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|4th President of Soravia|
January 19, 1921 – October 3, 1955
|Preceded by||Tadeusz Czyzewski|
|Succeeded by||Gabriel Tozulyak|
|20th and 23rd Minister-President of Soravia|
March 4, 1910 – August 26, 1912
|Preceded by||Tadeusz Czyzewski|
|Succeeded by||Tadeusz Czyzewski|
November 7, 1915 – March 15, 1917
|Preceded by||Denys Dorosh|
|Succeeded by||Kyrylo Cheban|
Vladislav Andrya Pudovkin
March 22, 1886
|Died||January 27, 1969 (aged 82)|
Ottseda, Belosoravian FSR, UPSR
|Political party||Independent (1906–1921)|
Vladislav Pudovkin (March 22, 1886 – January 27, 1969; aged 82), sometimes known by his agnomen "The Old Stallion" (Soravian: Старий жеребець; Staryy zherebets) was a Soravian statesman and military figure who served as President of Soravia from 1921 to 1955, and two stints as Minister-President of Soravia from 1910 to 1912 and 1915 to 1917. He was a dominant figure in domestic politics during his reign, solidifying the dominance of president over parliament, and later creating a party system of which he was a central figure. He oversaw many periods in Soravian history, including mass industrialisation, the fallout of the Great Collapse, the Great War, as well as Soravia's emergence as a superpower after the war and subsequent strained relations with Eastern Euclea.
Born into a wealthy military family in Nimganopol in 1886, Pudovkin was exposed to military culture from a young age. He attended the Parfino Military Academy in Samistopol from 1900 to 1904, joining the army afterwards, briefly full-time but in 1906 choosing only to serve part-time. He subsequently became involved in Samistopolitan politics, becoming a member of its miskrada (city council) in 1907, where he met Pyotr Petrovich. Pudovkin impressed with his charisma, and his image of a hard-working, patriotic soldier, which he kept despite his brief full-time service, found him popularity amongst the working class. Petrovich ultimately selected him for the minister-presidency in 1910, but resigned in 1912 following disagreements over proactive foreign policy. Tadeusz Czyzewski appointed him in 1915, but disagreements over economic policy saw him resign once again in 1917.
Pudovkin's resignations allowed him to escape criticism for the controversial policies of the Great Collapse, and he later successfully won the presidency in 1921, utilising his popularity amongst the working class, as well as hardliner members of the government. His party apparatus in the ZVNP also indicated a move away from political non-partisanism, which became associated with unaccountability of higher figures. He spearheaded economic recovery and the war effort, eventually being boosted by Allied victory and Soravia's newfound geopolitical status amongst Euclean nations. In 1936, he launched massive reforms to Soravia's political system, establishing the Soravian Nationalist and Revivalist Party as Soravia's sole legal party, modelling it as a popular front, increasing the powers of the presidency and essentially placing the legislature under his control. Economic growth and post-war euphoria put his popularity at an all-time high during this period, but was quickly undermined by the Miersan General Strike and the Godfredson Plan, which strained relations between Soravia and the East, particularly Estmere.
In the 1940s, Soravian participation in the Solarian War greatly dented his political image, which he had moulded into one of efficiency and robyty rechi – "get things done". The particularly bloody Amathian campaign especially brought him negative spotlight, though his opposition mainly operated underground until the final years of his presidency. Growing party opposition to Pudovkin, who became increasingly paranoid of plots to dethrone him, began to stifle government processions. Cabinet members were often appointed and fired on a whim, but his protégé Vilem Gardos eventually brought stability to the government, positioning himself to succeed him, before he was accused of conspiring with his enemies and also axed. Pudovkin appointed Gabriel Tozulyak to the presidency in his resignation speech in 1955, aged 68. He continued on as a member of the ZVNP, though mainly honourary in practice, until his death in 1969.
One of both Soravia and Euclea's most important figures of the 20th century, Pudovkin greatly affected Euclean geopolitics with his strongman rule. The influence of his personality and personal relations in Soravia's domestic policies and foreign relations has been the subject of study by political scientists and psychologists for decades. His usurpation of the legislature and widespread undemocratic reforms, instigated through a self-coup, influenced the rises to power of other dictators around the world. In the 1930s and 1940s, he formed a great personality cult, which, in wake of the war, bolstered his popularity, but this quickly deteriorated in the late-40s and early-50s. Hundreds of monuments, streets and statues are dedicated to Pudovkin throughout Soravia and its former territories, where he is still lauded for projecting Soravian influence, his wartime victories and post-war economic growth. Elsewhere, he is often criticsed for his militarism, autocratic nature and creation of a one-party state.
- 1 Early life
- 2 Early political career
- 3 Minister-President
- 4 Opposition to Czyzewski presidency and beginnings of sanatsiya
- 5 Election to presidency and consolidation of power
- 6 Great War
- 7 Aftermath of the war
- 8 early-mid 40s name tbd
- 9 mid-late 40s name tbd
- 10 Growing opposition and increasing instability
- 11 Foreign policy
- 12 Ideology
- 13 Personal life
- 14 Legacy
- 15 See also
Early political career
First term: 1910–12
Second term: 1915–17
Opposition to Czyzewski presidency and beginnings of sanatsiya
Election to presidency and consolidation of power
Sanatsiya, economic recovery and combatting nationalism: 1921–24
Pudovkin was elected under main promises of ending economic decline, ending political instability and combatting institutional corruption. In response to the latter, Pudovkin devised sanatsiya, a wide-reaching program that sought to combat corruption but often was used in persecuting opposition parties and promoting authoritarian policies with the end goal of limiting legislative influence, which Pudovkin regarded as the "roots" of instability in the Soravian political system. While sanatsiya was not necessarily a core facet of Pudovkin's political program externally, it had large influence in internal politics. Many supports of sanatsiya initially acted as éminences grise, most notably Ivan Mykhajlyuk, who also founded the ZVNP in 1920.
Soravia's economy had been hit particularly hard by the Great Collapse, and hostility towards urban labourers under the Czyzewski administration had worsened its effects. In conjunction with economic minister Vaniamin Chepurin, Pudovkin sought to introduce sweeping economic reforms that would end would end the Collapse and faciliate economic growth, particularly in urban areas. Chepurin and Pudovkin stimulated the military-industrial complex, setting them apart from other Euclean economic reformers, as their main source of new industrial activity. New seaports were constructed in Samistopol, Luchintsy and Koskunen, as well as other major construction projects across the country, such as motorways, bridges, as well as other minor ports, such as Ottseda, which boosted its local economy as part of the wider Lake Min trade network. Both Chepurin and Pudovkin were lauded for their reforms, which benefitted massively Soravian trade in the Perovo Sea, as well as domestic industrialism. The economy began recovering in mid-1922, and was growing by the end of the year.
One of the main challenges that Pudovkin faced coming into the presidency was combatting the rise of nationalism among Soravia's many constituent ethnic groups. The rise of nationalist fervour that had been spurred on by the Great Collapse had been complimented by the Soravian Section of the Workers' International, who in 1918 had officially adopted the Soravonemtsovist policy of national personal autonomy as their response to growing calls for self-determination. Pudovkin introduced further local government, in addition to the legislative already being split along sub-national lines. He often alienated the Section by drawing comparisons in its "revolutionary politics" to the neighbouring April Revolution, where its conflict, persecution, economic and political damage and societal upheaval were emphasised as "unavoidable consequences" of "revolutionary socialism".
More often than not, however, Pudovkin side-stepped the "nationality question" in his early days. Focusing mainly on ending economic stagnation and the Great Collapse, his recovery policies made him popular amongst urban labourers, and the presence of trade unionists in the ZVNP in the early 1920s further contributed to his growing amicability with the working class. Nationalist fervour continued to exist – and sometimes thrive – in academic circles, though many of theses were centred outside of Soravia in cities such as Istros, Morwall and Neem.
Militarisation and rise in party power: 1924–26
The rise of functionalism in Gaullica began to pose an increasing threat to Soravia, whose territories in Central Euclea were at great risk of invasion in the event of full-scale conflict between the two nations. In response to what he called an "eventuality", Pudovkin began a mass militarisation campaign across the country in 1924, but centred particularly in Miersa and Kantemosha. Bases were constructed and armies were restationed across the Monnes Valley, where most of the Gallo-Soravian border lied. Historians have pointed to the militarisation campaign as one of the main reasons Gaullica's success was comparatively stifled in Central Euclea, despite Soravian equipment often being as old as twenty years. Pudovkin also claimed credit for the work it created, but the program was incredibly expensive for the government. 1924 saw some of the highest government spending in years, and was criticised by Minister of the Economy Vaniamin Chepurin as well as Minister of Agriculture Igor Marinin, primarily for the farmland it expropriated.
The campaign was similarly undertaken across susceptible areas of the Ravnian border – Euclea's longest. Increasing amicability between Ravnia's monarchy and the Gaullican functionalist government was of concern to Pudovkin. Hostilities were further spurred on by the election of Ravnia's pro-functionalist government in October 1924. Now posing a significant threat to the security of Soravia's southern border, Pudovkin wished to expand the program to southern Soravia, but Pavel Klemenko, a key political ally and a high-ranking member of the ZVNP's internal leadership, who had so far supported it, did not support its expansion. The program never expanded, but Pudovkin privately contacted Semyon Savinkov, head of the Savinkov Aerial Manufacturing and Design Bureau, through his old boys' network from Parfino Academy, to push for heavier focus on military design. Savinkov, who had been focusing on cargo aircraft for logistical purposes, ultimately agreed, and the Savinkov SPV-2 was designed and tested in 1924–25, along with the Savinkov PB-1, which greatly increased Soravia's aerial capabilities.
Simultaneously, Pudovkin had been working on increasing the party's power within the current government system. The ZVNP, which was still ideologically a coalition of centrist liberals, religious conservatives and some socialists and trade unionists, was fairly divided internally, held together mainly by Klemenko, Mykhajlyuk and Pudovkin's internal bureaucratic connections. Seeking to crack down on party dissent and prioritise his own religious conservative leanings, he denounced the socialist movement for its "attempts to undermine" stability within the party, a characteristic which had garnered him popularity in his administration so far. With socialists now popularly alienated, most left the party, and those who remained meshed into the wide-reaching group of liberals who still nominally supported the Pudovkin administration, though were practically exiled from the socialist movement as a result. In what he referred to as an "extention" of his previous sanatsiya policies, which aimed to tackle corruption within the government, the resulting party pursued a more conservative-leaning administration with populist tones, often marketed as anti-establishment politics. The subsequent executive committee (Polkom; from політичний комітет; politychnyy komitet, "political committee") that was formed in February 1925 operated internally with the task of vetting the party's candidates and presiding over internal party bureaucracy. Members of the Polkom were known to the public, but its operations were often shrouded in secrecy, and was appointed entirely by the president. Pudovkin utilised the Polkom extensively in bringing the party into line with his own views, and it played a large part of the ideological centralisation of the party in the run up to the Great War.
Preclude to war: 1926–27
Pudovkin's fears of conflict on the horizon were affirmed in 1926, when Gaullica began its annexation of Kesselbourg and southern Hennehouwe. While Soravia had not been a signatory of the Tripartite Agreement of Estmere, Etruria and Werania, it maintained close relations with the three nations. Gaullica's violation of the Four Powers Agreement, which was intended to avoid conflict in Euclea, was denounced by Pudovkin in 1926. Soravia's ambassador to Gaullica, Albert Agliullin, was recalled the same year, and Pudovkin severed relations between the two nations. The subsequent Second Sakata Incident heightened tensions between the group of powers. Pudovkin, whose personal relationship with leading members of the Senrian republican government had led to a major boost in relations, supported Senria in its attempts to seize the city of Sakata from the Heavenly Xiaodongese Empire. Soravia's relative political similarities with Senria as well as its relations with the Tripartite powers ultimately brought it into the conflict when Xiaodong invaded Senria on February 2, 1927.
Pudovkin's declaration to the ZVNP party conference, March 1927 (dcl. 1990).
First years of the war: 1927–1930
Some in the ZVNP criticised Pudovkin's posturing and Soravia's subsequent entry into the conflict. Yashchuk-Tolmachov resigned on February 4 in protest of the conflict. On the immediate outbreak of the war, Soravia was surrounded on three sides by Entente powers – Ravnia to the south, Amathia to the south-east and Gaullica to the east. Pudovkin summoned the Polkom shortly after Yashchuk-Tolmachov's resignation and tasked it with cracking down on internal dissonance. Pudovkin regarded national defense and preservation as his highest priority, often undercutting state organs and democratic traditions in the process. Almost immediately, a nationwide state of emergency was declared, giving Pudovkin more expansive executive powers. He appointed geenral Konstantin Kirilovsky to the position of defense minister, which gave the military an important foothold in the Soravian government.
Initially in the war, Soravia was being significantly pushed back on all fronts. Its lack of advanced military technology and equipment at the time put it at a severe disadvantage compared to the Gaullican forces, who were also better trained and had more combat experience. Gaullican advisors and manufacturers also supported the Ravnian offensive in the south, which was initially fruitful but ground to a halt quickly, descending into a bloody stalemate in the west. Pudovkin, at the request of Kirilovsky, ordered the entrenchment of forces in the south and redirection of men and resources eastwards to combat the Gaullican invasion, who were already beginning to overcome defensive encampments in the Monnes Valley. In contradiction to Kirilovsky, however, Pudovkin's strategy was ultimately to stifle Gaullican forces enough to allow the Tripartite nations to force the redirection of the Gaullican armies, when Soravia would be able to counter-attack through the flat terrain of Miersa.
Both Pudovkin and Kirilovsky failed to accurately estimate the strength of Ravnian forces, and the diversion allowed the Ravnian 3rd Army to break through Soravian lines at the Battle of Khosheut at the beginning of 1928. He began to introduce conscription in March 1928. By the middle of the year, Ravnian forces had begun to siege Kremina and Syrnitsa. Belosoravia was almost fully occupied, and fell in June 1928 at the Siege of Ottseda, while Vedmedi forces were beginning to be pushed back. Kirilovsky wished to launch a counter-offensive into Ravnia, forcing it into retreating to protect some of its bigger cities and industrial heartlands in the north, but Pudovkin stuck out with attempting to neuter the current incursion. Both Kremina and Syrnitsa fell in August 1928, and Kirilovsky became increasingly disgruntled with Pudovkin, resigning weeks later. Andrei Glinin was appointed in his stead, recommending attempting to out-produce Ravnia with Soravia's superior industrial capacity.
After Glinin's ascension to the defense ministry, Pudovkin placed higher emphasis on industrial production and military design and manufacturing over sheer manpower. While conscription went ahead, Soravian tanks and other armoured vehicles began reaching the frontlines in great number in 1929. With morale spurred on by the successful Blockade of Ravnia, which began in late 1928, Soravia successfully stopped the Ravnian invasion at the Siege of Ulan Khol in April 1929. The MBA-2 was introduced into service shortly in March, and proved highly successful with its mobility and speed. The tank excelled on both fronts, especially in Ravnia, where inexperienced commanders in one-man turret tanks made them highly susceptible to frontline mistakes. The MBA-7, which Pudovkin affectionately nicknamed "The Sardine", owing to its long and flat design that somewhat resembled a sardine tin, was introduced in February 1930. By now, Soravian armies had pushed back to the pre-war Ravnian border, and were beginning to counter Gaullican offensives in the east, but this was jeopardised by the Fall of Estmere in 1930.