Taxes & Tyranny In Ukraine’s foundational Narrative

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.



  1. elmer

    Geez, Roman, that’s a fairly disgusting trivialization and denigration of Urkainian history, especially of the particular church.

    The Church of the Tithes (tithing is a well-known tradition throughout the world and through history) is actually the Church of Our Lady, and Walter (Volodymyr) the Great built it on the basis of tithing, which gave it its popular name.

    See, for example,

    Borodin wrote an opera about Prince Ihor – a great piece of music, including the Polovetsian Dances.

  2. Roman

    It seems clear that Volodymyr made many moves to strengthen his family’s political control over the ancient tribes:

    – Having chronicles written that, among other things, glorified his grandmother’s military victory over the Dereviany tribe.

    – Bringing Christianity to Ukraine and in doing so uniting politics and religions and displacing competing centers of power — i.e. all pagan Gods.

  3. elmer


    Volodymyr brought Christianity to Ukraine by force.

    Religion, indeed, was used as a tool of unification in multiple instance throughout history.

    That included “uniting” religion and politics.

    Constantine started a very bad tradition which, fortunately, ended or at least was moderated when people finally figured out separation of church and state and freedom of religion.

    Even the commies instituted their own religion as a political tool to enhance and to try to preserve their own power.

    The writings of lenin were taught as if they were the Holy Gospel. There was more in the religion of commienism.

    In Rasha, they still don’t believe in freedom of religion. Or in separation of church and state.

    Rasha is an even worse sewer than Zookraine.


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