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17 Sep. 2023

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What is the difference between the constitutions of Ukraine and the United States?

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What is the difference between the constitutions of Ukraine and the United States?

Despite the stability of the concept of democracy, democratic countries are by no means the same, and sometimes they are quite different. Find out more about the fundamental differences between the constitutions of Ukraine and the United States and the consequences for the people

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The U.S. Constitution is one of the oldest existing written constitutions in the world. It was drafted and adopted by the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia in May-September 1787. And since 2004, the United States has had an official Constitution and Citizenship Day, which is celebrated on September 17.


To mark this important date, we invite you to learn more about the differences between the constitutions of Ukraine and the United States, which not only determine the difference in the state system, but also have a direct impact on public views, attitudes, freedoms, and rights.


Comparing the Constitutions of Ukraine and the United States: What is the fundamental difference?


While the US Constitution is considered one of the oldest in the world, the history of the Ukrainian Constitution dates back to 1710, making it 77 years older than the US Constitution. However, the Ukrainian constitution is not stable, as long periods of statelessness - enslavement by the Golden Horde, the times of Ruin, and more than 350 years of Ukraine being part of the Russian Empire and later the USSR - have had a negative impact on the constitutional tradition itself, as well as on the general legal culture of Ukrainians.


What is the number of articles in the US and Ukrainian constitutions?


The US Constitution has 7 articles and 27 amendments, while the Ukrainian Constitution has 161 articles. That is, 7 articles and 27 amendments are enough to create a strong state, clearly defining the rights and freedoms of citizens and the government. At the same time, it is obviously much easier for Americans to remember their duties and rights than for Ukrainians, because they have several times less text.


Preamble of the Constitution


The US Constitution begins with the words "We, the people of the United States," while the Ukrainian Constitution begins with "The Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine on behalf of the Ukrainian people." In other words, in America, it is the people who are the sovereign and delegate their powers to the government, not the government. The first lines of the Ukrainian constitution say the opposite.


Definition of treason


The United States Constitution clearly defines crimes that are equated with treason. In Ukraine, it is only stated that the president can be removed from power by impeachment for treason, but neither the interpretation of the concept of treason nor specific crimes are given.


In other words, Ukrainian MPs and parliamentarians, despite their obvious pro-Russian positions, have been infiltrating the government for years and doing everything they can to destroy Ukrainian statehood.




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Presidential oath


According to the content of the oath that a newly elected president must take before taking office, in the United States, the president swears an oath to the Constitution (not to the Fatherland, not to the welfare of the people, but to the Constitution), thereby guaranteeing the rule of law. 

In Ukraine, the president swears allegiance to Ukraine. But was Yanukovych, for example, loyal to Ukraine? This is a rhetorical question.


Justice


The US judicial system is transparent, clear and understandable. It is headed by the Supreme Court, which consists of 9 judges who are well known, recognized and respected, and their reputation is impeccable. It is impossible to bribe jurors or judges in America. And the main principle of the US judicial system is "let 100 criminals go free rather than put one innocent person in jail."


What can we say about the Ukrainian judicial system, when even reforms are barely adopted? Moreover, Ukraine has 200 Supreme Court judges, which is 22 times more than in the United States. Is the reputation of each of them impeccable?


And this is just the tip of the problems associated with the judicial system.


In addition, there are significant differences between the constitutions in the medical sphere, the immunity of government officials and the judiciary, and the rights and freedoms of people in the countries.


As a result, Ukrainians do not know their rights and do not even want to understand them, because 160+ articles written in complex language are not always easy to interpret correctly, let alone understand and apply in life. Moreover, the corruption and impunity of the authorities, as well as the lack of a transparent judicial system, cause a number of other problems that will take decades to solve or require fundamental reforms. 


At the same time, it is worth noting that the U.S. Constitution is also one of the most complex and cruel in the world, and therefore hardly an ideal example to follow. However, there is no denying that the United States is a powerful country that is not only an important partner but also a true friend to Ukraine today. Therefore, Ukraine has a lot to learn from America.


We remind you! According to a recent poll, the vast majority of Ukrainians believe the president is responsible for corruption in the government and military administrations. Read more about how the opinion of Ukrainian citizens was divided and what is known about the draft law on e-declaration here.




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