WI Warlordism in Russia?

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: After 1900' started by varyar, Jan 20, 2010.

  1. varyar Who?

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    Say instead of the Bolsheviks managing to beat down their rivals on the left and right, central government post-Czarist Russia crumbles entirely? (Possible POD - Lenin and Trotsky turn on each other or one or the other dies in the turmoil of the times, crippling the Bolsheviks but not handing victory to the Whites)

    So, by 1925 you might have:

    * The USSR with a capital in Petersburg, stretching eastwards as far as Vologda or so.
    * An uneasy coalition between the Constitutional Democratic and Socialist-Revolutionary parties in Moscow controlling some, but not all, of the Muscovite heartland.
    * In Samara, a Provisonal All-Russian Government run by the counter-revolutionary Komuch group.
    * An Anglo-American supported North Russia Provisional Government controlling the Arctic coast from Archangelsk to Murmansk.
    * The Kolchak-led Provisional Government of Autonomous Siberia centered on Tomsk.
    * A Japanese backed Provisional Priamurye Government in Vladivostok.
    * A rival Bolshevik Far Eastern Republic in Chita.
    * A constantly shifting struggle between Bolsheviks, non-Bolshevik leftists, Anarchists, Whites and Ukrainian nationalists in Ukraine.
    * Denikin's South Russian Volunteer Army Zone in the Crimea and south Russia along the Sea of Azov.
    * A small Ukrainian Republic of the Far East along the middle and upper reaches of the Ussuri River.
    * Regional strongmen (usually former Czarist officers with a cadre of veteran soldiers and a larger mob of bandits to prop them up) almost everywhere.
    * And God knows what else.

    In short, Russia as OTL's China. Who will be the Chiang Kai-shek of this TL?
     
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  2. yourworstnightmare Trubbelmakare

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    Some nice secessionist states;
    Idel- Ural
    Alash Orda (Kazachs)
    Bukhara
    Khiva
    Mountainous Republic of the Northern Caucasus
    Georgia
    Armenia
    Azerbaijan
    Don and Kuban Cossacks
    Makhnovchina
     
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  3. I Blame Communism Banned

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    RGB suggests, and I'm inclined to agree, that had the various White factions all had a great deal of luck and toppled the Reds in 1919 (Oryol, Makhno, Yudenich's attack on Petrograd... everything has to go right, but it's about doable, though you may want to fine-tune with early PoDs), China-style fun would have been the result. What the RCW was, in physical terms, was after all the Russian heartland (Bolshevik ruled) imposing itself on all the varrious local struugles that had sprung up in the peripheries. Defeat the Reds and you defeat the central power, and the Whites were pretty much warlords as it was.

    Whoever rebuilds Russia will have to have either control of the heartland (which the Reds had as it was, that being the point) or an effective foreign sponsor as Jiang had in Russia.

    Thought: OTL, The Poles, while their attention was on the conventional war with Ukrainian Galicia, were sniffing their way west, linking up with local Polish militias and municipal authorities. By the time the Galicians were defeated and Poland had started to organise for a real push east, the worst of the civil war had passed, and although the Poles briefly got the jump and grasped at Kiev, the Reds were firmly in control and able to push them back. Miracle at the Vistula, we all know the rest.

    If Russia implodes in 1919, what's going to stop the Poles? Could Poland and the Entente conspire to keep alive the Ukrainian Directorate? Or might the threat of the Poles united several factions (Trotskiy had always employed lots of ex-Tsarists, but, IIRC, recruitment picked up dramatically when it looked like backing the Reds was the way to save the Motherland from Polish invasion; I think Brusilov made an appeal to that effect, and certainly the Russian emigre press portrayed the Poles as anything but liberators). Poland as Japan, perhaps?
     
    Last edited: Jan 20, 2010
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  4. mowque Banned

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    Excellent! I am exploring this in my TL. *feeds on ideas*
     
  5. yourworstnightmare Trubbelmakare

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    Poland would probably be the Big one in Eastern Europe with Russia in pieces. The Ukraine would probably be a puppet. Some kind of rump Belarus state could also exist under the Polish thumb. And Poland might be slightly bigger.

    I still think my list of secessionist states would be nice.
     
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  6. Sol Zagato Well-Known Member

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    Baron Roman Nickolai Maximilian von Ungern-Sternberg

    That is all.
     
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  7. Hashasheen Banned

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    An excellent suggestion, Comrade Sol Zagato. :cool:
     
  8. varyar Who?

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    Oh! Oh! How could I forget Ungern von Sternberg? He's out there on the Mongolian borderlands.

    Hm. If you can get Lenin and Trotsky violently at odds early on, causing a split in the Bolsheviks, that might undermine the Reds just enough to allow a White victory (of sorts). Then the surviving Bolsheviks regroup in Petersburg while the various White factions turn on each other and moderate Leftists emerge here and there...

    In this case, you'd have several different countries with their own preferred factions. The Japanese in the East, America, Britain, France, Germany (mainly in the Baltics). That'd mess things up nicely until everyone-but-one gave up in disgust. The Americans and British up north, or the Japanese in the East?

    As for the ultimate leader, Stalin's still out there, of course, probably running things in Petersburg. And on the other side, Kolchak, Denikin, etc. (Although for a more optimistic solution, maybe some moderate leftist grudgingly supported by the Entente as a unifying figure?)

    I really like the idea of (western, at least) Ukraine as a sort of Manchuria analogue.

    w00t!
     
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  9. mowque Banned

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    Except in mine no Soviets at all, more ethnic then ideological.
     
  10. I Blame Communism Banned

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    True, but I think we've exaggerrated his importance because he was such a... colourful... figure. Any state he secured control of would probably implode and be gobbled up by its nearest neighbour before too long.

    A breakdown in the Bolshevik unity, coming at the worst moment, seems like a promising suggestion, and IIRC in 1919 when it looked like Denikin was baring down on Moscow and Yudenich on Petrograd, there was talk of abandoning Petrograd as too vulnerable. Trotskiy stomped on that, demanded re-enforcements, and mobilised the populations, but if we were to sever his link with Moscow for npolitical reasons at this point...

    I think the Japanese are going to ge more interested in a small state that they can control than in guiding there puppets at Vladivostok to controlling Russia and being in a position to play a game of their own in the Pacific.

    France backed Poland pretty firmly during the interbellum up until the Nazis turned up and Paris started trying to normalis erelations with Moscow. I could see them sending troops to the Black Sea shore (they were briefly there OTL) on behlf of Poland's Manchukuo.

    That gives Germany a very obvious interest in revitalising Russia. There were German tankers in the Ukraine and all that OTL: an active alliance with some central-Russian faction?

    Britain was less keen on Poland. Perhaps Anglo-American-German interests might end up aliging behind somebody?



    Vis Stalin, I'm inclined to think that a surviving Bolsh state might be dominated by Trotskiy (not that that precludes Stalin somehow getting to the top eventually, the slpery bastard): it was Trotskiy's organisational skill and energy that carried the Reds through the civil war. He was a soldier and revolutionary, not a politician or statesman, where Stalin was the opposite and Lenin all of them. In the military-dominated circumstances of Russia going to warlord hell, I can see Trotskiy coming out on top after a split with Lenin.

    Indeed: the Poles and Directory made an alliance OTL, after all. And it's pretty clear that any Ukrainian National Republic is going to dance to a Polish tune.
     
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  11. RGB Unqueering the Academia

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    This actually sounds like a fun exploration.

    I won't suggest much, just listen in. I'm a fan of Makhno, personally. Don't know how long he can hold on though.

    Also, the warlord period is by necessity a finite chunk of history. Who's the KMT in this universe?
     
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  12. varyar Who?

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    Almost certainly, but as a colorful and grim footnote, he deserves a place.

    Fair point. A buffer state and annexation of North Sakhalin will probably satisfy them.

    I like this. Start out with some low-level groups of freikorps types and begin ramping up the assistance once it's clear France and Britain won't vigorously object.

    This is the point where it'd probably be best to attach names to the groups in my OP, isn't it? I'll have to think about it a bit, although I'm leaning towards sending Stalin to the Far East while Trotsky is in charge of the more powerful Petersburg Bolshevik faction.

    For variety's sake, if nothing else, I think some moderate leftist group (the Kadets, maybe, or a similar successor party) will eventually prevail, although you need someone sufficiently ruthless and driven (and lucky) at the helm. Are there any OTL figures who would fit the bill? I'm not all that familiar with the period beyond the major Red and White leaders.
     
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  13. Alex Richards A mapper I, from near Dar-bai. Donor

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    We'll probably see the Poles stick a Romanov in Ukraine, possibly expanding the state so that it covers a slightly less impressive version of this White Russia by allying with Denikin and the Don Cossacks. Possible name: The Imperial Tsardom of Kiev

    1921.png
     
  14. Magnificate Member

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    Why would Poland want to be associated with the tsars? Or with rebuilding Russia in general? At that time Poland aimed at supporting ethnic minorities in the former Russian Empire. Why would it want to create "The Imperial Tsardom of Kiev" when the idea of Międzymorze suddenly has a chance of success?
     
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  15. I Blame Communism Banned

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    Agreed. IIRC, the Polish leadership were very suspicious of the whole White movement: they feared it would get Entente backing and Pland would be stuck with teh Curzon line, and that it wouldn't be reconciled to their independence anyway.

    And Directorate's rump army was a better ally anyway: nearer, and less able to act independently. By the time the Poles were really trying, the Volunteers were on their way out.
     
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  16. mowque Banned

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    For my TL, the Western Borders (made by Reykjavik)

    [​IMG]
     
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  17. varyar Who?

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    Very handsome map!

    A few minutes with Paintnet and a map of Russia proper gave me this rough sketch of some of the major factions/statelets we're looking at here. It's a little hard to tell, but the USSR and the Moscow Russia are separate regimes.

    The borders are, I'm thinking, show the lines of effective control. Almost all of these regimes claim government of all of Russia (or the former Russian Empire, in the case of the least reconstructed Whites).

    The vast uncolored stretches here could go to local warlords and non-Russian nationalities (such as yourworstnightmare listed in post 2).
     
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  18. RGB Unqueering the Academia

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    I'm not sure where all the Ukrainians on the Amur are coming from?

    The historical cossack settlements were mostly non-Ukrainian.
     
  19. varyar Who?

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    Green Ukraine lives! It's certainly an ephemeral state, bound to collapse fairly quickly, but it's too cool not to include - I tried to place is so that it's between but doesn't include Vladivostok and Khabarovsk to represent the small, rural nature of the thing.
     
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  20. Prem_Rack Well-Known Member

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    where the hurgans grow...
    Poland supporting Romanovs of all things makes absolutely no sense. Anti-russian Ukrainian nationalists on the other hand...