I have a new perspective on the stories I learned as a child in the Ukrainian Saturday school run by New York City’s St. George Church.
I see tax stories!
The first king of the Rurik dynasty was named Oleg. (He displaced two local kings, Askold & Dyr, about whom we know little.) Oleg’s son Ihor was killed whilst collecting taxes by the Dereviany (people of the woods) tribe.
The chronicles which were commissioned by Ihor’s grandson then tell the story of Ihor’s wife, Olha herocially conquering the Dereviany to shore up the integrity of the Kyiv Rus empire.
Tax story #2:
There’s a church whose foundation still exists as a tourist site in Ukraine. It’s called the Desiatynna Church (10% Church) build by Ihor’s grandson Volodymyr. There was 10% taxation, apparently to build the church. Think about it — 10% taxation to build one measly church. It seems the mass corruption which surrounded the building of stadiums for Ukraine’s co-hosting of Eurocup 2012 has a deep and profound tradition.