Between 1997 and 2004, the Party of Regions (POR) became the dominant party in Eastern Ukraine by channeling social discontent to regionalist protests and grabbing the potentially pro-Communist vote. Yet, precisely because of this, the population of Eastern Ukraine lost an outlet for social discontent that it had had during the Communist dominance there in the 1990s. After the Euromaidan Revolution, aware that their position had been weakened by Yanukovych's flight, the POR leaders of Donets'k Oblast appeased the Novorussian movement to use it as a bargaining chip with the new Kyivan authorities. This appeasement gave the early Novorussian movement tremendous opportunity to consolidate itself. The Novorussian movement consolidated itself as the Donets'k and Luhans'k People's Republics, but Russia requested that these republics' leaders abandon their initial revolutionary targets and obey the Minsk Process if they wished Russia to help them.