My task was to choose one country and to discuss its’ different aspects that militaries have to be aware of during communication with local colleagues and their partners. I preferred to choose Ukraine, which is situated in the middle of Europe. Different points and aspects of communicating with Ukrainian militaries are to be discussed below.
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Introduction to Ukraine
First things first, it would be proper to mention that Ukraine is the biggest country in Europe and that it borders on Poland, Hungary, Romania, Moldova, Belorussia, and Russia. It is also adjusted to the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov. Besides, Ukraine used to be a part of Soviet Union and has become independent in 1991 (Cybriwsky, 2015). People from Ukraine are well-known for their generous nature and hospitality. Soldiers and officers of foreign origins will always be invited for lunch in Ukraine because it is considered to be rude to eat in front of colleagues that are not having their meal.
There is another aspect of Ukrainian’s communication style, which other militaries have to be aware of. In order to become more sensitive and open to a person, Ukrainians need to develop their relationships with him or her to a particular point – they are very cautious to people that they just have met, especially militaries. After long-term relationships, militaries of Ukrainian ethnic background feel more comfortable with each other. Ukrainian officers like when they are able to work flexible hours, which influences local military training and their lifestyle as well. For instance, some military negotiations may present the main topic of discussion, but other related issues might also be mentioned during the process. As it was mentioned above, Ukrainian militaries highly appreciate their relationships with each other, so they might spend some time for a coffee-break and out-of-topic discussions.
Martial Etiquette in Ukraine
There is also martial etiquette in Ukraine that has to be followed. Otherwise, a military is not going to be taken seriously by his or her colleagues. Nevertheless, officers of Ukrainian origin are less formal during their meetings and sessions, comparing to their counterparts from other countries (Cornelissen, 2017). It is essential to shake everyone’s hands before the meeting has started because it shows respect among officers. Besides, handshake helps to know a negotiator better because it can tell a lot about his or her character, nature, and behavior (Rothlin, & Mccann, 2016). It would be proper to repeat your name during the handshake – it makes it easier to remember the names of all colleagues in a particular room. Besides, it is common to say one’s rank, academic or military title while shaking hands.
It is a well-known fact that almost every language and culture has its identification word for a respectable man or woman. In the USA people call each other “Mr.” Or “Mrs.” (Ms.), in Spain it would be “Senor” and “Senorita’, but in order to address a Ukrainian, people use “Pan” or “Pani”. When Ukrainian militaries are close enough to each other, they prefer to address their colleagues or partners, using just patronymic, which is unacceptable for people who are not acquainted yet. Otherwise, it would be polite to use the first name and patronymic, which shows respect to another person.
Traditions and Customs of Communication in Ukraine
As it was stated above, Ukrainian militaries are very hospitable and will always offer foreigners to have lunch with them. Therefore, it is essential to be aware of local dining etiquette and standards of politeness. There is nothing unusual about behavior at the table, but some people may not know that Ukrainians are very suspicious of people who say that they do not drink any alcohol. It is better to have a good excuse for that, for example, medical condition or religious persuasions. If you are not a fan of alcohol, it would be polite to take a single sip – it is not necessary to dry out the glass.
Meeting and greeting traditions are very significant in Ukraine because the first impression plays a major role in counterparts’ relationships further on. There is a national custom of giving a big fresh loaf of bread with salt to the people and militaries who one has met at the first time. This custom is widespread at the traditional wedding ritual as well. Gifts are usually not expensive because they are meant to show one’s respect and appreciation of the moment. Some militaries in Ukraine may be offended by an expensive present because this gesture shows that he or she cannot afford such things. If a family of a Ukrainian military invited you to their house or apartment for dinner, they would be pleased if you bring a simple flower bouquet, cake or a bottle of good alcohol beverage.
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Although many Ukrainian militaries like to discuss and have arguments about their politics and religion, it is never a good decision for an officer who does not know much about their culture and situation in the country. These topics are raised almost everywhere – at negotiations, at the table, and in military academies. A soldier or an officer from a foreign country will always be asked to share his or her impression about Ukrainian cuisine. Even if you did not like some dishes, tell your colleagues about the ones that were delicious. It is usually essential for Ukrainians to know that their cuisine was good, which usually helps to make a friendly atmosphere in the room.
Cornelissen, J. (2017). Corporate communication: A guide to theory and practice. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
Cybriwsky, R. (2015). Placing Ukraine on the map: Stepan Rudnytsky’s nation-building geography. Journal of Ukrainian Studies, 67(5), 843-844.
Rothlin, S., & Mccann, D. (2016). The social environment: Business etiquette and cultural sensitivity. International Business Ethics, 23(3), 321-340.