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The Russian Age of Chaos: The Georgian War New

HistoryDude

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The Georgian War took two months to actually see fighting in earnest. In some ways, this is unsurprising - the Russian soldiers needed time to actually reach Georgia itself. The Governor of Georgia knew this, so he closed the gates of his capital in Tbilisi.

Still, those two months weren’t completely free from conflict. Some people in Georgia - especially Russian colonists - opposed independence, as they benefited from Russian rule. The vast majority of Georgians were in favor of independence, so they had formed militias. Many Russian colonists retaliated by forming their own militias, but these preferred to avoid conflict with their Georgian counterparts. They saw the arrival of the main Russian military in Georgia as the moment of their inevitable victory, so they thought that all they had to do was delay.

The Georgian militias, for their part, wanted to begin facing the Russian soldiers in an advantageous position. They thus decided to take bold action. They attacked Tbilisi, the seat of Russian authority in Georgia, where the governor of the area lived. The Russian militias defended the city valiantly, but it was useless. The rebels took Tbilisi in November 1850.

Fortunately, that month also saw the Russian military in Georgia. They quickly made themselves known. They attacked a Georgian militia near the city of Kutaisi, where they achieved an easy victory. However, the Georgians wouldn’t be cowed. They responded by gathering their militias together in Tbilisi, hoping to protect their new capital city.

As December dawned, however, it became clear that a Russian victory might not be as easy as many believed. Sweden, Britain, and Prussia, extremely bitter about past defeats, banded together to demand that Russia grant Georgia independence. They slandered the Russian Empire by calling it “imperialistic” and “oppressive”. The British and Prussians appeared blind to the utter hypocrisy of this.

Of course, Russia wouldn’t be cowed. They insisted that Georgia was a Russian territory by right. What right did foreign powers have to criticize how Russia conducted its affairs? Tsar Nicholas sent this message to his fellow rulers, but the European powers refused to back down. They saw an opportunity, and they wouldn’t squander it.

They threatened to declare war on and invade Russia if Georgia wasn’t granted independence. Tsar Nicholas decided to bring the demand before the Duma and allow them to decide the matter. The Duma’s response was glorious - they reminded the other European powers of how the Great European War had ended. “We were fighting an internal war then, too,” they noted. “It didn’t stop us from utterly destroying your armies. Could you live with the humiliation if it were to happen again?”. After that, the other great powers backed down.

The distraction allowed the Georgians to decide the battlefield for a decisive battle, though, and they did. At the Battle of Kutaisi, a few thousand Georgians utterly annihilated a massive Russian army. In the end, they were forced to withdraw by the arrival of other Russian armies, but their point had been made - the Russians could be defeated.

All the militias that the Georgians had formed then regrouped at Tbilisi and made it clear that they would fight for their freedom there. They sent a letter to the Russian Duma declaring that, “we might never achieve freedom, but we’ll fight for it all the same. We will slaughter your men and set the seeds for the destruction of your proud empire if we must. Must we?”

The Russian Duma met as 1851 dawned. They discussed the words of the Georgians, and Tsar Nicholas supported granting autonomy - they would gain their own Tsar, who would answer to Nicholas and Nicholas alone. The Tsarists and Militarists agreed to these terms - the Tsarists because they obeyed the Tsar, and the Militarists because they were impressed with the military might of the Georgians. The Decentralization Faction opposed it, but they were overruled, which led to an increase in discontent among their ranks. Many would rebel within a year.
 
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HistoryDude

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Russian Age of Chaos lasts until . . . mid 1950s? Thank you, keep Georgia loyal to union, if they go Alabama may be next.
The Russian Age of Chaos will last many decades, at the very least.
First implies there will be a second, if not more.

I mean increasing the size of his army will certainly send a message to discontents. It just won't be the message Nicholas hopes.

I am, of course, rooting for Georgia in this.
Of course... just one civil war is boring.

Georgia actually does well for itself here, all things considered.
 
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The book's author going to crazy extremes to try and put a positive spin on the Georgian debacle. Not sure if he hasn't just made things look worse.
 
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The book's author going to crazy extremes to try and put a positive spin on the Georgian debacle. Not sure if he hasn't just made things look worse.

At least Geoffrey Monmouth knew when to keep his trap shut.
 
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The Russian Age of Chaos: Reform Denied and the Flu New

HistoryDude

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The Georgian War exacerbated already existing tensions in the Duma, as the Decentralization Faction saw the result as a tragedy that might doom Russia - or, and, to some, more importantly, their party. After all, if a lick of autonomy inspired a revolt once, what was to say it wouldn’t do so again?

Of course, nobody wanted more civil war and instability at that point. Foreign wars were obviously still on the table. Indeed, Tsar Nicholas had already begun planning with the Militarists about expansion in Central Asia, which would ultimately culminate in the Central Asian War a few decades later. They began sending settlers to the territory that was mostly uninhabited but bordered both Russia and Kokand. This settlement occurred throughout the years of 1851 and 1852, although events would conspire to prevent the Central Asian War from occurring for many years to come.

The fears of the Decentralization Faction were far from unfounded, though. Their faction quickly lost support as many Russian nationalists and governors who cared only for their own power left. The faction had soon become essentially irrelevant to Russian politics.

Many of the former members of the Decentralization Faction believed that it hadn’t gone far enough. They formed a couple new factions that wanted reform, but this new coalition’s power in the Duma was basically nonexistent. Many of these new reformers knew this, so they began to consider… less savory options to achieve their goals. The most radical formed a new group, the Petrashevski Circle, in January. The Circle was willing to do anything to promote reform. They sponsored assassinations of their political rivals and the creation of secret militias. For three months, they plotted a general revolt against the Tsar and the Duma alike. In March 1851, however, one of their members realized how far they had gone and had an attack of conscience. He turned in his conspirators, unwilling to see more war tear Russia apart.

That’s the official story, at least. The reality was likely very different. Considering how little time it took for the Second Russian Civil War to begin after this event, it is likely that the Petrashevski Circle was simply an organization of scapegoats. It’s possible that they were even framed for treason.

Regardless, this debacle was actually followed by a brief period of peace and preparation for a new war in Europe. A lot of this peace can be attributed to the Spanish Flu crippling the military of every major faction in Russia and many of Russia’s neighbors.

The Duma met to discuss the Flu, and they actually managed to unanimously agree on something. The Russian government opposed the spread of the Russian Flu* as much as they could, proving that they actually did care about their subjects. The reformers might have only agreed to this in order to save face, especially after the Petrashevski scandal. The militarists - and Tsar Nicholas I - agreed for far more pragmatic reasons. They knew how important it was that Russia have a functioning military. Sick people made for terrible soldiers, after all.

Russia also formed new alliances in case the other European powers - especially a vengeful Prussia or a vengeful Britain - decided to attack them. In April, they allied with Greece, which would open up another front against the Ottomans if a European War did break out again. This was followed by the creation of another alliance with Serbia in May, creating more pressure on the Ottomans and cementing Russia’s place as the leader of the Slavs.


*OTL Spanish Flu
 
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HistoryDude

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Tsar Nicholas proposes to the other great powers that they should have a press conference announcing independence for Scotland, Pomerania and Georgia. I am surprised that the Duma decided anything. Thank you
The Duma can still function at the moment, and Tsar Nicholas isn't quite that direct. He definitely wants his enemies to be weakened, though.
The book's author going to crazy extremes to try and put a positive spin on the Georgian debacle. Not sure if he hasn't just made things look worse.
The author's general policy is to try and justify the actions of the Russian monarchs and regimes that he likes... regardless of how farfetched his interpretation is.
At least Geoffrey Monmouth knew when to keep his trap shut.
Our author will faithfully report Russian history to his readers, but he's going to insert his biases in as much as possible.

I'm taking the comparison to Monmouth as a complement, though - it proves that my author has character!
 
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Midnite Duke

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The Circle, we do not care what you want, we know what is best for you. Russian flu is early, Duma does not it want to spread, but what did they do to stop the spread. Thank you for bringing a fair and a slightly biased vision of Russia.
 
The Russian Age of Chaos: The Beginning of the Second Civil War New

HistoryDude

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The Second Civil War was the beginning of a far greater period - it was the beginning of an age of anarchy, where large portions of Russia had no government, and large portions of it were under occupation - by enemies… or by allies. Many of the allies were likely well meaning, but it is doubtful that they all were, given what happened after.

The Second Civil War was simply a logical result of the First Civil War and of the thousand compromises that were necessary to end that before it split Russia apart during wartime. The First Civil War ended because most of the factions saw a group of common enemies - common enemies that appeared dealt with in 1852. The enemy of my enemy is my friend, yes, but only as long as there is a “my enemy”. Alliances based on hatred or even just on dislike are extraordinarily fragile. Governments based on hatred of a foreign enemy are even more fragile than alliances are.

The Coalition Government that emerged was doomed as soon as the Great European War ended, and the peace established there proved exactly how fragile that government was. It was dominated by factionalism and was little better than the late Holy Roman Empire… and everyone knows how that story ended.

Therefore, it is no surprise that August 1852 saw the end of the Coalition Government. Reformists that wished to continue the legacy of the Petrashevski Circle rose up, and they were quickly joined by other factions. The Betrayal of the Circle had only bought Russia eight months of peace.

Those other factions were myriad, and they opposed each other as much as they opposed the official government of Russia, which should have made them easy to defeat… except, of course, that there was no true government of Russia. The Tsar and his loyalists terminated their temporary alliance with the Conservative Coalition, and the Duma itself refused to support either of those factions, seizing Moscow and setting up an independent government of warlords. This action led to Tsar Nicholas dissolving the Duma, which they naturally ignored. Most of the representatives who supported the Conservative Coalition also left, refusing to be part of what they saw as an illegitimate coup… immediately before launching what amounted to their own coup by seizing control of Nizhny Novgorod in the north and establishing their government there. The Tsar ruled his loyal regions from Saint Petersburg.

The other factions, for their part, established a thousand governments, even amongst those who theoretically supported each other. A few initial alliances were established, but these wouldn’t prove resilient. The Alyeskan factions established their own alliances - the official government in Sitka supported the Conservatives, as they had during the First Civil War, but they didn’t control all of Alyeska anymore. Those in favor of independence, centered in the Aleutian Islands, allied with the Duma, while those who wished to be governed by Russia more directly allied with the Tsar. Factions in support of joining foreign nations did pop up, but they didn’t manage to capture any land during the Second Russian Civil War, so they wouldn’t become relevant until later.

The warlord governors, naturally, chose whichever side seemed the most aligned with their interests. For most, this was the Duma, at least initially. However, the governor of Old Rus (now including Kiev) aligned himself with the Tsar in hopes of gaining power in his new regime. The governor of the Steppes aligned himself with the Conservative Coalition, although his subordinates proved to be less than cooperative.

Of Russia’s allied Tsardoms, Bulgaria sided with the Conservative Coalition, and Georgia sided with the Duma. Georgia figured that the Duma was the least likely faction to attempt a war of reconquest on them. For their part, Bulgaria assumed that the Conservative Coalition was the faction most receptive to attacking the Ottomans and taking territory from them once more.
 
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HistoryDude

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The Circle, we do not care what you want, we know what is best for you. Russian flu is early, Duma does not it want to spread, but what did they do to stop the spread. Thank you for bringing a fair and a slightly biased vision of Russia.
The Circle actually did have lofty and more democratic ideas, assuming that they weren't framed. Their later followers certainly believed that they did.

To all: Go vote in the Q2 ACAs, which I believe ends on August 7, so we have less than a week for that.
 
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The Russian Age of Chaos: The Second Civil War - The Death of Order New

HistoryDude

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The anarchy in which Russia was embroiled was rife with opportunity - for men and ideas alike. Theoretically, all of Russia had chosen a side, but, in fact, there was a massive power vacuum where anyone could rise up and take power. The Duma was barely a government, and the Tsarist forces were willing to offer large tracts of land and large amounts of money in exchange for support. The Conservative Coalition wasn’t very flexible in this, though - and that would prove to be their destruction.

The beginning of the Second Civil War set a precedent - the war began with offers. The various factions began to court governors - and generals. They would offer deals - greater autonomy or more land for support… and promises of glory. The Second Russian Civil War was more than a war over lands and governments - it was also a war over minds - over the best minds.

Of those great minds, a few stood out. Other factions tried to entice the Tsar to their side with compromises, as they saw an opportunity to knock one of the factions out of the game. But Tsar Nicholas was done compromising. He had tried that, and it had brought both him and Russia only sorrow. A compromise coalition like the one that had ended the First Russian Civil War wasn’t going to emerge. The Conservative Coalition realized that… and refused to do anything about it… except a few of their rogue generals disagreed with their government’s decision. “Posterity will thank us,” they are alleged to have said before attacking Tsar Nicholas under a white flag in Saint Petersburg.

Their actions tore the Conservative Coalition apart. Some agreed with them and moved into the Tsar’s city. The vast majority disagreed, but they also disagreed on why the generals had sinned. Their reasoning ranged from simple pragmatism to higher ideals like honor and mercy. With their differences made clear, most of the individual members of the Conservative Coalition found that they couldn’t bear to work with people who were so grievously wrong in their philosophies. In September, the Conservative Coalition was unmade. The Tsars of Bulgaria refused to pay tribute or accept protection from any of the Russian factions, which meant that they effectively declared independence. The governor of Siberia decided that, if all of Russia couldn’t be conservative, then Siberia would and declared himself Tsar of an independent Siberia. His vassals were lackluster in their support, and even some of his supporters considered this a step too far. Still, no one outright opposed the self-proclaimed Tsar of Siberia… yet.

The collapse of the Conservative Coalition should have been an opportunity for the two factions that opposed them. Unfortunately, the maverick generals had succeeded in one of their goals - their operation had managed to kill Tsar Nicholas I. His son, Alexander, ascended the throne, but the transition was far from seamless. No one knew what this new Tsar would be like, and factions arose that supported all three of his brothers - Konstantin, Nicholas, and Michael.

To make matters even worse for stability, the tantalizing closeness of victory saw the Duma collapse before they could actually emerge victorious. Various warlords began to seek more power, and a few members of the Duma - and defectors from the Conservative Coalition - seized Smolensk and declared themselves the rightful Duma. They proposed a more centralized assembly to govern Russia - something a bit like England’s Parliament or America’s Congress, depending on how cooperative the Tsarist claimants were.

Order had collapsed throughout Russia. Alexander II, upon seeing the state of “his” domain, is said to have cried, “Oh, Lord! What has my line done to anger you so?”. Perhaps the good Lord disapproved of Nicholas’s warmongering. Perhaps there was no god at all. Whatever the case, Russia was now a land of a thousand lords. The Age of Chaos had well and truly begun. It would last for decades to come.
 
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Russian politics has gotten worse, but has the bottom been reached.

It got worse. And this tale will be more interesting with characters to torture, don't you think? Characters that the reader is actually inclined to sympathize with...
 
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Rogue generals kidnapping and murdering the Tsar under a white flag. Politics/beliefs are irrelevant; violating white flag is execution on Monday with a fair trial on Tuesday and if found not guilty a fruit basket can be sent to the widow. We have decades of this in the future? This is a sad, sad world. Thank you for a gloomy update for Monday morning.
 
The Russian Age of Chaos: The Second Civil War - the Road to Tsaritsyn New

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The age of anarchy had begun, and many of Russia’s enemies, especially Prussia, wanted to get even, but none dared to try. It seemed as if the powers of Europe still remembered the Duma’s response to them during the Georgian War. Fear kept them in line… and it kept Russia a land of anarchy.

Yegorov, the hero of the Great European War, is said to have declared, “every man in Russia is now a king. Why can we not unite? It seems that Russia needs a common enemy to be stable. Every man in Russia is now a king, and a common enemy is needed. Why has one not emerged? If one never emerges, how can Russia survive itself?”. This is a slight exaggeration… but it helps us understand how the Second Civil War was viewed, and it provides a hint as to why Yegorov did what he did next.

Yegorov committed treason, but his efforts would take a while to bear fruit. He saw a common enemy as necessary to Russia’s survival… and, in the end, he was right. Many nations had the incentive to launch an invasion of Russia, but none had the courage to actually do it… at least not alone. What Yegorov did was offer support that he had no intention of giving in order to force a resolution to the Second Civil War.

The self-proclaimed Nicholas III, who only truly ruled in Poland, heard Yegorov, and he took his philosophy to the next level. He thought that, if Russia needed a common enemy to stay united, then only an endless war could keep it stable. He then began to take steps to trigger that endless war. “History will damn me for my deeds,” Nicholas allegedly proclaimed. “But there will be a Russia in its annals. I’d do anything for that”.

Nicholas, Tsar of Poland, and Yegorov, general in Finland, were only two voices in a vast chorus of discordant notes. The centralized Duma in Smolensk saw themselves as the answer to the anarchy in Russia. After all, it worked in America. Of course, they were naive because Russia and America were two very different nations, but they were intelligent men in all other matters. The Smolensk Duma - and, far more importantly, their philosophy of representative democracy - would become one of the main factions of the Second Civil War, and their ideas would echo across the ages in Russia.

The decentralized Duma in Moscow, for its part, split in half, and one of its halves collapsed within a month. The half that survived ripped off the Holy Roman Empire after the Thirty Years’s War in almost every way. Three people would elect a “Tsar”, and all of Russia would be divided into “Circles” that would each manage internal affairs like taxes and common defense. Many people actually thought that this was a good idea, and it survived for almost the entirety of the Second Civil War.

The half that had collapsed included Moscow, though, and now the first city of Russia was divided between many different polities. These had stopped having any pretenses of loyalty to a unified Russian state. They were independent principalities, duchies, and republics. Yegorov correctly predicted their eventual fate - “their divisions will lead to their destruction”. These now independent polities didn’t have a common alliance to defend against other factions. It was extremely easy for the other factions to divide and conquer them.

The other three Tsars set up their own bases - Alexander II himself ruled from Minsk in the west. Konstantin established his base in the Caucasus Mountains and tried to bring Bulgaria back into the fold. He had a great passion for his religion and saw Russia as the Third Rome that was destined to reclaim Constantinople. The fourth claimant, Michael, didn’t manage to establish a base for his supporters anywhere and settled for becoming the heir of Alexander II.

As the other factions collapsed and clawed their way to glory, the Conservative Coalition waited and hoped that their enemies would destroy themselves. Still, this ended in October 1852, when a patrol from the Smolensk Duma aided a riot in Tsaritsyn… which was controlled by the Conservative Coalition. That one act destroyed the last hope for peace. Both Dumas, the Conservative Coalition, and all of the Tsarist claimants had scheduled a meeting to attempt one final compromise… for November. Tsaritsyn destroyed any chance of that meeting happening. There would be no compromises. An anonymous letter from a soldier serving in Tsaritsyn put it best: “this will be the end of Russia… or its renewed dawn”. The Twilight of Russia was over - either Russia would fall into a night (possibly an eternal one), or it would finally experience dawn.


A/N: Thanks for everyone who voted for this AAR in the Q2 ACAs!
 
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Rogue generals kidnapping and murdering the Tsar under a white flag. Politics/beliefs are irrelevant; violating white flag is execution on Monday with a fair trial on Tuesday and if found not guilty a fruit basket can be sent to the widow. We have decades of this in the future? This is a sad, sad world. Thank you for a gloomy update for Monday morning.

Things will get better eventually. The Russian Age of Chaos lasts for decades, not necessarily this state of total anarchy.

Yeah, they screwed up. The Conservative Coalition isn't completely dead, but they're certainly not in a good position.
 
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