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Those, who are going to Kyiv, often ask question: what language do they speak in Kyiv? Strangely enough, but even at official state language Ukrainian, most of the Kiev population communicates in Russian. Perhaps, it is because of many studied Russian, as the main. For the last 10-15 years schoolchildren and students, which had already Ukrainian as main language of teaching, began to change a ratio of the people, speaking different languages, towards increase in a share of Ukrainian. Also, in public institutions mainly use Ukrainian. Most of Kyiv inhabitants know both languages well and perfectly understand each other, even if the main languages at interlocutors are different.
On television, radios there are many transfers as in Russian, and in Ukrainian languages. If a transfer or a movie is interesting, many of Ukraine residents cannot remember next day in what language they were broadcasted. Frequent are situations, when on a large TV show one TV presenter speaks Russian and another - in Ukrainian. Newspapers with big circulations appear in two languages. Large the Internet resources and also popular Internet-communities, forums are in Russian too. Use of Russian allows to capture huge readers’ audience and freely to communicate with citizens of all former USSR.
In connection with its geographical position and big occupied space, Ukraine borders with many states. Today, it developed so that in the east part of the country and also in the Crimean peninsula primary most of the population speaks Russian. Residents of the western Ukraine speak, generally, in Ukrainian. The central part speaks alternately, there isn't a definite answer. In some areas a ratio of Russian/Ukrainian is rather in favor of the first, in some - on the contrary. Often in city speak more Russian, while in area - in Ukrainian. A feature of Ukrainian is very big similarity with Russian - in writing, pronunciation, using of almost identical words.
The majority of letters coincides but, nevertheless, some distinctions are. So, for example, the Russian letter "ы" in Ukrainian is - "и", Russian "э" - Ukrainian "е", Russian "и" in Ukrainian is written as "i". It should be noted that such similarity with the Russian writing is artificial: in last times Ukrainians had their own alphabet, absolutely other than the Russian writing. To similarity of spelling and sounding of words led the long policy of russification and national oppression of the Ukrainians by the authorities of Russia. In the past they used to forbidden even to write and publish newspapers in Ukrainian.
There are some more differences but, generally, Ukrainian is quite clear to all who knows Russian. Though (if to tell the truth) most of Russians admit that most often they can understand almost nothing, if to speak with them in pure Ukrainian. Many words sound almost equally and some, apparently unfamiliar, are intuitively clear. Such words as "хата" (a house), "сало" (fat), "батько" (father), "горілка" (whiskey), "малювати" (to draw) - often do not require translation! Welcome to Kyiv – a very beautiful city with rich history and hospitable inhabitants!