Twilight of the Red Tsar

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: After 1900' started by Napoleon IV, Nov 1, 2015.

  1. MagicalPhantom345 Well-Known Member

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    Yes you did Nappy. YES. YOU. DID!

    Also when is the next update from you coming out?
     
  2. Napoleon IV Don't Make Me Run, I'm Full of Chocolate

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    Sometime next week.
     
  3. MagicalPhantom345 Well-Known Member

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    Good to know
     
  4. Bookmark1995 Bookmark95 Reborn!

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    I don't know.

    It will really depend if the ITTL South Vietnam can build a functional government, and has well exploited the setbacks Ho Chi Minh has faced, or if a stalemate continues.

    I think that Vietnamese Communists were far more pragmatic than Soviets or Maoists. I doubt they would be interested in becoming North Korean-style pariahs.
     
  5. MagicalPhantom345 Well-Known Member

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    Thought as much
     
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  6. Bookmark1995 Bookmark95 Reborn!

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    Hativkah
    Sorry, there were a few more things I wanted to add to my previous contribution, but because of time, I couldn't. Also, I think I might want to mention more about Troyanovsky.

    Hatikvah

    Excerpt from Profiles in Courage: Russia by John F. Kennedy[1]​
    When Oleg Troyanovsky returned to Russia through Petrograd[2], he expected to met by members of the CNS. Nothing prepared him for what he would encounter when he arrived at Pulkovo Airport in August 25.

    "I believed I would bet met by a few of Kashnikov's aides," he claimed in an interview. "When I saw the mob at the terminal, I was incredibly confused".

    His confusion would turn to shock as the mob in the terminal, which included a few reporters, rushed for him, and fear when a group of soldiers grabbed him.

    "I thought I was going to be arrested, and that the mob was there to murder me, until I heard one woman claim "the hero of 2758", and then I heard cheers of joy from everybody."

    As it turned, the mob had been there to greet him as, with the soldiers there to escort him away from his admirers. Troyanovsky, with his stand against his former communist allies before the world, became one of the most admired people in the world. In the CNS-dominated Russia, it turned him into an idol, or at least the closest thing Russians had to one in a long time.

    "Traveling through the streets of Moscow, seeing my picture on the front page of the newspapers littered everywhere, being waved at and blown kisses by all the beautiful women, was overwhelming".

    The sudden shock of fame would be matched by the offer that would be made to him by General Kashnikov personally.

    "He shook my hand," Troyanovsky said ,"and sat me down, with a large buffet and cigars conspicuously before me on a table."

    Troyanovsky, despite resigning from the now non-existent post of Soviet Ambassador to the UN, was asked again to become a face for Soviet foreign relations.

    "He asked me to become foreign minister of the CNS," Troyanovsky claimed. "I thought me, a former communist as a foreign representative, would be lunacy."

    Troyanovsky learned that his actions made him the first Russian in a long time to gain a reputation for honesty, and that his newfound reputation would aid the CNS well in rebuilding foreign relations. His actions made him admired by all its factions.

    "Kashnikov even joked, or maybe not, about me being President of Russia one day," Troyanovsky said with a sigh.

    To the surprise of Kashnikov, however, Troyanovsky turned him down flat, believing his own disreputable actions during Stalin's post-stroke years meant he could not be the public face of a post-Soviet government.

    "During my time in the foreign ministry , I denounced many of my colleagues[3]. Having lived in America[4], I knew I would be an easy target to accuse. Every day, I made a new accusation. Every day, I feared I would be dragged off to Lubyanka, never to see the sun again."

    While such acts were tragically common, Troyanovsky felt his own betrayals meant he could never be visible part of the new Russia many hoped for. There were other reasons for Troyanovsky's refusal. He noticed the many factions of the CNS seemed to be treat him like a useful pawn. The Stalin years made him jaded by political intrigue, and he had no interest in being a pawn for any political group.

    However, he did eventually agree for a less-public role as the CNS-ambassador to Poland. However, his celebrity image in an important Eastern European state would nevertheless prove crucial in the rebuilding of ties between the Russian state and Eastern Europe after years of oppression.

    Excerpt from The Pull of Evil by Alexander Vinasky
    Had that shrapnel not entered my leg [5] during the siege of Lubyanka, I would have fled to Stalingrad with my colleagues. Soon after the building had surrendered, me and my colleagues who also remained found ourselves at the mercy of the men we spent the previous days fighting. The reactionaries -as I had been trained to think of our opponents- found me, leg gushing with blood, and barely conscious. I thought to myself, "this is what the tsar felt in his final moments, as his former subjects loomed over him." Even as they came for me, I remained calm. I believe it to have been my loss of blood, but maybe, on a personal level, I believed I had deserved it. That this was men taking their vengeance on me. Then everything went dark, and everything was a void.

    When I woke up, I found myself, not in hell as even I, a man who rejected religion, believed I deserved to be. Nor was I in the cellar of Lubyanka. I felt I was in a warm bed. With something around my leg. When I could open my eyes, I saw I was in a hospital. I discovered there was a cast on my leg, and a tube in my arm.

    I saw in the corner a nurse. She walked over to me, and said I had been in and out of consciousness for a week. I said nothing but nodded. That seemed to suffice the nurse. I was in shock. Why had I been kept alive? What information could I provide.

    For a month, I stayed that hotel room, with food being brought to me, learning to use my shattered leg again. When I regained some mobility, I was told I would be speaking to an interrogator, Mr. Kuzhenov was his name. The man, a young officer in his thirties, said that with a grimace on his face. It seemed however to vanish as he walked out of the room. I barely noticed, thinking to myself ,"this is when the torture would begin".

    An officer escorted, or better yet, dragged me where I was interrogated, with my hands in cuffs. I felt so dumb. Of course, they would string me a long. Putting my mind at ease, so my mind can shatter quicker once their torment began.

    I was marched down the hallway. After a few turns, we came to a door that had a darker color of paint then the rest. The officer stopped, so I stopped. He appeared to let me stare at this unique door. Not knowing what was behind it filled me with the greatest fear. Fear of the unknown. After a minute, we entered.

    I discovered, not a dark room, similar to the one where I had done my best work [6]. But a brightly colored room with sunlight flowing through. In it was a man sitting behind a wooden desk, wearing a Western-style suit. He greeted me with a smile I would have given to one of my own daughters. This man looked more like a professor than a good police man.

    "Please sit," the man said warmly, motioning to the small chair. I moved forward, but the officer who escorted me grabbed me. To my increasing surprise, he took the cuffs off my hand, and the pushed me into the chair.

    To my surprise, another soldier walked, in, this one was young enough to be in high school. His face, though stoic, betrayed a sense of anger toward me.

    "Mikhail," the suited man, who I came to realize was Kuzhenov, asked the young soldier "bring this man some food." My face in was a daze, why was I being brought food? Mikhail hesitated, his face bunched up in restrained fury, but he soon exited and returned with a plate of eggs and rice. He marched over and placed the food in my lap. And walked out.

    "Now," Mr. Kuzhenov said, his face, still joyful yet more calculating, "please eat. And when your done, please tell me about the work you did for Dorofyev."

    I paused for a minute.

    "Why," I asked Mr. Kuzhenov.

    "Why what," he replied, a still joyful expression on his face.

    "Why are you feeding me," I said, my voice becoming quiet and solemn. "Why am I not in the torture chamber?" Mr. Kuzhenov. His face suddenly stopped smiling. He gave me a look of profound contempt.

    "Oh," he said, suddenly rising from his chair, "so you believe that all men share you and your Georgian [7] master's taste for blood? No Mr. Vinasky, I have no taste for your death."

    Suddenly, I felt tears well in my eyes. I don't know why. But I started weeping. This was the first time I wept since the day I beat Mr. Ehrenberg.

    Except from History of Jews in Europe by Nathan Stein​
    When newly appointed Israeli Ambassador to Russia Itzhak Farkas came to Russia, he believed his main job would be lobbying for reparations from the Council of National Salvation. However, his embassy would receive an unexpected visit on April 12, 1968.

    "An aide came into the door, and told me to come outside, but was vague. I walked out, and too my shock, I saw a mob of people gathering outside the embassy. The Red Sea Brigade who were posted near the gates become scared. We had received a bomb threat from the Black Front, so we thought this mob was fascist. But then I saw the woman leading the mob, waving a flag with the Magen David on it. Then my aid told me they were asking to go to Israel. And I wept, when I knew what that meant."

    By the end of the week, over a hundred more people would gather at the embassy, asking to go to Israel. By the end of the month, over 1,000 people would appear. By the end of the year, it would be revealed that over 8,000 Jews were still leaving in Moscow. Throughout the Soviet Union, there were 25,000 Jews who had avoided deportation.



    There were countless ways Soviet Jews had managed to avoid deportation. Many had long thought of themselves as Russian, and began identifying themselves as Russian, and thus avoided labeling themselves so on their identity cards.

    But it was clear the majority of Jews were only able to survive with the help of another.


    Excerpt from Tales of the Righteous by Harold Hertz​
    Born in Minsk in 1921, Danik Garmash had grown up surrounded by Jews, who at their peak, made up nearly 30-40 percent of the population. The city of Minsk held a large population in the years before World War II. During the war, he served as anti-Nazi partisan in the Belorussian countryside, even serving alongside Jews who had managed to escape the ghetto [8].

    By the beginning of 1953, he managed to gain a job in the Propiska office in the city of Minsk. His job was to sign documents allowing residency and travel throughout Minsk and the local metropolitan area, and correct errors. He was also married with three children.

    When the Soviet Pogrom began, Garmash's office was quickly targeted by the MGB, looking for Jews to deport and/or kill. Garmash was horrified, both by the action and the nonchalance and joy of his colleagues.

    "I recalled some of them saying 'The Zionists will finally get what was coming' ," Garmash said with bitterness. "I though to myself, 'how could we be bringing back the ghosts of the Nazis.' "

    Not sharing the same attitude of his colleagues, and knowing it was a matter of time before the MGB asked his office to hand them over. Garmash began sifting through dozens of documents, falsifying them by changing their ethnicity and names.

    The task, however, was not easy. Garmash knew he could not tell anybody, wife or colleague, about his plans. He knew they could have easily sold him out to the MGB. But he soon came to the frightening realization that he could not save everybody. He risked arousing suspicion if he could not provide a single Jew for the MGB to collect. So he began the most difficult part of the process: selection.

    "Deciding who could live and who could die, and making that choice was the most painful part," said Garmash. "Would saving any matter if many more were to die."

    Ultimately, Garmash chose to rescue as many entire families as he could. He began searching as far back as the records of grandparents. Any relative he missed could be a trail whom the MGB could follow an entire family. Despite working with little time and no help, Garmash had managed to save 123 people, 18 families, from execution or deportation when the MGB asked for his office's documents.

    After the death of Stalin, Garmash used his talents to work as a Soviet dissident, distributing false travel papers to dissidents throughout Russia. After the breakout of the Second Russian Civil War, Garmash fled to Moscow. He later immigrated to in Canada in 1973, where he got a job in Montreal as a Russian language teacher.

    His greatest shock came in 1978.

    "I heard a knock on the door," Garmash said, "and when I open it, suddenly this rabbi jumps out and hugs me."

    Many survivors had gone through his records and found proof of his alterations. Some were able to track him down to Montreal.

    In 1985, he was declared a Righteous Among the Nations by Yad Vashem.


    Tales of the Orphan Caretaker-Chicago Tribune-April 14, 1994​
    As Helen Zimmerman sits in her apartment, she recalls her earliest memory with sorrow.

    "I recall my mother kissing me on the head and saying goodbye," Zimmerman says, with tears in her eyes.

    When the Soviet Holocaust began, many Jewish parents knew their children would most likely not survive if they were sent to the gulag. Tragically, most were unsuccessful in finding shelter, and 250,000 [9] would die in Kolyma, Vorkutlag, and other camps, and in other, smaller executions.

    But Helen's parents, Semyon and Tanya, had the good luck of meeting Olga Smirnova, a caretaker of an orphanage in Leningrad.

    When the Soviet Holocaust began, Smirnova found dozens of children left at her doorstep. Finding notes in Yiddish, she realized the kind of children who came under her care. She created false records to portray them as Russian.

    Such a task was not easy. MGB agents suspected that Jewish parents would put their parents in an orphanage, and often made routine inspections of documents.

    For this reason, Smirnova had to refuse children over the age of 3, as older children would end up not lying and spilling the beans. But over time, Smirnova managed to send 600 young children into the orphanage system. Due to the focus of the Soviet state on re-education and not adoption, Smirnova was able to watch over the children.

    Even after Stalin's death, when the authorities ended the active hunt for Jews, Smirnova knew any Jew who revealed themselves openly could still be detained and deported East. Smirnova would wait until the children reached adulthood.

    When the Russian Civil War broke out, and the rebels took the Leningrad government, Smirnova revealed the truth to the rebel Leningrad, soon to be renamed Petrograd, authorities after it was announced that the Israeli embassy opened in Moscow.

    Many of her children, who were still teenagers, were in shock to learn of their heritage.

    "The kids I grew up with constantly made comments about killing all the Zionists," Zimmerman said ,"some of them were stunned to discover they were Jews."

    When the orphans, between the ages of 15-18 arrived in Moscow, they were given housing and food by the Jewish agency, until guardians could be found in Israel.

    When they arrived, it was Passover, so the Israeli embassy treated them to a Passover service in the newly reopened Choral Synagogue. Helen, however, would receive an unexpected visitor.

    "The Red Sea Brigadier interrupted our service," Helen said, "suddenly, a women walks into the synagogue. But when I saw that women, I knew who it was."

    Helen's mother, Tanya had managed to survive in Kolyma, while tragically, her husband was murdered in Vorkutlag. After being released from a free settlement, Tanya managed to track down her daughter with the help of Russian officials.

    "When I saw her, I ran out of the podium, and we hugged and cried. Suddenly, the congregation applauded us, and also some ran up to hug us, including the Red Sea Brigadiers".

    Helen and her mother relocated to Israel, but eventually moved to Chicago in 1971 to live with a cousin.

    Smirnova would become a member of the Righteous [10] in 1981, and was granted honorary Israeli citizenship in 1983. Tragically, however, Smirnova would die in 1985 in a car crash. But to this day, the children she rescued and their families make a yearly pilgrimage to her tombstone at Mount Zion to honor the woman who sheltered them.

    Statistics for the Soviet Jews​
    Jewish Population of the Soviet Union, 1953: 2,100,000
    Jewish Population of the Soviet Union*, 1968: 543,000
    Jewish Population of the Soviet Union, 1975: 12,000-15,000

    Immigration of Soviet Jews by country, 1968-1972

    Israel: 300,000**
    United States of America: 120,000
    Canada: 50,000
    United Kingdom: 15,000
    Australia: 10,000
    New Zealand: 7,000
    South Africa: 5,000

    * The Jewish population of the areas of the former Soviet Union
    ** This migration also includes spouses of Jews eligible under the Law of Return, as well as honorary citizens.

    [1] I think John F. Kennedy would have eventually quit politics because of his poor health. I imagine him retiring to book writing.

    [2] I think the memories of World War II are still too strong for Russians to rename it St. Petersburg. Hence, they give it the old World War I name.

    [3] Based on Napoleon's frequent description of foreign service purges, I am guessing that such a life was inevitable. It is also to establish that Troyanovsky is certainly not a saint, or at least, nobody really could be in such a terrible time.

    [4] His father was the USSR's first ambassador to the US. Troyanovsky even lived in America for some time.

    [5] When rebel tanks hit Lubyanka, the shrapnel from the blast entered Vinasky's leg.

    [6] That line was to point out how desensitized Vinasky became to torture and execution. How the MGB made such things a way of life.

    [7] He's referring to Stalin. I think ITTL, most Russians will emphasize Stalin's Georgian roots to distance themselves from him as much as possible.

    [8] OTL, there was a whole campaign to rescue Jews from the Minsk ghetto. By the end of the war, 5,000 had been able to escape and survive the war.

    [9] This was painful to calculate, but I based this number of the proportion of children who died during the Nazi Holocaust, and applied it to the total number of Jews who perished.

    [10] In total, there were 179 Righteous for the Soviet Holocaust.
     
    Last edited: Apr 30, 2017
  7. Lost Freeway Western Propaganda F***er

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    Yeah, but as soon as the Cold War was over, the United States pretty much dropped all of its tinpot dictator allies like hot potatoes. Here, with the Soviet Union eating itself alive, we might see that happening earlier.
     
  8. Bookmark1995 Bookmark95 Reborn!

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    This is especially true if a Middle Eastern war breaks out in the ITTL 1970s. Because then the priorities of US foreign policy will shift away, from containing communism to fighting terrorism/ensuring the flow of oil remains unchecked.

    Because of this, I'm predicting the IBSU (syndicalist bloc) will grow dramatically, as the US withdraws aid from certain third world , and the syndicalists may fill the power gap left behind by that withdrawal.
     
  9. Johannes Parisiensis Well-Known Member

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    Now we know who murdered Ilya Ehrenburg.

    More important, it soulignes how brutalised was the mind of the average Soviet since Lenin and Stalin.

    Here, we see expressed, in TTL Soviet Union, the better side of the human being and yet we can do the same observation than in the previous line, that is, how they had to be brutally pragmatic to do their work.

    Garmash and Smirnova might whip themselves thinking to those they couldn't save.
     
  10. Perfidious Albion Well-Known Member

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    Er. Saudi Arabia ring any bells?

    The USA has dictatorships which are its enemies and dictatorships which are its allies even today. Its allies can do absolutely heinous stuff and it doesn't lift a finger. (Let me hasten to add, this isn't an insult to America. America isn't uniquely unpleasant in behaving this way. Other great powers do the same thing. It's just the way the world works.)

    It's true that America isn't currently aligned with as many unpleasant dictatorships as it has been at other points in history. Things have been getting better on that front. I don't dispute that. But I do dispute the (really extreme) specific argument which was raised - the idea that a US President would have to intervene against Apartheid or else lose re-election. That's based on a very idealistic view which doesn't fit with the real world.

    The post which I was disagreeing with was being argued by Knightmare against you. I wasn't disagreeing with you.
     
  11. Knightmare Monthly Donor

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    Tinpot dictator, not key oil producer, and even then, they've been slowly wearing out their welcome.
     
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  12. Ryan Who? Donor

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    shouldn't that be over?
     
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  13. QueerSpear Tuxer's Brand New Account

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    dictatorships.png
     
  14. Perfidious Albion Well-Known Member

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    That's merely a different choice of emphasis. Saudi Arabia is one of the most openly, unashamedly regressive and anti-democratic regimes in the world. It's a US ally anyway, because - as you say - it's an oil producer.

    The USA had a workable relationship with Apartheid South Africa in OTL, and Presidents who supported it didn't suffer anywhere near the significant electoral backlash that you hypothesise. They were reliably anti-communist. And let's not underestimate Adolf Hitler, please; yes Stalin's extra genocides would add to the effect, but the OTL genocides had a really substantial effect too. If anything, I expect that in this TL - due to Stalin's Soviet Union diving even further off the deep end - the capitalist powers would be more worried about communism (and therefore willing to turn a blind eye to the flaws of unpleasant regimes as long as they stand up against communism) than in OTL, not less.
     
  15. skaven Vortex of Perpetual Agitation

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    I think "Mr Ehrenburg" is the "elderly machinist" from the previous extract, the torture of whom represented Vinansky's slide into brutality.
     
  16. Bookmark1995 Bookmark95 Reborn!

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    Troyanovsky and Vinasky, the former real and the latter my invention, demonstrate the evil of Stalinism: they turned optimistic and hopeful people into monsters who would sell out their own families.

    But this update also underscores my belief in the inherent decency of human beings. Once they are shown the true consequences of their actions, the two regain their humanity and repent.

    My belief is that a bad environment is what makes bad people. Like with Troyanovsky and Vinasky, their environment forced them to surrender their humanity. Yes, there are those like Stalin and Hitler who trade away their humanity completely to feed their monstrous desires. But even the most cruel and hardened people, in my opinion, just need to be shown a better way to help them regain their goodness.

    Oh yes. Trying to do the right thing in ITTL Soviet Russia was almost fatal. Garmash and Smirnova are admirable not just for doing what they did, but having the mental fortitude to make tough choices.

    They will definitely be upset over "not getting more". But they also struggle to comprehend other things: how their leadership could imitate their Nazi oppressor and betray an entire people that fought for him, how a nation that promised "socialist brotherhood" could degenerate into the same evil tactics of the tsar, how their friends could turn into Jew-haters at the whim of one dictator, how their country could reward the murder of children, and more importantly, how their family and friends could have easily denounced them to earn favor.

    To a certain extent, these questions are also going to hang over every Russian man, women, and child for a long time to come. Hopefully, they can use the answers to guide them as they rebuild anew.

    Yes. I just edited that, to say "over". Sorry.

    Correct. Vinasky began his disreputable career in the 1940s. Ilya didn't die until ITTL 1955.
     
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2017
  17. MagicalPhantom345 Well-Known Member

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    It is believable that he would turn down such an offer because despite having the courage to denounce his homeland for what it has become, he still played his part in the Soviet atrocities by denying the truths for so long. So he should start making things right but on a more 'Down to earth' basis rather than becoming the new face of Russia and pretend that he is forgiven for all his crimes.

    I believed this has been butterflied away because the Soviet Policies have thoroughly destroyed the threat of Communism in the third world for the US.
     
  18. Bookmark1995 Bookmark95 Reborn!

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    Yeah. A man who has the courage to denounce his country, has enough courage to be aware of his own crimes (selling out his colleagues and lying to the world).

    In a way, his public denouncement is his first act of repentance. Not only did it lead to the Soviets being kicked out, it has driven others to do the same. For that, the ability to help rebuild Russia's ties to the world is his reward.


    I don't think so. In an earlier update, the US overthrew Nkrumah's government in Ghana because he visited the USSR. I do think the "holding the hand of anti-communist dictators" would still be thing.

    Even though most third-world revolutionaries have rejected the Soviets as a guide, most Americans still see red everywhere, hence the assassination of Castro, when he wasn't even backed by the USSR.
     
    Last edited: Apr 22, 2017
  19. Lost Freeway Western Propaganda F***er

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    Eh, Communism may have been discredited, but the US has retained its OTL inability to distinguish between left-wing ideologies.
     
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  20. Historyman 14 Well-Known Member

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    I wonder how Patton will be remember. He was really pushing for war with the Soviets and about not trusting them before his death.