Capital and largest city of Ukraine, situated at the confluence of the Desna and Dnieper rivers; population (2003 est) 2,588,400; urban agglomeration 3,296,100. Kiev was the capital of Russia in the Middle Ages. It is a major industrial centre, producing chemicals, clothing, leather goods, machine tools, electronic, optical, and electrical goods, and is also a market city for the abundant agricultural produce of the western Ukraine.
Kiev was founded in the 5th century by Vikings
. The Slav domination of Russia began with the rise of Kiev, the mother of Russian cities; Kiev replaced Novgorod
as the capital of the state of Kievan Rus in 882 and was the original centre of the Orthodox Christian faith from 988. It was for a long time an important trading centre on the route from the Baltic to the Black Sea, but declined in importance in the 12th century. The Russian capital was moved to Vladimir in 1169, and Kiev was sacked by Mongols under Batu Khan in 1240. From the 14thlate 17th centuries, the city was successively under Tatar, Lithuanian and Polish control. It was annexed by Russia in 1686. In World War II, Kiev, then the third-largest city of the USSR, was occupied and largely destroyed by German forces 194143. During this period, around 200,000 of the city's inhabitants, including its entire Jewish population (which then constituted around one third of Kiev's total population), were murdered.
© RM 2013. Helicon Publishing is division of RM.