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ROAD TO INDEPENDENCE: Declaration of State
Sovereignty of Ukraine on July 16, 1990
U.S.-Ukraine Business Council (USUBC), Wash, D.C., Wed, Aug 18, 2021
On July 16, 1990, Verkhovna Rada (Supreme Council or Parliament) of the Ukrainian SSR adopted the Declaration of State Sovereignty of Ukraine. While Ukraine was still a part of the Soviet Union at that time, this document was a crucial step forward on the Road to Independence.
July 16, 1990. Kyiv, Ukraine. Peoples’ Representatives from “Peoples’ Council” in front of Verkhovna Rada: Levko Horokhivskyi, Oles Shevchenko, Levko Lukyanenko, Stepan Khmara, Mykhaylo Horyn, Bohdan Rebryk, Iryna Kalynets, Vyacheslav Chornovil, Bohdan Horyn, Genrikh Altunyan after the vote on the Declaration of the State Sovereignty of Ukraine
July 16, 1990. Kyiv, Ukraine. Rally in front of Verkhovna Rada during the vote on the Declaration of the State Sovereignty of Ukraine
Text of the Declaration of State Sovereignty of Ukraine in English:
The Verkhovna Rada of the Ukrainian SSR,
- Expressing the will of the people of Ukraine;
- Striving to create a democratic society;
- Acting on the need of comprehensive guarantees of human rights and freedoms;
- Respecting national rights of all nations;
- Caring for the full-fledged political, economic, social, and spiritual development of the people of Ukraine;
- Recognizing the necessity to develop a constitutional state;
- Aiming to establish the sovereignty and self-rule of the people of Ukraine;
State Sovereignty of Ukraine as supremacy, independence, integrity, and indivisibility of the Republic's authority within the boundaries of its territory, and its independence and equality in foreign relations.
I. Self-Determination of the Ukrainian Nation
The Ukrainian SSR as a sovereign national state develops within the existing boundaries to exercise the Ukrainian nation's inalienable right to self-determination.
The Ukrainian SSR protects and defends the national statehood of the Ukrainian people.
Any violent actions against the national statehood of Ukraine undertaken by political parties, non-governmental organization, other groups or individuals shall be legally prosecuted.
II. Rule of the People
Citizens of the Republic of all nationalities comprise the people of Ukraine.
The people of Ukraine are the sole source of state authority in the Republic.
The absolute authority of the people of Ukraine is exercised directly through the Republic's Constitution, as well as via people's deputies elected to the Verkhovna Rada and local councils of the Ukrainian SSR.
Only the Verkhovna Rada of the Ukrainian SSR can represent all the people. No political party, non-governmental organization, other group or individual can represent all the people of Ukraine.
III. State Power
The Ukrainian SSR is independent in determining any issue of its state affairs.
The Ukrainian SSR guarantees the supremacy of the Constitution and laws of the Republic on its territory.
State power in the Republic is exercised on the principle of its division into legislative, executive, and judicial branches.
The Prosecutor General of the Ukrainian SSR, appointed by the Verkhovna Rada of the Ukrainian SSR, and responsible and accountable only to it, has the highest authority in the oversight of the precise and uniform application of law.
IV. Citizenship of the Ukrainian SSR
The Ukrainian SSR has its own citizenship and guarantees each citizen the right to retain citizenship of the USSR.
The citizenship of the Ukrainian SSR is acquired and lost on the grounds determined by the law on citizenship of the Ukrainian SSR.
All citizens of the Ukrainian SSR are guaranteed the rights and freedoms stipulated by the Constitution of the Ukrainian SSR and standards of international law recognized by the Ukrainian SSR.
The Ukrainian SSR guarantees equal protection of the law to all citizens of the Republic regardless of their origin, social or economic status, racial or national identity, sex, education, language, political views, religious beliefs, type and character of occupation, place of residence or other circumstances.
The Ukrainian SSR regulates immigration procedures.
The Ukrainian SSR cares for and undertakes measures to protect and defend the interests of the Ukrainian citizens beyond the Republic's borders.
V. Territorial Supremacy
The Ukrainian SSR has the supremacy over all of its territory.
The territory of the Ukrainian SSR within its existing boundaries is inviolable and cannot be changed or used without its consent.
The Ukrainian SSR is independent in determining the administrative and territorial system of the Republic and the procedures for establishing national and administrative units.
VI. Economic Independence
The Ukrainian SSR independently determines its economic status and secures it by law.
The people of Ukraine have the exclusive right to control, use and direct the national resources of Ukraine.
The land, its interior (mineral wealth), air space, water and other natural resources found on the territory of the Ukrainian SSR, the natural resources of its continental shelf and exclusive (maritime) economic zone, and all economic and scientific-technical potential created on the territory of Ukraine are the property of its people, the material basis of the Republic's sovereignty, and is used to meet material and spiritual needs of its citizens.
The Ukrainian SSR has the right to its share of the all-union wealth, especially in all-union gemstone and hard currency stocks and gold reserves, which were created through the efforts of the people of the Republic.
Issues concerning the all-union property (joint property of all republics) are solved through agreements between the republics entitled to the above property.
Businesses, institutions, organizations, and objects belonging to other states and their citizens, and international organizations may be located on the territory of the Ukrainian SSR and may use the natural resources of Ukraine in accordance with the laws of the Ukrainian SSR.
The Ukrainian SSR independently establishes banking (including a foreign economic bank), pricing, financial, customs, and tax systems, develops a state budget, and, if necessary, introduces its own currency.
The highest credit institution of the Ukrainian SSR is the national bank of Ukraine accountable to the Verkhovna Rada of the Ukrainian SSR.
Businesses, institutions, organizations, and manufacturing companies located on the territory of the Ukrainian SSR pay a fee for the use of land and other natural and labour resources, and deductions from their foreign currency earnings, and pay taxes to local budgets.
The Ukrainian SSR guarantees protection to all forms of ownership.
VII. Environmental Safety
The Ukrainian SSR independently determines procedures to organize nature protection on the territory of the Republic and procedures for the use of natural resources.
The Ukrainian SSR has its own national committee for protection of the population from radiation.
The Ukrainian SSR has the right to ban construction and to halt the operation of any businesses, institutions, organizations, and other objects that threaten environmental safety.
The Ukrainian SSR cares about the environmental safety of its citizens, about the gene pool of its people, and about its young generation.
The Ukrainian SSR has the right to compensation for the damages to the environment of Ukraine brought about by the acts of union authorities.
VIII. Cultural Development
The Ukrainian SSR is independent in solving issues associated with science, education, as well as cultural and spiritual development of the Ukrainian nation and guarantees all nationalities living on the territory of the Republic the right to free national and cultural development.
The Ukrainian SSR guarantees national and cultural recovery of the Ukrainian nation, its historical consciousness and traditions, national and ethnographic characteristics, and functioning of the Ukrainian language in all spheres of social activity.
The Ukrainian SSR strives to meet national and cultural, as well as spiritual and linguistic needs of the Ukrainians living outside the Republic's borders.
National, cultural, and historical values located on the territory of the Ukrainian SSR belong exclusively to the people of the Republic.
The Ukrainian SSR has the right to return into the ownership of the people of Ukraine its national, cultural, and historical values found outside the borders of the Ukrainian SSR.
IX. External and Internal Security
The Ukrainian SSR has the right to its own armed forces.
The Ukrainian SSR has its own internal armies and bodies of state security subordinated to the Verkhovna Rada of the Ukrainian SSR.
The Ukrainian SSR determines procedures for military service by citizens of the Republic.
Citizens of the Ukrainian SSR perform their military service, as a rule, on the territory of the Republic, and cannot be used for military purpose beyond its borders without the consent of the Verkhovna Rada of the Ukrainian SSR.
The Ukrainian SSR solemnly declares its intention of becoming a permanently neutral state that does not participate in military blocs and adheres to three nuclear free principles: to accept, to produce and to purchase no nuclear weapons.
X. International Relations
The Ukrainian SSR, as an international law subject, maintains direct relations with other states, enters into agreements with them, exchanges diplomatic, consular and trade representatives, and participates in the activity of international organizations to the full extent necessary for effective guarantees of the Republic's national interests in political, economic, ecological, informational, scholarly, technical, cultural, and sports spheres.
The Ukrainian SSR acts as an equal participant in international affairs, actively promotes the reinforcement of general peace and international security, and directly participates in the general European process and European structures.
The Ukrainian SSR recognizes the prevalence of general human values over class values and the priority of generally accepted standards of international law over the standards of the domestic law.
Relations of the Ukrainian SSR with other Soviet republics are built on the basis of agreements concluded on the basis of the principles of equality, mutual respect, and non-interference in internal affairs.
The Declaration is the basis for a new constitution and laws of Ukraine and determines the positions of the Republic for the purpose of international agreements. The principles of the Declaration of the Sovereignty of Ukraine are used for preparation of a new union agreement.
Passed by the Verkhovna Rada of the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic
Kyiv, July 16, 1990, #55-XII
One year later, on July 16, 1991, thousands of Ukrainians celebrated the First Anniversary of the Declaration of the State Sovereignty of Ukraine in the Square of the October Revolution (now Independence Square). This day was originally proclaimed to be the Independence Day of Ukraine:
July 16, 1991. Kyiv, Ukraine. Women dressed in the national costumes celebrating the first anniversary of the Declaration of State Sovereignty of Ukraine in the Square of the October Revolution (now Independence Square).
July 16, 1991. Kyiv, Ukraine. Celebration and concert dedicated to the first anniversary of the Declaration of State Sovereignty of Ukraine in Square of the October Revolution (now Independence Square).