28 June 2020

Today, Ukraine celebrates the Day of its Constitution – the Basic Law, which, in theory, should be an unshakable foundation for civil rights and obligations, a document streamlining relations between government bodies, between authorities and society.

The Constitution reflects the fundamental principle of our social compact: activities of the state are determined by the rights and freedoms of citizen, as well as their guarantees, and not vice versa. It is the Ukrainian people who, having adopted the Constitution, gave restrictive instructions to the state, and not the state that gave us a list of rights and freedoms. And it is the state that is responsible to an individual for how these rights are exercised and protected.

Many generations of our ancestors dreamed of a state governed by the laws of morality and reason. Unfortunately, during the 24 years since the adoption of the Constitution, it was so often violated, re-written, customized to the desires and personal interests of presidents, political groups and external “curators” that very little was left of the primary idea enshrined in the document. And too often the authorities defiantly ignore requirements of the Constitution: we saw it in recent years how the articles guaranteeing the free development of the Russian language, giving social guarantees, those on the separation of the Church from the state and non-interference of the state in the affairs of the Church were not followed absolutely. The peak of political voluntarism was the introduction of provisions on the course of Ukraine towards integration into the EU and NATO into the text of the Constitution – without holding a referendum, on the understanding that this issue is splitting our society. This was made possible, not least, because of the silent agreement of citizens: Ukrainians simply did not come out to defend their Constitution. The silence of society gives rise to all-permissiveness of the authorities. I believe that in the near future, the Constitution will become a real value for every citizen of Ukraine, helping to realize and exercise their rights. I very much hope that a travesty of the Constitution will remain in the past. Ukrainian politicians, branches of power, political institutions should return to the constitutional framework – only in this way we can ensure peace, unity of the country, order and efficient development of Ukraine.

Happy Constitution Day!

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