Humor in Ukraine

I wish more people read Ukrainian because out of desperation I subscribed to a bunch of Twitter accounts of regular Ukrainians with small followings who live in the war zone. The sense of humor on these people is amazing. They have the best jokes, the funniest memes, and an incredible amount of hutzpa. The humor is mostly dark but our humor is always like this. Nobody is asking for any mental health days. Instead, it’s a mental health day to read them.

By a long measure, the calmest, most collected and unhysterical writing online today comes from these Ukrainians. Quite a huge contrast with many people who haven’t spent the night under an air raid but are going off their nut.

13 thoughts on “Humor in Ukraine

    1. I’m guessing it’s the whole twittersphere. There’s been no shortage of videos of the Ukraineans mocking the invaders circulating around – and as someone who thinks she’s no slouch at gallows humour, I’ve been watching the ones subtitled in English and humbly taking notes.

      Watch this guy offering to tow some stuck Russian AVs, f’rex

      Or an Ukrainean soldier sending a message to the invaders on Friday night

      Or this guy thanking some Moscow politician for his support

      Or something the national roads agency tweeted when they said they were removing roadsigns – can’t find it now, but it was a highway roadsign with all the directions being variants of ‘na huy’

      Or people describing the Kiev assault as the greatest flash mob ever – Russians drive in, abandon their tanks, AVs etc and run away.

      And this is just random stuff I’ve come across by following English-language accounts.


  1. As for telling Klara it’s Russians who are attacking Ukrainians, making N tell her and so on, you know, I’ve been thinking about it since morning and … aren’t you projecting your feelings on her?

    My brother immigrated at the age of 5, he’s half-Ukrainian biologically. He is 100% Israeli Jew, remembers only life in Israel, served in IDF and doesn’t feel any connection to the place of his biological birth which was attacked already in 2014.

    I left at 13, my mother tongue is Russian (remember less than 10 Ukrainian words and could never speak Ukrainian), so am much more interested. My aunt’s family is in Russia too and I care about them.

    You left as an adult, worked there, so it’s whole another level of connection.

    Klara was BORN in America and you raised her to be 100% American kid. For instance, never using Russian / Ukrainian with her at home. Why should she care about yours and N’s past homes? Naturally, as a small child, she will care because you care if you make her feel that. Care not about Ukraine which she had never seen, but about her mother and father. Till N returns in a week’s time, she’ll probably forget about the demonstration, unless you bring it up.

    Part of the pain of even most successful immigration is having parts of oneself one cannot share with one’s children who simply cannot and should not be expected to care 5% as much as one does. I do not have kids myself so far, but see shades of it with my brother. He feels ashamed if I speak Russian in public since in Israel we should use only Hebrew in his mind.

    Hope this comment is OK.
    Know you are hurting and sincerely wish your relatives to stay alive and my relatives to be well too.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m sure she doesn’t care about Ukraine or Russia, as well she shouldn’t at age 6. But imagine the situation. Daddy leaves. Mommy cries all the time. Then it turns out that Daddy’s country went to war against Mommy’s country. Little children see everything in terms of themselves. Are mommy and daddy fighting? Did daddy go to war? In Ukraine? Is it because I’m a bad kid and kept interrupting when mommy and daddy talked?

      Never underestimate the capacity of a small child to find in herself the cause of everything that’s happening.

      Please don’t apologize. I know there’s nobody on this blog who wants to be mean or wounding. I already banned all those people years ago. 🙂


      1. Just curious, but why do you not speak Ukrainian or Russian around your daughter? Wouldn’t it be helpful possibly for her to know those languages?

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Oh, we do. My husband and I speak Russian to each other. Our daughter hasn’t shown any interest in languages so far but if she does, I’ll be happy to teach her.

          I tried to teach her a few Russian words when she was around 2 but her response was, “mommy, I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America and the republic for which it stands. . .” I got the message fast enough. :-))


      2. At work we use a pneumatic tube system. The first time I sent something up a particular station, it died. I thought I broke it and for the longest time believed that the reason it broke was because we weren’t supposed to send anything up that station.

        If I, a grown adult, can fall into this pattern of thought regarding something completely innocuous, just imagine what a child can think when something happens.

        It’ll be a bit easier, I think, to have these discussions once her father gets back. It will definitely be easier to show her that you and N love each other and her very much, that N was only away for work, and that for the most part routines at home are normal. I think it would still be a difficult conversation, but not an impossible one. But then, the choice is really completely up to you. I know you’re getting a lot of pressure to tell her, but she’s your kid, and she’s only six, and you are well within your rights to save that conversation for when she’s a little older. Those kinds of discussions can be difficult precisely because small children can come away with very, very different messages than the adults around them intend to portray, and that’s not something to take lightly.


      3. I feel that in cases like that, the damage is done because after the week-of-hell happens, the parents keep the silence, so the kid never gets the chance to realize that the thing isn’t about them. With you and N, I doubt that this will be the case.

        I know it’s a bit ridiculous for childless me to start advising, so if I’m being foolish flame away, but would it help, maybe, if you mentioned that it’s a shame that daddy had to leave for X (X being explained in a plain, matter-of-fact voice) and couldn’t join you and her at the protest, and that you can’t wait until he’ll be back on day Y? This makes all of you present an unified front, gives a short-term explanation about any sadness you can’t hide (you both are missing N, after all) and makes it not about her. Then when N comes back, he can explain the conflict, which would help her understand that the reason you’re sad is not about her.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Childless people are all somebody’s children. So they have a great insight into parenting because they tend to concentrate on the interests of the child.

          Today she asked why everyone is proud of Ukraine and waves Ukrainian flags when there’s a war there. I explained that Ukrainians are fighting evil and everybody admires that, so this went over well, I think.


      1. It’s a currency conversion table and for the Russian ruble the symbols are meant to evoke the Slavic word “хуй” (literally = dick, penis) used in a lot of…. colorful expressions.
        Also in Russian it can mean ‘nothing’ ‘fuck all’….


  2. I agree with el – Clarissa, you particularly concerned about inflicting any kind of emotional trauma on your child, but I don’t think anything like that will happen in this situation.

    And if you ever need to resort to a simple narrative, there’s always Putin. He’s responsible for the deaths of Ukrainians and of Russian soldiers.

    Finally, here’s a link to a Ukrainian channel from Ukraine that my mom sent me. She said to watch it if I don’t want apocalyptic news :


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