The Let's Play Archive

Republic: The Revolution

by Olive Branch

Part 14: The Jester and the Soldier

Chapter 14: The Jester and the Soldier

Despite Mayor Stefan Luzhkov's languid approach to politics and avarice for status and wealth, he held the city of Pugachev together in organized chaos in his own corrupt way. With his death came a near mortal-blow to Pugachev's political stability, causing a power vacuum where mayoral candidates hoped to earn a legitimate seat of power to hide their secret pasts. The vacuum wasn't only on legitimate fronts: the underworld of factions and parties also fought for new pockets of support shaken loose by the Red Mafiya's revenge hit on the mayor.

Piotr Prokofiev and the Novistranan Coalition recognized the potential for supporting (and electing) a mayor of their choice. The Red Mafiya was suddenly facing heavy law enforcement backlash, the Konstantino Cartel continued to ignore political maneuvers to increase their own wealth, and the Organized Anarchy faction remained in an eternal battle to tear down the entire system. Taking advantage of the distraction caused by the mayor's death, Prokofiev managed to persuade two new recruits to his banner almost completely unnoticed by the other factions. The military know-how of Lieutenant Boris Churnyeav and the contact network of renowned satirist Felix Lavanov would be the push that the Novistranan Coalition needed to find the candidate of their choice and put him in the mayor's chair...

* * *

Piotr Prokofiev's Diary - Fifty-sixth Entry: 15/03/1996

We have decided on the men who we wish to bring to our banner. Josef and Father Baturin pored over the dossiers and we debated for close to an hour over which men would be most beneficial to our movement. The list of twenty possible lieutenants was lowered to five: Boris Churnyeav, an ex-military man; Felix Lavanov, a greedy satirist great at staying alive; Guri Ikramov, a fellow union man; Evgeney Federov, a popular student leader; and Ignatii Goryachev, a principled politician in a city where principles could very well kill you.

Out of these five, we have decided to rope in Churnyeav and Lavanov over the other three. Churnyeav is no longer in the military and holds no loyalty to Karasov, but his connections and know-how could prove a boon in trying to gin up support through nationalism. Lavanov, despite his utterly despicable views on wealth and greed, is a very intelligent man who can poke the tigers without being eaten alive.

I'm not going to bother with contracts or stipulated agreements with these two, especially not with Lavanov. Churnyeav believes that civil disorder is the key to power, and at times, I'm inclined to agree with his sentiment. It shouldn't be so hard to convince him that our cause can use a little anarchy in the path to justice. As for Lavanov... I thought Churbanov was greedy and bourgeois, but Lavanov truly takes the cake. I have never met a man that wasn't an oppressor of the people who could believed rapacious greed was a good thing. Everything we've got on Lavanov shows he does nothing without a reward, but I have to swallow my pride and take him to our side. I just won't promise anything on paper: if he becomes a toxic addition to our movement, I can remove him. Mercilessly.

Now I need to move our headquarters out to Udalsova Precint. There's a large house there that's vacant in a silent little part of the neighborhood. It would be perfect for our operations and settling two more lieutenants. Tomorrow I will find Churnyeav and convince him of the cause, but I'd better bring a weapon...

* * *

Boris Churnyeav, ex-Lieutenant of the Novistranan Army and veteran of the Grodnistan War, was an imposing man.

He lived only a few blocks away from the Novistranan Coalition's headquarters in Udalsova Precinct. Piotr Prokofiev had decided to meet the man in the alleyway next to his house in Yesesin Precinct, a small but highly aggressive district in Pugachev. Only criminals, the desperate poor, and the anarchists who wanted to do nothing but destroy lived in this hovel of a district. Somehow the tough old man felt right at home. Perhaps it reminded him of war-torn neighborhoods, and it drew a sick sense of comfort to live his everyday life in a hellish, run-down area.

"Comrade Boris Churnyeav, thank you for coming," Prokofiev extended his hand to shake the lieutenant's, but the grizzled man didn't take it.

"Normally I'd answer to 'lieutenant', but those days are gone," Churnyeav spoke in that distinct manner of soldiers cowed and toughened by drill sergeants. "However you will either address me as 'sir' or 'Comrade Churnyeav'. We are not friends, do not use my first name."

"Of course, comrade," replied Prokofiev, frowning at the officer's attitude. Was he not aware of Prokofiev's history as an union man?

"Let me guess," snarled the soldier. "You want me to join your little faction, is that right?"

"It is. I'm here to convince you to do just that."

"I hear word of what you're trying to do," Churnyeav said. "You're trying to raise a little charity for the poor little children and the hobos that litter the streets of this city, is that right? Our motherland doesn't need beggars, it needs soldiers!"

"That's not a bad thing, and I would hold my tongue if I were you," Prokofiev warned. He was quickly understanding how the lieutenant treated others challenging him for superiority, and if he wanted to convince Churnyeav to join him he would have to assert his command. "Our movement's ultimate goal is to overthrow Karasov and bring justice to the people, no matter what. Those who stand in the way will fall."

"Justice, you say?" Churnyeav asked, tapping the pistol strapped to his hip and leaning forward to stare right into Prokofiev's eyes. "You know what justice is? It's when you hold a gun, comrade, and put a bullet in the head of those that deserve it. That's justice."

"Sometimes words are enough," sneered Prokofiev at the show of force from the lieutenant. He knew now that the old soldier was testing his mettle. "A man may need a gun to hold his enemies at bay, but only a real leader knows when to pull the trigger."

"So you say," Churnyeav, impressed by how passe Prokofiev was to threats. Maybe he really was as tough as they said, and the charity and priests he ran around with were just fronts. "And what would you do if you were facing an enemy pointing a gun at you?"

"I'd convince him to either put the gun down and befriend him or fight back," answered Prokofiev, and then he leaned forward himself, face red and ready to shout. "I have a hell of a will to survive, comrade, and I am never going to let anyone else tell me when my time is up."

"Really?" Churnyeav chuckled, then drew the pistol out of its holster. Prokofiev didn't even blink when Churnyeav cocked and pointed it right at his chest. "What if your enemy had you powerless and you were completely at his mercy?"

"I already told you!" Prokofiev shouted right into Churnyeav's face, who was actually taken aback by the sudden move. Before he could react, Prokofiev shoved the pistol aside and rushed forward to attack the soldier. Two punches, one to the stomach and one to the face, were enough to cause the lieutenant to drop his gun. Suddenly the pistol was in Prokofiev's hand, and the visionary was pointing the gun point-blank at Churnyeav's forehead. "I have a hell of a will to survive."

"Do you have military training?" asked the soldier, staring at the gun pointed between his eyes and getting down on his knees. He felt a slight tinge of fear creeping up on him despite having faced worse situations. "Everyone who heard about you says you're from the unions but that now you're just trying to use words instead of force."

"I read the Special Forces manual, and I'll say I don't shy away from force," replied Prokofiev, pushing the gun against Churnyeav's forehead slightly. "How about you, comrade? What would you do if you were powerless?"

"That depends," Churnyeav actually smiled now, "if I could convince my enemy to put his gun down."

Prokofiev immediately pulled the gun back from Churnyeav's face, helping him up to his feet. He then broke into a smile of his own and offered the gun back to Churnyeav grip-first.

"Are you a patriot, Comrade Prokofiev?" Churnyeav inquired as he took his gun and holstered it. "Do you believe that Novistrana is worth protecting?"

"I do, and enough to know when the government has failed us," Prokofiev answered. "How about you, Comrade Churnyeav? Are you a patriot? Are you ready to go to your country's defense once again?"

"Yes, I am."

"Good. I could use a man with knowledge of the army in my movement," Prokofiev nodded, and in his mind, he was greatly relieved that he'd managed to prove he was the stronger of the two. Despite the soldier's reputation for being tough but fair, it seemed his respect was only earned by withstanding his intimidation. He did believe that raising hell, after all, was how one gained control.

"I'm willing to follow your command, comrade," Churnyeav explained as the two began to walk out of the alley. "I wouldn't admit this to anyone else, but I've had enough of Karasov. I can respect how he's gained control, but not how he used it."

"Glad to hear it," answered the revolutionary with a sense of bitterness. "However, when you're with me, you do things my way, and you will work together with my comrades. I will not stand for any sort of inner-group fighting, understand?"

"Crystal clear, sir," came the military answer, although he didn't pick up on his slip. "I'll follow your orders to the letter so long as I get to do what I do best."

"You won't kill anyone unless I tell you to, got it?" Prokofiev snapped, easily falling into the role of drill sergeant.

"Yes sir!"

* * *

As Prokofiev entered the headquarters with Churnyeav at his heels, he called out, "Josef, Father Baturin, gather round!"

Nasarov and Baturin, taking their mid-day break to keep in touch with their Ekaterine contacts and plan their future moves, got up and looked over the military man. Nasarov extended his hand. "Ah, you must be our new comrade, Boris Churnyeav."

Oleg Baturin took Churnyeav's hand next after Nasarov shook it, and bowed slightly. "Welcome, and bless you, Mr. Churnyeav."

"Greetings," Churnyeav said with a critical tone in his voice. "You two are?"

"Josef Nasarov," the unionizer replied, thumb to chest. "I work as an union activist."

"I am Oleg Baturin, a priest from Ekaterine."

Churnyeav scoffed in disbelief and turned to Prokofiev. "The unions and the Church? Hardly sounds like a nation-shaking movement to me, sir."

"Comrade, they believe in the cause, they are very good at what they do, and they are my friends."

"Fair enough," shrugged Churnyeav. "I will not question your methods, but I certainly expected more, especially of this unionizer."

Nasarov immediately took offense at the dismissive tone. "Do you have a stick up your ass, jarhead? What did I do to you?"

"Watch your mouth or I'll smash it!" Churnyeav rounded on Nasarov, fists to his side.

"Whoa, watch the temper on this one!" laughed Nasarov now, itching for a fight. "Come on, try it, try it!"

"Break it up, you two!" shouted Prokofiev, roughly separating them before a blow was thrown. "I am not going to let you fight each other! You are partners now."

"Hmph. Whatever you say," Churnyeav growled, stepping back. "I don't like this one, though."

"You must not like a lot of people," sneered Nasarov, inciting Churnyeav to step forward again against Prokovief's arm.

"Enough, enough," Baturin stepped in now, taking Nasarov back by the shoulders. "Come, let us plan ahead. Perhaps in time you two will be a little more friendly to each other."

"Yeah, yeah, whatever, priest," said Churnyeav, rolling his eyes.

"Churnyeav," Prokofiev said.


"I am not asking you to become friends," warned Prokofiev, "but I am going to ask you to treat Josef and Father Baturin with respect. Aren't you a fair man?"

"...Yes, I apologize, sir."

"To them?" Prokofiev asked, tipping his head to the two other men.

"Yes," Churnyeav said, gritting his teeth. "I'm sorry, sirs."

"Ah, see?" Nasarov said to Baturin. "OK, sure, I forgive you."

"Seconded," Baturin said, not offended by Churnyeav's dismissal. "Now, shall we move to planning? We're close to finishing the charities!"

"We'll need to publicize them, though, and to remove Organized Anarchy's support on Pushkin Park and Makevich Court," countered Prokofiev, looking over the pinned map on the center wall of the living room. "We still need to get Felix Lavanov on board."

"Felix Lavanov?" interrupted Churnyeav. "Sir, why him?"

"We decided already to give him a shot with us no matter what he thinks," shrugged Nasarov.

"Lavanov, as much as he loves money, has a dedicated following," explained Baturin. "He could be useful."

"The guy's a selfish bastard and a condescending little prick!" Churnyeav said, throwing his arms up in exasperation.

"How do you know him so well?" asked Baturin, raising a curious eyebrow.

"He wrote this column insulting my unit and calling us military guys a bunch of over-testosteroned sexually-repressed men with a gun fetish!" railed Churnyeav, cheeks red with anger.

Josef Nasarov snickered loudly, drawing an angry glance from Churnyeav, but the military man continued.

"I wasn't going to stand for that, so I gathered some of the guys to work him over," Churnyeav said, pounding his fist on an open palm. "Instead, he just laughed us off!"

"Haha!" Nasarov guffawed, imagining the scene. "How'd he manage that?"

"Said he had us by the balls and could get us thrown out of our homes, that coward!" Churnyeav said. "Apparently he has people he can count on."

"Did it ever occur to you he may have been lying?" Baturin pointed out.

"Well, yeah, but..." Churnyeav began as if apologetic. "Hell, my boys and I don't have much other than the clothes on our back. I didn't want to test him..."

"I'm going to say this again," Prokofiev spoke up, "if Lavanov joins us, you will treat him with respect, and he will as well."

"God DAMN it!" Churnyeav boomed. "Fine, if I HAVE to put up with the prick, then I'll do it. Just keep his smug ass away from me."

"Done. Now go set up the army draft you had in mind," Prokofiev waved Churnyeav away to one of the free rooms in the house. Churnyeav slammed the door behind him.

"He is quite the violent man, Mr. Prokofiev," observed Baturin quietly.

"I know, Father, but he has his uses," Prokofiev replied. "You'll see."

* * *

Piotr Prokofiev's Diary - Fifty-seventh Entry: 16/03/1996

I highly believe Lieutenant Churnyeav suffers from some trauma from the Grodnistan War, or else still thinks he's in it. Of course, we are in a war of our own, but the man is all too willing to engage in violence. I'll need to teach him to be more subtle.

Thankfully, Churnyeav has his uses. Not only does he have pull with some of Pugachev's militias and army branches, he also has good knowledge of sloganeering and poster-work. He told me that he worked in propaganda for the army and that gave him many ideas for recruitment, but his commanders saw only the rough soldier in him. I must exploit his talents and hopefully he'll become a very useful asset should he follow me to Berezina.

What I'm concerned with most is that he'll try to abandon us if he sees someone else as superior to me and the Novistranan Coalition. I'll need to make him a true believer in the cause. At the very least, despite his overt patriotism and love for the army, he is willing to listen and be fair if nobody is trying to prove they're tougher than he is. He's snippy with Josef, but that may just be the military-union rivalry sparking. I can't imagine what it'd be like if he were a policeman.

I attempted to get in touch with Lavanov, but it seems he was busy. According to the dossier's itinerary, Lavanov takes his mornings off to work his trade as a satirist, but later in the day turns to assist Organized Anarchy in their ridiculous schemes. I'll have to catch him tomorrow while he's living his double life and turn him against his paymasters.

* * *

The early morning sun was barely peeking through the comfortable homes and small businesses of Vesnin Town. In a secluded alleyway bordering the Yesesin Precinct, Piotr Prokofiev and Felix Lavanov were arguing loudly.

"You want me to join your faction?" Lavanov asked, skeptical. "Why would I want to do that?"

"I had a journalist by the name of Artem Churbanov while I was campaigning in Ekaterine," Prokofiev replied. "He was actually quite useful despite our ideological differences. I understand the need of having some form of media on our side."

"Oh, you understand the need, do you?" Lavanov said with a tone of sudden understanding. Then he flatly continued. "Well, you may need me, but I don't need you. I'm quite happy with Organized Anarchy."

"Happy how?" demanded Prokofiev. "All you do is support a cause that has no future."

"Yes, that's true, actually," admitted Lavanov, stroking his chin. "But they pay me well to do what I do, and that is, to mess with you and the other factions here in Pugachev. Hell, you practically are all a license to make money, because no matter what, you're still going to be in a stalemate forever."

"And what if I told you that the stalemate would break and you would support our struggle in Berezina?"

"Hah!" Lavanov barked. "Why would I want to go there? You DO know what I do, don't you? I write satire, my friend, and believe it or not, a lot of people in high places don't like getting the truth thrown at them in a humorous way. It makes them upset that there's someone smarter than them out there."

"We can protect you," Prokofiev insisted. "Believe it or not, we have never suffered a single attack against us directly. Everything has been completely targeted at our support base."

"Do you think I care about that? I can take care of myself quite well, and I don't need your help for that," Lavanov said. "You want me to join you? I'm going to need something out of it."

"Now hold on," Prokofiev interrupted. "I've been wondering how you've been surviving on your own so long despite pretty much everyone but Karasov wanting your head."

Lavanov actually laughed before he replied, "I have always believed that greed is good, Mr. Prokofiev. I feed on greed, and I'm quite better off for it. If someone comes at me, I offer them something worth their time to go chase someone else. It's a human thing."

Prokofiev shook his head angrily, looking down at the ground. He knew that Lavanov was an unrepentant capitalist and, as Boris Churnyeav put it, a whore with expensive tastes and absolutely no sense of loyalty. Lavanov sold his considerable talents at wordplay and humor to the highest bidder, and had discovered early in his career that underground factions with a lust for power would pay top rouble for any edge they wanted over the competition.

He hadn't expected to convert the journalist, if you could call Lavanov that, in a single conversation to their ideology. A man that greedy and willing to sell himself for money would probably never have any loyalties past their own selves, so if Prokofiev wanted to bring Lavanov to his side, he would need to offer him what he so obviously sought.

"Money, then," Prokofiev said, looking up again. "If you aren't aware of it, I own a share of a casino, so I can easily pay for your services and hire you."

"Ah, now we're talking," Lavanov's eye gleamed. "I've always dreamed of buying a house in America. I hear they don't even kill their smart people unless it's an election year!"

The joke didn't help Prokofiev's mood. He hated dealing with this man, and pondered momentarily at how Churbanov was a pure communist compared to Lavanov. The satirist wasn't even on his radar, but Baturin and Nasarov both pointed out to media power, Lavanov's popularity, and his seeming immortality in the face of the regime. They needed someone to carry their message, and Lavanov was the best Pugachev had to offer: a man who told the truth in a fashion that got people's attention, and didn't die for it.

"You'll basically be our mercenary, on retainer," explained Prokofiev. "We can talk details where we can have a contract, if you're into that sort of thing."

"I must warn you, I have expensive tastes and all sorts of pecadillos that I love," Lavanov pressed. "Organized Anarchy pays me well, so you'd better be willing to match my salary..."

"We'll see about that when we get back to headquarters," Prokofiev snapped, losing his patience. "You come back with me and we'll talk about your fee then. Are you in or out?"

"Hmph, I hate dealing with you Marxist types," sneered Lavanov, pointing right at Prokofiev. "So willing to sell out your ideals, as they say. Then again, I'd be lying if I said I wasn't interested in your money. Your rouble is just as green as the next man's. Where do I go?"

"Great. The address is 8943 Bavonilov Street, in Udalsova Precinct," Prokofiev said. "I can show you where-"

"I can find my own way," Lavanov said, waving away the revolutionary and walking off.

"H-hey! Where are you going?"

"To 8943 Bavonilov Street, of course!" Lavanov shouted over his shoulder. "I guess I'll meet you there!"

Prokofiev was so taken aback by the man leaving that he did nothing when Lavanov got into a taxi and sped off.

"You're a God damned loon!" shouted Prokofiev after the taxi.

Prokofiev just stood there a bit longer, feeling himself even more guilty and dirty than when he initially freed Artem Churbanov in Ekaterine. He was greatly upset at himself for having to sink so low to hire a clever man who also stood for everything he hated, but that small flame of resistance told him that perhaps Lavanov would eventually turn to his side as Churbanov once had.

"Somehow, I doubt that's going to happen," Prokofiev muttered to himself, thinking about what he had just done.

* * *

With the noon sun overhead, Prokofiev opened the door to his new headquarters and led in Lavanov, who was eying the distinct lack of riches hanging on the wall. The house, while large and suited for a family, had few decorative items adorning the public spaces.

"Welcome to the Novistranan Coalition, comrade," Prokofiev said with equal parts sarcasm and genuine appreciation. He had found Lavanov waiting in front of the headquarters after the satirist had walked out of the alley without him, so Lavanov at the very least was willing to work with them after all. "I have a room ready for you upstairs. Hey everyone! Get over here and greet Felix Lavanov!"

In about half a minute the three other leaders of the Novistranan Coalition had arrived in the living room and were eying over their new co-revolutionary over. Baturin was the first step forward and shake the journalist's hand.

"Welcome to the Novistranan Coalition, Mr. Lavanov. I am Oleg Baturin, a priest from Ekaterine."

"Delighted," the journalist nodded, shaking his hand warmly. "You're not one of those celibate guys, are you?"

"I'm afraid that's my business alone, Mr. Lavanov," Baturin bowed slightly.

"Fair enough. And you are?" asked Lavanov, hand sticking out and facing Nasarov, who hesitated before shaking the man's hand.

"Josef Nasarov. I'm also from Ekaterine. Worked there in the factories and farms, trying to get my boys to join the unions."

"Ah, an union man, I see, well, good to meet you, union-man," Lavanov tipped his head to the side comically. When he turned to shake Churnyeav's hand, he froze. The smile dropped from his face as he frowned in concentration, then his eyes widened with momentary fear when he recognized who it was. Churnyeav only stared back in hatred.

After a few moments of awkward silence, Lavanov's eyes shone and he suddenly burst out laughing. "Hah! I don't believe it! Boris Churnyeav? Is that you, you big meathead?"

"Yeah, what of it?" the soldier asked, peeved.

"Aren't you the one that tried to beat me up a week or two back?"

"Shut up!" Churnyeav spat. "I just joined this faction!"

"Hahahaha! The irony of it all!" Lavanov continued to laugh, clapping in delight. "I join a Marxist rabble-rouser who just so happens to have hired the lunkhead that tried to bash my head in! It's like one of my articles came to life!"

"Enough," Prokofiev snapped, standing between the two men before the red-faced Churnyeav charged forward to work out a rematch. "You're on our side now, Lavanov, and I don't care what sort of history you have with Churnyeav. You are going to treat him, along with everyone else, with respect. You do know what respect is, right?"

"Haw haw, yes, yes," Lavanov nodded, covering his face before he burst out laughing again. "I can be professional, really! Man, this is about as contradictory as Organized Anarchy!"

"Speaking of," piped up Baturin, "you worked for them, did you not? Can you tell us more about them?"

"Sure I can, but only about my ex-co-conspirators," Lavanov replied. "I'm not going to tell you what we've been up to or what they're planning, though."

"And why not?" Nasarov butted in angrily.

"For the same reason why I won't tell my next bosses what your plans are," sniffed Lavanov dismissively. "I don't kiss and tell, union-man."

"Fair enough," Baturin said as Nasarov fumed with Churnyeav. "We know enough about them to make dossiers, but not what they're really like."

"Well if you found me you are certainly more competent than they are," Lavanov confided. "They're about twenty percent Organized and eighty percent Anarchy, you know?"

"Is Andrei Atlasov a threat to us?" asked Prokofiev, now interested.

"In principle, yes," explained the journalist, "but it is not a threat but a pushover, and it is not to us but to the whole nation."

"What?" Churnyeav asked dumbly.

"Andrei Atlasov is just about the worst possible kind of leader," Lavanov continued, ignoring the ex-lieutenant. "He promises Novistrana a better future but all of his plans are haphazard. He can draw in the youth and the crazies and make them part with their money and support, but he doesn't know how to use it. He has big plans, but he has no clue how to make them a reality."

"And I assume you knew how to lead them?" Churnyeav grunted.

"I know that what he was doing was idiocy," the journalist answered. "I don't claim to be a political mastermind as he does, but at least I can use my talents well enough to get paid."

"What of the others?" pressed Prokofiev, handing Lavanov the dossiers on the other Organized Anarchy members. The satirist flipped through them, laughing at points and becoming serious in others as skimmed them.

"Evgeney Federov is who should really have been the leader," Lavanov began, lifting the academic's dossier. "The kid's intelligent, popular, and smart enough not to do too many extreme things for 'cred' like Atlasov did. Also, unlike Atlasov, he's not trying to build a cult of personality. Atlasov went underground a few years back when things became heated, but he's basically never surfaced, instead preferring to make himself this mythical figure of anarchy and champion of a brighter tomorrow. What a load of crock.

"Gennadi Ermalov," the satirist continued, picking up another dossier, "is our designated plant in the Pugachev Council. He's all about the roubles as I am, though, and instead prefers to hang back and rake in some dough. To his credit he does believe in the whole 'tear down the state in anarchy and prop a new one' plan, but he is also cautious enough to not stick his neck out too much.

"Hah, and as for poor old Ignatii Goryachev, he just got suckered in the whole business last week," concluded Lavanov, tossing the last dossier forward. "He's enthusiastic about the whole thing because Atlasov convinced him that he ought to use his independent streak to encourage all-out independence. Say what you will about Atlasov, at least he knows how to make his disgusting ideology sound plausible."

"Why did you join them if you hated their ideas?" Baturin asked, curious.

"Because they paid me very well," shrugged Lavanov. "However, with you in town, the gravy train's drying up. I know when to jump ship for a better opportunity, especially when it comes knocking at my door like you did."

"I'm so glad you only see us as little sacks of money," sneered Nasarov in disgust.

"Oh, give me some credit, union-man," the journalist winked, sitting back on his chair. "I see you as BIG sacks of money!"

"Whatever," the unionizer grumbled, turning around to head back to his room. "You're just a tool."

"And I'm not ashamed of it," Lavanov turned to Prokofiev, grinning. "I am proud to say that I'm a tool, and that I'll do whatever you ask... for a price, of course."

"I wouldn't have expected anything less from an elitist money-grubber like you," frowned Prokofiev, feeling the same disgust Nasarov was.

"You flatter me, Mr. Prokofiev," laughed Lavanov. "Now, tell me what it is you're planning and I'll tell you what you're doing wrong."

* * *

Novistranan Coalition Dossier - Andrei Atlasov: Faction Leader (Organized Anarchy)

Andrei Atlasov heads up the Pugachev cell of the anti-government Organized Anarchy group. Like many in this group he is very secretive, probably living in a decrepit building in a rundown part of town.

* * *

Piotr Prokofiev's Diary - Fifty-ninth Entry: 17/03/1996

Had I known that Lavanov and Churnyeav shared a small slice of history, I probably wouldn't have hired both to the Coalition. However, it seems that the aloof Lavanov holds no grudge with the soldier, and Churnyeav just wants to crack some heads to vent out his frustration at having to work with Lavanov. I only need to direct him to Karasov's toadies and let him go to town until he calms down.

I will hand it to Lavanov that he's very talented, both as a humorist and as an asset to a revolution. He explained to me the intricate and difficultly-manufactured defaming tactics he perfected in his years in journalism, how he knows how to spin a lie appearing to be ever-so-close to the truth to be plausible, and how he has a wide net of people ready to do his bidding because he has something over them. His idea of making a bid to conquer the "landmarks" of Pugachev so we can use them interests me.

Lavanov is talented, yet despicable. I wonder, would I have consented to him being at my side at the beginning of our movement? Artem Churbanov at least had some decency in him, but Lavanov is all greed all the time. He is the polar opposite of my beliefs, and I cannot fault him for having been extremely leery of working with us even for all the money I offered him.

I hate the fact he disagrees with our approach to charity, though. He told me about three businessmen who could easily be parted from their land with a little bit of "persuasion", he said as he handed me dossiers on them. He was trying to convince Andrei Atlasov of Organized Anarchy to do the same. He thinks that, with our casino's profits, the last thing we should be doing is giving it to the poor.

I told him he was a fucking idiot and to do as we said. If he tries to sneak back out to Organized Anarchy, I'll have to set Josef and Churnyeav on him. Hell, I may just do it if he tries to pull that "greed is good" bullshit again. I need a drink.

* * *

Novistranan Coalition Dossier - Sergei Mironovi: Business

Sergei Mironovich owns and runs a large warehouse and he is very good at it. He built the business up from nothing and he is fiercely proud of it.

Novistranan Coalition Dossier - Latif Riabov: Business

Latif Riabov owns a large warehouse. In a city where land is very important and therefore expensive, Riabov managed to acquire a large slice of it in the chaotic aftermath of the fall of Communism, and he will not willingly be parted from it.

Novistranan Coalition Dossier - Abram Solomonovich: Business

Abram grew up in abject poverty. His grandparents and all his family of that generation were killed in anti-Jewish pogroms. Some fled to America but Abram's father was hidden by farmers and escaped the fate of the others in the Pale. Today Abram is a successful businessman in his later years.

* * *

Today I will be talking about power nodes in Republic: The Revolution.

Power nodes are special buildings in every city that give you a bonus or perk for having them under your control. These bonuses are quite varied, ranging from extra resources every morning to a specific ideology's actions being more effective when you run them. To conquer a power node a faction has to hold at least 75% of that power node's district's supporters.

Power nodes are identified on the satellite view (strategy screen) as stars on the map, and the faction that holds them fills the star with their color and icon. In rooftop view, or ground view, these buildings are identified by having large red-and-black banners fluttering from their doors. At the start of every new city update, I've been posting screenshots of that city's power nodes, which also double as landmarks: Ekaterine has the newspaper HQ, the church, the town hall, etc. while Pugachev has a theater, a prison, a luxurious hotel, and more. Berezina has three really special power nodes, but I'll get to them when we're there.

Power nodes are said to be the difference between success and failure by the manual, but I think they serve best as powerful perks rather than essential things to target. They may be important in the early game when resources are at a premium, but eventually your characters may be powerful enough to not need the bonuses the nodes offer. Even so, if you have the time and the resources, it's not a bad tactic to hold nodes just to deny them to your opponents.