10 Things That Mean You Are Ukrainian

Those little “national” things that only Ukrainians know about themselves

jorono (CC0), Pixabay

Ukraine – All Slavic nationalities are so similar yet very different. Besides languages and the territory where we live there are other small and sometimes funny facts that prove that we belong to one nation or another. Ukrainians have their own unique features that might not work for the nation of the whole country but definitely will be true for people from one or another part of Ukraine. Being the biggest country in Europe it is so diverse from the east to the West that sometimes travelling from one side to another one might think he came to a different country.

But today let’s concentrate on some things that can prove that this person is Ukrainian. If you have doubts look for several points, not just one.

Ukrainian Hryvna or Rubble

Twenty four years ago Ukraine became independent from the USSR. Not long time after there was a financial reform when Ukrainian currency called Hryvna was created. It has nothing to do with Russian Rubble, it looks completely different and has different nominations. Yet a lot of people still call it Rubble.

-How much is the tickets?

– Two Rubbles.

This is a very usual conversation in the bus. Have you every seen another nation that needed 24 years to get used to the fact that they’ve got a new currency with a different name? I haven’t.

Speaking both languages at the same time without noticing it

This point concerns people from the villages and middle Ukraine mostly. In the East you can hear clear Russian language, and in the West people speak proper Ukrainian. But there is the third language called “Surzhik”. It means that the person combines Ukrainian and Russian words using both of the while speaking. Or even worse: using both languages in one word. For example, starting the word in Ukrainian but finishing in Russia. Sounds like mission impossible but some people, actually, quite a lot, manage to do that!

Even on the TV it’s possible to see a reporter who speaks Ukrainian but after he was asked a question in Russian he very easily switches to Russian language and answers in Russia. No problem!

The best jokes are about politicians

What do other nations joke about? Topics can be very different. And of course you can hear different jokes in Ukraine. But the most successful comedians are those that create jokes about Ukrainian politicians and their decisions. Sometimes I wonder if we choose our government to rule and take control over country or just because we find them funny and during every news report we are waiting for our politicians to do something funny while having a meeting at the parlament.

Only we can laugh about Ukraine, if somebody else does it we get abused

Something that other nations could find shameful Ukrainians are laughing about. For example, a rubbish bin chained to a bench so that nobody can still it and sell it for scrap-metal is a normal thing in Ukraine. And we can laugh about it in the company of Ukrainians. The same happens with roads and huge holes in some of them.

But the foreigners don’t dare to laugh at such things. Ukrainians can get really abused and think of a quite offending answer. For example, “At least we didn’t colonize half of the world”.

On the other hand, if a foreigner starts saying “Wow, this is such a nice and clean city!”, a Ukrainian won’t feel guilty answering “Well, you say so becasue you haven’t been on the outskirts yet”. If a Ukrainian says it it is not a problem at all.

Earn peanuts but have IPhones and expensive cars

The official average salary in Ukraine is the smallest in Europe. The minimum wage is not even 50$ per month. But Ukraine takes the first place by the number of foreign cars in the country. Porsche, Mercedes, Lexus is a normal thing here! Besides that everybody has go t an Iphone. In the country where the price for a new Iphone equals the average salary for a year, a lot of people still buy it.

Maybe it will be a second hand Iphone, or a Chinese make that will break in half a year. Maybe we will take a huge loan in a bank to buy the best car on the market that we will have to be paying off for 30 years after. This is not important. What really important is the fact that everybody will see that we can afford these expensive things.

Moaning about corruption in the country but paying bribes everywhere

Policemen are very bad because all they need is a bribe. We have so many jokes about them, so many stories. And so many people hate policemen for that! But… who cares about a speed limit sign on the road? Nobody. Because we know, if we are stopped by the policeman we will “just pay a bribe” and be done with it. No punishment.

Medicine is in a very bad condition. Doctors get really small salaries that’s why they take bribes. Of course people don’t like it and say that to be treated properly one should definitely pay a bribe. It can be money, can be sweets, can be apples from the garden. Anything. But if we need some free days off work and we don’t have any vacations left we don’t worry. We just go to the hospital and buy the document that proves that we are ill. It’s too comfortable to refuse it.

Never rely on ambulances, police or firefighters

All of them are too slow to rely on them. If a situation can be solved without their help, people don’t even bother calling for these services. For example, your car is broken. The first thing you do is to call for your friends or neighbors, somebody who can help you to fix it. Men passing by will stop and look at the problem trying to repair your car as if it’s there own one. But nobody will think about calling for a service car unless there is no hope left for self repairing at all.

A sho? Traditional Ukrainian “sho”


“Sho” is something between Russian “shto” and Ukrainian “shcho” for English “What”. To sounds Ukrainian just put this word whenever is necessary. Nobody will have any doubts, you are definitely Ukrainian.

Buy new busses with no windows but save money on ac

New buses have lots of space and comfortable seats. They run only on main routes in the city because there are still lots of old buses and even trolley buses in the outskirts of each city. The new buses have small windows near the sealing but they are always closed and it is very difficult to open them. Even if you open them, you won’t feel much wind.

New buses are equipped with a great technology of civilization – an air conditioner. But it uses fuel. That’s why it is never on. And sometimes in the summer time it is better to walk several kilometers in the sun but on the fresh air then to get on a full bus full of hot and really sweaty people. Walking is healthy.

High heels and a fur on the bus

Continuing the topic of buses. To see a woman who looks like she has just gone out of a Holiwood movie on a bus is a normal thing. Just by looking at her people might think that she is a wife of some famous millionaire. But she is not. She just likes to look good and doesn’t mind spending her last money on a good fur, red lipstick and to wear boots with high heels even when it is icy is not a great deal. Just like anybody else she gets on the bus and goes to work or university.

Ukrainians don’t pay any attention but for some foreigners who are not used to dress up on each small occasion stare at such women and envy Ukrainian men.

Take this article with a pinch of salt, this is only a generalization. But there is only a piece of a joke in every joke, isn’t there?

What do you think?

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