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Since 2014, there is a special Presidential Adviser on cultural issues as an independent office in the State Secretariat.

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Ukraine/ 3. Competence, decision-making and administration  

3.2 Overall description of the system

Cultural institutions and their responsibilities are regulated by the Constitution and by special laws.

According to the Constitution (Article 85), the responsibilities of the Ukrainian Parliament (Verkhovna Rada) are to:

  • approve laws (including laws on culture);
  • adopt the state budget;
  • develop guidelines on national and foreign policies;
  • approve national programmes of social and cultural development; and
  • approve lists of units not subject to privatisation.

The Permanent Committee on Culture and Religions of the Verkhovna Rada is the main body responsible for the design and development of cultural laws.

Three bodies hold executive power over cultural matters:

  • the Chief Department for Humanitarian Policy of the President’s Administration (according to the Presidential Edict #592/2014 “Issues of the President’s Administration” as of 14.07.2014); since 2014 there is a special Presidential Adviser on cultural issues as an independent office in the Administration;
  • the Department for Humanitarian and Social Policy of the Secretariat of the Cabinet of Ministers (Resolution of the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine #564 “On Adoption of the Structure of the Secretariat of the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine” as of 23.08.2016); and
  • the Ministry of Culture of Ukraine (According to the Cabinet of Ministers’ Decree #495 of 3 September 2014, with amendments in 2015 and 2017).

The Ministry of Culture has operated as mainly a financial administrative unit up to now, which allocates funds to more than 100 state cultural institutions of national importance (theatres, museums, libraries, film studios, higher schools, etc.) and to a number of nation-wide festivals, events and projects, including international festivals and forums. The Ministry organizes also competitions for top managers of cultural institutions under its competence, tenders for book purchases for libraries, art pieces, etc., and submits proposals to the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine (Parliament) concerning legislative acts.

In relation to libraries, the Ministry of Culture directly manages and funds four national and two state libraries. Other libraries are under the financial responsibility of local authorities (regions or cities) but must follow the rules and minimum standards provided by the Ministry (Ukraine Cultural Policy Peer Review).

The Ministerial staff consisted of about 160 employees as of 1 Jan 2017. The State Film Agency is external to the ministerial structure but is subordinated directly to the Minister of Culture. The Ministry has an advisory and controlling public body called the Collegium, which consists of heads of ministry departments, parliamentarians and representatives of cultural institutions, high schools and associations.

According to the Cabinet of Ministers’ decision concerning governmental reform and on the basis of the Ministry of Culture Orders #742/0/17-17 and #743/0/17-17 of 11.09.2017, two supplementary structures will be established at the Ministry (as one of 10 pilot ministries), two directorates for formulating state policy and long-term strategy in culture, especially, the Directorate for Strategic Planning and European Integration and the Directorate for Linguistic Policy. It is envisaged that these structures will be established by the end of 2017.

According to the Law of Ukraine #1976-VIII “On Ukrainian Cultural Endowment” of 23.03.2017, the objective of the Ukrainian Cultural Endowment is “to enhance the development of culture and arts of Ukraine, to provide favourable conditions for the development of intellectual and spiritual potentials of individuals and society, wide access for citizens to cultural wealth, and to support cultural diversity and integration of Ukrainian culture into the global cultural space.

At the same time, the Ukrainian Humanitarian Development Foundation was created in 2017 by a group of civil society activists who have considered that their efforts to create a progressive endowment able to change cardinally “the dynamics of Ukrainian society and to provide humanitarian freedoms for our compatriots like in the most developed European countries” failed “because of hostile reaction from the power structures” (; see chapter 3.4.2). The mission of the Foundation is “to project realization for developing human potential and humanitarian urban and rural structures, and preservation of the historical heritage of Ukraine as a component of a responsible way to the future”.

On the basis of the Orders of the Ministry of Culture of Ukraine #292 “On Provisions of a Public Council” of 04.05.2016 (with amendments in 2017) and #591 “On Adoption of the Public Council Composition” of 22.07.2016, the Public Council at the Ministry of Culture was established to represent the public, civil society, private cultural and religious organizations.

The system of public administration for culture has been reduced after the annexing of Crimea and occupation of the part of Donesk and Luhansk oblasts by the Russian Federation. However, it is still made up of 24 oblasts (regions) and one city (Kyiv). The basic units of administration are rayons (counties) together with united territorial communities (established on the basis of the Law of Ukraine “On Voluntary Unification of Territorial Communities” as of 09.04.2015 with amendments in 2017) which are under the supervision of the oblast or city cultural administrations. During last 2 years, 367 united territorial communities were established (at 01.01.2017 – see chapter 3.3) reflecting the main objective of the decentralization process in Ukraine: to remove authority, resources, possibilities and responsibility to the lower level of public power. However, till now there is no clear configuration of public administration for culture in new territorial units which could have an unfavourable impact on local cultural policies, cultural heritage issues and public funding for culture.

It is expected, as Ukraine Cultural Policy Peer Review notes, that the Ministry of Culture will elaborate a single comprehensive document, aimed at local authorities with a view to governing the respective competences. Local authorities are looking for guidelines from the Ministry to update policies that often date from Soviet time.

Chapter published: 09-02-2018

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