Citizens’ Perception of Corruption and Transparency as Determinants of Public Trust in Local Government in Ukraine
The Government of Ukraine is currently carrying out the decentralization and institutional reforms, designed to transform local governments and make them more efficient and effective. The constant drive for reform implementation is largely dependent on how citizens perceive the improvements of local government and local conditions through initial reforms, though attempts to ensure a positive perception take place in a difficult environment of the inherited low level of trust in public authorities. Studying the issue of citizens’ trust in government on the example of amalgamated territorial communities helps us to see whether the emphasis on local self-government can ensure a promising approach to strengthening political stabilization and state-building in Ukraine and beyond. In the light of decentralization initiatives, this paper offers a unique perspective on the long-range impacts of the Soviet legacy that left an imprint on the structure of local governments and in the consciousness and expectations of citizens. The findings demonstrate a complex nature of the relationship between the variables and indicate some important issues regarding transparency and its perception that should be considered when developing policies aimed at reducing corruption and improving public confidence in local governments. The author conclude that along with emphasis on local self-government, adherence to democratic principles and the rule of law are crucial in building and strengthening the relations between citizens and the state.