You are (then-future) Russian Tsar Nicholas II in 1893; what exactly do you do?

Feb 2019
1,134
Serbia
St. Petersburg was the capital because Peter the Great wanted to open to Western Europe.
Well, that was one reason. Another one was that he wanted a port in the Baltic to project power and to build a new ''western'' capital to emulate Western Europe.

Since the Chinese webnovel Mythic Three Kingdoms mentions the area around Yekaterinburg, it can be a responsible choice of capital
If I understood correctly you read something in a fictional web-novel, took it at face value and now believe it as if it were factual?


if Russia wants to establish itself further in Central Asia.
How? They already conquered pretty much all of it by the time Nicholas came to power and from my understanding the settler colonialism was going well. I don't see the reason to concentrate settlers in Siberia for no reason.
 
Feb 2019
1,134
Serbia
Expanding into Ottoman Armenia without expanding into Pontus doesn't make sense since Pontus is located immediately to the north of Ottoman Armenia. As for Great Power intervention, agreed--though I would inquire about what the other Great Powers are actually going to do in such a scenario before starting my own military intervention. Also, as a side note, I wonder if a Russian ultimatum to the Ottomans is going to be enough for them to stop their slaughter in Armenia.
Fair enough, though I think Pontus is a bit much. I would hope that they don't stop the slaughter so I would have a reason to invade.

Interesting approach. That said, though, as I said in my OP here, I can see the future, and an unsuccessful war could trigger a revolution in Russia--which I certainly don't want.
If you can see the future you can also see what happens in the war and what to do to win it.

Morals are nice and all, but I wouldn't necessarily want to bleed my country a lot for them.
Depending on whether or not it's worth it I would use them to have a go at Austria or the Ottomans, I don't want to get into a world war over them.

Constantinople can't be acquired without a major war (possibly even a World War)--which I certainly don't want.
I wouldn't want a World War because I probably won't win it, I'm fine with just fighting the Ottomans. The great powers were terrified of a Russian presence in the Mediterranean so it would probably trigger a World War.

Plus, in any case, Russia can acquire a land connection to Constantinople through northern Anatolia. If the Ottomans are going to get completely dismembered, then I don't think that the other Great Powers are actually going to care if Russia gains only Constantinople or also the northern coastline of Anatolia along with Constantinople.
I think they would care, nobody would just sit still if Russia does something like that.

I'm not a fan of holding onto territories that I don't have a land connection to.
Fair enough.

Actually, I would be willing to defend France if it is a victim of unprovoked aggression by Germany; I simply wouldn't support France in a war against Germany that France itself will start--similar to what happened in the Franco-Prussian War back in 1870-1871.
There's an argument to be made that France was provoked into the Franco-Prussian War, it's usually not so simple as ''This country declared war first, so they're the aggressor!'' I would support France, maybe expand into Germany if I stay in the war.

Worthwhile things often don't tend to be simple.
I don't find moving the capital for such weak reasons and to such a random location to be worthwhile, Kiev makes more sense but it was sizeable as is.


Because its location is southern and it is located on a major river so it would be easy to travel between it and other parts of Russia.
Why not just develop it and encourage settlement if it matters that much? I don't see a good reason for it.

IMHO, though, Russia needs more huge cities. In real life, it only has Moscow and St. Pete's and that's it. Now, compare this with the US where there are more huge metropolitan areas and where they are more spread out throughout the country. So, I want to create a huge city and metropolitan area in southern Russia that could compete with Moscow and St. Pete's.
Warsaw was the 3rd largest city in Russia in 1897, Odessa was pretty sizeable too. I see no reason for more ''huge'' cities and if I did I would just promote settlement, not move the capital. Russia's other already large cities included Riga, Lodz, Kiev etc. They were not ''huge'' (What is ''huge''? St. Petersburg was the largest and had roughly 1.2 million people, Warsaw had 626.000 and Moscow a little over 1 million.) but had potential. I don't see the need for more huge cities and if I wanted to move the capital I would not put it in Rostov.

Because they're unlikely to cause much trouble in Russia and because Russia already has enough Muslims. Even in the West nowadays, European, East Asian, and Hindu immigrants don't appear to cause that much trouble--unlike, say, Muslim immigrants.
Fair enough.

A little diversity could be nice, no? Just as long as Russia isn't actually overwhelmed by diversity, that is.
I see no need for more diversity and believe Russia would be fine as it was.

Nicky's sister Xenia lived to age 85 in real life, so having Nicky live to age 82+ isn't completely unrealistic. As for how the world would develop, well, you can take your best guess for this. :) I do think that Russia's economic and demographic trajectory is going to be much better without Communism, though.
Well, if Russia industrialises then it might be better. Though I really can't guess.

That could work during my own lifetime but eventually I'd want to transfer more power to the Duma so that no future successors of mine could ever badly screw things up.
But what if the Duma is led by an incompetent Prime Minister or a weak cabinet? I think that this system would make the Tsar and the Duma keep each other in check, though if it doesn't work I would give more power to the Duma.

That's rather authoritarian, no? I mean, if the Russian language is so appealing, why the need to ban other languages? It's like with Islam, where many Muslims don't have enough confidence in Islam's appeal and thus support the death penalty for apostasy.
I don't think they would assimilate so easily, I want to curb the unnecessary divisions that the ideas of Ukraine and Belarus can create, since their languages and cultures are close enough to the Russian ones it should not be difficult.

That might not be a bad idea just as long as it doesn't actually incite mass rioting by Little Russians and/or Belarusians.
I don't see why they would riot, or even if they wanted to I imagine they wouldn't dare.

What's wrong with the US governing system?

Also, agreed about pursuing close relations with Britain and France.
Nothing, I just think that something like the British monarchy would work better for a monarchy like Russia.

Assimilating them is unlikely to succeed, IMHO--and might only anger these groups even further.
Can't hurt to try.

This really isn't that much territory, is it? Plus, I could expand elsewhere--such as into Ottoman Armenia and Pontus.
Well I see no reason to abandon them, abandoning Poland would mean giving up my 3rd largest city as well. I don't know about the Finns but it seems like the Poles would not be happy if they were left as a vassal state, so I say either completely let them go and risk a potential enemy or keep them as they are.
 
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Futurist

Ad Honoris
May 2014
23,547
SoCal
Fair enough, though I think Pontus is a bit much.
Conquering Ottoman Armenia without Pontus would make for really awkward borders for Russia, though:



I would hope that they don't stop the slaughter so I would have a reason to invade.
TBH, I would prefer that they would indeed stop the slaughter because I believe that the lives of Armenians are worth more than the cost of acquiring additional territory for Russia. If the Ottomans don't stop, though, then Yes, Russia would certainly have a reason to invade the Ottomans--and the Ottomans' bad behavior might very well ensure that the other Great Powers are not going to militarily intervene in this war--at least just as long as Russia doesn't actually also go for Constantinople in this war.

If you can see the future you can also see what happens in the war and what to do to win it.
Yes, but what exactly do I do to win the war? After all, I am unsure that better governance in Petrograd would have actually been enough to prevent Russia from descending into revolution during WWI.

Depending on whether or not it's worth it I would use them to have a go at Austria or the Ottomans, I don't want to get into a world war over them.
Yes, that makes sense. Of course, I should also make it extremely clear to them that I am not going to fight a World War on their behalf.

I wouldn't want a World War because I probably won't win it, I'm fine with just fighting the Ottomans.
Agreed.

The great powers were terrified of a Russian presence in the Mediterranean so it would probably trigger a World War.
Agreed. I was simply saying that the other Great Powers are unlikely to make a meaningful distinction between a Russian conquest of only Constantinople and a Russian conquest of Constantinople plus the entirety of Anatolia's northern coastline. In both cases, a World War is likely to be sparked by Russia trying to do this.

I think they would care, nobody would just sit still if Russia does something like that.
Agreed; for Russia to actually get away with this, the other Great Powers need to consent to an Ottoman break-up beforehand. Frankly, I don't see that happening, which is why I would aim to limit my territorial gains in the Ottoman Empire to Pontus and Ottoman Armenia.

Fair enough.
Yeah.

There's an argument to be made that France was provoked into the Franco-Prussian War, it's usually not so simple as ''This country declared war first, so they're the aggressor!''
France didn't actually have to fight Prussia over the question of who is going to be King of Spain, though.

I would support France, maybe expand into Germany if I stay in the war.
If I'm the Russian Tsar and I will still get Russia involved in a World War, though, then I would fear that my goose is going to be cooked since I am not going to know how to actually avoid domestic revolution during the war. I don't think that better governance in itself is actually going to be enough to avoid revolution in Russia during a World War. :(

I don't find moving the capital for such weak reasons and to such a random location to be worthwhile,
Do you believe that Kazakhstan and Indonesia are making mistakes in moving their capital to northern Kazakhstan and Borneo in order to develop those regions?

Kiev makes more sense but it was sizeable as is.
The problem with Kiev is that it is relatively close to Russia's borders with Germany and Austria and might be less defensible in a war with those two countries than Rostov is.

Why not just develop it and encourage settlement if it matters that much? I don't see a good reason for it.
Because I simply don't think that this is actually going to be enough to get large numbers of Russians to move there. After all, would a massive Russian development of Rostov or Krasnodar today actually be enough to get millions of Russians to move there?

Warsaw was the 3rd largest city in Russia in 1897, Odessa was pretty sizeable too. I see no reason for more ''huge'' cities and if I did I would just promote settlement, not move the capital.
In real life, in the ex-Soviet space, only Moscow and St. Petersburg actually have a population of over four million--and that includes their metropolitan areas. In contrast, the US had something like ten metropolitan areas with a population of over four million.

As for promoting settlement, I simply fear that it's not going to be that successful. I mean, Russia is much more centralized than the US is. Indeed, I don't think that a Russian effort to promote mass settlement somewhere today is actually going to succeed.

BTW, I don't really consider Warsaw or Lodz to really be a part of Russia. As in, they are only a part of Russia in name only--not in spirit!

Russia's other already large cities included Riga, Lodz, Kiev etc. They were not ''huge'' (What is ''huge''? St. Petersburg was the largest and had roughly 1.2 million people, Warsaw had 626.000 and Moscow a little over 1 million.) but had potential.
I'm looking at this from the perspective of the ex-Soviet space right now. There's a serious shortage of large (4-5 million people or more) metropolitan areas in the ex-Soviet space right now. Only Moscow and St. Petersburg and that's it! :(

I don't see the need for more huge cities and if I wanted to move the capital I would not put it in Rostov.
Where would you put it if not in Rostov or Kiev?

Fair enough.
Yeah. Cultural enrichment is nice when it doesn't result in trouble.

I see no need for more diversity and believe Russia would be fine as it was.
Would you have also said the name thing about the US in 1965?

Well, if Russia industrialises then it might be better. Though I really can't guess.
Russia should still industrialize with or without Communism. If anything, no Communism might make things better since Russia would avoid its deadly civil war and also allow for free enterprise and free markets.

But what if the Duma is led by an incompetent Prime Minister or a weak cabinet? I think that this system would make the Tsar and the Duma keep each other in check, though if it doesn't work I would give more power to the Duma.
If the Duma is led by incompetent politicians, that's simply a reason to vote them out in the next election, no?

I don't think they would assimilate so easily, I want to curb the unnecessary divisions that the ideas of Ukraine and Belarus can create, since their languages and cultures are close enough to the Russian ones it should not be difficult.
TBH, it's fine if they don't want to assimilate. I'm not a fan of bullying anyone into becoming Russians. I do want them to be loyal to the Russian state--at least if they will insist on remaining within this state--but I don't really care whether or not they will actually identify as Russians. Plus, with Ukraine it might be a problem since Ukrainian-language literature can probably be smuggled into Russia from Austrian-controlled Galicia.

I don't see why they would riot, or even if they wanted to I imagine they wouldn't dare.
Russians rioted against the Russian Tsar in 1905.

Nothing, I just think that something like the British monarchy would work better for a monarchy like Russia.
OK.

Can't hurt to try.
Well, I do want to try assimilation--but only in a non-coercive manner like here in the US.

Well I see no reason to abandon them, abandoning Poland would mean giving up my 3rd largest city as well.
Polish cities such as Warsaw or Lodz aren't really Russian in spirit, though.

I don't know about the Finns but it seems like the Poles would not be happy if they were left as a vassal state, so I say either completely let them go and risk a potential enemy or keep them as they are.
TBH, I would allow the Poles to run their own internal affairs however they will see fit just as long as they will remain Russian allies. This was actually the deal that Kerensky was willing to offer Poland in 1917 in real life.
 
Feb 2019
1,134
Serbia
Conquering Ottoman Armenia without Pontus would make for really awkward borders for Russia, though:
That's true, but still.

TBH, I would prefer that they would indeed stop the slaughter because I believe that the lives of Armenians are worth more than the cost of acquiring additional territory for Russia. If the Ottomans don't stop, though, then Yes, Russia would certainly have a reason to invade the Ottomans--and the Ottomans' bad behavior might very well ensure that the other Great Powers are not going to militarily intervene in this war--at least just as long as Russia doesn't actually also go for Constantinople in this war.
Stopping the slaughter of Armenians is good because aside from stopping the slaughter Russia gets propaganda points. Not stopping the slaughter is better for Russia because they can get more territory and this is more important to Russian interests. Russia has more to gain from territorial conquests than from simply stopping a slaughter in foreign territory.

Yes, but what exactly do I do to win the war? After all, I am unsure that better governance in Petrograd would have actually been enough to prevent Russia from descending into revolution during WWI.
If you win you get to stay in Manchuria and maybe force Japan into concessions as well as save yourself from humiliation.

Yes, that makes sense. Of course, I should also make it extremely clear to them that I am not going to fight a World War on their behalf.
Agreed.

Agreed. I was simply saying that the other Great Powers are unlikely to make a meaningful distinction between a Russian conquest of only Constantinople and a Russian conquest of Constantinople plus the entirety of Anatolia's northern coastline. In both cases, a World War is likely to be sparked by Russia trying to do this
Fair enough, I agree.

Agreed; for Russia to actually get away with this, the other Great Powers need to consent to an Ottoman break-up beforehand. Frankly, I don't see that happening, which is why I would aim to limit my territorial gains in the Ottoman Empire to Pontus and Ottoman Armenia.
I would grab Constantinople if an opportunity presents itself, otherwise I agree.


France didn't actually have to fight Prussia over the question of who is going to be King of Spain, though.
Prussia didn't have to needlessly provoke France by trying to put their prince onto the Spanish throne and insulting the French ambassador. Prussia wanted and needed that war, France was provoked into it and they took the bait.

If I'm the Russian Tsar and I will still get Russia involved in a World War, though, then I would fear that my goose is going to be cooked since I am not going to know how to actually avoid domestic revolution during the war. I don't think that better governance in itself is actually going to be enough to avoid revolution in Russia during a World War.
Just don't lose, or make it seem like you're not losing. Since you can see the future you just need to avoid what Nick did in real life.

Do you believe that Kazakhstan and Indonesia are making mistakes in moving their capital to northern Kazakhstan and Borneo in order to develop those regions?
Isn't Jakarta sinking or something among those lines? As for Kazakhstan: Yes, I believe they don't need to do that.


The problem with Kiev is that it is relatively close to Russia's borders with Germany and Austria and might be less defensible in a war with those two countries than Rostov is.
In real life they didn't get to it, but Rostov isn't exactly all too far either.

Because I simply don't think that this is actually going to be enough to get large numbers of Russians to move there. After all, would a massive Russian development of Rostov or Krasnodar today actually be enough to get millions of Russians to move there?
I believe it would be, though I don't see why they need it so bad. Why would you want to create a 5 million people city instead of increasing the size of several smaller ones?

In real life, in the ex-Soviet space, only Moscow and St. Petersburg actually have a population of over four million--and that includes their metropolitan areas. In contrast, the US had something like ten metropolitan areas with a population of over four million.

As for promoting settlement, I simply fear that it's not going to be that successful. I mean, Russia is much more centralized than the US is. Indeed, I don't think that a Russian effort to promote mass settlement somewhere today is actually going to succeed.

BTW, I don't really consider Warsaw or Lodz to really be a part of Russia. As in, they are only a part of Russia in name only--not in spirit!
Again, why do they need to have a 5 million people city? Britain has London, the next one that comes closest is Birmingham (Including the metropolitan area.) but it still doesn't have 5 million people. France has no 5 million people cities and they seem to be doing alright. I don't see why huge cities are a requirement and from a personal perspective I think they are less than comfortable places to live.

Warsaw and Lodz are as Russian as anything from a political perspective. They contribute to the Russian economy and manpower and can be used just as Moscow can, since you want more diversity would you not like that they're not Russian in ''spirit''?


I'm looking at this from the perspective of the ex-Soviet space right now. There's a serious shortage of large (4-5 million people or more) metropolitan areas in the ex-Soviet space right now. Only Moscow and St. Petersburg and that's it!
I think I already explained my view on huge cities in the paragraph above.

Yeah. Cultural enrichment is nice when it doesn't result in trouble.
I disagree highly.

Where would you put it if not in Rostov or Kiev?
I would keep it in St. Petersburg, but if I had to move it somewhere it would be Moscow,. It's the only one that traditionally makes sense and has a central location.

Would you have also said the name thing about the US in 1965?
Different countries, different cultures, different situations. Not a good comparison.

Russia should still industrialize with or without Communism. If anything, no Communism might make things better since Russia would avoid its deadly civil war and also allow for free enterprise and free markets.
Communism would get me executed or at least exiled, so it's not an option. If they would industrialise then it should be fine.


If the Duma is led by incompetent politicians, that's simply a reason to vote them out in the next election, no?
Realistically the people wouldn't do this. They would just vote for whichever party has more money and wins a glorified popularity contest. It's better to have something to balance the Duma rather than be stuck with incompetent politicians for even a few years.

TBH, it's fine if they don't want to assimilate. I'm not a fan of bullying anyone into becoming Russians. I do want them to be loyal to the Russian state--at least if they will insist on remaining within this state--but I don't really care whether or not they will actually identify as Russians. Plus, with Ukraine it might be a problem since Ukrainian-language literature can probably be smuggled into Russia from Austrian-controlled Galicia.
Fair enough.

Russians rioted against the Russian Tsar in 1905.
And?

Well, I do want to try assimilation--but only in a non-coercive manner like here in the US.
Agreed.

Polish cities such as Warsaw or Lodz aren't really Russian in spirit, though.
They contribute to the economy, manpower, industry, their resources can be exploited etc. just like any other city in Russia and they are large. I don't see a problem.

TBH, I would allow the Poles to run their own internal affairs however they will see fit just as long as they will remain Russian allies. This was actually the deal that Kerensky was willing to offer Poland in 1917 in real life.
I don't think that will work, they had autonomy under Congress Poland but still revolted. I think it's either completely let them go and gain a potential enemy or keep them in.
 

Lee-Sensei

Ad Honorem
Aug 2012
2,151
I think that my main goal would be to work towards creating a Russian middle class and ameliorating the poor living conditions of Russian serfs.
 
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Aug 2014
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New York, USA
1. Focus on industrialization, bringing in foreign investment, capital, education, land reform.
2. At all costs stay away from fighting with European powers (Britain, France, Germany, Austria-Hungary).
3. Give Poland an autonomy similar to Finland, use it as a buffer against the Germans. Continue to russify and incorporate Ukrainian/Belarusian lands.
4. Militarily focus on the "sick men" - Ottomans and China. This is where the most territorial gains will be made.
5. Perhaps make a pact with Japan to carve up China. If that doesn't work, don't be afraid of Japan. As it is, Russians could've defended Japanese invasion if not for very very poor generalship and massive mistakes in conducting the defense. So placing more resources and even a semi-competent general in the Far East would help a lot.
 
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Futurist

Ad Honoris
May 2014
23,547
SoCal
That's true, but still.
Pontus is such a small territory that I doubt that the other Great Powers would actually give a damn if Russia were to also annex it, though.

Stopping the slaughter of Armenians is good because aside from stopping the slaughter Russia gets propaganda points. Not stopping the slaughter is better for Russia because they can get more territory and this is more important to Russian interests. Russia has more to gain from territorial conquests than from simply stopping a slaughter in foreign territory.
That's certainly true, but not stopping a genocide in order to strengthen the position of one's country seems rather nasty, no?

If you win you get to stay in Manchuria and maybe force Japan into concessions as well as save yourself from humiliation.
Yes, but I'm highly doubtful that I'm actually going to win.

Agreed.

Fair enough, I agree.

I would grab Constantinople if an opportunity presents itself, otherwise I agree.
OK.

Prussia didn't have to needlessly provoke France by trying to put their prince onto the Spanish throne and insulting the French ambassador. Prussia wanted and needed that war, France was provoked into it and they took the bait.
Agreed that Prussia provoked that war but France shouldn't have taken the bait.

Just don't lose, or make it seem like you're not losing. Since you can see the future you just need to avoid what Nick did in real life.
But just how exactly do I avoid losing or giving the impression that I'm losing?

Isn't Jakarta sinking or something among those lines?
Yes.

As for Kazakhstan: Yes, I believe they don't need to do that.
TBF, though, it probably helped increase the ethnic Kazakh presence in northern Kazakhstan.

In real life they didn't get to it, but Rostov isn't exactly all too far either.
They actually did get to Kiev in early 1918, no?

I believe it would be, though I don't see why they need it so bad. Why would you want to create a 5 million people city instead of increasing the size of several smaller ones?
Because larger cities are more fun and more interesting and have much more things to do and to see within a short distance. This is why living in a major metropolitan area such as the Los Angeles metro area is so much nicer than living in a much smaller metro area such as the Omaha metro area.

Again, why do they need to have a 5 million people city? Britain has London, the next one that comes closest is Birmingham (Including the metropolitan area.) but it still doesn't have 5 million people. France has no 5 million people cities and they seem to be doing alright. I don't see why huge cities are a requirement and from a personal perspective I think they are less than comfortable places to live.
France actually does have the Paris metropolitan area--which I believe has a total population of 10+ million. Anyway, I guess that you and I simply disagree about the importance and value of large cities. Honestly, if I lived in Serbia, I would probably prefer to live in Belgrade than in some provincial city such as Nis.

Warsaw and Lodz are as Russian as anything from a political perspective. They contribute to the Russian economy and manpower and can be used just as Moscow can, since you want more diversity would you not like that they're not Russian in ''spirit''?
I just have an aversion to ruling over the Poles--a people who had a proud and powerful country of their own for centuries. This isn't like ruling over Latvia and Estonia--both of whom were never independent states before the early 20th century.

I think I already explained my view on huge cities in the paragraph above.
OK.

I disagree highly.
Vojvodina is Serbia's nicest area (other than perhaps Belgrade) and also probably it's most diverse area, no?

I would keep it in St. Petersburg, but if I had to move it somewhere it would be Moscow,. It's the only one that traditionally makes sense and has a central location.
OK.

Different countries, different cultures, different situations. Not a good comparison.
OK.

Communism would get me executed or at least exiled, so it's not an option. If they would industrialise then it should be fine.
Agreed.

Realistically the people wouldn't do this. They would just vote for whichever party has more money and wins a glorified popularity contest. It's better to have something to balance the Duma rather than be stuck with incompetent politicians for even a few years.
Makes sense, I suppose. Political ignorance is always a very real risk.

Fair enough.
OK.

I'm just wary of the risk of revolution.

OK.

They contribute to the economy, manpower, industry, their resources can be exploited etc. just like any other city in Russia and they are large. I don't see a problem.
As I said before, I simply have an aversion to ruling over a people that had their own powerful state for centuries.

I don't think that will work, they had autonomy under Congress Poland but still revolted. I think it's either completely let them go and gain a potential enemy or keep them in.
Unfortunately, you might very well be correct in regards to this. :(
 

Futurist

Ad Honoris
May 2014
23,547
SoCal
I think that my main goal would be to work towards creating a Russian middle class and ameliorating the poor living conditions of Russian serfs.
Agreed.

1. Focus on industrialization, bringing in foreign investment, capital, education, land reform.
2. At all costs stay away from fighting with European powers (Britain, France, Germany, Austria-Hungary).
3. Give Poland an autonomy similar to Finland, use it as a buffer against the Germans. Continue to russify and incorporate Ukrainian/Belarusian lands.
Agreed.

4. Militarily focus on the "sick men" - Ottomans and China. This is where the most territorial gains will be made.
Agreed just as long as the other Great Powers don't actually militarily intervene in response to such Russian moves.

5. Perhaps make a pact with Japan to carve up China. If that doesn't work, don't be afraid of Japan. As it is, Russians could've defended Japanese invasion if not for very very poor generalship and massive mistakes in conducting the defense. So placing more resources and even a semi-competent general in the Far East would help a lot.
Agreed. Also, avoid Tsushima, no?