To the thirtieth anniversary of the Declaration on the State Sovereignty and the Act of Independence of Ukraїna adoptions
It has been thirty years since Verkhovna Rada of Ukraїnian Soviet Socialist Republic adopted the Declaration on the State Sovereignty of Ukraїna on July 16, 1990. It was an event that marked a turning point in Ukraїna’s history and is perhaps more significant than Ukraїna’s declaration of independence on August 24, 1991.
The Act of Independence of Ukraїna is a short document in which Verkhovna Rada of Ukraїnian SSR “solemnly proclaims the creation of an independent Ukraїnian state — UKRAЇNA” in view of the “mortal danger looming over Ukraїna in connection with the coup d’etat in the USSR on August 19, 1991”, “continuing the millennial tradition of state-building in Ukraїna”, “based on the right to self-determination provided by the UN Charter and other international legal documents” and “implementing Declaration on the State Sovereignty of Ukraїna”. In the same Act, the Verkhovna Rada declared the territory of Ukraine “indivisible and inviolable”, declaring that “from now on, only the Constitution and laws of Ukraїna are valid on the territory of Ukraine”. By a separate resolution, Verkhovna Rada subordinated all military formations stationed on the territory of Ukraїna to Verkhovna Rada of Ukraїna, formed the Ministry of Defense of Ukraїna and instructed the Government of Ukraїna to “start creating the Armed Forces of Ukraїna, the Republican Guard and Verkhovna Rada Security Service unit, the Cabinet of Ministers and the National Bank of Ukraїna”.
Thus, the Declaration of State Sovereignty of Ukraїna, adopted by Verkhovna Rada of Ukraїnian SSR on July 16, 1990, remained the basic legal document of Ukraїna’s independence. In this document, Verkhovna Rada of Ukrainian SSR defined itself as a subject of the “people of Ukraine” and itself as an expression of its will to the “people of Ukraine” with the desire to create a democratic society based on the needs of comprehensive human rights and freedoms, respecting the national rights of all peoples, caring for the full political, economic, social and spiritual development of the people of Ukraїna, recognizing the need to build the rule of law, aiming to establish the sovereignty and self-government of the people of Ukraїna. So, the “state sovereignty of Ukraїna as the supremacy, independence, completeness and indivisibility of the power of the Republic within its territory and independence and equality in foreign relations” was proclaimed.
The first slogan of the Declaration was “Self-determination of the Ukraїnian nation”, which was detailed as follows: “The Ukraїnian SSR as a sovereign nation-state is developing within existing borders on the basis of the Ukrainian nation’s exercise of its inalienable right to self-determination”. The Ukraїnian SSR protects and safeguards the national statehood of Ukraїnian people. Any violent actions against the national statehood of Ukraine by political parties, public organizations, other groups or individuals are prosecuted by law”.
The legislator defined “Democracy” as the second slogan, declaring that “citizens of the Republic of all nationalities constitute the people of Ukraїna. The people of Ukraine are the only source of state power in the Republic. The sovereignty of the people of Ukraїna is exercised on the basis of the Constitution of the Republic both directly and through people’s deputies elected to the Supreme and local Soviets of Ukraїnian SSR. Only Verkhovna Rada of the Ukraїnian SSR may act on behalf of the entire people. No political party, public organization, other group or individual may act on behalf of the entire people of Ukraїna”.
The third slogan defines the concept of “State power”, the detailing of which emphasized that “state power in the Republic is exercised on the principle of its division into legislative, executive and judicial. The highest supervision over the exact and uniform implementation of laws is exercised by the Prosecutor General of Ukraїnian SSR, who is appointed by Verkhovna Rada of Ukrainian SSR, is accountable to it and is accountable only to it”.
The fourth slogan defines “Citizenship of Ukraїnian SSR”, which was interpreted as follows: “Ukraїnian SSR has its own citizenship and guarantees every citizen the right to retain citizenship of the USSR.” All citizens of Ukraїnian SSR are guaranteed the rights and freedoms provided for by the Constitution of Ukraїnian SSR and the norms of international law recognized by Ukraїnian SSR. Ukraїnian SSR ensures equality before the law of all citizens of the Republic, regardless of origin, social and property status, race and nationality, sex, education, language, political views, religious beliefs, occupation and nature of occupation, place of residence and other circumstances. Ukraїnian SSR regulates immigration processes. Ukraїnian SSR is concerned and takes measures to protect and defend the interests of the citizens of Ukraїnian SSR who are outside the Republic“.
The fifth slogan warns of “Territorial Supremacy”, which UkrSSR “exercises supremacy throughout its territory.” “The territory of Ukraїnian SSR within the existing borders is inviolable and cannot be changed and used without its consent. The Ukraїnian SSR independently determines the administrative-territorial structure of the Republic and the procedure for forming national-administrative units”.
The sixth slogan is “Economic independence”. Ukraїne’s economic independence was justified by the intention to independently determine its economic status and enshrine it in law. It is emphasized that “the people of Ukraїna have the exclusive right to own, use and dispose of the national wealth of Ukraїna. Land, its subsoil, airspace, water and other natural resources located within the territory of Ukraїnian SSR, natural resources of its continental shelf and exclusive (marine) economic zone, all economic and scientific and technical potential created on the territory of Ukraїna are property of its people, the material basis of the sovereignty of the Republic and are used to meet the material and spiritual needs of its citizens. Ukraїnian SSR has the right to its share in the all-Union wealth, in particular in the all-Union diamond and currency funds and gold reserves, which was created thanks to the efforts of the people of the Republic”.
As Ukraїna’s state sovereignty was considered in the framework of a potential “new union treaty”, the idea of which was promoted by Mikhail Gorbachev, Verkhovna Rada of UkrSSR warned that “issues concerning the all-Union property (common property of all republics) shell be resolved on the basis of agreements between republics, the principles as with regard to this property”. “Enterprises, institutions, organizations and facilities of other states and their citizens and of international organizations may locate on the territory of Ukraїninan SSR and use the natural resources of Ukraїna in accordance with the laws of Ukraїnian SSR”. The Declaration also warned that “Ukraїnian SSR independently establishes banking (including a bank for external economic activity), pricing, financial, customs, tax system”, prepares a state budget, and. if necessary, introduces its own currency. The National Bank of Ukraїna, which is accountable to Verkhovna Rada of Ukraїnian SSR, is the highest credit institution of Ukraїnian SSR”. It is also stipulated that “enterprises, institutions, organizations and production units located on the territory of Ukraїnian SSR pay fee for use of the land, other natural and labor resources, and remit deductions from their currency receipts, as well as pay taxes to local budgets”, and UkrSSR “provides protection of all forms of ownership”.
The seventh slogan — “Environmental Safety” — was apparently due to the consequences of the Chernobyl accident, which, in fact, began the process of disintegration of USSR. The Declaration reserves UkrSSR right to independently determine “the order of organizing the protection of the environment on the territory of the Republic and procedures for the use of natural resources”, to have “its own national committee on protection of the population from radiation”, to ban construction and to holt operation of any enterprises, institutions, organizations and other entities that constitute a threat to environmental safety”, to care of “environmental safety of its citizens, the genetic stock of its people and their young generation”, as well as to have ‘the right to compensation for damages to the environment of Ukraїna brought about by the acts of the Union agencies”; the latter thesis in fact protected Moscow from material responsibility for crimes already committed against Ukraїna.
The eighth slogan — “Cultural Development” — reserved for Ukraїna the right to independently decide issues on “science, education, cultural and spiritual development of Ukraїnian nation”, guaranteed “all nationalities living on the territory of the Republic, the right to their free national and cultural development”, ensuring the national and cultural “rebirth of Ukraїnian nation, its historical consciousness and traditions, its national and ethnographic characteristics, and functioning of Ukraїnian language in all spheres of social activity”, “care for the national cultural, spiritual and linguistic needs of Ukraїnians living outside the Republic”. National, cultural and historical treasures on the territory of Ukraїnian SSR were declared “the sole property of the people of the Republic”. The right of Ukraїnian SSR “to have those of its national, cultural and historical treasures that are found outside the boarders of Ukraїnian SSR, returned to the ownership of the people of Ukraїna” was declared.
The ninth slogan — “External and Internal Security” — declared the right of Ukraїnian SSR to its own Armed Forces, internal troops and organs of state security, which are subordinate to Verkhovna Rada of Ukraїnian SSR, and also to determine the order of military service. It was separately emphasized that “citizens of Ukraїnian SSR perform their active military service, as a rule, on the territory of the Republic and may not be used for military purposes beyond its boarders without Verkhovna Rada of Ukraїnian SSR concent”. Here it was solemnly announced the intention of UkrSSR to become “in the future, a permanently neutral state that does not participate in military blocs and adheres to three nuclear-free principles: not to accept, not to produce and not to acquire nuclear weapons”.
The tenth and last slogan is “International Relations”. Ukraїnian SSR proclaimed itself “as a principal of international law” and its intention to carry out “direct relations with other states”, to enter into agreements with them, to exchange “diplomatic, consular, and trade missions”, to participate “in the activities of international organizations to the full extent necessary in order to secure effectively the Republic’s national interests in political, economic, environmental, informational, scientific, technical, cultural and sports spheres”, to act as an “equal participant in international affairs”, to actively promote “strengthening of world peace and international security”, and to participate directly in the all-European process and European structures”. The Ukraїnian SSR declared its recognition of the superiority of “universal human values over class values and the primacy of universally accepted standards of international law over standards of internal state law”.
As Verkhovna Rada adopted the Declaration in the context of the “new Union treaty”, the document specifically states that “the relations of the Ukraїnian SSR with other Soviet republics are based on agreements concluded on the principles of equality, mutual respect and non-interference in internal affairs” and that “the Declaration is the basis for the new Constitution, laws of Ukraїna and determines the position of the Republic in concluding international agreements. The principles of the Declaration of Sovereignty of Ukraїne are used to conclude a union treaty”.
Researchers of the Declaration of State Sovereignty of Ukraїna point out that Verkhovna Rada adopted the document during the actual “collapse of USSR”, when “interethnic tensions in Asian and Caucasian republics sometimes erupted into bloody inter-ethnic clashes”, when Lithuania declared its independence from USSR, and Latvia and Estonia “were actively preparing for the restoration of independence”. And “on the streets of Ukrainian cities, Ukrainian Interparty Assembly has already registered citizens of Ukrainian People’s Republic”. The adoption of the Declaration, in fact, was a reaction to the results of the All-Union referendum “on the preservation of USSR” (March 17, 1991). During this referendum, at the insistence of People’s Movement of Ukraїne for Perestroika, a “consultative poll” was conducted with the question: “Do you agree that Ukraїne should be part of Union of Sovereign Republics on the basis of the Declaration of Sovereignty of Ukraїna?”. More than 80% of respondents answered yes to the question. Researchers also underline that “the content of the question not only did not coincide with the issue of the union referendum, but even denied it”. In addition, “from the text of the Ukraїnian the word ‘socialism’, which is critical for CPSU, ‘fell out’”. In addition, the question sounded like a completely different name for the union state: not the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, but the Union of Sovereign Republics. Finally, the Declaration defined the superiority of the Constitution and legislation of Ukraine over the legislation of the new union state.
According to researchers, Verkhovna Rada actually adopted the Declaration on State Sovereignty of UkrSSR in pursuance of the resolution “On State Sovereignty of Ukraine” decided “under public pressure” by the XXVIII Communist Party of Ukraїna Congress, and therefore the Declaration text should be considered a compromise. At the same time, the Declaration final text includes changes and additions made by People’s Movement of Ukraїna peoples deputies, thanks to whom Ukraїnian Declaration “is far ahead of Russia’s declarations and adopted at the CPU Congress”. It is believed that “this was actually a program to build an independent state”. The declaration really “gave impetus and direction to the process of forming an independent state”. After all, “almost all the provisions of the Declaration contradicted the then UkrSSR Constitution”, and its principles were to be “used to conclude a new union treaty.”
Analysts emphasize that the Declaration “was perceived ambiguously” in Ukrainian society. As an example, there is the position of already mentioned Ukrainian Inter-Party Assembly, which “already registered citizens of Ukrainian People’s Republic” and which “perceived it as a CPU propaganda act”. Indeed, in the first article of the Declaration, “UkrSSR is presented as a ‘sovereign national state’, although under the constitution in force at the time it was a union republic with limited sovereignty”, had no armed forces of its own, no diplomatic relations with countries outside the Soviet bloc, had the right to determine the social order”, and according to the official ideology, it was an international entity. It lacked its citizens and sovereign power to constitute UkrSSR as a state”.
If, the researchers write, “Central Rada’s Fourth Universal proclaimed Ukraїnian People’s Republic a Ukraїnian people state, then in the Declaration the Ukraїnian people occupy a marginal position. It is mentioned separately from ‘all nationalities living in the territory of the Republic’. If the Declaration guarantees free national and cultural development to ‘all nationalities’, then Ukraїnians of Ukraїnian SSR only ‘ensure national and cultural revival’. But there are no guarantees of free development”. And further: “The Declaration proclaimed the people of Ukraїna as the only source of power in Ukraїnian SSR. And the people of Ukraїna are defined as citizens of the Republic of all nationalities. At the time of the Declaration adoption, UkrSSR Constitution was in force. Thus, UkrSSR did not have its own citizenship. Its territory was completely inhabited by citizens of USSR, so the people of Ukraine did not exist. The source of power at the time of the Declaration adoption was the CPU, and not as an independent party, but as a regional unit of the CPSU. However, the adopted document did not receive the status of a constitutional act. Ukraїnian SSR remained part of USSR, so international organizations and countries did not recognize its state independence. The reason for this was the lack of authority in Verkhovna Rada of Ukraїnian SSR to decide on the withdrawal of the Republic from the Soviet Union, ie to declare Ukraїnian SSR independence. In accordance with Constitutionі of USSR and Ukraїnian SSR requirements, only Ukraїnian SSR people, as the owner of all power in the Republic, had the right to make such a decision in a referendum. The current norms of international law also obliged Verkhovna Rada of Ukraїnian SSR to hold a republican referendum”.
Nevertheless, a year later, the Declaration of State Sovereignty of Ukraїna became the cornerstone of Ukraїna Act of Independence, which was supported by an all-Ukraїnian referendum on December 1, 1991, and was defined as “the legal basis for the Constitution, laws of Ukraїna, determination of the Republic’s position in concluding international agreements”.
Declaration of State Sovereignty critics, if you paid attention, note that Ukraїna, as a USSR subject, “had no right to determine the social order on its own”. This is indeed the case. Neither in the Declaration text, nor later in the Act of Independence text, there is not even a mention of the right to determine social order. This is not accidental, and not at all because Communists, who constituted the constitutional majority in Verkhovna Rada, were interested in preserving the Soviet social order, and who were ready to build in terms of this social order a proclaimed sovereign, independent Ukraїna.
The fact is that Narodna Rada (People’s Council), a faction of People’s Movement of Ukraїna for Perestroika, which had almost 28% of the votes in Verkhovna Rada (125: 450), also did not intend to carry out systemic changes in Ukraїna. Narodna Rada as a faction along with the socio-political forces it represented, unfortunately, did not have its own concept of systemic change and strategy for development of a sovereign and independent Ukraїna. Everything they had in their reserve was somehow implemented in the Declaration of State Sovereignty, and then in the Act of Independence of Ukraїna.
Meanwhile, the Declaration of State Sovereignty opened up opportunities to reflect on the idea of systemic change, to work out the concept of replacing the Soviet authoritarian-totalitarian social order and development long-term strategy of Ukraїna. There were initiators of such changes at that time. Some of them were members of People’s Movement, some were members of the CPSU ‘Democratic Platform’, and some were Ukraїnocentric, but completely independent of any political forces. It was a small group of enthusiasts, and I was among them, who gathered to discuss the idea of systemic change in the Scholars House, in the Writers House or at Taras Shevchenko Kyїv State University. This group had something already done. Of course, we could not count on support of CPSU ‘Democratic Platform’, whose members, with the exception of its representatives in our group, flatly rejected our proposals. It is noteworthy that our proposals on preparation of systemic changes were not accepted by People’s Movement leadership as well. I personally discussed this idea with a number of Narodna Rada (People’s Council) leaders, who openly stated that “it’s not a time” to bring up this issue.
Thus, even People’s Movement of Ukraїna suited the Soviet social order, and in conditions of this social order and its way of governing the Movement was ready to build Ukraїna as a nation and state, in which, as Ivan Drach, the head of the People’s Movement leadership, stated, Russians would live better than in Russia and Jews would live better than in Israel. Talks on systemic change have thus been exhausted. The initiative group disintegrated, and after the declaration of independence, Ukraїna remained Soviet by nature. Purely formal changes were made in the way of governing: the institution of presidency was created, which in fact retained the structure, functions and powers of Communist Party of Ukraїna Central Committee with its entire vertical of power. For many decades of independent Ukraїna development, a time bomb has been laid, which in fact makes it impossible for nation and state processes to succeed.
No president, from Leonid Kravchuk to Volodymyr Zelenskyy in office, has had his own concept of systemic change or any strategy for Ukraїna’s development. Authoritarianism and administrative-command governing have defined the nature of government in Ukraїna, causing all too frequent cases of manual control. Similarly, none of numerous political parties entered Verkhovna Rada and Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraїna without their own concept of systemic change and at least some strategy for Ukraїna’s development.
During years of independence, a huge number of public organizations and “think tanks” appeared in Ukraїna, but none of these organizations and none of these “think tanks” offered Ukraїnian society an idea of systemic change throughg replacing the authoritarian-totalitarian Soviet social order and administrative-command way of governing by a qualitatively new social order and way of governing based on Ukraїnian national traditions and customs. Numerous academic institutions and universities in Ukraїna also did not show any kind of initiative.
This prompted me, as an initiative of systemic change since Ukrainian independence paticipent, to take on a difficult burden of developing the concept of systemic change and promoting it in Ukraїnian society, enlisting the support of a small group of like-minded people in Ukraїna and Ukraїnian diaspora. The result of my thirty years of reflection, based on the work of my like-minded people, has resulted in numerous articles and notes, published mainly in Internet resources and now come to people in the form of collections of articles. These articles and notes have so far only outlined proposed directions and a set of measures to promote the idea of systemic change in Ukraїnian society, scientific analysis of the idea itself and development of concepts and projects of systemic change.
The first direction, I define, is popularization of the very need for systemic changes in Ukraїnian society. At this stage, it is very important to look at what kind of social order and what kind way of government Ukraїnians inherited from the USSR and why they do not work in independent Ukraїna. Why do Ukraїnians step on the same rake in state building over and over again? What causes the mental division in Ukraїnian society, how to overcome it and how solve nation building issues? How to heal Ukraїnian society and make it strong? What components of formation and consolidation of new quality Ukraїnian society can and should be explored? Why is it necessary to develop a national idea, national ideology and form political parties of a new type? The intellectual elite and its role in creating a new political and cultural elite… This is just a fraction of what needs to be understood and rethought.
The second direction of our attention should be focused on problems and prospects of education and enlightenment. Why should education and enlightenment play a crucial role? We must return and reinforce national history through developing of thorough research and convincing debunking of Russian imperial historiography. It is necessary to popularize new historical, ethnographic and other knowledge. Ukraїnian studies should become the basis of national-patriotic parenting. Ukraїnian studies as a discipline aught to perform functions similar to those in the USSR performed the foundations of Marxism-Leninism or whatever is left of them. A wide network of Ukraїnian studies schools is needed. Ukraїnian studies should become a foundations in preschool education and general education systems. In this regard, mass training and retraining of Ukraїnian studies teachers is gaining special importance. Ukraїnian studies should become a mandatory component of the higher education system. Particular attention should be paid to postgraduate Ukraїnian studies and training of highly qualified personnel. Finally, Ukraїnian studies should take its rightful place in adult life-long education. “Prosvita” (Enlightenment) and “Znannia” (Knowledge) societies supposed to be leaders in this field, but they are not. That’s why creation of new structures for adult life-long education remains relevant — for example, a network Ukraїnian studies universities…
The third direction is the information space and mass media. Why is information space and media system important are so important for systemic qualitative changes in Ukraїnian society? The urgent task is to cleanse the Ukraїnian information space of Soviet traditions and monopolical domination of Russian and pro-Russian propaganda and, at the same time, to reliably secure and protect Ukraїna’s information sovereignty. Information sovereignty of Ukraїna and reliable protection of its information space are the key to success of both — the Ukrainization process and inevitability of systemic change. Therefore, Ukraїne need to restructure its national information space, do everything possible to reorient and redirect the current media system activities, without restricting freedom of speech. Special attention should be paid to creation and developing of counter-propaganda and special propaganda system, which was never launched since the beginning of Russia’s aggression against Ukraїna. In this regard, Ukraїnian studies education and retraining of new quality journalists is of special importance. Ukraїnian journalisticology, journalism education and improvement of journalists and media managers professional skills face new challenges. Finally, the idea of creating a well-structured public or private Ukraїnocentric media system capable of reclaiming Ukraїna’s information space and ensuring its protection and information sovereignty of Ukraїna remains urgent.
The fourth direction is strengthening of Ukraїnian national spirituality. The situation in Ukraїna’s spiritual and religious sphere remains complicated and problematic. The establishment of the Orthodox Church of Ukraїna has not yet solved the problem of division in Orthodox rite churches. Moscow Patriarchate UOC has not been liquidated and its legal status in Ukraїna has not changed. The revolt of Kyїv Patriarchate UOC the elderly patriarch Filaret was provoked not without Moscow participation. The issue of spiritual unity of Ukraїna and Ukraїnian diaspora is becoming extremely important, first of all, because in accordance to the Tomos granted to OCU, this new church is limited in its pastoral mission only to Ukraїna’s own territory. No one has seriously dealt with such a segment of Ukraїna’s spiritual space as ‘native religion’. The latter is manifested in Ukraїna by different currents, and not all of these currents are Ukrainocentric. Many ‘native religion’ centers are founded by Russian centers or are under Russian imperial influence. The emergence of a new “spiritual movement” called “AllatRa” is alarming. It reminds us of the “White Brotherhood” as an old project by special services. Of particular importance is interfaith cooperation of Ukraїnocentric religious organizations, spiritual education and outreach outside of churches and religious associations, self-learning as a path to God and spiritual growth. Finally, the idea of creating a qualitatively new religion of the future based on the synthesis of religion, philosophy and culture is actualized.
The fifth direction is organizational issues of preparation for systemic changes. The state of numerous Ukraїnian political parties and movements, public associations is of serious concern because of their Ukrainianness and indifference, their inability and unwillingness to raise the level of national consciousness and civic maturity of Ukraїnian society and bring it together and unite it to solve pressing problems and prepare for systemic changes. There is an urgent need to create qualitatively new Ukrainocentric ideological parties and movements and Ukrainocentric public associations of professional interest. Scholars draw attention to the need of raising political culture on Ukraїnian studies basis. A vision of Ukraїnian national idea, a clear justification of ideology, a strategic vision of Ukraїna’s development for decades to come, methodology, etc. have to become mandatory elements of political parties, movements and public associations programs. Working with local communities, grass root movements, able to quickly organize society and in the shortest possible time to nominate leaders and candidates for government remain a dream. Ukraїnian diaspora organizations and uniting the efforts of Ukraїnians worldwide as a driving force of systemic changes in Ukraїna remain untapped in nation and state building processes in Ukraїna or not even considered.
The sixth direction is an evolutionary change of the social order and the system of governing. One of the most pressing is the problem of transforming or eliminating old political parties and movements that are unable to prepare society for revolutionary change or evolutionary transformation. Some resort to violence, imposing private interests on society and realizing their leaders political ambitions. Others are pushing for reforms to redefine the existing social order, or resort to populism for seizing and retaining power purpose. Either of them bring Ukraїnian society to some degree of degradation. Meanwhile, Ukraїnian society needs transform and release of its energy for progressive self-development through the rise of national consciousness and civic maturity and responsibility, as well as the spiritual and cultural growth of each person, each individual member of Ukraїnian society. Transformation of Ukraїnian society is a fact and a factor of evolutionary systemic changes. In this regard, Ukraїnian national elites role becomes especially important. Elites’ task is (1) to lead Ukraїnian society through education and enlightenment with the help of parties and movements to self-transformation and (2) instill in the society ability to self-organize. In each subsequent election, a nationally conscious and civilly responsible society will bring new, nationally conscious and civically responsible people into power and ultimately create the conditions for a change in social order and thus the way of governing by bringing to power a president, parliament and government capable to initiate and to start systemic changes mechanism.
The seventh direction is the establishment of a new social order and system of governing. The All-Ukrainian Constituent Assembly with the participation of the Ukrainian diaspora is the only possible form of evolutionary systemic change in the social order and system of governing in Ukraїna. To do this, it is important to ignite and organize active research, educational, enlightenment, informational, organizational and managerial work.
Stages of implementation of systemic changes. Preparation and implementation of systemic changes require significant effort and, of course, the gradual implementation. Below I present the optimal timeframe we have calculated for each stage, meaning that all recommendations are implemented, the maximum possible human resources are used and there is no fierce resistance from those forces that are not interested in any systemic change. In case of resistance from the state, anti-Ukraїnian political forces and strong external influences, the estimated implementation time will have to be doubled.
The first stage of systemic changes, of course, should be the Ukraїnization of Ukraїna, which will include de-Russification, de-Sovietization, decommunization, decolonization, and other measures insisted on by those who are prejudiced against Ukraїnization as such. The purpose of Ukraїnization is to raise the national consciousness and civic maturity of Ukraїnian society; the above components with the prefix “de-” alone cannot achieve this goal, and the experience of decommunization in recent years confirms this. The All-Ukraїian Movement for Ukraїnization, the All-Ukraїnian Cossack Movement, and the Ukraїnians Worldwide Movement, which will be able to create an alternative network of Ukraїnian studies research, education, and support for Ukraїnocentric media system formation, should become the means of the idea of Ukraїnization implementation. Under ideal conditions, the goal can be achieved in 2–5 years. The first year or two will go to the formation of these movements, and the following years — to the work of these movements with society and achieve the desired result.
The second stage would be preparation for replacement of the social order and the system of governing. The purpose of this is to prepare, organize and hold the All-Ukraїnian Constituent Assembly. The means of implementation should be All-Ukraїnian Movement for Ukraїnization, All-Ukraїnian Cossack Movement, Ukraїnians Worldwide Movement and other movements consolidated into the All-Ukraїnian Front for Systemic Changes. In the depths of this Front, as a socio-political organization, three Ukraїnщcentric ideological political parties shell be born and formed: a right-wing conservative (traditionalist), a centrist, and a socially oriented parties. These parties will develop appropriate concepts of systemic changes in Ukraїna and will offer their long-term strategic development programs for Ukraїna. These parties’ leaders will become major candidates for Ukraїne’s presidency, and the victory of any of them will make it possible to initiate systemic changes at national government level. As a result, Organizing Committees and Commissions can be established to develop a few drafts of Constituent Assembly Declaration the social order replacement, of new Ukraїna’s Constitution and Ukraїna’s long-term Development Strategy. It takes about 5–7 years to complete the second stage tasks, five of which we reserve for the preparation and formation of parties for one of their leaders guaranteed victory in presidential elections, and the rest of the time to start preparing systemic changes procedure.
The third and last stage is All-Ukrainian Constituent Assembly (All-Ukrainian Constituent Congress or Convention) gathering. Its goal is the complete and final elimination of remnants of the authoritarian-totalitarian Soviet social order and its administrative-command mode of governing, proclamation of qualitatively new social order and system of governing establishment based on Ukraїnian national traditions and customs, adoption of a new Constitution of Ukraїna, decision to hold presidential (hetmanial) and supreme legislative body elections, forming Central Election Commission, Provisional Government headed by the President-in-Office (or by an appointed Hetman), who replaces the current system of governing, ensures the functioning of state bodies for a transitional period and transforms the system of governing in accordance with Constituent Assembly decision by launching a new system of governing and establishing of a new social order. This stage can take 7–10 years.
According to our estimates, in general, systemic changes in Ukraїna can take 15–20 years. If these changes are addressed immediately, then by 2035–2040 Ukraїna will make irreversible systemic changes and embark on the path of its successful development. Procrastination with systemic changes will only alienate this perspectives. If Ukraїna does not start these changes by 2030, the stagnation will deepen, and then Ukraїna will face ruin, as a result of which Ukraїnians will disappear as a nation, dissolving among other nations, and Ukraїna’s territory can be devastated by those who turn (and already are turning) it into a desert. I would like to be wrong and to see Ukraїna by 2050 one of the most prosperous and powerful countries in the world.
So, it is up to all of us — Ukraїnian society in Ukraїna and Ukrainians worldwide — to be or not to be an Independent Ukraine.
July 3-4, 2020, April 21, 2021