Difference Between Ukraine and Russia

By: | Updated: Apr-24, 2022
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Ukraine and Russia might be neighboring countries, but there are many differences between them even if they share a commonality in the Russian language. We’ve compiled a list of comparisons between the two countries to further our readers’ understanding of the two countries, and what makes them tick.

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Difference Between Ukraine and Russia

Moving on, here are the key differences between the two Slavic countries:

1. Government

  • Ukraine: Has a democratic government, and while they don’t have a spotless government, theirs is not as rampantly corrupt as the Russian one. Ukraine has a connection to the cossack heritage. They have traditions linked to freedom and democracy. 
  • Russia: Putin has powerful authority in his country, even if he lets other candidates run for the elections. Sadly, Russia has not known very fair leaders, often being ruled over by opportunistic men such as Stalin and now Putin. Russia has connections to the tsarist heritage.

2. Military

  • Ukraine: Ukraine’s military troops amount to up to 500,000 people. The air force has around 320 war aircraft at its disposal. These numbers correspond to 2022.
  • Russia: Russia’s army population is much bigger than that of Ukraine’s, which comes as no surprise. Russia has around 1.35 million military personnel as of the year 2022 and has around 4 thousand air crafts.

3. Economy

  • Ukraine: With Crimea being annexed in 2014, Ukraine’s GDP had an over 50% cut. At the end of 2020, Ukraine’s GDP was $155.5 billion. Russia’s economy is much larger than Ukraine’s, GDP-wise; however, Ukraine’s GDP has experienced a 70.8% growth between 2015 to 2020.
  • Russia: Russia’s GDP growth has only been 8.8% from 2015 to 2020, even if its economy is larger than that of Ukraine. By the end of 2020, Russia’s GDP was at $1.48 trillion.

Difference Between Ukraine and Russia

4. Weather and Climate

  • Ukraine: While parts of Ukraine such as Odesa face the sea, and some parts like the southern Crimean coast enjoy a Mediterranean climate, other parts of Ukraine are quite cold. Rain hits harder in some parts, especially the north and the west, but summer can get quite hot in the south (and it doesn’t rain as much).
  • Russia: Siberia is subarctic with a tundra climate more to the north. Most of Russia is humid too. Winters can range from cool to extreme, but people along the Black Sea coast get to enjoy milder winters. However, the country is known to be a cold one with temperatures going below zero degrees celsius quite often during the winter season. 

This country can experience very cold weather. This is a huge reason why Russians are known for their big fur hats and coats. 

5. Culture

  • Ukraine: Ukraine’s people have their proper language. However, in the east of the country, the Russian language is used daily, albeit with an accent. They love eating pork-fat Salo. Ukraine has retained stronger Slavic roots than Russia, with their language borrowing many words from other Slavic languages.

Their culture reached its peak in the cossack era. By then, literacy was introduced to the majority of the population. This ushered in an era of book writing, resulting in the creation of many written masterpieces. Progress was also made in science and architecture.

Their culture also features dances and games that originated from the Cossack era as well, with the oldest types tracing back to ancient pagan cults. Folklore and folk dances, many Ukrainians enjoyed these elements at the height of their culture.

  • Russia: The majority of Russians dislike salo and are not necessarily as devoted to it as Ukrainians are but they do like borscht. It’s harder for a Russian to understand Ukrainian since they don’t have as many ties to it as other Slavic nations.

When talking about Russia’s culture, their literature is absolutely worth mentioning. A very aesthetic and moral feature shines through in many of the works. Russians demonstrate a noticeable philosophical nature in their literature as well. 

6. Ethnic differences

  • Ukraine: It might not be too surprising to know that many Ukrainians have Turkish and even Scandinavian roots since Turkey is a neighboring country and Norway and Sweden are just across Poland. Feature-wise, they typically have bigger heads than Russians. They are also usually shorter in height and have a heavier build. 
  • Russia: Russians are typically taller than Ukrainians. They usually have smaller heads and are skinnier. And while people outside of Ukraine and Russia probably won’t notice the small differences, Ukrainians and Russians typically can tell themselves apart from each other.

7. Character And Community

  • Ukraine: Ukrainian citizens are more on the individualistic and quiet side of the spectrum. They are pragmatic and the majority are not as philosophical or poetic (which Russians tend to be). Ukrainians place a great emphasis on friendship and loyalty; however, reportedly there is a lot of underhandedness in their relationships. 
  • Russia: The majority of the people in this country like to belong to a group. They also like to drink, and that’s why alcohol is quite a problem. Even so, Russians are known to make genuine friendships that have strong bonds. They highly appreciate a generous character.

Final Thoughts

The ongoing war has torn these two countries apart and it’s evident that Russia’s leader Putin and the soldiers who’ve carried out his plans have destroyed parts of Ukraine mercilessly. It’s important to support any friends and acquaintances you might have who are directly affected by the war. Otherwise, we hope our readers have learned something from this article about the differences between Ukraine and Russia.

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