Andrey Klishas: “Ukraine needs contractual federalism”
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Andrey Klishas: “Ukraine needs contractual federalism”


Andrey Klishas, the chairman of the Federation Council Committee on Constitutional Legislation, Judicial and Legal Affairs and the development of civil society Have there ever been unitary states that turned into federations? Probably the Russian Federation is the best example. Despite the fact that, in 1918, the Constitution of 1918 for the first time established federal relations, and that it happened also during a crisis in the society on the subject of which way to go. This was the period of the Civil War in Russia. The federal model is chosen for a reason. One can argue about how effective the federal model was back then. Nevertheless, the new country was already called the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic. The concept of “federalism” has certainly changed over this period of time, since 1918. In principle, lawyers and specialists in constitutional law differentiate the types according to the organization of levels of government. That is, a federal state has different levels of organization of state power. A fully-fledged state power does not provide for the delegation of central power to regional governments, endowed with some special powers. It is a form of organization of power, which delegates territories with designated competence. The competence of a state or of a state formation. A great number of other states besides Russia that I have mentioned immediately chose this model after becoming independent. In a similar way, when the United States and India were freed from colonial rule, if such a very important factor as multi-culturality or differences in the economic development of territories or in political development was present, federation was chosen as a model. Today more than 20 states use the term “federation” as part of their titles, but if one counts populations, including the population of India, many say that almost a third of the world’s population lives in federations. That means that perhaps this model… Again, there is no universal federation model at the moment, and the U.S. federation is very different from the principles on which the Russian Federation is built, for example. But when we say the word “federalism” we mean primarily an agreement about the way state power works in the regions, how the center is present in other other lands, autonomies, regions or whatever you want to call them. I think that one of the most successful political systems and economically successful countries in Europe is Germany, and it is a federation for a reason. That is, we can say that the cultures are different, the legal systems are completely different, there are different legal families, different historical conditions, but the federation model is quite effective for developing countries. There are many types of federalism in constitutional law, including cooperative and dualistic. I can give you a great number of terms. But clearly, when talking about this model, and it has a right to exist, whether it is a contractual or constitutional federalism… It is probably only the contractual in this case, because now there is a simple need for the regions to develop and enter into a federal contract in Ukraine and establish the extent to which they are willing to delegate powers to the central authorities in Kiev. Today, of course, it is clear that Ukraine is lacking a de facto unified state. No one is capable of exercising full-fledged power on the territory. And in order to do that, there is a need for the regions to agree about the extent to which they can delegate power to the federal center, which has to be established once again. As a result, people will have internal guarantees that they will be able to speak Russian, that what they earn will partially be used for the development of territories and so on, that they have the right to address issues pertaining to the organization of their lives on the territory of subjects. Therefore, under this terminology there certainly can only be contractual federalism. There should be a contract between the regions of Ukraine, which will create a new federal center.

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