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learning Russian in Ukraine
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Joined: 03 Jul 2014
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 03, 2017 9:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Whatever, quibble about the legalities if you wish, but the context is learning Russian. Until 20-odd years ago they were speaking Russian, serving in the Red Army, going to RUSSIAN Universities, marrying Russian families

Geography 101.

The USSR consisted of 15 republics. 15 nations which had a legal right to separate, and they did.

Russia was just one (1) of them. The rest were not in Russia or part of it.

Most Ukrainians went to Ukrainian universities in their home towns.

High schools could be all in Ukrainian, but on uni level, courses were taught in Russian, and you had to pass exams with Russian being the medium of instruction.

They were not called " Russian universities" anywhere. They were called "Soviet universities".

In the Philippines and Singapore, unis are in English. So? Are they all now Englishmen and Englishwomen upon graduation?

The Red Army was, again, not just a Russian army. It was called the Soviet Army. In it, people from other 14 republics served as well. It was multinational. But, of course, it had to have a common language. Russian was chosen by convenience. What language would you suggest they all use? Uzbek?

In the British army, English is a language of convenience, but Scotts and Welsh serve in it. There is no " English army" is there?

Marrying into Russian families? Some did, some didn't. Most preferred their own.

In the USSR, they also had internal passports, IDs, birth certificates, etc. that clearly said that their nationality was Ukrainian.

Russians had internal passports, IDs, every document that clearly said their nationality was Russian. This was the gov't of USSR that made that division and assigned those nationalities. Based on blood ancestry and not on what they "considered" themselves.

Compare it to the UK where there are no documents and/or IDs that say that a person is Scottish,Welsh or English. Still you clearly distinguish among those three. The Welsh are called a "Nation" on BBC.

In the UK, Scottish and Welsh people speak English and marry into English families. But no one will say that Scotts/Welsh are now English because of that. Why did Ukrainians become Russians because of that?

Another by the way, there's a heck of a lot of Ukrainians, most say about 65+% who consider themselves Russian rather than Ukrainian......

Where did you get those stats? You must have been in Donetsk, where the locals had been starved to death, and ethnic Russians were moved in. Or in other large cities where Russians were brought in? Or you must have been in the Crimea. Sources please!

More like 17% of people in UA are of Russian descent. And it's not accomplish by ' considering' themselves Russian. One needs to prove blood descent by at least 50%. Thru documents and birth certificates.

Anyway, who is Ukrainian and who is Russian is not decided by you or me. We have no authority to bestow nationalities upon people.

The people and the governments in those countries decide that.

Oh, and those who allegedly consider themselves Russian because of Russian ancestry get a rude awakening when they try to move to Russia.

Not many there see them as true Russians because they are not from Russia. Duh!

So, they can get loud and ' consider' themselves some more. It will still be the Russians in Russia who ultimately decide who is one of them and who is not.

and, oh yeah, providing the RUS in Russian.

A coup de grace, isn't it?

The country which is called Russia today was, until the 18th century, called Muscovy. It was Peter the Great who changed the name into Russia based it on the dubious claim that its history comes from Kievan Rus- a Viking run Slavic state over 1000 years ago.

In Ukraine, most people as well as the gov't totally disagree with this statement and that claim. But it is a bit too late to force Moscow to rename themselves to Muscovia and rename Ukraine to " Rus".

Ukrainians still call Russians Moskali in popular parlance.

Last edited by waltgomez on Mon Apr 03, 2017 3:11 pm; edited 7 times in total
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 03, 2017 9:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

sparks wrote:
I thought the OP was about how similar the two languages are... I would guess that unless you are going to a school to learn Russian, you will learn Ukrainian in your daily interactions. The two languages are very similar, but if you are trying to learn "pure" Russian you may want to be aware of the nuances. I would guess like learning Spanish in Mexico or Spanish in Spain (although some people will claim there are huge differences in the two). You can see major similarities in all slavic languages, sometimes trying to learn more than one can only add to confusion as the temptation to just assume that words/the myriad endings are the same when, in fact, they are slightly different.

There is a confusion here:

Are we comparing the actual Ukrainian and Russian languages - which are separate languages? Or are we comparing the Russian language spoken in Ukraine to the Russian language spoken in Russia- which are the same language?

Ukrainian and Russian are not *very* similar. They are about as similar as German and Dutch. If Ukrainian is spoken at a normal speed, it is as well understood by an average Russian as Dutch spoken at a normal speed is understood by an average German. Not much.

But if you put written Ukrainian text in front of a Russian speaker, then he/she will be able to read some 40 percent and guess the rest. It is because the roots of the words stem from common Slavic origins, not because the words themselves are the same or "very" similar.

Russian is not an official language in Ukraine. It is not the state language. But it is used as a lingua franca still in many places.

However, your question I think should have been:

How similar is the Russian spoken in Ukraine- where it is not an official language- to the Russian spoken in Russia- where it is an official language?

The situation could be similar to Panama where many people speak English but where Spanish is still the official language. Or to Belize where many people speak Spanish but where English is the official language.

Anyway, the answer is:

It is a bit simpler in UA with a smaller vocabulary and simplified grammar. The accent is softer. Thus, it is easier to study than studying it in Russia. You will also not be made fun of as you may be in Russia. So, it is not a bad place to study Russian. A good city would be Kharkiv or Dnipro for daily practice. It is also cheaper to live in UA and visas are easier to get.
Less xenophobic and less dangerous.
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 03, 2017 3:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Main Difference – Russia vs Soviet Union

It is important to look at the history of Russia, to understand the difference between Russia and the Soviet Union. Russia is a country with a very long history; it was a powerful empire that was toppled down by a revolution. After the revolution, it became a state of the Soviet Union in 1922. After the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991, it began to be known as Russia or Russian Federation. Therefore, the main difference between Russia and the Soviet Union is that Russia is a country whereas the Soviet Union was a political state, in which Russia was one of the states.
What is Russia

Russia, situated in northern Eurasia, is the largest country in the world (17,075,400 square kilometres) and covers more than one-eighth of earth’s inhabited land area. Russia stretches across the whole of northern Asia and much of Eastern Europe. Russia shares land borders with North Korea, Mongolia, China, Kazakhstan, Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Finland, and Norway. It shares naval borders with Japan and the U.S state of Alaska.

Russia is a federal semi-presidential republic, and its official name is Russian Federation. According to its constitution, the President is considered the head of state and the Prime Minister is the head of government. Russia was largest of the 15 Republic states that made up of the Soviet Union; it annexed some of the states after the dissolution of the Soviet Union.

What is the Soviet Union

The Soviet Union was a Marxist–Leninist state that existed on the Eurasian continent between 1922 and 1991. Its official name was Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. It was a union of multiple subnational Soviet republics, and its economy and government were highly centralized. It was a single-party state, governed by the Communist Party. Moscow was the capital of the Soviet Union.

In 1917, Bolshevik leader Lenin led the October Revolution, which overthrew the provisional government that ruled after the revolution. The Bolsheviks established the Russian Socialist Federative Soviet Republic, which was later renamed as Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic, after the civil war between counter-revolution Whites and pro-revolution Reds. The Communists, lead by Lenin were victorious in 1922 and formed the Soviet Union with the unification of the Russian, Ukrainian, Transcaucasian, and Byelorussian republics.

The territory of the Soviet Union augmented during the period of hostility with Nazi Germany during the World War, and it emerged as a major world power from the war under President Stalin. However, political conflicts between the United States and the Soviet Union continued for many years; this conflict is termed the Cold War. The Soviet Union fell apart in 1991, after a failed coup attempt by military leaders.


Russia is the largest country in the world and extends across northern Asia and eastern Europe.

The Soviet Union is a former federation of Communist republics comprised of 15 republics.

Russia’s official name is Russian Federation.

The Soviet Union’s official name is the Union of Soviet Socialist Republic.

Political parties

Russia has a multi-party system.

The Soviet Union was a single- party state.

Russia has its own distinct identity, culture and traditions.

Since the Soviet Union was a collection of states, there was a merging of ethnicities, culture and traditions.

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PostPosted: Mon Apr 03, 2017 9:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Additional off topic postings will see this thread disappear.
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 19, 2017 5:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You can enroll in many language schools in UA and learn Russian there. Your friendly google will point to many schools located in UA.

Now, there are also many online teachers of Russian on Skype and many are located in Ukraine.

preply ( dot) com is a Ukrainian language learning site. I have taken UA language classes on it. My friend is taking Russian. You can get teachers as inexpensively as $4-$5 an hour.

It is very convenient. Then, one can just practice it around Kyiv.

Kharkiv and Dnipro are Russian speaking mainly, and are cheaper than living in Kyiv. You can just socialize there.

To reiterate: the quality of Russian in Ukraine would be like the quality of English in Ireland. Pretty good! Enough for a non native learner to get to reasonable fluency.

Also, the language is simpler, with fewer idioms and a smaller vocabulary. Much more standardized. The reason being is that it was not their language originally, so a simpler lingua-franca version was introduced. Ideal for international students.
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