Ukrainian culture in Europe

Ukrainian culture

Last time, especially with question of to be or not be for Ukraine in association and in perspective as a part of EU, became popular to discuss whether Ukrainian culture integrated to European and how close do they related. So, we propose a little discourse and meditations about congeniality of cultures, mentality and even scheduling of modern daily life of Ukrainians and average European.

Pr. Poroshenko on his inauguration has claimed that "… Ukraine is the part of bif European family and we will finally return to our home". But is this the true and we were so close all the time?

We will not go roundabout and will answer honestly the main question: do Europeans consider Ukraine and its culture as independent. No, they find us and our culture as part of Russian and this opinion has the right to be. For a long time modern Ukrainian territory was under control of Russian Empire and this is no secret that Ukrainians on conviction of many principal historics of European are considere as part of Russian nation. But also we have some native features and distinctions. First of all, on the territory of Ukraine never was a possibility to form a stable society because of eternal political instability after Mongol-Tatar invasion into Kievan Rus. First frame of future nation was established by Zaporozhian Sich and Cossacks. But most of them were Russian-speaking or Malorossian-speaking (can be considered as preimage of modern Ukrainian language). Other population of Ukraine was separated between Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth and Russian Empire. The main medium of national culture and folklore were peasants and artisans. That`s the time of impetuous growth of Ukriainian cultural heritage (folk songs, stories, rites etc.) They are were based on many European traditions of those times so we can surely call them partly European. At the same time we can notice a big fear and outrage of Cossacks by Europeans. They often appear on sculptures and architecture with punctured eyes or under the hooves of horses. 


Ukrainians has a big heritage of unique folk music depicting usual and hard life of cossack or peasant. There were many compositors and documentalists who gathered and used Ukrainian motives in their ouvre. Haydn, Schubert, Beethoven, Glinka and many other used Ukrainian folk motives in their creations. I can subjectively assert that Ukrainians has more diverse and harmonious musician legacy than even Russians. Ukrainian religios folk song "Schedrik" often used in Hollywood films (for example "Home Alone").


Also, Ukrainian language took the second place in the world by melody after the Italian. It also recognized the third most beautiful language in the world according to such criteria as phonetics, vocabulary, phraseology and construction proposals after the French and Persian at a linguistic contest held in Paris in 1934.


Ukrainian literature has a very ancient roots. First cyrillic book printer, Ivan Fedorov printed his monumental work "Apostol" in Lvov in 1564. So Ukraine by right deemed as lullaby not only of Russian (Rus) statehood, but of Russian book printing too. It is obvious that Russian, Belorussian and Ukrainian cultural background is the same. so it`s difficult to separate them. Many of Russian classic writers were or ethnically Ukrainiains (Malorossians or Ruthenians) or were born  in Ukrainian land and in raised on Ukrainian traditions. 

Nicolai Gogol, famous Russian writer of Ukrainian ancestryNicolai Gogol was Ukrainian and was born near Poltava, but he is considered as one of the most prominent Russian writer. Also he is widely famous abroad, in Europe. He lived in France, Switzerland ans Rome in total for decade. His endowment into European culture is colossal.

Other genial Russian writer, Michael Bulgakov, who wrote "The Master and Margarita", "Heart of a Dog", "Days of Turbins", "The White Guard" and many other masterpieces help Europeans better understand "mystical Russian (Ukrainian too) soul". He was born in Kiev and was very close with Ukrainian problems, disturbance and needs. It is known that after his death his grave was covered by a rock from Gogol`s monument, called Golgofa. So the Bulgakov`s testament "Teacher, cover me by your cast-iron overcoat" was completed. Mikhail Afanasyevich can be considered as one of the precise predictors of Ukrainian unrest in 2013- years of our days as many of scenes of his creation are reiterating again.

I gave only particular cases of parts of Ukrainian-Russian people and their contribution to European culture. Of course, we can say more about famous people of emigration like Andy Warhol, pop-art idol, who was Rusyn (Ruthenian), Chuck Palahniuk, who has strong Ukrainian ancestry. Also we don`t say a word about genial Ukrainian classics like Iva Franko, Taras Shevchenko, Lesya Ukrainka and many others, who left their marks in World culture. There is no doubt that Ukrainians are part of big family of European nations. But ut is not enough to be a part of European Union because it is not the same and it is our (Ukrainian) fault that we are not ready yet. We have a very poor social standarts, obsolete industry, really weak democracy and everlasting crises. But I believe, we could overcome all our problems and take decent place in the world. The problems we should search not in our culture for sure. And as for our society and typical daily routine and entertainment of usual Ukrainian and how much does it differs from European, you can read in detached article.


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