The paper describes the main tendencies and perspectives of development of rural areas in Ukraine. It emphasizes that the key reason of existing socio-economic issues in rural regions is the absence of well-defined rural development policy. Thus, it is necessary for Ukraine to implement long-term rural policy, as it takes place in countries of the European Union. Rural development should be based on the territorial approach. The special attention should be paid to the creation of local action groups. Hence, it is essential to introduce a program, similar to the LEADER initiative, to use local possibilities, and to implement the bottom-up approach for the solution of rural issues. Also, special strategies should be developed to expand non-farm rural activities. The above-mentioned measures will give good opportunities to improve the socio-economic situation in rural areas, to increase the standard of living of rural people, and to enhance the competitiveness of the rural economy.