Today it is the 309th anniversary of the first Constitution in Europe, written by Pylyp Orlyk, Ukrainian Hetman in exile. He proposed such a model of the state, where the regions received more powers, and government officials could not interfere with the self-government of cities with Magdeburg law.
By Dmytro Synyak
Interestingly enough, the text of the document refers to the strengthening of local and weakening of the central government.
According to Pylyp Orlyk’s Constitution, the legislative power had to belong not to hetman, but to the General Council, which actually fulfilled the role of the parliament. At its meetings, the General Council had to consider issues of state security and “common good”, listen to hetman’s reports, raise the issue of distrust of him and elect the general officer (government) under hetman’s submission. In general, the entire work of Pylyp Orlyk was permeated with the idea of limiting the powers of hetman and his immediate surrounding. In accordance with the provisions of the Orlyk’s Constitution, hetman had no right to dispose of the state treasure and lands, conduct his own personnel and foreign policy. As a salary, he received certain state-owned estates with clearly defined profits, but only for a duration of his tenure.
The Ukrainian Constitution of 1710 preceded the Constitutions of the United States of America, France and Poland, being clearly ahead of its time. Perhaps that was the reason for it not to be ratified.
This document is currently kept in the National Archives of Sweden in Stockholm, and the Ukrainian-language original is stored in Moscow.
The full version is available in Ukrainian – please click HERE
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