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The Prodigy (Earth II)

A staging-point for declarations of war and other major diplomatic events. [In character]
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Novokarelia
Civil Servant
 
Posts: 6
Founded: Jan 18, 2021
Liberal Democratic Socialists

The Prodigy (Earth II)

Postby Novokarelia » Tue Jan 19, 2021 5:17 am

2130 GMT+2, 1 January 2020
Apartment 32, Building 10, Kharkiv, United Republics of Novokazia
Private Residence of Tatyana Khurdovskaya

Yuriy Shchepchak walked across the small apartment closing the small window that looked out on the snow covered city outside. The cold frigid winter air blew through the streets of Kharkiv as its many denizens prepared for the announcement of the election results. Across the country, people had braved the cold to cast their votes in a hotly contested election which had been born out of a massive political scandal resulting in a deposed Prime Minister and only the second time the President had dissolved parliament forcing an election.

Yuriy looked back toward the TV, the news splashed across its small pixelated screen, sitting in the corner of the room, crowded around it were nearly a dozen chattering people who had packed into the small apartment of the person who brought them all together, Tatyana Khurdovskaya, the young, charismatic, newly elected leader of the Novokazia League of Democratic Socialists.

One of them quickly interrupted the chatter around the TV,

"Wait! Sh-.. I think they're about to announce the results."

The room instantly fell silent all of them watching their fate as it beamed back at them. The news anchor had stopped briefly to listen to the ear piece feeding them updates as they came in. A brief moment of surprise crossed the anchors face before she began to speak,

"We have received the final tally for the January snap election...", the anchor paused for a moment seeming to wait for the teleprompter to update before continuing,

"The Democratic Socialists have 326 seats giving them a comfortable majority to form a government, this is a huge upset for the New Liberal Democrats and their coalition with the Christian Union."

The small apartment erupted in a wave of emotion as cheers, tears and laughter met the news. Tatyana hugged Yuriy who had come back to the group, tears forming in her eyes.

"Yuriy, I cant believe we did it," she exclaimed shaking her head in disbelief as the TV began to show the break down of the results.

"Our senior assembly correspondent Lukas Korlyev has more on the ramifications of this election, Lukas?" A thin, bespectacled man began to point at a large screen with a break down of the Republican Assembly comparing its pre-election make up to the new,

"As you can see Dariya, this is an upset of historical proportions. The New Liberal Democrats were facing an uphill battle even with their coalition with the Christian Union of Donetsk-Kavkaz but it appears in light of the scandal revolving around former Prime Minister Ishitin, voters have effectively decided to remove them from any power brokering." The screen showed the 600 member Republican Assembly, the New Liberal Democrats-Christian Union coalition had gone from a combined 421 Seats to a mere 110 while the Democratic Socialists had gone from a mere 94 seats to a majority wielding 326. The news anchor continued,

"There is good and bad news for the other parties as well. The Communists gained several seats bringing them to 62 seats. The Socialist Workers Party saw a relatively large increase as well with 88 seats. Bad news falls to the Sovereignty and United Novokazia parties who both are now down to a mere 11 seats and 3 seats respectively. Needless to say, this has been a fantastic night for the left wing parties, particularly the Democratic Socialists, back to you Dariya."

The fervor in the room had died down as they all listened, the excitement still bristled amongst them but a sense of the significance of what would be next was beginning to set in. The anchors began to explain the meteoric rise of Tatyana Khurdovskaya within left-wing politics in Novokazia. Raised in a small working family in Kharkiv, her father had been an adamant communist and her mother a center left social democrat. At 24, she had unseated a prominent local politician in Kharkiv's Gorduma elections. Within the next 4 years she had become the face of the party. Now she would almost certainly be Prime Minister pending a vote in the opening session of Parliament, the first female Prime Minister and the youngest ever.

0730 GMT+2, 7 January 2020
1 Solyenko Street, Kiev, United Republics of Novokazia
Residence of the Prime Minister

The black BMW 750i came to a slow stop outside the gray masoned building amid the terraced housing that made up Solyenko street. Tatyana peered out from the rear seat to the maroon door, a single golden 1 adorned its face and two armed police officers stood outside. She had seen this building many times but always on TV as the Prime Minister gave important addresses.

"You ready?," Yuriy asked from the other seat,

"As ready as I can be," Tatyana replied with a hint of apprehension

"You'll do fine, all these years of work have led you to this moment," Yuriy looked over at her, a reassuring smile on his face. Yuriy Shchepchak had been her senior advisor since she began in politics and also one of her oldest friends. They climbed out of the car as two bodyguards opened the car door, Tatyana still was trying to get used to the sudden entourage of security. She had been assigned a single police officer as protection during the election but after the results of the election, an entire security detail had arrived.

As she quietly proceeded to the office in the back of the building, she thought about all the events that had led her to this moment. Four years ago she had run for a council seat in Kharkiv against an established member of the New Liberal party. In the eyes of the politically seasoned, she was almost assured to lose the election yet much like the upset that had just made her prime minister, she won.

She had campaigned on the the rights of workers, social freedom, and a strong welfare system combined with a tireless grassroots effort to meet voters and spread the message which had chipped enough support away that she won by a healthy 6 point margin. She continued to gain fame in her time as a Peoples Parliamentarian with fiery speeches condemning the corruption of the long dominant New Liberal - Christian Union coalition and for spearheading a left wing opposition coalition with the New Vision Party.

All of this had culminated in mid November 2018 with the massive scandal that gripped the then New Liberal Prime Minister Petru Ishitin, who had been discovered to be profiting off a human smuggling ring to provide cheap, illegal laborers for wealthy Kazaks. The revelation had plunged the entire country nearly into a constitutional crisis as the Prime Minister denied the charges and his coalition refused to back a vote of no confidence. When state charges were brought against Ishitin, the President, a largely ceremonial role but who did have the power to dissolve parliament in extraordinary circumstances did just that. What followed was a contentious election with the previously ruling coalition accusing the League of Democratic Socialists of a set up and the more extreme United Novokazia party and Sovereignty Parties claiming a left wing coup was in progress.

Tatyana paused at the dark wood door, a silver plaque at its center, "Office of the Prime Minister". She entered the room, which was tidier than she imagined it would be. A large desk with computer monitors sat in the center, a small desk plaque greeted those who entered, "Tatyana Khurdovskaya."

"I guess you found it after all," Yuriy jokingly said to her noticing the plaque, some less reputable, partisan news outlets had claimed she didn't even know where the Prime Minister's residence was. Tatyana gave a chuckle, Yuriy continued,

"You have a busy itinerary today," he had opened a binder she hadn't noticed he was carrying, "first we have a cabinet meeting here, then we have a meeting with the President just before you go to the Assembly for the opening session."

"Right then, I suppose let's get started," she said following Yuriy out of the office.

The cabinet held its meetings at 1 Solyenko, in a conference room. There were over a dozen cabinet members. Some had been personally selected by Khurdovskaya but most had been vetted by her staff. They all sat at the long, large table which dominated the large room tucked deep in the building. As she entered, the quiet murmuring in the room stopped as they all stood out of respect. Tatyana took her spot at the head of the table, Yuriy took a seat on the wall behind her as the meeting began.

Each cabinet minister proceeded to report on transition progress from the previous government. While there had been some hiccups and the occasional stonewalling by outgoing ministers, the transition had been overall a smooth affair. The ministers then went into more detail of the current happenings of their offices. The meeting finished uneventfully after a couple hours and Tatyana was whisked away by Yuriy and several other aides to the same BMW outside to the meeting with the President.

1114 GMT+2, 7 January 2020
Pushkinskiy Palace, Kiev, United Republics of Novokazia
Residence of the President

The large Pushkinskiy Palace had been the residence of the President since the end of the revolution in late 1962. In the time leading up to that it had been the private residence of General Anatoliy Lepinchyev, an authoritarian who in 1942 launched a military coup overthrowing the House of Munteanu, an ethnically Moldovan royal house that had ruled Novokazia for nearly 300 years.

Tatyana peered out the window as the car stopped in the courtyard in front of the palace. "Is he a King or a President?", she quipped quietly to herself as she gazed at the large building. It was strange she thought, she had campaigned against all the blatant self serving of the previous government and yet was about to have an "audience" with someone who lived in a relic from a long forgotten monarchical past.

The smartly dressed servant who had led her from the car, guided her up the long walkway from the car through the large ornate doors of the palace. The palace was exquisite even if Tatyana found herself disapproving of the not so subtle undertones of regality. Classical art adorned the walls leading through until Tatyana was led to a large room. At the center was the President, Sergey Bityanin. Nearly 76 years old, he had a storied history as one of the prominent names within Novokazia. He had been one of the architects of the 1962 Yellow Revolution which had toppled the Lepinchyev junta. The President was an elected official who served 6 year terms. President Bityanin had been in office since 1981 thanks to a lack of term limits for the Presidency.

"Prime Minister, its great to finally meet you," he said with a large smile shaking her hand,

"Likewise Mr. President, I look forward to working with you,"

They sat at two large cushioned chairs in the center of the room, a small tray with a pot of tea and pitcher of water and some glasses. The President began to pour some tea, offering Tatyana some, she accepted.

"Naturally, I want to congratulate you on such a tremendous victory in the election", he said pouring the tea before continuing,

"That business with Ishitin was quite embarassing for not just himself but the country."

"Yes, Mr. President. I look forward to showing the nation that when their trust is placed in the right hands, good things can come for not just those who voted for our cause but for everyone." She was a little caught off guard, not expecting to discuss the scandal with the head of state. A slight grin adorned his face as he took a sip of the tea.

"Well, if you need anything you know where to find me." He said gesturing with his eyes at the palace. A brief moment of awkward silence filled the room before he asked, "Did you have anything for me?"

"No, Mr. President. I-", he cut her off

"Well, then you'll have to excuse me, I have another meeting shortly with the now opposition party leader." He nodded and she stood having only taken a couple sips of the tea before she departed.

Back in the car on the way to the Republican Assembly she called Yuriy.

"So how was the meeting? I thought your meeting was at 1130?" Yuriy said somewhat confused on the other end,

"If you can call it that, he congratulated me and before I knew it he was asking me to leave. He didn't ask about the governments plans, or any issues we may be facing, nothing."

"Well, maybe this meeting is just a formality."

"I suppose, perhaps you're right." Tatyana said skeptically. For someone who was beloved by the people of Novokazia, she felt that he had shown very little interest in the person they had chosen to speak and govern for them. She sighed, "Alright Yuriy, I'll see you at the Assembly. The small motorcade continued quickly down the motorway toward the Republican Assembly in the center of Kiev.
Last edited by Novokarelia on Thu Jan 21, 2021 7:48 am, edited 1 time in total.

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The Kingdom of Apilonia
Spokesperson
 
Posts: 105
Founded: Feb 10, 2020
Inoffensive Centrist Democracy

Postby The Kingdom of Apilonia » Tue Jan 19, 2021 10:34 am

Sir Zacharias J. Winstanley KCG
Embassy of the Kingdom of Apilonia, Kiev
United Republics of Novokazia
Tuesday 7th January 2020, 1145hrs Local Time




Sir Zacharias J. Winstanley, Knight Commander of the Most Honourable Order of Saint Gabriel, and His Majesty’s Ambassador to the United Republics of Novokazia, sipped a cup of tea as he watched the local news coverage of the new Novokazian Prime Minister visit the country’s President to form a government after her shock election victory. Ever since the political scandal had erupted, all attention within the Apilonian Embassy had been focused on trying to predict and prepare for the election of an entirely new administration, and the potential impact that would have on Apilonian foreign policy in the region. It went without saying, as was the case for much of the country, that few in the Embassy had predicted the outcome in advance, given that it was a fairly substantial upset, but the consular and diplomatic staff had been able to pivot quickly as a small planning cell had been tasked with exploring the, at the time unlikely, possibility of an electoral victory for the Social Democrats and their charismatic, if young, leader. As was the case in any democracy, a new administration often led to a new foreign policy and that often meant any number of opportunities as well as more than a few challenges.

As far as the Kingdom of Apilonia was concerned, the entire region was of geopolitical interest beyond what might be expected given that the Apilonian heartland was in North America. This was for two primary reasons. The first was the presence of the Crown Colony of Malta, which had been held by Apilonia for several centuries by this point and had been a key aspect of the Kingdom’s trade and security policy going back to the Kingdom’s founding. The second was the presence of an allied state in the region, in the form of the beleaguered Archduchy of Austria, into the Archducal family of which a grandson of King William V of Apilonia would soon be marrying, and to a lesser extent the long-term support that the Kingdom had been giving to the Greek Royalists held up on Rhodes since their overthrow at the hands of a socialist revolution backed by the People’s Republic of Yugoslavia. In short, Apilonia had both it’s own practical interests to consider, with regards to the protection of Malta, and the interests of its allies; Austria in particular was in a unenviable geopolitical situation; a small polity surrounded by numerous others that had every reason to to hate them, given that once upon a time the then Austro-Hungarian Empire had controlled vast swathes of the eastern Europe.

Fortunately, with the exception of an increasingly unstable Yugoslavia, the geopolitical situation in Europe itself was largely stable. The Kingdom enjoyed friendly enough relations with the Empire of Britannia, given that a significant amount of its original colonists had hailed from parts of its current territorial extent, and very friendly relations with the Realm of Cotland, for much the same reason and historic and cultural links. The smaller, but still larger than Austria, states in eastern Europe were treated with a broadly neutral policy, as Apilonia had long ago made clear that it would follow Austria’s lead with regards to its immediate geopolitical situation. Further east, and into central Asia, the Kingdom enjoyed positive relations with the New Kingdom of Bactria, and in between the former Austrian successor states and Bactria sat the United Republics of Novokazia. Although neither the Kingdom, nor either of its allies in the region, shared a border with the United Republics, Apilonia took a broader view as far as the regional picture was concerned, and had therefore been watching the snap election in Novokazia very closely.

Indeed, given that Novokazia was removed from the immediate neighbourhood of Austria, there were many within the Apilonian Foreign Office that saw the country as a good option to build and develop a regional partnership and policy that was separate from the considerations around Austria. The area around the Black Sea and the Caucasus was rich in natural resources, and it was not surprising that some Apilonian corporations viewed the area as one for potential investment and trade, which was certainly a consideration beyond the immediate, practical geopolitics. As a decent-sized polity, Novokazia was considered to be sufficiently independent from any of the other existing great powers in the region to be a genuine partner, rather than a great power’s proxy, which made it an attractive prospect to say the least. This was especially important at the present time, as Apilonia’s involvement and interests in the region was growing steadily, as it’s alliance to Austria was becoming increasingly prominent and as the Kingdom adopted a far more proactive foreign policy in the past few years than had been the case in the decades prior.

Broadly speaking, the staff at the Apilonian Embassy were viewing the electoral victory by Tatyana Khurdovskaya and her Social Democrats as a positive. As far as ideological alignment went, Apilonian politics broadly inhabited the centre with a general aversion for the extremes; the lion’s share of the seats in the Apilonian Parliament were held by the Centrist Party, the centre-left Liberal Party, and the centre-right Conservative, with the Socialist Collective and the Crown Imperialist Party holding less seats combined than any one of the ‘central three’. As a result, the Apilonian Government could largely be relied upon to maintain a broadly central, or at least moderate to the left or right, posture on most matters and was therefore a comparatively stable partner as far as its own internal politics were concerned. Perhaps more importantly for the Apilonians, as far as Novokazia was concerned, was the youth of their new Prime Minister; although also bringing inexperience youth tended to bring new ideas and new perspectives, which presented a wide range of opportunities for bilateral engagement.

As soon as the electoral results had been announced, the Apilonian Embassy (along with the Foreign Office itself) had issued a statement congratulating Ms. Khurdovskaya on her victory. As per protocol, anything more would have to wait until she was formally installed as Prime Minister, and as such a message was being drafted to be sent to the Novokazian Prime Minister once she was formally installed by the Novokazian Assembly, which would once again express Apilonia’s congratulations and a desire for closer ties and increased engagement, concluding with a request for a meeting between Sir Zacharias and the new Prime Minister at her convenience to discuss such matters.

“Jesus, that was a short audience,” Alexandria S. Cunningham, Counsellor for Political Affairs, commented surprised from the opposite side of the desk, where Sir Zacharias’ senior staff were watching the coverage with him. “She was barely in there fifteen minutes!”

Sir Zacharias frowned and glanced down at this watch; sure enough the new Novokazian Prime Minister had not been inside the Palace all that long, certainly not as long as you would expect. After all, although the forming of a government in Apilonia was done by a visiting the King, rather than an elected official, the principle was still the same, and a new Prime Minister’s first audience with the King could be expected to take as much as an hour as the monarch got himself up to speed on the agenda of his new Prime Minister directly from them, rather than through the lens of a political campaign. After all, although by longstanding convention the King of Apilonia largely left domestic affairs in the hands of elected representatives he was still the King and as such had a right to be involved in the decision-making progress; doubtless and elected official would be even more inclined given that they too would have to seek reelection eventually. Of course, President Bityanin had been a longstanding fixture of Novokazian politics, perhaps too long but then Apilonia, as a constitutional monarchy, was hardly in a position to cast the first stones when it came to a longstanding head of state.

In short, such a short audience for a newly-elected Prime Minister, after a shock victory and with a firm majority after a period of coalition government seemed suspect at best, and there was clearly an interesting story going on behind the scenes. Indeed, Sir Zacharias had no doubt that both his diplomatic staff, and the Royal Intelligence Service (RIS) station, would soon be hard at work trying to uncover what precisely had transpired between the Prime Minister and the President and what it meant for Novokazia and anyone who got involved with them.

“The political game is afoot, it seems,” Sir Zacharias commented wryly.

“Oh, to live in interesting times,” Alexandria Cunningham replied dryly, knowing that her likely workload in the coming days and weeks had just skyrocketed, as her department was responsible for both understanding the Novokazian political situation and spearheading any political initiatives that Apilonia wanted to work on with the Novokazians. “I’ll make sure to sit down with Mike later on.”

Michael T. Clancy was the RIS Chief of Station, operating out of the Embassy under an official cover as an Attaché, who was responsible for overseeing the actions of the various case officers within the RIS Station. If there was anything to discover from any of the RIS agents or assets in-country he would know about it, although Sir Zacharias doubted they would as there had not been any real proactive intelligence work in Novokazia for some years since it had stabilised itself in the latter half of the twentieth century and had not really been of particular interest or a threat to Apilonian interests in the region.

“It will definitely be an interesting relationship to watch,” Sir Zacharias commented thoughtfully, glancing back at the television where the Prime Minister was being driven to the Assembly Building. “Indeed, I rather suspect Novokazian politics is going to be rather interesting in general going forwards.”

“Lucky us,” Alexandria replied with a smile.

“Well, for the moment let’s wait and see if anything interesting happens in the Assembly session this afternoon, then we’ll start preparation work for my meeting with the Prime Minister, whenever they get around to setting one up for us,” Sir Zacharias said firmly, leaving unsaid that the amount of time that it would take to set up such a meeting would be very telling. “We also need to keep an eye on the broader political situation, there are some on the Novokazian right that are screaming bloody murder about a coup, as daft as it may be we need to monitor for any political unrest, in case we need to issue a travel advisory or look after our people already here, Jack.”

Jack W. Butler, the Counsellor for Consular Affairs, responsible for providing consular support to Apilonian citizens and nations living and working within the United Republics, nodded his understanding and agreement. After all, beyond strengthening ties with the host country the highest priority of any diplomatic mission was supporting its citizens abroad, something that Apilonia had maintained a strong reputation for even the its foreign policy had otherwise taken some steps back as far as involvement and engagement went in the 60s, 70s, and 80s.

“Aside from that, a transition like this one is all about reaching out and building new relationships with the new administration; it is after all often more about the personal relationships between diplomats that help foster engagement and progress,” Sir Zacharias added thoughtfully. “I have every intention of ensuring that we are at the forefront of that effort, it is not often we get such a dramatic opportunity in this part of the world, and I intend for us to grab that opportunity by the horn, for both our and Novokazian benefit.”

The group of senior diplomats nodded their understanding. All things considered, Europe had largely remained in a state of at least some stability; with Yugoslavia being the main wildcard; a sudden lurch to the left in Novokazia was certainly a big change that could either be a positive or a negative to Apilonia, and its allies and interests in the region.

“Alright then, I hope you’re all comfortable and ready for what I am sure will be a lovely afternoon of Novokazian parliamentary procedure!”
The Kingdom of Apilonia
An Earth II Member

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Novokarelia
Civil Servant
 
Posts: 6
Founded: Jan 18, 2021
Liberal Democratic Socialists

Postby Novokarelia » Wed Jan 20, 2021 9:32 am

1200 GMT+2, 7 January 2020
17 Respublikskaya, Kiev, United Republics of Novokazia
Republican Assembly of the United Republics of Novokazia

The Prime Minister's motorcade had arrived at the secure rear entrance of the Republican Assembly a mere ten minutes before. Yuriy Shchepchak, the Prime Minister's senior advisor had been waiting along with several other members of her entourage.

"The session begins in ten minutes," Yuriy said hurriedly, a hint of fluster in his voice.
"Is everything alright?" Tatyana looked at him, concern in her voice.
"There is a complication, the opposition is calling for a closed door session immediately after the speaker opens parliament."
"Why? Why didn't you tell me on the phone." Tatyana asked confused as they made their way up to the entrance of the Assembly building. It was a large building with an elevated stone driveway that led to the classical facade of its rear entrance.
"I just learned right before you arrived, no clue but when I say opposition, I mean all of it. All 6 other parties. It appears there has been some backdoor organizing for this."

Tatyana looked at him stunned and that was where she could see the panic in his eyes. Yuriy always had maintained an iron grip on making sure Tatyana was armed with all the information she needed to make calculated decisions and this was the first time she had seen him in such a state. She couldn't fathom what could possibly cause the Communists and Socialist Worker's Party to ever agree to any proposal in unison with the fringe right wing elements of the Sovereignty Party and United Novokazia.
"Have you talked to Loskutov?" she asked, panic now rising in her voice as they continued into the building. She had been referring to Stanislav Loskutov, the leader of the centre-left New Vision party which the Democratic Socialists had formed a working coalition with over a year before.
"I haven't had a chance. We are pretty much going in blind at this point," Yuriy said exasperated. As they entered the building, a few small groups of Parliamentarians stood chatting outside the open doors to the large assembly room at the center of the building. Tatyana was used to seeing these gatherings before almost every session of the Assembly. What troubled her this time was that what usually was mingling amongst party members was now mingling between members of the fringe right wing with the more centre and recently ousted New Liberal Democrats. She grew more nervous when she noticed one of Loskutov's senior aides having what appeared to be a serious discussion with a prominent member of the New Liberal Democrats. If the New Vision Party left the coalition and joined with the New Liberal Democrats and Christian Union, as absurd as it might be, she could see her term as Prime Minister ended before it ever began.

As she entered the Assembly, she instinctually made her way to her old spot within the chamber before realizing her error and making her way to the large solid wood desk on the left side of the chamber, the desk reserved for the ruling government. Across from it was a smaller, surely to make a symbolic statement, desk where the primary opposition made their arguments. That desk had long been where Loskutov had argued for the opposition. Sat behind it now was, Artur Zhulbinskiy, the former protégé of disgraced former PM Petru Ishitin, turned leader of the New Liberal Democrats. While she had expected some tension especially right after the upset election, Zhulbinskiy was currently shooting figurative daggers her way as she settled behind the desk. The rest of the parliamentarians entered the assembly chamber as the Speaker opened the session.

"In accordance with the Constitution of the Republics, this newly elected parliament," several not so subtle scoffs were heard from somewhere within the opposition's side of the chamber, "-is hereby opened." The speaker sounded a large gavel. Tatyana rose, preparing to deliver her initial remarks before she could speak, a loud voice spoke from somewhere behind her,

"Mr. Speaker, I would like to raise a motion for this assembly." Tatyana looked blankly as Stanislav Loskutov spoke, "I would like to motion for a closed door session immediately and that the Sub-Committees for Assembly Ethics and Intelligence be given a thirty minute private session with all of the leaders of the government and opposition." Tatyana instinctively began to speak, trying to gain some semblance of control back, "Mr. Speaker, I would like to motion for a fifteen minute recess." The speaker slammed the gavel once again, "The Prime-" he corrected himself as Tatyana had not formally been elected Prime Minister which was supposed to be largely a formality that took place immediately as the session opened, "The Honorable Lady will wait for a vote on the first motion as Assembly rules dictate. As the Honorable Gentleman has requested, the question is if the motion for a closed door session will be granted. All in favor say yes," the statement was greeted with a deafening alliance of yeses. "All in against say no," most of Tatyana's party members instinctually said no, though some of the newer members currently were looking around for guidance in complete confusion. "Those in favor have it", the speaker proclaimed. "The Sergeant-At-Arms will immediately ask all media to leave and bar entry to this chamber. A five minute recess will be afforded for those members of the sub-committees and others to meet." The speaker slammed the gavel.

Yuriy immediately leaned, whispering hurriedly into Tatyana's ear. "We have to get control of this right now." Before he could continue, she grabbed him by the arm pulling him away toward Loskutov who was currently making his way to a side door toward where the sub-committee chambers were. "Stanislav!" she called out to him, he stopped turning toward her. He looked at her with a sense of embarassment on his face,
"Stanislav, what in the world is going on?" He gestured for her to follow him as they continued walking,
"Surely you have received a briefing from D8 already?" Loskutov was referring to Directorate Eight, the intelligence arm of the Ministry of Internal Affairs. She shook her head vigorously, Yuriy was walking behind her and their combined unease was nearly palpable.
"Unbelievable," Loskutov exclaimed. They were in front of the intelligence sub-committee room, it was different from many of the other sub-committee rooms in that it had armed guards from the Ministry of the Interior posted outside it and could only gain access with a specially given badge for the keypad outside of it. Tatyana as a party leader and the before now, assumed Prime Minister was in possession of one of those badges, Yuriy however was not. She looked back at him, they shared a brief look of helplessness as the situation continued to leave their grasps. Anger was beginning to build up within Tatyana, why was she learning all of this just now and why had her Interior Minister not told her of all of this. She assured herself that heads were going to roll for this massive failure.

Within the SCIF (OOC: Secure Compartmented Information Facility), Stanislav began to speak again, taking a seat with Tatyana at the long bench which stood on one side of the room for the committee members to hold their sessions.
"I'll speak quickly as the other members will be here shortly. D8 has evidence that an unknown actor compromised a large percentage of the voting machines used during the snap election," Tatyana's heart sank and she felt her stomach begin to churn somewhat trying to process this bombshell.
"Zhulbinskiy contacted me last night and we had a late night meeting at D8 headquarters." Hearing this, Tatyana's shock immediately turned to anger,
"Why the hell are you telling me this now!? You organized a parliamentary coup with the opposition before a vote was even held to instate a Prime Minister! You didn't even inquire to make sure I was aware of the situation! How many machines?" Stanislav was taken aback by her sudden anger, redness filled his pale cheeks,
"Preliminary estimates are forty to sixty percent across multiple provinces. The situation developed incredibly quick Tatyana, I-..." he was cut off as the door opened and several parliamentarians entered, including Artur Zhulbinskiy.
"I had to act quickly with what I knew," he whispered quickly before gently tapping her on the knee. Tatyana steeled herself for the meeting that was about to begin.

As all of the members took seats at the bench and several among the chairs sat before the bench, Stanislav stood,
"As the Senior Parliamentarian of this committee, I want to thank you all for being here. I will make my part in this brief. An unprecedented national security event has come to the attention of several members of Parliament through Directorate Eight. Here to give a classified briefing on the situation is the Head of Directorate Eight, Svetlana Shapchak," he finished, sitting down as the middle aged woman in a tailored business suit with shoulder length blonde hair made her way to a sidewall where a projector had been started and a slideshow with the familiar badge of D8 was strewn across the projector screen. "Ladies and Gentleman, I am Ms. Svetlana Shapchak from the Interior Ministry's Directorate Eight." Given the womans somewhat smaller stature, she certainly knew how to command a room with charisma.
"I would like to remind all of you that the details of this briefing are classified as a state secret and are protected as such." She paused and nodded to the D8 employee running the slideshow from a computer in the corner of the room. The next slide revealed a map of the country complete with different colors and percentages.
"In the early hours of January fifth, Directorate Eight became aware of a covert cyber attack from an unknown actor on digital voting machines used across the country during the recent snap election. What you are looking at, and I'd like to remind you our investigation is very much in a preliminary phase and should be taken as such, is the extent of this attack. At the moment, we conservatively believe that as many as forty percent of the machines were victims of malicious cyber activity that sought to covertly change votes." While many of the members in the room already were aware of the details of the briefing, those who had not been briefed gave an audible gasp, several looking at Tatyana who was currently sat motionlessly looking at the briefer as if she was being read the results of a sentencing in court.

One of the parliamentarians, a Socialist Workers party member spoke out,
"How did D8 discover this, is the President aware and how sure are you?"

"I cannot provide any details on specifics sir as there are persons without the requisite clearance present but I can tell you that some unusual discrepancies were noted by certain jurisdictions who felt it prudent to notify the Ministry of the Interior. As of right now, we have high confidence that at least 40% of digital voting machines across the country were compromised and medium confidence that the malicious software was successful on those machines. It is my understanding that the President was made aware of this, this morning."

"Ms. Shapchak, do you know what the intent of this attack was?" Tatyana asked,

"Ma'am, at the moment cyber forensics are ongoing..." she paused for a moment, seeming to try to figure out how to word her next statement,

"-We are still not sure of the overarching intent but we can say more or less definitively that at least 40% of the votes cast in the election could have been digitally tampered with and likely were." While most of the briefing had been a bombshell, this statement was the one that caused a collective uproar within the chamber before it was quickly stopped by the loud slamming of a gavel by Stanislav, "Order please!" The room quieted down as Artur Zhulbinskiy rose and spoke,

"I think it is clear that this assembly needs to hold an immediate vote of no confidence and give the people of this country a fair, transparent election." The room exploded into a shouting match. Stanislav spent several minutes regaining order before dismissing the briefers from the Interior Ministry from the room. As he began to speak, his aide, one of the few allowed in the room, leaned in whispering into his ear. He nodded gesturing to a TV on the wall near where the briefer had been. The aide turned the TV on, turning it to Novokazia Television Network or NKTN as it was commonly referred to. Splashed across the bottom of the screen in Russian was, "PRESIDENT DECLARES STATE OF EMERGENCY, STATEMENT FORTHCOMING." Several of the parliamentarians began to comment that the President could not unilaterally declare a state of emergency, to which one of them quipped he legally could if there was no parliament. The screen changed from the political pundits hypothesizing on what could be happening to the familiar podium within the Pushkinskiy Palace where the President gave televised addresses, usually during holidays or to give ceremonial awards. The President behind the podium, looked serious, a grim tone in his voice as his began to speak,

"Countrymen, fellow Novokazaks. I come to you today to fulfill my obligations as President of the United Republics. Fifty-eight years ago, I along with many others fought to bring down the authoritarian Lepinchyev regime. Our country came out of those dark years of terror and oppression better, more democratic and most of all with a newfound trust in our government and way of life. Remembering those events and their significance to our young democratic nation, it is with sadness that I come to you today to inform you that our country's way of life, much like during the 1942 coup by Lepinchyev, is once again under attack by forces that would see us undone. This morning, after meeting with members of our intelligence apparatus, I have learned that the recent snap election was compromised by malicious actors who sought to illegally influence the election. I can assure you that every step is being taken to apprehend those responsible and I can assure you that events are currently underway to do so. In light of these events, I have informed the Speaker of the Republican Assembly that parliament will be dissolved immediately and a state of national emergency will be instituted while an investigation into the full-scope of these events is conducted. I ask that all Novokazaks continue to remain calm and I want to assure both the nation as well as our foreign partners that pending this investigation, new elections will be held in within the next year. Thank you."

The President stepped away from the podium as the news anchors began to comment on the speech, the committee room sat completely stunned. Some of the members began to whisper to one another doubting the legality of this, others saying clearly the President had no choice. Stanislav banged the gavel once again before announcing, "In light of these events I think it would be prudent for us all to return to the Assembly chamber immediately." All of the members stood up, many of them excitedly murmuring to one another. Tatyana took a moment to glance at Zhulbinskiy who seemed to be angrily talking to a member of his party. As the group of lawmakers made their way out, Tatyana could hear the sounds of raised voices in the hallway immediately outside the committee room. As she and others exited the room, she was greeted by a throng of armed military members who currently had several parliamentarians sat on the ground, zip ties around their hands. One of the agents stepped forward toward her, "Tatyana Khurdovskaya?", "Yes?" she replied, "You are charged with conspiracy to subvert the rule of law and crimes against the state. You're under arrest." Tatyana stood motionless and stunned as another agent placed her in handcuffs.

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Layarteb
Powerbroker
 
Posts: 8351
Founded: Antiquity
Inoffensive Centrist Democracy

Postby Layarteb » Wed Jan 20, 2021 6:30 pm



• • • † • • •



Tuesday, January 7th, 2020 | 12:30 hrs [UTC+2]

Kyiv, United Republics of Novokazia | Embassy of the Empire of Layarteb
50° 27' 54" N, 30° 25' 55" E






Geographically speaking, the Empire and the United Republics of Novokazia weren't neighbors. The closest territories of the Empire were located in the Aegean Sea it was a stretch to say that the two nations were neighbors, even in light of the necessity to pass through the Aegean into and out of the Black Sea. However, just because the Empire and Novokazia weren't neighbors didn't mean they didn't have reason to talk to one another. On the contrary, the Empire had been afforded cordial relations with the nation and vice versa. So, when Prime Minister Ishitin was brought down by scandal, the Empire took notice. Most nations surely "took notice" and that was as far as it really went, more so when the political analysts proclaimed that it would very likely be the downfall of the coalition government. What would happen next?

For the Empire, the worst-case scenario would be a coalition government of the three, left-wing parties: the Democratic Socialists, the Socialist Workers Party, and the Communists. A coalition government would mean that the left-wing platforms of each party would need to be treated equally to keep the coalition alive. That could very well lead to souring of relations with the Empire since the Empire did not keep secret its revilement for left-wing nations and governments. Now, would a coalition government suddenly turn on the Empire and usher in a state of belligerency? Highly unlikely but it would mean a colder reception and potentially roadblocks to any interests the Empire might have in the nation.

Thus, when the election results came in, the Empire saw the writing on the wall. While there would be no need for a coalition government, the 476-seat majority of the three parties meant an absolute crushing of any opposition agenda whatsoever. Political analysts in Layarteb referred to it as a "supermajority" and they were right, if the three parties worked as a coalition versus the Democratic Socialists merely leading the way. So "took notice" quickly became "some concern" and while the Empire didn't say this in official correspondences, the cables back and forth between Kiev and Layarteb City certainly expressed as much. It would remain to be seen just how the situation would play out and how it would affect the standing of the Empire in not only the nation but also the region.

With doing its due recourse, the Empire's apparatus in Kiev continued on as before, acknowledging the new government's electoral victory and keeping otherwise "quiet" in a "business as usual" approach. "What happens now?" and "What's next?" were questions being asked and no one had the answers.

Little did they know that these questions would be the least of the Empire's concerns. For having a left-wing government wasn't ideal, what transpired on the 7th of January was even less ideal. Stability was always preferential to chaos and chaos was about to unfold. Unlike the Apilonians, the Layartebians weren't following the movements of the Prime Minister Elect so whether she had spent fifteen or fifty minutes with the President wasn't something noticed. What was noticed however was the unexpectedly tense atmosphere in the chambers of the Assembly. But merely noticed was just observation. What truly grabbed everyone's attention was the sudden and highly unexpected move to initiate a closed session and bar the media. That raised alarm bells almost immediately and within minutes, Ambassador James Brown called his department heads into an emergency meeting. It was in his office that they'd gathered and the ambassador looked to them for answers. First, everyone looked to the political attaché, Michael Schoonover but the man had little to say, "We're caught completely blind. There's nothing suggesting to us that anything untoward would happen."

With no help from him, the attention shifted to John Benfield, the chief of station and head of the Empire's intelligence apparatus in the nation. Expecting answers from him, Benfield shook his head, "Nothing," he said, "nothing at all. Surprised us too. This isn't usual and it is concerning. You could see from the atmosphere that 'something' had been prepared. This was something that had been rehearsed and scripted ahead of the meeting. From the reaction of the Prime Minister Elect, even she was caught by surprise."

"Yes that is what is the most concern. Coup?"

"It's the strangest coup I've ever seen,"
Benfield answered the ambassador. It was minutes later, during this conversation, when the television - which had been on but muted in the background - suddenly became everyone's focus.

President Bityanin took the podium as the news ticker underneath him read in bold, capital letters "PRESIDENT DECLARES STATE OF EMERGENCY." As he spoke, the men and women furiously scribbled notes. "Compromised by malicious actors…" came out of the President's mouth and everyone's eyes widened.

"You've got to be kidding me," Benfield said in remark as they listened to the President's words. His speech was short but beyond impactful. The Assembly had been dissolved before it could be formed and, effective immediately, President Bityanin was the only installed leader in the nation.

"Benfield, what are we seeing? What is happening here?" Ambassador Brown asked, immediately turning to his intelligence chief.

"An entire election tampered with? I don't know," Benfield answered, "that's a pretty outlandish claim. We've had no rumblings whatsoever that the election was in question. None. As far as we know it's a free and fair election."

"I need damage control right now! In the meantime, I've got to…"
his phone range and he tended to it right away, "Ambassador Brown" and then there was silence, two minutes of it. "Thank you very much and please keep us informed." He carefully put the phone down and put his hand over his mouth, thinking for a moment while everyone watched with rapt attention. "The Prime Minister Elect has just been arrested in the Assembly."

Suddenly Benfield's words hung back in the air, "It's the strangest coup I've ever seen…" Was it a coup? Damage control. Damage control right now! Right now!



• • • † • • •


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• • • • ‡ • • • •
• The Empire of Layarteb •

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The Kingdom of Apilonia
Spokesperson
 
Posts: 105
Founded: Feb 10, 2020
Inoffensive Centrist Democracy

Postby The Kingdom of Apilonia » Thu Jan 21, 2021 6:03 am

Sir Zacharias J. Winstanley, KCG
Embassy of the Kingdom of Apilonia
Kiev, United Republics of Novokazia
Tuesday 7th January 2020, 1300hrs Local Time




The main staff bullpen in the Apilonian Embassy watched, on any number of television screens or computer monitors, as what was supposed to be a formality in the Novokazak Assembly descend into chaos and confusion. It was safe to say that none one in the Embassy, from the diplomatic staff down to the intelligence station, had seen this coming any more than many Novokazaks, even those in its government, had. There had been absolutely no indication, as far as Apilonian Intelligence had been aware of, that the Novokazak electoral system had been compromised but then that was perhaps hardly surprising given the security that naturally surrounded any nation’s electoral process. Yet equally, it was clear from the confusion that few in the Novokazak legislature had been aware of what was going on either; it was unlikely that they would all had gathered for a formality that was about to be challenged if they had known that something was amiss. It had not escaped anyone’s mind that this might well explain the very short audience given by the President earlier in the day, and raised more than a few questions about what he had known and when he had known it.

It remained to be seen precisely what had happened, whether it was actually true, and whether or not the general population of Novokazia was inclined to accept it, especially given that the Embassy’s legal attaché had already expressed his belief that there would be some disagreement within the country on whether the President was actually entitled to do exactly what he had done. The United Republics were, after all, a relatively young democracy in the grand scheme of things; having endured an authoritarian regime and before that a monarchy, one which the Kingdom had enjoyed good relations with (as it had with most other monarchies of the age), it was only to be expected that it would face some challenges to its democracy, especially when the normal course of events went off the rails for the first time. After all, a democracy was half built on the laws as laid down in the constitution (or constitutional legislation) and half built on norms, traditions, and conventions; the latter of which existed to prevent the former from ever being needed. When those norms and conventions went out the window, the rue of law was truly tested.

All heads in the bullpen snapped up as one of the case officers from the RIS station entered the room at a half-run.

“Unconfirmed reports that Tatyana Khurdovskaya has been taken into custody by the Novokazak military.”

Silence reigned in the bullpen; this was escalating quickly.

“Shit,” Alexandria Cunningham commented dryly.

The arrest of the supposed Prime Minister was a significant development to say the least; as it either suggested that the Novokazak Government believed that Khurdovskaya was involved in the the alleged election tampering or, and perhaps more sinister, it suggested that the election tampering was just that, alleged, and that her arrest was part of a political coup. Either of which was bad, and there was a very real risk of domestic unrest as either situations would piss a whole hell of a lot of people off. Without knowing more about what was going on it was difficult to make any sort of definitive assessment on the situation, and how it was likely to progress, leaving the Apilonian Embassy, and every other outsider in the United Republics, with a very delicate tightrope to walk moving forwards.

“Indeed,” Sir Zacharias said grimly as he entered the bullpen just in time to hear Cunningham’s curse. “Jack, we’re going to need that travel advisory issued ASAP.”

Jack Butler nodded.

“Alright people, listen up, in light of the state of emergency announced by the Novokazak President, and the likely risk of civil unrest, we’re facing the very real possibility that our citizens are going to get caught up in this crisis, so we need to minimise our people entering the situation and pinpoint those already here,” Butler said grimly. “Our first order of business is to get in touch with every Apilonian citizen to be accepted for a visa, whether work or vacation, and check in with them, give them the standard advice, and assist them to the maximum extent possible if they want support in getting out of the country, which is frankly fine by us right now.”

Butler looked around at the staff.

“Until this situation is resolved all other concerns are secondary; our first priority in this situation is to our own people,” Butler added firmly. “As you can imagine, from a security perspective this is a nightmare, so Chief Inspector Riker will give you a run down on that front.”

Chief Inspector Edward C. Riker, of the Kingdom’s national police service-cum-gendarmerie, the Royal Apilonian Constabulary, was the Resident Security Officer (RSO). The RSO was responsible for the security of the diplomatic mission, its personnel, and all law enforcement activity conducted by the mission, as well as the security of all Apilonian citizens in a given country more broadly. The Diplomatic Protection Division of the RAC’s Specialist Operations Command was by far the largest and most prominent Apilonian law enforcement presence overseas. Until this point the Chief Inspector had remained out of the way, working with his small team to put together the security advice that would accompany the travel advisory, but it was damned difficult to put anything together when the situation was in flux and unclear to say the least.

“Until we get a better idea of the political situation, and whether or not that is going to cause civil unrest, I’m instituting a lockdown on the Embassy; no one in or out without my permission, or that of the Ambassador or the Deputy Chief of Mission, I appreciate it’s inconvenient but I don’t want any diplomatic staff unaccounted for until we know whether we’re in the middle of a coup or not,” Riker said firmly. “Now we know that this wasn’t us, but we do have links back to the old Novokazak royal family, as well as publicly stated interest in a closer engagement with the United Republics, so it’s not out of the realms of possibility that we would have worked to ensure that we had an elected official we want to work with, so there is a chance that the Novokazaks might take a hostile posture towards us, so we need to be ready for that as well.”

Alexandria Cunningham stood up next, from where she had been perched on the edge of a desk.

“Chief Inspector Riker makes a key point, and our third priority after consular assistance and security; getting a handle on the political situation is essential for us to be able to meet both priorities, and to enable us to start planning for our political posture vis-a-vis the United Republics once this is all said and done, for myself this is feeling more and more like a coup, but we must keep an open mind,” Cunningham said. “So whilst our spooks do their thing, I want us to do what we can to help; so I want everyone to reach out to any contacts you have within the United Republics, whether that’s someone you’ve met on official business, flirted at an embassy party, or gone home with from a nightclub, get in touch, ask how they’re doing, see if they know anything, but you are not intelligence officers so keep it casual and informal, if you get anything useful, or anyone indicating they want to help more, get in touch with Mike Clancy and his shop.”

With his staff issuing their instructions to their people, as well as the rest of the staff as a whole as a joined-up approach going forwards was essential in a situation like this, Sir Zacharias watched and listened to make a mental note of anything that they had missed and that he would need to cover himself. Broadly speaking however, there was little that had not been covered in general strokes, which was not surprising as His Majesty’s Diplomatic Service maintained a high standard for its staff; service in the Diplomatic Service was not for the faint of heart, and it was not for not that members of the Diplomatic Service had a tendency to look down on the cushy civil servants of the Home Civil Service.

After Cunningham finished, Sir Zacharias stepped forwards to speak.

“This is going to be a fast-moving situation people; whether this is a coup or not events are going to progress quickly one way or another, so I don’t want anyone focusing too much on the long-term right now because all of your planning assumptions may change,” Sir Zacharias said firmly. “This has every chance of becoming a very precarious situation, so as has already been said, our priority is looking after our own people and gathering as much information as possible, only once we actually know what has already happened can we start to predict what is going to happen next.”

Sir Zacharias sighed.

“A situation like this is one of the greatest challenge that any officer of the Diplomatic Service can face, and yet is not one that we expect to have to face often in a democracy; and yet we all know that democracy an be fragile and can never be taken for granted,” Sir Zacharias continued. “I know many of you will have built relationships with the Novokazaks, and it may be difficult to watch them go through this without helping, but until we know what is happening we cannot risk weighing in one way or another, so we look after our own and get a handle on the situation, so that when we do take a position its the right one and its an informed one.”

Sir Zacharias shook his head.

“If anyone has any concerns or questions, my door and those of the senior staff will be open for the duration, so please don’t hesitate to approach one of us, especially if this is your first political crisis, in particular if you have family living out here with you,” Sir Zacharias added reassuringly. “This is not the time for anyone to keep anything that is bothering them to themselves, I need everyone on their game, as we’re paying catch-up here people, so work together, help each other out, and we will get a handle on this mess.”

As the gathering broke up, Sir Zacharias stepped away and looked out the window over what was, for the moment at least, a generally calm city. Although he had been careful not to say as much when speaking to the staff, and was making sure that he did colour his analysis going forwards, his gut instinct was that they were in the middle of a political coup by the President of Novokazia, although what had motivated such a move was far less clear. That being said, the fact that one of the results of the days events had been to put the President in total control of the country was, to be frank, a pretty obvious motivator. It simply did not seem likely that an electoral system had been so fundamentally compromised without anyone knowing about it, even if the size of the Social Democrat majority had been something of a surprise. It was suspicious to say the last, especially given that it had enabled the President to dissolve the Assembly and had moved very, very, quickly to start detaining presumed political opponents who had the most to lose from what had just happened. There was no proof yet, and RIS would be working in earnest to change that, but it was a gut feeling for a reason.

As far as Apilonia was concerned, if this was a coup it was a very disappointing turn of events. It was unlikely that it would directly impact Apilonian interests or national security concerns, but it certainly decreased the likelihood that its foreign policy aims would be significantly more difficult to achieve. Aside from anything else, although the Kingdom was a constitutional monarchy it was also a parliamentary democracy and it held democratic ideals and self-determination highly; indeed unlike many monarchies the institutions of the Crown and the peerage had been established by the Apilonia Charter of 1600, and subsequent other pieces of constitutional legislation, rather than any divine right, and as such could theoretically be changed even if that was politically unlikely. It would be far more difficult, but not possible, for Apilonia to form a close partnership with a polity that was potentially turning down an authoritarian path. In short, what had once been a relatively quiet posting as diplomatic missions went, now looked like it was going to be far more interesting than anyone had ever expected. For Sir Zacharias, and his staff, that meant a lot of hard work both to work out precisely what was happening and how to react to it going forwards.

There was, Sir Zacharias thought wryly as he turned back to the bullpen, something to be said for a quiet life, but that no one had ever promised that the Diplomatic Service would be anything of the sort.
The Kingdom of Apilonia
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Novokarelia
Civil Servant
 
Posts: 6
Founded: Jan 18, 2021
Liberal Democratic Socialists

Postby Novokarelia » Thu Jan 21, 2021 2:32 pm

0943 UTC+2 | 1 February 2020
Tres Francais Cafe
32 Marinskiy Street, Kiev, United Republics of Novokazia


In a small cafe tucked in a row of shops on the busy Marinskiy street in central Kiev sat Kirill Nevskiy, a 19 year old university student. Kirill was a student at the nearby Khrivchenko University which also sat in central Kiev. A history major, he had taken a strong interest in 18th century Novokazak history, the height of the Munteanu dynasties reign. Kirill to the dismay of his more republican minded parents was a staunch royalist and believed the Munteanu dynasty, which had rebranded itself as the House of Orlov in 1946 was the legal head of state in Novokazia.

The Orlov dynasty was widely popular leading up to its downfall in the Lepinchyev coup of 1942. Though the late 30's had seen some political turbulence in the country, a union movement amongst port and farm workers had taken hold, the Tsar himself was widely seen as an enlightened monarch especially when shortly before the coup, he agreed to meet with the leaders of the union movement and announced his intention of forming an elected parliament. While the promise of an elected parliament reverberated very well with the common folk of Novokazia and was seen as a way of ensuring continued stable rule amongst the aristocracy, there were significant members of the military that saw this an opportunity to seize power. The leader of that group was Valentin Sergeyevich Lepinchyev, the commander of the imperial army. While the Tsar had made significant in-roads with public opinion, he had done so at the cost of his more conservative generals, Lepinchyev among them, who saw this as a weakening of the state. All of this came to a head when Lepinchyev with significant support from the military raided the imperial palace at Pushkinskiy, arresting the Tsar and his immediate family. The following 20 years would see the immediate imperial family executed, most of the remaining aristocracy escaping to Cotland and a Novokazia ruled with an iron fist by a military government.

In 1962, Lepinchyev died without a clear successor to his military led government. His ailing health had led to the quiet organization of like minded individuals who led what would become the Yellow Revolution after his death. The unlikely coalition of both left wing, moderate and some conservatives led a popular uprising that led to the establishment of the United Republics. From that popular uprising several prominent politicians came to focus in Novokazia, one of them was Sergey Bityanin. Bityanin was a conservative and after the 1962 Revolution, he had formed the United Novokazia (UN) party, which at its inception had been a centre-right party but by 2020 had morphed into a far right wing, nationalist party. Bityanin was still a member though not the leader of the UN party and he largely stayed out of the spotlight and rarely issued comments on political matters and had been re-elected every election since 1981.

It had been nearly a month since the leader of the Democratic Socialist (DSNK) party, Tatyana Khurdovskaya along with most of the leaders of that party had been accused of tampering with the snap election and arrested. This had caused an uproar amongst the supporters of the DSNK though protests had been muted except for DSNK strongholds in central Ukraine, where protests in population centers had lasted for two weeks before beginning to die down. Political pundits and analysts were more worried by the lack of a concrete date for Parliamentary elections to take place. Stanislav Loskutov, the leader of the New Vision Party (NVP) had been a vocal critic of the President's dissolution of parliament and led a parliamentary coalition of every party but the UN party demanding parliamentary elections.

There were those who questioned President Bityanin's continued ties to what had increasingly been seen as a fringe right wing element in Novokazak politics and that was precisely what Kirill Nevskiy was thinking of as the news announced another Presidential statement on the small TV behind the cafe counter.

"We go now to Pushkinskiy Palace where President Bityanin will update the country on the recent cyber attack by domestic terrorists,"

Kirill gave a contempt-filled laugh, the news had wasted no time getting behind the story that the election had been rigged by the DSNK, though this was the first time they had referred to them as terrorists and he thought you'd have to be particularly stupid to buy into that story with as little evidence as had been presented. The President, dressed in a blue suit with a bright red tie stood at the same Presidential podium he had given his speech a month before though this time he was joined by the press.

"Good afternoon, I'd like to begin by addressing the concerns surrounding the dissolution of parliament. In light of the cyber attack by terrorists from the DSNK, there was no option but to dissolve parliament so as to prevent an illegally elected government from seizing power. I assure those who are concerned by this unprecedented move that once an investigation is complete and we can ensure a secure election, parliamentary elections will be scheduled," he paused for a moment, though Kirill expected a wave of questions from the press present at the speech, none spoke before the President continued,

"Now, I would like to address the progress of the investigation into these attacks on our country. Since I learned of the details of this putsch early last month, I have directed the Ministry of the Interior and the Armed Forces to investigate who all was responsible for this attack on our way of life. That investigation has led to the revelation that this attempted coup was more wide spread than expected. I was briefed by representatives of the Ministry of the Interior this morning that the DSNK did not act alone in this endeavor and I have directed the military and Orel special police to apprehend the additional perpetrators."

What followed, left Kirill and most of the occupants of the cafe dumbfounded and speechless. The supposed press corp who was present began to clap after this announcement.

"Holy shit..." Kirill said in disbelief. The rest of the cafe had paused, eyes glued to the TV as Kirill took the moment in. He looked back to the TV, the President was taking questions if they could be called that. It had become clear to Kirill that the "press" at the speech was clearly loyalists to what looked more and more like a coup. Kirill took out his smart phone and logged onto his "ВМир" (VMir) account, the most popular social media site in Novokazia. It was time to start preparing for the worst.

1455 UTC+2 | 2 February 2020
Nevskiy Residence
Apartment 13, Building 3, Ostrov Prospekt, Kiev, United Republics of Novokazia


Kirill and his parents, Grigoriy and Anna were sat in their small apartment. Having just finished dinner they had retired to their small living room to watch television, a tradition in their household since Kirill was a toddler. The latest episode of "Gopniki" had just finished, a comedy about working class misfits in Krasnodar.

"I really dont understand why you like that trash," Kirill pleaded with his parents who gave a laugh,

"Not all of us want to spend the day watching the news Kirya," his mother quipped with a smile.

"I'd have thought that both of you would be most concerned by the Pushkinskiy despot seizing power," Kirill shot back, angrily. Grigoriy let out a sigh leaving the room, he had no interest in arguing politics with his own son. Anna tried to reason with Kirill,

"Isn't it a bit early to be calling this a coup?"

She was cut off as the TV changed to yet another nationally televised speech though unlike the day before, Kirill hadn't been aware of this one ahead of time.

"Shh-... Watch." Kirill said, his mother gave a disapproving look, contemplating a smack to his head for being disrespectful.

This speech wasnt taking place at the Presidential palace but at the Ministry of the Interior, the headline at the bottom reading: "Directorate Eight Head to update on election coup investigation".

They both sat watching as Svetlana Shapchak, who a month previously had briefed Parliament was now stood at a small podium preparing to give an update on the investigation.

"Good afternoon, I would like to give an update on the current investigation." she paused, looking at the camera for a moment before reaching into her black business coat and unfolding a piece of paper, placing it on the podium below.

"As you are all aware, the country suffered an unprecedented attack on our election in early January. I have been directed by the President, personally, to present carefully crafted evidence that the DSNK and indeed most of parliament had been responsible for this attack. In the interest of our country and the rule of law, I would like to unequivocally state that this is a fabrication. Using this fabrication, yesterday unbeknownst to many, the President ordered the arrest of the leaders of the New Vision, Communist, New Liberal, Sovereignty and Socialist Workers parties. I would like to make this clear to those watching. We are currently witnessing a co-.." the screen went dark for a moment before it cut to the familiar anchors at the Novokazia Broadcasting Network,

"It appears we are having technical difficulties, we will return to our normal daytime broadcast momentarily."

Kirill slammed the table, cutting the silence that had filled the room,

"I told you!" he cried out, pacing around the room.

Indeed, her son appeared to be correct Anna thought. Before standing up, making her way to the small kitchen in the center of the apartment.

"I need a drink."

"Isn't it a bit early?" Kirill said quipped.

1800 UTC+2 | 13 February 2020
Voronezh Governor's Residence
11 Revolutsiy Street, Voronezh, United Republics of Novokazia


Since the shocking press conference given by Svetlana Shapchak on 2 February, nearly five thousand Republican Guard had arrived in Kiev and posted around the Presidential Palace. Shapchak herself had not been heard from after the world shattering press conference. It had become clear to those outside of the government that the President was currently enacting a coup with the support of the Republican Guard, most of the mainstream media that hadn't been shut down after the press conference and the Orel special police.

The Republican Guard was an elite formation within the Armed Forces that had slowly and more importantly quietly been grown by Bityanin since the early 2000's. The Orel special police were an elite police force that worked under the auspices of the Ministry of the Interior and was largely used for operations against organized crime and terrorism.

It took several days for the protests to begin around the country following the Shapchak revelation. In response, several regional governors, those who belonged to the President's UN party had begun crackdowns in the six provinces in their control. This was in contrast to the seven other provinces controlled by the various other parliamentary parties. While the President had successfully managed to muzzle almost all of the opposition in Kiev, the logistics of arresting the governors had been troublesome and up till now they had done very little in the way of open opposition.

Those seven governors had not waited long to begin organizing their responses however. While they came from the spectrum of politics, most of the governors were old enough to have either been alive during the immediate aftermath of the 1962 Revolution or had parents and grandparents that told the tales of the turbulent, dark years between 1942 and 1962. It was this understanding of what was happening that had led to them to announce that they would be making a collective statement on the events happening in the country.

Following the Shapchak press conference, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs had revoked most foreign news agencies press visas, almost all of the national television media changed their television programming some entirely removing their news segments. This had not stopped a healthy uprising of informal blog journalists springing up on the internet. Many of which were now live streaming the statement about to be delivered from the Voronezhskiy Republic.

Delivering the speech was the Provincial Governor of the Republic of Saratov, Pyotr Isayev. He was a moderate who despite not wanting a DSNK government would not watch democratic rule be ended by Bityanin.

"Good evening. Our country is in crisis. Having learned from D8 Head Shapchak a little over a week ago that the President was actively creating a false narrative around the snap election, myself and a majority of the other provincial governors met to discuss our formal response which I would like to now discuss with you. First, I would like to address the President directly should he be watching this," a slight grin crossed his face, knowing that the national media would not be televising this speech,

"Mr. Bityanin, you have chosen to willfully put our country through the darkest times it has seen since the 1942 coup. As such, we have gathered to demand your immediate resignation. Your lack of leadership and deliberate subversion of the laws that govern our country cannot be tolerated. In that vein, we have are announcing that the Provincial Government (OOC: Novokazia Provincial Government [NKPG]) will be taking full control of our respective republics effective immediately," he paused, shifting his weight slightly,

"To our fellow governors who are currently supporting this illegal coup, you must cease and desist immediately lest you find you join the President in the inevitable consequences of this endeavor. Peaceful protests are protected by our constitution and your actions enable the demise of our democratic government.

Finally, we would like to appeal to the officers of the Republican Guard, the Orel police and the national police. You are servants of the very people that you now wish to subvert. We implore you to stop your actions against the people of this country and to help us apprehend those responsible for this coup. While we wish to avoid an escalation of this volatile situation, we would like to make clear that support for this coup is already waning and several members of the General Staff have made clear their support for the Provincial Government.

Thank you."


1623 UTC+2 | 14 February 2020
Residence of Prince Aleksey Orlov
18 Vyborg Street, Petersborg, The Realm of Cotland


Prince Aleksey Konstantinovich Orlov sat not in his customary, Novokazak Imperial military uniform but in a suit at the suggestion of his staff. Though it had been just shy of eighty years since his great-grandfather had been deposed and executed, the House of Orlov had made a tradition of - well - keeping tradition. The internet had allowed them in recent history to continue delivering addresses to the people of Novokazia, not in the capacity of their sovereign but as a gesture of continued care for the well-being of those people.

He stared at the teleprompter and camera equipment carefully placed around the study room where he usually spent his time reading the works of Locke, Voltaire and Diderot instead of a speech on a teleprompter. Aleksey had watched the news carefully over the past month as his homeland had fallen deeper and deeper into despair, the 31 year old heir to the Novokazak throne had been born in Novokazia, thanks to an informal agreement to allow members of the House of Orlov to travel temporarily to the United Republics to give birth though their permanent home was in Petersborg in Cotland. While Aleksey had wanted to make a statement after the arrest of the Prime Minister elect, his staff had implored him not to insert himself into the tense political situation. He had deferred to their better judgement; until the press conference the day before. The Prince knew he could his conscience could not bear to do nothing as a tyrant seized power, much like the one who had toppled and murdered his great-grandfather. Though the Prince's motives were pure, some of his staff questioned if there was a larger political motivation behind the Prince deciding to give a televised address regarding the events in Novokazia.

"Are you ready, your grace?", one of his many staffers had leaned in, silhouetted by the bright light currently cast upon him. Aleksey nodded. One of the equipment operators counted down silently until a the little red LED turned on next to him. Aleksey had given many speeches. Most were for charitable events in Cotland or perhaps a message of well-wishes to the people of Novokazia on Revolution Day. They were almost always happy affairs, a far cry from the situation he was now about to address.

"People of Novokazia. My fellow Novokazaks.", he spoke deliberately and confidently,
"Nearly eighty years ago, my great-grandfather gave his last radio address amid the Lepinchyev coup. In that address, he spoke of the promise he made early in his reign, to do all that he could to better the lives of the people of Novokazia. Though he did not live to see much of the accomplishments he sought, our nation found a way. Even through two decades of tyrannical rule, the people's hope and will was never extinguished. That hope and determination to follow the path of our better judgement led to the Yellow Revolution, toppling those who would seek to exploit and divide for their own gain. From the ashes of those tyrants, a vibrant and proud democracy was created, a promise I know my great-grandfather would have loved to seen fulfilled..." the Prince paused for a moment,
"That proud vibrant democracy, for which much blood was shed is now under attack. It is in the interest of that democracy, for which our country has sacrificed so much, that I implore those who would see it undone to reconsider their motivations and reinstate the voice of the people. The path of tyranny is a lonely one and history has taught us time and again that the overarching will of the people will always prevail," the Prince paused again,
"My heart is with the people of Novokazia and I hope that in the name of our ancestors, our commitment to one another and the promise of a better tomorrow for our posterity, we find it in ourselves to rise up to the occasion and find that determination to meet the task at hand. Thank you." The red LED light extinguished.

1844 UTC+2 | 15 February 2020
The Road to the Presidential Palace
Pushkinsky Prospekt, Kiev, United Republics of Novokazia


The Prince's speech the day before had lit a veritable tinder box. Of course, it had not been carried on the television networks which had effectively been seized by the Bityanin government at this point but that had not stopped millions from watching it online, where it had been shared across social media. Already thousands of Novokazaks had decided not to stand by and grassroots organization had been in full swing for weeks to organize mass protests against what everyone knew now to be an open coup.

Today those efforts had culminated in the largest nation wide protests the country had ever seen. Hundreds of thousands had gathered at Marinskiy square in the center of Kiev, the site of the beginning of the Yellow revolution to demand the removal of President Bityanin. The wheels that had begun turning after Svetlana Shapchak's press conference were now in full motion. Early in the morning of the 15th, several thousand protesters had gathered at Marinskiy square. By mid-day estimates had put the gathering at more than two hundred thousand. An hour later, the peaceful demonstration was met with the full force of nearly two thousand Republican guard who had been trucked in through the morning to disperse the gathering. By dusk, 12 protesters and Republican guard had been killed, and dozens more injured.

Meanwhile, social media was buzzing that protesters in the Crimean, Krasnodarskiy and Georgian republics had been joined by armed military who had captured and arrested three of the six governors working with the Bityanin regime. Those who had decided to confront the Bityanin government, it appeared the momentum was now in their favor.

1732 UTC+2 | 16 February 2020
Marinskiy Square
Kiev, United Republics of Novokazia


Kirill couldn't believe the size of the protest. He had climbed up the large statue of Ivan Marinskiy, a 17th century Novokazak general who had defeated an invading army from Smolensk. As far as he could see in every direction, a sea of people all crowded into the Marinskiy square. Peering down the long Marinskiy prospect, he could see people as far as the eye could see. On the opposite side of the square was the beginning of the Pushkinskiy prospekt which led to the Presidential Palace. Having learned from the size of the previous days protests, the Republican Guard and Orel had amassed in force on the road. Forming a barricade of riot shields and armed sentries. Further down the road two BTR-80s had been used to block off the central road. The same had been done on all the roads leading to the Presidential Palace.

Kirill began to climb down the statue. He had been one of the instrumental organizers of both todays and yesterdays protest. He had never seen anything like this in his life, people from all different backgrounds had gathered to show their discontent with Bityanin's attempted coup. As he jumped down to the smooth stone that made the base of this statue, one of the other organizers of the event was waiting,"Kirill, you're up!" An impromptu platform had been erected on one side of the square and several speakers had been gathered to speak to the crowd. One of the remaining leaders of the Communist party had just finished a speech on the dangers the Bityanin regime was to the working class. Most of the speeches of the day had been a succession of diatribes against Bityanin and the damage he was doing to the country. It had been agreed that Kirill should speak, since he was one of the primary organizers. Though his parents were present both today and the day before, they had pleaded with him not to make himself a target. He had assured them it would be ok.

Kirill walked up to the side of the metal platform as the prior speaker vacated the stage. Kirill walked up to the single microphone which had been erected on stage. As he looked out on the crowd, he could see a significant portion were currently watching him, waiting while further away from the stage others were loudly venting their frustration. Kirill was not a public speaker but his anger with everything that was happening had festered for too long. His initial unease at the throngs of eyes on him, was quickly supplanted by the fiery hatred he had developed for the people who were ruining his country.
"My name is Kirill Grigoryevich Nevskiy. And I came here to say fuck you to Bityanin and his bootlicking thugs!" It was simple but effective. The crowd burst out into raucous cheers and laughter.
"They have forgotten that this is country doesn't belong to them, it belongs to the people and it is, you," he pointed to some people in the crowd,
"And me that they serve. All of us gathered today may not agree on a lot of things but one thing I think we all agree on is that these Lepinchyevite thugs have another thing coming." The crowd let out another loud cheer, some in the crowd started shouting, "Let's kill them!", "It's our Revolution!", Kirill continued,
"Those who standby are sheep, those of us who take action choose to make our own destiny. So I say, follow me! Follow me to Pushkinskiy and let us show this tyrant the will of the people!" Another loud cheer reverberated across the crowd as Kirill ran down the steps, one of his friends handing him a large Novokazak Imperial flag to carry. He made his way through the crowd, toward Pushkinskiy prospekt, the coalescing behind him.

As the large crowd made its way toward the initial barricade, they began to chant, "Down with Bityanin!" The Orel riot police that had formed a line of riot shields braced as the crowd moved closer. Several in the rear began to shoot tear gas toward the crowd. Some of the protesters had acquired gas masks in preparation for the protest and as others cleared from the gas, quickly threw it back at the line of police starting a back and forth of tear gas across the road. The crowd drew closer, Kirill looked back at those directly behind him. He lifted the flag and turned toward the line of police, "For Novokazia!" he roared as he began to run directly at the line.

With Kirill leading the charge, the crowd charged the line of police. Before they were overrun the Orel commander didn't wait, "Fallback! Fallback!" The line of police instinctively turned making its way for the second, larger police roadblock where the two BTR-80s and armed Republican guard were.

Kirill felt the adrenaline rushing through his veins as he charged with the full weight of the crowd behind him toward the second line. As the last of the Orel riot police joined the second line, a Republican guard commander stood atop one of the BTRs yelled into the megaphone he was holding, "Fire!"

What followed would be plastered over the internet for weeks to come and would become one of the darkest days in Novokazak history.

Kirill watched, charging forward closer and closer toward the line of police as the gap that had opened to allow the retreating police suddenly closed. The line of republican guard closed ranks, lifting their AK-74s toward the crowd.

Screams ripped through the air as the loud crack of gunfire deafened the sounds of anger. Kirill felt a sharp pain in his shoulder as one of the rounds struck him, suddenly his vision cut to black as several more rounds stuck him.

Those at the front of the crowd tried to turn and run but the crowd was so large that they found themselves fighting the rear of the crowd who was still pushing forward amidst the confusion. The firing continued. Finally, after several seconds the crowd retreated back toward the square in a panic of screams and terror. The sounds of gunfire had already caused the larger crowd at the square to disperse in a panic.

A brief news announcement had followed the events. The President had implemented martial law, suspended the constitution and declared all political parties excluding United Novokazia illegal.

The morning of 17 February, the toll of the crackdown had become clear. Ninety-four protesters had been killed, including Kirill Nevskiy and over twice as many injured in Kiev. Meanwhile, in Crimea the Orel special police had launched an operation that evening to regain control of the provincial administration building in Sevastopol' where another forty protesters had died and another sixty had been injured.

0313 UTC+2 | 17 February 2020
Residence of Prince Aleksey Orlov
18 Vyborg Street, Petersborg, The Realm of Cotland


Prince Aleksey had spent the day of the protest watching the news. The protests in Kiev had grown steadily and his staff had frequently updated him with the most recent events at the protests from social media posts. Most of his staff were young, like him and many found the developments intriguing and in some ways exciting. That had all changed when one of his staffers rushed into the room from a side room where many of them had been watching social media on a computer.
"Your grace, they just opened fire on the protesters!" his voice trembling, Aleksey threw himself around on the large leather couch he had been lounging in for several hours now.
"What do you mean opened fire?", he asked not wanting to believe it
"Guns, your grace. They've shot dozens of people." He sat in complete disbelief for several minutes while the staffer ran back into the room. Reports amongst the Cottish media on TV were about as informed as he was thanks to the bar on foreign journalists.

Nearly eight hours after the attack on the protesters, his staffers entered the room again. This time not saying anything, instead one of them merely handed their iPhone to the Prince. A video had been queued on VMir, the Novokazak social media site. He clicked play on the image. It appeared to be a video shot from an apartment window. The video, though shoddily lit showed an apron at an airport across from the apartment. The Prince watched as a motorcade arrived and numerous people disembarked making their way to a large aircraft. He looked up confused at the staffer, who took the iPhone, tapped on it several times and then presented him with a flight tracking website which showed the Ilyushin 76 transport aircraft, owned by the Confederacy of the Urals making its way from Kiev toward Perm.

"He fled, your grace. Social media is abuzz that the President fled to the Confederacy of the Urals after the situation completely got away from him."

"Dmitriy, get me the contact information for the Provincial Government." the Prince replied continuing to watch the TV while his staffer disappeared to make phone calls. The news program suddenly cut to a breaking news splash screen before the anchor began to speak,

"We are receiving confirmation now from sources in Kiev that portions of the Novokazak military aligned to the NKPG have seized the Presidential Palace in Kiev along with several administration buildings. It is believed that President Bityanin has fled the country. We will bring you more as this situation develops."

The staffer returned to the room, handing a small piece of paper to the Prince. He stood up to go make a late night phone call.

User avatar
Cotland
Ambassador
 
Posts: 1096
Founded: Nov 05, 2004
Father Knows Best State

Postby Cotland » Fri Jan 22, 2021 3:53 am

Royal Embassy of the Realm of Cotland
25 Reitarska Street, Kiev, United Republics of Novokazia
09:50 (Local/07:50 UTC), Saturday, 1 February, 2020


"Well, it’s a coup alright, but not by the DSNK,” Helene Gormsen said as she watched President Bityanin’s speech. “It’s too convenient. Suddenly declare the entire party as domestic terrorists even before there’s been a proper investigation. Dissolve Parliament in its entirety so that the President can rule by decree? Not hold any further elections until after the investigation, which is sure to draw out in time, is completed? And now the announcement of what can only be classified as a purge in the state apparatus? You know what they say: If it looks like a dog, barks like a dog, and smells like a dog, its probably a dog.”

“Yeah, it sure looks like it.” Tarjei Skolm, her colleague at the Cottish embassy in Kiev agreed. Just then, his cellphone beeped. He picked up his cherry red Nokia 15200 smartphone and checked the incoming text. “The ambassador’s called an emergency meeting at noon.”

“That’ll be interesting.” Helene quipped.

* * * * * * * * * * * *


A few hours later, the staff were gathered in Ambassador Gustav Björklund’s rather comfortable conference room on the sixth floor of the comfortable embassy building. While Saturday was normally a day where the embassy was manned by a skeleton staff, as the Foreign Service preferred to observe the normal five-day Cottish working week, the embassy was manned by a continency staff this weekend due to the uncertain circumstances of the past month.

When Tatyana Khurdovskaya had been arrested in the Parliament just before President Bityanin dissolved Parliament, the embassy had gone into crisis mode just like most other nations had. There were more than 30,000 Cottish citizens with valid visas to Novokazia in-country at that time that needed to be reached out to and assisted as required by the embassy while they prepared recommendations for the Foreign Ministry back home in Oslo. Most of the Cottish citizens in-country were businessmen and tourists enjoying the historically cordial relations between the Realm and Novokazia that had been resumed with a vengeance since the end of the military dictatorship in the early 1960s, and all of them had a right to assistance to get out, should they so desire. Apart from this and reaching out to its contacts within the Novokazian Foreign Ministry and elsewhere to try to get information, the embassy had echoed the official statement made by the Cottish Foreign Ministry regretting the events and offering its support to the United Republics if they should desire it. A travel advisory was also issued, recommending increased vigilance and caution by Cottish citizens travelling in Novokazia and urging them to stay away from large gatherings of people.

Apart from this, the embassy had adopted a “wait and see” posture and continued business as usual, though with increased manning during the weekends. The Ambassador, a fifty-two-year-old career diplomat hailing from the Dala region of Svea province and a workaholic, had been at the embassy every day since, not taking a single day off as he monitored the situation, worked the Novokazian government circles as best he could, liased with other friendly nations’ embassies, and wrote lengthy classified reports back to Oslo.

In the course of the meeting, they pieced together what they had gathered so far and discussed the events and the speech President Bityanin had made, and after an hour of discussion, reached the conclusion Helene had formulated a few hours earlier. It was most likely a coup, probably orchestrated by President Bityanin, for reasons unknown at this time.

Thus much was typed up in a formal report back to Oslo, which was sent just half an hour before the head of Directorate Eight confirmed as much in an abruptive live television address.

An hour later, the Cottish embassy issued a new travel advisory, urging all Cottish citizens in Novokazia to leave the country unless they had absolutely vital business to attend to there. An hour after that, the Foreign Ministry issued a formal travel advisory discouraging travel to Novokazia for the time being due to the volatile political situation there.

And the talking heads in the medias and social media exploded as word of the coup in Novokazia broke.


Royal Embassy of the Realm of Cotland
25 Reitarska Street, Kiev, United Republics of Novokazia
17:30 (Local/15:30 UTC), Friday, 14 February, 2020


The unrest that followed in the days after the news of the coup broke had seen 85% of the Cottish citizens in Novokazia deciding to get out while the going was good. Meanwhile, the embassy had worked overtime to assist these people getting out, many by air but a few chose to take the long road and drive up to the Cottish-Novokazian shared land border north of Kiev to cross there.

Then, when the embassy finally felt that they were starting to get a handle of the situation, the exiled Novokazian heir to the long-gone Novokazian throne decided to throw himself into the situation by calling on the people to rise up and take back the power. That had put the Realm into a tricky situation. While the Prince was officially a Novokazian citizen by birth and thus not a Cottish citizen trying to interject himself into the situation, the Prince was a legal resident of Cotland and had given the statement from the safety of the largest city in Cotland. It was damage control time.

Official Statement


Made by Foreign Ministry Ine Sørheim during interview with CTV ca 141915A FEB 20, later published on Foreign Ministry website http://www.regjering.umin.gov.cot

His Majesty’s Government is watching the current unrest within the United Republics of Novokazia with great unrest and urge all parties to reach a peaceful and amicable mutual solution to their differences.

The Realm of Cotland considers the ongoing events within the United Republics of Novokazia as an internal Novokazian matter and has no desire nor intention to interject itself into the events. The recent statement made by H.E. the Prince Aleksey Orlov are his and his alone. H.E. the Prince Aleksey Orlov speaks in the capacity of being a private person, exercising his right to freedom of expression as afforded by the Constitution of the Realm of Cotland. This statement therefore does not represent the position of His Majesty’s Government in the ongoing events within the United Republics of Novokazia.

While His Majesty’s Government has no desire nor intent to attempt to dictate to the United Republics how to handle its own internal affairs, His Majesty’s Government equally has no desire nor legal right to curtail H.E. the Prince Aleksey Orlov’s constitutionally protected freedom of expression.

His Majesty’s Government urge all parties to show restraint and not to allow tempers to get out of hand.



The next day, a special diplomatic flight carrying thirty-odd embassy staffers with diplomatic passports landed at Kiev International Airport and were transported to the Cottish embassy by bus. The persons were security personell from the Foreign Ministry’s Diplomatic Security Service, and were sent to boost the twenty-man strong security detachment as the Foreign Ministry were fearful that there might be protests from pro-Bityanin groupings.

Once the security guards were in place, the embassy went into lockdown and braced for what was to come.
Last edited by Cotland on Fri Jan 22, 2021 3:54 am, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
The Kingdom of Apilonia
Spokesperson
 
Posts: 105
Founded: Feb 10, 2020
Inoffensive Centrist Democracy

Postby The Kingdom of Apilonia » Fri Jan 22, 2021 6:01 am

Sir Zacharias J. Winstanley, KCG
Embassy of the Kingdom of Apilonia
Kiev, United Republics of Novokazia
Sunday 2nd February 2020, 0330hrs Local Time




“You have got to be kidding me!”

Few in the main bullpen of the Apilonian Embassy could argue with the sentiment expressed by Alexandria Cunningham as the gathered staffers watched the broadcast of the Head of the Novokazak Directorate 8 get cut off mid revelation. Theories had been flying around the Embassy, as they had around the entire country and beyond, ranging from true foreign involvement, to an internal plot by the Social Democrats, to a coup being conducted by the Novokazak President. Few, however, had anticipated that they would receive confirmation of the latter theory on national television one Sunday afternoon. Broadly speaking, many of the Embassy staff had assumed that the situation fizzled out after the protested had died down after a couple of weeks following the dissolution of Parliament and the arrest of key opposition leaders in the Novokazak DSNK. Indeed, although a travel advisory remained in place, which had been reaffirmed by the Apilonian Foreign Office in addition to the Embassy’s own advisory, given the continuing political tensions, the additional consular and security protocols they had been enacted in the days after the beginning of the crisis had ben relaxed, even if dependents of Embassy staff were being heavily encouraged to take a (all expenses paid for) vacation back in Apilonia.

In truth, and known only the the Ambassador and senior staff within the Embassy (as well as key foreign officer and HM Government officials back home), the Royal Intelligence Service had been hard at work expanding their intelligence-gathering network in Novokazia and had quickly been putting together a much clearer picture of what was going on, or at least enough to make educated guesses. In the days that had followed 7 January, it had become clear that the President was having daily meetings with the Chief of the General Staff in Kiev, which was unusual to say the least; it simply wasn’t the norm in a democracy for a senior military officer to have daily meetings with the head of state outside of wartime. If that hadn’t suggested that something darker was going on the fact that RIS had also confirmed that Interior Ministry forces were being re-deployed from some of the eastern Republics to Kiev. Perhaps most concerning, in terms of the wide geopolitical situation in the region, was the phone call that the Royal Communications Headquarters (RCHQ), the Kingdom’s signals intelligence collection agency, between President Bityanin and someone within the Confederacy of the Urals, suggesting that there was some outside interference just not what it had been claimed.

To make matters worse, a newly recruited RIS source inside the Interior Ministry, had been able to uncover that those that had been arrested on 7 January had been taken to a holding facility near Bakov, or as far as well away from the centres of political power in Kiev. This alone was suspect at best, especially given that there had been no reports of any legal proceedings, and heavily suggested that they were being held as political prisoners.

In short, it was becoming obvious that this was indeed a coup, perpetrated by President Bityanin, although the exact motivations and ultimate endgame still remained unclear. After all, although it was obvious that the President did not agree with the political leanings of the party which had won the election, it was unlikely that it would have forced him out of power. So precisely why he had felt the need to embark upon this course of actions remained unclear, unless he had seen it as the beginning of the end of his long rule over Novokazia. The previous day’s press conference, announcing further arrests and an expansion of the supposed involvement by the legislature in a a plot against Novokazia, especially given that they were being declared as domestic terrorists for the first time, had only underlined everything else that RIS was seeing. It seemed pretty clear by this point that support for President Bityanin was not as widespread as he would have hoped, otherwise he would not have waited to long to enact this latest wave of arrests if he did not think he could count on their support from the outset. More and more the word ‘coup’ had been doing the rounds… after all, if it looked like a duck and quacked like a duck it was probably a duck.

Nevertheless, the sudden confirmation of this, by a senior official within Novokazak Intelligence no less, had come as something of a surprise even for those who saw the writing on the wall.

Sir Zacharias broke the shocked silence in the bullpen.

“Get that travel adversary updated, reissue the enhanced security and consular assistance programme, and informs all dependants that the trip back to the Kingdom is no longer a suggestion,” Sir Zacharias said grimly. “Unless I am very much mistaken, things are only going to get worse from here; we just received confirmation of what we feared, and so did the Novokazak people… I rather doubt they’ll take it sitting down.”



Sir Zacharias J. Winstanley, KCG
Embassy of the Kingdom of Apilonia
Kiev, United Republics of Novokazia
Monday 17th February 2020, 0330hrs Local Time




Sure enough, in the aftermath of the revelation protesters had begun to form and battle lines had quickly been drawn; with troops swarming into Kiev and provincial governors openly defying the President. It had not come as a surprise when the Novokazak Ministry of Foreign Affairs had rescinded all the press visas for the foreign news media in Kiev, which included the two main Apilonian channels; Apilonia Cable News (ACN, a subsidiary of Apilonia World Media) and the Apilonian Broadcasting Corporation. This had been met with an immediate condemnation by the Kingdom, and a strongly-worded protest from the Embassy, which had immediately offered refuge to the ACN and ABC news crews which were determined to still try and cover the crisis. As a result, both channels news crews had broadcast from the grounds of the Apilonian Embassy since their visas had been rescinded, whilst also having to live inside the Embassy building itself to avoid being deported if they left, whilst the Ambassador had made clear that it would not be in President Bityanin’s best interests to try and do anything about it.

After all, at this point Apilonia was loath to get involved, primarily as there was no clear unified opposition and no one had asked for their help, but an attack on the Embassy that was exercising its extraterritorial prerogatives would trigger a substantial response.

By 13 February, with the announcement of an organised opposition in the form of the Novokazak Provincial Government taking control in their territories, and announcing that their belief that they had substantial support, the chances of significant fighting within Novokazia was deemed to be reaching the realm of probability. As a result, and with the possibility of the Embassy being caught in the crossfire, the decision had been made by in the Royal District by the King of Apilonia, the Prime Minister, and the Royal Cabinet, that it was desirable for there to be Apilonian military forces in the area to facilitate such an evacuation of Apilonian nationalists, if it became necessary. As a result, at 2000hrs local time, His Majesty’s Ship Superb, a Renown-Class guided missile cruiser that was serving with the Royal Navy’s Mediterranean Station which had been holding position in the northern Aegean Sea, was ordered through the Dardanelles and the Bosporus to take up a position off the Novokazak coast to put her helicopters at the edge of their range to Kiev. It was a drastic step, and one that was open to misinterpretation, however it was also necessary to the decision had been made to send one ship where more would have been preferable, and one one ship was required the Royal Navy turned, as it had for decades, to its cruisers.

By early afternoon on 14 February, the Superb was in position just outside of Novokazak territorial waters. Fortunately, as far as the Apilonians were concerned, it seemed unlikely that they were going to be deliberately attacked; all these preparations were in the event of the Embassy, or any Apilonian citizens, getting caught up in the unrest that was spreading across the country and escalating quickly. The Kingdom was in no way preparing for a military intervention, as much as it might like to.

It had not been a surprise when Prince Aleksey Konstantinovich Orlov, the heir-in-exile to the Novokazak throne, had made a statement on the current situation, calling for a return to democratic rule. The Prince, who was a distant cousin of the Apilonian Royal Family due to marriage of one of his ancestors to an Apilonian Princess, had spoken eloquently and without any attempt to take advantage of the situation himself, which was commendable. What had been surprising was just how impactful the Prince’s statement had been. The protests which had been growing steadily had exploded dramatically, in both size and fury, more than vindicating the decision by the Foreign Office to advise against all but essential travel to Novokazia; the last thing Apilonia needed was any of its citizens getting caught up in the mess as the protests escalated on 15 February, leading to deaths. It was at this point that the Apilonian Embassy had reached out to their Cottish counterparts across town, offering assistance in the event of any protesters by Bityanin’s supporters as a result of the fact that Prince Aleksey had given his speech whilst sheltering in the Realm of Cotland.

Perhaps more critically, as far as RIS and the Embassy staff were concerned, were reports that military personnel had joined the protesters in half of the constituent republics that had declared their loyalty to President Bityanin. The momentum, it had seemed, was turning rapidly against the President. Indeed, clashes in the streets had continued to grow in size and energy. The Embassy staff were watching the events of the protest unfold on ACN and ABC, both of whom were switching between their reporters on the roof of the Embassy, watching from afar, and footage from a number of stringers, local freelance journalists, who were covering the protesters up close and personnel due to their ability to get much closer to the scene. The scenes were dramatic in the extreme; a massive crowd facing off against lines of troops backed up by armoured vehicles; it was a scene that no one ever wanted to see in a democracy; and one that every Apilonian citizen watching from the Embassy hoped to never see in their own country.

As the crowed charged the Republican Guard it became apparent to everyone that this was the moment of truth; the President was losing support across the country and that with the crowd at the literal gates something would come to a head, but no one quite expected what happened next. The gathered Apilonians, as well as everyone watching ACN and ABC and countless others all over the world, watched in abject horror as the Novokazak Republican Guard opened fire on the charging protesters.The carnage was utterly devastating, and entirely evident, before both ACN and ABC quickly pivoted away from these horrific images to show the shocked faces of their anchors who struggled to find words to express what they had just seen. For what felt like the hundredth time, silence had reigned in the embassy bullpen as they absorbed what they had just seen, and the implications. If there had been any chance for a peaceful resolution prior to this, or any outcome that kept the President in power, that chance had just died with dozens of Novokazak citizens who had just been killed. After all, although the protest might have fled in terror, they would doubtless return and be ready to fight.

It was a long night, watching the events proceed rapidly apace, as martial law was declared and the constitution suspended, and the horrible toll of the massacre in Marinskiy Square became clear. Almost as soon as the footage began to appear on Novokazak social media did news of the President’s flight from the country become known to the RIS, with both the Embassy station and the Novokazak desk back at headquarters having drawn in significant resources into monitoring the primary source of information available. Indeed, the powerful SAMPSON radar aboard the Superb detected and tracked the IL-76 as it made its way towards the Confederacy of the Urals, confirming to the RIS that there was certainly a Confederate connection to this entire situation.

“Reports that the NKPG has seized the presidential palace,” Mike Clancy reported, entering the bullpen. “Looks like they’ve got significant military support.”

“We can only hope,” Alexandria Cunningham commented dryly. "Looks like those reports of Bityanin fleeing may very well be true.”

“Or he’s in NKPG custody,” Jack Butler suggested.

“We’re pretty confident that Bityanin had fled the country, based on the open-source intelligence we’ve seen on social media, as far as what happens next goes, we’re not entirely sure at the moment” Clancy shook his head. “It depends whether they reinstate the results of the election or not, we’re trying to get assets on the inside so that we have a heads-up, but it’s very much up in the air right now.”

Sir Zacharias remained quiet, deep in thought. Throughout the crisis, Apilonia had been calling for a return to democracy and, as the violence had escalated, a peaceful resolution. Over the past couple of weeks, the Apilonian stance against Bityanin had hardened as it became clear that he had been behind an unlawful coup and been calling for Bityanin to step aside and had offered to mediate some form of agreement, however the beleaguered President had proven intransigent on that count. It was obvious that Apilonia favoured any government other than that of Bityanin, as it seemed unlikely that they could form a genuine partnership with a wannabe authoritarian strongman. As such, a victory for the cause of democracy, regardless of which political party ended up in government afterwards, was a positive as far as Apilonia was concerned; as such, and from a purely pragmatic perspective, the next focus was on positioning Apilonia as position as possible with the new government.

“Okay, here’s what we’re going to do; let’s give our spooks until the morning to confirm what the situation is currently on the ground, then assuming the NKPG is indeed in control, I want to send a message to them, congratulating them on their victory for democracy and offering our assistance in restoring that system,” Sir Zacharias said firmly. “I want to make clear that there are no strings attached to any assistance that they request, and that our primary objective is to support their return to democracy in whatever way we can; they just need to ask and we’ll make it happen, they’ve got a lot of difficult rebuilding to be done, this is not a time for politics on our part.”
The Kingdom of Apilonia
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Layarteb
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Inoffensive Centrist Democracy

Postby Layarteb » Fri Jan 22, 2021 11:26 pm



• • • † • • •



Tuesday, January 7th, 2020 | 11:00 hrs [UTC-5]

Layarteb City, New York | Fortress of Comhghall
40° 41' 28" N, 74° 0' 58" W






It had been roughly five hours since the arrest of the Prime Minister Elect and many other party leaders. In Kiev, a sense of foreboding was in the air but in Layarteb City, thousands upon thousands of miles away, the current crisis had not resonated or registered much with the people of Layarteb City. The Layartebian News Network, along with other global media organizations had covered the events but largely in passing as if whatever was happening was slight and didn't deserve more than a few minutes. Every reporter signed off with a cop out, merely saying that the situation was "still developing."

In the Fortress of Comhghall however, the Emperor and his Cabinet were sitting down for their daily brief and the first agenda item was the situation in Kiev, to which the Emperor posed the first question, "Timothy, what do we have from the ground?"

"Well sir,"
began Minister Fisher of Foreign Affairs, "there isn't a lot. There were no indications to any of our political officers that something was brewing or any indication whatsoever that the results of the election were 'in question' at all."

"What's that mean? What does that translate to?"

"Well sir it's alarming,"
Fisher continued, "very alarming. We should have heard some rumblings about the election results had there been some sort of official inquiry. You can't just audit an entire country's election results without making any noise whatsoever."

"What's your take Carmen?"

"Sir, what Minister Fisher says is excessively alarming,"
answered Minister Flores of Intelligence, "sir I just have to think that something untoward is happening. We have no proof of it, our assets and agents in-country are completely silent. There's been no indication whatsoever that something is brewing but sir, the writing is on the wall. We think that this is a ploy and that it is not spontaneous. The President was clearly prepared for his statement when he took the podium and footage shows the Prime Minister Elect caught entirely unaware. We're attempting to connect with the Apilonians and the Cottish right now to see what they might know."

"How focused have we been on the results of the election?"

"Not at all sir,"
Minister Fisher said, "frankly nothing seemed problematic. The downfall of the sitting administration was likely to lead to a massive rebuke of the party. What we saw in the election results was what you would expect from a situation such as we had here. We're not particularly close with Novokazia enough to that involved in the matters. Standard communiques of recognition and applause for democratic conventions were conveyed but that was where it ended. We expected a peaceful transition of power."

"Okay so knowing the facts so far, we know little. What we do know however is that something is fishy. We'll make no official statement as of yet but I want this as a focus. Let's get more information if we can. Novokazia isn't a major trading partner or a close ally but unrest in Novokazia is likely to spread to other parts of the region. That could mean Layartebian interests come under threat."


• • • • ‡ • • • •


Sunday, February 2nd, 2020 | 15:00 hrs [UTC+2]

Kyiv, United Republics of Novokazia | Embassy of the Empire of Layarteb
50° 27' 54" N, 30° 25' 55" E






In the almost four-weeks since the events of January 7th, Kiev hung on a precipice between stability and instability. It wouldn't take much to tip the entire country over the edge and many within the political and intellection sections of the Layartebian embassy expected it at any time. The President had promised an inquisition into the election tampering but no one had yet presented any evidence to support the allegation. To make matters worse, for the Layartebians that was, their assets and agents had gone quiet, some had disappeared all together and it was assumed they'd been arrested. A lot of people had been arrested in the weeks following but nearly all of them were party leaders of the DSNK, the very same people accused of rigging the election they won. Elections were rigged all over the world but nothing screamed rigged about this election, at least not to Layarteb.

There had been protests in the strongholds of the DSNK, as was to be expected, but that was it. Where the DSNK didn't have support, you wouldn't have guessed that anything was wrong whatsoever. Novokazia was a tale of two countries right now. President Bityanin had been quiet save for another televised address only the day prior, on a Saturday of all days. Unusual for something such as this, he announced that the Ministry of the Interior and the military had been tasked with investigating the election fraud. Inside the Layartebian embassy, political officers and analysts asked, "Why announce that now? Why a month later?" Something didn't smell right to them. Seeing how the press reacted to the President's speech only added to the confusion. "Why are they cheering?" Many asked, "What evidence have they presented? Where are the facts?"

The words of Benfield a month earlier still hung in the air, "It's the strangest coup I've ever seen…" A day later, on a Sunday of all days, most of the embassy's staff were off and the few persons on duty constituted a skeletal staff, people on duty simply to man certain desks that needed attention 24/7/365. They monitored communications mostly, security around the embassy, and of course the intelligence circles.

When the normal broadcasts were interrupted, it caught the attention of the desk officer manning the communications equipment. It was Sunday and a break-in press conference on a Sunday rarely meant anything good. He quicky paged his superior office while watching the short broadcast. It was already being taped so he wouldn't need to do so manually. The image of Svetlana Shapchak appeared on the screen and began to speak. Her words, carefully chosen and quick to deliver, would send shockwaves throughout the country. They cut her off, which only confirmed what she was saying. The DSNK was innocent and a coup was underway by the President against the leftist parties in power in Novokazia.

By the time the ambassador saw it, the embassy's vital personnel were being recalled on an emergency basis. The intelligence section was rushing back to do as was the political and the security sections. Cables were flying off to Layarteb City and the ambassador was reviewing his options. To a small crowd of just the chief of station and his political and legal attachés, the ambassador confidently declared, "We're going into crisis mode. The country's democratic institutions are being corrupted. We will have to make a stand and I suspect Layarteb City will not want to sit this one out just because it 'doesn't affect them.'

"Let's get everyone in the know. From hereon out, the safety of our personnel is crucial. No one makes any official statements without my consent. We button up right now. If you have back channels, we'll use them and I want as much information as we can get. We have a network here right?"

"Yes, we always have a network,"
Benfield answered.

"Well it's time they started producing. Get our operatives on it. I'll need whatever political can give us and legal, work up any protections we need for our citizens in case any of them get swept up in this. We know what happens in these situations. They arrest first, disappear later." He hadn't much else to say and so he dismissed everyone but Benfield. Holding his chief of station back, the ambassador shut the office door to ensure privacy. Benfield and he took a seat in his office, the television muted in the background as the media spun a happy tale that Novokazia wasn't in the midst of peril.

"Benfield, I've got one question."

"Shoot."

"Did we have anything to do with this?"

"No,"
Benfield answered quickly and confidently.

"No as in 'wink-wink' or no as in, 'we have nothing to do with this at all'?"

"The latter sir. The Empire has nothing to do with this and none of my agents, assets, or operatives have been directed otherwise."

"Good. This is going to come down hard on the country and the last thing I'd want is to be sitting in the hot seat."

"Yes sir. Anything else you need?"

"Information."

"On it,"
said Benfield as he departed the office, leaving the door open in his wake.

• • • • ‡ • • • •


Monday, February 3rd, 2020 | 10:00 hrs [UTC-5]

Layarteb City, New York | Fortress of Comhghall
40° 41' 28" N, 74° 0' 58" W






Amidst the hush murmurs of the press pool in the Fortress of Comhghall, there sat three dozen reporters from the Governors Island Press Pool, as they were officially known. All had been cleared via background checks and represented accredited news agencies from not only Layarteb but the world as well. They knew the rules well and when the Emperor entered the room, the murmurs stopped and everyone stood out of respect. Cameras snapped and the Emperor seated everyone quickly, getting right into his conference. "Ladies and gentlemen of the Empire and of the world, since January 7, the Empire has been monitoring the events in Novokazia with deep concern for the future of the country. Novokazia is a nation that respects the rule of law and the democratic institutions that make so many nations successful and powerful in this world.

"When first the allegations of voter fraud were levied by President Bityanin, the Empire sat quietly, not wishing to involve itself in the domestic affairs of Novokazia. We have waited to see the evidence of such a matter and, at the time, we would have stood by the democratic institutions of the nation to support in any way possible.

"Yesterday, the startling announcement of Ms. Shapchak and the subsequent cutting off of her feed has told this government precisely all it needs to know about the events of January 7. The Empire has, at this time, a decision to make. We can remain idle on the sidelines and allow the people of Novokazia to solve this on their own or we can break with this tradition and intervene in a multitude of manners.

"The Empire will not remain idle on the sidelines. We implore the sitting government of Novokazia to release immediately the political prisoners being held in detention since January 7. We implore President Bityanin to present his evidence of voter fraud and we implore the sitting government of Novokazia to allow an independent council of legal experts the opportunity to review said evidence without influence, hindrance, or corruption. The people of Novokazia are owed an explanation and they are owed the same respect of law that is expected of them.

"Whether or not a coup is underway in Novokazia is for the people of Novokazia to answer. However, as of this time, the Empire finds the events in Novokazia deeply troubling and we will continue to monitor the situation. Thank you."
With that, questions were presented but in a respectable manner. Reporters raised their hands and the Emperor called on them. No one blurted out questions and anyone who spoke stood. "Sir, Janet Hutchins, Global News, are you considering military action against the nation of Novokazia?"

"Absolutely not ma'am, the Empire has no reason whatsoever to consider military action at this time. We believe that this is a crisis for the Novokazak people to solve internally and within the institutions of their nation. Next?"

"Mark Powers, Layartebian News Network, sir do we have any intelligence that these allegations of voter fraud are false?"

"We do not have intelligence one way or the other but we have a series of troubling events that cause question and concern. We implore the President of this nation to release the evidence he alleges to have. Release this evidence and if it is truthful, the people will back it, the people and the nations will understand and support the initiatives. If it is not, then there can be no other recourse of action than resignation and punishment of all those involved to the letter and limit of Novokazak law. Next?"

"Bradley Ya, Hong Kong Gazette, sir, does the Empire officially endorse the DSNK party?"

"No. The Empire is not endorsing any party within Novokazia nor are we suggesting any party is legitimate or illegitimate. However, we are calling upon the release of those detainees as there is serious question concerning these allegations. Last question?"

"Sir, Valerie Reyes, Mexico City Times, should the nation of Novokazia become a dictatorship as a result of a coup, how would the Empire respond?"

"We will review the situation and weigh our options should such an event occur. We trust it will not occur but we will be prepared for all possible outcomes. Thank you,"
the Emperor said as he departed the podium and the press room. News networks cut away moments later.



• • • † • • •


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