So would it be too big of a spoiler @Sorairo
to let us know with a simple yes or no that something nuclear weapony (I'm willing to stretch that standard from non-detonating to obvious nuclear warfare) is gonna happen ITTL? `-`
I'll leave it a surprise.
"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. 
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  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.
 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).
 IOTL, was likely complicit in the Moscow Apartment Bombings.