The second largest country in Eastern Europe with a population of 46 million, Ukraine is an emerging free market, with a gross domestic product that has experienced rapid growth in recent years.
It made a major industrial and agricultural contribution to the Soviet economy but once the USSR fell apart Ukraine suffered severe economic woes during the 1990s, including hyperinflation and drastic falls in economic output.
By 1999 its GDP was around half that of ten years earlier. It then grew rapidly until 2008. It was badly affected by the world financial crisis: GDP fell by 15% over 2008 and 2009. 2010 saw a recovery but the country still remains heavily reliant on export to Russia.
In the same way, Ukraine’s PR industry is nascent and struggling to gain a secure foothold. It was born of advertising and marketing, making the country's media highly influenced by paid-for content, and indeed even those organisations which do gain editorial coverage still see it as a small part of the marketing mix.
“We don’t focus too much on editorial,” says Zhanna Parkhomenko, Chief of Corporate Affairs at telecommunications operator Kyivstar. “We are more interested in direct communications with our customers, and this has been even more the case since budgets were cut in 2009.”
However, industry experts argue that these fluctuations are typical of a growing market, and point out that until 2008 the PR market was growing by between 30% and 50% every year. Indeed, as the digital market picks up and global brands stamp their mark on the country, the Ukrainian PR industry may finally find its feet.