Part 47: The Overthrow
Chapter 47 - The Overthrow
There is goon participation in this chapter!
The week following the economic collapse came to be known as the Week of Glory, even if there was little glory to be had in the poverty and desperation plaguing the people. The protesting crowd around the Presidential Palace grew, with more and more destitute and frenzied Novistranans baying for Karasov's blood as the days went by. Piotr Prokofiev bode his time, however, gathering the necessary resources and support from the people and those in power to be the one to replace Vasily Karasov in the coming overthrow. The blame for the nation's collapse was passed entirely on the dictator: Prokofiev and his Coalition, despite being the ones who revealed the truth, were hailed as heroes.
In the days leading to the overthrow itself, Prokofiev and his inner circle carefully planned out a future socioeconomic and political system for Novistrana, with Prokofiev emphasizing pro-Western views on their foreign relations. The West had, after all, quickly come to the aid of Novistrana with supplies, money, and even a peacekeeping force for Prokofiev to keep around. Today we know that the revolutionary had been backed into a corner and forced to accept a deal with the United States's Central Intelligence Agency in order to keep Novistrana whole. Many of Prokofiev's supporters are critical of his decision today, but some believe the decision was made with Novistrana's safety in mind. Considering the nation is still alive and well today, perhaps Prokofiev's alliance with the West was for the best.
It was in May 9, 1996, that Prokofiev officially exiled Karasov from his lodgings in the palace, essentially buying off the guards surrounding the palace and withdrawing Karasov's final pillars of support. Abandoned and alone, Karasov was finally at the mercy of Prokofiev and his Coalition as his palace was overrun by Coalition supporters. Karasov's fate had been decided for him, a quality he shared with many of his victims during his rule...
* * *
Prokofiev and the nameless CIA agent remained on the sidewalk, both calmly still. Prokofiev looked at the contract, the spy at him. The terms had been laid out, and all that was needed was a "yes" or "no" on Prokofiev's part.
He considered the deal carefully. He had just plunged the nation into a great depression of its own, and people were suffering. Help from a stable economy, be it capitalist or communist, would probably keep the nation from splintering altogether. And yet, Prokofiev knew that no nation, especially not the United States, gave out assistance without a price tag. The fact it was the CIA proposing the deal made him extremely leery.
But there was a time to stick to one's principles, and a time to be a leader. Unfortunately for Prokofiev, he had learned this lesson and had to apply it far too often throughout his revolution. He sighed heavily, his head hanging and heart beating mournfully.
"Well?" the blond CIA agent asked, still holding out the contract and the pen. "Are you going to sign?"
Prokofiev wordlessly reached for the pen and the contract, but before he put pen to paper, he went still.
"I will sign... as long as you don't send those peacekeepers you promised," he said, not looking up at the agent, who became a little flustered.
"The terms are not up for debate, Prokofiev," she said, crossing her arms. "We are not going to send aid without knowing who gets it and who's in power."
Prokofiev laughed. Had be been the naive sort he would have been touched by the concern, but the intentions were as plain as day.
"You just want to try and open up a military base here or something, don't you?" he asked, a knowing grin on his face. The CIA agent remained humorless.
"I don't deal with the military or foreign policy, Prokofiev, I just act as a little bird," she replied. "And this little bird tells you the deal remains as it is."
"You don't make this easy," grumbled Prokofiev, frowning now and looking at the contract. Nobody would have to know... and maybe the so-called peacekeepers would go away if he at least made some nice gestures to the West now and again...
"Don't tell me you're still thinking about this," the spy raised an eyebrow. "Anyone else in your position would have done it already."
"And they would have been foolish to rush in," Prokofiev replied, looking up at the spy again. "We'll take your peacekeepers... but I want us to be in control of their movements."
"Not a chance."
Prokofiev smiled. "This deal is just between us, isn't it? You said it yourself you don't have control over the military. How will they know where to keep the peace without a guiding hand?"
The CIA agent shook her head and took out a cell phone. She dialed a few numbers, spoke to someone on the other line about Prokofiev's proposal, and then hung up after listening to a reply.
"Fine," she said. "They'll be under your control, but that means you'll have to brief them on where they're going so we can understand what's going on."
"One last thing," Prokofiev said, suddenly thinking it over. "If you send in American forces, people are going to think you're trying to take over in some way. Can't you send in UN peacekeepers or something?"
"Hmm... We can try," nodded the woman. "If not, then we'll send you a media package to feed your papers and broadcasts about foreign aid from the West. Just remember, Prokofiev: you're going to take a friendly stance towards the United States and our allies in NATO. Don't think of allying yourself with China or Russia, understand?"
"I'll stay out of the mess," sneered Prokofiev. He gripped the pen tightly and, after one last moment's hesitation, wrote down his signature on the contract.
"Thank you," smiled the spy, taking the contract and the pen back from Prokofiev. "You've done so much for your nation, Prokofiev. This is going to help you get Novistrana back up on its feet."
"I feel like I've done a deal with the devil," Prokofiev spat as he shook his head.
"By the way?" the agent asked, that sweet coy smile creeping back into her face again, "I told you you weren't so different from the other revolutionaries."
Prokofiev already began to say something sarcastic, but the CIA agent quickly made her way down a darkened alley, leaving Prokofiev alone like in the past. He glanced somewhat remorsefully down the alley, then sighed again before resuming his walk to the headquarters.
* * *
Piotr Prokofiev's Diary - Hundred-seventy-first Entry: 04/05/1996
I am absolved of all blame. Karasov himself created this devastation of our people. The terrible plight of our nation has reached the international consciousness. Karasov's major means of controlling the country are already in our hands.
The West's claws have finally sunk into Novistrana. The CIA approached me tonight, finally revealing what it was they really wanted from our revolution: a way into our pockets. Karasov's tyranny played second fiddle to their desire to get at our nation's limited wealth, and they may seek to use us as pawns in future conflicts in the region. In return for my friendship and our good will, they promised aid in various forms and good relations between us.
I had no choice. I accepted. I hope that someday I may forgive myself for this, and that should the truth come to light, my comrades will, too. I know that Josef would take the news hardest out of all of us. I originally brought him into the fold by decrying the excesses of capitalism. We have fought all the way for a socialist utopia. What would it say about me if I sold out my beliefs to make nice with the West?
However, the nation comes first. Freedom may ring in Novistrana in the next few days, but it will mean nothing if the nation falls to pieces in the mean time. People are desperate and the army can only do so much. Novistrana needed help. There is no shame in accepting charity to make sure we can survive on our own means. Besides, I've made compromises before with wealth-seeking scum. What's one more damned compromise to make sure my motherland remains whole?
Memos to Piotr Prokofiev - The CIA's Request: 05/05/1996
I nearly forgot to include this in our deal. Once Karasov is overthrown, please send him our way. Do not kill him, keep him around Novistrana, or God forbid, send him to the UN. We need to have a few words with him.
Consider this your first act of friendship to us.
~You know who.
Memos to Piotr Prokofiev - The UN's Request: 05/05/1996
To Piotr Prokofiev of the Novistranan Coalition,
We must congratulate you on what you have done to bring peace and justice to your nation. Vasily Karasov's crimes in Novistrana have shocked us, and we can only imagine the devastation your people are suffering. These are trying times for you.
We wonder why you did not approach us regarding Karasov's litany of human crimes, but perhaps time was of the essence for you. No matter: what is done is done. We are calling for his resignation and for him to be tried and sentenced at a human rights tribunal in the Hague, and we would appreciate your help with this.
You have a lot of popularity and power with the people of Novistrana, from the common man and woman to the most influential politicians. We wish for you to take control of the nation once Karasov steps down, even if you were planning on doing so either way. Considering your takeover of the nation's Stock Exchange and your revelation of the Novistranan economy, if you lead the nation either in person or behind the scenes you will certainly bring peace and prosperity to your region.
However, we do have one request to make of you. Please do not deal with Karasov in your own way. He is wanted by the international community for his crimes against humanity. Should you take power, send him to our affiliates in Europe. We will deal with him.
UNECE Executive Secretary
Piotr Prokofiev's Diary - Hundred-seventy-fourth Entry: 05/05/1996
The international community has called for Karasov's resignation, in return for lenient sentencing at a human rights tribunal. They have contacted me, as the most powerful and popular underground leader to take the reigns once Karasov relinquishes his grip on the nation.
However, the CIA has already demanded its first gesture of "friendship", as has the United Nations. Both seek to get their hands on Karasov to do as they will. I have not yet decided what to do with Karasov, but I must make up my mind when we march onto the Presidential Palace and oust him.
Do not despair, my fellow Novistranans. As I wrote all the way back in Ekaterine... salvation is at hand.
* * *
: Comrades, we need to discuss what to do regarding the nation. Karasov is all but overthrown. Within a few days, we will have the necessary resources to force him out, by force or by peace.
: Sir, question.
: Why can't we just march in with that huge crowd just sitting out there and put down anything that moves?
: Ugh. Churnyeav, we are not making this a military coup.
: That's not what I'm asking!
: Yes it is. We have just destroyed the nation's economy, risking everything for the sake of freedom. And now you're saying to kill them all?
: Look, all I'm saying is that Karasov is still trying to work us over. Tell 'em, Josef.
: It's true, Piotr. Somehow that Barankov bastard Karasov keeps around snuck out of the palace. Yesterday he tried to blackmail me into helping them, and today he tried to bribe me. They're really desperate.
: I trust you replied in kind?
: Of course. I let him know exactly what I thought of them.
: Good. Right now, we need to lie low, though. We can't afford to have to declare open season on Karasov yet.
: Look, I understand the need to keep quiet. My... friends are a little antsy, though.
: Nothing we can do about that, Anisimov. We're still keeping tabs on the situation.
: Whatever. As long as I still get to run the Stock Exchange, I don't mind. There will be a Stock Exchange in the new little Novistrana you envision, right?
: Hah! Piotr's gonna reinstall communism, pig. The workers are finally going to get what they deserve!
: I must say that while I respect the efforts of communism, I prefer a form of socialism that isn't so extreme. We have a decent-enough system in place. As long as the infrastructure's still there, why not use it?
: But new times call for new beginnings! This is the time of the laborer, Maxim!
: My dear Nasarov, as long as we're planning this, I don't think we could go directly to communism.
: Why not?
: Look outside. There's your answer.
: But we can fix that!
: Not alone.
*The others turn to look at Prokofiev.*
: What do you mean?
: There's nothing I would like more than to form our worker's utopia, but with the economy destroyed and the nation in disarray, I don't think we would be able to get a system like that up and running right away.
: But Piotr! This is a chance of a lifetime!
: I've been... making a few connections to get aid into Novistrana. But I have to show kindness in return.
: ...Who are we getting help from, sir?
: The West.
: Oh you've got to be kidding me!
: The West? But Mr. Prokofiev, they're probably trying to capitalize on our weakness!
: I know, I know. But comrades, look around. The only way we can maintain power over the nation is to use military force and keep the police checking for criminals. How long can this system sustain itself before turning into a police state? We would have destroyed the country for nothing.
: Ah, my student... it looks like you had to do what you did.
: God damn it, sir. You just don't trust me, do you?
: I do, Boris, I do. But how much do you trust Alexashenko and the forces under your command? You're the brand-new head of the Secret Police. Your connections with the army range from all those years ago back in the Grodnistan War. Loyalties change. We can't rely on heavy-handed security forever.
: Nor can we rely on no economy to sustain us. Prokofiev, you've taken the first step to scuttling this nation, but now it's time to fix it. I highly recommend you privatize something right away before we suffer any further.
: Hell no! Piotr, I can forgive you taking up charity, but no way are we going to give the control of production back to people with money!
: I have to agree with you, Josef. Just look at Konstantino and his friends. Assets seized, money gone, no talent whatsoever except schmooze. No, Anisimov. We will keep things as nationalized as possible.
: And how the hell do you plan to do that without any money?
: They can invest in us, can't they? I can make it semi-privatized, if that. We'll take the foreign aid and apply it strictly. Tresori, you'll be in charge of overseeing spending, and Anisimov will help you with budgeting.
: Me? Why?
: Tresori, my old comrade... I fear I may get greedy. Novistrana needs all aid it can get, but it cannot funnel into anyone's pocket. Out of all of us, I believe you to be the one with the deepest commitment to seeing Novistrana get back on its feet.
: Heh, who would've thought the old fart was more patriotic than me?
: It's all about priorities, Boris. You would probably buy more weaponry for the army. Josef would be tempted to give to the workers without putting it in infrastructure. Same for Nazerov. And Anisimov... well.
: I resent the implication.
: Tough. What we need to do now is work towards the most communistic society we can get... Tresori, I've done some research on Western economies. I would have to say that if we took care of the people with universal systems of health care and welfare, we'll have them solidly in our pocket. Investment in the masses' well-being means retaining power.
: A wise decision, my student. Education should also be a priority.
: Hold on now, what about the workers and the unions? I hope they're included in this whole new system you two are planning out.
: *sigh* Great. I'm surrounded by socialists.
: Gee, what was your first clue, genius? Sir, don't forget the army. If you want to build up a slice of paradise we're going to have to defend it!
: I don't mean to put a damper on the planning, but to do all of that, we need some money, first... And as it is, we have none. The little foreign aid we have trickling in is going to keep people from starving, but not much more.
: I understand. Anisimov, I want you to get in touch with your economist friends and anyone who owes you favors. I want you with me in the meetings so we discuss how we can turn this situation around, as well as how we can sell some of our natural resources to willing nations.
: Finally you're talking some sense.
: Tresori and Nazerov, round up your friends with clout. We'll have to get a working constitution. In the interests of keeping the nation together and preventing another dictatorship... we had better find some ways to set up a new system of government.
: You got it, Mr. Prokofiev.
: And Josef... don't worry. The working class will not regret our ascent to power. However, we'll have to keep the nation running in some way or another. Can you have them work with promises of back pay?
: Piotr, if that request came from anyone else, I'd punch them in the face. But I'll do my best to convince them. We had better get something good out of this, though.
: Don't worry. Novistrana will become what we wished. The question is whether it can survive the journey there...
* * *
Memos to Piotr Prokofiev - Alexashenko's Demands: 07/05/1996
What the fuck are you trying to pull, huh? No United Nations, you get the power and the glory, and then my shit becomes more valuable than the money you gave me! You're fucking this whole nation up!
If this keeps up then you're going to see a little martial law kick in and your precious little Coalition get a coup takeover. I've already gotten the armory to militarize for further rioting... and believe me, it's going to happen if you don't get something done fucking soon!
Piotr Prokofiev's Diary - Hundred-eighty-second Entry: 07/05/1996
Alexashenko, you fucking asshole! Are you trying to play at being Organized Anarchy now?
I have to step up the takedown of his black market deals and promise him control of something. Maybe the Chersonesus Estate. After the revolution I can pay him off something and get control back. I can't deal with him in any other way until then.
Konstantino Industries has become entirely under the Coalition's control. I managed to get Alexei Konstantino himself for another face-to-face meeting. He was pretty pissed off at seeing his empire crumble, but he deserved nothing less, the bourgeois rat. I made him pass his assets under our name to follow the earlier merger before I went after his offshore accounts with Anisimov's connections at the Stock Exchange and the Lodge. I think I broke the man at the threat, but he passed everything over.
Everyone has to make sacrifices for the new Novistrana, Konstantino.
With his empire under my control, I was able to begin the process of redistributing the material wealth around and selling it off to our friends in the Ukraine, Russia, and Belarus. Tresori is doing a great job seeing that everyone is getting what they need.
I heard word from Father Baturin. The good man is still holding the charity at full strength: it seems Pugachev is weathering the crash quite well because of our charity trust, and the three celebrities we roped in are pitching in as best they can, he says. Good on you, Baturin. I knew it was wise leaving you and that scamp Federov looking over things back in Pugachev.
It looks like Ekaterine isn't doing much better, though. Artem Churbanov finally got to me: the casino has been abandoned and looted of anything of real value, but Oleg Brylin seems surprisingly tough at the whole mess. Churbanov told me that Brylin sees this as just a mild setback. The man is surprisingly optimistic, but I don't know if that's because he's been hanging around Churbanov for too long.
I foresee only two or three more days before we can safely march to Karasov's palace. That blond CIA agent got to me via a memo earlier: she says the money and supplies from the West, along with their meddling army, is coming tomorrow. With any luck, I'll be able to kick them out as soon as possible.
Piotr Prokofiev's Diary - Hundred-eighty-fourth Entry: 08/05/1996
The supplies came, as promised. Tresori got to work, applying them where he thought it was best. I would have spent the time overseeing the spreading myself, but I had to deal with meetings with the proper people to kick Karasov out of the palace peacefully, as well as get the right people set up with the new systems of government and economy we have in place. I don't know if I can be as good a leader as I was a revolutionary, but we'll have to see about that later.
I put Churnyeav in charge of directing the American soldiers. He sent them off towards the farther cities in the corners of Novistrana, but I made sure to keep a few men here in Berezina, should Alexashenko pull anything he'll regret.
The overthrow is so close I can almost taste it. I wouldn't celebrate victory until Karasov is out of the palace... but what more can he do? Karasov, you will go out where you belong - into the ash heap of history.
* * *
: Today is the day, men. Today is the day our glorious revolution ends, and Karasov is removed from power.
: About time, sir. My trigger finger was getting itchy.
: Great, Piotr! Let's go crack some heads!
: I hope you're only speaking metaphorically, dear Nasarov.
: Comrade Petrov... I hope you're watching.
: Yes, yes, let's go already. We have to get back to fixing the damn economy.
* * *
Prokofiev, his lieutenants, and a small regiment of loyal soldiers stood at the gates of the Presidential palace, in front of the protesters. A rioting crowd was still forming around and the guards protecting the palace were almost... serene. It set a strange mood for the rioters, but Prokofiev smiled. He had been waiting for this.
He took up his megaphone, his emotions fluttering between joy and trepidation. "Soldiers of Karasov! This is Piotr Prokofiev of the Novistranan Coalition! Disperse immediately!"
As if by magic, the guards training AK's in the crowd withdrew, marching as one to the bottom of the fortifications and leaving the palace defenseless. The gates also opened for Prokofiev, who, with his group, marched onto the lot of the palace. The protesters feared to tread inside the lot, so Prokofiev turned around and used his megaphone.
"My comrades! This is the day Karasov's tyranny ends! His rule is over!"
Prokofiev's words were like the dispelling of a charm. As one the waves of protesters surged inside the lot, following Prokofiev's band and screaming for Karasov's head. Calmly walking inside the palace and uninterrupted by the guards, who merely stood aside and watched in fascination, Prokofiev made his way directly to the presidential quarters.
A young and pretty-looking secretary was there to meet them. "He's in there," she spat, pointing at the walnut double-doors that led to Karasov's office. Prokofiev nodded, taking only his lieutenants and two soldiers with him. In the lobby of the palace, the people were set about smashing anything Karasov-related, but the soldiers Prokofiev had brought with him kept the looting to a minimum.
Prokofiev's body shuddered. Behind the door lay Karasov himself, the tyrant. His guards had stripped him of any weaponry, as he had paid them to do, and dispersed without provocation. Karasov was defenseless... and he awaited his fate at Prokofiev's hands.
* * *
Karasov has been all but deposed now. We are marching onto his palace and are about to encounter him face to face, but now that it's zero hour, it's time for Prokofiev to decide what should be done with him. Inspired by this post from GetWellGamers, and being that this is the final vote, I've decided that you will be the ones to exercise your rights as newly-freed Novistranans! Come up with a fate for Karasov...
Whatever punishment you come up with and is voted on most by the others will take place in the story. I ask you to please give a reason for why Karasov should suffer your fate: it may work its way into the narrative!
Here are some ideas. We can have Prokofiev kill him immediately and personally, execute him, imprison him (torture optional), exile him to some hellhole, hand him over to our new buddies in the West and the CIA like we were asked, hand him over to the UN to make him pay for his crimes... even forgive him, if it's in our heart to do so.