It took me some time to get ready to speak about this topic. Being inside the system, it is very difficult to see the system. Fortunately, I spoke with quite a number of people from outside and recent events also helped me grow understanding who are Ukrainians, how we are different from other nations and what it takes to do business with us.
So here is the analysis based on my feelings and understanding:
As you know, we are located in a very good climate with excellent soil. We have hot summers, cold winters, green and tender springs and beautiful golden autumns. We have mountains, lakes, seas, steeps, rivers, hills, forests and a lot of greenery covering all this beauty.
We live in abundance, our nature is rich. Maybe this is why we are very generous. When a guest comes into a Ukrainian house, he can count that the best food will be taken out. It is a shame for a hostess not to try to give everything she has to a guest. Sometimes we go extra mile to be so satisfying, this is why inviting guests is sometimes a hard job and people do it not so often. But once we get a guest inside our house, be sure, that you will have everything and even take some of the food with you, which is also quite common.
Indeed, despite the abundance, we lack good managers. We are emotional, altruistic, with very good brains and scientific background, but very often we miss some practical and business skills to put these things together. However, once a team of good managers gets over, we can do miracles. It is probably not for nothing we became a powerful state in middle ages, when we invited vikings to help us manage the country.
This is the feature I learned from people from other countries. They say Ukrainians are quite often not keeping the word (which is true, we are chaotic and emotional and unfortunately can change words same way we change our mind) and also the level of corruption in our country shows we are also using tempting opportunities when they occur. Our economy is indeed a chaos at the moment, where everybody wants to get a piece, using his own powers. It is sad to see, but no point to hide. We indeed have a problem with that, but we are learning. Not all Ukrainians are like that and more and more representatives of the new generation not only appear in our society, but also start getting powers. We have a hope our system will change and our people become more true to what they say and follow the rule of not stealing, neither from people, nor from the state.
The level and current number of altruistic organizations and volunteering shows the best heights of our spirit. Our dignity revolution was also a good example of the level of spirit of Ukrainian nation, and we indeed have very powerful processes in our society underway.
Did you know that first computer in USSR was created in Ukraine? And that we had scientific centers that were busy doing spaceships? We had a lot of fundamental research centers in various industries, our nation gave birth to a lot of talented scientists, artists, sportsmen, businessmen and other outstanding individuals.
Here is a list of people with Ukrainian roots, known in the West:
and many many others (http://discoverukraine.ua/en/news/50-well-known-ukrainians, http://discoverukraine.ua/en/blitz/50-well-known-ukrainians-part-2 ). At the same time, despite our advances in fundamental sciences, business success was achieved mostly by Ukrainians that moved to other countries, strangely enough. I believe this happened because of the Soviet communist system, that didn’t allow to develop these qualities. Right now we have a lot of smart people learning basic things about business, understanding and succeeding more and more.
The mass of our nation does not speak foreign languages (yet) and has not travelled much. The exception is our IT part of society and also the richest and most educated layer, which is also quite significant. However, in the globalized world it could be a special pleasure to come to our villages and see our old women and eat some simple natural country food, trying to find mutual language with the help of body language or some basic Russian/Ukrainian/English. Preferably accompanied by somebody local with good English to ensure good understanding.
We have our own history of Kiev Rus, but then we were nation, centuries under rule of various Empires – Lithuanian, Polish, Hungarian-Austrian and Russian. Officially, we have only 23 years of independence, so we are quite young as a country, but quite old as a nation and culture.
Culture will be probably a next separate article, it is too big topic to fit here.
And here is the summary of our character in two words – we are clever and hardworking, chaotic and cunning, altruistic and greedy at times. Probably as any nation and personality, have good and bad sides. For a smart businessman our country has a lot to offer – human and natural resources, unique geographical position, cultural and educational level. Want to make best use of doing business with Ukraine and using all these abundant resources smartly – contact me to discuss.
I hope you enjoyed. If this article made you think about features of your national character – please share in the comments. The discussion is very welcome.