Government extends the lockdown, President replaces Kuchma with Kravchuk and wants new public religious holidays

05 August 2020
Government extends the lockdown, President replaces Kuchma with Kravchuk and wants new public religious holidays
Home > Monitoring > Government extends the lockdown, President replaces Kuchma with Kravchuk and wants new public religious holidays

Most of the Ukrainian political establishment is on vacation, but the President and the Cabinet continue to work.

Today in our digest: the Cabinet has extended the lockdown and divided the state into four epidemiological zones, the President has replaced the second president of Ukraine with the first one in the trilateral Minsk contact group and initiated a discussion on introducing more public holidays.

Government introduced new anti-pandemic measures

Decisionmakerthe Cabinet.

Who is affected: everyone living or staying in Ukraine, doctors, law enforcement and local government representatives.

What does it change: the Government updated the rules of adaptive lockdown for August of 2020. To assess the pandemic situation in a region or a territorial unit, four COVID-19 danger levels are introduced: green, yellow, orange, and red. Government resolution defines a procedure and criteria for assigning danger levels and specifies corresponding anti-pandemic measures.

What is right: differentiated measures to counter the spread of COVID-19 will help to make the anti-pandemic response more proportionate and sensitive to local contexts.

What is wrong:

  • the Government has no authority to introduce restrictions on freedom of movement, freedom of private enterprise, or any other human right, so the resolution is unconstitutional
  • personal protective equipment for drivers, food and transportation to their places of residence for people living under observation will not be subsidized by the state
  • there are no clearly defined rules about when police, the National guard, and persons designated by local government are allowed to check identification documents, documents confirming citizenship or special status. Without clear rules, law enforcement agencies can abuse their powers.

What’s next: the resolution is in force since August 1. Starting from September 1, the state will stop paying child care assistance for sole proprietors of group 1 and group 2 on simplified system of taxation.


Kravchuk appointed as the head of the trilateral contact group in place of Kuchma

Decision-maker: the President.

Who is affected: Ukrainian citizens, people living on the temporarily occupied territories of Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts and in near-frontline settlements, servicemen.

What does it change: Leonid Kravchuk replaced Leonid Kuchma as the Head of the Trilateral contact group on peaceful resolution of situation in Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts.

What’s next: Volodymyr Zelenskyi has granted Kravchuk only a limited mandate. The head of the delegation can negotiate, but has no right to sign anything on behalf of Ukraine. The President has to authorize each international agreement by a separate decision, so documents signed by Kuchma and documents that will be signed by Kravchuk are not recognized as international agreements. The President (as the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces), High Command of the Armed Forces, and government bodies of Ukraine cannot use such documents as a lawful reason for making their decisions.

Zelenskyi wants a number of religious holidays to become legal holidays

Decision-maker: the President.

Who is affected: Ukrainian citizens, business, government bodies, religious organizations and communities.

What does it change: presidential decree obliges the Cabinet to consider making Eid al-Fitr, Eid al-Adha, Pesach, Rosh Hashanah, Hanukkah, and Catholic Christmas public holidays and to submit a bill on the issue to the Verkhovna Rada. The Government is supposed to engage the Ukrainian Council of Churches, other religious organizations, and Ukrainian Institute of National Remembrance into working on the bill.

What is right: presidential initiative aims at protecting cultural and religious rights of people professing religions that do not have many followers in Ukraine.

What is wrong:

  • according to the Constitution, the President has no authority to give orders to the Government
  • there is no legal definition of a “public holiday”: the Labor Code of Ukraine defines only  “legal holidays” (“holidays” and “non-business days”)
  • the issue is already addressed by the Labor Code that obliges employers to give their employees up to three days off a year to celebrate major religious holidays (upon the submission from religious communities).

What’s next: it is redundant to regulate the issue in any other way. In many countries, local government can establish one or two local holidays to celebrate religious holidays. In Ukraine, though, there are almost no administrative units where the majority of inhabitants do not belong to Orthodox Church or Byzantine Rite Eastern Catholic Church. Thus, local government just do not need the authority to establish local religious holidays.