Polity Name: Kosmicheskie Voyska Autonomous High Command Color: RED CD0000 Summary: Russia’s victory over China was the greatest victory in human history. Russia a weak power, the last beleaguered outpost of the white race left in the world, had cast down the Asiatic tiger. With China defeated, the “Asian century” was over, and a new white era had begun. The defeat of China was also heralded as a new Plassey – a chance for Russia to impose its will on East Asia and reap the economic rewards with Manchuria and Korea added to her sphere. Others thought it closer to a Second Stalingrad which would herald the birth of a renewed Russian Empire in Central Asia, much as the first had represented a down payment on Eastern Europe. The military seduced by its own brilliance, arrogant in its belief that it could deliver Russia control of the heartland, and with it the geographical pivot of the world, saw their Divine Victory as all three. To the military and its many supporters, Russia had been given the opportunity to establish her hegemony over the entire world – and thanks to the weak civilians she had squandered it. The military while angry was not incorrect in thinking that Russia should have seized the advantage while she could. With China in chaos, she could have carved herself a sphere of influence and gone some way to correcting her demographic and economic decline. But her victory was not followed up and before long Russia found herself in the same position as before militarily strong and nothing else. The public caught the militaristic fire for a while, but the demands of ever-increasing military expenditure as the economy tottered and the constant war scares against her numerous neighbors soon dented enthusiasm. Some civilian militarists stayed the course and soon consolidated into the near defunct Liberal Democratic Party of Russia attracted by its long dead founder Vladamir Zhironovsky’s visions of a renewed Russian Empire. Zhironovsky, Russia’s greatest modern thinker, held that Russia must break into the Mediterranean, Indian Ocean, retake Jerusalem; unite the Slavic races under Russia’s benevolent control; bring the True Church to all of her new territories; and reassert control of the remaining territories of the former Soviet Union. To this was soon added seizing control of north-east China and Korea the better to assert Russian control over East Asia, a messianic belief in Russian military elan and an absolute commitment to retaining Russian space supremacy. This eccentric set of views proved less than popular with the public. This might have bothered other politicians, but the military elite who inhabited the upper echelons and their “civilian” (in some cases genuinely so) political friends in the Liberal Democratic Party of Russia could not have cared less. They had no desire to win high office. Their goal was far simpler: to ensure that the military was capable of defeating Russia’s enemies and to make use of those capabilities to win the wars Russia needed to achieve its Holy Mission. Their methods: war scares; creative manoeuvres in the Duma; lobbying by the Space League; thorough indoctrination of their officers and men, attacks by paramilitaries on their many enemies; assassinations, accidents and blackmail by the intelligence agencies; and ceaseless protests by their suspiciously well disciplined buzz cut supporters. All this pressure pushed the liberals to continue their spending, but it was never enough to satisfy the military. Funding instead went to vanity projects: colonization of mars and the cosmodrome. Mars to the military was an expensive indulgence that was a drain on the budget, yielding no profit and was moreover a distant target that the Kosmicheskie Voyska (KR) had to do defend. The KR, the premier service so far as it was concerned, would much rather have preferred to take control of the asteroid belt. The synergies were immense: greatly strengthened demand for Russian spacecraft, a huge pool of experienced men and women and ships to tap in wartime, an immense bounty of valuable minerals that could be sold, and an excuse for the KR to make itself felt! The cosmodrome meanwhile was a noose hanging around Russia’s neck. An immense expenditure of resources that forced the KR to hold defensive positions around it and tied their logistics to a single target that could be destroyed in an afternoon. The KR would much rather have preferred a distributed model of production. Shipyards spaced out to protect against surprise attack and reduce the cost of any single loss. All this could have been lived with… had the liberals gone to war and used their decisive edge to knock out Russia’s many enemies. Instead, the liberals, weak indulgent men of no conviction or faith dithered and squandered Russia’s opportunities. The military was aware in a way that the Kremlin was not that for all their superiority in the here and now, Russia’s star was still dimming. While they knew that Russian elan and arms were superior above all, they also knew that Russia’s resources were not growing fast enough to keep up with her military needs. The military also knew that while she commanded an advantage in brute strength much Russian technology was behind a legacy of decades of underinvestment. The Kremlin’s decision to ban the military from acquiring technology from foreign corporations came as a blow to its hopes to catch-up on the cheap. The other services despondently accepted the status quo. But the KR was (allegedly) not deterred and with the connivance of the LDP, friendly oligarchs and Russian space firms sought to solve both problems, at least for itself, on its own initiative. The budget problem was (allegedly) solved by founding Y. A. Gargarin Mining and Space Corporation Mineraly (Y. A. G. Mineraly). The exact ownership structure of Y. A. G. Mineraly remains a mystery but it soon became the leading firm in asteroid mining. This proved a lucrative venture: Russian government subsidies underwrote the cost of the ships, the crews were sourced from experienced veterans of the KR, and competitors soon gave the Mineraly’s vessels a wide berth lest the KR turn up and make “the thieves” leave. Darker rumours had it that the KR ran “little green ships” that would destroy isolated asteroid mining vessels. These rumours were of course vicious slander. Technology transfer was fixed through another corporate vehicle Konstantin Rokossosky Zashchita (K. R. Protection) which as any Russian would tell you was clearly not Russian because its namesake, Rokossosky, was a Pole. Whatever the case, K. R. Protection soon a close partner of Singreal providing protection, maintaining protected facilities in Singreal space which attracted significant Russian military traffic (entirely by coindience!) and acting as escorts to Singreal asteroid miners to protect them from “bandits”. These two vehicles, neither of which have ever been provably linked to the KR, paid out large dividends to persons unknown… right around the time the KR construction costs for new ships and shipyards declined significantly – due to Russia’s vaunted efficiency of course! Moscow was opposed to this, of course, but it was hard for the Kremlin to do much about it. KR was still doing its job and it was hard to argue against that. It was also less demanding on the budget. Moreover, space was vast. The KR command was space based, the better, so they claimed, to maintain control. Even the department itself was spaced based. The ships of the fleet were forever on long runs to Mars (5 months) or multi-year return trips to the asteroid belt. In the name of efficiency and security, the fleet also seldom pulled into station except for maintenance, repairs, and refits. So even if Moscow had tried to do something about it… they would at best have had access to only a few hulls. Worryingly, when the KR did pull into station, they increasingly did so in Singreal stations or in secret KR facilities. Moreover, crews and supplies were switched at pre-arranged locations further reducing their time in port. This might seem hard on the men and women of the KR. But they were used to it. Young women and men who signed up were educated and trained in space. Officers at the military academy in Lubyanka (a nickname) and the ranks at Siberia (another nickname). Many hailed from KR families, were orphans or otherwise unwanted. To foster social cohesion, the service encouraged marriage between void farers and in another break from tradition (and a concession to psychological health) allowed children and partners on their ships. Ships soon became families all their own with the captain as the Father/Grandfather (or Mother/Grandfather) presiding over long tables that could hold the entire complement. At the same time, each ship soon had its own Orthodox Priest and saints’ relics were soon reverently placed in the ship’s chapels turning them into fully fledged churches. The saints where possible sharing the name of the ship. St Peter of Moscow for the KR. Moscow. The KR. Moscow was also the first cathedral in space the seat of the Archbishop of KR Moscow and Metropolitan of all KR Space. Fraternal nationalistic and religious brotherhoods and sisterhoods soon sprung up within the military with evocative names like “The Space Legion of the Archangel Michael”, The Cult of Archangel Michael Heavenly Guardian” “The Order of St. Barbara Patroness of Missiles” and “Nuclear Initiates of St Seraphim of Sarov”. After service in the KR, men and women would serve in Mineraly or K. R. Protection or with Singreal or in a host of other Russian concerns with close links to the KR. Few ever returned to the ground. The long periods in space, the length of service and the fact many were born into it or spent their life in service made the transition to earth gravity difficult. As time went on, the KR command and Moscow became concerned about the potential for a decapitation strike on the homeland (exactly as they had done to China). The huge distances and the lag in communications also worried them since it meant that attacks in space could also come at any time. The risk was such that a new command structure was adopted modelled on that of the Russian ballistic submarine command. But instead of individual captains acting on their own initiative in wartime, the KR service was given full autonomy to act in defense of their interests and those of their Motherlands at all times in space. The peculiar circumstances and specialization of the service also saw it soon take control of its own military appointments. Moscow, in theory, still had control but with command space based and many senior officers in command of ships, rotating command soon became the norm with the most senior officers sometimes months or years removed from the action. Promotions also came from within the service exclusively. Nobody else was qualified. Civilian oversight was also limited to non-existent because it was based on earth. Moreover, even if they had gone into orbit to check… little of the KR’s strength was anywhere near earth. The budget freedom afforded by its commercial interests also served to distance the KR from the government. None of this was overt. The KR still followed orders. But the government lacked the knowledge to even know what the KR was up to most of the time. On the rare occasions it did try and assert its power the KR could and did subvert their efforts. The KR listened to Moscow still, but only ever with ears half open and with a great deal of eye rolling. The KR’s culture: isolated, insular, quasi-independent, ultra-nationalistic, ultra-militaristic and ultra-religious helped no end with this and many have suggested it was what fueled it. As a result, the KR became a world all of its own and rather liked it that way... Militarization 1 – The KR will use its own funds to acquire technology to help close the gap in fields it is behind it. It will also use these to trial new ships, lay down extra hulls, test innovative concepts and maintain its edge in military quantity and surpass its foes in military quality. Regular state funding will be used to supplement and support this drive. Interplanetary Exploitation 2 – stripping the heavens of valuables alongside will help the KR fund its war machine, now that Moscow is fixated on other things, while also ensuring that the KR has a ready supply of ships and crew that can be tapped during wartime. It helps that the KR patrols are active against pirates and that Russian and Singreal vessels are safe. Others… are not so lucky. Orbital Manufacturing 1 – the KR needs shipyards to maintain, repair, refit, upgrade and construct their vessels. The Cosmodrome could be destroyed in an afternoon and with-it Russia’s hopes of a glorious future. What the KR builds instead are distributed facilities that provide insurance against a surprise attack and allow the KR to control the space lanes. These facilities are built in out of the way places or near Singreal’s well situated facilities.