Ukrainian National Character
Ukrainians are an outgoing people, more genial than their Russian cousins and more fun to hang out with. Russians, it is said, sit, talk, drink, and brood; Ukrainians eat, drink, and sing, and their songs are mostly happy and romantic. Optimistic and undemanding, Ukrainians see the brighter side of life, and have a proverb that explains it all – "Things will sort themselves out somehow".
Kyiv (Kiev) is 375 miles to the south of Moscow and has a warmer and more moderate climate. As "southerners," Ukrainians have a more sunny disposition than Russians, and make friends more easily. When they get to know you, they have a great sense of humor, joke a lot, and laugh at their own troubles.
All this reflects the abundance of a fertile land. More than half of Ukraine's land is arable, and its rich black soil and mild climate have made it the breadbasket of Europe. Bread is a staple of life, and from time immemorial Ukrainians have been known as grain growers. Bread lovers will not be disappointed in the variety and quality, and Americans who have never tasted real bread will be in for a treat.
Attachment to the land permeates the culture of a people who have been farming for millennia. Ukrainians are close to the land and have a deep devotion to their native soil. They enjoy talking about nature and the beauties of their fertile homeland that has been fought over and subjugated by neighboring nations throughout its history. That history, however, has several versions – Ukrainian, Polish, Russian, and Soviet. The Soviet version, moreover, was distorted by ideology, and during the Soviet years discussions on history were best avoided lest they create problems with the secret police.
Today, Ukrainians are showing a renewed interest in their history, which they are seeking to relearn. They will remind Americans that while Ukraine was absorbing the invasion of Genghis Khan's Golden Horde and the yearly incursions of other Asian nomadic tribes,