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In 2015, the proposed Law of Ukraine On Preservation of Cultural Heritage supports decentralization of powers in heritage protection to regional level, and  provides for protection of the world heritage objects under UNESCO protection.

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Ukraine/ 5.2 Legislation on culture  

According the Law of Ukraine on Culture (2011), the legislative framework of the cultural sector of the Ukraine consists of: the Constitution of Ukraine, the Law on Culture, other laws regulating activities in culture, international agreements on culture issues adopted by the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine, and other by-laws. The culture sector is regulated also by:

  • resolutions of the Cabinet of Ministers of the Ukraine;
  • Presidential Edicts, decrees, resolutions and instructions of the corresponding ministries and government agencies; and
  • resolutions of local governments.

The Law on Culture, which was adopted after 7 years of discussions, replaced the out-of-date Fundamentals of Legislation on Culture (1992), taking into account numerous amendments and observations as well as social and cultural changes. The Law came into force on 6 January 2011.

In 2013, the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine adopted the following laws: the Law on amendments to the Law of Ukraine on Ratification of European Convention on Cinematographic Co-Production (18.09.2013, #579-VII) providing legislative support to cinematographic co-products; the Law on Ratification of the Council of Europe Framework Convention on the Value of Cultural Heritage for Society (19.09.2013, #581-VII).

In 2015, the Ministry of Culture of Ukraine has worked out the new wording of the Law of Ukraine on Preservation of Cultural Heritage and submitted it for public discussion. The new bill united two existing laws, the Law on Preservation of Cultural Heritage and the Law on Preservation of Archeological Heritage. The main provisions of the new bill include, in particular, the decentralisation of powers in the sphere of heritage protection and delegating them to regional level, the introduction into law of a separate section concerning the protection of the world heritage objects under UNESCO protection, etc.

The government adopted the Draft Law of Ukraine on the Concept of a State Ethno-National Policy of Ukraine in 2013. This bill is needed to bring a regulatory base in the sphere of inter-ethnic relations in line with respective international documents taking into account the conclusions of the Venice Commission and the Council of Europe Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities (see also chapter 4.2.4).

Table 5:     List of the main existing cultural laws

Title of the Act

Year of Adoption

Laws setting out cultural policy frameworks or declarations of principle

Law on Culture

2011, determines legal principles, regulates social relations associated with creation, use, distribution and preservation of cultural heritage and cultural values and providing access to them

Law on National Minorities in Ukraine

1992, ensures equal political, social, economic and cultural rights and freedoms to citizens irrespective of their origin and supports the development of national cultures

Laws establishing the scope, operation(s), governing structure(s) and procedures for funding cultural institutions

Law on Information

1992, with amendments 2001, confirms the right of citizens to information, freedom of expression

Law on Television and Radio Broadcasting

1993, with amendments 2002, regulates activities of television and radio organisations in Ukraine and defines legal, economic, social, and organisational conditions of their functioning

Law on Copyright and Related Rights

1994, with amendments 1999, protects personal non-property and property rights of authors and their assignees

Law on Libraries and Librarianship

1995, 2008, defines the status of libraries, legal and organisation principles of activities of libraries and librarianship in Ukraine

Law on Museums and Museum Activities

1995, 2009, regulates social relations in the sphere of museum activities

Law on the National Archive Fund and Archive Institutions

1994, regulates relations in the field of training, accounting, preservation and use of the National Archive Fund and other main issues related to archive science

Law on Governmental Support to Mass Media and Social Protection of Journalists

1997, establishes legal, economic, and organisational principles of governmental support for the mass media and social protection of journalists

Law on Professional Artists and Artists Unions

1997, defines the legal status of professional artists, establishes legal, social, economic and organisational principles of activities of artists unions

Law on Cinematography

1998, 2010, establishes legal norms of activities in the sphere of cinematography and regulates social relations in the field of production, distribution, preservation and exhibition of films.

Law on Protection of Cultural Heritage

2000, regulates legal, organisational, social, and economic relations in the sphere of preservation of cultural heritage. An amendment is currently being prepared

Law on Export, Import and Restitution of Cultural Goods

1999, regulates preservation of national cultural heritage and development of international co-operation in the field of culture

Law on Distribution of Copies of Audio and Visual Products and Phonograms

2000, regulates norms of copyright and joint copyrights, fulfilment of international obligations

Law on Theatre and Performing Arts Activities

2005, regulates social relations in the theatre sector, defines the legal status of theatres, their financing and how they are established

Law on Temporary Prohibition to Privatise Cultural Heritage Objects


Law on the List of Cultural Heritage Monuments Prohibited from Privatisation and the Law on Amendments to the Law of Ukraine

2008, 2010

Laws providing financing

Budget Code of Ukraine

2002, defines allocation of public funds for culture between different levels of government

Law on Charity and Charitable Foundations

1997, defines tax exemption for funds voluntarily transferred to support culture or cultural activities

Law on Touring Activities in Ukraine

2003, establishes duties from foreign tour companies or individual performers for developing national performing art

Tax Code of Ukraine

2010, 2014

Laws referring to the "status of artists"

Law on Professional Artists and Artistic Unions

1997, regulates relations between artists' unions and the government, envisages government subsidies to support these organisations, and ensures their participation in the development of cultural programmes and decision making

Law referring to the principles of access to information

Law on Access to Public Information

On 13 January 2011, the Law on Access to Public Information was adopted in the Parliament by 408 votes. On 10 May 2011 the Law came into force.

The Ministry of Culture has prepared for Parliament to consider the Draft Law on Amendments to the Law of Ukraine on Copyright and Neighbouring Rights (see also chapter 5.1.7) and the Draft Law on Circus which will lead to an updating of administration in this area.

Chapter published: 05-06-2015

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