Even more important, however, may have been the different
socio-historical experiences of the Ukrainian people and the different
mentality of their political elite. In the first few years as an independent
state, following the collapse of the Soviet Union, Ukraine faced challenges on
a scale unseen elsewhere in Central Europe.
It witnessed the collapse of entire industries (including its heavy
machinery, high technology, and arms industries), which had previously been
closely linked to the economies of other former Soviet republics.