|Feudal Status:||Autonomous Republic|
|Largest Cities:||Old Mishalan, Vena, Jeanezville|
|Local Leadership Title:||General Secretary|
|Current leader:||Nikolai Kirov|
Mishalan is a region in Benacia, corresponding to several former territories and tied to Amokolia for much of its long history. Its most recent form as a communist state took root around 5000 ASC. The borders of the original Mishalan once extended all the way to the northern shores of Benacia. More recently however the territory has come to encompass central Benacia and the delta of the western branch of the River Elwynn - known locally as the Concordiae Plateau - extending south into the northern part of Shireroth's former Transelwynn Territory.
Etymology and terminology
The name Mishalan has its origins in the local Benacian population and scholars suggest its roots originate in the Bjorngarder population to the north, which shares a similar bear-centric culture. Misha itself is a diminutive form of bear in the local language, and therefore the name Mishalan itself means "land of the bears". It is an accurate description given the long history of bear husbandry the Mishalanski exhibit and, to this day, still regularly practice.
While the name of Mishalan originally applied only to the city itself, now differentiated as Old Mishalan, modern use of the name is now applied to the overall region rather than the city.
Mishalan is located in mountainous central Benacia and is mostly at higher elevations than the surrounding countries. Even the West Elwynn is at a higher altitude due to being very close to its source in the mountains. Only south of the Concordiae Plateau does the elevation drop as one enters the Mishalan Valley and the Transelwynn. Most of the country is dominated by coniferous forest, and the timber is an important resource, both in terms of material and environmental value. Industry makes use of the mountains near Niu Vena where armaments factories require mining a great deal of steel and other metals.
The region now known as Mishalan has been inhabited, although not necessarily developed, since the earliest recorded times around 0 ASC. The first power to exert influence over the region was Shireroth, thus intertwining its fate with the area forevermore. Yet the western banks of the River Elwynn came under control of Machiavellia, one of the earliest powers of Benacia and an important co-founder of Tymaria. Jason Rhode, Prince of Machiavellia, became a prominent Tymarian up until the TYSOG Incident caused the collapse of that state, resulting in a domino effect that utterly crushed the Machiavellians. The region remained anarchic until the formation of Europia Concordiae, more commonly referred to as Concordia. The eponymous city of Concord was founded northwest of Old Mishalan on the Concordiae Plateau. The Concordians were the first to develop the region of Mishalan, and like later settlers were said to have originated from Hyperborea. Yet their civilization did not last long, and soon passed to invading armies from war-like Keltian state of Varja. Though the Varjans, having overextended themselves, soon lost control of the area and it devolved once again into an anarchic state that would last several centuries.
Around 2300 ASC the area came under the influence of that great conglomeration of nations known as the Confederacy of Independent States, and within that alliance under the jurisdiction of Gaia. The CIS held sway over the region until the late 2500s, but did little to develop the area, hindered in part by the environmentally-minded Gaians. After the collapse of the CIS the area once again fell into anarchy, with petty states constantly fighting and bickering. Around 2700 the Amokolians first began to appear on Lesser Automatica, though they would not begin to exercise control over Mishalan for another five-hundred years. The Amokolians would eventually begin to migrate to the Benacian mainland, settling along the river and moving southward over time. This would lead to the founding of Mishalan.
Mishalan itself was originally founded by Jess Heimer as a subdivision of Amokolia, then an independent micronation, around 3184 ASC (April 2008). Amokolia itself went through numerous different phases of government, often switching from a monarchy to a republic and back again. Originally Amokolia's Benacian territories consisted of three provinces, Oleslaad, Vattnaland, and Mishalan, but by 5021 ASC Mishalan dominated the Benacian lands and formed Greater Mishalan. This also marked the start of communist government in Mishalan and the formation of a Soviet Republic. This was mostly the result of encroachment by Elwynn, which at the same time had begun to expand into the surrounding areas vacated by Amokolia, such as Lun Ezkaron, Araxion and Iserdia. Although a conflict was averted, a Cold War persisted and the Imperial government of Shireroth was viewed with enmity, encouraging greater support for the leftist government of Mishalan. At this time Amokolia became a protectorate of Natopia, which had much more lax governmental regulation and allowed the socialist government of Mishalan to function with significant autonomy.
The area briefly passed to Shireroth around 5487 ASC, which held onto northern portions of Amokolia along the Benacian coast. The southern portion - including the core of Mishalan - then passed to a resurgent Kingdom of Amokolia, around 5567. Under the tyrant King Jean the monarchy violently suppressed the Mishalanski. This resulted in the large-scale migration of people from Mishalan into Shireroth's Transelwynn Territory. Under provisions made possible by Kaiseress Kizzy, the Mishalanski settled along the banks of the River Elwynn and founded the city of Mishagrad, forming a government-in-exile and a new district within the Transelwynn.
A resurgence of the Cabbage Plague in Amokolia and the resulting death of the tyrant King Jean in 5968 ASC, the way was paved for the Mishalanski government-in-exile to resume control of their historic homeland. This was met however with renewed hostility from Elwynn, which also sought to exert control over the vacated Amokolian lands. Although both entities were subjects of the Kaiser, who actually held power over the territory, the situation still resulted in a renewed Cold War between Mishalan and Elwynn. The matter was finally settled by treaty, allowing Mishalan full autonomy as an Imperial Dominion, with the Kaiser as titular head-of-state, while the General Secretary retains actual power as head-of-government. A caveat in the treaty stipulates that should the Soviet government collapse, control of the state would revert to Elwynn; this however only served to strengthen Soviet resistance. Since settling its disputes Mishalan (and state-owned Red Bear LLC) has become an important armaments provider for the Shirerithian military, specializing in steam-engineering and gravimetrics.
Mishalan is a left-wing communist state administered by a Soviet (council) composed of elected ministers and chaired by a General Secretary. Since Mishalan is not geographically large, the state is divided into communes centered around major cities. These communes elect a minister to sit on the Soviet, which then elects the General Secretary from among that body.
The first General Secretary of the Supreme Soviet was Vladimir Medvedev, who helped lead the Mishalanski out from the shackles of capitalism and to victory against Elwynn. After being re-elected for two successive terms, Medvedev died while still in office at the age of 102. Medvedev's death prompted new elections with several candidates lining up with backing from various groups within the communist party. Anatoly Zhukov, an extreme left-wing candidate, was killed in a border skirmish while campaigning in the south of Mishalan, which had then just been re-united with the state and was still subject to rogue mercenaries. However it was later discovered that opposing candidate Yuri Semenov, head of intelligence, had arranged Zhukov's death, leading to a crackdown on corruption and the eventual election of Nikolai Kirov, who is seen as an honest military man. Kirov's campaign of continuing Medvedev's rebuilding efforts and formulating a practical Five Year Plan have helped him to remain popular as General Secretary.
In 6118 ASC a visiting survey team from the Ministry of Military Affairs (MoMA) estimated the population to be some 16,278,913 strong. The Soviet Administration has yet to verify these figures.
When Amokolia first exerted control over its Benacian territories they laid claim to a long portion of the northern coast that was once a part of Bjorngard, a territory populated by Cimmerians and Raikothians. Bjorngard was founded as a vanguard of the Hyperboreans when they first made expeditions into the Benacian wilderness many centuries ago. These virile warriors were faced with dense coniferous forests populated by hostile natives. Establishing a foothold was an extremely difficult task, and required innovation on the part of the pioneers. Thus it came as little surprise that they came to utilize the tools on hand; this being a prolific population of bears. Finding them trainable, the settlers embarked upon a unique form of animal husbandry, training the bears as beasts of burden, mounts, and military companions. With little other native fauna capable of serving the tasks put to the hardy bears, they became significantly interdependent. Over time the bears took on symbolic importance and eventually led to the area being known as Bjorngard (Bear Guard).
When the Amokolians came, the remnants of Bjorngarder culture were adopted by the Mishalanski. While the Bjorngarders emphasized a relationship with polar bears, the Mishalanski, who settled further south, adopted the Benacian brown bear (Ursus arctos arctos) as their totem animal. It was the Mishalanski that perfected the art of bear cavalry and of utilizing bears in battle, however it wasn't until the communist regime took power that the bear became a national symbol. Most commonly the Benacian brown bear is represented by the diminutive caricature of Misha, the national personification of the Mishalanski (e.g. like Columbia serves as the personification of the United States). To this day, pet bears are a common sight in most Mishalanski homes.
Located in the central highlands of Benacia, Mishalan has access to significant quantities of mineral ore. The mining industry has in turn helped to provide Mishalan with a large industrial base for producing iron, steel, and other metals. Closer to the River Elwynn, the waterway itself provides power and transportation. The banks of the river are also extremely fertile, and the Mishalan Valley is well known for its many farms - indeed, it is often called the Breadbasket of Mishalan.
As a collectivized state, all production is considered a public asset, and produced goods are redistributed equally to all Mishalanski. Excess goods are then either placed in storage for emergencies, or exported for profits that can be used to purchase goods that cannot be produced locally.
The Armed Forces of the Soviet Republic is the official title given to Mishalan's defense forces. It is also unofficially called the Red Army. The Red Army is noted for making heavy use of bear cavalry, at least prior to the use of mechanized units. Bolstered by local defense industry giant Red Bear LLC, the armed forces has developed from early industrial level technology to mechanized robotics within a very short period, creating something of a clash of cultures but nonetheless effecting a deadly military. All able-bodied citizens are required to serve a two-year tour in one branch of the armed forces, and once discharged are placed on a reserve list until the age of thirty. This has allowed Mishalan to significantly bolster its armed forces to staggering numbers - an advantage that has helped to steer would-be invaders away from the country. While rather primitive in design, many of the new mechanized units, often powered by steam or coal and run by clockwork gearing, are much more efficient in battle than traditional mounted units. Even so, the use of bear cavalry has become such an important tradition, and often intimidating towards enemies, that a large contingent of riders still remain in active duty.
The development of industrialization and steam power, fuelled by the innovation and hard work of the Soviet, has led to breakthrough technologies. This new science has allowed the state armament manufacturer - Read Bear LLC - to produce advanced weapons in defence of the motherland. The most intimidating of these defences has been the creation of the flying armada, a series of airships modelled in concept after traditional ocean ships and utilising gravity inversion rigs to attain levitation. The development of clockwork robotics has also allowed for the construction of mechanised infantry, more commonly called mechs, which are mechanical suits piloted by soldiers and often armed with an array of weapons, such as heavy cannon or a Gatling gun. These developments have given the Red Army a reputation on the battlefield as an advanced and powerful military, despite its diminutive size.
Order of Battle
Armed Forces of the Soviet Republic
- Soviet Army (Red Army)
- 3rd Army
- 4th Rifle Corps
- 27th Rifle Division
- 50th Rifle Division
- 150th Rifle Division
- 16th Rifle Corps
- 2nd Rifle Division
- 100th Rifle Division
- 6th Armoured-Walker Corps
- 4th Light Walker Division
- 6th Light Walker Division
- 11th Light Walker Division
- 4th Rifle Corps
- 11th Army
- Bear-Cavalry Shock Group
- 17th Shock Division
- Bear-Cavalry Shock Group
- Attached to Limitanei (Frontier) Army
- 1st Armoured-Walker Corps
- 3rd Army
- Soviet Air Force (Workers' and Peasants' Red Air Fleet)
- 4th Aviation Army
- 18th Levship Corps
- 22nd Dreadnought Division
- 18th Levship Corps
- 4th Aviation Army
- Soviet Riverine Forces (Red Banner Fleet)