Russia was a nation in Eastern Europe and Asia that rose to become the second greatest power in the world. After its formation following an era of Mongol rule, chaos broke out, resulting in the over three hundred year reign of the Romanov dynasty. The Romanovs and the Czar Nicolas II were overthrown in 1917 due to World War I and class tensions. Civil war soon broke out, with Leftist forces supporting the new found Russian Republic, which had a heavy socialist bent, against the Conservative monarchist " White Russians." The Entente Forces of Britain, France and the United States originally supported the White Russians, but later mediated a treaty creating a coalition between the two sides. The Russian Republic was highly corrupt and ineffective, and Russia remained in poverty for much of the 1920's, with Radical Bolshevik forces waging a low-level rebellion. When the Russian Republic's finances were destroyed with the start of the Great Depression in 1929, the government neared collapse. A charismatic monk and former adviser to the royals, Grigori Rasputin, and his ally Baron Von Ungern-Sternberg, then lead a march to Petrograd from his exile in Siberia, gathering much support and creating the New Russian Empire. The Black Hundreds became the ruling party. A strange twist of Fascism, anti-semitism, pan-slavism, and Orthodox theocracy came to dominate Russia, leading to the first successful totalitarian state.
Rasputin, calling himself the son of God, and Supreme Elder of the Slavic people, was technically not Emperor, this role falling to Czar Alexei II. However he was essentially the ruler of Russia, modernizing the nation, expanding its military for an invasion of Georgia from the U.S and the crushing of dissidents, and the extermination of Russia's Jews in the Holocaust. When the German People's Republic invaded in 1941, Russia was thrown into a terrible struggle against the Communist invaders, though Rasputin chased them out, and the Czar's Army occupied Eastern Europe, while the other major allied powers, primarily the U.S, occupied the West. World War III broke out after U.S president Douglas MacArthur expanded into the Middle East, threatening Russia. After Rasputin's death, uncertainty rocked the Russian hierarchy, and a ceasefire was negotiated. A disastrous invasion of Afghanistan also brought decline. The Americans continued bombing in 1959, and after the Armenian missile crisis in 1961, the Americans invaded the Russian Empire. Russia was hit by multiple nuclear missiles, Petrograd taken, and the Empire collapsed into various states, one of which, the Republic of the Volga, lead by Alexei II negotiated a ceasefire with the Americans, resulting in a heavily reduced democratic Russia recovering for the rest of the 20th century.
Revolution and Civil War
After three years of World War I, the Russian Empire was in a dire state. The Germans were making advances into the Russian heartland, food and supplies were scarce, and the people were starving. Added to previous societal issues within Russia, this meant revolution. In February 1917, massive riots and demonstrations lead to the abdication of Czar Nicolas II and the collapse of the Imperial government. A provisional government in Petrograd under Alexander Kerensky took over the nation, with the Socialist Revolutionary Party forming the majority of the government. On August 15, 1917, Kerensky, with the support of the Duma, declared the creation of the Russian Republic, abolishing the Russian nobility, and attempting to create a Socialist state. Kerensky also signed the Treaty of Brets-Litovisk with Germany promising massive concessions, ceding Poland, the Baltics and the Ukraine. As a result, General Kornilov attempted a coup to destroy the Republic and restore the Empire. Although the coup failed, Kornilov escaped, along with several conservative Russian generals to form the White Russian movement. The Russian Civil War had begun.
Kerensky had arranged a broad coalition of forces to back the Republic, ranging from the Moderate Constitutional Party to liberals and even the Bolsheviks, who, with their leader Lenin imprisoned in Germany, decided to support the Republic as Russia transformed into a socialist state before launching a Communist coup. Kerensky attempted to assemble an army out of workers, sailors, and left leaning Russian Army units. The Duma also supported the Republic. Kerensky emancipated the Jews, ensuring their unwavering support of the Republic. The White Russians, based in the East, had gathered several conservative army units, nobles, and certain Russian ministries. Meanwhile, several splinter republics broke off. Forces under General Denikin seized control of Kazan, but the Republic controlled most of European Russia. At first, the White Russian forces made advances, reaching the gates of Moscow by the middle of January 1918. But at this point, the Russian third army Unit defected, resulting in the Republic being able to push outward from its region of central control. The Allied forces of Britain, France, and the U.S, worried by the radical tendencies of the Republic, then gave support and supplies to the Whites, landing forces in Arkhangelsk and Vladisvostok, and allowing the White Russians to regroup in American held Armenia and Azerbaijan. As a result of this support, the White Russians reversed Republic advances and attempted to march into European Russia. It is at this point that the White Russians revealed their brutality, massacring thousands of civilians, and leading pogroms against Jews in the Ukraine. Bolshevik General Leon Trotsky, serving under the Republic, then mounted a defense pushing the White Russians across the Ural Mountains, and mounting an offense into Siberia. But disciplined forces under Alexander Kolchak stalled the offensive. Meanwhile, anarchist and separatist forces took control in several places. With so many factions and fronts, and with the impossibility of any force gaining a permanent advantage, Russia seemed doomed for permanent stalemate.
At this point, the Western powers began to rethink their support of the White Russians. While opposed to a Socialist Russia, the Entente had grown weary of war and sought to bring stability to Russia. In late 1918, Britain began mediating talks between delegates of the White Russians and the Russian Republic. By May of 1919, both Kerensky and General Denikin were ready to strike a deal. In the Treaty of Stockholm, Alexander Kerensky, Anton Denikin, and Alexander Kolchak, and many other factions agreed to lay down their arms, and share control of the Russian Republic. Although Czar Nicolas II and the royal family remained in exile in Denmark, the Russian nobility was maintained, and the Russian Army agreed to defend the Russian Republic. The Treaty was ratified in October of 1919, though fighting continued into 1920. As a result, Conservative and Moderate delegates were seated in the Duma, creating a weak coalition with Kerensky accepting a ministry post and liberal businessmen Alexander Konovalov as President. Petrograd remained the capital.
Despite the Treaty, many forces within Russia refused to recognize the Republic. Splinter Republics had to be forced back into Russia, revolts quelled. The Bolsheviks, feeling betrayed by Kerensky, went underground, and launched a small scale insurgency. Many of the Bolsheviks were captured and sent to labor camps in Siberia. Baron Von Ungern-Sternberg retreated with some White army units into Mongolia, which had been ceded by the Chinese in 1900, and continued to press for the restoration of the monarchy. And in the Ukraine and Belarus, a bloody campaign ensued as the Republic, with both Socialist and White support, crushed the anarchists from 1920-23. Despite these setbacks, Konovalov and the liberals sought to rebuild Russia. Taking massive loans from the U.S and Britain, Konovalov industrialized Russia, began construction of railroads and factories, sought to simulate Russian business, and even introduced radio. While pro-business initiatives appeared successful, the more progressive programs calling for improvement in the living standards of the Russian workers were defeated by Conservative delegates in the Duma. The general sense of goodwill that followed the Treaty of Stockholm faded away as the 1920's wore on. The coalition government, with corrupt elections and officials, had become ineffective. Much of Russia remained impoverished and backward, though the Progressives did succeed in transforming Russia into an industrial nation. Tensions increased between the Reformist and Conservative forces, which accelerated with the Great Depression in 1929.
Rasputin's Long March
It had become clear by the late 1920's that the coalition in the Russian Republic was not going to work. The Russian government had become highly corrupt and ineffective. Industrial interests had gained sway, and substandard conditions continued. While a few benefited from Russia's industrialization, economic inequality increased. It was perceived by many that the Jews had taken control of Russia The Bolsheviks, under Leon Trotsky, restarted their insurgency, bombing Republic buildings, leading demonstrations, attacking Nobles and Industrialists, and calling for a Revolution of the Proletariat. Many listened. Meanwhile, the monarchists had become increasingly uncooperative, blocking nearly all of the Reformist bills in the Duma. Russia soon fell increasingly into debt in order to pay for the reformist programs. When the Great Depression spread to Russia, the government lost millions, eventually forcing the government to declare bankruptcy. By this point, it was too late for the Republic.
During the Civil War, the Republic had tried and found guilty several members of the czarist government. After the war ended, these officials were sent to labor camps in Siberia. Among them was Grigori Rasputin. A peasant monk, Rasputin had worked his way into the council of the Royal Family, serving as a mystic and an advisor, and holding what some called unholy influence over the Czar. He had supposedly cured the heir to the throne, Alexei II, of hemophilia. Naturally, the Russian Republic viewed him as a threat, and since he was viewed with some contempt from the White forces, there was little opposition to his exile to Siberia. There was one more, apparently insignificant detail in this story- the lawyer who had Rasputin convicted, Mikhail Cherkasky, was Jewish.In the cold, dark labor camp in Magadan along the Sea of Okhotsk, Rasputin planned his revenge. Influenced by other political exiles in the camp, Rasputin laid forth his plans for Russia. Aiding Rasputin, and later writing down his memoir My Struggle, was a former Bolshevik, Josef Dugashvili. Dugashvili had been sent into exile for his revolutionary activities, but had now turned against not only the Russian Republic, but also the Bolsheviks, as he was disgusted by Trotsky. Both the Republic and the Bolsheviks were "infested by Jews," according to Dugashvili and Rasputin. In order for Russia to rise, they reasoned, they had to purge the nation of Jews. Dugashvili helped Rasputin refine his faith in the Slavic people, anti-semitism, anti-Communism, and Orthodox faith into an ideology - Fascism. Rasputin, though maintained his independence from Dugashvili, and developed a following in the large labor camp. Legend soon spread across Siberia of Rasputin's healing powers. Even the guards developed a certain respect for him, eventually giving him certain privileges over the other prisoners. The warden of the camp, who co-incidentally was also Jewish, was worried by Rasputin's growing influence, and eventually tried to have him transferred by boat to a larger camp in Vladivostok.
According to legend, when word reached the camp of the transfer, Rasputin decided he had had enough. On the cold morning of February 18, 1927, the tenth anniversary of the fall of the monarchy, Rasputin, Dugashvili, and several other exiles lead an attack on the Warden's base. Even the guards joined in. The Warden was found and beheaded. Rasputin's makeshift army soon seized control of all of Magadan, and massacred all of the Jews living there, or as Rasputin called them "Christ Killers and spawn of Satan." Rasputin's Long March had begun.News quickly spread of Rasputin's escape, and other revolts in various labor camps ensued. Rasputin's connections in other prison camps aided in the revolts. The revolting prisoners would join what became called the Holy Army. Rasputin's Holy Army then decided to head for Yakutsk, a nearly 1000 mile walk. Temperatures along the walk were among the coldest on Earth. Most of the original prisoners died on the way there. Rasputin and Dugashvili, however, remained in good health. As Rasputin journeyed through the Sakha Republic on a reindeer sled, his army seized control of various towns along the road. Most inhabitants in these towns were glad to swear allegiance to the holy man Rasputin, who some whispered was on a mission from God. Many citizens joined Rasputin's Holy Army. This replenishing was needed since Rasputin's forces had very high mortality rates due to the extreme weather. Word reached Yakutsk of the Holy Army, and a revolt broke out among the exiles in Yakutsk, and against the officials of the Russian Republic. Many Russian Army units, who disliked the Republic and its leftist sympathies, and had supported the Whites, defected. Additionally, the indigenous peoples, the Yakuts, were tired of Russian rule and saw an ally in Rasputin The large number of White Russians quickened the fall of the Sakha Republic. By the time the Holy Army reached Yakutsk on June 26, the city had already declared its loyalty to Rasputin. The entire Sakha Republic then fell under the control of the Holy Army.
The quick fall of Sakha masked the massive losses in the Holy Army. Nearly 80% of the original marchers from Magadan had perished. Rasputin remained in Yakutsk until April of 1928, gathering soldiers and supplies. The Russian Republic sent a significant expeditionary force headed by Anatoly Pepelyayev to crush the Holy Army. However, Pepelyayev was a White Russian, like most of the Holy Army. He resented his mission from the Russian Republic. Rasputin met with the general, and promised him control over Rasputin's bodyguard, the Order of the Raven. Rasputin also promised the restoration of Russia to greatness. The entire expedition, consisting of thousands of troops, then defected to the Holy Army. The Order of the Raven would eventually become Rasputin's personal shock troopers, prominent during the early years of his rule. This was a huge embarrassment to the Republic, and it contributed heavily to the downfall of Konovalov and the return of Kerensky to the presidency in December 1927.
Rasputin had spent most of the past year consolidating his control over Sakha. Most officials there and in the Northern Krasnoyarsk Oblast declared loyalty to Rasputin, viewing him as a liberator from the bureaucracy of the Russian Republic, and a White Russian Restorer. Rasputin also gained considerable popularity among the people of Siberia, who flocked to volunteer into his Holy Army. Only one section of Far Eastern Siberia remained outside his influence- a Republican enclave surrounding Vladivostok. Rasputin decided to seize control of this enclave. On April 7th, 1928, Rasputin and the Holy Army left Yakutsk, and headed south. The governor of Vladivostok, Ivan Strod, sent forth soldiers to meet Rasputin. The first two expeditions also defected, but the third managed to prevent Rasputin from seizing control of Khabarovsk, forcing him to make a temporary retreat. At this point, the Japanese Empire, sensing weakness, laid siege to Vladivostok in an attempt to take all of Siberia. Russian Army forces were sent along the Trans-Siberian Railway to free the city. Rasputin used the distraction to then take Khabarvosk. The Holy Army continued to Vladivostok. Although the Japanese had succeeded in taking control of the region, it was unclear for how long. The international community had condemned Japan's seizure, which had sparked a revolt in Manchuria, cutting off Japanese supply lines. Due to this, a recently unified China claimed it was ready to attack the Japanese if it continued expansion, and threatened to aid the revolt in Manchuria. The Japanese did not want to risk war with the Russian Republic or China, and needed to reinforce their troops in Manchuria. When the Holy Army defeated a Japanese scout group and neared Vladivostok, which was already under attack from the Russian Army, the Japanese decided to press for peace. The military governor of Vladivostok invited Rasputin for negotiations in September 1928. Rasputin allowed the Japanese to leave Russia unharmed, giving him control over Vladivostok, and all of Eastern Siberia.
Although other factors played in the Japanese withdrawal from Vladivostok, Rasputin's propagandists made it seem that Rasputin had single-handed chased the invaders out of Russia. All Republican forces in the region then joined the Holy Army. With control of Vladivostok, Rasputin now had access to the Trans-Siberian Railway, allowing the Holy Army to move men and supplies much quicker. Rasputin also discovered a new invention- radio. From a station in Vladivostok, Rasputin transmitted his messages across Russia, even into Petrograd, the capital. Rasputin declared he was on a mission from God to restore Russia, to rid the nation of Jews and other enemies of God, to unify the Slavic peoples, and prepare for the end times in which Russia would rule over the world as the Kingdom of God. To the impoverished peasants, Rasputin seemed to be a savior. Impoverished Siberians, including various indigenous groups, flocked to join the Holy Army. Under Rasputin's influence, many conservatives withdrew from the government, leading to even further inefficiency in the Russian Republic. Kerensky repeatedly ordered the Commander of Russian forces in Siberia, Alexander Kolchak, to crush Rasputin. Kolchak, being a White Russian, remained passive, and allowed Rasputin to advance through Siberia. He secretly sent deputies to meet with General Pepelyayev in order to negotiate a defection.
On Christmas Eve, 1928, Rasputin met with the warlord of Mongolia, Baron Von Ungern-Sternberg. Ungern had amassed a large White Russian Army in Mongolia, outnumbering the Holy Army. Ungern held very similar views to Rasputin, and wished to aid him in his takeover of Russia. Mongolia then joined the Holy Army, and Ungern became Rasputin's second in command, and Minister of War. Ungern then began to march on Irkutsk with a combined force of Mongolians and White Russians. Despite Rasputin's belief in the superiority of Slavs; many of his forces consisted of non-Orthodox Christian, Asian peoples. Rasputin thus selectively distributed propaganda among the Buddhists that he was a Buddha, and a powerful spirit among the Shamanists. Rasputin also declared that the Buryats and the Yakuts were also chosen by God to help the Slavs rule the world.
Moving with little opposition through Amur and the Transbaikal, and gaining control of key Buryat militias under the command of Grigory Semyonov, Rasputin faced heavy opposition in Chita. There was a significant Jewish population in the city, and the Jews there feared Rasputin's rule. Many other Chitans were loyal to the Republic, and joined the Jews. The Jewish population was reinforced by Republican forces from the Trans-Siberian Railway, who attempted to sabotage the section of the railway under the control of the Holy Army. Although the Republic slowed the Holy Army, it didn't stop Rasputin from winning the Battle of Chita in March of 1929. The Holy Army showed no mercy. The entire Jewish quarter was burned to the ground. The Holy Army then besieged Ulan Ude, where the Buryat population rebelled against the Republican garrison and joined the Holy Army, freeing Rasputin of another obstacle on the road to Irkutsk.The Holy Army then followed the Railway to Irkutsk, which was under siege from the Mongolians under General Sepailoff, Ungern's second in command. All of the armies of the republic in Siberia had gathered here to defeat Rasputin. Ungern shut off the railroads and had blockaded the city. In the Battle of Baikal, the Holy Army successfully defeated the last major Republic advance. As the Mongolians and the Holy Army converged on the city, inflicting massive damage on the Republican forces, the Marshal of the Russian Army, Alexander Kolchak arrived, and ordered the Republican forces to defect. Most did so, excepting a few leftist regiments. The Holy Army then turned on these regiments, and killed them all in the Irkutsk massacre, and seized the city by June 20th, 1929. Revolt soon broke out in Western Siberia, with White sympathizers seizing control of Omsk and declaring themselves part of the Holy Army. With Ungern's troops occupying Tuva and Altai, Rasputin had undisputed domination over Siberia. The last Republican garrison in Krasnoyarsk fell soon after.
The success of the Holy Army, combined with later losses in the Great Depression, sparked a revolt by the former White Russian forces in European Russia. A famine in the Winter of 1930 aided in the popularity of this revolt. Many starving peasants, who made little gains under the Russian Republic, and encouraged by the legend of Rasputin and his radio broadcasts, rose up against the Russian Republic, and conducted pogroms against Jews, who had played a major role in the government of the Russian Republic. Initially, the Russian Republic was able to crush the first major revolt in the summer of 1929. But when the stock market in America crashed in October, the Russians took huge losses, as they had taken heavy loans from the West. The Republic also lost revenue when Rasputin took Siberia, the tax authorities there had been killed or defected. Nervous investors withdrew from Russia, creating massive unemployment and poverty. The Russian Republic had previously been fairly strong in European Russia, but with the loss of Siberia and its inability to pay its debts, the majority of the Russian population turned against it. In March of 1930, when the Russian Republic declared bankruptcy, General Krasnov lead the Russian Army to begin another revolt after a failed military coup. Chaos ensued.
After the Holy Army had taken Irkutsk, significant logistical issues had been solved. With Kolchak's and Ungern's forces, the Holy Army now had enough men to attack European Russia. Since the infrastructure in the West was far more developed, the Holy Army now moved quicker and had lower mortality rates. Food, shipped by rebel peasants in both East and West, was no longer an issue. The Holy Army moved at an almost leisurely pace, taking Tomsk in October of 1929 and Yekaterinburg in February of 1930. Ungern's troops moved through the Kazakh and Turkic regions, pushing the Republic west. As the Holy Army gathered strength and crossed the Urals in 1930, Russia was in the brink of open revolt. Peasants attacked Russian bureaucrats and Jews, and Krasnov attacked Republican forces. In the Battle of Kazan in July of 1930, General Krasnov and Rasputin united to crush a Republican army, while during the same summer, White Russian forces took control of the Caucasus, defeating Kerensky's forces.
With the Holy Army over the Urals, Moscow and the capital, Petrograd, lay open. Kerensky decided to make a stand in Moscow. Most of the remaining Republican forces gathered to defend him. Even the Bolsheviks made occasional attacks against the Holy Army. Ungern, Krasnov, Kolchak, and Rasputin all united in a four month siege. Republican forces held the heart of Russia, the few Republicans remaining fought bitterly against the Holy Army. By Christmas of 1930, the combined White Russian forces had crushed the Republican garrison, seized most of European Russia, taken Moscow, and killed Alexander Kerensky.
The Republic held on to the Capital of Petrograd, and a few remaining outposts. Rasputin waited, calling for the return of the Romanov Family. The former Czarina Alexandra was delighted at the return of her "Dear Friend', and convinced her son Alexei to prepare to return to Russia. On the 4th anniversary of the beginning of the Long March, February 18th, 1931, Rasputin and the Holy Army walked into Petrograd, defeating the small Republican garrison. Alexei II, his mother, and several other royal family members arrived in Petrograd. On that day, Rasputin declared the New Russian Empire, crowning Alexei II Emperor of Russia, and himself Supreme Elder of the Slavic People. The Duma was dissolved, and replaced with a Council of Nobles who theoretically ran the country with the Czar. But in truth, Rasputin now ruled Russia.
New Russian Empire
Despite Rasputin having crossed over 6000 miles of Russia, and rallying the Russian masses around him, his control over the nation was not complete. Some leftists had refused to accept the new government. A leftist committee had gone underground and called for a Soviet Union to rule Russia. Naturally, Rasputin could not allow any rebellions to persist. But Rasputin also wished to re-unify the former Russian Empire. In 1921, the United States had conquered the Republic of Georgia in the Caucasus. Coincidentally, Rasputin's most trusted advisor, Dugashvili, was from Georgia. Under Dugashvili's influence, and under the conviction that all the Slavic Peoples should be united, Rasputin decided to invade Georgia, and also American held Armenia and Azerbaijan. Flush from recent victories, and confident that the U.S, thousands of miles away would be unable to aid its colony, Rasputin prepared for invasion.
On July 4th, 1931, 40,000 Russian troops entered Georgia, with General Avalov, another Georgian seeking to liberate his homeland, at the front. While the Russians caught the Americans by surprise, forcing them out of the country, the U.S planned a counter assault. Militias were raised out of the native Armenians, and Greek troops were summoned to aid the Americans. The initial victories of the Russians quickly fell into stalemate. Rasputin escalated the number of troops, but Russia was not ready for a full scale war. During the war, in September of 1931, a group of leftists lead by Leon Trotsky attempted to incite a revolt. As there remained considerable sentiment against Rasputin and the Orthodox Church, Rasputin feared the Leftists could destroy the Empire. The Czar's Army was sent to crush the revolutionaries. This distracted from the war in Georgia, where the Americans had rallied a surprising number of troops. Meanwhile, an American naval fleet had headed to Vladivostok, clashing with Russian ships in the huge Battle of Okhotsk. Wishing to maintain his power, Rasputin agreed to negotiate with U.S president Charles Dawes. A ceasefire was negotiated, and in the Treaty of Sofia, signed in 1932, the Americans ceded control of Georgia to Russia in exchange for war time reparations over the next two decades. Rasputin declared the Georgian war a victory, though he had barely averted a near fiasco. Rasputin decided to spend the next decade solidifying his rule over Russia before attempting even more expansion.
Rasputin's brutality had been evident from the day he inaugurated himself as Supreme Elder. He combined the Russian Police, the Interior Ministry and particularly loyal members of the Holy Army into a new agency, the Ministry of Orthodoxy, with Andrei Shkuro at its head. The Ministry of Orthodoxy would eventually overshadow the Order of the Raven in importance. The Secret police was used extensively against Leftists and Jews. Anyone suspected of leftist views was likely to end up dead or in a labor camp. The Empire called them agents of Satan. Some, including Leon Trotsky, fled to Germany before Rasputin could establish his government. Rasputin, calling himself an agent of God, also took over the Russian Orthodox Church, and turned it into his propaganda machine and an arm of the state. Monks were expected of holding the masses under Rasputin's will. While many monks willingly followed Rasputin, who they believed would purify Russia, many preached against him. The latter monks were quickly executed in Rasputin first purge, to eliminate those who questioned his religious authority in the clergy.
Rasputin also invented a plan to industrialize the Empire, based on the advice of Dugashvili and Russian industrialist Albert Spiridovich. Rasputin compared it to the story of Jesus feeding an entire crowd based on five loafs of bread and a few pieces of salmon, implying the Russian people would never go hungry again despite recent famines. Hence, it became known as the Five Loafs Plan. The plan tried to enact massive industrialization, building factories and infrastructure at a very fast rate. Production of steel and metals increased drastically. The Five Loafs Plan could not be enacted without massive suffering on the part of the Russian people. Forced labor was central to the plan. Jews and other religious minorities, particularly the Muslim Turkic groups, were the primary victims, being sent to labor camps. Many of them died in the massive overhaul. Meanwhile, pogroms against Jews continued throughout the 1930's, with Jews losing all of their rights, and facing large-scale intimidation. This would eventually culminate in the Holocaust. Many escaped to the German People's Republic, which offered refuge to Jews in the Russian Empire.
Many of the more Conservative supporters of Rasputin were shocked by some of his more radical changes. In order to secure his support among the peasantry, and have more productive agriculture, Rasputin had begun re-distributing much of the land, which the Republic had been unable to complete. The landowners and nobles were concerned at this change, leading some to openly agitate against Rasputin. The landowners were very powerful, and Rasputin would not tolerate their dissent. In 1933, Rasputin began his purge of the aristocracy. The Ministry of Orthodoxy raided and burned several mansions, and the most prominent dissenters were never seen again. The aristocrats were frightened into submission, and slowly merged with the new bureaucrats and officials under Rasputin. The Czar's Army was never fully purged, though many who were a threat in the officer core were killed. Alexander Kolchak, for example, was found guilty of consorting with the spawn of Satan and was executed in 1936. These purges meant no one could challenge Rasputin's personality cult.
The entire basis of the New Russian Empire was Rasputin's personality cult. Among the Russian peasantry, Rasputin was considered a prophet of God. Millions prayed to him daily. Rasputin soon had himself sainted by the Orthodox Church, despite still being alive. Every Sunday, Rasputin would recite a sermon over the radio to justify his regime, which millions listened to. Tight censorship was imposed, most foreign books were banned, and the state newspapers glorified Rasputin. Even the Bible was edited to make it appear that God had foretold the rise of Rasputin and the New Russian Empire. Russians, and to a lesser extent, other Slavs, were considered by Rasputin's sect to be the True Chosen people, not the Jews. The Bible was also edited to make it appear that Jews were agents of Satan. Rasputin also had a large harem, and instituted several mystic ceremonies into Russian Orthodoxy, glorifying the Empire and himself. Rarely appearing in public, Rasputin became something of a mythic figure, almost a god. This was exactly the image he wished to cultivate. No devout Russian would challenge an agent of God. Therefore, despite the presence of the Czar, who Rasputin claimed to be a father to, Rasputin came to be regarded as the undisputed ruler of Russia.
Culturally, foreign ideas and peoples were shunned, and a Russian culture was promoted. Russian Orthodox doctrine was heavily promoted- Rasputin wanted people to submit to God by submitting to the State. Saints such as John of Kronstadt and Tikhon of Zadonsk were widely venerated. Tikhon's doctrine of humility was corrupted into submission to the Empire. The Czarist adviser Pobedonstsev' anti-liberal views were also incorporated. In secular matters, the philosophy of Pochvennichestvo, or nativist agriculturalism served as a partial justification for the Empire's policies. It turned out Rasputin was a Dostoevskyphile, identifying with that author's exile and later religious conversions. Heavily edited versions of Dostoevsky, particularly the Brothers Karamazov, were promoted by the state, including radio and film dramas, which were meant to appeal to the poor. The characters of Zosima and Alyosha came to be identified with Rasputin and the pure, Russian peasant; while Ivan and Smerdyakov came were associated with Marxists and Jews. As Smerdyakov, in the new Brothers Karamazov, was a Jew who murdered his father, so too, in state propaganda, would the Jew try to murder Mother Russia. As a result, Brothers Karamazov came to be viewed as anti-semitic and state propaganda, leading to its banning in America along with other Russian works during World War III.
One of the few real challenges to the Empire was a revolt in the Turkic provinces. The majority of the inhabitants there were Muslim, and therefore immune to Rasputin's religious propaganda. In 1935, an uprising began in Uzbekistan. Millions rose up against the Empire and the forced labor they had endured. Of course, the Empire responded quickly. The Czar's Army was mobilized, and slashed and burned through the rebellious provinces. General Wrangel stormed Tashkent, which was razed by Russian troops. The Ministry of Orthodoxy then purged the area of rebels. Thus ended the last domestic challenge to Rasputin's regime, excepting leftists in the Ukraine, who remained underground.
Another core policy of the New Russian Empire was intolerance of Jews. Jews were heavily taxed, forced to live in certain areas, faced heavy restrictions, and were frequent victims of pogroms. Rasputin also used Jews for forced labor throughout the 1930's. As Jews became increasingly marginalized, Rasputin declared the Final Solution in 1940- the total extermination of all Jews living in Russia. Over seven million Jews perished in what later became known as the Holocaust. The labor camps were eventually converted into extermination camps, and with many extermination camps in isolated Siberia, the full extent of the Holocaust did not become known until after Rasputin's death. However, many Jews escaped west from Russia, later helping to establish the nation of Israel.
World War II
Originally, the German People's Republic and the New Russian Empire had very tense relations, at some points nearly going to war. But both Germany and Russia had one interest in common- they wanted to expand their borders without the interference of the Western Powers. So despite the two government being utter ideological opposites, the two governments decided to negotiate for control of Eastern Europe. In the Dugashvili-Meyer Pact, the two nations promised non-aggression, and secretly divided Eastern Europe - Germany would receive Western Poland, Russia would receive Eastern Poland and the Baltic Republics. They also temporarily promoted trade between the two nations.
When the German People's Republic invaded Poland on September 1, 1939, Britain and France declared war. Soon after, the Czar's Army, under General Kutepov, took over Eastern Poland, which had a large Jewish population. This Jewish population was quickly targeted for extermination. Rasputin claimed he was liberating Poland from Satanic rule, and uniting all the Slavic peoples. In 1940, Russia invaded Estonia, Lithuania and Latvia, all of which quickly fell, though an invasion of Finland stalled. In Lithuania, a rebel group known as the Forest Brothers continued resistance. Rasputin prepared for the time when the Empire would expand even further east, bringing all the Slavs under the same banner. Despite the German expansion across Europe, Rasputin remained confident.
But in 1940, as Rasputin's hold over Eastern Europe tightened, revolt broke out. In response to the plight of the Forest Brothers, and with encouragement from Germany, Anarchist and Marxist militias in the Ukraine launched a guerrilla war, and began building support among the Ukrainian population. With the Forest Brothers revolting, and Ukrainian anarchist militias joining them, the Germans had an excuse and the support necessary to declare war on Russia. As the Ukraine broke out in open revolution, Germany invaded the New Russian Empire in late June of 1941. Ironically, the offensive was lead by Leon Trotsky, who sought to liberate his homeland. The next few months would be disastrous for Rasputin and his Empire.
With massive Communist armies incoming, and large uprisings, the ill-prepared Czar's Army was forced back to the gates of Petrograd by late October. Rasputin was forced to relocate to Moscow, as Petrograd was no longer safe. With Communist troops on the verge of destroying the Russian Empire, Rasputin called for drastic action. In a radio broadcast on November 8th, Rasputin declared that he was the son of God, and that he would lead a Holy war against the invading Jewish Satanic menace. All who cooperated with the Germans, declared Rasputin, were enemies of God. With the long, cold winter settling in, the Czar's Army was able to stall the overextended German offensive.
The Communists were trapped outside Petrograd, and began a long and bloody siege of the city with the support of the Forest Brothers. But with Rasputin declaring a Holy war and creating enormous amounts of propaganda, the Russians were ready to stop the Communists.
Rasputin relocated industrial production to the West of the Urals, and approached the Western Allies for assistance. The Americans in Armenia reluctantly gave military and logistical support to the Russian Army holding Tsaritsyn against a Communist siege. An American-Azerbaijani army arrived to support the Russians, to prevent the Communists from reaching Armenia. Due to Tsaritsyns' strategic location, the Communists, who included Germans, Italians, Hungarians and Ukrainians, sent over a million men to aid in the siege. The Russians fought the Communists with religious fervor. The battle degenerated into close quarters urban warfare. Baron Ungern, the Minister of War, sent forth suicide bombers against the Communists. The Communists were overextended, and faced low supplies and morale. As a result, the Communists were forced to retreat. Following the Communist retreat, Russian tanks headed by General Alexei Brusilov II engaged the Germans in the Battle of Kursk, another Russian victory.
With enormous sacrifice, the Russians were able to push the Communists out of Russia proper, and the Siege of Petrograd was eventually broken by General Krasnov. The intensity of the Communist occupation had alienated many Russians who had initially welcomed the Communists as liberators. However, the Communists were still supported by the Ukrainian Liberation Army and the Forest Brothers. These Slavic forces were fanatically anti-Rasputin and left-wing. The Russians feared that with the Ukrainian Liberation Army still active in Russian territory, the Communists might be able to regain a foothold. Indeed, Ukrainians behind Russian lines were able to sabotage the Russians significantly. Rasputin thus unleashed an enormous wave of racist and antisemitic propaganda among the Ukrainians. He claimed that Jewish Communists were plotting to destroy all of the Slavs, including the Ukrainians. Although the majority of the Ukrainian Liberation Army ignored this propaganda, it struck a nerve among the more Nationalist and less Marxist militias. The Germans had made it clear that the Revolution would eliminate national boundaries and governments. The Germans declined to establish a Ukrainian state, reasoning that Ukraine as a national entity would cease to exist once World War II concluded with the victory of the Revolution. The German occupation also alienated the non-ULA Ukrainians. Thus General Semyon Timoshenko of the Ukrainian Liberation Army was persuaded to launch a revolt against the Communists, with the understanding that Ukrainians, as Slavs, would be equal to the Russians. Timoshenko's revolt dismantled the previously impenetrable Communist defenses around the Ukraine, allowing the Czar's Army to enter Ukraine and Belarus. Following the defeat of the Communists there, the Forest Brothers were massacred.
Additionally, the Russians renewed their offensive against the Finns. The British, who were attempting to liberate Norway from Communist occupation, supported the Russian offensive and sent the Russians naval support. Despite strong Finnish resistance, the Russians were persistent, and eventually bombed the Finns into surrendering in 1946.
The Germans had suffered heavy casualties in Tsaritsyn and Kursk, and had become heavily reliant on Ukrainian and Balkan troops. When Timoshenko defected, the Russians were able to destroy the Ukrainian Liberation Army, giving the Germans a severe deficit in manpower. The Russians pushed through Poland and Romania. The Romanians rallied around Corneliu Codreanu and overthrew the Communist occupation with Russian support. Some Poles supported the Communists, but the antisemitic propaganda of Rasputin reduced Polish collaboration with the Germans. This antisemitic propaganda was so effective because German Chancellor Leo Jogiches (Imperial States of America) and his lover Rosa Luxemburg were both Jewish, in addition to Trotsky. This antisemitic propaganda eventually prompted the Konigsberg revolt, which took a heavy toll on Communist forces. As a result, the Czar's Army headed by Generals Brusilov and Krasnov was able to push the Communists out of Poland.
Meanwhile the Western Allies had landed in France and liberated much of Western Europe. This distraction allowed Russia to invade Germany itself. As the Czar's Army neared Berlin, Leo Jogiches lead a desperate charge against the Russian lines, resulting in his death. Following an intense, last-ditch defense by the Communists, the Russians entered Berlin. Baron Ungern triumphantly ordered the Reichstag demolished and replaced with a massive church dedicated to Rasputin. The new German Chancellor, Walter Ulbright, surrendered to the Allies on November 11th 1945, ending the European Theater of World War II.
Following World War II, the Russians overran Hungary, Finland, North Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia and Serbia- virtually all of the Slavic lands. Rasputin's dream of Pan-Slavism was finally realized. The Baltic nations and Poland were immediately annexed by the Russian Empire following the Communist defeat. Hungary, Yugoslavia and Czechoslovakia were annexed in 1947. Russian-occupied East Germany was annexed and became known as the Prussian Oblast. A client state was established in North Bulgaria. The Fascist Iron Curtain had descended upon Eastern Europe.
Andrei Shkuro and the Ministry of Orthodoxy immediately began purging the new lands of undesirables. All Jews who had not fled the Czar's Army were sent to extermination camps in Siberia. The Ministry of Orthodoxy also persecuted former Communists and their collaborators. The harsh anti-Communist line of the Russians gained Rasputin many supporters in the newly annexed lands. This purge was obviously most intense in occupied Germany, with thousands either executed or sent into labor camps. Communist concentration camps created in Eastern Europe for political undesirables were ironically used by the Russians to intern Communists and other opponents to Russian rule.
The Serbs, being Orthodox Slavs, were most easily converted to Rasputin's brand of Russian Orthodoxy and political Fascism, which now stated that Rasputin was the Messiah. When the Russians entered Yugoslavia, the Serbs had eagerly overthrown and executed Tito, the collaborator appointed head of Yugoslavia by the Communists. Now the Serbs were able to persuade the Russians to aid in their ethnic grievances. The Russians and Serbs persecuted the Muslim Bosniaks and Kosovars and eventually placed them in concentration camps. This horrified the Albanians, who were now under American occupation. The Albanians began supporting a Kosovar insurgency against the Russians. However, the heavy Serb presence initially prevented this insurgency from becoming successful.
The more difficult obstacle to Russian rule was the fact that many of their new Slav subjects were Roman Catholic, and thus rejected Rasputin's claim to divinity. Following the execution of the Communists and Jews, Shkuro cracked down on the Catholic Church in Poland, Hungary, Czechoslovakia, and Croatia. While Roman Catholicism remained legal, the Russian Orthodox Church was forcibly imposed on Catholic areas. Priests who refused to accept Rasputin's divinity were executed. The Russian Empire ordained new Catholic Priests who were not recognized by the church in Rome. Thousands of Catholics were killed by the Russians for their beliefs. The Pope condemned Russia's actions, and helped the Americans create a Catholic insurgency in Eastern Europe. Shkuro thus decided to relax his anti-Catholic campaign.
Romania, not being a Slavic country, remained independent of Russia. However, being an Orthodox country, they aligned with Russia politically and spiritually. Romanian Dictator Corneliu Codreanu accepted Rasputin as his spiritual mentor, but condemned the Russian occupation of Bessarabia.
Following the German invasion, the New Russian Empire sought to rebuild its economy and the infrastructure that had been destroyed. The Russians were heavily reliant on forced labor from Eastern European conscripts for this purpose. Rasputin, paranoid of a future war and suffering from dementia, continued to increase Russian military power and oppress his subjects even further.
The struggle for Global domination
The defeat of the Communist International, the Pan-American Alliance and the Japanese Empire left two superpowers standing at the end of World War II- the New Russian Empire and the United States of America. Although the Americans had aided the Russians against the Communists, they remembered the Russian invasion of Georgia and Armenia. Additionally, they found Rasputin's cult repugnant, and Russian military strength a threat to American hegemony. Foreign Secretary Dugashvili sought Allies against the Americans. He supported the rise of the Blue Shirts in China, who had established a Fascist state. Dugashvili knew that while spreading Russian Orthodoxy to every nation was impossible; Fascist client states could be established as a bulwark against American imperialism. Dugashvili thus began funding revolutionaries in Iran in preparation for an eventual Russian takeover.
But Rasputin was most concerned with Palestine. Jews fleeing the Russians had escaped to Palestine, where they had joined an already strong Jewish community. Following British withdrawal, the Americans, partially to annoy the Russians, had helped the Jews establish the nation of Israel and defeat the Arabs. Rasputin saw this as a direct affront to his person, and he publicly denounced the new nation "The Creation of the Anti-Christ, Satan's Earthly Kingdom." Since Russia did not border Israel, Rasputin decided to attack the United States, who were occupying West Germany, Austria, Albania, Greece, and South Bulgaria. However, Dugashvili realized that Russia was not yet ready for a war with the U.S, so Rasputin was convinced to blockade Vienna instead in protest. The blockade nearly resulted in war. The Russians funneled arms to Egypt, Syria, and Lebanon, and also to the secular Arab Fascist movement known as Ba'athism.