Russians Despise Living in Debt, Laxer About Tax Evasion – ­ Poll

Cash, Calculator, Pen

(RIA Novosti – MOSCOW, August 14, 2013) ­ The vast majority of Russians see not paying their debts as an ethically unacceptable act, whereas they are much more willing to suspend moral judgment on tax evasion, a new poll showed Wednesday.

Only 3 percent of the respondents said that leaving a debt unpaid was acceptable, compared with 95 percent who condemned it and 2 percent who were undecided, according to the survey, conducted by the independent Levada Center pollster in mid-July.

Nineteen percent were unopposed to cheating on their taxes, compared with 75 percent who disapproved of the act, the report said.

Shoplifting was also generally frowned upon ­ only 5 percent approved of it, compared with 94 percent who did not and 1 percent who were undecided.

Draft dodging, meanwhile, was not seen as an ethical transgression by 31 percent of the respondents, compared with 64 percent who disapproved of it. Conscripts in Russia are often bullied and abused by superiors and fellow soldiers, despite numerous campaigns to end the practice.

Finally, buying stolen goods was approved of by only 9 percent of the respondents, compared with 83 percent who did not view it as acceptable. Conversely, the respondents had a much laxer attitude toward fare jumping ­ 22 percent thought it OK to get on a bus or metro train without paying, while 75 percent opposed it.

The poll, which asked for moral views on six situations, was conducted among 1,600 residents around Russia and had a statistical margin of error of 3.4 percentage points. The poll’s results showed no significant change from a similar study held by Levada in 2009.