TLIAW/M: Arranging the Deck Chairs Upon this Sinking Ship

Arranging the Deck Chairs Upon this Sinking Ship - Leaders of the Soviet Union from 1917 to Modern Times

Seems you missed the boat for this trend.

Dunno if that was a pun, but hey, I figured it's the best shot of me completing a TL and I'm kind of in the mood to give it a shot.

You do know that these discussions imply you're giving yourself a certain amount of time to deal with this, right?

Well shit. Might as well give it a go. A week?

With you? More like a month.


Also why are you bothering with this? Didn't some guy do this already for his TL?

Sure, but I'm being a bit different.

By doing what?

Cheating to some degree.

Oh no.

Oh yes.

Did any of your picks even count as leaders?

Actually, yeah. Troika participants and usurpers namely.



Welp, hope this goes better than your first attempt at a timeline.

Wait, I did one?

Technically several if you count games.


Just finish this one this time.

I make no promises I can't keep.

The Reluctant Revolutionary

Grigory Zinoviev

1917 - 1931
One of the most influential events of the world had to be the birth of the Soviet Union. It was the first Marxist state to officially exist, and it would serve as a testing ground for a variety of ideas and doctrines that up until this point were only hypothesized to work in papers and in cafes. It would try to realize Marx's dream of a world revolution and subsequent utopia. While we of the now know this wasn't exactly what happened, at the time no one knew what would happen should Marx' political doctrines were put into practice. It was in many ways funny that the founder of such a nation nearly refused to heed the call, especially considering he was from a revolutionary party that preached violent revolution as a means to an end.

Grigory Zinoviev was born as Hirsch Apfelbaum in Yelizabetgrad to dairy farmers. He was educated at home, where broadened his horizons by studying literature, philosophy, and even history. When he became a teenager, the young Apfelbaum began picking up pen names to make a statement about himself and to avoid the kind of anti-semitic milleau that was Tsarist Russia. He eventually decided on Zinoviev after a series of other names, including the unfortunate name of Shatski. The newly minted Zinoviev joined the Russian Social Democratic Labour Party, mainly because it appealed the most to his socialist and marxist tendencies. It was there that he met his lifelong wingman, Vladimir Illyich Lenin, as well as noted rivals like Lev Kamenev among other things.

This new party would split only a few years after he joined, and it was obvious that Zinoviev would vote with his friend Lenin, becoming one of the Bolsheviks in the process. He would also insist on staying with his friend when fellow Bolshevik and founder Bogdanov left to create an academic circle dedicated to a vanguard of intellectuals. In any other situation, it was likely that it would have been Lenin or Kamenev, not Zinoviev, that would have given birth to the Union.

But it was a fateful boat trip to Copenhagen where tragedy struck; Lenin was travelling on a ship that would allow him to speak at the Second International. By reasons unknown this ship would sink, killing him and many others in the cold waters of the North Atlantic. Despite mixed feelings in the party about his intentional attempts to purify the ideology by kicking out factions, Lenin was their leader. Zinoviev's eulogy as well as association with the deceased leader allowed him to step above Kamenev in the power struggle, forcing him to join his brother-in-law in the Mensheviks.

Zinoviev would run his branch of the party from a variety of locations for years afterwards, trying to bolster those parties in the International as he could until the February (or March depending on your calendar) Revolution unseated the Czar. He would ultimately leave for Russia, knowing that a situation has occurred where the Workers needed to have their voices heard in the new government. He was initally not opposed to the Provisional Government surprisingly, a stance mocked by Mensheviks like Trotsky and to a lesser degree the venerable Martov. His views changed harshly when said government insisted on continuing the war though, and it gave him the will to heed his calling and incite a revolution. Thus he sought to create a Popular Front to unseat this government and stop the madness of futile offensive and painful famines. As a skilled communicator and leader of his own noted faction, Zinoviev was crucial in getting many Socialist Revolutionaries and Mensheviks into a united front, agreeing to a new Socialist Republic and Congress once the Revolution succeeded.

The three parties would strike at the government at once, using the dissatisfaction of the peasants and workers to propel themselves into power. The initial seizure of power went well, but the counterrevolutionaries that formed immediately afterwards threaten to undo the situation and string up the revolutionaries. Zinoviev focused at this point on rallying the people to their side, giving ardent speeches and promises of bread, peace, and land reform. Figures like Trotsky, Sverdlov, and Frunze would do much of the fighting, but Zinoviev himself did lead actions defending the newly minted Petrograd Soviet, and also participated in the taking of Moscow and other western cities. He mainly used this time to reinforce his power using soft influence; he knew the Socialist Revolutionaries outnumbered his faction and he sought to reduce it the best way he knew how. He used propaganda, stumping points and enacted reforms where he could, winning many people to his vision of a Union and neutered them as much as possible.

Still, by the end of the Civil War, he was merely the first among equals, becoming the General Secretary of the Union. His policies were often countered and critiqued by his rivals, and it was only due to his silver tongue subtly weakening his opponents that many of them passed through. Some of the most noteworthy examples including Korenizatiya, the attempt to create a multicultural country, a noted point that the Jewish Zinoviev sought to enact. A major policy of his was also to support Communist uprisings, the only one of which to succeed being Bela Kun's Hungary. He also created the first of what he would call Seven Year Plans, which sought to industrialize and mechanize the near feudal country he inherited.

The stress of regularly dealing with rivals like Kamenev, Sverdlov, and others ruined his health, and likely gave him his fatal heart attack. He left his country in an optimistic spot; but also one where it can either go well, or oh so horrendously.
All About my Brother In Law

Lev Kamenev

1931 - 1940
It was perhaps somewhat shocking at the time that a Menshevik, especially one as vitriolic to the first General Secretary as Lev Kamenev would be able to win in the power struggle. Zinoviev made it a point to limit as much as he could their power by subtlely playing political figures against each other and watching the resulting drama play out. In fact, a common what-if involves the other main contender and successor, Yakov Sverdlov, taking reins instead of Lev Kamenev, as Sverdlov for all of his disagreement with his boss still followed party line and was a loyal Bolshevik. But Kamenev did have many advantages over his political adversary; for one he was not a Bolshevik, which suited the Socialist Revolutionary faction of the Union just fine. He also had a powerful patron in the form of one of the five SovComs of the Union being his brother-in-law.

Lev Kamenev, born as Rozenfield, hailed from Moscow, the son of the proletariat. His father however was crafty, and became a rich man for building the Baku to Batumi railway. This wealth would in fact give him a well rounded and high quality level of education; as unlike Zinoviev, Kamenev actually did go to school, and even to a University. Hoever his whole supporting the Russian Social Democratic Labor Party thing did result in his arrest and later expulsion from the school. A particularly low reaching joke, probably coined by Zinoviev himself, is that getting kicked out of college was what made Kamenev a revolutionary and that his first action would be to re-enroll once the revolution succeeded. It was also around this time that Kamenev changed his name, and found a wife in the form of Olga Bronstein, sister of the Red Napoleon himself.

When the RSDLP split in twain, Kamenev joined the Bolsheviks after an amicable discussion between both Martov and Lenin. Because of this, he was never held in as high a regard as Zinoviev by Lenin, which would be the seed of their decades long rivalry. When Bogdanov left the Party in 1908, Kamenev would become a rallying figure of sorts by those in the party who saw Lenin as overly schismatic. This would come to bite him as Lenin's death allowed the more willing to compromise Zinoviev an in to higher power, which forced him to leave this wing of the party.

He spent a couple of years in the wilderness before he tacitly asked his brother-in-law Trotsky if he could have an in with the Menshevists. He would do so, and despite suspicions by older party participants, would rise in the ranks due to being quite effective at managing the party schools as well as being useful to the cause in Russia. He would direct the Menshevik wing of the Duma until his brief arrest in 1914, the beginning of the first World War. He would be freed in 1915 on the tacit understanding that he in fact lukewarmly supported the war, which caused a mild cold snap with Martov and Trotsky, who was anti-war o begin with.

By 1917, he was beginning to tire of the ruination of his country, and after a brief flare of hope when the Provisional Government took over, resolved to rebel when they decided to continue a futile and bloody war. When Zinoviev came to Menshevik headquarters in Batumi and negotiated with them to form a Popular Front, He agreed with his rival Zinoviev that for the moment, the split RSDLP needed to work as one again. He proved instrumental in convincing Martov that this was viable and necessary. One of the big caveats was that while Zinoviev played outside with the International, Kamenev converted many of the workers of Russia within, and it was hoped that combined with the Socialist Revolutionaries own extremely large support base, they could unseat the Bolsheviks post-Revolution.

His role in the Revolution paled to his brother-in-law's, a statement that would prove oh so repetitive throughout the rest of Kamenev's life. He managed the Moscow Soviet, and was personally selected to be a member of the Soviet Council, the Politburo. He himself did not focus on the war outside of managing the rails for the newly minted Soviet Union. This in turn made him a shadow of many of his peers during this period, and were it not for Trotsky's name recognition, would've scuppered the Mensheviks as a faction. It was in fact only the death of Martov in 1927 of cancer that gave him enough clout to actually stand as a leader in his own right. Since now that he was a leader of a faction, he could pronounce his own ideas and notions. He would further take advantage of this thanks to his brother's patronage.

It was perhaps the latter that allowed him to take power after a brief Troika between him, Sverdlov, and Chernov. His policies as General Secretary maintained some of what Zinoviev pushed for, including the Seven Year Plans and Korenizatiya. But he intermixed it with his own ideas, the chief of which was the NEP plan. This in itself came from fringe theorist and one of the few influential members of Bogdanov's old faction left in the politburo, Bukharin. Kamenev realized that the Union needed to have some small amount of Capitalism, to at the very least hasten the regrowth of the country. This was especially important considering that while they now had security in the west to some degree thanks to the Germans becoming fellow brethren, Japan was making noises about a Northern Expedition.

The plan itself was unpopular in the Politburo, and it was likely what lead to an initial break between Trotsky and Kamenev. It also served as a source of resentment for the working poor, as they saw the NEPmen as parasites that sucked their money away. It in fact proved so querulous, that it forced Kamenev to resign in 1940 after years of intentional watering down and even an attempted assassination on his life with an icepick. His vacating of the spot lead to another troika between the three parties, and no one at the time expected its junior-most member in influence to take the high ground...
The Caucasian Spider

Lavrentiy Beria

1941 - 1952
It was in many ways shocking that Lavrentiy Beria, head of the Soviet Sharashka Program and head of Industry and Science would succeed Kamenev. Beria was a primarily bookish individual with a dash of arrogance and a heavy sense of sarcasm. It was expected by many in the Politburo that it would have been either Sverdlov again, or the more noteworthy SovCom Alexander Antonov that would have succeeded the spot, both being the bright spots for each of their own parties. Trotsky was only not considered because of his close friendship with the currently disgraced Kamenev, which left the running of the government to these three picks. It would take a year, but with a shocking amount of cunning, the Georgian Menshevik managed to outmaneuver or even disgrace his two elder peers, commanding the nation during what became known as the Great Eastern War and reaching the peak of Secretariat power before being ousted and disgraced from his post. Because of these things, he's a very polarizing figure in the Union today, either loved for his positive actions, or reviled for his criminal history, his heavy handedness, and his propensity to ruin others from the shadows.

Lavrenty Beria was born in Merkheuli, the second of three children from a minor Kulak family. A particularly bright child in a similar vein to Kamenev, Beria studied at Baku Polytechnium, getting degrees with plaudits in both Mathematics and in Chemistry. Were it not for the advent of the Great War and the destruction of his future, Beria would have likely gone far as an industrialist or scientist. But the war did come, and it did take much of what he had, including his older brother. This made him bitter and resentful towards the Czar, which changed his early flirtation with the Mussavists to the Mensheviks instead.

Ruthlessly ambitious, he would be assigned to manage the industries in the Caucasus and keep the oil train flowing. He also unofficially used his powers to lean on local Soviets to pick men he was amenable to, preferring a carrot and stick approach rather than his rival for the Bolsheviks Ioseb dze Jughashvili. He would subtlely ruin the former bank robber's credibility in the Bolsheviks by subtly outmaneuvering him in winning the people's minds in the Caucasus and later on planting clues that lead to him being judged insane and left in a sanitarium, and conveniently dying of a stroke five years later.

When the war was won, Zinoviev vaguely realized what a threat the Other Georgian as he called Beria could be, and decided to limit his influence by shifting him over to purely head the Department of Education and Research. He also had more capital than the ambitious Beria, so he was able to limit him more than others might have been able to. When Kamenev succeeded the chair however, this limitation came undone due to apparent faction loyalty, and it allowed Beria to use his industry ties as well as exploit dissatisfied workers to his cause, as Kamenev lacked the gift of gab Zinoviev had. By 1940, Beria had accrued much soft power, tieing with Trotsky in the Menshevik camp for how much influence both had. But due to ties to Kamenev, Beria entered the now established notion of a Troika instead of Trotsky, something the General would regret till his dying day.

It took about 300 days for Beria to get enough blackmail or win over enough support to cripple his two erstwhile companions, but it was worth it. He could assign Sverdlov in working on expanding the Siberian Rail Way and managed to put Antonov in a box. It gave him the opportunity to place people in spots he knew he could trust, regardless of party, as well as make sure that all communist nations followed Petrograd, not Berlin or Budapest. It was also just in time for the Summer Offensive laid out by Japan to smash into the East.

By this point in time, Japan finally felt they had an advantage after victories at Khalkin Gol and other skirmishes in the Mongolian theater went well in their favor. These victories, along with an amazing victory in Wuhan against the Chinese gave a needed shot in the arm for the Army Faction of Japan. The Soviets were considered to be recovering still from the Great War, and rumors of the Second Seven Year Plan going awry gave them hope that they could hit Russia hard and fast enough to force them to the table like they did in 1905. They also had the guarantee of material support from both Britain and even France for this endeavor, both terrified over the fact that Communism toppled Germany and not desiring an anti-imperialist dominant in the East. The plan was simple, overly ambitious, done on a tight budget, and utterly barmy; therefore it was considered perfect by High Command.

While this might have been sort of true if they were striking in say 1938, the issues found in Soviet Doctrine and the worst problems caused by the Second Seven Year Plan were resolved by this point. The Soviets also forged trading ties with the US and Germany as well, which gave them extra ability to industrialize with all the technical assistance they had in exchange for resources. The Japanese were able to grind into the East, but found that after taking Vladivostok and an arduous trek into Mongolia, that the Soviets were not as terrible as they were hoping. In fact, they were a monstrous steam roller that instilled agony and pain wherever they trudged. The counter offensive was slow due to the poor lines in the east (a thing Beria used to remove Sverdlov as a person of interest actually), but the Soviets with relative ease were plowing through the Japanese in spite of heavy casualties, which forced the Japanese to shift critical troops away from China to stop the great Bear

This was convenient for Beria, who had CCP head Chen Duxiu initiate the 100 Days Offensive with his PLA, which took advantage of thinning troops on the ground to great effect. By this point the UK was willing to intervene in the War, declaring with Japan and aiming to use commandos and troops to take the Caucasus and Arkangelsk like before. From there they hoped the Whites and anti-Beria men would join and provide needed support. To help ensure this would be the case, they managed to convince Finland to supporting it in exchange for territory in Karelia. What they underestimated was four things; that the Soviets have indeed attempted to make life better for the peasant, that they were much stronger than they were during the Civil War, that the well for nationalism was much drier due to Korenizatiya, and that the Soviets could and would recruit more men.

While it did drag the war into 1944, the Soviets would ultimately come out on top landwise; Finland was forced to give up Ladoga Karelia and the Peninsula, Japan lost everything on the mainland, and the Communists in China finally became the main player in the wartorn and broken nation. The problem was though that the Soviet navy had no chance at beating either of the two Island nations in the sea, and Beria knew that. This was why he resolved to create a net around Japan using primarily submarines to cripple their shipping. He also heavily bombarded the islands with his Red Airforce. He expected this, and the weakness of democratic regimes of changing leaders, would give him the victory he wanted. After two more years of this farce, Japan finally was starved into submission. This left Britain, who had no desire to fight such a war solo now that their gambit failed and Labour was in charge. They agreed to indemnities, but made a point to refuse to cede Hong Kong to the People's Republic of China, an issue that would spark war later down the line. The results of said war did result in a serious cooling of relations with the US however, due to the USSR's role in China.

Ultimately, the war placed Beria at the top of his game. He helped free China from the yoke of warlordism, he liberated Korea, and even made it so Petrograd was secure and Finland was in his shadow. He also realized now that the west could not easily prosecute a war anymore, and so began funding anti-imperialist factions in their colonies. He also began ensuring that his power never eroded by forcing out, disappearing, and weakening what he saw as potential rivals for the future.

This last act would be his undoing, as an emergency meeting between Social Revolutionaries and Bolsheviks managed to get the Politburo to indite him. The key piece of evidence came from his own protegee, Yuri Andropov. Andropov would go into heavy details about how his patron would abscond with young college girls and violate them. He also managed to point out his influence in the industrial sector and paint it as "sinfully bourgeois". Many thought this was because Beria was planning to replace Andropov with a new protegee, a Konstantin Chernenko. Be that as it may, he was sentenced to a life imprisonment in the infamous Lubyanka prison, where he would later wind up dead at the hands of Warden Batitsky, who willingly admitted to it in his own trial since his daughter was one of Beria's victims. It was obvious a new figure had to take the reins, one as divorced as from the old regime as possible. The pick was in retrospect quite obvious...
Sorry for the delay gents, let's get this out now since I will be pretty much busy for most of this weekend:

Smiling Al

Alexei Kosygin

1952 - 1975
Unlike his predecessors, Alexei Kosygin was pretty much expected to take the reins after the post-war horrors the Beria regime brought to the Union. He was one of the few men at this point who was not either a creature of, or a part of the Georgian's administration, being sent west to manage the Kazakh Dandelion farming initiative founded by Kamenev when rumors of it being a good rubber source came about. Beria kept him there on a leash, not wanting a man like him close to the reigns of power. After a month long Troika between him, Andropov, and Yakov Agranov, Kosygin was nominated by acclaim, being the first Bolshevik to take the reigns of the country since Zinoviev founded the country. Kosygin would be a breath of fresh air, and lead the Union into its greatest economic boom in history.

Alexei Kosygin was born in the future capital of the Union, Petrograd to dockworkers. He himself was not a great revolutionary nor was he a general or high ranking functionary, another nod in his favor in taking leadership. Instead, he served the proletariat by working among them as a fellow laborer. He was a part of Zinoviev's anti-famine crusade and Central Railways Union, repairing damaged lines and issuing poods of grain to suffering villages. When the Red Army could finally demobilize due to the ending civil war, he would even join one of the Eastern Collectives initiated by Zinoviev. It was there that he got to experience the benefits and weaknesses of collective farming, which would plant the seed of his Reforms down the line.

Under Kamenev, his administrative abilities were noticed and he was tapped to focus on a special project by the Menshevik; mass agricultural cultivation of the Kazakh Dandelion, a plant found to be quite high in rubber. He also became a member of the Politburo at this point, representing his Soviet in Kazakhstan. He would do an admirable job in setting up this endeavor, and saw first hand that while unpopular with the higher ups and the poor peasantry, the NEP actually did bolster production and efficiency since farmers now felt a strong incentive to boost production. He became supportive of the policy and realized that what killed it was that Kamenev did not go quite far enough with the reform; he neglected to be lighter on the industry like he was to agriculture, which was what ultimately scuppered the policy.

Beria would keep him in the spot, namely because he lacked enough dirt on him at the time and he was managing a vital resource for consumption throughout his reign as Secretary. It should be noted thought that near the end he was preparing a second, heavier purge to deal with independents like him, a prelude being when he lost his seat at the Politburo. Were it not for Andropov and other members of the body managing to indite and evict Beria, even worse things might have happened. As it stood, he earned his seat back and jumped ahead purely because of those personal qualities of his.

Kosygin's rule as General Secretary started hard; he had to use all of the will he had in order to push through the 1960 Reform. Quite a few remained from Kamenev's days and deemed the idea foolish; it was bourgeois, gave rise to the Kulaks and NEPmen, and worst of all destroyed the heavy industry they needed to compete as a rival to the US. But he would win at the end of the day after demonstrating its effectiveness with a simple experiment; all 300 enterprises given to his reforms exploded in productivity and growth. He would get it approved, withstand the political fallout by exploiting mass media to make his reforms popular with the proletariat, and bluntly showing what his reform did to the average wage of the worker, making it one of his three capstones.

The second would have to be beating the Americans to Space, not with a satellite (Explorer 1 beating Sputnik 1 by three months), but with a man. Yuri Gagarin successfully took off and spent a quarter orbit around the Earth, a massive step up from animal experiments like Laika and Ham. It would prompt president Nixon to sign the STEM Initiative to counter this perceived reversal, and give the Soviets massive prestige scientifically. He would continue to invest in rocketry and aeronautics until he would resign from his post.

His last major initiative as General Secretary would have to be rapprochement with the US and a reignition of relations; ever since China fell to the communists, the US remained cold to the USSR, a policy that Kosygin wanted to fix, if purely because having a hostile rival was not good for business or for politics. The first step would be in 1967, with the Camp David Accords which helps defrost such relations between the two.

After 20 years in the Chair however, Kosygin wanted out; he did what he felt was needed; the US was willing to talk and not fight against his nation, the economy was finally rebalanced and lubricated, and the Soviet Union was a remarkable example of Socialism in action. He resigned from the chairmanship, leaving extremely big shoes to fill in his place. He would die in peace in 1978, conflicted about his decision to do so.
I'm in a good spot right now, so let's do one of two genuinely historical Soviet and Russian leaders. I know, I'm shocked too:
The Rowdy One

Yuri Andropov

1975 - 1986
Kosygin left the chair in a period of hope; he managed to lubricate what was becoming an ossified system and managed to bring a peaceful front to much of the world. It was therefore somewhat surprising that it was not his heir Gorbachev that took the seat, but his former Troika member and former student of the Spider, Yuri Andropov that took charge. Andropov was placed into the wilderness for a time, before he was placed in the NKVD in the early 1960s due to being a supporter of anti-corruption crusades and an empty spot in the role. His insight was instrumental in finding solutions to the Kim Problem as Korea was called, and Deberianization for Hungary as well as African nations such as Sudan, Kenya, and Biafra. It was perhaps his time in the NKVD that gave him the internal support to succeed, since he was able to air out a lot of dirty laundry in his spot and earn much good will with the people, a fact he used when shifting for position.

Andropov was born in the small town of Nagutskaya, in the Northern Caucasus region of Russia. He was but a mere child when the revolution took place, and for a time was mainly expected to work in a labor position like his railyard working parents. This would only change when he became head of the local Water Transport Committee, an organization designed to irrigate and transport water around the Union. He managed to catch the eye of Beria for his no-nonsense attitude and the ease in which he booted members who refused to do their share.

The young man became a confidante and protegee of the arrogant older man, often being sent to investigate and audit the many scientific and industrial projects that he either directly managed or indirectly influenced. He also was one of only three men the Georgian trusted, with Chernenko and his subordinate Merkulov forming the other two prongs. He was privy to a lot more information than the other two, which was what lead to the other two successfully planting the seeds of doubt in his mind. Andropov was given less important tasks, and after a brief struggle for attention, Chernenko won the affair of being his heir. Andropov knew that Beria would likely destroy him as a figure, and so decided to use his gift of weeding out the bad to purge his own boss.

He was instrumental in getting Beria evicted from the chair and convicted, as he worked for the man for more than ten years by this point. In fact, it was more his industrial ties than his collegial affairs that nailed Beria to the wall; the Andropov report was 440 pages long and detailed every sin and backstab that he could verify either under Beria's orders, or what he could suss out.

After the incident and when Kosygin was selected, Andropov was shifted out of the reigns of power for a few years and rotated into several departments, particularly, he was often an attache or diplomat for smaller countries like Greece or Syria. In the late 50's he finally was placed into his longest running career; the NKVD. He did well as an operative and in his role as a broom, a legacy that would follow him down the road. When Kruglov died in 1961, he made head, as his talent for information gathering made him a natural for the job. He would then become instrumental in reinstating order in Korea, as well as assist the Allende government in fending off a Pronunciamiento.

When Kosygin left the chair, the Menshevik faction picked him as their man, namely to shake off the stigma of being "the monster's faction" by others. He accepted the role and then proceeded to run circles around his other two Troika members. The older man merely had a strong understanding of the spot, and even admitted that if either was a bit older, they would have made fine Secretaries.

His ten year rule was noted primarily due to what was nicknamed the Kiss-Slap-Kiss-Slap cycle where his USSR and the US would fluctuate between close ties and minor stand-offs. His interference in Chile for example had President Jackson for example up in arms and nearly caused a minor shooting war over the Bering Straits. However, he would also win many hearts when he went on a good will tour throughout the US to meet Samantha Smith, a ten year old girl who asked to come to the Soviet Union and who wanted a world with less missiles. The relationship often was lampooned in European media where the two nations often were played up as quarreling but deeply committed lovers because of this. A sadder part of his legacy would be the end of the Sino-Soviet Treaty of Friendship due in part to a reignition of American relations. The other main part was that it was torn apart primarily over influence conflicts in Asia; the two would have a mild border war over Mongolia throughout the late 1970s, and it was only under Andropov's successor that relationships stabilized.

As well as this, he also supported many revolutions in warlord and dictator ruled Africa, a mixed legacy that often came back to haunt the Union. While countries like Angola would come to prosper under their communist party, the disastrous Qaddafi Period of Libya also marked what the policy could lead to. His final years were marked with ill health; he spent most of 1984 and 1985 in the hospital, the last bout forcing him to realize he needed to step down. He quickly made arrangements, signed a will, and resigned on October 18th, 1985. He would die only two months later, leaving the road open to the first Social Revolutionary to step into power...
The Great Communicator

Gennady Yanayev
1986 - 1998

By the 1970s, the Socialist Revolutionary Party was a ghost of its former self. Part of the problem came from the reign of Beria; he was able to suppress and diminish what was at the dawn of the USSR the largest of the three factions. But the other main problem was that it lacked control of a strong base of support. It wasn't until 1970 that a leader emerged, the trade-unionist and firebrand Gennady Yanayev. Yanayev was a breath of fresh air by Politburo standards; he was young, full of nervous energy, and most significantly was from an era that did not remember the Revolution at all. He and Gorbachev would form an element of the 5th Troika, but would ultimately lose to Andropov. Yanayev would be tapped by his former member to manage the trade-unions, which he used to his advantage when the old man became ill. He would ride the popular support all the way into the chair, giving rise to a major policy of his; Glasnost.

Gennady Yanayev was born in Perevoz, being the first chairman to be born after the October (or November) Revolution. His childhood wasn't particularly noteworthy, and neither was his experiences at the Gorky Institute of Agriculture. In fact, were it not for a chance meeting with the elderly Socialist Revolutionary member Ivan Kamkov, he would have probably joined the Bolshevik faction as a nameless functionary. Kamkov was namely doing a recruitment tour and advocating further reforms than what Kosygin was seeking. In fact, Kamkov was seeking to empower the Soviets by making them affect the chairmanship; the first step to a democracy. This speech by the last great member of the SR faction moved him; it appealed to his beliefs of a government for the proletariat. He would proceed to join the SRs in 1959, and proceed to rise at a rapid pace.

When Kamkov died in 1962, he was one of the few faces that had the administrative ability and the energy to take the party in a new direction. He would quickly outpace and come to lead over his faction, being made head of the Social Revolutionary faction by 1969. In fact, Kosygin noticed these positive qualities and selected him to manage over Trade Relations, a surprisingly powerful post to give considering how his reforms relied on them. It was during this time he came to meet his rival, Mikhail Gorbachev.

The two agreed often on reforms, but it was often in different ways. Gorbachev believed that the economy set up by Kosygin should be opened further, a term he called Perestroika. He believed that the Soviet economy must show its superiority by being competitive with the west, and that this could only be done by creating open trade barriers. Yanayev however felt that the reform should be based around the Soviets, that they being the representatives for the workers needed to select who should lead. The two often clashed because of this, a fact that Andropov used to counter them, winning support of the Politburo in the process.

Yanayev was removed from the halls of power for a time, being sent to manage diplomatic relations with the African nations. He recalled these experiences as reinforcing his ideas; his time in soviet leaning dictatorships and Beria leftovers made him realize that communism as it stood needed to remain modern, and that the Soviets needed a change to prevent these dictatorships or monsters like Beria taking control once more. When he was brought back in 1981, he earned back his old post and proceeded to use it to influence the Soviets. By Andropov's resignation and death, he was quickly promoted by acclaim, being the first Chairman to not come from a Troika.

His time in the chair was one with quick and heavy reform. His capstone was Glasnost, the opening and revitalization of how the Soviets, Politburo, and chairmanship worked. The Soviets themselves were restructured and reformatted to better account for population and industry shifts for one thing. He then proceeded to make it so that the party apparatus did not pick people to serve on the Politburo; they would be brought in based on negative voting by the Soviets. Lastly, he diminished the chairman's ability to enforce domestic policy.

This had the effect of unleashing a horrendous genie from the bottle; democracy. He realized that as his term went on, the push for a democratic system became stronger due to these reforms. He also set off conservative members of the Union, leading to a failed putsch by NKVD head Vladimir Putin in 1991. He realized by 1995 that the Soviets were going to shift to a democracy whether he wanted to go back to a capitalistic notion or not. Therefore his last major actions were to set terms for the General Secretary and devised a run-off election based around the notion of the Troika. With that, he resigned in 1998, being the last Secretary who wielded dictatorial powers in the Soviet. His successor embraced his changes though, and expanded them even further...
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The Ouraboros

Boris Yeltsin
1998 - 2010

In an event that was invited by many democracies around the world, the Soviet Union saw for the first time full elections, which included the first true election of the General Secretary. The results of the run-off elections was ultimately unsurprising barring the surprising loss of the Mensheviks to the Social Revolutionaries the first round, an event attributed to Yanayev's legacy and influence. But of the bunch, the colorful and bright eyed student of Mikhail Gorbachev was almost completely guaranteed to win. Boris Yeltsin's terms in the Soviet Union remains a mixed legacy; he continued to strengthen the new democratic movement to keep popular with the workers and invested heavily into computers and other technological services, but he also involved the Soviets in a painful insurgency and his implementation of his teacher's pet project destabilized the economy in his second term.

Boris Yeltsin was born in the tiny village of Butka, a small farming village within Sverdlovsk Oblast. His family remained on their farmlands until he was 11 years old, when Beria began to requisition grain for the war effort against Japan and the UK. His parents decided to move to Berezniki at this point due to not having enough to survive in the collective. His father Nikolai would be drafted into the factories installed near the city, earning enough money to procure a small apartment in the city. The lively Yeltsin joined the Ural Polytechnical Institute at the dawn of Kosygin's term, majoring in architecture and construction. He also enjoyed sports, albiet a bad incident in wrestling would accidentally cripple the first two fingers on his left hand, rendering them useless for the rest of his life.

He would use these chops to manage a variety of housing and utility bureaus, often constructing and gentrifying the cities within his Oblast. His earnest attempts to renovate and ensure a high service quality piqued the curiosity of Mikhail Gorbachev, Kosygin's wingman and heir. He took Yeltsin under his wing and managed to get him a spot on the Politburo. In Kosygin's later years he would even have a minor post in Gorbachev's departments, where he would proceed to use his spot in establishing local attractions and rejuvenating older historical buildings, no matter the culture.

When Andropov took the chair, he went back into managing construction firms for his Oblast, mainly because Gorbachev was shuffled to another portfolio where he didn't have as long of coattails. When Yanayev took over, he found a new lease on life however. Yanayev originally sought to employ Yeltsin as a sop to the Bolsheviks and to get Gorbachev off his back. But he grew to appreciate the colorful Yeltsin as Minister of Industry, as the Sverdlovsk resident used his influence to break apart and bust particularly corrupt or large bureaus. In a way, Yeltsin came to be known as the Russian Roosevelt due to these efforts to bust trusts and to dock people for inferior work.

He would be elected to his soviet in the widened and first direct Politburo elections, the result of these efforts to better his constituents' lives. He also began to overshadow his former mentor, which cooled relations between the two for a while. When Yanayev opened the bottle and created a democratic process for the country; he would be among those party apparatchiks who supported the measure, if only because his Oblast was known for being pro-democracy by nature. When Putin tried his coup attempt in 1991, Yeltsin was necessary in the east by using the Red Army to encircle the Kazan Kremlin, which was taken by the NKVD. He would also participate in the Politburo session which gutted and reformed the NKvD, creating the KGB in the process.

Therefore, when the elections rolled in; he felt comfortable in declaring his eligibility, which worked in his favor. He would then be ranked 1st among his peers in the first election, and proceeded to keep his lead in the run-off one. He entered the chair with a variety of ideas, but he would be the first Secretary to deal with a more democratic and potent Politburo.

His main drive was to implement his mentor's Perestroika, which sought to widen Kosygin's reforms. This made some sense, as the end of Andropov and the beginning of Yanayev's term had some doldrums in the economic sector. It was believed that some new reforms were needed, namely in opening the markets both ways. But he was critiqued harshly by members such as Dmitry Medvedev because of his focus on "the old tired industries". He also had push back from people like the Dmitry Yazov, who felt the maneuver was a step too far towards Capitalism and an admission that Communism didn't work. In the end though, he managed to do so, which would haunt the Soviet Union years down the line.

His other major drive was in dealing with Muslim terrorists who saw the officially Atheist Soviet Union as a blight upon the world; when Moscow was hit in a wide-scale gas attack, Yeltsin found and attributed the incident to the Afghani government, who may or may not have trained these operatives. He would send the soviets to war, occupying the country in 2004 in the midst of a rally around the flag re-election to the Secretariat. The move was considered threatening by the Commonwealth nations like India, who would subversively send aid to the resistance fighters namely because they did not want soviets on their border; not since Beria tried to scupper their independence from the UK by funding India's Communist Party for his own gains.

An economic crunch rolled in by 2006 due to the war and an increasingly weak economy due to cheaper western goods flooding in, and it was obvious that the increasingly sickly and frail Yeltsin couldn't right the ship. Amidst a crowd of riled citizens in 2008, he announced he would not try winning another term and passed it on to another, Sergei Miranov. However, he knew it wasn't likely that Miranov would win due to his legacy weighing on him. He would prove to be right when he finally left office in 2010...
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The Renaissance Man

Dmitry Medvedev
2010 - ????

Yeltsin left the country in dire straits. He left over a long, drawn out policing action in a restive mountain country, and what became known as the Second Scissors Crisis was at the forefront. The older and more expensive soviet manufactured goods were undercut by primarily Korean or American goods, which had the twin effects of raising the quality of living for many while also closing many bureaus. The nation needed a strong leader; it needed a young man full of ideas to helm he great Soviet Union. That the boyish academic Dmitry Medvedev happened to be one of the sharpwitted and was ready with a plan made him a near shoe-in for the spot. He in fact won so many votes that there was no need for a run-off; 68% of the Politburo being on your side tends to do that. Medvedev's terms focused on righting the nation, and an extensive period of modernization.

Dmitry Medvedev is an anomaly by chairman standards; he was born in Petrograd to academics, being the only chairman who did not hail from a working class family. He himself also grew up to be a bright young spark, graduating the Petrograd University with honors in Law. Even then, he remained fascinated by several subjects besides the legal system, with Chemistry and Linguistics remaining lifelong hobbies of his. The latter in fact won him a lot of friends in the other SSRs, as he made it a point to master as many languages as possible while in the politburo, giving speeches in Tatar, Kazakh, Georgian, and other languages throughout his tenure. He spent a few years teaching at his old alma mater before he became interested in politics, being a popular teacher for law due to his no nonsense but fair attitude.

During his time in the Politburo, he often wrote much of the legal wording of laws and measures, and often pressed hard for a modernization effort in industry. He recognized that the Soviet Union relied too much on its staple industries, with oil, gas, and rubber buoying an outdated industrial sector. He saw that the future of the country laid with technology and services, which became a major plank in his platform. He was even handed with his rhetoric, although his verbal roast of Yeltsin for relying on what he saw as obsolescent industries made him well known by the common worker and became one of the memorable things about him, which wasn't necessarily for the better at the time.

At first such a thing was lampooned by Soviet media headed by labor leagues; who often depicted Medvedev as an eggheaded scientist who believed himself superior to all of his opponents, something which the notoriously even tempered young man took in stride. He mostly would just write rebuttals whenever they misrepresented his points, creating a sort of cat and mouse game between the two outlets. This attitude would mostly change by 2006, when the opened economy began to shrink, and the Soviets were still stuck in Afghanistan.

Yeltsin's version of Perestroika did indeed do a lot of good things; It gave many Soviet citizens access to luxury goods that their parents would've wished they had. The problem though was it seriously weakened their own industries in the process. It turned out that buying soviet wasn't necessarily as good; they tended to be more expensive and while nothing was explicitly shabby, it lacked features that other country's goods had. The best example was the collapse of the Soviet auto industry; Korean People's Cars took off like a rocket due to the insanely cheap prices and efficient gas mileage. Another noted example was the proliferation of American electronics, which easily was a cut above the best soviet computer works.

Medvedev ran differently than other parties when the Crisis got worse; he knew that closing this market would cause more harm than good. It also did not fix what was inherently wrong with the system. So he came up with a modification of the old 7 Year Plan. Medvedev's Reform ultimately included heavy focus on generating alternate sources of energy, sought to fund and bolster native Soviet technological industry through patronage and management, and a complete overhaul of the industry already there. This would ultimately hand him the chair, as he was at that time one of the few who had a plan ready.

His six years were a whirlwind of action; he managed to implement his Modernization scheme, which so far is still going through some hiccups. The nastiest of these hiccups being the absolute nightmare of getting his nuclear power proposals accepted, as the Paleofuel Unions are rallying all they can to prevent its passing due to fears about job security. Another snag hit his technological program when one of his funded Bureaus, Minsk Information Pathways, was found to be shuttling the money elsewhere. He did manage to finally withdraw from Afghanistan by 2012, an event that became rather popular in the nation due to percieved costs. By 2016, the economy was mostly righted, and is beginning to grow once more. Medvedev also has made pledges to focus on legal reform, a personal project of his after the Minsk fiasco, as well as police reform. Whatever else may happen, Secretary Medvedev seems to have a grasp on things, as he enters his second term in office this November...
And with that, she is complete (pretty much, barring any editing I do should I get feedback on this thing).

And I even managed to pull it off right within the time limit I jokingly gave myself, genuinely impressed with that.
And with that, she is complete (pretty much, barring any editing I do should I get feedback on this thing).

And I even managed to pull it off right within the time limit I jokingly gave myself, genuinely impressed with that.

So how is Beria remembered ITTL? Was the whole of Germany communist or was it the same as OTL?
So how is Beria remembered ITTL? Was the whole of Germany communist or was it the same as OTL?
A mix of good and bad in a kind of Stalinesque way, with his worse elements getting emphasized heavily by Kosygin and his other detractors when they evict and convict him. He does get a lot of props in Asia though, since he made it a point to air out Japan's dirty laundry during their war in Asia and supported both China and Korea throughout the rest of his tenure; sending them industrial aid and technicians along with subtly pushing men he could work with in their hierarchy.

As for Germany, I reckoned they went full communist due to an economic collapse. The big difference is that a more prone to compromising USSR with a leader with a similar approach would likely ensure that other communist movements would be supported by them, as opposed to letting them die or gutting them like Stalin would've done. If they went through a process like the USSR, they probably would democratize in the Andropov era or so, since dictatorships were seen as poison thanks to old Lavrentiy.


This is amazing. Great job? Did Revolution and Civil War were similar to OTL? How did Poland fare in 1920. Or did the never started the war? I take that Soviet Union exists to this day in this TL?
The Civil War was somewhat shorter, likely only needing until 1920 or so due to Zinoviev being more of a compromiser. If you look him up he really was pretty interesting as a figure; he really was more of a man who was willing to make deals compared to Lenin; it was events like him negotiating with the Central Rail Committee and being willing to wait and see with the provisional government that hammered it home for me there. IOTL, the Bolsheviks were able to violently crackdown on the former, which helped push Trotsky and Lenin to the forefront due to being vindicated. With a more willing to compromise figure in charge, factions and a rule by committee made more sense.

Poland did somewhat worse due to the shorter war and less infighting on the Soviet side, but ultimately still gained their independence, the border being notably closer to the Bug in the center and crossing the Dneister closer to ethnic Polish lands due to doing worse over all. They still have that northern arm of theirs that reaches to Wilno though! Bit of a Polescrew, but when you have an opposing country in the TL do better over all, then they will tend to do worse. Not all's bad though; they became a regional lynchpin in the east due to being ardently anti-communist (as Poland would be with a Red Germany and Soviets being on twin sides), and have their own little pact, the Intermarium (Międzymorze) between the Baltics, Romania and later on would pick up Yugoslavia, Austria, Czechoslovakia, and Bulgaria. This defense pact being the big reason why there really wasn't much opportunity for a War in the west.