The constitution of Philip Orlik in 1710 is the first in the world to regulate the rights of a vassal and his subordinates. Subsequently, similar documents were adopted in the United States (1787), France, and Poland (1791). The constitution of Philip Orlik was in fact an agreement between the hetman of the Zaporozhian Army Philip Orlik and the Cossacks with the chief (on their behalf, the document was signed by the basket chieftain Kost Gordienko). The document was written in two languages - Latin and Old Ukrainian. The full title of the act is “The Treaty and Establishment of the Rights and Freedoms of the Zaporozhian Army and All Free Russian Little People between the Heavenly Hetman Philip Orlyk and between the Chief Constable, the colonel, and also named the Zaporozhian Army, which by ancient custom and military leadership and fastened by the clearest hetman of the solemn oath. " However, the more commonly used abbreviation is the Constitution of Philip Orlyk. Among the legal community, this document is known in ancient Ukrainian and Latin language versions (abbreviated name of the act in Latin - Pacta et Constitutiones legum libertatumque exercitus zaporoviensis).
The history of one document
The Constitution of Pylyp Orlyk has long been mentioned not only as a memorial of Ukrainian political and legal thought, but also as a memorial of the world political and legal and philosophical thought presented to the civilized world by the Ukrainian cultural elite.
The analysis of the document proves that the grounds for such an assertion are at least because the rules of this legal act already contain elements of the theory of natural law, and most importantly - the position of the theory of separation of powers in the organization of public administration in three directions, functioning independently - legislative, executive , judicial.
The civilized world perceived the ideal configuration of the government system ascribed to Montesquieu, with the division into functionally autonomous institutions: parliament - government - court. But were Montesquieu's views entirely original? Here again we return to the Constitution, adopted in 1710 by the representative assembly of the Ukrainian Cossacks. Montesquieu cannot be favored for the simple reason that he was born in 1689, that is, in 1710 he was twenty-one years old and only started working as a lawyer after obtaining a law degree. Thus, Montesquieu's ideas could not in any way condition Philip Orlik's views on the organization of the legislative, executive and judicial branches of state power.
Philip Orlik's constitution consists of a preamble and 16 articles. In the text of the document its authors call the Ukrainian state Ukraine, Little Russia, the Zaporozhye Army.
P. Orlik's constitution was, therefore, not merely a philosophical view of a single scholar, but a great normative step towards the incorporation into civilization of the theory of the separation of state power into legislative, executive and judicial through a legal act approved by the constituent assembly of representatives of the Ukrainian Cossacks.
The most important step in this act was the provision on raising local self-government to the constitutional level. The norms of international (Magdeburg) law were implemented in the Constitutional Act of the country. It is worth recalling that the cities of what was then Ukraine, unlike Muscovy, had lived under Magdeburg law for several centuries.
The unfortunate fact of history is that the Constitution of Philip Orlik was not fortunate: everyone is well aware of the US Constitution of 1787 and France of 1791, and even remembers the Constitution of Poland in 1791, since these documents were approved by the representative power of existing states and maintained by the authority of state power. Yet, such a whim of fortune does not in any way diminish the historical weight of the Philip Orlik Constitution: this monument is still very interesting and important in terms of the constitutional aspirations of modern Ukraine.