I have been in Ukraine for barely three months and am still confused on the stance of the country with regards to diversity and integration. The country is divided into two groups concerning diversity; a younger elite and diverse generation, and a Soviet Union-era nationalist generation . Majority of the younger generation speak at least one foreign language, are glad to meet and learn from people from other ethnicities and cultures. They offer help to stranded foreigners irrespective of race, gender or religion. On the other hand, the older generation barely speak any foreign language and some may get offended at your inability to speak the local language. They are much reserved and do not put up a welcoming face. Your level of contact with these two different groups will affect your worldview of Ukraine's diversity.
Judging based on personal experiences, I conclude that, diversity in Ukraine is below global expectation. Even in Kiev, the capital city, one can seldom see other cultures apart from that of Ukraine on display. There is a silent fear among minorities, particularly blacks to be expressive of their culture. Walking alone deep in the night as a person of colour comes with its own risk because of skinheads. Some landlords do not rent apartment to blacks and some residents do not want black neighbours.
Other race and ethnicities, particularly blacks are rarely represented in the media, and in majority of instances that they are represented, the publicity is negative(poverty, famine, diseases, drugs...etc)
I am now used to some old folks giggling when I join a bus, kids rooted to the spot when they catch a sight of me and occasionally old folks covertly avoiding to sit beside me in a bus or subway metro.
Ukraine recognizes itself as a country of immigration on a governmental level. The country has opened her borders to foreigners for academic, tourism and business purposes. The government is putting in measures to become a member of the European Union. Institutions are working hard to embrace the globalization and diversity vision of the European Union and Police racial profiling is on the low.
Notwithstanding the great measures towards diversity at governmental level, Ukraine cannot be recognized as a country of immigration because majority of the citizens are yet to catch the diversity and integration vision. I am yet to see inter-racial couples; involving black men and a white women exhibiting their affection in public like their all-white counterparts. This is because a section of the society is against race-mixing and may even blowup if it involves a dark skinned person. A lot of black males have reported being attacked at night clubs because they were with a Ukrainian lady and just recently, a Moroccan student was found dead near a nightclub in Kharkov. Unconfirmed reports claim he was stabbed and the incident is likely to be racially motivated. I am yet to see an African, Asian or South American cultural troop perform publicly. Many people of colour organize their events in closed doors or on University campuses particularly to avoid any public repercussions .
Majority of the foreigners here are students and about 90% plan to return to their countries upon completion of their studies particularly due to race related issues.
Notwithstanding the above setbacks, I see a racial and culturally diverse Ukraine in the next two decades. I am motivated by the more open-minded, "global centric" younger generation who will fill the four corners of Ukraine and embrace diversity and integration.