Ukraine and Russia: A History of the Economic Relations between Ukraine and Russia, 1654-1917

Ukraine and Russia: A History of the Economic Relations between Ukraine and Russia, 1654-1917

Ukraine and Russia: A History of the Economic Relations between Ukraine and Russia, 1654-1917

Ukraine and Russia: A History of the Economic Relations between Ukraine and Russia, 1654-1917

Excerpt

A close analysis of Ukraine's history brings into relief an odd phenomenon. It is difficult to understand, how so richly endowed Ukraine could fall behind other lands of Europe; how it could show signs during its historical development, contradicting all the possibilities of its natural resources. Even a superficial survey of the various aspects of the economic position and life of Ukraine gives this astounding impression. For example: this land seemingly destined to take a leading place in world agriculture, has not done so. Yet, it possesses the best soil in all Europe. From Southern Volhynia to North of Mykolaiv, clay-laden black soil often reaches a depth of over three feet, and contains up to 10% humus material. It is also rich in the easily soluble flint-acid combinations needed by plant life. The Ukrainian Black Sea littoral also has very fertile light-brown and chestnut loams. In addition, the soils of Ukraine contain everything that adds to their fertility: the Izyum and Podilla regions have rich deposits of apatites yielding good phosphorous fertilizer, and ammonia manufactured in the Donbas provide azotes.

The climate of Ukraine is quite favorable to the development of agriculture. The land is situated between the 43rd and 53rd degrees latitude North. True, its isotherms are lower than corresponding latitudes of Western Europe. Due to more severe winters, the average annual temperature fluctuates between 43 and 49 degrees Fahrenheit, reaching 56 degrees in the Crimea. But it has a far greater number of days of sunshine in a year than analogous regions of Western Europe, and a much warmer summer. This amount of warmth and the length of the period favorable to vegetation, makes possible the cultivation of a great assortment of farm cultures; rye, barley and cotton among them.

The average annual amount of precipitation in Ukraine is small, varying between 400 millimeters on the shores of the Black Sea and 700 millimeters in Volhynia. This is in large measure compensated, however, by two facts. The rains fall during the optimal periods necessary for agriculture and the soil has high moisture-retaining qualities. Added to this, the Ukrainians are an industrious people who love farming. The . . .

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