My name is Dmitry Arsenyovich Nikudayev. I was originally but a humble clerk in our nation’s Ministry of Justice, but I now find myself as its most senior official. A string of terrorist attacks on our Foreign and War Ministries has left many of our best statesmen and bureaucrats dead, the latest in a trend that once claimed the life of Tsar Alexander II. My task to protect Russia has never been more stressful, as now many of my peers have been placed under the protection of our imperial police… both public and secret. By His Majesty’s will, I will do my most earnest to ensure that our infrastructure, military, and our overall integrity of a nation are not interfered with by these terrorists. Spoiler : As of my writing on this New Years’ 1895, to say that our position leaves something to be desired would be an understatement. Our Empire is barely remaining solvent, and that’s mostly because we have remained frugal in our funding of scientific discoveries. We do, however, have the world’s second-largest population and geographic area, second in both to only the British Empire. Embezzlement is a severe problem in many parts of the Empire, with some cities so corrupt that we are losing over half of our expected tax revenues to officials. Our military, while large, is poorly-trained and equipped and we must rely on our terrain and our numbers to obtain victory. My first order of business upon entering His Majesty’s graces was a massive reorganization of our legal system. While I can attest that the Cheka are most useful, they have their limits in providing law on a day-to-day basis. Via the purging of old police forces and the training of new officers, as well as ensuring there is much to fear if one is caught stealing His Majesty’s funds, I was able to cut down corruption in areas particularly rife with it such as Central Asia. Of course, the largest obstacle faced by Russia’s economy and military is perhaps the lack of a railway between our Pacific and European coastlines. Were the Japanese to assault us, we would be hard pressed to repel them. At the time of this report, it is estimated that completion of the railway will take at least 10 years. While future labor will likely cut this, it does present a rather large obstacle to Russia’s security. Of course, that is a matter for the Public Works Ministry and Defense Ministry, not myself in my humble Justice Ministry… … September 3rd, 1985. When I received word that our great capital city had pioneered the world’s first X-Ray Machine, I was filled with joy. Despite continuing to have a sluggish economy, Russia has managed to become the leading scientific power. At my urging, however, the War Ministry was quick to advise the Tsar that we would soon have to consider expanding our military. … March 9th, 1896. At the urging of the Treasury Ministry, the Tsar commanded that we adopt the Gold Standard. This enormously improved confidence in the imperial ruble, stimulating economic growth. Russia’s revenue had grown faster than it costs, all without prohibitive tax raises, and the Empire was now solvent. The military was also spread thin, however… … As the military has begun to slowly expand around the Caspian Sea, Russia has had the honor of hosting the World Fair in 1896. Russia has signed lucrative trade agreements along its entire western border; this has convinced the world that the Russian Bear is a gentle giant with peaceful intentions, at least with regards to Europe. We went so far as to annul our alliance with the French, putting the Germans at ease. Though we have continued to argue for the southern Slavs’ interests in the Balkans, we have otherwise embraced a policy of non-interference on our western frontiers. Of course, like all close advisers, I knew that the Tsar had taken our (I emphasize our) advice and was considering war on other frontiers…. But of course, we continue to feed the masses their pipe dream. With our holding of the Olympics in Moscow, we have demonstrated not only our athletic prowess, but the peaceful intentions of Russia. … Today is December 31st, 1896. I have submitted my end of year report to the Tsar. Estimated embezzlement has dropped from highs of thirty to fifty percent down to a low of ten in the most corrupt locations. Our economy is roaring, and even though statisticians overseas report that Russia’s power has declined, they could not be any more wrong. Now that our bureaucracy and regulatory framework have been simplified as well as purged of most inefficiency, we are more poised than ever to make ourselves known on the global stage. My compatriots in other Ministries report improvements, with the exception of the War Ministry, though as our naval buildup in the Caspian proceeds, I’m sure the Minister of War will become more satisfied… … February 5, 1897. I must admit it was rather disturbing to hear the Minister of War’s cries silenced by a shot, but such is the nature of treason in Russia. His Majesty has invested me with provisional authority over the military for a few weeks’ time until a suitable replacement can be found. Our naval buildup in the Caspian is proceeding without a hitch, and we have amassed thousands of ground troops. Our plan is to push into Persia so as to acquire a supply of cheap labor for the Empire. We will also be able to close the Caspian to warships and save considerable amounts of manpower and finance. … June 20th, 1897. His Majesty has announced the merging of the Justice and War Ministries into the National Security Ministry at the grand opening of the new Imperial Military Academy. I have been granted enormous responsibilities, overseeing both our police forces as well as our military. I can only hope that by combining our security against threats foreign and domestic that we can make Russia more secure than ever before. … August 29th. Russia’s scientific assent continues without delay, and we have made numerous discoveries in the fields of physics, while our engineers were also able to build a telegraph cable across the Bering Strait.