and steppes along the Black and Azov Seas.
The Carpathian mountains in the west reach 6,760 feet (2,061 meters) at Mount Hoverla.Ukraine's regional ethnographic cultures, not always congruent with oblast boundaries are: Donbas, Slobozhanshchyna, Zaporizhzhya, Steppes Ukraine, Poltava, Cherkasy, Polissya, Podillya, Volyn, Halychyna, Bukovyna, Transcarpathia, and Crimea.Crimean Tatar culture predominates in Crimea, and the Hutsul highlanders live in Halychyna, Bukovyna, and Transcarpathia. Ukraine's 1989 census showed a population of 51,452,000.However, local pro-communist officials still resist Ukrainian and other ethnic languages except Russian in public life. The traditional Ukrainian symbols—trident and blue-and-yellow flag—were officially adopted during Ukrainian independence in 1917–1920 and again after the declaration of independence in 1991.The trident dates back to the Kyivan Rus as a pre-heraldic symbol of Volodymyr the Great.The national flag colors are commonly believed to represent blue skies above yellow wheat fields.