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Petrichord


Have you any dreams you'd like to sell?

More Blog Posts105

  • 7 weeks
    Commissions are closed

    I was in a strange mood yesterday, forgive me for that.

    Still don't know what I really want to do with my writing anymore. Still struggling.

    Sorry about this, y'all.

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  • 7 weeks
    Open for Commissions!

    Need something to kick my butt into gear, and I figure this is the best way to hold myself accountable.

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  • 8 weeks
    A Brief Break from Brief Histories

    Went to start touching up my Brief History of West-Equestria before posting it.

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  • 8 weeks
    A Brief History of Ost-Equestria

    Depending on how you define it, the history of Ost-Equestria is either very short - a mere twenty-four years - or quite long indeed, a saga spanning back since the dawn of ponykind. The races of Ost-Equestria tend to take the latter interpretation; in other countries on Equus, the former interpretation is generally considered the correct one. But, whatever the case may be, the causes leading up

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  • 9 weeks
    A Brief History of Stalliongrad and the Severnyy Soyuz

    Stalliongrad, a north-eastern territory of Equestria that formerly belonged to an independent pony kingdom of Severnaya, was annexed by Equestria in 917 ALB (After Lunar Banishment, a traditional starting point of reference on Equestria’s calendar.) That said, Severnaya never integrated into Equestria as well as Princess Celestia would have liked: the country had its own culture and

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Aug
22nd
2021

A Brief History of Stalliongrad and the Severnyy Soyuz · 3:41pm August 22nd

Stalliongrad, a north-eastern territory of Equestria that formerly belonged to an independent pony kingdom of Severnaya, was annexed by Equestria in 917 ALB (After Lunar Banishment, a traditional starting point of reference on Equestria’s calendar.) That said, Severnaya never integrated into Equestria as well as Princess Celestia would have liked: the country had its own culture and national traditions that never fully died out, which constantly created varying levels of friction from the more "native" parts of Equestria to the south. More to the point, Severnaya was cold and relatively barren, which created a less hospitable climate and standard of living that the rest of Equestria enjoyed, even with full pegasus attention devoted to terraforming the climate - terraforming the country never really got, due to the weather conditions being unpleasant and the aforementioned cultural friction leading to Severnayan Equestria often getting overlooked by the rest of the country. This wasn't a matter of deliberate neglect by Celestia; she assumed every part of her country was fine, and nopony told her otherwise because, hey, the princess was working hard enough, and things weren't that much of a problem up there. (While the 50+ years of Severnaya’s history is fascinating in and of itself, it also doesn’t have a whole lot to do with the rest of the setting at hand, unless you’re looking for elaboration on Severnaya’s gradual growth and development during that time period.)

Abruptly, in 991 ALB, Celestia’s neglect for Severnaya became a problem. Namely, particularly hostile northern winds that year - to a degree that weatherponies struggled to manage even in Equestria's southern coast, that sort of "thousand year storm" - lead to barely any crop yields, massive food shortages and a wave of deaths in the Severnayan region from starvation and exposure. Unfortunately for Severnaya, capitalism had been yielding huge gains when combined with growing industrialism for the past century or so, and Princess Celestia naturally assumed that the free market would be able to help the problem fix itself.

It didn't. Instead, southern farmers gouged crop prices, causing grain and produce merchants to offer similarly insane mark-ups and ensure that the few Severnayan ponies able to actually afford food imports were bled dry. The Severnayan region, while much smaller than the entirety of Equestria itself, had a very substantial population largely centered around its very healthy industrial base; the amount of ponies affected by the price gouging was a substantial equestrian shake-up, and Celestia was once again kept in the dark on the basis that things were "working as intended," "not as bad as it looks" and "would sort itself out soon." (And for her part, Celestia found herself struggling to deal with growing racial tensions in the country, particularly the increasingly loud demands for equal rights among Equestria's substantial Thestral population, so her attentions were elsewhere)

Enter Nickel Bucking. A political student and the governor and representative of the Severnayan region since its popular former leader, Steel Stallion, died in an industrial accident in 989 ALB, Nickel rather quickly saw that the situation would not fix itself without substantial reform - not just in the aid procedure, not just in regional governance, but in Equestrian government itself.

Drawing from the ideas of an elderly political philosopher called Caramel Marks, Nickel campaigned for a mixed-market welfare state featuring increased regional representation and democratic election of officials, economic regulation, substantial income redistribution and the gradual abolishment of private property. Nickel believed that his policies were sound and would eliminate the abuses of the rich and entitled upon the poor and downtrodden, create a more fair and just Equestria and ultimately prevent any other tragedies like the one Severnaya had suffered from ever happening again.

Nickel Bucking was expecting to be hailed as a visionary and a hero when he submitted his proposal among Celestia's self-appointed council. Instead, he had the grey laughed off of his ass - even (though not literally) by Princess Celestia, who stated that such drastic reforms simply "weren't possible" at the rate in which Nickel Bucking wanted them implemented and counter-proposed a very weak, vague, watered-down set of compromises to be implemented over the next century.

This, figuratively, meant war. Nickel withdrew his proposal from council and grew withdrawn from the council as a whole. Meanwhile, protests sprang up around Severnaya, rapidly increasing in size, frequency and intensity. Ponies (and a smattering of crystal ponies, yaks and griffons) demanded mass reform increasingly loudly, and over the next three years Celestia sent increasingly large numbers of the Equestrian Guard to quell the protests. Tensions turned hostile, thrown slogans turned into thrown rocks and Cloudbury Cocktails, and the Equestrian Guard responded increasingly harshly.


Finally, on December 13, 994 ALB, a small filly in Princessyn was shot and killed when a guardspony's ill-maintained rifle accidentally discharged during the on-the-street inspection of a suspected Marksist agitator.

It was the final straw. The barely suppressed anger of the pony masses in Princessyn lead to a massive, bloody riot that destroyed almost the entire guard presence in the city at the cost of hundreds of Princessyn lives. The rioting spilled out into the countryside until the entire region all but collectively rose up in revolution, declaring their succession from Equestria and the establishment of a new Severnayan state that adhered to the principles of Bucking and Marks. The equestrian army was called in by the ministry of defense without consent of the princess to smother the revolution in the cradle, which lead to a week of devastating, bloody warfare which both sides would later refer to as The December Revolution. After that aforementioned week, Celestia - who had spent that week out of the continent while planning out colonial reform with her New Mareland subjects - came back to Canterlot and found out exactly what was going on.

Her reaction could be best summarized as "what the fuck is going on here?"

Abruptly, the Equestrian Army's presence was withdrawn entirely from the country. The captain of the guard - Magna Pede, the latest descendent from a long line of guardspony captains - was discharged with prejudice. And Celestia, after a public apology to Nickel Bucking and his fellow revolutionaries, signed a peace treaty that ceded the Severnayan territories to Bucking and those who supported his independent governance in exchange for an end to hostilities and the peaceful extradition of all ponies who did not want to be part of the new country.

Severnaya didn't catch on as the name for the new country, though - Bucking declared that there was too much history and bad blood for that name to represent their new, glorious country. "Marksland" was considered a popular substitute, until the very elderly Caramel Marks declared that he wasn't interested in having the country named after him, believing that it would be the height of hubris and antithetical to the socialist dream the revolutionaries had allegedly fought for. For similar reasons, "Buckingsberg" was disregarded, but Nickel Bucking proposed "Stalliongrad" as an alternative - named after a governor who had been killed before his time by industrial logistics disregarded by Equestria, it was a name that would honor the former popular governor, remind the country of the consequences of inadequate care for its subjects and act as one final spit in the eye towards Equestria. The crowd loved it - and so Stalliongrad was born as a nation, the former city of Princessyn was renamed Stalliongrad and made the nation's capital, and the dream of a socialist utopia - the first in all of Equus - seemed finally ready to bloom.

And, almost immediately, it fell flat on its face.

The primary problem was that, while Stalliongrad had managed to fix its problem, it had still failed to fix the problem - the country was autonomous and governed as it wished to govern itself, but the food shortages hadn’t magically fixed themselves. The land was still relatively barren, with low-quality soil, the climate was still colder and snowier than was ideal for most ponies to live in, and without an actively established weatherpony service the country was in even worse shape to feed itself than it had been in before. Initial efforts towards implementing collectivization were enacted, but Bucking - the closest thing the country had to a leading official at the time - hesitated on pulling the trigger; despite objections from his friends and close advisors, including Caramel Marks, Bucking insisted that with minor revisions to his plan of mixed-market partial agricultural collectivization, Stalliongrad would be able to have a better, more efficient system of food redistribution that would work out better than initial collectivization plans would. Bucking was secretive about the nature of his policy, out of the publicly stated fear that “changes to the perceived faults of the incomplete plan would smother it in its cradle;” nevertheless, due to the fact that he was constantly seen working on the plan, he was let be and it was assumed that whatever plan he had worked out would save the country.

On January 8, 995 ALB, Caramel Marks - who had looked increasingly sickly since the start of the December Revolution - died from complications related to pneumonia. His death was mourned by the entire country, and in one of the country’s first universally agreed-upon acts it was decided that January 8 would be honored as “The Day of the Stalliongrad Dream,” or “Dreamday”. Nickel Bucking took the death particularly hard, and took the day off from signing off on legislature and constructing his agricultural plan to mourn Marks’ death and drink like he hadn’t drunk in a long time.

The next day, a little after noon, Bucking collapsed on the sidewalk while on the way to requisition another set of ballpoint pens for his office. Despite numerous attempts to revive him by a Stalliongrad hospital, he was pronounced dead on arrival - an autopsy would later reveal that his death was caused by the rupturing of an undiagnosed brain aneurysm. To the public, the deaths of two great leaders in two days was nothing short of an unmitigated tragedy. To the politicians and other governing officials, his death was far worse than just the death of a popular figure, the extent of which was fully revealed once the notes related to his agricultural plan had been collected. They were well-organized, perfectly preserved - and thoroughly nonsensical, a jumbled mishmash of parts that likely had made sense to Bucking but which made little sense to anypony else. Utterly unable to use Bucking’s incomplete plan, it was scrapped, and the previous collectivization plans were hastily put back into place, headed by an emergency council lead by two ponies: Vasiliy Pantsushenko and Altidiya Revoltsova.

Ideally, Vasiliy and Altidiya were supposed to compliment each other’s efforts and combine their strengths to lead the collectivization effort along much faster than normal, to make up for its delayed start and the necessity of keeping Stalliongrad fed. Vasiliy, who had an astounding head for numbers and figures and an uncanny ability to keep the big picture in mind, would take care of logistic and the overall implementation of the collectivization plan; Altidiya, a popular orator and surprisingly talented commander during the December Revolution, would have a much easier time keeping her hoof on the pulse of stalliongrad, drumming up support when necessary and reporting failings in the efforts back to Vasiliy, who would be able to subsequently correct them as smoothly as possible. And, had Vasiliy and Altidiya been on the same page, that logic might have gone off without a hitch.

As soon as the two-leader implementation started, however, it became apparent that the idea had been entirely wrong. In order to be able to enact the sweeping changes necessary to fix Stalliongrad’s problems both leaders had been granted equal powers and the effective equivalents of executive order privileges in order to implement their efforts. However, Vasiliy and Altidiya’s political alignments, while ostensibly on the same page, could not have been more different. Vasiliy, a “classical Marksist,” decried any free market collaboration as antithetical to the idea of a socialist utopia and cited the failures of the Bucking plan as an excuse to double down on Stalliongradian isolationism while it implemented collectivization and worked to fix the country’s other issues. Altidiya, however, billed herself as an “Internationalist Socialist” (NOT to be confused with a National Socialist, a.k.a. Nazism); She and her right-hand stallion “Sinister” Serov’s plans for the country’s future saw aggressive collaboration with outside countries, including Equestria, the creation of a new mixed-market partially-collectivized agricultural system that would gradually replace the country’s initial collectivization, and aggressive proselytization of socialist ideology to neighboring countries, with the intent of eventually building up a military powerhouse and declaring war on non-socialist countries to bring them under Stalliongrad’s banner. Naturally, Vasiliy saw Altidiya as a dangerous subversive little better than Celestia, or - after the changeling’s disastrous attempted invasion of canterlot in 1002 ALB - Queen Chrysalis herself. Altidiya, for her part, saw Vasiliy as the sort of stifling, emotionally detached bureaucrat that had sat idly by while the Severnayan ponies starved in the first place, and was a traitor to the revolution’s spirit that would eventually make Stalliongrad little better than Equestria.

Eventually, it stopped being a question of “will one of them pull the trigger,” but “who and when.” After over a decade’s worth of constant infighting and struggling, faltering progress towards fixing Stalliongrad’s myriad economic issues, Altidiya and a collection of her closest associates stormed the office of the soviet on June 11, 1007 AB. Armed with military-grade weapons and operating with the sort of precision characteristic of a plan long in the making, Altidiya’s Squad stormed the Chief Office of the Soviet with the intent of “deposing” Vasiliy and his supporters, purging the cabinet and establishing herself as the sole executive leader of the country.

Vasiliy had, of course, seen such a plan coming for quite some time and planned accordingly. Altidiyas’s squad was utterly unprepared for Vasiliy’s counter-ambush and his expertly-trained loyalist guard; after a brief, but violent struggle, Altidiya’s squad was completely eliminated, and Altidiya herself was subdued, hauled in front of the office steps in chains, had a list of her crimes against the country read to a rapidly assembled crowd of citizens, and publicly executed. The rest of her supporters were purged from the government with varying degrees of violence, leaving Vasiliy as the sole leader of the Stalliongrad Soviet. Out of all of Altidiya’s loyalists with any particularly strong amount of personal power, only one came out of the purges unscathed - Serov, who had fled the country days before Altidiya’s failed coup with all of his numerous personal possessions and disappeared from Stalliongrad without a trace.

Under Vasiliy’s sole leadership, collectivization efforts finally saw the completion of their implementation, along with a slew of other transformational laws that had been waiting in the wings for years. Stalliongrad exploded with activity - though peacefully, this time - and encountered an economic boom referred to as the “Red Summer” that propelled Vasiliy’s reputation to stratospheric levels, cemented Altitiya’s demonization in Stalliongradian history and brought genuine prosperity to the country for the first time since its inception. Contrary to the “Summer” name, though, the Red Summer lasted far longer than three months - it lasted throughout the rest of 1007 and all throughout 1008, ending only in March 15, 1009 ALB.

Which was, after all, when the Changelings invaded Equestria.

Not that Vasily had been unaware of the outside world - he’d been familiar with The War in The Heavens and the subsequent fracturing of Equestria, he’d taken note as the Crystal Empire seceded from Equestria to more peacefully become its own state, and he’d watched with some apprehension as changeling forces rolled into the northern territories and Olenia. But for all Queen Chrysalis’ vengeful ambitions and for all Equestria was at the weakest it had been in a thousand years, he hadn’t assumed that the Queen would be foolish enough to launch a formal war against a country as large and prosperous as Equestria. He also hadn’t taken into account how heavily the queen would rely on mobile warfare tactics or how they’d even been able to manufacture as many high-quality tanks as they had. The Changelings and Queen Chrysalis he had been familiar with were a band of insects blindly following a shortsighted megalomaniac, not the frighteningly effective war machine that was currently plunging its way deep into Equestria and its surrounding territories.

Vasily preferred isolated growth and development to international power games and the risks therein, but he recognized that isolationism was now off of the table. If West Equestria re-militarized and won, there would be no doubt that they would be efficient and powerful enough to start taking back their old territories, and all it took was one ambitious Equestrian guardscaptain looking for revenge over the December Revolution to plunge Stalliongrad back into war. If the changelings won, there was no reason to believe that they’d decide to stop there instead of pushing forth and trying to claim the entire continent for their own. And Queen Chrysalis didn’t seem like the type to settle for a white peace: unless somecreature managed to somehow hold back the queen’s wrath, the only other alternative was for the two nations to fight until neither could fight anymore - at which point, Nightmare Moon’s little empire would likely sweep in and claim all of their territories for her own, assuming she didn’t throw her clusters of loyalists into one country or another and get them all killed.

But while Vasily wasn’t fond of Queen Chrysalis’ delusional thirst for power, he wasn’t keen on Stalliongradian’s finally-recovering army being sent off as fodder for the sake of their former oppressors. If he’d get involved in the struggle, he’d get involved on his own terms. On Stalliongrad’s own terms. On socialist terms. And that meant looking outward towards nations who could be turned away from the path of the entitled few and create a union that could stand up to the changeling menace - a union that, one way or another, could eventually become a true union, bound under the principles of the common pony and striving for a future that glorified the many instead of the few.

Quietly, Vasily slanted Stalliongrad’s industry towards material production, had Stalliongrad’s armies train for a nebulous “defense of the union” and waited for an opportunity. It didn’t take long; on June 21, which would later be referred to as “The White Solstice,” the Changeling Empire launched a massive assault into Crystal Empire territories while tying up the bulk of Equestria’s currently fielded forces on a jagged, fluctuating frontline. Without any support from its ostensible ally and woefully underprepared for a changeling invasion, Crystal Empire lands fell to the changelings at an alarmingly fast rate. By July 11, The Crystal Empire’s hastily mustered and deployed army was shattered by the changeling’s advance, leaving the future of the empire looking extremely bleak.

With the changeling army merely days away from the crystal palace, one of Stalliongrad’s top generals - a stallion named Fiat Coin - approached Princess Cadance with a message on Vasily’s behalf. Stalliongrad would not, according to the message, stand idly by and watch the massacre and subjugation of “innocent” ponies “victimized by megalomaniacal and apathetic tyrants alike.” The proposal was simple: In exchange for intervention in the war effort “when and where it is necessary,” Stalliongrad would offer its full military support in defense of The Crystal Empire. The relevant terminology was kept vague in the most important parts of the proposal, and Princess Cadence was fully aware that the consequences of accepting Stalliongrad’s help would likely be terrible - but, in light of the unspeakable horrors promised by a changeling conquest of the crystal empire territories, Cadence agreed.

Stalliongradian troops arrived, and arrived in force. More importantly, they brought the sort of military hardware that The Crystal Empire - and even Equestria, to some degree - was sorely lacking. To state that the changelings weren’t expecting such a heavy resistance when victory was so nearly in reach was an understatement, and the changeling advance was soundly routed - a defeat so costly for the Changeling empire that the previously unstoppable advance was brought to a complete, grinding halt.

In came Valiant Stable - a hippogriff general “on loan” from Stalliongrad to The Crystal Empire’s ground forces to temporarily relieve The Crystal Empire’s seemingly inadequate chief of army Shining Armor from duty. Valiant Stable proved competent, insightful and extremely charismatic, quickly winning over the loyalty of Crystal Empire troops under his command and shifting public perception in favor of Stalliongrad - and, tacitly, against Shining Armor and the princess that had appointed her husband to the chief of army position in the first place. Multiple changeling probing attacks were rebuffed under the military command of Fiat and Valiant; while Fiat primarily lead the troops, Valiant worked to keep the joint Stalliongrad and Crystal Empire armies united and focused while earning the unmitigated approval from crystal empire soldiers and civilians alike with his charm, good looks and demonstrably earnest desire to save as many ponies as he could. While Stalliongrad held the line, Valiant shifted public approval in The Crystal Empire to several military and civilian “restructurings” that would help the war effort and the country as a whole without compromising The Crystal Empire’s core virtues: pressured by public opinion and Vasily’s continue assistance with the war effort, Princess Cadance found herself approving more and more drastic changes to the country’s constitution and general legislature, and did not fail to notice that Stalliongrad’s war efforts increased almost in tandem with the dwindling of her power.

Vasily’s efforts didn’t stop at The Crystal Empire, however. When rumors of a changeling incursion into Yakyakistan spread, he shifted some of Stalliongrad’s troops away from the front line and made a similar offer - with a similar outcome - to Yakyakistan. When the governor of the sizeable northern country of Nova Griffonia was assassinated and no clear line of succession was present, Vasily sent in groups of “borderless nurses” to help aid griffons injured or rendered homeless by the riots that followed while he kept tabs on the actions of the country’s provisionary council and potential claimants of power. For weeks, his state-sponsored volunteers aided urban communities under (occasionally literally) fire while proving themselves incorruptable socialist icons, directly and indirectly galvanizing the country’s Nova Griffonian socialists and socialist sympathizers; when a coup was inevitably (and finally) launched by a trio of griffons later to be found responsible for the former governor’s assassination, the Nova Griffonian socialists - who had “somehow” managed to acquire large numbers of military-grade infantry equipment - resisted, and eventually counter-couped the trio’s forces and established the newly-christened Nova Griffonian Unitary Republic (NGUR) to massive public support and gradually sent their forces southward to aid in Stalliongrad’s various struggles.

This league of nations - Stalliongrad, The Crystal Empire, Yakyakistan and the NGUR - would ultimately be the reason why Queen Chrysalis failed to conquer Equus. The league did not push aggressively into Changeling territories, but formed an unbreakable line that halted Changeling advancement into the area cold. In order to maintain the perception that the Crystal Empire front hadn’t been spontaneously abandoned, the Großeswechselndes Reich was forced to commit troops into the area and make occasional “probing” attacks that gave them small amounts of temporary ground at best before they were pushed back. Stalliongrad’s armies weren’t an invading force: they were a resource sink that ate troops and equipment, one which Queen Chrysalis was forced to feed in order to avoid appearing weak. And whenever Chrysalis stayed idle on the Stalliongrad front for too long, Vasily would have the country’s troops press forward until Queen Chrysalis deployed more troops to the front line and pushed him back again, much to Queen Chrysalis’ frustration.

The years dragged on, much to the frustration of all fronts. Queen Chrysalis, hoping for a fast and painless conquest of Equus, was starting to lose the support of the changelings that were supposed to be indoctrinated and utterly loyal to her rule. Princess Celestia, having mobilized more and more of her ponies and dedicated more and more of her production to wartime armaments, was finally able to win more than phyrric victories on the battlefield, though not at the cost of a truly incredible amount of lives butchered like cattle before the Changeling advance. Even Stalliongrad’s comrades of all stripes were beginning to question the point of occupying and defending a country when they could push inward towards Changeling territories, despite their equipment being well-suited for defense but much less effective on the offensive.

After eight years of brutal conflict full of legendary battles, horrific massacres and war crimes committed on every front of the war, Queen Chrysalis’ main generals and core advisors had enough, and began to more heavily imply (without directly speaking treasonously) that their wartime gains were sufficient and that creating a unified Equus had only a slim chance of success and was ultimately a lost cause. While not one to accept direct advice, Queen Chrysalis eventually and “independently” proposed a Großeswechselndes Reich-favoring cease fire: the Changeling Empire would occupy roughly a third of the Yakyakistani, Crystal Empire and West-Equestrian territories in exchange for five years of “Mutual de-escalation of hostilities.”

The Crystal Empire and Yakyakistan, of course, refused. At which point Stalliongrad revealed just how many powers it had guaranteed itself over both countries in the name of unity, national collaboration and the mutual defense effort. The degree of influence that The Crystal Empire and Yakyakistan had over their own affairs, autonomously, was somewhat within their countries’ control; the degree of influence they had over affairs of Stalliongrad’s interest, however, were negligible. Cue riots, the cracking down on the riots by Stalliongrad’s troops and the sinking simultaneous realizations by Princess Cadance and Prince Rutherford that their respective rulerships were, for all intents and purposes, ended.

From there, Stalliongrad accepted Queen Chrysalis’ offer, signed off on “The Peacetime Pact of 1017” and enacted the bratstvo program: a “mutual” effort of uniting Vasily’s wartime alliance under a single unified supergovernment, the Severnyy Soyuz. With this unification came the restructuring of governments, when necessary, in order to enforce compliance and “establish unity” with Stalliongrad’s government model. This also functioned as a loyalty gauge of the Severnyy Soyuz’s various unified countries, and the results were exactly as expected: the NGUR were unwaveringly loyal, Yakyakistan accepted occupation grudgingly at best and The Crystal Empire’s citizens were torn between loyalty to Stalliongrad and loyalty to their princess. Accordingly, Stalliongrad left the NGUR alone, purged Prince Rutherford and had him replaced with the socialist hardliner Karsak Sükhbataar and enabled a decentralized form of Stalliongrad’s model in The Crystal Empire that let the princess and her family retain their titles and nominal powers while keeping them relegated to figureheads for the country.

Theoretically, this should have been the high point for Stalliongrad: if any core combatant could ultimately be declared the winner of the war, it would be the Severnyy Soyuz. The reality, of course, wasn’t so simple: while less soldiers had been lost by Stalliongrad than by both other military parties, Stalliongrad didn’t have as large a population to work with in the first place, and their dead soldiers were supplemented by the deaths of NGUR, Crystal Empire and Yakyakistani soldiers, to say nothing of the costs of eight years of military spending and the necessary (and somewhat drastic) retooling of the economy towards civilian production among four different countries. Food supplies began to run low as soldiers returned home to croplands that had been abandoned or overtaxed by the government to make the soil effectively useless in the short term, necessitating international collectivization programs. While Vasily had successfully implemented collectivization programs in Stalliongrad, those programs were ultimately based in a single country very loyal to the socialist cause. Vasily’s experience in collectivization implementation were stymied by two factors: The lack of arable land in the NGUR and the resistance to collectivization attempts by The Crystal Empire - recently rechristened as the Crystal Worker’s Union - and Yakyakisan, which stubbornly refused to accept any renaming of their country. The lack of arable land, ultimately, was an insurmountable problem for NGUR’s growing and steadily urbanizing population: while the country was capable of providing plenty of precious metals, they also grew increasingly dependent on collaboration with Stalliongrad to keep both countries fed and happy. Yakyakistan, slowest to accept urbanization, was forced harder into the collectivization model than the crystal empire; were it not for the extremely present fact that their token armed forces wouldn’t stand a chance against Stalliongrad’s focused might, rebellion would have already been underway. The Crystal Worker’s Union, or CWU, had the most mixed collectivization response of the three: incomplete industrialization of the country ensured that not everypony could afford to find work in urban areas, but the increasingly heavy demand for agriculture ensured that nopony wanted to work in the farms if there was a way to escape it, either.

Ultimately, Stalliongrad was able to pull together his international collectivization plan while rapidly industrializing the three countries that had come under its domain. The price for this, besides nearly fifteen years of sociopolitical drama that Stalliongrad was slow to recover from, was the country’s soul; even the ponies lucky enough to live in Stalliongrad could see that their country was heavily oppressive to those who weren’t willing to play ball with its politics, dictatorial in its demands over the Severnyy Soyuz’s operations and apathetic to the concerns of individual citizens. Though it may have been for a noble goal, Stalliongrad had become exactly like their former masters had, if not worse, and unification and integration attempts lost a fair amount of approval from Stalliongradian ponies on moral grounds as well as racial ones.

Were the leadership not in capable hooves, it would have been highly likely that the Severnyy Soyuz would have fractured by 1020 and gone into civil war. But Vasily was nothing if not a meticulous planner, and while continuing to hammer out legislature and refine policies Vasily promoted Fiat Coin and Valiant Stable to positions of political prominence and assigned them to negotiate with and manage the affairs of different parts of the Severnyy Soyuz: Fiat Coin aided in the governance of the CWU, while Valiant Stable aided the NGUR’s efforts, and both countries saw marked improvement in standards of living and overall approval of Stalliongrad within five years of their employ. Within the five year stretch came the foundation of two top-secret organizations: the Severnyy Soyuz Superlative Service (4S), designed to “investigate and assist in foreign affairs of domestic importance,” and the Severnyy Soyuz Bureau of Clandestine Intelligence (BCI), which functioned as the Severnyy Soyuz’s secret police.

Since the foundation of those two nations, very little information of national importance has emerged from beyond the Severnyy Soyuz’s borders. This is undoubtedly partly due to the 4S’s efforts to maintain privacy and ensure that leaked documents don’t enter the wrong hooves. That said, it’s possible that the lack of important intel may be partially due to the fact that the country was in the longest stretch of peace that it had seen since its inception. Various degrees of political instability and policy reform occurred during the following thirteen years, but nothing actionable by Equestria’s assorted intelligence officials.

That may be about to change, however. The year is 1033, and rumors are spreading of Vasily’s faltering ability to process his workload, a stressful task which he had nevertheless managed admirably for decades. Succession rumors and possibilities sprang up and would not be silenced, though not of Fiat Coin or Valiant Stable: the former had disappeared from politics seven years prior in disgust at “Ser Pantsushenko’s disregard for the ideals of socialism,” while Valiant Sable had retired the year after to spend more time with his wife - a NGUR griffoness - and their three adopted children. Without his two most useful and faithful pawns, should Vasily retire, he’d need to place the country in the right hooves. Despite the peace and the resolutions of most of the Severnyy Soyuz’s struggles, the challenges of tomorrow may destabilize their present peace, to say nothing of the tensions of the CWU or Yakyakistan. It remains to be seen whether Stalliongrad will remain the preeminent symbol of Socialism in all of Equus, or if the symbol will shatter itself onto the rocks of time and leave nothing but anarchy behind.

Comments ( 1 )

Moral of the story: For the love all that is frosted, Tia, learn to delegate. Though keep an eye on who you're delegating to, watching both for yes-ponies and those eager to push their own agendas.

I can hardly blame her for getting a little complacent after several centuries of prosperity, but if she hadn't been stretched quite as thin at the turn of the millennium... Ah well, that's a different playthrough. I do like how the passing of generations and succession crises are becoming a theme in this setting. And we've barely addressed the alicorns in the room, or the divided state of Equestria.

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