24th Anniversary of the Independence of Ukraine
The 24th of August marks the Independence Day of Ukraine. Traditions of Ukrainian statehood go back to the first millennium when the Kiev Rus Kingdom was established. Although the Kiev Rus Kingdom was a monarchy, it had strong democratic traditions. Thus, the Golden Trident – national emblem of both the Kiev Rus Kingdom and modern Ukraine – was symbolizing three branches of power: the one of the King (executive power), the one of the Wise Men who were applying the Ruska Pravda – a kind of Constitution of the Kingdom (judicial power) and the one of the Viche – People’s Gathering that acted as an ad hoc Parliament (legislative power).
After the Kiev Rus Kingdom had been destroyed as a result of civil wars and Mongolian invasion in XIII century, the Ukrainian statehood took the form of the Kozak State that existed on the territory of modern Central and Southern Ukraine and had active diplomatic relations with many European countries, including the Ottoman Empire.
When all of Ukraine was occupied by the Russian Empire in XVIII century, Ukrainian democratic traditions were interrupted and resumed only after collapse of the Empire in 1917. However, the independent Ukraine of that time – the Ukrainian People’s Republic – had existed only until 1920 when it was reoccupied by the Soviet Russia.
Only after Ukraine had become an independent state on the 24th of August 1991 the truly democratic development was resumed. Twice in the modern history of Ukraine (in 2005 and 2014) corrupt and antidemocratic rulers were removed from power by the Ukrainian people.
It is very unfortunate that today part of Ukraine’s territory is under foreign occupation. Having violated the basic principles of the international law and its own guarantees of security given to Ukraine according to the Budapest Memorandum, Russia occupied Ukraine’s Crimea and invaded the Donbas area in the South-East of Ukraine, where Moscow supports separatists who are fighting Ukraine. The aggressive policy of Russia supported by an extremely high level of ultra-nationalistic sentiments of part of its people is now seen all around the world as a serious threat to the world’s stability and security. However, the foreign aggression has not been able and will not be able to interrupt the democratic development of our country. Today Ukraine goes back to the family of European Nations to which it has always belonged.