How easy is it to distinguish a European from an Asian? Besides the external differences, there are also obvious differences in cultures and behavior. But it is much more difficult to determine the difference between the two nations, which have always lived next to each other and once even were one single nation. You guessed it, we are talking about Russians and Ukrainians.
So what is the difference between these peoples?
Although they are close relatives, there are still differences, especially between Russian and Western Ukrainians.
Cities in western Ukraine are like Prague or Warsaw. National clothes are similar to Hungarian or Czech.
At the same time, it is not so easy to distinguish eastern Ukrainians from Russians. Yes, they speak different languages, but in all other respects the difference between them is practically absent.
Why is there such a big difference between western and eastern Ukrainians?
If we look back at the history of Ukraine, we will see that after the Mongol invasion, Western Ukrainians interacted more with Poles and other European peoples, for a long time they were dependent on the Commonwealth, while the inhabitants of Eastern Ukraine were more oriented towards Russia. Eastern Ukrainians also created a unique and fairly democratic community of “Cossack warriors” who at all times defended the borders of Ukraine.
Unlike the Ukrainians, the Russians had their own centralized state. Ukraine became part of the Russian state only in the middle of the XVII century. By that time, the Ukrainian people were strongly influenced by Western cultures: Polish, Lithuanian and Turkish. All these factors formed the national Ukrainian character, which in some way differs from the Russian one.
Long-term dependence on the Commonwealth also affected the confessional composition of the population of Ukraine. The Greek Catholic Church is widespread in the west of the country, while Orthodoxy is popular in the east. Ukrainian Greek Catholicism is a kind of hybrid of Catholicism and Orthodoxy.
Among Russians, Orthodoxy is also the main religion. There is no such thing as a Russian Catholic anywhere.
Both in Russian and in Ukrainians a lot of blood is mixed. Recent genetic studies have shown that Russians have a close relationship with the Finno-Ugric peoples, which confirms the statement of the “Tale of Bygone Years” that the Slavs stole girls from representatives of these peoples.
These peoples are lanky and have small heads. Ukrainians have larger heads; they are stockier and shorter. Ukrainian faces are rounder and have a bit of Turkish and Scandinavian in them. Also, if you look at the inhabitants of Western Ukraine, you can see that among them there are a large number of people with dark skin, while eastern Ukrainians have a typical Slavic phenotype.
Despite the fact that the Russian and Ukrainian languages may sound pretty similar, there is still a big difference between them. Both languages have the same origin. Previously, it was a single East Slavic language spoken by the ancestors of modern Russians, Ukrainians, and Belarusians, but by the middle of the 17th century there were huge differences between Russian and Ukrainian. Today, these two languages have only 62 percent of the same words.
The Ukrainian language is much more similar to the Belarusian, Czech, Slovak and Polish languages and the difference is not only in words, but also in pronunciation. You can see for yourself:
If a Russian comes to Ukraine, he will immediately be identified by accent and mannerism. Just as an Englishman would be easy to identify by the same characteristics in the USA.
Russians are very sociable and hate loneliness. They are more romantic and philosophical than Ukrainians. But there is a dark side – alcoholism. Society is very patriarchal. Men rule, women obey. Russians also love rules and a strong government. On an individual level, they are good and honest friends, very sincere and faithful. They will pour out their souls to you and with all their hearts will listen to your problems. They will take off the last shirt and give it to a friend. Generosity is much appreciated. Friendship is instant.
Ukrainians are calm, individualistic, practical and do not philosophize. Alcohol is consumed with food, and not as a way to drown sorrow. They do not like rules and strong government. As friends, Ukrainians can be very faithful. However, there is also a lot of dishonesty and deceit.
And what do you think, what else do these peoples have in common?