The game started with the removal of procedure. When the law On National Ukrainian Referendum was passed in November 2012, approval procedures were grossly violated. But procedural violations have become something of a norm in modern Ukraine, especially after the recent ruling by the High Administrative Court of Ukraine that the off-site meeting of a part of parliament’s deputies on April 4 is legitimate.
Next concept that might disappear, is people power. People do not usually get to run their own country in parallel to the formal authorities. International standards for conducting referendums envisage that they are an additional way of democratic participation, and the two are not mutually exclusive.
Referendums, including direct ones, elective ones (like parliamentary elections) and procedures for consulting with people, have to create a unified legal field for exercising power by the people. Instead, the new law On National Ukrainian Referendum promotes a concept that goes back to the Soviet interpretation of people’s rights, under which referendums were the higher form of people’s power.