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Constitution and mace of Pylyp Orlyk to be brought to Ukraine for the first time in 311 years

Source : 112 Ukraine

The Latin original of Orlyk's Constitution will be temporarily exhibited to mark the 30th anniversary of Ukraine’s Independence
14:37, 21 May 2021

Constitution of Pylyp Orlyk
Dmytro Kuleba/Facebook

The original Latin Constitution of Pylyp Orlyk and a mace, which, according to legend, also belonged to Orlyk, will be delivered to Ukraine from Sweden for the 30th anniversary of Ukrainian Independence. Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba wrote about this on his Facebook page.

"I promised a surprise and now it's no secret: for the first time in 311 years the original Constitution of Pylyp Orlyk will arive to the Ukrainian state. We return Ukraine to Ukraine. The presence of the original Constitution in an independent state is another step in restoring our historical heritage from the times of Rus, Cossack state, the Ukrainian People's Republic to this day," Kuleba wrote.

He noted that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky had instructed the Foreign Ministry to ask Sweden to temporarily provide the original Latin version of Pylyp Orlyk's Constitution (1710) for its temporary display in Ukraine as part of the celebration of the 30th anniversary of country's Independence.

There were very difficult negotiations, we were offered a copy, but we only wanted the original, which had never been in Ukraine. That is why I am especially grateful to Sweden for showing genuine solidarity with Ukraine and mutual readiness to further develop the millennial ties between our peoples, "Kuleba said.

He added that Sweden had agreed to provide a hetman's mace for temporary display in Ukraine, which, according to legend, belonged to Hetman Pylyp Orlyk after Hetman Ivan Mazepa.

As for Pylyp Orlyk, the Hetman of Zaporizhian Cossacks, to whom the world's first constitution is attributed, the story is as follows. The document concluded by him on April 5, 1710, contained rather symbolic instructions, which declared the ideas and principles on which the Cossack state was to be built. The first paragraph is devoted to the question of faith, it declares Orthodoxy as the dominant religion in the Cossack state, as well as the restoration of the autocephaly of the Ukrainian church. The third paragraph of the constitution speaks of the need for “brotherhood” with the Crimean Khanate.

Related: Zelensky on Constitution Day: Country begins with respect for rights of everyone

It is noteworthy that in the social and economic sense, Orlyk's constitution gave more recognition not so much to the Cossacks, but to the peasants and townspeople. The document, first of all, strictly forbade statute labor. There were also privileges for cities that no longer had to support troops - they went on campaigns at their own expense. According to Orlyk Constitution, small traders did not pay taxes. There was a division into legislative, executive and judicial branches of government. And the guarantor of the integrity of the state's borders was Hetman - as now the President. In general, it turned out quite well, but there is one “but”: Orlyk's constitution never came into force.

Related: Ukraine celebrates Constitution Day: Rights guaranteed to each Ukrainian

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