‘Bukvy’ keeps a track of all the stories that saw Volodymyr Zelensky showing disregard for Ukraine’s Constitution.
Celebration of Constitution Day comes as a timely opportunity to bring these stories to light.
7 times the president disregarded the official language in his public speeches
On numerous occasions, the Ukrainian president chose to switch to Russian, which comes as a clear violation of Ukraine’s Constitution norm laid in article 10 elaborated and reinstated by Constitutional Court ruling of December 14, 1999 demanding Ukrainian as an official language be used in the public service positions.
He did so at the Kyiv iForum on 23 January 23, 2019, at Vilniy Mariupol festival on June 15, 2019, in Kramatorsk on April 5, 2019, in Mykolayiv on June 17, 2019, on December 31, 2020, while greeting Ukrainians on New Year’s eve, and in two video addresses – on February 5, 2021 and December 20, 2021, when announcing sanctions against TV channels 112 Ukraina, Newsone and ZIK.
15 times Zelensky unlawfully either dismissed or awarded officials
In May, 2019, he reversed the presidential decree No.187 of his predecessor that appointed Volodymyr Gorkovenko to become Ukraine’s National TV and Radiobroadcast Council member. By doing so, Zelensky violated the article 19 of Ukraine’s Constitution demanding state officials act within bounds of their authority and in the manner envisaged by the Constitution and the laws of Ukraine.
In his move scrapping earlier presidential decrees that have personalized non-regulatory character violates Articles 19, 58 of Ukraine’s constitution.
In June 2019, Zelensky did it again by reversing the presidential decrees No.217, 218 that appointed new members to Supreme Council of Justice.
On the very same month, he failed to cite any grounds asking the parliament to remove Yuriy Lutsenko from the Prosecutor General’s position. The move was another breach of law that disregarded art. 19 of Constitution and the law ‘On Prosecutors’ Office’.
He has also failed to comply with Ukraine’s awards regulations. On June 27, he signed a decree honoring Chornobyl firefighters and the crew of the flight 752 shot down in Iran disregarding the procedures laid in the 2002 presidential decree ‘On Hero of Ukraine awards’ and, again, the article 19 of the constitution.
In 2019, the president violated articles 19, 106 of the constitution removing several top executives from Ukraine’s Anti Monopoly Committee (decrees No.484,485,486) on his own will, to which he is not entitled to.
The same constitutional norms were overlooked yet again when Zelensky publicly called for dismissal of regional Customs offices management and made the interim head of State Fiscal Service Oleksandr Vlasov resign in July 2019.
In September, 2019, Zelensky stripped two ‘European Solidarity’ MPs – Artur Herasimov and Volodymyr Aryev of their diplomatic status they were earlier granted by earlier presidential decrees in a blatant violation of articles 19, 58, 106 of Ukraine’s Constitution.
His decree commanding removal of Oleksandr Tupitsky, Ukraine’s Constitutional Court head broke the record violating 8 articles of the constitution (art.6, 8, 19, 106, 147, 149, 149-1, 153).
In a follow-up move, he reversed the earlier presidential decrees – No.256 of May 14, 2013, and No.513 of September 17, 2013, that made Oleksandr Tupitsky and Oleksandr Kasminin judges of Ukraine’s Constitutional Court. By doing so, Zelensky violated article 19, 58, 106, and 149-1 of the constitution
Abuse of power
The Ukrainian president often misused his authority when issuing executive orders for state and regional governments.
In July 2019, during the official meeting at Boryspol city council he scolded and showed the door to the local council secretary calling him a ‘thug’. The act can be taken as interference in local governance the president claims no authority to, which violates articles 19, 106, 140 of the constitution .
‘Bukvy’ counted 7 executive orders by Volodymyr Zelensky that disrespected articles 19, 106, 113 of the constitution. Among those,
No. 558/2019 “On Certain Measures to Improve Individuals’ and Legal Entities’ Access to Electronic Services”;
No. 511/2019 “On Certain Measures for Preserving Forests and Rational Use of Forest Resources”;
No. 837/2019 “On unauthorized measures to carry out reforms and reorganization of the state”;
No. 761/2019 “On Inappropriate Measures to Ensure Favorable Conditions for the Activity of the FOP”;
No. 1/2021 “On the provision of humanitarian aid to Croatia;
No. 261/2021 “On measures to improve the competitiveness of health care institutions and to provide additional guarantees for health care workers”.
He also misused this practice at one of the governmental meeting when demanding 50% reduction of public utilities’ bills for households.
5 times the Ukrainian president disregarded deadlines for presidential veto
Volodymyr Zelensky often fails to follow veto deadlines for new laws, which violates the article 94 of Ukraine’s constitution.
No. 1793 (on establishment of liability for violation of legislation on compliance, manufacture, production, sale, purchase of products, works and services in the military sphere);
No. 10184 (on state recognition and support of ‘Plast’);
No. 6449 (on enhancing liability for crimes committed against minors);
No. 1098 (on the Temporary Investigative Commissions and Temporary Special Commissions of the Verkhovna Rada);
No. 2276 (on amendments to the Code of Ukraine on bankruptcy procedures).
According to article 94 of the constitution, ‘Within fifteen days of the receipt of a law, the President of Ukraine signs it, accepting it for execution, and officially promulgates it, or returns it to the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine with substantiated and formulated proposals for repeat consideration’.
Here are few more examples the Ukrainian president disrespected the constitution
Revoking the earlier presidential decree that stripped Mikhael Saakashvili of the Ukrainian citizenship is another example when Zelensky disregarded articles 19, 106 of the Constitution –he just overlooked the fact it was decrees of personalized, non-regulatory character.
He also disregarded the transitional provisions of Ukraine’s Constitution (chapter 4) by revoking the presidential decree set to regulate pay rates for notaries and taxation for alienation procedures until the appropriate legislation was adopted.
What proved to be the most blatant violation was Volodymyr Zelensky’s semi-official survey called ‘5 questions from the president’ held along with 2019 local elections. By staging this event, the Ukrainian president disregarded 9 articles of the constitution (art. 17, 19, 69, 75, 92, 93, 102, 106, 116) – he just had no authority for that.