«Russia has always sought to absorb Ukraine.» From the memories of how Ukraine adopted the Constitution

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Hero of Ukraine Levko Lukyanenko emphasized that the Constitution cannot be changed under pressure from either enemies or friends.

Today (June 28, 2023 – Lviv Now) is the 27th anniversary of the adoption of the Constitution of Ukraine. The main law shaped the young state, its governing bodies, and the fundamental principles of Ukrainian statehood. Lviv Now prepared quotes from the memoirs highlighting the role of the Constitution by the late Ukrainian parliament member, public and political figure, co-founder of the Ukrainian Helsinki Group, and author of the Act of Declaration of Independence of Ukraine, Levko Lukyanenko.

Levko Lukyanenko

Under those conditions, we did the best we could

«The communists were categorically against Ukraine adopting its own Constitution. A year before that, we made an agreement between each deputy and the president, where the Verkhovna Rada (Ukrainian parliament – Lviv Now) committed to writing the Constitution within a year. They dragged it out until the last moment. Then Kuchma (Ukrainian President in 1994-2005 – Lviv Now) decided to push everyone and said that if there is no Constitution by June 28, he would dissolve the Parliament. On June 27, everyone gathered to vote and worked all day and throughout the night until the morning of June 28.»

He 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 have revised a lot of it, but under the conditions of 1996, we did the best we could because the Constitution is always a compromise. I proposed many amendments to make it more Ukrainian, but they did not pass.»

The Constitution reflects the state of the people

«The Constitution reflects the state of the people, the nation, and the balance of power within the nation. Therefore, nobody can change the Constitution under pressure from either enemies or friends. Agreeing to the conditions of those gathering in Minsk or under the pressure of Putin would mean losing our own sovereignty, national pride, and becoming fodder 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 presidential one proposed to adopt the Constitution in a referendum and establish a bicameral parliament. It was done to undermine the Basic Law. It would have meant that the referendum would have been held endlessly. Thank God we rejected this idea as well. In the constitutional commission from the Parliament, we made sure that Parliament adopted the Constitution and that the Parliament was unicameral.»

«Russia has always sought to absorb Ukraine, whether in whole or in part. It would have been easier to do so if we were divided and if a portion of the Parliament was formed based on territories. That’s why the Muscovites tried to impose both a federal system and a bicameral parliament upon us.»

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

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

We need to elect true patriots to the positions of power

«We need to raise the national consciousness of citizens and help our soldiers at the front so they can successfully defeat the Muscovites. The next step is for citizens to become more politically active and elect true patriots to the Presidency and the Parliament.»

The Parliament adopted the Constitution in the fifth year after Ukraine’s independence was declared – on June 27-28 night, 1996. After almost a day of continuous work in the session hall, MPs finally adopted the document with 315 votes. On the same day, the Constitution of Ukraine came into force. The adoption of the Constitution consolidated the legal foundations of an independent Ukraine, its sovereignty, and territorial integrity.

Materials used from Dyvys.info and Uain.press

Translated by Yulian Lahun

Follow us on Facebook and Instagram. Lviv Now is an English-language website for Lviv, Ukraine’s «tech-friendly cultural hub.» It is produced by Tvoe Misto («Your City») media hub, which hosts regular problem-solving public forums to benefit the city and its people.

 



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