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Author Topic: Designing ex-Soviet Baltic States territory  (Read 14756 times)
egalor
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« on: May 04, 2009, 08:25:58 AM »

Here goes my very first look into the territory in question. I would appreciate your feedback!

***

Statement and disclaimer.
 
A) The following material is intended to be used in PARPG project. This means that my sole intention is to contribute to the success of the whole project, which means, in the end, its gameplay enjoyment by the end user (gamer). In this regard, although I refer to as many real-life/documentary bilingual sources as I could find, what I am definitely not intending to achieve by this -- is a scientifically precise prognostication of happenings in the post-nuclear world.
 
B) Certain ideas from PARPG forums are implemented here (subject to their author's consent and credit, of course).
 
C) I give only references to notions that is difficult or impossible to find in Wikipedia/Google. While I do my best to give links in English, some links are given in Russian.
 
***

Latest version can be found at:
http://wiki.parpg.net/Draft:Story
« Last Edit: May 05, 2009, 02:16:53 PM by egalor » Logged
mvBarracuda
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« Reply #1 on: May 04, 2009, 12:12:47 PM »

While I like your proposal in general, here are some notes / questions:
- Why are the EEL societies based on national socialism? It sounds to me like the name was chosen to give the impression of a connection to national socialism in general. That doesn't make too much sense to me in case of the Baltic states, considering that they wanted to get rid of socialism in the 1980's. There might be nationalistic sentiments in these societies but why should they go for any form of (even if it's national) socialism?
- Is there any specific reason why Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania decided to form some kind of alliance? If you take Fallout as an example, you'll see that there are a lot of small socities that usually don't expand beyond the borders of a town; there are exceptions but they're not really common. Considering that PARPG plays 20 years after the war, it's unlikely to me that full scale societies have reemerged. So therefore I would prefer if the EEL / BRF would be a rather loose union of allied cities / communities.  Most important: there should be conflict among the allied cities as well. I think it's not really realistic that they're some kind of homogeneous group without any inner conflict.
- I propose that nationalism itself as well as the general idea of socialism are more facades for the hunger of the specific cities / communities to increase their power and resources.

Besides that your post is a good start IMO. Hopefully the others will provide some feedback as well; next step would be to wikify your ideas to have a somewhat coherent version of them at the wiki instead of different threads spread over the writing board.
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egalor
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« Reply #2 on: May 04, 2009, 01:23:31 PM »

Thanks for your (end everybody else's) feedback.

Points taken. I will try to wikify that stuff as well (I just needed some formal ok to do so).

- Why are the EEL societies based on national socialism? It sounds to me like the name was chosen to give the impression of a connection to national socialism in general. That doesn't make too much sense to me in case of the Baltic states, considering that they wanted to get rid of socialism in the 1980's. There might be nationalistic sentiments in these societies but why should they go for any form of (even if it's national) socialism?

To get the things clearer first: ELL (Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania) - is just an abbreviation used only to simplify the reference to these (former) countries, so it doesn't mean they have to do anything with a common organizational structure at all. So, I didn't name them for any specific purpose other than for the ease of reference.

Now, as for "national socialism". In order to avoid the confusion, it is important to define the terms first.
Nationalism or socialism taken separately - are not the same as national socialism. On the other hand, nazism might be used as a synonym for national socialism. I still remember these things from the University years, which is also confirmed by Wikipedia. 

Therefore, I'm actually referring to nazism ( = national socialism) protruding on the fertile ground of Baltic States, and particularly Estonia, who openly honour SS legionaries who "helped Estonia get rid of USSR occupation". If you watch news, you'd know what I'm speaking about, no doubt.

That is also why they see Kaliningrad as their worst enemies.

Is there any specific reason why Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania decided to form some kind of alliance? If you take Fallout as an example, you'll see that there are a lot of small socities that usually don't expand beyond the borders of a town; there are exceptions but they're not really common. Considering that PARPG plays 20 years after the war, it's unlikely to me that full scale societies have reemerged. So therefore I would prefer if the EEL / BRF would be a rather loose union of allied cities / communities.  Most important: there should be conflict among the allied cities as well. I think it's not really realistic that they're some kind of homogeneous group without any inner conflict.

I agree with you absolutely, that the alliances are very small, scattered across the Baltic and have no communication (and are mostly hostile to each other). One community, though, which is significantly stronger than the others (due to availability of resources) is the one of Tallinn origin - they call themselves Baltic Rebirth Front - BRF. However, even they understand that in order to dominate South Eastern Baltic they will need to unite the scattered and very different settlements/tribes/nomads/whoever else under one common idea. Which idea? I will cover it further in detail, but basically that would concern the creation of a en extremely powerful energy source which could provide electricity to those who need it in return for their service. The role of the player in that will also be outlined later.

I propose that nationalism itself as well as the general idea of socialism are more facades for the hunger of the specific cities / communities to increase their power and resources.

As ever, there will be cold-blooded and greedy individuals who reach their own goals by fuelling the efforts of their loyal subjects with nationalistic ideas. Smiley


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Sirren
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« Reply #3 on: May 04, 2009, 01:43:55 PM »

I do agree with Barra about the game taking place just a few years after the disaster, so communities aren't that developed..
Your setting sounds solid though, just like your ability to devise them. keep up the good work.
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egalor
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« Reply #4 on: May 04, 2009, 02:23:45 PM »

I do agree with Barra about the game taking place just a few years after the disaster...

To make sure - it's 20 years after the bombs stopped falling: http://wiki.parpg.net/Draft:Setting
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mvBarracuda
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« Reply #5 on: May 04, 2009, 02:57:28 PM »

I'm still somewhat sceptic about Neonazism being one major ideology in the Baltic States (considering the PARPG timeline). Remember that the Baltic States were fed up with Socialism in the 1980's. While there is known Baltic support of Nazism in World War II, you need to take the special historical context into account. A pact with Germany under Hitler was seen as a way to get rid of the Soviet influence in their states.

So we'll need a good explanation why they should resort to Neonazism, as I think the situation after the 1980's is quite different to the situation in WWII.
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Gaspard
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« Reply #6 on: May 05, 2009, 08:33:20 AM »

well, I'm originally from Estonia, the northernmost of the Baltic States.
I can second Barra in saying that by the late 1980s everybody was pretty tired of extremist ideologies (after more than 50 years of occupation by either Hitler's Germany or the Soviet Union) and something like neo-nationalism would have been out of the question.

Neither Germany nor Soviet Union was seen as the savior during the WWII - they were both the aggressive alien powers acting out their very own agendas that were foreign to the locals (the Baltic States).
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egalor
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« Reply #7 on: May 05, 2009, 01:22:18 PM »

Gents, I have tried to answer your questions/fix issues in the re-worked & wikified version of the above material.

Please refer to: http://wiki.parpg.net/Draft:Story.

As ever, your comments are welcome.

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egalor
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« Reply #8 on: May 05, 2009, 02:36:17 PM »

Among other sources, here's why I have chosen the neo-nazism in Estonia theme particularly:

http://209.85.129.132/search?q=cache:7K37Wc0XB-IJ:www.icsbrussels.org/ICS/2005/Contributions_to_the_Seminar/Sci05_Estonia_CPE_paper_EN_LOK.doc+neonazism+in+estonia&cd=2&hl=ru&ct=clnk&gl=ru

"Tallinn seems to be the only European city where goods with  nazi symbols  are available  for sale in the very center of the city. All these facts have not been politically  commented on and condemned by the authorities,   which  results in the spread  of neo- nazism  in Estonia."


http://encyclopedia.thefreedictionary.com/Neo-Nazism+in+Estonia
Neo-Nazism in Estonia is a political movement in Estonia that seeks to revive the ideology and policies of Nazism.
Despite its minor electoral importance, neo-Nazism in Estonia was visible through graffiti featuring Swastikas and anti-semitic slogans around the turn of the millennium. Neo-Nazis in Estonia have been tied to hate-driven attacks on immigrants, homosexuals and leftists. Estonia has some Nazi skinheads.


http://www.northstarcompass.org/nsc0612/newssu.htm
Russia Asks That Europe Must Address Nazi Revival in Estonia
COMMENT
What "nice" diplomatic language used for this extremely serious development in Estonia, where thousands of Soviet soldiers, not only Russians, died liberating these people from the German Nazis and their own internal fascists who (as history has shown) preferred to shoot the Red Army soldiers in the back and cooperating with the German occupiers.

http://www.dol.ru/users/lawass/Nazi_e.htm
Since 1991 after the formation of Estonia as an independent state ex-Estonian fascists conduct annual rallies and marches of the veterans SS.

http://bronze-soldier.com/
This is @#$$%#$@#%!

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mvBarracuda
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« Reply #9 on: May 05, 2009, 04:25:55 PM »

There are quite a lot of Neonazis in today's Germany as well. Nevertheless I would seriously doubt that they could ever take control again. It would be nice if a professional researcher or at least an inhabitant of Estonia could comment on how wide-spread Neo-Nazism in the country is.

The best wikipedia article I could find that covers the topic to at least some degree is this one:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Estonia-Russia_relations#Accusations_of_fascism

EDIT: For all those who visit the IRC channel, including egalor: usually there is somebody around. But it's simply totally unrealistic that somebody replies within 30 seconds, especially if you haven't pinged anyone. So don't join the channel, say hello and leave again after a minute because nobody replied yet. If you want to talk to somebody, ping them by mentioning their name. If you don't ping anyone, it might take 10-20 minutes till somebody realizes that you're around.

In general: patience is a virtue.
« Last Edit: May 05, 2009, 04:37:54 PM by mvBarracuda » Logged
egalor
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« Reply #10 on: May 05, 2009, 05:25:07 PM »

Thanks for the IRC help. I didn't know that actually, thanks. Smiley
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Gaspard
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« Reply #11 on: May 05, 2009, 08:54:34 PM »

First of all I'd like to apologize if I might get aggressive defending my views here  Embarrassed.

I should point out here that I am Estonian, but I am not political - almost the opposite actually. But I do like keeping myself semi-up to date (I live and study in St. Petersburg, Russia) with the goings-on and I've taken paid attention in my history classes.'
 
I was in Tallinn in person, when the riot over the Bronze Soldier took place and witnessed the happenings with my very own eyes. For someone not from Estonia and even from Estonia but not from Tallinn might be confused about all the fuss. There is a lot of controversial info on the nets and media. Mainly you'll find it's the Estonians defending their side and then the Russian politicians and officials or their supporters on the other end.

It might add some weight to what I say when I point out that I have many friends and relatives of Russian origin back home in Estonia. Man, my best friend is Russian.

Enough of the intro I'll go on to comment on the sources you brought up here egalor. I'm doing it in a rush, not too much time on my hands now.


I read the essay. And well.. this is pretty propaganda-ish to my eyes.

Let me elaborate and I'll start with some of the things that caught my eye - the language issue. It is true that the official language is Estonian. An Estonian citizen has to be able to conduct official business and shop and what-not in the Estonian language. The problem lies there, that there's a large contingent of people who even now in the year 2009 over a decade after the collapse of the Soviet Union don't speak Estonian at all or do so at a level with which you can't really communicate at all. Just because they do not want to. This essay shows the problem in such a light that if you speak Russian with your friends or family then you're going to be punished - that is not the case at all. But what is a local Estonian supposed to do when he or she goes to a store and the storekeeper does not understand them ? Perhaps a dumb example, but I don't have too many time on my hands here to come up with anything appropriate.

The Russian-based education and schools have been an issue for years. Example: I went to school with many kids of Russian origin. They all spoke fluent Estonian although some with an accent, and at home they spoke Russian - they didn't get mistreated. Some did and do, but it is not necessarily because they're Russian. So my acquaintances did fine and got good grades and had no problem mingling with the Estonian kids or getting along with the teachers. Now they either work in Estonia or continue their education at the local or even foreign Universities, although yes - studying in Estonian when in Estonia. But the kinds of kids who only went to Russian-based schools ended up being cup off from the rest of the community. Yes - they mingled with their own, but when it got to getting jobs in Estonian-based institutions-companies they hit a wall - the language barrier.

Wow my reasoning is pretty slow, I'll try to keep it shorter.

The position of war-pensioners from both sides (Nazi and Soviet soldiers of the war era - Estonians fought in both armies and not of their own volition, mind). Well. There really is no such thing anymore. "State enemies" is exaggerated, though. War pensioners are not considered special, sadly. These are the pensioners now who (mostly) fought against the Nazi Germany during the war. Happens to be that most of them are Russians. This is a tender subject, because... well; Estonia was occupied by the Soviet Uninon for more than 50 years. Fifty. Fifty years of the loss of freedom, fifty years of deportations and backstabbing among neighbors; agressive Russianizing - only speaking in Russian, no celebrating national (Estonian) holidays, Education and Medical aid.. really everything was in Russian. Everything was forbidden. Russian Federation pays extra pension for these veterans. But Estonia does not pay extra pension for ex-Soviet soldiers, to the soldiers who helped occupy Estonia and drew Estonian blood.

But now these pensioners and their children and grandchildren had been gathering every year in front of a memorial to Communist soldiers. Fascism and Communism are both ideologies considered anti-State in Estonia. That is also why the Communist party is not illegal. I'll move on from this essay for now, any more questions I'll try to answer individually get to the swastikas later on, also the Bronze Soldier.

Quote
"Tallinn seems to be the only European city where goods with  nazi symbols  are available  for sale in the very center of the city. All these facts have not been politically  commented on and condemned by the authorities,   which  results in the spread  of neo-nazism  in Estonia."

I do not know if it is the ONLY city in Europe. But I do know that it is not widespread, more like a rarity. During my lifetime I have not seen any swastikas or nazi symbols in any stores. Mainly that kind of stuff might be found in souvenir shops, though. It is a problem that is being tackled by the authorities.

Besides the point and maybe a bit too political but I find it funny though, how in St. Petersburg, although not really considered as part of Europe, has swastikas everywhere. It ranges from graffiti on walls to logos and images you can download onto your phones through official and even national phone companies etc. My friend, from holland, not political and definitely not nazi in any way lives in a house in a neighborhood that has many neonationalist gangs. The kids were supposed to dance in circles and sing prais to the Wise Old Hitler...

Quote
http://encyclopedia.thefreedictionary.com/Neo-Nazism+in+Estonia
Neo-Nazism in Estonia is a political movement in Estonia that seeks to revive the ideology and policies of Nazism.
Despite its minor electoral importance, neo-Nazism in Estonia was visible through graffiti featuring Swastikas and anti-semitic slogans around the turn of the millennium. Neo-Nazis in Estonia have been tied to hate-driven attacks on immigrants, homosexuals and leftists. Estonia has some Nazi skinheads.

also an excerpt from this text: On 23 of March 1996 the Russian language newspaper Estoniya reported that antisemitic literature was being distributed by local Russian-speaking organizations; the literature was to be found mainly at the Narva centre of the Union of Russian Citizens in Estonia. The Estoniya reporter said he had asked Yuri Mishin, the chairman of the Union, whether such literature reflected the views of his organization; Mishin had replied that Estonia was a free country and people could read whatever they wished.

Notice how this organization consists mainly of people of the Russian origin. This example has nothing to do with the majority of Estonian-speaking people and is definitely not backed by the officials - nazism is illegal in Estonia.

And as Barra said - there are skinheads and neonazis everywhere, really. In Estonia it is mainly groupings of troublesome youth. Instead of being nazis they could be anarchists - they don't really fight for any ideologies, they just like to get into trouble. Common troublemakers and criminals.

Quote
http://www.northstarcompass.org/nsc0612/newssu.htm
Russia Asks That Europe Must Address Nazi Revival in Estonia
COMMENT
What "nice" diplomatic language used for this extremely serious development in Estonia, where thousands of Soviet soldiers, not only Russians, died liberating these people from the German Nazis and their own internal fascists who (as history has shown) preferred to shoot the Red Army soldiers in the back and cooperating with the German occupiers.

Young men of Estonian origin were FORCEFULLY mobilized into both Soviet and German armies. Brother fought brother. At first the Germans were seen as liberators from the Soviet occupants (Hitler was yet not the leader of the German Forces, mind). I recently read some texts that read that many of the German soldiers-invadors thought of Hitler as some kind of upstart, not a glorious leader - a fact not known to many.
And as it became clear later-on that the Germans were not much better than the Soviets Estonia tried for Independence during the time when Germans were leaving the Capital (Tallinn) and the Soviet Occupants had not yet arrived. After that there were forced mobilizations into the Soviet Army and those who refused were deported with their families and close friends deep into Russia.

Quote
http://www.dol.ru/users/lawass/Nazi_e.htm
Since 1991 after the formation of Estonia as an independent state ex-Estonian fascists conduct annual rallies and marches of the veterans SS.

Wow. Well. This is plain wrong. I have not taken part in these, but I've seen them. These so-called rallies and marches are in the memory of ESTONIAN soldiers, veterans and fallen alike who fought for ESTONIA during the war. As Estonia had been occupied by the Soviets for over 50 years, these soldiers were seen as liberators at the time, yes, but the only way to get your hands on guns to fight for your country was to join the army that opposed the invader. It was either the invading Soviet army or the.. also invading German army. Both invaders also forcefully mobilizen Estonian men into their own armies. Again - brother fighting brother.

Quote
http://bronze-soldier.com/
This is @#$$%#$@#%!

And this... This is a propaganda site. I'm living in Russia now and no Russian wither knows about it or cares much - another proof that it was inflated by the Russian government, who, as can be read from the previous sources alos, has taken a keen interest in portraying Estonia as a neo-nazi nest, which it is not. Might be difficult to prove otherwise because the pro-Russia activists and neo-imperialists happen to have a lot of funding backing them up.

 It might sound suspicious, but the Bronze Soldier was a communist symbol. As such it was not seen as a suitable monument to be in the middle of the City Centre. The past years Russian anti-Estonia/-government activists had started using the monument as a hotspot where to gather. There were fights and whatnot. So as it still commemorates the Russian soldiers who fought in the Soviet Red Army during the war it was moved to a new site - off one of the main streets in the middle of the City to a cemetary some blocks away. Nothing really to do with neonazism :/

---

I'm not saying there are no problems in Estonia - we do have some skinheads but I doubt there are more of those there than anywhere else. Russians are a minority in Estonia socially, but in whole around 30% of Estonia's population is Russian-speaking.

Minorities have had and still have problems in the countries they inhabit - same thing all over Europe. To say that Estonia is a nation of Neonazis is just sadly wrong.

Any more specific questions either in general or from these sources I'll try to answer. I'll tackle my schoolwork now. See ya !
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Gaspard
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« Reply #12 on: May 05, 2009, 08:58:12 PM »

Oh I forgot - only a couple of years ago a Synagogue was opened in the middle of Tallinn. It was designed by an Estonian architect (or a group I don't remember exactly). It is a wonderful place - I attended a Shabbat there last summer with a Jewish friend who was visiting Estonia.
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mvBarracuda
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« Reply #13 on: May 05, 2009, 09:10:04 PM »

Thanks for the detailed feedback Gaspard :-)

To clarify my position: I don't mind if there is any (small) faction in one of the cities of the Baltic States in PARPG that has ultra-nationalistic views; that could be a pretty interesting situation story-wise. However I seriously doubt that these kind of nationalists could take over larger parts of the former Baltic States only 20 years after the war.
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egalor
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« Reply #14 on: May 06, 2009, 09:45:35 AM »

Yeah, thanks for your extensive input to the discussion, Gaspard Smiley There are certain issues I would like to address in your message though.

1) For two times you have said that there were 50+ years of occupation of Estonia. This leads me to believe that you actually refer to the events of the year of 18 August, 1944, when the independent national Estonian government (National Committee of Estonian Republic) was established by Yury Uluots and headed by Otto Teef (apologies if I spell them wrong) and subsequently was crushed by the iron boot of the Red Army.

There are certain important facts pertaining to that issue, which we must bear in mind when we speak of any kind of Soviet occupation.

a) The government was formed under permission by German occupants. Even Estonian flag over the top of "Long German" tower was set flapping alongside with fascist flag (contemporary Estonian politicians, speaking of their own statehood, somehow omit that minor detail). What has actually been done by the Committee to establish the Estonian statehood:

- the government has issued "Riigi Teataja" (Estonia legal acts);
- has declared on radio of its sovereignty in English language;
... and has fled Estonia.

b) Yury Uluots has addressed Estonian people on the radio,  calling them to adhere to the nazist collaborationist groups to fight the approaching Red Army. Obviously, it is impossible to believe that the Estonia-wide addess has been effected without nazi knowing of that and their approval. Nonetheless, about 32,000 Estonians have followed the call (pretty many for such a small country). Therefore, as long as Estonians have regarded Red Army as their enemies, that was fine with nazi.

c) Certain Estoninan politician claim that between German and Soviet presence there was some gap when the rule belonged to Estonian government. This is not the case, however. Red Army was moving at great speed (up to 120 kms per night) towards Tallinn to free it, before the mine-strewn city could be blown away by the retreating nazis. And the interesting part: Red Army has killed 600+ German soldiers, captured 400, plus 25 aircraft, 185 pieces of ordnance, 230 automobiles, 15 ships with Russian/Estonian prisoners (!). What kind of "gap of independence" can we speak of then, if Tallinn was still teeming with Germans, when Red Army has arrived? If this kind of government is considered to be legitimate, then this government will have to answer for collaborating with nazi. If not - what kind of "occupation" can we speak of? Typical propagandist lie.

2) Strangely enough, but you don't refer to repressions by NKVD, which is usually done in this kind of situation. Smiley It will save the time then.

3) As for deportations. It is no secret that the Estonian historian Mart Laart and White Book contain exaggerated figures. It is absolutely natural, considering the modern trends of official Tallinn. I will not bog you down with endless references to the historical documents and statistics of NKVD/KGB, but the figures of those who have been deported are significantly less than it is said. Moreover, these extreme measures were aimed against collaborationists ("forest brothers", etc.) , deserters, bandits and others. The crime should not have gone unpunished (siding with nazi is a crime). But not the whole country was harassed.

That's it for the historical part, I think.

As for the neonazism in the countries other than Estonia - I agree with you absolutely. I live in Moscow and I know pretty the situation with the neofascism here - that's really outrageous. If the world map was a bit to the South East I would have suggested to add a major neonazist faction there as well. However, for that purpose I have chosen Estonia because nowadays they are extremely notorious for honouring SS on the _state_ level. And this deserves beating. Because fascism is fascism, there's no arguing with that.

However I seriously doubt that these kind of nationalists could take over larger parts of the former Baltic States only 20 years after the war.

Why not, if they are they happened to survive and simply got lucky resources-wise? Apart from this there will be other factions as well. And the actions of the player are supposed to affect the balance of power of these factions, to a certain degree.
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