Eighteen Thirty-Six - A HPM Russian Luddite AAR - Part 1

Author: ElvenAshwin
Published: 2017-04-25, edited: 2017-04-25

Part of the campaign:

Eighteen Thirty-Six - A HPM Russian Luddite AAR

Our story begins on a cold winter night, on the 20th of December 1835 (1 Jan 1836 in the Gregorian Calendar).

A stranger arrives at the court of Czar Nicholas I. In a nation tired of being left behind, this man preaches a different tune.

Russia will only survive through its traditions, he insists. The winds of westernization cannot win. The educated masses will only be a threat to the Czar.

Industrialization is a cancer upon society - automation, after all, costs jobs. If the Czar wanted to save everyone from being jobless, he must not industrialize. Otherwise, robots - I mean machines - will take all our jobs. We must have pride in our agricultural roots!

Russia, he proclaims, will follow its own path. Cries for liberalization will go unheeded. The state of the nation is fixed.

Russia will forever be frozen in Eighteen Thirty-Six.
The budget for 1836 is hastily prepared one day before it is due, as is tradition.

The budget proposes a total defunding of all educational institutions, a purging of the intelligentsia, maximum tariffs to protect local jobs and massive funding to centralize the state.

The budget is derided by the slavophiles in the court, but supported by the reactionary Panslavics.
The Czar works towards the centralization of the Russian state.

The Stranger holds a final session with the Czar. Russia is too liberal and modern, he maintains. Russia will not be great until all its minorities are enslaved, its indebted forced into serfdom and its poor forced into the military.

He then returns to whence he came, the American South.
The Circassian and Caucasian wars rage on in the south. With the Russians have briefly halted their campaigns following the war with the Turks, the war begins to heat up once more.
Whilst education for the masses have been wiped out, several literate noblemen who serve as physicians obtain crucial medical knowledge from french texts. The Czar does not halt the flow of information.
Prince Volkonksy leads the Azov Cossacks in the campaign against Imam Shamil, who has Dagestani tribesmen raid the fortress in Kizlyar.

Volkonksy is a known figure in military circles, having served as commander of a Russian unit in the Battle of Austerlitz under Kutuzov and briefly served as de facto Chief of Staff following the latter's death after Napoleon's retreat.
As expected from someone whose best achievement is getting annihilated against numerically inferior French forces, Volkonksy is forced to retreat after several devastating raids. A small garrison stays behind to man the fort whilst he sends for more troops from the estates to the north.
Blight spreads through several rural provinces that are a greater-than-zero distance away from the city walls of both St Petersburg and Moscow.
The Czar is not concerned for what happens to the members of noblemens estates beyond the walls of the only two cities that matter. He insists that it is up to the noblemen themselves to care for their own land.

After all, blight is a good thing, for it avoids overpopulation that's totally going to happen any day now. The Czar is doing the world's poor a favor - just ask Malthus.
Pan-Slavists take control of the State Council and win the Czar's favor in the royal court at St Petersburg, as the non-reactionary elements fade in influence in the New Russia.
Volkonksy, armed with reinforcements, repels Imam Shamil from Kizlyar, and moves to capture the lands surrounding the fort of Gunib.
Meanwhile, Dmitri Osten-Sacken, a former commander in the Napoleonic Wars, leads his Crimean garrison into Circassia to assist with the establishment of Russian settlements.
The Czar, receiving word of Volkonsky's failure, orders the construction of structured standing national armies.
Volkonksy suffers another humiliating defeat in battle against the Dagestani and Chechen forces, and is forced to abandon the for of Gunib. Meanwhile, other Russian forces seize towns around the Russian fort in Grozny.
We hate science, but we love prestige, so sure!
Volkonsky is reprimanded and told to return to St Petersburg, whilst separate Russian armies lead the occupation of Dagestan. Imam Shamil's forces are annihilated attempting to defend Gunib, and Chechen towns and villages fall to the rapidly advancing Russian forces. The war in the steppe is soon to end.
Meanwhile, the Czar orders for several diplomats to be sent south to Persia, to the court of Mohammad Shah Qajar.

Following to Treaty of Turkmenchay, signed after Persian forces failed to retake the Caucasus from Russia in the 1826 Russo-Persian War, the relationship between the Empires have been strained.

However, growing British influence in Persia led by Sir John McNeill will prove dangerous to Russian interests. As the Czar desires to fortify, mainly, his western border with Prussia, and leave minimal forces incharge of the settlement of the steppe, he needs to keep the southern border secure. With the Turks already subjugated in the Russo-Turkish war ending in 1833, the Persians are the last major hostile force in the region.

The Czar intends to fix this issue.
As the winter of 1836 sets in, both wars have been all but won. Russian settlements in Circassia are established under Osten-Sacken, and local tribal leaders are unable to mount a resistance.
With the Treaty of Adygel, several Circassian tribal leaders (among them the leaders of the the Abazin) agree to end hostilities under Russian military pressure. The safety of the black sea coast settlements are assured.
The State Council assembles for 1837. The Czar's new extreme reactionarism triggers a backlash among the nobles, with many dropping the label.

The idea of never educating the populace and forcibly rejecting industrialization poses a grave danger to the Russian state, some argue.

But what about my jerbs? Reply the artisans, and the debate ends as everyone agrees its important to protect the jobs of less efficient manufacturers in the name of national pride.
Imam Shamil is captured attempting to flee to an island in the Caspian, and summarily executed. The Dagestani and Chechen forces are annihilated, but no peace treaty is signed.
A Chechen insurgency is immediately triggered in the wake of Shamil's death.
With the end of the wars in the steppe, the Czar turns to the West.

The Germans are rapidly industrializing, and risk out-competing and eventually overwhelming the Russians. The Czar, sharp as he is, knows this risk. Pan-Slavists prompt him to take action and put an end to the threat of German domination.

For the sake of the balance of powers, Germany must not be unified!
The British are thoroughly routed in Persia, with the Persians offering a formal military alliance to the Czar. The alliance is accepted. The steppe is secure.
Also, Denmark wants an alliance.

We entertain their request, mostly because we'd feel bad for saying no to such a wittle guy.
Pushkin dies, and with it all of our remaining literacy.
As part of the Pan-slavist effort to drastically expand and professionalize the Russian army, a huge program of stockpiling arms and military equipment is undertaken, funded by the large estate taxes, tariffs and taxes on being poor.

The last one, you see, is so as to disincentivize people from being poor, thus reducing poverty.

The Persians agree to the establishment of Russian military forts along their Caspian Sea coast, as well as lifting all tariffs on Russian goods and expelling British interests.
In the far east, in order to secure *that* border, which presently has no major garrison, the Czar throws money at the local Chinese officials.

They immediately die, because Chinese men are actually just very fragile paper dolls.
This is just in time for a massive gold rush in Siberia.

See? Who need education, or industry, or free serfs when you have gold! God has blessed Russia, and we shouldn't challenge that blessing!
The British East India Company, having annexed Punjab following the death of Ranjit Singh, sets its eyes on the riches of Afghanistan.

And by riches we mean goats.
Fuck you turks!
WaitwhatFrance you're already allied?
Come back bby
Another round of mass conscription and army creation occurs as the Pan-slavists begin to order Russian troops to the Prussian border.

The Prussians are mildly concerned - the recent Russian attempts at a French alliance combined with the military build up are highly suspicious.
The Persians invade Turkmenistan. They want our help. The Czar says yes.

He then snickers to his advisers: "We aren't going to help"
The Pan-Slavists, under the command of the Czar, begin to manufacture a case for the invasion and annexation of Prussian territory.
The Czar accuses the Prussians of supporting Polish liberation movements within Russia. In particular, he accuses Prussian citizens (particularly Poles within Prussian borders) of funding the November Uprising in 1830 that saw Congress Poland enter open rebellion, and the infinitely superior Russian forces repeatedly repelled.

This, the State Council (whose conservatives are also in favor of the war) determines, will be used as justification for the annexation of Silesia, from whence the supposed funding came from and a vital Prussian industrial center.
The costs of the new army are too high to bear - so we stop funding essential state functions.
In order to establish Silesia as the cause of the Polish insurgency, we dress up several Poles as Polish soldiers under the Prussian Army, and attempt to stage an incident.

We are caught.
The plans, involving fabricated documents, planted arms and fake confessions, are fairly convincing to much of Europe. The French and the Austrians, generally in favor of intervention against Prussian strength, are willing to cast doubt aside. However, the prospect of a Russian presence in Silesia prompts Austrian protests.

stability -1
Is it that hard to invade a random central asian state?
As developments continue in Manchuria, the Czar also pursues the normalization of relations with Sweden, who are none too happy about the Grand Duke of Finland also being the Czar.
The Bukharans waste valuable resources sending a peace treaty all the way to St Petersburg. We obviously accept.
With a large military build up on the Prussian border, and invasion plans ready to go, the Czar pushes further. He begins to propose a containment war against the Prussians, barring military expansion and forcing payments, in order to stop their rapid rise.
The Greeks remind us they exist.
The Czar's proposal meets widespread condemnation across Europe, and within Russia as well. The Austrians accuse Russia of violating the fine tuned balance of powers established in the Congress of Vienna. There is, however, little impetus for an intervention against Russia just yet.
The rise of professional armies has significant impacts on Russian military organization, morale and ability.
Thankfully, the Prussians picked Great Britain as an ally.

In other words, the Prussians have no great power allies.
Prince Vorontsov dies unusually young. He was a commander of a grenadier's division in the Napoleonic wars, fighting under Bagration's army in the Battle of Borodino (part of the 1812 French invasion), in which 90% of his unit was killed.

Why are all our generals massive failures?

Anyway, his wife then fucked Pushkin (yeah the guy who died a few years ago) while he was fighting Turks.
It appears that the reactionary cause, which has much to achieve in Russia with so little time, has been given a gift by our forebearers, as they had the wisdom to close the borders the hell down.
We strike up an alliance with the Kingdom of Two Sicilies, one of two rival powers in Italy. Ideally, they both deadlock and Italy never forms. That would be best for the balance of powers, which we care deeply about.

Also, the Czar counts exactly one sicily, which is confusing.
Fucking Muslims not integrating, we should just round them all up and shoot 'em.

The real joke in that sentence is that you can't tell whether that's a joke or a political opinion anymore.
If you think about it, diseases are just nature's way of doing genocide for you, with no infamy hit.
With the French industrialization, some say that Russia has fallen behind France.

These people are wrong.

To arms!
With the Czar unable to improve his case for cutting down on Prussian strength, he decides to approve the war.

Russian troops cross into Germany.
In Ostpreussen, as planned, several nearby armies push into Memel, where they plan to engage with a Prussian garrison, and then push towards Danzig. The battle in Memel will be led by Field Marshall Ivan Paskevich, the Count of Yerevan, who was well known for crushing the Polish uprisings.
In Silesia, we engage with a better armed Prussian garrison in Kattowice. Meanwhile, our forces push deep into Greater Poland, as we await the arrival of the German armies.
We annihilate the German forces in Memel, laying ducal Prussia open to invasion.
After defeating the German armies in Katowice, they retreat haphazardly into Polish-administered Kielce, where locals assist wounded soldiers.

The Russian armies turn around and march on Kielce.

Meanwhile one of our former generals who fought in the Battle of Warsaw defends against an attack by von Moltke's forces.

Yes, *that* von Moltke, father of the future German chief of staff in WW1 (in real life).
The Czar calls upon the aristocracy to supply troops from their estates. With the low level of centralization and weak bureaucracy, a total mobilization could easily take multiple years. We likely will not reach total mobilization, but rather the mobilized forces will supplement our diminished infantry as the war wages on.
We defeat von Moltke's forces in Gniezo (though confusingly a different commander is listed here). The attack is repelled and the province is abandoned to fall to the Russian army.
Fyodor Shuvalov, a relatively new commander, distinguishes himself as a skilled attacker as he fights to evict the Germans from the province in totality, as the previously occupying Russian forces move into Poland to deal with stray German troops.
Almost all of the Prussian border provinces have fallen to the various Russian armies.

We march onwards.
The Czar now demands a rapid push for Berlin to put an end to this war and force the Prussians to disarm.
The British declare war on Russia and invade, landing a small force on the island of Turku. The general staff agree to largely ignore British forces, and command the Finnish chief of staff to maintain their defensive positions.
The Manchurians agree to buy certain goods from the Russians first, as well as selling a certain guaranteed amount of coal to the Russians should they need it. They also provide supplies to assist Russian mining operations in the region, and in turn we agree to employ Chinese laborers.
By April of 1841, with summer soon about to dawn, both ostpreussen and westpreussen have all but fallen. The supply trains of the Russian army begin to stretch deeper into Greater Poland and Germany. The summer campaign should see the end of the war.
Von Moltke leads a Prussian army into Poland but is attacked by a mixture of mobilized and professional troops.

With his forces outnumbered, his desperate gamble of drawing back the Russian forces to Poland has failed. The Prussian defence now largely collapses, with no major standing armies remaining. The Czar is certain of victory.
Russian troops arrive at the gates of Berlin, where only a small German force acts as a garrison.
Berlin falls by July of 1841. The general staff hope to occupy all the eastern Prussian territories before the start of the winter of 41.
Exactly the people who we are at war with.
By October, the objective is met. The winter campaign now begins, largely consisting of forcing the various small German princes to lay down arms.
The Prussians are utterly devastated by the war and occupation, though the British vow to fight on and curb Russian expansionism.

Their prestige has been annihilated, with all of Germany humiliated. How can this ever be a viable nation state?

Of course, others see the Russian invasion and occupation and proof that the Germans need to unite in order to defend themselves.
Before the start of Spring 1842, the Russian armies offer the Prussian King, Wilhelm IV (having assumed the throne only months before the Russian invasion), terms of surrender.

They however reject the terms, hoping that greater dutch resistance in the other half of the Prussian Kingdom will stave off the upcoming Spring campaign.
We begin deporting troublemakers to Siberian gulags. Volkonsky is our first guest.
The remainder of Prussia falls with ease.
The Czar demobilizes, returning the soldiers to their farms.
Prussia is occupied fully before "spring" ever really begins. The Russian general staff do plan for a Spring campaign to take the Netherlands.
The British launch their Spring campaign as conditions in Finland ease up. They had been halted from earlier intervention due to weather conditions.
With the prospect of an invasion of the Netherlands, the Dutch begin to discuss terms of a white peace. Seeing their only hope failing and the British effort unlikely to make progress, the Prussians sue for peace.
Silesia is annexed into the Prussian Kingdom. For his efforts, Shuvalov is granted the title of Duke of Silesia.

The Russian withdrawal leaves behind a devastated Prussia and Germany. With its armies both annihilated, and the terms of the surrender prohibiting them from raising an army, and part of its industrial core surrendered, the Prussian light has faded.

Meanwhile, the Czar is faced with a pressing home front, as he pushes for the reinstatement of slavery in Russia.

All along we sit on a ticking timebomb. For the reed that does not bend against the winds of westernization, breaks.

Next chapter:

Game: Victoria 2

Eighteen Thirty-Six - A HPM Russian Luddite AAR - Part 2

Images: 100, author: ElvenAshwin, published: 2017-04-27

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