|Paradox needs you!
This article (Worker's Paradise), is unfinished in many areas so that anyone can come in and fill the missing information!
Due to the nature of this page, it requires many smaller sections done separately, instead of one arcing vision. Themes, writing styles, and different viewpoints can all be had here. Let your imagination run wild!
The Motherland Edit
You step out of the passenger cab of the mag-lev connecting this industrial area to your worker's barracks. The first thing you feel is the bite of cold air as it rushes into the cab, washing away the muggy heat of the ill functioning heater. Everyone is used to it, and walks into the station, and as you do so, you see people boarding other vehicles. A walking bus lowers down to the platform to allow people to walk on. Several cars wait for loved ones and guests to approach them, more than one showing clear signs of jury rigged repairs on the engine and frame. Your view of the distance is clouded by smog filled with cinders and snowflakes, but you are surrounded on all sides by giant buildings topped with tall smokestacks.
As the whine of the mag-lev's turbine dies down, you are hit with the sounds of this industrial sector. The din of working machines, shouted instruction, and even the bombastic propaganda speaking from the telescreens that seem to be on every corner. You try to drown out the sounds, and be on your way. Blocking you, though, are a group of grim-faced conscripts holding their coats closely. They ignore you, more intent on a man behind you. They draw their weapons and leave them at rest, a sight common enough in the Union that no one even bats an eye. They approach the man and quickly grab him, and start dragging him to a nearby Sickle. Above the man's protests, one of the smarter looking ones speaks a line all too common, "Comrade, we have questions for you."
You ignore this and go about your tasks, like everyone else.
The Soviet's mastery of the material sciences makes them second to none in the realm of conventional transportation, both military and civilian. While military locomotion is described elsewhere, the civilian models have impressed even some Allies. Thought to be an attempt to beat the capitalists at their own game (a viewpoint that is partially correct), it was also a reflection of the problems of living in Russia. For example, while Soviet cars are similar to western vehicles (though quite small, inefficient, and ugly), larger vehicles, like buses and trucks, are often carried on a walker frame. Among other reasons, the main advantage of this setup is that walkers retain their mobility in rough terrain; furthermore, walkers can literally lower itself to ground level, to better help large cargo and little old ladies get on board. The other reason is that Russia is primarily a land of taiga, steppes, and desert. As such, there are no jungles, and most nations with jungles in them are affiliated with either the Allies or the Syndicate. Thefore, the Soviet Union is chronically short on rubber. Though this isn't a problem for the Union's military as the Allies had hoped, each part of the Soviet Union must equally try to conserve the precious material (though due to its importance, the Red Army is more equal than others).
Russia is also a land of great, empty distances, which makes train travel a slow business. During the Second World War, in order to get war supplies to the frontline more quickly, various methods of improving the Soviet Union's train network were looked into, something which eventually resulted in the development of magnetic levitation systems for trains following the end of the war. By exploiting the repulsion between magnetic fields, a train can be levitated, eliminating friction that would normally be produced by the interaction between the train wheels and rails, allowing trains to accelerate more smoothly and attain higher top speeds. Soviet "Mag-lev" trains can attain average speeds of 200 km/h, faster than some aircraft, and it is possible to go even faster; the current speed record for a Soviet mag-lev is 513 km/h. The magnets aren't actually used for propulsion, so a coal slurry fed turbine is used to propel the mag-lev forward, while also doing its very best to destroy the silence a mag-lev has compared to other trains. Trains are of course used to haul thousands of tonnes of freight, in addition to transporting passengers
For air transportation, there is the majestic Soviet zeppelin fleet. Enormous in size, these rigid airships are not as swift as other forms of air transport, but have the capability to carry vast payloads in comparison to other aircraft; a single zeppelin can carry thousands of passengers and hundreds of tonnes of cargo across mountains, rivers, and areas of insurrection. When the Soviet region of Chechnya tried to rebel during the Third World War, a small fleet of transport zeppelins transported an MCV and its attendant army behind the lines of the rebels, which quickly smashed the rebellion in typical Soviet fashion. Passengers can also be transported, and routes between major cities have been established so that anyone can travel to another city and see how it is equally dreary to his home. Many more civilian zeppelins have been built and stored than can currently be used, so that when the Revolution finally frees the world from tyranny, all people can be linked together.
Where Nightmares Come True Edit
Radio Free Europe, the Allied operated station bringing hope and information to occupied Europe, has recently been broadcasting a famous story somewhere deep in the Soviet controlled areas. According to their sources, a political officer once showed a propaganda film to win over the souls of Allied citizens. After an hour of a scratchy old reel extolling the virtues of communism, the political officer asked the audience if they had any questions. An elderly woman in the back slowly rose to her feet and asked what a gulag was. The political officer quickly pretended that she asked what a goulash was, and proceeded to give his grandmother's recipe, but soon others were asking if the evils in the gulags were true. Defeated, the officer left without saying anything.
The Gulag (The Chief Administration of Corrective Labour Camps and Colonies) is the Soviet agency that is in charge of the many penal camps in the Union and beyond. By its reputation, though, it also refers to those same camps; to mention the gulag is to mean the whole system. Here those considered most dangerous by the Soviet leadership are sent, though most civilian criminals are kept in normal jails and POWs are kept in camps that comply with international standards. Amongst the people who were sent to gulag are traitors, outspoken critics of the party, the worst of civilian criminals, deserters, Russians who illegally fled to the West and were found again, people who failed the war industry, those who speak in movie theatres, remaining royalists, members of hostile ethnicities, lazy factory workers, and anyone who was in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Life in the gulag was brutal and unforgiving. Prisoners, both men and women, were fed only as much as they worked. The result was that many literally worked themselves to death in order to avoid starvation. Health care was minimal; the treatment for frostbite (common because the prisoners have insufficient clothes) was a pair of pliers. The Union had minimal care for those who lacked the revolutionary spirit, and they have only that little because gulags were often used to found new towns. The only realistic way out of a gulag is to join a penal battalion.
This changed, however, with Davidova's coup against Premier Cherdenko. One of her first edicts was the release of hundreds of thousands imprisoned in the Gulags under Cherdenko and the end of forced labour. Under her new order, any non-political prisoners, and even some political prisoners convicted of relatively minor crimes against the state, were to be released back to their hometowns and reintegrated into Soviet society. Even conditions for the remaining prisoners were improved, albeit by a marginal degree, by allowing them to receive packages from their families. Of course, the premier's reasons for the decision were not entirely altruistic. Facing unprecedented opposition to her takeover, Davidova needed a way to discredit the missing Cherdenko and his remaining lackeys. Waves of former inmates imprisoned under his orders flooded back to their homes, bringing with them stories of the terrible conditions of the gulag, destroying much of what popular support the old regime still had while cementing in the public mind Davidova's intent to fix the mistakes of her predecessors.
Lost between the cracks were those who had already signed up for the penal battalions. While prisoners were being released from the gulags en mass, those unfortunate enough to have signed up were considered part of the Red Army, and to leave would be desertion. Even worse, the number of inductees has slowed to a trickle. Many of those who had joined the penal battalions in the months leading up to the coup have had their length of service extended indefinitely until replacements can be found. Naturally, those affected are none too pleased with the situation, but with charges of desertion or insubordination hanging over their head, they are in no position to argue.
The Soviet government provides housing for all, constructing low cost housing for people to live in. Such housing is usually in the form of multistorey apartment buildings and is constructed using prefabricated components and techniques similar to those used with the construction of Soviet field bases, allowing them to be constructed cheaply, quickly, and on a massive scale, though such buildings are admittedly drab, unimpressive, and identical to each other in appearance.
More recently, the Soviet government has also been constructing massive concrete structures known as "Comraderies", with hundreds of space-efficient apartments, along with communal showers and dining areas to make the most efficient use of space. Such buildings are designed to house thousands of people, providing them with all of the Union's bounty and putting them closer to the factories, farms and mines that they work at. Although only about 6 million citizens currently live in Comraderies, it is estimated by Soviet statisticians that they will become the main source of housing by 1980 and that all citizens will live in one by 1984. 1984 seems to be a very important year for Soviet plans.
Safety First Edit
The Soviet Union values its citizens as much as any other nation, so the Soviet Union has no shortage of civil servants. To enforce the law, the Soviet Union has a strong police force in its cities and beyond. The average patrolman is armed only with a truncheon and a uniform; like many autocracies, the Soviet government is uncomfortable with a well armed force dedicated to justice instead of them. However, for riots, insurgencies, and factory strikes, heavier forces are moved in. In particular, the Sickle serves in this role, as was intended since it was first designed. Police Sickles are open topped and lack the flea jump ability, but are equipped with an ample supply of rubber bullets and tear gas canisters sufficient for police actions. Supplemented with specialized water cannon walkers, they are capable of wading in to a crowd spraying bullets in every direction without too many fatalities. Such methods of stopping a riot horrify the Allies, but to the Soviets it's just seen as the way things are.
Since such occasions often lead to a number of wounded, the Soviets have adapted a hospital system to match. While individual cars and walkers usually take the job as ambulances, for many people (common during factory accidents), converted WWII supply trucks can be used to transport large numbers of people, on stretchers if there are enough vehicles. They're taken to the many hospitals and clinics in the Soviet Union, where treatment is without any cost thanks to generous funding by the state. Unfortunately, the hospitals themselves are all too often managed and equipped poorly. The standard treatment for a concussion is a swig of vodka and a nice, (mostly) clean bed.
Due to unsafe building and safety codes, fires are a common problem in Soviet cities, but once again the Soviets have turned to their cleverness to help. Fire trucks and fire walkers are well equipped and manned by well trained crews, and are capable of shooting a large amount of water at fires (or protesters if need be), but the Soviets took it one step further. Every city of note has a few Vodyanoy suits, which were based on the designs for the suits intended by Trofim Lysenko to be used for the Desolator Trooper Initiative. In their civilian use, however, they've saved many people's lives. The suit is fully pressurized and fireproof, so it can walk into a flaming building, and put out the fire from the inside! Even better, they can save people in the building, as the Vodyanoy suit is capable of busting through walls and carrying the person to safety. As a number of Vodyanoy suits have been transferred to Allied cities, and even occupied people have been impressed by this wonderful Soviet invention.
Police State of DisorderEdit
No sooner had Davidova taken control than plots and conspiracies against her started to form. Many in the Union considers her a weak leader, a prostitute to the west who will betray Marx, Lenin and Stalin, abandon Communism and surrender to the Allied Nations. How accurate this is can't be said, given the complete lack of openness in the Union, but military leaders, Politburo members, and even striking factory workers have all made attempts to replace Davidova with their favourite candidate. So far, they have not united, but Davidova faces more opposition to her rule that any other leader in Soviet history. This is no doubt helped by the ACIN, who has several members in the Union both active and sleeper, and would want nothing more than the Union to split, allowing the Allied Nations to mop up the disaster and finally enact the Pax Democracy. The KGB, currently divided and overwhelmed, is losing ground to all these faction.
Davidova responded in typical Soviet style; severe oppression. While some could be rounded up and shot, the problem was so widespread it needed a more societal change. To that end, a loan was taken with Iran (the only Communist country NOT in crippling debt) to fund a whole new and disturbing level of a police state. Mostly, these revolved around cameras being placed in almost every street corner, alleyway, and public building. This was not enough, because soon the Union was installing these cameras in private homes! For privacy's sake (or so the Union claims), these cameras are different, and are instead a sort of video screen, that also serves to project an image back to a KGB field post. No one truly knows when they are being watched, and in this way, Davidova hoped to catch any threat before it even formed. Unfortunately, the Soviet people were unimpressed, and the first few days were disastrous. Many moved furniture or decorations to block these screens, if only to dampen the constant sound of the propaganda playing on it. The cameras in public fared little better, as many were broken with rocks by angry citizens or even mischievous children.
There were simply too many people breaking too many rules for even the KGB to consider action, as to do so would mean executing a large percentage of the population! Quickly, the focus of the program shifted. The public cameras were soon protected by having smaller, hidden cameras in view of the larger cameras at all time (this has not helped much.) The camera screens in residences, however, fared somewhat better. Instead of bombastic propaganda, the programming was shifted to favourite TV shows so that people would have a reason to watch them. From children's fare such as "My Little Drony" and "Worker and Parasite", to favourites such as "They Are Not Allies" and the quiz show "Who Wants to Eat a Meal", now Soviet families are happy to crowd around the TV screen and let the Premier watch them. Unfortunately, this meant the workers of the one large factory for TV sets are angry, but Davidova sent a few Sickles to take care of them. Thus is life in the Soviet Union.
Comrade's Cities Edit
History has not been kind to Leningrad. Originally called Saint Petersburg, the city has been home to numerous violent events. In the early half of the century, it was the focal point of the Revolution of 1905, the February Revolution and the October Revolution, earning it the epithet "the city of the three revolutions". Over the brief-but-brutal course of WWIII, Leningrad has been a battleground twice, first between the Red Army and invading Imperial forces in 1965 and then between Davidov's rebels and Cherdenko's loyalists in 1969. Thus, the city is largely in ruins, giving the Soviet government the momentous task of rebuilding the once-proud city. This includes the Peter and Paul Fortress, which was completely razed when Cherdenko fled the city in a rocket ship and Lenfilm Studios, which was severely damaged and had to relocate its personnel to cities in the Central Asian republics during the war. Unsurprisingly, a sizable military force remains in Leningrad, due to the shock of the Imperial assault and the city's proximity to instability-ridden Finland.
Fortunately, citizens have managed to adapt to the harsh conditions brought about by the war. The city's famous trams remain in service, allowing the people to get to work quickly, and the seaports on the Neva Bay continue to welcome passengers and cargo as well as service passing Dreadnoughts. Traffic jams are fairly common, with incidents of trams crashing into public transportation walkers making the Leningrad evening news particularly during snowy winters. The city is still known for its contributions to the arts, with the Kirov Theatre (which only happens to share its name with the notorious zeppelin) being home to a world-class ballet and opera company. One notable resident, composer Dimitri Shostakovich, widely denounced under Stalin's regime for the sexual content in one of his works, has been enthusiastically embraced once again by the establishment; his Seventh Symphony, written during the First Battle of Leningrad, was played live in the Bolshoy Philharmonic Hall and broadcast over the radio, lifting the morale of the city's defenders against the Imperial invaders. The same orchestra would reunite two years later to play the Symphony in the same location, this time in support of then-General Davidov's forces.
The most populated Soviet city outside of Russia, Kiev is also the most historically intact, with many of its pre-Soviet Byzantine structures standing side-by-side with more modern Unitarian structures. Kiev is definitely the most diverse city in terms of architecture in the Soviet Union, something which its citizens take great pride in. The city is also home to the famous Kazminov Design Bureau, whose walkers are omnipresent throughout the USSR. Kiev is also the most industrialised city outside of Russia; surprisingly, however, air pollution is low by Soviet standards, thanks to a combination of factory smog filters reverse engineered by KDB from stolen Allied examples, heavy use of Tesla power, and a massive wind farm complex located just outside the northeast part of the city. These factors, combined with an extensive mass transit network, makes Kiev a place which workers will do just about anything to be assigned a job there.
The Third Rome. Whitestone. The First Comrade's City. All of these are nicknames for the capital of the USSR, which also served as the capital of various states at different points in history from the era of the Grand Duchy of Moscow to the hated Tsardom of Russia. It holds a number of records, including: most populous city in Europe, largest city in the Soviet Union, and seventh largest city in the entire world. Here, one can see what path the Party wants to take the Union and its allies on. A city connected by extensive public transportation services, one has options of locomotion ranging from noisy taxis and walking buses on the streets to the underground trains of the Moscow Metro. People still have their own cars (such as Ladas and GAZ Volgas and ZIMs), but many elect to use the various services offered to them instead, as it is quicker and more convenient. Once one has found the method of transportation that suits them most, they have an equally-large assortment of places to go. For those who are culturally inclined, the city has the Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts, which celebrates the classic art of Russia and her sister republics' alongside contemporary Soviet works, and the State Historical Museum, where one can learn about the pasts of the Union's constituent republics as far back as prehistoric times through the aid of numerous relics. For more liberal individuals, the growing fascination with Allied and particularly American popular culture and fashions has led to a number of underground locations being created by predominantly young people. At places like the "Koca-Kola Kafe" or the "Elvis Presky Diner", people with such interests can congregate and discuss them, or, as local militsiya suspect, exchange counterfeit goods like blue jeans and rock and roll records.
Unfortunately, the city is beset by high amounts of pollution. Since it is home to industries that produce large quantities of electricity, machinery, furniture, textiles, chemicals, vodka, steel, and military equipment, this is hardly surprising. The Party has never really concerned itself with environmental matters, so the issue was long-ignored under Stalin and Cherdenko. Today, however the ecology of Moscow has dropped to such levels that Party officials must be personally affected by it now, giving them sufficient incentive to do something about it. This seems to be supported by the fact that Davidov's government has drawn up plans to begin moving a portion of Moscow industries out of the city and to less-developed republics like the Byelorussian and Kazakh SSRs.
Of course, Moscow is best known for being the location of the respective headquarters for the all the various governmental institutions and agencies of the Union. Besides the Kremlin, home of the current Premier and the Supreme Soviet of the USSR (guarded by the imposing Apocalypse Assault Tanks and Tesla Coils of the Black Guard), the city is home to the national offices of such agencies as the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs, the Ministry of Defence, the Ministry of Agriculture and the Ministry of Experimental Sciences. It is also the location of the Lubyanka, the colloquial name for the dreaded headquarters and prison of the KGB. The Neo-Renaissance styling of the building belies its sinister nature, as any Muscovite will tell you. Thousands perished in the Lubyanka under Stalin, and it is whispered that many still do to this day.
Named after the nearby Magnitnaya Mountain, the once small farming village of Magnitogorsk was rapidly expanded in the 1930s in order to comply with the standards set by Stalin's infamous five-year plans. Thanks to the fact that the Magnitnaya Mountain was composed almost entirely of iron (an almost unheard of geological anomaly that still baffles geologists today), the village saw hundreds of thousands of workers move in in order to mine the extremely rich deposit and fuel the modernisation of the Soviet Union. Vast factories and ore smelters that dwarf even the formidable Pittsburgh Steelworks belch smoke out into the sky almost indefinitely, giving this city arguably one of the worst environmental rights record of any Soviet city.
Now, so much iron has been mined that the mountain has actually started to diminish in size. Yet there is still enough iron in the mountain to last three hundred more years. The people of Magnitogorsk are amongst some of the most hard-working and emotionless people in the world, such is the amount of work they commit themselves to (although that last part could be a joke). Magnitogorsk is also home to the State Technical University, where many a tank designer or combat engineer have studied their trade.