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9 Popular Stereotypes About Ukraine

25. September 2012 by Masha 0 Comments

A Yes-butno blog was created last year to help break stereotypes and assumptions that everyone makes about various cultures, genders, sexualities, etc. Last week, Ukraine was added to the collection as one man from Lviv asked his international friends to name the most popular stereotypes about Ukraine.


The little project sparked some serious conversations, with most focusing on the "language issue." Let's try to explain each one.



  1. Yes, I'm from Ukraine. No, it's not a part of Russia. Ukraine became independent when the Soviet Union dissolved in 1991. Ukraine borders the Russian Federation to the east and northeast, Belarus to the northwest, Poland, Slovakia and Hungary to the west, Romania and Moldova to the southwest, and the Black Sea and Sea of Azov to the south and southeast.
  2. Yes, I'm from Ukraine. No, I don't eat salo and drink vodka everyday. Similar to how some Americans are obsessed with bacon, some Ukrainians are in love with salo, which is cured slabs of pork fat. Vodka is also a popular spirit for celebrations and welcoming guests, but some Ukrainians prefer horilka.
  3. Yes, I'm from Ukraine. No, we have another more popular Shevchenko. Retired Ukrainian footballer Andriy Shevchenko is ranked as the third highest goalscorer in all European competitions with 67 goals. He quit football for politics and is currently running for the Ukrainian Parliament. Taras Shevchenko was a Ukrainian poet and artist whose literary heritage is regarded to be the foundation of Ukrainian literature and the modern Ukrainian language.
  4. Yes, I'm from Ukraine. No, it's not in Asia. Ukraine is in Europe, while Russia is in Europe and Asia, or Eurasia. 
  5. Yes, I'm from Ukraine. No, not all my software is stolen. Ukraine is ranked 9th for Europe's top internet countries and ranked 16th for worldwide software piracy rate. 
  6. Yes, I'm from Ukraine. No, my bones are not full of radiation. The issue of long-term effects of the Chernobyl disaster on civilians is very controversial. The number of people whose lives were affected by the disaster is enormous. However, most of those affected received relatively low doses of radiation; there is little evidence of increased mortality, cancers or birth defects among them; and when such evidence is present, existence of a causal link to radioactive contamination is uncertain.
  7. Yes, I'm from Ukraine. No, I'm neither cheap nor a prostitute. Prostitution in Ukraine is illegal but largely ignored by the government. The women's rights group FEMEN often fights against sex tourism with topless protests to bring more awareness to the issue.
  8. Yes, I'm from Ukraine. No, we don't have snow the whole year. Ukraine usually has high heat, thunderstorms, and brief downpours from June to August, frequent rains in October and November, snow December through March, and changeable weather all year round. It is not bitterly cold like Siberia, but can best be compared to the U.S. state of Iowa.
  9. Yes, I'm from Ukraine. No, Russian is not my language. Since 1991, Ukrainian has been the official state language in Ukraine. Its use is increasing after a long period of decline and mostly prevalent in western and central Ukraine. Public signs and announcements in Kiev are in Ukrainian. In southern and eastern Ukraine, Russian is the prevalent language of the urban population. According to the Ukrainian Census of 2001, 87.8% of people living in Ukraine communicate in Ukrainian.
One Ukrainian woman commented on the language debate by saying: 

"Those of us whose native language is Russian don't have to be sorry to speak our native tongue. In fact we are bilingual and can speak Ukrainian fluently, which is a must for everyone living here. We are the patriots of our land no less than those whose native tongue is Ukrainian. But I will never be ashamed of my ancestors or my language. And my kids will speak both languages as well as English."

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