The Second Patriotic War - An Alternate Russia TL

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Chapter 1 - Adversity, The Teacher (1891 - 1894)
“The Second Patriotic War was birthed from the demise of Bismarck’s Concert of Europe, A Storm was coming, it was inevitable, and Russia needed to prepare, and the Tsar and his Union did just that, and we as a people survived because of that” - The Second Patriotic War, Grigory Anatolievich Kargin, 1953



Second Patriotic War.jpg


Prologue


The Storm was Coming, a Web of Alliances was growing, and hostility between those within the web as well. And with that, Bismarck’s Concert of Europe was dying, for the very way it functioned depended on all powers pushing and pulling against one another for their own interests. And in the Heart of one of these powers, Chaos was unfolding, just a few years after the concern’s revival

The Russian Empire was the world's largest empire, spanning multiple ethnicities, cultures and religions. Alexander II, the Late Tsar of Russia had transformed the backwater empire into a developing industrial power, He was about the bring about the establishment of a constitution, finalized, it was to be proposed, when the Tsar was Assassinated by Nikolai Rysakov and Ignacy Hryniewiecki, Members of the anarchistic group, Narodnaya Volya, of which Vladimir Lenin's eldest Brother, Aleksandr Ulyanov, was a member of, and was hung for being one as well.

This would leave Russia in the hands of Alexander III, an Autocrat through and through, and would dash away the dreams of any level of democracy or constitution in his Empire. This left Tsesarevich Nicholas Alexandrovich, as Heir Apparent.





1891 - Chapter 1 - Adversity, The Teacher

Nicholas had spent 23 years on this earth, and for the past decade his Father had been Tsar of All Russia, and should the eventuality arise for him to have to take helm of the nation, he would be unfit to do so. Nicholas was a gentle soul, he did not have his father’s sheer will and forcefulness. Merely a Decade prior, he would watch the Tsar, Alexander II, pass away after an assassination attempt, a bomb had hit the carriage, but the Tsar was fine. That was until he stepped out, and a second bomb landed on his feet. At that moment, Tsar Alexander II was as good as dead.

Nicholas had not yet been prepared to be a tsar, for the current reigning tsar was a mere 46, and he would have many years to teach his son how to be a Tsar effectively, this is what the Tsar, Alexander III, thought at least. Sergei Witte, the minister of finance, thought otherwise, For the Tsesarevich should be as prepared as possible. Under Witte’s Advice, The Tsar relented, and Nicholas was put on the Siberian Railway Council. His role was to administer the construction of the Trans-Siberian Railway.

Nicholas had seen the railway before, on May 19th, 1891, he had visited and laid some ceremonial stones to signify the beginning of construction. But that was all ceremonial, smoke and mirrors, no real work done. Now he was doing work, and by god’s grace, he was the Tsesarevich, and that meant he must try his damn hardest to do a good job.

Over the course of the Tsesarevich’s role in the council, Sergei would become less an advisor to the Tsar, but more a mentor to Nicholas. Nicholas would grow more accustomed to leading, since his childhood, he was always a gentle soul, more bookish, not really a willful man like his father. But now, he could lead, he learned the art of delegation, he could give firm orders, even if such forcefulness was against his personality. He had all in all, come into the role of a Leader.

With the Tsar having a personal connection to the project, more focus, funding and more were given to the project. Nicholas, having thrown himself into the work, tried to expedite production, Nicholas focused on every little detail, as Sergei described to the Tsar in 1883, a year after Nicholas joined the Council. In the end, Nicholas’ connections and focus would help the project, With the South Ussari Rail finishing in 1893, and the Northern Rail finishing in 94. This was due to a gamble Nicholas had undertaken, pushing for an earlier start of construction on the Northern Rail, that coming with increased labor and material cost. Despite this, it had paid off with an expedited project.

“Nicholas was a Studious man, focused on his work, looking in every nook and cranny of the project to find a solution, but he was not just an administrator, no, he began to act like a leader, barking orders, delegating, and all sorts of things. It seems that his involvement has been fruitful” - Diaries of the First Russian Prime Minister, Sergei Witte



1894

Nicholas laid in bed, sleeping softly, his dreams that night were not soft however, they were chaotic, dangerous, it could only be described as a nightmare. Nicholas began to toss and turn as the dream continued. Tsar Alexander III shot, that's what the papers read in Nicholas’ dream. Nicholas than began to hear conversations he couldn’t see. “He was shot in the Kidney” he heard, “It's Inoperable” he heard the doctor say. The sounds, the chaos, the fear, it all came to a crescendo of mind numbing, unescapable noise. Nicholas just wanted it to stop, and so he shut his eyes, and it stopped, he feared opening them, fearing the idea that the noise may return. But he had to open them, and so he did, and there he sat in front of his Father, The Tsar’s Casket.

Nicholas awoke in a cold sweet. It was merely a nightmare, his Father was alive, His father was alive, the tsar was alive, he was not going to ascend to the throne, not yet at least. Nicholas walked the halls of the Palace, only to stop at a portrait of his Grandfather. As he stared into the eyes of the painting, the memory of his father clutching his fist, just after hearing his own father’s last words, came back to him.

“You have a legacy, You had plans” he thought to himself as he internally spoke to his grandfather, “They were not finished, god struck you down, not because you had betrayed him, but because Russia was not ready for you. Your Legacy is unfinished, and someone must finish it”. After this, Nicholas went back to sleep, with no nightmares to be seen, nor dreams in general for a matter of fact.
 
Hello Everyone who has chosen to read this Timeline, This is my first attempt at a timeline, so Feedback is much appreciated and i do hope you like it.
 
“The Second Patriotic War was birthed from the demise of Bismarck’s Concert of Europe, A Storm was coming, it was inevitable, and Russia needed to prepare, and the Tsar and his Union did just that, and we as a people survived because of that” - The Second Patriotic War, Grigory Anatolievich Kargin, 1953





Prologue


The Storm was Coming, a Web of Alliances was growing, and hostility between those within the web as well. And with that, Bismarck’s Concert of Europe was dying, for the very way it functioned depended on all powers pushing and pulling against one another for their own interests. And in the Heart of one of these powers, Chaos was unfolding, just a few years after the concern’s revival

The Russian Empire was the world's largest empire, spanning multiple ethnicities, cultures and religions. Alexander II, the Late Tsar of Russia had transformed the backwater empire into a developing industrial power, He was about the bring about the establishment of a constitution, finalized, it was to be proposed, when the Tsar was Assassinated by Nikolai Rysakov and Ignacy Hryniewiecki, Members of the anarchistic group, Narodnaya Volya, of which Vladimir Lenin's eldest Brother, Aleksandr Ulyanov, was a member of, and was hung for being one as well.

This would leave Russia in the hands of Alexander III, an Autocrat through and through, and would dash away the dreams of any level of democracy or constitution in his Empire. This left Tsesarevich Nicholas Alexandrovich, as Heir Apparent.





1891 - Chapter 1 - Adversity, The Teacher

Nicholas had spent 23 years on this earth, and for the past decade his Father had been Tsar of All Russia, and should the eventuality arise for him to have to take helm of the nation, he would be unfit to do so. Nicholas was a gentle soul, he did not have his father’s sheer will and forcefulness. Merely a Decade prior, he would watch the Tsar, Alexander II, pass away after an assassination attempt, a bomb had hit the carriage, but the Tsar was fine. That was until he stepped out, and a second bomb landed on his feet. At that moment, Tsar Alexander II was as good as dead.

Nicholas had not yet been prepared to be a tsar, for the current reigning tsar was a mere 46, and he would have many years to teach his son how to be a Tsar effectively, this is what the Tsar, Alexander III, thought at least. Sergei Witte, the minister of finance, thought otherwise, For the Tsesarevich should be as prepared as possible. Under Witte’s Advice, The Tsar relented, and Nicholas was put on the Siberian Railway Council. His role was to administer the construction of the Trans-Siberian Railway.

Nicholas had seen the railway before, on May 19th, 1891, he had visited and laid some ceremonial stones to signify the beginning of construction. But that was all ceremonial, smoke and mirrors, no real work done. Now he was doing work, and by god’s grace, he was the Tsesarevich, and that meant he must try his damn hardest to do a good job.

Over the course of the Tsesarevich’s role in the council, Sergei would become less an advisor to the Tsar, but more a mentor to Nicholas. Nicholas would grow more accustomed to leading, since his childhood, he was always a gentle soul, more bookish, not really a willful man like his father. But now, he could lead, he learned the art of delegation, he could give firm orders, even if such forcefulness was against his personality. He had all in all, come into the role of a Leader.

With the Tsar having a personal connection to the project, more focus, funding and more were given to the project. Nicholas, having thrown himself into the work, tried to expedite production, Nicholas focused on every little detail, as Sergei described to the Tsar in 1883, a year after Nicholas joined the Council. In the end, Nicholas’ connections and focus would help the project, With the South Ussari Rail finishing in 1893, and the Northern Rail finishing in 94. This was due to a gamble Nicholas had undertaken, pushing for an earlier start of construction on the Northern Rail, that coming with increased labor and material cost. Despite this, it had paid off with an expedited project.

“Nicholas was a Studious man, focused on his work, looking in every nook and cranny of the project to find a solution, but he was not just an administrator, no, he began to act like a leader, barking orders, delegating, and all sorts of things. It seems that his involvement has been fruitful” - Diaries of the First Russian Prime Minister, Sergei Witte



1894

Nicholas laid in bed, sleeping softly, his dreams that night were not soft however, they were chaotic, dangerous, it could only be described as a nightmare. Nicholas began to toss and turn as the dream continued. Tsar Alexander III shot, that's what the papers read in Nicholas’ dream. Nicholas than began to hear conversations he couldn’t see. “He was shot in the Kidney” he heard, “It's Inoperable” he heard the doctor say. The sounds, the chaos, the fear, it all came to a crescendo of mind numbing, unescapable noise. Nicholas just wanted it to stop, and so he shut his eyes, and it stopped, he feared opening them, fearing the idea that the noise may return. But he had to open them, and so he did, and there he sat in front of his Father, The Tsar’s Casket.

Nicholas awoke in a cold sweet. It was merely a nightmare, his Father was alive, His father was alive, the tsar was alive, he was not going to ascend to the throne, not yet at least. Nicholas walked the halls of the Palace, only to stop at a portrait of his Grandfather. As he stared into the eyes of the painting, the memory of his father clutching his fist, just after hearing his own father’s last words, came back to him.

“You have a legacy, You had plans” he thought to himself as he internally spoke to his grandfather, “They were not finished, god struck you down, not because you had betrayed him, but because Russia was not ready for you. Your Legacy is unfinished, and someone must finish it”. After this, Nicholas went back to sleep, with no nightmares to be seen, nor dreams in general for a matter of fact.
Interesting looking forward to seeing where this is going.
 
Welp, I’m glad to see people are liking it thus far. Imma try and have the next part out tomorrow, but if I dont by then, it should be done by the weekend.
 
Hell yes, a good Tsarist Russia wank. Eager to see where this goes.
Where's the wank here, then?

Just give Alexander III longer to live, get Nicholas II trained up, and most worries are solved.
Most of the PR disasters of Nicholas's early reign are avoided, Russia is kept fastidiously neutral (and probably renews the Reinsurance Treaty) and whoever's running Russia by the time of the Russo-Japanese War might just have the brains required to realize the 2nd Pacific Squadron was a bad idea. This would mean Russia wouldn't have to ask Britain for money to rebuild its navy, and thus wouldn't incur a political debt which would force it to go along with whatever shenanigans Britain had in mind for the next few decades.
The OP obviously has Russia in WW1, but there's a high chance of it not actually going to war, and maybe not against Germany if it comes to that. Remove the complete hammering the royal image took during Nicholas's reign all the way up to Tannenberg, and you remove 90% of the escalation that the existing problems needed to create a revolution.

Edit: a true wank would have Russia take up the Reinsurance Treaty to the level of a military alliance. That would have Germany and Russia on one side come WW1, which would basically be invincible. Germany's industry and military equipment + Russia's fertile fields and manpower = millions of German-armed men and no need for overseas food imports = British blockade is useless and Germany+Russia can brute-force their way through France with the force of cheatcode: Infinite Manpower + Infinite Supplies. Result is German supremacy over the West and Russia looming over its shoulder. Soon nuclear power is discovered and Russia is suddenly the world's premier nuclear nation.
Without the advancement of British liberalism and the awakening of American expansionism, the American radical democratic-republican ideology doesn't dominate the globe. Instead, the world is set more and more to arch-reactionary Russia's tune over time, as their population and industry only grows stronger and isn't blunted by Soviet mismanagement.
That is a true Russia!wank, and it could easily have happened.
After all, we live in an America-wank, so why not Russia?
 
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"Now here's a real wank: "]Edit: a true wank would have Russia take up the Reinsurance Treaty to the level of a military alliance. That would have Germany and Russia on one side come WW1, which would basically be invincible. Germany's industry and military equipment + Russia's fertile fields and manpower = millions of German-armed men and no need for overseas food imports = British blockade is useless and Germany+Russia can brute-force their way through France with the force of cheatcode: Infinite Manpower + Infinite Supplies. Result is German supremacy over the West and Russia looming over its shoulder. Soon nuclear power is discovered and Russia is suddenly the world's premier nuclear nation.
This is unwise, Germany is the only power who can destroy Russia at its heart. If Russia is going to fight a war, then it needs to be to destroy Germany.

Why would Russia fight to defeat France? Why would Russia fight to defeat Britain? To get scrambles in Central Asia and the Middle East?

No, this is a waste of time. Russia's foreign policy should be directed to DEFEAT or CONTAIN Germany. Russia lost more than twenty million people fighting the Germans during WW2 only. Preventing this kind of loss should be a Russia wank's top priority.

"Oh but you see now they will be allies" The Germans are not naive, they are not going to be fine with playing second fiddle to the Russians. They are going to attack the Russian Empire preemptively to carve up their empire in the east.
 
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This is unwise, Germany is the only power who can destroy Russia at its heart. If Russia is going to fight a war, then it needs to be against Germany.
If Russia isn't with the Triple Alliance, it is more likely they just stay out of the war entirely knowing that their situation is too precarious to take such massive losses.
If they're involved with the Germans in a military alliance, then Austria is automatically set against them due to conflicting interests in the Balkans, and Italy probably stays in it due to having a mutual enemy.
Why would Russia fight to defeat France? Why would Russia fight to defeat Britain? To get scrambles in Central Asia and the Middle East?
Britain is the main block to all of Russia's ideological aims (Constantinople Reclaimed, pan-Slavic Super-Slav Empire) and colonial aims (Central Asia, Manchuria).
In this case, Russia would fight because Austria would be on the other side, and that's going to get a lot of people at court (pan-Slavists, expansionists, jingoists) wet.
No, this is a waste of time. Russia's foreign policy should be directed to DEFEAT or CONTAIN Germany. Russia lost more than twenty million people fighting the Germans during WW2 only. Preventing this kind of loss should be a Russia wank's top priority.
Keeping quiet and building up would do just that. It also wouldn't hurt that there would be a giant chunk of land between Germany and Russia proper, as well as to the south. That would be a lot of ground to have to swallow in one surprise attack; Barbarossa at least didn't have to simultaneously capture most of the Balkans while they were at it.
"Oh but you see now they will be allies" The Germans are not naive, they are not going to be fine with playing second fiddle to the Russians. They are going to attack the Russian Empire preemptively to carve up their empire in the east.
If the choice was Dreikaiserbund and an incoming Thucydides' Trap + nuclear war or a gangbang and the destruction of the German state, I think I'd choose the former because at least I'm still alive to make decisions of some kind. Yes, I am aware of their longterm contrary interests. Germany won't want to be Russia's bitch, and this will probably lead to a nuclear war, but at least it will still be alive and capable of plotting its escape from Russia's sights.
At the very least, the Germans are going to want to first get the French+Austrian front down, then move on to Russia. And it'd be much better to get the Russians to help and then stab them in the back.
 
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Britain is the main block to all of Russia's ideological aims (Constantinople Reclaimed, pan-Slavic Super-Slav Empire) and colonial aims (Central Asia, Manchuria).
In this case, Russia would fight because Austria would be on the other side, and that's going to get a lot of people at court (pan-Slavists, expansionists, jingoists) wet.
These are mostly futile things. Russia should abandon all these objectives and focus on containing Germany together with the UK and France. Russia already has a bigger chunk of Central Asia than what's healthy in the long run, considering they are going to deal with an unruly Muslin population, they don't need to add Afghanistan or Persia to this. Regarding Manchuria, Russia could get a bigger chunk of Manchuria if they agree to partition it with Japan, with the bonus of avoiding the Russo-Japanese War.

The British may be kinda worried about Russia's friendship with Japan and its chunk of Manchuria, but Moscow could court London with concessions in Central Asia, showing the West that Russia is not an expansionist regime drunk with power. All the Russian focus should be in Germany. Giving autonomy to the poles (like Home Rule) would be my first priority in Europe, this would at best potentially give you the loyalty of ethnic polish peoples living in Austria-Hungary and Germany, and at worst help to undermine their loyalty to Berlin and Vienna, forcing them to crackdown on their poles and to be seen as more evil than you, who is giving them freedoms. It would also help with American willingness to join the war.

Of course, they didn't know the importance of such a move back them, but we have the benefit of hindsight.
 
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Regarding Manchuria, Russia could get a bigger chunk of Manchuria if they agree to partition it with Japan, with the bonus of avoiding the Russo-Japanese War.
Fine in theory, as long as Japan doesn't get too big for its boots. Also, the whole Korea question is a problem. The Koreans IOTL tried desperately to leave the Japanese sphere and get into the Russian sphere because at least the Russians were nowhere near as interested or rapacious as the Japanese, and they caused quite the shitstorm, especially when Queen Min was rather spectacularly assassinated by the Japanese and the royal family was forced to seek asylum in the Russian embassy.

Either the Russians or the Japanese would have to surrender Korea, and that would be intolerable to both.
For Russia because it's a symbolic blow to their image of the mighty empire, and to the Japanese because it's an insult to their image of the rising empire.
Both don't want to look weak and disordered, because looking weak and disordered would invite foreign powers to question their status and legitimacy, and that's a big problem for that kind of empire. The look of the thing actually matters here.
The British may be kinda worried about Russia's friendship with Japan and its chunk of Manchuria, but Moscow could court London with concessions in Central Asia,
By this point, what concessions? As far as I know, only the khanate of Khiva remained unintegrated into the Russian gubernatorial system, and it was away from the Iranian border. Perhaps they might sign something purely social in value, like a Russo-British decree of Afghan independence?

Again, giving up integrated territory to the British without even a war would be a major blow to the image of the empire by itself, and the leadership would instinctively revile it because it represents a precedent for giving the British free stuff: as they say, give them an inch and they'll take a mile.
showing the West that Russia is not an expansionist regime drunk with power.
Too late for that.
All the Russian focus should be in Germany. Giving autonomy to the poles (like Home Rule) would be my first priority in Europe,
What, and let the Latin-worshiping schismatics think they can live easy? Fat chance!
The problem here is that this is an open admission that Official Nationality does not work and isn't practical simply because the Poles are too Catholic to turn Orthodox. "What's next?" is a real question here, given that there are lots of little minorities across the empire all clamoring for autonomy.
If you're going to raise that idea now, you're going to have to consider long-term ideological ramifications.​
Again, it's all about what your actions say in the subtext. In this system, you must be strong and you must project that image at all times and be ready to defend it with everything you have.
this would at best potentially give you the loyalty of ethnic polish peoples living in Austria-Hungary and Germany, and at worst help to undermine their loyalty to Berlin and Vienna, forcing them to crackdown on their poles and to be seen as more evil than you, who is giving them freedoms.
The problem here is that the Reinsurance Treaty was designed specifically to set that matter to rest: as long as Russia and Germany didn't directly threaten each others' Polish and Lithuanian interests, they could let the Austrian matter go unresolved.
It would also help with American willingness to join the war.
Read this. I promise you, it'll put chills down your back.
 
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These are mostly futile things. Russia should abandon all these objectives and focus on containing Germany together with the UK and France. Russia already has a bigger chunk of Central Asia than what's healthy in the long run, considering they are going to deal with an unruly Muslin population, they don't need to add Afghanistan or Persia to this. Regarding Manchuria, Russia could get a bigger chunk of Manchuria if they agree to partition it with Japan, with the bonus of avoiding the Russo-Japanese War.

The British may be kinda worried about Russia's friendship with Japan and its chunk of Manchuria, but Moscow could court London with concessions in Central Asia, showing the West that Russia is not an expansionist regime drunk with power. All the Russian focus should be in Germany. Giving autonomy to the poles (like Home Rule) would be my first priority in Europe, this would at best potentially give you the loyalty of ethnic polish peoples living in Austria-Hungary and Germany, and at worst help to undermine their loyalty to Berlin and Vienna, forcing them to crackdown on their poles and to be seen as more evil than you, who is giving them freedoms. It would also help with American willingness to join the war.

Of course, they didn't know the importance of such a move back them, but we have the benefit of hindsight.
Of course, the Balkan nonsense was just ideological crap but, OTOH, the mentality you are preaching led to WWI in which Russian empire run into self-destruction fighting to defend the French and British interests. In other words, it proved to be counter-productive. Pretty much the same goes about the Poles: by the time in question Russian Empire already tried both union and autonomy and both of them failed. Majority of the Russian Poles, as was remarked by @Jan Olbracht, had been loyal Russian subjects and there was no practical reason to re-invent the wheel with a sole purpose of pissing off Germany and AH.

Then goes “concessions” part. Your logic seems to be the following: give the Brits all that they are asking for so that they’d feel you worthy of defending the British interests. When you are talking about expansionism and being drunk with power, you are seemingly confused: at that time Britain possessed the greatest empire in the world both in the terms of a territory and by population and it considered itself the greatest power in the world since the times of Palmerston. The borders and zones of influence in Afghanistan and Persia had been set to the mutual satisfaction well before WWI and dud not require any additional corrections. OTOH, the part regarding the population of Manchuria creates an impression that you are seriously preaching its occupation beyond the OTL borders which did not make a slightest sense economically and geographically and would be putting Russia on a collision course with Japan. Britain had conflict of interests (mostly economic) with Germany but Russia did not have such a conflict with any of them after the Big Game was over. In OTL the conflict by proxy was generated by the Russian idiotic policy on the Far East but if alt-NII is a competent ruler this can be easily avoidable without any loss for Russia.

The reason why in the late XIX Russia would have to go to war with Germany is anything but clear and the same goes for other way around. The same goes for the Russian need to fight Britain: no reason either and the minor territorial disputes had been successfully resolved peacefully during the reign of AIII. Policy of Russia staying neutral and friendly to both sides had been conducted successfully by AIII and if NII had enough brains he would continue it.
 
Of course, the Balkan nonsense was just ideological crap but, OTOH, the mentality you are preaching led to WWI in which Russian empire run into self-destruction fighting to defend the French and British interests. In other words, it proved to be counter-productive. Pretty much the same goes about the Poles: by the time in question Russian Empire already tried both union and autonomy and both of them failed. Majority of the Russian Poles, as was remarked by @Jan Olbracht, had been loyal Russian subjects and there was no practical reason to re-invent the wheel with a sole purpose of pissing off Germany and AH.

Then goes “concessions” part. Your logic seems to be the following: give the Brits all that they are asking for so that they’d feel you worthy of defending the British interests. When you are talking about expansionism and being drunk with power, you are seemingly confused: at that time Britain possessed the greatest empire in the world both in the terms of a territory and by population and it considered itself the greatest power in the world since the times of Palmerston. The borders and zones of influence in Afghanistan and Persia had been set to the mutual satisfaction well before WWI and dud not require any additional corrections. OTOH, the part regarding the population of Manchuria creates an impression that you are seriously preaching its occupation beyond the OTL borders which did not make a slightest sense economically and geographically and would be putting Russia on a collision course with Japan. Britain had conflict of interests (mostly economic) with Germany but Russia did not have such a conflict with any of them after the Big Game was over. In OTL the conflict by proxy was generated by the Russian idiotic policy on the Far East but if alt-NII is a competent ruler this can be easily avoidable without any loss for Russia.

The reason why in the late XIX Russia would have to go to war with Germany is anything but clear and the same goes for other way around. The same goes for the Russian need to fight Britain: no reason either and the minor territorial disputes had been successfully resolved peacefully during the reign of AIII. Policy of Russia staying neutral and friendly to both sides had been conducted successfully by AIII and if NII had enough brains he would continue it.
If Russia stays neutral, then Germany is going to crush France effortlessly. If that were to happen, Russia is going to be the next target. Congratulations, you are basically in 1941.

I'm not preaching getting into conflict with Japan, but saving face and avoiding war in the Far East by partitioning Manchuria with Tokyo, snatching the northern parts while letting Japan feast with Korea and southern Manchuria. SUCH a move MAY alienate Britain, regardless of their empire's size (have you ever heard of the word "hypocrisy"?), but Britain could be appeased with concessions in other theaters, like a bigger area of influence in Persia, for example.

And why would Russia concede to Britain? To make London think that Germany is still the main threat.

The Polish are not going to stay nice with being pressed by the Czar for too long. Yeah, I believe re-inventing the wheel with the sole purpose of undermining Germany and A-H to be Moscow's top priority. It is going to provide Russia with a reliable allied-buffer state against any type of German invasion. If outright independence with an allied-status, like Canada and Britain today, is needed, then it is a good bargain.

You are greatly underestimating the danger posed by a competent Germany against any type of Russian state during the 20th century. The Russians are still felling the demographic aftermath due to the bloodbath even today. Any type of strategy that lets Russia isolated against Germany is a bad strategy.

Russia should pursue a very close alliance with Britain and France, but refrain from incentivizing Pan-Slavisms tendencies in the Balkans, a thing which would help to delay the war at least a couple years.
 
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If Russia stays neutral, then Germany is going to crush France effortlessly. If that were to happen, Russia its going to be the next target.
"Hello, I'm Captain Obvious."

The fact remains that fighting in the war back then would have been suicide for the Russian Empire. In fact, I submit that they wouldn't have tried it... unless the combined factors of political debt to the British and a lack of understanding of the casualty rates of modern war combined to make it seem a survivable and necessary task.

Move the timescale for a war forward 5 or so years, and things may look different. By then, Britain would have mobilized for a full war on the horizon, and France's swift defeat would ironically have knocked way less stuffing out of it in terms of millions of men dead. Russia's economy was getting better, and its war readiness would be higher if everyone knew it was up next. With a year or more to prepare, the first thing on their mind would be procuring guns and bullets, two things which they lacked IOTL because they didn't produce enough at home in peacetime and had a gigantic army to fill out.

This all assumes that the cursed reign of Nicholas II happens; if Alexander III survives until this era, the land will be much quieter and the public will be more inclined to stick with the myth of the emperor as pater patriae and bear the war burden.
 
This obviously wasn't obvious to the other guy I was debating. You should read the comments more carefully before making "funny" remarks.
You realize his point was legitimate, as was mine? Read it again: you'll see my point.
Whether not staying neutral will mean death later, going to war in 1914 will mean certain death now.
"We understand the war is inevitable, and we even understand who will win if France fights Germany alone. But we also understand that if we stay out for the two or so years it would take to take down France and the year after that that it would take for the Germans to catch their breath, we have time to prepare. If we don't, we die. Simple as that."
That's the mentality going into it.
 
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