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TWR97

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Communist Insurgents, Ethiopia's defeat, and ol Hitler making a fuss is certainly a dire situation. May Russia endure on whatever is to come.
 

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Well, she got through it, that's the main thing :)
 
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Henry v. Keiper

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Russia, and indeed the world, seem to be in dire straits indeed. With a military junta in power and rampant secret police suppression, one wonders what exactly has taken place over the last couple of decades.

Pretty much what was described here, only dragged out some. The next post will go into more detail on the history of post-civil war Russia.

Perhaps not the most auspicious of beginnings, but there's a glimmer of promise here.

("Are you talking about the girl, or the country?" "Yes.")

Masha is representational of all Russia.

...no, not really. But it sounded cool.

Communist Insurgents, Ethiopia's defeat, and ol Hitler making a fuss is certainly a dire situation. May Russia endure on whatever is to come.

Russia has had worse, what with the Mongols and the like. But yes, we shall see. :D

Seems like the rest of the world is pretty much the same as in OTL; will there be news from the Far East as well?

The next post will go into detail on how things are in general in the areas around Russia, and display what differences there are.

The mod isn't as extensive as, say, Kaiserreich or some other total conversion mods. That being said, there are some noticeable differences - the biggest being that China isn't a divided mess.

Well, she got through it, that's the main thing :)

The first day on the job is always the most unpredictable and nerve-wracking. :eek:
 

Henry v. Keiper

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rBKVCB2.png

Chapter 2
Wrangel


April, 1936

xofGyr7.png

The Black Baron, as so many had called him since the turn of the century, gazed at the map before him. It was a map of all Russia, and the land around it. The land ruled by the military junta, in a loose cooperation with various civilian governments, bodies, and committees. Russia was in turn bordered by several smaller nations that were members of an alliance known as the Pact of Petrograd. It was, to be sure, an eclectic alliance, made more out of necessity and situational demands than brilliant diplomacy. The member states had little in common with each other except that they had all formerly belonged to the Russian Empire, but – due to the chaotic aftermath of the 1918 Revolution and the Civil War – had gained independence.

Pyotr Nikolayevich Wrangel was dressed in his famous black uniform – the cause for his nickname. His hands were behind his back, and his eyes continued to scan the map from one end to the other. Each spot on the map had a story, most of which coincided with the Civil War.

There was the Ukrainian Hetmanate, ruled by Pavlo Skoropadskyl. His was a noble line that went all the way back to the 1600’s, and he had experience in both the Russo-Japanese War and the Great War. He had risen against the Ukrainian Soviets in 1918, under the auspices of the invading German army no less, but promptly lost power to the Reds. It was restored again after the Whites had won the war, in the hopes of easing both Ukrainian nationalist sentiments as well as to create a buffer zone with the rest of Europe. He earned the ire of many of his own people for being too pro-Russian in his policies, and his rule was often a bit too autocratic. Wrangel had the feeling that Pavlo truly believed he was reigning like the Hetmans of old, like he were some character out old Polish stories about the wars with the Crimeans. For a brief moment, in the outset of the Revolution, Wrangel had served with Pavlo’s forces. However, he soon realized that Pavlo only existed because German troops supported him, and as soon as the Germans left, Pavlo’s meager force was as good as obliterated. This had turned out to be prophetic, and Pavlo’s fortunes were only reversed after Wrangel had taken Moscow and smashed the last bastion of the Red Army.

Kd4cuSt.png

There was the Republic of Belarus, ruled by Vasil Zacharka. Belarus had began seeking independence during the short-lived Russian Republic, but it only became a reality during the peace talks between Lenin and the Germans. As the Germans began to withdraw from the eastern front, Belarus came into being, only to find its existence threatened by Bolshevik forces. With the Communists overthrown by the Whites, Belarus remained independent, under the auspices of previous agreements with the Russian government. Zacharka was a staunch defender of Belarusian independence, but also realized that the existence of the young state depended upon the favorable hand of Mother Russia.

W0vMXcr.png

Then there was Finland, or “Nationalist Finland” as some called it, ruled by Carl Gustaf Emil Mannerheim. Mannerheim had been there during Finland’s declaration of independence from the Communists in 1917, only for the nation to fall into its own civil war. The communists of Finland were defeated, and the Republic of Finland was formed. However, the nationalist Lapua Movement recruited Mannerheim to lead a coup which overthrow the government. Now in charge, a position he had little interest in due to his advancing age and decreasing health, Mannerheim maintained close relations with Russia and his old comrades in the Russian army. The situation was always changing in Finland, it seemed. The ambassador had phoned a while ago that there was some concern about nationalist movements wishing to unite Finland with Sweden.

F1FWY0m.png

Finally, there was the Mongolian Khanate, ruled by the well known Roman von Ungern-Sternberg. Ungern was a Baltic nobleman descended from ethnic Germans, like Wrangel himself, and he was without a doubt the most loyal and dependable member of the Pact of Petrograd. He had served in the Civil War as a staunch Tsarist, and had supposedly even had plans to recreate the Mongol Empire under a new khan. Instead, he was given command of Mongolia, where he oversaw the defense of the state from Communist influences. It was said that he had been fond of Buddhism and the history of the area since he was a child, which may have explained his strange, T.E. Lawrence-like fondness for a different culture. It was just a pity he had little to work with, for the Mongolian military was woefully undermanned and undersupplied. Though Wrangel did not deny the spirit of the Mongolian fighters, with the potentiality of either China or even Japan becoming aggressive on the Siberian front, there would be little to stand in their way once Mongolia was overrun.

Q2lErQL.png

But at the moment, the alliance did little to ease Wrangel’s nerves. After nearly a decade of rule, the military power had little for which to commend itself. The economy was in ruins, the Bolsheviks, led by Stalin, and the Mensheviks, led by Trotsky, attacked at any opportunity, and educational levels were still at an all time low. It didn’t help that, despite Wrangel’s best and most ardent efforts to stem corruption, many inferior officers did little to control their men. Discipline was low, and in some areas generals and colonels ruled like they had declared independence, even taking “tolls” and other bogus fees from travelers. It all caused the people to grumble, and many were turning to the Communists, who seemed like the only way to keep things done.

Russian eyes were also monitoring the activities of other governments, especially insofar as the Communists were concerned. France and the United Kingdom were of special interest, as the two nations seemed to be heading in entirely polar opposite directions. France was getting ready to ban Communism altogether, despite the fact that the Reds influenced a good quarter of the French population. The United Kingdom had recently made deals with the trade unions, which had started a growth in Communist popularity. Wrangle cringed at the idea of a Bolshevik United Kingdom, supporting the Reds of Russia from afar – it was about the last thing they needed.

TLtjusP.png

Then again, Wrangel was getting ahead of himself. Before they worried about Communists elsewhere, they had to deal with their Communists here. As he stood here, staring at the map of Russia, he heard a sneeze and a cough. He knew where it came from: General Mikhail Levitov was sitting behind him. The poor man was still struggling with an illness that he had caught while mobilizing his troops south from the Finnish front. He was a surprisingly young man for an officer, having been perhaps in his thirties during the Civil War, and now around his forties.

“Has there been any improvement?” Levitov asked.

Wrangel nodded. “We’re beginning maneuvers to counterattack the Communists. This will be the first concerted effort we’ve had since the war.” He pointed to the map, near the mountain ranges in the western half of the country. We believe that they’ve been congregating around the Urals. They fight each other once in a while, which gives us a good idea of where each side is located. The Bolsheviks seem to be near the north, while the Mensheviks are to the south.”

vjzjY7s.png

Levitov sneezed. “Any idea on their headquarters?”

Wrangle shook his head. “No. But we’re working on that.”

A door opened nearby, and a woman stepped in. Wrangel immediately recognized Ludmila Denikin. She had become one of the Okhrana’s top agents so far, and had been leading the fight against the Communist attacks. She was a beautiful woman who was known to turn on the charm if duty called for it, but there was an icy intelligence within her as well. In many ways, she was like the women who had used to fill the Tsar’s court: a friendly smile at a dance hall, and a knife in the back at the private halls. However, she was getting the job done, which is what the Russian government needed at this time. Wrangel watched her walk forward with a clipboard, her high heels click-clacking on the hard floor. When she at last paused her steps, he asked, “What’s the update?”

“We have been gathering intelligence regarding their planned attacks. According to our most recent reports, the Bolsheviks have a few attacks planned. Aside from a few side attacks against the Mensheviks, they’re also intending to strike at some politicians in the area of Moscow. Likewise...” She flipped a page over, and pursed her lips. “They appear to have targeted a peasant woman.”

Wrangel furrowed his brow in confusion. “A peasant woman?”

“Yes, a peasant woman who is living in the region of Yekaterinburg. In fact, for some reason unknown to us, she seems to have been placed at the top of their list.” Ludmila took out the paper and studied it. “It’s a big peculiar, really. We know little of her, but she’s been discussed in a series of coded messages. According to the Bolshevik communications, the ‘little sparrow has flown to Yekaterinburg’, and ‘she must be shot before she grows into an eagle’. We can make little sense of it.”

Wrangel thought on that a moment. It did seem like a strange, cryptic message. His eyes turned back to the map, resting on the Urals. Grows into an eagle… grows into an eagle? A “little sparrow” might make sense in reference to a young woman, but an eagle? Why would a sparrow become an eagle? Grows into… an… eagle… Wrangel gasped. An eagle. Yes, it all made sense… or so he thought. If he was right. He spun around, a finger flying up to point at Ludmila. “Reach our agents. Send them to find this woman out. Find her before the Bolsheviks do. I want all of this organized at once. In fact, I want this made top priority.”

Ludmila studied the Black Baron a moment, but said nothing. At last, she nodded, then turned and rushed out.

Levitov sniffed and rubbed his dripping nose. “What was that about?”

Wrangel grinned at Levitov. “I’m not certain… but it may be the answer to all our problems. But we shall see… we shall see…”

EWTSWLI.png
 
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TWR97

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Very peculiar indeed for these Communists to target a peasant woman of all people and putting her as top priority when they should be busy trying to undermine Wrangel's government. Even the Black Baron himself is curious at this. Maybe answers will be provided soon.

Seems Ukraine is the wild card among the pact. Though I'd think Finland looking to make ties with Sweden is a bit of a concern too.
 
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stnylan

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One cannot stay a little bird forever.
 

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Send them to find this woman out. Find her before the Bolsheviks do. I want all of this organized at once. In fact, I want this made top priority.”
The hunt is afoot! She will definitely be the answer ... but what is the question? ;) And will they like the answer?
 

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I do wonder how glad Wrangel would be to the revelation that Anastasia has survived. One senses he won't be the sort of man to give up power all that easily – though maybe residual ties to the monarchy will have their effect.
 

Henry v. Keiper

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Very peculiar indeed for these Communists to target a peasant woman of all people and putting her as top priority when they should be busy trying to undermine Wrangel's government. Even the Black Baron himself is curious at this. Maybe answers will be provided soon.

Soon... maybe in like several chapters or so...

Seems Ukraine is the wild card among the pact. Though I'd think Finland looking to make ties with Sweden is a bit of a concern too.

Finland has an interesting decision tree in the mod. I think Ukraine does too. From what I understand, they intend to customize even more trees as they update the mod.

Fly, little sparrow, fly, before the sparrowhawks will catch and eat you!

Now I'm reminded of my GOT Mod AARs, with the various nicknames... that may have been unintended.

One cannot stay a little bird forever.

Especially for baby emus.

If it is Anastasia, why would she have stayed a peasant woman for all this time? Hmmm.

And near the same place where the royal family was murdered, no less.

The hunt is afoot! She will definitely be the answer ... but what is the question? ;) And will they like the answer?

I'm sure that largely depends on the definition of "they". :D

I do wonder how glad Wrangel would be to the revelation that Anastasia has survived. One senses he won't be the sort of man to give up power all that easily – though maybe residual ties to the monarchy will have their effect.

That is a good question when one considers the situation in the Russian Civil War. Someone being anti-Bolshevik did not necessarily mean they were pro-tsar, and many forces among the Whites were not necessarily fighting the Communists in order to bring the tsar back in power. Of course there were plenty of pro-tsar forces (hence one of the reasons the Communists murdered the royal family), but necessity makes strange bedfellows. One might say the alliance between the various White factions was a classic case of "don't punch right."
 
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That is a good question when one considers the situation in the Russian Civil War. Someone being anti-Bolshevik did not necessarily mean they were pro-tsar, and many forces among the Whites were not necessarily fighting the Communists in order to bring the tsar back in power. Of course there were plenty of pro-tsar forces (hence one of the reasons the Communists murdered the royal family), but necessity makes strange bedfellows. One might say the alliance between the various White factions was a classic case of "don't punch right."
I do believe that Wrangel was fairly staunchly Constitutional Monarchist though- actually my headcanon for this mod is that he supports Anastasia because as a woman she wouldn't be supported by Ultraroyalists, and thus he'd sever the institutional ties of the monarchy with the far right to allow for constitutionalism.
 

Henry v. Keiper

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rBKVCB2.png

Chapter 3
Leonid


July, 1936

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He had learned a long time ago that sometimes being too coy was being too obvious. The rookies always tried to be like the hero in a film, with the sunglasses and glancing at their watch every twenty seconds. Him? He had learned that if you sat down at a restaurant and acted, from the very beginning, that you were there to observe and people watch, people were less suspicious when you did. So he had been when he followed two men into a restaurant in the upscale part of London, and asked the hostess for a window seat. The reason for this request was that the two men had been seated in the corner, near some of the larger windows. As he sat down, he tapped his foot in a steady rhythm and glanced about the room, a fake smile on his face. He saw the two men beside him, then looked at an elderly couple chatting away a few tables down, a lone businessman at another table reading the newspaper as he sipped his tea, and three young ladies giggling away as they spoke excitedly across their booth table.

“What can I get you, sir?” the waitress asked. She had an accent that sounded like something from the middle of England – it was one he’d grown to love. It was rather cute, in an endearing way. She wasn’t altogether bad looking herself. She gave a somewhat gummy smile that wasn’t unattractive, and her dark eyes glimmered in the dim light from the sun outside. Short, curly hair danced about the sides of her pale cheeks in waves, and a proud nose stuck out from her face.

He smiled back at her, then said in a London accent, “Oh, your famous fish ‘n chips. Maybe some milk? Then maybe I can get you something, love?” He grinned wide at her, peering up at her over the dark, bottlecap glasses on his face. The look in his eyes made her giggle a fit and wave her hand.

“Can’t drink on the job… not yet.” The red hue on her cheeks darkened. “But your fish ‘n chips will be right up.” As she left, Leonid turned his ears towards the men nearby. One was tall and thin, the other short and stocky, and both of them had bulbous noses. They weren’t speaking in hushed tones, but it didn’t matter – they were both speaking in Russian. They had paused in their conversation, but, upon hearing his English and his accent, immediately resumed speaking in Russian.

Tzrd33d.png

Not that that mattered – Leonid spoke Russian. He was from Russia. And he was an Okhrana agent, sent to England to investigate Bolshevik activity. These two men were Bolshevik agents: the tall one was visiting from Russia, while the stockier one was positioned there. It was the taller one Leonid was interested in, but he had to keep an ear out for any information to be handed to his fellow agents in the field. The Okhrana had tracked communications going from Russia to a London flat, and Leonid’s investigations had pinned it on this tall man. The communications had involved an update on a “little sparrow”.

“Is Comrade Stalin doing well?” the stocky one asked.

The tall one slurped his tea. “He does well. The traitor Trotsky has not discovered him yet.”

“But I heard that the Whites were moving troops towards the east?”

“From what we know, they’re being sent towards China, to keep an eye on the Japanese. They do not suspect where our positions are just yet.”

moZqUYw.png

“That is good. I want him alive to hear the news I have for him.” The stocky man broke some bread on his plate, and put into his mouth while he continued speaking. “The British are caving in to the pressures our allies have been mounting on them. They’ve begun to rethink their colonial policies.”

The tall one chuckled at that. “The empire will fall apart. All the better for us. A revolution here, a revolution there… and the truth will spread.”

ohq1uiZ.png

“We may not have to wait that long. With the way our agents are influencing the populace here, we could have this island in less than a decade. Already a quarter of the people love us. Have you heard about the new safety regulations?”

“The ones that have slowed their industry down?” The tall one laughed. “Too easy, I suppose. All our comrades in France are no doubt flocking here. Pick them up as we can.”

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The stocky one paused a moment. “What of the… the bird?”

Leonid’s ears perked up.

“Ah yes, you mean the little sparrow...” The tall one chuckled. “We may have found our bird. Comrade Stalin wants us to pluck the feathers a bit before we cook it. I believe you understand.”

The stocky one chuckled. “Oh yes, I understand.”

Leonid’s food was delivered and he ate it while glancing at the various people in the restaurant. The men continued to speak, though mostly about mundane stuff about what they thought of Britain, the British, and the like. Some discussion was had about the upcoming Olympics, to be held in Germany. As soon as Leonid finished his food, he paid for it and left. He waited a few blocks from the restaurant and patiently waited for the two men to leave. It was quite some time, and Leonid made certain he was nothing more than another figure standing in the crowd of thousands upon thousands traversing the streets. Once the men finally left, the tall one turned and left for the residential parts of the city. Leonid tailed him, keeping an eye on that Irish cap and plaid vest.

The man walked for some time through the busy streets before ending up at a drab, gray tenement block. Leonid saw him go through the front door, and followed in after a few seconds later. A winding staircase greeted him, going up in a square path along the tight walls. He could hear the shuffling steps of the man above, mixed with the sound of a baby crying in a nearby apartment. Trying to move as silently as possible on his toes, Leonid moved up the steps, getting closer and closer. At last, he heard the telltale sound of the jingling of keys, followed by the sound of a key entering a lock. He continued moving up, not slowly or steadying his pace. By the time he had caught up to the man, he had unlocked the door to his room and was turning the doorknob.

Suddenly, Leonid burst up the stairs. The man turned just as he was opening the door, and Leonid tackled him in. Both men flew through the doorway. Leonid pressed the man to the floor with his weight and, with one fell swoop of his leg, kicked the door shut. The man tried to lift up, but Leonid was upon him. One of the man’s arms was pinned under his body, while Leonid held the other at the wrist, like he were grasping a snake. With his free hand, Leonid took out a knife and held it to the man’s throat.

“Who is the bird?” hissed Leonid in Russian.

The man below him hesitated. He spoke in English, with a British accent, “What bird?”

Leonid now switched to English, using the London accent he had done at the restaurant. “The bird you were going to pluck the feathers from.”

Though his head was facing away from him, Leonid could sense the shock in the man’s mind as everything clicked together. “You!

The knife pressed its sharp edge against the man’s flesh. Any deeper, and the flesh would be slit. “Who is the bird?”

The man groaned at the feel of the sharp edge. “I wasn’t told the identity. I just know she’s outside Yekaterinburg.”

“Where outside the town?”

“I wasn’t told that either!”

“Shall I cut your tongue out for proving so worthless?”

The man gave a low growl that reminded Leonid of a bear, but he continued to speak. “It’s a woman. With a husband. And two children. That’s all I know. I was to be told her identity when I returned.”

“Then what?”

“Then I was to kill them.”

“‘Them?’”

“Yes, her and her family.”

Leonid narrowed his eyes. “Her entire family?”

“Her, her husband, and her children. Those are Stalin’s orders.”

Leonid shoved the man’s face to the ground. He got up and turned to walk away. As he did, the man forced himself up as well. “You won’t find them.”

“Why is that?” Leonid asked.

“Because they will get to her soon enough.” The man began to brush dust from the floor off the front of his clothes. In the front of his vest, he cool feel the stiffness of his pistol, hidden under the fabric. “If I don’t respond to them, they’ll just send someone else to do it.”

“That may be.”

Still facing away from Leonid, the man reached into his vest pocket. He pulled the pistol from underneath. “You Whites are done for. She will die. And so will you.” He spun around, raising his gun.

Only to see Leonid standing there, silenced pistol already aimed.

Three bullets. Two in the chest, one in the face. The tall man tumbled down. His pistol rested in his hand, unused.

Leonid slipped the pistol back in his jacket pocket, then turned and stormed out of the apartment. In the hallway, he could hear the crying of the baby from the nearby apartment, which he hoped would have drowned out the sound of the shots. Either way, he had bigger things to worry about – he had some urgent messages to deliver.
 
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DensleyBlair

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Ah, spycraft. Always makes for a good yarn. Leonid seems like quite the character, flirting with everything in sight. Will we see him again, I wonder?
 

TWR97

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Interesting way to see what has been happening outside of Russia, seems Britain is on the verge of a Socialist reformation. Stalin and Trotsky are at each other's throats eh? Seems the Reds aren't as united as I thought. Still though, seems they have big plans against the Whites and Wrangel's government.
 

Specialist290

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Well, now the Russians (and we alongside them) know a little more about our little sparrow's whereabouts -- tantalizingly little, but enough to perhaps begin a search in earnest. Again, hopefully they will get to her before the Reds do, especially given that Stalin has managed to survive the Revolution as well. I have no doubt we'll be seeing more of both of them in the future.

As for Leonid: Well, sounds like he's had an exciting career, if this is what a typical day looks like for him. He may want to skip town and lie low for a while...
 

stnylan

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Leonid seems like a reasonably competent chap. He certainly did for his quarry easy enough.

But it also sounds like the noose is tightening around our little birdie.