When AH Becomes Propaganda: A Vile Tale of Chickenhawk Russian AH writers in East Ukraine

Discussion in 'Alternate History Books and Media' started by Greg Grant, Jun 5, 2017.

  1. New Cleo Genesis Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2013
    If that's the one in which the protagonists are a group of amateur archaeologists in search of WWII junk in the boondocks who get sucked back in time by jumping into a lake... I gotta admit, I kinda liked that, actually.
     
  2. Insider 9/11 wasn't mine job

    Joined:
    May 23, 2014
    Location:
    Warsaw
    I rush to inform you, it isn't merely a Russian thing, recently it is popular in Poland as well. I recommend Invasion (or: "Inwazja") by Wojciech Miłoszewski. I mean recommend it as an example of very poorly written AH, not as literature. The plot is roughly about war with Russia, and our plucky heroes who stomp spetznaz to the ground, I could tell more about it, but I couldn't get past eleventh page without asking gods why they gave humanity writing. Seriously I would bet this guy never did any research aside except browsing wikipedia for a few hours. There are other books like it, for example Remigiusz Mróz series about polish armoured brigade squaring off with nazis, which is a tad better researched but still it has one dimensional characters, lousy descriptions, and completely unrealistic dialogues.
     
    Petike likes this.
  3. Greg Grant Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2007
    How prevalent is it in Poland? Reason I ask, these guys have their own imprint in Russia and two different publishers routinely churn out this stuff. Is the Polish Russian-curb-stomping AH widely published? Also out of curiosity, is it all WW2 and Future History in Polish Russia-stomping AH, or do they branch off into Napoleonic and/or any Partition scenarios (e.g., plucky Polish lad with an engineering degree and a taste for adventure goes back in time between 1806 and 1812 and helps Napoleon kick the Russians in the shin, hard)? I know there were Greater Poland AH wank stories out there, but I am curious particularly about the Russia-stomping ones.

    I am familiar, somewhat, with the post-Crimean resurgence of "Red Dawn" type of lit in Poland, but I don't speak, nor read Polish, so could not verify.
     
    Petike and CaliBoy1990 like this.
  4. Insider 9/11 wasn't mine job

    Joined:
    May 23, 2014
    Location:
    Warsaw
    Well it is said that it is popular among the youth, and popular enough to be in the shelves of bookstores... I believe Empik.com site would be helpful if you are really interested, they may share their sales statistics and they are about 1/4 of Polish markets. It is kind of off shot of recent flair of popularity of crime stories in general, and crime stories set in the past in particular I believe.

    The problem with publishers in Poland is that the publishing market is very fluid last few years, and small publishing houses come and go, disappearing without a trace sometimes after publishing just one book.
    Actually this Napoleonic or partition scenarios, these would make a good plotlines, and it would be something worth reading if done well (or just decently). Think lowest possible resistance line. Who cares about Napoleon and etc. young people want to see nazies or commies kicked.
    As of post-Crimean... actually down here, it is more post Donieck - Lugansk. Crimea happened fast and fairly bloodless, and while our politicos raised clamour, people rather accepted it. While you wouldn't find it in books like ones I mentioned, Russia isn't viewed here only as a bad guy, and when they seized Crimea I heard a lot of voices that substantiated Russian claims. The public opinion was far from monolithic. However War that come to Eastern Ukraine afterwards was really scary. First of all there were thousands of immigrants (some 500-800k depending how you count) who escaped either the war itself to Poland or they just escaped from the the poverty that war brought, so we get a plenty of opportunities to hear the stories first hand. There were some Polish volunteer or (were they "volunteer"?) units out there fighting or rescuing sick and wounded.
     
    Petike and CaliBoy1990 like this.
  5. CaliBoy1990 A bright future is still possible! =) Donor

    Joined:
    Jul 14, 2010
    Location:
    El Pueblo, East Texas
    Considering how dangerously close to fascism that Putin's regime is starting to get these days(it's not there yet, but Putin sure is trying to become the next Mussolini.....though an increasing number of people are starting to really push back against this), I find this rather ironic. Dare I say, at least some of those who died fighting Hitler's goons would be disgusted by Putin, if anything.....
     
    John Farson, Petike and Greg Grant like this.
  6. KuboCaskett Resident Japanophile

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2014
    Location:
    Indiana, USA
    Personally I like to think he's more like a next-gen Tsar of the old times before 1917 than anything else (again with people loving to use the term "fascist" to describe things they don't like regardless of how close the two are), though that doesn't mean that I'm okay with some of his antics lately; if there's anyone close to close to being fascist in general, it'd be that Zhirinosky fellow, though thankfully he's more of an Alex Jones-esque clown than anything IOTL.
     
  7. Miranda Brawner Ain't I A Woman? Donor

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2013
    Location:
    Savannah, Georgia, USA
    Thanks for bringing this to our attention, Greg. It's disturbing, though not surprising, to see alternate history fiction being used as a platform for imperialist agendas. Hopefully, we at AH.com can counter this trend by promoting a healthy respect democracy and diversity among AH fans.
     
  8. Drgyen Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2012
    Location:
    California, USA
    I have a question if there are any Russian fiction of a scenario about reviving the Soviet Union or the alternate history that it continues to exist? Honestly I am kind of sorry about the communists going the way of the dodo - imagine if the Cold War ended the other way around and how Americans would feel that way.
     
  9. Greg Grant Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2007
    Lots and lots of neo-Soviet rebirth scenarios, and many scenarios of Soviet Union continuing to exist as well. Almost all of them are rancid revenge stories of nuking America (or lately destroying Britain). For Soviet Union continues scenario, the most infamous (and well known one) posits that had the Soviets flexed their muscle in the Balkans in the early '90s, the Soviet Union would have been ascendant and the United States would have suffered an internal economic collapse due to loss of confidence. Please don't analyze the plausibility of that one for longer than a minute or you might hurt your brain. It is not about plausibility, it's about finding a POD point people know and feel (as in feel deeply), such as the Soviet collapses.

    The other popular POD for a strong Soviet Empire continues is set in the late '40s or early '50s and invariably involved ASB with right-thinking Russian-patriots going back in time to help out Comrade Stalin realize United States of America is the true enemy and aim for its destruction. As others pointed out on the thread, Stalin is the biggest star of Russian AH ASB in the last decade. There have been two cases that I can recall that tweak this by making a hero out of Beria (head of the Soviet WW2 era secret police, whom Stalin himself on at least one memorable ocassion introduced to American diplomats as "and this is our Himmler"). The AH ASB time-tunnel works both ways by the way, as the more recent (last six years or so) stories have Beria or Stalin traveling through time to early '90s Soviet Union and kicking the then current "weakling" leadership of the Soviet Union to the curb and taking over and kicking lots and lots of ass to the delight of the author, who must have typed some of these stories one handed. As always here are some fun lurid covers:

    Valeriy Belousov's "Save the Soviet Union! - Time-Traveler in a Pence-Nez"

    [​IMG]

    And now the breathless jacket notes: The number of books about people of our generation who end up in the past are already in the hundreds. In this novella the situation is reversed: a man of Stalin's era comes to us in the hot August of 1991. And not just any man, but Lavrentiy Pavlovich Beria himself! Can this time-traveler in pince-nez change the course of history and save the Soviet Union? Can "The Iron People's Commissar," whom Stalinists consider to be "the best manager of the 20th century" beat back and progenitors of Perestroika? Does Stalin's heir have what it takes to cleanse the country of her enemies and prevent the horrid 1990s and create an Era of Rebirth and gift Russia a bright tomorrow?

    None of this is ironic. Although I did crack up at the thought of these unnamed Stalinists using the word "manager," and dubbing Beria - a sadistic pedophile rapist killer - "the best manager of the 20th century." Though to be fair, the Soviet atomic project was done under Beria and it is rumored that he did personally suggest to Stalin that it would be prudent to drag the Soviet scientists mass interned in the Gulag out of the Gulag long enough to have them work on the project.
     
    JALC, Jape, Kirook and 3 others like this.
  10. TheScottishMongol Great Khan of Scotland

    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2013
    Location:
    Occupied Arizona
    Okay. This may be awful of me, but I just have to know more about these scenarios. What else happens? What's the endgame for our Brave Russian Patriots? Any truly ridiculous events? Come on man, you gotta give me some details.

    How deep does this rabbit hole go?
     
    John Farson, Petike and CaliBoy1990 like this.
  11. Greg Grant Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2007
    There are two schools of extremism here: batshit crazy and apeshit crazy.
    Batshit crazy: Russia becomes the dominant political and economic power and makes everyone around them merely subservient.
    Apeshit crazy: Russia and/or re-born Soviet Empire becomes the dominant political, economic and military power and wipes out entire armies, towns and possibly civilizations and makes the world worship at its feet.

    As near as I can tell, the hardening came with the rise of Putin. Prior to it, the fantasy was limited warfare and economic power, with the Yankees and Britishers getting curb stomped by their own internal troubles while Russia sails off into a sunset of glory. Putin's first term turned it up a notch and that's when the nukes arrived and there were direct attacks on US and British soil, as well first strike scenarios. In the batshit phase, it seemed to be me the hated Yankees were driven to desperation and utter jealousy of glorious and beautiful Russia and would make the first move against the peaceful but powerful reborn Russia which would totally backfire on them, because Russia is the bestest. But in the apeshit strain, a preemptive attack became more and more the acceptable choice. I do not recall anything particularly memorable, because these books all blend together and are a horrible slog to get through. They make the vampire erotic fanfiction of bored housewives seem like the best works of J.D. Salinger, Steinbeck and Hemingway. I really, really need to stress this part. It's not just fascist propaganda, it's really poorly written fascist propaganda.

    It's not memorable, but one particular lowlight that comes to mind, written by Valeriy Bolshakov, who in his previous life must have been in the air force or really wanted to be in it and was turned down due to a mental deficiency. In his tale of heroic mass-murdering daring-do "Varyag! Save Sevastopol," AH ASB Soviet Union led by Comrade Stalin and the nutjob hero stand-in for the author (a patriotic lad from the present who traveled to the past) lead a war against the Brits and the Yankees after beating the crap out of the Nazis. Through superior air power (and much aided by the author's utter inability to grasp gravity, supplies, politics, relationships, gasoline, tanks and numbers), Soviet Union Plus Plus Plus wipes out the American armies in Europe (there is an utterly delightful note of NKVD forced labor camps getting 400,000 American and British POWs), bombs Los Angeles, performs a Red Sea Lion, and air-drops a paratrooper squad to arrest Churchill. The hero, you see, just happens to know everything there is to know about the War, including Churchill's war room and how to get to it, and personally gets to take in the "bulldog faced war-monger." Churchill is then tried at a post-War Congress of Berlin, where Stalin creates peace that delights almost all, except Poles (because ya know how those Poles are, you give 'em Soviet occupation and they have the balls to bitch about it, some people I tells ya) and hated Americans and downtrodden Brits. Oh and King George is also taken prisoner, but that is not described. Attlee gets to play Quisling and the hero of our tale muses how better off Britain would have been had Attlee would have been its war leader, for he would not have dared to provoke the might of the Soviet Union. Most of the book is horrifically written aerial dog-fights, and the author has an obsession with smirking. I remember that. Every other phrase uttered by Stalin or the hero of the tale is prefaced or end-capped with that. Such as, "We need better bombers, you say,' smirked Stalin." And you go, "why the Hell is he smirking?" Why is everyone smirking in this book? This happens every three pages. It might drive you mad. The book itself is prefaced and end-capped with author-tracts mouthed by random characters, speaking in defense of Stalin and Beria as well singing the praises of a stable one-party-state and the need for prison camps to stop the spread of debilitating democracy.

    None of what I just wrote is a joke. All of that did happen, in the book. All written with a straight face by the author and is far from the exception.
     
    John Farson, Petike, Jape and 3 others like this.
  12. InfernoMole Putin/Medvedev 2020!

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2016
    Location:
    Moscow, Russia
    Oh, and these books are often written by rodnovers and conspiracy theorists, which means that Russians and all Slavs are SLAVO-ARYANS and, in at least one book, the Germans are the SLAVO-ARYANS' descendants.

    Did I mention that these authors are often deeply antisemitic?

    Oh, and Grant, ever heard of Merciless Tolerance?

    [​IMG]

    This book contains several stories depicting a cliched dystopian future where Mad Political Correctness and utter depravity are the rule of the day, while heterosexual monogamous families are an unpopular anachronism and Family Values are not respected. That's the first part.

    The second part tackles migrants.
     
    JALC, Kirook, CaliBoy1990 and 2 others like this.
  13. Greg Grant Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2007
    So this is a tricky subject to tackle because there is something about a conversation on antisemitism that turns Internet into a worse place for all and brings out the crazies, but yes that must be said: more than a few of these authors are anti-Semitic, but they are a very different breed of anti-Semites than what we typically see in the West these days.

    Barring the truly delusional, most anti-Semites in the West know that antisemitism is frowned upon by polite society and that their hate filled views place them in the minority in the overall society; therefore when Western anti-Semites speak publicly and wish to address fellow hateful deviants they either go full tilt anti-Semite, frothing at the mouth and spewing pure unfiltered hate or, if they wish to be coy, they'll do some dogwhistling with phrases that let the intended audience know exactly what they mean while giving them an out if they are called out in it by critics.

    Russian AH antisemitism, for the most part, is neither - it's casual, so casual that it catches you offguard and temporarily confuses you. "Uh, surely he did not mean THAT when he said it, did he?"

    Wow, this is horrid, but no didn't get a chance to explore it. I see it's a collection of short stories and our boy Berezin is front and center of it, so I can only imagine what's it like.

    One new wrinkle, note the gilded symbol in the lower left-hand corner with "CIF" in Latin script below it and it's name in Russian above it: фонд взаимодействие цивилизаций. "The Foundation for the Mutual-Assistance of Civilizations," in my translation, though they transliterate it to a more opaque but probably more literatal "civilizations interaction foundation." These folks wish to bring about a better world. Well, don't we all? But let's Google them and look up their works in Russian. Uh-huh. Interesting. They think religion is the answer and Islam is screwed up because it has no established Church to properly control it. Uh-huh. That's... an interesting world view.
     
    CaliBoy1990 and gap80 like this.
  14. InfernoMole Putin/Medvedev 2020!

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2016
    Location:
    Moscow, Russia
    It's pretty nice how the brave patriotic "heroes" (and the authors) are perfectly willing to support nasty regimes (case in point: the CSA) against the eeeeevul Westerners, and have absolutely no problem with killing millions of innocents if they happen to be Westerners (case in point: every single time the Russian/Soviet army bombs Britain).

    It's also pretty nice how the authors believe liberalism to be an inherently ruinous ideology. This reaches absolutely ridiculous extents when Alexander II's own ministers (the one with the Chechen War vet in Alexander III's body) and supporters of Voltaire (the one with Suvorov crushing the American Revolution) are considered evil monsters because they're liberals.
     
    Petike, JALC, Kirook and 3 others like this.
  15. KACKO Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2010
    There was movie made sometimes in 2006 called "My iz buduschego" - we from future.

    They were not sent just to shoot nazis. WWII memorabilia hunters, of which at least one is neonazi end up in 1941. By the end of movie our neonazi hero is cured and removing swastika tattoo from his arm.
    Pretty cool movie. Mot worst or better then what produced in other parts of word.

    Have seen few of their TV shows recently some WWII orientated. Indeed good Soviet people usually overcome NAzis or nasty NKVD people. Cool to watch, not much different from western shows or movies where good guys always wins. In our movies Ruski is usually enemy, in their it is somebody from west.

    Why is everybody so shocked.
     
  16. KACKO Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2010
    %? Probably same as in Russia or USA. Harrisons books anyone? US defeats Brits and invides Ireland?

    P.S. There is Polish book called 1939. Polish armored brigade got ISOTed to September 1939.
     
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2017
    Insider and CaliBoy1990 like this.
  17. Rescribor Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2011
    The book www.1939.com.pl (yes, this is book title, not a webpage) opens the whole series https://www.goodreads.com/author/list/4137688.Marcin_Ciszewski
    First Separate Recon Battalion trained for NATO mission in Afghanistan (mechanised battalion(+) ) is transferred to September of 1939. Author is historian and interested in military. Thus, we can see some obscure historical details and realistic logistics. Quality of writing varies, but it's not too bad.
    There is a story by Maciej Parowski "Burza" (Thunderstorm) that is a delightful revenge fantasy. POD: in second week of September weather turns unexpectedly to torrential rains. Mechanised logistics and airplanes lose effectiveness in mud and storms. Polish forces gain upper hand. Timid Allies dare to launch attacks against Germany. In final scenes man with a small mustache boards aircraft carrier "Bearn", transporting him to St. Helena island. The carrier is escorted by Polish destroyers "Burza" , "Grom", "Błyskawica" ("Storm", "Thunder", "Lightning").
     
  18. RatCatcher Member

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2004
    You are writing about Russian propaganda in AH and at the same time repeat their main propaganda statement about "civil war" in Ukraine :-(((

    Colleague Okami, Vershinin has been living in Spain for at least 10 years. An if he is Ukrainian - I am Chinese )))))
     
  19. RostislavDDD Member

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2017
    The topic is full of politics. I'll support. :evilsmile:
    Vershinin is not only a writer - citizen of Ukraine, he is also a Ukrainian historian. Let's not argue that Avakov, when he was hiding in Italy from allegations of corruption and sexual relations with a minor boy, ceased to be a patriot of Ukraine?
    Vershinin's "Gopakiada" gives an excellent understanding of why "Professional Ukrainians" brought to war.
    * * *
    This topic caused great bewilderment. Learn Russian in order to read the novels of the Belousov and the likes of him from the "Makhryatnik" ... this is beyond the bounds of good and evil.
    It's the same, learning English to read in the original... garbage of followers of Tom Clancy.
     
  20. H. B. Nuckwahler I am the one you warned me of

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2014