10 questions to Ukrainian you were embarrassed to ask

10 questions to Ukrainian

Is Ukraine an independent country?

Photo credit: Encyclopedia Britannica. Inc.
Photo credit: Encyclopedia Britannica. Inc.

Yes, it is an independent state in eastern Europe.

Ukraine is a country with a long history, but it gained its independence only after the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991. The beginning of the Ukrainian ethnіcity is the late medieval times when Kyivan Rus was founded.

Then, for a long time, the territory of modern Ukraine was split between different states and empires: The Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, The Grand Duchy of Moscow, The Russian Empire, The Austro-Hungarian Empire, and finally an integral part of the USSR for almost 70 years.

What languages do people speak in Ukraine?

Most people speak Ukrainian and Russian.

But note that very often, people speak the combination of two languages called surzhyk.

According to the sociological research made in 2019:

46% mostly speak Ukrainian; 32,4 % of them speak only Ukrainian.

28,1% mostly speak Russian; 15,8 % of them speak only Russian.

24, 9% speak Ukrainian and Russian equally.

Note: after the Russian annexation of Crimea and invasion of Dondass in 2014, more and more people prefer to speak primarily Ukrainian.

If I am learning Ukrainian, can I also speak to Russians?

You definitely can speak to a Ukrainian who is speaking Russian because almost all Ukrainians are bilingual and can speak and understand both languages. It is the result of long term forced Russification.

But not all people from Russia will understand you. It depends on how often do they deal with the Ukrainian language and other Slavic languages in general.

Note: Between Russian and Ukrainian languages, there is a 38% difference in vocabulary.

Are all Ukrainians European Union oriented?

Most are, according to the sociological research made in March 2021:

58.8% think that Ukraine needs to join the EU.

26.4% think that Ukraine shouldn’t join the EU.

14.8% didn’t answer.

Why the capital is Kyiv and not Kiev?

Kyiv (Old East Slavic Кыєвь, Old Ukrainian Києвъ) comes out “Kyjevъ gordъ” as the legendary founder of the city was Kyi. Ukrainian: Кий (Kyi) and Russian: Кий (Kiî).

That is why Kiev is a Russian version of romanization. According to the modern Ukrainian spelling, it is Kyiv.

Photo credit: Melinda Haring

Why is Ukrainian music so good?

Ukrainians are known to be good musicians.

Ukrainian folk is rich in various traditional instruments, harmonious melodies, and unique singing styles. Therefore, it has been necessary for our ancestors to save the tradition of Ukrainian music.

Even the songs from the pre-Christian period are still known in modern Ukraine. Go-A’s song “Shum”, which won 5th place in the Eurovision music contest this year, is a brilliant example of it.

Is Ukraine a developing country?

Yes, it is. According to the International Monetary Fund, in 2019, Ukraine overtook Moldova as the poorest country in Europe.

But don’t think that all Ukrainians are poor.

Construction is booming almost in every city. The thing is that Ukrainians with some extra savings do not put their money into banks but buy additional apartments instead or save money in cash.

Main reasons for poverty in Ukraine:

  1. The long period of ignoring progressive reforms.
  2. Strong oligarchy.
  3. Low labour productivity.
  4. Corruption.
  5. Ongoing war conflict with Russia in Donbass.

Are Ukrainian women are golddiggers?

No.

As in every country, there are different people in Ukraine.

Some are golddiggers, for sure. Most of them you can meet at nightclubs and scam dating websites.

But as usual Ukrainian women are looking for caring, responsible men to build a family together. They don’t mind if they are foreign or not.

Are Ukrainians nationalists?

There are right-wing nationalists, but their number is not significant. But Ukraine was under different states where they had no say in their governance. That is why it is important to point out Ukrainian symbols, language, clothes, food etc. So, many Ukrainians are rather patriots.

Foreigners have to understand that Ukraine is still forming its nation when most European countries have had it for a long time.

Do you have any other questions you want to ask Ukrainians? Don’t hesitate to ask in the comments.

8 Comments
  1. scottmitchel June 4, 2021

    Interesting, why are Ukrainians superstitious? Even if they don’t believe in superstitions some of my Ukrainian friends avoid such things. Things like not sitting at a certain spot around a table or certain common gifts in the West that are Supreme insults to Ukrainians. And other various things.

    • maryna.nosachenko June 6, 2021

      This is a good one.

      Ukrainians are mainly Christians, but they still remember some “habits” from their pagan ancestors.
      For example, there is a superstition about giving something to a person only after crossing a doorstep. That is because, before Christianization, pagans buried the dust of their ancestors under doorsteps believing that it would protect their homes from evil spirit, so the one shouldn’t stay at the doorstep for a while.

      That is an interesting topic to discover, because even real believers still believe in superstitions just in case.

  2. c.gillis88 June 4, 2021

    Why do many Ukrainians come to the US, but not Canada?

    • maryna.nosachenko June 6, 2021

      I believe Ukrainians immigrated to the US and Canada the same way they move to Poland, Germany, or Russia. The one looks for a possibility for themself.
      There were jobs and land to buy at the end of ХIX – beginning of XX century; then, political immigrants came there because of States support.

  3. MarieB13 June 9, 2021

    Very interesting, thank you for your story! I enjoyed reading about these cultural aspects.

    I have a question regarding the general knowledge of English language in Ukraine. Do you think, for example, that there is a higher chance of Ukrainians knowing/speaking English in the Western part of Ukraine compared to Ukrainians in the Eastern part? And, do tourists travel more in the Western part compared to the Eastern part, or are there no differences in this regard?

    • maryna.nosachenko June 10, 2021

      Thank you for your questions, Maria!

      According to the survey from 2015, 18 % of Ukrainians have an upper-intermediate level of English. 24 % – intermediate, and 56 % – beginners. The survey is here: https://cutt.ly/3nUScl0

      There is no statistic I could find about English level according to regions of living. Still, I can just assume that people in the western part can speak more foreign languages just because they are closer to European counties. In this way, Ukrainians from Galicia speaks Polish quite often.

      According to the information I found, the most popular regions are: Transcarpathian Oblast (Zakarpattia), Odesa Oblast, and Kharkivska Oblast (as a new business centre). But, for sure, Kyiv, Lviv, and Odesa are the leaders.

      • MarieB13 June 10, 2021

        Thank you for this detailed answer! ) I like how you even provide sources in your stories when you are able to find them.

        I hope you will continue writing this blog. I will keep an eye on it ))

        • maryna.nosachenko June 11, 2021

          Thank you!
          I will continue!

Leave a Comment