Hi, it’s Anya! 7 things you should know about Ukrainians

Travelling has always been my hobby, so I’ve met a lot people from many different countries. Every time the conversation with foreigners came to the topic of my homeland, people were usually not able to tell me more than 2–3 facts about it. Of course, now the times have changed, and after the war started, people are becoming more and more aware of Ukraine.

Let me tell you some less-known facts about my beautiful country and Ukrainians!

1. Ukrainian people are amazing.

People are the main value of any country, because they form its culture, politics and development. I was living in Ukraine for the last 26 years, and I can say with confidence that our citizens are really talented and very hardworking.

Raise 600 million UAH in 3 days to get 4 bayraktars for the Armed Forces of Ukraine? Done!

Organize one of Europe’s biggest music festivals – Atlas weekend? Its founder, Dmitry Sidorenko, sold his flat to make it happen, and now we can see the results. In 2021, there were more than 500,000 visitors.

These are just a few examples; there are many more in the modern history of Ukraine.

What can I say about our people from my experience?

  • People are so hard-working that they can work 12 hours per day just for the result, not for the money.
  • People can create a full-fledged and successful project out of nothing in a short period of time.
  • People in Ukraine are very fast learners.

2. You can often hear people in Ukraine complaining about their lives, but that doesn’t mean they are not happy with it.

In general, Ukrainians are happy with their lives, but if you talk to an average citizen of Ukraine, you may hear many negative comments about the standard of living or politics. Often, such remarks can be heard in connection with the consequences of Stalin’s regime, when successful and independent people were persecuted by the authorities. This is especially true for the older generation.

However, after hearing all the complaints, if you ask a Ukrainian whether he or she wants to move to another country, the answer would be ‘no’ in most cases.

The monument of Vladimir the Great, Kyiv. 

3. Ukrainian hospitality, gastronomy and local fashion are at a high level.

Many people claim that Ukrainian restaurants are much better than those in other countries of Europe, both in terms of service and food quality. Regarding fashion industry, Ukrainian designers have reached the level of Paris and London Fashion Week, and their clothes are often seen in the wardrobes of many celebrities. For example, Daily Sleeper pajamas or Paskal airy dresses.

4. Ukrainian language is the only official language of our country.

Yes, Ukraine is a multi-ethnic country, but legally, we only have one official language, which is Ukrainian.
Ever since the war has started, people around the world have been asking a lot of questions about whether the Russian and Ukrainian languages are similar in any way. To put it simply: many Ukrainians understand Russian, but not many Russians know or understand Ukrainian.

Interesting fact: it’s Kyiv, not Kiev!

Actually, KyivNotKiev is an online campaign started by the Ukrainian Ministry of Foreign Affairs on the 2nd of October 2018.

The main aim was to persuade the global media to use the spelling Kyiv, derived from the Ukrainian «Київ», instead of Kiev, derived from the Russian «Киев».

5. Ukrainian cuisine will hold a place in your heart.

How can you describe traditional Ukrainian dinner in one sentence?

Delicious, nourishing, flavorful, colorful, and very exciting in its taste!
Most often, Ukrainian dishes are based on ingredients like chicken, pork, beef, cabbage, potatoes, pickled vegetables, and mushrooms.
What do I recommend trying first? Certainly, varenyky with potatoes or the sweet ones with cherries, holubtsi, borscht and syrnyky.

A little tip: real borscht should be rich, made with meat, potatoes and beans, served with sour cream and garlic pampushka. But every Ukrainian housewife has her very own borscht recipe.

6. Ukraine has many great IT-solutions for everyday life.

Over the last 3 years, digitalization of the state has become a flagship theme and a top priority for Ukraine. The Ministry of Digital Transformation aims to make Ukraine the world champion of digitalization.

6th of February 2021 – Ukraine has emerged as the fourth country in Europe to provide citizens with a digital driving licence.

23rd of August 2021 – electronic IDs have become equally as valid as the paper and plastic ones at the legislative level, and Ukraine has become an innovator in the use of digital documents.

What does «a digital state» mean from my perspective? All the basic documents I need every day are in my phone in the Diia app, the transfer of money from one account to another is done immediately via Monobank, and I can open a business account within a couple of hours through Privat24 service.

7. Ukrainians adapt easily to new living conditions.

Can you imagine waking up on the 24th of February with the sound of rockets flying through the sky, leaving your beloved family and hometown, moving to another country and starting from scratch? Ukrainians know this firsthand.
Ukrainian citizens are now scattered all over the world, but within a month or two, many of them have found new homes, jobs and places for their children in kindergartens and schools. Despite the constant emotional rollercoaster, the need to support family and friends from a distance, and to help their children – from very young to teenagers – Ukrainians managed to adjust to the new way of life. These are just a few factors that prove how strong Ukrainians are at adapting. Would you like to see more examples? Take a look at our stories told by Ukrainian refugees in the Czech Republic.


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