The 28th of June is the Day of Constitution of Ukraine. Traditions of the Ukrainian constitutionalism go back to the XI century when the Constitution of Kievan Rus’called Ruska Pravda was adopted. Norms of this Constitution used to be applied all over the territory of Kievan Rus’ that included today’s Ukraine. A kind of division of powers already existed in this ancient state. Thus, according to one of the scientific theories, the Trident – national emblem of both Kievan Rus’ and modern Ukraine – was symbolizing powers of the King (executive power), the Judges who were applying Ruska Pravda (judicial power) and the Viche – People’s Gathering that acted as an ad hoc Parliament (legislative power).
After Kievan Rus’ had been destroyed as a result of civil wars and Mongolian invasion in the XIII century, the Ukrainian statehood took the form of 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. The Constitution of Kozak State was written by a Ukrainian statesman Pilip Orlik who had to migrate to the Ottoman Empire in order to save his life from Russia’s persecution.
When all of Ukraine was occupied by the Russian Empire in the XVIII century, the Ukrainian constitutional traditions were interrupted and resumed only after collapse of the Empire in 1917. Soviet Ukraine had its own Constitution that mirrored norms of the Constitution of the USSR.
Only after Ukraine had become an independent state in 1991 the truly democratic constitutional process started. The result of this process is modern Constitution of Ukraine that was adopted on the 28th of June 1996. This document defined judicial grounds of the independent Ukraine, its sovereignty and territorial integrity. The adoption of the Constitution has become an important step in protecting human rights in Ukraine and facilitated development of democracy in the country. The Constitution established a clear division of powers and officially confirmed that all citizens of Ukraine are equal irrespective of their racial, ethnic, religious, gender, lingual and political identity.
Today’s Ukraine is a country of its people that is being developed and protected from external and internal challenges by its people according to the Constitution adopted for its people 22 years ago.