Discovering the Mystery of Ukrainian Soul
Features of the mentality of the Ukrainians
The Ukrainian nation is one of the most hard-working, tolerant, friendly and optimistic nations in the world. It is connected with the ancient agricultural traditions, the era of the Kievan Rus, and Sun worship of our ancestors. The Sun worship is reflected even in the colors of our flag ( blue and yellow).
The main features of national Ukrainian character are also democracy, judgment, endurance, thrift, positive emotions, the tendency to compromise, developed sense of humor, the desire to demonstrate leadership qualities. Of course, the main and most important feature of Ukrainian character is the love of freedom. And this desire for freedom constantly recurs passing through the centuries.
The mild climate, fertile land, wealth of natural resources, water, and forest resources deprived the people who lived on the territory of Ukraine, of aggressiveness, the desire to conquer other lands, of cruelty but contributed to the establishment of tolerance towards neighbors, those who have not encroached on their territory.
Life in a generous natural environment made the people balanced, liberated from the need to build a society on the principles of cruel normativity, pedantry, excluded constant fierce struggle for expanding their own land. It formed a dreamy, contemplative attitude to the world. The favorable possibilities of achieving high results of economical activities have caused enthusiastic attitude to solving problems that arose before the people, engendered confidence that all issues would be resolved by itself, without much effort.
The natural environment of Ukrainians, the wideness of the living space led to the dominance of horizontal type in their thinking. It is characterized by unboundedness of opportunities of self-expression, self-improvement, the recognition of natural authority (the mind, the ability, the strength, the character), orientation towards the horizon in the distance. Therefore, the image of the way has become for the Ukrainians one of the main artistic images, movement in the distance – movement to the perfectness.
Favorable natural and geographical conditions have caused people’s respect for nature, trust for it, and recognition of the high importance of it as the initial kindness that fills the human world. Life outside of nature, without compliance with its laws, in general, didn’t seem to be possible Natural paradise encouraged a man to create a paradise around him.
The attitude of the Ukrainian peasant towards land borders with its deification. The agricultural way of life, coupled with closeness to nature, in general, gave rise to not only the provincial lyricism or sentimentality but also self-esteem, confidence in their abilities in some way – individualism. The dignity, importance and sharp, even painful, sense of justice, hatred of the infringement have been pushing the Ukrainians to permanent search for the truth.
The Cult of Mother-Earth
The successful development of a farm required the presence of a strong family, which due to hard work created a thoughtful, well-groomed, efficient living space. Patience, the assimilation of agricultural labor traditions, focus on established relationships, respect for parents characterized atmosphere in the family. Calmness and balance, diligence, mutual help, friendliness characterize the family atmosphere.
Special features of the nature, soft climate of the forest-steppe, the vastness of steppes, soothing whisper of forests, according to linguists, influenced the identity of the Ukrainian language. It is characterized by rhythmic, harmonious alternation of vowels and consonants, melodiousness, euphony, which creates an atmosphere of unhurried, friendly and peaceful communication.
Ukrainians associate earth with a mother. Above the earth and below it is what life comes from and where people go after death – the heavens and the Underworld. Peasant priorities approved anteїzm (recognition of the earth as the main force for life, a sense of kinship with it) as one of the main features of the characteristics of the Ukrainians.
The cult of the Mother-Earth has always been of great importance for the Ukrainians at a deep level. Its formation began in the era of Tripolis and continued in Scythian-Sarmatian and Ants times when the role of women in society was very important. History shows that, for example, the Sarmatian woman was very independent and militant, she could often take men’s functions. This was due to the fact that one of the main among our ancient national virtues was a huge respect and a sacred attitude towards the Earth-Mother, which implies respect for the Woman-Mother. It was considered that the earth can not be beaten, kicked, it could be plowed only on certain days, after special rites, etc. Therefore, the status of women in our culture has always been high. We may remember the cult of Oranta, Princess of the Kievan Rus – Olga, Anna Yaroslavna who was the Queen of France, who was the queen of France, and solved state issues, while her husband the King couldn’t even read and write.
Ancestors of the Cossacks
In the Cossack era, Ukrainian women fully took the responsibilities of men during their absence and even defended the whole village with the weapons in their arms. Besides a Ukrainian woman had quite a big right in the area of inheritance, which was practically impossible with many other peoples. Even today, the principles of upbringing girls in the Ukrainian families differ significantly from the Russian for example. A comparative research of Russian psychologists on the topic: “How often the father raises his hand on his daughter, aged 5 to 15 years?” demonstrated that in Russia it happens in more than 80% cases, and in Ukraine in less than 7%.
A man, the father of the Ukrainian family represented (though limited) formidable and punitive power. The powerful role of a woman is manifested in the dominance of the principle of equality of the heirs of a property, regardless of gender and age. This principle of equality in the distribution of the property is transferred by the Ukrainians to the general social level so that the ideal society for them – is a society of natural equality of all its members. On the basis of these relations was formed an idea of the ideal leader of Ukrainians: the head – Hetman, which detects similar to the maternal care of the nation.
The formation of the specific features of the Ukrainian mentality influenced the long-term occurrence of Ukrainian lands in the various kinds of state formations (Duchy of Lithuania, Rzeczpospolita, Austro-Hungarian, Ottoman and Russian empires) and a long struggle for independence, gave rise to mental qualities, which would seem to contradict each other.
For example, “on the one hand, the essence of the Ukrainian spirit – Cossack – a freedom-loving individualist. On the other – the existence of a hidden lifestyle, caused by the need to hide his inner world from constant enemies and invaders. If the first one is the source of the activity, the other leads to a philosophy of life, “none of my business.”
Mentality and character
On the pictures of a Ukrainian modern painter from Kharkiv – Alexandr Ivanov, whose creation can be characterized as socialistic hyperrealism, we can see the most ordinary moments in the life of Ukrainians with elements of irony, humor, comic, philosophical notes, beauty, and sadness. Have a look and enjoy!
So, to better understand the difference between the Russian and Ukrainian characters, let’s compare them in a table:
|“Russian character”||“Ukrainian character”|
|“Wide open Russian soul”||thrift|
|Collectivism||Individualism, “none of my business”|
|Openness, trustfulness||distrust, suspicion of new/unknown|
|Emotional loyalty to the leader||A freedom-loving nature|
|Hard work in the team||Farming, hard work for yourself)|
|Conformism||independence of judgment, “canny”|
|Great-power, high self-esteem, level of claim||post-colonial syndrome of periphery, provincialism, complex of a “little brother”|
|“Do not stand”, “be like everyone else”, do not “break away from the collective”||Personal initiative|
|Impulsivity, disorganization, spontaneity||Patience, humility|
|The tendency toward totalitarianism, authoritarian power||tendency towards a more democratic, republican form of government|
|Intolerance towards other nations||Tolerance towards other nations|
|Great tendency to aggression, criminality, violence||Eligibility|
A specific feature of the Ukrainian ideological and philosophical mentality is a focus on the internal emotional world of a man, where a burning call of the “heart.” dominates over a cold rational calculation of the “head”. Ukrainians inherent in the impermanence of emotions and moods, quick temper and fast fading emotions. Emotion fills life as with optimism and with pessimism, promotes the conversion of hate to love, anger to mercy, and so on. Due to the emotionality relationships in society and in the family are built on sincerity and are characterized by friendliness, kindness, or dryness, even insincerity.
So, let’s consider all the “pros” and “cons”. On one hand, Ukrainians have common roots with Western civilization and up to the XVII century, developed in the European context, which is reflected in the mental chords of Ukrainian and European philosophical principles. On the other hand, fundamental changes have occurred over the last 350 years in the mentality of Ukrainians and Europeans, they are associated with different paths of historical development. Ukrainians do not make with them a common mental community anymore, but many Ukrainians still have a very high level of identification with the events of the recent Soviet past.
I hope you enjoyed reading it and discovering Ukraine with your BestKievGuide!