Marc Berenson's unique surveys of Poles, Russians, and Ukrainians, conducted from 2004 to 2012 regarding their attitudes towards paying taxes, illustrate that Polish citizens express a far greater willingness and support for paying taxes than Russian citizens, who, in turn, are more willing taxpayers than Ukrainian citizens. Unlike Poles, whose compliance is related to their trust in the state, and Russians, whose compliance is related to their fear of the state, Ukrainians, showing the lowest support for tax obedience, have reacted to state efforts to increase compliance with less fear and little trust. This suggests that post-transition governments must find ways to create and build up levels of trust on the part of citizens in their state, but that bridging the exceptionally high and long-held levels of distrust in the Ukrainian state will remain an extreme challenge for those seeking a new rule-of-law Ukraine.
Kennan Institute Global Fellow, Amb. Kenneth Yalowitz, provided discussion.