Discovering the Mystery of Ukrainian Soul

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 pagan ancestors.

The main traits of national Ukrainian character are a democracy, judgment, endurance, thrift, positive emotions, a tendency to compromise, sense of humor, desire to demonstrate leadership qualities. Of course, the main and most important trait of Ukrainian character is the love of freedom. And this desire for freedom constantly recurs on its way through the centuries.

Generous natural environment

The mild climate, fertile land, wealth of natural resources, water, and forest resources deprived the people who lived on the territory of modern 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 contemplative attitude to the world. The favorable possibilities of achieving high results of economic activities have caused enthusiastic attitude to solving problems, engendered confidence that all issues can be resolved 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 absoluteness of opportunities of self-expression, self-improvement, the recognition of natural authority (the mind, the ability, the strength, the character), orientation towards the horizon. Therefore, the image of the way has become for the Ukrainians one of the main artistic images, movement ahead – a 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. Natural paradise encouraged a man to create a paradise around him.

The attitude of the Ukrainian peasant towards the land borders with its deification. The agricultural way of life, coupled with closeness to nature, gave rise to not only the provincial lyricism or sentimentality but also to self-esteem, confidence, and – individualism. The dignity, importance, and sharp, or even painful sense of justice, hatred of the violation have been pushing the Ukrainians to permanent search for the truth.

Family relationships

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, assimilation of agricultural labor traditions, focus on established relationships, respect for the 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 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.

The Cult of Mother-Earth

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Ukrainians associate the earth with a mother. Therefore, the status of women in our culture has always been high.

Ukrainians associate the earth with a mother. 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 Ukrainians at a deep level. Its formation began in the era of Trypillya and continued in Scythian-Sarmatian 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 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 cannot 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 and solved state issues, while her husband the King couldn’t even read and write.

Ukrainian Cossacks – free people

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 in the cultures of other nations.

The formation of the specific features of the Ukrainian mentality was influenced by the long-term being 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 private life from enemies and invaders. If the first one  is the source of the activity, the second leads to a philosophy of life – “none of my business.”

The social life of Ukrainians

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!

“Ukrainian marriage party”
” A generous hostess”
"In the apple garden"
“In the apple garden”
“Little hooligans”

Difference between the Russian and Ukrainian characters

If you want 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, a 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
Generosity Greed
Straightness Secrecy
Laziness Industriousness
Stubbornness Resourcefulness
Intolerance towards other nations Tolerance towards other nations
Great tendency to aggression, criminality, violence Eligibility

Emotionality of Ukrainians

A specific feature of the Ukrainian ideological and philosophical mentality is a focus on the internal emotional world of a person, where a  burning call of the “heart”  dominates over a cold rationality of the “head”. Ukrainians possess the impermanence of emotions and moods, quick temper and fast fading emotions. Emotion fills life both with optimism and pessimism, promotes the conversion of hate to love, anger to mercy, and so on. Due to the emotionality, the 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 European 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 apart from Western Europeans, Ukrainians do not make with them a common mental community anymore. Many Ukrainians still have a very high level of identification with the events of their recent Soviet past.

I hope you enjoyed reading it and discovering Ukraine with your BEST KIEV GUIDE!

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