A Focus On... Ukraine


Population: 45,858,000.
Monetary unit: hryvnya (UAH)
Capital city: Kiev
Major languages: Ukrainian
Major religions: Ukrainian Orthodox, of which “Kiev patriarchy” 19%, “no particular patriarchy” 16%, “Moscow patriarchy” 9%, Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox 2%; Ukrainian Catholic 6%; Protestant 2%; Latin Catholic 2%; Muslim 1%; Jewish 0.5%; nonreligious/atheist/other 42.5%
Ethnic composition: Ukrainian 77.8%; Russian 17.3%; Belarusian 0.6%; Moldovan 0.5%; Crimean Tatar 0.5%; other 3.3%
Age breakdown: under 15, 14.3%; 15–29, 23.0%; 30–44, 21.1%; 45–59, 21.2%; 60–74, 14.1%; 75–84, 5.5%; 85 and over, 0.8%
Life expectancy: male 62.5 years; female 74.2 years
Education: Percentage of population age 25 and over having: no formal schooling 0.7%; incomplete primary education 2.8%; complete primary/incomplete secondary 22.7%; complete secondary 35.9%; incomplete higher 21.7%; complete higher 16.2%
Urban/Rural split: urban 68.5%; rural 31.5%
Income per household (USD): -
Broadband internet users (%): -

Source: Encyclopedia Britannica


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.


The most popular print daily is Kommersant. The key weekly titles are Expert, Focus, Korrespondent, Companion, Tyzhden, Delovaya Stolitsa and Profile.

For a business audience the key titles are Kommersant Ukraine, Forbes Ukraine, Business, Delo, and Companion,” says Parkhomenko. “For a consumer audience it is Segodnya, Komsomolska Pravda Ukraine, Korrespondent,, and Focus.

TV channels include ICTV, 1 1 and TRK Ukraine,

but the most influential channel is Inter, which is owned by the Ukrainian head of state security service, Valeriy Khoroshkovskyi. This fact alone has raised many concerns about the freedom of the media in Ukraine, and most insiders admit that the print and broadcast media in Ukraine are still influenced by paid-for editorial and content.

Around a third of the population is online and digital is certainly growing fast as an important medium for PR campaigns. Facebook is gaining in popularity but still lags behind local social network Kontakte.

Major Brands

Industry is a major element of the Ukrainian economy, with steelworks, oil firms and mines operating in the country. Metinvest Holding has both coal mining and steel divisions; Interpipe works predominantly in steel and Smart Holding works in construction and metal production.

The financial sector is represented by the Ukrainian Exchange and System Capital 

Management, while Smart Holding has a fiscal offering alongside its industrial divisions.Multinational FMCG companies such as Unilever, Johnson & Johnson, and Coca-Cola are increasingly important. Microsoft and Hewlett-Packard fly the flag for the global technology market. On a local level, Telenor Group and Kyivstar are mobile leaders and popular Ukraine vodka brand Nemiroff is a top selling drinks brand.


Ogilvy's Russian division, SPN Ogilvy, has offices in Ukraine, Action PR has an operation, and Pleon Talan is an affiliate of the Ketchum network. However, industry insiders report that international groups make up only around 30% of the market.

There are agencies such as Mikhailov & Partners and PRP Group CIS (affiliated to Burson-Marsteller and Weber Shandwick respectively), but much of the Ukrainian PR industry is made up of boutique agencies of up to ten people, for example FMCG specialist Mainstream Communication & Consulting.

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