Constitution of Ukraine as a first step towards separation of Crimea

Author : Olena Dysiuk

Source : 112 Ukraine

Before Ukraine’s Constitution was adopted in 1996, it was planned that Crimean peninsula should get a status of autonomy with the extensive powers. But everything changed during the constitutional night
17:43, 29 June 2016

Around 1 a.m., the voting process was deadlocked, the Communists refused to adopt the yellow-blue flag and the trident. Later, the nationalists and the right refused to vote for the broad powers of the Crimean autonomy within the framework of the statute; fresh were the memories of the separatist attempt in 1994, when the Crimean President Yuriy Meshkov decided that the peninsula should join Russia. Then Parliament has reacted instantly, the presidential institution in Crimea was simply abolished, and the local deputies perceived it normally.

Nevertheless, the question about the future fate of Crimea, expansion of the powers remained unsolved. This could not be reflected in the Constitution and the process of its adoption, to the point that no one wanted to take on a section of the Crimea.

Related: Poroshenko: We should start amending section of the Constitution regarding Crimea

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"No one wanted to be responsible for this chapter, and I wrote it," says Ukrainian politician Roman Bezsmertny. He claims that under his authorship there were about twice as many articles, but they were deleted as a result of parliamentary discussions. "Everything was written with the reference to the charter of Crimea," he explains. Crimea was perceived as an integral part of Ukraine, therefore it was necessary to provide more power, with this document.

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Nationalists became deeply concerned with the very concept of Autonomous Republic of Crimea (instead of Crimean autonomy). They warned that the consolidation of this status might be dreadful for Ukraine in the future.

Related: Pyatt: Submitting changes to Constitution is step forward for Ukraine

"We restored the concept of Autonomous Republic of Crimea, and these concessions were supported by some centrist and even center-right parties. It was a state betrayal. This was a small state within a big one. It was like laying the bomb. At any moment it is ready to explode and join Russia," warned Ukrainian dissident Vyacheslav Chornovil back in 1996.

His colleague, Ivan Zayets says that adoption of the package meant a strong relief of the position of national symbols. However, with regard to the Crimean autonomy and stay of foreign forces on the territory of Ukraine, it has intensified. "We can say that Russia was already acting that time," he sums up.

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Related: Poroshenko’s key messages on the occasion of Constitution Day

"The Autonomous Republic of Crimea, not the Crimean autonomy, had the Constitution (not the statute), which was adopted by the Verkhovna Rada of Crimea and approved by the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine. Anything else for the inhabitants of Crimea? What other parameters?" He appealed to the deputies to make them vote for the package together with state symbols. And he managed to convince them.

Many were aware of the dangers. Bezsmertny, who wrote that part on the Crimea, has recognized that the adopting the Crimean Constitution was the first step towards separation of the peninsula, because separatist conflict was just exhausted.

Вадим Гетьман, Александр Емец, Виктор Мусияка, Михаил Сирота Валентина Дорожкина, Игорь Юхновский, Роман Бессмертный, Виктор Омелич, Иван Заец, Виктор Брыт, Валентин Чеботарев, Сергей Соболев, Александр Лавринович, Сергей Кириченко
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"Therefore, the [constitutional] section was large, with the great powers; but it was within the framework of the Crimean Statute. During the constitutional night, the issue of the statute was neglected, and the Constitution of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea opened the door to the questions of the flag and language," he recalled.

Related: Ukrainians mark the Constitution Day

But the package was adopted. And after 18 years it erupted with the notorious events of the spring of 2014.

Should Ukraine adopt the Constitution enabling such losses? Should the MPs go for a compromise in the name of blue and yellow flag and the trident?

Related: Turchynov: Russia will get clobbered over our defense and Constitution

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