"The original of Pylyp Orlyk's Constitution has been delivered to Ukraine for temporary display as part of the celebration of the 30th anniversary of independence. Everyone will be able to see this historical document in St. Sophia Cathedral in Kyiv from August 16 to November 14, 2021," the statement said.
Constitution of Pylyp Orlyk were brought to Ukraine for the first time in 311 years. Negotiations lasted for many months, as the Swedish side was ready to provide only copies of the document.
The document actually proclaimed an independent republic in Ukraine with a protectorate of the Swedish king instead of tsar, which was a big step forward in the political thought of the time. Although the Constitution of Pylyp Orlyk did not gain real force, as it was drafted abroad and its creators were unable to return to their homeland, it has remained in history as an original legal monument, which for the first time in Europe justifies the existence of a parliamentary democratic republic.
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.
It contains a preamble, 16 articles and an oath of the Hetman. Pylyp Orlyk's Constitution was drafted in two copies: in Ukrainian and Latin and has two Old Ukrainian editions. The original, written by Philip Orlyk, is kept in the Swedish National Archives in Stockholm.
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.