Forty-four million strong, the Ukraine is one of the centers of the Central Asian economy. More than a former part of the Soviet Union, the Ukraine is uniquely defined by its economy. Until the Soviet Union ended in 1990, the Ukraine was a chief agricultural producer. The Ukraine is well known today for being a technology center, with exports in computer programming being a top market. Heavy industrial production in Europe is dependent on metallurgy refining from the Ukraine. In business headlines, Ukraine is noted for its economic downturn in 2008 and subsequent recovery.