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Novgorod is a huge constitutional elected monarchy in Northeastern Europe. It borders Karelia, Finland, Estonia, Livonia, Tver and Vladimir. The capital is Novgorod and the population is around 3.1 million.
The current Head of State is Prince Mikhail II
The official language is Northern Russian.
The currency is the Novgorodian Ruble.
The city of Novgorod can be dated back to the 9th century when the New City was founded to the North of the old Vangarian fortress of Holmgard. As the 'second city' of the Rus' the Princes of Kiev tended to send their eldest sons to be regent in Novgorod.
Emerging from the disintegrating Kievian Rus' in the 11th century, the princes of Novgorod could claim to rule a vast area of Northwestern Europe and grow rich on the profits of the fur trade. Links with the Baltic and the Scandinavian states were strong to begin with and Novgorod was often a refuge of Scandinavian royals during various periods of chronic instability and civil war. The outskirts of their realm were slowly eroded away however by Scandinavian and German crusaders on the Baltic, and though the defeat of the Livonian crusaders at Lake Peipus in 1242 largely saved the Western cities from being overrun increased Svealandic pressure on Finland during the 14th century lowered incomes from its tributary territories. It own settlements on the White Sea were often attacked by Ladish seamen too. It was further hamstrung by its inability to feed itself, relying largely on grain from Vladimir and Tver. Various subject cities such as Pskov exercised nominal sovereignty but it did however avoid occupation by the Mongols who preferred not to be bogged down in the marshes to the south of the city. It still paid a nominal tribute to them however.
It finally shook off the rule of princes from Tver, Moscow or Vladimir after Olaf III of Viken reneged on the Treaty of Noteborg in 1342. With the southern princes occupied with their affairs with the Mongols the North soon had its own princes, though the Boyar dominated republic held the real power. Improving relations with Denmark secured the Estonian border, a trade agreement with Saaremaa ensured its cargoes would have safe passage on the Baltic and an alliance with Poland-Lithuania served to strengthen the princes and the republic and soon after, a series of victories over Tver ensured its independence. Although both Tver and Vladimir were technically allied to one another the recognition that the vast wealth of Novgorod would make either of them dominant over the other has in effect allowed it to remain independent and both spent much of the 16th and 17th centuries undermining each other's presence in the principality.
This struggle weakened Novgorod diplomatically and it faced Svealand repeatedly in the late 17th and early 18th centuries, gradually losing control over its Western provinces (restyled the Duchy of Ingria) to it by 1710. The attempt to regain these territories in 1761 taking advantage of Queen Louise's minority would start the Great Baltic War. While initially dominant Svealand soon gained upper hand but the Novgorodian army and government simply retreated denying Svealand victory. As Svealand began to get in over its head as its enemies and fronts multiplied Novgorod could once again overrun the Svealandic provinces to the East of the Baltic. However despite Danish and Anglian armies defeating and occupying Svealand proper Novgorod refused to give up its own gains. Kalmar was forced to declare war on it in. Diplomatic manoeuvrings finally made Novgorod back down and by the Treay of Lubeck (1779) Ingria was restored to Novgorod as an autonomous province though it failed to gain Vyborg as it had wished.
Several wars during the 19th century served to weaken the state and shake the monarchy. A resumption of war between it and Svealand in 1801 appeared to strengthen its position as, in the end, Svealand was obliged to give Finland independence but its attempt to capture Vyborg/Viipuri came to nothing. Equally, a series of wars with Finland over Karelia merely resulted in the collapse of its army and the loss of Ingria while Karelia was vastly expanded and given independence. Even though Finland's gains were revised Novgorod was deeply shaken. Three princes in a row attempted to deal with the governmental and economic problems in the 1850s, only to be met with assassination. With the two normal princely families exhausted, it fell to relatively obscure Yuriev family to save the state from disintegration. Dmitry III unilaterally declared the closed noble council to be unlawful, he used the army to impose direct rule then abruptly handed powers over to a newly created citizen diet in 1863. His successors would attempt to reclaim power for themselves but it was too late. During the rule of the diet the the vast territories to the east of Vologda began to be properly settled and exploited. Mining of various ores now accounts for a large percentage of Novgorod's trade and income.
Since the end of the Karelian Wars Kalmar attitudes to Novgorod have altered. In general the states would prefer to have a strong democratic Novgorod on its doorstep rather than the authoritarian Tver or Vladimir and has worked hard at increasing rail and trade links eastwards. However it was revealed in 2010 that the Finnish foreign ministry had drafted plans for dividing the state should it disintegrate due to the considerable internal divisions. To say this has worsened relations is an understatement.
Novgorod is governed by a bicameral diet. There is no set time limit for elections, largely because there has never been any need for it.
The diet, although unquestionably democratic, is severely weakened by various competing idiologies and it is rare that a government will serve even half a term before collapsing.
The head of state is chosen on the death of a monarch by free vote amongst the 'list' of boyars, almost like a papal conclave. The list is tightly controlled by the boyar families to ensure only the established, often ancient, noble families are involved in the process.
While the rest of Novgorod seems to be in constant political crisis the Grand Duchy of Ingria enjoys relative unity and stability. Autonomous since the Great Baltic War it maintains close links with the Kalmar states and holds most of Novgorod's industrial capacity. Ironically, its long history of stable growth and lack of interference from Novgorod has made it one of the most loyal provinces and its army has long provided the backbone of the prince's bodyguard.
The eldest child of the Prince of Novgorod is usually afforded the title of Grand Duke. While they have little administrative power over the province itself their department has various roles regarding cross-border trade and policing. The role is currently filled by Princess, or Grand Duchess, Alexandria.