Article title The Local Self-Government System According to the Draft Constitutions of the Ukrainian People’s Republic of 1917, 1918 and 1920: the Sources, Main Features and Historical Significance
Name of magazine Legal journal «Law of Ukraine» (Ukrainian version)
Issue 4/2018
Сторінки [51-64]

At the current stage, the reform of local self-government in Ukraine is a crucial element of decentralization of power. The centenary of the Constitution of the Ukrainian People’s Republic (hereinafter – UPR) adopted by the Ukrainian Central Rada (hereinafter – UCR) on April 29, 1918 encourages towards a comprehensive understanding of the national constitutional ideas about the introduction of a democratic local selfgovernment system. The purpose of this article is to analyze the draft UPR Constitutions of years 1917, 1918 and 1920 in terms of regulation of the local self-government system: its sources, principles, criteria and historical significance. Ukraine possesses a centuries-old historical experience in the organization of local self-government. The fundamental provisions of the democratic principles aimed at implementing local self-government in Ukraine at the end of the XIX century were formulated by the founder of modern national constitutionalism M. Drahomanov. His constitutional ideas were further developed in the works by M. Hrushevskyi. In the context of the UPR development in 1917–1918, the latter developed the foundations of the theory of a democratic, social state governed by the rule of law and based on the national and personal autonomy and local self-government. At the beginning of the Ukrainian Revolution in the spring of 1917, political parties, public organizations and their leaders had differing views on the introduction of a new local self-government system in Ukraine. On June 20, 1917 the UCR created the constitutional commission which prepared the draft UPR Constitutions of 1917 and 1918. In 1920, the UPR Council of Ministers created the governmental commission for drafting a new UPR Constitution. The sources for setting up local self-government were found in the democratic constitutions of the European countries and the United States, and also in the constitutional ideas based on national traditions and Ukraine’s own experience in the domain of state and law. UPR did not use the legislation of Russia’s Provisional Government of 1917 which provided for the introduction of a democratic system of Zemstvo self-government. Based on the analysis of the draft UPR Constitutions of 1917, 1918 and 1920, it is possible to assert that the system of local self-government drew upon the ethnographic principle of administrative territorial division of Ukraine into lands taking into account the interests of national minorities. The local self-government system envisaged by the draft constitutions was intended to operate on the basis of suchdemocratic principles of self-government as decentralization, collegiality, elections, independent organization, resources and finance within the framework of established powers, integrated state and local interests, and judicial protection of self-government rights. The drafters of the constitutions took into account the criteria needed to ensure the functioning of local self-government, such as: legal formalization, resource andfinancial basis, possibility to coordinate local interests with regional and national ones. However, it should be recognized that the draft UPR Constitutions were not free from certain gaps in respect of regulation of the institution of local self-government. Attempts made in the times of the UPR to entrench the local self-government system in the constitution demonstrate the historical aspiration of the Ukrainian people to build a democratic, legal, social state and civil society.


Keywords Ukrainian People’s Republic; Ukrainian Central Rada; consti tution; local self-government; decentralization; administrative territorial division


Authored books 
1. Hunchak Taras, Ukraina: persha polovyna ХХ stolittia. Narysy politychnoi istorii [Ukraine: the First Half of the Twentieth Century. Essays on Political History] (Lybid 1993) (in Ukrainian). 
2. Miroshnychenko Mariia ta Miroshnychenko Vasyl, Istoriia vchen pro derzhavu i pravo: navchalnyi posibnyk [History of State and Law Doctrines: Textbook] (Atika 2001) (in Ukrainian). 
3. Sliusarenko Anatolii ta Tomenko Mykola, Istoriia ukrainskoi konstytutsii [History of the Ukrainian Constitution] (“Znannia” Ukrainy 1993) (in Ukrainian). 


Edited books

4. Verstiuk V ta inshi (uporiadn), Smolii V ta inshi (red), Ukrainska Tsentralna Rada: dokumenty i materialy [The Ukrainian Central Rada: Documents and Materials], t 1: 4 bereznia – 9 hrudnia 1917 r. [March 4 – December 9, 1917] (Naukova dumka 1996) (in Ukrainian).

5. – –, Ukrainska Tsentralna Rada: dokumenty i materialy [The Ukrainian Central Rada: Documents and Materials], t 2: 10 hrudnia 1917 r. – 29 kvitnia 1918 r. [December 10, 1917 – April 29, 1918] (Naukova dumka 1997) (in Ukrainian).

6. Vynar Liubomyr (red), Derzhavnyi Tsentr Ukrainskoi Narodnoi Respubliky v ekzyli: Statti i materialy [The State Center of the Ukrainian People’s Republic in Exile: Articles and Materials] (Fundatsiia im S Petliury v SShA; Veselka; Fundatsiia rodyny FeshchenkoChopivskykh 1993) (in Ukrainian). Journal articles

7. Lavrynovych O, ‘Shliakhy udoskonalennia systemy subiektiv zakonodavchoi initsiatyvy: dosvid derzhav – uchasnyts YeS ta ukrainski perspektyvy’ [‘Ways to Improve the System of Legislative Initiative Subjects: Experience of the EU Member States and the Ukrainian Prospects’] (2011) 3 Pravo Ukrainy 167 (in Ukrainian).

8. Miroshnychenko M, ‘Ideia konstytutsiinoi derzhavy v stratehii derzhavotvorennia za doby Ukrainskoi Narodnoi Respubliky’ [Idea of a Constitutional State in the Context of the State-Building Strategy in the Times of the Ukrainian People’s Republic’] (2017) 11 Pravo Ukrainy 48

(in Ukrainian). 9. Yermolaiev V, ‘Orhanizatsiia i rehlament diialnosti Ukrainskoi Tsentralnoi Rady’[‘Organization and Operational Regulations of the Ukrainian Central Rada’] (2017) 11 Pravo Ukrainy 58 (in Ukrainian).