Andrey Kurkov the famous Ukrainian writer provides a clear insight into the mentalities of the 'two sides' of Ukraine.
People involved in business is a good example explained here:
So what really divides Ukraine?
It’s a clash of two mentalities — the post-Soviet collective mentality, where people lack initiative and are taught to depend on the boss or factory owner for perks. And people who start businesses and take responsibility themselves.
In Donbass (in the east) you won’t find many small businesses. But if you check the register in Lvov, you’ll see tens of thousands.
He makes a good point. On a visit to Lvov in the far west of Ukraine you will find many small businesses. In the service sector many small cafes and restaurants can be found in Lviv (Lvov) and the owner of each business can be found actively working on the premises and greeting customers. This is pretty much like it is across Europe.
But.....even in Kyiv the capital city it is still unusual to find a small business in the service sector where the owner(s) have hands on experience. The situation is at its most extreme in the troubled eastern parts of the country. Very few small businesses and very few people involved in entrepreneurial activities. Some will claim it is due to the fear of the local mafia who want to control as much as possible. We all know that the words mafia and local government can be used together in this part of the country.
Kurkov is right when he explains the 'post soviet collective mentality', where people are fully reliant on the local factory or owners to provide everything for the 'workers'. Many in other parts of Ukraine will gladly comment that ''Those people in the east think we owe them a living''.
On a positive note, small businesses in many parts of Ukraine (owner managed) are desperate to find new customers both local and foreign. We must do all we can to help them.