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    Real Strategy Requires Cunning

unmerged(87183)

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Another Great Update!

I'm not usually into these types of "Story" AAR's, but this one certainly has my Interest.:cool:
 
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Palmyrene

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Most enjoyable. I look forward to Comrade Platova's meeting with Comrade Kollontai. I can almost feel Platova's anticipation of being out in the world again!

Talking of eastern mysticism, I think I'll have to get some Zen meditation done, so as to make the interval before the next update bearable! Patience is a virtue....or so I'm told :).
 

Lordban

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The more confusing part can be trying to find a more involved interest someone has in setting Platova after Kollontai. The amusing one is there needn't be any.

Your descriptions are remarkable in this chapter.
 

cthulhu

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Myth: The Stalin years 'overshadows' our view of what could be said and not be said. Platova's rather frank expression (considering her company!) of her views are a sign of the times before Lenin's death and subsequent power-struggle. Kollontai is as you accurately point out, must be a suspect because of her leading role in the recently suppressed Worker's Opposition.

Kurt_Steiner: The NKVD does not exist yet, but the GPU (Gosudarstvennoye Politicheskoye Upravlenie) keep the reservations at the "Siberian Grand Hotel" these early days. ;)

Deus: Nice to have you following this one! Yes there'll be more characters introduced shortly. I just hope there won't be to many to keep track of!

Sir Humphrey: Ah, so you've read the Von Sternberg bio. It has been on muy amazon wish list for some time. He seems to be a 'wonderful' murderous jackass.

Enewald: Yes, isn't it wonderful? There's still the possible to voice dissent without being arrested. At least if you're a party member. For now...

Maj. von Mauser: I'm glad you like it despite your preferences. There will be some posts showing what's happening in the game. But since it is 1923 in the story and the game start in '36, you have to be patient.

Palmyrene: Zen meditation sounds good. Go for it! :)

Lordban: Thanks. I'm by nature prone to writing as little as needed when describing a scene and I tried to improve on the when writing this installment. Seems I might have succeeded. Thanks!
 

The Yogi

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Finally, a new cthulhu AAR! <suscribed>

i'm sad to come in only after the second update, but like soon our lovely Svetlana, I was abroad and only barely in contact with the Internet.

While I loved the III Empire for its Cthulhu mythos elements, I'm mightily intrigued by this original setting of yours, cthulhu. And somehow, I suspect, we shall not go without a hefty dose of supernatural horror. ;)

And now the waiting for the next update begins! :(
 

Sir Humphrey

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Sir Humphrey: Ah, so you've read the Von Sternberg bio. It has been on muy amazon wish list for some time. He seems to be a 'wonderful' murderous jackass.
Its quite good, and doesn't skirt around the awful things that he did. It was quite interesting in that Palmer achieves successfully in fleshing him out, and what made him 'tick' and why, rather than a sort of card board cutout villian, particulary the role and his very interesting views of the 'East'.
 

cthulhu

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The Yogi: Great to have you aboard, sir. :) I won't comment on the settings of course, but I think you'll all like it.

Sir Humphrey: I think I'll like it. Looking forward to discuss this further with you once I start on it.
 
Last edited:

cthulhu

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Udovenko’s Beer Hall was one of the most dangerous places in Moscow to visit. Its clientele consisted of the hopeless of the proletariat, thieves, robbers, murderers, and of course the defenders of the Soviet state – soldiers, including a few officers. Besides a range of alcoholic beverages, such as stale beer and cheap vodka with a vicious aftertaste the establishment featured prostituted women of whom most were older and clad in filthy clothes. The clients often took their pleasure with them in the restrooms stalls, while a few who wanted more privacy, used the cheap hotel located a block to the north. The stink of the place was quite horrible and the few visitors who arrived sober had to brace themselves before continuing in when they had involuntary halted in the doorway. During imperial days, the place had been furnished with stained pictures of war heroes, now in these new times, the same frames, now hanging under soiled red banners, held stained pictures of prominent Bolsheviks.

A band of steady red army customers had as usual occupied the table placed in the middle of the hall. Most of the time, if anyone was sitting there when the soldiers arrived; they conceded inferiority in the beer hall’s pecking order and got out of their way. Sometimes there was a brawl, which they loved, and they always won. This they owed to no small extent, to the extreme fighting skills of Lieutenant Yevgeny Kartaphilov. Despite the Russian name, no one could mistaken him for that ethnicity – with his strongly accentuated Semitic features, the curly jet black hair and his short height and light frame, he looked the image of some ancient Arabian horseman, if one disregarded his Red Army uniform, which most of the time was in need of washing. That night, there were twelve of them and except for the new recruit, the young Nikita Sidorov, they new each other well. If anyone led the group, it was Kartaphilov, but he rarely exercised his leadership beyond steering them into whatever mischief caught his fancy that day. Now they sat smoking, drinking vodka and playing cards, while exchanging glib comments. Kartaphilov had just returned from the stalls where he had fornicated with one of the prostitutes. Something that could be quite provoking was the fact that he looked bored most of the time – even now, with flushed cheeks from the sex, quite intoxicated and winning the last two rounds, he looked bored. Sidorov, a short and muscular man with a broad mean face, had developed a pattern since being a boy, he pounced whoever stood out or was odd in a group to win safety for himself. Kartaphilov’s foreign looks and his maddening attitude enraged Sidorov and having already drunken way too much he chose to ignore the fact that he was about to challenge an officer. This was off duty he reasoned and all the more glory for him when he showed this little fucker who was boss.

While Sidorov continued to get worked up, they played another hand. Kartaphilov played masterfully and won once again. The others cursed and bet more money in vain hope to win the next time. ‘I say you’re fucking cheating. No one is that lucky.’ The others looked at him with shocked surprise evident on their faces which then turned into amused grins and they leaned back in their chairs as if to enjoy what they expected to be entertainment. Kartaphilov’s left hand played with some of the dirty ruble notes he had just won. His eyes locked on Sidorov, ‘Excuse me?’

Sidorov already felt uncomfortable, but he couldn’t back down now, ‘You’re a little cock suckin cheater, and I want my money back.’
Kartaphilov rose from his chair, ‘Really? Why then by all means, come and get it. Pry them from my life…less…hands.’ He grinned like a mad man. Sidorov lept at him, throwing himself over the table - bottles, glasses, ashtray and money flying all over the place. Kartaphilov moved to the right and laughingly watched Sidorov fall over the table down onto the floor. ‘Who’s the cock sucker now, eh?’ Kartaphilov didn’t look bored anymore.

The young man got in his feet fast and turned and lunged at Kartaphilov who parried with his left elbow and then locked his attackers right arm before smashing his right elbow in an upward arc into his opponent's nose. Sidorov howled in pain and Kartaphilov released his right arm and then followed up by striking him hard in the throat. The young man staggered backwards trying hard to breathe but only producing gurgling noises.

‘Have you had enough?’ Kartaphilov waited patiently until his opponent finally managed to draw in some air into his lungs and nod. ‘Well, that’s just too bad’, he moved in and managed to deliver one blow to Sidorov’s gut and one to his face before he collapsed onto the floor, unconscious. Not entirely satisfied, Kartaphilov kicked his opponent a couple times before turning to the others, beaming, ‘where were we?’

The other soldiers arranged the table and chairs again and a waitress hurriedly brought new glasses and bottles of Vodka. The crowd returned to its rowdy normalcy and the only person bothering to check on Sidorov was the closest pick pocket. Kartaphilov soon looked bored again.
 
Last edited:

stnylan

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Just another day in the seedy saloon
 

unmerged(87183)

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What a schmuck.

It'd be interesting to see what life is like for those still serving (on duty) in the Red Army.
 
Last edited:

The Yogi

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Yikes. Talk about barking up the wrong tree. I think I know who Kartaphilov is, and if I'm right, that's just about the last man on Earth you want to pick a fight with. Besides suicidal, it's utterly pointless. ;)
 
Last edited:

Myth

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Ahh, the first glimpses of the Soviet underworld. The place where those who failed crawl off to escape the organs of state security. Soldiers are always welcome in such establishments, no matter how much trouble they may make.
 

Enewald

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Life in Russia must have been very boring. :p
Why has no one yet re-educated those harlots? :eek:
 

unmerged(18239)

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This reads very well. I am looking forward to more. When will you start the game and at which point?
 

VILenin

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Three very interesting snapshots of different walks of life in the Soviet Union. But how will they all tie-in, I wonder. Like everyone else, I'm very eager to find out where you take this story. Great to see you writing again Dread One!:)
 

cthulhu

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Stnylan: Not quite…

Maj. von Mauser: This IS the Red Army on duty… :D

Deus: Yeah well, better luck next time? :)

The Yogi: You’re a sharp one old friend. In any event Kartaphilov is not to be underestimated.

Myth: Indeed. Even in the ‘worker’s paradise’ prostitution, alcoholism, and hopelessness are rampant.

Enewald: There’s a huge backlog at the State Political Directorate… :(

Lordban: True, but perhaps future struggles will bring some peace and prosperity?

Singleton Mosby: Ah, an honor having you reading this, sir! The game will start in 1936 and it will be quite different from the standard 1936 scenario.

VILenin: Comrade Lenin, it’s a pleasure to have you aboard on this rollercoaster! If you have any insights or information of this era (as your nick indicates) feel free to send a message to me.


Thanks for reading everyone! It's time for our next protagonist to enter the stage...
 
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cthulhu

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Lev Davidovich Trotsky, lay staring in the darkness, embracing his wife Natalia from behind. She was already fast asleep but his mind was too agitated to let him relax. As a matter of fact the darkness was not soothing at all, and the little light that escaped the heavy drapes that covered the windows seemed as powerful as the headlights of a car to him. Although, routine and monotone since a long time back, he had hoped that their lovemaking would at least make it easy for him to get some sleep. At some level he knew he should push her to try some new positions to spice things up and make it interesting again for them both. He never got around to it though, it was too easy to just get a quick release and then be able to fully concentrate on the great work of building the world’s first socialist state. His thoughts were interrupted by the quite audible sound of a flushing toilet. He sighed; Nadezhda Krupskaya had a habit of visiting the bathroom next door a couple of hours into the night, a down-to-earth reminder of how close they lived to the Lenins. Trotsky and his family lived in a small four room apartment in the Kavalersky building, sharing bath and dining room with the Chairman of the Council of People's Commissars and his wife. It had its advantages, the two men could work closely in an informal environment and their wives could keep each other company when the men were preoccupied, which they were most of the time. Unfortunately their work were meeting new and quite unexpected challenges in the wake of Vladimir Ilyich’s* deteriorating health – ‘the trio’ had emerged. He swore out loud before he managed to stop himself and his wife mumbled in her sleep, worried. The trio… Zinoviev… Stalin… Kamenev… he saw their faces clearly in the darkness, at first smiling, ingratiating, and then fearful, which in turn eventually changed into anger and hostility. But their eyes, no matter what emotions dominated their faces, the eyes were always filled with jealousy – they were nothing but envious children. But dangerous children nonetheless – the party, in its current shape, was young and it needed Vladimir Ilyich to guide it until a stable or at least adequate structure of the upper echelons was in place. There were too many of them, besides ‘the trio’, who were enamored with power for power’s sake, and if given the chance, would probably turn the party into an inefficient bureaucratic colossus where only the spineless and unimaginative could rise – because they were less of a threat. He wished he had been able to persuade Vladimir Ilyich on the importance of promoting intra-Party democracy and letting the appointment of local leaders be the responsibility of the local party organization. If this was implemented, it would act as a counterweight to the forces pushing for a bloated bureaucracy and tight centralisation.

Zinoviev and the others were mistaken if they thought they could defeat him. His name was too associated with Vladimir Ilyich’s and the victorious Red Army. Although popular, Zinoviev and Kamenev didn’t command as much respect and was not as widely known as he was! And Stalin? Who had heard his name outside the executive committee? A nobody - his envy and ambition would be his downfall! He calmed himself down again. It was important not to underestimate those who opposed him. The day Vladimir Ilyich was gone, a day that he hoped of all his heart to be far in the future, they would move against him and other likeminded people. In that hour, he reminded himself, he could not count on his name and its stature alone to give him the upper hand. He must take caution so that some future Soviet version of the Thermidorian reaction didn’t gain the weapons needed to topple him and destroy the ideals of the revolution. He didn’t think of himself as a man obsessed with power, but in the absence of Vladimir Ilyich, he was one of the few who had the vision, integrity, willpower, and intelligence to secure the success of the Soviet state in the ebb tide of the revolution.

He took a deep breath and steered his mind toward pleasant thoughts of wild duck hunting. He loved going for a trip in the autumn, the crisp cold air early in the morning, the metallic sounds of assembling his shotgun, eating a primitive breakfast watching the sun coloring the sky as it rose. Trotsky thought of his friend Ivan Vasllyevich Zaytzev in the village of Kaloshino, who had made a living of duck hunting through many a harsh year. Although having one lame leg, the old man piloted his simple canoe trough the wetlands outside Kaloshino with a precision and stability that few men with their bodies intact could match. He wished that he and Vladimir Ilyich had managed to go on a hunting trip together before his health problems – he would have loved Kaloshino and meeting Zaytzev who was a true Russian everyday hero. It was the people like Zaytzev they worked for – to make sure they weren’t exploited, that they were taken care of when they grew old, that their children learnt how to read and reason. Rage rose in him again. He hadn’t struggled against the Tsar’s goons, he hadn’t fought the White Russians and their imperialist pay master in the west, and he hadn’t struck down the dangerous competing socialist parties to have the dream of a bright future for the Soviet peoples being undone by the epigones of the Bolshevik party!

Lev Davidovich Trotsky did not fall asleep to the pleasant reminiscing of hunting trips that night, he entered the realms of Hypnos imagining his triumph over those in the party that plotted against him and Lenin. The sleep was light and frustrating dreams kept him moving restlessly. The majority of Moscow’s inhabitants slept as well, and the most sensitive of them perhaps could, in the depths of their unconscious, feel that the Rodina’s troubles were far from over. More sacrifices would be required, both in the ranks of the elite as well as amongst the ordinary citizens.


* Vladimir Ilyich Lenin
 
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Myth

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So, Trotsky's still alive at this point. The power struggles have yet to happen. Either this is still the early/mid 20s or there's a bit of alternate history going on. Either way, it's sure to be a dangerous time for all who pretend to be able to lead the world's foremost socialist state.