«I wanted to make it more Ukrainian,» – memories of dissident Levko Lukyanenko about the adoption of the Constitution

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It’s impossible to change the Constitution under the pressure of either enemies or friends, the Hero of Ukraine Levko Lukyanenko emphasized.
Constitution of Ukraine

Constitution of Ukraine

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Today is the 26th anniversary of the adoption of the Ukrainian Constitution. The Basic Law formalized the young state, its authorities and the basic principles of Ukrainian statehood. We have prepared quotes from memoirs of the late Verkhovna Rada deputy, co-founder of the Ukrainian Helsinki Group and author of the Act of Independence of Ukraine, Levko Lukyanenko, about the role of the Constitution.

In those conditions, we did the maximum we could

«The Communists were categorically against Ukraine adopting its Constitution. The year before, we signed an agreement between each deputy and president, where the Verkhovna Rada undertook to write a Constitution a year later. They postponed it till the last moment. Then, [President] Kuchma decided to fit everyone and said that if there is no Constitution by June 28, he will dissolve Parliament. On June 27, everyone sat down to vote and worked all day and all night until the morning of June 28.»

I proposed many amendments to make it more Ukrainian

«The constitution we have now is the basic law of the Ukrainian Soviet people, not the Ukrainian nation. I would reconsider a lot, but in the conditions of 1996, we did the maximum we could, because the Constitution is always a compromise. I proposed many amendments to make it more Ukrainian, but they were not passed.»

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The Constitution reflects the state in which the people are

«The Constitution reflects the state of the people, the nation and the balance of power within the nation. Therefore, it is impossible to change the Constitution under the pressure of either enemies or friends. To agree to the terms of those who gather in Minsk, or under pressure from Putin, is to lose one’s sovereignty, national pride, and become a grindstone in the international political arena.»

Russia has always sought to absorb Ukraine

«There were two constitutional commissions – from the president and the Verkhovna Rada. The latter proposed that the President adopt the Constitution in a referendum and form a bicameral parliament. This was done to break the Basic Law. This would mean that the referendum would have to be held endlessly. Thank God, we rejected this idea as well. We in the constitutional commission from the Verkhovna Rada then made sure that the Constitution was adopted by the Verkhovna Rada, and the parliament was unicameral.»

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«Russia has always sought to absorb Ukraine, if not entirely, then at least in pieces. This would be easier to do if we were divided and part of Parliament was formed from territories. That is why the Muscovites were imposing on us both the federal system and the bicameral parliament.»

If you don’t like something, change it for the better

«Fighting, not running away, is my principle, which I have followed all my life. If you don’t like something, change it for the better.»

We should elect real patriots

«We need to raise the national consciousness of citizens and help our soldiers at the front to successfully defeat the Muscovites. The next step is for citizens to become more politically active and to elect true patriots to the position of President and to the Verkhovna Rada.»

The country’s main document was adopted by the Verkhovna Rada for the fifth year after the proclamation of Ukraine’s independence – on the night of June 27-28, 1996. After almost a day of continuous work in the session hall, the deputies still approved the document by 315 votes. On the same day, the Constitution of Ukraine entered into force. The adoption of the Constitution consolidated the legal foundations of independent Ukraine, its sovereignty and territorial integrity.

Materials used from Dyvys.info and Uain.press

Prepared by Roman Tyshchenko-Lamanskyi, translated by Vitalii Holich

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