While the Office of the President is struggling to organize for him a meeting with the President of the United States, Volodymyr Zelensky in his work drifts farther and farther from what he is entitled to do by the Constitution. This week he once more took over the executive branch: issued a decree on information and humanitarian policies under the guise of ensuring peace in Donbas, approved the Human development strategy and promised to plant a billion trees within the next three years.
Enhancement of the peace process in Donbas (presidential decree #226/2021)
Who is affected: inhabitants of Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts (of both unoccupied and temporarily occupied territories) and government bodies.
Summary of the decree: enacts the decision by the National Security and Defense Council “On issues of enhancing the peace process in Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts”. The decision gives the following orders:
- to the Cabinet:
- to prepare draft bills on transitional justice for the temporarily occupied territories of Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts
- to prepare amendments to the special-purpose state program on restoration and facilitating peace in the Eastern regions of Ukraine
- to ensure the functioning of an international broadcasting system with a wide network of correspondent offices abroad
- to ensure radio broadcasting to the temporarily occupied territories and provide special content targeting the inhabitants of the temporarily occupied territories
- to finish the work of establishing checkpoints on the border with the temporarily occupied territories and to establish humanitarian logistics centers near the checkpoints — service centers providing social, administrative, bank, medical, postal, and other services
- to create and provide proper funding for the Center for documenting human rights violations and damage caused by the armed aggression of the Russian Federation
to the Chief Commander of the Armed Forces:
- to finish the work of implementing measures to strengthen the security and defenses of the coastline sections of the Black and Azov seas open to paratroopers landing, to protect objects of critical infrastructure on the territory of the Joint Forces Operation
- to inform the NSDC about preventive measures against armed provocations along the frontline.
What is wrong:
- the decree violates the Constitution since the President has no authority to give orders to the Cabinet either directly or via decisions of the NSDC that is his advisory body
- by addressing issues of the international broadcasting and radio broadcasting to the temporarily occupied territories, the President meddles with information policy that is under the authority of the Ministry of Culture and Information Policy
- decision of the National Security and Defense Council does not propose a unified sustainable state policy:
- strengthening the defenses against paratroopers on the coast of the Black and Azov seas is a problem of military security and it will remain even after the deoccupation and the end of the war. Moreover, no part of the coast of the Black Sea is within the territory of the Joint Forces Operation that the NSDC’ decision is supposed to address
- the international broadcasting both in name and in essence should target foreign audience and not Ukrainian citizens on the occupied territories
- Ukrainian authorities have once more proposed two separate policies on the deoccupation: one for Crimea and one for Donbas. The Russian Federation uses the same approach, Ukrainian positions in international communication are weakened by this separation
- transitional justice measure will not help to deoccupy the territories. As a rule, they are applied while settling internal armed conflicts, i.e. civil wars, and not in cases of military aggression and occupation by an aggressor state or its proxies. Typical transitional justice measures include:
- quasi-judicial bodies like truth and reconciliation commissions
- compensations for the damage caused by armed conflict
- reconciliation between the parties involved
when it comes to cases of war, occupation, and collaborationism, the opposite approach is more effective:
- punishment for collaborators
- compensations from the aggressor state for the damage caused to the state, territorial communities, persons, and legal entities
- establishment of logistics centers near the checkpoints is dangerous:
- since checkpoints are near the frontline where there is always a risk that hostilities will renew, it is a bad idea to allow crowds of civilians near logistics centers
- previous experience with logistics centers proved that in practice they tend to become logistics centers of corruption and smuggling instead of providing the population of the occupied territories with necessary goods and services.
Human development strategy (presidential decree #225/2021)
Who is affected: Ukrainian citizens and government bodies.
Summary of the decree:
- defines a list of factors that hinder human development in Ukraine. The following problems are listed among others:
- demographical situation
- physical education and sport
- quality of life
- employment and social assistance
- equality between men and women
- defines measures to address the problems listed above in order to create proper conditions for human development. In particular:
- better quality of medical services
- incentives to increase the birth rate
- better quality of educational and cultural services.
What is wrong:
- the President has approved the Human development strategy without having the authority to do that. At its core, the Strategy is a nationwide state program of social and cultural development. Development and implementation of such programs are exclusively within the Cabinet’s powers, legislative acts to approve such programs can be issued exclusively by the Verkhovna Rada
- the decree interferes with the work of the Government and several ministries, brings damage to unified state policies on healthcare, education, science, culture, and social security
- by issuing the decree, the President once more took over the executive branch and removed it from parliamentary control.
Billion trees in 3 years
Who is affected: government bodies and state forests.
Summary of the decree: the President ordered to launch of the Green Country project. According to the project plan, within the next ten years, the forest area of Ukraine has to be expanded by one million hectares, during the next three years — a billion trees have to be planted.
What is wrong:
- the decree violates the Constitution: state special-purpose programs on environmental protection are supposed to be proposed by the Cabinet and approved by the Verkhovna Rada
- the President has no authority to address the issue of environmental protection since it is within the domain of the Government and the Ministry of Environmental Protection and Natural Resources
- the implementation of the project seems impossible considering the fact that recently the state made a decision to transfer most of the state-owned lands to the ownership of territorial communities. After this decision is implemented, the state will hardly own a million hectares of land to implement the program.
We are glad that you are interested in the social and political life of our country!
If you like our digests on important decisions made by government bodies, we propose you become our Patrons and support us by monthly donations of three or more US dollars here. Monthly donations will give you an opportunity to better know the team and get our extra products. Or you can support us by one-time donation on our website.
In doing so, you will help us to provide our analytics regularly, make politics more accessible and government bodies’ activity more transparent for citizens of the whole country.
If you liked this post, you can donate usDonate
“Support” for volunteers, development of judiciary, and…
Volunteer organizations raise alarm over a bill that has already been approved by the dedicated committee and included on the…
Selection committee for BES, court challenge to…
While preparing for the annual press conference, President Zelensky violated the Constitution by appointing his candidates as members to the…