We all know that we don’t pat the back of a colleague in Korea to thank them for a “job well done”. Or eat with your left hand in India, or sip vodka in Russia. In many countries, these actions are harmless. But in others, they can give a wrong impression or cause offense.

In fact, whatever culture you’re from, it’s likely that you routinely do something that could cause offense somewhere else in the world. So here is:

A primer on how to avoid mistakes in

Ukraine culture photo

Photo by DeSnousa

Respect the fact that Ukraine is an independent nation. You may find that people here are sensitive about being grouped as “Russians”, especially in the western part. You might not want to say “the Ukraine,” because some people may feel that usage implies that Ukraine is a region and not a country. Ukraine is by no means a conservative country with respect to clothing, behavior, and overcharges you if they can get by with it, getting what you paid for (quality).


Raising the issue of Ukraine in the context as being part of the Soviet Union may not always be welcomed by the locals, especially with regards of the Stalin era, which experienced the brutal famine of winter 1932-1933, World War II and a second famine in 1946. Nevertheless, many Ukrainians also remember the recent period of the Soviet Union as the time of economic prosperity. Speaking about the current Crimea conflict can get you mixed reactions. It had been reported that Ukrainians are more calm talking about it than the Russians. BE CAREFUL of what you say, for you must pick the correct side. If you mention anything about Crimea being Russian, it’s a good way for you to get into a fight. This can be the same with you saying that Crimea is not Russian towards an Ethnic Russian.

With this, you had the primer on key facts about Ukraine, and key facts on culture and customs. Another important part of the culture is the local food and the local drinks. Make sure you read our posts on Ukraine food and drinks:

Local food you should try in Ukraine and No miss drinks in Ukraine.

Other tips that you’d like to share on mistakes to avoid in Ukraine? Please comment below.