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06 July 2021

Ukraine must strive to 'gain trust' of citizens in efforts to reform

A King’s College London academic believes there are two options before Ukraine as it enters its fourth decade of reform efforts with renewed steps against corruption: govern with trust or muddle through.

Dr Berenson believes Ukraine is at a 'crossroads'.

Faced with those stark choices, Dr Marc P. Berenson argues that, if Ukraine wants to consolidate its transition to the rule of law and build a well-functioning state, the government must eschew coercion and “gain the trust” of citizens through co-operation.

In his book, Taxes and Trust: From Coercion to Compliance in Poland, Russia and Ukraine, Dr Berenson charts the paths of the three countries following communism’s collapse at the start of the 1990s, citing the different approaches taken by Poland and Russia and how they might influence and impact the path taken by Ukraine.

Dr Berenson, from the Russia Institute at King’s College London, told the Partnership for Conflict, Crime and Security Research: “Governance is not a zero-sum game – it is not about the state versus society, or the state needing to be more powerful than society in order to fulfil its tasks. The two can work hand-in-hand, and this book argues that in order for the state to govern well it needs to gain the trust of its citizens.”

The book builds on the research carried out by Dr Berenson as part of a project funded by the Economics and Social Research Council. The project, Re-Creating the State: Governance, Civil Society and Trust in Poland, Russia and Ukraine, explored how Poland, Russia, and Ukraine implement tax policy and work to improve tax compliance.

Taxes and Trust: From Coercion to Compliance in Poland, Russia and Ukraine is available from Cambridge University Press as an open access publication here.

In this story

Marc P Berenson

Senior Lecturer, King's Russia Institute