Breaking Stalin

Breaking Stalin

Chapter XXVII

Tsar Nicholas II rose from his golden chair and cast his eyes on the dreary scene that greeted his eyes below the palace.  The square of Petrograd(changed from the too German sounding St. Petersburg) was filled with women mourning the loss of their husbands and sons.  Nicholas turned to his attending general.  “What was the report again?”
“Your honor, a combined army from Germany and Austria is pushing towards Vilnius.  They could take it within a few months.  On the southern front we have had minor gains in the southern region against Turkey.  General Brusilov of the 8th Army has maintained his gains against the Austrians, but it seems that he will have to pull back soon as the German offensive is stretching our supply lines too thin.”
“Yes, yes, I know that.”  Nicholas turned deep in thought, “but what was the other part the report?”
The adjutant shifted nervously. “Our northern forces have been practicing slash and burn techniques, which has seriously arrested the movements of German troops, but the practice has also displaced thousands of Russians.  Many have sought refuge in cities like Moscow and here.  Populations have exploded and because of that food is running short, even in Petrograd.  What’s more, over 2 million of our 6.5 million men fight without rifles or even the most basic army equipment from boots to bullets, which has increased the number of conscription riots.  We have had conscription riots in 16 provinces.  And our problems don’t stop there.  What little resources we do have we have a problem sending to the front.  We have less than 1/10th of the railways that Germany has.  We have brainstormed some ideas on how to increase the speed we can send new materials to the front, but the best option we have is to have a mass conscription of workers from our population in Central Asia…”
“You’re talking about force labor of thousands of Russians?”
“Well yes my liege, but they’re not technically Russians.”
“But if they’re not Russian what are they?  They’re part of our empire!”
“Yes, your honor, I meant no harm.  But it is a widespread belief of many of the generals that only the Greater Russian population can be trusted.  Russification has backfired with these new ideals of Nationalism.  There has been a greater level of resentment growing in these populations.  We have had a harder time acquiring resources from them.”
“But the riots, the strikes that you said were amounting to over 100,000 people are happening here within the Russian populace, not among the outliers.”
“Yes, but we can’t be sure of their loyalties.”  Nicholas shrugged and walked back to his desk, flipping over a paper and signing it quickly.  “And there’s one other thing your Excellency.”
Nicholas continued with his papers, “yes?”
“Most of the advisors do not like your new appointment of Rasputin.”
“Is that all?”
“Yes your honor that is all.”
“Good,” Nicholas said while handing the adjutant a paper.  “This paper leaves the Queen in charge of all affairs while I am away.”  The general took it confusedly.
“But where are you going?”

“To the front, General, to the front.”  And with that Nicholas left the room, leaving a stuttering, perspiring general worrying about the poor state of Russia, which he couldn’t help but think was about to get much poorer.

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