Legal status and local government of Kiev

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The Kiev City Council building, on Khreshchatyk street.

The City of Kiev has a unique legal status compared to the other administrative subdivisions of Ukraine. The most significant difference is that the city is functionally independent of the oblast (province) in which it is located. That is, Kiev is subordinated directly to the national-level branches of the Government of Ukraine, skipping the provincial level authorities of Kiev Oblast, but hosting the administrative and infrastructure bodies for the latter.

The unique standing of the city's institutions of self-governance reflects the role of Kiev as the capital of Ukraine and is also based on the city's historical administrative status within the Soviet Union where Kiev held the position of a City of republican subordination.

The head of the local government (the Mayor of Kiev) is elected, rather than appointed, and the municipal government has greater latitude in local affairs that elsewhere in Ukraine. The President of Ukraine appoints the Head of Kiev City Administration.

Currently, the legal status and the local government of Kiev is regulated by the special provisions of the Constitution of Ukraine as well as a combination of Ukrainian laws, namely the Law on the capital of Ukraine - Hero City Kiev,[1][2][3] the Law on the local state administration[4] and the Law on local self-governance in Ukraine.[5]

Its special administrative status is recognized in the Ukrainian Constitution in Chapter IX: Territorial Structure of Ukraine and is governed in accordance with laws passed by Ukraine's parliament, the Verkhovna Rada.[6]

The scope and structure of the Kiev local government and the status of the current Kiev City Council is the subject of an ongoing bitter legal and political crisis. The oppositional parties that dominate the city after the recent elections consider the City Council term of authority expired and effectively block attempts at its convening through mass protest.[7]

Legal status within the administrative subdivision of Ukraine[edit]

Kiev is a national-level subordinated municipality (officially "a city with special status"), which means that the city is directly subordinated to national-level government rather than to the provincial level authorities of Kiev Oblast, which surrounds the city.

Of only two special status municipalities of national-level subordination in Ukraine (the other being the city of Sevastopol also administratively independent from the surrounding Autonomous Republic of Crimea) Kiev's status somewhat differs from the status of Sevastopol as the latter's scope of local government is narrower.

Kiev city itself is divided into administrative raions (districts), which have their own units of central and local government with jurisdiction over a limited scope of affairs. Raions are the lowest level of the city's government although some of the raions include geographically distinct "villages" (e.g., surrounded by forest). As with other raions inside Ukrainian cities, Kiev City Council is deputed to define the jurisdiction of its raions' authorities. However, only Verkhovna Rada (the parliament) may create, or liquidate the raions, or change their administrative boundaries.

Local government[edit]

The popularly elected Kiev City Council is the city-level legislative body of Kiev, with a broad scope of jurisdiction over the local issues. The council is chaired by the Mayor of Kiev, who is independently elected by a separate popular election.

Under the Constitution of Ukraine, the term of office of the heads of villages and towns and the council members of these villages and towns is five years.[8]

Kiev City State Administration is the national-level branch of the Government of Ukraine that administers[clarification needed] Kiev, the capital of Ukraine — a "City with special status".[9]

The President of Ukraine appoints the Head of the City State Administration. Traditionally, unlike other similar appointments in Ukraine, this appointment was purely formal, because the Constitutional Court of Ukraine ruled that the elected city mayor was to be also appointed as the head of the City State Administration.[10] This provision is unique, as other similar appointments of the local administration chiefs throughout Ukraine are made by the agreement of the president and the prime pinister; only in Kiev, the mayor or council chairperson may combine their elected position with the executive position in the local State Administration. However, this system was ended in 2010 when Parliament empowered the president to replace the mayor as head of the state administration which the person of the president's choosing.

The central executive power is also represented on the lowest raions level of city authority. There are State Administrations, Internal Affairs (police) Department and other executive bodies in each of Kiev's raions.

Administrative seat of Kiev Oblast and Kiev-Sviatoshyn Raion[edit]

Kiev hosts most of the governing bodies of the Kiev Oblast (which are generally separate from the city government). Separately, Kiev also serves as the administrative center of the lower-level Kiev-Sviatoshyn Raion (district) of the Kiev Oblast as the former is a purely suburban area lacking a distinct central settlement. Healthcare and other public services infrastructure of the Kiev Oblast and the Kiev-Sviatoshyn Raion is also located primarily within the city of Kiev.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ The Law of Ukraine "On the Capital of Ukraine — Hero City Kiev" dated January 15, 1999 (in Ukrainian)
  2. ^ Annotation to the Law
  3. ^ Interpretation of certain terms in the Law by the Constitutional Court of Ukraine (in Ukrainian)
  4. ^ The Law of Ukraine on the Local State Administration last amended December 21, 2006 (in Ukrainian)
  5. ^ The Law of Ukraine on the Local Self-Governance in Ukraine, last amended December 19, 2006 (in Ukrainian)
  6. ^ Kuibida, Vasyl (18 November 2008). "The concept of reform of the administrative-territorial structure of Ukraine. Project". Kyiv Regional Center for International Relations and Business (in Ukrainian). Archived from the original on 15 April 2014. Retrieved 7 February 2012.
  7. ^ "Яценюк: Сесії Київради більше не буде, а буде - заблокуємо". Ukrayinska Pravda. 11 July 2013.
  8. ^ CEC member: Kyiv City Council to be elected for five years in upcoming election, Interfax-Ukraine (16 February 2013)
  9. ^ "Cities with special status". Chernihiv Center for Professional Development (in Ukrainian). Archived from the original on 22 July 2012. Retrieved 8 February 2012.
  10. ^ Decision of the Constitutional Court on 25 December 2003