• Crusader Kings III Available Now!

    The realm rejoices as Paradox Interactive announces the launch of Crusader Kings III, the latest entry in the publisher’s grand strategy role-playing game franchise. Advisors may now jockey for positions of influence and adversaries should save their schemes for another day, because on this day Crusader Kings III can be purchased on Steam, the Paradox Store, and other major online retailers.


    Real Strategy Requires Cunning

cthulhu

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The Yogi: Thanks, Yog. As always you're sharp as a knife. :)

volksmarschall: I had no idea that the T3E had lured anyone to these fora. I'm honored, sir! :) Thanks so much for you kind words!

Henri: It could be the same man. Trotsky was murdered in 1940 so he was never given a chance of taking notice of Zaytsev's exploits in Stalingrad.
 

Sir Humphrey

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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.

We need more of that sort of thing being built.. Sooviet modernism triumphs.
 

Cyrus_The_Great

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This AAR is really intriguing, keep up the great work, and I can't wait for another update.
You've successfully drawn me back to AARland.
 

Deus Eversor

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This AAR is really intriguing, keep up the great work, and I can't wait for another update.
You've successfully drawn me back to AARland.
i want thousands of such buildings! lets make history and glory not only by freeing other nations! build epic woders of the world!
(age of empires1 style!)
 

Palm

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We need more of that sort of thing being built.. Sooviet modernism triumphs.
I must say that I prefer Germania:



Look at the Brandenburger gate in the lower right corner, gives a good impression of the scale.
 

cthulhu

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Sir H: Indeed

Cyrus_The_Great: I'm glad to hear that. I hope you're still around.

Deus Eversor: Epic Wonders... *taking notes* Got it!

Palm: Germania is looking back. Now is the time for progress and modernism!
 
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cthulhu

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The last member of the delegation from the Central Committee of the Union of Educational Workers exited the conference room and respectfully closed the doors behind him. They had left in a considerably better mood than when they had arrived, as so often is the case when you have been given an opportunity to voice frustration to those in power with a sympathetic ear. Vladimir Ilyich Lenin, undisputed master of the Soviet Union, sighed and looked more haggard than when the meeting had started. His energy was very limited after the stroke, although he managed to project a certain vitality for a while, the price was evident afterward. In contrast, Trotsky was in his prime and drummed the fingers of his right hand on the table, lost in thoughts - the delegation had requested the Trotsky would take over the commissariat of education in addition to his other duties. No one else they argued could make the necessary progress needed to advance Soviet education. Trotsky, as the formidable work horse he was, was tempted, but the fact of the matter was, he had not time for it. After all, he was the Commissar for Army and Navy Affairs and had just finished up his one year as Commissar for Transportation. There was no way he could endure that workload again, especially if one considered the necessary turf fighting.

'I understand that it's not possible for you to take on this burden, Lev Davidovich, but what is your assessment of this situation?'

'I could go into details regarding the challenges of appropriate reform. However, let me be blunt, the greatest problem facing both the Union of Educational Workers and a new motivated Commissar of Education is from the administrative apparatus.'

Lenin nodded, 'Our party bureaucracy has grown into a monster. I readily admit that I was somewhat shocked when I returned to work. The state of things have deteriorated and my worst fears seem to be confirmed. This malady is just the reason why I think you should not get involved in further departmental work besides the military. These days, I have as you know a limited amount of energy to give to the work of direction. None of my three deputies are suitable for this situation.Tzyurupa's health is failing. Rykov is an excellent administrator, but his qualities are more suitable for the the Supreme Economic Council. Kamenev is as we know a clever politician, but is he an effective administrator? The fact of the matter is that we must have a house cleaning, and you my friend must become my deputy.'

Trotsky looked uncomfortable, 'I can't leave the war department just because of the "apparatus", they are making our work increasingly difficult and I must see through the modernization of our armed forces. It's paramount to the survival of the state.'

'We will make sure that someone with the right qualities replaces you. This is your chance to shake up the "apparatus", as you call it and by doing this you will help all members of the Council of People's Commissars to execute their duties.'

'I want to make clear, Vladimir Ilyich, that by the term "apparatus" I'm referring not only to the institutions of state, but party as well. As I see it, the root of this situation lie in the combination of the two bureaucracies and in the nepotism among the influential groupings that have gathered around the hierarchy of party secretaries.'

Lenin took in Trotsky's words attentively and then spoke in that deep voice that he only used when he was sure the people he was talking to understood him completely. He dispensed with convention and expressed openly on the subject matter at hand. ' I agree with your view of the problem and you propose then to open fire not only on the state bureaucracy, but the Organizational Bureau of the Central Committee as well?'

Trotsky could not stop himself from grinning and then broke out in a hearty laugh. 'I seem to be saying that, yes.' Both men knew that the Organizational Bureau was the base of Stalin's power.

'Oh, well,' Lenin went on, obviously pleased that they spoke openly and agreed on what needed to be done, 'if that’s the case, then I offer you a bloc against bureaucracy in general and against the Organizational Bureau in particular.'

Trotsky didn't hesitate to reply, 'With a good man, it is an honor to form a bloc.'

'Good. I ask that you think over the organizational end of the question until we can meet again and discuss the details. Meanwhile I'll draft a plan to create a commission attached to the Central Committee for fighting unnecessary bureaucracy. We will both be appointed members. This will be our platform which we will use to break up the opposing self serving factions and to create the necessary conditions in the party for it to become possible for you to be named as my deputy.'

They finished the meeting and although Trotsky felt very satisfied with the meeting, he looked back at Lenin after they had said goodbye in the corridors of the Kremlin, and was struck by how fragile and old the leader looked.
 
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Myth

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Intrigue in the bureaucracy! Any sort of shake up could end up having regional if not eventual global consequences if events start to run away from those trying to instigate and manage them. :eek:
 

Enewald

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What year be it now?
And how shall comrade Dzugashvili answer?
 

Incognitia

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Whoop.
Just found this, and it's excellent work. Good characterisation, starting in the deep background well before the game begins...

With Trotsky and Lenin working together against Stalin...will this break Stalin's power in time? Or will it, instead, lead to conflict that further saps Lenin's failing powers and leads to an earlier death for him? Tension rises...
 

cthulhu

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Myth: If you were a bit less dramatic and a tad bit dryer you sound close to Sir Humphrey in the TV series. :)

Enewald: still January 1923 and this meeting could actually have been something like this if one believes Trotsky’s account. As for the homicidal and paranoid rascal Dzugashvili, he’s scheming, despite being oblivious to the exchange in this meeting.

Incognitia: Why thank you, and very much welcome aboard this journey into alternative history. Yes tension is rising and Trotsky is the same man as in our timeline. Who or what might tip the balance against the malicious Georgian’s designs…
 

Myth

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Myth: If you were a bit less dramatic and a tad bit dryer you sound close to Sir Humphrey in the TV series. :)
Why thank you! :D
 

cthulhu

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Svetlana Nikolaevna Platova walked briskly through the streets of Oslo on her way back to the office of the Soviet Trade delegation to Norway. She had arrived only ten day ago and curiously took in the surroundings and people, smiling at everyone she met. The sky was clear blue and the sun shone brightly, but the air was cold, although it was not as bad as Moscow in late January, she reminded herself. The toothless old men at the smoke house in the harbour were friendly and patient with her. Seagulls were circling above the house in an endless display of aerial formations which were broken now and then when they dived for scraps. She constructed halting sentences in Norwegian which she pronounced quite horribly, with the help of a worn copy of the defunct Russian Imperial diplomatic corps’ Russian-Norwegian dictionary. The men answered with longer sentences, which she understood nothing of, and they laughed when they saw her confusion. It was friendly laughter and she always brought back the right fish for lunch. Today it sandwiches with delicious smoked herring. Of course, so far, her new assignment had proven to be quite unsophisticated compared to her previous one – she was now more of a secretary and errand girl. It didn’t matter though, she felt free here in this old Viking land, and it had quickly dawned on her after her arrival that that sense of freedom stood in stark contrast to her beloved Russia. The free-spoken and heady days following the October Revolution had given way to a darker foreboding atmosphere where fear was creeping in everywhere. She reached the dull four floor building where the delegation kept its offices on the ground floor.

The appearance of food summoned the entire staff, only five people all in all, in the small kitchen where they ate and conversed in an informal manner. Alexandra Kollontai was very serious about their work and demanded excellence while she had little interest in formality or protocol in her interaction with the others. Svetlana considered it a privilege to be given the opportunity to work for Kollontai and she was impressed by her ideas regarding sexuality, family, child rearing, women’s rights, and social welfare. They had already had a lengthy discussion on the third evening after her arrival. Kollontai had the rather rare ability to be a good listener as well being very verbal and full of ideas. The older woman seemed to get energy from listening to Svetlana explaining her own views and experiences. Despite this instant reconnection, Svetlana’s secret mission was gnawing on her conscience – soon she would have to write a report to the GPU*. A small comfort was that she had not learned any compromising information so far. After lunch they all returned to work and Svetlana sat down at one of the typewriters and started to work through Kollontai’s notes, sorting it into suitable categories and then typing up the information. Although she tried not to let her presence be lost by the concentration of work she was soon oblivious to her surroundings and her body.

As so often, life has a tendency to remind us when we are too much up in the clouds – suddenly someone tickled her sides and she flew up sending the carefully sorted notes over the sides of the small desk. ‘Sveta! This won’t do at all! Attention! Attention! Attention!’ She whirled around and at the sounds of the words and the sight of his face, fury suddenly overtook her and she closed her right fist and struck, aiming for his infuriating grin. He parried her blow calmly with ease, but his face was suddenly serious, ‘I know we didn’t part on the best of terms, but I wasn’t expecting violence.’

Her cheeks blushed, ‘What on earth are you doing here, ‘Boris Kirillovich?’

He grinned again, ‘Well considering the reception, Comrade Volosatov to you!’

She was still completely baffled by his presence. Last time they had seen each other was almost two years ago. She had been so in love with him and he had claimed to love her as well. She had been elevated to the high heavens by his words and she had enjoyed twelve days of happiness before he unexpectedly had admitted to having various affairs. She had been devastated and he had just left her, on the floor in her small apartment, crying. They had met in the most vulnerable period of her young life and under the worst circumstances – she thought she was among friends. Of course, those days, she knew she had been naïve thinking they were her friends; even her mentor had turned out to be more of a trickster than a guru. Deciding to get control of both the flood of intense memories and the situation she blurted out ‘Well, what the hell are you doing here?’

‘I have been in England on an assignment and I was requested to make my way home via Oslo.’

‘What assignment?’ Anger made her voice tremble.

‘I can’t discuss that with you, Sveta. I work for Iron Felix these days.’

‘Oh, so you get to play with the big boys now? Did you tell them how you cried like a baby when Akuan tested you?’

Volosatov’s smile vanished, ‘No need to be mean, Sveta, most us find our way to the path through pain.’

‘What path would that be, Boris? The path that Havel character lured you onto? Is that why you’re in state security now? What is it that you do for them? Killing people? I know you’re good at hurting people!’

Volosatov looked around and all work had stopped and the members of the delegation were staring at them. Alexandra Kollontai stood in the doorway to her office, watching. ‘Comrade Platova, I’m sorry I disturbed you and I’m sorry for a lot of other things. I have to speak to Comrade Kollontai now, but afterwards, we can go somewhere…more private, to speak.’

‘Forget it, I’m done with you.’

He leaned forward and whispered in her ear, ‘I must insist, Comrade, it’s a matter of state security and it’s regarding your boss.’

She paled noticeably. ‘Are you here to see me or not?!’ Kollontai’s words were uttered as a challenge. Volosatov turned to the head of the delegation and smiled apologetically, ‘Yes, of course, Comrade. I’m sorry.

Svetlana watched him walk over to Kollontai with an annoying swagger that she had never seen before. Tears began to well up in her eyes as sorrow rose within, she didn’t fight it and she followed what Akuan had once taught her, she stayed present and remembered herself. She put on her coat and walked out into the streets of Oslo. She had no wish to be seen like this by her new colleagues.
 
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Myth

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Uh oh. Trouble about Kollontai! Too free-thinking, perhaps? Svetlana could be corrupted as well! She's noticed how much freer Norway is than the Soviet Union. Whatever happens, it likely won't end particularly well.
 

Deus Eversor

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Uh oh. Trouble about Kollontai! Too free-thinking, perhaps? Svetlana could be corrupted as well! She's noticed how much freer Norway is than the Soviet Union. Whatever happens, it likely won't end particularly well.
then, why wont anyone explain to them, that all the freedom they feel now is because they work for soviet embassy and din't really feel any hard work in factory?
 

cthulhu

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Enewald: About as much as in Helsinki? :D

Myth: We'll see my friend.

Deus Eversor: So your point is that the increased freedom they feel in norway is because the work in a delegation. If they were in a Norwegian factory then they wouldn't feel as free? Question is would they feel even less free if the worked in a Soviet factory?
 
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cthulhu

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Not even the Commissariat for Army and Navy Affairs was properly heated in the winter of 1923. As with every other resource, fire wood and fuel was too scarce to make the ministries and other institutions fully hospitable. The sky over Moscow was overcast with black heavy clouds that night, and the wind, carrying more snow, howled around the corners of the buildings. Trotsky had not hurried home after work this evening; instead he had chosen to spend time with a rather new and fascinating acquaintance, General Mikhail Ivanov, commander of the 1st Moscow Proletariat Red Banner Rifle Division. Trotsky was not very fond of social gatherings and small talk, which he viewed as void of meaning, but Ivanov was clearly no ordinary person and had always interesting things to say. They sat close to a huge ornamented fireplace were sturdy logs were consumed by a roaring fire. Between the beautiful 18th century chairs they sat on was a small table from the same age, on it was an ancient chess board with pieces placed in a way that revealed that the game was well underway. Also on the table were a cognac decanter and two glasses, in which the light from the fire flickered in the crystal glass and the amber liquid within. Trotsky was in the middle of telling the story of how a spectacular river raid he had partaken in had turned the tide in the struggle for the city of Kazan. The Red flotilla had consisted of four torpedo–boats and three river steamers armed with guns and machine guns. Ivanov listened with concentration, but his face showed no emotion.

‘We had just come abreast with the headland when a machine gun fired a burst in front of us, whipping up the water. This was followed by a single rifle shot from another direction. The flotilla continued in silence for a minute and then more shots were fired. Bullets repeatedly struck the thin iron armor that protected the captain’s bridge. The bridge only covered us up to the waist, so we crouched and the boatswains followed suit, desperately navigating while exchanging tense whispers with the captain. Once past the headland, we entered the reach. On the opposite shore, the lights of Kazan were visible, but by now there was intensive fire behind us, from high as well as low ground. Still, a great prize lay not more than two hundred yards to our right – protected by hilly banks lay the enemy flotilla, the boats looming up as a vague mass. Commander Raskolnikov ordered his men to open fire. The metal in the torpedo-boat groaned as the main gun fired. The darkness was suddenly lit up by a column of fire that rapidly rose over the Volga’s black water – our shell had struck an oil barge. I remember that the light frightened me; we were now quite visible on the river. Raskolnikov were unfazed and as soon as he deemed the enemy boats destroyed or damaged sufficiently he ordered that the pier be the next target. There were several guns placed on it but they didn’t return our fire - their crews must have fled. By now the expanse of the river was lit up and we realized that we were alone! The enemy artillery must have cut off the passage for the rest of our flotilla. On top of this it was discovered that we had lost control of the boat. The steering-gear had been damaged by enemy fire so we tried turning the rudder by hand, but this only made it worse. It got completely jammed and we had to shut down the engines. Our torpedo-boat bathed in light and was an easy target. At any moment, we excepted cross fire from the headland and the pier. The boat was slowly drifting toward the bank on the same side as Kazan when it got caught in a half-submerged wreck of a barge. Whatever firing there had been died away, it was as light as day and as silent as night.’

Trotsky drank a little cognac and continued, ‘We were trapped. Or so we believed. We found it perplexing that we were not being fired upon by artillery. We had no idea about the panic and chaos our raid had created among the enemy. Finally the young commanders decided to push away from the wreck and steer the boat, albeit awkwardly, by the alternation of the right and left engines. It worked and with the fire still burning behind us, we made our way back to headland and into the darkness. There were no more shots. The battery placed on the hill didn’t fire and probably there was no one there. On the way back we discovered the charred remains of our improvised gunboats lying on the shore. We picked up the few survivors there was and returned home. It was but an hour before dawn. We all felt as if we had been born a second time.’

Ivanov smiled, ‘I know that feeling very well. It’s exquisite.’

‘I have never thought of it as exquisite. It does give you a new perspective on life. Anyway, the effect of our raid was spectacular. Upon the Whites on the Volga, the word “torpedo-boat” had the same effect the word “tank” had later on the young Red troops defending Petrograd. There were even rumors saying the Bolsheviks now had Germans fighting with them. The prosperous classes began to flee in hordes from Kazan.’ Trotsky scratched his neck, lost in thoughts, ‘Soon, the state of our forces in the area improved beyond recognition. Improvised units without cohesion were reinforced by worker-communists from Petrograd, Moscow, and other places - this transformed them into regular units. The morale and discipline of the regiments became first class. Within the units, the commissaries acquired the importance of revolutionary leaders, of direct representatives of the dictatorship. The tribunals demonstrated to every one that the revolution, when threatened by mortal danger, demands the highest sacrifice. Propaganda, organization, revolutionary ideals in practice and repression produced the necessary change in a few weeks. An indecisive, unreliable and disintegrating mass was transformed into a real army. Our artillery had forcefully established its superiority. Our flotilla controlled the river. Our airmen dominated the air. No longer did I doubt that we would take Kazan.’ Trotsky’s eyes were dreamy and he smiled at the memories.

Ivanov leaned forward, the flames in the fireplace reflecting in his eyes, 'remember Lev, whatever ideology you believe in, it’s just a human interpretation or wish of how the world works. Or should work. Marxism-Leninism is based on some ”truths”, there’s no doubt about that, but don’t make the mistake of confusing the map with the territory. If you want to keep socialism or communism viable and alive, you need to make sure that it evolves with your and the Bolshevik state’s understanding of the world. Otherwise you will fall into the trap of dogma. This is especially important in warfare. The officer corps should not spend their time worrying if their manuals and documents include enough Marxist platitudes, they should simply focusing on how to make war most effectively. An Analysis of the industrial and military strength of our neighbors are these days filled with gibberish about how they will implode in the long run due to class struggle and how it’s inevitable that war will be waged upon us because we’re the planets sole socialist state. This is pure poppycock.'

For a moment, Trotsky was angry and he was about to blurt out something to the effect that officers didn’t understand politics and the value of political indoctrination. He managed to stop himself and Ivanov smiled at him as if he understood the struggle within the commissar. ‘Mikhail, I appreciate your straightforwardness, even when I don’t agree with you. However, tonight I do agree with you. I’m convinced that political indoctrination and revolutionary leadership is essential for our armed forces. Having said that, no, our officers should not spend time worrying that their field manuals, reports, or what have you does not have the right political content. Your statement is of course very interesting outside the military world as well. How to keep communism alive, evolving and grounded in the real conditions of man without losing its essence.’

The two men continued their discussion for another hour, made a few chess moves and then said good night. Trotsky was lucky if he got three hours of sleep. Then he had to be back to the Commissariat.
 
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Incognitia

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Oooooh. Giving Trotsky a military contact he can respect enough to listen to, and who can ask him to tone down the revolutionary rhetoric when it gets in the way of military efficiency...

It seems almost too neat to be true, but I can see the results being beautiful/horrifying (depending on one's perspective).