Library of Congress

Law Library of Congress

The Library of Congress > Law Library > News & Events > Global Legal Monitor

Ukraine: New Law on Foreign and Domestic Policy

(June 10, 2010) On June 2, 2010, President Viktor Yanukovich of Ukraine submitted to the Verkhovna Rada (legislature) the Bill on Basic Principles of Foreign and Domestic Policy ( President of Ukraine official website, (last visited June 8, 2010)). Reportedly, this bill was introduced by the President to commemorate his first 100 days in office and demonstrate to the electorate on the eve of local elections that the President and his political party are implementing the promises made during the electoral campaign. Adoption of the bill was also one of the President's campaign promises. (Sergei Sidorenko, Yazyk ot Kieva Uvel [Language is Away from Kyiv, in Rusian], GAZETA.RU, June 1, 2010, available at

Unlike the 2003 Law on Fundamentals of National Security, which declared full NATO membership to be Ukraine's foreign policy goal, the bill provides for the non-allied status of Ukraine, bans Ukraine's admission to NATO, and states that the country's major foreign policy priorities are rapprochement with the European Union and closer cooperation with Russia. Both Russia and the EU are called Ukraine's strategic partners. (Id.)

Admission to the European Union is declared to be the main goal of the Ukrainian administration. For this purpose, the Law provides for reforming Ukrainian legislation in order to bring it into accord with EU standards, especially in the fields of energy security and regulation of oil and gas transportation. (Id.)

In regard to relations with Russia and giving Russian language the status of an official language in Ukraine, which was one of the major issues during the campaign, the bill, according to observers, does not go farther than the existing constitutional provision, which declares that the state “guarantees free development, use, and protection of the Russian language and languages of all other national minorities.” (Id.)

Ukraine's non-participation in military-political blocks is stated in the bill. However, a continuation of constructive cooperation with NATO is mandated, and relations with other military and political organizations are to be developed in areas of mutual interest. (Id.)

In his introductory decree on the bill, the President outlined major economic or social principles protected by its provisions, such as to “increase the well-being of Ukrainian citizens” and to “create conditions for the development of the Ukrainian nation.” No specific measures are included in the domestic policy part of the bill. According to the opinion of experts, the bill tries to minimize the ideological gap between eastern and western Ukraine and formulate common values for the entire Ukrainian nation. (Id.)