This article compares social welfare attitudes in two major societies with the postsocialist social welfare regime, Poland and Russia. The aim of the article is to identify the differences in the ‘request for welfare’ among Poles and Russians at the beginning of the Great Recession of 2008 and after its end in 2016-17 by comparing the countries between themselves and in time. The European Social Survey (ESS) data of the 4th and 8th rounds (2008, 2016) are used to contrast the expectations of the scope of welfare, justice in distributing unemployment benefits for various target groups as well as opinions on the negative moral and social consequences of the welfare state. In both countries, the majority support a society with low inequality, but Poles believe much more often that social benefits have negative moral consequences. More Russians expect unconditional financial support from the state and have lower views of the role of social benefits in reducing inequality. Linear regressions also show that the ‘request for welfare’ in Poland is higher among the lower educated respondents and those with high score on the basic value of Security, while in Russia these links are not significant. To sum up, expectations of the comprehensive role of the welfare state are much more widespread in Russia as compared to Poland, despite the market reforms and despite both countries representing a common type of the welfare state.