Differences Between Ukrainians and Russians

Submitted 5 years 4 months ago by CultureWhiz.

For the majority of foreigners Russian and Ukrainian people are all the same. Well, they do share a lot in common i.e. Slavic origin, cultures and history. Many Ukrainian people live in Russia and many Russians live in Ukraine. But as many characteristics and customs of Canadians are different from those of Americans, so do Ukrainians differ from Russians.

If we look back to the history of Ukraine, we will see that it became a part of the Russian State only in the middle of the 17th century. By that time Ukrainian people were heavily influenced by Polish, Lithuanian and Turkish cultures and traditions. They had also created a unique and rather democratic community of "warrior Cossacks," who protected and defended Ukraine's borders. All these factors shaped the national Ukrainian character into a more westernized and free-spirited people than Russians.

Ukraine is blessed with an extraordinarily beautiful nature, mild climate and rich - black soil - which is very fertile and produces a high quality agricultural yield. It also gave people who lives in this land of beauty and natural abundance very unique qualities, poetic souls, warm hearts, an understanding of beauty and a little bit of laziness.

Even the Ukrainian language sounds milder, more musical and poetic than the Russian language. And a significantly disproportionate number of well-known Russian singers and musicians have Ukrainian names and heritage.

Cultural differences

Ukraine has its own language although in the East, Russian is widely used for daily communication. However, Russian does not have an official status. All documents must be in Ukrainian. Even if they speak Russian, it's still accented the Ukrainian way.

To give you a good analogy, an Irishman and a Scotsman speak English in daily lives, but it's not the same English spoken by an Englishman. If a Russian arrives in Ukraine, he/she is immediately identified by the accent and mannerism. The same way as an Englishman would be easily identified by the same characteristics in the US.

Then of course, traditional clothes are different, but most people use modern clothes. The food is different, too. There are many foods that the Russians would never eat. Like pork fat-called salo. To Ukrainians it's as essential as kimchi is to the Koreans.

Ethnic differences

Russians are of more Finno-Ugric stock than Ukrainians. They have smaller heads and are lankier. Ukrainians have bigger heads and are stockier and shorter. Ukrainian faces are rounder and have a bit of Turkish in them and Scandinavian. After the mongol invasion of Russia, Ukrainians interacted more with Poles and other European peoples, while Russians interacted more with Finns and Hungarians, and dealt politically with the Swedes.

Local people can generally tell if a person is Ukrainian or Russian just by looking at them. The same way as say, Indians, Bangladeshis, Pakistanis and Sri Lankans can tell each other apart - while others cannot.

Musical instruments and music are different. Russian music does not have too many minor tones. Ukrainian music has more minor notes and uses F-cords a lot.

The most important distinction is the national character

Russians are very communal and hate being alone. They are more romantic and philosophical than Ukrainians. They also have a dark side and often enjoy darkness and misery. Alcohol is a big problem. Men rule, women obey. Very patriarchal. Russians also like rules and a strong government. On an individual level, they are good and honest friends who are very sincere and personal. They will pour their soul to you and listen to your problems with a full heart. They will take a shirt off their back and give it to a friend. Generosity is highly valued. Friendships are instant.

Names are also a dead giveaway. Again, think England, Ireland, Scotland. An Englishman is a John Smith or George Brown. An Irishman is a Patric O'Neil and a Scotsman is Ian MacGregor or something of the sorts. Same here.

Russian names mostly end in ' in or 'ov. Names ending is ski are only for aristocracy and it's gone by now. Contrary to the American misconception, a ski is mostly Polish and Macedonian, not Russian. A typical Russian name would be Ivan Ivanov. Or Sergei Tomin.

Ukrainian names end in ' enko, 'uk and ak ( in the West) Simonenko, Schevchuk, Vyluchak. Some names end in 'ski but mostly in the south. A typical name would be Orest Belenko.

Ukrainians are quiet, individualistic, practical and not into philosophizing. Alcohol is used with food, not as a way to drown sorrows. There is no darkness about them. They don't like rules or a strong government. As friends, Ukrainians can be very faithful. However, there's also a lot of dishonesty, slyness and underhandedness.

In the West of Ukraine, it is Greek Catholic and the people act, well, Catholic. Ukrainian Greek Catholicism is an hybrid of Rome Catholic and Orthodox, and as a result, completely Ukrainian. No Russian acts Catholic. There is no such thing as a Catholic Russian ever anywhere. The cities in the West of Ukraine look like Prague or Warsaw. The clothes are also similar to Hungary and the Czech republic.

Have a look at this city. This is Lviv in the west of Ukraine. Does it look like Russia to you?

The people in the West of Ukraine have narrow, smaller faces and look like Austrians if it means anything. When they speak Russian, it sounds like Polish people are speaking.

As far as sophistication...

Kiev is a good city, but Ukraine is pretty much a rural nation ala one big Kansas. Except that they like to look good. Ukrainians, when they come together, sing and dance. Russians tell more stories and anecdotes. Both cultures toast and love poetry but Russians have a greater literary bent.

Russians appreciate culture more, particularly high culture (poetry, ballet) and are more urban. And while all slavs are into mysticism, no-one beats the Russians in this regard.

That's basically it.

Ukraine, ukrainians, Russia, Russian