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Cukursia (Russian: Цукурсия, Tsukursiya), officially known as the Independent State of Cukursia, is a sovereign state located in western Aphrodite Terra on planet Venus. The region came under Soviet colonization during the 1990s for the sole purpose of resettling those who opposed the USSR's control over the Baltic States and Western Ukraine. These demographics have helped to shape the predominantly Anti-Soviet nature of these settlements, later resulting in the independence of these settlements in 2008.
Since the establishment of Cukursia, several diplomatic issues have arisen in regards towards the nation's push of neo-fascist policies and symbols. The most noted controversy revolves around the naming choice of the nation, which many have claimed is in honor of Herberts Cukurs. Despite these hurdles, Cukursia has established generally friendly relations with several nations on both Earth and Venus, and continues to play a significant role within Soviet Venus.
Cukursia is located within Thetis Regio of Aphrodite Terra. Unique among Venusian states, the majority of Cukursia's territory is covered in deserts and steppes. Most of the population is located along the rivers in the center of the nation, where the climate is more suitable for agriculture.
The origins of the name Cukursia are commonly disputed. Many have speculated that the name is in honor Herberts Cukurs, a Latvian aviator and quasi-national hero. It is his participation in World War II which as caused controversy, with some declaring Cukurs a war criminal who took part in the Holocaust, while others state these accusations are unproven. There has been attempts in recent years (particularly in Cukursia) to rehabilitate the image of Cukurs as a national hero of Latvia.
An alternative theory claims that the name Cukursia actually stems from the Latvian, Lithuanian, and Ukrainian words for "sugar" — which is cukurs in Latvian and Lithuanian, and цукор (tsukor) in Ukrainian. This alternative has been backed by many due to a native sugarcane-like species which has become a cash crop for these early settlers and for the modern day nation.
Under the leadership of Mikhail Gorbachev, the Soviet Union enacted several programs aimed at fixing the Soviet government and allowing more freedoms for the Soviet people. Despite a growing economy and national pride following their victory in landing on Venus, many living in the westernmost regions of the USSR were still unhappy under Soviet rule. The areas in question included the three Baltic States (Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania) and the westernmost portions of Ukraine. These regions became the most vocal opponents to Soviet rule and began advocating for their independence.
In hopes of diffusing the situation from becoming violent, Moscow offered these groups land on Venus and easy access to resettle there, knowing quite well that they couldn't return to Earth in the foreseeable future. With a combination of bribery and coercion, many of these groups agreed to the deal, with most settlers willingly relocating to Venus throughout the early 1990s. Thetis Regio was selected to host these new settlements, due to their proximity to the main Soviet settlements across the Rusalka Mare. The region in question turned out to be mostly covered in deserts and steppes, though suitable land was found further west along several navigable rivers. The settlement of Leopolis was established mostly by Ukrainians, while New Courland was established by Latvians.
For over a decade, these settlements began to develop as new settlers began to come. Most of these settlers were vehemently anti-communist and Anti-Soviet, looking to establish a new life under their own ideals. Ideals such as Christian democracy, national conservatism, neo-fascism, and right-wing populism began to rise within the region. With the wave of independence movements taking place throughout the late 2000s, these settlers felt it was finally their time to leave the Soviet Union for good. on August 20, 2008, the region declared their independence as the Independent State of Cukursia, with little opposition from Moscow.
As of 2015, Cukursia has a population of about 137,054. The majority of Cukursians were born on Earth (the majority of them from the western Soviet Union). The largest ethnic groups include Belarusians, Cossacks, Croatians, Czechs, Estonians, Latvians, Lithuanians, Poles, Russians, and Ukrainians.
The Russian language has been declared the lingua franca of Cukursia, due in great part to the ethnic diversity of the region. The largest minority languages spoken include Belarusian, Latvian, Lithuanian, Polish, and Ukrainian. In recent years, many Cukursians have proposed ending the use of Russian as a lingua franca, and replacing it with either Polish or Ukrainian. Despite these proposals, nothing has been done.