There is an old stereotype that Ukraine is the bread-basket of Europe and some people think that a revival of Ukraine's agriculture is the key to national greatness.
Unfortunately, this stereotype is no longer true. Ukraine's agricultural output today is about the same as Poland's and only about 60% of Russia's, Germany's, France's, Italy's or Spain's agricultural output, and about 66% of Great Britain's output. And that's considering the fact that all of these countries, except for Russia, are smaller than Ukraine in land area they occupy. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:2005gdpAgricultural.PNG
Although I must admit that Ukrainian farming is still fairly outdated and definitely could benefit from the infusion of new technology and significant capital. Perhaps Ukrainian farming output could be doubled from current levels. If that would happen, it would become the biggest farm producer in Europe. Would that be enough to call it a "breadbasket of Europe" though?
In any case, the real wealth is in the brains and in the freedom to use them, as well as in the social capital - families, churches, education, civil society (especially the non-profit sector).
In that respect, Ukraine is looking promising. Negative family trends seems to have slowed down. Churches are booming. The civil society is much more vibrant than in most of the rest of Soviet Union. The percentage of college-educated people in Ukraine is roughly equal to that of Western European countries today, although the quality of education is uneven. That number should continue to increase if Ukraine is to become very successful and college standards should continue to be increased, as they are now. The societies of the Asian nations that have become major success stories have a much higher percentage of college-educated youth. Technology in Ukraine is booming, and in several areas, such as rocketry, tank technology, stem cells research, and others, Ukraine is in leading positions in the world. But investment in basic research needs to increase significantly if this edge is to be maintained and increased in the future.
Even more importantly, another condition that is highly important to economic and cultural success is the rule of law, and it is still quite weak in Ukraine. It's important to have simple laws that are respected by everyone. Ukraine's laws are complicated and contradictory, and there are simply too many of them. By simplifying and correcting its laws, Ukraine will strengthen property rights protection, significantly decrease bureaucratic redtape, and cut out most of the corruption that continues to plague Ukrainian society.