Tuesday, April 5, 2011

History of Valiesk in the last 100 years (part 3 - Final)

1990-1993 - the Independent Republic of Valiesk
With the Soviet troops gone and the United People's Party bankrupt, Valiesk entered a turbulent period of political chaos, with presidencies surviving only a few months before succumbing to scandal or political collapse. The economy plummeted, long lines formed in front of bakeries, and crime was rife.

This was the golden age of the "Oligarchs", smash-and-grab capitalists - usually former UPPV middle-level apparatchiks - to whom almost everything was privatized in a hurry and without too much costs for the Oligarch. These former bureaucrats now lived like kings in ritzy mansions, enjoying all good vices of life while the ordinary citizens suffered from mass unemployment, poverty and crime. They managed their newly-acquired business empires for a single goal: get as rich as possible as quickly as possible, no hold barred. Most of them had connections with the Vory v Zkone - the local organized crime gangs, now full of unemployed KGB operatives (the ones who didn't become Oligarchs, that is).

1993-2009 - the State of Valiesk
In May 1993, the former commander of the Valieskan KGB and an aspiring businessman, Anton Vassiliev, grabbed power in a thinly-veiled coup. Renaming the republic the State of Valiesk, he then moved quickly to consolidate power. First and foremost, he threw many of the Oligarch to prison on corruption and tax-evasion charges, allowing for hostile takeovers (so to speak) of their assets by him and by his relatives and friends. Second, he brought in Western-European and U.S. investments, in many of which he was the local business partner; Western weapons and equipment also streamed by the truckload to his Presidential Guard, now bloated into a full Brigade with the latest high-tech gear. Crime, also, was finally brought to a more tolerable level due to a massively-inflated police apparatus and use of military forces to break up gangs and end protection rackets.

Vassiliev's reign was marked by grand and wasteful projects on one hand (with the contractors being his close relatives), and with iron-fisted repression on the other. Nationalism, as well as a cult of personality around the "Illustrious President" were actively encouraged. Death squads went rampant in the cities, and torture was highly common in state prisons.

Public resentment of Vassiliev's rule came mostly in the 2000's, after the initial admirations of his way of dealing with crime and corruption has subsided and his own crimes and corruption became apparent. While any protest met with brutal repression and any resistor who was found was 'disappeared', several resistance movements began to form underground, from the right-winged Motherland Army through the moderate leftist Democratic Socialists to the far-left Red Front.

Eventually, in 2006, Vassiliev's foreign business partners got tired with his excesses and with his wasteful ways and started to pull out their investments, destabilizing his administration and intensifying his resentment by the public. Both the Motherland Army and the Red Front began active guerrilla resistance against the regime, drawing more and more soldiers to defect to their respective organizations.

In December 2008, a very broad coalition of Vassiliev's opponents, from the right and the left, overthrew his rule with the help of the majority of the Army and even some of the Presidential Guard who grew dissatisfied with Vassiliev's nepotism and favoritism. To avoid further chaos, a broad coalition government was installed to run the country until the elections. Vassiliev himself fled to an undisclosed location, taking with him a good chunk of the state treasury to his secret Swiss bank account.

2009-2011 - the Republic of Valiesk
In March 2009, Marina Navchesky of the Democratic Socialists was elected president, on a platform calling for the restoration of democracy, for the elimination of corruption and for social justice. She soon formed a coalition government with various leftist and centrist parties, including the PDPV (People's Democratic Party of Valiesk, the remnants of the old UPPV) and began making reforms.

All of Vassiliev's massive 'private' (that is, stolen) property was nationalized and their books exposed on the internet by the new government, showing the old regime's corruption and maintaining a feeling of transparency in these business. These businesses, including most utilities, the coal mines, the iron mines and heavy industry, were turned into joint-ventures, with the Valiskan government holding 51% of the assets and the rest held by private investors, including foreign - mostly Russian and Chinese - ones.

Navchensky also began tackling the remaining Oligarchs, a move which bought her and her administration many enemies. Supporting unions, legalizing strikes and increasing the minimum wage also enraged some very powerful people, who began, at back rooms and behind the scenes, to talk among themsleves about the "rising communist threat".

Things came to a head in 2011, when the Navchensky administration put forward a sweeping land reform program, which stepped on too many rural landlords' toes. General Moraviev, chief of staff of the Valieskan Army and former commander of Vassiliev's Presidential Guard, declared Navchensky's administration illegitimate and called the Army to follow him in rebellion. Navchensky responded by calling the soldiers to rally to her cause, the cause of democracy, and defend the Motherland from the "aspiring dictator" Moraviev.

Thus began the Valieskan Civil War.

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