MotF 255: Our Fathers' Fathers Say Things Were Better Then

MotF 255: Our Fathers' Fathers Say Things Were Better Then

Another relatively narrow victory for this theme. Thanks to whoever submitted it and to all who voted on it!

Please continue to submit your suggestions for future contests here, vote on the winner for 254 here, and vote for the theme for 256 here.

The Challenge
Make a map depicting an attempted or successful socio-economic or socio-cultural political backlash.

The Rules
Feel free to interpret 'social', 'economic', 'cultural', and 'political' very broadly.

If you're not sure whether your idea meets the criteria of this challenge, please comment in the main thread.

Entries will end for this round when the voting thread is posted on Monday, May 23.

Discussion must take place in the main thread. If you post anything other than a map entry (or a description accompanying a map entry) in this thread, you will be asked to delete the post and proscribed as a Luddite.​
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Russia’s right wing, although a major component of the forces which had defeated the Bolshevist armies during the civil war, was essentially absent from the Russian political scene in the Republic’s first decade. The Progressists, the closest thing one could find to a ‘conservative’ faction in the Duma, had slipped in support with the successes of Kerensky’s government throughout the mid ‘20s, and had survived only by merging in 1926 with what was left of the old Octobrist party and adding a nationalist slant to what had previously been a fundamentally pro-business platform. With the economic collapse, political radicalization led to a strengthening of both extremes of the political center, pushing both nationalists and disillusioned liberals into the rightist camp.

This increase of support, if minor compared to the major shift to the radical left, lent credibility to those in the ‘old right’ who had been arguing since 1917 that the republic was inherently weak, and would ultimately lead to a resurgence in Bolshevism and a collapse of the country. The people, it was argued, would naturally welcome a return of the stability of the old order – stability, it was thought, was naturally valued by the Russian people over freedom. As early as 1924 secret societies had met across the country to discuss the replacement of the Republic, but only with the Crash did the reactionary movement gain strength with the active support of several high-ranking officers in the Russian army.

The catalyst which forced the hand of these secret societies was the Japanese invasion of Manchuria. Japan, though a major industrial power, lacked easy access to the basis of its economy: coal and steel, which it largely imported from its concessions in China. In 1930, a military clique convinced in the necessity of autarky and expansion seized power in Japan and began planning for the occupation of Manchuria, which they did after a staged provocation in September of 1931. At that time, Russia maintained a lease over the Chinese Eastern Railroad in Manchuria, which acted as a shortcut for the last spur of the Transsiberian line to Vladivostok. As the Japanese took the territory, they overran Russian garrisons in the region and seized control of the railroad. All the while, military figures begged the government to take decisive action to maintain Russian control, but with military decisions devolved to the cabinet, a decision could not be made. This convinced key figures in the reactionary movement that immediate action was necessary to preserve the security of the nation from Japanese aggression.

On October 3, just months after the Duma had again elected the deeply unpopular Kerensky to a twelfth one-year term for lack of another compromise candidate, paramilitary forces composed primarily of Cossack army groups entered Petrograd at the command of General Anton Denikin and declared that the government had been overthrown. The Petrograd garrison did not respond to orders to oppose the coup, and so despite resistance by workers’ groups throughout the city, by the 4th Denikin had seized most of the city, with the government and much of the Duma fleeing to the East or to Estonia. However, having taken the seat of power, Denikin and his inner circle seemed unsure of what to do with it. Although many of his movement were monarchists in principle, no one had thought to identify and make contact with a member of the royal family, and a search of the city for an eligible candidate was unsuccessful.

Meanwhile, members of his group were becoming uncertain in their ability to extend their victory to the rest of the country, or to win a civil war if one broke out. All the while that inaction continued among those leading the coup, the loyalties of those following them began to deteriorate. The particular role of Viktor Pokrovsky in opposing the coup is one that had been confused in many historiographies of its events, largely due to his later roles in Russian history, but the current state of historical knowledge is that Pokrovsky initially actively supported the coup, only to turn against Denikin partially due to a personal vendetta concerning Denikin’s rivalry with Pokrovsky’s mentor Alexei Kornilov during the Civil War, and partially due to dissatisfaction with his leadership following the seizure of power. Whatever the reason, on the 6th, Pokrovsky made contact with Duma members who were attempting to gather forces in Novgorod to defeat the coup, and allied his Kuban Cossacks with them to drive the rest of the plotters (predominantly Don Cossacks and ethnic Russians) out of the city, which they successfully did on October 8th after minor fighting. Denikin fled to Japan via Poland, while Pokrovsky was hailed as a hero of the republic. In the meantime, the Japanese consolidated their control over Manchuria, resulting in a decade-long undeclared border war between Japanese and Russian garrisons.

Pokrovsky wasted no time in turning his newfound fame and credibility on the center and left into a political career. At the time, Duma elections were only months away, and Kerensky and his government were totally discredited by the events of the coup. Pokrovsky hijacked the disorganized Progressists and rode a wave of nationalist and anti-extremist sentiment to the first majority government in the young republic's history. Once in power, though, he moved, slowly but surely, to undermine democratic rule and consolidate power around the previously-weak executive. He cracked down on ethnic minorities under the guise of an anti-separatist campaign, worked to harass civil society and the independent press, and undermined the political opposition within and outside the Duma through state-funded propaganda and under-the-table strong-arming. However, many voters were more than willing to overlook this in the face of an improving economy and Pokrovsky's moves to strengthen the army, seemingly putting an end to war scares in the East. As his piece de resistance, Pokrovsky exploited a war scare between Germany the Intermarium to invade Ukraine, seizing Crimea and Donbas and overjoying voters who saw this as a reverse of Russia's nearly two-decade-long period of humiliation.

The election of 1937 was to be Pokrovsky's opportunity to solidify his hold on power and fully fill the Duma with his loyalists. Having absorbed the far-right National party in the runup to the election and with sky-high popularity by Russian standards, there seemed to be nothing to stop him. The only other opposition parties with any significant support were the Social Democratic-Social Revolutionary party, now led by revolutionary fossil Viktor Chernov; and the liberal Constitutional Democratic party, headed by the unknown Viktor Pepelyayev.

Pepelyayev was the representative on the State Council from Tomsk, who had first become notable as the leader of the anti-Bolshevist Siberian Autonomy which had formed around that city during the Civil War. In alliance with the government of Admiral Kolchak set up at Omsk, he had succeeded in driving the Bolshevists out of Siberia, securing the rear flank of the Provisional Government. Since then he had largely been known as an advocate for the rights of Siberian natives, and had gained the CD leadership for the election largely because the more established leaders of the party did not want to spend their political capital on a campaign they considered unwinnable.

Indeed, initially no serious observer predicted Pepelyayev would do any better than staunching the CD's massive expected losses in Siberia, especially as his campaign quixoically centered more around promoting minority autonomy and the further federalization of power than the economic crisis. And yet, as the campaign went on, the calm and unassuming Siberian bureaucrat started to be seen as the only choice for those looking to oppose Pokrovsky's slow power grab. When the results came in on March 8, the country and the world were shocked - Pokrovsky's seemingly-inevitable landslide had been stopped in its tracks by a backlash from first-time minority voters, strategically-voting leftist, and - most critically - a good portion of Pokrovsky's former base in the Russian heartland who were upset by his failures to restore economic growth after five years in power. The CDs took the largest percentage of national votes in the party's history, only three percent less than Pokrovsky's coalition, and, despite attempts at voter suppression and gerrymandering in the intervening five years, had decisively denied Pokrovsky a majority in the Duma.

But the hero of the October Coup, having had a taste of power, was not going to let it go so easily. As the new Duma took office and began coalition negotiations, Pokrovsky and his loyalists launched a self-coup, rolling tanks through the streets of Petrograd in an attempt to find a shortcut to total power. But like the coup he had prevented six years before, Pokrovsky made the critical mistake of focusing too much on the weaknesses of his enemy's coalition and failing to consider the cracks in his own. Both due to age and Pokrovsky's own meritocratic military reforms, most of the actively reactionary officer corps which had made civil-military relations so testy in the '20s was simply gone. The new generation of officers were heavily influenced by new military ideas from Germany and France, and they had supported Pokrovsky's actions during the October coup and his moves since to professionalize the military. To them, Pepelyayev did not come across as such a radical threat to the Republic that it was reasonable to throw all that progress away and again intervene in domestic politics. Very few officers actively disobeyed orders during the May Coup, but plenty intentionally stalled and misinterpreted illegitimate orders.

As a result, although the movement of soldiers into the city and to the Duma was able to displace and disrupt it, Pokrovsky proved unable to move quickly enough to completely crush the opposition. Most notably, Pepelyayev, by then already clearly the favorite to be elected the next President, was able to escape arrest and emerge as the symbolic leader of a citywide strike which paralyzed the further movement of troops around and into Petrograd. From there, the situation became a stalemate, with neither side immediately willing to resort to violence. As the strike and other opposition to the coup spread across the country, Pokrovsky saw the writing on the wall and fled to Germany via Sweden. For the third time in 20 years, Russian democracy held by a thread - and survived.

Chernov continued to lead the SDSR party for the next decade, and came close to winning the presidency in 1947, ultimately losing to Labor candidate Nikolai Kondratiev by eight points. He died in 1952 of cancer, and his party faded into obscurity soon afterwards.

Pokrovsky remained in Germany until the invasion of 1941. Personally offered command of a so-called 'Russian National Army' by Rohm, he refused and fled back to Russia. He was offered a pardon and a generalship by the Committee for National Defense, and died in action in 1942 during the capture of Moscow. His legacy is naturally highly controversial, but is still broadly remembered positively for his military reforms and his courage during the war.

Pepelyayev was elected President by the victorious Duma and went on to lead the nation through constitutional reform, federalization, victory in the Second World War, and transition to becoming the world's second superpower, serving through 1947. He died of heart failure in 1954. He is still remembered as Russia's greatest president.

Russian democracy survived and thrived even when much of the rest of the world succumbed to populism and authoritarianism. Only once again did the country come as close to dictatorship as it did in 1937, when President Ignatiev fended off another military coup during the Amur Crisis - again, with the help of citizens who refused to sit back passively in the face of a power grab. Since then, Russia has emerged as the leader of the European Union and the standardbearer of liberty in the world against the American junta and Chinese totalitarian state.
Some said they were heroes, martyrs, idols of freedom in a time of tyranny. Others said they were communists, degenerates, subversive spies weakening the nation. But no matter the perspective, one thing was true, they made great music.

Despite the USSR, through the continent-dominating Berlin Pact, having dug its economic talons into the UK during the Cold War, Parliament in 1969 remained unaffected. In fact it had moved more to the right. The hippie movement that had exploded out of the isolationist United States failed to deliver on its promises of revolution and peace for all mankind. The Berlin Pact remained studiously unaffected, quickly arresting dissidents, "disappearing" them, and pretending they had never existed. The United States was stirred into self-reflection by the hippies, emerging from its isolation and realizing now how inadvertently isolated, though prosperous, it had become. Though the great marshal-president Huey Long was dead, his shadow lived on in the effects of his administrations. Slowly, surely, the slumbering giant woke and found itself alone. The markets of Japan, China, all Europe, and half of Africa were closed to it. South Africa and the Anglo nations of the Pacific were struggling to maintain economic and social independence. Some south American nations were falling to communism, and the UK itself was in dire straits.

In 1970 the dam broke. Five years of sudden and unrelenting political pressure from the United States forced the hand of UK foreign policy. After decades of watching the Berlin Pact sitting fairly amicably (despite the human rights abuses) across the Channel, Parliament and the British people had come to view them as less of a threat than the bogeymen they had once been. The sudden burst of the United States onto the scene, especially with the reputation of the divisive marshal-president and his successors, drove public opinion decidedly against the United States. Parliament began conceding diplomatically to Moscow after US submarines and fleets were sighted in the east Atlantic. One submarine even circumnavigated Great Britain in a stunt aimed to increase American confidence in the current administration's power.

But there was a third way. Led by students, disaffected middle-class teens and early-twenties loiterers, and the coastal urban poor, was a nostalgia for the empire and British exceptionalism that had fallen apart during the horrendous five-year long Blitz. The UK had exhausted its political and economic power preserving Great Britain from invasion, and in turn lost almost everything but the island of Great Britain itself. Colonial abuses unknown, the younger generation looked back to a greater, sovereign time, and viewed the current situation as a temporary embarrassment. So was born glam rock.

Satirizing stodgy stiff-lipped Britishness, precise authoritarian Communism, and gung-ho Americanism, musicians and artists of the glam rock movement quickly made a name for themselves. David Robert Jones of Brixton, Brian Slade from Manchester, the band Slade, Sweet, Paul Gadd (known as Gadd Glitter), and others rose from seedy underground clubs and pubs to play at major venues and amphitheaters. Public disapproval quickly turned to disavowal when the lyrics became political and the shows pornographic in their content and intensity. In a time of stagnation and decay, the glam rockers were the only ones working toward a shocking rebirth of Britain.

Others were seeking alternate avenues. A growing body of the people sought alliance with the United States, viewing them as the little brother come lately to save the day. Yet others grew closer to the Berlin Pact nations, and sought to abolish the monarchy and nobility. Regional and urban-rural divides came to the fore as local police forces tended to favor one side or the other or the third. The years through the beginning of 1974 saw a rise in crime and violence. The antipathy that began with fights at glam concerts, serious pranks at schools and universities, and strikes at dockyards and factories degenerated over the years into a vicious hatred punctuated by arson, vandalism, and aggravated assault. Around London the police forces were solidly aligned with the pro-Moscow government. Several cases of manslaughter and outright murder went unpunished because local authorities that were uncooperative in bringing perpetrators to justice.

Then on May 14th, 1974 came the first glitter bombing. Bradley Smith, a prominent young British communist, came to speak at Oxford University. Prior to the event an unknown person or group created a deadly mechanism of thermite, gunpowder, firecrackers, nails and other shrapnel, and glitter and placed it under the stage where Smith was set to speak. Halfway through the speech the bomb exploded, lifting the stage and sending globs of molten metal flying in all directions. Thirteen people were killed and hundreds suffered permanent injuries or scars. Despite the anonymity, everyone knew in general what "faction" of society was responsible. In the following five years, eleven more glitter bombs of varying size were detonated in the UK. The glitter bombs only aggravated public opinion and drove the country deeper into unrest.

To some they were plain terrorism, unwelcome in an ostensibly democratic society. To others they were tools in the enforcement of freedom, to keep Britain free of would-be authoritarians. Regardless, the acts of barely discriminate violence only served to fan the flames. Then in 1979 word came from France. The population and leadership, sick of domination from Moscow, rose up against the Berlin Pact. French communists joined with their people to oppose dictates from Moscow. Berlin Pact tanks crossed the French border and heavy fighting began, while American armies landed in western France and joined the fight against the Berlin Pact. However the Americans served their own interests as well, massacring anti-Moscow communists when they could get away with it.

The massive US Navy dominating the Atlantic, Channel, and North Sea were too much for British society. Communists fought for control of industrial areas and the cities, or fled to Belgium or the Netherlands. The pro-Americans set about taking control of the country and communicating with US intelligence and Navy elements ready to take advantage of this safe forward base of attack. And the glam rockers and their supporters--now more than just unemployed young people and schoolboys--rose up to proclaim an independent Britain that would frustrate any attempt to influence or invade.

In 1979 the Hot War began, and the glam rock legacy was to have a profound effect on the future....