Ukraine is situated in the south-eastern part of Europe and occupies the territory of 604 700 sq.kms in the north and bordering in the east with Russia and Belarus, in the west with Poland, Slovakia and Hungary and in the south – with Romania and Moldova. Ukraine is a sea power which has an entry to the Black and Azov Seas. It is the second in size country in Europe. The population of Ukraine amounts 49 millions inhabitants, by the volume of the gross national gross product it approaches to Italy.
In the total volume of the Ukrainian industrial production ferrous metallurgy takes the first place – 21.8 per cent, machine-building and metal-working – 195 per cent, fuel industry – 14.3 per cent, food industry – 15.1 per cent.
Ukraine is a leading agricultural country, 40 per cent of the world’s black soil reserves are concentrated here.
Ukraine is a peaceful European country. After collapse of the USSR Ukraine became a holder of considerable nuclear potential, but rejected it on its own free will having destroyed or transferred its strategic nuclear and missile potential to Russia.
Ukraine is known not only by its scientists, engineers and hard-working people. Sports success of heavyweight boxers Klichko brothers, world’s and Olympic record-holder of Olympic Games in Sydney in swimming Yana Klochkova, gymnasts Irina Deryughina, Yekaterina Serebrianskaya and Yelena Vitrichenko, football-player Andrey Shevchenko, tennis-player Alexander Medvedev, gymnast Yelena Podkopayeva, the world’s best track and field athlete and Olympic champion in pole vault Sergey Bubka are known beyond the borders of their motherland. Film directors Alexander Dovzhenko and Sergey Paradzhanov, poet Taras Shevchenko and philosopher Grigoriy Skovoroda are bound up forever in the world’s culture with Ukraine.
Former Prime Minister of Israel Golda Meir and actress Mila Jovovich, composer Sergey Prokofyev, politicians Nikita Khruschev and Leonid Brezhnev are native of Ukraine.
In contrast to many large cities, the birth of which was a result of transportation and geographical position advantages, Donetsk appeared and developed on the basis of mining and steel industry thanks to the rich deposits of minerals. The Kalmius upper river where the city is situated nowadays had great deposits of coal. Around the Alexandrovka settlement (now Donetsk district of Alexandrovka) which was established in 1779 the first colliery appeared.
Russian America – such was the name of Donbass at the end of the XIXth century. The region was a great boiler-pot of nations and cultures. Many energetic people, businessmen from all territories of Russian Empire and outside rushed to this region.
Business culture in Donbass at the edge of the centuries was formed by symbiosis of West-European business culture which numerous foreign industrial investors brought here, traditional Russian culture presented by a high-educated layer of business engineers, descendants of landlords and merchants and the culture of numerous nations which settled in Donbass - the Russians, Ukrainians, Greeks, Jews, Germans, Tatars and others.
The businessmen who absorbed this atmosphere were not limited by any routine as a rule. They broad-minded and acted actively. Many manufacturers of Donetsk having built their empires in Donbass, began to move further in other regions.
At the same time we should not say that money and business were the only valuables for the businessmen of Donetsk. Many of them were outstanding scientists and patronized art, were actively involved in charity, built churches, schools, raised towns and settlements.
In the pre-reform period with the assistance of the tsarist government many foreign businessmen rushed to Donbass in the foretaste of getting great profits out of free coal. The tsarist government being unable to establish state metallurgical production began to draw and encourage non-state capitals. In 1866 the Prince Kochubey was given a concession on building of the plant specialized on manufacturing of steel rails from local materials but he turned to be incapable to collect the necessary funds in Russia and set up a joint-stock company. For the great reward - 24.000 pound sterling – he conceded his rights to the Englishman John Hughes who in April 1869 made a highly profitable contract “Contract on Formation of “Novorossiysky Society of the Coal, Iron Forming and Railing Production” and Society of Railway Branch From “Kharkov-Azov Line” with the tsarist government. The “Novorossiyskaya Company” was registered in London on the 3rdof June, 1869 with the capital of 300,000 pound sterling, the person in charge was John Hughes.
The place for the building of metallurgical works Hughes chose on the right bank of the Kalmius river, to the south of Alexandrovka: there was coal, in the village Styla – explored iron ore, in village Elenovka – the necessary limestone, the source of watering was the Kalmius river, manpower could be easily found in the neighboring villages. This place was pointed in 1867, before Hughes’s appearance, by a well-known Russian mining engineer A.F. Mevius.
The building of the plant and mines began in 1869. In the summer of 1870 8 loaded ships arrived from England to Ukraine on which there were equipment and instruments and also about a hundred of specialists – metallurgist, miners primarily from the South Wales.
John Hughes and a small group of his employees have managed to build the first blast furnace less than for 8 months (on the 24th of April 1871 it was put into operation) taking into account that the construction happened to be in severe winter. On the 24th of January 1872 they got the first cast iron. The successfully chosen place for the plant, availability of cheep manpower and also the rapid railway construction which was started in Russia promoted the rapid development of the company.
In 1899 17.7 million poods (old Russian weight measure, appr. 16 kg) of cast iron were melted, the number of the plant workers in 1900 reached 7147 and the miners – 5839. Out of 17 metallurgical companies functioning in the South of Russia in the period of industrial upsurge in the 90ties the plant of Novorossiysky Society was the largest one. In 1869, at the beginning of of the plant and mines construction of the Novorossiysky Society there appeared a settlement which got the name Yusovka. This date is accepted as the date of Donetsk foundation. The majority of settlement inhabitants were from Central Russia and the Left Bank Ukraine.
Untilthe time of the 1917 revolution Yusovka was a little town of one company, being in fact the Manufactorial Township. All the land and most of the houses belonged to it. Any commercial firm could be founded and conducted any activities only by the authority of the “Novorossiysky Society”. On the 3rd of June 1917 Yusovka got the status of a town, and on the 6th of June 1924 the town was renamed into Stalino by the decree of the Presidium of the Central Executive Committee.
In November 1961 the Stalino town was renamed into Donetsk.
The economical, financial and scientific potential of the Donetsk region only is presented by 800 industrial enterprises, nearly 14230 small enterprises, 13 exchanges, 387 construction companies, 464 agricultural collective and state farms, 2292 small farms, 62 insurance companies, 110 scientific and research organizations, 24 institutions of higher education, 5 theatres. There are 184 banks functioning on its territory.
The highly developed industry is basis of the economy of the region. Occupying only 4 per cent of the country territory the Donetsk region with its 10 per cent of all the population of Ukraine produces more than the half of domestic coal and 45 per cent of metal. Ferrous metallurgy is a powerful industrial complex. The production of the branch is exported into more than 50 countries of the world. Donetsk region gives 22 per cent of the GNP and 25 per cent of all the export of Ukraine.
The primary natural wealth of the region is the deposits of coal. Its reserves are assessed up to 90 milliards tons. The greatest deposits of iron ore are found in the region. The deposits of fireclay, chalk, plaster-stone, flux dolomite, marl, kaolin, quartzite, granite, mercuric ore are of great value. Really unique are the deposits of salt which provide 90 per cent of all the salt mining of Ukraine.
Not long ago in Priazovje the geologists have found the greatest in the world deposits of zirconium. The kimberlite pipes, the deposits of rare metals – lithium, caesium, niobium, etc. were also found.
Their intensive study and development will stimulate the further development of the region.
Donetsk is known all over the world not only by its highly-developed metallurgy and industry, but also by cultural and sports achievements. Far outside Donetsk people know the names of the composer Sergej Prokofyev, gymnast Helen Podkopayeva and the world’s best track and field athlete Sergey Bubka, one of the world’s best dancer Vadim Pissarev.
The Donetsk region concentrates one fifth of the state industrial potential. It provides all the production of heading machines, railway tanks, bucket-wheel excavators, more than 95 per cent of rolling and nearly half of the blast-furnace and steel-melting equipment, 98 per cent of refrigerators, 90 per cent of coal mining in Ukraine. About 70 per cent of the products produced in the region are sold in the external market.
Occupying 4.4 per cent of the state territory of the, the Donetsk region is the largest in Ukraine by its population size - 4.9 million of people.
The main symbol of the of Donbass emblem adopted a year ago on the session of the regional council have become the Mertsalov’s Palm. Here is the history of this symbol. A smith of the Novorossiysky coal, ferrous and railway production Aleksey Mertsalov forged this exotic tree of the whole rail more than one hundred years ago. For his creation he got an award at the famous Nizhegorodskaya fair in 1896 and surprised all the attendees of the Worldwide Fair in Paris in 1900. In such a way he denominated creative and industrial potential of Donetsk region in concrete symbolism.