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unmerged(87183)

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The AAR starts in the early 20's guys...

Nice update though, interesting delve into the mind of a more famous personality.
 
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cthulhu

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Myth: Yes, as stated in the first post this is the beginning of 1923 (actually still January). The time line is still basically aligned with our own.

Enewald: Not more than usual. :p

Maj. von Mauser: You’re correct. As Lenin’s health deteriorates, Zinoviev and Kamenev are positioning themselves to make sure that Trotsky won’t replace the Soviet Leader. Stalin is at this time, underestimated by practically everyone. That is his ambition and cunning is underestimated, his other mental faculties are not much above average as we know from our own timeline.
 

VILenin

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Interesting. Since Lenin seems on course to die historically I wonder if this Trotsky will be better prepared for the ensuing power struggle. I'm always in favor of seeing someone take down Stalin. If Trotsky can leverage his position and war record better, or split up the Bolshevik Triumvirate of Kamenev, Zinoviev and Stalin, he might avoid a permanent vacation to Latin America.

Is the Zaytsev mentioned any relation to the famous sniper of OTL?
 

cthulhu

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Zaytsev is mentioned in Trotsky's "my Life'. If he's related to Zaytsev the sniper is unknown, it certainly doesn't say so in "mylife', but then again he had no reason to do so at the time. :)
 

Myth

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Myth: Yes, as stated in the first post this is the beginning of 1923 (actually still January). The time line is still basically aligned with our own.
That's what I get for not checking the first post before posting! :p
 

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Zaytsev is mentioned in Trotsky's "my Life'. If he's related to Zaytsev the sniper is unknown, it certainly doesn't say so in "mylife', but then again he had no reason to do so at the time. :)
Ok, I figured it was unlikely but just had to check. While we're on the topic, however, it would be awesome if the famous sniper made an appearance. I have no idea how he'd fit into the story but, y'know, just saying.:D
 

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Lev Bronstein's eyes are wide shut - he sees the danger from the trio, but he has no idea how to deal with them, has he? If he had, he would make short work of them now, that he has Lenin's trust and friendship. If he can't outmaneouvre them now, how could he possibly do it later? He might be the father of the Red Army and the Red Napoleon, but when it comes to party intrigue, he's but a babe.

:D

Ok, I figured it was unlikely but just had to check. While we're on the topic, however, it would be awesome if the famous sniper made an appearance. I have no idea how he'd fit into the story but, y'know, just saying.:D
Could the famour sniper be the son or grandson of this old cripple? The background kind of fits...
 
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unmerged(87183)

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Ok, I figured it was unlikely but just had to check. While we're on the topic, however, it would be awesome if the famous sniper made an appearance. I have no idea how he'd fit into the story but, y'know, just saying.:D
Pfhht, he wasn't even the best sniper of Stalingrad.......

He probably isn't even born yet, hopefully Stalingrad dosen't figure in this AAR. Heck, it isn't even called Stalingrad yet.
 

The Yogi

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Pfhht, he wasn't even the best sniper of Stalingrad.......

He probably isn't even born yet, hopefully Stalingrad dosen't figure in this AAR. Heck, it isn't even called Stalingrad yet.
Oh, he's born allright and about eight years old.
 

cthulhu

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The metropolis of Shanghai, that bastard child of east and west, had grown radically since the 19th century, when the first Opium War forced China to open the port to international trade. The British were followed by the French, the Americans, and finally the Japanese at the end of the century. The British and Americans formed the International Settlement at Suzhou creek, while the obstinate French refused to join with their own concession area. International commerce and the allure of the superficial fusion of east and west drove the growth and by 1923, spectacular Chinese residences with the typical gabled roofs stood side by side with western towers, and the streets were crowded with inhabitants and visitors from near and far. Besides being Asia’s most important hub for the exchange of goods, the city’s grim underworld thrived on its own dark commerce – drugs, prostitution, smuggling, thievery, and murder, all of which drew in its share of the city’s more desperate immigrants. Especially vulnerable to this were the thousands of Russians who had fought or sympathized with the Whites in the Russian civil war. Thousands of them arrived from Vladivostok in 1922 and since the Soviet government had revoked the citizenships of political exiles a year before, they were stateless refugees. Thus the advantages conferred by extraterritoriality - immunity from local laws, did not apply to them. To make matters worse, most employment opportunity in the city required a decent grasp of at least English and French. Among these Russian who desperately tried to make a living in Shanghai, were agents of the Soviet regime infiltrating White Russian organizations and gathering intelligence.

Few Europeans except Russians visited the old opium house at the square of the Ancient Masters and most of those Russians were of the desperate kind whose everyday lives were so harsh that only opium could provide a powerful enough temporary escape. Still, the vast majority were Chinese and they could be found both in traditional clothing as well in western garb, lying on simple mats puffing on pipes or dreaming in drug induced stupor. The air under the high ceiling was thick with smoke and the weak light from the Chinese lanterns struggled to provide enough illumination for people to move around without trampling someone. One man stood out from the rest – tall and slender, he was lying on a mat, wearing a tail coat suit with his eyes closed and a content smirk on his handsome boyish face. One of the Chinese men had been eyeing the foreigner for some time and now rose from his resting place and slowly moved over to the westerner. The oriental squatted beside him and very slowly and carefully opened the tail coat jacket and reached for the wallet. If anyone took notice, they pretended not to see what was happening, no reason to get involved in another man’s problems. Suddenly the Russian’s left hand shot out and grabbed the would-be thief’s right wrist. The man instinctively tried to draw back his hand without any success. The Russian’s eyes opened and his eye focused on the oriental’s face, “If you ever touch me again, you will draw back a bloody stump. Got me?” The words were spoken in accented Shanghainese. The Russian tightened his grip for a second and then let go and his prey threw himself backward and then left the hall running.

The man known as Baron Andrei Sergeevich von Berg slowly rose from the matt, put on his shoes and then buttoned his jacket and strolled out of the opium den. A Captain of the former Russian Imperial Army and the defeated forces of Admiral Kolchak, he was now a prominent member of the city’s most influential grouping of Russians who had fought among the ranks of the Whites – The Saint George Society. Although just in its first year of existence, it had quickly grown due to its steady degeneration into what in all practicality was a crime syndicate, whose leaders met under a portrait of Tsar Nicholas II and pretended to believe in their imminent triumphant return to the Russian soil as liberators. Their leader was formally old General Konstantin Verechagin who was venerated in the Russian community, but due to his failing health, he was more and more dependent on his deputy Major Valentyn Nartov who ruthlessly expanded the organisation’s business while keeping it officially separate from the Saint George Society. Nartov knew a ruthless and competent man when he saw one and after several assignments of increasing importance he made von Berg one of his lieutenants. For all his skill as an aspiring overlord of crime, Nartov had an insatiable appetite for women and drug and alcohol binges. Von Berg was apparently completely uninterested in these activities – he lived with a young and beautiful Chinese woman and was true to her and he was never drunk. He could fool others, but Nartov saw through the charade, what little von Berg actually drank never seemed to affect him much. This disqualified him from ever becoming completely trusted by his superior.

The square of the Ancient Masters was empty under the black starry sky and von Berg whistled his favourite part of Tchaikovsky’s 1812 overture and started on the long walk to his apartment. The time spent doing Savasana 1 on the mat in the Opium House left him feeling rejuvenated and he walked briskly through the narrow alleys while focusing on staying present and taking in his surroundings. He passed beggars and prostitutes on his way, as well as the occasional robbers and thieves. The latter categories all ignored him, his face was familiar in these parts, as a man not to cross paths with. As a newly arrived to the city he had deliberately but as subtle as he could made sure he got into situations that provoked some of the most feared and violent men among the Russian community. His mastery of Wushu 2 had made it seem like child’s play to swiftly defeat the brutes – but he found no pleasure in it and fought with an infuriating indifferent expression on his face. These fights had been his ticket into the Saint George Society and its group of enforcers. Von Berg did not accept any unnecessary brutality or malice by the men in his crew and this soon earned him several important contacts among the best informed of the city’s common people

He reached his neighbourhood and allowed himself to get slightly lost in thoughts. As so many times before he was drawn back in time to his vulnerable days as a young hothead at the artistic and literary ‘court’ of Lili and Osip Brik in 1918. Osip Brik was the son of a wealthy Jewish jeweller and had studied to be a lawyer. He soon lost interest in his profession and instead chose to become an avant garde writer and literary critic. In 1918 he became a member of IZO Narkompros 3. A graduate of the Moscow Institute of Architecture, his wife Lili, was a beautiful and very alluring young woman who loved to socialize with artists, writers and poets. Von Berg had never known such suffering, jealousy, longing, passion and obsession since then. The lovemaking, no fucking he corrected himself, fucking was the appropriate word when Lili was involved, had not only swept away his virginity, it had also broken about every taboo he had had at the time. His impotent fury and jealousy knew no bounds when his affair was brutally ended as Lili turned her attention fully back to the poet Vladimir Mayakovsky 4. To make matters worse, he had later found out that Lili had been taking her pleasure with Mayakovsky long before their affair had started. He had continued coming to the parties and gatherings in the Briks' small apartment in a vain hope of trying to win back Lili. Life as it were, had more frustration in store for him, at the 1918/1919 New Year’s party he had met the woman he believed to be the love of his life.

Von Berg reached the building he lived in and returned his full attention to the present. He let himself in and then raced up the stairs to his five room apartment on the top floor. He moved through the dark rooms until he reached the bedroom at the other end of the apartment. He undressed and neatly hung his clothes in the closet before lying down beside Ningjing in their large bed. As so many times before, he listened to her breathing as he waited for sleep to come.



1 Savasana or "Corpse Pose" is a yoga asana (body position) often used to begin and conclude a yoga session. It is a relaxing posture intended to rejuvenate the yogi's body, mind and spirit.

2 The Mandarin Chinese word Wushu is a term for Chinese Martial Arts.

3 Visual Arts Section of the People's Committee for Education.

4 Soviet poet and playwright, among the foremost representatives of early-20th century Russian Futurism.
 
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Myth

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Whoo! :D

This von Berg sounds like a dangerous fellow. Hell, the Saint George Society in general sounds fairly dangerous. About par for the course though, given your depiction of Shanghai, which is absolutely fantastic. :D
 

truth is life

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I picked this up a while back but fell away. I'm always up for a good Soviet AAR, and this one looks great! Definitely following (and going back to read).
 

von Sachsen

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Excellent AAR so far, but does this mean that Oliver Hado is truley dead?
 

Sir Humphrey

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Russian Futurism.
Great stuff. Although Yakov Chernikhov's communist gothic is hard to beat.
 

cthulhu

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Myth: :) I'm glad you like my description of Shanghai and our young protagonist.

Enewald: There will be more. Much more. :) I should have a lot of time for this during the holidays so expect the story to pick up in speed then. I'll try to get out at least another updated before then.

truth is life: Welcome aboard, sir.

von Sachsen: ' That is not dead which can eternal lie, And with strange aeons even death may die' Sorry, I can't help myself.:D I don't want to declare 'The Third Empire' dead just yet, but the fact is that the story itself got bogged down by the gameplay and I lost inspiration. We'll see.

Sir H: Ah, I love architecture, especially Le Corbusier (seen his suggestion for the Palace of Soviets?) which I understand was a major inspiration for the constructivists? This Yakov Chernikhov fellow's work seems very interesting.
 

Sir Humphrey

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Le Corbusier
Ah yes. I don't recall seeing that exact example, although I have a passing recognition for his work.

I have a great architecture book from 1967-ish that is devoted pretty much to modernism (which was so in vogue when it was published). Suffice to say, concrete stocks will sky rocket.
 

The Yogi

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Very good atmosphere in your description of Shanghai and the opium den. Young von Berg (or the one known by that name ;)) seems like quite an interesting fellow. Of course, the story of his life during 1918 makes me wonder if he might not be one of those NKVD infiltrators mentioned early in the update. Loosing his first great love to Mayakovski, no less... :cool:

And now I'm going to scour the net for clues about who this Ningjing person might be!

A fine and intriguing update, Oh Great Old One!
 

volksmarschall

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As your magnificent AAR: "The Third Empire" was instrumental in bringing me to registering on these forums after months of reading your epic with France, I must follow this as it is probably going to be just as good as or better than a great AAR of yours that will stand the test of time, and I'm sure this will do the same!