It was rarely a problem for me in a personal way in the course of a month in Kiev and visiting a few places outside of it.
The main thing was my landlady and a similar person who was supervising me, and the bus situation. In another example I was at the Pechersk Lavra and I asked a random visitor for directions in Russian. He asked "Do you speak Ukrainian?" I said "Badly" in Russian. He repeated that to himself slowly and tensely. Then he gave me directions. (weird).
what do you expect??!? them to brighten with joy that you're a guest of ukraine speaking to ukrainians in the langauge of their former occupiers??
if you think you were treated bad try speaking russian to random people in lithuania, latvia, estonia - i hope you know how to fight if you try
Khello Зантрон. When I talk with American Indians I use English, when I talk with Irish I speak English, and when I talk with native people from Mexico I use Spanish. I think people should just understand that speaking a language does not make you offensive.
I am not sure it is right to call Russia the conqueror of Ukraine either, because much of Ukraine, like the Cossack region, developed together with Russia. In fact, some Cossacks were especially loyal to the Tsar. In fact, many OCA people did not have a particularly negative feeling about Russia when they emigrated to America.
But going back to more examples, if I went to India and spoke English there I think it would be OK. And even though Vietnam actually forced out the empires (unlike Ukraine where it was voluntary), I would be OK with speaking English or French and I assume Vietnamese would not have so much of an issue with my language per se.
Regarding Latvia and Estonia, if I had to talk to someone in English and they did not understand me, Yes I would talk in Russian. If I have to go to the bathroom for example I am hardly going to hold it for hours or try to signal to them with my hands what I mean because of nationalist ignorance.
The big inside joke is that depending on when your grandparents came to America you were either Russian, Slovak, "Hungrish", "Slavish", "Hunky" , Carpathian-Russian, Rusyn or Ukrainian. You were either Greek Catholic, Orthodox, both or neither. You were Patriarchal Russians, ROCOR, Metropolia, OCA, Ruthenian Greek Catholic, UGCC, UOC or ACROD. You all came from the same region, even some from the same villages. You fought like cats and dogs, you built five or six churches in the same coal or factory patch, you ate the same foods, sang the same Carols, told the same stories, married each other's sisters and daughters and fought like cats and dogs.
Today we get along and lift a glass to our ancestors and the "good old days."