Станіслав Федорчук Stanislav Fedorchuk

* 1981

  • “I had hour-long discussions, especially with my Russian Literature teacher; they included ‘wow, Russia, wow, Russian culture,’ USSR, and so on. We were constantly trained to prioritize the Russian world. They kept trying to instill that a civilized, cultured person is a person of the Russian culture. Even then, I started to get irked by all that. <…> I had a classmate, a Latvian boy named Ranis. As far as I remember, he couldn’t even speak Russian all that well, but his mind was already made up for him – that he was a Russian. And what’s more important – changing over from the USSR to independent Ukraine wasn’t felt in those freaking walls. Because I was the one bringing history textbooks to my history teacher. I brought History of Ukraine’ by Ivan Krypiakevych and put it on her table. Then I said: ‘Read at least this one. And please, don’t do your lessons like you’ve always done. It’s too scary.’”

  • “I realized that we had to expand our circle. The only way to reestablish our identity and involve people turned out to be through culture because culture is the highest form of identity that leads to political identity. If we do not have culture, what can be said about identity? So, I began my guerilla efforts. I found some underground spots in Donetsk where people wouldn’t even know who we are and what we’re about. Just people that spoke Ukrainian occasionally. But when they [local government] saw us bringing in Ukrainian bands, Ukrainian poets and writers – and 300-400 people are coming in and buying tickets, and that an artist can come to Donetsk and get a place to stay, dinner, travel expenses reimbursed, sometimes even get paid – they started to catch on. They thought it was just a new vibe. What they didn’t realize is that this was part of the creation of our own Ukrainian realm. In these circumstances. <…> Looking back at these hundreds of cultural events, [I know] a few people said that everything should be free. I insisted that people should pay up. Ukrainians have to pay for their Ukrainian culture – that’s non-negotiable. Freebies aren’t what we do. A lot of people were surprised to find out that we didn’t have any sponsors.”

  • “Sometimes I’m told: ‘Well, there weren’t so many of you that you would’ve [made a difference].’ But really, there were many of us, and we still are. What Euromaidan in Donetsk revealed – and, of course, I was a part of it; what pro-Ukraine rallies revealed – unfortunately, I wasn’t there for these… That we ourselves didn’t even know how many Ukrainians there were around us. We could never imagine that people are being awakened for Ukraine, some today, some the next day. And this path to Ukraine is different for everyone. <…> Now, whenever I read how many resettled people originally from Donetsk and Luhansk regions were killed [in action]… And those who voluntarily joined the Army, too. Some of them have been fighting since [20]14 because they wanted to get home. Apart from holding fast to the oath sworn to the people of Ukraine, they wanted to get home. And a lot of people that are saying, ‘them ushanka hellions from Donetsk region that invited Putin in and so are to blame,’ they are being very dismissive of this category of [volunteer soldiers]. Because we still haven’t made it to the social studies map. We still have to explain, ‘Yes, excuse us, we are Ukrainians from the Donetsk region. We were there. We exist.’ And even having such bright representatives like [writer] Olena Styazhkina, [philosopher] Ihor Kozlovsky, [writer] Volodya Rafayenko, [writer] Serhiy Zhadan doesn’t negate the fact that we’re marked to be ‘black.’ To be ‘blacker than black’. That we constantly have to explain, ‘Yes, we did live there, and some of our families lived there for generations.’ And, after all, it’s people from central and western parts of Ukraine that settled in Donetsk and the Donetsk region. This elaborate myth that it was Russians that came in and settled in Donbas… No, it’s the location of a giant experiment where Ukrainians were remade into Soviet people.”

  • "We, as a Ukrainian community [IDPs from Donetsk and Luhansk regions], suffered two defeats in 2014. We were crushed not only by the Russian occupiers, who took away our towns and villages, but also by our own government and our own society, which did not want to believe us. And still, as I understand it, it believes neither in our existence, nor in our aspirations, nor in our desire to be ourselves, nor in our desire to defend our existence. To some extent, this is a bit of a paradox... If we weren't so stubborn, we would just have turned around and said: ‘Ukraine considers us to be some hussies. Okay, Ukrainian Canada, here we come!’ But, as you can see, almost all those in my circle continue to fight and have been involved in the war as much as possible for all these years, not just since the second campaign."

  • "When I hear now that we need to withdraw from Bakhmut, I say: ‘Okay, then we will fight in Dnipro.’ But then someone will say, ‘Let's just ditch Dnipro,’ and then they will say, ‘Listen, who cares about Kyiv? Brody is a fine town, and Kyiv is nothing but Muscovites.’ <...> Many people do not understand that being a Ukrainian means being responsible for both the corner of the country where you were born and the one where you live. And only a fool can act as if our roots don't matter. I was often asked: ‘Stanislav, why do you head such an organization? You need to get involved in nationwide contexts!’, which is another way of saying, ‘How long can you be so provincial?’. <...> Being provincial means not acknowledging one's origin or being ashamed of it. I am not ashamed of my origin. Yes, I was born and lived in Donetsk. Yes, together with my friends and colleagues, we shaped our Ukrainian Donetsk region. This is part of my biography. This is what we lived for and still live for."

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    Kyiv, 24.03.2023

    duration: 02:06:04
    media recorded in project Voices of Ukraine
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We created our own Ukrainian Donechchyna

Launch of the book "Dismantling Hypocrisy" at Poltava National Pedagogical University. May 2013
Launch of the book "Dismantling Hypocrisy" at Poltava National Pedagogical University. May 2013
photo: Personal archive of Stanislav Fedorchuk

Stanislav Fedorchuk was born into a family of teachers in Donetsk on August 23, 1981. In 1998-2003, he studied at the Faculty of History of Donetsk National University. During his first year of study, he became interested in social movements. He was one of the founders of the Youth Nationalist Congress and headed its regional branch in Donetsk in the early 2000s. He joined the Committee of Voters of Ukraine and headed the election monitoring group in the Donetsk region during the 2004 presidential race. Together with other local activists, he organized cultural and educational events in Donetsk. Stanislav Fedorchuk is a participant of the Donetsk Euromaidan. In late February 2014, he was forced to flee to Georgia with his family due to a series of threats. After returning to Ukraine in June 2014, he helped internally displaced persons and the Armed Forces of Ukraine. In 2016, he co-founded and headed the Ukrainian People’s Council of Donetsk and Luhansk, a non-governmental organization to protect the rights and interests of IDPs. The anthology of Donbas writers, “Poroda”, released in 2017, was their first big project. On the eve of the full-scale invasion, the NGO published the album “Euromaidan in Donetsk. The Story of the Struggle for Dignity” and opened a photo exhibition in Kyiv. On February 28, Stanislav Fedorchuk joined the voluntary formation of the territorial community “Svoboda”, which was mobilized to the 4th Rapid Response Brigade of the Ukrainian National Guard in April. In January 2023, he was discharged from military service for health reasons and continued his volunteer and educational activities.