Differences Between Ukrainians and Russians You Didn’t Know About

You probably wondered what is different between these similar nations

Ihtar (CC0), Pixabay

How easy is it to tell the difference between an Asian and a European person? Besides the differences in appearance there are also very evident differences in cultures and behaviors. But it is much more difficult to tell the difference between two nations that have always been living next to each other and many years back in history even used to be the same nation! Well… these are the differences between Ukrainians and Russians.



The Russian version of the word “what” is “shto”. While all Ukrainians speak both Russian and Ukrainian you can often hear a Russian speaking Ukrainian saying “sho”. “Sho” is very typical for Ukrainians which is a version of the word between Russian “ shto” and Ukrainian official “Shcho” – both meaning what. Russians usually get quite irritated when they hear “sho” therefore if somebody next to you says “sho” be sure they are Ukrainian.



The next difference is also connected to languages. In the Russian language there are two sounds – G and H which are the equivalents to the English G like in “gorilla” and H like in the English word “hippopotamus”.

Ukrainians were more inventive or they were just looking for trouble. Anyway, they’ve created three very similar sounds. The first two coincide with the Russian sounds but there is another one which is sort of in the middle of the first two. And the proper G appears in Ukrainian words very rarely. As a rule it is replaced with this sound in the middle which can be met very often in many words. Now can you imagine the sounds of a person scratching the window with the top of his nail? Does it make your skin become covered with good bumps? Well that’s the feeling the Russians experience when they hear a Ukrainian person speaking Russian and using this middle sound instead of a proper Russian G.



The cuisine of the both countries is very similar but there are also some differences. For example the Ukrainian and Russian versions of dumplings. Of course, both Ukrainian vareniki and Russian pelmeny are a sort of dumpling but don’t tell it to them because both nations are very proud of their cuisine and might get offended by this comparison.

Ukrainian vareniki is a dish made of dough with a filling inside and is shaped in a certain form. Vareniki are boiled and served with sour cream and butter. The most popular fillings are potato, cottage cheese, during the season vareniki laos can be made with berries, cherries and strawberries. Pelmeny are also made of dough but they are always formed in a round shape and the only possible filling is meat. As you can see, the difference is huge so don’t ask for pelmeny in restaurants with original Ukrainian cuisine. You might think it’s a joke but in one of the restaurants in Lviv there is a special line in the front of the menu saying “We don’t serve pelmeny, so don’t order them”.


Borsh is a traditional Ukrainian soup. It is probably the most popular dish from the Ukrainian cuisine. Borsh is made of beetroot and includes a lot of other vegetables. In a Ukrainian village you can often find borsh as a full uncut potato swimming on the plate. Of course you can order borsh in many countries of the world and it may even be called “Ukrainian borsh” but if there is no swimming potato or if the spoon doesn’t “stand” in the middle stuck between the vegetables than it is probably not the best borsh you could find.

Just as Ukrainians are very proud of their borsh, Russians are super proud of their traditional soup called Shi. Shi is a soup made of cabbage and sorrel, it’s main difference from borsh is that it doesn’t include beetroot. The colour of borsh is red and the colour of shi is always green. But there is a thing called green borsh. To find the difference between green borsh and shi is almost impossible. But a Ukrainian who really wants to be different from a Russian might say that green borsh is cooked with garlic while shi as a rule are cooked without it.

Finding differences between Ukrainians and Russians is very difficult. Besides the obvious differences like the language, the land and the law there are almost none. But if you can think of any share them in the comments.

What do you think?

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