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Ukraine/ 4.2 Specific policy issues and recent debates  

4.2.2 Heritage issues and policies

Basic principles of the preservation of cultural heritage are reflected in the country's main law, The Constitution of Ukraine, which was adopted at the fifth session of the Ukrainian parliament (Verkhovna Rada) on the 28 June 1996. It proclaims that "Cultural heritage shall be protected by law" (part 4, Article 54); "The State shall ensure the preservation of historical monuments and other objects of cultural value..." (part 5, Article 54); "Everyone shall be obliged not to harm nature or cultural heritage, and to compensate for any damage he / she inflicts (Article 66)".

The Law of Ukraine “On Protection of Cultural Heritage” №1805-ІІІ of 08.06.2000 (with amendments of 2012, 2013, 2014, 2014, 2015, 2016; Chapter 2 “Management of Protection of Cultural Heritage”) maintains that state management in the sphere of protection of cultural heritage is entrusted to the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine and the specially authorized bodies for the protection of cultural heritage.

The Ministry of Culture of Ukraine (MCU) is authorized to be the central body of executive power in the sphere of protection of cultural heritage. The structural unit of the MCU is the Office for Cultural Heritage Protection realizing public policy on cultural heritage protection and preservation; monitoring and supervision of compliance with laws on cultural heritage protection; and promotion of international cooperation in the given field. At the same time part of the functions concerning architecture and town-planning monuments are performed by the Ministry of Regional Development and Construction of Ukraine (MRDCU), which is the main body in the system of central bodies of executive power for the issues of realization of state regional policy and policy in the sphere of construction, architecture and town-planning, improvement of administrative and territorial arrangement in Ukraine. In accordance with the tasks delegated to the MRDCU, it is responsible for work related to the inclusion of architectural and town-planning objects, objects of garden, park and monumental arts, and other objects on the State Register of Immovable Monuments of Ukraine. 

The main body authorized to be the central body of executive power in the sphere of environmental protection is the Ministry of Environmental Protection of Ukraine (MEPU). Its tasks include implementation of the state policy concerning environmental protection, and the efficient use, reproduction and protection of natural resources; the realization of state control over the use and protection of land, environmental security, the creation of reservations, waste products treatment; the formation, protection and use of the environmental network; and ensuring the conduct of geological research and efficient use of mineral resources.

With the purpose of protecting the environment and traditional nature of inhabited places, these places are registered in the List of Historical Inhabited Places of Ukraine. The MCU proposes places to be included on the List of Historical Inhabited Places of Ukraine (cities and villages) and their inclusion on the list is approved by the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine according to the Resolution of the Cabinet of Ministers of 26.07.2001 № 878. There are 401 inhabited places identified on the list.

According to the Law of Ukraine “On protection of the cultural heritage”, objects of cultural heritage have to be registered in the State Register of immovable monuments of Ukraine in the categories of national and local significance and according to their archaeological, aesthetic, ethnological, historical, artistic and scientific value. The procedure for defining the category of objects of the cultural heritage has been approved by the decision of the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine on 27.12.2001 #1760. After including an immovable object in the Register all its elements gain the legal status of the monument. Recently, the Ministry of Culture of Ukraine has made the decision to develop and introduce the electronic register of cultural heritage, as tangible and intangible.

As of 1 January 2016, there are 130 007 monuments of cultural heritage (of national and local importance) listed in Ukraine (compared to 2010 the number has reduced due to the annex of Crimea and partial occupation of Donets and Luhansk regions), among them are:

  • 69 866 archaeological monuments;
  • 53 456 historic monuments;
  • 2 434 monuments of monumental art;
  • 2 941 monuments of architecture and city building;
  • 272 monuments of the garden art;
  • 4 landscape monuments; and
  • 11 monuments of science and technology (data of the statistical report of 2015).

According to the state budget of Ukraine, the expenditure on the reservations of national importance are made from the state budget of Ukraine. It could be stated that in many municipalities of Ukraine the issue of managing monuments of local importance is not executed satisfactorily, with a great number of monuments dilapidating, especially in the countryside and in small towns. The main problems are the absence of specialists and wrong administrative decisions on local level. Besides, according to the Accounting Chamber Report of 24.11.2015, N 9-1, the Ministry of Culture of Ukraine, in the period 2013-2015, used inefficient resources for protecting cultural heritage which led to the fact that about 20 per cent of monuments in reservesі (193) are in critical and unsatisfactory condition; more than 40 per cent (329 monuments) require restoration.

In 2016, at the 11th Intergovernmental Committee of UNESCO for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage, the decision was approved to inscribe Cossack’s songs of Dnipropetrovsk Region on the List of Intangible Cultural Heritage in Need of Urgent Safeguarding. It became the second element of the intangible cultural heritage of Ukraine inscribed on UNESCO lists which puts a clear task before Ukraine – to develop and implement special safeguarding policies and programmes. As it is said in UNESCO Committee decision, it is an obligation of the submitting State “to define clear priority areas and clear sequencing of activities in the elaboration and implementation of the proposed safeguarding plan and budget”.

The Ministry of Culture of Ukraine had prepared by September 2017 the necessary documents for a Presidential Edict to announce 2018 year as the Year of Ukrainian Cultural Heritage which will coincide with the Year of European Heritage announced by the Council of European Union and European Parliament (see chapter 2.3).

The Draft State Budget of Ukraine 2018 envisages the essential increase in funding of the Ukrainian National Remembrance Institute (by 2.15% up to UAH 57.4 million), which should have a positive impact.  On 18 November 2015, the Cabinet of Ministers decreed to establish the Memorial Complex of the Heavenly Hundred Heroes – Museum of the Revolution of Dignity. The purpose of the museum is to show Ukraine’s path to freedom. This includes the Ukrainian War of Independence in 1917-1921, the Cossacks, and many other related topics. It will also be a platform for lectures. One lecture relates to Lessons of Freedom, which provides lessons on freedom to senior students in schools, trains teachers and provides interactive lessons for children. Ukraine’s Ministry of Culture has announced a competition for the best project proposal for the National Memorial Complex of Heavenly Hundred Heroes - the Museum of Revolution of Dignity. The participants of the competition must present the project proposal of the memorial space in memory of the Heavenly Hundred Heroes, develop a project proposal for the building of Museum of the Revolution of Dignity, which should have museum and cultural and educational functions, and develop a public space as a component of the complex. It is planned to hold an exhibition of projects in the summer of 2018.

For more information, see
European Heritage Network: Country profile of the Ukraine

Chapter published: 09-02-2018

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