The Act of Independence of Ukraine, adopted on August 24, 1991, was the result of the struggle of many generations and millions of people during the twentieth century. Among them were Ukrainian lawyers. The contribution of the bar to the proclamation of state independence is indisputable and extremely significant. It was the lawyers who substantiated the idea of Ukraine's political independence, who were authors and signatories of legal documents, were creators of legislation, proclaimed the independence of Ukraine and preserved the kleinods of the state in exile.
Advocacy in the proclamation of Independence of Ukraine
Ukraine first appeared on the political map of Europe on January 22, 1918. Then, more than a century ago, attorneys became the creators of Ukrainian statehood. They have served as presidents and prime ministers, legislators and ministers, headed diplomatic missions and local authorities. Advocacy conducted state work throughout the turbulent twentieth century.
The starting point of the state struggle was the Ukrainian Revolution of 1917-1921. The Ukrainian People's Republic was proclaimed - the first Ukrainian statehood with a parliament, government and legislation. At least 22 attorneys became members of the all-Ukrainian legislature, the Central Rada, headed by Mykhailo Hrushevskyi. At once this young state had to be defended with the weapon in hands.
It is worth mentioning among many other honored figures, Mykhailo Hrushevskyy's deputy in the Central Rada, attorney Fedor Kryzhanivskyy; the first Minister of Justice of the Ukrainian People's Republic, and then - the Minister of Labor, attorney Valentyn Sadovskyi; a member of the Central Rada, and the Mayor of Kremenets town Borys Kozubskyy.
The governments of the Hetmanate of Pavlo Skoropadsky included 8 attorneys. The most famous of them are: Head of the Council of Ministers and Minister of Education and Arts attorney Mykola Vasylenko; State Secretary of the Council of Ministers, attorney Ihor Kistyakovskyi; Minister of Trade and Industry of the Ukrainian State, attorney Serhiy Hutnyk; Minister of Labor Maksym Slavynskyi; member of the State Senate - attorney Mykhailo Pukhtinskyi.
Attorney Opanas Andrievskyi became a member of the Directory of the Ukrainian People's Republic, which came to power as a result of the anti-Hetman uprising. Mykhailo Korchynskyi, an attorney, became the State Secretary of the Council of People's Ministers of the UPR Directory, and Hryhoryi Syrotenko, an attorney, became the Minister of Justice. There were 11 lawyers in the governments of the Directory.
Many representatives of the bar distinguished themselves at the diplomatic service of the young Ukrainian state. Dmytro Levytskyi, an attorney, was the Ambassador of the Ukrainian People's Republic to Denmark. Attorneys Arnold Margolin and Yaroslav Olesnytskyi were the heads of the UPR's diplomatic mission in Great Britain. The mission of the Western Ukrainian Republic to the United States was headed by attorney Longyn Tsehelskyi. The ambassador of the Directory of the Ukrainian People's Republic in Greece was an attorney Fedor Matushevskyi.
The formation of the Western Ukrainian People's Republic was the logical result of the development of the national-political movement in the western Ukrainian lands. Ukrainian attorneys played a leading role in this process. Yevhen Petrushevych, an attorney, became the President of the Western Ukrainian People's Republic and the Speaker of the Ukrainian National Council, and Lev Bachynskyi, an attorney, became the Vice-President of the Parliament.
Attorney Kost Levitskyi was the first Prime Minister and Minister of Finance of the Western Ukrainian People's Republic. In his government, Sidir Golubovych, an attorney, later became the Minister of the Judiciary, and later the second Prime Minister of the Western Ukrainian People's Republic; Minister of the Interior - attorney Longyn Tsehelskyi, Minister of Foreign Affairs - attorney Stepan Vytvytskyi, Minister of Food - attorney Stepan Fedak, Minister of the Interior - attorney Ivan Makukh.
In the local government of the Western Ukrainian People's Republic, 25 of the 48 county commissioners were attorneys by profession.
Attorneys played a key role in the legislative process of the Synod of Ukraine. They were active participants in the development of legal documents, preparatory negotiations and the proclamation of the Act of Unification - that is, the unification of Eastern and Western Ukraine.
Ukrainian attorneys Dmytro Levitskyi and Longyn Tsehelskyi signed the first documents of the Cathedral Ukraine - the Pre-Accession Treaty between the UPR and the Western Ukraine, which was concluded in Fastiv; attorney Opanas Andrievskyi also signed the Universal Directory of the UPR on unification.
On January 22, 1919, on Sophia Square in Kyiv, attorneys Lev Bachynskyi and Longyn Tsehelskyi solemnly proclaimed the Act of Unification. For representatives of foreign countries, an attorney from Galicia, Yaroslav Olesnytskyi, read the Act of Unification in French, the language of diplomatic communication.
The formation of a single, united, independent Ukrainian State has fulfilled the dream of many generations and has become the embodiment of the original aspirations of the Ukrainian people.
Representatives of the Bar made a significant contribution to the proclamation of independence of Carpathian Ukraine on March 15, 1939. Attorney Mykhailo Braschaiko was the author of the draft law on the name, language, flag, coat of arms and anthem of Carpathian Ukraine. His brother, attorney Yulian Braschaiko, became the Minister of Finance and Communications of Carpathian Ukraine.
The state tradition was preserved and continued in exile. In 1926-1954, attorney Andriy Livytskyi was destined to become president of the Ukrainian People's Republic in exile. Attorney Stepan Vytvytskyi became his successor, the president of the Ukrainian People's Republic in exile in 1954-1965.
Attorney Andriy Livytskyi and Stepan Vytvytskyi managed to form and organize the activities of the Ukrainian government in exile - the State Center of the Ukrainian People's Republic. The center operated for 71 years, 39 years were headed by the aforementioned attorneys.
Attorneys-presidents of the Ukrainian People's Republic in exile retained the main attributes of state power - the flag, state seal and presidential jewels, which returned to Ukraine after the proclamation of independence in 1991. On August 22, 1992, Mykola Plaviuk, President of the Ukrainian People’s Republic in Exile, resigned and proclaimed the state of Ukraine the successor to the UPR.
The bar took an active part in the development of all areas of public life. Attorneys were active participants in the cooperative movement, headed the first Ukrainian financial organizations, banks, insurance companies, were well-known patrons and philanthropists, participated in the work of local governments. Attorneys Mykola Levitskyi, Stepan Fedak, Fedir Kryzhanivskyi, and Teofil Kormosh are the "founding fathers" of Ukrainian cooperation and banking.
Attorneys - writers Andriy Tchaikovskyi, Marko Cheremshyna, Les Martovych, Franz Kokovskyi, Osip Nazaruk, Mykhailo Komarov, Teodot Halip, as well as attorneys-composers Anatoliy Kos-Anatolskyi, Bohdan Veselovskyi made a significant contribution to the development of Ukrainian literature and music, their works are included in the national heritage of Ukraine.
Ukrainian independence arose as a result of struggle throughout the twentieth century - the century of wars and revolutions. Ukrainian attorneys made a huge contribution to acquisition of the independance. We remember and honor them!