The Death of Russia - Finished Timeline

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The Death of Russia

All is Well

Extract from ‘A Continent of Fire’ by James Melfi

Those heady days of 1989, 1991. We thought we’d escaped it. Escaped the third and final cataclysm of the Twentieth Century. True, we avoided the Third World War between the nations but we saw the Third World War within a nation. Or more accurately, between the many nations of one doomed country. We watched, unable to do anything, as the ghosts of dead empires rose to damn the living. The scenes just years ago of crowds in jubilation at the dawn of unending freedom of Europe were erased from our minds. Now all we saw were the lonely bodies of emaciated villagers line the streets of abandoned villages slowly hide under the Siberian snow. Just as ‘1914’ and ‘1939’ chill our blood, perhaps it was the destruction of our dreams that made the year ‘1993’ so much more chilling.

Extract from ‘The Unstoppable Tragedy: The Second Russian Civil War’ by Peter Hodges

Contrary to popular imagination, Yeltsin’s overthrow was not the spark that kicked off a wave of Post-Soviet bloodshed, but only the latest in a string of violence. Armenia and Azerbaijan were fighting over Nagorno-Karabakh, Tajikistan was in the midst of a brutal Civil War, Georgia was fighting an independence movement in Abkhazia that was aided by Russia and Transnistria had just been formed from the Russian intervention in Moldova. And of course, Yugoslavia had already torn itself apart in a wave of ethnic violence that would eerily foreshadow what was to come. At the same time, there were many territorial disputes that seem almost quaint now. Sevastopol was a bone of contention for the Russians in Ukraine, there were Russian troops in the Baltics and Warsaw Pact states and many of those states were trying to join NATO to mixed reception in the US. Perhaps most importantly for the fate of the region, the nuclear weapon question regarding Ukraine, Belarus and Kazakhstan remained unresolved.

But the main thing that the average man on the street thought about was, of course, the escalating economic and social collapse that had swept the Post-Soviet states. The pain in the Warsaw Pact nations was one thing, but for the Soviet states (especially the three core East Slavic states of Russia, Ukraine and Belarus) their economies had not only been thoroughly centrally planned practically to the street telephone box, but they had no one who remembered a time when anything but Communism was in charge, unlike the Poles, Hungarians, or even the Balts. Consequently, the pain was increasingly intense as one moved east over the old Communist Bloc, with only the Lenin statues as the Ozzymandias style ruins of the Soviet Empire. Inflation was indescribable, the ordered streets had vanished into a free-for-all of gangsters of all levels of thuggery. The ethnic hatreds that had simmered for decades in silence roared out in a wave of racist attacks on non-Slavic citizens in Russia especially. The class hatreds once extinguished by the equal distribution of misery under Communism was renewed as corrupt privatisation practices left millions of ordinary Russians short-changed while a new class of parasitic oligarchy was founded from the most corrupt recesses of the Communist party and literal criminals. To add insult to injury, the new Oligarchs stored their wealth in Swiss banks and ensured none of it would be invested in the country they robbed from. In 1992 alone, the GDP contracted by an unimaginable 14.5%.

This gave renewed life to both the Communist and Fascist movements inside Russia, and weakened the already decaying support democracy had and needed to function in Russia. The situation is often compared to Weimar Germany in how it fundamentally made Russians lose faith in the concept not just of Capitalism but democracy in general, much like the hyperinflation and political chaos of Weimar Germany reinforced many Germans’ desire for authoritarianism. Like Weimar Germany a thriving free-speech atmosphere pervaded the streets as people were finally able to openly speak their minds without fear of persecution, but this was to be cut tragically short.

The main political warfare in 1993 was between two groups: President Boris Yeltsin and his cabinet (who were seen as responsible for the economic tailspin) and the Russian Parliament. The latter was supported by the banned National Salvation Front, a Frankenstein alliance of convenience between the racist reactionary Right and dictatorial Communist Left. Yeltsin accused the Parliament of being unreformed Communists while Parliament accused him of consolidating power. Both cast themselves as the defenders of a democracy that wouldn’t exist within the year. One of the chief architects of the economic reforms, Yegor Gaidar, was removed from the position of acting Prime Minister by the now resistive Parliament. Smelling blood in the water after the Supreme Court ruled Yeltsin’s attempts to block Parliament unconstitutional, the Parliament attempted and failed to impeach Yeltsin in March 1993, leading to the new Chairman of Parliament Ruslan Khasbulatov to propose a series of referendums to resolve the question of whether the President or Parliament would yield. Despite the results generally going in the direction the Yeltsin camp wanted, the Supreme Court ruled the results to have had an insufficient turnout to be binding.

Some believe that the Second Russian Civil War began as early as May 1st 1993, when a joint group of Communist and Far-Right protestors clashed with the police, leading to one policeman being killed. But the events that escalated the disintegration of the Russian Federation could be said to have become unstoppable on September 1st 1993 after another failed attempt to reconcile between Yeltsin and Parliament, as Yeltsin unconstitutionally fired Vice-President Alexander Rutskoy on fraudulent corruption charges and began criminal proceedings. Another attempt to impeach Yeltsin by appealing to the Supreme Court was met with Yeltsin making a televised address on September 21st, where he announced that he had dissolved the Parliament and Supreme Court by Presidential Decree. Needless to say this move was not recognised by Parliament, who declared that Rutskoy was now acting President. Over the next few days, chaos erupted in the streets as Pro-Yeltsin and Pro-Parliament protestors fought it out.

Until October 3rd it was unsure which side would win the stand-off. Parliament was holed up inside a White House that had been disconnected from water and electricity. But one factor that had not been discussed was the military, which continued to bide its time in the shadows, still refusing to declare for either side, though it was fair to say that up until then they were nominally for Yeltsin. This was, naturally, dependent on the country remaining relatively split on the issue and not swinging hard on the side of Parliament.

Unfortunately for Yeltsin, on the night of October 3rd, everyone in the country would know that his time was up.

Extract from interview with Benjamin Rich, aka Bald and Bankrupt

Interviewer: “You’ve made a name for yourself on Youtube exploring Post-Communist Europe. Can you tell us your first experience going to that part of the world?”

B&B: “Well, would you believe it, a bright, barely-able-to-speak-a-word-of-Russian 19 year old me was actually in Moscow in the middle of the standoff between Yeltsin and the Supreme Soviet.”

Interviewer: “No way! Thank God you got out.”

B&B: “I wasn’t so sure I would. On October 3rd I’d actually snuck out of the hotel after the staff were telling us “Do not go outside, it’s too dangerous”. As you can probably imagine I took it to be a sort of challenge so I got out and went near the White House where they’d built a gigantic barricade with hundreds of men with guns all over the place. They let out a big cheer and I now look back and realize that this was the moment when they were telling the crowd that they had to take the TV centre, as well as the City Council building. I stuck around and kept me head down but, I’ll tell you what, there were a lot of moments where I regretted it. About every twenty seconds or something you heard this loud crack coming from near the City Council building, and I knew that all the talk about snipers was true. There were people just lying dead or nearly dead in the middle of the street that I could see in the distance. Eventually they took the City Council building and then they went heading for the TV centre. That’s when the chaos got really intense and I just decided, right, I’m hunkering down here in this alley, it’s madness to go out into that street. And that’s when I saw something that at the time I didn’t really understand but obviously I look back and think ‘Jesus, I was lucky’, both to say I saw him and that he didn’t shoot me. I look out into the street and I see this chap leading the plain-clothes Pro-Soviet gunmen, shooting down the street and presumably hitting somebody. I didn’t think much of it at the time, but obviously when I saw him on the TV that night, I found out that he was Albert Makashov.”

Interviewer: “You saw Albert Makashov?”

B&B: “Yeah, small world! Before everyone knew who he was, there was 19 year old Benjamin hiding in some puddle that was probably full of some Gopnik’s piss while the fate of the largest country in the world was blowing up just in front of me! It took another hour or two for me to get moving. I managed to sneak back into the hotel without anyone catching on, thank God. The reason actually was, when I came in, all the staff were watching the TV in disbelief. Turns out that just before I got back, they managed to take the TV station and show all the carnage that police and OMON had been dishing out to everybody. Makashov was there, [Alexander] Nevzorov was there, going on about how Yeltsin was a tyrant and slaughtering the Russian people. They had these horrific, unedited pictures of women that got absolutely blasted to bits by the snipers, even showing some of the protestors getting ran over by tanks. I’d just been out in it but thank God I didn’t go anywhere near the TV centre. That would have been far too bloody dangerous. That’s when I sort of realised what I’d gotten meself into.”

Interviewer: “What was the reaction from everyone at the time?”

B&B: “It was madness. I have no idea how much of the staff were on Yeltsin’s side before those scenes were being played on every TV from Kaliningrad to Kamchatka, but afterwards? No, everyone in the hotel just looked absolutely disgusted. I knew then that this wasn’t going to end well for him, and unfortunately little did I know or anyone know that those horrors on the TV were going to look absolutely tame compared to what was about to come.

Extract from ‘The Unstoppable Tragedy: The Second Russian Civil War’ by Peter Hodges

The military had been noticeably quiet in the midst of the carnage in Moscow. That all changed on the night of October 3rd, just hours after the footage of the chaotic slaughter outside the Ostankino TV centre was being played on loop with no censorship. Yeltsin’s orders to block the signal, and even to bomb the station using the air force were ignored. Rutskoy, a former military man, soon found the military swinging to Parliament’s side and offering to remove Yeltsin. The mood in the White House (most certainly not the American one) was restored. The army had, of course, not sided out of some humanitarian concern over the protestors but in loaning themselves out like mercenaries to the highest bidder - after the footage of the bodies went out, Yeltsin’s stock had crashed to zero. The army now sided with the only group that could guarantee them something. As General Pavel Grachev drove a tank under a white flag to the Parliament to publicly proclaim the army’s loyalty to parliament, he pledged to fight the corruption that he practically defined. "All is well, all is well," he assured. As the army now publicly sided with Parliament, and the Pro-Yeltsin protestors vanished into the night, knowing it was now a lost cause, the writing was now thoroughly on the wall for the man who led Russia out of dictatorship.

As midnight struck, the rats began to flee the ship. Anatoly Chubais, considered the ‘mastermind’ behind the privatisations, sped off from the Kremlin in his car to the airport before Grachev had even finished speaking. Yegor Gaidar had left Moscow even before that in case something like this happened. Viktor Chernomyrdin, the official Prime Minister after having been Gazprom’s leader, was more muted but decided to fly beyond the Urals to friendlier ground. One by one, the cabinet left Yeltsin, until there was only one: Alexander Korzhakov, his old bodyguard. But even Korzhakov would go in the wee small hours of the morning, as Yeltsin sat alone, shattered but unmoving in his semi-inebriated state. As Korzhakov would write in his autobiography, “One curtain as another was pulled open, a tragic rise and fall, followed by what was simply a fall. Though I felt pity for the man before me, pity as he tried to relive 1991 all over again, I could not help but have more pity to the millions who had been let down by his corruption, his greed, his failure to live up to the hopes and dreams of millions of Russians. And if I’d known what all his failures would lead to, I would have stayed in the Presidential Office as it all came crumbling down, both to die before I saw what became of my country, and to gain the pleasure of watching him die.”

On the morning of October 4th 1993, tanks began to fire on the Kremlin, the intention of Rutskoy and the moderate members of Parliament had been simply to get Yeltsin to come out. However, while they insisted on a more moderate approach, Grachev told them that it wouldn't be necessary and that a few sharp blasts of the tank shells would make him come out. But Yeltsin would not come out, despite the repeated unbelievable scenes of shells slamming into the centre of what was the world’s co-equal premier superpower. It was then that smoke began to billow through the windows. Realising what was happening, a few panicked staff tried to return to the building to convince Yeltsin to come out and surrender, but were held back by soldiers assuming they were trying to aid him in some fashion. By the time the seriousness of the situation was realised, it was already much too late. While it is often alleged that Yeltsin was too inebriated or asleep at the time the fire consumed him, we can never know this for sure, though it did feature in various propaganda stories in the war to follow from many sides. But even if it was true that Yeltsin had perished in such a way, the utter tragedy of a man who risked his life to bring democracy to the Soviet Union, that let the Balts and Ukrainians find their independence, that brought the only form of political freedom that most Russians had ever known in their lives, albeit for a tragically brief moment, is more important than any sneers about what he didn’t do.

With the death of Boris Yeltsin died Russia’s last chance of becoming a normal democracy. Though many prayed that the violence would now finally relinquish, it was unimaginable how wrong they would be. Though there were so many stages and parties that's it’s almost impossible to say definitively when the war began, most historians are in general agreement: The moment the first tank’s shell slammed into the Kremlin, the Second Russian Civil War Era began.

Goodbye, Forever

Extract from ‘The Last Germans in Pushkingrad?’ on the Bald and Bankrupt Youtube Channel

B&B: “Hello and welcome to the city of … well, we’re going on a Soviet trip so for the next few hours how about we forget about lovely old Pushkingrad and focus on what this place used to be called. No, not Königsberg! I mean Kaliningrad! Named after the famous Soviet politician Mikhael Kalinin, and one of the ‘OG’ Bolsheviks. Taken from the Germans after the Second World War, the German inhabitants were expelled and Russian citizens moved in. After the fall of the Soviet Union, this piece of Russia was completely cut off from the Motherland. Which would, of course, be its saving grace in the years to come. And what does Pushkin have to do with this neck of the world? Nothing, he just wasn’t a Communist! Not that that was much of a trouble when he was alive - there was no Communism! But when the Decommunisation laws started coming in, they needed anyone they could get. A few people, mostly Americans, suggested ‘Yeltsingrad’, but even after the Civil War people still remembered how bad it was under Yeltsin, so they named it ‘Pushkingrad’, because if there’s one thing Russians love, it’s a bit of the ol’ Pushkin. Well, ‘Vodkagrad’ would have been too on the nose, wouldn’t it?”


B&B: “And behind me right now, this abandoned airfield behind the barbed wire and this bloody grass that rises halfway up to y’er neck, was where on the morning of October 4th 1993, Yegor Gaidar landed in a small plane from just outside Moscow. Unlike Yeltsin, who stayed to the bitter end, Gaidar grabbed what he could, flung it all into the back of the plane and the pilot took off. It was so heavy with everything he’d brought on that the plane was too heavy to take anyone else. So the plane took off, and many of his assistants were left behind … some of them didn’t survive what was to come.”


B&B: “How’s this for a cheeky monument? ‘The Three Briefcase Statue!’ Three briefcases, beside each other, all open like clams and about the size of a Lada! All of them have something coming out. On the left there’s the Chamomile flower, that’s the national flower. Then there’s a bear paw, coming out of the right side. That’s the national animal, obviously, then in the middle is the Two-headed Eagle, the ancient symbol of Russia that dates back all the way to Byzantium! So what on Earth kind of briefcases were going on ‘ere? Well, the story goes that on October 4th, the word was going round that Yeltsin was dead, everything was in a total uproar. No one knew what to do, but they knew that the Supreme Soviet had won in Moscow. Then in drives Gaidar, he calls in the head of the naval base, the garrison, the police to meet just outside the city hall here, and he says that there’s been a coup in Moscow and that with Yeltsin dead he was the highest ranking member of the Cabinet that hadn’t gone into hiding and that therefore he was, until they found someone else in the cabinet, the rightful successor to Yeltsin. Now, obviously, they all go ‘hang on a minute, they have Moscow, what have you got? Why shouldn’t we just arrest you and hand you back to the Supreme Soviet?’ And supposedly he had three guys come in, each with giant briefcases that they could barely carry and dropped them on the floor to show what was inside. And supposedly all three of the representatives just needed one look at the briefcases to want to listen to whatever Gaidar had to say. Gaidar then said, ‘Look, just help me get the Yanks on the phone - they’ll back me, they’ll say I’m the legitimate government and then ‘they’ won’t touch us, and you can keep the briefcases and maybe a bit more’. That’s all they needed, and so locals like to imagine a more wholesome idea of what was inside those three briefcases. But, come on, what do you think was in ‘em? Or rather, how much?”

Extract from ‘The Unstoppable Tragedy: The Second Russian Civil War’ by Peter Hodges

Yeltsin’s death had not been planned for, certainly not by Khasbulatov or Rutskoy, who had wanted at best a fair and open trial or perhaps an exile. Upon word that the Kremlin had burned with Yeltsin inside, total horror overtook the Parliamentary leaders, as they knew this would emphatically horrify the outer world and a good segment of Russia. Fortunately, most broadcasting facilities around the nation were in the hands of the military who were showing the bodies outside the Ostankino to depress Yeltsin’s support. However, Muscovites could see the damage in person, and were angry at seeing the beloved cultural monument desperately trying to be saved by firefighters that had been delayed due to the tanks and barricades blocking the roads. While the Yeltsinists had been routed only twelve hours before, now they were back, attacking the police, army and, in a great mistake to anyone who tried, Russian National Unity foot-soldiers. While everyone was furious with Grachev that his suggestion had led to Yeltsin’s death, he angrily protested that the decision was ultimately collective and consequently, given the dangerousness of the current situation, had to be blamed on someone lower down the food chain. Debate raged amongst the Parliamentarians as to how they would respond to the killing, with some arguing to announce it was intentional, and others, likely in the throws of confused madness, arguing to say that Yeltsin had actually started the fire as an act of ritual suicide. The situation was further complicated on news that Gaidar had fled to Kaliningrad, proclaiming to be the real Russian government and the Parliamentarians to be usurpers.

Needing to put their side of the story out to the world, Chairman Khasbulatov and President Rutskoy made a joint television address in the evening of October 4th, explaining the situation, while riots continued in Moscow and spread to St. Petersburg. Feeling the need to assure Western observers that the events did not constitute a return to the Soviet era, they decided to give a half-truth: that there was no intention in Yeltsin’s killing and that they never gave any order for the tanks to fire on the Kremlin, the crew that fired would be arrested to find out where the orders came from, and that on November 14th there would be fresh elections for both the Presidency and Parliament with the constitution to be decided by referendum, whose contents would be decided by those who won the election. If Gaidar was so confident that he was the official representative of the Russian people, he was invited to return and perform in the elections, or so the veiled accusation went. Worried about how an announcement of full nationwide martial law would look, Parliament decided against announcing it in favour of increased military presence in the major cities. They had also already made their ultimate and fatal mistake. In having gone on television to announce and commiserate Yeltsin’s death, they had still taken indirect responsibility for it. The Pro-Yeltsin population of Russia now saw the pair as opportunistic killers who seized power with violence, intentionally or not, with even the ones who had washed their hands of Yeltsin following the footage of the massacre outside the TV station also being disgusted at what happened. The belief in democracy across Russia crumbled, as the two sides that had spent months in the conflict had both discredited themselves in a single day.

Gaidar likewise made a speech from Kaliningrad that day that only a few people in Russia could access, mainly over the radio. He rallied the Yeltsinists within the country to the late-president’s posthumous side, saying, “He died for you, now what will you do for him? He continued, “Through the centuries and thunderstorms, there is and always was a Russia, unchanged and unchanging. Not the Tsars, the Stalins, the Rutskoys and Khasbulatovs; they come and go. They die and their graves will be coated in the spit of the people who outlived them. But the Russian nation, the Russian people, the Russian soul will outlast time itself!” This speech was enough to simultaneously win over sections of the West that he was a worthy candidate to support, as well as inspire Yeltsinists in Russia into not giving up (though few outside Yeltsin commanded much love from his Cabinet). To the horror of Rutskoy and Khasbulatov, their hopes of a speedy resolution to the crisis had gone up in smoke like the cars of Moscow and St. Petersburg that lined the barricades.

And this is exactly what others in the Anti-Yeltsin movement had wanted. Because General Grachev had not sided with Parliament at all. He had sided with the National Salvation Front.

Albert Makashov, who had assumed something of a First Among Equals leadership among the NSF, had been privately negotiating with Grachev and other generals to join the side of the parliamentarians, with Grachev finally agreeing once Ostankino had fallen. But the deal was not simply to side with Parliament, but with the interest of the NSF. Grachev was offered to return to his position of Defence Minister in an NSF government after they won the upcoming election, taking the role from Parliament’s Defence Minister, Vladislav Achalov. Elsewise there was a good chance the Parliamentarians would still seize power and leave Grachev out in the cold. In return for the guarantee of maintaining his role as Defence Minister, all he had to do was ‘spare the doomed President of the indignity of a humiliating public trial, and spare the country of the division it will cause’. Grachev, a friend of Yeltsin, was personally torn by such a demand, which slowly resolved itself as promises of confiscated wealth made the promise of defending Yeltsin’s legacy seem much more compelling. This is what convinced Grachev to suggest the ‘warning shots’ on a Kremlin that was potentially filled to the brim with loyalist guards, which was supported by Makashov. Grachev would also tell soldiers that they would not allow anyone to enter the Kremlin until Yeltsin surrendered, which, of course, was not the plan since Makashov had calculated Yeltsin that would throw himself in harm’s way like 1991 again, except this time he would not ‘play nice’ like the 1991 plotters. Unlike the democrats Khasbulatov and Rutskoy, the NSF wanted Yeltsin out of the scene, and not simply for vengeance’s sake. Many were supporters of the 1991 Coup and felt that the main problem had been the relative reluctance of the 1991 attempt to resort to extreme violence - if they were willing, the country wouldn’t have ended up in this situation. They had correctly gambled that Yeltsin’s death would be blamed on the face of the Parliament while they could bask in the glory of having taken the TV station and facing the injustice outside. In so doing, they had already discredited the Anti-Yeltsin Democrat opposition. In addition, they had ensured an outpouring of violence across Russia, but this had also been part of the plan. They had wanted the Pro-Yeltsin group to rise up chaotically and consequently get crushed before they could reorganize themselves. But they had also wanted to shock and mortify the electorate into believing that the country was on the brink of total collapse and consequently needed ‘strong’ leadership.

As hoped for by the NSF masterminds, the announcement did little to calm the violence in the streets from Yeltsin’s supporters, who still clashed with the police everywhere. The swiftness of new elections had been decided due to the sense of needing legitimacy after Yeltsin had died. The police were overwhelmed in day and night protests and riots as the army was kept in the barracks. The police began to arrest the Yeltsinist organizers, many with nothing to do with the protests, many on trumped charges to decapitate Yeltsin’s former support base. The police soon found they had powerful allies to tap into, the recently fully legalized paramilitary forces of the National Salvation Front. Unbelievable scenes of RNU troops and ‘Anti-Fascist’ militias ganging up on and stomping Yeltsin supporters began to trickle out of the country. Both forms of militia soon found themselves recruited by overstretched police to deal with the Pro-Yeltsin groups.

With rapid speed, the whole of Yeltsin’s cabinet either managed to flee to Kaliningrad (including Chernomyrdin) or faced jail (like Viktor Yerin). Despite Gaidar calling Gorbachov and telling him in simple terms, "Run, fool!" Gorbachov refused to leave out of a sense of solidarity with regular Russians. But of course, the most infamous case was perhaps the most deserved. After General Grachev had a meeting with Achalov at the Defence Ministry on October 7th to catch him up to speed with the status of the institution, he maintained high spirits, secretly knowing that he would be back in the same chair for New Year’s. As Grachev walked to his car in the parking lot, another car suddenly drove behind him. Two masked men fired through the windows with machine gun fire, leaving Grachev a half-liquified corpse on the ground. The car would speed off into a Moscow still stricken with riots, easily vanishing into the chaos of the Third Rome. Naturally, his death would be blamed on Pro-Yeltsin resistors, a fact the RNU gunmen in the car took great satisfaction in, even more than the fact they had killed a ‘scheming Yeltsinist’ that was trying to return to power, as they were told by [Alexander] Barkashov. Barkashov was, of course, working as the cat’s paw for the Makashov and the NSF, who still wanted Achalov in power and not a grubby friend of Yeltsin. It’s debated to this day the extent to which Achalov was even aware of the faux scheme to bring Grachev to power. But regardless, with Grachev dead before he could tell anyone of the NSF’s plans and the murder blamed on Yeltsin supporters, Makashov had been able to break Russian democracy without anything to tie it back to himself.

From October 4th until the end of the year - when the Civil War ratcheted up from a nationwide insurgency to a full military conflict - people were already being killed every day in political violence across Russia. On October 8th, after Grachev’s death, martial law with a curfew was finally declared. This was once more utilized by the NSF to now crush their opposition without having to abide by what the Supreme Court said. By the time of the next election, organized Pro-Yeltsin groups were practically extinct across the mainland. It would be a long time before anyone in mainland Russia would dare speak positively of Yeltsin again, assuming they survived what was to come.

Extract from ‘Averting Armageddon: The West in the Second Russian Civil War’, by Frank Wolfowitz

The announcement of Yeltsin’s death threw the entire Western geopolitical order into a tailspin. Generic statements about the necessity of negotiation and cooperation seemed ill-fitting when perhaps the most famous and loved Russian on Earth (outside of Russia) perished in a fire many suspected to be deliberate. Yeltsin had given a speech to a joint session of Congress in 1992 and had consequently enjoyed wide love among the American electorate. Now he had perished in an action most Americans (according to Gallup polls) saw as an assassination by Communists to reconstitute the USSR. For now, Yeltsin’s Cabinet had disgraced themselves by ‘running away and abandoning their leader’. A myth survived in the West for years to come, of the tragic hero of Yeltsin who enthusiastically tried to bring democracy to a spoilt, impatient Russian people who expected a Ferrari in their driveway in a few weeks, before the backstabbing politicians undermined him and allowed the truly dark forces of the past to return to power and consume them as well. Mercifully, this myth has slowly died as survivors of the conflict can tell their own stories, though in the relatively closed information space of the pre-internet era, Americans quite simply did not comprehend how bad the situation had already devolved in Russia before Yeltsin died. To them, Rutskoy and Khasbulatov were also part of the ‘Communazis’, which became the word of the year as broader awareness of the NSF crept into the Western public. And to that end, Gaidar’s ‘Taiwan Government’ was considered the ‘good guy’ in the situation who alone deserved full recognition.

But sheer political necessity dictated that since there was no route for any Pro-Yeltsin group to come to power in mainland Russia for the foreseeable future, the only choice was to lean into the now widely discredited Parliament and try not to ruin the chances of the moderates inside the parliamentarians. To that end, Clinton’s response was to mourn Yeltsin as a friend of America, forcefully condemn the violence while demanding accountability, insist that the Parliament held elections and to continue trying to diplomatically resolve the matter with ‘The Gaidar Administration’. Republicans condemned him for being soft on Yeltsin’s ‘Assassination’, which they correctly summarised was deliberate but not knowing who had done it and who didn’t. They argued that the parliamentarians should be considered illegitimate Communist usurpers and that only Gaidar should be considered the rightful representative of the Russian people. Regardless, to an America that only days ago thought the fear of MAD was behind them, to be plunged back into that purgatory almost immediately cut Clinton at the kneecaps politically. All talk of domestic affairs, ‘It’s the Economy, Stupid’, now seemed a world away from what was the main focus of discussion across the country.

“Hillary,” he would ask, “how are we supposed to talk about healthcare when the Communazis have nukes?”

The only thing that it resolved in both the White House and Congress’s minds was that NATO expansion was simply a must. Poland was supremely lucky in that only three weeks before Yeltsin’s death, the last Russian troops left, while Hungary and the Czechs had likewise been free of troops for years. All Clinton had to do to convince the few Democrat holdouts of the need to expand NATO was to describe his phone call to President Wałęsa of Poland where the former Solidarity leader stated that if Poland could not enter NATO with all due haste that it might be forced to develop nuclear weapons. At the same time, they would not announce their support of NATO membership for the Visegrad states before the elections in Russia, as they didn’t want to be accused of needlessly inflaming the Russians just as the ballot boxes were sent out. At the same time there was much debate in the Administration about which nations to add into NATO. While the Poles, Czechs and Hungarians were locked in, there were discussions about Lithuania and Slovakia. Estonia and Latvia were considered impossible because Russian troops still stood on their soil, but Lithuania was lucky enough that all Russian troops had left its soil in August. However, as a Post-Soviet state, it was still considered a seriously risky move. Slovakia was also an issue as the Vladimír Mečiar government had moved in the direction of autocracy and connection to organized crime. Ultimately, it was decided to leave them out for now, but to strongly look at the case a few months from now and see.

Extract from ‘At Last, it Cannot get Worse: How Russia went Insane’ by Volodomyr Bodnar

The 1993 election was the first time the Legislature was voted on in Post-Communist times. The prior parliamentarians had mostly been the old Communist Party politicians who had sworn (often halfheartedly) of their change of stance. Russia would however, be denied a free election once more. Pro-Yeltsin groups were viciously suppressed due to claims they were ‘a threat to democracy', while even the Anti-Yeltsin democrats found themselves being attacked by Communist and Fascist groups and intimidated into silence. TV stations were threatened with arrest if they were to air political advertisements from unfavored parties. Many local administrators forbade both independent candidates and party candidates from standing due to fictitious inconsistencies in the application process. The Yabloko Party was simply forbidden wholesale due to its joint leader, Grigory Yavlinsky’s initial support of Yeltsin during the events of October 3rd. When he declared his arrest unconstitutional, he was told by the police that ‘that constitution won’t exist in a month’.

At the same time, the NSF ran a virulent, forceful campaign that made everyone listen. Vladimir Zhrinovsky, a firebrand nationalist that had recently gone into retirement, came back to endorse the NSF in hopes of a major cabinet post before ultimately winding up with an ‘advisor role’ to the Ministry of Culture, much to his later fury. Until then, Zhrinovsky would make stump speeches with self-described Stalinist Viktor Annapolis, whose Stalinist ‘Russian Communist Worker’s Party’ had joined the NSF alongside the ‘Communist Party of the Russian Federation’ under Genially Zyuganov that he’d gotten into many spats with, who themselves had to get along with the Right-Wing nationalist Russian All-People’s Union Party under relative moderate Sergey Baburin and the National Bolshevik Front under Eduard Limonov along with the Strasserists in the Orthodox Fundamentalist ‘Front of National Revolution’, that had to share bathwater with Alexander Nevzorov, who had his own Fascist paramilitary group in the ‘Nashis’ who were not to be confused with the Neo-Nazi Russian National Unity paramilitary under Alexander Barkashov. To call this bewildering was an understatement. Presiding over this rogue’s gallery was Albert Makashov, who was both Anti-Semitic and Stalinist enough to win over both the right and left of the coalition while having become famous as the leader of the Ostankino raid who broadcast the massacre to the shocked public, though he was more associated with the left. To say the coalition was unwieldy was evident, to say it was doomed was already obvious, though the scale of the implosion was beyond all worst nightmares. The NSF ticket for the elections had Makashov running to be Chairman in Khasbulatov’s place, with Rutskoy’s nationalism being sufficient to earn an endorsement for President by the coalition, in return for a promise to ‘understand the supremacy of Parliament’.

Khasbulatov came under particularly vicious attack from the NSF’s Right, who used his Chechen ancestry against him whenever they got the chance. “Khasbulatov,” said Eduard Limonov, “will listen not to the Russian people, but to Dudayev! What patriotic Russian among you, would ever kneel before a Black-arse [anti-Chechen slur] like him sitting in the seat of the Tsars?!” Though he was quickly cautioned against such rhetoric by the Left of the Party, many even in that camp were revolted at the idea of a Caucasian as head of ‘Orthodox civilisation’. Khasbulatov was completely unprepared for the ferocity and racial animus of the attacks, which gave perhaps the worst impression one could have given to the voters: weakness. A weak person, it was felt, could not save the country from the implosion that seemed already to be accelerating. Khasbulatov fell into depression as the campaign came to a conclusion, saying ‘I’ve saved Democracy from a buffoon only to hand it over to Demons.`

On November 14th, the polling stations across the nations were devoid of international observers, but the presence of Nevzorov’s Nashis in St.Petersburg, and Barkashov's RNU troops in Moscow were very noticeable for the average voter. The Pro-Democracy votes divided and outraged at each other due to Yeltsin’s death, crushed and leaderless after the crackdown, and often excluded from the ballot never stood a chance. With elements of the police’s help, the country’s democracy already existed in name only. The Supreme Court’s decisions were simply ignored in the interest of ‘the emergency’ and ‘the ongoing Yeltsinist insurrection’. Consequently, the results could hardly have come as a shock while maintaining the sheer thud of horror and revulsion that sounded across the planet. The National Salvation Front had won nearly 60% of the seats, with many of the smaller parties and independents agreeing (under much duress) that they would ‘cooperate’ with the NSF on all important matters.

The results would of course be denounced by the US as fraudulent, giving Clinton the political cover to call the Kaliningrad Provisional government the sole legitimate government and cut off all aid and finance to mainland Russia. Israel, Poland and Germany in particular, denounced the government for their Nazi ties, especially for Barkashov winning a seat under the coalition, alongside National Bolshevist Aleksandr Dugin who even then had grown infamous for his Himmleresque pseudo-realities. He had likewise won a seat after being convinced to stand for the organization by rightist members to get his voice heard directly in the government, an offer he agreed to after feeling 'The Weight of History' after the Kremlin shelling. More favourable endorsements came from Serbia (“Serbia stands hand in hand with our Orthodox Slavic brothers in defiance of Western Capitalist Hegemony!”), China (“We are encouraged that Russia has rejected its disastrous experimentation with the imported Western model.”), and David Duke (“This is the greatest news for the White man in all the Twentieth Century!”)

But undoubtedly the most chilling memory of the election night was Makashov’s victory speech.

Extract from Makashov’s Victory Speech, November 14th 1993

“My fellow Russians, today is the day that the fightback against the occupation of our country has finally begun. The occupation of thieves, aliens and invaders. We had our troops in Berlin, now we don’t even have troops in Grozny! Our borders stretched to the Carpathians and now they’ve collapsed back to Rostov! Our very voice made the world tremble, now it barely makes them laugh. Your wealth was stolen by Capitalists, your hopes were stolen by liberal politicians and your country was stolen by traitors. It is no crime to take back what is yours! To take back our wealth, our hopes, our country, is no sin! We will end the prostitution of our country! We will end the auction of our childrens’ futures to the Rootless Capitalists! We will end the humiliation of our people, our nation, our Russia! The Liberal Capitalist occupation of Russia is over!

Cheers from audience

“And Gaidar, and all the other rats that have fled to Kaliningrad and hide behind their Western masters for protection? Who whispered sweet nothings of democracy and refused any elections in Kaliningrad because you know they’d run you out of Kaliningrad at the end of a pitchfork? You and all the other traitors will face justice one day! You will face the parents who could not feed their children! Of the Russians who were abandoned beyond the border! The pensioners who fought in the Great Patriotic War and lost in your ‘reforms’ what little they had not lost in the war. The Russian people will never forgive, and will never forget!


“The results of this election will mean many weeping and gnashing of teeth in Washington, in London, in Berlin, and, we must not forget that most dear country, in Tel Aviv.


“Because a Jewish country that works for the Jewish people is perfectly acceptable, but a Russian country that works for the Russian people is an atrocity, of course! They only exist because of us, after we saved them from the Nazis, after we created Israel, and this is how they repay us? To have the Israeli ambassador compare the overthrow of the tyrant Yeltsin to the Nazi Kristallnacht? To have the Israeli President call on all Jews in Russia to leave? The Jews have had no greater friend than the Russian people, and Israel would be wise to remember that. I only wish they were as mad about the fact that our people were starving in the streets, as the fact we denounce their hypocricy! But of course, I’m no Anti-Semite! The ingratitude towards Russia is no quality specific to Israel. The Poles, Balts, Germans, who jeer us despite the fact we liberated them from Hitler, and to the Americans and English who let our sons die because they were too cowardly to send theirs. But, if there are any Jews or Poles or Balts in this country, or anyone else for that matter, who are offended when we say that we will put the ‘Russian people first’, and they do not think themselves in that number, then it would indeed be wise to leave this country. Because if you will have nothing to do with the Russian people, the Russian people will have nothing to do with you!


“We will be wealthy again! We will be strong again! We will be proud again! Russia will reclaim her destiny as the leader of the world, the saviour of civilisation! And to all those leaders of the world who sneer and mock us, I say this: We do not ask for your love because we do not want it, and we do not ask for your respect because you will give it involuntarily!

Wild cheers

“And I swear, you will never hear that dirge again! That ‘national anthem’ of an occupied country, an anthem so ashamed of itself that it doesn’t even have lyrics! We will play the old anthem! ... Anthems! The ones we played when we put a man into space! The ones we played when we saved Moscow in 1941! When we saved Stalingrad in 1942! When we beat the Nazis in 1945! And 1956! And 1968! The anthems of a country that was loved! A country that was feared! A country that was stolen from us! Stolen by scum, and surrendered by cowards. But we’ll get our country back! We’ll get it all back! And when we do, and we return our lost lands back to the Russia that made them what they are, it will already have the anthems of her people to greet them back. The old anthems! The old flag! The old glory! Glory to Russia!”

Wild cheers, Baburin and Anpilov enter stage, shake hands with Mashkarov.

Extract from ABC Nightly News, November 14th 1993

Peter Jennings: “Those were the words that the incoming Chairman of the Russian Parliament gave earlier today. These comments were, to say the least, deeply concerning to Western observers. We have Sam Donaldson at the Sheremetyevo airport in Moscow now. Sam, as we can see, a worrisome situation.”

Sam Donaldson: “Hello Peter, yes, we’ve been talking to dozens of people here in this airport. People were selling jewellery, clothes, anything to get a plane ticket out of the country. It’s no surprise that a large number of those people are Jewish. When we asked one elderly gentleman if he was flying one way, he said ‘yes’ and when asked why he just showed us the tattoo on his wrist and walked away. Israel has announced that it is massively stepping up flights to Russia to try and deal with the now overwhelming demand of the Jewish population to leave. The number of Jews moving to Israel from the Post Soviet Union was already enormous but these recent developments are going to seriously call into question Israel’s ability to deal with this influx. They are obviously worried, as are all Western leaders, about some of the extreme Anti-Semitism that Makashov and others in the National Salvation Front have expressed including the election of Alexander Barkashov who is widely seen as a Neo-Nazi."

Peter Jennings: “Sam, these people trying to flee the country, Jews evidently make up a substantial proportion but what are some of the other groups?”

Sam Donaldson: “Yes, we don’t want anyone to think that this exodus of people is an entirely Jewish phenomenon. A lot of ethnic minorities, Georgians, Azerbaijanis, they’re all really scared of some of the rhetoric that members of the NSF have said about people from the Caucasus region. And of course we can’t forget the average Russian citizen, Peter, many of whom are really scared that this is going to turn the country back into a concentration camp and want to get out while they still can. Many are flying, driving or sailing to the Kaliningrad region that’s become sort of what Taiwan was to the Chinese Nationalists when they fled the Communists back in 1949, an isolated fortress beyond the reach of a Communistic dictatorship. The train service to Kaliningrad was cut almost immediately after those horrible scenes in Moscow we saw last month but they’re finding any other way they can. Kaliningrad has been seeing terrible street violence between NSF demonstrators and the police that remain loyal to Yeltsin’s former government, so the fact that so many Russians are desperate to flee there gives you an indication of how worried people are here. I was told by one person at the airport that they'd told their family in St. Petersburg to cross into Finland by any means necessary. Another came to me and said, tears in their eyes, 'I can't believe it's gotten to the stage I have to tell my country 'Goodbye, forever.'”

Peter Jennings: “Thank you, Sam. We’re still getting word in from how various countries have addressed General Makashov’s speech. President Wałęsa of Poland saying ‘We have nothing to be grateful for to the godless country that occupied and enslaved us’. In Latvia, Valdis Birkavs, who was recently elected as the new Prime Minister has said that all Russian troops must uphold their agreements to leave Latvia and Estonia as soon as possible or it will end in a quote ‘with Russia’s name soiled for the next millennium’. Leonid Kravchuk, the President of Ukraine, said that ‘While we hope to have the best possible cooperation with our most brotherly nation in matters from trade to the Black Sea Fleet, Mr Makashov is mistaken. Ukraine is a legitimate, independent country and it will remain so’. In Tatarstan, one of the regions discussing breaking away from Russia, President Mintimer Shaimiev called the speech ‘Deeply concerning for the ongoing negotiations of Tatarstan’s autonomy’. Lastly comes perhaps the most curt, coming from Chechnya, the breakaway state in the Caucasus. Coming from President Dzhokhar Dudayev, he sent out a simple, one-line reply saying, ‘If the ‘Rashist’ regime wants to rob the Chechen people of their freedom, they are welcome to try and take it’.”

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"Three Sisters"

Extract from Larry King Live, November 19th, 1993

Larry King: “Good evening and welcome back to Larry King live, earlier today the President announced his support for the former Communist countries of Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic and Lithuania in their quest to join NATO. Statements of support have come in from Canada, the United Kingdom and Germany, and the move is widely expected to be unanimously supported by the NATO alliance, which requires unanimous consent before joining. Joining us to discuss this move are Senate Foreign Committee member and Democrat senator from Delaware Joe Biden and Republican Senator from Arizona John McCain. Senator Biden, the Administration has been criticized for not being strong on Russia, do you feel this move does enough to stand up to this radical Salvation Front Regime?”

Biden: “Well look, Larry, this administration has had to balance multiple parties’ interests in Russia, and oftentimes I’d agree we should have done this or we should have said that, but the bottom line is we’ve created a global coalition practically from scratch. I was greatly encouraged by the words from Israeli Prime Minister Rabin that he was willing to stand together with America to oppose this new regime. I’ve been advocating NATO expansion for quite a well now Larry and I know it’s kinda crazy how the discussion has changed in only a few months but it’s really extraordinary. We’ve got a near-unanimous consensus, unanimous. These four countries, especially Lithuania, there was a lot of debate about their joining and now they’re going through faster than anyone could have believed. In reality it seemed a lot of the dissent was coming from the other side of the aisle; you had Pat Buchanon the other day talking about how this country would make a great ally of America! Ally? This Anti-Semitic mishmash of Communists and Nazis? I think the administration has done very well on the matter of standing up to Russia, all things considered.”

King: “Senator McCain, do you agree with that?”

McCain: “Well first things first, Pat Buchanon is about as relevant to the Republican Party as Bernie Sanders is to the Democrat party. Second of all, yes, this package of Poland, Hungary, Lithuania etc, all joining NATO, that’s a very good thing. But at the same time, that’s not where the real danger is. The real danger is in Latvia and Estonia, the other two Baltic countries. There are still Russian troops in these regions and this new government has given indication that they are going to renege on agreements to leave and imply that they’re going to reoccupy the country like Stalin did. Now, what’ll that mean to the Jews living in these countries, to the freedom fighters who fought for fifty years to bring independence to their countries? The best way to defend these countries would be for the President to say ‘We are extending our NATO invitation to Latvia and Estonia’. This would make the Russians think twice about stationing troops in these regions because they’d have to fear American involvement. It will take courage and commitment, but unfortunately, I do not see the Administration having the courage and commitment to go through with this.”

King: “Senator Biden, that’s really the crux of it, a lot of people are especially worried about Latvia and Estonia. On one hand, you have people saying we can’t just let this new regime take over two independent countries in Europe, but at the same time, we have a lot of people worried about the prospect of an armed conflict with the Russians. How will the President be able to navigate between these two extremes, if he can?”

Biden: “I’m not going to lie to you Larry, the question of Latvia and Estonia is a very tough one. It would be tempting, like my Republican colleague here is attempting to do, of giving out blank assurances but we’ve got to be completely sure that we’re going to be able to back it up, so -”

King: “I think we understand that, but what I and a lot of the viewers would like to know is what this administration’s policy towards Estonia and Latvia is? Will there be red lines? Will there be some form of compromise, is there any plan that you are aware of?

Biden: “That’s an excellent question Larry, and there’s no cheap, soundbite-friendly answer that I can give. The only thing that the President can do is continue to send a firm message that aggression will not be tolerated by either the United States or by NATO.”

King: “But if he’s not saying ‘we will defend Latvia and Estonia militarily’, is he not giving a ‘firm message’ that such an action will essentially be allowed?”

Biden: Nervously laughing “I know it’s the wrong party but to quote former President Reagan, ‘There you go again!’ But to address your question, yes, there are many forms of actions we can take that don’t necessitate military conflict with this illegitimate Russian government. We are so much stronger than them that we can hit them on a range of fronts, both economically and militarily.”

King: “Militarily? But we’re talking about -”

Biden: “Not Russia itself, but Larry, these NSF guys have a lot of allies who they can’t protect.”

Extract from ‘The Unstoppable Tragedy: The Second Russian Civil War’ by Peter Hodges

The new NSF government was, as any coalition of Fascists and Communists would be, exceptionally divided on a host of issues. They knew what they hated (the West, Capitalism, Democracy, and Liberalism in both the 19th Century and modern sense), but finding agreeable solutions was another thing entirely. Already the two sides began to segregate into blocs within the coalition, with (among others):

  • Dugin (Right Bloc): A bizarre philosopher and geostrategist who sensed innate destiny within the Slavic race to lead the world against the ‘Anglo-Saxons’. He became the Cultural Minister, tasked with creating a chimeric vision of a traditionalist Russia that was simultaneously in love with its Soviet past. Or, as he would describe it, ‘To put the Red Star in the stained glass of every church.”
  • Barkashov (Right Bloc): The semi-openly Hitler-admiring stormtrooper whose RNU paramilitary was the real power in Moscow. He was, at the time, too controversial to put into the Cabinet. It is around this time that he began to read a Russian translation of the Turner Diaries.
  • Nevzorov (Right Bloc): The television presenter whose exhaustion and anger at the Yeltsin government had led him to dark solutions. He became the Minister of the Press and Information, quickly renationalising broadcasting in the name of ‘combatting disinformation’ and disseminating a narrative that glorified the NSF as saviours of not just Russia, but all human civilization.
  • Limonov (Right Bloc): The National Bolshevist who was in some bizarre way often a swing vote. He took the Minister of the Interior position after jockeying for influence and excluding the Supreme Soviet’s prior choice on the basis of not being hardline enough.
  • Baburin (Right Bloc): One of the more moderate nationalists in the group, who fantasised about a national revival of the Russians as a people. To this end, he became Foreign Minister.
  • Mikhael Astafyev (Right Bloc): Baburin’s partner within the Russian All People’s Union Party, his anti-Privatisation and pro-collective farm policies were sufficient to make him Minister of the Economy.
  • Shafarevich (Right Bloc): A mathematician whose suspicion of Jews and lack of faith in socialism led him to the extreme right. His appointment to Science Minister went without a hitch, and was regarded as the sanest person in the government by Western observers.
  • Anpilov (Left Bloc): A full-blown Stalinist, Anpilov was the strongest voice for collectivisaiton and the return of Five Year plans. He consequently became the Industrial Minister
  • Zyuganov (Left Bloc): Anpilov’s biggest enemy due to Communist infighting, Zyuganov was slightly more nationalistic. He became the Agricultural Minister, thus ensuring both the hammer and sickle would be the purview of Communists.
  • Ilyukhin (Left Bloc): After ranting about the illegality of the Baltic secession, his appointment to the Prosecutor General’s office would turn the court into little more than a modern incarnation of Roland Freisler’s judicial atrocities.
  • Ilya Konstantinov (Left Bloc): Chairman of the NSF’s organising committee, he became the Chief of Administration.
  • Alksnis (Left Bloc): The half-Latvian was known as ‘The Black Colonel’, owing to his ruthless militarism and yearning to return to Soviet domination. He stole the Security Minister position from Viktor Barannikov (who had been appointed by the former Supreme Soviet) as the organisation wanted such a sensitive operation in confirmed friendly hands.
  • Makashov (Left Bloc): The new Chairman, whose Anti-Semitism was crucial in convincing the Right Bloc of his ability to compromise. One of his first acts was to abolish the Jewish Autonomous Oblast (not that there were many Jews there) in retaliation for Israel refusing to hand over Anatoly Chubais, who had fled to Israel and refused to deal with Russian politics anymore.

In the realm of the economy, privatisation was halted though the notion of universal confiscation of private property was dropped as unduly expensive and in total opposition to most of the Right Bloc. In the coming months the budding Oligarch class was decimated, either fleeing the country, seeing their wealth arbitrarily confiscated (or not so arbitrarily if you knew their ethnicity), and a vanishing few were able to keep their wealth if they were considered sufficiently patriotic and had enough members of the Right Bloc to save them from the chop. For example, Boris Berezovsky and his acquaintance Roman Abramovitch would see their businesses confiscated by the state while Berezovsky’s business partner Aleksandr Voloshin was fine as the former were Jewish and the latter was not. The confiscated cash would then be used to buy off influential people and thoroughly subvert what little democracy was left in Russia. While both Berezovsky and Abramovitch would be lucky enough to flee to Israel, Voloshin would now have to pay an inordinate amount in bribes while the economy continued to splutter into the toilet. The West had ceased business with the new Russian government, limiting its access to foreign markets. While Western countries, particularly Germany, felt the pinch of this, it did not remotely compare to the gridlock in Russia. The growing Third World was interested in taking many of Russia’s goods, but in the 90s they did not contribute anywhere near enough in terms of demand to make up for the West. Put together, everyone in the government knew this would lead to a real risk of famine throughout the country. Thus, in keeping with tradition, Moscow and St. Petersburg were put front and centre, with the shortages mainly pushed to the far-flung ethnic republics that Russia had imprisoned within its colossus. Of course, this would be one of the primary instigators of the waves of resistance that sprang over the country in 1994.

One big and immediate announcement was the announcement of the new Prosecutor General Viktor Ilyukhin that Mikhael Gorbachev, Ruslan Khasbulatov, and Viktor Yerin would be put on trial for high treason, while Yaidar was trialed in absentia on ‘economic genocide'. For Gorbachev, the charge related to his allowing the Soviet Republics to become independent. Ilyukhin had tried to push a similar charge in 1991 but was rebuffed as the State Council made the decision, not Gorbachev, which caused him to lose his job and flee to Pravda newspaper. Amidst his furious declarations that the Belovezh Accords were illegal, the CIS was illegal, the disintegration of the Soviet Union was illegal, and that the independence of all fifteen of its republics were illegal, he had gained enough ears in the National Front. His appointment was the death kneel of a free judiciary in the new Russia, as the law was simply not followed when it was in the NSF’s interests. Thus, his policy was to go after the remnants of Gorbachev and Yeltsin’s supporters. Gorbachev had refused to leave the country in the aftermath of the shelling of the Kremlin and had thus placed himself firmly into the NSF’s hands. He was arrested on December 7th 1993, holding himself with stoic rigidity as a pre-arranged group of Communists arranged by Nezvorov threw rotting tomatoes at him as he entered the jail. The outrage this move generated was so enormous it temporarily brought Ronald Reagan out of retirement to campaign for his friend’s freedom. Granted, the thought that the move brought anguish to a former US President probably pleased the NSF more than hurt them.

With respect to Khasbulatov, he was still a member of the Supreme Soviet, and so a man of his prominence being taken was something that removed the last morsels of courage from almost everyone in the government, including President Rutskoy, whose personal declaration of gutting the powers of President had left him almost completely unable to help his colleague. Rutskoy would petition for Khasbulatov, but was at best only able to reduce the sentence. Khasbulatov was charged with fanciful claims of collaboration with Dudayev in Chechnya, supposedly promising Dudayev that he could have an independent Chechnya in return for funneling guns to Pro-Parliament paramilitaries. Needless to say, the whole thing was a total hoax, but as Khasbulatov was a wanted man in the West as he had ‘killed Yeltsin’ and overthrown the ‘legitimate’ Russian government, he had nowhere to run. Unlike Gorbachev’s stoicism, at the same manufactured photo-shoot arranged by Nezvorov, Khasbulatov was visibly shattered in his knowledge of what he had unleashed not just in Russia, but on the whole world. Not even the Chechens mourned him, seeing it as good if anything that a message was sent to ‘collaborators’ with Russia. Yerin’s trial proceeded first, revolving around claims of cooperation with a ‘tyrannical’ Yeltsin in order to suppress the ‘Second October Revolution’ as the Nevzorov Propaganda network had taken to calling it. Already, observers could see the extent of farce these trials would end up being, This was doubly confirmed by the psychedelic experience of Gaidar’s show trial, which claimed all the hardship of the previous Yeltsin years (including the Gorbachev difficulties) were actually a planned ‘CIA-Mossad operation’. The trial quickly devolved into a talk-shop for Ilyukhin’s Soviet nostalgia with intermittent jibes at Jews, an apt description of the state the NSF had created.

Extract from ‘The Wild East: How the Second Russian Civil War changed Europe’ by Ilya Shevchenko

Upon the NSF’s election, the head of Russian troops in Germany (Matvey Buriakov) was told in simple terms by Chancellor Kohl that he had to immediately make a decision about whether he and his 40,000 troops still in Germany were loyal to the Kaliningrad government under Gaidar or to the new Moscow government under Makashov. They were told in simple terms that if it was the latter then they could forget leaving in Summer 1994 as planned and would have one week to leave. Buriakov decided to sleep on the matter, but that night he would encounter something that many consider a divine message. He had a dream where he walked around Moscow, finding to his astonishment that no one was around. Finally, he nearly tripped, and when he turned to look at the ground he saw that the whole ground had literally been paved with corpses. Waking up with a fright, he would tell his troops that it was their right to decide to return to mainland Russia, but if they did they would have to abandon their equipment, which would be sent to Kaliningrad where he was going. Despite this, most soldiers wanted to return to their families and so some 75% decided to return to Russia proper, a choice that those who survived would often regret.

Buriakov would go to Kaliningrad regardless, as the decision would lead him to be favorably looked upon by the new regime, which was still fishing for credibility after clashing with NSF demonstrators on an almost daily basis. Gaidar himself was privately indifferent to whatever befell Gorbachev as he saw him as a potential rival for power. He was also thankful for the positive publicity in light of Ilyukhin’s bizarre absentia trial by making him appear an antagonist for the NSF, thus ensuring waves of positive press in Western publications. Soon after, former Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin managed to come to Kaliningrad by means of circumnavigating the planet and consequently left enough time for Gaidar to establish an administration without him. This, to say the least, was quite bemusing to Chernomyrdin, who demanded to know on what basis Gaidar had the authority to make himself the acting President of Russia. “How about this, you old fuck?” Gaidar responded, picking up the Cheget (the Presidential nuclear briefcase that he’d smuggled out of the Kremlin before it fell with the other two lost to the NSF). Gaidar had passed a number of ‘emergency resolutions’ effectively nulling the ability of any group other than the Executive of holding power, as well as suspending elections indefinitely. While these measures would of course in normal times have resulted in the immediate annihilation of ties with the West, he remained the superior option in an admittedly underwhelming competition for Russian legitimacy. Gaidar’s other ‘briefcases’ had gotten him the police, army, and even the Baltic Navy, but it had done little to win over the locals. Kaliningrad was run-down, even for Russia in 1993, but staying there was considered essential in order to maintain legitimacy. The Gaidar Administration knew that if they ran to America to run a government in exile that it would instantly be seen as confirmation of their status as American puppets. The pulling out of American aid from mainland Russia now focussed entirely on Kaliningrad, who finally began to see noticeable improvements in their lives for the first time in years (though still materially worse than life in the Soviet era). At the same time, the Gaidar Administration had ironically less democracy than mainland Russia for the time being, as martial law had been declared as the leaders of the local NSF groups were arrested and detained for treason. Democracy was stopped in the name of democracy, free speech was cracked down on in the name of free speech and freedom was suspended for the sake of freedom.

Yet just farther north, the situation was vastly worse. Lithuania had been spared Russian occupation by mere weeks, but Latvia and Estonia still had Russian troops on their soil. Lithuania had initially been angry at the refusal of NATO to allow the other two Baltic states into their midst. However, the Latvians and Estonians themselves told Vilnius to accept the offer of NATO enlargement. Kaliningrad likewise pleaded for Lithuania to accept as they would be safe behind the NATO shield if the NSF tried to make a run on the rump territory. This was a process that in a strictly legal sense Lithuania was ineligible for owing to her woeful military that failed to meet NATO’s minimum standards, but the thought of allowing even more countries to fall to NSF Russia was unacceptable. In response to the NSF’s victory, street protests erupted in Tallinn and Riga in defiance of the new administration. In Riga, protestors clashed with Russians who supported the new government, leading to growing voices inside mainland Russia to occupy the country once the NSF stepped into power formally. People treated the Russian troops with extreme suspicion and hostility as no one knew what the intentions of the regime were. Despite this, Latvians and Estonians began to prepare for conflict, with citizens' militias beginning to firm, women creating Molotov Cocktails in the basements and gun shipments began suddenly and mysteriously coming in from ‘Third Parties'. The latter often came from gentlemen that had a vaguely Middle Eastern accent but could talk about Latvia as if they had been born there.

Despite this, Clinton could give no more than vague threats on the two countries that many Americans had grown accustomed to thinking of as ‘Parts of Russia’. The Royal Navy and US Fleet sailed imposingly around the Baltic (in tandem with the Kaliningrad-loyal Russian Baltic Fleet), plans were hatched to land on the Baltic islands and establish provisional governments, and threats were made to Russia that America and the Collective West would announce an embargo on anyone who did business with Russia in the event of an invasion of Estonia and Latvia. While this crisis would quickly be overshadowed by many similar crises in the Civil War, this was one of the first times the spectre of conflict between NSF Russia and the West began to take hold.

As Makashov formally took the position of Prime Minister by the end of November, one of the first things on the agenda was what to do with Latvia and Estonia. Many of the more extremist members of the party wanted full domination and conquest of all Post-Soviet states, including Lithuania, calling America’s security guarantees to Lithuania hogwash. At the same time, the state was still incredibly fragile, with NSF Russia still having difficulties trying to purge remaining independent institutions of dissenters. Many were simply physically threatened into submission by the paramilitaries the NSF could deploy at a moment’s notice. In some parts of Russia, they became more prominent than the actual police. This left a situation where Makashov was acutely aware of Russia’s limitations and the need to rebuild military strength after the debacle of Afghanistan. It was ultimately agreed, especially to Alksnis’s disappointment, that full occupation of Latvia and Estonia so quickly would be too sudden for the Russian masses and it would push the country back into further anarchy. To that end, they would arrange their own ‘compromise’, without telling the Estonians or Latvians. As a final middle finger to the West, they decided to do a move that the Arabs had used back in 1973.

Extract from BBC Evening News, December 25th, 1993

Philip Hayton: “Good evening, the Moscow government in Russia has broken its commitment to leave Latvian and Estonian territory and has announced the partial annexation of both countries. In the early hours of the morning, Russian soldiers moved from their bases in both countries to new locations, announcing that the territory they were on was now part of Russia itself. These regions are the Ida-Viru of Estonia and the Latgale region of Latvia. Chairman Makashov has announced that these regions will become the ‘Narva’ and ‘Latgale’ regions of Russia respectively. Our reporter from Tallinn, Ben Brown, is with us now. Ben, why has Makashov done this?"

Ben Brown: “Good evening, the West has been worried for a while that Chairman Makashov would do something like this, after months of saying that Russian speakers had to be ‘protected from ravenous Latvian and Estonian nationalists’ as he put it. The biggest fears, that of a full takeover of the two Baltic states, those fears have subsided, but what he’s done is still a violation of all treaties to which Russia has been a party. It appears that the only pieces that the Russians will maintain a permanent occupation will be in the regions of these countries that maintain a significant presence of ethnic Russians, Russian speakers. At the same time, while the so-called ‘Narva’ region from Estonia will be overwhelmingly Russian in ethnicity, the Latgale region is a lot more mixed, and in fact, it’s believed that only a minority of the region’s citizens are ethnically Russian. So while Chairman Makashov will claim that they’ve helped ‘bring Russians home’ as it were, many are pointing out that many people have lost their homes tonight. One other thing, the rules of NATO say that you cannot join if there is an existing territorial dispute, so many observers believe that this was a ploy by Makashov to ensure Latvia and Estonia could never join NATO since no one in NATO will recognize this annexation and therefore no membership can be possible. Only Milosevic’s Serbia has recognized the decision for now."

Philip Hayton: “How have the Latvian and Estonian governments, as well as NATO, how have they reacted to this?”

Ben Brown: “Well both of these young and struggling states know that it would be an extremely dangerous mission to try and physically take these territories back by force from a nuclear Russia. So no full threats of invasion thus far, but I’ll tell you, Philip, on the streets of both countries the reaction has been absolutely explosive. While there is certainly anger at the West for allowing this to happen, the bulk of the anger has naturally been cast on symbols of the Soviet occupation. The ‘Bronze Soldier of Tallinn, a memorial statue to Soviet troops who died taking Estonia back from Germany in WW2, was torn down and thrown into the Baltic. In Latvia, the Victory Monument, this giant WW2 monument, was blown up and toppled by dynamite by a local paramilitary group. There has been a wave of extreme violence in Riga, which is very mixed between ethnic Russians and ethnic Latvians. Russian language bookstores are having Molotov cocktails thrown into them, ethnic Russians have been attacked and many are in the process of literally fleeing to the zone of occupation in Latgale with the same thing happening in Latgale as thousands of Latvians are fleeing out of the region to escape falling behind a Second Iron Curtain. When it comes to NATO, President Clinton has announced tougher economic sanctions but it’s clear that he won’t go into some of the more robust actions that others have been calling for, specifically secondary embargoes and other things of that nature.”

Philip Hayton: “How has the move been received in Russia?”

Ben Brown: “From what we can gather the move has done a lot to shore up the regime’s popularity as an ‘expander of Russian lands’. President Rutskoy, who is generally considered a moderate from outside the NSF, said that the decision was right, just, and will be remembered as a day of reunion for thousands of Russians trapped behind the lines forced upon them in 1991. Many that were worried about a conflict with the West are content with this so-called ‘compromise’. Chairman Makashov made his own speech, saying pointedly to the West, “The Orthodox world did not care about the West’s precious ‘December 25th’ until today, now it is a day in honour of Russia’s Pheonix-like recovery, and a day that the West will remember as the beginning of its doom’. He gave further warnings that if the West ‘even considered’ getting Estonia and Latvia into NATO that they would occupy the remainder of both countries by nightfall. And with that, Philip, I think that kills talk of NATO ascension for Latvia and Estonia for the foreseeable future.”

Extracts from NATO Signing Ceremony of the Czech Republic, Hungary, Lithuania and Poland, April 28th 1994, White House

Lech Wałęsa, President of Poland: “Mr. President, today, you will go down in history as one of Poland’s greatest friends. And not just you, but the whole of the people of the United States! You are the greatest friends of the Polish people! The Land of the Free!


“Mr President, I was not born free. I was born under the Nazi occupation of my country. I lived my childhood under the boot of Joseph Stalin, my adolescence under the shoe of Krushchev and in all my adulthood I fought against the occupation of my country. The Polish people do not need lessons in what it means to be free. We were free when we saved Europe at Vienna in 1683 from the armies of the Sultan, we were free when we saved Europe again in 1920 from Lenin at the banks of the Vistula by the grace of the Virgin Mary herself, and we were free when we decided to die on our feet against the Nazis in 1944 on the streets of our capital. As we try to find our feet in this ‘new world order’, and we try to become a country as successful as any in Europe, the Polish people still know in the marrow of their bones that it is better to be poor and free than a well-fed slave!


"As we sign this document today, the first born-free Poles for more than fifty years are finally being born. And every Pole who remembers the repression, the concentration camps, the killings, the shootings, the murders, they will do everything in their power and the power that God gives them to ensure that those children will never know what we went through. No more partitions, no more dictatorships, no more! Poland is not yet lost, and now, with the aid of Poland’s greatest friend, the United States of America, it never will be! Thank you, American people!”


Adolfas Šleževičius, Prime Minister of Lithuania: Visually downcast - “Thank you Mr. President, and thanks to all NATO nations who allowed us into this alliance. Few in Lithuania could have expected that we’d have seen our dreams of NATO membership fulfilled so soon after our independence. It’s a great moment in Lithuanian history, but one thing makes this occasion more somber: that two people who should be here are not. Our Baltic brethren have had their land stolen, their sovereignty desecrated and their patriots imprisoned. From Narva and Latgale, we hear the horrifying tales of what has befallen our brothers. The suppression, the torture, the brutality. It’s all happening again, just as it was in the 1940s, and the 1950s, the 1960s, 70s, 80s, and now into the 90s. For more than half a century, we fought together, we suffered together, and died together as we fought for our right to be free. And now, by nothing more than cruel fate, we had a chance to escape this occupation, and they did not. We had a chance to join NATO, and they did not. We had a chance to secure our freedom, and they did not.

"And so, I give this speech not just to the American people whom we will always be grateful for, but to the people of Latvia and Estonia, who even now still fear that the Russian tanks will take what they have left. I ask them, can you forget when we fought in the forests of the Baltics decades after all hope was lost? Can you forget when we marched together in the streets do undo what Hitler and Stalin had done? Can you forget when we held our hands all the way from Talinn down to Vilnius, three sisters, indivisible? If you can’t forget that, how do you expect us to? Until our last dying breath, we will do everything we can to free your land, free your people and see you standing where I am now. The long night of the twentieth century is coming to an end. You will see the sunlight soon.”


Extract from the BBC Documentary ‘Facing Past and Future: 20 Years after the Fire’, by John Sweeney

Sweeney: “Taxi!”

Taxi approaches crew

Sweeney (as narrator): “In Latvia, the bitterness of the occupation still runs deep, to the extent people who know Russian refuse to speak it. Noticing my driver is only slightly younger than a spry youth such as myself, I try to initiate a conversation in a now thoroughly foreign language.”

Driver: “Are you …?”

Sweeney: “I’m English.”

Driver: “Ah, I was confused about why you were speaking Russian. Heh, it’s rare to hear it in Latvia these days.”

Sweeney: “Do the young people not learn it?”

Sweeney: “No, none of the young people know Russian. There are probably more people who speak Chinese than Russian in Latvia these days!”

Sweeney: “So only the older people know it?”

Driver: “Well, a lot of them don’t like to speak in it because of all the sad things that happened during the 90s and before that of course. Many swore in December 1993 that they would never say it again - of course, since I was actually living in Daugavpils at the time, I didn’t have a choice.”

Sweeney: “So you were in Latgale during the occupation?”

Driver: “Yes, at first we were grateful, even though we were ethnic Latvians, to be on the Russian side. The reason was that we saw all the chaos happening in Riga and we thought to ourselves, well at least there’s no violence here in Daugavpils! The Russian army wouldn’t allow it! Then we had the waves of Russians leave Riga in the next few weeks and move in. A lot of people were killed in the riots in Riga so everyone was running here. That turned Latgale into a majority-Russian place. At the same time, this was still our home, we grew up alongside Russians, didn’t see any difference, what was the problem? At the same time, we heard that they were eating beans around flaming, public camp fires in Tallinn because the coal and energy had all been cut off since the annexation, so we thought we were the lucky ones. After a few weeks, however, the Russian police came in. They started arresting people left and right. If you so much as spoke Latvian in the town centre, arrested! If you wore red and white? Arrested! Of course, by then we knew it was too late but what could we do? They’d left the border open for a little bit at the start to reduce the number of people to deal with, but by then they’d mined the shit out of it!”

Sweeney: “So you were in ‘Russia’, when the violence exploded?”

Driver: “I was in prison when it all started.”

Sweeney: “Prison?”

Driver: “I made the mistake, in early 1994, of being in the wrong place and time according to some drunk Russian’s quotas. The New Forest Brothers had just shot an OMON officer - this was after Limonov had reformed them to basically be the second coming of the NKVD. So they had a quota about making sure they got someone to blame. Being Russians they just flung themselves around and grabbed anyone they could, and I was one.”

Sweeney: “What was it like in prison back then?”

Driver: “Hell. You could barely even sit in that closet of a cell, and you had to share it with half a dozen other unlucky bastards. They used cattle prods if you said a word, especially if you were speaking in Latvian. I saw one poor bastard insist ‘Latgalian isn’t Latvian! It’s a separate language,’ before they beat that son of a bitch so bad I thought I was going to witness a fucking murder! Every once in a while you heard gunshots, so I probably at least heard some murders.”

Sweeney: “How did you get out?”

Driver: “ ‘Exchanged’ after it kicked off - I hope whatever food the bastards got in return gave them a stomach ache. I settled in Riga, and haven’t left the city since. Haven’t had much of a chance to practice my Russian either, but I’m not sure if that’s a bad thing. I can barely even look eastwards anymore - too much sadness.”

Sweeney: “Do you miss Daugavpils?”

Driver: Shrug “I miss my youth, being able to dance all night, having all the girls chase after me, or what it was in reality, having me chase all of them and getting nothing by the end of the night. Believing back in the 80s that things were finally going to get better for everyone, I miss all that. Latvia’s changed a lot since I was a kid, and though I don’t think I’ve kept up with it, that doesn’t mean it wasn’t for the best. I hope kids in Latvia today can leave all the bitterness with my generation.”

Car stops

Driver: “Here we are. Sorry for my Russian being slightly rusty.”

Sweeney: “Not at all! Here you go! Spasiba!”

Driver: “Spasiba!”

Sweeney exits the car and closes the door, car drives off

Extract from ‘Averting Armageddon: The West in the Second Russian Civil War’ by Frank Wolfowitz

The loss of face from the partial annexation resulted in the West exerting more pressure to try and create a united front across the Post-Soviet region. One of the first things to do was to end some of the conflicts that had been raging at the time. For one, Armenia’s conflict with Azerbaijan. Both (but Azerbaijan especially in being Muslim) feared a resurgent Ultra-nationalist Russia, especially given its evident disdain of Caucasians. This gave the Clinton Administration an opening for peace in late January 1994, with Armenia taking the lion’s share of victory in effectively making the ethnically Armenian Nagorno-Karabakh, plus the surrounding area that had been expelled of Azerbaijani residents, a separate state called ‘Artsakh’. This was not officially recognised, since Turkey most certainly would not allow it. But the victory and pressure the Armenian-Diaspora could evidently bring to reality created a Caucasus that was at least nominally united against ‘Russia’, a term now casually used among even political leaders as well as journalists and citizens, despite the continued recognition of Gaidar’s Administration as ‘the legitimate Russian government’.

The second conflict that was resolved was the Bosnian-Croat War, a segment of the Bosnian War. While the Serbs had been fighting both, and in a more existential fashion, certainly in Bosnia’s case, both had come to blows over the rights of Croats in Bosnia. Ultimately, the West’s main enemy in the struggle had always been the Serbians owing to their committing the lion’s share of atrocities, and naturally in having the most avowedly anti-West government, both nationalist and socialist. As such, the goal was to bash Croatia and Bosnia’s heads together to cook up a deal and get the two onside to stand up to Milosevic’s Pro-Russian Serbia. To that end, things ended up finally working out after President Tuđman purged the Bosnian Croat paramilitaries of opponents to a peace deal (after exceptionally stern American threats and guarantees to the new Croatian state). On February 2nd 1994, another piece of the puzzle came together, as Croatia and Bosnia finally put their differences aside. For a few days, there was genuine positivity with respect to the Balkans.

Then, on February 5th, a mortar exploded at Markale Market in Sarajevo. Nearly seventy people were killed in the deadliest attack on Sarajevo since the war began. It was somewhat hard to put a definitive seal of blame on the Bosnian Serb forces who had been besieging Sarajevo for years at that point, but it was certainly not unlike their modus operandi. The Bosnian Serb forces had engaged in what has since been regarded as a campaign of genocide in Bosnia against Bozniaks, the first in Europe since World War 2 and unfortunately not the last. Though there was no specific piece of information that could definitively confirm the perpetrators, with debate still raging to this day despite a general historical consensus based around Republika Srpska’s guilt, the need to do something was overwhelming. The West collectively needed to send a message to that its annexation in the Baltics would have consequences. While NATO had let the Bosnian Serbs away with a lot of atrocities, Republika Srpska had made the mistake of doing them after NATO had been embarrassed and was looking for revenge.

Transcript of Phone call between Bill Clinton and President Milosevic, February 6th 1994

Milosevic: “Yes, Mr President, what happened in Sarajevo was certainly a tragedy, but I am unconvinced by the evidence you have presented that the Republika Srpska army was responsible and request further investigation.”

Clinton: “Well, I’m afraid we’ll have to agree to disagree. But I do have something else for you.”

Milosevic: “What’s that?”

Clinton: “NATO has collectively agreed on a new set of peace terms for President Karadžić and General Mladić.”

Milosevic: “Mr. President, you know how I’ve tried to pull those fools back to reality and make them see reason. If it’s anything like Vance-Owens, I’ll be beating my head against a wall.”

Clinton: “I was figuring you’d say that, the good thing is it’s pretty simple. It goes like this: Unconditional Surrender.”

Milosevic: “...I’m sorry, I’m not sure if there’s been a translation error -”

Clinton: “I’m pretty sure there wasn’t, Mr. President. You can forget about Vance-Owens, or anything else. The only terms we offer are the ones we gave to Adolf Hitler: Unconditional Surrender.”

Milosevic: “...Unconditional Surr-?!”

Clinton: “Frankly a couple of the other NATO countries were telling me to take you out as well but I decided you’d get the message easy enough. Tell those two sons of bitches, and those sons of bitches in Krajina in Croatia too, that if they don’t surrender by 12:00AM on February 8th then Srpska and Krajina are going to war with the entire Western world. There’s nothing else to say. Goodbye President Milosevic, it wasn’t pleasant.”

Hangs up

Extract from Youtube Documentary, ‘NATO - An Unbiased History: Part 6’

NATO military personnel had built up considerably in the beginning of 1994 in preparation for the greatest act of humiliation in human history since three years ago in Iraq. Operation Mountain Freedom, the plan to bomb Republika Srpska and Krajina to destruction from the air and use the Bozniak/Croat forces to completely expel Serbian forces to within Serbia proper. This had a lot of doubts from cowardly unbelievers in the Western media, who feared that in the mountains of Yugoslavia it would be for the Serbs what the jungles had been for the Viet Cong. Plans were made to send NATO troops in Italy and Hungary into what had been Yugoslavia to finish the job if the Croats and Bozniaks were unable to. The Sixth Fleet patrolled the Adriatic and the biggest military force since Desert Storm arrived in Europe in preparation for the international equivalent of gangbang pornography. The fear of the political cost of ground casualties would limit the salvo to the air but those who believed in the one true military alliance knew it was enough.

Predictably, Milosevic’s pathetic attempts to negotiate with the West were laughed at. Even more predictably, Republika Srpska’s leadership was unmoved by the threats in a bravado that resulted from NATO’s prior inability to act. That the deadline was unanswered by the Bosnian Serbs was hardly a surprise, but even the most hardened Serbian veteran struggled to maintain their composure just after midnight on February 8th. The first NATO sorties destroyed all border checkpoints between Srpska and Serbia, blasted every command post they could find, and lit the hills by Sarajevo that had mercilessly shelled and sniped the Bozniaks down to their children indiscriminately for years in a blaze of cleansing fire. NATO struck the armies of evil with the force of a Greek God. But in the first hour, NATO already made their most devastating and hilarious blow, as one of their F-117 Nighthawks dropped a bomb directly on the command post that an overly confident General Mladić had been staying in. While Mladić had boasted that ‘Serbians are stronger than anyone short of God himself’, it appears they may have had a weakness for explosive munitions. Minutes later, President Karadžić would meet his maker for a brief moment before being sent to the deepest circle of Hell after his car was blasted off the road by a British fighter while he tried to flee into Serbia to escape the divine reckoning that was about to befall those who challenged NATO. Americans wept that they only took out one of the two people in Srpska that the average Westerner knew.

On the streets of Sarajevo itself, most had stayed up until late at night, hoping at last, at long last, there would be a light at the end of the accursed tunnel they’d been imprisoned in since 1992. Besieged from all sides, driven close to madness by Republika Srpska’s attempts at genocide, having to crawl through tunnels and sewers to cross the street, children needing to dodge sniper fire on their way to school, cut off from gas and electricity, almost everyone having seen or known someone who had been killed by the Republika Srpska army hiding in the hills and shelling and shooting and slaughtering everyone who couldn’t fight back, the catharsis was overwhelming. A whole city's worth of car horns like an unchained dragon rang out into the night. It was like how countries in normal times would applaud football victories, but still, they cried in glory and teary-eyed triumph, as their genociders were obliterated. All along the lines, the Bozniaks returned fire with might equal to their righteousness. They had already begun seeing Western weaponry appear in their units in 1993 as a result of Congressional funding, and now they were going to finally be used to full effect. From saying “Artillery!” in wonder at finally receiving supplies, to saying ‘Artillery!’ with fist-pumping triumph, the Bozniaks now knew with certainty that they would win the war. After its single darkest day, the light had come in the form of burning Serbian munitions, the lights of the NATO planes overhead, and a dawn sun that promised that from now on they could depend on this near divine-level of power to smite those who would return genocide to Europe. It was like Superman himself had flown in to save them - no, actually, Superman isn’t as powerful as NATO.

Extract from ‘The Wild East: How the Second Russian Civil War changed Europe’ by Ilya Shevchenko

The UN vote that followed would prove another win for the West, with the Russian Security Council seat-holders (the Kaliningrad government) and the Chinese both deciding to abstain from the vote. While China (and most of the Anti-West nations) recognized the NSF as the legitimate Russian government, that did not extend to helping them as much as its Communist members had hoped. This gave the West further diplomatic support for their efforts while support on the home front was solid, as a way of striking back at the Russians without risking nuclear war. Bosnia Hawks (chiefly Senator Biden who had been the Bozniaks’ loudest supporter in the Senate) were thrilled at NATO finally taking a decisive role and were equally thrilled at the rapidness of the Bozniak-Croat advance that not even the greatest of optimists in the Western camp expected. The bombing saw a strong upswing in Clinton’s approval ratings (and to a lesser extent Major’s, Kohl’s, and other NATO leaders). At the same time, Gaidar’s approval fell in Kaliningrad, as ancient notions of Russia being unable to ‘defend the Slavs’ (despite the Bozniaks being Slavs) did much to propagate the image of being a Western tool.

Decapitated and under day and night assault, Srpska and Krajina’s armies were pulverized. Every military asset outside the Serbian border was obliterated down to the horse-carts. Command structure vanished and it quickly became every man for himself. A refugee crisis of unprecedented proportions began as Bosnian Serb and Croatian Serb civilians in both Srpska and Krajina began to flee in fear of what the ‘Mujahadeen’ and ‘Ustache’ governments would do to them. To the surprise of outside observers, many in Serbia were actually angry at Srpska’s officials as much as the West, believing their own stupidity and rejection of the peace deal Milosevic had supported had led to this calamity. These feelings were not helped by the gigantic refugee crisis that flooded into Serbia that the Milosevic regime was completely unable to deal with. By the end of Summer, nearly one and a half million ethnic Serbs had fled to Serbia, an increase of roughly 10% to the population over only a few months. And of course, the sanctioned and destitute state of Serbia was ill-equipped to deal with the financial necessities and social tensions of the new refugee population, the sanctions unrelenting as Milosevic refused to hand over suspected war criminals from the Srpska and Krajina governments. It was this unenviable circumstance, accused of being a traitor by the militant nationalists and an abandoner of the Serb refugees by the empathetic nationalists, that Milosevic would be forced to kill two stones and come up with what would become known as ‘Operation Lazar’ in a last-ditch attempt to save his regime.

For the Bosniaks, it was a total triumph, with President Izetbegović announcing on July 3rd that the Siege of Srebrenica had been lifted, thus expelling the last Serb forces from the country. In the coming months, while the world looked on in horror at events in Russia, a unitary Bosnian state was established with limited Croat language rights in traditionally Croat cantons along the Adriatic. The White Flag with the Six Golden Lilly Shield flew over the skies of a free Sarajevo, and would fly at the NATO Headquarters in Brussels before the end of the Millenium. The Republic of Bosnia would be roughly three-quarters Bozniak, with most of the remainder being Croat, and most Serbs having lost since left. Similar events would occur in Serbian Krajina, where Croat forces had celebrated the conquest of what had once been ethnically Serbian territory before fleeing in the face of the Croat advance. Serbia would decry these events as ethnic cleansing but repeated investigations by the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia would ultimately result in acquittals for all generals involved in the conflict (with low-ranking commanders occasionally being prosecuted).​

The reaction in Moscow to this loss of face was utter outrage. At the same time, with NATO, Bulgaria, Romania, and Ukraine all collectively refusing to allow the Russian army transit, there was nothing the NSF government could do except watch their ally meet total humiliation. Nevzorov would announce that NATO’s intervention in the Bosnian War would ‘Be met for a global tit-for-tat that a brothel like America would never have the balls to sustain.” This reflected the new mood inside the Moscow Government to find another part of the Post-Soviet world to put its teeth into and get the rally-round-the-flag effect that the annexations in the Baltics provided. And of course, the one dispute that had most enflamed Russian passion was precisely the one that the NSF intended to exploit. Conveniently for them, the locals were arranging a referendum just for the occasion. The time had come, Makashov told his Cabinet, to undo the mistake Khrushchev had made in 1954 and return Crimea to the Russian fold by seizing it from a disheveled Ukraine. But if Makashov had thought his attempt to seize Crimea would correct a great mistake, in due time, his actions would be perhaps the most devastating mistake Russia ever made in its existence.

The Shackles of Moscow

Extract from 'A Great Hour: The Birth of Modern Ukraine' by Taras Lomachenko

Among the dwarves of Soviet economy, Ukraine had been among the tallest. Naturally, their economy was unenviable compared to America or Western Europe, but it was considered a relatively pleasant place to live if one was born behind the First Iron Curtain. However, amidst the initial fall of the Communist system, Ukraine had actually fallen behind some of the Warsaw Pact nations that it was leading. Its economic collapse was similar to Russia, with a budding Oligarch class and the resurgence of the Communist Party due to the anger with how privatization was shaping up. Perhaps the most rebellious region was Crimea, the only region with an ethnically Russian majority (as a result of the 1944 ethnic cleansing of the Crimean Tatars by Stalin). Despite narrowly voting alongside the rest of Ukraine for independence in 1991, the locals quickly elected officials who wanted either closer ties or outright union with Russia. It maintained limited autonomy but the Crimean Republic soon found itself in conflict with President Kravchuk in (then) Kiev over how much autonomy it was actually granted. Of course, the Crimeans found many champions in Russia, including the cowed President Ruskoy. While he mostly walked on eggshells around the fanatics that now infested the halls of the world’s largest nuclear power, even he couldn’t keep himself from tubthumping over Crimea. The remaining liberal groups in Russia too were severely weakened by the increasing noise over Crimea that stirred Russian unity, which is generally considered an important reason why the initial conflict of the Civil War Period between the Parliamentarians and Yeltsin loyalists was finally closed and turned into nothing more than a Cold War between Kaliningrad (who were extremely quiet during the whole affair) and Moscow.

These disputes were compounded by disputes over Sevastopol, the home of the Black Sea Fleet. The officers of the Black Sea Fleet were mostly loyal to Russia and the subsequent NSF regime that they correctly assumed would go to bat for them, but Kravchuk wanted to incorporate large elements of the fleet for Ukraine. Given that he’d presided over a 40% drop in GDP in merely three years, any sort of win was sorely welcomed. At the same time, the Supreme Soviet in Moscow had made their own announcements, voting in November 1993 that Sevastopol would be considered a federal subject of Russia, which went down like a bucket of sick in Kiev.

The ascension of the NSF made matters even more heated, after the election of Pro-Russian Yuriy Meshkov as President of the Crimea Republic on nearly three-quarters of the vote in January 1994. Meshkov was in close contact with Makashov and the two coordinated their movements precisely. Makashov was determined by hook or crook to take Crimea, seeing it like many Russians as the biggest sore of all the losses from the transition from the Soviet Union to the Russian Federation. Like the Baltic Republics, he gambled that the West would not risk a conflict over something almost everyone saw as ‘part of Russia’ in ‘the Ukraine’. The referendum would be on March 27th, along with the parliamentary elections in Ukraine and Crimea, with regards to greater autonomy, the issuing of dual citizenship with (Makashov’s) Russia, and giving Meshkov the power of Presidential decree. Members of the NSF government, especially the Right Bloc, would loudly rant and rave about the ‘illegal occupation of Sevastopol’ in the Supreme Soviet. A dark mood filled the minds of Western policy planners that the long-delayed showdown over Crimea might finally be coming to a head.

The possibility of Russian intervention was significantly more terrifying to the Ukrainian government who knew they would have to face a Russia that had yet to be thoroughly humbled and humiliated in Chechnya. But much to the surprise of Western and Ukrainian diplomats, Makashov would take a surprisingly diplomatic tone by refusing to state whether they would recognise the referendum results as legitimate in favour of seeing it as ‘a basis for negotiations’. The reason for the tension between both sides, of course, was due to one very salient factor: both countries ‘had’ nuclear weapons. The ‘had’ is put in apostrophes because Ukraine, despite having thousands of Soviet missiles on its territory to the extent that it could technically be considered the third largest nuclear power on the planet, had no actual power over the missiles themselves. Kravchuk could not launch an ICBM at Moscow if he wanted to as the codes and directional bearings all came from Moscow. Ukraine had a small number of gravity bombs (which could work but were not a great form of deterrence) and a large number of missiles that could only be blown up on the ground as dirty bombs. The problem was that these missiles had an effective operating range that was made with America in mind, and if they were turned around and faced east, the closest target they could hit would be around Mongolia. More importantly, it would take 12-18 months from scratch to take full operational control of the missiles. Thus, ‘their’ nuclear arsenal was useless.

Indeed, the fact Ukraine was ostensibly a ‘nuclear power’ would be a hindrance rather than a help. The Western public naively assumed that a ‘nuclear power’ would be able to sufficiently defend itself, or that the situation would be too hairy to needlessly involve themselves in if the two nuclear powers went to war. Furthermore, the recent triumph in Bosnia and Croatia would likewise depress demand for action on Ukraine, as the humiliation of the Baltic annexation was erased from memory. And of course, it was a lot harder to drum up fervor when the thing that Kiev opposed was an essentially legitimate, democratic referendum over subjects that were rather droll to the average voter. Thus more hardline demands from Republicans to threaten force if Crimea was seized proved less effective than political observers expected. Indeed, Makashov went as far as to issue a statement the referendum was ‘purely non-binding’ and simply a show of will for the people of Crimea to vent their frustrations with their current status that needed to be addressed in negotiation with ‘an eternal Slavic brother’. Makashov even floated talks with the West about coming to a resolution in the Kaliningrad dispute. Indeed, observers considered whether this was a signal of reform within the NSF and that they had decided to become more moderate to deal with crippling shortages of material and increasingly food.

Then, on March 21st, 1994, Makashov showed the world how stupid anyone who had acted as his apologist was.

Extract from CNN Broadcast, March 21st 1994

Judy Woodruff: “Good morning, Moscow has confirmed that its troops are currently occupying the city of Sevastopol in Crimea. It is believed that armed Pro-Russian members of the Black Sea Fleet seized the local airport and allowed thousands of Russian troops to land and take control of Sevastopol. The Crimean President Yuriy Meshkov has issued a declaration calling on all local security forces to side with Russian forces and called the invasion ‘the Crimean Spring’. We take you now to CNN’s Christine Amanpour, in Kiev. Christine, what has the reaction been in Ukraine to this?

Christine Amanpour: “Good evening from here in Kiev, Judy. The reaction from President Leonid Kravchuk has been to order the mobilisation of the army and to denounce Meshkov as a traitor. He has called the presence of Russian troops ‘an invasion of sovereign Ukrainian territory’ and told Chairman Makashov ‘Three Hundred Years of brotherhood depends on what you do in Crimea in the coming days. Do not go down in history as the man who ended the fraternity between Russian and Ukraine.’ The Nationalists in the Parliament have vigorously denounced this invasion and talked of ‘expelling the Russians like we expelled the Germans in 1944’, even Communist politicians are openly uneasy about what has happened. At the same time, Judy, the reports we have coming in from Crimea are not encouraging from the Ukrainian perspective. We have reports of most men simply refusing to fight, accepting surrender, very little reports of casualties with the exception at the beginning of this crisis when we heard about security guards being shot at the Crimean airport. It seems that President Kravchuk will have to seriously consider how he will take back Crimea, especially since the Ukrainian army is highly unmotivated and undisciplined.”

Woodruff: “Thank you Christine, and what about the Ukrainian people themselves? What is the mood in the streets of Kiev?”

Amanpour: “The whole of Kiev is in stunned silence, Judy. Even throughout the previous months here, most people maintained a positive opinion of Russia, they had friends and family across the border, a shared history and religious tradition, a shared culture. But now, almost in a single day, several hundred years of connections have come to a shuddering halt. Even among more Russophilic Ukrainians, particularly members of the Communist Party, the move has been met not just with anger but with outrage. And of course, there are real fears that Russia might not actually stop with just Crimea. There are concerns they might try to take more ethnic Russian enclaves in the east, or perhaps declare, as some members of the NSF have, that the very state of Ukraine is illegitimate and that a sort of Pan-Slavic Union under the NSF’s heel would be preferable. It’s extremely hard to make predictions here but undoubtedly this will rank as one of the most significant days in Ukrainian history, certainly a tragic one.”

Woodruff: “Christine, there have been serious discussions about the possibility Ukraine could deploy nuclear weapons in response to a Russian invasion. How likely is that?”

Amanpour: “Well, during his press announcement, President Kravchuk said that if Russia were to make any further incursion beyond the borders of Crimea that they would ‘use all means at their disposal’ to stop it. That has been interpreted as a threat to use nuclear weapons, the question though is how they can use them, Judy. The only deployable weapons they have can only be used by slow-moving bombers that would likely be met by a Russian retaliation that would involve missiles moving significantly faster than the speed of sound that could easily take out every population centre in Ukraine. Of course, this would likely mean some form of nuclear reply from the West but any such exchange will leave Ukraine the worst off from the exchange, hence fears of nuclear conflict remain low. There were talks about using some of the missiles like mines along key roads in Ukraine, but again, it’s hard to hide such a thing given the inevitable air power the Russians will enjoy in any full conflict. It is believed there are no nuclear weapons in Ukraine either, so this further limits how Ukraine can respond to this invasion.”

Woodruff: “How has the Kaliningrad government, recognised by America, the West, how has it reacted to the invasion?”

Amanpour: “Well this certainly has been a source of controversy. The initial statement by President Gaidar stated that, quote, “While this reunion of Russian people has brought great joy to our nation, to betray the trust of Ukraine like this was an act unbecoming of its brother nation.” This was taken as an implicit endorsement of the seizure of Crimea, if perhaps not by violent means, implying that if the Kaliningrad government was to somehow return to power in Moscow that it would not return Crimea to Ukraine. That statement was rescinded and replaced by a simple statement that condemned the violence and the risk of war but once again refused to state that Crimea was the territory of Ukraine. This has hurt President Gaidar’s standing in the West, with increasing questions of his own authoritarian policies in Kaliningrad. Ukraine had actually agreed to recognise the Supreme Soviet as the legitimate government of Russia last year, so many people in Ukraine don’t even care about President Gaidar, but certainly, in the West there has been significant investment into Kaliningrad as some sort of Free Russia, something like what Taiwan was to China in what we may now have to call the ‘First’ Cold War.

Extract from ‘The Wild East: How the Second Russian Civil War Changed Europe’ by Ilya Shevchenko

Despite fears of further Russian advances, nothing would happen outside the initial seizure of Crimea. The eastern border waited with dread for the supposed Russian bulldozer that never came. Russian and Ukrainian troops eyed each other suspiciously around the new ‘border’, and Ukraine’s economic crisis somehow worsened. On March 27th, the referendum was performed with minimal issues, and all three motions were passed overwhelmingly. In his first Presidential Decree, Meshkov announced that since the 1954 transfer of Crimea was unconstitutional, Crimea was therefore legitimately a part of the Russian Federation. On April 1st, a fitting day in retrospect, Makashov would announce the official incorporation of Sevastopol and Crimea as two new regions of the Russian state. Russian troops spared the trial of fire they so desperately needed to expose their weaknesses before it was too late, flooded into their new conquest.

The near bloodlessness of the operation, the visceral joy of having so completely hoodwinked the world’s great powers and the return of what had long been a region important to Russian identity since Tolstoy. All these things brought great haughty joy to Russia’s population (including Kaliningrad), replacing the food in their stomach with at least the joy of somewhat restored ‘prestige’. Makashov’s approval rating reached 80%, the conflicts between the Right and Left Blocs were at a minimum, and he’d seized almost the entirety of the Black Sea Fleet while he was at it. At the same time in the West and Ukraine, whose leaders had dismissed scattered reports of a pre-emptive invasion due to how the other reports of serious shortages and economic fears spurred the hypothesis that the NSF really did want to reach Détente, the reaction was one of utter disgust. That the Russians had so straight-facedly, sociopathically been lying to their faces during the whole process burned everyone but the harshest hawks. Clinton’s approval ratings once again sank before eventual victory in Bosnia brought it back up again. That the Kaliningrad government too had been a silent supporter of this process destroyed countless bridges, and Gaidar further tightened dissent over his ‘democratic’ government to ensure.

This further cemented the NSF’s Victory Disease. But despite Makashov’s celebrations, his actions have subsequently been regarded as initiating perhaps the greatest geopolitical catastrophe of the 20th Century.

The seeds that Russia would later be forced to reap were first sown in Ukraine, where the reaction to Russia’s betrayal was positively explosive. The invasion had caused a political earthquake that shook the Rada to its foundation. On March 27th, concurrent to the Crimean referendum, the Rukh Party under Soviet Dissident Viacheslav Chornovil, which a Liberal-Conservative and Ukrainian nationalist party, became the largest party after polls had given the Communists the lead for months. While the Rada was a mishmash of countless independents, it was no surprise that the Pro-Russian elements were pulverized in the backlash to the invasion of Crimea. In the coming years, the Rukh Party would become the main party of the Right in Ukraine. Chornovil would forcefully denounce the Russian invasion and make a great political fortune from the tragedy. One person who did not make great fortune was President Kravchuk. While previously many in Western Ukraine had ironically looked at him as the man who would stand up to Leonid Kuchma’s more Pro-Russian administration, the tidal wave of March 21st would sweep both from the political scene. Kuchma was accused of being an NSF agent and Kravchuk was accused of being a coward who let Crimea fall. Chornovil would channel the rage of Ukraine in his maiden speech as Prime Minister, declaring Kravchuk ‘Not simply content to see Ukraine collapse into ashes, but see Moscow steal even those ashes’. The speech was so devastating in the fervor that Kravchuk announced he would no longer stand in the Presidential election in July.

The subsequent election would be between Leonid Kuchma, who needed armed guards to walk the streets of Kiev unmolested, and a fellow dissident of Chornovil and Holodomor survivor, Levko Lukianenko. Lukianenko was the author of Ukraine’s Declaration of Independence and on behalf of the Rukh Party would run for President. Previously his nationalism was unpopular in Ukraine, with many becoming nostalgic for the Soviet era due to its ‘stability’ compared to the ‘Cowboy 90s’. However, unthinkable even months before, Lukianenko would win 72% of the vote on a platform of reversing the destruction of Ukraine’s nuclear arsenal and taking it for themselves, moving closer to the West, and military reform to ensure the humiliation of simply letting Crimea fall into Makashov’s lap would not be in vain, removing Communist symbols and leading a comprehensive program of Ukrainisation throughout the country to promote Ukrainian culture and language. Indeed, his first decree was to rename ‘Kiev’ to ‘Kyiv’, the Ukrainian language version of the city’s name. Despite vehement Communist opposition, the subsequent direction of Ukrainian society would soon assign them to Reagan’s ‘Dustbin of history’, and even without his actions during the Second Russian Civil War, he is regularly considered the most popular President in Ukrainian history. His thundering pronouncement that ‘Crimea's wrists will be freed from the shackles of Moscow!” sent his inaugural crowd home cheering.

At the same time his uncouth ways were, much like Wałęsa in Poland, a source of diplomatic embarrassment to the West despite their essentially unwavering support. His comments about his ‘strange newfound respect for Jews’ in reference to Israel’s strident opposition to the National Salvation Front were bad enough. As was stating his ‘thorough support of Israel taking as many Jews from Ukraine as possible’. Perhaps the most famous (in)famous incident was a meeting with American and (visibly frustrated) Israeli officials who were briefing him on intelligence reports on Russian troop movements in Crimea, to which he replied how great it was that ‘Jews were helping to solve the problem they created in the first place’, in reference to the number of Jews in the initial Bolshevik government. At the same time, loaded with helpers to try and give him a more presentable image in the West, Ukraine was soon flooded by aid in both the military and non-military sense. In fact, some of that aid was initially earmarked for Kaliningrad, but the increasing coldness between the West and Gaidar had led to the much more significant prize of a Pro-West, Pro-NATO Ukraine. Certainly however, his Belarussian partner was more presentable.

Extract from ‘Averting Armageddon: The West in the Second Russian Civil War’ by Frank Wolfowitz

Zianon Pazniak’s political career was born in 1988. A historian, his research in the era of Glasnost led him to find something truly horrifying. In the woods just outside Minsk in Kurapaty, he discovered a mass grave. Mass graves were a sadly normal fact of history in Eastern Europe, whether it be Babi Yar or Katyn, but this grave was different. While the most infamous mass graves involved tens of thousands of bodies, this mass grave contained a quarter of a million. The lion’s share of the victims were Belarussian intelligentsia and nationalists, killed by Communist bullets during the Great Purge. The discovery led to multiple religious and political meetings at the location, giving birth to the Belarussian Popular Front, led by Pazniak. It was a Right-wing, Pro-Democracy Party that supported Belarussian nationalism and distancing Belarus from Moscow towards the West. Despite its key role in the protests that helped bring democracy to Belarus, they quickly found themselves shut out of a government dominated by former (and often current) Communists. In the 1994 Presidential election, it was widely expected that Anti-Corruption campaigner and Russophile Alexander Lukashenko would take power.

However, fate had something funny in mind for Belarus. After the seizure of Crimea, a wave of horror took hold of Belarus that the NSF would target Belarus as well and forcefully swallow them into their empire. Belarus had received Latvian refugees from the north (from occupied Latgale) and opinion had already been turning against Moscow. The seizure of Crimea likewise obliterated Pro-Moscow feelings, especially given how two-facedly Moscow had acted during the whole affair. As if the world itself had conspired to one outcome, a recording of Lukashenko in discussion with NSF representatives over the phone discussing the creation of ‘a Union State’ was the final straw. Lukashenko would get less than 10% of the vote in the eventual election, his image destroyed by his own corruption. The winner would be the only person on the ballot who had consistently opposed Moscow and supported the Belarussian nationalism that the country was now in sudden but desperate need for, Pazniak’s BPF. Less tub-thumping and of a comparatively tame nature compared to Lukianenko in Ukraine, he still set a goal that most new school children would be taught in Belarussian by 2000 and a ‘reasonable Belarussification’. His inauguration would be performed by the main Cross monument in Kurapaty under the White and Red of the Belarussian flag, a tradition that continues in Belarus to this day. He also offered transit for Latvian refugees from Latgale to escape to Latvia, though he refused to allow the New Forest Brothers to operate along the border.

Like Lukianenko, he soon found himself overwhelmed by American economic support to keep his support strong in the face of the NSF. But while Pazniak was of an altogether more timid nature than Lukianenko, saying of himself that he was ‘A scholar thrown between opposing canons’, both were consciously aware that their elections were in a part only allowed by Moscow due to their distraction in Chechnya and the disaster there. This gave both of them an unprecedented and once-in-a-lifetime chance to ensure the long-term viability of their states against an eastern assault. Much of the details would not be revealed until the other side of the millennium, but given that Russia would soon be practically no more than a memory on the geopolitical chessboard, the details have been revealed in rather astonishing detail. On August 2nd 1994, in a dingy warehouse in Budapest, representatives of the American, British and Israeli governments faced representatives of the Belarussian and Ukrainian governments sitting opposite. The two Slavic representatives explained the status of their respective nuclear arsenals in thorough detail while the Americans, British and Israelis calculated their capabilities. Eventually, an agreement (‘The Budapest Agreement’) was reached over a handshake. The agreement was simple: the three Western nations would help the two Slavic nations take over and modernise their nuclear weapons stockpile to have a genuine deterrence against Russia. Israel would come in particular help given its history of developing a secret weapons program. The British would come in help as their intelligence agencies would worm out NSF supporters within the nuclear program while an official story was broadcast that the movements were simply a plan to make a ‘country of nuclear mines’, like Lukianenko had suggested soon after his election. And the Americans would naturally be important in finding the money to pay for it all.

Later that year, with full knowledge and approval from the Americans, on the other side of the world island on September 5th, representatives of Kazakhstan met with Chinese officials in Ürümqi in Xinjiang. The Chinese made a rather simple deal with the Kazakhs, for every five unusable intercontinental missiles they handed over, the Chinese would give a short-range nuclear missile that was capable of striking European Russia. By the end of the year, the first transfers would already have been made. The ‘Xinjiang Agreement’ was of a similar nature to the Budapest Agreement though of a much more cutthroat nature. China publicly supported the NSF government in many affairs, but they were mortified by the invasion of Crimea on two counts. First, ‘territorial inviolability’ was their entire argument for Taiwan, and secondly, the fact that Russia had been so two-faced and gone as far as to invade a ‘nuclear power’ led to the Politburo to agree that an alliance with Russia was a fool’s errand. To their surprise, they found that the Clinton Administration was quite open to covert warming of relations that would drag Beijing out of the diplomatic doghouse they were in since the Tiananmen Square Massacre. Thus, a rough zone of influence map was drawn up, with Belarus and Ukraine’s nuclear arsenal being considered part of the West’s defence effort while China considered Kazakhstan’s to be part of theirs. The two had radically different ideas of where they wanted Russia to end up, but both agreed that Makashov was a loose canon that needed to be brought to heel. And for as long as Makashov or his cronies were in power, that was enough.
‘The Agony of the Empire’

Extract from 'The Reconquista of the Caucasus' by Levan Galogre
The thirteenth child of his family, Dzhokhar Dudayev was born just as the genocide of the Chechens by Stalin was beginning as his family was forcibly transported to Central Asia for collective ethnic punishment. This genocide would claim the lives of one-quarter of Chechens and would demographically change the makeup of Chechnya considerably, with the Chechens temporarily reduced to minority status in their own land. In time, despite Khrushchev’s thaw inviting them to return, they still had great amounts of ethnic friction with ethnic Russians who had moved into their country in the preceding ten years (and indeed sometimes into their very houses). By the time of the USSR’s downfall, roughly seven tenths of Chechnya were ethnic Chechen. A veteran of the Afghan War, Dudayev would become as disillusioned as anyone else in the USSR in its final days. Motivated by a sense of wronged nationalism, he had taken an exceptionally anti-Russian view that Russia was simply monstrous on an existential level distinct from whatever political ideology it held at the time. In September 1991, he and a group of supporters stormed the Chechen-Inguish Parliament, killing multiple leaders of the local Communist Party (many of whom had supported the failed coup against Gorbachev). He was soon confirmed as the de facto head of the breakaway state of Chechnya, at the time recognised by no one except an immediately overthrown Georgian government.

His subsequent reforms were mainly motivated in moving Chechnya away from Moscow, whether it be through latinisation of the alphabet or through the much more horrifying practice of opening the jails to the last man. The criminals, cognisant of the Chechen moral codes between tribes, were often reluctant to attack other Chechens for fear of invoking tribal vengeance and so would often target ethnic Russians. To make matters worse, Dudayev signed a decree that said that all countries that failed to recognise Chechnya (the entire world at the time) would find zero cooperation when it came to criminal extradition, effectively turning Chechnya into a bandit haven. It was so uncontrolled that slave markets were active in Sölƶa-Ġala at the time (or ‘Grozny’ as the Russians called it). The ethnic Russian population consequently plummeted from nearly a quarter at the time of the USSR’s fall to roughly 5% by the time of the intervention. Of course, this did little to help the economy or other concerns he was mad with power. The Inguish had broken with Chechnya back in 1991 to rejoin Russia and few envied the new Chechen state (or ‘Ichkeria’ as it was labelled in 1994 by Dudayev’s decree). It was totally embargoed by Russia for obvious reasons of unilateral secession being a horrible precedent. A domestic opposition had emerged to Dudayev, resulting in Dudayev dissolving parliament and becoming a de facto dictator in 1993.

But the arrival to power of the NSF and its strong Anti-Chechen rhetoric completely changed the game. Dudayev, though popularly considered a failure on economics and on consolidation of the Chechen state, soon found himself swept in Churchillian winds by Chechens who were horrified at some of the rhetoric coming from Moscow. Opposition forces pledged their loyalty to him in the face of an invasion by a cabal in Moscow that they saw (often correctly) as intent to finish a genocide started in 1944 by Stalin. Then something even stranger happened as the crises in the Post-Soviet space continued to rise - Dudayev started to get meetings with people he’d never met before. Under extreme cover, American, Turkish and Israeli representatives began to sneak into the mountain nation and get an audience with the man they knew was about to face down the Russian juggernaut. Few gave the region much of a chance, but it was considered a good idea to cause at least something of a nuisance to the bear and distract it from tearing another chunk out of Europe. To that end, anti-tank weapons especially found themselves on offer to bring the Russian armoured columns to a halt. Dudayev soon found himself the subject of whitewashed portraits in Western media, ignoring a lot of the bad things he did to promote an image of a genocide survivor coming back for vengeance by liberating his people after he’s served in the enemy’s army - a modern Moses. William Buckley called Dudayev ‘The Horatius [at the Bridge] for all civilisation,” while Ted Kennedy would call him and forces ‘The last line of defence against another genocide in Europe’. But all these pronouncements were typically made with a sombre vibe of inevitable defeat, of inevitable slaughter, with Dudayev little more than a soon-to-be-martyr. Of course, few could conceive of how wrong they would be.

Extract from ‘The Wild East: How the Second Russian Civil War changed Europe’ by Ilya Shevchenko

In April 1994, in response to a Polish government measure to remove all Communist and Russian inspired insignia and symbolism from public (including the ‘Brotherhood in Arms’ statue in Warsaw) in a manner similar to Denazification in Germany, the NSF government sent bulldozers to desecrate and destroy the Polish memorial complex at Katyn. The remains of the Poles who had been murdered by the Communists back in 1940 were often left in open landfills, rubbish dumps, and some even taken home as trophies by local NSF members as a spoil of war. In the subsequent press statement, it was argued that ‘this site of Hitlerite murder has become a weapon against the Russian people and must be destroyed’. In the subsequent outrage, the Russian embassy in Warsaw was burned down despite the occupants being from the Kaliningrad government (and only a sheer miracle resulting in no deaths). Content with the result, the NSF set to work removing the few monuments that had arisen in recent years to commemorate the various genocide victims of the Soviet Union, and indeed of dissidents. The Sandarmokh memorial centre was likewise destroyed in Karelia, with the location tragically becoming a prison camp for Karelians to be exchanged during the coming conflict. Ironically some Anti-Soviet monuments survived in St. Petersburg, which had become a haven for Fascist forces both due to its Imperial past and being run primarily by Nevzorov’s Nashists even more so than the local police.

Decommunisation efforts across Eastern Europe picked up speed as a result. The Red Army memorial was destroyed in Budapest with a Ronald Reagan statue soon to take its place, in what would be the former President’s last public appearance. Austria saved money cleaning up the nightly drunken urination of their own Soviet memorial in Vienna by destroying it too. The Bulgarians ended a significant portion of their national debate by finally doing away with the Soviet Memorial in Sophia by slightly altering the men in the structure to resemble Bulgarian soldiers in the First Balkan War and proclaim that the memorial was now about Bulgarian Independence. Even Germany would feel compelled to ‘recontextualise’ the Tiergarten memorial with accompanying signage in newly unified Berlin to remind the world of what the Soviet army did when they occupied Berlin in 1945 and in the years to come. The ‘Tomb of the Unknown Rapist’ as it was derisively known as by locals would finally be redesigned in 2004 to remove any triumphalism. Both Ukraine and Belarus would tip-toe into removing Lenin statues, with the last Lenin statue (outside the Chornobyl zone) being removed symbolically on December 31st 1999 to usher a new millennium untethered both to the past and virtually any influence from what was left of its eastern neighbour. Indeed, to the best of current knowledge, the last Lenin statues left standing in the world are those in the Chornobyl zone, though it's possible some may be hiding in the depths of Siberia, waiting to be discovered. Ironically there are still a few statues of Stalin in Georgia, though they are naturally extremely controversial.

Though the laws were frequently simply written about Communism, the laws frequently became Anti-Russian due to implementation of nationalists wanting to create a new national consciousness. Latvia and Estonia both moved significantly to the Right after their annexations, with Latvia in particular bitter after seeing the refugees from Latgale. Following the collapse of the government, the new ‘For Fatherland and Freedom’ Party had won elections in early 1994 and become the lead party in the Saemia. New Prime Minister Roberts Zīle made March 16th a national holiday as ‘Remembrance Day for Latvian Soldiers’. This was a day in commemoration of the Latvian Legion, a Latvian SS unit that while conscripted, unfriendly to the Germans and ultimately so trusted that the West actually used them as guards during the Nuremberg trials, the fact that it was in the SS and some members were linked to the Holocaust made them extremely controversial, and controversial it remains in Latvia today. Despite this, the new Latvian government would cooperate strongly with Israel despite public spats, with Zīle actually saying Latvia needed to be ‘Israel on a budget’ in terms of being able to defend itself from eastern threats that denied their existence. Russian language learning was banned from schools as anything other than a third language on the same tier as French and behind English. Similar laws were passed in Estonia, Lithuania and even (to great consternation) in Ukraine by year's end. And to that end, it has been quite successful especially in Ukraine. While Belarus has only recently gotten around to finally removing Russian as a language of instruction as late as 2009, Ukraine had long since left the question behind them and greatly benefited from the subsequent unification of identities between the Pro-Europe west and formerly Pro-Russian east. Ukrainian as a language has since gone on to become a language not only with superior job opportunities to Russian, but has recently surpassed Russian in terms of the number of books that were published in the language. Quite the humiliation for certain nostalgists who talk of Tolstoy and Pushkin.

Extract from ‘A Continent of Fire’ by James Melfi

Perhaps the main division of the Right and Left Blocs in Moscow was not economics or finding a way to balance Soviet nostalgia against Imperial nostalgia, but the matter of how to resolve Chechnya despite them having very little actual difference of opinion. The Left Bloc took a view that the Soviet Union was the gold standard of society and that the Chechens were effectively a stupid little brother that needed a spanking. The Right Bloc fundamentally found no connection with Chechens and simply wanted them subjugated, or even completely exterminated. However, the Left Bloc had found somewhat of an accommodation with the Right Bloc, in that throughout the Russian government almost anyone of Non-Slavic or Baltic background was laid off in the name of budgetary pressure. To that end almost all, as the joke went, ‘Caucasians and Non-Caucasians’ were expelled from high positions in Russia and suffered a similar but more intense form of what Soviet Jews had gone through in prior decades (though what few Jews that hadn’t fled by now faced even worse discrimination too). Of course, this policy would end up being one of the many calamitous decisions that the NSF would make in early 1994, as these people would become the backbone of a new wave of embittered nationalists in the various regional republics of the Russian Federation. First the collapse of the Warsaw Pact in 1989, the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 and now the collapse of the Russian Federation in 1994 is considered by many historians to be a single continuing story of the agony of an empire, to the extent that some argue that the collapse of the Russian Federation was inevitable when the Berlin Wall collapsed first.

With the Right’s silence bought in return for a free hand militarily in Chechnya, Defence Minister Vladislav Achalov was encouraged by Makashov to pursue a ‘Shock and Awe’ strategy of rolling into the centre of Sölƶa-Ġala in the expectation that the sheer presence of ‘The Second Strongest Army on Earth’ would make the Chechens surrender out of sheer terror alone. Barkashov demanded that his own RNU paramilitaries be used to suppress the Chechens, since his insiders in the army knew the state of the Russian forces, but the Russian military leadership was vastly less informed of the situation on the ground and got their reports from a mile-long line of sycophants desperate for favour in the crumbling remains of what had once been the fear of the Free World.

On May 9th, a largely conscript Russian army largely in parade uniform decided to roll into Chechnya without even firing artillery. Almost all of them were sleep-deprived after having slept in the open for a week with barely any food - many had resorted to eating their toothpaste out of desperate hunger. Others had actually sold their own weapons and ammunition to locals, knowing full well that it would end up in the hands of Chechens because their ‘Grandfather’ had demanded money and refusal would have meant being beaten even worse than before. The NSF’s coming to power had only worsened the culture of Dedovshchina (Rule of the Grandfathers), which referred to the ritualised ‘hazing’ of new Russian troops. ‘Hazing’ is likely an incorrect term, since it implies something of an end point, whereas Dedovshchina was simply the unending physical and even sexual abuse by older recruits (‘Grandfathers’) to conscripts (‘Spirits’). People scarcely spoke in the barracks (if the troops were lucky enough not to be sleeping in the open) except in screaming insults and orders - mainly the form of communications was being clobbered and kicked by seniors. Grandfathers would have their own ‘spirits’ to treat like a literal punching bag, often to deal with their PTSD or grief, and to order them to get them food, cigarettes or amenities on threat of being beaten close to death if they failed to do so. In the most abusive cases, younger recruits were violently raped by their ‘grandfathers’, or could even be exchanged to another ‘grandfather’ to be raped in return for payment. Some spirits tried to make a sad living out of their inevitable and regular violation or were simply forced into their miserable career, leading to an endemic of gay prostitution and forced pimping within the military. HIV had likewise spiked due to the unprotected sex that accompanied the rape, as well as the spike due to the shared needles of heroin epidemic which was also ravaging Russian forces, as well as the alcohol epidemic. Suicide and desertion was endemic even before the fighting started, with many battalions going in on the first wave being only 50% staffed due to men simply leaving because they couldn’t take the endless beatings. Of course, there was nowhere they could go, as they’d be punished with desertion and virtually the entire Western border had become militarised and unwilling to accept Russian soldiers as asylum seekers. Many ‘vouchers’ had little choice but to pray for the strength to endure just a little longer. ‘Vouchers’ was what the commanders called the Spirits, because they were there ‘to be spent’.

If one looked at the first wave of conscripts (by far the least affected by Dedovshchina as the Chechen conflict continued), they would have seen missing teeth, purple eyes and the gaunt faces of near-starvation. These thoroughly physically, mentally and occasionally sexually abused had no belief in their country, commanders, or even themselves - only the desperate need to get out of the hellhole of the military alive. This created a legion of troops that were ineffective, undisciplined but most certainly vicious. Food was in short supply everywhere in Russia but it was ironically worse in the army out of corruption. Russia’s corruption in 1994 was perhaps only matched in Zaire. The paramilitaries in many cases would walk into the army stores and take the food with the full knowledge of the commanders and sometimes even the troops. Dagestani locals were actually robbed by Russian troops who were desperate for any kind of food near the border. Many got lost taking positions in the mountains, and the conditions also worsened the already poor equipment.

As they crossed the border that dire morning, they assumed (or were told) that the Chechens would be terrified at their very sight. Indeed, as they drove further into the country, they were quite shocked that they encountered virtually no resistance, or even people, as they rolled towards Sölƶa-Ġala. However, as they arrived into Sölƶa-Ġala that afternoon, the Chechens finally emerged from behind and before them. Having been told by American and British intelligence just when and where the Russians would advance, Dudayev had let them come right into his domain before sending his troops to blow up tanks in the rear-echelon (often with Israeli Spike anti-tank missiles), thus ensuring that the Russians could not retreat. What few Russian aircraft that were used in the operation (many more had been planned to be used but were not due to the requisite fuel being used for the parades in Moscow) to try and relieve the troops were slaughtered by Stinger launchers provided by the Americans through Turkey. Local paramilitaries that had promised to support Russia had likewise been decapitated (often literally) or subsumed into Dudayev’s forces due to corrupt officials in Moscow selling the secrets to Western agents who then provided the information to Dudayev, who quickly made local would-be collaborators very reluctant to side with a force so incompetent.

Russian troops tried to fight back with jammed weapons, half-broken radios and fuel-less tanks, and the result was precisely what a sober read of the situation would predict. Of the roughly 3,000 Russians who entered Sölƶa-Ġala, only five would escape the cauldron back to the Russian Federation. Of the other nearly 3,000, the luckiest ones died immediately, while the captured ones were either sold into slavery or had an extremely slow and horrifying death, often at the hands of the notorious Kadyrov Clan under Akhmad Kadyrov and his twisted teenage son Ramzan. The father would infamously say, “There are 150 million Russians and one million Chechens, so if we kill 150 million of them we win”. Many, including the teenagers, had their decapitations filmed, with the VHS tapes sometimes even sent to their loved ones by finding letters from their family or girlfriends on their corpses. The decapitations were often with blunt knives, sometimes even with pens. Others were disembowelled with their guts used to write warnings on the walls for incoming Russian troops while the victims were still alive and screaming. While Dudayev supported secularism, he gave the Islamist and Mujahideen volunteers a free hand for the time being, seeing them as necessary to preserve the Chechens against a final genocide, correctly predicting the eventual confrontation for two visions of an independent Ichkeria.

Western reaction to the disastrous performance of the Russian army was euphoric and schadenfreude in the extreme. Chechen actions against Russian forces have only recently been looked at in a more unfavourable light, though they were and often are today still filed under the Islamist groups that many feel were ‘separate’ from the world of Dudayev as he was portrayed in Western press. There was only so much 'It's okay to punch Nazis' or 'Reds are better Dead' that one could repeat to themselves before the sight of teenagers pleading for their mothers as their throats are slit would break one's soul. The Russians would retaliate just as ferociously, with no age too high or low to escape rape, and sometimes extending the humiliation by publicly raping daughters in front of their fathers or sometimes fathers in front of their daughters before almost inevitably killing both. The Chechen war was portrayed as the story of the modern 300, the modern 3 Men at the Roman Bridge, the modern Alamo, but they were all wrong, especially after news of the first few humiliations came to Moscow. It was the modern Eastern Front of World War 2, a war of mutual extermination, unbelievable and unfathomable hatred and suffering, and death so ubiquitous one forgets they’re even alive. Your corpse would become a breeding ground for fly larvae bursting your dead eyes before it was either eaten inside-out or scooped by spade onto a truck and into a fridge, or simply left there so you could be described as ‘missing in action’ and have your family cheated of benefits. If you were wounded, that would not protect you. If you were a women, that would not protect you. If you were a child, that would not protect you. If you were a baby, that would not protect you. The enraged and humiliated Moscow began to escalate further and further, but only further and further dislocated their supply lines, further and further expended what little qualified troops they had and further and further bombed Sölƶa-Ġala until it became ‘the most bombed city on Earth’ when they weren't accidentally bombing their own troops, and an ideal place for urban warfare like Stalingrad in 1942. Every single decision, whether to rein the troops in or escalate only seemed to get more Russian men killed for no gain. The first wave of conscripts to go to Sölƶa-Ġala would end up being the least abused, least beaten and most enthused, as the now escalated conscription now stole farmhands during the harvest season and now ensured there would be a famine in the Winter. But it didn’t matter, because to Moscow and Makashov, their whole reputation was riding on this war. They were willing to fight Dudayev as viciously and totally as Stalin was prepared to fight Hitler.

The only other wars that could match that ferocity were those that would stem from the now imminent implosion of the Russian Federation.

“The Death of Russia”

Extract from ‘Averting Armageddon: The West in the Second Russian Civil War’ by Frank Wolfowitz

International states can influence others by two things: soft power and hard power. Makashov expended his soft power almost immediately into his reign by playing into every stereotype of the monstrous Tsar bent on subjugating Europe. He then lost his hard power when he sent his troops to Chechnya and got them decimated. Outside the country, the diplomatic damage was already severe. Finland and Sweden had put off NATO membership requests due to fear of a preemptive Russian attack before finalisation due to Makashov’s rise convincing them that Moscow had gone insane. Now, seeing how mangy the bear really was in Chechnya, they wasted no time in making their applications. Finland and Sweden would both be official NATO members by February 1995 alongside Bulgaria and Romania, though it was hardly a secret that the latter two were let in purely due to geopolitical realities than of being anywhere near the quality nominally required to join. Japan had likewise intensified cooperation with NATO in light of the newfound menace from Russia and would discreetly mention the Kuril Island dispute any chance they could get. China had initially been quite supportive of Russia’s new government, but soon found the benefits of cooperating against Russia as a tool to come out of international isolation to be of an overwhelmingly higher nature. Though supporting Russia officially in Chechnya, as it was the same argument they used for Taiwan, they would provide a desperate Makashov with nowhere near the supplies required to feed and strengthen his army, despite the overwhelmingly isolated country offering eye-watering discounts due to the business risk of working with such a country.

Elsewhere, Lech Wałęsa enjoyed his new sky-rocketing national and international approval rating by rallying Europe against Moscow and becoming something of a representative for the liberated Eastern Bloc. His invocation of Russia’s Pre-Communist, Communist and Post-Communist imperialism as one continuing expression of evil did more than Makashov ever could to undermine the legitimacy of the Gaidar Administration, which was increasingly being seen as untrustworthy given its guarded statements on Chechnya (with some officials actually praising the NSF’s invasion). On June 10th 1994, Estonia would become the first country on Earth (after the brief recognition by the former Georgian President that was revoked by his successor) to recognise Ichkeria as an independent state. This was understandable considering the economic devastation of the Russian embargo on Estonia, with thousands freezing to death in the Winter of 1994, and the fact that Dudayev had resided in Estonia during his time in the Red Army and had sided with Estonian nationalists while using them as an inspiration for his own nationalism. Estonia, in gratitude and spite, began the Eastern European domino. The next day, Poland would become the second, with Latvia, Lithuania, Ukraine, the Czech Republic and Hungary all in agreement by the end of the month. The Western European nations, despite ‘Free Chechnya’ campaigns appearing up and down Europe, were reluctant to embarrass Gaidar and so refrained from doing so, but the Eastern European nations had no love lost when it came to Russia and didn’t see Gaidar as anything but a slightly lesser variation of Russian imperialism.

Meanwhile it seemed like the rest of the world was sorting itself out. Bosnia had resolved their conflict and began to rebuild, Nelson Mandela became the first black South African President, the IRA declared a ceasefire in Northern Ireland, Israel negotiated a lasting peace with Jordan, and many other pieces of good news were coming from around the world. This made the contrast with what was happening in Chechnya seem even more barbaric by comparison. But in other regions there was indeed turmoil. In Cuba and North Korea, both countries were going through significant economic challenges that had been substantially worsened by the international dislocation of Russia. For now they would endure, but the incoming Civil War would touch the population in ways that neither they nor their enemies expected.

Extract from ‘The Unstoppable Tragedy: The Second Russian Civil War’ by Peter Hodges

For obvious reasons, getting journalists into Chechnya was an immensely dangerous task, but those that did could report on horrors that few could conceive. The Communist Bloc’s talk of brotherhood was an obvious sham even to its supporters and the Fascist Bloc had never disguised their contempt for the Chechens. As pictures began to leak out of Islamist fighters standing proudly on mounds of decapitated corpses of Russian soldiers with the commander’s head in their hand, humiliation and rage filled Russian troops. It unleashed something akin to the level of evil that goes beyond all reason, that good people literally can’t even conceive because its nature is so alien to them. It was like the spirit of Dirlewanger had arisen from Hell to poison the air of Ichkeria to want to hurt and kill everything they could put their claws on. A Hearts of Darkness, except not in the Congo but the fringes of Europe. But here, Dirlewanger would not be reincarnated in one man or brigade, but seemingly all across the PTSD, alcohol, and heroin-ridden shells of those who somehow were still alive in the Russian army

Houses and other shelters clearly marked with ‘Children’ or ‘Hospital’ would inevitably be the most shot up and shelled. In early July the village of Samashki was burned to the ground with flamethrowers and grenades from drunken and drugged Russian soldiers with the residents inside, killing several hundred, the majority being children, some even ethnically Russian. Some of the dead children’s skulls were used as ornaments for the unit’s tanks with the name of the village written in marker on the bone. The Russians also ‘pioneered’ the use of public rape of both women and men in villages with the residents forced to watch while bound. It was an astonishingly brutal instrument of revenge and humiliation in the conservative Muslim society they were in. Many of the victims, regardless of sex, would kill themselves from despair soon after. Then came the single most horrifying incident of the conflict, the Vedeno Massacre. On September 14th, the entire male population down to roughly twelve years old in the village of Vedeno was executed before most of the remaining females were raped. Tear-ridden ten-year-old boys would try hopelessly to save their sisters, sometimes younger than them, from being raped and were shot in response. Female Russian nurses at the scene looked on and laughed, even encouraging the violence. It remains one of the two national days of national mourning in Ichkeria today stemming from the conflict, the other needing no explanation. [1]

The details of were so agonising that when war Correspondent Christopher Hitchens would report back to The Nation about what he found in the village two days after the slaughter when Chechens forces moved back in, they accused him of being too credulous to the Chechen accounts despite having spoken directly to many of the survivors and literally having seen the corpses. “I remember the strange horror,” Hitchens recalled, “of realising that this must have been exactly how Gareth Jones had felt when he became the Cassandra of the Holodomor. Of ringing the claxon as desperately as your arms could carry in warning, and of no one coming to heed it.” In desperation, he sent the information to the New Statesman, who immediately understood the gravity of the situation when Hitchens told them, “Even if they’re Islamists, they’ve got to win this war.” On September 20th, the full report was published, and the level of international fury was so intense that there were genuine fears among cooler heads in the Pentagon that the West would be forced by outrage alone to launch a full military intervention, nukes be damned. The claims of genocide were now almost undeniable, and the West struggled to resist a nuclear entanglement that incoming events would mercifully (through merciless means) never come to pass in the world-ending form that many feared.

Given this level of debauched evil that only the Dirlewanger Brigade could hope to match, even atheists like Hitchens could endorse the declaration of Jihad from Grand Mufti Khadyrov on September 30th, with an addendum that the Jihad would only apply to the ‘Muslim lands of Russia’. Dudayev had been told in very plain terms by the Americans, Turks and Israelis that the help he was getting was entirely contingent on the Islamists not doing anything stupid like launch civilian attacks in Russia which could sabotage his international support. Dudayev, from his command post in an abandoned nuclear missile silo, consequently made sure Khadyrov would not endorse terror attacks in Russia proper. But the effects of the Vedeno Massacre went far beyond a simple declaration of Jihad. Though it wasn’t easy to disseminate information across Russia, the level of societal collapse that accompanied the NSF’s continued rule had led to corruption so wide as to steer the Titanic through it. Despite the very word ‘Vedeno’ being banned by Makashov’s government to hopelessly try and maintain secrecy, it didn’t work. Dagestan found out. Ossetia found out. Tatarstan found out. Many friends of the NSF in the Arab world, notably the Assad regime in Syria and Saddam Hussein in Iraq would be unsurprisingly quiet and would cheer Moscow for ‘their combined front against the Zionist menace’. But the Muslim population of Russia, who had mostly kept their heads’ down in fear due to not wanting to encourage the Fascist Bloc, now began to realise what the Jews of Russia had already realised: that the NSF weren’t going to stop with their mere submission, and that the main difference between the Fascists and Communists was only the speed at which the ethnic persecution would begin (assuming they hadn’t already died from starvation by then). Driven to rage beyond description, the Dagestanis decided that they’d had enough.

On October 6th, tens of thousands of Dagestanis of all ethnicities (including Russians) defied the ‘anti-terrorist laws’ forbidding gatherings and protests to stand outside the regional parliament in Makhachkala and demand Russian troops to leave Dagestan. “Vedeno! Vedeno!” they roared, defying Moscow’s demands. The protestors further demanded the return of Magomedali Magomedov to regional president, popular for his efforts to balance the interests of the various Dagestani tribes, who had been kicked out by the NSF and replaced by a cabal of ethnic Russians parachuted into the region to manage the war effort. Smaller groups demanded Sharia, others simply demanded food. The scene was set for an explosive conclusion. Perhaps October 6th would be best described as the day when the implosion of Russia changed from a conjecture to an inevitability.

Pamphlet written by Dudayev in response to the Vedeno Massacre

“Sons of the Caucasus! Muslims! Christians! And all else whose was born from the soils of our lands! It has been many years since we came together as one! We were one when our ancestors were robbed, slaughtered and enslaved when the Rashist beast sank its claws into our lands over a hundred years ago. When it made its way down the Black Sea like the Black Death. Then in 1921 we fought together again against the Communists, dying as martyrs in the service of our ancestors. We lost and paid the price. Our women and children were violated and murdered by Moscow, sent to the death camps of Asia or to the firing squads by the Volga. For years, we feared to rise as one again. Now, in Vedeno, you can see what happens when we don’t. No army from Hell itself would be capable of a crime so great, but Russia is a demon beyond Satan himself. If we do not rise as one against this demon, there won’t be a Chechen people anymore, and soon after, no Inguish, Ossetians, Avars, Dargins, Kumyks, nothing. If there are any true men left in these mountains, if there are any with a trace of masculine pride alive or dormant within their blood, if there are any who do not call themselves cowards before their kith and kin, then the hour to prove your existence has come. It is our generation that must stand at the final confrontation that was centuries in its making! The final confrontation between the Caucasians and Russia, and only one will survive. But if we fight with all the manhood of our races, it will not be the death of the Caucasians, but the death of Russia. And though Russia has the armies of Hell and death and evil on its side, Satan’s forces themselves would run in fear of a Caucasian army. And even if the sounds of their cannons roar so loud that they bleed your ears, listen to the roars of your ancestors cheering your names from Heaven, for they roar louder and forever!”

Extract from ‘A Continent of Fire’ by James Melfi

The blowback had been gigantic abroad but it was enormous in Moscow. The Fascists accused the Communists of being ‘too soft’ on Chechnya due to the initial failure of the invasion, while the Communists accused the Fascists of being the reason anyone wanted to leave the glorious NSF state in the first place. A hodge-podge of equal but opposing delusions brought daily decision making to a standstill, the only impact being complete loss of control of the situation on the ground. Orders to ‘subjugate’ and ‘eliminate’ all opposition led to incidents like Vedeno. The casualties were astronomical. Though official announcements would peg KIA as only costing a few thousand, subsequent analysis, including from what few records survived the Civil War revealed that from May 9th to Vedeno that September, more Russians died in Chechnya than Soviets died in the entirety of the Afghanistan War. In order to resolve the now chronic manpower issues, conscripts from the farthest reaches of the country were called up, often with the brunt of the enlistment on ethnic minorities and rural peasants. While much has been made of the former, the latter perhaps held an even greater role in Russia’s dissolution. The scarcity of resources that was exacerbated by the knowledge that the country was on the brink of famine led to the various regions of Russia stealing resources for themselves, often with superiors picking favourites, and sometimes literally who would live or die.

One problem with the conscription was that the morale of the troops simply could not have been lower. Desertion rates had gotten so bad that whole regiments had left, many carrying supplies for troops down the line who now then deserted because supplies didn’t come in. In response to this crisis, and conscious of the deleterious effects of taking so many conscripts from their work, Makashov in a spell of Communist nostalgia would announce the return of the infamous ‘Not One Step Back’ order. This was in some way a compromise with Barkashov’s demands to let his paramilitaries into the fray in Chechnya. Instead, specialised Penal Battalions were created, partly out of various Communist but mainly Fascist paramilitaries, and others being rich kids who bought their way out of the army for a safer time behind the lines. Their role was to shoot anyone who was caught deserting from the fight. The main effect of this was people going into hiding across the country before the drafters could catch them, or often crossing the border, where they were dumped in an already dangerously overcrowded Kaliningrad since no one wanted to cooperate with Makashov’s hellhole.

However, the penal battalions predictably became among the most hated groups in the whole army for obvious reasons, especially that they were not in the front lines of combat itself. On October 4th, one confrontation between the army and the penal battalion in the south of Chechnya would lead to ten deaths, five of each. But to Chechens, the penal battalions would be considered the most monstrous of all the Russian units, and while civilians had at least a chance if they ran into a Russian soldier that he would be too consumed in other work to care about them, the penal battalions were a certain visitation of agonising death if they happened to run into any Chechen in the forests or mountains. But such meetings were rare, as these battalions were content to relax in Dagestan on significantly easier missions and schedules than anyone just to the west was enduring. The Dagestanis also despised them due to their virulently racist attitudes, escalating the increasingly fraught atmosphere in Russia’s southernmost republic. Thus, on October 6th 1994, it was the Penal Battalions who were ordered to keep control at the demonstration.

The head of the penal battalion at the scene, Igor Strelkov, was a veteran of the Bosnian war volunteering for the Serbian forces where he participated in the Visegrad Massacre. Bitter from the NATO intervention that ruined his side’s dreams of an ethnically cleansed Orthodox Slavic state, he had done little to disguise his contempt for the Dagestanis as his company lounged in cafes with stolen money in Makhachkala, picking one-sided fights and refusing to pay for bills. There is no evidence that the demonstration in Makhachkala was particularly violent, though there were public displays of Dudayev’s portrait and of great freedom fighters of old. There is furthermore no evidence of an order from the top to start shooting. Eyewitness evidence and evidence from surviving details about Strelkov hint that his loss in Bosnia had driven him bitter and mad, and historians theorise that he simply had enough of seeing the Dagestanis, a Muslim ethnic group that spoke a Slavic language, as the Bosnians who had humiliated him. Strelkov gathered several men, went to a nearby tank, and took the driver’s seat. He then proceeded to drive the tank past the Russian lines, over the barricade into the crowd, and began to crush everyone he could see. Filled with shock, the rest of the penal battalion began to wildly fire into the crowd, causing a stampede that would kill further people. But the Dagestanis were not stupid, and had come prepared for this possibility. Guns were pulled from jackers while civilians ran in all directions. The Dagestani militias (many Salafists) fired almost as wildly as the Russians as people fell left and right. However, the sheer demographics of the tens of thousands of people in attendance soon paid off, as windows were seized and fire rained down on the Russians from above. Policemen fired their pistols from behind corners against assault rifles, taxi drivers swerved their cars into Russian troops and the (mercifully empty) parliament building began to burn. Eventually, RPGs were provided and the tank Strelkov was in was hit and immobilised. As the tank filled with smoke, dozens jumped on it despite the growing flames. Strelkov’s head emerged from the top, trying to fire his pistol at everyone he could see. One hand grabbed his pistol, another from behind plunged his fingers into his eyes, and when he began to scream a final hand grabbed his lower jaw and ripped it off, skin and bone from his skull. Most of the Dagestanis would get off before the tank and the remaining Russians inside were burned to ashes. Minutes later, cluster bombs from planes that were supposed to be dropping their cargo on Chechnya were turned around and began to be indiscriminately dropped on Makhachkala amidst the hundreds of corpses already filling the roads. Though the flames almost reached the clouds in Makhachkala, in almost every city around Dagestan, the sparks had taken on a life of their own. In a matter of days, those unlucky souls loyal to the Russian Federation that hadn’t escaped Dagestan were either in hiding or in graves.

It’s estimated that as many as 1,145 Dagestanis and 89 Russian troops would die on Black Thursday in Makhachkala on October 6th 1994. It would mark the beginning of Dagestan’s Independence war, albeit one vastly less coordinated than Chechnya. Far from having a unifying, charismatic leader like Dudayev, the notoriously multicultural and multi-ethnic region suffered from a lack of guiding figures. The ‘Dagestani Restoration Council’ of leading members of the main ethnic groups of Dagestan would be announced but they would have to fight for influence against various clerics, some Salafists funded directly by Saudi Arabia. Devoid of order, Dagestan would be a land of fire and chaos in the closing months of 1994, as no one knew who was in control of what. The only thing they knew for sure was that Russian troops had fled the madness and allowed Dagestan to devour itself, hoping the splits between the ethnic groups would allow Russia to eventually swoop back in once the Chechen job was finished. This was naturally a delusional version of reality but in the paranoia and finger pointing across the halls of power of Moscow, many had already succumbed to utter madness.

All the same, the effect on Chechnya alone was electric. Virtually the entirety of Russian troops in the eastern sector of Chechnya found themselves completely cut off. Some tried to flee over the mountains to Georgia, where more often than not Georgian border guards would detain them and hand them over to the Chechens to have their slaughter and mutilation filmed in pornographic detail. Others simply ran into the mountains and starved to death, horrified to leave and potentially run into the agonising fate of being captured by the Chechens - even indescribable starvation was preferable. After Vedeno, the average Russian soldier made sure to always have one bullet (or better yet a cyanide capsule) to make sure that he could kill himself before the Chechens got them. It’s estimated that as many as 7,000 Russian troops may have died in Chechnya simply due to the collapse of their bases in Dagestan. Russian troops farther north did not even try to rescue their comrades in the south, a testament to how broken and demoralised the army had fallen. To make morale, somehow even worse, Russia would announce that they would be pulling out of Ingushetia for fear of a similar incident as Black Thursday happening in a region that used to be part of Ichkeria. On October 23rd the retreat began, with the last Russians leaving on a thoroughly miserable Halloween, effectively making Ingushetia independent once again, though the loyalists fled with the Russians and were thus not liquidated. Some divisions ended up leaving as many as 90% of their tanks behind for the Chechens in a war they were supposed to continue fighting. Owing to Dudayev’s newfound hero status among the Caucasus, calls quickly began to rejoin Ichkeria, which it did in nominal form by New Year’s in the new ‘Ichkerian Federation’. This was mostly a propaganda stunt to keep Dudayev away from any decision making power over the Inguish, many of whom felt he was more Chechen than Caucasian.

But it wasn’t just the Caucasus where the Russian Federation would crumble. On October 14th 1994, President of Tatarstan Mintimer Shaimiev would announce the cancellation of negotiations with Moscow, saying that events in Vedeno and Makhachkala had shown that Russia was, ‘A country not worth living or dying for, but we can create a country that is.” In so doing, he made Tatarstan (the relatively wealthy and culturally distinct republic many had considered a sure fire success if they went their own way) an independent state. In response, Makashov ordered divisions from neighbouring Bashkortostan to move in and crush Tatarstan. He instead received an astonishing telegram in return from Bashkortostan President Murtaza Rakhimov. It said that ‘If Chairman Makashov intends to make a Chechnya out of Tatarstan, then we shall make a Chechnya out of Russia. If you commit one more Vedeno, one more Makhachkala, we will shake this planet to its foundations.’ The divisions, many ethnically Russian, did not believe in dying to subjugate Tatarstan and stayed put. This was the largest open act of mutiny in Russian history since 1917, and all because the Bashkortostan President could offer those soldiers something that so many regional presidents couldn’t - enough food for the Winter.

On October 27th, forces of the Bashkortostan and Tatarstan Republic launched an attack into the Russian Federation from Southern Bashkortostan, dashing towards the Kazakh border and establishing a narrow supply corridor between the stranded republics and the outside world. That any of the ethnic republics had the gall to do this was impressive, with even Dudayev not having been bold enough to launch an attack into non-ethnic republic territory. Though in propaganda this was entirely a humanitarian mission, with the Kazakhs providing food for the ‘starving Muslim peoples of Russia’, in reality, the upstart Republics of Tatarstan and Bashkorostan were given every weapon they could carry by both Turkish and Chinese arms dealers. Those very same weapons almost immediately defended the Republics’ lifeline to the outside world as nearby waves of Russian troops that were considered too disorganised and ineffective to go to Chechnya were recklessly thrown at the corridor in desperation to close it before it was too late. Because as one corridor opened, another closed. Tatarstan and Bashkorostan had literally cut Russia in two, as almost all Russian traffic over the Urals was done through the republics or beneath them. With Udmurtia still loyal to Russia but facing gigantic ethnic riots, the final routes that didn’t go straight over the mountains were effectively cut off. This meant that the 80% of Russia that was beyond the Urals were now effectively cut off from the 80% of Russia’s population that existed on the other side of the mountains. It would mean raw material from Siberia could not come over the Urals nor processed materials from European Russia go the other way. The lines were broken, the supplies were gone, and collapse was no longer coming, but happening. People were going to die, their wives were going to die, their husbands were going to die, their girlfriends were going to die, their boyfriends were going to die, their friends were going to die, their kids were going to die, everyone was going to die.

On October 27th 1994, Russia itself would die.

[1] - The targeting of children sites and hospitals was well documented during Putin's wars. The Samashki Massacre actually happened OTL essentially as described. The Vedeno Massacre is fictional, but a combination of Srebrenica and a real incident that happened in 1945 to German women and children in a refugee column by the Red Army, including the part about the Russian army women laughing.


“Who is God and Who is Satan?”

Extract from ‘The Unstoppable Tragedy: The Second Russian Civil War’ by Peter Hodges

Viktor Vladimirovich Aksyuchits had been an eternal black sheep inside the NSF. Though he participated in the defence of the Parliament, his Christian Democrat Movement Party was treated derisively by even the Right Bloc of the NSF. Aksyuchits was a deeply religious Christian and a great admirer of Solzhenitsyn, who was widely reviled among the NSF as being responsible for the creation of the abomination of the Yeltsin era, especially among Communist members. More Fascistic members of the NSF would challenge him to 'offer his other cheek' after deliberately bumping into him in halls. Not unlike the Russian army itself, it was a form of hazing to make Aksyuchits leave his seat and have a more pliable Fascist or Communist take it instead. Sealing his fate, Aksyuchits would complain behind closed doors about the treatment of dissidents in Russia at considerable personal risk, including of Latvians within Latgale. On April 22nd, tired of Aksyuchits presence, Makashov expelled Aksyuchits to the Primorsky region in the Far East on the Pacific to serve as the regional governor to replace former Yeltsin loyalists. While technically a promotion, it was obviously a way to see Aksyuchits sent as far away from Moscow as possible.

On the train ride to Vladivostok, conscious of the atrocities being committed by the NSF that he blamed himself for putting in power, he would fall into deep depression and refuse to leave his carriage. Then, according to statements Aksyuchits made to staffers later, he would have a visitation from Christ, generally interpreted as a hallucination brought on by nervous stress or perhaps even a complete falsehood used to justify his power. The Christ of the supposed vision said that ‘Like Joseph in Egypt, I have brought you to this land to save you. Do not despair, for this is the land I have entrusted to you. The final days of this country are at hand. You must build an Ark to save my people from slavery, and to save my Church from destruction. You will know when to begin.” Disembarking in Vladivostok, he was bewildered and quiet for the entirety of his early rule as the head of Primorsky. After the invasion of Chechnya and subsequent atrocities, he claimed that he began to regard the NSF as a Satanic entity. When the collapse of Russia began in earnest in October 1994, he realised to his quiet horror that perhaps ‘the time’ had finally come. But still, he was not sure.

With Bashkortostan and Tatarstan having successfully cut off the routes connecting Siberia with European Russia, Siberia had effectively become a gigantic island floating in the middle of nowhere. This was not helped when, in response to Bashkortostan’s cutting Russia in two, the remainder of the Uralic republics decided to make their moves. On November 2nd, Chuvashia, Mari El both declared their independence from the Russian republic, the former mostly peacefully while the latter immediately descended into street battles between ethnic Russians and Mari. Similar attempts for independence were launched from Udmurtia and Mordovia in attempted coups, but the former likewise descended into bedlam (though further cutting off any route through the Urals) while the latter’s attempted coup to reach such a result was cancelled with brutal repression of the indigenous population coming immediately after. This set of countries became known as the ‘Free Nation Alliance’, an alliance of convenience between the Uralic states (and increasingly the Caucasian) to cooperate and take the supplies provided by Kazakhstan to survive the winter and coming years, as well as avoid what many saw as inevitable genocide in the same way as Chechnya if they were to allow Moscow to have their way. Bashkortostan had initially seized Orsk due to the shortness of distance to the Kazakh border in return for promises that the town’s residents would get food too, which they generally did. But in order to truly comfortably supply the Uralic nations they would need more rail and road links. To that end, they sought to expand their toehold to the outside world by moving on Orenburg. This helped create a Civil War that existed in almost two entirely separate realities: the chaotic, warlordism-style collapse east of the Urals and the relatively comprehensible moving conflict between generally defined states to its west.

For Siberia, the first independence movement to arise beyond the Urals was from an unlikely source. From an impoverished background and facing discrimination from his half Tuvan heritage before becoming a high-ranking minister in the new Yeltsin government and ultimately being cast aside due to his ethnicity and sent in exile to Tuva, Sergei Shoigu should have been an inspiring figure. But unfortunately for this view of history, his corruption was of astronomical levels, even for the Yeltsin administration. Though it was for the wrong reasons, his firing was deserved. Licking his wounds, he took to bitterly drinking in Tuva as the news from Chechnya grew increasingly detached from reality. Tuva was also denied a planned referendum on the precedence of Tuvan law over Russian by the new NSF government, further fueling resentment. Ethnic tensions between Russians and Tuvans were beyond boiling point, unemployment was the highest in the country. Crime in Tuva was so astronomical that if it was an independent state it would have the highest murder rate of any state in the world. Even to Russians, the Tuvans were stereotyped as overly alcoholic and aggressive. Given these conditions, it’s no surprise that Shoigu would be tempted by mysterious Asian gentlemen at his door, offering astronomical sums of money in return for cooperation for ‘their dream’ - a newly independent Tuva. Tuva had been independent as recently as World War 2 so this made sense. But the Asian gentlemen were not telling the full truth: it was not a case of of them wanting Tuva to be out of Russia’s pocket, but that in their pocket instead. Shoigu, wise to the art of negotiation, let it slip that they were not the first Asian gentlemen that came to him, although they were from a slightly different country. This forced the Mongolian agents to attempt to outbid the Chinese that came before them. As terror began to sweep a whole continent’s worth of land in early November, armed gunmen broke into the Tuvan Parliament and killed almost the entirety of the imposed NSF caretakers. Shoigu, who was not even let in on the planning session by the Pro-Mongolian paramilitaries given that he had no experience outside bribery and was seen as an imposition by the Mongolian government, walked to the vacant podium on November 10th 1994 to declare the secession of Tuva from the Russian Federation, if it could even be said to exist any more.

The restoration of Tuva set off a wave of attempted uprisings that November. In the Altai Republic, an attempted uprising to gain independence was crushed by local officials, with most of the indigenous Altai and Kazakhs fleeing across the border into Kazakhstan, committing cross-border attacks for the remainder of the war. Similar attempts were quickly stamped out in Khakassia. But it was Buryatia that would prove the largest conflagration. The ethnic Russians made up nearly 70% of the region, but 100% of Mongolia wanted Buryatia. It was a historical region of Mongolia that had its population replaced with ethnic Russians during the eastward push of Slavdom. To that end, while Tuva was a nice to have, Buryatia was a once in forever opportunity for Mongolia to emerge from the Communist era as a new and vibrant state and reclaim ancient glory. This worried China given Mongolia’s own claims on its territory despite those claims being officially rescinded earlier in 1994, but it had its eyes pointed at the Amur River and paid little heed. Initially Mongolian volunteers were forbidden from crossing the border to join the fight due to fear of nuclear strikes from European Russia, but with a precedent of funding being proven okay the Mongolians felt confident enough simply providing the Buryats with weapons. Though the Mongols were hardly Israel or Singapore, their arms depots were actually in a better state than many Russian depots. By the end of 1994, the entire Mongolian border with Buryatia was in the hands of the Mongolian Unionists under Vyacheslav Markhayev, a riot police officer who had refused to persecute buddhists during the Soviet days.

Looking at such uprisings tearing his country asunder from the far end of Siberia on the Pacific, Aksyuchits again wondered what the sign would be that the time had come to save the Church of Christ. He stayed in his office and would pray for guidance for hours. On November 10th, he prayed for answer for one hour straight. On November 11th, he prayed for an answer for two hours straight. On November 12th he prayed for three entire hours straight, again by himself. By November 13th his staff were beginning to complain about his habit given the issues arising from the draft situation and the collapse of supplies from the west after Bashkortostan and Tatarstan had cut the railways. Realising this was fair, Aksyuchits did not pray that day. Then on November 14th, as the day was coming to a close, an ashen aide came into his office and said, “Governor Aksyuchits? I regret inform you that Chairman Makashov is dead.”

Extract from 'Second As Farce: Petrograd Vs Stalingrad' by Jessica Matthews

The fall of Orsk to the soon-to-be Free Nations Alliance was the final straw for the union between the NSF’s warring factions. Both had concluded that until the other bloc was removed then Russia could not resolve the problem of its national minorities, concluding that wiping up the remaining secessionists would be a breeze like in 1920. Most of the Fascist Bloc had set up their base of operations in St. Petersburg, (renamed ‘Petrograd’ on November 1st). The Communist set up their safehouse base of operations in Volgograd, (renamed ‘Stalingrad’ on November 3rd). Both groups knew with certainty that the other was planning to backstab them, so they stayed in their main support bases, the Fascists in the north and the Communists in the south. In the middle was Moscow, a flaming powder keg with the police long gone and paramilitaries the only men who could walk the street without fear. No one knew when the other would make their move, but others were adamant that move be made, particularly Baburin and Astafyev on the Right and Makashov and Konstantinov on the Left. Russia was literally collapsing before their eyes, and the worst possible thing to do was suddenly start fighting each other. It seemed strange that they could unite over Yeltsin but now be torn apart when the country was literally imploding. President Rutskoy, the reluctant prisoner to this madness, desperately sought everything in his power to keep his jailors happy before they destroyed his country in the midst of their tiff.

In order to come to some sort of understanding, Baburin, Astafyev, Makashov and Konstantinov arranged to meet in Tula on November 14th 1994 with Rutskoy as mediator. The meeting was supposed to discuss a more fundamental division of Russia into a northern section controlled by the Fascists and the south controlled by the Communists in a new federal system. Makashov, Konstantinov and Rutskoy got on their plane in Moscow and flew into the sky. Two minutes into flight, an onboard bomb exploded, causing the plane to crash to the ground as a flaming wreck. Chairman Makashov, Chief Administrator Konstantinov and President Rutskoy were all dead.

Both Petrograd and Stalingrad were in shock and demanded to know who had killed the Chairman. Baburin and Astayev were arrested and sent to Stalingrad as prisoners. Both blocs had been decapitated and were in a state of pandemonium, but others made the most of the situation. In Moscow, the RNU paramilitaries were quicker on the draw than their Communist counterparts, securing the main government buildings in the city centre despite being shelled from the south on the other side of the Moskva River. With the help of surrounding army units who suspected the Fascists were behind the killing, attempted crossings of the Moskva River by the RNU were repulsed, splitting Moscow in two between the south bank controlled by the Stalingrad government and the north controlled by the Petrograd government. For those unlucky enough to be Caucasian or Central Asian in the north side of Moscow at the time, the RNU took the surprising step of organising a ceasefire on November 19th so Moscow could ‘Cleanse itself’. With that, for two days, a ceasefire was held in Moscow so that the Non-Slavic population would leave. Barkashov, who was leading the fighting in Moscow on the ground, would record that it “Was an uplifting sight, like the mucus flowing out from a zit - the knowledge that a poison was visibly leaving the body.” On the other side, the Communists were similarly unmoored from reality. While most of the refugees from the north wanted away from the carnage, almost the entire male population of the refugees were stopped, given a rifle with often less than five bullets and told they would be staying in Moscow to defend the city from the Fascists. There wasn’t much of a choice in the matter. Some families stayed to help their imprisoned husbands and fathers while others were loudly told by those same husbands and fathers to get out of the country while they still could. Moscow, spared destruction in both World Wars, now faced the greatest destruction and carnage it had faced in its entire history. To eliminate the propaganda victory of the Fascists seizing both St. Basil’s and the Kremlin, precious artillery was wasted, flattening the great wonders of civilisation. By early December, both only existed in memory beneath a pile of smouldering rubble along the Moskva river. A city of ten million people now prepared to destroy itself.

While the Battle of Moscow had begun, the new lines of the major conflict of the Second Russian Civil War would slowly work themselves out. They began along the Dnieper, with battle raging in Smolensk. The next natural line of division was the Moskva River, but the Volga Federal District was entirely in the hands of the Reds and secessionists all the way up to the Northwestern District, which should have been entirely in the hands of the Fascists. That was until the Komi Republic threw a spanner in the works and announced that they too would be seceding on November 20th, declaring neutrality in the conflict between the NSF’s factions and promising to defend their homeland against an invasion from either party. What both the Fascists and Communists had failed to realise was that Komi had been the location where multitudes of Stalinist-era prisoners had been sent. Consequently, the republic had raised one of the most anti-dictatorship populations in the whole of Russia. While the indigenous Komi were a small minority, the ethnically Russian population likewise wanted nothing to do with either the Fascists or Communists. With Siberia completely cut off, both parties essentially stopped caring about its existence, knowing the real war was going to be in European Russia.

This left a considerably larger population in the region controlled by Stalingrad compared to Petrograd, but they were caught facing an attack from all sides. They had to defend their east and south from the Free Nations Alliance. Initially both Petrograd and Stalingrad would rule by committee, but Stalingrad’s descent into pure one-man rule was made when Gennady Zyuganov was dragged from his bed by members of the security force on November 26th in Stalingrad and thrown into the same rat-infested cell as Baburin and Astafyev, who were consequently forced to eat the rats due to hunger. In early December, all three were put on show trials by Ilyukhin in a display of judicial injustice only seen since the Stalin era, which was entirely the point. On December 21st, all were declared guilty and were executed by hanging on December 24th. The reason that Zyuganov had joined the dead was because of his long-term rivalry with fellow Communist Viktor Anpilov. Anpilov managed to win over both Alksnis and Ilyukhin to his side to become the new Chairman of ‘Soviet Russia’, as the Stalingrad government called itself. The new government declared itself to be the second coming of the Soviet Union, where all races in Russia would be united under Communist rule. No more ethnic republics would be necessary or allowed, as Chairman Anpilov would already have their best interest in mind.

In the north, the Petrograd government was slightly more functional and did not need Anpilov-style purges to resolve infighting. Barkashov had risen up the ranks to be perhaps the main battlefield commander with ‘Black Colonel’ Alksnis being his main opponent in the military field, duking it out in Moscow while also giving orders affecting the rest of the line. Back in Petrograd itself, the Fascists let their ‘new’ slogan hang from every building: “Russia for the Russians!” The security forces had been split but Limonov himself had decided to stay with the Petrograd government as he felt the permanent victory of the Slavic race was more important than the temporary loss of socialism as the economic structure of the Russian state. Nevzorov became something of a face for the Petrograd government, but he was increasingly listening to the apocalyptic rhetoric coming from Dugin, who had taken a near Rasputin-like role in the new government. The nitty gritty of trying to work out how the state would actually function was given to Shafarevich, who calculated that the famine in the Fascist controlled regions of ‘Nationalist Russia’ would be ‘beyond the 1930s’ unless immediate action was taken. Like in the Communist regions, attempting to leave Russia was punishable by being shot, since no sane person wanted to stay in what had become of what was only ten years ago a dull but livable place. Very quickly, Nevzorov hatched a plan.

On December 3rd in the Karelian Republic, Nashist paramilitaries went door to door, grabbing any ethnic Karelians and Finns that they could, initially in the name of crushing an attempted rebellion. After they were herded into hastily constructed concentration camps, they shocked the world by taking pictures of the deed themselves and sending them to Finland. The Karelians were being abused, beaten and raped, but purposefully not killed. The Fascists made an offer to the Finnish government, and any government, that they would hand over the imprisoned Karelians and Finns in return for large quantities of food and medicine. They would even allow observers to show all the food would not leave the civilian regions. No guns, no money, just food and medicine so that ‘Russian children, our one priority, do not starve’. It had been a smart calculation that played into Western sensibilities, especially given fears that the Fascists would immediately begin shooting all non-Russians given their slogan. The carrot of lives being saved in terms of both the Karelians and Russian children, along with the stick implication of what would happen to the Karelians if they didn’t, was enough to move the Finns into action. On December 20th, the first large shipments of basic food were driven to Vyborg and in St. Petersburg within the day. True to Nevzorov’s words, the food did not leave Petrograd and was primarily given to vulnerable groups. Also true to their word, the Karelians were funelled across the border into Finland, given a warm home and protection while the luckiest Russian refugees could expect a crammed boat ride into a Kaliningrad even more crammed than the boat.

Then on December 22nd, the world began to realise what the game was. On that date, Nashi paramilitaries began rounding up the entirety of the ethnically Latvian population in Latgale, including those loyal to the regime, as well as the few Estonians left in Narva and Petrograd. They were likewise put in concentration camps and prisons, subject to beatings, rape and torture, though NSF supporters (generally Communists) would typically be the only ones killed and overwhelmingly by fellow prisoners. The same deal was offered - by now, Petrograd had gotten cocky enough to start putting individual prices on their prisoners’ heads. In general, women were sold for a higher price than men while children were sold for a higher price than adults. Their price was dictated in kilos of bread, litres of morphine, and various other forms of food and medicine with a meticulous exchange system calculated personally by Shafarevich to ensure they could squeeze the West for all they were worth. Through gritted teeth, the West again agreed, sending the necessary food over the Latvian border on January 10th with Latvians and Estonians being escorted over the border with rifles to their backs. In a separate deal with the Americans, they were able to hand over Gorbachev in return for another gigantic payday of food and medicine, with the former Soviet leader and his wife unceremoniously pushed over from Narva into the West on January 30th, heartbroken but alive.

Nevzorov had found his hostage exchanges a sly but effective way to relieve the famine. Sly in that it indirectly helped the war effort by food not needing to be shipped back to home and effective because Petrograd soon became a vastly more livable city than Stalingrad, whose answer to every question was to imagine what the demon on Stalin’s shoulder would tell him to do. At the same time, he was extremely cautious of pulling something similar with his small but still present Jewish minority. Of the Jews who had lived in Russia in October 1993, 80% of them had already fled by the time that Makashov’s plane hit the dirt. There were just under 500,000 Jews in Russia under Yeltsin and now only 80,000 were estimated to be left in Russia. Only 20,000 were estimated to be left in Nevorov’s territory, but that was still 20,000 Jews too many to Israel. Recognising the danger that mistreating Jews could lead to comparisons to the Nazis and intervention, Nevzorov announced on December 26th that all Jews were free to leave his territory to locations Petrograd was not at war with. The last few Jews in northern Russia took the final buses from Petrograd to Narva, relieved to finally be safe before being taken on plane to Israel. Among them was not notorious NSF acolyte Vladimir Zhrinovsky, found stabbed to death in a crumbling apartment block in Moscow in what most historians agree was a hit by Barkashov due to Zhrinovsky's Jewish heritage that he refused to acknowledge. But while Jewish refugees took the plane to Israel, coming from Israel were other planes that were landing in quiet fields in northern Russia. They were planes loaded with fuel, rubber, and a host of other resources necessary for warfare with the Communists in the south. While Israel held firm on not handing over weapons to Petrograd, they compromised by giving materials that were not necessarily for conflict. America too was in the know about this but did not want to deal with the outcry of ‘Second Holocaust’ or of funding Petrograd indirectly, and supported Israel’s decision to be a covert cat’s paw. The details of the deal were not published until 2008, with Rabin coming under severe criticism for his role in supporting the Petrograd government, even if for the right reasons.

Unfortunately, Nevzorov was not interested in dealing with the Caucasians in the same way.

Extract from 'The Reconquista of the Caucasus' by Levan Galogre

The coolest head in all the Caucasus as Russia collapsed was Dudayev. Others rejoiced at the thought of Russia in agony, while others trembled in fear of nuclear exchange. On November 14th, Dudayev was told moments before a phone call with the new government of ‘The Confederation of Dagestan’ that Makashov’s plane had crashed. Dudayev proceeded to have the meeting with Dagestan representatives as if nothing happened, insisting to his Dagestani colleagues to discuss business immediately rather than later. Dudayev had an increasing sense of personal and historical destiny at work and was ready to do all he could to remove Russian influence from the Caucasus. With the Russians distracted elsewhere, Dudayev launched his final attack on December 11th, attacking the few remaining Russians in the northern part of Chechnya. On December 21st, the last ever Russian boot on Chechen soil stepped back over the border, giving Ichkeria her independence day. While most Chechens celebrated, Dudayev spent the day placing the first brick at the memorial site at Vedeno, his mind transfixed not on Chechnya’s independence but the elimination of Russia itself. Only a Pole, or maybe a Latvian, could comprehend the levels of Dudayev’s feelings towards his neighbour.

The next domino to fall was ironically not in Russia, but Georgia. On November 20th, taking advantage of Russia’s implosion, Georgia restarted their war in South Ossetia, the breakaway republic located along the border. With only 50,000 people in the whole statelet, it barely stood a chance. Lyudvig Chibirov, the head of South Ossetia, dejectedly escaped across the border on the morning of December 22nd as the country he had helped build (with Russia) came tumbling down. But bizarrely, the moment he crossed the border, he found himself confronted by a group of ‘exceptionally attractive’ Ossetian women, who claimed to be from the North Ossetian government. The car then proceeded to take him to Vladikavkaz, the capital of North Ossetia, where he was astonished to find a ticker-tape parade arranged for him and crowds cheering his name. When he saw the banner ‘Welcome, President of Ossetia’, he finally realised what had happened. North Ossetia, knowing their southern chance of independence was doomed, had seceded from Russia and wanted to be an independent state, with the people wanting a proven Ossetian fighter to represent them. Chibirov had the peculiar experience of having lost and gained a country in a single day. In particular black humour, he was brought to a podium to give a speech to accept a role he had no idea he had until minutes before. An awkward speech began, but not wanting to disappoint given the circumstance, he reluctantly accepted the offer. That evening he was given a surprisingly cordial call by Dudayev in the city hall. Dudayev explained that he would need all of the Caucasus to rise up to finish off Russian influence for good, and that he was ‘happy to have someone on our side who had also served with the Russians, like me’. His work with ethnic Russians also helped convince local ethnic Russians of their safety, with Ossetia emerging as one of the only Post-War Caucasus nations with a substantial Russian population. His appointment did, however, create an extremely awkward relationship with Georgia. South Ossetia also suffered the indignity of being the only one of the Georgian breakaways to implode. Much to Abkhazia’s relief, Georgia was too wary of trying to retake the republic by force, eventually negotiating a deal where Abkhazia swore off independence de jure so that it could be independent de facto in April 1995. There would be no war in Georgia after the fall of South Ossetia, but the largest of the Caucasian conflicts was only beginning.

On Christmas Day 1994, the Republic of Kabardino-Balkaria was already dealing with an exodus of Russians trying to escape over the border and those fleeing north. The Kabardin people now made up a majority of the small republic, and with the Balkars their demographic alliance hardened. Christmas meant nothing to most Muslims, but to the Muslims and atheists of the Kabardin tribe, this Christmas would be the most important Christmas of their lives. An armed mob of Caucasian nationalists, inspired by Dudayev, stormed the parliament building in Nalchik. It was there that they raised a new flag, or perhaps an old flag. It was green, had twelve stars and three arrows. It was actually the flag of the Republic of Adygea, but that wasn’t what they meant. Among the women at the base of the Parliament, many wept in joy. Other Caucasians at the scene roared in joy like their deliverance had come. What few foreign observers were there knew they were a part of history. But it was one Israeli reporter at the scene who had the most visceral reaction. “I saw visions of my own country, crawling out from the dirt and the rock amidst fire and carnage to defy the world, defy the odds, and to pull a nation from its grave. I was witnessing a resurrection before my eyes, of a people long thought vanquished, returned to defeat their captors. Circassia had risen again.” After one of the most infamous genocides in history as Russia marched down the Caucasus, the Circassians had been relegated to a historical curiosity like the Picts, surviving only in a eunuch format in Russia and vague memory in the diaspora. Now Provisional Circassian President Valery Kokov announced that ‘Circassia has returned from the grave to seek vengeance on those who killed it’. All symbols of Russian power, including Orthodox churches, were burned to the ground.

Only two days later, the neighbouring Karachay-Cherkessia Republic was likewise brought down by protests in the capital, and the flag of Circassia rose once again over the capital. Here however the Russian minority was much larger, and so pitched street battles began again. Other indigenous Caucasians were happy to go along with the new movement, seeing the Circassian movement as one primarily aimed at hurting the Russians and not any supremacy of Circassians over fellow Caucasians - the Russians were certainly spooked when they saw the Green and White bow flying overhead. At the same time, the stranded Adygea Republic saw the beginning of its own agitation. In response, Anpilov ordered the Adygea Republic abolished and any Circassians expressing nationalism to be ‘exterminated’. Circassians gathered their families and began ‘The Mountain March’, where tens of thousands of Circassians with guns on their hands and kids on their backs fought through hostile territory to provisional Circassia. Some 10% of the convoy would die by the time they arrived in safe territory on January 15th. But they weren’t the only Circassians pouring into the country. From Georgia, and Turkey, and Israel, and Syria, and Jordan, and all throughout the world, Circassians had begun to descend on the provisional Circassian government. They had left everything behind for this once in a century opportunity to restore the land where their ancestors’ dust lay. Nor were the Circassians the only ones. Among the volunteers were Latgale refugees, Ukrainian nationalists, Estonian mercenaries and thousands from across East Europe who all had a bone to pick with Russia and saw the Caucasian conflict as the perfect avenue to help out. If they could help create a Circassian state to humiliate Russia, even better.

Extract from 'The Great White Void: Siberia 1993-1996' by Nikolai Chernenko

Viktor Vladimirovich Aksyuchits never thought he would be faced with this decision in his life, but as Siberia became an inhospitable island, he suddenly found himself in just the sort of position he had dreamed and feared of being in. Of being able to create something, or perhaps lose everything. But even if he lost everything, there was one thing he knew he would still have, and that was his faith. Thus, in response to the carnage to the west of the Urals, Aksyuchits would give a speech on November 30th, proclaiming the restoration of the Far Eastern Republic. He announced that this Republic would be based on the Slavic Christian tradition, going as far as to declare the Gonfalon flag of Christ’s face to be the new Republic’s flag. Despite his later reputation, his initial speech was received by locals with laughter. They were not a particularly religious bunch and knew that they were probably the luckiest people in Siberia as Vladivostok was the only port Siberia had and so it was at least somewhat open to the outside world. The flag was particularly mocked as creepy, and foreigners still mock it today, though the locals are naturally far prouder of it now. Aksyuchits was considered quite out of his depth when the announcement was made, and many considered him a traitor for abandoning his ‘One Russia’ beliefs. Though he claimed the historical lands controlled by the Far Eastern Republic, he only held Primorsky. The only reason many believe he wasn’t immediately taken out was because people in Vladivostok genuinely did hold antipathy for Moscow, so far and distant. Many had Ukrainian blood from the deportations gulags and had a hint of rebellion in their genes too, but hardly considered Aksyuchits to be the best way to go about it. Little did they know that in only a few months time, Aksyuchits’s name would be praised from every tongue in the city. But for now, Aksyuchits found himself cut completely adrift amidst a Russia full of players out to take whatever they could get, and an international community that refused to recognise anyone but Gaidar. Aksyuchits would go on to doubt the wisdom of his decision in the coming days before moving in and out of paranoia about people, saying to one associate that it was hard trying to find out from among the masses, 'Who is God and who is Satan?'

But Aksyuchits was not the only one seeing religious visions. In neighbouring Sakha/Yakutai, the morbidly unpopular imposed administration of the NSF was decapitated in a coup on December 13th by the Aiyy Yeurekhé movement, a Neo-pagan movement led by ethnically Ukrainian Ivan Ukhkhan and a Yakut philologist named Téris. The NSF had attempted to prosecute them as Un-Russian in 1994, but this only led to a broader backlash in Sakha that resulted in the Tengrist religion becoming more and more prominent, including among Slavs. As society began to collapse in 1994, the newly apocalyptic visions of Téris and Ukhkhan’s pronouncement, as well as the promise that Sakha would be saved if they would return to the true faith of the land, led to thousands of secular, ethnically Russian men and women dressing in tribal clothes and engaging in dancing and chanting in the middle of the woods to the rhythm of Shamans. Many Russians thought the whole society was going mad and fled as quickly as their legs or cars would carry them, often perishing in the desperate search for safety. Rumours of Black Shamans performing sacrifices in the woods began to swirl (mainly invented for propaganda purposes by rivals), with White Shamans ‘baptising’ crowds in the Yakutian wilderness by performing rituals to the Sun God. Desperation, fear of death, and starvation had seemingly driven Sakha completely mad.

But that was quite similar to what was happening to Siberia in general. Naturally, there was no back up plan for what to do if the NSF went to war and everything west of the Urals was cut off. Instead, the various regions simply collapsed into anarchy as the food vanished. The only places close to order were the regions of Chelyabinsk, Sverdlovsk, Kurgan, Tyumen, and Omsk. They nominally declared for Anpilov, but in reality they were run by a joint committee of Fascist and Communist members terrified of what had just happened and seeing the absolute worst of the collapse all around them. Outside these areas, law and order (in terms of NSF control) did not exist in the whole of Siberia. Not only that, no one even knew what was going on in, say, Magadan, or even Krasnoyarsk. Telephone lines weren’t working, no one had enough fuel to drive between cities, trains and buses had completely broken down, banks had no money, some cities blacked out, and millions felt the pangs of hunger. No one knew how many exactly, but even where there was order there were emaciated bodies on the street - one could only imagine the hell beyond in Siberia. Then, into Chelyabinsk on a cold December 31st from Kazakhstan with thousands of well-fed men behind him, came the one man in all Siberia with a smile on his face. On December 3rd he had negotiated the surrender of Transnistria in return for the lives and freedom of his men to return to Russia and save it from collapse. Though he left the Transnistrian separatists' dreams of an independent state to die, he did manage to extract an amnesty for the entire Transnistrian population with American guarantees that Moldova would be forced to treat the Transnistrians with some degree of internal autonomy. While 14th Guards Company was without any weapons but the ones provided by friendlies along the border, they were not afraid of being attacked, either Lebed or his men. Despite the setback, his men remained loyal. Based on the tear-stained reactions of Siberians as they saw him, they were loyal to Lebed too. It was strange coming into Chelyabinsk on a horse of all things, but to Alexander Lebed, it made him look even more like Alexander the Great, whose memory he would call on to begin what he saw was his destiny: to conquer the lands of Siberia and save Russia in the coming year of our Lord 1995.

If only there weren’t so many others with their eyes on Siberia, including a particularly nefarious one in Pyongyang.

"All is Now Against Us”

Extract from ‘The Unstoppable Tragedy: The Second Russian Civil War’ by Peter Hodges

Lebed’s return to Russia was a near-miraculous event as he crossed through the Kazakh border and into Russia. Behind him were thousands of men loyal to him and him alone, holding weapons without ammo, but knowing that none would dare fire on Lebed as they marched to Chelyabinsk on full stomachs. He had been trapped in Transnistria ever since the Crimean fiasco, as Ukraine had cut off access to the breakaway state. A hero of the Transnistrian War, everyone expected him to be detained in the West as the NSF imploded and the threat of invasion into Transnistria increased. But at the same time, any attack would be an attack on soldiers of the Russian Federation so both Ukraine and Moldova were wary of potentially receiving a nuclear strike in case either side of the NSF had no means to fight back but no way to quit. In late November, Lebed gave the West quite a remarkable offer - he and the 14th Army would leave Transnistria in return for Transnistria being treated like Gagauzia and amnesty for all Transnistrians, Moldovans and Russians accused of war crimes or treason. In return, he wanted to go to Kazakhstan with his men to ‘save his country’ by crossing the border into Siberia. Once he explained the rationale of the decision, even the Ukrainians were ready to pass the cheque, and Moldova was told in no uncertain terms by the West to accept the deal. There were just under 8,000 Russian soldiers left in Transnistria, many recalled before the Crimean invasion in what should have been a sign, Lebed himself stuck in Moldova because the NSF were scared of his popularity and feared being challenged. The Russian troops dumped their weapons and left the infamous stockpile of Cobasna to fall into Moldova’s hands, who generally provided it to the Caucasians. In return, they were given safe passage from Ukraine to airfields in northern Kazakhstan (going through a very elongated route), before arriving at the border at around Christmas time. The Russian border guards, visibly gaunt, were shocked at the sight of the General returning from the wilderness, assuming they were hallucinating from hunger. They gladly opened the gates and allowed him and his men back in, many tossing their rifles to the unarmed army to try and not make them sitting ducks.

Fuel was scarce, so out of necessity, a local horse was used by Lebed to march to Chelyabinsk. The scenes in Russia were worse than he could imagine, with scenes of hunger that Russia had not seen since the Stalin years. One village had a warning sign declaring, ‘Those who eat their children will be prosecuted.” In another, he was approached by an old man weeping after he had eaten his beloved pet dog and sole companion for need of food, begging Lebed to save Russia and end the madness. Lebed moved on with a growing sense of destiny. He had studied Napoleon and Alexander, but now a new character was growing in the back of his head: Aurelion, the Restorer of the World. While his mind about the NSF had long been made up while he was stewing in Crimea, it is likely that the extent of his views were hardened by the march on Chelyabinsk.

The city let out the last of their strength to greet the prodigal sons on December 31st. Lebed was met by four different members of the NSF’s provisional East-Urals government, as it turns out due to their disagreeing over who was leader of that shambles of a state before agreeing to meet Lebed all at once. It’s hard to imagine a sight that disgusted Lebed more than starved corpses on the street, but those politicians had done just that while he did his best to keep cool. They asked him to pledge his loyalty to the local provisional parliament and to set off to fight Bashkortostan, many likely hoping for a place in the future NSF government when the winner had been declared out west. Lebed agreed, on the condition that he be allowed a speech to the ‘Siberian Provisional Government’, as they called themselves, and with all the leads of the ‘Siberian Provisional Government’ present. They agreed promptly, pencilling in January 4th 1995. Lebed thanked them and began to mingle with the crowds. Others begged him and his soldiers for food that they could not spare, but Lebed would assure them, ‘Hold on just a little longer, I have a way to get food in’.

And what a plan he had. On January 4th, the heads of the Oblasts under control had descended to Chelyabinsk with what little fuel they had left. Taking their seats in the assembly, a few began to suspect something was up when members of Lebed’s troops were at all the exits of the hall. When Lebed walked to the podium, he had his full military attire on, and did not even attempt to hide his contempt for every politician before him in the room. Upon opening his mouth, he gave the speech that millions of people then and since have dreamed of making.

Lebed’s Speech to the Chelyabinsk Provisional NSF Government (in Full)

“Gentlemen, three years ago I left Russia to travel to Transnistria. I met many people there, many I liked, many who came with me on the journey back here. The Transnistrians are quite like Russians, and their politicians are perfectly alike: cowards, drunkards and whores. I look at this assembly and find not a single man that I would trust even to carry a rifle, not a single man capable of leading their dog let alone a platoon, not a single man who gained their role in this building today without trickery, bribery or betrayal. The thing that has shocked me most about my return to my homeland is not that people starve in the streets, not that the country is in civil war again, but that the quality of our politicians has somehow gotten even worse.

“What has your worthless party shown for its sole year of rule? What exactly has the ‘National Salvation Front’ saved? In return for Crimea, you have lost the whole country. In return for gaining enemies, we have lost our friends and families. In return for disaster, civil war, the destruction of St. Basil’s and the Kremlin, the flight of millions of our brightest sons, poverty, famine, and the eternal blackening of our nation’s name, if it can still be said to exist, do you offer us their ashes as presents? I left a Russia that was alive and I returned to find a Russia that was dead. I never thought any group of polticians could be that incompetent, but I should never have underestimated our esteemed political leaders.

“Both of your heroes sent entreaties to me. Anpilov, Barkashov and all the rest of that Confederacy of Idiots. To the Communists in this hall, you can tell Anpilov that if he loves the ‘old days’ so well, then I wish he stood in the place of the children that were massacred at Novocherkassk before my very eyes. I spent half my time in the army burying bloated buffoons like him and will gladly add my fourth if he ever comes to face me. To the Nashists, Nationalists, or whatever the hell you bigots call yourself these days, in this hall stand men who were born in Russia, lived for Russia and were ready to die for Russia. You need only take one look at their eyes and faces to see their creed: Chechen, Dagestani, Tatar. For years, we stood together alone in the wasteland of that shithole, robbed and debased by the politicians. And I saw more of the virtues of Russia in just one of my subordinates' eyes than in every pore of those fat thieves. In my army there were no ‘Chechens’ or ‘Tatars’ - we were one blood fighting under the red, white and blue of our ancestors’ flag. Ancestors that tamed the wilds of Siberia, that defeated Napoleon when none could beat him, that defeated Hitler when none could beat him. And how those ancestors now look at you from the Halls of Valhalla above, only to wretch at the sorry sight of their sons. The German murderers that burned our nation to the ground now have taken the minds of own Russian sons. To have Nazis like Barkashov rule the ruins of Moscow. Did all those Russians who died to stop the Nazis taking our capital die in vain? But those Chechens and Tatars that fought with me as comrades from the mountains of Afghanistan to the rivers of Moldova and followed me through the steppes of Central Asia to return here, their ancestors look upon them with pride. And even those Chechens who fought against us, they knew why they fought, and knew why they died. And I just wish that there will come a day when Russian men can die with certainty in the glory of their nation again.

“If I was to replace you with whomever I could find in the local brothel, I couldn’t fail to find men and women of finer calibre than any of you scum. Is there no law you haven't trampled on, no vice you don't possess, no depth to which you won't sink the remains of my country further? Is there any trace of male virtue in a single soul before me? Courage? Loyalty? Diligence? You rode the coattails of jackals and cry when it turns around to eat you. You turned my country into a monster and cry to save you - not my country, but you. You turned Moscow, the equal of Washington for half a century, into a flaming pile of rubble, and I ask the ‘National Salvation Front’, at a time when so many nations have been reborn across the corpse of our land, why is our’s the only one that’s died?

“You have surely proven that, even if Russians are not suited to democracy, they are even less suited to political dictatorship! As my first order as head of the Siberian Provisional Government, I declare the National Salvation Front a terrorist organisation!”

Extract from 'The Great White Void: Siberia 1993-1996' by Nikolai Chernenko

Lebed’s infamous speech to the Assembly was partially an entirely honest appraisal of his opinion about the NSF with a deliberate caution about giving away too many of his own plans and opinions. His line about ‘political dictatorship’ was purposefully crafted because he too had little faith in democracy, but felt the military was a finer candidate for the role of the dictators like in Chile. Nevertheless, he had some understanding of PR and was conscious about being portrayed as a third wheel of the NSF’s power struggle. He agreed to hand over the NSF officials he arrested in Chelyabinsk to the West in return for food, ironically inspired by Nevzorov’s slave bartering out west. There was very little they could be done for, but the Americans especially tried extracting information from the ones close to the ruling circle about their willingness to deploy nukes, with many sessions at Guantanamo Bay devoted to trying to find out. But the main reason the West had been so tolerant to Lebed was not in sensing great humanitarianism within the self-described Bonapartist, but in promising to save the world economy.

The sanctions that descended on Russia following the NSF’s rise to power were tough for Europe while at least the continent was not exceptionally dependent on the wounded power. The collapse of Russia in November, however, was exceptionally calamitous for the developing world in that the countless raw resources Russia provided were now completely closed up. Of course, this had knock-on effects to the First World, although the terror in the idea of the world’s premier nuclear power sending out their nukes as a final act of evil was enough to tank Western stock markets by themselves (“At least whoever put that bomb on the plane did it after the midterms” as Clinton would grimly joke that December). The economic impact of Russia’s implosion was causing real pain, and some of the most valuable pieces of real estate in Russia were now in a state of literal anarchy. Among them were the Norilsk nickel deposits and Urengoy gas fields close to the Arctic. Lebed, through contacts provided by the Transnistrian separatists (little more than smugglers of everything from guns to women), managed to get in touch with some of the major corporations in Europe. He promised them not only to return to Russia and save these cities from anarchy and bring them back to the world economy but partial ownership of many of these previously nationalised assets and cutting out the former Oligarchs who were their previous owners (many members of Gaidar’s government). Ukraine and Kazakhstan were likewise promised cuts, though Kazakhstan’s main problem was the refugee crisis that threatened to completely overwhelm them. Russians now made up an absolute majority of the Kazakh population and the region had to work overtime to try and transfer as many of those refugees as they could to the bedlam that was Kaliningrad. Race tensions were consequently explosive and there was real fear that an ethnic conflict between Kazakhs and Russians was about to kick off. Lebed promised to bring stability to Siberia and consequently reduce the outflow.

How to get to Norilsk, Urengoy and Dudinka was a different matter. From the radio chatter, it had been revealed that the area had fallen under the sway of the local Mafia after they had executed the local NSF officials. After hearing of Lebed, they had put armed men at every airport in the vicinity to make sure he could not simply land and take over by air. Winter had made almost any sort of transportation in that part of the world a nightmare. With covert weapons funding from international conglomerates on his side, Lebed would begin his march on January 28th, on two fronts. He would stay close to the border with the intention of clearing out the entire Kazakh border and making the border region stable. At the same time, his subordinates would launch the more consequential raid northwards along the Urals. The best troops Lebed found were used for this as it would certainly be a grueling struggle. Lebed in the meantime would gain the plaudits in going through the populated regions to become something of a heroic figure to a desperate public. He would scarcely be able to believe some of the horrors he would soon see.

In charge of the assault up the Urals was a man he trusted, Lev Rokhlin. He had served with distinction in Afghanistan, was popular among his men, and was resistant to the corruption that plagued the Soviet and Russian armies. By sheer diligence and brains, he became a Lieutenant General in 1993 Soviet Russia, something literally unheard of for someone like him. The reason was that Rokhlin was Jewish, and had managed to just barely get by the discrimination to gain his rank, becoming the first Jewish Lieutenant General since WW2. Then the NSF took over. After being excluded from the army due to his 'questionable loyalties', he reluctantly took a plane to Israel in March of 1994, after friends in the army told him he was at risk of arrest and assassination. However, when his country fell to ruin, he fell into depression in thought about what he could do to save his people. It was Lebed who had called him up and asked him to help him save Russia, or at least Siberia. Desperate to get revenge on the NSF, he agreed. Two days after Lebed arrested the leaders of the NSF east of the Urals, Rokhlin was driven to Chelyabinsk, becoming Lebed's second in command. Rokhlin was just as ready for vengeance as Lebed, and he wouldn't fail to find people for whom justice was well-deserved. [1]

Extract from ‘Averting Armageddon: The West in the Second Russian Civil War’ by Frank Wolfowitz

Kaliningrad had a very bad 1994 - there had been a delusional hope among Gaidar and his associates that the NSF could be thrown out relatively quickly and that the embarrassment of setting up shop away from the mainland would be over. Instead, the year had marked a number of extreme diplomatic challenges. Relations with East Europe especially had plummeted, as they had recognised the independence of all the ethnic republics that had emerged and lasted for more than a week. Gaidar could not endorse the division of Russia for obvious reasons and would say he ‘equally’ condemned Russian atrocities in Chechnya with Chechen Jihadist torture porn. However, to a growing number of Western audiences, Gaidar was just a more cowardly and money-loving version of Makashov. On November 11th, Sweden became the first Non-Eastern bloc state to recognise Ichkeria’s independence. The pressure was growing on the west, as most of the liberal left in Western countries protested to recognise the independence of the Caucasians. The only reason that no one in the West wanted to cause such an embarrassing loss of face for Gaidar was simply the refugee issue.

Kaliningrad was swamped by Russian refugees. The population in 1993 was one million - it was now five million, overwhelmingly transported by bordering states to Russia and then dumped unceremoniously in a Kaliningrad thoroughly unable to handle the strain. The only other places with a smattering of sympathy were some of the eastern portions of Ukraine and Belarus, but the leadership in both countries put a strong kibosh on the idea of hosting any large amount of Russian refugees. The overcrowding was so bad that floating camps were constructed to try and relieve the strain. Parts of the city literally began to sink into the mud. The original residents were furious, the newcomers were shattered, everyone was miserable. The economy was nonexistent and the camps were too low a standard for animals in some countries. Riots were becoming a daily occurance, with the newcomers demanding better accommodation and battling with Kaliningrad police and the army as a result. Gaidar had by now effectively become a full-blown Tsar, with the parliament effectively little more than his boyars. Many feared another civil war specific to the Kaliningrad Oblast.

In terms of recognition, Kaliningrad was still recognised by those Eastern European countries as the legitimate Russian government while tub-thumping against ‘Russia’ in reference to the NSF. The Anti-Western countries were united in recognising the NSF but the split into the ‘Soviet Republic of Russia’ and ‘The National Republic of the Russians’ split the recognitions too. Nevzorov’s government was recognised by Serbia (currently resettling its refugees from Bosnia and Croatia into Kosovo to make local Albanians a minority) and Saddam Hussein’s Iraq. Anpilov was recognised by a much wider array, from all nominally Communist governments on Earth (including China), to Iran, Syria and Palestine. Yet this very support would soon be the undoing of some of those very countries.

In the first instance was Cuba, now going through the worst economic crisis it had faced in anyone’s lifetime. The refugee crisis to Florida was as bad as it had ever been and the newly hawkish Clinton Administration was looking for any way to prove he was tough after a disastrous midterm. Fortunately, he wouldn’t have to pick a fight with Cuba, as the Cubans themselves did what thirty-five years of CIA plots failed to do. In January, Castro began private negotiations with Anpilov, offering to send the Cuban army to beef up his forces on the battlefield with Iran as a conduit. In return, he needed resources to save his people from starvation - something Anpilov didn’t have. When news reached the Cuban army about what Fidel was planning, they thought he’d lost his mind, but Castro insisted that it was necessary to get the resources Cuba needed. Ultimately for the army, it came down to Castro dragging everyone down with him or dragging Castro down to save everyone. On January 17th 1995, the world was shocked when it was announced in Cuba that the Castro brothers were both dead due to ‘unknown assassins'. A special military junta was put in place, and Cuba would eventually negotiate a peaceful return to democracy in 1996.


But the effect on the West was also profound. One of the primary social effects in the West as the Second Russian Civil War’s deadliest phase began that November was the renewed fear of the Bomb. Indeed, the fear was more tangible and on everyone’s minds than even 1983. The reason was that no one was sure that one or two of the Russian nuclear powers wasn’t going to send a nuke to New York out of spite if their idea of Russia was destroyed. Multiple versions of Russia were trapped in an existential battle, and if even one of them decided to send nuclear weapons flying, the consequences could be cataclysmic, especially if you subscribed to the nuclear winter theory. Stock markets plunged around the West, and most of the Western economies would be thrown into recession. Church attendance noticeably went up all across the West (ironically concurrent with a spike in violent crime) as renewed fears of nuclear apocalypse were on everyone’s mind. City-dwellers moved to the country, and some who couldn’t decided to send their kids to their relatives in the country in case a nuclear strike occured. Nuclear power became even more politically toxic and the United States quietly went to DEFCON 2, equalling the Cuban Missile Crisis.

In the United States especially, the prepper subculture took off. Firearms sales radically picked up and militia groups were flooded with new members across the country. This was mainly due to fears of what would become of society in the event of nuclear destruction. When it came to the Far-Right that was scattered throughout these groups, almost all were outright supporters of the Petrograd Fascist government. Some Neo-Nazi and Far-Right groups decided to volunteer for the National Republic of Russians, among them Timothy McVeigh, an American citizen who flew to Finland and crossed the border to join the Petrograd government, where he would infamously be a handler in one of the ‘Honourary Russian’ battalions.

Western governments quietly began nuclear war preparations, finding themselves even less prepared to deal with a sudden strike from one of the Russian blocs than any time since the nuclear age. Using the best of their intelligence, outside Kaliningrad, the main two NSF factions both had nukes, but the Communists had substantially more, including the Black Sea Fleet. However, the Air Force had generally sided with the Fascists over the Communists, with most of the bombers having flown to the Petrograd government’s side. At the same time, Lebed’s government in Siberia was also believed to have them, while it seemed the Far Eastern Republic was having problems negotiating with the Pacific Fleet. No one had any idea what was going on in Yakutia, as most of the secular population had fled and died in the attempt. Satellite images suggested that almost all of the cities had turned into ghost towns. No one had any idea if the neo-pagans in the region had taken nukes. The ethnic republics were without any form of nuclear deterrence, but in the vast wilds of Siberia, it was a certain fact that there were hundreds of nuclear silos abandoned and waiting for someone to find their contents. This was the thought that kept Langley up at night as much as how Petrograd and Stalingrad would finish each other off: what if terrorists, Islamist or otherwise, grab a hold of some of these nukes?

Extract from ‘The Bells of Vladivostok’ by Anya Desmond

Aksyuchits’s creation of the ‘Far Eastern Republic’ (FER) immediately got off to a terrible start. The main problem was the Pacific Fleet, which he’d hoped to win over, including the nuclear arsenal that he felt was sure to keep his dream of a Christian Russian state afloat. Instead, he was shocked to meet the new leaders of the Pacific Fleet. After the Baltic division had sided with Gaidar, the NSF had taken great pains to staff the ships with only the most complaint people they could get their hands on. As a result, Admiral German Ugryumov and the remaining commanders in the nearby port of Fokino agreed to submit to Aksyuchits’s command. However, at the same time, Ugryumov [2] let it be known in a skin-crawling fashion that they would be open to bribes. Aksyuchits refused both on moral principles and the fact his fledgling republic had nothing with which to bribe them. He had no support from the outside, as his former membership of the NSF had made him political poison in the West. He had only minor support from locals, but that was only given that they hated Moscow and not that they liked him. The fleet commanders laughed at the idea they would listen to, as Ugryumov described Aksyuchits to his face as, “A cuckolded runt of the litter like you.” There were no other nuclear weapons in Aksyuchits’s possession at the time, though there were bases just outside the borders of his province that he thought might be his best bet. Unfortunately for Aksyuchits, he would not have the time to send out an expedition to take them.

Just to their south, in the lands of the modern Mordor of North Korea, Kim Jong-Il reigned like a hedonistic God over a country that had seen nearly 10% of its population starve to death. In the hermetically sealed hellhole the ruling elite had created, the North Korean citizen was perhaps the most tred upon human on the planet. Kim had only just taken the throne after the recent death of his father, crushing dissent in a way even Kim Il-Sung would have found excessive. While any full-blown war against South Korea was obvious suicide, Kim was attracted by the prospect of seizing real estate in a glorious war along the Pacific Coast. He felt that the distance from the Urals would serve to minimize the blowback of an invasion since he felt the FER was nothing but a rabble that would collapse the moment a gust of wind would blow against it. Russian nukes would have risked hitting China and that would have been suicide. Plus, Kim would officially announce that he was taking the land only to return it to Anpilov once he had smashed the Nevzorov government out west … perhaps minus Noktundo. But of course, that wasn’t the main purpose of the invasion either. The main goal of the invasion was to do what the FER had not yet done - seize nuclear weapons. Kim felt the only 100% guarantee against American intervention in North Korea was to become a nuclear state. He dreamed of plucking nuclear weapons from their silos to put them in North Korea. Ironically, there was a good chance a well-placed bribe could have convinced the Pacific Fleet to hand over their nuclear submarines, but the option was not explored by Kim because he wanted to be able to show off the terror of his army at the same time. History can only wonder what would happen if North Korea had successfully stolen nuclear weapons. We don’t have to wonder what their invasion would look like.

On February 12th 1995, North Korea invaded the FER with nearly 200,000 of its best troops. In so doing, they had violated a taboo that nations had been strenuously observing since the war began: do not send your own troops in for fear of nuclear escalation. China was utterly livid with North Korea but knew it was too late now and hoped that they would fail in their search after the inevitable fall of the doomed Christian Republic. Similar shock echoed around the West, but particularly in Japan and South Korea. North Korea had threatened its southern neighbor with making Seoul as ‘flat as a pancake’ if they tried to help the Christian Republic. Kraskino, Andreevka, Slavyanka, and on the North Koreans marched. As expected they were as ruthless as any army on Earth, burning Orthodox churches, shelling hospitals and confiscating what little was left from their captive populations in the face of inevitable starvation - of course, even the North Korean soldiers were starving to amidst the unprecedented famine they found themselves in. The North Koreans marched north with only disorganised response. But the greatest heartbreak for the defenders would come on February 22nd, as the Pacific Fleet commanders told Aksyuchits that he was doomed and that there was no point dying for a doomed man in a doomed rebellion against the country they swore loyalty to, especially when they could receive no payment in return. And of course, North Korea was only coming for keepsakes until Anpilov returned, so Ugryumov told him the commanders were doing him a favour by not just joining Kim. They went to their ships preparing to move to the other bases in Kamchatka to try and sell themselves to the highest bidder, denying mothers pleading to put their children on the ships to save them - although at least three of the commanders’ favourite prostitutes ended up escaping the seemingly inevitable fall of Vladivostok as well. That evening, Ugryumov and the ships of the Pacific Fleet sailed out into the Sea of Japan, as the North Koreans could make out Vladivostok in the distance.

According to legend, Aksyuchits collapsed to his knees on the shore in tears as the ships swarmed away to leave the city to their fate. Blaming himself for the calamity, he muttered the words, “All is now against us.” And then, behind him he could hear the words, “Not me,” in a voice that he recognized. Then when he turned around, there was no one there. Whether this is true or not, few can doubt the significance of the Battle of Vladivostok, whose battle, to misquote Edward Gibbon, presented many great and heroic characters such as sometimes arise in a degenerate age to vindicate the honour of the human species.

[1] IOTL, his father was a victim of the great purge. He was also the one who reorganized Russia's forces in the first Chechen War that allowed them to take Grozny after the first disasterous attempt when Grachev sent the troops in while barely conscious from drunkenness at his birthday party. Angry from the incompetence and cruelty of the military officers, he refused to accept medals for his service and said the Chechen war was devoid of honour. He would go into politics as a Pro-Yeltsin candidate, before resigning in disgust at Yeltsin. Yeltsin retaliated by cooperating with the Communists to strip him of his parliamentary positions. He was almost certainly murdered by the KGB in 1998, who framed it on his wife (this was essentially confirmed by Alexander Livinenko).

[2] IOTL, was likely complicit in the Moscow Apartment Bombings.
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‘The King of All’

Extract from ‘The Bells of Vladivostok’ by Anya Desmond

The thunder of North Korean artillery in the distance, the sight of the Pacific Fleet abandoning their people to die, the certainty that no one was coming to help them. Two hundred thousand strong members of the vicious North Korean army marched upon a town barely concealing a mere 50,000 troops and another 100,000 hastily assembled volunteers of all ages. Viktor Aksyuchits had brought this state to life only a few months ago and it seemed certain to be smothered in its cradle. He had no navy, no air force, only a few hastily scrambled divisions and militias. Some of the volunteers and conscripts were so old that they had last fought in the Great Patriotic War. With everything they could grab onto, they prepared to face the advancing armies of North Korea. What few survivors who had escaped north relayed stories of an army devoid of any of the rules and ethics of civilization. Though they were few, the North Korean Air Force had begun their bombing runs on the city almost as soon as the navy had left. The only way they were ‘discriminate’ was in how they seemed to aim specifically in the civilian areas. North Korea publicly mocked UN calls to refrain from attacks and to let civilians and children flee the city, as they wanted to get the operation done as quickly as possible to try and find nuclear weapons afterward.

The population had picked up rifles but they felt certain they were doomed to die. Anguish was carved into every face and heart along the city, devoid of places to run or hide. While everyone cursed Ugryumov and his fleet, many cursed Aksyuchits too, saying that the navy would have been loyal if he hadn’t declared independence to fulfil his deluded dream of a modern Christian state. Though they had resolved to fight, it was almost a formality. They had accepted their deaths, the deaths of their family and the destruction of their homes. Many took to drinking in what they assumed would be their last moments on Earth, some giving their children cyanide in case the North Koreans ever found them.

Ironically the most enthused people were the last ones expected in such a zone. A small IDF unit had landed in Vladivostok a few days earlier to get the last few Jews out of the city. While the Jewish women and children boarded, the Jewish men (many from the abolished Jewish Autonomous Zone) refused, saying they would not be men if they let their fellow citizens perish like this while they ran away. While the IDF tried to convince the residents, after a few hours of negotiations, the residents actually convinced the IDF to stay around. Thus, a handful of IDF soldiers had set up camp while the women and children were safely flown to Japan, the men promising they would leave when the city either fell or was saved. When asked later why he decided to stay in Vladivostok to fight during the battle, one IDF commander said ‘They had the only flag in the world with a Jew on it’. At the same time, a private plane from South Korea carrying members of the Unification Church would arrive in the city after narrowly avoiding being shot down, pledging with weapons they had brought along to help defend the Christian Republic against the invaders. One of the members had actually been one of the ‘Roof Koreans’ during the LA Riots of 1992, subsequently recalling that the LA Riots were ‘a lullaby’ compared to Vladivostok. Rounding up the motley crew were members of the Greater Japan Patriotic Party (大日本愛国党), who had likewise flown into Vladivostok with other Japanese ultranationalists in the hope of killing Communists, particularly Korean ones. Of course, a lot of the anger had stemmed from North Korea’s kidnapping and torture of Japanese citizens sometimes plucked from beaches to be trapped their whole lives in the Hermit Prison. In Japan, the reaction to the news of the Ultranationalists fighting the North Koreans was, at worst, happiness that both would surely shoot the other - some would receive limited political success in coming years. But of course, all these groups together could not realistically stop the weight of mechanised death rolling towards the city. Though they were certain they were doing the right thing (for different reasons), that was no guarantee or even an argument for their success.

It was in these circumstances, perhaps the most unenviable in the history of nations, that Aksyuchits found himself. The country had no love for him, the country was soon to perish and those in the country were about to perish alongside it. Aksyuchits had only one strategy: hold on. Hold on long enough for someone to save the city. It didn’t matter who, where or why, only as long as they could repel the North Koreans from their city to save them. Aksyuchits therefore tailored his message, making an explicit call to Christians the world over, hoping against hope that it would raise voices in Washington and Europe to take pity on the dying city. As artillery and planes began to savage the city on February 23rd 1995, Aksyuchits would give the most important speech he ever gave in his life.

Extract from Viktor Aksyuchits’ ‘When you See Him’ Speech

“Brothers in Christ, the Satanic armies of North Korea are upon us. The barbarians are at the gate, there is nowhere we can run to. And most heartbreakingly of all, we are alone. Alone to face these monsters by ourselves. If we fall here, the forces of that abomination of a state will squat in your homes with your family’s corpses on the floor. They will burn the churches your ancestors were baptised in. They will defile and use your wives and mothers, and they will enslave your little children. We are facing an army devoid of mercy, kindness or humanity. We are at our lowest point, our humblest point. There is no deeper crevice of hell and agony we can sink into. And it is in this moment, that the decisions we make on this day will change the destiny of the world forever.

“I am not Admiral Ugryumov - I will not abandon you to foreign subjugation. Until the forces of darkness and evil have been cast from Vladivostok, I will not leave this city. I won’t leave this city because I know you. I know the people of this city. I know the hardship they can endure, the freedom they love, the families they will fight for. I know the courage that lies dormant in their hearts, ready to explode in flaming passion in service of civilization. I know that if this city can fight with the courage of their ancestors, who overcame the elements of nature to conquer the leviathan of Siberia to make their way to the Pacific, that no North Korean army will even be able to put a dent in it. The destiny of our country is not in their hands, but ours. We will decide if we win or lose this battle, not that demon in Pyongyang!

“And if we all shall fall together in the defence of our God, like the heroes of Constantinople before, be not afraid. Imagine what you will do when you see Him. When you pass off from earthly life and enter his kingdom, when you see Him for the first time. What will you do when you first see your creator, your saviour, who died that the world could be saved? The One who would go through all the sufferings and agonies of the cross again, even if you were the only person on this Earth? Will you fall to your knees in wonder? Will you stand with reverence and awe? Will you run to His arms, and weep in his embrace, to feel a love that will never go cold, that will never falter, that will never fail?

“This is the worst that can happen - to reunite with the being that loves you more than words can describe. And if you win, then after a long life basked glory, the receiver of unchristian envy from Russians the world over, in your old age and from your bed you will be taken by angels to the Halls of Heaven. And there, you will break bread with the defenders of our faith from all the ages: King Jan of Poland and his 20,000 Hussars, Richard the Lionheart of England and the Knights Templar, even Alexander Nevsky and Vladimir the Great ready to embrace their descendents as their equals in valour. And then at the end of the table, will be Him. Always ready to greet you, to embrace you, and who will love you whether you prevail on the parapets of Vladivostok or not. All He asks you is that as he died for you, that you fight for Him, and that is what we will do. We will fight for our God, our children, and our civilisation!

“Every dawn, we shall ring the Bells of Vladivostok. As long as those bells ring, the city has not fallen! As long as those bells ring, God has not abandoned you! As long as those bells ring, you must not abandon hope! Our God did not come to bring peace but a sword! And we shall cast out those Satanists from out city like Christ cast out the money lenders from his temple!

“To the Christians of the world, Orthodox, Catholic, Protestant, raise your voice in prayer to the God of Abraham and Moses! Pray that the brothers and sisters of your faith can prevail against the forces of Satan, if only for the sake of our children. And if there is anything more than prayer that you can do, your brothers in Christ plead of you to provide it. And to all the women and children of this city, pray. Pray for your husbands, your fathers, your brothers, and especially your children. Because if thousands, or millions, or more children of God join their voices in prayer, surely, surely a miracle will happen!”

Extract from ‘The Hermit Emperor: The Rise and Fall of Kim Jong-Il’ by John Miles

Similarly to Stalin’s mockery of the Pope, Kim mocked Aksyuchits’s calls for prayer, considering it an admission of defeat. What he could never have guessed was how Aksyuchits’s speech turned the gloom that pervaded Vladivostok into the most explosive roar of defiance seen since London fought Hitler. Vladivostok had, like most cities in Russia, been of a relatively secular nature. There was nothing particularly special about it in the Orthodox lore, but in that narrow window of history its citizens found a special mission. As the fear of death and destruction of all they loved had suspended their old ways, the words of Aksyuchits and his Party had given them a sense of destiny and purpose. It wasn’t just for fear of imminent nonexistence, but the sense of finding unity with an entire millenia of Russian history. As one veteran recalled, ‘I could almost see Saint Vladimir and all the saints of Russia in the heavens, and suddenly I knew it wasn’t we who were outnumbered’. A serene peace had rested over the souls of Vladivostok, as they prepared to meet their creator in heaven with clear conscious, while the rest of the world’s began to muddy.

The first assault on Vladivostok fell on February 25th, as North Korean troops began to march into Trudovye, just north of the city as they turned around the bay. They were told that the Russian population would ‘by their natural submissiveness to superior strength’, surrender without a fight, encouraged by the Pacific Fleet abandoning the population to their fate. Instead, the first regiment sent into Vladivostok was utterly torn to pieces, forced to make a hasty retreat. Molotov cocktails were thrown from every window and manhole, turning North Korea’s decaying tanks to lines of flaming husks. It would later be discovered that a few T34s likely from the Korean War itself were among the carcasses, the last confirmed use of the T34 tank in combat. The North Koreans responded with all that the Soviet had taught them - merciless firepower. There were hopes that with the sight of such overwhelming resistance, the citizens of the young country would surely break. But instead, they had been reborn with a spirit of chivalry that the world had not seen since the ancients. A legend was being born before the worlds’ eyes, a Thermopylae of the modern era. The CIA’s estimate was that the city would fall in two days. After two days, it was North Korea forced to stop and try to recalibrate their attack.

All the while, given the geography, northward reinforcements were shelled from Vladivostok as they tried to move in to reinforce their troops. Already, the North Korean supply lines began to stretch, a given that the northern border was so inhospitable. It was believed they would quickly take Vladivostok and use the port, but they were quickly disabused of this notion as the port fired at any North Korean ship they could lay their eyes on. The hunger that was destroying North Korea was now just as manifest in their own troops. Infamously, one FER veteran recalled, “I remember shooting at one of the Communists from the windows while he was with his comrade. I moved to a different position and could see his buddy looking around for where the shot came from but his eyes started to turn to his dead friend on the ground. Finally, nervous and sweating, he dropped to the ground and began to eat from his friend’s corpse like an animal. He didn’t even care about being shot - he was just so mad with hunger. I was too horrified to shoot at him, so I watched him sate himself with the flesh and blood of the man that minutes ago he called ‘comrade’.”

The resistance had given the citizens of the FER time to disseminate their message across the world. Even they could hardly believe the levels their plea had reached. Aksyuchits’s speech had been replayed on America’s Christian Broadcasting Network TV station and had captured the hearts and minds of the Bible Belt. Aksyuchits’s history in the NSF was brushed aside as ‘Saul before he became Paul’, and the luminaries of Evangelical Christianity came rushing to his support. Billy Graham, Pat Robertson, Jerry Falwell and many more called upon all politicians in Washinton to help Aksyuchits and the Far Eastern Republic survive the North Korean attack. This put the Clinton Administration in a gigantic muddle because they did not want to abandon Gaidar and endorse the independence of not only a piece of Russia but one that wasn’t even an ethnic republic that one could construct a right of secession for. Furthermore, it was right on China’s doorstep, and no one wanted to anger China when their help on dealing with rogue nuclear weapons was beyond needed. Others continued the praise from abroad, with Lech Wałęsa calling Aksyuchits ‘The best hope of the Russians as a nation’. But most famously was Pope John Paul II, who would announce his prayers for Vladivostok and called upon ‘All Christians and all other believers in the religions of the world’, to save the city from its doom. In South Korea, members of the Unification Church clashed with the police, with founder Sun Myung Moon calling for President Kim Young-sam (himself a Christian) to send the air force and navy to relieve the city. Aksyuchits became a household name in Iquitos in the middle of Amazon Peru to East Timor, a hero (deserving or not) of all Christian denominations.

Despite the roused feelings of the world, it did little but draw eyes to watch a city that was slowly being murdered. Almost as indifferent to his own soldiers’ lives as those of his citizens’, Kim diverted his planes to bomb to strike the most sadistic of targets, with some 90% of Vladivostok’s primary/elementary schools being directly and repeatedly hit, which only slowed the advance of his own troops down. But quantity indeed had a quality of its own, and slowly the North Koreans crawled through the city at a sure but agonizing pace, building after building being reduced to rubble. Yet still, through all this, from speakers littered throughout the city, the recordings of bells would greet the defenders every morning. Like the march of time itself, a wave of disintegration would slowly roll towards the city centre, despite the valiance of the defenders. One FER veteran recalled seeing, “One of our guys with both his legs blown to pieces, his right arm mangled at his side. He weaky asked me for the pistol just out of his left arm’s reach. I gave it to him, thinking he’d finish himself and spare being captured by the Norks. Instead, with a trembling that said this wasn’t his shooting hand, he raised his trembling pistol and got ready to shoot at the advancing Koreans. I came back an hour later after we’d pushed them back a little and went back to that room. I saw three Norks on the floor, the man I helped dead, and three cartridges laying beside him on the ground.”


Kim’s relentlessness could not be stopped. He had been humiliated by the time it was taking to seize the city and was certain that the Americans and the South would launch an attack on him if his armies looked weak enough in Vladivostok. By the beginning of April, the North Koreans had entered the city proper, with the defenders increasingly left with nowhere to go. Aksyuchits had traditionally be reluctant to allow women soldiers but now the demand was too high, as women were certain of horrendous fates if handed over to Kim’s armies. Almost every building was damaged in the city, with urban warfare not seen since the Second World War making every street bloodier than the last. Still outraged by how the citizens of Vladivostok fought back, Kim devised another strategy with which to hurt the morale of the defenders. Kim declared that by Easter Day on April 17th - this was in fact the Catholic Easter, the Orthodox Easter was April 23rd but no one was going to even begin to correct Kim given his mood - that they would seize a certain territory in the centre of the city to ‘break morale’.

This was no ordinary location. It was the remains of the Cathedral of the Intercession of the Mother of God, built at the turn of the century and destroyed by explosion in the 1930s by Stalin. A statue of Lenin was built on its remains like the Romans would do to announce their superiority of their Gods over others. The Lenin statue was gone but nothing yet stood in its place. Aksyuchits had declared they would rebuild it but obviously there was no time. The North Koreans sent out a press release declaring they would build a statue of Kim Jong-Il in it’s place, ‘The Saviour of Vladivostok’. To that end, North Korea’s already horrific casualty figures, which were well into the thousands every day, somehow degraded even more, in service of a propaganda victory everyone had been too scared to tell the Dear Leader was madness. He had almost forgot about the attempt to find nuclear weapons, now obsessed with destroying the city that humiliated him. To that end, he brought out his worst weapons yet - mustard gas, nerve agents, and sarin. This would be the first use of WMDs in the Second Russian Civil War, but certainly not the last.

Kim refused to provide his own troops the suitable clothing to protect them for fear that it would tip the defenders off that something would happen. On April 10th, the North Korean air force dropped their toxic brew down on the city, mostly but not entirely on the defenders. The international outrage was deafening, with North Korea officially expelled from the United Nations as a result (with Chinese abstention), and the US and ROK armies but on regional DEFCON 1. Almost all countries that weren’t China placed a trade embargo on the country and cancelled all humanitarian aid, somehow further worsening the famine in the country, which was significantly worse than even Russia. But it did indeed break the front open, with North Korean troops pouring into the city centre with the last of their reserves. On the morning of April 12th, the Russians were only a single block away from the church’s remains. They sent their planes into the sky for what they hoped would be one last bombing run. But as the planes flew north to deliver what many thought would be the final hammer blow, they were stunned to see approaching missiles on their radars. Caught flatfooted, the entire advancing squadron was anihilated in the air, their flaming wrecks plummeting into the Pacific waters. Defender and attacker alike turned their gaze east. With the rising sun behind them, they came like a divine visitation. The attackers trembled, the defenders wept with joy, for they had been saved. Inside the Valley of the Shadow of Death, they feared no evil, because the Pacific Fleet had returned.

Extract from ‘The Unstoppable Tragedy: The Second Russian Civil War’ by Peter Hodges

The abandonment of Vladivostok was considered such a disgraceful act that even the Anpilov regime (ostensibly friendly to Kim’s ‘brotherly’ intervention) would condemn Ugryumov for ‘failing to negotiate the city’s surrender’. Nevzorov used it as proof the Communists sold out Russia, and Lebed called it ‘The most shameful act in the history of the Russian armed forces’. Ugryumov, one of the most hack appointees in the competitive history of Russian corruption, likely cared more about next day’s breakfast than cared about what any of these people thought, beyond the potential of losing buyers. But unlike him, his sailors had higher values in their hearts than money. On April 7th, 1995, the crew of the Slava-Class Varyag (flagship of the Pacific Fleet) while just off the shore of their Kamchatka base held a vote and concluded that they wanted to return to Vladivostok to save the city. Outraged at this insubordination, Ugryumov struck one of the sailors in the face, expecting, as was tradition in the armed forces, that such a move would make him crumple and submit. Instead, he was mortified that the sailor, the lowest rank on the ship, looked back at him, as one witness said, ‘With eyes that said not even God himself could intimidate this man’. Ugryumov was restrained before he could reach his pistol, calling out to the commisars who would not help him because they were Nevzorov-sympathisers who wanted North Korea to lose more than anything on Earth. Ugryumov continued to fight until he was thrown overboard into the Pacific headfirst. Escalatingly absurd numbers have been given for the amount of men needed to lift Ugryumov up to throw him overboard, but it seems that whether through cold shock or landing on his neck, the fall alone was enough to kill him. The mutineers took over the ship, calling upon all other sailors to do the same. Given that all the sailors were in the same mind about it, most commanders quickly complied in fear, with resistors thrown overboard to be devoured by the fishes of the Pacific. With minimal resistance, the sailors of the Pacific Fleet roared their ships back to life and charged into the Pacific to save the city.

While rushing to save Vladivostok, the sailors got in contact with the Japanese and Americans, telling them the situation and asking the Americans and Japanese to explain the situation in the city to them. They pleaded with the West to keep quiet about their arrival so as to catch the North Koreans with their trousers around their ankles, even at the cost of falling hope among the defenders. But their thunderous arrival on April 12th could have given September 12th 1683 and all the Winged Hussars a run for their money. First they took out North Korea’s latest chemical weapon attack by blasting their planes out of the sky. Russian warships may have lacked the aircraft capabilities of the Western navies, but they had more than enough firepower to make up for the deficit. Swinging into the bay, the ships shredded North Korea’s already decrepit supply line to pieces. Up and down the coast, the Varyag’s shells ravaged every truck and depot that moved. The Americans had given them all the intel they could get on the critical locations of North Korea’s supply line, taking each spot out with methodical accuracy. Within hours of their arrival, they had changed the tide of history.

With understandable outrage, Kim ordered the entire Sea of Japan segment of the North Korean navy to rush to Vladivostok to ‘blast them from the Pacific like the Japanese did at Tsushima’. Indeed, the resulting battle was quite like Tsushima, but not in the way Kim wanted. The Battle of Peter the Great Gulf on April 15th was a biblical slaughter, with the entire active North Korean navy on their northern coast reduced to one torpedo boat and one submarine due to a combination of Russian firepower and American/Japanese/Korean reconnaissance information. In the city itself, the defenders now found themselves, only moments before extinction, barely facing resistance as they walked back north through the charred remains of the city. The North Koreans had retreated so chaotically that they hadn’t even left the multitude of booby traps that Kim wanted left behind to hopefully kill as many of the survivors as possible. The ‘Jesus-Face’ Flag was raised over the suburbs again on April 21st, Good Friday on the Orthodox Calendar in 1995. This concluded the Battle of Vladivostok, and the only major battle with relation to the Korean intervention into the Second Russian Civil War. The reason was the same reason America and South Korea had not started shooting the moment Kim started using chemical weapons.

On May 1st, 1995, bombs began to fall on Pyongyang. Kim was stunned and demanded an immediate counterbattery on Seoul, to which he was told to his horror that the planes were not coming from the south, but the north: China had had enough. They had enough of trying to deal with Kim, had enough of taking the fall for him on the international stage, and had enough of his idiocy costing the PRC a zone of influence along its border. The Politburo hated Kim more than Washington, Seoul or even Vladivostok put together. Taking Sinuiju on the same day, the Chinese began to push south towards Pyongyang. Officers old enough to remember the Great Leap Forward recalled seeing a level of famine that horrified even them. One veteran would recall, “I remember seeing an old, bearded man crouching at the side of the road, capable of seeing and counting every single one of his ribcage, holding and eating the headless body of a child identically to the painting of Saturn devouring his child. He turned to look at us without any shame as to what he was doing, as if it was accepted practice in that hellhole of a country.” Those old enough to remember the madness of the Cultural Revolution were mortified by the level of indoctrination some of the locals believed. One captured girl fearing that Kim was literally capable of reading her mind even in Chinese captivity in the same way as a literal God. Veterans of the Tiananmen Square Massacre felt no brotherhood, be it racial, ideological or whatever to this almost alien country. While resistance was utterly fanatical, and regularly involving child soldiers with the youngest being recorded as six years old, China would have no problem mopping up what little elements of the North Korean army still existed. On June 6th, they were at the gates of Pyongyang.

Ultimately, though Kim would call for a ‘Battle that will shake the foundations of the world’, his ultimate fate was to be unceremoniously riddled by machine gun fire on June 9th 1995 in a palace coup led by Jang Song-Thaek, his brother-in-law. Jang was Pro-China and knew Kim’s policies were cataclysmic for an already devastated North Korea. He had welcomed a Chinese invasion, knowing that the entire elite was doomed to be hanged from lampposts in the event of a US/ROK invasion. With Kim gone, Chinese troops moved throughout the city unhindered, replacing the DPRK’s own troops along the DMZ on June 20th. With that, the diabolical reign of Kim Jong Il came to its sordid end, though a handful of terror attacks against Chinese troops would continue in the coming years. Though North Korea would remain a dictatorship, it would be saved from the cult of personality that had ultimately destroyed itself, albeit now one entirely subservient to China as East Germany was to Moscow in the Cold War.

But in Vladivostok, despite the appalling casualties received by the defenders, there was jubilation. Almost entirely by Russian hand, the city had saved itself from occupation at the hands of a ruthless foreign invader. To this day, in the country’s textbooks, you will not read about ‘The Battle of Vladivostok’ but ‘The Miracle of Vladivostok’. The battle has taken on a similar significance to elements of Christianity as the Siege of Szigetvár in 1566, the Battle of Vienna in 1683 or the Battle of Warsaw in 1920. After China’s intervention in the short-lived Sino-Korean War, the threat from the south would vanish and the new state had forged its own identity, lore and purpose. To a large extent, they had developed an identity separate from Russia as a whole, solidifying the division of the old country. Despite the economic challenges, the need to begin the northward expansion and the still ever-present danger of thermonuclear exchange due to events west of the Urals, the country looked forward to these challenges as one, united people. A people that had discovered as part of their identity a focus on religiosity that made them unique among nations. It was the beginning of the ‘Israel on the Pacific’ ideal with an emphasis on the religious over the ethnic, a land where the Orthodox people would always have a home.

As one final act of contrition after their victory, Aksyuchits would not only announce the immediate reconstruction of the Cathedral of the Intercession of the Mother of God, but also announce that the young state would change its name. It would now be the ‘Far Eastern Kingdom’, but not because they were bringing back the Tsar, or that he was making himself a king, indeed all the daily offices of state would remain essentially democratic. However, Aksyuchits announced that the ‘Eternal King’ of this young country would be the ‘King of All’ himself. The saviour of Vladivostok, and the saviour of the world, Jesus Christ.



Extract from ‘A Continent of Fire’ by James Melfi

Manga artist Kentaro Miura when asked about the inspiration for some of his most ghoulish scenery from his magnum opus ‘Berserk’ would cite the images and stories from the Russian Civil War. The ‘inspiring’ imagery would indeed be of perhaps the most horrific nature of any conflict in modern history. While Rwanda was certainly replete with atrocity, the fact that Russia was seen as a relatively developed and civilised country, of Tchaikovsky and Tolstoy, made the destruction of the centrepiece of Orthodox Civilisation and knowledge that it’s children committed it as horrifying as the land of Beethoven and Goethe creating Auschwitz. While something of a romantic narrative would emerge in the form of the FER/K, nothing could be less romantic about the situation west of the Urals. While the FEK had its ‘Jesus-face’ flag, Lebed had his ‘tiger’ flag borrowed from Siberian independence supporters, and the Kaliningrad government held the traditional tricolour while the Nevzorov government maintained the imperial tricolour, the Stalingrad government was nothing less than the old Red Flag.

Following their amnesty by the NSF in 1994, those who had staged the August 1991 Coup attempt had finally returned to government under Anpilov as the Right Bloc of the NSF did not want to dilute their power. Vladimir Kryuchkov (a Stalingrad native) returned to his former role as head of the rechristened KGB, with Viktor Alksnis transferred into becoming the head of Army Group North against the Petrograd government. Marshall Dmitry Yazov, tried in absentia for the massacre of protestors in Lithuania in 1991, was appointed head of Army Group East to battle the Uralic Alliance. Anatoly Kulikov (already infamous for presiding over the Samashki and Vedono massacres) would ultimately complete Soviet Russia’s military line up, by leading Army Group South in the Caucasus, but Yazov’s appointment had its own blowback. The blowback was that General Igor Rodionov sided with Petrograd, as he had a personal vendetta against Yazov for forcing him to take the fall for the massacre of protestors in Tblisi in 1991 - his experience would be badly needed by Petrograd who were mainly relying on paramilitary leaders to shore up their initial forces. Gennady Yanayev, however, would not find as easy a fate as his co-conspirators, as his becoming acting President during the 1991 Coup made Anpilov paranoid of attempts to seize power. As a result, the KGB discreetly murdered him in June 1995, despite sincere loyalty. Valentin Pavlov would flee north to Petrograd, knowing his involvement with the private sector would make him a target in the south, lending his voice to Petrograd to save his life given he was certain to receive jail if he fled abroad.

The Stalingrad government was generally expected to crush the Petrograd government easily, given that it had the larger forces, more nukes, the Black Sea Fleet, the very nominal endorsement of the NSF east of the Urals, more foreign support and a more experienced collection of generals and political leaders. Despite that, many problems remained, notably the fact they were entombed on three sides by advancing forces. The Circassians were marching to the Black Sea, the Bashkirs had surrounded Orenburg and Petrograd had seized the lion’s share of Moscow. While they technically received foreign support, the most they received were a trickle of volunteers from Ukraine (often fleeing arrest by Ukrainian authorities for being NSF supporters) or occasional shipments over the Caspian from Iran. But the biggest problem by far was Anpilov, who not only sought to create a cult of personality around himself but to rebuild one around Stalin. As they were headquartered in the recently renamed Stalingrad, Stalin’s face appeared lovingly in public for the first time since the 1950s. The KGB was empowered in ways Kryuchkov could only have dreamed of during the Gorbachev era, as those who thought they were allowed a private joke at the regime’s expense as in olden days were quickly removed of the notion at their impromptu execution sites. An atmosphere of terror unseen since the late 1930s pervaded the city - it was estimated that by the end of the conflict, almost one half of politicians in Stalingrad had been shot by their own side, each replacement more sycophantic than the last.

The two main follies of the regime would strike all communities with similar harshness, the first being Anpilov’s economic policy. Regarding the 1930s industrialisation as a necessary blood sacrifice for prosperity, Anpilov returned to economic Stalinism as the effective solution to the crisis of production, in particular grain acquisition to feed the troops. It should be noted this virtually ignored the lessons of the First Civil War, with the return of War Communism and the squelching of the last final businesses mad enough to still exist. The entirely inevitable result would be famines on par with the worst of the anarchy in Siberia, and even Kim’s North Korea. Refugees would primarily use Ukraine and Kazakhstan as their point of departure, fueling much to the region’s tensions, being sent practically on top of the shoulders of the overwhelmed Kaliningrad population. This was exacerbated by the second issue, conscription. The Reds had taken to forced conscription of entire villages, cleared out of their male populations to join the army. Sometimes they forcibly conscripted pensioners, sometimes they forcibly conscripted children, with some mothers begged the army to accept their prepubescent boys to join the army as there was a better chance they would survive the famine. Child soldiers were a frequent war crime in the Soviet Russian regime, often used to meet conscription quotas as the recruiters knew they would be against a firing squad if they didn’t meet the quota. But naturally, this created problems of supply, with many of the villages perishing in the winter as their male population was stolen. While all were equally worthless in Soviet Russia, it seems some were more worthless than others. Ethnic minorities that were conscripted, instead of being sent north where they would have some level of motivation, were often stuck fighting their own ethnic group in the Urals and Caucasus, further sinking motivation. Jews were perhaps the most shat upon group in the whole Red Army, forcibly conscripted into units that invariably considered them born-turncoats. Jews that had stayed in Russia were typically amongst the most loyal and patriotic, but no Jew escaped the serial torture that followed them around the encampments, demoted to figurative (and even sometimes literal) footstools beneath even the lowliest private, a communal punching bag that still failed to stop the violence the units committed against each other.

The best demonstration of this came in the Battle of Orenburg in early January. The Tatar and Bashkir troops were outnumbered, despite being the ones on the attack, but the Communist forces themselves were a barely coherent rabble often conscripted into units without even ammunition or sometimes even weapons. Some had their girlfriend’s tampons hanging from their wounds since bandages weren’t around. Others were caught trying to shoot while the safety was still on, and often committed friendly fire on accident, and sometimes on purpose to find a space to flee and surrender. Anpilov reiterated the ‘Not One Step Back’ order and began to create a network of commissars to enforce his ever more ruthless orders. Many of the commissars ended up being directly from the criminal class and would use their power to rob and abuse the soldiers under their command. On February 15th, Orenburg (the unofficial ‘Asiatic capital’ of Russia) completely fell to Uralic forces, opening up a railway link into the Uralic breakaway republics that further relieved pressure on them but further cemented the division along the Urals. Still, the Anpilov government refused to recognise the breakaway states, forcing the Uralic Alliance to set their sights further still. They concluded the time had come to march to the Volga and clear the eastern bank along the Kazakh border. But to do that, they had one significant city in the way: Samara.

Extract from 'One Soldier’s War in Russia' by Arkady Babchenko

The ten of us are stuck in the basement of the apartment in the south side of Moscow. We hadn’t even met each other until ten minutes ago, all of us having only been conscripted into the Red Army at gunpoint a week ago, our training now somehow complete. The shells from the north side of the river are so loud that you’ve already accepted death as a certainty and a mercy. Like me, several have already had a tooth blasted from their mouth from the ritual army beatings that have only started. Where is our food coming from? Who knows. Ammo? Who knows. Water? Who knows. We look around as if trying to find weak links in the team to exploit. There is no friendship, no comradery, only hatred for everything and everyone in this rotten city we can’t escape from. The lieutenant we’re waiting on orders from is too drunk to retain consciousness, so we’re stuck here until further notice, slowly becoming experts in deducing how loud the incoming explosion is going to be based on the decibels of the shell whistle. At the bottom of the stairwell is the only certainty in the room, because we all know he is the first person we’d all kill at the first opportunity: the commissar, polishing his gun since its worth more to him than any of us. We hate him, he knows we hate him, and he does not hate us because he needn’t waste his time in hating us: we’ll all be dead soon anyway. Despite this, he seems to take enjoyment in the idea of ruling over us. Every KGB agent in this festering shithole seems to want to play with the conscripts like children play with dolls when the generals aren’t looking.

We’re mostly relieved he doesn’t seem to be the not infrequent type of commissar who uses his power to rape some of the younger conscripts, or sometimes pimp them out to commanders for extra money. Many children were recruited specifically for this purpose - sometimes mothers even encourage it as a way for their boys to avoid the fighting and ensure food. Instead the person who is more likely to put a bullet in us than any of the Nashis is this miserable dwarf who walks with one arm lifeless like he’s had a stroke. For someone who will inevitably kill at least some of the people standing around me, including very likely me, the main aura that he exudes is not ruthlessness or cruelty, but astonishing averageness. He was the man who was six seats over from you in the cinema, the fifty-eighth man you walked past on the street on a busy Saturday, the one ahead of you in the line for the grocery store. He was visibly no one - a borderline artificial person. We will probably die to this bastion of complete averageness, whom we are more afraid of than the Nashis. This is what real death looks like - not screaming across a battlefield as the mines and shells explode around you, or hand to hand combat with the enemy, it’s getting shot in the back of the head at nine at night with one minute of preparation by a guy who has accomplished as little as you with a life as meaningless as you and who will die as meaninglessly as you. Five minutes after robbing everything you ever had and ever will, he will forget he even did it, and your family will not find even a hair of you to mourn over, if they survive either.

Finally, as if he’s detected the fear and hatred against him, he raises a firm eye against all of us.

“Your weapons will arrive shortly. You will join the counteroffensive to retake Moscow. The city will be liberated from the Fascists with the next week.”

We wonder whether he thinks we’re stupid enough to believe him or if he’s trying to weed out those stupid enough to openly question him. We all say nothing, which only makes him more talkative.

“Does everyone here speak Russian?”

No one knows whether it’s safer to open their mouths or not. A few nod.

“Then you’re Russians. Russians defending your homeland from foreign meddling and Fascist insurrection. You don’t have to believe in Comrade Anpilov to believe that. The fact is I don’t really believe in Communism myself. I can be honest with you as you can be honest with me. Don’t consider me the ‘Commissar’, just think of me as ‘Vladimir’.”

We would laugh if we knew we wouldn’t be shot. He can be honest because he has the gun, because his word is more important than all ten of ours put together. If we had lived long enough to report what he said the only difference would be that our families would be included in the firing squad’s target practice.

“I chose to support this government. Why? Because I’m a KGB man - once a KGB man, always a KGB man. You have your reasons too.”

Of course we have our reasons. We’d be killed if we didn’t, perhaps killed if we do and in the case of the two Tatars in our group, will plead to be killed immediately if we fall into the hands of the Nashis.

“Do you think you have it bad? Having to defend Moscow from Barkashov’s thugs? How do you think I feel, when I saw this country at its peak? When a Russian officer like me could fly to work in Dresden as easily as he could fly to his Black Sea Dacha? When the Americans, British and the French had to sit together just to equal us? Now seeing St. Basil’s being nothing more than a pile of rubble and memories, the Kremlin a smouldering hole in the ground? You were kids when the Union fell. You have no idea what the pain is of seeing the most glorious empire in the history of the world reduced to a shambling corpse at war with itself. An empire that was subverted and destroyed from within. And even if you get your legs blown off, your intestines pulled from your gut, or your brains leaking from your skull, all that pain will never hurt quite like knowing what we lost.”

What makes someone say this? Even as teenagers we knew that life in the Soviet Union was garbage compared to the West. How could the adults think it was a good idea? Because he was in Germany? Because he was in the KGB and never had to stand eight hours in a line for bread? Because he never had to wait ten years for a car? Because he never saw Afghanistan veterans shooting up heroin in the alleys? Because he was allowed to go abroad when we couldn’t? I could look in his eyes. This wasn’t a man at war with himself. This wasn’t a man broken by nostalgia. He was the calmest person in the room, and the calmest person I met in my whole cursed week that consisted of my entire ‘training’ experience. He wasn’t in Moscow at all, but in Dresden. He was back at home, back when he was someone and not one of the anonymous taxi drivers of the Yeltsin years. Pointing a gun and ordering people around. And us sad fucks were going to be his dollset.

Extract from ‘The Unstoppable Tragedy: The Second Russian Civil War’ by Peter Hodges

The Circassian Revival was one of the more stage-managed productions of the entire conflict. The story was too good to be true, literally. The myth of a nation rising practically from the coffin to wreak vengeance on the descendents of their killers like a gypsy curse owed more to Sölƶa-Ġala (formerly Grozny) and Kyiv (formerly Kiev) than anyone else. For the Icherkerian Federation, Dudayev had already grown weary of Islamic influence in his country and wanted to create an ethnic ally rather than a religious one. The Ossetians, being Christians, made reluctant allies with Dudayev as a result. But it was Kyiv that ended up contributing perhaps more than any other group. The Crimean annexation had caused an explosion in nationalist groups, with many wanting to invade Crimea in the chaos of the Civil War, despite Anpilov saying that a Ukrainian invasion would be considered worthy of a nuclear strike. Many in the Ukrainian army warned that any attempt to seize the Crimea would be an utter disaster. President Lukianenko, still wanting to release the pressure valve of tension in his country that had exploded due to the number of Russian refugees, would consult with Ichkeria and found a solution both could arrive on. They agreed to send Ukrainian nationalist militias to fight alongside the ‘Circassians’ army, which in reality was already heavily augmented by Ossettians, Inguish and Chechens. To further reduce the culpability of Kyiv, it was agreed that many of the oligarchs would pay up front for the costs of the militias while getting recompensed on the backend in the form of generous state contracts, the most prolific likely being ‘The Chocolate Warlord’ Petro Poroshenko. While this was useful in getting some menacing people out of Ukraine, it also served another purpose, slightly more hair-brained. The hope was that the Circassian forces could break through to the Black Sea, then march northwards before ultimately stopping near Kerch. The hope was that the Russian side of the Kerch Strait could cut off Crimea - potentially liberating the land by means of starving out the defenders. Lukianenko insisted on the possibility despite the misgivings of Ukrainian militias.

At the same time, the number of returning Circassians eager to pick up guns and defend their reborn nation was still significantly higher than expected. The Turks were by far the largest contingent, but others had flown from subsidised flights from as far away as Australia on only the most tangential ancestry claims. Unlike the Red Army, most of these troops would be trained behind the lines for months before they were sent to the front line, leaving the Caucasian natives and militias to do most of the fighting. It was in the South where Red Army troops would be at their most motivated, given that their opponents held both followers of Stepen Bandera and Dudayev, two figures of immense hatred among Russians in particular and not exclusively. On February 27th, ‘Circassian’ forces would reach the Black Sea and surround Sochi. Fearing intervention from the Black Sea Fleet, the Circassian armies instead spun southwards towards the small port of Adler near the Georgian/Abkhazian border, taking the mostly abandoned town without a struggle. This now opened a new way to bring in supplies, primarily from Turkey. This would also subtly mark the final end of the Soviet Caucasian borders, as the last Russian controlled territory that touched the Georgian/Azerbaijani borders was now gone. It is suggested that this event was a significant accelerator of the genocidal events that were already happening in Petrograd.

The last piece of the Caucasian puzzle was Kalmykia, which was the only majority Buddhist area in Europe. Dudayev strongly supported ‘liberating’ the region whether it wanted to or not. But Dagestan would prove an issue. The power sharing between the ethnic groups and Islamists was causing conflict, as the Islamists refused anything to do with Kalmykia except conquest in the name of Islam. Dudayev had a lot of influence but almost none with the Islamists, including his own country’s. Shamil Baayev, one of the most sadistic of the Chechen commanders was rapidly growing a significant power base within the country and increasingly had the ear of the Khadyrov clan. He likewise was angered by Dudayev’s refusal to ‘reconquer’ everything up to Rostov, even going as far as to say that Ukraine was illegitimate because it was once under Islamic rule and consequently an ‘occupied’ part of the Islamic world. While Dudayev had been fooled into believing that the Dagestanis could be won over, the reality was that at a ground level the Islamists were already securing their positions. Dagestan’s porous borders had been thrown open wider than ever before, as Jihadis across the world made their home their in the name of crushing an atheist government murdering Muslims. One of those thousands of Jihadis moving to Dagestan would be the leader of Al Qaeda, Osama bin Laden.

Extract from 'Ultimate Evil: Petrograd's Genocide' by Adrian Brown

On January 3rd 1995, the entire adult male Caucasian and Central Asian population of Petrograd found themselves roused from their beds by the local police, army, and naturally Nashis and found themselves ordered to report to the centre of the city. That evening, as they all stood in the city centre, many sincerely believed they would be mowed down with machine guns right there, while optimists hoped they would be bartered like slaves to the West. Instead, a significantly worse fate than either was about to begin. They were told that due to fears of insubordination and dual allegiances, they would now be the initial members of the ‘Honorary Russian’ battalion. Their reward would be Russian citizenship if they could survive the war and the ‘National Republic of the Russians’ won, with citizenship immediately granted to their families if they should fall on duty. If they ran away or joined the enemy, their families would be considered state enemies and dealt with accordingly. Some were reportedly relieved, believing that they would ensure their families could live a safe life in Russia that many feared would be lost with the commencement of the Civil War. Few could conceive of what was going to happen.

The purpose of the Honorary Russian Battalions were not to fight, but to be killed.

The battalions would not be under army control, but Nashi control. They would not be given training, clothes, or even weapons, because that was not the purpose of the Honorary Russian Battalions. Their main task would be to walk over minefields, act as bait for Communist artillery to be shelled and reveal their positions and to be tortured for the amusement of Petrograd troops. The Nashis, the most avowedly racist part of the Petrograd government outside Barkashov’s exterminationist RNU, treated their forced conscripts in a way that one of the very few survivors described as ‘unprecedented in the history of the animal kingdom. We were not treated like dogs, because they are often treated lovingly. We were not treated like insects, because one can see an insect without wanting to crush it. We were not treated like rodents, because none actively seek to kill those that do not bother them. We were treated like how the demons would torture the damned in hell. We begged for hell. We begged for the hell of any religion over another moment of this agony. But suicide would only mean the death of your family and children. Those without either invariably killed themselves in the first few days. The worst pairings were the Azerbaijanis and Armenians, because the Nashis wanted to demonstrate their superiority over both of them. If they had an Armenian and Azerbaijani together they would force them to fellate or sodomize each other in front of the battalion as an act of public humiliation, invariably crying in shame while the Nashis laughed. It was as if to say, ‘you fought for all those years to see who was better, but now let us remind you that you are both worthless compared to us and all your wars between each other meant as much to us as a war between ants’. Because of how quickly the battalion was killed, we would literally stop off at villages and forcibly recruit every non-Slav and often the local prisons regardless of ethnicity. With the coming of the criminals, the camps became a nightly scene of murder for infringements no one could keep up with - no one stole because we were all certain we were going to die. The cruellest among us would even kill other members of the battalion to make it look like a suicide, ensuring the killing of their wives and children back home.”

One of the dead from the Honorary Russian Battalion was Ruslan Khasbulatov, who just over a year before was the Chairman of Russia, who had stood tall to President Yeltsin in the struggle for Moscow. He died anonymously after stepping on a mine on February 17th 1995 near Smolensk. At the same time, some foreign volunteers actually became some of the overseers of the battalions, notably American Timothy McVeigh, who would infamously write in his diary, “I was at first a little confused at how these Caucasians were not white, but then I remembered they were like Jews, so they only looked like they were white.” Thus Russians who were born in Russia, spoke Russian, knew nothing but Russia, some of whom had served Russia, knew the songs of Russia, saw the extent of Russia, who breathed the Russian air and were born from Russian soil … were beaten, shot and tortured by people born outside of Russia, who couldn’t speak Russian, knew nothing of Russia, who hadn’t served Russia, knew not the songs of Russia, saw nothing of Russia, who neither breasted Russia’s air not was born from its soil … because the former was not ‘truly’ Russian. It was a system as monstrous as any that could be conceived.

But unfortunately, the lives of the women and children were not much better. They had been shipped out of Petrograd and all the major cities into concentration camps in the cleared territories. When boys came of age (15) they would be sent to the Honorary Russian Battalions to be killed. The fate of the women was to suffer the same fate as the women of Bosnia, only on an industrial scale. The Petrograd government had an often contradictory view of race, but it seems that purebloods in particular were seen as the enemy while a mixed Slav-Caucasian/Central Asian person would be Russian if the influence of those communities perished and they were resettled in a Russian environment. While this meant no 100% extermination as in the Holocaust, it would lead to industrialised rape being used as a method of war. Women of child-bearing age in the camps were raped by multiple guards for the purpose of rearing ethnically Slavic children. Those who attempted to abort the resulting pregnancies were shot - some legitimate miscarriages resulted in the women being executed. Captured non-Slavic women were sent to these camps from miles around for these purposes. It is estimated that by the end of the war 100,000 women had been sent to the camps and were systematically raped. One survivor of the camps would recall, “You woke up in the morning to screams, you had your breakfast to screams, your lunch to screams, you screamed every time you were raped that day, and you tried to ignore the screams as you went to bed. Everyone screamed. There was not a single time you didn’t hear somebody scream.” Some victims desperately tried to get black eyes for no other reason than the vain hope they would get less attention. Perhaps the most horrifying thing done at some of the camps was to women who were caught trying to escape. Copying a technique from the Rwandan Genocide, camp commanders would often send the woman who tried to flee to be raped by an AIDS-infected prison inmate. The woman would then die in extreme agony over the coming weeks and months as she was similarly infected, perishing in the appalling conditions of the camps. The only good thing that came from such unimaginable atrocity was that the eventual convictions in connection to the Genocide Years would be the first in history to consider rape in a genocidal context. [2]

The atrocities committed by Nationalist forces during the Second Russian Civil War are consequently generally considered the worst of any of the parties during the conflict, even before they reached their horrifying climax at the end of the war. It therefore shouldn’t have been a surprise when on March 4th 1995, that they would be the ones who unleashed a new brand of horror into the world. With the Reds having built up significant forces in the region, and after confirming which way the wind was blowing, the Fascists shocked the world by shelling the Obninsk Nuclear Power Plant.

[1] Forgive me, this was meant to be the audio recording of the Well to Hell Hoax. I've changed it to the current video.

[2] Unfortunately, almost everything I wrote is a direct copy of what the Bosnian Serb armies did to Bozniak women, including the construction of camps precisely for the purpose. The Rwandan Genodide ‘rape squads’ were also horrifyingly real and used to extract a slow death out of the victim. Just another of the things I've learned in creating this TL that I regret knowing.
The Wonder of America

Extract from 'Second As Farce: Petrograd Vs Stalingrad' by Jessica Matthews

The shelling of the Obninsk Nuclear Reactor had been ordered by Barkashov from Moscow. The move’s intention was not, as Barkashov had made it seem, an attempt to release the radiation itself but to spread the fear that it could. Indeed, given the distance, they could barely reach the site by artillery anyway. Only a few hits actually got anywhere near the reactor, but the immediate effect was to further throw Communist lines into turmoil. In the West, President Clinton announced that any further deliberate targeting of nuclear facilities would be treated as the equivalent of the use of nuclear weapons, though he failed to elaborate on what the Administration’s response to an actual nuclear strike would be apart from being ‘unacceptable’ and requiring ‘full retaliation’ - in reality the White House and Pentagon had been debating their response to an internal nuclear strike for months and were still unsure what to do, let alone among the Allies. This announcement got a stern warning from Nevzorov to Barkashov about inviting Western retaliation. Nevzorov and the other leaders in Petrograd had not been told about the RNU's plans and were understandably furious, but Barkashov replied that he knew what he was doing. Indeed, suddenly no one among the Communist forces wanted to be anywhere near the reactors anywhere along the line. But while the Commissars in Moscow were notoriously strict about maintaining order, and indeed reports indicate perhaps one thousand individual killings by Commissars over the March 4th-6th period in Moscow, Smolensk was still somewhat lacking in the numbers of Commissars to hold discipline. Barkashov would maintain his reputation for cunning ruthlessness and kept the RNU from being a subservient paramilitary to the Nashis.

The ultimate result was that on March 6th the lines near Smolensk broke. Nashi forces, including the young Neo-Nazi Dmitry Utkin (nicknamed ‘Wagner’ due to his being Hitler’s favourite composer and infamous for cruelty that startled even the Nashis), completely seized the city on March 10th. In fear of the Fascists seizing the ICBM fields of Kozelsk, the entirety of the location’s nuclear weapons were destroyed, much as the Yasny ICBM fields were destroyed along with their warheads as the large and cumbersome missiles were considered too dangerous to hand over. Despite the reduction in nuclear warheads, the Tatishchevo ICBM fields alone were enough to provide all the nuclear deterrent the Reds needed (not to mention the Black Sea Fleet and assorted short-range missiles). They had to be careful there too, as by June the entirety of the Orenburg province west of the Urals had fallen to the Uralic Alliance, with the Tatars on the outskirts of Samara, which likewise forced nuclear weapons to be moved into the centre of Anpilov’s holdings. At the same time by the end of June, the Bryansk and Kaluga Oblasts had mostly fallen, putting Red Moscow at serious risk, not to mention the ethnic minorities who hadn’t already fled over the border, few that there increasingly were.

The Petrograd government took an interesting position to Belorussians and Ukrainians. They considered them of identical blood but with a ‘poisonous mindset’, much as Nazis had regarded German Communists. But unlike the Caucasians and Central Asians, they were given a chance to solve the matter. They were given the choice of declaring in contract that they were ‘Russian’ and pledged to use only the Russian language and to completely surrender any trace of their heritage, including name changes if their name. For example, ‘Volodomyr’ would have to become ‘Vladimir’. Those who refused were alternatively sent to the ‘Honorary Russian Brigades’ if they were ‘adult males’ (often just 14 or 15 year old boys) or to the ‘Women and Children Holding Centre’ camps if they were not - being Slavic was no panacea and simply made them even more targeted for violation. Indeed, due to being ‘traitors’ they were often treated worse, particularly in Camp Dagda, place of such characters as Anton Krasovsky, known simply to both the inmates and guards simply as ‘Monster’ for his treatment of Ukrainian children.

Naturally, of those that could not escape, the vast majority chose the option of renouncing their ethnicity while secretly feeling it even more strongly in their hearts. Most Ukrainians and Belorussians had already fled the border regions since the war started as they were close to safety and were treated substantially better than ethnic Russians upon arrival as refugees. Indeed Kubans would often be led by their grandfathers and grandmothers as they tried to flee into Ukraine, as typically only they would remember the Ukrainian language that they had traditionally spoken in the region before the Russification of the Stalin and Post-Stalin eras. They would do all the talking and consequently convince the border guards that they and their family were ‘Ukrainian refugees’ as opposed to ‘Russian refugees’, and could therefore stay in Ukraine and avoid being loaded to Kaliningrad, not that there was any choice between Kaliningrad’s difficulties and Russia’s cataclysm either.

The most visceral example of that cataclysm could be found in Moscow, which had seen itself brought to biblical destruction. Its destruction has led to the common phrase among the West of ‘The Lost City of Moscow’, of a city almost as fabled and impossible to reach as El Dorado or Atlantis. Almost no building had escaped shelling and destruction - it looked exactly like Stalingrad during World War 2. But the line stayed infuriatingly stable along the Moskva River, with the expelled non-Slavic population now on the south side of the river having beefed up the Communists’ numbers. The river itself had been the tortured witness of the downfall of Moscow, tortured not only by the blood it ran with, the mud that had been churned inside it and the rubble that filled it, but to see what it lost. St. Basil’s and the Kremlin no longer existed, even as stumps of rubble. Red Square was a mangled, smouldering jungle of bricks, shrapnel and rotting limbs. The Bolshoi Theatre was entombed beneath a mountain of wreckage, the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier had been reduced to the metal from whence it was made. If a stranger had walked around Moscow in Spring of 1995, they would never have believed that this was perhaps the joint-most important city in the world, where the limits of one’s vision was often not the buildings blocking the view but of the smoke and dust. They would never have believed there were once museums, theatres, culture, or even civilisation where they stood. To great joy, a few are occasionally discovered even today in the private art galleries of the world, having been pulled by opportunists sometimes literally seconds before flames were about to consume them. The great parks, buildings and streets no longer existed, and lifetimes of work were rendered for naught. The museums had not been cleared out and their inventory perished in the chaos. It was a situation almost identical to Warsaw in 1944, only with the fighting continuing. But in terms of the number dead, they were likewise astonishing.

It was estimated that by April 1995, 120,000 had died violently in the Battle for Moscow alone, mostly civilians trying to escape the madness. Of the military casualties, it was 3:1 in favour of Barkashov, as the Communists regularly tried to storm across the river and were mowed down by machine guns and artillery whenever they tried. While many had expected the superior wealth of military experience in the leadership of the Red Army to be a plus, in reality it often meant that the ones in charge were the ones who knew how to bribe and backstab, and whose military capability would reach an infamy levelling Italian World War One General Luigi Cadorna. The RNU, while more ruthless than even the Nashis, were also actually more meritocratic than the Red Army. They also had more personal experience in urban combat and were able to run rings around Soviet commanders who came from connected families. The RNU showed no mercy to non-Slavs, and would kill captured Tatars and Caucasians immediately - raping a non-Slavic woman would be considered a serious crime, however, not by dint of the raped victim (who would be executed immediately) but the rapist having ‘race-mixed’.

The levels of delusion had already begun reaching absurd levels in Petrograd. School curriculums were changed to make the ‘New Chronology’ of new Education Minister Anatoly Fomenko the official version of history for the Nationalist state. This theory stated that the entirety of global history had been an invention of the Vatican and Western governments to minimise Russia’s influence, including the histories of the Arabs and China. Accordingly, Genghis Khan, Christopher Columbus and almost all important Mediaeval figures were actually Russians of the ‘Russian Horde Empire’. Christ was actually crucified in the Twelfth Century in Turkey, the Crusades and Trojan Wars were the same event, Jerusalem was actually Constantinople, Christians came first and Jews came second as a breakaway religion for merchants, the Hagia Sophia was the Temple of Solomon, and that there had actually been a thriving Russian empire in the Americas up until 1776 that had been more prosperous than even the 13 Colonies. Other members close to Alexander Dugin’s associates in the Pamyat and Mystic Nationalist movements found positions of great cultural responsibility, including Ilya Glazunov (whose ‘Timeless Russia’ painting practically became the centrepiece of national propaganda) and Dmitri Vasilyev. Dugin’s influence, while impressive, was still limited. When he explained in a meeting with senior government officials that in any future conflict with Ukraine they should prioritise Snake Island because ‘The ontological significance in the sacred geography of Snake Island, home of Achilles and of the shrine of Apollo, ensure that whoever controls Snake Island controls the world’, Shafarevich quipped, “Well that explains a lot! Between the 1870s until after the Great Patriotic War, Romania actually ran the world!” After the meeting Shafarevich was warned from ever making comments like that again.

Extract from ‘A Continent of Fire’ by James Melfi

To the ‘March of the Siberian Riflemen’, which would become the anthem of Lebed’s government, onwards the Siberian Provisional Government’s forces marched into the void of the tundra. Rokhlin’s army banked north, following the Tobol River up to the Ob River and northwards to the Arctic. Their aim was to make it to the Arctic Circle, liberate the cities and resources of the north and pay back Lebed’s donors, who had provided swarms of well-made and well-kept supplies just for the occasion, with reopened trade routes for icebreakers. To the north things were even worse given the isolation, as the collapse in societal structure had undone the invisible threads that bound Russia together. Rokhlin’s own outfit was by far the most organised group along the Ob, working his way from Priobye to Berezovo and ultimately to Salekhard. That these places hardly spring to the imagination is natural - they were small towns at best, completely dislocated from the Russian interior. As Rokhlin moved northwards, he recorded in his notes how he was ‘Going insane from seeing more bears than people’. The town of Sherkaly, for instance, was inexplicably devoid of people when Rokhlin arrived, the mystery now going down the same way as the Mary Celeste - the bodies of the residents have never been found. Elsewhere, of course, were the telltale madness one expected, but always completely unexpected in their results. In the town of Shaitanka, the town was found to be under the rule of the ‘Kingdom of Russia’, specifically an old woman who claimed to be Anastasia despite not being nearly old enough, and had somehow convinced the starving town to along with the delusion. In the town of Berezovo just up the river, the town had been completely locked down by local NSF officials, and the residents consequently did not even know that Makashov had died and that a Civil War had begun, believing officials that the starvation was due to a Western crop disease to destroy Russian agriculture. In the town of Muzhi, human meat was publicly sold in the marketplace as if it was pork or beef. Most surprising to Rokhlin was the total lack of resistance, recalling ‘we usually didn’t have to physically fight something that wasn’t a bear until every 100km or so. The main fight was against the sheer maddening emptiness of the quiet taiga. It was a war for sanity, and I hold nothing against those villages who succumbed to it. I don’t know how I stayed sane myself’.

Finally, they did meet significant resistance at the town of Salekhard, just on the cusp of the entrance to the Arctic Sea. Forward brigades were stunned by a seemingly professional outfit taking cover and using decent tactics to that effect. Eventually, however, they could hear cussing from the ones firing upon them, and impromptu surrender negotiations. Mercifully having no dead, the Siberian forward regiment approached the soldiers to find out what was going on. As it turned out, they weren't a bunch of nobodies from the town like before: these were troops from the Komi Republic. The Republic had spent the previous months in blissful neglect, the Petrograd government too focussed on defeating the Reds to bother with them. Consequently, they had cleared out everything to their north and had already begun to get behind the Ural mountains for a better path to the sea. They had already taken Salekhard and everything north that was east of the Pechora River, Novaya Zemlya the obvious exception as they had no navy. Rokhlin would consequently stage a meeting in Vorkuta on May 20th under the auspices of the Komi Republic, which was run by Yuri Spiridonov. The two met and were able to hash out an agreement that relinquished everything east of the Urals to Lebed’s government in return for partaking in the spoils of war, an agreement that made both very happy. Spiridonov told Rokhlin in relation to their makeshift alliance that he was ‘Komi’s first friend’ and that they hoped to make a hundred. By the end of June, Rokhlin was not only receiving supplies by boat from the Arctic, but was marching on the Urengoy gas fields.

At the same time Lebed was marching east in a much more tumultuous fashion, running into significantly more resistance than Rokhlin on what he officially labelled ‘The March to the Pacific’. Lebed had a peculiar dream about filling the borders of the map a certain colour, believing he could singlehandedly conquer the most territory of any one man who ever lived. Certainly, Siberia had the space but he also needed the men to do it. While the number men he had was plenty it was a big area and troops would inevitably be stretched thin. Consequently, Lebed and his supporters began to make use of the global mercenary network. While romantics would volunteer go to the Caucasus, the ones on business were going to Siberia, their chances of glory and reward proudly advertised in Soldier of Fortune magazine. Among the most famous was the South African private military outfit ‘Executive Outcomes’ who lent 1,000 men to help accompany Lebed as he marched eastwards. SADF veterans would recall that the villages were in worse shape than many of the worst places they saw in Angola and Namibia. The group developed a reputation as ‘The Last of the Commie-Killers’, for their skill and tenacity, sometimes winning battles against NSF militias at 10:1 ratios. His first major battle would be the Battle of Novosibirsk on March 4th 1995, which he hoped would revive Russian morale as the Battle of Vladivostok continued to seem like a hopeless failure. Novosibirsk was under the rule of cabal of NSF officials who refused to surrender the city. They had predictably ran a terror regime in the city, desperately holding on to power at rifle-point. Holding up in the city, they waited for Lebed to approach into the city and get cut down by the urban combat. Instead, Lebed darted north and seemingly for the Tomsk Nuclear Power station, knowing it would cut off the power in the region and leave him in control - the NSF commanders had not planned particularly effectively. Seeing the strategy, the NSF desperately sent troops out to try and halt the advance, only to find further detachments from Lebed that had been in hiding dashing into the city to minimal resistance and joyous ovation from the liberated locals; the locals that had the strength to stand on their feet and talk, of course. Lebed himself had, in a moment of near suicidal madness, been among those who charged into the city, justifying it by claiming that he had to prove himself a brave leader in order to unite and save Russia. Miraculously surviving, and looking like a God in the simple fact of not starving while many of the residents were, to quote one of the Siberian soldiers, ‘Flaps of skin fluttering around a skeleton. I wondered how anyone could stand when I could see not a single layer of muscle around their legs. There was just bone inside a fluttering skin package - if you sliced it I doubted if even if blood would come out. Even their eyes appeared to be emaciated, as if I could see into their skulls through translucent eyes.’

The NSF leadership of Novosibirsk would flee to Tomsk for a significantly more dastardly reason, it turned out. Their plan, according to the documents found in the mayor’s office - the mayor’s corpse still in the fridge in case even the leadership began to starve - was to flee to the Tomsk nuclear reactor and threaten to blow the complex up unless they get amnesty and aslyum in Switzerland. Unfortunately for them, their car was run off the road by a detachment from Executive Outcomes after a failed attempt to force a surrender. The car was made for only five people at most but somehow had ten NSF bureaucrats in the flaming wreckage, one in the trunk, likely desperate to escape Lebed and the inevitable firing squad he had for NSF leaders - a policy that was controversial in the West but increasingly smiled upon as the war continued. Lebed’s forces would take Tomsk by April 13th, but his glory would be short-lived as the Far Eastern Republic pulled off a shocking upset victory over North Korea While Lebed was obviously happy that Russians had won over despotic foreign occupation, he was confused and baffled by the new Far Eastern Republic, or Kingdom as it soon would be known. However, his donors warned him not to directly face the FEK, since it was extremely popular in the West. Reluctantly, Lebed began communication with the FEK to develop common objectives.

In his first telephone discussion with Aksyuchits on May 2nd 1995, the first question Lebed asked him was ‘So, do you want to live together or die together?’ The two made a vague agreement to meet somewhere around Mongolia and clear out the remaining NSF forces, as well as contain the Mongolians and work out what the hell was going on in Yakutia. With that, Lebed spent the rest of May and June clearing out the Tomsk, Novosibirsk and Altai Krai regions successfully. Aksyuchits would repay the favour, clearing out both the Primorsky region and successfully capturing the entirety of the former Jewish Autonomous Oblast at the same time. Both Lebed and Aksyuchits found abandoned nuclear weapons sites during this timeframe, raising the number of nuclear parties in the Second Russian Civil War to five, while investigators scrambled to see if and how many warheads were missing. The discipline of Lebed’s troops and humanitarian handling of civilians would not gain him the devotion that Aksyuchits had in the West, but it did give him solid respect among the Western public. He would also would win the bizarre endorsement of boxer Mike Tyson, who said of him “He’s Alexander. I’m Alexander. We’re Alexander the Conqueror. He knows how to cut ‘em up and cut ‘em down. We’re one of a kind.” His endorsement would eventually net him an official ambassadorship to the region in the 2010s.

Extract from ‘Averting Armageddon: The West in the Second Russian Civil War’ by Frank Wolfowitz

Alexi Venediktov had been one of the many political refugees that fled from Russia during the fall of Yeltsin and the rise of the NSF. The Echo of Moscow Radio Station he worked for, famous for its tireless position of allowing all significant view points to be represented rather than picking and choosing narratives, was now technically an Echo of Kaliningrad station. Many of its editors had perished in mysterious shootings in the night from 1993 to 1994, but Venediktov had known who to bribe and when, thus able to reestablish the station in Kaliningrad and become the Chief Editor. While it was a boon for the Kaliningrad government to have the station as it led to having some credentials as a free government, Venediktov had no scruples about turning the station’s ire at Gaidar. While support for the National Salvation Front had soared after the seizure of Crimea, the shambolic invasion of Chechnya and subsequent implosion of the Russian state had likewise shattered the movement. Yet Gaidar still refused to release restrictions on free speech and assembly, erected in the name of ‘preserving democracy’, which became known by cynics as the ‘End Democracy to Save Democracy’ approach.

Venediktov arranged to have former Novgorod Governor Boris Nemstov in the studio on April 25th 1995. Nemstov had been arrested by the National Salvation Front after refusing to relinquish his governorship to be replaced by a loyalist (since a Jew like Nemstov was unlikely to be compliant) but he was released under the Petrograd government not only in return for supplies, but also to increase political confusion in Kaliningrad. Petrograd believed that liberal democracy could not stand up to authoritarianism, and that Gaidar’s own repression was proof of this. They theorised that releasing figures like Gorbachev, Yabloko's Grigory Yavlinsky and Nemtsov would dilute the leadership of the Kaliningrad government, increase the political division and that their ‘benign’ behaviour would promote a favourable contrast to the Anpilov government in Stalingrad. Indeed, to an extent Petrograd was right. On April 15th, when Nemstov once again publicly criticised the Gaidar government as ‘dictatorial’, police entered the studio live on air and arrested Nemtsov on the charge of ‘undermining democracy’, to which Nemstov replied “I’m being arrested again?” as he was put in handcuffs, a reference to his arrest by the NSF.

Nemtsov’s arrest in such a public manner was contrasted vigorously against the heroic actions of Russians in Vladivostok on the opposite side of the world, indeed it’s suspected the reason the police suddenly went after Nemtsov was that Gaidar was increasingly on diplomatically shaky ground as Lebed and Aksyuchits became popular figures in the Russian sphere. Aksyuchits’s victory in Vladivostok, though a feel-good story for most of Western Christianity, was in reality a gigantic headache for Western political leadership. They were finding it increasingly hard to justify their position of sole recognition of Gaidar’s rule over the entirety of the official borders of the Russian Federation, including Chechnya, when Gaidar and his administration were seen as corrupt backstabbers. True, Gaidar’s preservation of Kaliningrad had not only saved the Oblast’s residents from the hellscape the rest of the country became, but became a priceless refugee ‘haven’ to offload refugees onto. However, this only further undermined the Gaidar government, as not only were the natives angry with the mass of people that had swarmed the oblast, but the refugees themselves were angry at the squalor that existed in the camps. The obvious solution was to increase the number of refugees taken in places other than Kaliningrad, but this was hardly an easy task. Wałęsa said that any Russian refugees forced upon Poland would be chucked over the Kaliningrad border again. The Baltics said that even if they wanted to the refugees would probably be ‘torn to shreds’ by the locals. Belarus and Ukraine had their own ethnic concerns and didn’t want to widen the gap. One particularly crude example was to close off the passage of adult males as refugees since ‘they should be fighting instead’ - who they were supposed to fight for in European Russia was unclear. But unless the refugees were allowed to go to different countries, and this was not even counting the refugees in Kazakhstan and Ukraine, there was no way the situation could be resolved.

On April 29th, however, the Gaidar government knew they’d met their match, when none other than Aleksandr Isayevich Solzhenitsyn walked off the same runway that Gaidar had landed on back in 1993 and was soon thronged by crowds wherever he went - not hard considering how many people there were. After a period of extended gloom following the NSF’s seizure of power and calamitous consequences, Solzhenitsyn had been inspired by Aksyuchits (though annoyed that he had divided Russia) that there was still hope for the country, albeit that would only exist once Gaidar had stepped down and restored real democracy to the Oblast. After Nemstov’s arrest, Solzhenitsyn knew he had to strike when the iron was hot, and so made use of Gorbachev’s re-establishment of his citizenship. Solzhenitsyn went to the middle of Kaliningrad city and demanded that Gaidar promise to resign and re-establish democratic rule. While Solzhenitsyn was not interested in taking power himself, nor did he command much love from the generally apathetic population, he knew the power he had in the West. He knew that in a fight between him and Gaidar, the West would never choose Gaidar. When Gaidar demanded Solzhenitsyn’s arrest, the police refused, telling Gaidar that once the Americans inevitably cancel their aid money after arresting a figure like Solzhenitsyn, there was no way they would get the bribes he promised. Inspired by Solzhenitsyn, millions came to the city (mostly refugees) to demand more supplies, which they assumed would come in light of a Solzhenitsyn-endorsed government. They also demanded a release to political prisoners like Nemstov, who had gone from one among many political refugees to the superstar of the Anti-Gaidar movement overnight. Finally, Gaidar’s cabinet, led by Prime Minister Chernomyrdin, approached Gaidar and told him that he had no choice but to resign, promising to give him amnesty for any acts committed ‘in the name of democracy’. On May 1st, 1995, Gaidar announced his resignation as President of Russia and vowed for elections to be held by the end of June.

In the ensuing elections that June, Nemstov would win the Presidential election with 58% of the vote with his main contender in Grigory Yavlinsky getting only 30%. Nemstov’s youth making him known in the West as the ‘Russian John Kennedy’ - many theorise the fact that his sharing the first name as Yeltsin was an irrational but noticeable reason for the favourable perception he gained in the West. He also knew the fine art of political double-speak, saying that ‘Republics of the Federation that don’t want to be in Russia should not be in Russia’ while never formally committing to recognising the independence of the various parties of the Free Nation Alliance. Predictably, both Petrograd and Stalingrad trashed his election for being a ‘Non-Russian’ and a ‘Zionist agent’ respectively. In the Parliamentary elections, Nemstov’s recently constructed ‘Young Russia’ Party came in first but the social democrat Yabloko party (who had become the main opposition to Gaidar since the NSF imploded) came in a very close second, who privately resented Nemtsov for becoming the anti-Gaidar leader almost by sheer accident while they had struggled since the beginning and had been through the same arrest and bartering process as Nemstov for a fraction of the credit. Gaidar’s ‘Choice of Russia’ Party would get a barren 10% of the vote, though both he and his regime were given amnesty and continued to be politicians in the exiled Russian state.

This was met with much relief in the West, who hoped to build a better relationship between Kaliningrad and the various Eastern states, but they didn’t realise some of the other consequences of the trip. Namely, Solzhenitsyn’s horror at the sight of the refugee camps in Kaliningrad, saying they reminded him of his own imprisonment, leading him to become a strong advocate for the West taking a heavier burden of the refugee share. If it had come from anyone else, it may have been dismissed, but Solzhenitsyn’s insistence, coupled with the desire to help the new government succeed and the simple fact that the six million and increasing number of people Kaliningrad were simply going to create a humanitarian catastrophe, Western governments accepted the need for the biggest refugee relocation program in history. By the end of the year, the following breakdown of refugees that had moved or were planned to move from the mainland Russian Federation to elsewhere since 1993 were determined.

The largest was Ukraine, agreeing to officially absorb an eye-watering 5,000,000 refugees into their nation. Most adults that were approved were from territory desired by Ukrainian nationalists like the Kuban, with would-be residents forced to sign a ‘contract of Ukrainisation’ if they wanted to stay permanently, a contract ironically like the Russification contracts of Petrograd, only the penalty was going to Kaliningrad instead of being murdered. Many Russians had Ukrainian family and moved in with them to lighten the load on the camp system. Despite the difficulties over Crimea, the fact that so many Ukrainians had family on the other side of the border meant Ukrainians still regarded Russians as their brothers, assuming they’d do the same for them. As one teenage refugee shelter volunteer turned future famous Ukrainian comedian, Volodymyr Zelenskyy would recall, "Ukrainians are always ready to support family, however many millions of them there are." Many war orphans were also raised here, adopted by Ukrainian families given the shared ethnic and cultural connection. President Lukianenko believed that children would make the best refugees since they would be the most malleable towards the creation of a Ukrainian identity. The Ukrainian Orthodox Church, which had been created by political pressure from Lukianenko in March 1995 to fully separate from any cultural sway to Ukraine’s east, called upon all Ukrainians to raise Russia’s orphaned children as their own as a point of Orthodox Unity and to guide them in ‘The Ukrainian Way’. While rarely explained, the implication was that it was to imbue the young incomers with the notion that while their race (Slavic) was determined, their ethnicity (Russian/Ukrainian) was a choice. Further, that the Ukrainian culture had proven itself superior choice to the Russian through its avoidance of the cataclysm east of the border, proven by its hosting of the holiest site in Orthodoxy, the Lavra Monastery.

Wild and wacky theories became the pastime of Ukrainian nationalists to try and define Ukraine’s new role in the world in which Russia was reduced. One popular book was from Ukrainian Nationalist Oleksii Arestovych, who had volunteered in Circassia, and suggested that Ukraine’s destiny was to reforge the legacy of the Kyivan Rus and become the spiritual leader of East Europe against cosmopolitan West Europe. He suggested that since Moscow was destroyed, that Kyiv was now the official Third Rome, especially given its longer history than Moscow and historical and religious importance to the Slavic and Orthodox people. While identified as being close to the Far-Right, the growth of his ideology actually increased the level of tolerance for those with ancestry in Russia in Ukraine, who are by and large the most patriotic Ukrainians in the country. According to a recent Gallup poll, eighty-three percent of those who came to Ukraine from Russia in the 1990s identify as Ukrainian. While certainly an immense cost in the beginning, the decision to try and integrate those millions of refugees ended up being perhaps the best decision Ukraine ever made. As Ukraine’s status continued to rise in the coming years, their position as the new head of Orthodoxy has only grown more assured, with future intake after 1995 cementing their status as the most populous Slavic state in 2022 at nearly 60 million.

The other destinations for Russian refugees were:

Siberia: ~3,000,000 (moved and to be moved from Kazakhstan along the Kazakh border. Often this simply meant moving the same camps a few hundred metres over the border to meet targets.)
America: ~1,800,000 (ironically maxed out by elements of the Republican Party as they believed it would be an excuse to clamp down on the border since ‘we need all the resources for the Russian refugees’, based on the belief the Russian refugees would vote Republican while non-Cuban Latin Americans would vote Democrat).
Germany: ~ 1,600,000 (Including the vast majority of Russia's Volga German population, who made use of the ancestral repatriation guarantees of German law)
Kaliningrad: ~1,500,000 (down from ~5,000,000, and though still a monumental increase prevented a full scale collapse. Those that stayed primarily were the Yeltsinists who came before Makashov’s plane crashed)
Belarus: ~1,000,000 (Like Ukraine, a place often used for orphans given the shared heritage)
FEK: ~1,000,000 (extremely difficult given the barrenness of the region but hoped that Japanese and Korean aid would help in return for few refugees on their actual soil)
Kazakhstan: ~1,000,000 (with the hope of moving the remainder to Lebed’s government, down from ~5,000,000 as well)
France: ~1,000,000 (As with the American Republicans, many on the French Nationalist Right like Jean-Marie Le Pen were at least indifferent to bringing in such large refugee numbers on the belief they would become political allies against Algerian refugees, who had also increased in number since their civil war. Russian and Algerian street gangs fighting in Marseilles would be a popular element of French pop culture in the years to come)
Latin America: ~600,000 (Mexico, Argentina and Brazil would be the most interested, in that order)
Italy: ~600,000 (Generally offloaded to the south since the north didn’t want to deal with the refugee numbers)
Israel: ~550,000 (Naturally almost exclusively Jews and spouses, Russian immigrants soon became by far the largest of all of Israel’s immigrant groups and quickly became political kingmakers opposed to both the Palestinians and Orthodox Jews)
United Kingdom: ~500,000
Spain: ~500,000
Australia + New Zealand: ~500,000
Canada: ~500,000
Baltic States (combined): ~200,000 (Overwhelmingly ethnic kin who either fled from the 1993 annexations or were traded like horses)
Greece: ~200,000 (Orthodox unity pushed a relatively large intake)
Austria: ~200,000
Caucasus Republics: 200,000 (with exception of spouses almost 100% ethnically Caucasians, like Chechens)
Netherlands: ~200,000
Belgium: ~100,000
Portugal: ~100,000
Serbia: ~100,000 (to cement demographic control over Kosovo, and though the West wasn’t happy, they considered relieving the crippling refugee numbers an absolute must)
Sweden: ~100,000
Bulgaria: ~ 80,000
Finland: ~70,000 (Mostly Karelians and Finns)
Romania: ~60,000
Turkey: ~50,000
Rest of Balkans: ~50,000
Switzerland: ~40,000
Norway: ~40,000
Denmark: ~30,000
Ireland: ~30,000
Japan + South Korea: ~25,000 (A low figure in return for significant monetary support)
Philippines: ~10,000
Poland: ~5,000 (exclusively those of Polish heritage)
Czechia + Slovakia: ~5,000
Hungary: ~3,000
Iceland: ~2,000

In total, over twenty million refugees had fled Russia from Yeltsin’s death until the end of 1995 - this does not count the outflow of immigrants and refugees from the Russian Federation from 1985-1993. And of course, this does not count those who were killed and starved in the war thus far, and in the war to come. All in all, the demographic collapse of Russia was not simply immense, but terminal. Of the males that left Russia, they were overwhelmingly the smartest, most resourceful, the youngest, and the most worldly, though a majority of the refugees were women and children. Many parents paid for their children to be handed over to ‘Prizraki’ (‘Ghosts’) who would get them to the borders. Prizraki charged extortionate fees for everyone they helped over the border, but for many it was their only chance, even if not for them but at least their child. With Russia losing its greatest resource, her people, they would enrich the nations of the world for generations to come, leaving her behind. In fictional tropes, the ‘Wandering Russian’ has become a cliche of 21st century pop culture, of a Russian refugee (or descendent) trying to process their identity in a world without a home they would wish to return to, or looking in vain for any survivors from their vanished childhood world.

The backlash to this immense number of people was strong, especially when the official numbers for each state were released, with almost no countries on the list comfortable with the numbers their countries accepted. The problem was that this sudden immense intake came in around the same time that Western economies realised the scope of the economic downturn the Russian collapse had caused. Widespread fears of nuclear war caused many to sell off their city properties to live in the countryside, causing an implosion in real estate prices and triggering the burst of the housing market bubble, albeit at a mercifully early stage compared to what it could have been. The continuing bad news led Alan Greenspan, head of the Federal Reserve, to announce on June 28th 1995 that the world was facing a Second Great Depression. This naturally called into question various governments’ ability to fulfil these refugee obligations. Furthermore there were many who worried that Russian refugees would bring crime and political extremism. Violence against Russian refugees was relatively rare in Europe, though slightly higher in America. The horror of the Russian Civil War had, in some sense, smeared the reputation of Russians as savages, but the victory at Vladivostok and Nemtsov’s electoral win played a huge role in reviving positive perceptions of Russians and making people think of the atrocities in European Russia as due to unrepresentative criminals. While opinions of Russians had imploded during the days of the NSF, the fact that in 1991 the vast majority of Americans had positive opinions of Russians inspired activists that they could turn the perception around.

The controversial strategy to try and ease the public’s discomfort with the number of refugees and immigrants was called ‘The Blonde Strategy’, on the basis that if a young, attractive blonde woman was the face of a Russian refugee, few would believe them to be a threat in either a criminal or political sense. And of course, it was assumed their attractiveness would endear them to the public. To that end, news organisations would often be pushed to use photos of the most attractive young woman they could find at any of the refugee centres, especially if they seemed to be enjoying some piece of Western pop culture (listening to a walkman, chewing bubble gum, etc.) to further make her more relatable like she was the girl next door and to undermine the idea that she had an attachment to the Soviet Union. There is significant evidence that this significantly reduced hostility to the idea of large scale Russian refugee settling, especially among males. One activist at the time described it as ‘altruistically weaponising the male sex drive’. Perhaps the most infamous incident was when Playboy did a charity edition featuring professional Russian models now living in America, with 100% of the money gained to be used to support Russian refugee charities. Though all the women featured had left to live in America since before the war started, many believed (and Playboy may have wanted them to believe for publicity) that some of the women were actual war refugees and that Playboy had been exploiting survivors. Though perhaps the most controversial edition they ever published, it was also their most successful. It was perfect media fodder and was seemingly the only thing in the news in October 1995. Though controversial among progressive activists today, especially in its more tasteless iterations, it is considered one of the most successful campaigns in reducing hostility to migrants in recent history. When one veteran of the campaign was asked about how she felt about the controversy among modern progressives about the campaign, she replied, “Of course the modern activists are angry about it - it actually worked.” Ultimately, the use of this sort of propaganda was instrumental in turning anti-refugee sentiment away from questions about the character of the refugees themselves to claims that other countries weren’t pulling their weight.

On June 15th, the first official shipment of Russian refugees to America arrived at Ellis Island in New York. It was from beginning to end a publicity stunt, with the immigrants (overwhelmingly the most photogenic and primarily children) having been flown to an aircraft carrier offshore before being put on a boat to send them to New York City to falsely imply they had sailed from Kaliningrad. Some of them were wearing ill-fitting clothes to make them resemble 19th century immigrants. But it had a purpose. The purpose was to draw a direct line between the new intake and the majority of Americans who had at least some ancestor who came during the 19th to early 20th century by means of New York City. One new child intake by the name of Thomas Minton would later recall, “From the fields of rural Russia, from the emptiness, the hatred, the fear, the terror, we crossed over the sea. The great Atlantic that divided the past from the future. As we drew to shore, we saw all that we could ever hoped for: the wonder of America. The behemoth of Manhattan, as large as a country. The Statue of Liberty, standing like a guardian of all that was good. The Twin Towers, the immovable bastions of America’s might, as strong and awe-inspiring as she was. It was what we imagined America would be like. For the first time, just by looking at her, we could believe in her. From where we came from, from the terror, we knew we had found deliverance. Even as young children, we understood that this place was different. That there really was a place in this era of evil that people could believe in. The Fascists could not hurt us here. The Communists could not hurt us here. America would protect us. America was here for us. We embraced our country like a scared child embraced their mother and father. A mother who would love you forever, and a father who would always protect you. America to us was not simply the land of the free, it was the hope of the world.” Standing at the harbour of Ellis Island was New York Mayor Rudy Giulliani, greeting them with a simple but heartfelt, “Welcome to America! Welcome to New York City!” Despite the money spent on the fanfare, given that one of the babies on board was future Tech-giant Vitaly Buterin, it’s safe to say that the initial boatload more than repaid the welcome they received. Indeed, like Italians to pizza, it's hard to imagine someone working in the American IT sector without a Russian accent or heritage today.

Extract from 'The Reconquista of the Caucasus' by Levan Galogre

The best news that the Anpilov government received in the first half of 1995 came in the south. While Sochi had been surrounded, the Circassians forces had run out of steam by March and were waiting to process their newfound wave of volunteers. Ironically, the native Circassians had a better time working with the Ukrainian and Chechen militias due to the common language (Russian, not that it was an enjoyable compromise), than many of the Circassians who could only speak Turkish. Though Turkish NATO instructors did their best to try and get some force cohesion going on, the situation was not going to be solved before July at least. But real chaos would arise in the east of the Caucasus. Dudayev’s northern flank had been almost entirely cleared since the Russians were too stretched to go after Ichkeria, making Dudayev believe the time had come at the zenith of his popularity to try and cement the direction he wanted Ickeria to go in the future. He began to close schools and mosques linked with Salafist Islam, and tried to cultivate closer ties to Europe, going as far as to visit both Kyiv and Warsaw in April 1995. But while Dudayev was thinking he could nudge the Islamists out of his government, the Islamists were not going to go down without a fight. They had consolidated around the figure of Shamil Basayev, one of the most ruthless Islamists in the whole of the Caucasus. At the same time, the Islamists in Dagestan were consolidating behind the scenes to try and take over the Confederation, and they also wanted to be led by Basayev, since borders were nothing in a world controlled by the one God. This would, of course, reduce the pressure on Anpilov’s military.

On May 25th 1995, the Islamists would strike first. Dudayev had dismissed reports that the Islamists would target him due to his popularity in Ichkeria, but he had underestimated the fanaticism of his own allies. That day, while driving in a motorcade in Grozny, his car was struck by an RPG. Though the assailants were quickly killed and Dudayev would survive despite losing both his right eye and right leg, he would be in a coma for two months in a Parisian hospital, leaving Aslan Maskhadov as the uninspiring stand-in trying desperately to defend secular Ichkeria against the dark forces of the Islamists. All at once, Ichkeria and Dagestan burst into flames. Dagestan would fall relatively quickly, with many of the foreign Islamists that had crawled inside providing the backup for Basayev’s followers, among them Al-Qaeda. On June 10th, the fourteen representatives of the Dagestani Confederacy’s main ethnic groups were decapitated publicly in the ruins of Makhachkala (on the same spot as the Makhachkala Massacre the prior year) by faceless, hooded Islamists like it was the Dark Ages. Basayev announced the beginning of a global Jihad against any party that ‘interfered’ in the Islamic world. A reign of terror began in Dagestan, as the Islamic Emirate of the Caucasus (not ‘Dagestan’ as they had far bigger plans) began a wave of mass killings by foreign fanatics trampling over the locals targeting suspected non-Muslims or Muslims that were considered too tolerant of secularism. Without a common unifying identity, Dagestan had been vulnerable to the unifying but totalitarian message of fundamentalist Islam. The Black Flag of the Emirate now hung from every building, even more omnipresent than the Red Flag of Communism at any stage of the USSR’s history.

In Ichkeria, while the Inguish had overwhelmingly (and ironically) sided with Dudayev’s secularist regime against the new common enemy, the Islamists were estimated by the CIA prior to the assassination attempt to have the support of roughly 25% of the country (support that dropped due genuine anger at targeting Dudayev while the war was still going on). Among them the most notorious brigades of the entire conflict and the Kadyrov clan under Grand Mufti Akhmad Kadyrov, who knew that his influence would vanish in the secular regime Dudayev wanted to create. Everything north of the Terek river had fallen to the Islamists, and most of the east had likewise fallen, going as far inland as the town of Mesker-Yurt, leading to the beginning of the newest siege of Solza-Gala, even more brutal than the Russian attempt. The Islamists were terrifying, committing atrocities that rivalled the Russians, with decapitations that they had so gladly unleashed on Russian teenagers now extended to Chechen teenagers as well. It was the general opinion of international observers that due to the fanaticism of the Islamists and the low morale of the Pro-Dudayev faction (with many fearing he was near death or doomed to be an invalid his whole life), the Ichkerian Federation would fall to the Islamists, leading to a domino effect across the Caucasus that would lead to a vicious Islamist state taking control of the gateway between Europe and Asia. And in a large part thanks to Kim Jong-Il breaking the taboo, it was determined by others that such a thing should never come to pass.

On June 28th 1995, Islamist forces began to fight their way into the centre of Solza-Gala. They were typically merciless, with female fighters horrified at the thought of a life trapped under the weight of the burka taking up arms, their fate after capture being indescribable. Though the clans fought out of loyalty, the Islamists fought out of divine mission. The scant rebuilding efforts in what prior to Makashov’s plane had been the most destroyed city on Earth were again destroyed. Yet as the Presidential Palace came in eye-shot, defenders and attackers alike were astonished that a swarm of helicopters appeared in the sky. Both knew they didn’t have the resources to field such weapons and were baffled as to what was going on. For a while, no one was sure what they were doing, who they would support, or if they would do anything at all. Finally, a voice coming from the Pro-Dudayev radio transmission told their troops to not fire on the helicopters; they were on their side. With that, the Islamists were buried under a hail of bullets and missiles from the helicopters that almost blocked out the sun. Unprepared for such a visitation, the Islamists made a hasty retreat from the city, the closest they would ever get to seizing the capital of the Ichkerian Federation. As the locals could get a closer look, especially as the men began to disembark from the vehicles, no one could believe what and who had just arrived in the Ichkerian Federation. God himself could scarcely have handed them a greater ally in their war against Basayev. And while they were anxious about the implications, so were the parties north of the Caucasus too. One can only imagine the fear and trembling of the messenger in Stalingrad who had to tell Chairman Anpilov that the Screaming Eagles had landed in Grozny.

Made in the USSR


Extract from ‘Averting Armageddon: The West in the Second Russian Civil War’ by Frank Wolfowitz

Clinton’s decision to send boots into Solza-Gala was one of the most contentious of his entire term. The risks were enormous. They were risking nuclear war with one or both of the NSF successor states by stepping onto territory that they (and indeed Kaliningrad technically also) recognized as Russian territory. But the fears among the Administration were real that the Emirate was not going to stop at Ichkeria, but begin to worm it’s way down into Azerbaijan and ultimately inspire Islamist fundamentalist terrorism around the world, and undermine order in the Middle East. At a time when the global economy was circling the gutter, the thought of further destabilization in the Middle East was nightmarish. Clinton, doubtless in some capacity thinking about reelection, did not want the global economy to sink any farther. At the same time, Chechens were particularly special to Americans for the unified response the country had in Chechnya’s favor once Russia invaded, and was consequently expelled. The thought of that small state being extinguished by a deranged Islamist theocracy was unthinkable to broad swathes of the public. The only question was whether Anpilov or Nevzorov would order retaliation. To that end, a series of softeners were added. It was determined that only America and Turkey would partake in the operation, that the operation would not extend beyond Ichkeria (and so would not move into Dagestan), and that once Ichkeria was liberated and the local forces were trained and augmented with American help, that American troops would leave. It was hardly an easy call regardless. In terms of logistics, they found help in the form of the Azerbaijanis. Though it was obviously hushed, word of what was going on in the ‘Honorary Russian Brigades’ and ‘Women and Children Holding Centres’ reached the Caucasus. The knowledge of Armenians and Azerbaijanis collectively being tortured and raped alongside each other had defused tensions between the two countries more than anyone could have imagined. While hardly friends, both renewed a sense of responsibility that the Caucasian people would not allow foreigners to massacre them again. Flying from Turkey, the Americans would camp on the Azerbaijani border and with Georgian permission would fly into the Ichkerian capital to save the city from the forces of the Ninth Century.

Clinton announced the intervention that morning on American television, explaining the limited goals and cautionary measures. This launched a further stock sell-off but a swell in popular support as his approval ratings reached 55%. The NSF states were both outraged but knew that going after America was suicide, especially since America technically wasn’t after them. If anything it would put the heat off of them. Both swore that the first American bullet to hit a Russian soldier would commence World War 3, but they were content to let the Americans try and deal with the mess of the Caucasus. Unfortunately for the Russians, Chechnya was considerably easier for the Americans given the fact the locals actually supported them. Chechens were extremely independent-minded and were horrified at the thought of being swallowed into an Emirate based in Dagestan, even if it was run by a Chechen like Basayev. As the 101st Airborne landed in the Chechen capital, they made quick work of the exhausted Islamist detachments. On July 4th, the capital was declared secure and the American army was now present on every street of the city, an independence day for both the inhabitants and visitors. The Ichkerian and American flag flew side-by-side from the roof of the Presidential Palace that had been burned in the mind of every American for over a year since they first found out that a place called Chechnya even existed. It was also a gigantic boost for Clinton’s approval ratings, rocketing to 65%.

The Emirate was, of course, furious. Basayev called America a greater monster than Russia and that the Emirate would not rest until the whole of the Caucasus would kneel to Islam’s sword. But Basayev was not the most ardent Anti-American actor in the young state. Indeed perhaps the most wanted was the infamous Al-Qaeda leader Bin Laden. He was encouraged by the direction the Muslim world was taking, especially after the Tajikistani Civil War finally concluded which effectively turned Tajikistan into an extension of Afghanistan. Al Qaeda had played an outsized role in pushing the Tajik government once the Russians had left, turning the country into a lawless hellstate like their southern neighbor. The Taliban, a collection of particularly radical Islamist fighters, had almost completely taken over the Afghan state, funded to the hilt by Pakistan. At the same time, the Algerian Civil War continued to rage, with the French asking for a relatively high amount of Russians to make sure they had an excuse as to not bring in a large amount of Algerians. It seemed that the forces of Islamism were slowly overthrowing the Islamic world’s resident overlords, and Bin Laden had bigger plans still. Regarding America as his primary enemy, even greater than Israel, he dreamed of its ultimate destruction and felt the war in Russia was the ultimate chance to accomplish it. He believed that if the West and Russia could be forced into a strategic exchange, the resulting annihilation would not only leave Israel’s population easy prey for extermination but end the corrupting secularising influence of the West in the Islamic World. As the Islamic world would be mostly ignored in the nuclear obliteration, only China at that point would have been a potential enemy of the final victory of the Black Flag, assuming they didn’t get obliterated in the carnage as well. Bin Laden was certain that by the year 2000 that Islam would be the only relevant religion and ideology left in existence, not by persuasion, or even by sword, but by the mushroom cloud.

The ensuing weeks would not be as pleasant as the sexy arrival. The woods and mountains of the Caucasus were murderous at the best of times, and the Americans found themselves having to deploy more men and accept more losses than they usually would. However, it was quite helpful to exterminate so many wanted terrorists who were popping up like gophers in the Ichkerian countryside. Among the more famous incidents, Ramzan Kadyrov, infamous for his sadistic executions of Russian and later Ichkerian prisoners of war, would be killed twenty miles behind the front lines filming a Jihadi VHS video where he pretended he was shooting American soldiers. The footage of the fake fighting, including the tomahawk missile strike falling on top of them, was all recorded and mercifully preserved. Abu al-Walid, an Arab volunteer for the Islamists, had his position overrun by American troops, and deciding to take his life in martyrdom would undo two grenades and charged the American troops, only to slip to the ground and blow off everything north of his torso without any of the Americans getting hurt. Zemimkhan Vandarbiyev, perhaps the most senior member of Dudayev’s government to turn on him, would meet his end in perhaps the most embarrassing way of them all. While conversing with Islamist fighters inside Dagestan at a weapon’s distribution point, one of the terrorists just beside him accidentally dropped a mine, killing five people, including Vandarbiyev. [2] American intelligence worked out very quickly what was going on, while the Emirate said he had died ‘the way of the martyr’.

But these amusing fates would not give the Americans what they wanted in Ichkeria. As American troops declared the whole country 'secure' by August 3rd, not only were Islamists continuing to sneak into the country to wreak random acts of terror, but Bin Laden was calling his contacts: including and especially those in Anpilov's Russia.

Extract from ‘The Bells of Vladivostok’ by Anya Desmond

The FEK was perhaps the most unlikely state to have come into existence from the Civil War, a case of the wrong person in the right place hijacking what could easily have been a Social Democrat breakaway into a bizarre Orthodox-themed semi-Israel. Aksyuchits had pulled off an impossible victory that assured the existence of his dream of an Orthodox Christian state. After North Korea had found itself on the receiving end of China’s ‘corrective discipline’, the FEK now faced a decision about it’s future movements. The main issue was trying to fulfill their territorial claims which encompassed the entirety of the territory claimed by the former Far Eastern Republic during the first civil war. Aksyuchits concluded that it would be best to prioritise the Chinese border due to fears the Chinese would want to press their influence into the space where Russia used to be. From there, the goal would be Chiba, and then hopefully a meeting with Lebed’s Siberian forces, with whom Aksyuchits had a cool but cooperative relationship. At the same time, they would land troops in the major cities of the Pacific Coast to restore order and provide food. But in order to do that, they needed money and guns, both of which were thin on the ground in Vladivostok. Fortunately for the FEK, they had two extremely willing partners: Japan and South Korea, the former for money, the latter for guns.

Japan’s cooperation was almost taken for granted, due to the role they had played in helping the Pacific Fleet save Vladivostok. While like Lebed, there was discussion about rights to natural resources, the FEK decided to give the Japanese a more tantalising prize: the return of the four disputed Kurile Islands and the renunciation of their claim. For the South Koreans, they were desperate to show some level of disdain against China for officially occupying Korean territory, comparing their actions to Imperial Japan despite their enmity with the Kims. To this end, South Korea was offered the former island of Noktundo along the North Korean border, the location where Korean legend Yi Sun-sin did battle, all in return for South Korea’s military aid. This was an extremely complicated issue, because the Japanese and Korean government would have to recognise the authority of the FEK over the Kuriles and Noktundo, which it officially didn’t since it only recognised the Kaliningrad government of Nemtsov. Nemtsov was dragged into the situation almost immediately after his coming to power, demanding his own aid money if the territories were going to be handed over. Clinton was flustered about the rift between his Pacific partners and Kaliningrad and tried to mend it peacefully behind the scenes.

Ironically, it would be Clinton’s own intervention into Ichkeria that convinced Seoul and Tokyo (as well as Nemtsov) that no one truly cared about Kaliningrad anymore. Clinton had given Nemstov a phone call just the day before to merely tell him the intervention was going ahead and that he wasn’t going to stop it. Nemtsov felt humiliated that such an event could happen so early in his term and realised how dependent he was on the West. Reluctantly, Nemstov returned to the negotiation table and agreed to surrender his claims on Noktundo and the Kuriles while still not recognising the FEK on July 18th 1995. Among the more eye-catching features of the deal was the transfer of a number of Pacific Fleet warships to the Baltic (whose voyage would mercifully be less tumultuous than the Baltic-Pacific passage of the Russo-Japanese War), as well as technical training and upkeep for the Baltic Navy performed by Japanese professionals. According to legend when the first Japanese advisor saw the state of one of the Baltic Fleet’s ships he threw up on the deck. With Kaliningrad signing off the Kuriles and Noktundo (to the propaganda coup of Petrograd and Stalingrad, as well as the embarrassed silence of Siberia), Japanese money and Korean guns. The angriest party in all of this was China, who now had to contend with South Korean troops along the northern border of North Korea, and an FEK army that could pack a serious punch. Locals in the Kuriles and Noktundo were given compensation packages if they wanted to leave, which many took if only in return for money for consistent food. The Kurile Islands in particular were soon a tense mix of Russians and many Japanese returning to their homes after the expulsion from World War 2. By 2020, however, the Russian population has dwindled and the island is overwhelmingly Japanese by race. A similar story prevails in Noktundo

The FEK’s relationship with Japan and the ROK would only grow from there, and Vladivostok remains extremely close to Tokyo and Seoul even today. Cut off from Europe, the Far Easterners would slowly grow to see themselves as White people who were native to Asia. This sense of difference would reinforce social conservatism and strengthen the need to be pragmatic in their alliances. As a happy coincidence, Tokyo and Seoul’s relationship would significantly improve in coming years due to the mediation of Vladivostok in all their disputes. As their mutual common enemy of China would go from an abstract to a direct threat given their occupation of North Korea, Japan, and South Korea would gradually have a reconciliation. It was made manifest in Vladivostok in 2001 just before the World Cup began, as the two signed an agreement giving the Dokdo Island formally to Korea while the Comfort Women of World War 2 were suitably but quietly compensated. The Treaty of Vladivostok is considered a watershed moment in Asian history as a result, in many ways the moment Korea and Japan put aside all their historical differences to face the common enemy. In the pop culture sphere, the ‘cute and pure blonde Orthodox foreign-exchange girl’ has become one of the anime medium’s many bizarrely specific tropes (somehow or another usually ending up in Kabuchiko with zany consequences), and Slavic models from just next door regularly grace the catwalks of Tokyo and Seoul (usually being more provocative given the more restrictive rules in their home country).

The Pacific Fleet loaded up their guns and put food in their stores in June, as they prepared to liberate the cities of the Pacific Coast. On the same day that the Americans landed in Salza-Gola, Sakhalin Island was liberated from semi-anarchy by FEK troops. On July 1st, Magadan and the surrounding towns were liberated from destitution and starvation, with the city at less than half of its pre-implosion size due to starvation and others desperately looking for food and looking for it in the countryside. This was when many of the first rumors about the new regime in Sakha started getting spread around, with many completely contradictory. Some talked rumours of human sacrifices, others of mass cannibalism, but no one had any proof as to what was going on or any second witness who could testify to the same thing. None of the phone lines were working, no radio messages were coming out of the region and many of the people who went looking supposedly never came back. As Magadan was reacquainted with outside supplies, thousands of near-skeletons began pouring into the city as a lifeline, but still no clear idea as to what was going on in Sakha. Finally, exasperated, the FEK would fly a reconnaissance plane from one of the decrepit aircraft carriers still in service in the fleet and sent them to look over the region to report what they saw in the cities. The report came back that there were no cars on the roads, no obvious collections of people, and the cities were dark at night. The main cities were all essentially intact, with one consistent exception: the churches were destroyed. At the same time, they did see a number of fires and lights inside forests and fields that did indeed look like human activity, reassuring some of the pessimists who feared a mass ritual suicide. At the same time the FEK still lacked the ability to go deep into Siberian territory, also focussed on securing the coast. Kamchatka would be totally seized by July 29th, with the entirety of the Pacific Coast of former Russia now de facto controlled by Vladivostok.

Extract from 'One Soldier’s War in Russia' by Arkady Babchenko

The third time. The third time we’d tried to break into the centre of Moscow after crossing the river, and the third time we’d failed. I was just referring to my own group; God knows how many attempts had been made up and down the river. I barely swam across the river back to our guys after our pontoon was smashed by a shell just as I was about to get on - one of the cadavers I was swimming past helpfully blocked a shot coming from the north side. I could taste his blood draining from his body in my mouth as I swam by him, then past the intestines of the guy who was unlucky enough to be three seconds ahead of me in the retreat. My hands were entangled in his intestines while he screamed on the edge of the pontoon. Emerging back on the other side, I slipped on the pathway, falling onto the blood-moist pavement. After another person ran over me, I desperately clawed my way back to my feet to ensure I wasn’t crushed, though thankfully most of the people fleeing behind me were already dead and I was spared again. I could hear Commissar Vladimir ordering us back, who had been lucky enough to be six seconds ahead of me instead of three. One can’t accuse him of cowardice for this, as Soviet custom says that when a Commisar shoots he must always shoot a man in the back.

The basic result was that I lost my gun and ammunition. This was fine, as you could pick up an AK from one of the plentiful corpses, though you’d usually have to fish around for ammunition. This was annoying since my former AK had been a week’s work, but given that I’d lost count of the AKs used at this point it didn’t matter. I had given up all hope of being rotated or any of that nonsense. To me there was no life before the Battle of ‘Moscow’, or as it should be known, ‘The Battle of the Rubble of Moscow’. There was no home, family, even me that did not exist in this hellscape. I had a better imagination and grasp of the sensation of being dead than the sensation of being away from the war. I hoped and prayed that I was worthless, because the thought that my inevitable death would lead to the loss of something irreplaceable in this world was disconcerting. Far better to believe that I was precisely as worthless as my surroundings had led me to believe. I mattered as much as that chunk of rubble, that spent casing, that torn pavement. I looked at apartment blocks that had been blasted across several blocks when they were directly struck by a barrage of artillery to crush the people both within and below. Some of the corpses from December were still trapped there, rotting in the ruins of what had once been the centre of the world. I could smell them even from the street.

Within five minutes of retreating back across the river, my heart rate was normal as the war had grown increasingly normal. I walked back to our base, which despite the roads often getting torn up and seemingly completely rearranged every week, could always be known to be close by the familiar crack of the executioners’ rifles. I had stopped even trying to make friends with my ‘comrades’, since one of us would probably be dead before we remembered each other’s name. Three of the ten people I’d been with at the meeting with Vladimir in the basement were now dead, those being the lucky ones. Two of the others were now amputees and expected to be put back into duty in the coming weeks while the others like me had completely lost their morality, minds and souls. We watched ‘deserters’ and ‘insubordinates’ at the back of the camp as they were killed. It became something to do when there was nothing to do. Some cried and fell to their knees, some screamed ‘wait!’ or ‘please!’ at the last second, and many just stared blankly as they stared into the darkness of the rifle barrel, or felt the cold of the pistol on the back of their heads. I knew for a fact if I was put in their positions it would have been that silence, given I’d seen certain death many times before and was used to it. It seemed I was cursed to survive every time.

These executions had been ordered by Commander Surovikin. He was quite famous among the troops as he was repeatedly praised by the Red press for having flattened democracy protests with his tanks during the August Emergency of 1991. If only he’d crushed a few thousand more, they said, and then we could have returned to the glory days of Stalin. He’d used his position to great effect, with a face as ugly as his soul. He had beaten a teenage conscript to death in front of me with his pistol while bullying another so mercilessly that he committed suicide - a fact he was proud of and got him praise in the press too. [3] Obviously, the sort of person you wanted to follow. Why didn’t the Americans do this? They didn’t ritualistically sodomize, rape and torture their own troops, and look at how pathetic their results were! They only captured Grozny in a single day after we’d lost thousands! The only thing that gave me joy was knowing that due to his growing popularity, he would inevitably be hanged in public in Stalingrad for being a Nazi Zionist Tatar spy.

Beside me was a Tatar woman about my age in a Red Army uniform, staring down at the ground in miserable depression. The black eye and clearly bitten lip was for all intents and purposes claimed property of at least one of the battalion. Ever since the army had reopened to women like in the days of the Patriotic War, it was a fucking horror show. Unlike us, the women were volunteers and had often never heard of what the culture of the army had been since the 60s. They thought it would be like the days of the Great Patriotic War, or at least, the war they showed us in those bullshit propaganda films. The army had suffered from a pandemic of abuse and rape of the younger males in the service for decades - the women had no idea what was coming. Unless they essentially became the property of one of the officers, she was considered free game to the entire battalion, and once they signed up there was no signing out. Not a single one of the female volunteers at our base looked anything but traumatised and miserable. No one even noticed anymore. We were all going to die here anyway, and the surroundings had proven there was no God to give out punishment and reward after death. Hope was scarcer than friendship.

Every soldier feared rape, man or woman, boys too. But the ethnic minority women were particularly vulnerable, since they knew they were dead if the Fascists took them and consequently volunteered to fight to survive, only to be picked out and even traded between the commanders to be abused. I immediately knew that there was nothing I could do for her. If I spoke up, I’d die. If I killed her abuser, I’d die (maybe my family too) and then she’d get transferred to another commander who would do the same thing. If we tried to run, we’d either be caught by the Reds and shot for being cowards, caught by the Fascists and shot for being subhumans and race-mixers (the RNU was compared to the Nashis a more certain but quicker death), or most likely starve in agony in the Russian countryside to be eaten by passers by. There was no escape, except in death. All roads lead to death, with alternating amounts of agony on the way.

As Vladimir sat beside me on my other side, he once again started cleaning his pistol.

“Strong progress today, comrade,” he said without using my name because he never remembered any of our expendable names. “We made it a block farther than before. Next time we’ll build a stable bridgehead and begin the push into the centre of Moscow.”

I nodded emotionlessly. If he had told me he fucked my mother and shat in her mouth, I would have made the same reaction.

“This is a great time in our history to be alive,” he continued. “We were born too late to have rode with Nevsky upon the ice, or to charge across the fields at the glorious defeat of Borodino, or to have stormed the Reichstag in 1945, but we were alive in time to save Moscow from the Fascists again. We will get to be a part of the great history of Russian civilization.”

Part of? The only thing we were part of was its downfall, its annihilation, its departure from humanity. I wondered, thinking of the slaughter and rape of everyone from toddlers to old women born in the 1800s that I’d seen in this hellish shithole, whether there would be a single human being left alive in Russia by 2000? Certainly no one left here would be fit to participate in human civilisation, myself more so than anyone else. Alexander the Empty-space Conqueror, the Jesus-Freaks, even Nemtsov might take the place back before the locals remember he’s a Jew, but would there be anything worth taking back? Not just of worth but at all? Apart from those still barely living as emaciated shadows of their former selves, shuddering in the rubble of strangers’ abandoned homes, arms laced with their own bite marks? The only hope of ‘Russian Civilisation’ was hundreds of miles from us. It now existed in the young child refugees, of whom the last parts of my soul prayed would barely remember this portal to hell. They were Russia’s last hope, and as I saw trembling and frightened boys who’d probably never even had their first kiss huddle in the corners of the camp before the commanders beat them half to death and shove their bleeding and bruised bodies into the firing line, I wished that if they ever came back, it would be to exact revenge on all the monsters of this war, even if that included me.

“You will remember these days as the time of your life, comrade,” Vladimir told me without looking at me. “I was made in the USSR, you will be made in the Russian Soviet Republic, but your children will be made in the USSR as well.”

For the first time that day, I felt truly disgusted. Of all the sins I could possibly commit in this war, there would be no evil worse than to bring a child into this inferno. To not show an emotion that would lead to my brain leaking through my blasted skull in the nearby gutter, I thought about the other line: ‘Made in the USSR.’ What a line. In fact, this whole war, this whole society truly was the embodiment of the Soviet Union. As I looked all around the site of executed bodies on the ground, trafficking victims with the marks of their abusers amidst destroyed buildings and a grey, poisoned sky, I saw Vladimir continue to clean his pistol as if this was the most normal thing in the world. This is what it was to be made in the USSR: the indifference to individual life. His life didn’t matter, her life didn’t matter, even the kids didn’t matter. We were nothing but numbers on a page, a digit in a calculator, a raw ingredient no more intrinsically meaningful than a grain of sand. We surrendered our rights in return for a utopia in 1917, and then when there was no utopia, we didn’t get our rights back. The West had it wrong. They thought Communism was an economic thing. They thought it was Communism vs Capitalism, and that once you removed the Communist economy the love of democracy would arise in their place. But they were wrong. Communism was not economic, or even political, it was philosophical; a philosophy of worthlessness. Of my worthlessness. Of my father’s worthlessness, my mother’s worthlessness. We were not negatives that had to be obliterated, as the Fascists believed of the ones they termed subhumans, but we were all equally worthless, the simplest (and perhaps only) form of equality it is possible to achieve. It had manifested in all the Vranyo [lies] we told each other at work, school and the army. The lines we jumped, the bribes we paid, the utter difference to whether anyone outside our family lived or died because our families were having a hard enough time living or dying. This was the fruit of a lifetime of Communism: an incurably corrupt, backstabbing and dishonest culture, whose acolytes robbed its children of their innocence, preying upon and corrupting them, reproducing like vampires.

And yet as I pondered this, I pondered if there was something else in this world. I began to get a notion that felt like the me of many years ago may have believed once. The notion that I, me, was not just a piece of worthless meat to be blasted to pieces in suicide charges that only existed to show the Politburo that we weren’t just sitting around and jerking off. The notion that neither me nor the girl I sat beside deserved to be beaten and raped in the bombed-out latrines beside a mound of corpses in the pile of rubble formerly known as Moscow. The notion that there was something wrong, objectively wrong, with the joy of suffering and pain. Indeed, it was the notion that there was something in me that was beautiful, eternal, and that mattered. That in her was something that was beautiful, eternal and mattered. The notion that I could love, could be loved, and that there was something that was important in the concept of ‘love’ at all. The notion that beauty was real, and that just perhaps, I could find it.

I looked at the bodies, the misery, the rubble.


Nothing at all.

Maybe the Communists were right. Maybe I was made in the USSR too.

“Oh, yes, comrade?” said Vladimir, the subject finally serious enough to raise his eyes from cleaning his pistol, “I’ll need your help bringing in some boxes later today. Though it goes without saying the contents are a state secret, you’ll be given a protective suit. Make sure not to drop it, otherwise you’ll kill more people than just yourself.”

[1] - An amusing person to read up on. Despite the pleasant and friendly stadium-vibe of the song in question, it is not a ‘peace and brotherhood’ song, but as you read about the singer you realise it’s very much a ‘we own you’ song. Gazmanov is famous for being one of the most imperialistic performers in Russia (going as far as to do concerts in support of the ‘SMO’, for which he is under EU sanction), having made songs that are so imperialistic that it almost resembles Starship Troopers. He frequently does performances in military uniform despite the fact he skipped service in a country with ‘mandatory’ military enlistment - given BTS paused to do their service in South Korea, they are genuinely more masculine than he is.

[2] This is how Basayev died OTL. An anticlimactic but fittingly unheroic end to the man who committed Beslan.

[3] He actually did this.

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Do the Russians Want War?

Extract from ‘The Unstoppable Tragedy: The Second Russian Civil War’ by Peter Hodges

Enjoying the brief and doomed Russian Summer, Rokhlin’s forces trudged through the subArctic as June turned to July, onwards to Urengoy. They stood at the top of the great Eurasian landmass, having marched almost from Kazakhstan. They had seen more of Russia in their one trip than most Russians ever would in their lifetimes. Even the most traveled Russians knew little of the unfathomable size and maddening emptiness of Siberia. Like the first Slavic settlers who came here hundreds of years before, Rokhlin’s forces had to travel almost entirely on foot. Despite their supply situation being as good as it could be, with Western ships even going as far as to deliver food from over the Kara Sea, the mental strain on the troops had been intense. One veteran of Roklin’s March remembered ‘I never thought I would prefer combat, but to go day after day, maybe seeing a new town every week and finding the same story told in different ways, of starvation, madness and killings, I was desperate to find someone to blame for this. Someone to kill. But in Siberia, there was no drama, only tragedy and loneliness.” Others fell in love with Siberia, seeing the relative calm and tranquility of the countryside to be a beautiful contrast to the industrialized slaughter west of the Urals. “I couldn’t help but feel,” said another, “that we had found the true home of the Russians. That it wasn’t in the imitations of Europe of St. Petersburg, or the industrial prisons of Chelyabinsk, but in the wilds of Siberia, where humans had forgotten.”

Rokhlin’s movements had still been fantastic news for Lebed’s forces, cemented on July 14th, when the Executive Outcomes (EO) mercenary group seized the city of Surgut. Hiring mercenaries was initially controversial among Lebed’s advisors, who feared it would make him look like a foreign puppet. However, Lebed was insured against this by being a hero to Russian nationalists and thus given some benefit of the doubt. The second was that it helped give him a propaganda victory by ruling out conscription among his territory, which was great for stability and reducing tensions with refugees who feared they’d be shipped in to be sent off to die in the Siberian woods. Among one of the unexpected benefits of having a South African mercenary squad was that when the NSF loyalists saw Black soldiers they often ran in terror because they thought the Americans had arrived. The city of Surgut was already in the midst of a civil conflict between the NSF loyalists and the mafia, whose alliance had broken down as the mercenaries began moving in. Playing on the ignorance of the two parties, EO managed to send in infiltrators to the city to see where the strategic gateways were located. The local combatants thought that EO’s troops were primarily South African, but actually despite being a South African firm, the group had recruited a significant number of people from Ex-Communist European states. Many were trying to escape the poverty that fell upon them after the USSR’s collapse - given that EO was promising a $3k a month salary, one can see why it was appealing to East Europeans mired in poverty. Others had gotten a thrill from war that they’d never known anywhere else. Some had ironically fought the South Africans in Angola as advisors to the local Communist government and were now fighting alongside some of the people who fought in the Apartheid army. Others had served in Afghanistan or fought in Nagorno-Karabakh. Using their experience and organisation, they seized the chokepoints and sent in the main army, which included tanks found in storage around Tomsk. Surgut was taken in a single day. Its capture would prove particularly helpful as Surgut was the biggest port along the Ob, and most importantly the ‘Oil Capital of Russia’. As Rokhlin had cleared out the Ob, there was now a clear route out to open water. Lebed liquidated any ownership of the oil production facilities, almost invariably NSF cronies who were often liquidated themselves, and started dishing shares out to his Western backers. Lebed had carried out his end of the deal, and now his backers knew he was the real deal, as well as EO. The amount of money the firm was making due to the operation made them almost ‘too big to fail’, and despite the history of the firm, the bribe money it could now pay out ensured they had more than enough friends inside the new ANC government to ensure the firm’s survival. Executive Outcomes’s founder Eeben Barlow even sat close to Mandela himself at South Africa’s victory in the Rugby World Cup Final that June. EO would quickly grow to be the world’s largest private military contractor, working everywhere from Colombia to New Guinea.

Further mercenary work was afoot in Novosibirsk, where a former member of the KGB’s crack Alpha Group Viktor Karpukhin had been called for business by EO. Famous and infamous for his work in Afghanistan in killing the Soviet Puppet President Amin after he’d outlived his usefulness and gaining Hero of the Soviet Union status, EO told Karpukhin that they’d been hired out by Western governments to find one of only two surviving Smallpox samples in the world, hidden in Koltsovo in Novosibirsk and destroy it before it spread and reintroduced Smallpox to the world. Unsure about EO or Western governments but believing in Lebed, Karpukhin called up fellow retired Alpha Group veterans in Belarus, Ukraine and Lebed’s Russia to go on one last mission. Landing in the dead of night in June, the group showed why they were the Soviet Union’s finest, slaying their former (or sometimes even current) countrymen as nonchalantly as they did to the Afghans. In the meantime, the nearby NSF paramilitary force that kept order in the town was attacked by a separate group of mercenaries, led by one of the most legendary fighters on Earth. Swashbuckling French mercenary ‘The Warrior King’ Bob Denard, whose exploits in Africa were so vast that no one book could contain them (though getting shot through the head after running into North Koreans in Benin after trying to storm the presidential palace and surviving while marrying the woman who nursed him deserves highlight), had pulled every contact he had to join the most monumental war since WW2. A man built for war, he laughed maniacally as they came under fire from the paramilitaries. His comrades were his admirers and friends from the French special services, many less than half his age, who found themselves laughing alongside him. As Karpukhin grabbed the sample and told headquarters that the mission was a success, they headed back to the helicopter. Everyone in Denard’s group returned except for Denard himself. For a few minutes they waited, as paramilitaries began to swarm the chopper’s location and the craft was forced to deploy miniguns to defend itself, the sample itself grazed by a paramilitary bullet. Finally, just as the helicopter was about to leave, Denard waddled back with two wounds to his legs, getting out successfully in what would be his last mission. When asked why he had taken so long, he explained that he saw the town’s main Lenin bust and went there to destroy it since ‘I’ve fought that fucker all my life’, causing a delay in his return. Regardless, the sample was appropriately destroyed, and the world’s governments breathed a sigh of relief that Smallpox would remain dead.

Rokhlin by contrast had those true to Lebed’s flags, with almost no mercenaries whatsoever. They followed the Tiger Flag of Siberia, Lebed’s attempt to build a Siberian powerbase that he hoped to use to eventually take over the rest of Russia. Their first major challenge would be Urengoy, a city completely in the hands of the Mafia. The NSF officials' decaying, often decapitated bodies had been deposited on the road to Novy Urengoy as a warning. Despite this, Rokhlin had no choice but to keep going. Finally, on July 13th, he met a representative of the Bratva (Mafia) in the town of Pangody. They attempted to sell their loyalties to the Siberian government in return for their keeping their seats of authority in the gas factories of Urengoy to continue making unimaginable profits for the rest of their lives. Rokhlin responded by grabbing the representative, beating him with his pistol and personally dragging him to the local jail. ‘We are not dealing with soldiers, paramilitaries, or even terrorists,” he told his men that night, “only criminals. And in the new Russia, we won’t have criminals, let alone be ruled by them!” Fired up by their first chance of serious combat, Rokhlin’s forces battled the Mafia’s northern kingdom, clearing out the cities of Novy Urengoy and Urengoy by the end of July to surprisingly high casualties - the Mafia were no fools. At the same time, the Mafia ultimately decided not to blow up the gas fields, saying it would ‘violate business ethnics’. What ethics could allow the summary execution of resistors to their rule but keep their property intact was a mystery to all observers, but it at least made the Mafia seem one of the saner parties in Russia at the time. Rokhlin also made himself look reasonable, throwing the Mafia leaders into jail rather than give them summary executions, as he and Lebed did for the NSF’s leadership if they didn’t heed the first warning to surrender.

Their next and most important location was incoming: Norilsk. Norilsk was the world’s most important producer of nickel, and reopening it to the wider world would mean global economic relief, if however small. To get there they needed to go through the port of Dudinka, which was Norilsk’s lifeline to the outer world. However, the Winter was already closing in closer than many would like, and Lebed’s backers wanted Norilsk back online as soon as possible. Understanding the seriousness of the situation, Viktor Karpukhin was given his next job in tandem with Rokhlin, the idea being to bypass Dudinka by the only means available: air. The pair would plan an air assault into Norilsk, with Karpukhin seizing the Norilsk airfield and Rokhlin’s men landing their planes in the captured field top overwhelm the support. This was a borderline suicide mission; if they failed they would be completely cut off and executed by the mafiosa who ran the town, but Lebed’s backers demanded results, so away it went. On August 21st 1995, the Alpha Group, engulfed amidst the Aurora Borealis, stealthily swept across the sky toward the Arctic town of Norilsk. Unfortunately for them, the Aurora had blown their cover earlier than anticipated, causing a full-fledged firefight between the Alpha Group and the Mafia at Norilsk airport. In the ensuing battle, half of the Alpha Group would perish, but not without taking several times as many casualties on the mafiosa. Knowing it was now or never, Rokhlin ordered the planes to land at the airport, despite there still being a firefight. Under heavy fire, the planes descended onto the airport, running over some of the Mafiosa on the runway. One of the transport planes lost an engine after a rocket strike on the way down and fell upon the control tower, ironically wiping out most of the Mafiosa on scene. Disembarking, the Siberian forces quickly overwhelmed the Mafia, their heavy weapons able to quickly bring the situation to heel. Karpukhin himself was hit by the Mafia and would slowly bleed out at the airport. He died staring at the peaceful green and blue of the Aurora above him, while the orange and red flames of war tore the airport to shreds beside him.

Norilsk would be cleared in the next few days, as resisting Mafiosa that retreated into the mines simply had the routes behind them shut, entombing them alive. The starvation was, to quote Rokhlin, “Enough to horrify any country in Africa”. The reason so many Mafiosa existed in the town was that it was simply the only way to be sure of food - even then not being a guarantee. As one survivor recalled, “If you were a man and you didn’t join the Mafia, you probably starved. If you were a woman and you didn’t prostitute yourself for food, you also probably starved - they didn’t even prostitute for money, literally just crumbs of bread in some cases. If you were a kid, you just starved. The Mafia would punish theft of their food by slowly forcefeeding people’s own body parts to them. They’d start with cutting off your ears then put it on a plate saying they’d shoot your family if you didn’t eat it, next were your fingers, toes, until you’d die from sheer pain.” [1] The fact that so many were in the Mafia in Norilsk forced some level of amnesty among the population. On August 24th, the city of Dudinka announced their surrender to the Siberian government, the local Mafiosa having been promised a lenient jail term in return for ensuring the railway from Norilsk was intact. Threats of blackmail against Kaliningrad officials increased Western pressure on Lebed to make the deal. With Dudinka’s liberation, commercial ships with PMC support began to load the nickel of Norilsk upon their ships in the next few weeks, cut quickly short by Winter, though the airport took up the slack in terms of transferring raw goods. By the end of September, the entirety of the Yenesei River up to the Arctic and down to Igarka was in Lebed’s hands. At the same time, the entirety of the Yamalo-Nenets and Khanty Mansi regions were declared secure, as most of the local towns had seen the writing on the wall and declared themselves for Lebed, killing or imprisoning their local NSF officials. Order was slowly but surely returning to Siberia, despite the indescribable famine that had fallen upon the region that had already left millions dead. That September also saw Lebed begin his latest push to the east, following the route of the BAM all the way to the Pacific, now pouring his troops over the Tom River to battle both the NSF loyalists and the separatists on the other side. The next stop on the way was Krasnoyarsk. However, the separatists were not about to go into the night, as Tuvan troops under Shoigu began to prepare for the next conflagration in Russia. At the same time, the Mongolians finally decided the time to make a move in Buryat was now.

Extract from ‘One Soldier’s War in Russia’ by Arkady Babchenko


I know someone’s going to die. I don’t even care anymore. I was so used to it that morality didn’t even enter the picture for me. Whoever was going to die deserved it as much as the last few thousand corpses I’d seen - if I tried to intervene, the only change would be that Vladimir shot me as well.

Vladimir turned with deliberate eyes, as motivated in his job as the day I first saw him.

“Yes, Comrade?

“We caught this man trying to desert.”

They dragged in the sorriest sight I’d seen that day - a man so old that he could barely walk. He had false teeth, spectacles and a quivering body. Only his eyes seemed capable of quick movement.

Vladimir turned his gaze to the deserter the same way he faced Surovikin and me - with absolute coldness. I’d never seen Vladimir get mad, nor even heard it. I’d heard all sorts of rumours about Surovikin above what I’d known for a fact - that he’d raped a woman and strangled her to death in Chechnya, that he’d permanently crippled a subordinate officer by beating him close to death with a wooden chair, and many more. [2] Vladimir was somehow scarier because he didn’t get mad, or ruthless, he simply shot people through the head as nonchalantly as if he was putting his socks on.

“Is this true, comrade?”

The old man looked down despondently.

“I’m sorry, Commisar, I can’t do it again. I already fought in the First Great Patriotic War, I cannot fight the Second.”

“Ah?” said the Commissar. “A veteran of the war against Hitler?”

“Yes, sir. I fought so that the Russian people would live. I fought that our children, no, all the children of the world would never have to know what war was again. I fought to keep Russia safe and free. Seeing this country destroyed by Fascism again, I just had to help, but …”


“These are Russians, sir. I know they are Fascists, I know we have to win, but to kill my fellow countrymen, to kill the kids that I told myself all my life were alive because of what me and my friends did, the kids that I took joy in knowing for years of my life would never go through what I did. I told my children, and my grandchildren that we could never have a war in Russia again. Not a land war, not a nuclear war, no war. But I’m here. Like I’ve been dragged inside a nightmare. Like my grandchildren have been plunged into a nightmare. I can’t stand it. I can’t stand knowing all the work I did, my friends who died, the lives that were lost, that it was all in vain. Moscow is gone. The Fascists run Leningrad after we starved for a thousand days to make sure they’d never have it for one. The Union is gone. Ukraine and Belarus are gone. Even Siberia is gone. Why did we even bother fight Hitler if this was what it would all come to anyway? Why? Why?! Do the Russians really want war after -?”

Vladimir shot the old man in the head. He had survived Hitler, Stalin, the Cold War, even Barkashov, but the one who would finally kill him would be some middling KGB goon who would forget the old man’s existence by the end of the day.

Still holding the now cadaver, the two horrified men that were perhaps a quarter, maybe a fifth, of the old man’s age had evidently not been on the battlefield long. A part of me wondered why they were so upset, given that when they inevitably died in a few days or weeks they wouldn’t remember it.

Sensing that this execution required at least some further justification, Vladimir turned and looked around all men present.

“Soldiers of the Soviet Republic, it’s an entirely unfortunate event, what just happened. This man was a hero, who fought bravely in the First Great Patriotic War. Yet when duty calls, it does not discriminate. All must serve the motherland, no matter how tired or unable you feel you are. Just because you served your country once does not preclude you from serving it again. You may indeed have to fight future wars as well. Perhaps against the Fascists in Belarus and Ukraine, or the West itself. You will need to stay as firm as today, for all the days of your life. You must never fall for the sentimentality that the veterans of the first Great Patriotic War did. That is just the weakness that got us to this point. The Russians must always want war, whether they like it or not. We will never be liked, but we can always be feared. And we’ll never be feared if we keep singing ‘Do the Russians want War?’ - I’d sooner have you sing the songs of enemies. They’ll be our friends one day, but a traitor can never be anything but a traitor. If we shoot every enemy but let the traitors go, we will lose. If we shoot every traitor, then no enemy will matter. We will only win this war if peace is not an option.”

I zoned out. I cared even less than usual. I didn’t even care at all anymore. After I’d realised what the shipment they brought into the warzone was, I stopped wondering about what would be left of Russia by the end of this war, and simply accepted that there would be nothing. The war was about to escalate again - I already knew the ending.

As I zoned out, the memory slowly swirled at the back of my mind. How did that song go again?

“Not only at their country’s call
did Russian soldiers fight and fall;
they died that men from ev’ry shore
might live without the fear of war.

Ask those who fought, and those erased,
ask those who at the Elbe you embraced.
These monuments are only for
to show if Russians long for war.”

I was grateful I was already so dead inside, that I could not feel the pain of knowing how fucking far we’d fallen. How we’d let down everyone who died in that war, and all those who survived it. How we let down the armless, legless survivors who came to our schools to show us what war meant. They showed their limp sleeves where their arms should have been with bright smiles on their faces because they were happy their suffering was given meaning. And we’d flushed that meaning down the toilet. The classrooms they warned us in were probably already a hole of shattered glass and brick. If any of our children survived this conflict, I hoped they’d never forgive us.


Whether you felt the night or the day was better in what was once Moscow was up to you. Some preferred not tripping all over the place, often over corpses. Some were simply grateful not to see the corpses. Unfortunately, when the flares soared into the sky, you could still see all the corpses, more accurately what was left of them. Bodies without heads and heads without bodies. Limbs dangling from barbed wire and the only form of life being the worms and insects that crawled through where their eyes used to be to devour these barely pubescent boys, from the inside out. You often heard jokes about worm food, but no one joked when they saw what it meant right in front of them. It made me hate the Fascists even more, as those were their flares.

It was their turn for an assault, which they’d prepared for by flattening the bricks on our side of the river to powder, since there were no buildings left to shell. Hiding in the mangled trenches and sewers, sometimes literally up to our knees in human shit, we simply deduced their distance from the sound of their roars. We didn’t dare look - even to try stick a periscope over the trench was near certain death. The only relief was that the gas masks were helping keep out the smell somewhat. Of course, they’d be no use against nerve agents, but I didn’t particularly care at this point. I had long since accepted and actively preferred some form of death to facing this indescribable calamity every day. I had no reason to be alive. No sweetheart at home. No dreams of fatherhood. Nothing. My will to live had been stripped to the bone, that bone simply being the instinctive movements one takes without thinking. The way we jump back from a sudden moving object, or cover our ears at a large noise. That was the only thing that kept me going now. Evidently, Vladimir had his own reasons, as he was the only one in a full hazmat suit. Admittedly, it might have simply been because there were too few to go around and only the ‘important people’ got sufficient protection.

‘Comrades,’ said Vladimir, ‘when I pull the switch, wait three seconds then raise your guns and fire! Three, two, one!’

He pulled the switch. We could hear both a thud and a woof into the air. Before the woof even settled we could hear the most agonized screaming I had heard in the whole conflict. I had heard the scream of those who’d lost their legs, lost their eyes, lost their children, lost their parents, but the screaming from VX was almost a scientifically perfected torture. One could almost hear them rip their lungs to shreds by pure exertion in those few seconds. When it was finally our turn to raise our heads, we slammed our guns onto the rubble and prepared to shoot anything five centimetres or fifty miles in front of us. Instead, nothing. The only thing we saw were a fresh pile of corpses along the rubble. Not a sound came from them. They had died already, their voices sudden arrest in some cases as chilling as the sudden silence of a man screaming as he plummets to death makes upon impact.

Everyone was as astonished as me. Everyone was bewildered at this new weapon of war we could soon rely on. But while everyone stared at the corpses, I caught something quite different. I was caught by the moon, shining over the remains of Moscow - the first time I’d clearly seen it in months due to the clouds of dust whipped into the air. And I could just about see it’s rays dance over the bloody river, a reddish silver fluttering amidst the cadavers and rubble. It was the first time in months that I thought I saw something remotely beautiful in former Moscow, even as it did its best to regale me with the stories of humanity’s evil. I remembered ‘Moscow Nights’ by Vladimir Troshin. For the first time, I could see what he meant. How even with the city itself gone, there was still something magical buried amidst the corpses and ruins. I imagined families walking along the river, old couples buying each other flowers as a surprise, friends laughing together. Children on their first day of school, first kisses on the playground, first love and first dates. Happy marriages, happy honeymoons and bittersweet funerals. In an instant, I imagined those things eight million times, one for everyone who used to live here. Eight million lives with eight million memories, stories and adventures. That was what made up the lifeblood of the deep magic of Moscow. That deep magic still barely eked out its agonizing survival, perhaps only as a ghost, even after the city itself was long dead, like the silent corpses ahead. Was this what you meant, Troshin, when you sang ‘Not even a whisper’?

My ‘comrades’ wanted to cheer, but they knew they couldn’t. We were simply relieved that we were going to live a little longer, but we knew that our demise was now likely even more horrifying. We had unleashed the demon of chemical weaponry. We had ours, the Fascists had theirs. Soon the remains of Moscow would be bathed in chemical weapons. And not even that deep magic would survive much longer.

[1] A form of punishment from Haiti and Sudan at the time.

[2] These rumours exist in reality.

In Vain

Extract from Interview with Eiichiro Oda (2018)

Interviewer: “Was the character of Nico Robin inspired by anyone in particular?”

Eiichiro Oda: “Well, from the beginning, I always imagine my characters as a certain nationality. Luffy is Brazilian, Zoro is Japanese, Sanji is French, but Robin was Russian. Robin’s character almost needed to be tragic given what had happened in the 1990s. To some extent, I think I wrote One Piece to try and remind the world that good things existed within it, given how everyone around the world was spellbound by what was happening in Russia, wondering if we were going to be killed in a nuclear crossfire between these two evil regimes. I’m very thankful One Piece started when it did. I think the world was desperate for relief.”

Interviewer: “So Robin’s character was partly inspired by the events of the Second Russian Civil War?”

Oda: “Yes. The destruction of Ohara was very strongly inspired by the destruction of Moscow. I made the island look more ‘traditionally Russian’ to inspire all those images we had growing up of Russia that no longer existed, and that we could never reach. That would essentially just be a fairytale in our heads forever. I even drew the main research centre of Ohara based on the mythical St. Basil’s Cathedral, which we just imagined when we heard the word Russia, and still do, even after all these years.”

Interviewer: “It’s been said that she is an extremely popular character among the Russian diaspora around the world.”

Oda: “Yes, while Robin is certainly a popular character among everyone, Japanese, Taiwanese, American, she’s really loved by Russian fans. I try to keep on top of as many of the fan letters that I could, but I was amazed by the amount I was receiving from Russian fans, some from FEK, some from Europe or America, who wrote in with help from their Japanese friends just to tell me how they’d never felt any connection to a character like they did to Robin. I had one letter from a girl in the FEK who told me that she was actually a war refugee from Moscow, who had lost her parents, friends, everyone she ever loved in the war. She had an extremely troubled life there, became something of a female delinquent. She started reading One Piece and found the character of Nico Robin, and remembered the emotional catharsis of someone who had been through all that still having the courage to say ‘I want to live’. She told me that she put herself seriously into her schoolwork again after that and she sent the letter to thank me. She told me that she knew for sure that she was not the only Russian refugee who felt the same way about Robin and I can definitely see that she was right. I think a lot of Russian refugees in some way blamed themselves for what had happened to them, and when they saw her character they realized that it wasn’t so."

Extract from 'One Soldier’s War in Russia' by Arkady Babchenko

“Gather up your ammunition now! You won’t be given more!”

No one doubted what Vladimir was saying, though it was hard to hear him through his hazmat suit and our gas masks. We’d barely gotten food for the last few days, last few weeks, and months. Why the hell would we expect ammunition? The only wonder was how we were able to carry the weight on our backs when our legs looked utterly emaciated. I pulled my belt so tight that I had to poke holes in the leather just to have a decent tightness. I decided to leave the razor behind - they’d made them dull because so many people were trying to kill themselves with them, so my face was so torn up from the blades you’d swear I was hit with a glass window over my head. They would have used their guns instead but they often had no ammunition and people would complain about wasting their ammo if you asked to borrow it for suicide. I hurried up as Vladimir executed two soldiers sitting on the ground with heroin needles still in their arms. In truth, heroin was generally what you used to have an easy death. Just get a buddy to tell the commissar you’re doing illegal substances, load up and enter a dream, then get your brains blown out and pour into your shirt while in nirvana. It was the most envious thing I’d seen in the entire conflict, and the most admirable strategy I had seen in a while. If I saw a young recruit about to kill themselves with the blades or a gun, I’d tell them to not be foolish, the heroin would be a much better way to go. It had definitely been picking up recently, as no one wanted to die at the end of the chemical weapon.

On the run again. I couldn’t remember the last time I’d been up close to the river. Indeed, it would be the last time I ever saw the river, or where Red Square used to be. The chemical weapon assault had opened a portal to the lowest level of hell, and all the lava and miasma now poisoned the sky, land and water around it. Central Moscow was now as inviting as Chernobyl on Victory Day 1986. Not only were the buildings destroyed, but the ground was almost sparkling with lethal nerve agents. To walk through Central Moscow was as much certain death as walking on the surface of the sun. The bodies contorted monstrously as they died. I had seen one corpse had recoiled in agony so violently that their back had snapped like a twig. Another had smashed their heads against a concrete wall to try and die quicker to end the unimaginable agony. Their dry, dangling tongues were all the colours of the rainbow, within the red sea of blood that poured out from their internal injuries. Soon you couldn’t even see the bodies, as a permanent mustard gas cloud seemed to hang in the Moscow air, almost directly over the Kremlin, proving not only God, but Satan has a sense of humour.


We turn our heads - a shell just hit one of the remains of the nearby buildings. The rubble blasts outwards, decapitating one soldier cleanly and breaking another’s legs to leave him incapable of escaping what is to come.

“MOVE!” orders Vladimir.

Some drop everything and run - foolishly believing the circumstances absolve them from orders, they are shot as soon as Vladimir continues to run himself. From whatever cursed well exists in my body, I can somehow find the strength on legs bitten by rats, whittled to bone, running off of food from weeks ago to carry both myself and my supplies on my back. Others are not so lucky and begin to collapse and convulse around me. Some men tear their vocal cords in the brief few seconds they are still alive, others reach as quickly as they can for their pistols to give themselves an easier death. I feel relieved for them as I hear the gunshots end at least one of the cacophony of screams behind me. There’s no wall of screams in my experience, but a hundred different screams playing at once. I can hear all of them, even now. Every single one of the screams and remember how they were just a little bit different from the rest. I know none of their names, but I do know their screams.

I eventually stop at what seems like a kilometre later and turn around. At least half of the people around me when the shell landed are gone. Vladimir is safe, by now the only person around me I can call by name - I’ve stopped even bothering to learn names considering I’ll probably be dead soon anyway. The gas cloud over old Red Square is getting bigger and bigger. Pretty soon, there will no longer even be ruins of Moscow, just a cloud of poison. All the people who had ever tried to make anything of that city, all our ancestors and forefathers had seen their life’s works destroyed by the stupidity of their children. The efforts of the architects of the Bolshoi, Red Square, the Kremlin? In vain. Their builders? In vain. The children who picked up the rubbish from the side of the road? In vain. I wondered why we ever existed at all, if this was how it was going to turn out.

Extract from ‘A Continent of Fire’ by James Melfi

Space Station MIR would find itself in the role of the tragic bystander to the Civil War, as the astronauts, mostly from Russia, could always look below upon their homeland and know that it was being destroyed as they looked on. Roscosmos had their spaceports primarily based in Kazakhstan, and consequently, authority over the launch sites remained within the control of the Kaliningrad government since Kazakhstan exclusively recognised the Kaliningrad government. They were needless to say on dire terms with the National Salvation Front. Naturally, the Kaliningrad government was unable to easily pay for such a luxury when they had been made a persecuted, exiled government trying desperately to keep the lights on. However, for the first few months of 1994, the launches from Kazakhstan (with covert Western help) continued as usual as a propaganda move to try and convince the world of Kaliningrad’s legitimacy, and so the supplies to the station kept on coming in. Interestingly, even the NSF would give ground support for the station, at least initially, worried about the PR disaster of allowing the station to die. Eventually it would completely backfire, as residents and refugees resented dreadful living conditions while money was being sent into space. To make matters worse, Roscosmos split in two, with the assets in mainland Russia confiscated and handed over to cronies (replacing the Yeltsinite cronies) as the ‘Gagarin Program’ and the assets outside reconstituting as the still recognised agency. All the same, the company had tried to work with the station even within the station, but in the new Russia such cooperation was simply the cowardice that caused the Union to collapse in the first place. The Gagarin Program was legendary in its failures, failing to launch a single satellite before the Russian Federation’s dissolution, but having three satellites fall back onto the launchpad and explode. But the new Roscosmos was a shadow of its former self, scavenging parts sometimes literally from old cosmonauts’ homes because they couldn’t make the equipment they needed. At the same time, Pro-NSF opinions among the astronauts was non-existent. They could not get behind the virulent racism and imperialism of Makashov when they could look down on the ‘pale blue dot’ from above. “The Crimea doesn’t look so big from space” as one crew member would recall. At the same time, the corruption of the Kaliningrad regime was too obvious to ignore but had to be ignored for political reasons.

Wanting a propaganda victory, NASA agreed to help supply MIR throughout 1994 to help relieve pressure on Kaliningrad. The station’s residents were used as cheap political tools to prop up the uninspiring Gaidar regime, forced to give canned recordings to the press about how grateful they were to be a part of ‘Free Russia’. It would later transpire that their conversations were almost totally monitored by the Chinese due to Chinese infiltration in Kazakhstan as a result of Kazakhstan’s need for China’s help to preserve its nuclear arsenal and keep out Russian influence. Life on the station was miserable, especially as the war exploded. The crew members had family and friends getting blown up, shot and disembowelled below while they could do nothing. It was becoming obvious that the station was becoming completely untenable in its current state. That was when the decision was reluctantly made in the fall of 1994 to deorbit the station and let it land in the ocean. Ultimately, that’s just what happened, and September 12th 1995, the remains of the MIR station plummeted into the Pacific. It was perhaps the last living evidence that Russia was ever a mighty, or even united country, and now it fell into the depths of the Pacific, a world just as unreachable as the Moon. None of the successor states of the Soviet Union have ever got close to the achievements of the Soviet over even the initial Russian Federation programs. Kazakhstan has long since surrendered any notion of its own space program, having given the sites to the Chinese for their own program so the Chinese no longer have to make their own. It’s considered almost symbolic among Russians that the fall of MIR happened just as the first taboo of the WMD trilogy was broken.

The escalation to chemical warfare was as ruthless as it was expected. The Fascist parties wasted no time in clearing their own extensive arsenals for use. The Free Nations Alliance likewise had their own arsenals but were more concerned about harming potential support from abroad, since they were looking for recognition. By the mid-point of 1995, almost all nations of the Uralic Alliance had gained the near-unanimous recognition of their independence by Post Warsaw-Pact Europe. These nations could afford to flaunt Kaliningrad in a way that the West could not. Consequently, they wanted to continue playing a more responsible role in the conflict, refraining from the horrifying levels of slaughter that characterized both the Anpilov and Petrograd regimes (the reason the latter is not so often referred to as Nevzorov’s regime is due to his surprising ability for a Fascist regime to accommodate dissent within the halls of power, while being ruthless about it on the street). The first use of nerve agents in Moscow to repel Barkashov’s advance would occur on August 31st 1995, and by the end of the September it was being used up and down the lines between the Communist and Fascist forces, though they also refrained from using them on the ethnic republics for fear of escalated Western assistance.

One effect of the chemical weapons usage was that Anpilov finally heeded the requests of the voices in his head – not from the advisors since those who didn’t regurgitate his musings directly would find themselves in shadow graves and thus restrained themselves – to come to a truce with the Uralic Alliance as the shells continued to fall on Samara. This would free up invaluable manpower as the forces of Fascism continued to move south, and would help in the Caucasus as well. The Uralic powers would not be recognised as legitimate and independent, but an armistice was arranged between the two parties, with Anpilov justifying his decision in the same way to Lenin agreed to temporary truces during the First Civil War before rescinding them. But not only that, the ethnic republics agreed to launch a joint offensive with the Reds. This had been motivated by the horrors that the Uralic nations saw in Udmurtia, which was the frontline of the conflict with the Fascists to their north. Udmurts were hunted, sometimes literally on horseback, with the purpose of complete extermination by General Rodionov to end any justification for a breakaway Udmurt state. He had been placed in charge of the eastern theatre, besieged on all sides by Komi, the Uralic Alliance and the Reds. As September dawned, these three groups finally put aside their differences in order to try and deal a crippling defeat to the Fascists in the Perm Oblast, hopefully entombing a significant number of Fascist troops. On September 10th, the three forces began their respective pushes. The Reds made half hearted attempts to connect to Komi and close the gap. The Baskirs raced north across Perm, the Tatars threw their weight into Udmurtia and even Mari El swung north to give the Fascists less room to breathe.

Faced with annihilation, the Petrograd leadership gave permission for the mass use of chemical weapons on a level not seen since the days of Agent Orange, only for a vastly more potent brew. The Air Force, kept carefully in reserve for uses like this, would drop nerve agents in Kostroma Oblast to ensure their assault on the Ilyan Oblast (formerly the Kirov Oblast but renamed in favour of Fascist Russian writer Ivan Ilyan) would meet significant supply issues as the routes were made into certain death. The Red Army, already notorious for its supply issues, was left running on air. Subsequent RNU reinforcements ran through the Red Army’s stranded troops like a burning spear. The incoming reinforcements would shore up the Fascist front in Perm, where the Bashkirs and Komi were hammering the Fascists into a near encirclement. Unfortunately, the Fascists decided it was time to introduce their new chemical weaponry on the Uralic Alliance as well. The Perm Oblast was peppered north and south with artillery fire containing nerve agents and mustard gas, rendering all the inspired tactical planning by the Uralics as naught. But that was not the most infamous part of the counter-offensive. The most infamous would be the prologue to what put Barkashov on the same level among the names of the world as Hitler.

On September 28th, RNU artillery and Fascist aircraft bathed every non-occupied major settlement in Udmurtia with chemical weapons. The city of Izhevsk was smothered in poison gas, killing everything unlucky enough to be in the city at the time, Udmurt or Russian alike. The city’s strategic significance was forgotten, as the RNU simply demanded the city’s extermination. Most of the Petrograd government found the move excessive, but Barkashov had insisted on it. His friend in the halls of power, ‘Russian Party’ member Alexey Dobrovolsky - a Neo-Pagan Neo-Nazi - had pushed through this ‘demonstration’ of the Republic of the Russians’s cruelty to annihilate the national home of the Udmurts and render them nomads of the Earth. Barkashov had once believed in a system of racial supremacy in Russia where the ethnic Russians would hold sole sway. Now he believed, inspired by his reading of the Turner Diaries, that it would be a vastly more worthwhile endeavor to simply obliterate said communities from the face of the Earth. The change in strategy was so monstrous that it forced the Uralic parties to finally unleash their own chemical weapons on September 30th, blunting a Fascist advance towards Bashkortostan. As October rolled around, both sides had effectively retreated to their original borders, the only difference being that tens of thousands had died in the fighting here alone and that Izhevsk was a ghost city as poisoned as Moscow.

Not to be undone, Anpilov would break his truce without a word on October 2nd, smashing into Tatar encampments along the river and briefly succeeding before the dilapidated condition of the troops under Red Army command eventually saw the army simply implode into smaller units in neo-bandit formations to try and find food and supplies to keep alive. Even the commissars were struggling to eat and became little more than gang leaders pillaging the countryside that was within Russian territory. Even the commissars were refusing to enforce discipline anymore, with the Red Army rapidly disintegrating across the country into a form of neo-banditry. This near anarchy on the front was balanced with the most terrifying system of day and night terror in the whole of former Russia within the cities themselves. People would wake up in Stalingrad, put on their clothes, walk to work, pass the latest bloodied corpse hanging from the lamppost with a placard around them telling of the likely fictitious crime they committed, go to work, pass the body again going home and go to bed. The sight of the corpse did not alter their sense of fear, as they were living in constant day and night terror. Some decided to make up crimes that their neighbors for hope that they would be more trusted by the secret police. Unlike many dictatorships where people falsely accused their neighbors due to disputes, or were forced to after beatings, life in Stalingrad was such day and night terror that people on good terms threw their neighbors to the wolves just to relieve the constant, unending terror. As one survivor of the war recalled, “What was the scariest movie you ever watched? What was the scariest moment? Remember how you felt that surge of ice go across your gut? Imagine you felt that every second, every minute, every day, tried to eat with it, talk to people with it, sleep with it. Now imagine you had to pretend you didn’t have it, or else you’d quickly realise how right you were to be so scared in the first place. That’s what life was like in Stalingrad in the Civil War.”

Extract from 'The Great White Void: Siberia 1993-1996' by Nikolai Chernenko

Communications between Lebed’s Siberia and Aksyuchits’s FEK continued to intensify as both sides moved close towards each other. The FEK had secured a number of nuclear weapons from abandoned arsenals in the east, and began to check and see if all the nuclear weapons were as they should have been. Investigations determined that members of one the sites had attempted to sell their nuclear weapons to the Japanese Death Cult Aum Shinrikyo, before the 1995 Tokyo Sarin attack led to the group’s annihilation and the subsequent cancellation of the deal. Another nuclear base had been left completely abandoned, leading to locals entering the site, taking the liftable and swipeable equipment and selling it for scrap metal, leaving the nuclear weapons behind since they were too big to move and no one assumed that anything that important would be left behind. The locations were often barely functional, and in one site at least half of the nukes left behind were considered inoperable. The Pacific Fleet’s nuclear weapons were more advanced but it didn’t match the power of the two successor NSF states out west. The FEK knew their main issue in future would be dealing with China, which seemed to grow ever angrier as the FEK proceeded to slither along its outer border, liberating town after town from anarchy and petty NSF warlords. Along the way they were helped by a surprisingly common commodity - Ukrainians. Disgusted by the NSF’s actions over Crimea (they were too cut off to hear about what was happening under Petrograd’s genocidal regime), the Ukrainian diaspora of these regions (considered ‘Green Ukraine’) proved ever willing to rush to the FEK’s banner. They would prove the backbone of the slowly growing army,

Another group that supported Aksyuchits were the internal refugees from Yakutia, who left after the neo-pagans came to power. While most had left early as the Tengrist regime came to power, a trickle would pour out still, finally giving a semi-reliable view of what was happening. The mass slaughters that had initially been reported were wrong, but the region was having a collective mental breakdown. Ukhkhan and Téris had announced that a nuclear strike against the region was now inevitable, and that the only thing to do now was to leave the ‘Godless Cities’ and head out to the countryside so the population could reacquaint themselves with the one true God of Tengri. The Tengrists did not force people out in the style of the Khemer Rouge, but the cities were simply left to rot, and the administration moved entirely to the country. The NSF was declared ‘a demonic organisation’ and that killing members of the group was as killing actual demons. One way the Tengrists did impose themselves was the burning of churches across the land to purge Yakutia of the ‘Degeneracy of Christianity’. Many were arrested or sent into exile simply trying to defend their churches, or burned with them. At the same time the newfound Sakha was not interested in imposing its beliefs by force or mass killings - one was free to leave the country but was not allowed to interfere with the dreams of restoring the indigenous Yakuts and their culture to their supreme place within Yakutia. Racial discrimination against Slavs was not the program of the Aiyy Yeurekhé (its leader was a Ukrainian), but they were often seen as being more in need of instruction. The non-Slavs had almost entirely joined the Neo-Pagans as a way of ending their marginalisation, while the Slavic population was split between a terrified majority and a minority that was so terrified that it was mind-broken into enthusiastically going along with the program. The horror of nuclear war had never been so seemingly imminent, and the talk of the Shamans seeing nuclear annihilation of the wicked debauched cities while the pure countryside remained was a powerful and convincing vision. It was indeed true that since 1994, Shamans across the region had told of an incoming cataclysm that would end in the destruction of the old Yakutia and the creation of a new one. The events had convinced many residents Those who moved to the country often starved due to lack of supplies, but the ones in the cities and the ones who desperately tried to make their way to somewhere safe outside of Yakutia starved even harder. Over time, as the dissenters either fled or died, Sakha was well on its way to creating a ruralized society based on traditional Tengrist beliefs. Ironically, one of the biggest threats would come in the form of the Black Shamans, Shamans who partook in Black Magic. Many especially desperate citizens had fallen under their sway, some murdering their friends and family for ingredients for brews that would supposedly make them immortal, or cure their cancer, or bring back a deceased loved one. Yakutia has been often seen as a case study in how a seemingly normal society can, in the event of sudden chaos and existential annihilation, twist its mind and zeitgeist beyond what is considered possible, especially considering it made its turn away from Christianity at the same time as a religious Christian state was formed just beside it.

Not that the FEK was a truly tolerant body itself. In the Kamchatka region, FEK troops would run into indigenous groups and let them know in stern terms that the Soviet Anti-religious policies were still being applied, just not to the Orthodox Church. In many ways, indigenous religious practices in the FEK were even more besieged than under the USSR, with villages that did not report having or planning Orthodox Churches being refused infrastructure improvements and aid. As word travelled north, the Chukchi tribes of the Chukotka were not impressed and swore to resist the FEK if they were to move farther north than Kamchatka. At the same time the ethnic Russians still there were desperate for someone to come and save them from the anarchy and starvation that had descended across the region. The end result would be that by the end of October that the main cities of Chukotka were full of FEK troops but none dared to go to the tribes and disturb the tribes. But while the troops in Chukotka were in the midst of an uncomfortable truce, Aksyuchits had decided it was necessary to destroy Sakha as it was an affront to his religious sensibilities. He broke his army into two sections. The first would continue to ride across the Siberian countryside and ultimately reached Chita by Halloween (the capital of the original Far Eastern Republic), infuriating China to no end in that they now had an Anti-Communist, Christian power on their entire previously Soviet north-eastern border.

The second began its march in early October, as a detachment of FEK troops began to move into Sakha from Tynda, reaching the town of Neryungri, once the second largest in the whole republic. They were shocked that it was essentially as it was said: apart from a few animalistic human scavengers eating rats from dumpsters, the towns were completely empty. A few fires had spread out of control and taken out sections of the town but the churches were destroyed with pinpoint precision. There was nothing of use inside the town for an army, nothing to continue supplying the troops, nothing. They had not seen any large groups of people on the road as they marched to the town, it was as if the whole province vanished. Then, as they marched northwards towards Chulman, they were ambushed from the woods in the dead of the night. The FEK detachment was decimated in the exchange, with some survivors picked off in the woods by being approached by ethnic Russians promising to lead them to safety before they were slaughtered by encamped positions - the journalists who accompanied the soldiers were also killed. The FEK had made it as far as the remains of Neryungri, but could go no farther. Aksyuchits was shocked at the Chulman Massacre, and wanted to try and pursue the perpetrators but realized he now needed all his forces for the attack west. Thus he was content to fill in all the space on the map in the Far East that was not in either his or Sakha’s hands, preparing to finish the pagans when the Mongolian issue was settled.

Lebed was also dealing with his own issues. He had run into the biggest threat he had yet encountered, Nikolai Kuryanovich, who was a former supporter of the NSF’s forefather, the Liberal Democratic Party under Vladimir Zhirinovsky. An ally of Barkashov and the Right Bloc of the NSF, he was given the governorship of Irkutsk. Rare among the Siberian outposts, he was completely behind the Petrograd government. For his imposing figure and virulent Pro-Slavic Nazism (or whatever such a contradictory ideology could be called), he was labeled ‘The Warlord’ and took advantage of the collapse of the Federation. All of Irkutsk, Khakkasia and Krasnoyarsk south of the Angara river were his. He was also in charge of most of Buryatia, with the exception of the border regions. He ran a campaign of total extermination of any Non-Slavs that he saw, with gruesome public deaths of Non-Slavs to keep dissenting Slavs in line. His troops were fanatical, and fought half out of loyalty and half out of complete fear of what would happen if ‘The Warlord’ was to find a dissenter. Many called him the reincarnation of ‘The Bloody Baron’ Roman von Ungern-Sternberg, despite that individual wanting to restore the Mongolian empire instead of exterminating Mongols and Khakas, who had fled to Tuva to escape the genocide being committed by Kuryanovich.

At the same time, the Tuvan state knew that the final showdown with Kuryanovich and Lebed was coming to decide the fate of the Mongol region. As Lebed raced towards Krasnoyarsk and Kuryanovich rode to meet him, Shoigu rode north in the same direction, moving through the destroyed cities of Khakassia (destroyed in the failed attempt at independence and subsequent genocide), hoping to pounce on the winner of the conflict to make himself the premier army in the region. This would be known as ‘The Battle of Three Armies’, in memory of the Russian diaspora, though it was only due to the stupidity of Shoigu. Shoigu’s army’s whereabouts were obvious knowledge but he pushed ahead anyway, stalking the Siberian army like, as Lebed said ‘A virgin trying to fuck’. Meanwhile, Kuryanovich and his men rolled into the city with their vehicles decorated in their victims’ real human bones. Rumors abounded of all the terrifying things he would do, like make drinking cups out of the skulls of his enemies (based on the fate of one of the old Kyivan Rus kings), or turn other skulls into ashtrays, or make jackets of human skin. The rumors of this new Tamerlane were so horrifying that most towns just submitted to him out of fear, and consequently many questioned their validity as a convenient myth to inspire submission, with the non-Slavs simply sold down the river.

Waiting for Lebed’s troops to make their move into the city, Executive Outcomes once again proved their resiliency and deep pockets by procuring a series of boats that would take elite mercenary squads over the Yenisei River to flank Kuryanovich’s men and cut off his supplies. They managed to drag along vehicles and horses too, managing to speed along the forests and roads to the rear echelon of the enemy. When the attack began the following day from the west bank on October 9th, the infiltrators ambushed from the east bank, causing havoc almost everywhere across Krasnoyarsk city. There was nowhere you could go to escape the violence, as aged special forces operators got into hand to hand combat with skinheads on the east bank, helicopters sprayed ground with bullets before rpgs blasted them out of the skies, and a rainbow of nations mercenary detachment crashed into the teeth of the NSF loyalists positions on the West bank. All around the city was gunfire and explosions. Then, Kuryanovich got an idea. Seeing that the infiltrators were doing a seriously good job advancing on the east bank, he ordered his troops defending against Shoigu’s Tuvan forces stand down at the Divnogorsk crossing, causing an excited Shoigu to charge into the opening and up to the east side of the city. Kuryanovich had correctly reasoned such a poor strategist as Shoigu would blindly wander in without care and would therefore run into the mercenaries on the east bank and keep them busy. Indeed that’s what happened, as Shoigu’s men crashed into the backs of the mercenaries, encircling the encirclers. Friendly fire was disgustingly common as no one knew who was where and who was who. The mercenaries generally liked it though, many bored men thirsting for adventure and finding great joy in fighting a Nazi warlord and a faux Genghis Khan at the same time. Eventually, a column of recently repurposed T-72 tanks rolled into the fray on the mercenaries' side, given they were the only ones with the money to get fuel for such beasts. The Warlord himself would be killed when the building he was fighting from collapsed as one of the tanks ran into it. As word spread that the infamous fighter was dead, his troops almost immediately surrendered. Shoigu’s forces were completely cut off from their supply lines and would likewise be picked off and captured, their fall removing almost 20% of Tuva’s forces from the war.

It was a humiliation so astonishing that on October 29th the Mongolian army rolled into Tuva, arresting Shoigu as a ‘Russian enemy agent’ and accusing him of deliberately sabotaging Tuva’s independence to get a job in the Lebed administration. Mongolians were astonished when they looked through the files and found that he simply really was that stupid. Shoigu would still be arrested for corruption and was sentenced to twenty years in a Mongolian prison, now living in obscurity in rural Mongolia. Mongolia’s invasion would also lead to their de facto annexation of Tuva due to fears of Lebed moving to take it, while claiming they were only sending in troops to protect the locals from Russian genocide. They also moved into the power vacuum in Buryatia, supercharging the Buryat forces and seizing Ulan-Ude on November 2nd and reaching as far as Isinga by November 14th While the move was internationally condemned, even by some of the Western powers as a land grab, no one privately, not even Petrograd, Stalingrad or Lebed cared. All were privately happy that Tuva had left the country, considering it a worthless hindrance with a barbaric, alien population. Instead, Lebed kept moving forwards, reaching Irkutsk by November 4th, the last major obstacle before Buryat. After a year of utter turmoil, there were now only four players in Siberia: Lebed, the Tengrists, the Mongolians and the FEK. The last obstacle between Lebed and Aksyuchits’s meeting was the Mongolian army, as the Siberian snow began to fall. Many were thankful for the snow, as it covered the emaciated corpses around them, just as it covered the emaciated corpse of their former country, now relegated to nothing but a collection of ever nostalgic memory, receding ever farther from them across the sea of time.


[1], - If you want to read about one interesting person today, make it this one. Namely he's spent forty years working on the same film and is still going. Given that he's Jewish he will either be working on the same film safely from Israel or America ITTL.
Fascist Boots

Extract from ‘The Unstoppable Tragedy: The Second Russian Civil War’ by Peter Hodges

Serbia kept its head down after the vicious annihilation wrought on its Bosnian and Croatian secessionists. Milosevic was on thin ice and he knew it, as well as dealing with a significant demographic crisis in Kosovo, a region he very much wanted to keep as part of Serbia but a majority Muslim Albanian nonetheless. To that end, he set about two different goals: refusal to escalate the situation in Albania to one of genocide or ethnic cleansing, while at the same time seeking to flood the region with Serbian refugees from Croatia and Bosnia. Serbians were herded, often at gunpoint to camps deep within Kosovo with the intention of turning the camps into towns. Once refugees from Russia started flowing out, Milosevic likewise jumped on the opportunity and imported almost a quarter of a million refugees primarily into the Kosovo region. Needless to say the conflicts with the local Albanians were fierce. One riot in September 1995 led to the main Orthodox Church in Pristina getting burned to the ground, with roughly a dozen Serbians and Albanians each dead. The ethnic conflicts helped consolidate support for Milosevic, and by the end of the year, Slavs were a comfortable majority in Kosovo, much to Albania’s anger. As the West was too distracted with keeping their finger on the trigger in case Russia should explode, the Serbs were given somewhat of a generous allowance for their actions. Milosevic thought so far ahead as to encourage his most infamous refugees, the many war criminals who escaped Srpska after NATO’s hammer fell, to sneak out of the country to Petrograd by boat and plane. This helped reduce pressure on Serbia at home to hand over the refugees and helped bolster ties between Petrograd and Belgrade, the only European country that acknowledged the Nashis as the legitimate government of Russia. Almost immediately, they would make a terrifying impact on the war, including one infamous individual in particular.

Arkan was not his real name. Indeed, Željko Ražnatović’s typical crime was not war crime, as he was originally a literal mobster. Yet he made a name for himself as a particularly monstrous individual, the infamous photo of him holding a baby tiger by its fur while his balaclava-laden henchmen stand menacingly around him projecting his menace but not entirely his evil. He had participated in much of the ethnic cleansing of the Srpska Republic. Once the dreams of greater Serbia imploded with NATO jets, he received an offer to work in Russia to help train paramilitaries. He accepted, taking his most trusted men, forming his new ‘Tigers’, as he called his paramilitary group. Once the war started, he found himself on the side of the Petrograd government with a detachment of ruthless but battle-hardened Serbian war criminals who wanted revenge on the West and felt ensuring the victory of a Slavic-Supremacistt Russia would do just the trick. In thanks for his help by Nevzorov, his unit was given a present: a real, fully grown tiger, whom the group would nickname ‘Ratko’ after the Serbian general. This would become the group’s mascot and was often fed the bodies of the dead as an act of humiliation. At least three prisoners are on record as having been fed to the tiger alive, two simply for being Tatars.

It was only fitting that the final act of the Battle of Moscow would be carried out by someone as savage as Arkan. As the cyclone of gas and hell engulfed the centre of Moscow, the Red Army and RNU both fled from the city south and north respectively, both completely exhausted and shattered. Unfortunately for the Red Army, the Tigers were not tired. Pouncing on their wounded prey from the west, the Tigers barrelled into the mud-ridden, undersupplied columns of the Red Army. The Red Army collapsed into a rout, fleeing as quickly as they could escape the mud that swallowed them. Many had their vehicles run out of fuel in the middle of the mud fields. Many others stuck to the roads and were thus easily intercepted and annihilated. The addition of the Tigers would finally chalk up the Battle of Moscow as a Petrograd victory, though it was surely the most pyrrhic victory in the history of warfare. The city of Moscow only existed in memory. Even its ruins were a memory, it was merely an impassible field of poison barbed wire, brick and shrapnel. There was no flag raising at the Kremlin, or St. Basil’s, only triumphant pictures of abandoned jeeps twenty miles south of where the carnage was. Of course, given that the RNU had likewise ran from the city, Stalingrad propaganda claimed it had been a gigantic success with all those who were slaughtered and captured by the Tigers referred to as the heroic dead of Moscow, bodies entombed in the rubble of the eternal city. Naturally, this was unconvincing to Western observers who watched the horror uninterrupted from military satellites, the silent observers of a doomed nation.

The horror was perhaps best encapsulated by the London Times, which ran the infamous headline ‘Moscow - Population: 0’.


The rout would convince foreign observers that Anpilov’s government was finished. The Red Army had thrown its best men into both the Moscow and Perm meatgrinders for the return of burning any bridges with the Free Nations Alliance. Its supplies were exhausted, its men fleeing at their first chance, the Commissars were setting up impromptu bandit groups just to find food to survive. The purges would continue throughout the end of the year, executed publicly to increase the fear in the population as if there was any way to increase the fear that already existed. Vladislav Achalov, perhaps the final memory of the Pre-National Salvation Front Parliamentary alliance was hanged for a battle that was supposedly won on November 3rd. The Black Colonel, Viktor Alksnis, as head of Army Group North likewise had to die in honour of the glorious victory on the same day. He was given the particular humiliation of being forced to confess to being a Latvian nationalist spy before his death, shot with the Latvian flag scrunched in his mouth in what many Latvians consider the one good thing Anpilov did albeit for the opposite reason. Prosecutor General Viktor Ilyukhin gleefully prosecuted his former National Salvation Front comrades, all the while knowing that he may have been next. Marshall Dmitry Yazov would be informed ahead of time of his imminent purging by his comrade in the 1991 Coup attempt, KGB head Kryuchkov. Yazov attempted to flee to Tatar lines to surrender and escape the torture and death that awaited him in KGB captivity. After being beaten to a pulp by Tatar forces, they reluctantly agreed to accept his surrender, before he was handed over to the West to face justice. Yazov would be the highest-ranking member of Anpilov’s government to survive the war, given a life sentence at the Hague for his killing of Lithuanian and Azerbaijani civilians in the dying days of the Soviet Union, and for his indiscriminate use of chemical weapons against the Uralic nations. A rare instance of one of the Soviet Union’s criminals finally getting the trial they deserved, though many were content simply with the fate they would ultimately receive in 1996. Despite having committed the single worst act of treason of anyone in Anpilov’s government, Kryuchkov’s betrayal was the one thing the paranoid leader didn’t recognise, leading to the KGB leader remaining in power right until the rapidly approaching end of the Soviet Republic.

By December 31st, 1995, the brutality of mass chemical warfare had let its poisonous mark with a frontline stretching from Nizhny Novgorod on the Volga to Ryazan, Tula, then south to Kursk and Belgorod. The buildings were remarkably intact in many places, though one couldn’t fail to find the twisted, agonized faces on the poisoned corpses that littered their streets. Nor could one fail to hear the screams of female ‘racial enemies’ in the surrounding camps, as their sons, brothers, fathers and husbands were marched to their inevitable deaths in the ‘Honorary Russian’ Battalions. Slavic Red Army prisoners were also becoming a serious issue for the Fascists given the collapse in law and order on the Red Army’s side and the belief that they could still make fine citizens of the Republic of the Russians once their ‘Communist brainwashing’ had been removed. They would be sent to ‘Re-education’ camps with the intention of brainwashing them into loyal Fascists. Those who hoped for some relief after the Anpilov regime was removed from their towns were very often sorely, sorely disappointed by what was to come. Ethnic minorities dashed for the Ukrainian border, their lives literally depending on it. Some made it, many did not. None who failed the first time had a second time.

Extract from 'One Soldier’s War in Russia' by Arkady Babchenko

Nothing prepares you for having a gun barrel thirty centimetres in front of you. My gas mask offered no protection yet I somehow felt grateful that this useless cloth covered my face as if it somehow shielded me from a bullet to my face. You can only look in one direction but you can’t see a damned thing. Two centimetres into the barrel and it’s simply unending blackness, and in two milliseconds the bullet will also send me to unending blackness. Except it won’t be unending blackness. Death is not a black screen. It’s nothing. It’s not being. It’s never being. It’s no one ever being. It’s never having the chance of being again. The most natural and unthinkable state, just in front of your face, ready to snatch the life from you before you even know what happened. I was sitting in the mud in a row with my fellow troops, captured by the Tigers, one of the most notorious groups in the Nashi army, almost as bad as the RNU. They felt like they had something to prove after the West wiped them out in Bosnia, so now they took it out on us. It was smart, considering that if the Red Army went up against the Bosnians they’d probably give us a run for our money. Vladimir sat just beside me, the hazmat concealing his face. I wondered if his face would betray fear, terror, the same emotion he’d inflicted on countless people in the last few months. His passion in shooting ‘traitors’ certainly did not seem to carry through to passions for heroic last stands. I somewhat admired that the guy pointing his gun at him wasn’t laughing at him wearing the hazmat.

The horrifying monotony was finally broken as a senior-looking officer arrived, standing before us as a farmer standing over his newly purchased animals. Like all the Tigers, his face was concealed beneath a black gas mask, where not a single identifying feature could be seen. It was exactly like a nightmare, with inhuman monsters prowling around us to decide which to devour. There actions certainly didn’t indicate humanity, so why should their faces? However, I had been so desensitized to life and death that my only thought was seeing how much higher quality their gas masks appeared to be than ours. He spoke to his soldiers in Serbian, leading to them ensuring their rifles were pointed right at us. Slowly, one by one, they pulled off our gas masks, revealing the shattered faces of those who had survived the last few days in the Civil War. Some men looked like they had aged twenty years since a few days ago, looking almost like pensioners with their whitened hair. When Vladimir took his hazmat off to reveal his face, his emotion was as surprising as it was unsurprising: envy. I didn’t move when they pulled mine off, though it left me feeling naked. Finally, they took off the gas mask of the person next to me: it was the Tatar girl from before. At this, the predators stopped, seeing her facial features.

“Excuse me ma'am,” one said in his accented Russian, “are you Tatar?”

For the first time I could remember since the war started, my heart sank.

“A pity,” he said, “you know what has to be done.”

The girl started to shake, then she started to cry, as she knew what was to come next.

Her tears running down her purple eyes, she was lifted her by her hair as another soldier restrained her arms and applied zip tie handcuffs. Now helpless, we were forced to watch as she was dragged out into the mud field. The officer threw her face-first to the ground over a muddy puddle and shoved his boot on the back of her head. Shoving almost his full weight on the back of her skull, her head had nowhere to go but down. Into the sludge and mud, away from the air that sustained her. Within thirty seconds, we could already see the telltale signs of imminent death. We could hear her scream in the water, retching as the mud washed into her mouth and simply made her drown quicker. Slowly, the movements and air bubbles stopped, and her murderer simply removed his boot and turned back to us. Her body would remain there, probably to be eaten by passers by or animals. She was probably raised in a home with a family, with brothers and sisters. She probably had school friends she played with. She probably had boys that she loved. She probably had books she would talk all day about, heroes she believed in, favourite foods and favourite colours. The only grace I felt in that moment was that I never had a conversation with her and that the only thing I could feel in that moment was nothing more than helpness. If I had been the father that raised her in my arms, took her to the swing set and knew just how high to raise her so that she wasn’t scared, who told her I loved her and would always protect her as she loved me, then I would have felt no other option but to ask to join her to wherever she had gone. In these moments you ask, “What had she done to deserve this?” in horror about what happened to her. But the better question is “What could she have done to deserve this?”. There was no one in this world who deserved what this girl went through, not even the monster who had done this. But the most horrifying thing for me was how the war had dulled me even to this sort of sight.

One by one, they pulled off our masks. If they weren’t sure about your ethnicity they asked for your name. If they had a non–Slavic name, or you were obviously non-Slavic to begin with, the same thing happened: dragged kicking and screaming to be drowned in the mud at the end of a Serb boot. Roughly a quarter of our surviving unit perished that afternoon, their bodies simply left to rot in the mud as if they had never mattered. For me to have joined those corpses would have been the most technical of deaths in all of existence, as everything inside me was already dead. My soul broken, I dropped my face into the mud at my knees, hoping I could will myself to death by burying my head in the filth of the Earth that I could suffocate there.

A firm kick at my shoulder launched me out of the mud. My shouts of pain were strangled by the hand across my throat.

“You ungrateful shit! After what we’ve just done for you, you decide to throw your life away too?! Don't you know why we're fighting this conflict?! We’re giving you a country where you and your children alone will rule! Not to be shared with some Mongol goat farmer, Chechen bandit, Tatar whore, nor any of their larvae! A Russia where none but the Russians will make the decisions! A Russia for none but the Russians! God, I hate you! I hate you more than the Tatars. Fucking ungrateful Red Army race traitors. You’re going to stay alive, if only so you can suffer forever. You can’t remember or suffer when you die - you can only suffer if you’re alive. In the meantime you’ll be properly re-educated about the mission of the Slavic peoples. You and everyone else here will go to the re-education camps - there you will learn to become loyal citizens of the Republic of the Russians and expunge the influence of Communism once and for all. Before you die, you will love us.”

He finally loosened his grip and I fell back into the mud, now desperate for breath again. I had forgotten my urge to die and returned to my animalistic survival instincts. I cursed myself again for not having the guts to kill myself.


No combination of syllables could have given me a greater shock. It was the first time I could remember that someone used my first name. How much more shocked I was when I saw that the one saying it was none other than the Commissar. He stared at me emotionlessly, obviously indifferent to my plight.

“Don’t do anything stupid,” he said as if I had been the one who had done something wrong. “We’re going to the camp.”

A strange feeling came over me. Not so much that the Commissar remembered my name, but a realisation that for the first time in my life, I could talk back to him. If I had talked back to him only a day ago I would currently be decomposing on an abandoned path in the middle of nowhere, with only the flies to mourn me. I shuddered with sick glee cresting over a sea of misery.

“Sure, commissar,” I said, before turning to look at the bodies face-down in the mud fields ahead, “but it looks like a few of us aren’t coming.”

I hoped he would be hurt. Expression unchanged, he replied.


Extract from 'The Great White Void: Siberia 1993-1996' by Nikolai Chernenko

Only the Mongol army stood in the way of union with Lebed’s forces. Aksyuchits was poised to deliver the killing blow from the Zabaykalsky region just to the east while Lebed’s forces reached the shores of Lake Baikal on November 20th and vowed to rendezvous with FEK forces to celebrate Orthodox Christmas together. Standing in their way was the Mongolian army, which despite finally clearing out the main cities of Buryatia had only done so due to the evacuation of ethnic Russian civilians to more assuring administration under their ethnic kin with Aksyuchits. The FEK, supplied by the Koreans and Japanese, were certainly a formidable fighting force given the low standards of the war, and the Mongolians were certainly in a terrible position to be sandwiched between two advancing Russian forces. This was when the Mongolians received the most unexpected form of aid they could have imagined, straight from Beijing. Beijing offered up to 50,000 ‘volunteers from Inner Mongolia’. Naturally, these were just Han Chinese standard soldiers, the oldest having been part of China’s last conflict in Vietnam. The Chinese had little interest in Mongolian irredentism, but they did have an interest in dividing up Russia into smaller pieces. A Mongolian Buryatia practically cut Russia in two given it cut the Trans-Siberian and the BAM. If Sakha could maintain its independence then that would change the de facto division into a de jure one. Furthermore, the Chinese were desperate for revenge against the FEK, seeing them as a perennial threat given their foundational beliefs and angry for blocking their attempts to extend their influence into former Chinese territory. With at least one report of a physical fight breaking out in the Mongolian cabinet in the debate, the application of the ‘volunteers’ was accepted. This was announced publicly as an intimidation tactic, the Chinese excusing their involvement as similar to America’s involvement in Chechnya. Needless to say, Langley didn’t see it that way and relations between Washington and Beijing immediately cooled. Further needless to say, the FEK and Lebed didn’t care and promised that the ‘volunteers’ would meet a similar fate to the North Koreans at Vladivostok. Anpilov praised the move as an attempt to block the two ‘Western Puppet Warlords’ from achieving peace beyond the Urals while Petrograd knowingly wished ‘good luck’ to Lebed and Aksyuchits in an attempt to sully the two by association. Privately, Nevzorov had given up on territory east of the Urals, simply content that two ethnic Russians in some way loyal to tradition had emerged from the chaos as the power brokers. Alexey Dobrovolsky and Alexander Barkashov were also pleased by this turn of fortune, though for one very horrifying reason that the pair had already began discussing with Dugin.

As Siberian Winter began at full force that December, the average temperature fell to minus twenty Celcius as a daily mean. Vehicles broke down, guns froze, many refused to leave their bases and go on patrol. FEK forces trudged through the knee-deep snow towards the regional capital of Ulan-Ude. At the town of Tarbagatai on December 12th, they would encounter the Chinese volunteers for the first time. But for all the agony of the FEK’s soldiers in the conditions, they were Siberians and were used to the weather at some level. With decision making typical of dictatorships, the Chinese ‘volunteers’ didn’t come from Inner Mongolia at all, indeed a good portion actually came from the near-tropical south. To say they were unprepared for the weather was a total understatement, with some reports of frostbite among troops on the initial trains coming in from Mongolia to Buryatia. The unreliability of Chinese equipment turned mobile units into stranded fortresses as the batteries simply could not take the pounding from the weather. One further reason for the resiliency of the FEK’s troops was the decision of the FEK to phase out alcohol from its soldiers and increasingly clamp down on drinking. This was widely mocked abroad as a death sentence for any Russian army, but two things would change their opinion. The first was the surprising extent of compliance with the policy. Many had underestimated the religious awakening of many Russians, ironically perhaps mostly among refugees from the west moving out east. They looked up to Aksyuchits almost as a prophet leading Russia to salvation against evil. To that end, the newfound belief and religiosity of the troops caused alcohol use to plummet among FEK troops, by far the lowest consumers when compared to the other armies in the Civil War. The second was the pleasant consequence of the first. Given their refusal to use alcohol, they preserved warmth while ironically feeling colder as vodka would dissipate the heat to the limbs to give the false feeling of warmth. This would help the FEK’s soldiers endure the Siberian Winter brutality, while General Winter simply laughed at China’s attempts to defy him by fanaticism. Legends of Chinese troops charging FEK positions only to collapse and die from exposure on the advance abounded. Of the Chinese casualties from the conflict, it is estimated that at least two thirds were due to frostbite. The Battle of Tarbagatai would renew the legend of the FEK having God on their side, as the Chinese ‘volunteers’ were swept from the battlefield with relative ease, the first detachments of the FEK making out the town of Ulan-Ude through their frost-glazed binoculars on December 16th.

Lebed had his own problems, with a primarily Mongolian force awaiting their arrival at Kultuk on the base of Lake Baikal. There was no way around them, with the Mongolians dug firmly into the route to stop the linkup with Aksyuchits. Rather than confront the Mongolians head-on, Lebed devised his most memorable assault of the war. Lake Baikal had frozen over, not enough to allow vehicles but enough to allow horses. Inspired by images of Nevsky, the General would begin what would become known among the Russian speaking world as the Second Battle on the Ice. As Lebed’s main force began shelling Kultuk and launching a diversionary attack, a hastily assembled cavalry group charged over Lake Baikal in hopes of flanking the Mongolians. Initially successful, the Mongolians finally saw the charge in the distance. They scrambled to change their cannons’ directions, finally letting loose with a volley over the lake. As one veteran recalled, “We charged directly towards where they were firing from, hearing the shells sometimes whizz right by us loud enough to bleed your ears amidst all the clattering and screaming. The shells exploded in and under the ice - I saw one rider blindsided with the ice he stood on suddenly tilted to an angle, before him and the horse fell backwards into the water and the ice righted itself, entombing them in the lake. Others that even just got splashed by the water often didn’t make it just from the frostbite. Still others got unlucky and the ice fell in front of them, breaking their horses legs and hurling the riders to the ice where they got trampled into powdered meat. We could only go forward. Our base was miles back so there was no possibility of retreat. Literally kill or be killed. Finally, we managed to get into the woods and finally get some cover - dismounting we could finally take the Mongolians on, sometimes hand to hand. A little bit of the Battle on the Ice, a little bit of the Americans at Normandy in 1944.” The action known as ‘The Last Charge’ would be described by Mike Hoare, a legendary mercenary who had taken upon himself to be a trainer in Lebed’s army, to be ‘The final and most glorious chapter in the history of the noble steed.” The Mongolians found themselves in an unsustainable position and were forced to retreat overland into the border regions that the Buryat insurgents had taken at the beginning of the conflict. Lebed declared victory on December 10th 1995, before continuing to send his forces along the coast towards Ulan-Ude.

The Battle for Ulan-Ude began on December 20th 1995, as FEK forces assaulted a city jointly administered by Mongol and Buryat authorities (who certainly did not always see eye-to-eye). The Buryats burned the main Orthodox Church in the city as an act of defiance, to which in revenge the FEK ‘accidentally’ struck the Rinpoche Bagsha Buddhist temple with a ‘stray’ artillery strike. Eventually, the Mongolians recognised the situation as hopeless, leaving Buryat forces to perish in the city. Markhayev was officially killed in battle against the FEK but it is widely believed he was killed after an altercation with a Mongolian officer when he was informed that Mongolia was abandoning the city. It certainly was to Mongolia’s benefit, as the border regions that had once been loyal to Markhayev now surrendered their allegiance directly to the Mongolian government. On January 3rd, 1996, Ulan-Ude was declared secure despite fanatical resistance that veterans of Vladivostok could well remember, though now they were the North Koreans.The Buryat population was collectively considered party to the ethnic cleansing of ethnic Russians once the Mongolians had advanced inland, and so it gave the FEK an excuse in their not violent but still prejudiced program to remove Buryatia of its indigenous population, with a serious of ludicrously strict requirements being drawn up to make traditional Buryat life an impossibility. On the very next day, on the banks the Selenge River near Selenginsk, advance units of both the Provisional Siberian Government and the Far Eastern Kingdom finally united, finally reuniting Russia from the Urals to the Pacific, with the Selenge River as the border between the two nations.

That said, it certainly didn’t mean an end to violence, conflict, or betrayal in Siberia.

Extract from ‘Averting Armageddon: The West in the Second Russian Civil War’ by Frank Wolfowitz

Dudayev was quite pleased as he returned to his role as President in October of 1995. Though he had lost a leg and an eye (not that it meant anything apart from being even more respected by his country), he had also won against the Islamist invasion. The US army had cleared everything up to the Emirate’s border, while the Icherkian army had cleared out the Russian border north of the river. The country of Ichkeria was now a devastated but united and independent country. Dudayev supported moving in to finish off the Emirate and restore secular rule, arguing that Salafism was an Arab and consequently foreign ideology in the Caucasus, which he defined as being lovers of freedom. The Americans indignantly refused, as Dagestan had far less national identity to oppose the Islamists, even worse terrain and a much more uncomfortable chance of escalation - Chechnya had been de facto independent since 1991, Dagestan barely a year. Limited bombing runs were allowed, and certainly none that could have been misconstrued as an American first strike on Anpilov. Consequently the Islamists were not only allowed to exist in the Emirate but were allowed to move into Russia when they realied that the Americans would not pursue them into Dagestan. The Emirarte consequently sent shock raids into cities across the northern Caucasus, targeting hospitals, churches and elementary schools for hostage-taking (something they quickly stopped when they realised that resources were more important to Anpilov than the lives of his nation’s children), or simply just to kill anything there that moved. The Stavropol region reeled under the barbarian slaughter, the eastern half swallowed by the Islamist terror. Christians saw their (often prepubescent) daughters sold into sexual slavery to be the wives of Jihadis while atheists saw nothing as they were simply burned alive or beheaded. Armenians made a tragically high number of victims, discriminated by the Russians for being Caucasians, now discriminated against by the Jihadis for being Christians.

Attempts to move northwards by the Islamists militarily, however, were stopped by an unlikely foe: the Kalmyks. The only Buddist group in Europe, the Kalmyk republic remained loyal to Anpilov out of fear, while the fear of extermination at the hands of the Islamists grew. Three times in the fall of 1995 the Islamists attempted to breach the defences of Artezia and failed each time, the Kalmyks fighting for the existence of their entire ethnic group. They were so successful that the Americans were interested in giving foreign support, to which they were harshly put down for fear of questions over loyalty with Anpilov. Thus the only avenue through which the Jihadi poison continued to spill was the Stavropol region, as well as occasional flotillas that were obliterated by the Azerbaijanis and Kazakhs the moment they were just off shore. At the same time, despite calls from the West to deliver a killing blow to the Emirate, the Clinton Administration refused, believing containment and occasional bombing was sufficient.

That changed on November 11th 1995. On that day, New York City held its Veterans Day Parade. On that day, a van loaded with explosives barrelled its way through police and exploded in a suicide attack against a particularly crowded block of spectators - two gunmen then strafed the crowd with machinegun fire before ultimately being dispatched by the NYPD. Forty-three people were killed, eight of whom were children, with the attackers linked to the Al-Qaeda network in Dagestan. It was the second time in two years that the city had been targetted by the terrorist organisation after the World Trade Centre Bombings in 1993, and the city would be damned if there was a third. Demands for a military intervention went into overdrive, with House Leader Newt Gingrich warning that if Clinton didn’t launch an intervention into Dagestan to uproot Al-Qaeda that he would support an impeachment. Polls showed that 67% of Americans supported an intervention into Dagestan ‘despite the risk of being dragged into the Russian Civil War’. But ultimately the final confirmation of America’s escalation came from an unlikely source: Anpilov. On November 12th, the Americans received a simple, one-line message from Stalingrad by means of the Chinese embassy that they would support American intervention into the Emirate to destroy the Islamist government. Though no explanation was attached, it is thought that by now Anpilov knew which direction the war was turning and wanted to somewhat reduce the amount of troops he had in the south to redirect against the Fascist menace in the north.

Therefore on November 30th, B-2 Bombers began to pulverise every Jihadi base that could be found in Dagestan. Missiles shattered what conventional forces were in the open, though Basayev had prepared for a guerilla conflict since Bin Laden’s attack in New York. He was furious at Bin Laden but felt that ultimately conflict with the West was inevitable and so accepted the new state of affairs. After a week of bombing until every conventional target in Dagestan was in ruins, the US army (along with the Ichkerians acting as translators) rolled into Dagestan to face the Jihadi army that had convened in this godforsaken corner of the world. They began by moving northward into the relatively flatter regions, quickly flattening the resistance in their path, and meeting the extremely hostile glances of the Red Army, staring at them from the north. In Stavropol, the Jihadis could not be touched, and so it was left to the shattered Red Army to deal with the admittedly weakened Islamists. On Christmas Eve the Stars and Stripes flew over Makhachkala to much rejoicing from local secular residents who had suffered indescribably under the boot of foreign Jihadis. This cut off Dagestan from the rest of Russia, but now ahead lay a new danger for the Americans: the heart of the Caucasus Mountains, where Jihadis lurked in every cave. In one of those caves was Osama Bin Laden, who was exceptionally content. He was content because on December 12th 1995, he received the news he had waited for: His attempts to bribe one of Anpilov’s nuclear base’s commanders had paid off.

His dream of a Salafist world, more precisely a slaughtered world where only Salafism remained, had never been closer to reality.

“People of the World!”

Extract from 'The Great White Void: Siberia 1993-1996' by Nikolai Chernenko

Remnants of the Buryat forces would find no peace that Winter. After the anger at foreign intervention, there was no attitude in either Vladivostok or Lebed’s new capital of Novosibirsk to let the Mongolians have anything more than Tuva. To that end, the FEK and Siberians spent their time crushing remaining forces along the Mongolian border, re-establishing the old border by Valentine’s Day 1996. In so doing, especially in Askyuchits’s jurisdiction, the Buryats were effectively forced over the border as part of ‘ethnic exchanges’ with the last few ethnic Slavs who existed in Tuva and Mongolia. Buryats were made to take humiliating loyalty oaths, denounce their ways of life and cut themself off from all of Mongolian society, or simply cross the border. Faced with the cruel ultimatum, thousands of Buryats fled their indigenous land into Mongolia to become second class citizens to an angry population of Mongolians who felt the Buryats had embarrassed them due to their performance in the fight. The FEK’s portion of Buryat was repopulated with Russian refugees, which received ringing endorsement from Petrograd to the West’s embarrassment. Siberia would be more forgiving on the poltiical side but Executive Outcomes’s mercenaries still took great joy in levelling almost any infrastructure that could sustain independent Buryat communities. Seeing no future under a figure like Lebed, the Buryats in Siberia likewise mostly, though certainly not to the same degree, fled into Mongolia to find for themselves how hollow the call of Mongolian nationalism had been. Mongolia shrugged and claimed victory in seizing Tuva, though this was a poor prize to even the most deluded.

On January 15th, in New Delhi, the first official meeting between Lebed, Askyuchits and most shockingly of all Nemtsov would take place. The West had been eager to get all three working together to try and combine their attentions against Petrograd and Stalingrad. It was a momentous occasion for all parties, as they had to determine how to work together in the years to come, and indeed months to come with the war in Western Russia, as well as with the Tengrists. Simple deals of refugees and train lines reopening from the Urals to the Pacific were made in hours but the question of what to do in West Russia was different. Nemtsov still refused to give either Siberia or the FEK acknowledgements of independence. Lebed made his intentions clear that he did not intend to stop his conquest with his eastern march, but to turn west and swallow everything up to Finland, Ukraine and Chechnya. He did not regard Nemtsov as a relevant player in the discussion and simply demanded that he be recognised as the new official Russian government. Aksyuchits refused integration into either Lebed or Nemtsov’s government, insisting that the FEK’s independence had been a God-ordained event and that to surrender its independence would be blasphame. Aksyuchits was not sure whether he distrusted Nemstov or Lebed more, but he quickly got his answer on January 18th, when Lebed stunned the meeting by announcing that he had incorporated Sakha into his Siberian government.

General Rokhlin had once again put his life on the line to deliver the goods and received it in abundance. While the FEK had been preparing to launch a full invasion to crush the Tengrists, Rokhlin had messaged his intention to negotiate with the Tengrists about a possible sharing of power over Sakha. Despite ‘Lord of the Flies’ visions of madness among the countryside, the actual powerbase of Yakutia remained remarkably clear headed. They had hoped that the initial attack would scare off the FEK, only to hear over radios that the FEK were simply preparing a larger attack. They were quite strange but knew there was no way they could win a conventional war with the FEK given their Western backers. To that end, with no one but two aides to accompany him, Rokhlin travelled into Sakha, later recalling “I was more afraid before a shot had been fired in Yakutia than being in the middle of battle. The very silence seemed to be in conspiracy against you.” Despite being jumpy at the thought of an ambush, he was surprised and relieved that Ukhkhan himself came to greet him. Rokhlin was quite astonished by how levelheaded the ethnic Ukrainian was, almost expecting a Slavic Pagan to be unable to continue a ten second conversation without dropping to all fours and howling like a wolf. Ukhkhan explained that the Tengrists had generally simply wanted to scare off interlopers from trying to reimpose ‘Western nonsense’ on Yakutia. This was somewhat humorous because the ‘Western’ of Ukhkhan’s statement was Russia, imposing the Christian religion and European ways of civilisation on the Yakuts. Ukhkhan said that he had misjudged the FEK and realised that they represented a fundamental threat to Tengrism, fearing that if the FEK swallowed Yakutia that it would be outlawed. To that end, he offered reincorporation into Siberia in return for certain assurances that would be hashed out in the days to come. Inside a yurt in the middle of a rural Siberian snowstorm, Ukhkhan and Rokhlin discussed the fate of one of the largest landmasses on Earth.

It would effectively make Siberia a federation like the Russian Federation, albeit one with significantly more internal authority. Tengrism would be the ‘state’ religion, with a moratorium on the construction of ‘non-traditional’ places of worship - any churches that survived the initial destruction would be maintained. Christians would be allowed to exist in the region, but would be unable to prosthelytize in public. If the FEK attacked Yakutia, it would be considered an attack on the Siberian government. At the same time, Yakutia would permanently surrender its right to seceede from Siberia, it’s guerilla forces would be disbanded and incorporated into the Siberian army over time, once it was clear Lebed was holding up his end of the bargain. Military bases would be constructed in Yakutia, albeit far away from the rural population centres. While Yakutia’s natural resources were a sticking point when it came to the land - Executive Outcomes desperately wanting a cut of anything on offer - the Arctic and Tunda was handed over to Lebed with little issue. The abandoned cities would be filled with military personnel and charity organisations to try and relieve the regional famine and maintain order. The Tengrists would keep their flock in the rural areas, as the fear of nuclear attack had not gone away. Ukhkhan warned that the decision to let Lebed’s forces in would be seized upon by Black Shamans to make a move for power and turn the country into what the outside world initially thought the region had become. Amnesty would be declared for those who attacked the FEK convoy, including journalists. Yakutia’s incorporation into Siberia was sealed on January 17th, removing the final non-Russian actor from the region. In the coming months, under heavy protection, charity groups set up shop in the abandoned cities to try and relieve the suffering the region pretended it didn’t have.

As one of Nemtsov’s aides by the name of Dmitri Medvedev would recall, “Aksyuchits, as the Americans say, ‘lost his religion’ somewhat in the subsequent meetings.” The amnesty was particularly unforgivable to Aksyuchits, who never recovered his working relationship with Lebed. The FEK reneged on any decision to send troops to support Lebed’s attempts to move over the Urals, much to the consternation of the Western officials present. On January 20th, Aksyuchits left the meeting early to return to Vladivostok. The move would be popular in the FEK, especially among those who could no longer return to their homes, but given that Aksyuchits was considered a religious figure, it begs the question as to whether Aksyuchits could have gotten support for almost anything. This left Lebed and Nemtsov to try and fill in the blanks. Lebed had maintained positive contact with both Komi and the Urallic Alliance, with both expressing interest in using their territory to transfer his troops. The Urallic Alliance refused any deal that reneged on their goals of independence, but the Komi Republic was interested in reintegrating into a Russian state, especially one under Lebed or Nemtsov. Finally, on January 22nd, an official deal was reached between Nemtsov and Lebed where both claims were recognised as ‘legitimite’, with a promise of ‘integration’ between the two parties in the case of Lebed capturing Western Russia. Of course, this was essentially a pipe dream, given there were two viscous nuclear armies tearing a continent-sized hole on the planet on the other side of the Urals. The Urallic Alliance, and certainly not their Caucasian allies, had any appetite to return to Russia, even one under Lebed and Nemtsov. Privately, both had agreed with the West that they would refuse to use violence to deal with the FEK, effectively officially confirming the independence of the eastern state. Aksyuchits would announce the FEK would not prosecute any further military conflict and would protect itself with its captured nuclear weapons. The Defence Minister of the FEK was perhaps the most important person in human history himself, Stanislav Petrov, a native of Vladivostok who had participated in the street-to-street fighting of the North Korean attack. Petrov’s decision in 1983 to, against orders, report what his equipment stated was an incoming American nuclear attack as an erroneous mistake is creditted with avoiding a thermonuclear exchange between east and west. Aksyuchits believed the event had been ordained by God to save the world, and so granted the formerly ‘disgraced’ Petrov a critical role in his cabinet as a ‘soldier for the light’.

Ukhkhan’s deal was controversial in Yakutia, even given his religious standing. He was ultimately assassinated by stabbing in February by a black shaman cult worshipper. Ironically, in swapping out for the ethnically Yakut Téris as the new leader, the Tengrists’ decision to incorporate themselves into Siberia became a much more accepted decision. In the months to come, mercenaries from Executive Outcomes would hunt down rogue shamans in the woods of Yakutia. It proved rewarding work to kill some of the worst offenders, including some who had AIDS who told desperate worshippers to have sex with him to revive their dead parents and children. No form of insanity was too intense for these modern witch doctors, who treated their flocks as things to abuse and extract. But the Mongols had mostly been pushed back, North Korea had failed, China had wounded herself and the warlords were a thing of the past. The only remaining legend was Mikhael Popkov, a serial killer from Irkutsk who used the anarchy of the war to release his full fury in a world where none could stop him. By himself, with no help, he estimated that he killed at least one woman a day for roughly a year in the chaos of the war, before returning to his more cautious methods as Lebed’s men arrived. He was eventually arrested in 2011, and is by far the bloodiest serial killer in history, with an estimated five hundred victims, overwhelmingly girls. He would not express regret for his actions but would express regret that the actions of Barkashov would ensure he would never go down as the most evil Russian in history, as he wanted to be.

Extract from 'One Soldier’s War in Russia' by Arkady Babchenko


God, I wished I was that maggot in the floorboard. What did he have to worry about? He probably didn’t have eyes to sea or ears to hear, but I was cursed with both. Sitting in a huddle, shuddering in my layers in a useless fight against the cold, I was a vastly more pathetic sight than him. Me and all the other bastards they had here, dirt-encrusted, heads down, spirits extinguished. We looked like mediaeval peasants in our cannabilised and recycled clothes, and we certainly had no higher ideas of ourselves. Everything pulled you to insanity, whether it was the cold, the maggots, or most importantly for us, the propaganda we were being subjected to. Maps of the present day, truncated Germany and imploded Africa, with Russia having the borders of 1913 - with Alaska on top of that. While I was relieved that I never had to see that son of a bitch Anpilov’s face except in my nightmares, something was even more unnerving about there being no figure for the Fascists. Not Nevzorov, Barkashov, no one. The only picture of someone was a single oil painting of Christ on top of the wall ahead. I didn’t know if I was seeing things from hallucinating, but even Jesus’s face, seemingly twisted with anger and hate. Eyes bulging, gnashing teeth, veins in his neck. Was I seeing things? Was I alive? Had I been in Hell all this time? Maybe I was just the mad one after all. Maybe I was back at home right now, and I’d wake up any minute.

Any minute.

Any minute.


My delusions had betrayed me again, the ‘teacher’ storms up to me, his knee crashing into my temple as I’m reminded of reality by the intensity of pain.

“UP, NOW!”

Why did he ask me to get up if he just knocked me even further down? As my vision returned to normal after I was seeing double from the impact of the knee, I stumbled to my feet to see that everyone was already standing. I made sure my gas mask was adjusted correctly. We were all wearing gas masks, the prisoners. We could not take them off, even when we slept. Only the Nashis didn’t have gas masks, a way to humanise themselves to us and dehumanise ourselves to each other. For ‘graduation’ we would be allowed to take the masks off, once it was determined that our conversion was genuine. Those who took their gas masks off and were caught were beaten severely by the guards. There goal was to dehumanise us, and it worked better than they could have imagined. I sometimes could almost see the visors of the masks filled with tears.

The teacher returned to the chalkboard at the end of the room. We continued to stand, for we had nowhere to sit but the floor, no pen or pencil to write with, no paper to write on.

“Slava Rossiya!” the teacher belows.

“Slava Rossiya,” we drearily reply, wondering where on earth the glory is in this country, and who’s hoarding it from us.

“Today, we will teach you the history of the Soviet Union,” the teacher explained, prowling the front of the room. “You will learn about the Mongrel Lenin, the Jew Trotsky and his golem in the Georgian Stalin, and the Ukrainian subversives Khrushchev and Gorbachev. You will be deprogramed from the propaganda you were forced to recite from birth. It will take time, but you will become the footsoldiers of the Republic of Russians, footsoldiers not just in war but in peace, to continue the sacred mission of the Russian people to conquer the world and defeat the Western Antichrist.

“You!” he suddenly said, pointing to me.

I reluctantly trudge to the front, waiting to be berated.

“I see your name is Babchenko!” he said, pointing to the ID on my chest we were all forced to have. “You’re a Ukrainian?!”

“No sir,” I reply, “I was born in the Ukrainian Soviet Republic, but I am a Russian.” If I hadn’t recognised the trap my brains would give the maggots great sustenance. If they found out my maternal grandmother was Jewish then they would have done the same thing regardless of my answer.

“Have you been infected by Banderism?!”

“No sir.”

“Have you been infected by Communism?!”

“Yes sir, I need to be re-educated.”

“Correct! Do you wish to know about the sordid history of your home republic?”

“Yes sir.”

With that, he pointed to the only member of the crowd not wearing a gas mask.

“Vladimir!” he said to his most loyal student. “Step up here.”

The former commissar obeyed emotionlessly, the teacher now leaving me stranded at the front while he walked over to his student.

“Who invented the Ukraine?” asked the teacher.

“Vladimir Lenin,” said the student.

“Why did Vladimir Lenin invent the Ukraine?”

“To undermine Russian identity to further the Communist agenda.”

“What is the Ukraine?”

“A state invented by Lenin comprising a fictitious nation invented by the Hapsburgs and Poles. It is a mental virus created to divide the Russian people, who were forged at the Baptism of Saint Vladimir in 988. It was a mental virus exploited by the Nazis with their Banderist allies to enslave Russia. The virus has now been utilised by the English to find a battering ram with which to contain the Russian people and a desperate attempt to halt their historic destiny. But it is a doomed attempt, because once Russia reconstitues itself under real leadership and pushes against this mirage, the Ukraine will crumble to dust like South Vietnam.”

“Magnificent answer!” replied the teacher. “Babchenko! Sit beside Vladimir, you will learn many worthwhile things from him.”

We walked back to where Vladimir was sitting, as i turned to sit alongside him.

“I thought you were a commissar,” I whispered. “Why are you suddenly supporting the Nashis all of a sudden?”

“Didn’t I tell you I wasn’t a Communist?” he replied. “I serve Russia. Tsars change. Sometimes they are the Imperial White or the Socialist Red, but Russia is eternal.”

“Did you serve Yeltsin or Gaidar?”

“That wasn’t Russia.”

“Why not?”

“Russia is many things, but a supporting character she is not.”

I sighed in exhaustion from bashing my head against the sociopathic fortitude of Vladimir, before I started to hear a sound in the distance.

My eyes, glazed from the humiliation and tiredness of the last few weeks, were once again opened with animalistic terror.

“Oh no, oh God no.”

Vladimir pretended he heard neither me nor the music. It was a song that perhaps he was too old for but I was not. It was Crocodile Gena’s Birthday Song from the animated cartoon film series in the sixties and seventies. It was the song the character sang to himself on his birthday in the film and every child in Russia knew it, most of the adults too. It was coming from the ‘Women and Children Holding Camp’ just adjacent to our re-education camp. They would play it to reassure the children whenever something horrible was going on and to drown out the atrocities being committed, especially to this song. All the other songs too. Cheburashka, Blue Railway Wagon, all drowning out what was happening. I had been unlucky enough to overhear the other day just what was going to happen: the camp commanders were disturbed by reports of homosexual assault on the prepubescent boys, so they took the obvious step from this and decided to liquidate the entire male child population of the camp. Everyone from the thirteen year olds down to the few week-old babies - there was no one older.

Despite the song eventually playing so loud as to drown out the teacher who refused to acknowledge it, we could still hear the gunfire and screams of the boys’ mothers and sisters as they were murdered. Sometimes we could hear the mothers scream out their boys’ names. Who was ‘Sasha’ or ‘Andrei’? I don’t know, but it sounded as if their mothers loved them. Sometimes you could hear the boys weeping or pleading to God to save them. Sometimes you could hear the guards say to the children, “It’s your fault! You started this!”

Finally, after about ten minutes of children songs, the murder of the children appeared completed. Now the daily rape of the mothers and girls could continute as usual. Going mad from the madness around me, I threw up inside my mask, letting it open slightly to let the vomit slop to the floor.

“BABCHENKO!” screamed the teacher, as if my vomiting had been the only unusual thing that had just happened. He marched towards me before grabbing me by my hair and flinging my face to the ground, breaking my nose in the process.

“Did I give you permission to take your gas mask off?”

“No sir, you did not.”

“I didn’t, did I?! Well, I can understand why you’d want to take it off, so I’ll give you a pass. As your punishment, you will only have to lick up and swallow that vomit on the floor or I’ll shoot you for wasting the food resources we’ve given you! Vladimir, make sure he does his side of the deal.”

“Yes sir,” Vladimir replied, taking the back of my head like I had never shared a room with him in his life as he pushed my head into the splintered ground, as I licked up my vomit, infused with the blood from my nose and the maggots from the floorboard. And yet I felt grateful, knowing that somehow, somehow, some fucking way how, that there was a worse fate than this. And I could hear it in the weeping of mothers, and the silence of what were once little boys.

Extract from ‘The Unstoppable Tragedy: The Second Russian Civil War’ by Peter Hodges

Sergei Lavrov was a normal bureaucrat in Soviet Russia. He was a normal bureaucrat in the Russian Federation. He was a troubled bureaucrat in NSF Russia, as his Armenian ancestry put a target on his back from the Right Bloc, albeit not an unacceptable one given the shared Orthodoxy. When the Civil War began, he worked in Anpilov’s Russia. He was constantly promoted as his successors were constantly purged. Finally, on the morning of January 27th 1996, he entered Anpilov’s bunker office and was made Foreign Minister of the Russian Soviet Republic. He accepted the role and went to the Foreign Ministry in Stalingrad (whose work had moved underground due to constant chemical weapon attacks). That evening, the KGB stormed the ministry, arresting Lavrov for being a Fascist spy in his role as Foreign Minister. As he was dragged out of the compound, he was simply thrown against the wall and riddled with machine gun fire until his lifeless corpse sank into the snow. If anything illustrated how ludicrous the purges had gotten, that someone could be appointed minister in the morning and be executed for betrayal in the evening brought home how insane working under the Anpilov regime had become. A verifiable kakistocracy was the inevitable result of the vicious churning of leaders. The Winter had been the harshest yet, with the resulting famine further thinning out the already decimated population. “There are no children, there are no old,” told one diary in Stalingrad found deep in the rubble after the war, “it’s like Leningrad without even the siege – when the siege starts, there won’t be anything for the Fascists left to find.”

Ironically the Fascists too were rapidly expending their last resources – their economic bonanza from human trafficking had dried up, meaning that by February 1996 life in Petrograd was almost as bad as life in Stalingrad. Shafarevich calculated that if the war against the Soviet Republic was not won by the end of Summer then there would be no victor at any stage from the war as both regimes would have collapsed into anarchy from the collapse in civil order due to mass starvation. This led to the Fascist regime to announce the ‘Final Offensive’ that they promised would conclude the war and bring relative peace – the showdown with the ethnic minority countries increasingly pushed back. Nevzorov had grown tired of the war and had aged considerably – while he had once thought of himself proudly as a gentleman warrior returning Russia to its Imperial tradition minus the Romanov degeneracy, he had grown increasingly sick of the war. He had grown open to the possibility of allowing the ethnic republics to go independent in return for population exchanges, and resumption of aid to the Republic of Russians. Dobrovolsky had taken an increasingly prominent position in the council meetings in Petrograd with Dugin giving affirmative support. This passed an increasing amount of the decision making into the hands of the most radical elements of the Petrograd government, leading to the debate on the day of February 10th 1996.

On that day, Dobrovolsky would announce that Barkashov had presented a suggestion for the Republic of Russia’s military. It was called the ‘Zass Plan’, after Imperial General Grigory Zass, one of the architects of the Circassian Genocide. Dobrovolsky supported the plan and wanted to vote on it – Dugin likewise supported the plan. Nevzorov read the plan and was mortified. If it had been presented to him in 1993 he might have been fine with it, but with the taste of ashes in his mouth from the war having finally broken him, he turned it down. To his horror, the remainder of the cabinet (bar Shafarevich) agreed with it, as Dugin had already spent the intervening weeks winning over their support. With that, Nevzorov had lost his place as the decision-maker in the Petrograd Council, with Shafarevich now reduced to a calculator for deranged serial killers. Plan Zass became the new law of Petrograd’s army and paramilitaries, while the West and Anpilov remained unaware. They were still worried, of course, by the prospect of imminent Fascist victory west of the Urals. Indeed, millions of people had grown worried, as the burning question at the back of everyone’s mind about how a conventional war between two psychopathic nuclear states would end became increasingly relevant. How could either side truly win such a struggle? What if they couldn’t? What if one was pushed back to the wall? Pretty soon, they would find out.

On February 20th, the Fascist armies of Petrograd began their final offensive, cutting down European Russia with the last of their vehicles, chemical weapons, and energy. Their goal, simply enough, was to capture Stalingrad, decapitate the Soviet Administration and pray the rest of Soviet Russia would crumble from losing its dictator. The Nashi paramilitaries, RNU paramilitaries, Tiger shock troops and regular Petrograd army regiments were put under the joint command of General Kvachkov, an ideologically compliant general who told the Council that he would ‘end the Jewish-Bolshevik influence over Russia forever’. Ironically, war crimes actually lessened during this time, as there was no time to mess around; they needed to get to Stalingrad and seize it, quick, before they ran out of supplies and risked implosion. The Fascists advanced with astonishing speed, racing down the Volga, where the bulk of their force was located. It was estimated that they would reach Stalingrad by the end of March. It was a truly last ditch effort, and Anpilov knew it too in spite of burying himself in false information. To this end he knew that the best thing to do would be to buy time by making Petrograd reluctant to advance on Stalingrad. While both sides had constantly made vague nuclear threats, now was the time to be direct.

On March 3rd, Anpilov would give an impromptu address to ‘the people of the world’. He warned that he would be forced to use nuclear weapons if facing total defeat, and that there was no scenario where Stalingrad would fall without nuclear weapons being used, and that ‘We will make sure the West that has created this split in the Salvation Front shall not escape such an exchange unharmed’. The directness of the threat was unprecedented, and the Western public believed that Anpilov was serious given his well known sadism. While Anpilov was estimated at having a low number of nukes relative to the Soviet Union at its height, the effect of generations of images of total nuclear apocalypse simply paralysed all Western decision making. Panic buying began in the stores, petrol stations were overloaded, peace protestors fought with the police in every major Western city. It is unknown whether Anpilov was bluffing with this statement, and the governments of the West were not sure either. Emergency meetings were held by telephone between Washington, London, Brussels, and all the Western Alliance. A horrifying thought was on everyone’s mind: what if Judgement Day was here?

Extract from 'Question Time, March 14th 1996'

David Dimbleby: “Our first question from the lady in the red blouse. Please.”

Lady (nervous and pale): “Th-Thank you, what can the government do to stop the Communists in Russia from l-launching a nuclear bomb at us, or-or-or for that matter the Nashis?”

Slowly sits down – three unbroken seconds of silence

Dimbleby: “Thank you. Mr. Howard, in your role as the Home Secretary, how would this country be able to stop or prevent a nuclear strike from either the Petrograd or Stalingrad governments?”

Howard: “The best way to prevent a nuclear strike in both Britain and indeed in Russia is to do what this government has been doing since the start of this conflict in conjunction with the broader West. That is to continue our policy of deterrence, to let the Anpilov government know that if it strikes any part of NATO, with nuclear weapons, then it is guaranteed to be met with nuclear retaliation of which it cannot possibly respond to. While we believe that Anpilov is a vicious, evil dictator, we do not believe he is mad enough to abandon what fifty successive years of Russian leaders have done and decide to launch a nuclear bomb. Every Russian leader since Stalin has been held back with deterrence and this Russian leader will be no different. While we take the threat seriously, this government does not believe that Chariman Anpilov will go through with his word. That does not mean we shouldn’t prepare for worst contingencies, but it is important not to panic and let reason prevail.”

Dimbleby: “Jack Straw, of the Labour Party, what do you think of the statement by the Home Secretary?”

Straw: “Well, like most people in this country, I’m concerned not simply in my role as a member of the opposition, but simply as someone with a wife and child about what sort of a world is going to exist in a year if this madman decides to unleash the nuclear genie from its lamp. We’re looking for straight, direct answers, but what we’re getting from this government is a tangled web of mixed signals and messages. On the one hand, we hear that nothing is going to happen but at the same time it’s just been announced that ‘Protect and Survive’ is being mass produced in bulk in preparation for being mailed out. It is clear to me that deterrence alone simply is not enough with a character like Anpilov – his government is essentially a fawning legion of yes-men built to follow his every word. Back in the sixties and seventies, even the eighties, the Politburo was a significant power that could block the General Secretary from making rash decisions – they no longer exist, and we are left with something we have never seen since Stalin and indeed I would argue Anpilov is a significantly more unstable figure than Stalin. We’ve only barely strengthened civil defence and planning after it was gutted following the collapse of the Warsaw pact, and we’ve recently learned that it’s barely been improved since 1994, certainly not to the extent we were led to believe.”

Dimbleby: “And what would the Labour Party do?”

Straw: “The Labour Party has suggested to do the same thing we did at the beginning of World War 2, and save our children at the very least by fascilitating the mass transfer of our most precious resource to safe areas for the remainder of this crisis in rural areas. Secondly we suggest the rapid construction of bomb shelters around the major cities. Lastly we need a war fund for the NHS to ensure that if there is a nuclear strike on this country that we can bear the cost. We can’t be sure how many nukes Anpilov has, but it is generally believed by experts that the sort of MAD scenarios of the eighties are now a thing of the past thank goodness. But we are still easily in a scenario where the Soviet Russian arsenal could drop a dozen nukes on this country. We are in a situation extremely close in seriousness to the Cuban Missile Crisis, but also one that is far less predictable because we cannot get into the mindset of these two regimes in Russia that could easily decide to take us down with them.”

Tony Benn: “Mister Straw, while I confess my being deselected may bias my opinion, what you are suggesting is simply fantastical and almost as bad as the war-mongering rhetoric I hear from the Conservative government.”

Scattered Boos

Benn: “This talk about bomb shelters and evacuations is little better than the ludicrous ‘duck and cover’ routines of the fifties. A nuclear war cannot be won – even a minor exchange between the two parties in Russia could lead to a gigantic wave of ash and smoke into the atmosphere and opening the very real possibility of nuclear winter. This is of the utmost seriousness. The main issue is not how we are going to minimise the impact in the UK, but how we’re going to stop these two governments from blasting each other to pieces. And while I know it’s increasingly a forbidden topic to even contemplate, the necessity remains: we have to get both of them around the negotiating table and come to some sort of mutual understanding. And if there is indeed no way to stop the two parties from destroying each other, the only solution is simple: Britain must declare her neutrality in the conflict, and not using the weapons that would only compound the environmental catastrophe.”


Straw: “And this is why - and this is why you are no longer in the Labour Party. Not just for your eulogy to Castro, not just for your apologism for the Anpilov regime -”

Benn: “I have never been an apologist for the Anpilov -”

Straw: “- But for your astonishing willingness to blame a conflict between two evil empires as the result of an unfair West. The West is not at fault for the rape camps of Petrograd, nor is it at fault for the firing squads of Stalingrad, it is only at fault for not having stood by Yeltsin back in 1993 when it could have prevented this. This sort of rhetoric will not be tolerated in the Labour Party.”

Benn: “It won’t be tolerated because at the rate we’re going there won’t be a Britain, let alone a bloody Labour Party by next month!”

Shouting match begins, Dimbleby lowers head in discomfort, lady in red blouse begins to cry

[1] - The practice of playing upbeat music to accompany atrocity, unfortunately, seems to have a vast category of examples from Equatorial Guinea to the Eastern Front in WW2.
The Siren

Extract from 'The Reconquista of the Caucasus' by Levan Galogre

As American troops entered Dagestan, they faced very little resistance from the local population, who were used to living in a secular environment and vastly preferred it to the Dark Age savagery that accompanied the rule of the Emirate. Places, where only a few years ago were entirely avoid of even hijabs, were now the site of mass burnings at the stake of ‘blasphemers’ (atheists), of heads on pikes, and women who were studying to be professors getting stoned to a bloody public death entombed inside a burka. Many troops were shocked to find ethnically Russian girls (the youngest being nine) from inside Russia who had been kidnapped by the Jihadis in raids to be used as Jihadi brides, sometimes literally brought into Dagestan by being forced to walk while being with their arms tied up behind a horse to be force marched to slave markets to be publicly auctioned. While the Jihadis were forbidden from doing this to Muslim girls (girls of different Islamic sects were typically just murdered) the Christian girls captured in Russia were considered acceptable. To the American troops, many of whom grew up in the suburbs playing Nintendo games and watching the Simpsons, could not only not fathom that there were people who could engage in such ancient barbarity, but that it could be imposed upon a people perhaps even more secular than they were. Besides, the Americans were only equally as foreign as most of the Islamists themselves - Basayev himself being a ‘Reject Chechen’ according to the popular local insult. Americans are regarded very positively today in Dagestan as a result, much as in Grenada, Bosnia and indeed most of Eastern Europe. But while it was easy enough to liberate the flat and open northern sections, the real issue, even with Azerbaijani cooperation, was how to crack the Jihadist strongholds within the mountains.

America’s hopes of an easy victory over the Jihadis would be dashed by the Caucasus Mountains, where the worst elements of the Emirates continued to hide away, including Bin Laden and Basayev. Buried inside underground military complexes, the two continued their plans of Islamic conquest in the ways they knew how. While Basayev had been on bad terms with Bin Laden, the extremity of the situation forced the two to work together. This culminated in the February 29th Euro Disneyland Hostage Crisis, where hundreds of families were held hostage in Paris after an attack by Al-Queda operatives who were actually instructed by Basayev, saying they would execute the hostages, starting with the children, if the Americans did not leave the Emirate and re-surrender the locals back under the endless night of foreign Islamist domination. The First Régiment de Parachutistes d'Infanterie de Marine would be used in the retrieval operation, much to the outrage of the Americans who insisted on there being a significant component due to a large percentage of the hostages being American. Mercifully, the French proved excellent and were able to retrieve several hundred hostages with only four hostage deaths (tragically two being children) and total elimination of the kidnappers. The event would further undermine the anti-war movement in America, as well as lead to a reappraisal of the ‘Cheese-Eating Surrender Monkey’ stereotype. Following the attack and long-running economic issues of the 90s, Euro Disney would formally close in 1998.

At the same time, Bin Laden’s master plan was in its final stages. He had acquired a number of nuclear devices from a Soviet commander by bribing him in heroin to sate his addiction. The actual number of devices taken by Bin Laden is unknown and hotly debated, but given events it was clearly at least four. But by far the most consequential of these nuclear weapons was under the command of Arbi Barayev, operating deep in Russian territory. They did their best to blend into the surroundings and laid low until the moment was right. Discussions about bringing the nuke into Dagestan to blow it didn’t work because American control of the region was too intense to allow it. However, as Barayev hated Russians as a Chechen Islamist, he was most agreeable to the idea of exploding it in the heartland of Communist Russia. This was indeed the central premise of Bin Laden’s master plan. He would wait until a moment of maximum tension between the nuclear powers and then explode a nuke right in the heart of one of their territories. This would cause the attacked power to instantly assume, in panic, that the other side had launched first and so without thinking throw their missiles at the enemy, thus tricking them into unleashing a nuclear holocaust upon themselves. Bin Laden’s hope was that the Russian states would throw nukes at the West as they realized what was going on. This would lead to a world where the Western powers were crippled, and lead to Islamist Revolution around the Middle East, resulting in a revived Islamic World ready to conquer the ashes of the infidels.

There were two things, however, that Bin Laden didn’t count on: one was the nature of Soviet command, and number two was the Zass Plan.

Extract from 'Ultimate Evil: Petrograd's Genocide' by Adrian Brown

Though not conclusively proven due to the unparalleled destruction of a country that likewise destroyed much evidence, historians believe that the culprit behind the explosion of Makashov’s plane in November 1994 was Barkashov. While various parties have been blamed for the killing (including some fringe theories that there was no explosion at all and that the plane simply collapsed), ranging from the Americans to Anpilov to Ichkerians to Islamists, Barkashov’s quick response to the crash and veiled threats to the Left Bloc in the weeks leading up to the crash place him at the forefront of historians’ suspicions. From Barkashov’s statements as recorded by surviving colleagues, he was angry that the war had become so destructive, as so many ethnic Russians were being killed – he had hoped that the Left Bloc would quickly collapse after the initial surge. With that, both Nevzorov and Barkashov had grown sick of the war – the former due to the mass killing in general, and Barkashov only because the Russian race was being bled white. This was the environment in which the Zass Plan was formulated – the plan to combine the discriminatory element of the Jewish Holocaust with the indiscriminate destruction of Nuclear Holocaust to plan a discriminatory nuclear genocide of Russia’s ethnic minorities.

The Zass Plan had been the brainchild of Barkashov ever since his reading of the Turner Diaries in early 1994. The Turner Diaries was a piece of American White Supremacist literature that was notorious in its psychopathy, depicting a global race war in which the entirety of the world’s non-White and Jewish population was exterminated with nuclear weapons. It was generally relegated to a limited circuit of extreme far-rightists, primarily within the United States. But over time, the book became more broadly published and found an audience in the wild days of early 90s Russia. Barkashov, much like Hitler, didn’t base his racial complexes off the American model of ‘Whites’ as a master race, but believed that the Russians (which he considered all Slavs to be whether they liked it or not) were a people chosen and destined to rule over the Earth. The book had made him think in terms of race war and final conflict, which greatly affected his evolving mindset on Russia’s ethnic minorities. He had gone from supporting a Russian-supremacist state to a Russian-exclusive state. The talk from Nevzorov about reaching an accommodation with the Urallic and Caucasian nations due to the exhaustion of Fascist forces was laughable to him: all they needed to do was drop some nukes on them and keep the West at bay with their own missiles. The bulk of the work would be accomplished by heavy bombers moving in formation like the Four Horsemen, as the fear was that the West would believe a missile launch might be aimed at them and given the limited time would be forced to launch their own at the Russians. Yes, millions of Russians would likely be killed in the exchange, but given the final result would be the creation of an exclusively ethnically Russian state, it was considered a goal worth almost any price. According to one RNU member at the Hague, Barkashov had told him, “I would rather a mere fifty Russians survive this war if they were the only life left from the Baltic to Bering than see the seeds of Mongol wombs begin to sprout across my child’s inheritance.” Inspired by the methodology of the Turner Diaries, Barkashov planned nothing less than the extermination of Russia’s entire non-Slavic population from Circassia to Yakuia by means of nuclear weapons, leaving their lands uninhabitable, and leaving the Russians the sole survivors of the race war. Lebed and Aksyuchits would be spared from the carnage, with only Yakutia and Tuva targetted under Barkashov’s planning sessions. Ichkeria and Dagestan were likewise written off due to the fear of American retaliation and were thus considered lost forever. The Urallic states, including Komi, and Circassia were on the list for extermination, including the Kalmyks despite their refusal to seek independence from Russia - their existence, not their actions, was the problem. Environmental impacts were completely ignored, including of radiation working its way down the Volga.

He found a willing audience in Dugin, who was convinced that Russians were descendants of the lost Hyperborean civilization discussed by the Greeks. The Greeks had said that beyond the coldness in the North lay an advanced, bountiful kingdom of blue-eyed people living in temperate climates. While scholars debate whether the Greeks had run-ins with the Nords as a result, Dugin went as far as to believe that Hyperborea’s depiction was literal and perhaps understated, while Finns joked that Dugin believed in the existence of Moominvalley. He believed that the Hyperboreans were so advanced that they retreated underwater to build their own kingdoms there while their descendents on the land were the Russians, whom were consequently the inheritors of that advanced bloodline. This further ‘explained’ to Dugin why the north of Russia had opted for the Fascists while the South had stayed with the Communists, as the Northern Russians would be closer to the Hyperboreans and thus maintain a higher % of Hyperborean DNA. He hypothesized that once a Hyperborean Kingdom had been established in Russia, that their underwater cousins would reemerge and unite to fight the ‘Modern Atlanteans’, whom Dugin considered the seafaring West to be.

In early 1996, the plan was approved by the Petrograd Council, to even Nevzorov’s horror. Missiles would face America and the broader West, but crucially, due to a highly successful disinfo effort from the British, the Fascists massively underestimated the scale and sophistication of the Belarussian, Ukrainian and Kazakh nuclear programs. They furthermore underestimated the amount of NATO infrastructure in Finland, pointing at the nuclear missiles placed in Murmansk. Tne Northern Fleet was monitored day and night by the US Navy, with Anpilov’s Black Sea Fleet under watch as well. They thought that the Post-Soviet states didn’t have the money or ability to keep their arsenals and update them to be able to go toe-to-toe with the Russian arsenal. Those missiles were now ready to unload on the remnants of the National Salvation Front, while Lebed had his own missiles ready to destroy what was west of the Urals without compunction. Aksyuchits had publicly announced that he would respond with nuclear weapons once attacked with said weapons but privately instructed missile crews to not fire back if one of the NSF nations (or even China) were to launch an all out assault, as the consequences would be ‘as incalculable as they are unchristian’. Aksyuchits would never have to worry about this being exposed as he would survive the crisis without his own territory being hit, an extremely lucky fate given the fate of his former NSF fellows.

Mercifully, preparation was already taken in the event of a nuclear strike. Unlike Moscow, Petrograd had time to prepare for the destruction of culture and had consequently been extremely careful with it, giving it a near-religious significance. The decision had been made primarily by Nevzorov with Shafarevich’s support, and is widely considered the only commendable act the two committed in the war, which is admittedly superior to most of their contemporaries in the Petrograd Council. The Hermitage had been stripped to the bone, its exhibits locked away in a nuclear bunker just outside of the city, entrusted to a collection of Orthodox monks who literally regarded the works as holy relics. The Bronze Horseman himself would be added to this collection, though upon his return he would find no Thunder Stone on which to stand. Consequently even today the city maintains significant elements of its historical culture, unlike Moscow. Moscow still maintains mysteries with respect to its artifacts though. In 1997 official excavations of the rubble were taken by a United Nations team in the region who were surprised to discover that Lenin’s body, long assumed to have been destroyed and buried under the rubble, was completely missing even in fragments from his tomb. The mystery of the fate of Lenin’s body remains today, and though the standard explanation is that RNU units took it and destroyed it, this hasn’t stopped it being used in fiction as a shrine of underground Communist cults. The missing body has been a symbolic trope to define the potential return of Communism as a global ideology.

Extract from ‘A Continent of Fire’ by James Melfi

On April 4th 1996, forward elements of Fascist forces could make out Stalingrad in the distance from the north along the Volga. Arkan and the Serbian Tigers formed the vanguard, moving down the child soldiers and pensioners that made a significant bulk of the Anpilov regime’s last line of defence. Stalingrad had been made into a deathtrap, with commissars placed around the city to halt anyone trying to leave - including children, under the pretext that adults would be more motivated to fight to protect their children. As was sardonically joked, it would mean the commissars, many being the true believers, would not be part of the battle until the end. However, like Stalin before him, Anpilov vowed not to leave the capital city, saying that the Soviet Republic would die with him. This encouraged the Fascists, who hoped to knock off Anpilov and perhaps implode the Soviet state after a decapitation. The elephant in the room, of course, was the nuclear stockpiles of both governments. Anpilov’s paranoia had led him to stripping all other commanders of the possibility to use nuclear weapons - he and only he could give or rescind the order to fire. Soviet missile crews worked day and night knowing that the decisive showdom was only weeks, perhaps days away, and the moment would come if the Fascists prevailed when Anpilov would have do decide to let the city fall or fire the first nuclear weapon since 1945. The fact that Anpilov had never decided to use the weapons previously showed just how monumentous the gravity of the situation was. Even to someone as delusional and murderous as Anpilov, the visions of mushroom clouds made him tremble.

Fascist forces were now just as tired and demotivated as their Communist enemies. They had struggled through the Spring mud, were harassed by Tatar forces on the other side of the river and were increasingly devoid of supplies. Scavenging from the Communist corpses, they trudged along to the capital of the Soviet Empire, where the final confrontation of the war was to be fought. Attempts to flank the city by going on the opposite bank of the Volga were defeated with heavy loss of life. Newly motivated Soviet units were putting up a significantly better fight than the Red Army had done in the course of the war. The reason was that they feared Anpilov would use nuclear weapons and thus took upon themselves the mission not just to save the city, but save the world. Fascist troops, RNU brigades, Nashi paramilitaries and even Tiger assault teams crashed into a desperate but rigid defence of the city. On April 8th, Barkashov was told by Arkan that at the casualty rate they were taking, their assault would fail. That day, the Petrograd Council would move to an underground base near Gatchina, just south of Petrograd. They feared that at any moment Anpilov would launch an attack, and so took precaution, though their movements were caught by US spy satellites. The Council debated whether it might be best, given the difficulty of the assault, to launch a pre-emptive nuclear strike. Nevzorov was vehemently against it, but by now the sense of imminent Apocalypse already felt too close to be avoided. Barkashov had grown convinced that it would be the only way to save the situation, but mercifully his motion failed, albeit with an agreement that if it appeared that defeat was imminent in the Second Battle of Stalingrad, a full nuclear assault would be ordered. In the meantime, tactical nuclear weapons would be prepared just on the outskirts of the city, ready to begin Armaggedon at a moment’s notice.

Instead, an intensification of the chemical assault was undertaken, with Sarin and VX dousing the city from above, causing horrendous suffering of the imprisoned population, fighting for no ideology but their survival and perhaps the survival of the whole world. Anpilov was in his command bunker in the rear of the city, ordering scores of men from all around into the meatgrinder. The commissars were told that the city was one-way traffic. You could come into Stalingrad but you couldn’t leave. Waves of soldiers, including Kalmyk platoons trying to ensure their nation’s survival, poured into the city in fresh waves of sacrifices. It was estimated the average survival time of a Red Army conscript to Stalingrad was forty-five hours. The battle was every bit as horrifying, bloody and savage as the First Battle of Stalingrad, and looked little different. The few surviving photos and vidoes of Stalingrad just before April 10th looked like if someone recorded 1942’s battle on a VHS camcorder. It was into this chaos that a truck snuck its way into one of the inbound columns to Stalingrad, narrowly missing being shelled along the way by Fascists. Naturally, we can’t know precisely who was the driver, what difficulties they had along the way, or whether they attempted to disguise their faces. The only thing we know, as per waterboarded Al-Qaeda members at Guantanamo, was that on this truck was Arbi Barayev, and in the back was one of the nuclear devices he had stolen from the Red Army.

In the early hours of April 10th 1996, the likely dazed and exhausted Red Army Commissars waved through the truck into the city, before it stopped just beside the Motherland Calls monument, a gigantic statue dedicated to the First Battle of Stalingrad that has vanished into history like the empire it belonged to. Five minutes after the truck stopped, the first nuclear explosion in hatred since Nagasaki shattered the capital of the Soviet Empire - an Al-Qaeda nuclear suicide bombing. While it was the end of Barayev and his cohorts, tens of thousands would be dragged with him in death. The imprisoned population was indiscriminately incinerated, Fascist troops eyes melted at the blinding flash if they weren’t lucky enough to have been killed in the initial assault, and most importantly, Viktor Anpilov, the final dictator of Soviet Russia, was killed in his underground bunker before he could give any orders to the nuclear forces. Anpilov was simply flattened by rubble from above, including everyone unlucky enough to also be entombed there. Also killed was KGB chief Kryuchkov, doing a PR stunt in the rear of the city, awarding medals to KGB commissars for bravery for shooting deserters. He was reduced to an anonymous pile of blackened, smouldering bones along with his cohorts. Arkan was the most famous casualty of the Fascists - he was mid-communication to headquarters before screeching in agony on the other end of the line before it went dead, along with most of the Tigers. From a distance, the Red and Fascist armies both gazed upon the mushroom clouds in stunned horror, with one Red Army survivor recalling ‘I remember looking upon the mushroom cloud, and then turning to the man beside me to see that he was literally pissing down his leg in horror.’

But Anpilov, in all his paranoia, had made both a lethal, and a blessed decision. Mad with paranoia, he had made himself the be-all end all of the Soviet nuclear system, with no succession plan if he was taken out. When one minister asked what would happen if Anpilov was dead, he was immediately thrown under the bus by sycophantic colleagues and later executed, ensuring there would be no one to turn to in the case of decapitation. Thus, the Red Army’s nuclear stockpile was no longer that of an army’s but of hundreds of individuals, debating in the last minutes’ of their lives what they should do. Some decided to fire, and some did not. But of the Fascist armies before Stalingrad, they didn’t stand a chance. Naturally, all there, including the Fascists, assumed that Fascist forces had launched a nuclear strike due to the difficulty of seizing the city - indeed until it was spat out by Guantanamo detainees in the coming months, that was the West’s primary belief as well. Almost immediately, tactical nuclear bombs began raining down on Fascist positions - three nuclear weapons detonated on top of the Fascist lines, their scale large enough and their aim bad enough that a significant amount of Red Army troops were caught up in the hellstorm. Fascist and Red Army troops alike ran in all directions as the war was now out of their hands, perhaps out of anyone’s hands. The fate of not just Russia, but indeed the entire world would be settled in the next twenty-four hours by the men at the very top. It didn’t matter what the response of the Red Army would be, of course. The moment the nuke at Stalingrad had been confirmed, Petrograd had already sent their missiles in the air - Plan Zass was on.

Extract from ‘Averting Armageddon: The West in the Second Russian Civil War’, by Frank Wolfowitz

Clinton had wanted to be the End of History President and had given little thought of foreign policy on the campaign trail in 1992. He wanted to focus on healthcare, now a distant memory in the fickle life of public discourse. He wanted to be to the White House what the Simpsons was to sitcoms. Now, he was in a situation as serious as had been faced by any American President since Lincoln, where the cities of America stood at risk of being obliterated by psychopathic dictators one button away from the biggest death toll in history. The image of a womanizing jokester had begun to morph into an almost Henry V reincarnation as the resolute leader of the Free World, ready for the final confrontation with the dual evils of the twentieth century. He and the Western allies had in early 1996 devised Operation Allied Force, the plan to eliminate Fascist and Communist Russia’s nuclear arsenals with minimum loss of civilian life, and restore democracy to Russia west of the Urals. China and Kazakhstan had been included in the briefings, given that all help would be needed to take out both nuclear arsenals and ensure that ICBMs didn’t bathe the capitals of the world in nuclear fire. Even Nemtsov, Lebed and Aksyuchits confirmed their interest, though the FEK lacked the ability to help given the primitive level of delivery systems in the country. Every nuclear power, sans India, sat around the same table, trying to work out the quickest and safest way to take out the NSF's last trump card. On April 10th, those awful plans finally had to be put to the test. As Clinton would recall in his autobiography, "The decision [to begin Operation Allied Force] was not a morally good one, but the alternative was a morally bankrupt one."

With the first reports of nuclear explosions in Russia, Western governments leaped into action. Clinton was hurled into the air on Air Force One, Major, Chirac and other Western leaders had likewise been moved to undisclosed locations. The Queen and Prince Philip had already gone to sea on the Yacht Britannia in the proceeding days. For the first time in history, NORAD was on DEFCON 1 worldwide. NATO troops were on high alert, prepared to roll over the Russian border as they’d feared and fantasized all their lifetimes. No one knew what the chain of escalation could possibly look like, but once it became clear that both sides were seemingly launching a full nuclear strike on the other, and the first missiles started to be recorded, it became clear that the time had arrived. There had been much debate among Western policy leaders about when to send out an air raid warning, with some only wanting the traditional four-minute warning when it was clear the missiles were in the air. However, due to the shambolic state of preparedness by most Western governments, the shelters to deal with the situation even to 1980s levels simply no longer existed. Furthermore, as no one was clear how a missile attack would play out in the West, or if both, one or even neither of the NSF governments would fire a missile, there was no clear chain of escalation that could be followed. Thus, with great acrimony, it had been decided in the prior days that once an escalating nuclear exchange had begun in Russia, regardless of the scale or imminency of attack on the West, the air raid warning would begin. A significant reason for that was that the nuclear strike from the West would be about to begin.

On April 10th 1996, the streets of New York, London, Paris and Tokyo were suddenly blazoned with a sound. A sound that had only been heard in their worst nightmares for half a century. On that day, the nightmare became a reality.

It All Returns to Nothing

Extract from Interview with Hideaki Anno (2006)

Interviewer: “To what extent did the events of April 10th 1996 influence the events of End of Evangelion?”

Anno: “I don’t think there was a way that anyone, especially in Japan, couldn’t be influenced by what happened. The Japanese had always been particularly sensitive about nuclear weapons since 1945, so it was particularly hard for us to watch and experience. When we heard the sirens that day, millions of us thought we were going to die, or wish we were dead by the time we reemerged from the subways. As we hid in our shelters, we had images in our heads of fire and annihilation that was destroying all the places we had ever been or wanted to go to. The ‘Komm, Süsser Tod’ sequence was in large part my recollection of thoughts in the subway as I thought we were all going to die. Japan was a different country on the 11th, like everywhere else, even though we were lucky in how little we were directly impacted. We appreciated how easily we could all have died. And unfortunately, millions of people did die. I think that the Japanese, the nation of Hiroshima, have a particular closeness to the Russian diaspora because of this."

Interviewer: "And you put those feelings into Evangelion?"

Anno: "Yes, it had been the most nihilistic experience of all our lives. Evangelion was an exploration of my own feelings which were shared by millions of people around the planet about how anyone could mentally function in a post-April 10th world. On that day, we knew how close we were at any point in our life to total annihilation and death. The question that we all faced after that day was how we could go on? And by the end of the film, even as Shinji decides to return to the real world, even he doesn't know how he'll keep on going. No one did. And I still don't."

Extract from ‘A Continent of Fire’ by James Melfi

Once word got out that the Reds had launched a tactical nuclear strike, the bewildering confusion about what the hell the blast in Stalingrad was moot: it was now a nuclear war, whether Petrograd liked it or not. Planes were immediately sent into the air to launch Plan Zass before they could be caught on the ground: the annihilation of the Non-Slavs in Russia being more important than responding to the people attacking them with nukes. They were primarily located in Ilyan and Perm provinces, with swarms of nuclear bombers taking to the sky both north and south towards Komi and the Uralic states to begin the awful mission. The pilots had been rigidly indoctrinated to ensure their loyalty to the plan, with only the most virulent racists given the planes. Reportedly, in March, one pilot had to be physically restrained from stealing a plane to launch a lone wolf nuclear attack to kick start the race war, such was the fanaticism on display. There was no hope that any of the men enlisted would sway in their mission While further away, bomber fleets barrelled towards the Caucasus as well. Yakutia and Tuva were sent nuclear missiles, with the Reds likewise to be on the receiving end of a devastating nuclear decapitation, albeit a non-genocidal one. The ICBMs in Murmansk remained pointed at the West like a loaded gun to ward off any attempts to prevent the extermination. The first salvo of the first truly nuclear war was about to begin. [1]

Among the largest acts of destruction in this first nuclear hammer blow were the nuclear bombings of Sevastopol and Rostov on Don, the former of particular tragedy owing to it only being nuked due to its enthusiastic embrace of returning to Moscow’s orbit, only to see its annihilation. This was, of course, to wipe out the Black Sea Fleet and its accompanying nuclear arsenal, in which it was successful. The device exploded just off the coast, melting the ships of the Black Sea fleet before they were simply reduced to its atoms. The city was likewise blasted to shreds, with some 25% of the city dying in the initial blast. In one strike, most of the Black Sea Navy ceased to exist, something further compounded by the strike on Rostov, which wiped out 75% of ships in the Black Sea Fleet and likewise obliterated the city. At the same time, it failed to wipe out the submarines where many of the nuclear weapons resided, but the Fascists would find unlikely allies in the form of NATO, whose navies had been on full alert since the first nuke went off in Stalingrad. Their order was simple: wipe out every single Fascist and Communist submarine that could be carrying nuclear weapons. Mercifully, the technological gap that was already vast by the 80s had grown to astonishing proportions by the 90s, with all Russian submarines at sea having been consistently tracked by NATO. Once Clinton gave the order, these submarines immediately found themselves hurtling to the bottom of the Black and Arctic seas, many of the crew crushed from the pressure of the ocean’s titanic weight before they could even drown. Due to the quick action of primarily the US and Royal Navies, no NSF-affiliated submarines would be able to launch their nukes, saving literally millions of lives. By April 11th, all ships under the Fascist or Communist flag were either underwater or had ceased to exist.

Among other cities that were impacted by Fascist nuclear weapons were Samara, Voronezh, Krasnodar, Linetsk, Penza, Tambov, Kaluga, Astrakhan, and Sochi (big enough to obliterate both the defenders and attackers). Simferopol would be the largest Red city to not be hit in some way by a nuclear strike throughout the chaos, in part due to Ukrainian reluctance to target Crimea given that they would soon reclaim it. Most of the civilians had been caught by complete surprise due to the complete breakdown of communications caused by the explosion in Stalingrad, leading to not even an air raid warning being sent out to warn the population in many cities, with life and death sometimes a case of being slightly indoors at the right time. Stalingrad itself was given three further nuclear strikes, reducing the city to nothing even more thoroughly than Moscow. By any measure, Soviet Russia had been obliterated as a society and civilisation. Soviet Russia had been incinerated by nuclear weapons, only the weapons that killed them and their families were not the Americans’, but the very ones they had built by their own hands. These were just the major regions that got hit and is not a comprehensive list. Most of the hundreds of nuclear weapons launched were used against the various nuclear facilities run by the Reds, resulting in most of the Red Army’s thousands of nuclear warheads being caught on the ground. All in all, roughly five million were estimated to have been killed in the initial Fascist salvo, independent of the Nuclear Holocaust that was already in progress.

The Red response has fascinated philosophers and planners ever since as orders from Anpilov could not come in, therefore the decisions taken by the individual commanders. A significant portion (46%) of nuclear command posts who were determined to have had the time to respond did not appear to do so. Of course, there is a significant debate about how much of those were due to technical malfunction, but it appears a significant amount of nuclear commanders simply refused to use the weapons in question despite their inevitable demise. Of course, there was no way to stop the incoming weapons from killing the inhabitants of the bunker, but that so many refused to kill out of spite created various mental images within the Russian Diaspora and successor states about what the final discussions of those doomed operators would have sounded like, and why some decided to fire and some did not. Unfortunately, one of the ones that did decide to fire was the missile aimed at Petrograd.

Flying up from the Caucasus, the missile breezed through the Russian sky before slamming into the heart of Petrograd. The Hermitage, the Winter Palace and the Thunder Stone now existed not in shape, not in bricks, not even their dust remained. The Paris of the East vanished from the face of the Earth, alongside 650,000 people in the single deadliest blast in human history. Not among those casualties were most of the Petrograd Council, including Barkashov, Nevzorov, Dobrovolsky, Dugin and Shafarevich. They had all fled the city by plane with seconds to spare, as their escape plane’s engines had failed mid-flight given the shock of the blast and only barely found time to turn on again. Two more nukes would flatten the surrounding suburbs while one more would obliterate Vyborg just to the north. Moscow’s centre would, ironically, receive no nuclear strike as the zone was unliveable and it would be a wasted shot. However, two nukes did fall on the surrounding suburbs in Zelenograd and Lyubertsy. The other main victims of the Red atomic strikes were Yaroslavl, Nizhny Novgorod, Vologda, Pskov, Tula, and Ryazan. Arkhangelsk and Murmansk were hit but both had already been hit by American nuclear weapons (albeit ones that minimised civilian targets by striking the ports while the Reds had hit the civilian centres on the basis it would cause the maximum confusion for the enemy). Naturally, a bevy of nuclear weapons struck the front line, obliterating entrenched Fascist positions that might have been exploitable if Red Army troops weren’t fleeing in all directions for their lives just as their Fascist enemies were. Nearly four million would die in the Red counterstrike. By the time the world’s counterstrike had begun, the Red Army as well as the various Fascist paramilitaries had ceased to exist as effective structures. No one could command their own legs let alone their soldiers. Privates and commanders, soldiers and civilians, villains and victims, parents and children spent the last moments of Russia’s existence as a civilization screaming and running in terror in all directions, many of whom would perish with it. As Russia’s final minutes approached, the question was whether the rest of the world would die with it. The fate of all existence hung in the balance.

Extract from ‘Averting Armageddon: The West in the Second Russian Civil War’, by Frank Wolfowitz
As the Red and Fascist missiles flew in all directions, the Allied Coalition began the most world-changing yet horrifying assignment they were ever cursed to conduct: a pre-emptive nuclear strike on Fascist and Communist Russia. The first American bomb exploded in hate since Nagasaki was a 6MT Hydrogen bomb that exploded over the stratosphere of Western Russia, a sight that could be seen as far as Kyiv while the locals ran for their lives down the leviathan of a tube system the city had. The attack scrambled radio waves, downed radar stations and silenced radios across both NSF successor states. An aurora lit the sky across Europe even in the day, a sight that could even be seen in Turkey, a sight many interpreted as divine involvement before the end of the world, further maddening the population. The first nukes that landed came from the Allied submarines in the Arctic and, much to the shock of Fascist planners in their final moments, from Belarus and Ukraine. The Fascists had, through British counterintelligence, assumed that Ukraine and Belarus only had cumbersome ICBMs and gravity bombs - nothing that could seriously threaten them. Then, at the crucial moment, fast-paced short-medium range nuclear missiles began to roar from their silos even as the trail of the missile that struck Sevastopol still lingered in the air. All across Western Russia, in Fascist and Communist zones alike, the nuclear missiles that lay in wait to annihilate Europe were caught on the ground.

While the Ukrainians and Belarussians did all they could to save their continent by dooming their neighbor, the Americans did everything they could to save their own continent from a nuclear strike by laying waste to the Murmansk and Arkhangelsk nuclear weapon fields. For the most part, they succeeded, crashing up through mountains of ice to fire volley after volley of nuclear missile strikes across Western Russia, perhaps the most cursed region in all the world. Despite the brutality of the operation, Clinton (and the other Western leaders) had demonstrably done their best to reduce casualties. Yet for all of the casualty reduction, the ultimate results were still brutal, with hundreds of thousands estimated to have died in the initial American assault in the north. While the Americans, British and French did their best to flatten the Fascists in the north, the Kazakhs (or more accurately the Chinese using the Kazakhs as a human shield) fired everything they had across the Communist rump (despite China recognising said state’s existence). The Red commanders, already overwhelmed by Fascist missile launches, were totally blindsided by the further assault, leading to the Reds, who had several thousand more nukes than the Fascists, being unable to get as much off. Meanwhile, Lebed would order his own nuclear stocks to fire just over the Urals into the Russian interior. As he would later recall, “I’m not proud of what I did, but I am proud that my being the one to make that decision stopped someone else from making that decision. Someone who’ll never have to have nightmares for the rest of his life, someone who’ll never have to question his decision for every waking moment, someone who’ll never have to look at the corpses and buildings smoldering together in what used to be the greatest country in the world and know he was the reason why those bodies burned. Somewhere, there’s a man who didn’t make that decision, and I took that burden for him. That does not make me happy, but it makes me at peace.”

Operation Allied Force was a near-flawless military operation, particularly for one that utilized the help of Kazakhstan and China. China had been in the bad books for their operation in Siberia, but once the threat of imminent nuclear war began to ring loudly following Anpilov’s threats, the Politburo was as needed by the West as the West was needed by the Politburo. The Chinese and the West, even China and Lebed scrambled together to try and avert an end to the planet, coordinating by phone to identify and destroy the entirety of the two Russia’s nuclear arsenals, collectively estimated at roughly 3,500 for the Fascists and 5,500 for the Communists by the CIA before the nukes started to fly. The Soviet figure of 30,000 or so at peak had been massively reduced due to the Soviet states taking over a third of the stock with them, compounded by all nuclear weapons east of the Urals being lost. This was a godsend to the Japanese, Chinese, Koreans, Taiwanese, Australians and New Zealanders, who would all be completely spared even an attempted nuclear attack. Further nukes had been lost by physical destruction to ensure they would not fall to advancing enemy forces in the civil war. And, of course, the elephant in the room was the unreliability of the missile systems themselves in such a setting. Even during the Soviet era, the missile system was already in decay by Gorbachev, something that accelerated to a terminal degree under Yeltsin, which became a prime location for theft. The nuclear arsenal was never expected to be used and was thus the most opaque part of the entire budget - a golden opportunity to rob the state given that no one expected the nukes, especially after the Cold War, to ever be used. This led to a budget that couldn’t sustain the nukes even on paper, something that was compounded by the desperate decisions necessary during the Civil War. Given that the only use for the nukes was the threat of their use, and given that the Cold War had come and gone without nukes, a naive feeling had permeated both tribes that the nukes would never be used in any case. As a result, the nuclear bases were essentially just the sight of day and night robberies. Recent estimates have determined that more than 25% of Russian missiles that got launch orders simply exploded or fizzled in the silos (nearly a third for the Communist nukes). Of the nukes that ever actually flew, roughly 20% either failed to explode while 6% veered wildly off target and blew up what essentially amounted to barren fields or even the open ocean. It was inevitable given the sheer scale of the Russian nuclear arsenal, however, that something would get through.

In the air, the now berserk Petrograd Council, seeing in horror that the West had joined the conflict ordered a total nuclear retaliation against the West. Roughly forty missiles managed to slip through the wall of nuclear fire, while NORAD reacted in horror as their slapdash defenses they had done everything they could to rebuild since 1994 were thrown into service to save the United States from the greatest destruction it had faced since the Civil War. But while NORAD and Clinton prepared for America’s Judgement Day, NATO forces sent their jets in at full speed from Finland, Lithuania, and Chechnya with one order: Destroy all Red and Nashi planes in Russia.

Extract from 'Ultimate Evil: Petrograd's Genocide' by Adrian Brown

From just outside Ilyangrad (formerly known as ‘Kirov’ and changed due to its new Fascist hosts), from all directions, flew the deadliest force ever assembled in human history. In order to not trigger Western retaliation, it was decided to not use missiles in the genocide to reduce the threat of the West misinterpreting the launch as one directed at them. A slow, methodical genocide of the Uralic states was the plan. A few planes flew north but the vast majority were turned south, towards Tatarstan, Bashkortostan, Chuvashia and all the rest. Just as the last plane was taking off from the airfield, a Red atomic bomb shattered the city, blasting the planes from the sky like they were swatted flies. Unfortunately, the deadly cargo continued their advance, the last few drops of fuel left in the Fascist armies that weren’t used in the Stalingrad advance having been kept in reserve for this moment. Their aim was to wipe the Uralic states and their people off the face of the Earth, ethnic Russians in those regions be damned - they lay with the racial enemy and would receive just punishment.

By the time the genocide began, Lebed had sent his MIGs into the sky from Chelyabinsk with the help of NATO guidance to find and destroy all Russian bombers. Chinese Migs in Kazakhstan began to move north as well on a collision course with Barkashov’s Airbourne Apocalypse. Komi however, was essentially unprotected and would receive the first atrocity. Hundreds of thousands of Russians had fled the Republic for Fascist Russia, leaving the indigenous ethnic Komi as an estimated narrow plurality by the time of the genocide, at roughly 300,000. Most of the remaining Russians were descendants of the gulag prisoners and consequently had no love of the Russian state in any form, and were consequently seen as just as irredeemable as the ‘racial enemies’ themselves. It was the first time in decades that the Komi had returned to their status as the largest ethnic group in their homeland, a victory that was now to be followed by its ultimate tragedy. Columns of nuclear bombers rolled through the sky like swarms of giant eagles, knowing full well that Komi had no air force to defend itself with. They had no military targets in mind, only lists of the largest civilian concentrations. Towns of mere 7,500 people were targeted for extermination for being within the top twenty largest civilian concentrations in the republic. The capital of Syktyvkar, a city of merely 200,000 was incinerated and stamped on by three separate nuclear explosions to ensure there would be as few survivors as possible (by 2000 only 8,000 residents of the city remained alive). As one of the very few survivors would recall, “It couldn’t have been true, but I remember seeing the sun itself blotted out by this wave of merciless, shadowed planes. I remember the whole city vanishing beneath mushroom clouds, the planes continuing their flight without swaying as if they hadn’t noticed the destruction.” Up the Republic rolled the wave of death, exterminating any proof that the Komi Republic ever existed, or that people ever lived there. Towns no one even in the Republic had heard of were destroyed in a wave of unimaginable extermination. Ukhta, Sosnogorsk, and any form of organised civilisation in the territory was gone in a mushroom cloud. By the time Vorkuta had been destroyed near the Arctic Circle, the mission had been complete: Nearly half of the population of the entire Komi Republic had been exterminated in nuclear flames in a single day. By the end of the year, the figure had risen to 70%, nearly 700,000. The planes were wiped from the sky in the coming hours by Lebed’s air force, but it would be no aid to the lives lost.

But it was the southern wing of the assault that would make April 10th 1996 the most infamous day in all of human history - the one-day genocide that surpassed even the Jewish Holocaust. Udmurtia was essentially ignored as most of the Udmurts themselves had moved into the interior of the Urallic states, a decision that only encouraged Barkashov to ensure there would be more casualties. Like a Satanic visitation, the bomber fleets began their extermination. Kazan, Ufa, Saransk, Cheboksary, Yoshkar-Ola, were removed from existence along with most of the helpless souls that lived there, some with multiple detonations. Large concentrations of refugee camps were deliberately targeted for no other reason than to maximise civilian casualties. Millions perished in the space of minutes, murdered by the people they had called comrades and countrymen most of their lives. Military fortifications that had assumed they would be hit were completely ignored for the nearby civilian targets to maximise the slaughter. By the end of 1996 due to the explosions and fallout, 2.3 million residents of Tatarstan were dead. Three million residents of Bashkortostan were dead. Six hundred thousand residents of Mordovia were dead. Eight hundred thousand residents of Chuvashia were dead. Three hundred and fifty thousand residents of Mari El were dead. Some 100,000 Udmurt refugees also died in the chaos. For the final run, the planes intended to destroy the camps and supplies in the Russian territory bordering Kazakhstan that the Uralic states took at the beginning of the conflict, especially Orenburg. There is even some speculation that the planes were heading further south to exterminate the Kazakh nation. Mercifully, owing to Siberian and Chinese planes, the bombers were shot out of the sky just before they could take out Orenburg - leading to bitter conspiratorial thinking that Lebed and the Chinese only cared about a Russian city like Orenburg and let the Uralic states be exterminated.

The remaining bombers flew south to the Caucasus to destroy the nations that began this implosion back in 1994, with the only missiles to be employed in the Zass Plan being sent to Yakutia. However, these missiles would prove either a failure or a mistake (from the perspective of wishing mass murder). The missiles to Yakutia would detonate in the five largest cities of the former republic, but there was almost no one there. The only people there were a handful of aid workers and military officials. It’s estimated that only 8,000 died in the entirety of the Yakutia strike, with the ethnic Russians living in the wilderness actually interpreting the event as proof that the shamans had been right about abandoning Western Civilisation, as those that returned to the cities were wiped out. This set the stage for Tengrism to be a serious and multi-racial religious belief system in Sakha, with Slavs abandoning their Russian identity for a pagan Yakut one. Meanwhile, the bombers to the Caucasus were set upon by the weight of the US Air Force and even several Israeli jets that were covertly operating near Turkey. Israel’s help in both establishing the independence of the Caucasian states as well as their help in preventing the genocidal bombers from reaching them would turn the Caucasus into the most Pro-Israel part of the entire Islamic world. With nuclear missiles flying in all directions in the air and the ground below already burning with atomic flame, American and Israeli jets managed to get past the escorts and obliterate the entirety of Barkshov’s demonic fleet. No Fascist nuke would fall on the Caucasian nations, though their forces near Sochi would be hit. Unfortunately, this did not stop the Reds from launching nukes of their own.

From all around the Northern Caucasus, while the world itself seemed to be coming to an end, roughly two dozen Red missiles managed to escape through the madness by commanders who decided to not die without dragging thousands and perhaps millions with them. In conjunction with the Fascist nukes that managed to slip out from Western Russia, there were now dozens of missiles that managed to slip through the net that the Western powers had made. The Fascists had primarily aimed for Northern Europe and the Americas while the Reds had primarily aimed for Southern Europe and the Middle East. Unlike America, the Europeans had very little defence once the missiles began raining down on them. Mercifully, the targets were not done to maximise civilian casualties as they had been in the Nuclear Holocaust. In total, the following targets in Europe and the Middle East were hit:

Belarus: Babruysk
Belgium: Mons
Dagestan: Kizlyar
France: Bordeaux, Calais
Germany: Ramstein, Kiel
Finland: Kemi, Utti, Upinniemi, Rovaniemi, Dragsvik.
Iceland: Keflavik
Ichkeria: Grozny
Ireland: Shannon Airport
Israel: Ramat David (the explosion shattering the windows at the Church of the Annunciation in Nazareth), Dimona
Italy: Augusta, Lampedusa Island, Cagliari
Kazakhstan: Baikonur, Kurchatov
Latvia: Liepāja
Netherlands: Brunsumm
Norway: Kolsas
Poland: Gdansk
Portugal: Lajes, Monte Real
Romania: Constanta
Saudi Arabia: King Abdul Aziz Air Force Base
Spain: Naval Station Rota
Sweden: Gotland Island
Turkey: Ekskisehir, Izmir
United Arab Emirates: Jebel Ali base
Ukraine: Gostomel Airport, Pobuzke nuclear base (it appears the country was mostly spared due to later plans to annex it and a religious belief among the Fascists that Kyiv was the birthplace of Russia)
United Kingdom: RAF Alconbury, Port Clyde, Northwood, Dover

So ended the nuclear attacks on Europe and the Middle East. All in all, it was a fraction of what was feared for when that terrible day would arrive, but the collective number of Western casualties had climbed into the six-figure range. It was a level none except those who remembered World War Two could even begin to compare. This would, of course, be only a fraction of the figures for Russia. Some nukes harmlessly fizzled on landing, sparing Naples, Odessa, and other cities from fates one wouldn’t even want to imagine.

Meanwhile, the few dozen nuclear missiles that had been fired at Canada and America continued their collision course. The ICBMs launched their warheads, totaled at 96 towards North America. NORAD tracked the warheads helplessly as they began to crest over the North Pole and back down to the Americas. The only way to stop them was on re-entry, but NORAD was ready for the final showdown. Multiple nuclear missiles were launched into the air from the American and Canadian side, their mission being to take the Russian missiles out by nuclear explosion before they land on American soil. Smaller Patriot missiles likewise did their best to save their country, practically blanketing the stratosphere in parts with mushroom clouds. To jubilation, the Russian missiles were swept one after another, and many after another from the sky. One missile predicted as being centred on New York was intercepted with seven seconds to spare. Thanks to this desperate work, only 21 of the original 96 warheads would land in the United States and Canada with only seventeen of those actually detonating, though that would be a scarce comfort for the victims and their families. The destroyed targets were:

Canada: Halifax, CFB Edmonton, CFB Borden, CFB Kingston
United States: Anchorage, Fort Benning, Fort Hood, Fort Bragg, Fort Bliss, Fort Campbell, Fort Stewart, Fort Knox, Cheyenne NORAD base (twice), Camp David, White Sands Missile range, Rocky Flats Plant, Oak Ridge

So ended the nuclear exchange between Russia and the broader world. Kaliningrad, Siberia and the FEK had escaped with no injuries bar the imprudent attacks on Yakutia - partly due to the aversion to striking Russian territory and hopes of future deals that would never happen. All in all, roughly 1.3 million people living in non-Russian countries, overwhelmingly civilians, were killed that day, and the number would climb in the coming weeks and months. However, the death toll had been substantially reduced from what it could have been, with evacuation programs implemented by most Western nations saving thousands of children from perishing alongside their parents. No capitals had been hit outside Grozny (though London faced fires at its outskirts and Grozny itself had essentially been evacuated already), no heads of state were killed, Western armies were damaged but supreme. The Fascists and Communists and fired their best shots and come up wanting. The only thing left to do was destroy the final forces of the twin evils, and that was something the infuriated NATO ground and air forces intended to do.

Cesar ‘Rico’ Rodriguez became the first Flying Ace since the Vietnam War, and in style, because it was him who shot down the Petrograd Council’s plane over the skies of Northern Russia. The plane carrying Dugin, Barkashov, Nevzorov, Shafarevich and all the rest exploded over the skies of Vodlozersky National Park in the middle of nowhere. The largest body part recovered was a charred hand from Nevzorov, the rest having simply been reduced to ashes like the millions they had condemned to die. The location has since barred to the public due to survivors of the war going their on pilgrimage to throw faeces over the area the plane crashed as a final mark of disrespect. With the decapitation of Fascist forces, including General Rodionov after a nuclear device exploded over his head in Ilyangrad coming from Siberia, the two forces were collectively pounded into the dirt with all nuclear sites repeatedly struck from American, British, French, Belarussian, Ukrainian, Kazakh, Israeli, Siberian, and Baltic Sea Fleet nuclear weapons. Many were wasting nukes on the same target due to the chaos in communications and failure to coordinate, though it occasionally had the positive effect of accidentally knocking out wildfires. Finally, after hours of bombardment which eventually morphed to ‘merely’ conventional, the Russian nuclear arsenal was determined by NATO command to be destroyed.

By evening in Russia on April 10th, it was estimated that twenty-two million people who were alive the previous day were dead. April 10th had gone down as the deadliest day in human history, and a global day of mourning. Yet somehow the Second Russian Civil War was not over, as it was not incumbent on foreign forces to enter Western Russia and totally secure the ground. This was a nightmare due to the fallout but NATO had prepared for this contingency for years. By evening, from Finland, Lithuania, Ichkeria and Dagestan, Western forces began to roll into Western Russian territory, with the Baltic states, Georgia, Belarus and Ukraine all promising passage while rolling in the troops themselves. The latter nations had no protection but didn’t give a damn - they wouldn’t miss this event for all the world. Latvia and Estonia rolled into their previously stolen territories, while Ukraine rolled into Crimea. Lebed order his troops to life and demanded to go to the Uralic states to try and find survivors. The whole world, from Argentina to China, pledged peacekeeper troops and medical assistance to the shattered survivors. April 11th would have its very own challenges, and the question was whether the world was strong enough to face them.

Extract from 'One Soldier’s War in Russia' by Arkady Babchenko

I woke up, mangled on the floor beneath the rubble. It was the heat that awoke me, an already scorching heat that began to boil my toenails to their skin. I wrenched my leg up, tearing chunks from my flesh as it was pulled across the mortar and wood. As my deafness began to subside, I wished it hadn’t, as all I could hear were the agonized, pitiful wails of screaming. I looked around to the left and right to see what was happening. I saw one of my fellow inmates likewise pinned beneath the rubble. It was the first time I’d ever seen skin drip, drip like water from a screaming face as the fire began to consume him. Seeing my inevitable fate if I continued to stay here, I clawed my way out of the rubble, so hopped up on my own adrenaline that I didn’t realise that I’d broken three ribs and an ankle. I stumbled to where I remembered the exit being, but all prior geographic knowledge of the camp had been thrown out the window. Solid walls had been knocked to the ground, doorways were crammed with rubble and burning bodies of wardens and prisoners alike. As I managed to leave the burning building just moments before it imploded and took its last remaining survivors with it, I looked up in desperate hope to see the sky and know i was free of the building. Instead, it was dark. It was the morning, but the sky was totally black, the sun blocked out by the demonic visitation of the mushroom cloud. Our camp was no more, neither was the ‘holding camp’ for the women just beside ours, nor even the nearby city itself. Everywhere, the ground was orange with flames and the sky was black with smoke.

My bowels gave way in maddened horror - this was the end. I had no idea that the West was mostly okay, that the East had survived intact - as far as I knew, the world was literally ending before my eyes. I didn’t know if my parents were dead before, but they were certainly dead now. Even my friends who were lucky enough to escape to the West couldn’t escape the atom bomb. I collapsed to the ground, crawling across the ground past wardens screaming in agony on the ground who were looking in the direction of the flash by sheer chance. I had no idea where I was going but my only desire was to get away, away from all of this. Stumbling with my shit-smeared legs, clutching my scars and wincing in pain, I interchangeably walked and crawled towards the entrance. If someone wanted to shoot me, they were entitled - we were all going to die now anyway. Instead, all the checkpoints were either destroyed or abandoned - I could see terrified Nashi troops running into the distance leaving everyone in the camps, including their comrades, to die. Some blindly ran in the direction of the minefields that had been constructed to stop us escaping, ignoring them simply due to having lost their minds at the sight of the end of days.

As I stepped outside the front gate while the barracks behind me burned to the ground, the reality struck me: what the hell was I escaping from? The world was finished. The world was over. There was nowhere to run to, nowhere to hide. As Khrushchev had said, ‘The living would envy the dead’. I would be cursed to see the aftermath of the world. Already the idea of a bottle of vodka, a chocolate bar, Borscht made by your grandmother, warm Solyanka with your parents, a football match with your home team, a trip to the movies with your girl, kvass in the park with your friends - as if in one instance, I realised these things would never happen again. Not for me, not for my anyone - it was all taken from us by a brothel of scumbags in Petrograd and Stalingrad. So obsessed with bringing back the past that they destroyed the present and future. It was not the physical pain that brought me down, but my emotional collapse. There really was no point, not for anything. Just a few paces from the camp, I collapsed to my knees from pain and tiredness. In my weakness, I crumpled to the ground, the weight of my thoughts too heavy for even Atlas to carry. The screams faded as everyone slowly died, within minutes, I could hear nothing. Once I could hear nothing, I simply fell asleep.

I don’t know how much later it was when I awoke. The sky was as equally blocked from the plume of ashes and smoke from what used to be a city just beside us. The reason I awoke, however, was because of gunshots. Every ten seconds or so, I could hear a gunshot behind me inside the camp. I turned around, body wracked with agony as my adrenaline was exhausted. Inside the camp, I could see amidst the smoke haze someone walking up to some of the bodies and delivering pistol shots. Sometimes they stayed still in death, sometimes they were killed on the spot. After roughly a minute of this, the figure seemed to see me in the distance. He turned and walked to me at a leisurely pace. Walking past a final plume of toxic black plumes, his face was revealed to me. Of course, I should have guessed.

“C-Commissar?” I said, reminded of his aura whenever he held his pistol.

“There’s no need to call me that, Arkady,” he replied as he came up to me. “It would be prudent to conclude that there is neither a Petrograd or Stalingrad government left and thus I am without title.”

I looked at his pistol with an even blend of hope and fear.

“What are you doing with that?” I asked.

“Burn victims. They didn’t have long to live so I did the noble thing. Not that we have long to live either, it seems.”

As he said this, I heard a thunder from above. At first I feared another explosion, only to flinch as the first drop of black rain began to fall on my cheek. Soon we were both soaked in it.

“Is this rain radioactive?” I asked.

“Everything around here probably is,” Vladimir replied. “Of course, there probably aren’t many places in the world that aren’t right now. The same is probably true for New York and London too. Nothing but ashes, rubble and nuclear fallout”

“God almighty,” I replied. “There really is nothing.”

“Nothing,” agreed Vladimir. “But at the very least, Arkady, I was grateful to see you again one last time, given that there’s no more Russia.”

The nuance of that reply confused and threatened me.

“Wh-what do you mean?”

He raised his pistol to my face. Of course, this is how I always expected I would go. It was only normal, it was only fair that I would die too. Why was I special? I didn’t object, nor was I surprised as the barrel was aimed at my head.

Then I was surprised. Suddenly, Vladimir smiled, the first time I’d ever seen him do such a thing. Then he pulled his arm back and put the pistol to his own temple, though his smile didn’t change.

“What’s the point of living in a world where Russia’s not in it?”


He would have lived just long enough to hear my cry - I sometimes wonder if it made him flinch in his final milliseconds of life. But as my commissar collapsed to the ground before me, and my ears rang with the shot, the only person who had stuck with me on this entire hellish journey now came to the same end as millions of others that day. As my ears slowly began to return to normal, the silence that remained chilled my shattered bones, because the silence was the silence of death, the death of millions. Vladimir was dead. The wardens were dead. The inmates were dead. The wardens in the camp near us were dead. The women in the camp near us were dead. The children in the camp near us were dead. The city was dead. The birds were dead. The country was dead. The world was dead.

Everyone was dead. [2]

[1] - My account of the nuclear stage of this conflict was inspired by Giobastia's Able Archer TL which appeared to me to be a relatively plausible case of a survivable nuclear war TL and I want to give them full credit - they appear unreachable but I wish them well.

[2] - This is a misquote of one of the most chilling extracts from his OTL Chechnya book about piles of corpses that he sees, to an identical reaction.
We All Become Silent

President Clinton's 'Because' speech, in full (Broadcast from the Oval Office on the evening of April 10th 1996)

“My fellow Americans, the longest day in our nation’s history has come to a close. Because of this day, thousands of brave American men and women who made this country great will not be with us tomorrow. They were from diverse walks of life - Black and White, Jew and Gentile, Republican and Democrat. They fell not just around the world, but here at home. Anchorage, Knoxville, Denver and Forts Bragg, Benning, Bliss, Stewart, Campbell, Knox and Hood, which were all struck by the greatest attack on this nation since Pearl Harbour. At Cheyenne Base in Colorado, our servicemen and women saw the missiles coming in from Russia on their monitors. They saw that there was no way to stop the missiles heading straight to them from exploding. Instead, they spent their last moments doing everything they could to save their fellow countrymen. They showed the bravery and courage of their forefathers at Bunker Hill, the Alamo, and Bastogne. Because of those brave men and women, New York City is still here. Lady Liberty is still here. The Twin Towers are still here. The Empire State building is still there. And the Lincoln Memorial, the Golden Gate Bridge, Mount Rushmore, and the Constitution of this Republic that has stood as a beacon to the Free World for two hundred and twenty years, all that is still here. America is still here, and with its allies from around the world, is ready to exact vengeance on those who caused this calamity.

"But just because we have experienced these tragedies does not mean we are alone in those tragedies. Both the Fascist and Communist governments have struck our allies in Britain, Canada, Ireland, Italy and Israel. Our friends are hurt, some worse than us, but all the hurt that we have taken is only a fraction of what we have visited upon them. The nuclear arsenals of both rogue Russian states have been destroyed - the armies of Fascism and Communism have been vanquished as they were at Berlin in 1945 and 1989 respectively. The destruction that Russia has experienced is unparalleled in human history, and while we are not proud of that destruction we are grateful that we have defeated the twin evils of the twentieth century once again. As I speak, the armies of the Free World, from Europe to Latin America and even the free Russians of Siberia are rolling into European Russia to minimise civilian casualties and bring to justice whatever perpetrators of the crimes we have witnessed for the past few years have survived.

"Today was a bitter day, perhaps the most bitter in our history, even more so than December 7th 1941 at Pearl Harbour. And it must be our mission to ensure it remains the most bitter day in our history, by never allowing something like this to happen again. For all the tragedy, this day has the potential to change many days in the future. We have the opportunity to learn from the mistakes that got us here to forge a new future, one where we will not only never have a day like this again, but never a day when we would even fear it. As we approach the new millennium, we must approach it with the determination that the twenty first century must not repeat the mistakes of the twentieth.

"In 1814, a great American, Francis Scott Key stood as a prisoner on a British Warship off the sea from Fort Henry. His jailers told him to look upon the American flag flying from the fort, and told him that soon that its inhabitants would surrender and pull down their flag. They said it would happen because the entire British navy had assembled, ready to demolish the fort and everyone in it, if they did not surrender. But as twilight came, their flag was still there. And so the greatest navy in the world began to fire with every canon they had upon the fort. For hours and hours Fort Henry took every shot. They had no reinforcements, no hope for victory. But despite the red glare from the rounds, despite the deafening explosions all around, the American flag was still there. And all below the ship, where Key’s fellow prisoners were interned, every soul prayed that that flag would not fall. For twenty-five hours, Fort Henry took the might of the strongest navy in the world. Finally, the next day, at the early morning light as the smoke cleared, over the ramparts still waved the flag of the republic. And so he would write, “Oh say can you see, by the dawn’s early light, what so proudly we hailed at the twilight’s last gleaming?” And so even today, for all the destruction wrought upon this country, the same Stars and Stripes that Francis Scott Key saw waving nearly two hundred years ago wave still. For all the hardship we endured, as we have for centuries, we have held on. And so does that star spangled banner yet wave, because the land of the free is the home of the brave.”

Extract from research interview for 'Denial: Why People Deny Genocide' by Charles Keane

Interviewer: “Hello [REDACTED], thank you for conducting this interview. You were a soldier in the British army stationed in Lithuania, is that correct?”

Soldier: “Yes, that’s correct.”


Interviewer: “It was dawn on April 11th when you crossed the border, right?”

Soldier: “We got permission to move from Lithuania into Latvia, which at the time wasn’t in NATO. Pretty soon after that, we rolled past the border and into the territory that Russia occupied in 1993. The idea was that we’d be the spearhead but the Latvian troops would take care of occupying the territory. So we were on the front side of things but at the same time we knew we had to get a move on. A lot of people were going to die if they didn’t get medical help and, well, a lot of people were going to die even with the medical help too.”

Interviewer: “Did you meet much resistance on the way?”

Soldier: “That’s what shocked me. Even up to and including Dagda, I never heard a single bullet fired. People were just too horrified. Even though there really hadn’t been any nukes on occupied Latvia apart from maybe one near a military base, the place was essentially in order. Certainly more in order than anything we found when we entered Russia proper. God almighty, there was just nothing.”

Interviewer: “How did the people greet you?”

Soldier: “It depended - many actually didn’t do anything. They just went about their day like nothing was happening. Babushkas were in the store complaining about bread, old men played chess in the park. I couldn’t believe it since we were all scared out of our minds but I think that something in their minds had broken and they just switched off, because facing the horror of what happened was just something they couldn’t comprehend. Others greeted us almost like liberators, not because they liked us, but because they worried that the whole world had been completely destroyed in the exchange. So when they heard that, for the most part only Russia was destroyed, at first they were like “Yes! Only Russia was destroyed!” before realising “Wait, only Russia is destroyed” and then crumpled to the ground. Their country was gone. Their history, their culture, everything. It was like they’d lost all their parents and children. It was a horrific blow to them - many never recovered.”

Interviewer: “What did you know about Dagda before you arrived?”

Soldier: “We’d heard about the rape camp rumours, the brainwashing camp rumours, but to be honest a lot of people, especially the ones who weren’t reading the broadsheets didn’t believe it. A lot of people assumed they were exaggerating how bad it was to justify why we kept the sanctions despite the Depression. I didn’t really know what I believed, but whatever it was, it certainly wasn’t what I found there.”

Interviewer: “I know it’s difficult for you to remember but due to the rise of the online denial culture about things like the rape camps and the Zass Plan, can you just say what you saw in the camp when you arrived?”

Soldier: “We arrived in Dagda ‘Holding Camp’ pretty early in the morning - the orders apparently came from pretty high up to confirm some of the rumours that were going on there. The guards had all left - ran before we came because they knew what we would find. We arrived at the gate and, you remember those images of Auschwitz and the Nazi camps with the emaciated inmates waiting around the gate? It was like that, but they were all women and girls. Most but not all looked slightly different from native Russians, and our translator said that’s because they were Caucasian - Georgians, Chechens, Azeris and so on. Others looked a bit more Asiatic, and they were Tatar. A few were blonde - they turned out to be ethnically Ukrainian. Some were bald because they desperately tried to make themselves less attractive to get less attention. Almost all of them had bruises or black eyes, even bite marks. A lot of them actually ran in terror from us because after what they’d all been through they were terrified of the sight of a man, any man. So we already knew what had happened and were shocked - even though we’d heard all the rumours, they don’t prepare you for seeing what had happened. We went inside the barracks and then we all become silent. We opened one room to find lines of women literally chained to the wall, some of them dead and most of the ones that were alive wishing they were. The floor was just awash in shit, because they had been chained in some cases for weeks and just repeatedly raped there, in front of all the others, and now no one was left to clean up. The women’s legs were just red from bruising, rashes and inflammation. We later found out that one of the women had been raped by a HIV-positive convict as punishment for resisting too much - I’m grateful I didn’t know it at the time because it was already too much to take.”

Interviewer: “What was the age range of the women in that room?”

Soldier: “... Can we skip that question and come back to it?”

Interviewer: “Of course - were any of the camp guards left?”

Soldier: “We went to camp headquarters, expecting, like everywhere else, that it would be completely empty. Instead, as we went in we saw, crawling across the floor, the first male that we’d seen in the camp the whole time. It was a boy - couldn’t have been more than ten years old. Like a lot of the Ukrainians he was blonde, very naturally innocent looking, and he was crawling across the floor, really cautiously, looking at us and then back to the room behind him in terror. His face looked okay but we could quickly realise he was in severe pain. It turned out that both of his legs were broken and that he’d been ordered to walk around on them for the amusement of his abuser for months. Not just his legs, this boy had essentially been tortured daily by the man who was just behind him in that room. Now, the man who did, turned out he was actually quite infamous. His name was Anton Krasovsky, and he had the nickname of ‘monster’. He took particular delight in abusing and torturing the children in the camp, particularly but not exclusively the Ukrainians. We walked, guns at the ready, right into the room to see Krasovsky at a desk just reeking of vodka. He’d had a nervous breakdown - not about what he’d done, but because of 4/10. When he woke up he saw three guns practically in his gob. What blew my mind was how young he was - he would have been a uni student at home, but here he was committing things that were beyond even what the Latvians thought of Russians.”

Interviewer: “How hard was it not to kill him?”

Soldier: “Well, the funny thing is that when I saw those women before, I said to myself that there’s no God. So when I realised that I sort of had the choice of killing him right there, punishments be damned, I realised how stupid it would be to kill him. He dies, then nothing. That’s why I never understood why the American were so mad about the idea of Timothy McVeigh getting tried at the Hague. “Oh if he didn’t have a trial in America, they wouldn’t have given the death penalty” - exactly, he’d die and then he wouldn’t get to suffer. If he was going to suffer, as I wanted him to, I wanted him to live as long as possible - in that sense, it was a good thing he was so young. We beat the shit out of him, obviously. I think we must have taken half his teeth out.”

Interviewer: “What do you think about the denial of not just the rape camps, the idea that the camps were just holding camps that gets spread by some far-right and even sometimes far-left types on the internet?”

Soldier: “Well, it’s like the Nuclear Holocaust, the idea that the nuclear bombings of Komi and the Ural countries were actually done by the West to discredit the Nashis. We can’t use facts and logic to untangle that mess because no adult in a society with access to information has ever been a Nuclear Holocaust, or Jewish Holocaust denier out of facts or logic. The only thing I can say to the people who say the rape camps didn’t exist, that it all was made up to justify the nuclear strike, I wish you were right, mate. I really wish you were right.”

Extract from ‘A Continent of Fire’ by James Melfi

Thirty-eight million. That was the final death toll of the Second Russian Civil War, which made the conflict the second deadliest in world history after World War Two. The final day is usually seen as April 17th, when an American unit in hazmat gear in Moscow raised Old Glory above the rubble where the Kremlin used to be - a scene whose morality and taste has been hotly contested since, not in the least due to one of the soldiers tying a small Polish flag halfway up the flagpole due to his Polish ancestry. However, the climatic effects of the ‘Nuclear Autumn’ that lasted until the dawn of the new millenia so depressed crop outputs that some argue the resulting excess deaths from mass hunger throughout the Third World should be counted. This isn’t to mention the sky-rocketing rates of thyroid cancer across Europe, the Middle East, and Central Asia that continues to affect the regions - this would be more than enough to push the tally towards that putrid prize of the deadliest war in history. The toll was overwhelmingly composed of the dead from the nuclear strike and the famines that shattered the once almighty Russian nation - the conventional violent deaths still stood in the millions. It would, of course, have been much more, if the combined forces of the planet had not moved in to try and rescue the situation. With NATO troops wearing their protective material, the Ukrainians, Siberians and Belarussians wearing their Soviet material, the desperate mission to relieve the shattered country was under way. Some treated the battered population better than others. The Finns and Balts in particular had no love for the residents and never made any attempt to hide it, while the Anglo-Americans were the best the Russian civilians could reasonably hope for.

When it came to troops, the Red Army soldiers generally surrendered vastly easier - they had lived through the 80s and knew that Communism was not a system worth fighting for. The Fascist troops had more holdouts and ambushes, and by the end of 1996, it was estimated that nearly 4,000 intervening troops had been killed by Fascists, as compared to about 1,200 killed by Red soldiers. The war against Al Qaeda was put on hold, and it wouldn’t be until early 1997 that it was definitely determined that it was Al-Qaeda, not Petrograd, who fired the first shot in the nuclear conflict. European Russia was put under UN administration with Kaliningrad now stuck with having to pay reparation to Russia’s many enraged neighbours and genocided minorities. The occupation was primarily a NATO job, and certainly NATO would be the first to go anywhere in the stricken country. Eventually, the occupation duties would be increasingly spread around other UN states, like Brazil, Indonesia, even China. While everyone wanted to put to justice the people who did this, they were almost all dead due to the nuclear strikes. The highest ranking Fascist official alive was Eduard Limonov as he had resigned due to differences in economic policies as a National Bolshevik, before going to live in the countryside. He was captured by a Swedish army detachment and eventually taken to the Hague where he was successfully imprisoned for life for atrocities.

Tellingly, on April 12th Lebed would declare on radio that he had rescinded his claim to European Russia. He was declaring the independence of Siberia and recognising the FEK as a sovereign state as well, a decision soon reciprocated by Vladivostok. When angrily asked why he had done so by Rokhlin, he frankly told his friend, “After what’s just happened in Komi, Tatarstan, Bashkortostan, this country will pay reparations until the sun burns out - I can’t bring back the dead, neither the people nor Russia itself.” The city of Orenburg was abandoned due to the waves of radiation emanating from the north, the ethnic Russian population almost entirely fleeing to Siberia. The reckoning for the Nuclear Genocide would inevitably be fierce, and as the full understanding of what happened began to disseminate, the two nations that were most enraged were Finland and Turkey (owing not just to how badly they had been hit, but that the ethnic groups targetted for extermination were from their sisterly ethnic groups). Finland would consequently become uncharacteristically harsh in its demand for a settlement. The Latvians and Estonians would be equally vindictive, and once Western press could see some of the camps that the Petrograd government had employed, the desire for punishment of the Russian state only grew more. The two Baltic countries now longer demanded the return of their 1993 borders, but their 1939 borders, as both had lost territory due to Russian annexation that had been seen as water under the bridge and not worth the fuss in 1991. Turkey went one farther than the rest. Turkey sent their troops by boat up to the east side of the Kerch strait, then began to march south along the Black Sea while sending troops up from Circassia. Turkey somewhat surprised their partners by informing them that Turkey recognised Circassia’s right to the entirety of the Black Sea Coast from Sochi to the Kerch Strait, a territorial claim endorsed initially only as a starting bid by the Circassian militants to exact concessions. While shocked at the presumptiveness and vindictiveness of the announcement, Clinton could only keep trying to administer over the chaos.

The wave of Russophobia in 1996 due to the strike was short but profound, leading many in the Russian diaspora to move in different directions. Despite the success in getting so many refugees into Western countries, 4/10 completely flipped the script - anti-Russian feeling in the West returned and would last for a few years before the unending images of destruction replaced those feelings with pity and nostalgia. Many of those who wanted to stay in the West did everything they could to remove any traces of their ancestry, or pretended to be another kind of Eastern European. While one could tell due to their Slavic accents that they weren’t born there, ‘Vasily’ became ‘Vince’, ‘Yulia’ became ‘Julia’, ‘Petrov’ became ‘Peterson’ and so forth. Some parents would even smack their child for speaking in Russian and to order them to speak only English. Despite the gigantic influx of people, Russian-Americans would go through a similar form of deep integration as the German-Americans, with second generation Russian children being seen as ‘abnormally American’ by some scholars. The STEM fields in particular ended up being dominated by them. Of course, America was more welcoming of its Russian hosts than many European states, with some refugee centres attacked in the days after 4/10, especially in former Warsaw Pact countries. Of course further still, this assimilationist route was not for everyone. Many wanted to keep their traditions and way of life. This would kick-start the voluntary emigration of Russian citizens to the FEK and Siberia, both of which were in great demand of people given their sheer scale. One somewhat surprising candidate for ‘repatriation’ was Ukraine. Ukraine’s nationalist leadership had taken the view that the fall of Russia left Kyiv as the true inheritor to Constantinople and Rome, a fact that excited mystic sensations in many in the nationalist communities of the country. Consequently, many sought to make Ukraine the leader of Slavic and Orthodox Civilisation. Despite Lilliputian military attempts to create this aura, the cultural victory of Ukraine would solidify over the Slavic world in the coming years. Subsequent immigration by Russians on the condition they ‘revert’ their cultural practices back to ‘the true successors of the Kyivan Rus’ would create a deep labour pool, as well as one possessed by rekindled mission. As Ukraine’s economy soared in the coming years, eventually reaching 60 million inhabitants, the country increasingly threw its weight around. Ukraine has subsequently become the leader of the EU’s Eastern Bloc alongside Poland, primarily in opposition to France and Germany. A big reason for this was, as mentioned, the influx of Russian refugees.

While foreign countries pledged to do all they could to relieve the population, there had been more than enough chaos in the West. On April 10th, the S&P 500 fell by 70% in a single day - and though it very quickly recovered in equally record-setting style, the economic thundershock ripped through the economy. Riots swept the major cities of most major cities that evening as looters and various shades of political fundamentalists tried to take advantage of the chaos. In America alone, one billion dollars worth of damage was caused by ‘The Nuclear Riots’. Martial law was declared nationwide in the UK, Israel, Turkey, Finland, France, Germany, and Poland, as well as a majority of US states. While April 10th is considered the worst day of the Second Depression economically, the recovery would be painfully slow given the geopolitical chaos the war’s effects would soon unleash upon the Third World. Almost all incumbents would receive boosts to their popularity. The most notable was Clinton, who would go on to win his second Time’s Person of the Year for 1996 to complete four straight years of the title given to people due to the events of the Second Russian Civil War. ‘The Russian Refugee’ won in 1995, Dudayev won in 1994 and Makashov won in 1993. Clinton’s approval boost pre-emptively guaranteed a crushing re-election victory over John McCain that November. The only major exception to the incumbent bounce was in the United Kingdom, as there had been a Coalition government formed between Major and Blair, with the former often blamed for almost anything in the response that went wrong and the latter praised for everything that went right. The damage in England while not as humanly costly as Canada, where support for Quebec independence imploded and a new grievance was born in Albertans feeling ignored in that Halifax’s strike was receiving far more governmental assistance than Edmonton. Nor was it as costly as in France or Turkey, but it was still psychologically deep due to a mushroom cloud being visible from the centre of London. While this damage was somewhat healed by England’s subsequent victory in the UEFA European Championship in 1996 (an event wildly called to be cancelled but pushed ahead by the organisers and players to become a cultural event on tier with England’s 1966 World Cup win’), it was not enough to save Major in the subsequent election, leading to Labour’s first return to majority government since 1979. Again, despite protests, the Atlanta Olympics continued under immense security - a failed bombing attempt by a Christian religious fundamentalist attempt intercepted before detonation. As the event was completed and America again performed well, the complaints vanished into history.

Extract from ‘The Unstoppable Tragedy: The Second Russian Civil War’ by Peter Hodges

The events of 4/10 were so monumental that all parties desired the peace resolution to be of similar significance to Westphalia or Vienna. The choice of location was poignant: Hiroshima. Two major questions arose from the conclusion to the Second Russian Civil War: what to do with WMDs and how to reconfigure Russia? While immense, the first actually proved easier than many feared, with all nuclear powers in the world attending, though Israel declared due to their obscure policy that they were ‘merely observers’. The war had entirely changed nations’ understanding of nuclear weapons, with the weapons of a country now interpreted as potentially being used against their own citizens in the coming years. The presence of nukes also made Russia significantly less safe as it stopped the foreign powers from ending the carnage early. Coupled with widespread renewed opposition to nuclear energy, the World Disarmament Movement was founded in May 1996 by Elie Wiesel and Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, the former having described the events of 4/10 as ‘An Auschwitz as wide as a continent’. The stated goal of this movement was the ‘End of the nuclear menace’ - it was not a group that called for unilateral disarmament, but to reduce the threat of nuclear destruction as had been seen in the Nuclear Holocaust. Thanks in part to Solzhenitsyn, but primarily due to the unspeakable horror seen among the East Slavic states to what had happened in Russia, the movement for global disarmament was strongest in the Russian-speaking world. Aksyuchits announced on April 21st that he was simply abolishing the nuclear arsenal immediately, saying that after seeing what he had seen in Russia that if he could go back in time and had one he could use against North Korea to prevent the invasion, he would not do so. The main push for a deal was America, whose collection of warheads now stood at orders of magnitude above all other countries in the five figure zone. China’s invitation had been surprisingly cordial, as the economic gut-kick of 4/10 and subsequent political chaos ensured all nations wanted nothing more than stability. China itself was eager to make everyone forget about their Siberian adventure and gladly accepted whatever the West was offering if it ensured their place in the new world order. At the final agreement, it was declared among NATO, the Russian successor states, China, India and Israel that not only was nuclear warfare unacceptable, but that it would consider the creation of one by any country on Earth to be a collective declaration of war against them. It was further agreed that America would pledge that by 2000 they would have only 1,000 warheads, with the UK, France and China being given a maximum of 100. India was given an allowance of 40, and Israel of 15. Israel reluctantly confirmed the existence of its nuclear program on the condition that America provided more advanced weapons technology, further entangling the two countries’ military industrial complexes.

Facing immense political pressure from their populations, who were as one psychologist recalled, “Maddened by grief and loss,” the Russian speaking world would unanimously surrender their nukes. Talk of how nukes would protect Russians had fallen on deaf ears given how many Russians had died due to Russian nukes. Nemtsov recalled that his mind had already been made up standing on the ashes of his childhood home in Nizhny Novgorod, and pledged to fully end the nuclear program. Lebed, while illicitly keeping his chemical weapons deposits to act as a minor deterrent, was forced to agree to the terms. Belarus, run by an academic in Pazniak with no stomach for war, likewise gladly agreed to the abolition of nukes. Kazakhstan was flatly told by China to accept the loss of the nukes or be economically cut off. The only country that considered keeping their nukes was Ukraine, with Lukianenko hopeful of making the country the leader of the Slavic world by default. Instead, the population angrily took to the streets of Maidan in what became known as ‘The Peace Revolution’ to demand Ukraine follow the lead of the rest of the East Slav states and end the nuclear program. The most infamous speech came from one of the operators of the missile systems on April 10th, who told the crowd that the nuke he helped launch had destroyed his childhood town in Russia, and that he had killed his school friends in the town. He said that the only reason he would not kill himself was that he had a mission to warn the world to stop this from ever happening again. Another was Arkady Babchenko, a Ukrainian Jew who had served in the Red Army at gunpoint, was captured by Nashis and experienced a nuclear explosion before passing away from cancer in 2005 after writing a bestselling memoir of his time in the war. His retelling further inflamed the crowd, who all demanded something like that never happen to any people on Earth. Unfortunately, some 10% of the Ukrainian and Belarus missile operators that were involved in Allied Force would either commit suicide or die from health conditions brought on by the mental weight of the event. The Revolution had the desired effect, with Lukianenko agreeing to surrender Ukraine’s nuclear weapons. Just like South Africa, the entirety of the Post Soviet space had accepted the total removal of nuclear weapons, though Belarus and Ukraine asked for and received an agreement for NATO membership as a condition, a process that would be joined by Slovenia, Croatia and Bosnia as one group in 1999.

While unthinkable before the war, the mental impact of a near-miss global apocalypse had created a paranoia particularly among Western countries that such an event could never, ever be allowed to happen again. But to many third world nations more used to political instability, the decision was seen as a slap in the face. For the world's superpowers, alongside Israel whose inclusion in the conference’s decision making panel led to countless allegations of Jewish meddling, to tell them what to do was seen as an unacceptable form of neo-colonialism, particularly in the case of Pakistan. Pakistan was in the final stages of their nuclear program and was essentially one crank away from full completion. That a panel involving India and Israel had held a panel where it became the world’s collective duty to stop the spread of nuclear weapons through military means was perfect political fodder. Benazir Bhutto, Pakistani Prime Minister would reluctantly agree to go ahead with international demands and clamp down on the nuclear program, something that the Pakistani military was in uproar about. This culminated on October 20th 1996, with Bhutto being put under house arrest by a military coup just one year after another failed military coup. The coup was led by Naseem Rana, the head of the ISI, who became the interim leader. He announced that Pakistan was withdrawing from the terms agreed to by Bhutto. He had expected that given the Americans had a presidential election soon, that they wouldn’t want to create unnecessary drama, which was perhaps the most foolish mistake of his life. On October 28th 1996 after ignoring calls from the White House to step down or face consequences, American planes from the carrier strike force began to obliterate every nuclear facility in the country. The Pakistanis were mortified that the threats had been real all along, the lower ranking officers immediately throwing Rana under the bus by executing him and restoring Bhutto to power, with both agreeing to downplay the role the other officers had to put all the blame on Rana. Bhutto consequently agreed by diktat to scrap the nuclear program, while also cutting cold all aid to the Taliban and getting its military under control. While India had not participated (an intentional decision of the US), the residents of Pakistan’s neighbour celebrated their enemy’s confirmation as a lower-grade power, on the wrong end of the nuclear dividing line.

The second would deal with Russia’s status itself. Lebed and Aksyuchits’s independence was recognised, as was that of the entirety of the Caucasian states, including Kalmykia, who was relatively undestroyed in the chaos and leapt for the opportunity to escape the great prison house of nations while it still could, as perhaps its final inmate. Turkey forsook economic reparations from Russia in return for its recognition of the establishment of a Circassian state on the Black Sea. Circassia’s independence was confirmed with its territory starting from the west side of the Kuban river on the Azov Sea running down the Laba River and including the entirety of the Kabardino-Balkar and Karachay-Cherkess republics, thus ending the existence of the Russian Black Sea Fleet. The region was soon swarmed with eager Circassians from around the world, who endeavoured to restore the strength and vitality of their nation’s past, with the Turks helping them stand on their feet. Ethnic Russians were not forcibly pushed out but made to live under conditions that were deliberately alien to them, leading to Circassians being an overall majority in the territory by 2000, a trend that has gotten more prominent since. Estonia and Latvia got their pre-Stalinist occupation borders back, with a far stricter declaration that anyone on these territories would be considered complicit in criminal enterprise and thus inadmissible for Latvian citizenship or aid - as all ethnic Latvians had been expelled, everyone was considered fair game. Estonia copied the approach for Narva. While again not a forced movement of people, it was very deliberately made to make life unlivable for ethnic Russians. Finland would gain their 1941 borders again, but with a catch. This territory would be allotted to the Karelian, Mari El, Udmurt and Komi survivors of Petrograd’s genocide. All these groups were of Finnic origin but many, especially the Udmurts, had been faced with almost total extermination at the hands of the Petrograd regime. To substantial reparations from the Russian state, the survivors would be able to flee the literally unliveable surroundings of their indigenous lands to take refuge inside the expanded Finnish state. The Urallic states and Komi, as well as other hotspots around European Russia, were declared contaminated zones and were the subject of forced evacuations. Almost no Russians still alive within the territory allotted to Finland wanted to face the Komi or Udmurt survivors of the genocide and fled at full pace. Turkic genocide survivors such as the Tatars would be given refuge in either Turkey or Circassia, and Caucasian genocide survivors would reunite with their kin to tell them stories that would form mutual understanding throughout the region.

It was agreed that European Russia itself was simply incapable of sustaining itself for the foreseeable future (with multiple destroyed nuclear plants further contaminating the surrounding environments), leading to agreements to send waves of refugees over the mountains to Siberia and the FEK. The capital of the Russian state would remain in Kaliningrad, as it tried to manage the breakdown of society in the European core. Mandates to launch decommunisation measures would also strain Nemtsov, who had to change his region’s name. Ultimately, to stress the region’s connection to Russia, a presidential committee decided to make ‘Pushkingrad’ the name of the city, a deeply unpopular one with the locals since the writer had no connection to the city. They wanted ‘Korolevets’, which was the Russian version of ‘Königsberg’, but an almost certainly rigged vote would give the Pushkingrad name, since secession like Siberia if committed by the Baltic region would throw the status of European Russia into the deepest confusion, not to mention remove Russia’s sole unspoiled region. While Pushkingrad is still officially ‘The Russian Federation’ on international forms, even in 2020, due to the horrific cleanup cost and mass movements of people, European Russia is a pale shadow of itself, with a lower population than either Siberia or the FEK. But, as one desperate final measure to try and restore optimism of Russian people in the Hiroshima Treaty, it was agreed to restore the Romanov Dynasty to a ceremonial position as Tsars in the obliterated mess of European Russia. It was a huge decision, but Nemtsov felt that the state needed some way to remember her great past. Furthermore, an organisation known as the ‘Russian Union’ was formed, in the mould of the embryonic European Union, though it would be years before significant agreement was possible. The President of this group would be the Tsar, giving some form of unity across former Russia. The battle for who would be Tsar was actually quite fierce, as there were competing claims within the Romanov family itself. Ultimately, owing to his age being just old enough to make people assume he was alive during the 1917 Revolution, Prince Nicholas Romanov was declared to be the government’s choice for the first Russian Tsar in eighty years. While many thought a coronation would be a miserable affair given the supposed loss of the Russian Crown Jewels in nuclear flame, the discovery of the ‘Hermitage Vault’ in northern Russia in June 1997 and the Imperial Crown Jewels within was hailed as a potentially literally miraculous find. Symbolically, the coronation would be on the exact eightieth anniversary of the Bolshevik Revolution in Russia in November 1997, in the city of Veliky Novgorod, the largest in European Russia that hadn’t been abandoned or destroyed due to nuclear weapons. The Romanovs had after all those years in the wilderness, finally returned to the throne. It was perhaps the one event shellshocked Russian survivors could take some joy in UN refugee camps around the tv screens, to see traditional Russian ceremony and elegance, as if that world had not been destroyed. Others hoped that this ‘Novgorod Kingdom’ would forsake the warlike ways of old Musvcovy and act like the old Novgorod Republic, as a cultured European nation.

The Treaty of Hiroshima would eventually be signed in front of the Genbaku Dome, the only surviving building in Hiroshima from its destruction on August 8th 1996, fifty one years to the day after Little Boy detonated over the city. It would be a monumental treaty that has defined most of the 21st Century to date, but it didn’t just end the MAD era. It was the moment when a continent-spanning colossus of Russia, an empire that in many forms had been at the forefront of history, of science, of art for centuries, was told that the show was over. Or perhaps more tragically, that the show had to go on, but she could no longer be part of it. Though many have worn her colours and claimed her legacy, few truly doubt that almost in a flash on April 10th 1996 she was no longer with us anymore, and on August 8th we finally accepted that. But while she herself lives no more, her accomplishments and beauty outlast her, and as with Ozymandias before her, it is not her brute military strength but her art and culture that shall live forever.

Extract from 'Unending Torment: From 4/10 to 2000' by Simon Faulkner

The remainder of 1996 would see further deep political turmoil around the world. In Serbia, Western sanctions had created a scenario where starvation was being reported in the streets of Belgrade. Conditions in the country were rough, but the horror of 4/10 left an indelible impression. Many of the refugees that came to Serbia were not patriotic supporters of the Petrograd regime, to say the least, despite Milosevic’s open support. They kept quiet, however, in finally being given a place away from the violence. But when 4/10 happened, the mental collapse that stunned the Russian diaspora led to a gigantic shift in perceptions. Milosevic was now considered a partner in crime with the regime that had not only ‘started’ the nuclear war, but had committed an atrocity that would tie the name of Russians to evil forever in the same way Hitler did for the Germans. For one of the primary victims of Hitler, the outrage was apocalyptic. Suddenly in May there were indeed protests in Kosovo, but not the Albanians that Milosevic had sent the Russians to deal with, but the Russians themselves. Seeing their chance, opposition figures called for a protest on May 9th in Belgrade to demand the resignation of Milosevic, who was widely blamed for the economic catastrophe as well. When one old man in a tractor from a nearby farm drove into Belgrade and accidentally ran into a police barricade when he got lost, the crowd took it as a sign to strike, with a biblical riot breaking out in the streets of Belgrade, and the Novi dvor presidential palace being set in flames. The Tractor Revolution would be the end of Milosevic, who reluctantly resigned on May 10th. Zoran Đinđić, the opposition leader, would take over and agree to Western demands to hand over all war criminals connected to the Bosnian and Croat wars. This would include Milosevic himself, who would be convicted of his knowledge and involvement in war crimes in Bosnia at the Hague in 2001. However, to Albanian chagrin, Kosovo’s independence bid was strangled in the crib due to the demographic inflow of Serbs from Bosnia. While some had predicted Serbia would lose Kosovo or Montenegro in the chaos following the loss in the Bosnian war, both remain parts of Serbia today, albeit with more regional autonomy.

Setting the stage of the wider wars to come in Africa in Zimbabwe, Robert Mugabe’s response to calamitous drought and an imploding economy in 1996 began to implement drastic solutions. In 1995, Mugabe had increasingly targeted White farmers as a scapegoat for his own economic mismanagement, but as the economy continued to slide, the rhetoric continued to increase. Vigilante violence by Mugabites against these farms skyrocketed, until June 1996 when Mugabe would announce the mass seizure of White farmland without compensation. While violence against the farmers increased, violence in general increased as well due to the imploding economy. But it was what was happening in South Africa, not Zimbabwe, that would determine the country’s future. On July 17th 1996, Eeben Barlow, the head of an Executive Outcomes whose business was exploding due to their shares in Siberia’s mineral wealth, would meet South African President Nelson Mandela. Mandela had been pressured by the Clinton Administration and China to deal with Mugabe’s destabilisation. Mandela, who still thought well of Mugabe due to his role in the end of the Rhodesian semi-Apartheid regime, was reluctant to go after an old ally. This was until Barlow met Mandela, and frankly told him that a collection of Afrikaner and Rhodesian expats with serious money had contacted him to send a military force to Zimbabwe to take down Mugabe, albeit not to bring back a White Supremacist state - he said that at least one neighbouring state to Zimbabwe had already approved using their territory to launch an attack. Barlow told Mandela his choice was either to leave the operation to the SADF, or see White mercenaries connected to an Apartheid-era firm topple a famous African leader. He pointedly told the South African President, “If it’s so awful to say you’re helping White farmers, just say you’re avenging the Gukurahundi (the name of Mugabe’s genocide of the Mathebelle in the 1980s), even if you would be pretty late.” Mandela was furious but was backed into a corner. On August 12th, Mandela launched the South African invasion of Zimbabwe. It was an almost Shakespearean tale of two former comrades in the independence struggle now becoming enemies, with one to be praised by the West as a model of human decency and the other damned to be known as a model of kleptocracy. Mugabe would surrender on August 20th, after a light-speed operation by the finest army in Africa made short work of Mugabe’s vigilantes and unmotivated army. Prominent Zimbabwe opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai would become President, charting a frayed but superior course for the young country under the model of Mandela’s South Africa. White farmers would mostly return to their homesteads while Mugabe and his wife were arrested. Barlow’s sneer about the Gukurahundi would actually turn out to be a foreshadowing of Mugabe’s trial in the Hague, where he was put on trial for genocide and sentenced to life in 2003. South Africa further consolidated, and while radical Black Nationalist groups lambasted Mandela for his ‘betrayal’, it further solidified Mandela’s stature in the West as someone on the right side of history and led to a sizeable voluntary repatriation of White South Africans who felt Mandela’s handling of the incident had assuaged many of their fears about what a future South Africa would look like. Due to bad blood between Barlow and Mandela, not in the least due to Barlow's participation in the Apartheid military, Executive Outcomes would fully move to Siberia in 2003, and become a substantial local employer.

But for all the chaos in the Third World in 1996, it would pale into comparison to 1997, where the weight of economic downturn had made many seemingly invincible dictatorships look not that strong anymore. The ‘Arab Spring’ would begin in Libya, after Gaddafi had reluctantly agreed to the abolition of his WMD program following Pakistan’s Near Death Experience in October. That December, Gaddafi announced the process and announced it had been completed by February. This was a sign to discontented groups that Gaddafi felt unsure of his powers. On February 26th, protests were organised in Tripoli to demand economic reform. Realising that he had communicated weakness, Gaddafi deliberately overcompensated and ordered troops to fire on the protestors. When said troops instead joined the protestors and the dictator had to flee to Benghazi, a sudden wave of excitement seized the country that Gaddafi could be thrown out. But it wasn’t just in Libya - in Egypt, Syria, Iraq and elsewhere, economic discontent from the Depression had boiled over and the desperate living conditions led to protests sweeping the Middle East, the protests divided between Islamists and democrats. In Syria, dictator Hafez al-Assad was reportedly lucid for only two hours a day due to ill health and his regime was thrown into turmoil as the Muslim Brotherhood marched the streets. In Iraq the contours of the worst civil war since the Russian Civil War were being made as rival groups circled for power. Even in Iran, devastated by all these events, the population demanded change. The Second Russian Civil War was over, but it would lead to the beginning of many more wars to come.

Then, on March 7th 1997, a nuclear bomb exploded in Almaty, Kazakhstan.

"We Choose to go to the Moon"

Extract from ‘A Continent of Fire’ by James Melfi

The explosion in Almaty threw Kazakhstan into bedlam. Long-simmering hatred between ethnic Kazakhs and Russian refugees exploded into the most horrifying levels of nationwide racial violence seen since Rwanda. The country was roughly 50% Russian and 50% Kazakh, ensuring nationwide chaos. Mercifully, President Nazarbayev had been out of the city at that point in time and the government was consequently not decapitated. He ordered the Kazakh army to restore order, especially in the northern regions that were torn apart in bloody violence. At the same time, unimpressed by the speed and determination of the Kazakh forces, President Lebed in Siberia ordered the army to roll into the border to defend the ethnic Russian refugee camps along the border. As both Kazakhstan and Siberia still had a handful of nukes, with Siberia hiding chemical weapons as a deal breaker, the world once again was gripped by fear of nuclear conflict. Mercifully, despite screaming phone calls between Nazarbayev and Lebed, no outright confrontation between the Siberian and Kazakh army ensued. Lebed agreed to take on the extra refugees from the country, although he soon found himself doubly overwhelmed by the influx of long-term ethnically Russian Kazakhs who fled the now appalling racial tensions. By the year 2000, some 90% of Kazakhstan was the titular ethnicity, with only 4% being Russian - an astonishing figure given the prior refugee numbers. Those ethnic Russians would go on to immigrate to either Siberia or the FEK. As of 2020, Siberia boasts a population of roughly forty million, while about twenty million live along the similarly vast expanses of the FEK. Only roughly nine million live in Kazakhstan, leaving the country still gripped by economic devastation.

The explosion came almost concurrently with revelations from waterboarded Al-Qaeda members that it was their organisation, not the Fascists, who had detonated the initial nuke in Stalingrad. Seeing that the act was up, Al-Qaeda would go as far as to issue a press release taking credit after the Kazakh blast for not just the Almaty bomb but the Stalingrad bomb too. The press release claimed that Al-Qaeda had multiple nuclear weapons around the world, ready to shatter the West and enemies of Islam. Once again, a scarred world was forced to fear the spectre of the mushroom cloud. Al-Qaeda consequently became global enemy number one, with America redoubling its efforts in Dagestan after leaving the mountainous regions of the Caliphate mostly to itself to deal with administering Russia. Most countries, including China, began to work much more closely with the West, given they were just as terrified of Al-Qaeda setting off a nuke beneath them as they were. Where they were a minority, Muslim communities would often be accused as willing fifth columnists ready to explode a nuke beneath their host cities. One major exception to the group willing to work with the West was Iran, after the Ayatollah refused to acknowledge the ‘Rule of Satans’, as he described the American and Israeli-influenced Treaty of Hiroshima.

Then, on March 17th, another nuclear bomb exploded in Tehran, Iran while the government was in session. Al-Qaeda likewise took credit, saying it was punishment for Iran’s Shiite heresy. The Ayatollah and most of the regime’s leadership was killed in the blast that slayed 65,000 people. Iran, already economically devastated and under sanction, would descend into madness. The banner of the Islamists would be taken by Quds Force leader Qasem Soleimani, with the oppostion primarily led by rebelling members of the Iranian army (Artesh) though an eclectic mix of anti-regime forces joined them, including the MEK and even outright monarchists. While the Islamists were initially successful, pushing the divided opposition forces to a mere toehold on the south around Bandar Abbas, it was inevitable that the US was not going to pass an opportunity to send the Ayatollah’s regime into the same rung of hell the late leader was on. America for the most part surrendered its administration of post-nuclear Russia to find the material available to defeat their most determined enemy. Utterly severed from foreign support, with an already shattered economy, the US (with significant support from the Sunni Arab nations even as they tried not to descend into their own civil wars) deployed the vast might of their air power to flatten the Iranian armies after they had still not recovered from the Iran-Iraq war. At the same time, Kurdish and Arab separatists began their own uprisings in an attempt to break away from Tehran while in a reluctant alliance with the Artesh revolutionaries. The Iranian Revolutionary Guard was declared a terrorist network worldwide, with even China throwing the Islamists to the wolves to try and get good deals when the fighting stopped. On the first anniversary of Tehran’s nuclear strike, Artesh forces rolled into the ruins to the joyous reception of the city’s inhabitants, especially the women, burning their hijabs publicly in provisional bonfires. In January 1999, the Iranian Civil War was declared over following the final surrender of Qud forces near Azerbaijan. Solemani had been killed in September 1998 in a covert US military operation, so there was not much left to mop up. Despite the vanquishing of the Islamists, a ruined Iran now had to face new problems in the relationship between its various ethnicities which threatened the beginning of a second civil war. Mercifully, the blast in Tehran was the last nuclear explosion that has happened on Earth, test or atrocity.

The news of the Tehran blast in 1997 was so shocking that Hafez al-Assad would keel over from a heart attack on the same day, leaving the rule of Syria to his inexperienced and unconfident son Bassar. The new ruler would cave to the demands of the Syrian protests for free elections, with Syria ending up one of the most peaceful conclusions to the initial Arab Spring saga. The Muslim Brotherhood would win the subsequent elections, leading to extreme fears in the region’s more secular and multi-religious west that the country would descend into a Sharia hellstate. However, the new Muslim Brotherhood government would soon have a much bigger problem on their plate, as Lebanese Christians and secularists began to push back against what they likewise feared would be an imposed Sharia in occupied Lebanon. The Lebanese conflict resumed, albeit remaining surprisingly peaceful on the Israeli-facing side of the border, as it was Syrian checkpoints that found themselves attacked with rocket launchers. The Brotherhood would abandon plans to radically Islamise Syria as it first had to contend with the uprising among the Lebanese under occupation. The resulting chaos would ultimately lead to a counter-coup by the army in late 1999, who gained great popularity by promising to pull Syrian troops out of Lebanon in conjunction with Israel in the year 2001, a country they would have a hardly friendly but much more cordial relationship with than any time in their history. It also had the positive effect of discrediting the many branches of the Brotherhood around the Middle East.

Iraq would prove the bloodiest mess of the Arab Spring, with a failed assassination attempt of Saddam in April 1997 leading to a Kurdish uprising in the north. Saddam, breaking international sanctions, attempted to move his troops into Kurdistan with the stated aim of ‘Finishing what we started in 1988’. Mercifully, the US Air Force refused to let him do that, obliterating columns of Iraqi troops and shattering Saddam's army. With his army shattered, Iraq’s oppressed Shiite minority made their move, seizing Basra and turning Baghdad into a cauldron of sectarian slaughter. Realizing the precariousness of his position, Saddam fanned the flame of Islamist resentment and rode a wave of religious propaganda, motivating Sunnis to fight with threats that a Shiite regime would slaughter them to the last. With Saddam’s incitement, the conflict radicalised, with the Sunni north/west and Shiite south/east tearing each other to shreds. The Euphrates ran red with blood in what became the bloodiest war in the world. Al-Qaeda would endorse Saddam, further poisoning the mood of the country. Secular forces south of Kurdistan were near nonexistent, leading to no desire for Western intervention on either side. By the year 2000, both parties remained where they were in 1997, fighting it out in the ruins of Baghdad to exhaustion. The Kurds thought they had got it lucky, and quickly set about establishing and consolidating its own state, one that called upon neighboring Kurdish peoples to join together - but Turkey would have other plans. On September 10th 1997, after claims that their border posts were attacked, Turkey sent their troops into Iraqi Kurdistan to international outrage. Turkey was aggrieved by this, after having the highest death toll of any of the NATO states during 4/10 and had grown more paranoid about security. This would set the scene for the continuing deterioration of relations with NATO, and Turkey’s eventual exit from the organisation in 2014.

Elsewhere, Libya and Egypt would both be beset with their own economic problems, especially the latter given the implosion of the tourism sector. Egyptian dictator Hosni Mubarak hatched a wild gamble to save his regime: an invasion of Libya, specifically Benghazi to take out Gaddafi, hoping that the military victory would revive his failing regime like the Argentine generals thought the seizure of the Falklands would do. This had actually been suggested by Western leaders, who preferred Mubarak compared to fears of an Islamist takeover, but didn’t have the resources to take out Gaddafi as well at that time. Gaddafi had certainly blown popularity in the Middle East with his endorsement of the Anpilov regime, as well as his abandonment of Pan-Arabism for Pan-Africanism - many Egyptians were positively insulted to be lumped in with Sub-Saharan peoples and found the declaration easy to hate. The Libyan regime’s remaining forces that Egypt encountered made the threadbare force Galtieri found in the Falklands in 1982 seem positively Spartan. No uniforms, no vehicles, many of whom were literally local gangsters. Gaddafi was found hiding in a sewer by Egyptian troops and shot by firing squad the same day, his body left to be pelted Mussolini-style by the locals while his rotting corpse hung upside down. Despite the general popularity of the venture in Egypt, it bought Mubarak merely three more years until more protests forced him to resign. This time, however, the Muslim Brotherhood had discredited itself as an alternative, leading to a collection of conservative forces in Egypt (religious minorities, the middle class, the army) to rally enough candidates and votes to maintain a more democratic but sill authoritarian and generally secular Egypt. Libya would remain whole but become notorious for coups and counter-coups in the coming years, the oil money simply a death-sentence to any fledgling stability.

Perhaps the one good thing that came out of the conflict was the effect it had on the Israeli-Palestine accords. Rabin found himself the most popular Prime Minister in Israeli history following his handling of 4/10 and its aftermath, calling a snap election soon after where the left Party would win a crushing majority against Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud coalition. Arafat meanwhile had badly weakened his international standing by openly supporting both the NSF and Anpilov government. The Gulf States, now more dependent on America than ever, and horrified of the disorder raging around them, had lost patience with Arafat, who had supported the state that dropped nukes on them. The Palestinians lost their sponsors from Iran and much of the Sunni Arab states too. Rabin was desperate to get the deal in this window, fearing it would never succeed otherwise. Inspired by a similar visit from the conflicting parties in Northern Ireland, Arafat and Rabin would take a joint trip to the ruins of Moscow, both of their blood running cold at the sight of utter annihilation around them. The willingness for conflict would vanish at the sight of what was once the joint most important city on Earth simply no longer existed. Clinton in particular was desperate to get the two to agree on the basis for peace, bringing them to Riyadh (to some controversy since an Israeli leader would be on Saudi soil, though justified on the basis that it increased the Saudi prestige). The event was hosted by Saudi Prince Bandar Al Saud in November 1997, with Clinton attending. After two weeks of brutal negotiations, and at least one physical confrontation between Israeli and Palestinian negotiators, a rough proposal was given by the Israelis: annexation of the major settlements along the border but full compensation land-wise for the Palestinians with border Arab communities given the option of joining a Palestinian state. The Right of Return would be limited to a few ten thousands of those who were alive in 1948 when Israel was founded, with a waiver granted in the event of terminal illness to allow entry to Israel to die where they were born. Jerusalem’s East would be given to the Palestinians, but the Old City would be a ‘Special Zone’ that was still nominally Israeli territory but would allow entry of Palestinians to pray at Al-Aqsa, with the exception of the Temple Mount, where the temple’s compound would be the territory of the Jordanians and Israelis could visit without praying as before. A handful of Israeli radar bases would patrol the Jordan River, but the Palestinian state itself would be allowed a limited militarisation, albeit without air force or heavy weapons. According to legend, Assad and Prince Bandar privately met to discuss the deal with the Palestinian leader saying he would be killed if he accepted such terms. To this, Bandar sighed before sending in his personal security, restraining Arafat before they fired an unloaded pistol at his head. Bandar explained that to not sign the treaty would be the death sentence. While entirely apocryphal, Arafat’s reluctant acceptance of the deal, bringing to an end half a century of conflicts between the Israelis and the Palestinian Arabs. It was one of the things the world could take joy in during the 90s alongside peace in Northern Ireland and the end of Apartheid, with only a handful of Islamist states going on to continue refusing to recognise Israel’s existence - Afghanistan is the only such country that still refuses to recognise Israel in 2020.

Extract from 'The Reconquista of the Caucasus' by Levan Galogre

The final nuke conclusively tracked to Al-Qaeda would be found on March 20th 1997 in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan. Mercifully, it appears the nuke malfunctioned and refused to go up, mercifully saving the city but unluckily also saving Turkmenistan’s mad dictator Saparmurat Atayevich Niyazov, also known as Turkmenbashi. When the three Al-Qaeda operatives were caught, they were captured and officially given simple firing squad executions several months later after a trial. In reality, Niyazov had killed them in perhaps the most Caligula-tier Roman Emperor fashion recorded in modern times, flying in a container of nuclear waste from China and exposing the three to the waste while preventing them from committing suicide. Their skin would melt off and they would cry blood, as the trio died in perhaps the most agonizing fashion ever conceived by humans. Their anonymous graves were paved with cement while entombed in a steel box and buried somewhere in the Turkmen wilderness. There has since been no nuclear attack from Al-Qaeda, and many jokingly thank Turkmenbashi for scaring them off doing another one. Turkmenbashi’s transgressions would be given a sympathetic shrug from Langley as a result. As for why the target list was what it was, it appears that the nukes were sent over the Caspian to be detonated after World War 3 had wiped out the West to further destabalise the region by decapitating secular and heretical leaders who could be easily reached by the Caspian. The geography limited the strike options, but the groups would eventually begin to slowly move towards their targets from the safe zones, stopping when the heat was too much. Discussions about whether Al-Qaeda had more nukes hidden away or even still has them hidden away and ready to go off has formed a rich fictional bounty of thriller and adventure stories for years to come. One particularly popular idea is the notion that Afghanistan, under the isolationist rule of the Taliban, secretly stores or controls these nukes and will detonate them if anyone tries to invade.

In reality, it would be extremely unlikely the Taliban would do such a thing due to their relationship with Al-Qaeda. While once positive, the realisation that Al-Qaeda did 4/10 infuriated them, as it would lead to the coordinated crushing of the Dagestan Emirate, whom the Afghans had good terms with. Basayev’s Emirate would declare war with Bin Laden’s Al-Qaeda when he found out that Bin Laden had been the one to do 4/10, knowing it would to global war against his Emirate. Bin Laden now found himself on the run from both the Islamists in Dagestan as well as the Americans. He snuck over the border to Azerbaijan in early 1998, getting a drive from an admirer to get him to Baku and ultimately attempt to flee to Pakistan. However, while in Baku, a simple traffic policeman on April 9th 1998 would book the car for speeding, before working out who the man in the back was. He covertly called backup and wished the car a pleasant day, before it was surrounded and ambushed, the worlds most murderous terrorist and international criminal number one successfully arrested with handcuffs in the middle of the road by an Azeri policeman who was just back from helping a cat get down from a tree. Under overwhelming pressure, Bin Laden was practically abducted by American operatives and taken to New York to stand trial for his multiple terrorist attacks in the city. Many countries were angry America had taken it upon themselves to grab Bin Laden, but as Clinton said, “It’ll sure help the midterms.” Bin Laden would be convicted in 2002 for terrorism and mass murder, becoming the only person in New York state to be sentenced to death following the state’s return to capital punishment in the 1990s. In what was evidently a deliberate affair, New York Democrat politicians would privately compromise with their Republican colleagues to let Bin Laden fry on Old Sparky in Sing Sing, the same chair that took care of the Rosenburgs in the 1950s, over the more sedate affair of a lethal injection. Bin Laden would be the final execution in the state of New York before the Death Penalty was abolished a few weeks later in 2004, and also the final electric chair execution in American history. A secret recording of the execution would become one of the first instances of a viral internet video, giving infamy to which hosted it. Bin Laden’s corpse would be cremated while Al-Qaeda continued to be the black sheep of international terrorism, their sponsors dropping like flies, especially as the Saudi Royals made unprecedented moves against Salafism in the early 2000s to squelch incendiary Islamic rhetoric. As for Basayev, he would not live to see Bin Laden die, being killed by a flamethrower in September 2001 after hiding in a cave in an attempt to escape NATO troops. Dan Jarvis, the soldier who fired the volley that took out one of the worst terrorists on Earth, would later become a popular Labour Prime Minister in the United Kingdom as a result. With the death of Basayev, Dagestan was finally declared secure from Islamism, with Dagestan consequently becoming defiantly secular like the Iranians, Ichkerians and Azeris, making them stand out compared to their increasingly religious Turkish neighbors.

As for Afghanistan, the Northern Alliance proved a war too uninteresting and unimportant to Western observers. The Taliban would go from strength to strength, ultimately seizing the entirety of Afghanistan in 2003, though a near death experience occurred as China rolled into Tajikistan to help re-establish the ethno-centrist government and expel the Taliban from non-Afghan territory. Afghanistan has kept their heads down very well in their own country and while the country is considered a backward dystopia, no one is rushing to ‘liberate’ it, as the people are considered generally supportive or indifferent to the strict Islamist code. Interestingly, the Chinese are increasingly making overtures to the Afghans due to mutual antipathy for the West. Time will only tell if this relationship will come to anything.

Extract from ‘The Unstoppable Tragedy: The Second Russian Civil War’ by Peter Hodges

“Sir, if we are to believe that soldiers or generals are helpless automatons to superior orders, then a British or American officer would likewise wordlessly obey an order to forcibly kidnap and enlist child soldiers and shoot them if they tried to flee back to their parents. I have yet to meet an officer in the British or American army who would not have sooner turned his gun on the superior giving the order and gladly face the consequences.” Such was the eloquent denunciation in the prosecution at the Hague of General Yazov, who found himself prosecuted for war crimes committed as far back as the Second World War. It was as if all of Red Russia and her history was put on trial, and the prosecutors were keen to bury the Soviet legacy once and for all. While the unoriginal excuse of senior culpability was nothing the judges hadn’t expected, the sheer monotony and indifference to life from Yazov was still chilling to observers and became something of a definitive image to the Soviet existence: a dull, old man casually shrugging off the countless young lives he had wasted attempting to build utopia in what was now a radioactive hellhole. The Fascist group would be more eclectic; with surviving oddballs of various ideologies over the conformity ruthlessly created by Anpilov. Timothy McVeigh became a media sensation in America after he was captured by NATO forces, with the tale of how an American someone found himself as a footsoldier of the Petrograd regime being studied by psychologists for years to come. Limonov, the biggest catch of the Petrograd government, hadn’t been in the government for months due to his National Bolshevism failing to integrate itself with the more Anti-Soviet Nevzorov and Barkashov. Limonov was, however, present in the decision-making during the mass deportations of the Karelians and Balts, as well as the formation of the Honorary Russian Battalions, all of which was more than enough to get him a life sentence. As the ultimate insult, Fascist and Communist Russian war criminals were tried sometimes shoulder to shoulder to establish their similarity as criminals beyond ideology. This was potentially an influencer in China’s ruling party’s decision in 2004 to relabel itself ‘The Chinese Socialist Party’, quietly purging all references to Communism by promoting ‘Socialism with Chinese Characteristics’, though not caring enough to remove the hammer and sickle or Mao’s omnipresent face from the yuan. The next year, Vietnam and Laos would likewise remove all references to Communism from their own constitutions to the blander and more politically acceptable label of ‘Socialism’.

In the successor states of Russia, the Communist legacy has essentially vanished. The Hammer and Sickle is gone, the Lenin busts were melted, even the memorials to ‘The Great Patriotic War’ have been replaced with memorials to ‘World War 2’ and VE Day was moved to May 8th in conjunction with the European and American celebration schedule. Ironically Georgia retains a number of Stalin statues, making it the country with the most visible Communist legacy remaining of the former USSR. All tried to move in their own cultural direction, though usually in a conservative one (an obvious choice considering how much had been lost already and how desperate people were to save what little was left). The Imperial statues are somewhat controversial, with Poland and the Baltic demanding those go down as well, while the broader West wants Russia to believe in a self-affirming image of itself and to support the moderate Tsar and his lineage in keeping ideology out of the Russian Federation’s parliament. In order to quicken this move, the government was moved from Pushkingrad to Novgorod in 2007, the first time the Russian Federation’s internationally recognised government was on mainland Russian soil since the death of Yeltsin in 1993 with Tsar Nicholas and the Parliament sharing the same building given that Novgorod was not meant to have a government in hundreds of years, though close to Yuriev Monastery which was the oldest monastery in Russia and location of Tsar Nicholas III’s coronation. As it was a good saver of money, his daughter Empress Natalia I would continue the ‘tradition’ of sharing a Palace with the Parliament. Novgorod’s parliament forbids ethnic-nationalist or Communist parties from holding seats, but an air of resentment hangs over the newer generation of Russians west of the Urals, especially given the reparation agreements with the Balts and Finland, since many of those Russians had likewise suffered in the nuclear bombings that they had an equal say in and feel the slaughter they received is being blamed on the very people who were slaughtered. This is happening just as Russia’s first Prime Minister, Anna Politkovskaya, seems to be on track to agree NATO membership and a new European framework with Russia as a ‘normal country’, with the more nationalist Duma opposition leader Alexi Navalny wanting more cooperation with the Russian successor states over Europe, though he still promises to stick to all international agreements and officially rejects ethnonationalism.

Aksyuchits resigned in 2002, fearing the temptation of becoming a cult of personality. His ‘Orthodox Democrat Party’s’ new leader and Prime Minister was Stanislav Petrov, a reluctant leader but an ultimately fair one. After a series of scandals involving the Orthodox clergy in 2015, the leader of the socially conservative but economically socialistic ‘Just Kingdom’ party under Svetlana Goryacheva came to power, and she has been Prime Minister since. This is more democratic than in Siberia, where President Lebed would only step down in 2018 after a series of election victories that were judged by observers to be ‘free but not fair’, and a term characterized by playing the West and China against eachother to stay independent while bashing heads against the Yakuts. In order to try and sway Siberia away from China, America would send Lebed’s friend Mike Tyson to Novosibirsk to act as Ambassador. Lebed would pass the reins of power to his internal security minister, Alexander Litvinenko, who remains the President of Siberia under slightly fairer elections than before. Lebed’s ‘Siberian National Party’ has been in charge since the day the state was founded, while likewise sticking to a policy of no ethnonationalism or Communism. It is joked that the main check and balance on the government is not the judiciary, but Executive Outcomes after they moved their HQ to Siberia following legal battles in South Africa. The company has been a good local employer, and you can occasionally spot a few sunburnt Russians walking the streets, eager to tell you about their time keeping the peace in Africa and the Middle East at the first chance. Its leader Eeben Barlow has become a character many in the world of rap artists like to compare themselves to for how he became one of the richest people in the world through international violence. He created a worldwide financial empire through nothing but war across the globe, which made him a globally recognized figure. He cemented his billions after making a killing in the African Civil Wars that arose during the Nuclear Autumn caused the collapse of several whole societies, taking diamond mines across the continent at bargain bin prices while his own Siberian investments were still paying dividends. Nigeria would prove a big catch, with his trampling of Boko Haram in 2003 being particularly noteworthy which started making world leaders nervous about what Barlow could be up to, with some even suspecting he was planning outright world domination, becoming the inspiration for a 2004 Bond movie villain. After a chat with the CIA where they politely explained to him that he was becoming too big for his boots and that EO would not operate so well without access to SWIFT, Barlow conceded to merely working with the Americans, and never against them, which made the discussion of sanctions against him in America vanish. Ukraine is currently under the much-memed Oleksiy Arestovych, whose bombastic vision of ‘a New Kyivan Rus’ made him a figure of derision abroad and a polarising one at home, though his attempts to snuff out the last senses of Russian domination by culture or language seem to be working, and only a decreasing minority of Ukrainian children know how to speak Russian, with Russian refugees ironically being a big push in removing the language from the country for their kids. One thing for sure is that the culture of all the Russian-speaking states, of which even Belarus will soon not be included in that list, is that all are drifting farther apart and not closer together. Novgorod may increasingly dream of restoring Russian pride, but it appears that both Siberia and the FEK are already inhabiting different worlds.

Extract from 'Unending Torment: From 4/10 to 2000' by Simon Faulkner

The American Hard Left had received a body blow from the fall of Castro and the unearthing of mass graves from the 50s and 60s in Cuba, released political prisoners and an insight into how bad the poverty in Cuba had gotten since the fall of the Soviet Union. Cuban-American groups would hound various political figures who wrote flatteringly or close to flatteringly about Castro’s regime and other Latin American governments of similar character. While Ted Kennedy had lost his senate seat in the ‘94 midterms before everything came out on Castro, one thing that did come out were his letters to the Soviet government in the early 80s to try and stop Reagan’s SDI program, a scandal which obliterated his chances in holding his seat and would prove an omen for things to come. Vermont Congressman Bernie Sanders would be de-selected by the Democrat Party for his previous comments on Cuba. New York Representative Charles Rangel got into hot water when it turned out he’d hired a fundraiser for the Sandanistas, Bill de Blasio, for his campaign, before promptly removing De Blasio from anything that resembled a Democrat Party function. Intellectual Noam Chomsky would skirt dangerously close to outright Nuclear Holocaust Denial by saying that the combined Western nuclear assault on the two Russian governments was ‘The greatest crime committed by the United States since the genocide of the Native Americans’, that the Nuclear Holocaust ‘was no worse than what America did to its own native population’, while claiming the NSF only existed due to ‘American Imperialism in Russia’. While his denials and equivocating of the Cambodian and Bosnian genocides had been bad, it was these statements that banished him from the respectable portions of the Left, similar to Pat Buchanon’s being expelled from the right due to his call to militarily support Petrograd while dismissing the Rape camp stories as a Clinton Administration fiction (ironically agreeing with Chomsky for opposite reasons). Republican Congressman Ron Paul received similar backlash for saying that the Nuclear Holocaust only happened because ‘The Russians feared our intervention like in Dagestan and thought the best thing to do was to take out all their internal enemies before we attacked’.

The main political impact of 4/10 had been a great moderation of American politics, as the ethnocentrism and demagogues of both far left and right were purged from their already weakened positions in both parties. Fears of nuclear bombs going off in major cities led to the passing of the PATRIOT Act, which increased surveillance powers in the name of preventing both Islamist and Far Right terror. A broad partisan consensus emerged on the issue, with the subsequent years dominated by political peace. The subsequent list of Presidential winners, from Al Gore’s victory over George Bush Jr. in 2000, Mitt Romney over Joe Lieberman in 2008 (the first presidential election with no WASP on the main ticket), and Hillary Clinton’s over Jeb Bush in 2016 (becoming the first female president) should prove that, with Marco Rubio’s victory in 2020 (becoming the first Latino President) perhaps being the most combative of the list and potential a sign of the post-nuclear political truce starting to fray due to the advent of social media. The truce had generally picked a hero for both parties, with Clinton and Reagan by the 2000s both receiving broad bi-partisan love and both regularly appearing in the top five presidents list of the broader public along with FDR, Lincoln and Washington. Clinton was praised for his handling of 4/10 while Reagan was credited with the restoration of American confidence and collapse of the Soviet Union beforehand that made this manageable, with a deep nostalgia for the Reaganite 80s forming in even the late 90s as a more carefree and innocent time before the nightmare of 4/10. These views have been criticised by newer historians but the bi-partisan myth remains deeply entrenched in the public. While Clinton managed to push through ‘Hillarycare’ in his second term, there has been little movement in the American political landscape since. No impeachments, resignations, only the dawning realisation that China is a bigger threat than previously realised, with China’s invasion of unarmed Hong Kong in 2019 reviving the American giant from her complacent sleep. The Quad (the alliance of the FEK, Japan, South Korea and Taiwan) felt vindicated. Yet even now, the horror of nuclear war continues to so repulse both American and Chinese planners that both were party to the Treaty of Nagasaki in 2020, which further reduced allotted warheads to 550 for America, 60 for the British, French and Chinese, 25 for India, and 12 for Israel. Some planners are even beginning to question that there are not enough nukes in the world to keep the peace, worrying a sneak attack might risk an easy nuclear disarmament, or that the limited number of nukes would mean more targeting of civilian centres as deterrence over the large numbers needed to decapitate militaries.

On a ground level, the main effect of 4/10 was somewhat surprising. As the year 2000 came along, a wave of optimism had spread for the future, with a certainty nothing comparably terrible could ever happen again. The reason many attribute for this is the ‘rule of three’ that closed off the mental spectre of a third world war as the Second Russian Civil War had been just that, though a minority of historians argue it should be labelled the Third World War. As a result, many believed that the violence of the twentieth century had ‘completed itself’, and that the 21st century would be a more beautiful one. Birthrates skyrocketed across the Western world, even as the Depression continued. Religiosity also increased, leading to broader confrontationalism with the Islamic world in the first decade of the century as the aftermath of the Arab Spring began to assert itself. America’s involvement in Dagestan and to a limited extent Iran in the 90s was compounded by interventions in Somalia in 2001 (with many accusing Gore of trying to avenge his predecessor’s Mogadishu humiliation in 1993) and Sudan in 2003 to prevent the Darfuri genocide. Its most recent intervention has been its military support to South Iraq from Jordan in 2014 to prevent its takeover by Qusay Hussein’s North Iraq, given to him by his father Saddam after the monster died of cancer in 2010 after the dictator had killed his ‘useless’ son Uday to ensure an easy passing of the torch. While some hoped that it would finally end the compromise partition at the end of the war, no one was in the mood for reunification, and merely a destruction of the Saddam legacy was ensured - Saddam’s Lenin-like tomb in North Baghdad was destroyed and Qusay would be extradited to the Hague as had so many others, North Iraq becoming a still independent but defanged Sunni state who occasionally proposes union with Syria to flat rejection from the secular leadership who fear renewed Sunni Islamist takeover. China had its own intervention in 2003, following Taliban attacks into Kyrgyzstan from Tajikistan following the Islamist victory in the region in the 90s. The Kyrgz leadership, and Tajik leadership in exile, demanded something be done about it. With American preoccupied in Sudan, China was given the UN’s reluctant blessing to send restore the Tajik government to power. China had certainly improved their army since the Siberian fiasco and international observers were impressed as the Chinese were able to expel the Islamists from Tajikistan by 2004, with a low-level guerilla conflict finishing in 2007 with the only Chinese left behind being the ones to guide the new puppet state from the shadows.

With all the above, the Palestinian Civil War between Fatah and Hamas, the Japanese-Korean repproachment, ‘Turkey’s Vietnam’ and the ultimate acceptance of an Iraqi Kurdish state in 2008, Turkey’s subsequent falling out with NATO [1] and frequent tensions in Cyprus, China’s rise as a challenge to the West with tensions on the Korean DMZ [2] and the brutality of the Balochistan Independence war in 2006 and the subsequent implosion of Pakistan in the years to come [3], it’s hardly been a millenium without geopolitical roadbumps. Even the integration of East Europe into the EU has led to difficulty, with the influx of Polish and Ukrainian migrants to the UK in particular, often scrapping with the Russian refugee population who had not abandoned their Russianness like the refugees to Ukraine had. This is ultimately partly creddited with Britain’s vote to leave the EU in 2012 in the midst of the Eurozone crisis, which would lead to the Euro retreating to being a solely Northern European currency, and a war for dominance in the EU between the Cosmopolitan Franco-German bloc and the Conservative-nationalist Visegrad-Orthodox bloc, with the Italians frequently being the tie-breakers, still stinging from their return to the Lira. [4]

But despite an incredibly nihilistic moment in popular culture between 1996 and 2000, with some of the darkest but intimate fictions of the century being produced in all formats, the 2000s and 2010s have seen a renewed sense of hope for the future, as a mental curtain has been pulled over the twentieth century to claim the worst of history is behind mankind. While the three Russian states may be pulling away from each other culturally, they remain on very friendly terms, and have symbolically revived their space program, one of the few things from the Soviet era all Russian states remain genuinely proud of. In 2019, it finally came to a head with a joint public-private venture between the three states of the Russian Union. With significant help from Siberian billionaires and scientists, the ‘Nogorod Kingdom’s’ launch platform in Russia and the FEK sending a detachment of Orthodox priests to flick holy water on the rocket, the first manned Russian craft since the 1990s flew out to the stars. The three Russias had come together at last, for a moment forgetting all the unspeakable miseries that had got them to this place, cheering together watching televisions from the Baltic to the Pacific as in days gone by. When asked what the next step for the joint-Russian space program would be, former Siberian President and sponsor of the program Alexander Lebed would take a page from Kennedy and say, “We choose to go to the Moon.”

After the death of Russia, a few fear, but many hope that soon we will see the rebirth of Russia too.


[1] - In 1999, Slovakia, Latvia, Estonia, Ukraine, Belarus, Slovenia, Croatia and Bosnia joined NATO. In 2002, Moldova technically joined NATO by voting to merge into Romania, Transnistria and all. In 2015, after Turkey had consistently vetoed membership for years with the exception of Albania and Ireland (due to the frazzling of Ireland’s neutrality in the nuclear strike on Shanon Airport and the hopes it would entice northern Unionists to accept Southern integration) in 2004, they had left and a new crop of NATO members entered: Macedonia, Serbia, Georgia (after Shevardnadze was forced to step down in 1999 by an alliance of nationalists and democrats, leading to Abkhazia’s de jure independence being curtailed soon after), Armenia (strongly supported by its patron, Ukraine), Ichkeria, Kalmykia, Ossetia and Dagestan. On the other hand were Circassia and Azerbaijan (the N-K issue having been resolved mostly in Armenia’s favour following another round of negotiations in 2005), siding with Turkey. Multiple vetos stop the Russian Federation from joining NATO, though there is strong hope that it will eventually be let into the fold, especially due to China. NATO is now mostly a preventative measure against the Turks instead of Russia.

[2] Central Asia is China’s property, effectively, with North Korea more digitally open but still a prison due to East Berlin-tier emigration. Mongolia has been totally subverted, and out of necessity the Chinese have gone to great lengths to ensure friendliness with the Indians as both resent the Western hyper-dominance after the fall of Russia, with Turkey and frequently the Arab world likewise supporting China for the same reason and Latin America pledging neutrality, leading many to call the new conflict one between the Third and First world after the initial First and Second World Cold War conflict. OTL’s intense persecution of the Uyghurs never happens to make the alliance with the Turkic states work, including getting Yakutia to veto any Anti-Chinese movements in Novosibirsk.

[3] Balochistan and Sindhudesh are independent, Pakistani Kashmir was taken by India, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa was taken/abandoned to the Taliban’s Afghanistan, Islamabad was destroyed after fighting and Lahore in Punjab province is the new capital - Punjab is the only remaining province in the country now. With a radically different set of circumstances, Pakistan has renamed itself to Punjabistan and is trying to forge a new identity for itself. The Pakistani diaspora, while obviously not as bad as the survivors of the war, were traumatized by the Russia-style implosion their country experienced and still consider themselves citizens of a now non-existent country, while bitter fighting has torn families apart when from different Pakistani ethnicities. Yugoslavia, Russia, and Pakistan’s fates are repeatedly compared and contrasted in academic arenas. Needless to say, the refugees of this war faced significant problems, as the Europeans, Indians and even the Middle East refused to accommodate them, leading to far more deaths than necessary.

[4] OTL’s EU nations were added in 2004 as before, with Ukraine and Belarus included due to both having significantly stronger economies, with Ukraine and Belarus equally prosperous as OTL’s Poland ITTL, with Poland as prosperous as the Czech Republic. Romania and Bulgaria would likewise join in 2007. Serbia and Albania/Bosnia, along with Georgia and Macedonia, would join the EU at the same time in 2017, though expanding it further into the Caucasus has proven very tricky.