Kyiv has always been the political center of the mighty state of Kyivan Rus-Ukraine, which paid special attention to the development of diplomacy, diplomatic relations with almost all European countries. Historical sources state that already by times of Princess Olga Bulgaria (represented by priest Gregory), Byzantium and Germany (the arrival of Bishop Adalbert) had their permanent representatives in Kyiv. In Middle Ages lively relationships were sustained also with France, Sweden, Norway, Poland, Hungary and other countries. Foreign envoys, who came to Kyiv, have always been surrounded by special attention, enjoyed great privileges and immunities, there was even a special ritual of acceptance of foreign diplomats at the princely court.
During the times of Prince Volodymyr the Baptist, when the city was located on ten hectare area, there were major so-called “Kiev gate” through which all the honoured guests - diplomatic envoys ceremonially drove in city. By the way, their foundations are excavated and shown in red quartzite near the intersection of Volodymyrska and Velykozhytomyrska streets as an exceptional historical monument. Later generations of equally apostolic Grand Prince increased the number of gates in the process of expanding the city limits.
During the time of Prince’s Yaroslav the Wise reign, Kyiv occupied an area of 72 hectares. Some new entries to the city have appeared, including the Jewish gate, which today is located on Lvivska square, and stretched the ways to the west of the country; Lyadsky gate located in the east of the city (the remains can be seen in the underground pass on Independence Square). The main gates were the Golden Gates, through which diplomatic missions drove in to Kyiv.
Not only had the merchants from Arabia, Persia and China, Germany and Italy made their journey to Kiev hills, but also diplomats. They brought to their homelands not only the admiration of Rus’ hospitality and unique products of their craftsmen - forged wares of gold and silver, weapons, honey, furs, but also the information about the power of Kyiv, her political activity, influence on the international events of that historic era.
At the time of Grand Prince’s Yaroslav the Wise rule political and military-political relations with Germany, Hungary, France, Norway, Sweden and Poland were improving. Not only Yaroslav wanted political contacts with these countries, but also Western rulers were looking for ways to improve relations with Kyiv, in particular through marriages with the daughters and sons of Grand Princes Kyiv. All this indicates a stable political situation of Kyivan Rus state and its capital, Kyiv, in XI century.
Since July 1972 the foreign diplomats and trade representatives in Kyiv were taken care of by the Office of the Consular Corps service. After Ukraine gained independence, the organization has undergone fundamental structural changes and on April 29, 1992 GDIP was created, which for 25 years has become synonymous with the phrase "high quality".
After the December 1991 referendum world recognized Ukraine as an independent state. Only in the first half of 1992 thirty embassies were accredited in Ukraine, and over the next six months their number doubled. On April 29, 1992 according to the decree of the President’s administration, State Enterprise “Directorate-General for Rendering Services to Diplomatic Missions” (GDIP) was established in Kiev, whose main task fell to arrange and provide appropriate conditions for diplomats, consular offices of foreign states and international organizations in Ukraine. This work had to be started from a blank page.
More than 100 countries almost simultaneously recognized the sovereignty of Ukraine. Almost immediately it was decided to establish the embassies in Ukraine. The Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Kyiv City Council, with the active participation of GDIP had done a tremendous job and found opportunities to host foreign embassies and missions in the capital of Ukraine1. In the beginning most of them housed in adapted premises or even in hotels, while now almost all foreign missions are working in a comfortable environment after moving to individual buildings, which are mainly architectural monuments, or in specially built diplomatic complexes. State Enterprise “Directorate-General for Rendering Services to Diplomatic Missions” in record time was able to provide diplomatic missions of foreign countries with necessary premises for offices and residence, to open the first supermarket in the capital, dry cleaning and other facilities.
The centuries past ... Now 78 embassies, 21 international organizations, 26 Consulate General, and more than 1,000 offices of foreign companies are represented in Ukraine. Therefore, it is not surprising to see coats of arms and flags of other countries in Kyiv. As hosts, we sincerely care about Ukraine to be seen as hospitable and friendly state. Therefore, we care about the diplomatic missions and representative offices with such attention; we strive to arrange the living of the diplomats in Kiev according to the international standards and to make it interesting and informative.
Since SE "GDIP" began its work, the service provided to the diplomats, their recreation and leisure activities have significantly improved. The Directorate-General has set a wide range of functions to be fulfilled: selection of apartments and land lots for construction, performance of management and supervision of construction of new structures or rehabilitation of existing ones, assisting foreign nationals in the search of space for permanent residence or for offices, assistance in legal aspects of diplomatic missions, provision of transportation services and etc.