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Republic of Drevstran
Motto: All for the peoples
|Ethnic groups |
|Government||Unitary parliamentary constitutional monarchy|
• President of the Parliament
• 2018 estimate
• 2016 census
|810 billions USD|
• Per capita
|Date format||dd/mm/yyyy (AD)|
Drevstran, officialy the Republic of Drevstran, is a unitary constitutional monarchy in Eastern Belisaria. It shares land-borders with Velikograd, Seredinia and Milostia and a maritime border with Ostrozava.
Crossroad between the West and the East, Drevstran evolved under the influence and pressure of many flux of populations, ideas, and neighboring empires. The territory of modern Drevstran was for centuries inhabited by a succession of peoples, including Celts, Germanic tribes, West Slavs, and Nogaric People. For most of its history, what will become the modern Drevstran state was divided into three or more polities, which were only united in 1696 with the creation of the Triple-Crown. The current Kingdom was only created in 1920. About two thirds of Drevstran was part of the Velikoslavian Empire but the Lushyodor Kingdom stayed independent, even when it was in personal union with the velikoslavian duchies.
In the 21th century, the Kingdom of Drevstran is a Bicarmeral Constitutional Monarchy that keeps up a social security and universal health care system. It has a national “Code for the Workers and their Working Conditions” and a number of state-sponsored unions. The current system is called the Second Mervoshia and emerged after the Black Street Days and the end of the de-facto one-party dictatorship that took power after the end of the Civil War. The current Mayor of the palace is Mïgrai Bharamut.
Drevstran is a name of Ludz origin. It comes from the name of the main river that run all thourough the country, the Drev, Stran meaning "country". Therefore, Drevstran can be translated to "Drev-Country" or "Country of the Drev".
The Lushyods arrived in the region of the Drev during the early 9th century. After pillaging and raiding the Drev river valley, they installed themselves upstream, in the Furodommark. Their chieftain, Gerza, had two son who survived to adulthood. One inherited the Furodommark, while the other, Worsak migrated eastward with his people and conquered the banks of the Drev River, converted to Orthodox Christianism and crowned himself King of the Drev in 816.
In the West, the Lushyod Chiefdom became the refuge of many heretic christian theologians who founded many schools, sects, and other religious movements. A generation later, Garza III converted to Christianism, without specifying to which denomination exactly, and greatly reformed the Lushyods customs, securing the Furodommark as entirely his, and core of the Lushyod Kingdom (Lushyodorstag). He also baptized and crowned posthumously his father and grand-father, as a way to further secure his holdings.
The 10th century AD saw the emergence of a new religious movement in the Kingdom of the Drev : the Iconoclasts who professed the importance of destroying icons and other images of the christ or of the saints. Their rise in power culminated with the rule of King Worsac IV, who was an Iconoclast sympathizer, removing all images of the saints in the royal chapels, nominating iconoclasts bishops and abbots, and generally favoring iconoclasts through royal decrees and decisions. In 1014, Worsac IV was murdered and his young son, Worsac V, was put under the regency of his father's cousin : Duke Havar of Vizstran, who was nominated as the new Mayor of the Royal Palace. Havar completely overturned the previous king's decisions, favoring Iconodules and violently repressing Iconoclasts riots instead. In 1020, Havar was murder too, starting a period of struggle for power inside the Iconodule faction. This allowed Karro, Margrave of Sevromark, to raise an important army and march on the capital, capturing it and the king in one campaign. Karro then forced the young monarch to nominate him as his Mayor and Regent, and recreated a Court once again friendly to Iconoclasm. In 1022, Worsac V died at the age of fifteen without an heir. Karro refused to take the mantle of King of the Drev, instead erecting his March into the Kingdom of the Sevr.
The creation of this new kingdom forced the Iconodules faction, left in shamble and forced to flee south of the Drev by Karro's military actions, to re-unite. After a few struggles and intrigues, it's the Duke of Yugstran, Yarvos, who became their new leader through the support of the Church and the prestige he acquired during his successful defense of the Drev against Karro's armies. But rather than reclaim the title of King of the Drev, Yarvos preferred to erect his holdings into the Grand Duchy of Yugstran or Grand Duchy of the Yug in 1023.
There is debate among historians about when the Ikonkivoyra ended. Currently there are two schools : the "Little Ikonkivoyra" which consider that the word is only good to cover the two decades between the start of the Iconoclasts mobs and riots and the fragmentation of the Drev Kingdom. The "Grand Ikonkivoyra" however, consider that the War on the Icons did not trully stop until 1260 and the abdication of the last King of the Sevr, thus covering a close-to 250 years long period. The Grand War on the Icons saw Sevromark becoming the main force of the region, pushing back the Lushs of the Lushyodorstag back to the Furodommark and even conquering most of Yugstran, almost re-uniting the old Kingdom of the Drev. Yugstran nonetheless managed to expand through its union with the Orthodox city-states of the Sulken Coast, first taking them as protectorates against the Iconoclast Sevromark, then integrating them fully to the Grand Duchy. But it was saved by its alliance and pact with the Principality of Belogorodka, with the Grand Duke accepting to swear an oath of allegiance in exchange for their support against the Sevromark.
After its defeat by the hand of this new alliance, the Sevromark was re-organized as the Duchy of Drevstran, a title itself given to the Grand-Duke of the Yug. A number of smaller Marches, counties, and other titles, were given to the knights who participated in the re-conquest of the Drev Valley, or to their sons, reinforcing the new orthodox aristocracy.
Rise of the Lushyodorstag
The Lushyodorstag had, during the Small Ikonkivoyra, taken control of most of the Upper Drev and of its affluent, the Mren River. But the control of the Mren and of its valley, the Medenzag, was contested by another state that had rose in the mountaineous region of the Arädzo : the Alban and gothic duchy of Azdraï. Azdraï took the opportunity presented by the recent defeat of the Lushyodorstag at the hands of the Sevromark Kingdom to take control over the Mren River Valley, pushing back the Lushs to their pre-Ikonkivoyra borders. By the beginning of the 12th century, the dukes of Azdraï had also successfully integrated the Alban Pentapolis to their sphere of influence. What followed was an almost two-centuries long tug-of-war between the kingdom and the duchy, with the border moving back-and-forth around the Mren River, devastating the region.
After the end of the Long Ikonkivoyra, Azdraï found itself at war with multiple Velik Knyazes. In 1293, a successful invasion by the Lushs took the entirety of the Mren Valley from them. Fearing a possible Velikian invasion, many communities and local lords betrayed the Duchy in exchange for the protection of the Lushyodorstag. A second campaign in 1294 culminated with the conquest of the Azdraïte capital, and three others between 1295 and 1298 finished all resistance in the Highlands with the death of the last Duke of Azdraï, Euric at the Battle of Kyrvorat in 1297.
Following its successful conquest of Azdraï, the Lushyodorstag became known as the "Kingdom of the Heretics" or "Land of All the Heresy". The Lushs were already in their majority Docetics christians, but now had large communities of Alban christians under their control as well as Orthodox Iconoclasts who had fled the Sevromark after its fall. While the ruling family, the Gerzaïds, were Docetians, they pledged multiple time to protect "All Christians" in their realm. During this period, all that was needed to open a school was a doctorate, creating a strong, if heterodox, theologic tradition. A grand variety of bibles were written, as each school had a different set of texts it recognized as canon, to the point it became common practice among the copists to write down each book independently, so to avoid confusion. In 1405, a Council in which the Pentapolis Alban Christian Church and the Docetic Church participated, published the first Oecumenical Bible, gathering all the texts common to every school and religion that had participated to the Council. This council was the first of many who debated the integration or retraction of various text from this Oecumenical Bible, notably on the question of the books of the Old Testament.
The 14th century also saw the re-colonization of the Mren River Valley by the Lushs after the devastations of the Losh-Azdraï wars. It allowed for the Furodommark and the traditional centers of the kingdoms to empty themselves of its population who couldn't touch inheritance or whose farms were barely large enough to support their families. This redistribution of lands around the Mren and consolidation in the Furodommark was at the heart of the economic and demographic boom the kingdom enjoyed during the same century without any technological innovation. The House of Garza owning most of the economically growing lands, the prestige of the royal family was reinforced and so was its administration, even with the lack of permanent taxation since the Garzaïds were forced to abandon it with the end of the Losh-Azdraï wars and had now to rely entirely on indirect taxes such as the duties and tolls at the border, and from the profits of their own possessions.
The Triple Crown
In 1690, the Grand Duke of Yugstran died childless and his direct inheritor was the Loshyudostag's King, Farza IV. In opposition, his cousin Yaropolik gathered the support of the Orthodox communities and contested the ducal seat. Once again the Duchy of Drevstran was caught in the middle of the opposing parties. The war ended with the death of Yaropolik at the Battle of Angrast in 1694, and the official conversion of Farza IV to Orthodoxy, which allowed the Prince of Seredya to honorably concede the ownership of Yugstran and Drevstran to Farza, with all that it implies in term of duties and rights in the Grand Principality. Farza moved his capital to Angrast, which was at equal distance between the Solked Coast and the Furodommark plateau, and took both the Docetic and the Orthodox Patriarchs in his privy council. His son, Farza V, inherited all the titles of his father, but stayed Docetian.
By the early 20th century, the “Triple Crown”, often referred as Drevstran because the royal capital, after a bit of back and forth, was now definitively set in Angrast, was under lot of pressures. The economy was still mostly agricultural with only the east and the Lower-Drav that had started to industrialize. Government’s finances were bad, and religious conflicts became more and more common. The popularity of socialists ideas were on the rise and the refusal by the king and his privy council to abandon Absolutism or to make the government’s finances less opaque, made any diplomatic or non-violent options impossible and started a serie of protests that were violently repressed. These repressions led to general Hortankh Bolsar deposing the king Ansmar II in a coup, and take control of the capital in 1913. Generals and military commanders opposed or allied to Bolsar began to fight each other, and charismatic religious leaders started to emerge. Hortankh was assassinated in 1914, and so was his successor the General Abemus Kumar in 1916. The grand victor of the Civil War was General Vilvo Orbraggar.
Once all warlords and various factions of the civil war were defeated, Orbraggar summoned representatives from all the provinces. These representatives were, and it was a first for the country, democratically electeed even if, given the political situation, the elections were under the strict control of Orbraggar's partisans and loyalists. As such, the Assembly was made only of Orbraggar’s men and most direct allies. This Assembly then wrote a new constitution for a monocameral liberal Parliament with an all powerful Mayor of the Palace ruling in the name of the people : the Republic of Drevstran.
With the years, the new Mayor of the Palace slowly but surely became more and more authoritarian. While he at first allowed for multiple independent parties to exist, he ultimately had a law voted making sure all parties had to be certified by the Assembly, which was entirely under his control. Similarily, he pushed for the "Restructuration" of the Economy, slowly working toward the industrialization of the country. Under the Orbraggist Regime, Drevstran became known for its cheap workforce and consumer goods, while the quasi-junta that was Orbraggar and his partisans became very close with the defense industry, and the resulting Military-industrial complex became central in Drevstran's political spheres.
Orbraggar served three mandates of seven years as "Mervoret" as his party, Yednosc!, had completely taken over the electoral process. But in 1941, he decided against presenting himself for a new mandate and decided to retire from politics at the age of 86, to the surprise of many. He would then spend the rest of his day in his family's mansion in the Furodommark. He would die in 1943 of an aneurysm.
Orbraggar's designed successor was Vernesto Skolad, a man nicknamed "The Whip of the Mervoret" for his role in keeping the Assembly under control. He continued his predecessor's policies, and would be re-elected for a second mandate in 1948, but the pressure kept on the people to make the country "competitive", the authoritarian rule of the Yednosc! and of the army, and the lack of any political freedom beyond surface level was slowly but surely building up rescent against the government. Combined with Vernesto Skolad's lack of popularity even inside his own party, it all came to ebullition during the events known as The Black Streets Days.
The Black Streets Days
Black Streets Days is the name given to the protests and riots that led to the end of the Orbraggist Regime. While during General Orbraggar's own rule, any attempt by workers to unionize or form syndicates was met with extreme violence and harshly repressed, there was little opposition to his regime as the Mervoret enjoyed a quasi-messianic image among the population and he was, and still is, genuinely considered a national hero. His successor, the Colonel Skolad, did not enjoy such prestige. Plus, he lacked Orbraggar's finesse and humility. And so, even if he never did anything his predecessor didn't, Skolad's rule was universally hated.
In 1953, a police crackdown on an illegal gathering of workers in the slums of Pristskvel ended in a spontaneous riot that forced the police to abandon the district. The crackdown had been against an Anarchist cell, part of a larger anarchist network animated by the charismatic Obrichko Dursia. Through his relentless efforts, fiery speeches, and constant evasion of the police, Dursia had become the most important leader of the underground opposition. His partisans had established themselves in every great and minor cities of the country, creating "Free Associations", Worker Funds, and Work-Study Programs to help educate the workers. Dursia denounced the Orbraggist authoritarism. He argued that a free self-managed, self-governed society could only be established through "Vanguard Democracy", which would only be the first step on the road toward this idealized society while waiting for the education of the people had created a "civilized environment" where every man and woman was civil to each other, ready to move forward.
What's more, Skolad, in a desesperate attempt to solidify his rule, spend his entire time tracking down his opponents, only becoming more and more authoritarian with each passing month. New laws were voted, evermore restrictive, and the tension became unbrearable for many. The "Pristksvel Crackdown" failure sparkled a wave of support for the rioters, and many other underground cells and unions, alligned with Dursia or not, sent calls for strikes and protests, which were largely followed. It took only a few days for most of the country, the capital included, to be paralized by the strikers, and the black flag of Dursia's anarchists became a common sight, giving its name to the events.
While at first not willing to participate in or support the quasi-spontaneous movement, Obrachko Dursia ultimately joined in. He notably gave a famous speech in front of the Vilna textile factory, turning strike breakers into rioters before they themselves protected him against the police, allowing him to flee. The "Vilna Strike Breakers" are still remembered as heroes by most Drevstraneses for their actions.
But the turning point was when General Andervi Bogerra approached Dursia. Bogerra represented members of the public administration and of Yednosc! opposed to Skolad, and was willing to help the anarchist enter the capital and occupy the Mervoret's Palace. After a night of negociation, an agreement was found and two days after, Dursia entered the Capital in something of military triumph, escorted by both soldiers of the 8th regiment of infantry and by Anarchists rioters. Skolad fled and without supporters, was ultimately caught and judged by an "Exceptional Tribunal", alongside some of his closest allies.
After the Orbraggists
With the end of Skolad's rule, a Provisory Executive Committee is formed. Dursia and Bogerra were members of this committee, alongside representants of the socialists, communists, syndicalists, and other movements.
The Commitee's role was to prepare three new elections : one for a Mervoret, one for a new Assembly, and one for a Constituent assembly charged with updating the Constitution of the country. While Bogerra and the remnants of Yedsoc! wanted to use the electoral system as already existing to organize these elections, the Committee decided it would be preferable to create a new one.
Administrative Regions were removed. Municipalities were now grouped into Departments. The Assembly was double, with a Diet now complementing the renamed Parliament. But contrary to Yedsoc!'s wishes, this new Diet was also to be elected. The biggest influence Dursia will have on this new electoral process is the fact that every year, the Representatives will have to return to their constituencies to be judged by a Committee of a representative number of randomly selected citizens, who will decide if the Assembly member did a good job representing them. If the Committee judge that he isn't suitable for his position, they can remove him and start a new local electoral process.
The first elections, for the Constituent Assembly, took place three months after the Black Streets Days, in August 1953. It took one year for this assembly, mainly made up of anarchists and socialists, with only minor groups of royalists and republicans plus the Yedsoc! remnants, to produce a final constitution that was signed and approved by the King. During this year, the Provisory Executive Committee went away nonetheless in establishing the new administrative divisions, and organized the communal elections for the mayors and city councils. It's only in September 1954 that the Drevstraneses finaly could vote for their representatives at the Parliament, the Diet, and then for their government. Dursia became the third Mervoret of Drevstran, with a majority of Anarchists in both assemblies.
The Second Mervoshia
The Mandate of Mervoret was reduced from seven to five years following Dursia's demands. Dursia main focus during his mandate as Mervoret was to apply his ideas to the Drevstranese society. Agricultural Cooperatives emerged in the countryside, while Unions and Syndicates now could openly operate in the cities. Laws regulating working conditions were passed, establishing a first true Labour Code. Private schools were either closed or reconverted into public universities, while the budget allowed for the education minister was boosted, following Dursia's belief that the true liberation of the people could only come through proper education.
But despite their dominant position and influence, the Anarchists were unable to push their agenda completely : They only managed to separate the church from the state and only closed an handful of places of worship. They installed cooperatives and associations, mutual credit banks, and even started the process of collectivisation in specific regions of the countryside but couldn't get rid of private property in favour of personal property. The government's involvement in local affairs was reduced to its bare minimum and was constantly balanced by the powers of local communities, but it was there nonetheless, with efforts to get rid of mayors ultimately ending in a failure. By the end of his mandate, Dursia had lost most of his popularity, being too mild for the radicals, and too radical for the moderates. He was not re-elected in 1959, leaving the place of Mervoret to the liberal conservator Marveil Urshlo.
Urshlo was not more successful in fullfilling his agenda than the Anarchists were before him. He re-opened many places of worship, restored supports to the various recognized Churches of Drevstran, reduced tariffs on imported goods, but his attempt to change the Labour Code, to privatize the public factories, reduce the power of the unions, or abolish the Agricultural Collectives were all defeated by the Parliament. Even his attempt to give back more nominal powers to the King was stopped by the public's outrage. At various points of his rule, fighting between mobs of Anarchists students and "Blue Guards" militias led some to belief the unstable balance of the Second Mervoshia was about to be upset, but no larger movement or social upheaval ever came from these violences confined to the edges of marches and rallies.
The country can be divided into three historic and geographic regions. From East to West there’s the well developed and urbanized Solked Coastline ; the Kolybel Valley which was heavily industrialized around the river itself but agriculture become more and more prominent as the distance from the river increase. And then, to the very west, there’s the “Furodommark” plateau, a country of small hills with a culture and heritage very distinct from the rest of the country, and where the Drev take its source.
Drevstran suffered tremendous economic losses during the Civil War of 1916 - 1920. Even before that, Drevstran’s economy was still mainly agricultural compared to other Belisarian nations.
Orbraggar’s policy in the wake of the creation of the new unified kingdom was to first restructurate Drevstran’s agricultural production, focusing it on the export of raw material but also on offering cheap human labor to foreign investors and enterprises.
Major crops cultivated in Drevstran were wheat, rye, barley, Rapeseed, and potatoes, Sugar beets, apples, red fruits, and all kind of vegetables like onions, cauliflower or cabbages. The production of meat mostly concerned porks and beef, but also sheep and chicken and horses, with a wide array of dairy products as a result. In the Valley of the Drev, Orbraggar pursued a policy of land reforms, favoring the creation of vast, efficient, farms requiring little workforce compared to before. This policy also forced a grand number of farmer and workers to migrate to the cities to find work rebuilding what had been destroyed by the war, but also ready to accept meagre salaries in factories importing raw materials and exporting cheap goods for the rest of Belisaria, notably for light industries in general.
The Orbraggist government played an important role in supporting the re-emergence of all these industries, promoting local companies and efforts, granting loans with very little interests rates, and trying to do away with most of the old Triple-Crown laws that restricted the entrepreneurs and investors.
Once Drevstran economy started to grow again on these basis, the Mayorship turned their effort toward heavy industry, notably the Defense Industry, with continuous attempt to attract foreign investments. All of these plans were accompanied with important political, structural and military reforms, to do away with the “regionalisms” of the Triple-Crown and create a centralized and efficient monarchy.
Drevstran is officialy a secular country, with no state religion. The freedom of worship is a constitutional right and the Constitutional Court take great care that it's untouched by governmental policies. However, the freedom of worship was already a "Guaranteed Right" under the Triple-Crown, as the royal family couldn't demand the convertion of their subjects to their religion, or declare a state religion.
Drevstran is historically a christian country, with Orthodox christianity becoming the religion of the Ludz city-states in the 6th century AD, while the Lushyods converted to Alban christianity during the 10th century, three generations after the foundation of the Lushyod Kingdom.
The 11th century was a period of religious troubles in the Drev river Valley. In the Lushyod Kingdom, Marcionism re-appeared and settlements started to convert and form communities contesting the dominance of the Albans. In the Kingdom of the Drev, the situation became critical as conflicts between Iconoclasm and Iconodulists started to merge with the ongoing political crisis and led to the Ikonkivoyra, which itself turned into a civil war.
All along this century of turmoil, the "Marcionists" sects evolved, integrating many new ideas and aspects from nearby communities, re-integrating the Old Testament to their Bible and finally gathering in a Synod, the Synod of Pirovarros which led to the creation of the Docetic Church, with it's own credo, bishops, and organization. Docetism would slowly become the dominant religion in the Lushyod Kingdom and the Upper Drev during the next four centuries.
Under the Triple Crown, the Monarchy signed the Edict of Nagvarros in 1704, which granted unprecedented religious freedom by making it the duty of the King to protect all officialy recognized religions in his territories, that member of the royal family could freely change religion, that the monarch could not be required to be of a specific faith to rule, and finally that no crown institution could demand or force the convertion of any of its subjects. The Edict had many consequences, the most important of it was turning what would become Drevstran into a destination for many religious minorities fleeing persecutions, notably Protestants or Gnostics who found refuge under the Triple-Crown.