History of the Republic of Novegrad
See also: The Evolution of Novegrad's Government
Slavic Tribes (up to 859)
The homeland of the early Slavic tribes is believed to have been in the area around the Pripet Marshes in modern Belarus and Ukraine. Starting from around 500 AD, the Slavic tribes began to expand outward in all directions as part of the Great Migration in Europe. Some groups, the ancestors of the North and East Slavs, moved northeast from the Pripet Marshes to occupy formerly Finnic lands. By 600, the Proto-Slavic language was beginning to split apart and a distinct Novegradian dialect began to appear.
The northernmost Slavs, having occupied several major river routes in the region, soon found themselves under the rule of the Scandinavian Varangians, and were forced to give tribute.
Kievan Rus' (859-1136)
First mention of the city of Novegráde in records is in 859, when it already had become a major trading center founded near the Varangian fort of Holmgarðr. In 862 the Slavic and Finnic tribes rebelled against the Varangians, forcing them to flee back to Scandinavia. However, the tribes soon started fighting each other, and the Varangian Rus' were invited back to restore order.
The first ruler, Riúrike (Rørik), returned to Novegrad. His brother-in-law Ólege (Helgi) expanded the princedom southwards down the Dniepr River to Kiev, which marks the beginning of the state of Kievan Rus' in 880. Kiev became the new capital of the state, though Novegráde remained the largest trading center in the north. Before long the Varangians were completely assimilated into the Slavic peoples.
Kievan Rus' was expanded under the rule of Suétoslau (r. 945-972), Vladímire the Great (r. 980-1015), and Iároslau the Wise (r. 1019-1054). Prince Suétoslau (or Svyatoslav) had broken the power of the Bolgars and Khazars, making room for Rus' to expand. Prince Vladímire brought Orthodox Christianity to the Slavs of Rus' in 988, a faith that would become an integral part of the history of the Slavs of Russia and Novegrad.
The rule of Iároslau the Wise (or Yaroslav) ushered in the Golden Age of Kiev. He established the first law code, the Rússkaia Práuda, built several cathedrals (including Novegrad's St Sophia), created a school system, and improved relations with several other European nations. Toward the end of his reign Kievan Rus' had an economy larger than the kingdoms of Western Europe and a thriving culture.
After Iároslau's death, however, the state began to rapidly disintegrate. The many members of the Riurikid ruling dynasty began to take control of different parts of the kingdom. Kiev's dominance waned as the many principalities began fighting one another for control. The next two centuries were dominated by an array of many principalities, most of which only lasted for a few years, and dozens of wars fought between them.
The Early Republic (1136-1300)
One of the new principalities to emerge was the Republic of Novegrad, which gained full independence in 1136. The republic prospered as a trading empire, and extended its borders far to the north and east. It was governed not by a single prince as in the rest of the principalities of Rus', but by the veche, a public assembly serving as the supreme legislative and judicial body of the republic. Other veches could be held at more local levels as well.
In the early 13th century, most of Rus' was ravaged by the Mongol invasions, which brought almost all of the former Kievan Rus' under Mongol control and resulted in the destruction of many of the greatest cities, including Kiev and Vladimir. Novegrad managed to avoid the Mongol invasions, but instead had to defend its western borders from the Swedes and Teutonic Knights.
Sweden and Novegrad both wanted control of the Gulf of Finland, a strategic location along several trade routes. The earliest record of open hostilities was in 1142, when Swedish troops attacked a Novegradian merchant ship in the Baltic sea and killed 150 Novegradians onboard. In 1164 a Swedish force was defeated near the fort of Ladoga, and their ships captured. Swedish assaults on Novegrad proper when brought to an end at the Battle of the Nevá in 1240, when Prince Aleksándre thoroughly defeated a Swedish naval force (earning him the epithet "Néuskei").
In 1242 a Novegradian army, led by St. Aleksándre Néuskei, defeated a Catholic Crusader force at the Battle of the Ice, ending the Northern Crusades against Novegrad's Orthodox Christians.
The Republic became an economic power through its position between the rest of Northern Europe and the Volga valley and central Asia. The city became one of the four main centers of the Hanseatic League (along with London, Bergen, and Bruges). By the early 14th century its population had reached 75,000, making it one of Europe's largest cities.
Conflict with Moscow (1300-1500)
Danijíle Aleksándrovice, the youngest son of Aleksándre Néuskei, took control of the tiny Moscow territory in the late 13th century, then a part of the powerful Principality of Vladimir-Suzdal', albeit not an envied one. From that small citadel, however, he and his successors turned Moscow from a small backwater into one of the strongest Russian principalities, absorbing its neighbors one by one. By the 14th century there were three major powers in the area that all wanted control of the wealth of Novegrad—Muscovy, Tver' (another Russian principality), and Lithuania. Initially, Novegrad had allied itself with Tver', but as Tver''s power grew, Novegrad began to feel more threatened by the two states' close proximity.
Novegrad then turned to Muscovy, but Muscovy was interested in its lands as well. Internal struggles weakened Novegrad as Muscovy continued to gain power. In 1456 Novegrad sustained a crushing defeat by Muscovy, resulting in the Treaty of Iaźelbíci, which placed strict limits on Novegrad's sovereignty. Novegrad was no longer allowed to have its own foreign policy, though Moscow agreed not to interfere in the affairs of Novegrad's grand prince. However, the treaty was frequently violated by both sides, and each constantly accused the other of breaking its terms.
Despising Moscow's oppression, many began to look toward Poland-Lithuania for an alliance. A draft treaty was written up between Novegrad and Grand Duke Casimir of Poland-Lithuania, but Moscow saw this as a direct violation of the terms of the Treaty of Iaźelbíci, and in 1471 invaded Novegrad. On the morning of July 14th, 1471, the Muscovite force, consisting of some 5000 men, accidently met the Novegradian civilian militia, consisting of approximately 40,000 men, at the Battle of Śelóni. Although the Novegradians were poorly organized, their sheer numbers forced the Muscovites into retreat. On the 24th another battle broke out, again resulting in Novegrad's victory, but with heavy casualities.
After these defeats, Moscow was thoroughly humiliated. Novegrad prepared itself for a counterattack within Muscovy, aided by Lithuanian forces. The Novegradian army, however, was not in a position to start a new war, and its part consisted largely of raiding and pillaging a number of towns and villages in northern Muscovy. The Lithuanian forces reached Moscow and burnt down much of the city before being repulsed. A new treaty, the Peace of 1472, nullified the Treaty of Iaźelbíci and forced Muscovy to make territorial concessions to Novegrad. With its independence now guaranteed, the Novegradians began the process of recovery and growth.
The Novegradian Orthodox Church also became autocephalous (self-governing) in 1472, separate from the Russian Orthodox Church in Moscow, symbolic of their break in ties at that point.
The Tsardom in Novegrad (1500-1700)
Between 1500 and 1580, the Novegradian Grand Prince, formally a position with few defined powers, became more and more powerful as the growing Novegrad became more and more autocratic. This began under Grand Prince Alékśeie I (r. 1503-1532), who turned the veche from a public council to a closed group of boyars, a parliament largely under his control. When he died, his elder son, Nikoláie II (r. 1532-1533) took over, but was soon killed by and replaced by his younger brother Vaźílije (r. 1533-1535). However, Vaźílije quickly made enemies of most of the boyars and was himself assassinated, leaving his uncle Vladímire (r. 1535-1555) in control. Faced with a veche with little trust in him and that was increasingly trying to reassert its own power, he had all of the veche who did not swear allegiance to him imprisoned or exiled, and replaced them with individuals of his own choosing. Those responsible for the assassination of his nephew were put to death.
Grand Prince Vehevláde then began the process of reforming the Novegradian government, centralizing it and granting himself more power in Novegradian affairs. As relations with Sweden deteriorated and there was greater need of acquiring new lands, the grand prince acquired even more powers. Tsar Mécislau I (r. 1611-1643) was the first to use the title 'tsar', based on the Russian model.
The increasingly autocratic tsars also began increasing the power and social position of the boyars, the nation's wealthy landowners, generally at the expense of the lower classes. Novegrad's once free society, where even the poorest individuals had a say in veche and government decisions, had devolved into a system of serfdom at the same time Western European serfs were gaining more freedoms. Over the following centuries this led to a number of peasant uprisings, which were all quickly crushed by the tsar's military and were followed by stricter controls in the rebellous areas.
Looking Westward (1300-1717)
Ever since the mid 1200s Novegrad had been attempting to gain control of the eastern Baltic coastline, though Sweden had the same ambitions. Once Sweden was forced out of Novegrad proper at the Battle of the Nevá, both nations focused on Finland, then an unorganized territory populated by Finnic tribes. Novegrad had begun exacting tribute from the local peoples while Sweden was establishing a number of forts. The Swedes frequently launched attacks on Novegradian settlements in the Nevá area, which were always followed by retaliatory attacks by the Novegradians. Each round would be more violent than the last. On August 12th, 1323 the Treaty of Orěśeke/Nöteborg was signed, establishing the first border between the two nations. Sweden received most of Finland, while Novegrad was granted Karelia and the northern portion of the Gulf of Bothnia. However, this treaty did not last long, as in 1328 Sweden began encouraging Swedish settlement along the northern shore of the Gulf of Bothnia, in 1337 Sweden supported a Karelian revolt, and in 1338 Novegrad laid siege to the Swedish fort of Vyborg. In 1348 another religious conflict broke out as Sweden persisted in trying to convert the Novegradians to Catholicism, but in 1350 conflicts were forced to come to an end by the Black Death. Novegrad eventually retreated from the Ostrobothnia region in the 1380s as internal problems made it too difficult to govern, after Pope Gregory XI had given permission for new crusades against Novegrad.
Meanwhile, there were numerous border skirmishes between Novegrad and Norway further north, in the Finnmark region claimed by both. These were brought to an end by a treaty signed at Novegrad on June 3rd, 1326, which divided the territory between the two of them and specified which parts of the local Saami people would pay tribute to whom. This treaty established a 40 year armistice, but was never broken by either side until the borders were revised in the 19th century.
War between the Novegradians and Swedes broke out once again in 1495, one of many major wars to come. Novegrad had allied with Hans of Denmark, who was trying to gain control of the Swedish throne, and who had promised some stretches of land in Finland to Novegrad. Pursuing the agreement, Novegrad launched an assault on several Swedish forts, and Sweden retaliated by attacking several Novegradian ones. The war ended in 1497 with no gains by either side, even after Hans had been crowned King of Sweden.
In 1540 Sweden declared war after Novegradian mercenaries and pirates repeatedly attacked several Swedish settlements in Finland. By 1547 the Swedes had gained control of the Karelian isthmus, leaving Novegrad without a Baltic port.
In 1558 Novegrad launched an assault on the Livonian Knights in order to regain a Baltic coastline. The eastern part of moden Estonia was occupied, but in 1560 the Livonian Order was dissolved and its territories divided among Lithuania, Denmark, and Sweden. The Danish portion was surrendered to Sweden one year later, but Sweden wanted to regain control of the territories Novegrad had taken just prior to the Order's dissolution while Novegrad wanted to continue further west. Although the port city of Pärnu was briefly occupied by Novegrad, by 1566 Sweden had regained all the territories Novegrad had previously taken. The war ended with no gains by Novegrad.
Without a Baltic port, Arhánjeiske, a fort in the Northern Duiná delta along the White Sea, had become the nation's primary port. Ships from England and Holland had been entering the White Sea since the 1550s, and a city quickly grew up around the old fort. However, the situation was far from optimal, as the sea was frozen for much of the year and Arhánjeiske was far from the cities in the heart of Novegrad.
Between 1570 and 1650 a number of minor wars between Novegrad and Sweden (and occasionally Lithuania) were fought. The overall results were quite detrimental for Novegrad, as each resulted in territorial losses.
Novegrad's luck began to change in the First Northern War (1656-1659) under the command of Tsar Nikoláie I (r. 1643-1669). In just three years, Novegrad successfully regained control of the Karelian isthmus, eastern Estonia, and Latvia, as well as the territories Lithuania had captured earlier. Víborge, however, remained in Swedish hands, as did northwestern Estonia. In 1673 a large fort was built north of the mouth of the Nevá on the Gulf of Finland, near the Swedish border, known as Aleksándre-Neuskáievo, which became the home base for the new Baltic fleet ships being built in the nearby town of Láhta and at other sites along the Nevá River.
The Great Northern War (1700-1717) saw great changes in the balance of power in the Baltic Sea. Sweden had been amassing a Baltic Empire, and in 1700 a coalition of Novegrad, Denmark-Norway, and Saxony all declared war. Initially disastrous, the war took a very different turn under the command of Tsar Mécislau II the Great (r. 1694-1734). By 1705 the rest of Estonia was recaptured, and Novegrad began a series of assaults on Swedish forts in Finland, taking Åbo (modern Tórge) in 1716. In 1717 the war was brought to an end by the Stockholm Assault, a naval invasion of Stockholm and several other Swedish coastal cities. Sweden's Baltic dominance had been completely broken, and it was forced to cede all of Finland as well as a large portion of its northern territories in the treaty of Niśtádte/Nystad. While Finland was fully annexed, the rest of the territory, though claimed by Novegrad, was never actually handed over.
To the south of the Aleksándre-Neuskáievo fort, in the Nevá delta, the new city of Néugrade was founded, which Mécislau would turn into Novegrad's new primary port city. Several other captured cities, including Revéle, Tórge, Pärnu, and Ríga, would also become major trading centers with time.
Eastward Exploration (1300-1800)
The Novegradians first penetrated Siberia as early as the 11th century, long before any of the Russian principalities. The rivers and coastlines were mapped and temporary trading posts were established. The Pomors, also called Kodzars, who were the first Novegradian settlers along the White Sea coasts, were instrumental in beginning the actual colonization of Siberia.
Up until the 1580s, however, no permanent Slavic settlements had been established in Siberia. The Novegradians were settling new territories on the west side of the Urals, but could not establish permanent settlements on the east side because the territory was controlled by the Khanate of Sibir. In 1580, however, 1600 Cossacks from Russia laid siege to the capital at Qashliq and forced Küçüm Khan to flee, opening up Siberia for Novegradian and Russian settlers. Almost immediately Pomor settlements began appearing along the Óbua River. Óuske, located 200km upriver from the mouth of the Óbua, was one of the earliest settlements, founded in 1595. Súrgute, a large city located another 1150km upriver, was founded only eight years later, in 1603.
These early settlements were small, generally not exceding more than a thousand people up until they were connected by railroad. They tended to be walled fortresses, each having a small permanent army. Any unprotected settlements risked attacks by the natives or by Russian settlers. The Russians and Novegradians were both moving into western Siberia, and with no borders separating the two nations, Russian and Novegradian settlements were often mixed together, with no clear way to what territory belonged to which group.
A steady stream of settlers continued moving in from western Novegrad, but Siberian settlements rarely grew very large at this point. They were often heavily dependent on the natural resources in the area. Turaúle, located just east of the Ural mountains, grew to about 40,000 people by 1749, just fifty years after it was founded, due to the rich iron deposits and other minerals found in the region.
The main factor driving many Novegradians into Siberia was wealth. The rich mineral deposits and abundance of valuable furs made the region very attractive. The vast territory also meant agriculture could be very productive, since a plot of land could easily be farmed intensively for a few years, and then the farmers could just move to another while the first is left fallow. For this reason, even peasants in Siberia often had an abundance of food. Freedom was another driving force, as no serfdom existed in Siberia, and serfs that could escape were free. The region quickly developed its own culture and customs.
As more people moved into these territories, however, there was greater desire by both Russia and Novegrad to consolidate their control and collect taxes from their citizens. In 1718 the two nations signed a treaty dividing the territory between them by drawing a line due east all the way to the Pacific coast. The next hundred years then saw a flood of give-and-take treaties signed between the two of them, where one would give up a piece of their assigned land in exchange for another. Novegradian explorers further east reported that the far northeast of Siberia was of little use, so the tsar traded most of Novegrad's claims beyond the Ieniśéie River for land just across the Urals, in the southern part of the Óbua watershed. However, the fact that the borders were being modified almost every year led to a great deal of confusions among those living in Siberia, and skirmishes between Novegradians and Russians involving 'border violations' were quite frequent. The mixed distribution of Russian and Novegradian settlements also meant that many Russians ended up within Novegradian territory and vice versa, which is still an issue in the present day.
Early Siberian settlements were quite modest, having little but the base essentials for life. The settlements were generally focused around a small fortification in which most town activities took place, including markets for trading. These marketplaces were generally the center of activity in small towns, where people would gather, eat, drink, and celebrate occasions together. As towns grew and Siberia became more secure, more commerce would move outside of forts, and streets would be cleared to allow for easier movement. Larger settlements eventually gained dedicated government or administrative centers, while in smaller towns meetings would be held in people's homes, dining halls, or within the fortifications. Entertainment and culture were generally the last facilities to move into Siberian settlements, and were a sign of maturing cities. Long-distance transportation was generally accomplished by boat, with unpaved roads connecting nearby villages together.
Although the Novegradians founded few permanent settlements beyond the Ieniśéie River, Novegradian explorers and fortune-seekers continued eastward, eventually reaching the Pacific Ocean. Missionaries brought the Orthodox Christian faith to many of the native peoples and established missions across Siberia and even several in the Qing Empire of China. The Novegradians even established a few trading posts in Alaska and British Columbia, though none lasted very long, as Novegrad was just too far away along a route that was not navigable the entire way through much of the year.
Baltic Dominance (1717-1852)
The conclusion of the Great Northern War ushered in an era of relative peace in Novegrad. Although they were involved in several small battles, no foreign army crossed Novegradian borders during this time. Much of the country's energy was therefore put into development, particularly of several large Baltic port cities. Néugrade on the Nevá and Tórge in Finland grew rapidly as they became the country's new primary port cities. Arhánjeiske on the White Sea began to decline, but the port remained fairly active for trade with Siberia.
In the 1840s the first railroad was built, connecting Pleskóve, Novegráde Velíkei, and Vóloğda. Over the next 80 years new railroads were being built all across the country, revolutionizing transportation in the region. New rail links to Siberia resulted in a rapid influx of people, greatly increasing the population of several Siberian cities.
Also in this period, although it started earlier, was the process of Novegradianization of the minority ethnic groups in the new territories. Use of minority languages was not discouraged, though everyone was required to know Novegradian. Major languages that once had been written in the Latin script, including Finnish, Latvian, and Estonian, were respelt using Cyrillic. Minor languages without a large community began to decline in this period. Some groups, however, were not so lucky. The Swedes in particular were heavily discriminated against. They were generally confined to certain territories and were limited in their movements. Anyone with a Swedish accent would be treated with distrust, and were often the target of higher taxes by the Novegradian government. Many Swedes returned to Sweden from Finland and Estonia, while many others were forced to assimilate in order to live normal lives.
In the wake of several armed peasant revolts, and under the rule of the more progressive Tsar Andréie II (r. 1815-1833), serfdom was abolished in 1827. However, Andréie then had to deal with the many ramifications of the creation of a new landless lower class. These workers generally moved to cities in search of work, or to Siberia where the rapidly-growing cities needed larger labor forces. However, many still faced constant hardship as most jobs that were available to them offered meagre wages.
Union with Russia (1852-1917)
In 1852, Tsar Ieváne II of Novegrad (r. 1849-1852) suddenly fell ill with an as of yet unidentified disease soon after taking over the throne. When he died in 1852, succession fell to his sister, Tsaritsa Iekaterína, who was married to the tsar of Russia. Although Novegrad remained nominally independent in her name, the Russian tsar was in effect the ruler of both Russia and Novegrad. Most Novegradians were somewhat concerned by this union and their marginalization, but little was done at this point.
However, the following year the Crimean War broke out. Novegrad's leading admirals, who were more experienced in naval warfare than Russia's, were immediately sent to the Black Sea. They helped Russia achieve great successes against the Ottoman Empire. Within months Russia had occupied several Ottoman provinces in Europe, much of the eastern portion of Anatolia as far west as Sinope, with the Ottoman army weak and the Black Sea navy virtually wiped out. A joint Anglo-French attempt to stop Russia's expansion into Ottoman territory was stopped at the port of Sevastopol' on the Crimean peninsula, whose defenses Novegradian admiral Mihajíle Rumánou had ordered significantly augmented upon his arrival there. After a long siege and heavy damage on both sides, the English and French were forced to withdraw. However, Russia could no longer continue the war against the Ottomans, so a peace was signed in 1855. The treaty granted the Balkan occupied territory independence as Romania, officialized Russia's annexation of western Anatolia, and awarded Russia the status of protector of all Orthodoxy within the Ottoman Empire.
While the war was being fought in the Black Sea, however, Novegrad found itself in a bad situation in the Baltic and White Seas. The British navy had moved into these positions while Novegrad was unprepared, and started bombarding a number of cities and fortifications, particularly along the southern coast of Finland, the northern coast of Estonia, and the Arctic ports of Kóla and Arhánjeiske. Numerous private and commercial vessels were destroyed. British forces briefly occupied parts of Ingria and Estonia. The undermanned Novegradian navy could do little until a large number of Paixhans naval guns were sent in and fitted onboard the navy's vessels, whose explosive shells decimated the wooden ships of the British navy. A second, much larger force was being prepared by the British, but a peace was agreed upon before it could be put to use. However, the British navy still managed to deal a great amount of damage to the Novegradian merchant marine and to most of its major ports. For this reason that the Novegradians ended up in a war in which they had no vested interest but sustained significant damage, the union with Russia has often been referred to as "the Great Blunder", a translation of a somewhat less polite Novegradian term. The economy took a long time to recover, as Novegradian treasuries were small and the tsar was not particularly interested in spending his resources on building up this large, non-Russian region when he had plenty of issues to deal with in his Russia proper.
Upon the death of the tsar in 1867, both empires fell to his son, Tsar Konstantíne (r. 1867-1890), who incorporated Novegrad into Russia as an autonomous region (though it retained the name "Tsardom of Great Novegrad"), further alienating many of the people of Novegrad. Despite his attempts at reforms, including emancipating the serfs of Russia in 1869, discontent with the tsar remained widespread in Russia and nationalism grew in Novegrad. He and his successor, Tsar Fyodor IV (r. 1890-1917, known as Veiódore in Novegradian), continued to further Russia's interests abroad while not doing enough domestically. Despite successes in the Russo-Turkish War of 1877-1878, which saw the remaining Ottoman territory in the Balkans divided into several pro-Russian states, several assassination attempts were made on the tsars by radical groups from within Russia and Novegrad. Later disasters in the Russo-Japanese War and in World War I provided basis for revolution. The Russian tsars did very little to assist the poor lower classes of Novegrad, which were still struggling to find work and afford even basic necessities.
In February of 1917, a series strikes began in Moscow which soon spread to other major cities, protesting the lack of food. The tsar ordered everyone to return to work and for troops to enforce the order. Much of the military, however, sided with the strikers, and the February Revolution had begun. Within a month Fyodor had been forced to flee from Moscow to Novegráde Velíkei along with his supporters. A provisional government was established in Moscow in opposition to the tsar, but was unable to pull Russia out of the war and to improve the worsening economic situation. In October the bolsheviks, under Lenin, began the Red Revolution in Russia. The civil war in Russia lasted until 1922, when the new Soviet government had consolidated its control over the whole of Russia.
Meanwhile, the tsar in Novegrad took direct control over the Novegradian tsardom. The Baltic regions began to revolt, declaring Estonia and Latvia independent, although independence movements in Finland were crushed by the Royal Guard of the tsar in some areas and by the Red Revolutionary Army elsewhere. However, the Baltic states were promptly overrun by the German army. The Treaty of Versailles ending World War I later restored these territories to Novegrad according to the Entente's pro-Tsarist policies.
By 1919 the tsar, with the help of Allied forces, had succeeded in suppressing the revolutions in Novegrad, though he had lost virtually all control over Russia. He continued to claim, however, that he was the rightful ruler of all Russia and Novegrad. In January 1921 the Red Revolution in Novegrad reignited in response to the tsar's strict rule over Novegrad and the loss of virtually all freedoms, enforced by the hated tsarist police. In 1922 the bolsheviks had taken complete control over Russia, declaring it the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. The revolution continued in Novegrad until 1925, when all foreign forces were expelled and the tsar was captured, extradited to Moscow, and executed. On October 28th the Novegradian Soviet Socialist Republic was declared, independent, though allied to the Soviet Union.
Novegradians consider their independence day to be October 23rd, 1925—the day the tsar, the symbol of all Russian brutality in the past, was unseated.
Soviet Novegrad (1925-1939)
The early years of Soviet Novegrad were a time of great change in almost all aspects of life. The economic system of the nation was completely restructured into a system based on state ownership and administrative planning. The economic system at this point was modelled on the same system used in the Soviet Union.
Industrialization and modernization were the primary goals of the NSSR. The tsars of Russia had largely ignored development in Novegrad for almost 70 years, and it was far behind most of Europe. Sudékomplane, the Novegradian equivalent of the Soviet economic planning agency Gosplan, instituted five year plans to manage the growth of industry and agriculture and setting high goals for development. People were assigned or encouraged to take work at the new factories and industrial complexes appearing across the country. Farms were consolidated and collectivized or taken over by the state. Agriculture became highly mechanized in order to maximize productivity. Prices were standardized and production determined by the state.
Most of Novegrad's western cities grew rapidly as new industrial districts opened up, generally responsible for the production of various finished products. Cities in Karelia, Kóla, and Siberia were generally resource-based cities, whose economies depended on the extraction, processing, and transportation of raw materials. More advanced excavating technology led to the discovery of numerous new valuable deposits in Novegrad, particularly in Kóla, the Urals, and in Siberia. New oil and natural gas fields in Siberia proved particularly lucrative. These new deposits being discovered led to the creation of many new government-founded cities in order to take advantage of these resources.
Despite this rapid modernization, many traditional customs were still maintained. Street markets, both in cities and along highways, were very common as a place where people could sell food they grew on their own personal property and haggle over prices or even barter. Such traditions were not discouraged by the government as long as they were not considered threatening to the communist regime.
The first three premiers, Makáieu (p. 1925-1928), Leiónou (p. 1928-1934), and Vaźiléuskei (p. 1934-1937), were all Novegradian nationalists, reflecting a common attitude at the time. Novegrad was once again independent, and a great deal of local nationalism was appearing across the country. This nationalism manifested itself initially in anti-Russian sentiments and movements toward removing elements of Russian society in Novegrad, although by 1930 these feelings had calmed down and began to focus more on restoring Novegrad's former glory. Increased nationalist sentiments also led to Estonia and Latvia once again trying to declare independence in 1928, but these movements were crushed by the Army of Novegrad. In 1934 five major ethnic territories were organized into autonomous republics where their own cultures and languages were allowed to thrive (in theory), under Novegrad's watch. These regions became the Estonian Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic, Latvian ASSR, Finnish ASSR, Karelian ASSR, and Komi ASSR.
Russia under Stalin, however, quickly rose to become the dominant power in the region, and Novegread soon fell under its sway. In 1937 a pro-Soviet premier, Léu Vélkou (p. 1937-1949), took control.
World War II (1939-1945)
Germany's rapidly militarization and political changes under Adolf Hitler in the late 1930s put much of Europe at unease. After the Munich Agreement which awarded the Sudetia region of Czechoslovakia to Germany, the Soviet Union and Germany signed a nonagression pact dividing Europe between them, including placing Novegrad under the permanent Soviet sphere of influence. On September 1st, 1939, Nazi Germany invaded Poland and launched World War II.
Novegrad and the Soviet Union were initially shocked at this unprovoked attack that brought an aggressive nation right up to their borders. However, Stalin encouraged Vélkou not to build up forces along the border, so as not to provoke Hitler. On June 22, 1941, however, Hitler and his allies broke the pact and launched a full-scale invasion of the Soviet Union and Novegrad. The Germans planned for a three-prong attack on the Eastern front—a northern assault toward Novegráde Velíkei, a central assault toward Moscow, and a southern assault toward the Ukraine and Caucasus. By bringing the war in Novegrad, Hitler (correctly) assumed that Vélkou would be more concerned with fighting the Germans in his country than with assisting his allies in the Soviet Union. The German army's Blitzkrieg caught the Novegradian and Soviet forces completely off guard, and the German army crossed the countryside at tremendous speed, encircling defending troops and leaving them for later divisions to deal with. The German airforce manage to damage or destroy most of the airfields and aircraft available to the Novegradians before they could even leave the ground. The immediate evacuation of cities in the German army's path began, moving both people and industrial supplies eastward, out of harm's way. Munitions and other military production began throughout the Novegradian east. However, many people could not be evacuated in time and ended up trapped behind the front lines.
By September 1st the Baltic region had fallen, as had several western oblosts. As the Germans approached Novegráde Velíkei, the government was quickly relocated to Vóloğda, which preparations being made for an emergency move to Arhánjeiske if needed. By September 7th Novegráde Velíkei had been surrounded. However, the city's defenses were too powerful at that point to combat directly, so the Germans prepared for a long siege which would last 20 months, until May 1943. The food supply in the city was limited, so rationing had to be instituted in order to prevent complete starvation. Prisoners were even order released and sent to the edge of the city to fend for themselves against the Germans, so that none of the city's food supply would have to be spent on them. The Germans, meanwhile, surrounded the entirety of Lake Ielméri (which Novegrad is located at the northern tip of) to prevent new supplies from being shipped to the city. Other divisions of the German northern arm continued past the city to attack Néugrade, Tihuíne, and Víborge, cutting Novegradian supply links wherever possible.
The supplies in Novegrad grew increasingly scarce, and rations became smaller in smaller, bringing starvation upon the city by early winter of 1942. In response, Vélkou organized a massive relief and reinforcement effort. On January 1st, 1943, a large force from Mostegráde began a risky attack straight through the German forces stationed on the east side of Lake Ielméri, opening up the East Ielméri Corridor to the lakeshore. Immediately following was a caravan of dozens of trucks carrying food, munitions, and additional troops. They raced across the frozen lake into the city, unloaded, reloaded with as many civilians as possible, and then raced back across the lake, while the Mostegráde force fought to keep the corridor open. German shelling of the lake led to several trucks falling through the ice, but the majority made it to safety just before the corridor was closed by the German army.
In May the first major counteroffensive began. Taking heavy losses, a large Novegradian force struck the German army from the north and south, breaking the German encirclement of Novegráde Velíkei and liberating several major cities, including Néugrade and Tihuíne. By September the areas to the north of Novegráde Velíkei were liberated, and by February of 1944 Pleskóve and parts of Estonia. By August the Germans had been nearly completely pushed out of Novegrad, except for pockets left behind in Latvia and Estonia. The Novegradian Army was assisted by numerous uprisings and by a German army thinning due to constant attacks and troops being moved to the Western Front. Upon reaching the Novegradian border, soldiers joyously erected makeshift signs marking the newly freed Novegradian territory, many of which were later restored in commemoration. In early 1945 the Novegradian army joined the Soviet on the way to Berlin, taking the city in May 1945. Germany finally capitulated on May 9th, still celebrated as Victory Day in Novegrad.
Soviet Novegrad (1945-1975)
At the conclusion of the war Novegrad and much of Eastern Europe fell under the Soviet Union's sphere of influence. Novegrad's economy was in ruins, but the people's patriotism and spirit were high after winning the war. With the assistance of the Soviet Union, the infrastructure was rebuilt and the people and government that had been moved returned to their homes. In 1949 Premier Kóroleu (p. 1949-1958) took control with Soviet backing, and was determined to restore the nation's economy. He put in place a series of five year plans with extremely high standards, gave workers high quotas, extended the work day, and established many new factories with poor working conditions. Anyone who opposed him or "was acting against the spirit of socialism" was generally imprisoned or executed by his network of secret police.
Kóroleu in particular put great emphasis on the military and weapons development as the Cold War loomed over Europe. The Army of Novegrad was paraded across the country in a show of strength, and he made Novegradian advances in aerial and naval technologies quite well-known. In 1954 he leased a portion of northern Sahalin Island from the Soviet Union for weapons development and testing, since the wide open Pacific to the east made it an ideal location for missile tests. His strict policies, however, eventually became too hard for the people and economy to bear. In the late 1950s crop production plummeted, a result of the high quotas forcing the land to be overworked combined with a poor season in general, and food shortages spread across the country. In 1958 what had begun as a riot in Vóloğda quickly spread across Novegrad after sympathizers gained control of a major radio transmitter, leading to a full revolt beginning on July 18th. On the 24th, after Kóroleu lost control of his military, troops stormed several government compounds, arrested Koroleu and several other top officials, and executed them the following day. A large Soviet force immediately moved in to crush the revolt, instituting martial law across the NSSR. The Novegradian Army put up a long resistance, but in the end the lack of high-level organization for the revolt aided the Red Army in putting it down. The Soviets put Premier Stásine (p. 1958-1960) in power, but he did little to resolve the problems and was quickly replaced by Premier Madéikou (1960-1966).
The late 1960s saw a power struggle within the Novegradian government, as the Soviet-leaning leaders were competing with a growing group of moderates. The party leaders put Brúźenceu (p. 1966-1967) in power in order to try to pacify the moderates, but he was soon replaced by the moderate Lipéneskei (p. 1967-1975). However, he was cautious and tried his best not to step on the Soviets' feet. It would be his successor, however, Premier Śergéie Rubínine (p. 1975-1984) who would usher in great changes in Novegrad, starting the Great Thaw.
The Great Thaw (1975-1991)
Śergéie Rubínine was Novegrad's first premier devoted to democratic reform of the communist government. Having previously served as the Novegradian ambassador to the United Kingdom, and having travelled to several other Western nations on official business, he had become well aware of how the Soviet-backed communist regime was driving his nation, as well as the rest of Eastern Europe, into the ground. He took office in 1975, initiating a period the media latter termed "The Great Thaw" (Velíkei Rostaiánje).
Businesses were granted more freedom in how and what they manufactured. While they still had to meet certain product quotas set by the state, beyond that they were allowed greater control, and turned to demand to determine how production should continue. As long as quotas were met for certain items, businesses could also produce new products and set their own prices, leading to a gradual increase in the variety of products on the market.
Border restrictions were very gradually lowered as well. Although emigration was still tightly restricted, foreign investment was allowed in a few spheres. Private ownership of small businesses, such as small restaurants or shops, was also allowed, though under a number of restrictions.
The Soviet Union kept a cautious eye on Rubínine, however. In 1978 Soviet General Secretary Leonid Brezhnev began a series of negotiations with Rubínine. Not wanting to antagonize the Soviet Union at this point and risk military conflict, Rubinine slowed down the reform process, but did not undo any of his reforms. In 1979, however, the Soviet Union got involved in Afghanistan, a war that would bog them down for a decade. Noticing the opportunity, Rubínine restarted the reform process.
In 1980 he received an ultimatum from Brezhnev, demanding that he undo his reforms. He ordered the military to prepare itself, and then sent his famous, simple reply: "Ко цертем", roughly translated, "To hell with you". He braced for the fallout, but no response came, as Brezhnev was too tied up in Afghanistan. A few years later Gorbachov would begin a similar program in the Soviet Union, and also normalized relations with Novegrad which Brezhnev had cut off.
With the Soviet threat apparently removed, the reforms of Rubínine and his successors, Máline (p. 1984-1988) and Vuisośéleskei (p. 1988-1992), continued. Further price restrictions were removed, restrictions on private property were removed, the press opened up, and many state-controlled industries were at least partially privatized. Various parts of the government were restructured, and the Premier's term limited to four years.
Reforms in Novegrad in the 1980s sparked several reformist movements across the Eastern bloc, among these the trade union Solidarność in Poland. The Communist regimes throughout much of Eastern Europe fell in 1989, and in the Soviet Union in 1991.
The New Republic (1991-present)
In 1991, with the Soviet Union beginning to fracture, Novegradian Premier Vuisośéleskei began the final preparations for the official transition to democracy. On December 11th, 1991, the Republic of Novegrad was declared, and the following day the Communist Party of Novegrad was officially dissolved. General elections were held on March 11, 1992, bringing President Rumánine's government into power, Novegrad's first democratically-elected government in 500 years. A new constitution was drafted and adopted by referendum on November 1st, 1992. Under Rumánine and the new State Assembly, the open positions in the government established by the constitution were filled, many by well-known reformists and democrats of the Great Thaw era.
Now free of the restrictions of an autocratic government and economy, develop in Novegrad took off. Despite stagnation in the early 2000s, the standard of living continues to rise.
See also: The Evolution of Novegrad's Government