One of the backbones of the American political system is the principle of the separation of powers. The U.S. Constitution established an executive, legislative, and judicial branch, each with its own assigned power and jurisdiction. Many countries have emulated the U.S. system of separation of powers while adapting this principle to satisfy local conditions and customs. However, attempts to transplant this notion to the former Soviet Union have been met with considerable resistance. Although the separation of powers is enshrined in the 1993 Constitution of the Russian Federation, this principle has largely been replaced in practice by the "power vertical" and an increasingly strong executive branch. Alternatively, the Ukrainian Constitution calls for a mixed presidential – parliamentary system, although resulting in persistent political battles over the actual division of authority. This conference will look at how different countries understand the separation of powers and how this concept has been implemented in Russia and Ukraine since 1991.

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