Only about half-done with what is going to be a huge chapter but it'll do until I finish it today or tomorrow. Lol I wrote this while sleep deprived so excuse any errors. It'll get fixed. POST-WAR EUROPE: THE EAST Members of the Moscow Free State uprising The state of Russia in the post-war world was dire. Not only had Viktor promised supreme victory and a sack of Paris, famously stating that "Cossacks will ride to Brittany," Russia was kicked out of the League of Tsars forever. For years he had built his own legend, a saga of reincarnation as the Great Khan, who would lead the peoples of Eurasia to peace and domination under a single banner. For years, ever since his return home from the war against Persia, Viktor had craved absolute control. Despite his brutal tendencies, he really had seen himself bringing about a Pax Viktoria, where Eurasia was firmly under his control but also enlightened, free of serfdom, and a stable land for the rearing of future generations. It had been his destiny, or so he had thought. Like the Republican Union, his doctrine with which he entered the war declared that his victory was preordained, and that defeat could not even be imagined. When that defeat came, it hit like a ton of bricks. The Russian people's morale plummeted. They had fought and died, suffering over 5 million combat casualties on the Hungarian and Balkan Front alone, not even counting the Chinese Civil War or deaths from the Plague. It was as if God himself had struck Viktor down. Immediately, Russian citizens began to spread rumors that Viktor was a false savior and only used them for his own glory. One of the main reasons for the Russian Civil War that was rapidly approaching was the fact that the former serfs, freed by Viktor himself, were now somewhat educated and worldly, mostly of the so-called "Kulak class." While Viktor had been off rampaging, a silent minority was forming that were educating themselves on the ideals of the Enlightenment. Chief among these was a formerly semi-literate farmhand named Nikodim Maksimov, who now worked in Moscow as factory foreman and had now become a prolific reader. While the situation in Russia continued its deterioration after the war, Maksimov began to aspire to greater things. He viewed Viktor as a blow-hard tyrant and genocidal madman, and viewed his "liberal" reforms as simply a way for him to rally support for his wars. Maksimov's brother Nikolai had been killed at Budapest, at the age of 25. Now, the 29 year-old Nikodim desired revenge. After reading the works of the great minds of the last two centuries, especially Knigge and Nietzsche, he realized he was in agreement with their philosophies. The year was 1914, and Russia was about to implode. Nikodim Maksimov The crash of the Berlin Stock Exchange in August had devastated Germania and led to a multi-faction civil war. In Russia, there wasn't even a crash. It was just total defeat. The Allies hadn't needed to sanction or punish Russia for its part in the war. No decades of repayments, no surrender of land. The Allies knew full well the result of a Russian defeat. The economy was absolutely devastated. It cannot be understated how crippling losing the war really was. The entire economy was based around the war, and the defeat spelled economic doom. To pay for the war, taxation was levied to absurdly high amounts and war bonds were also issued. Now, those bonds were as worthless as the Imperial ruble itself. The war had also seen Viktor's implementation of the Army First policy, which saw the vast majority of grain and meat supplies going to fuel the military. In late 1914, millions of unemployed, often wounded, veterans flooded back home, some of the last to be released from Europan POW camps. They arrived in a broken, shattered nation on the cusp of anarchy. Maksimov was not alone. Millions of veterans and the poor were out in the streets begging while the rich nobility cloistered in their mansions, patrolled around the clock by armed guards. In late September, when the Illuminist uprising in Germania was well underway, news finally hit that the downtrodden and the lower classes had joined with the philosophers and intellectuals to overthrow religion and the state. Millions across Russia viewed the Warsaw revolt as an amazing, even beautiful thing. In the fires of Illuminism burned hope for the masses of suffering Russians. Their faith in the church and the tsar had been shaken to its core. They viewed themselves as expendable pawns. Now, with boiling rage, they followed Warsaw's example. On October 1, 1914, Maksimov led a general strike at the auto factory he served as foreman at. Ulyanov Motors of Moscow had been the biggest supplier of vehicles to the army during the war, and its CEO, Vlad Ulyanov, was known as "Uncle Cyka" by his employees. When news of the strike reached Vlad's desk, he ordered his company goons to go beat the strikers down. It turned into a bloodbath. Within minutes of the thugs' arrival, gunshots were heard and a riot erupted, leaving some 20 workers dead. Fearing an all out revolt, Viktor ordered General Alexander Kerensky to close down Moscow and declare marshal law. This was the beginning of the October Uprising. For the next month, Maksimov led any who would follow in his revolt. Vlad Ulyanov fled the city under government protection just as the main factory completely fell to the rebels. Declaring the Moscow Illuminist Worker's Free State, they raised an owl flag above the imposing, soot-stained factory and dared the government to come in after them. One of the local police stations was overran on October 20, by Maksimov's men and they raided the armory, finally securing some heavier weapons. Vladimir Ulyanov, in a painting set in front of his personal UMM garage. Ulyanov was one of the richest businessmen in Europe and profited immeasurably from the war, but he was known for treating his workers like dirt. On October 31, Viktor ordered Kerensky to crush the rebels. "Proceed, no matter what danger, and kill every traitor you see." It was clear that the tsar very much feared a general revolution at this point. As rumors spread of rebel cells in various regions, from Karelia to Ukraine, Viktor's sanity, or what little remained of it, began to vanish completely, as he sat in St. Petersburg sweating out his fate and that of Russia. Kerensky's assault on the factory was an atrocity, with Maksimov and his men being butchered with axes and bayonets. Kerensky and his men then hung the corpses along the streets of Moscow on the gaslights. What was supposed to be a warning to any potential revolutionaries now became a rallying cry. "Remember Maksimov!" was heard all across the land, his story being told and retold countless times by traveling radicals, each new telling making the legend grow bigger and bigger. In mid-January, 1915, the revolution truly began. Citizens of Moscow, mostly veterans, took up arms against Kerensky's emergency rule and began to assault government buildings. Before long the mobs were upon Kerensky himself. Placing him under "citizen's arrest," the Illuminist-inspired rebels marched him to Krasivaya Square, in front of the palatial Kremlin, and commenced with a mock trial that ended with him being beheaded for all to see. When Europe found out about the revolution, panic became terror. First Germania was falling to Illuminism, and now here was its direct neighbor, one of the largest empires in earth's history, also blazing hot with Illuminist flames. Napoleon IV said of the event, "Cheering for Viktor's downfall is foolish. Better the devil we defeated then a wave of of populist Jacobin radicalism." The final clincher was, however, when newspapers ran headlines about Saint Basil's Cathedral. On the night of January 28, radicals set the ancient building on fire, and by morning most of the building was destroyed. In Ukraine, Nadia Holub, a disciple of Otto Werner, the Grand Master of Illuminism, arrived back in Kiev from her exile in the Helvetic Confederation. The 30 year-old had published "Luciferian propaganda" during the war, which were newsletters that called for an end to the war and for the establishment of a true constitution. Now radicalized from her time with Werner, she became "Mother Ukraine," leading some 15,000 marchers through Kiev waving flags and burning the homes of the rich. Churches were looted for gold and jewels before being torched. Nadia Holub, Ukrainian Illuminist and nationalist Viktor fled St. Petersburg on March 2, 1915. The situation was hopeless. The entirety of the European portion of the Empire was collapsing even as the Asian half held strong.