Vladimir Kornilov About the Severodonetsk Congress: Back Then Miners Wanted to Fight, but Yanukovych Chickened Out

On Thursday November 28th it was exactly 15 years since the leadership of the “Party of Regions” gathered a congress of deputies from the southeast of Ukraine at all levels in the Lugansk city of Severodonetsk. One of its participants, the political scientist Vladimir Kornilov, spoke about this event to the “ukraina.ru” newspaper.

Vladimir, why was it necessary back then, in the midst of the Orange Revolution in Kiev, to hold a congress of deputies of the southeast from all levels in Severodonetsk? What is the significance of this event? How serious was it? How did this idea come about?

“The idea was right and timely. It was to show the world: Maidan doesn’t represent all of Ukraine. And at the same time both the Maidanists and the west warn that the southeast of Ukraine may leave if its voice is not heard. It was because of the seriousness and timeliness of this warning that such a hysterical response of Maidan followed.”

Why didn’t the congress end with anything? Why were there no serious consequences and no serious output?

“Unfortunately, Yanukovych simply chickened out (like he eventually did in 2014). After all, Donbass was really ready to fight for its choice. I talked to miners and metallurgists who were brought to Kiev in support of Yanukovych at the height of Maidan. They had hours of communication with the students of the National University Of Kiev-Mogila Academy, who aggressively told the workers what they were ‘cattle’, enough to simply go along the warpath”

But Yanukovych appeared and urged everyone to go home. The protest against Maidan was primitively thrown under the bus. And all the ideas of Severodonetsk together with it.”

Some believe that it was from the Severodonetsk Congress that the idea of the creation of a Ukrainian Southeastern Autonomous Republic was even heard, that the story of Novorossiyan separatism started, and that, if we can put it this way, the “spiritual roots” of the DPR and LPR grew? Is that true?

“The ideas of autonomy of Novorossiya and its separation from Ukraine, of course, have a much longer history and deeper roots. It is enough to look at the results of all elections and referendums before 2014 to see in them the borders of the South Russian republics of the early 20th century. The Severodonetsk Congress, of course, raised the hopes of many people that they would be able to disassociate themselves from Bandera‘s Ukraine or at least reverse its Banderisation. But that is why there was a sharp disappointment when this protest was dumped by Yanukovych & Co.”

Why did the “Party of Regions”, which initiated the Congress, never become the political force that would end Ukrainian nationalism?

“To be fair, the ‘Party of Regions’ took many steps in the right ideological direction in mid-2005. Thanks in large part to its new ideologue Kushnarev. In the program of the party the idea of federalisation of Ukraine was introduced for the first time, which was put forward by Severodonetsk, an aggressive and clearly emphasised electoral campaign was carried out, thanks to which it was possible to get revenge for 2006. But once the regionals returned to power, many ideological issues were once again dumped. The apotheosis of this abandonment was the transfer of humanitarian issues to the Banderist Anna German. The disappointment of the voters of Yanukovych and the ‘Party of Regions’ was even larger than after Severodonetsk-1.”

Aleksandr Chalenko

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