Catalaunia, also officially known as the Catalaunian Empire, is a country in Eurasia. At 29,110,668 square kilometers (11,239,692 square miles), Catalaunia is the largest country in the world by surface area, covering more than one-eighth of the Earth's inhabited land area, and the second most populous, with over 617 million people at the end of November 2096. The European western part of the country is much more populated and urbanized than the eastern (except for Manchuria); more than half of the population lives in European Catalaunia. Catalaunia's capital cities of Moscow and St. Petersburg are among the largest cities in the world; other major cities include Warsaw, Riga, Odessa, Kiev, Minsk, Kazan, Yekaterinburg, Nizhny Novogrod, Novosibrisk, Tbilisi, Baku, Almaty, Taskhent, Harbin, Istanbul, and Vladivostok.
Extending across the entirety of Northern Asia and much of Eastern Europe, Catalaunia spans fifteen time zones and incorporates a wide range of environments and landforms. From northwest to southeast, Catalaunia shares land borders with Norway, Germany, Bohemia, Hungary, Serbia, Macedonia, Greece, Syria, Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, Tibet, China, Korea, and Canada. It shares maritime borders with Japan by the Sea of Okhotsk and the South China Sea, and with the United States through Vancouver Sound.
The Catalaunians emerged as a recognizable group in Eastern Europe between the 5th century BC and the 2nd century AD. The Kingdom of Catalaunia emerged in the late 2nd century AD, with Rurik being attested as its first King. Catalaunia passed under the overlordship of both the Hunnic and Finno-Ugrian Empires before becoming a fully independent and urbanized state in the sixth century AD. Between the sixth and thirteenth centuries, it went through the Old Catalaunian Period, which, under Yaroslav I (c. 831-858), led it to becoming one of the predominant states in Eastern Europe. Catalaunia adopted Christianity in AD 988, and it became interwined with the civilizations of Western and Southern Europe. Catalaunia eventually came under the overlordship of the Swedish Empire for a brief period at the end of the twelfth century, but by 1253, Ivan I (1227-53), had terminated Swedish overlordship and begun the Middle Catalaunian Period. During the course of the next three centuries, under such strong rulers as Stanislav I, Ivan II, Dmitry I, Feodor I, Boris II, Joseph I, and Peter I, Catalaunia exerted itself over all of its neighbors and eventually extended from the Arctic Ocean down to the Caspian and Black Seas.
Catalaunia, however, entered a period of decline following the death of Ivan IV in 1559, and during the course of the next century, retreated from being at the center of Eastern European affairs, losing territories to the Poles, Swedes, Tatars, and to tribes in the east. Ultimately however, it began a revival under Boris III (1684-1708), which was then carried forth by Dmitry II (1708-28). Thereafter, in spite of another period of relative stagnation between 1824 and 1863, Catalaunia gradually expanded, becoming one of the world's greatest powers and by the late twentieth century, its most powerful economy. Great rulers from Dmitry II to Feodor III (1760-96) to Peter VI (1864-81), and to Constantine III (1938-78), also extended Catalaunian influence into the heart of Europe, down into the Middle East, and also into South-east Asia. The twenty-first century saw the further consolidation of Catalaunian influence and power, in the wake of the formation of the Moscow Pact, and a series of global wars between it and the American League, led by Catalaunia's new chief enemy, the Kingdom (later United States) of America. But by the end of the reign of Natalia I (2062-96), Catalaunia enjoyed the superior position, with allies and satellites across all six inhabited continents, and with the beginning of its projection into the space above the Earth.
The Catalaunian economy is the largest in the world, by both nominal GDP and purchasing power parity. Catalaunia's extensive mineral and energy resources are the largest such reserves in the world, making it one of the leading producers of oil and natural gas globally. The country is one of five recognized tactical weapons states and possesses a significant potential to develop weapons of mass destruction. Catalaunia is a superpower as well as a regional power and has been characterized as a potential hyperpower. It is the founder and leading member of the Moscow Pact, as well as a member of the Council of Europe, the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), the Organization for Security and Co-Operation in Europe (OSCE), and the World Trade Organization (WTO), as well as being the leading member of the Association of Monarchies (AOM), the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU), and the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO).
Early history (to AD 289)Edit
In prehistoric times, the region that was to become known as Catalaunia was home to a Neanderthal culture such as that found at the Mezmaiskaya cave. The earliest Neolithic sites in Catalaunia were the Oldowan culture c. 7100 BC and Denisova, site of the Kama culture c. 6000 BC.
The Slavic-speaking people who would eventually found Catalaunia appear to have entered Moscovia at some point during the latter half of the 1st millennium BC (c. 500-1 BC), eventually intermingling with the earlier Finno-Ugric people, with Slavic names appearing in written record as early as the 2nd century BC.
During the 1st millennium AD, a very intimate cultural symbiosis developed between the Finno-Ugrics and the Slavs throughout Moscovia which included wide-spread bilingualism. The influence of Ugrian (a language isolate) on Slavic (eventually to become known as Catalaunian), and vice versa is evident in all areas, from lexical borrowing on a massive scale, to syntactic, morphological, and phonological convergence. Catalaunian gradually replaced Ugrian as the spoken language of Moscovia somewhere around the middle of the 1st millennium AD (with the exact time being a matter of scholarly debate), although Ugrian continued to be used as a sacred, ceremonial, literary, and scientific language in Moscovia until the twelfth century.
The Catalaunian cities of Moscow, Vladimir, Kolomna, and Suzdal seem have to been established by AD 23. However, it is likely that they were initially Ugrian-dominated administrative centers. In the Catalaunian Monarch List, the earliest King recorded is Rurik. He reigned from approximately 173 to 223 AD. Archeologists have uncovered a document where he concluded a treaty for the operation of a trading colony in Smolenskian territory, with "king" Sviatopolk of the fellow Slavic speaking kingdom of Smolensk (now determined to be the vizier to the actual King of Smolensk, Iziaslav).
Rurik was succeeded by his son Igor (r. c. 223-236), and then a further thirteen rulers (Askold, Dir, Oleg, Sviatoslav I, Yaropolk, Vseslav I, Sviatoslav II, Rostislav I, Vsevolod I, Michael I, Libuov, Boris I, Gleb), who reigned between 236 and 405. Very little, aside from legend (such as the tales surrounding the "wisdom" of Yaropolk and the "virtuous" deeds of Vsevolod and Michael I) is known about these Kings, but it is believed that they were semi-nomadic, pastoralist rulers. It was not until the sixth century that they became fully urbanized and fixed their permanent court in Moscow.
Hunnic and Neo-Ugrian Empires (289-573)Edit
During the Hunnic Empire (289-469), the Catalaunians, like all the Catalaunian speaking Moscovian Slavs (and also the Ugrians), became subject to the dynasty of the Huns, centered in a yet unidentified location on the Lower Volga. The Hunnic Empire founded by Balamber the Great claimed to encompass the "great wilds of the eastern world", outside of the boundaries of the Roman Empire. The Huns referred to the region of Catalaunia as Calamadium, and it had been known to the Ugrians as Katalaunia.
Catalaunian rulers were subject to Balamber and his successors, most notably Attila the Hun, and the city of Moscow became a regional administrative center of the Empire, as evidenced by the Volok-Lamsky scrolls. During this period, the Turkish-speaking Huns came to rule an empire not only encompassing Moscovia but also extending over all of Volga Bulgaria, Mari, Mordva, and down to the Caspian Sea, and west to Central Hungary, the Danube River, and the outskirts of Moesia.
By this point, the Catalaunians already had established commercial ties in Novogrod and Finland, documents being discovered showing Catalaunian traders at Helsinki and Vilmanstrand requesting for the assistance of their overlord Balamber. However, towards the end of Balamber's reign, the Catalaunian faction rebelled against him: "the tribes of Catalaunia of the upper country, in their turn attacked, but they submitted to his arms, and Balamber settled their habitations, and he smote them grievously."
The Hunnic Empire was destroyed by economic decline and internal civil war, followed by attacks from the barbarian Avar people in 469. The rulers of Catalaunia during the period between 469 and 511 once again became fully independent, as the Avars are only known to have administered the southern steppes. However, the Monarch List is the only information from Catalaunia during this period.
Most of Catalaunia briefly became part of the Neo-Ugrian Empire (or 3rd dynasty of Turo, now known as Novogrod-Seversky), founded in c. 511. Ugrian domination extended as far as the city of Moscow, but appears not to have reached Vladimir and the far north of Catalaunia. Catalaunian rulers appear to have remained largely under Ugrian domination until the last third of the sixth century.
Old Catalaunian Period (573-1227)Edit
Rostislav II (c. 573-593), appears to have been the first fully urbanized ruler of Catalaunia, and is traditionally held to have dedicated temples to the god Dazbog in the city of Moscow. He was followed by Rostislav III (c. 593-600), Mstislav I (c. 600-609), and Vsevolod III (c. 609-619), of whom little is known aside from Mstislav I conducting various building works in Moscow.
Vladimir I (c. 619-632), is believed to have overthrown Vsevolod and founded a dynasty which lasted for more than two centuries, until Sviatopolk II was overthrown by Yaroslav I in 831. Vladimir is believed to have conducted further building works in Moscow, and is also credited with the creation of Catalaunia's first formal guards regiments, the "men of valor", from which the much later Imperial Guards would ultimately claim their heritage.
Alexis (c. 632-636), the son and successor of Vladimir I, is the earliest Catalaunian ruler to be attested in contemporary sources. He was mentioned by the Byzantine historian Theophylact Simocatta in his work, The Geography of Foreign Nations, written c. 633, during the reign of the Byzantine Emperor Hercalius. Simocatta stated that "Alexei, king of the Catalaunians, is regarded by his neighbors as the most industrious king of the barbarians of Scythia and Sarmarita..." Alexis ruled during a period in which Catalaunian commercial activity was radiating out to the Volga River, and down to as far as Chernigov and Novogrod-Severisky, from whence Avar, Slavic, and Ugrian merchants traded their wares with Constantinople and the Greek colonies in the Crimea.
Abram (c. 636-670), son and successor of Alexis, is known from his inscriptions in Ugrian, where he claimed to have "washed the gods" and "established liberty" for the Slavs in the cities of Kozelsk, Vyazma, and Tver. Scholars have speculated that Abram conducted campaigns to the Volga and Oka Rivers to relieve his fellow Slavs from Khazar and Bulgar invasions. He too conducted further construction projects in Moscow, including the embellishment of temples to Dazog, Jarilo, and Lada.
Sviatopolk I (c. 670-710), son and successor of Abram, vigorously expanded Catalaunian colonies and outposts in Smolensk and Novogrod during his long reign. It was during his reign that Catalaunian commercial ties were established with the peoples of the Kola Peninsula, including the Lapps, and the Samoeds of northern Russia. Catalaunian outposts appeared at Torzhok, Ladoga, Novogrod, and Pskov, specializing in the trade of furs, timber, metals, and grain.
Arkady (c. 710-724), son and successor of Sviatopolk I, built a major temple for the god Perun. He further strengthened the fortifications of the city of Moscow and maintained Catalaunia's colonies in Novogrod and Smolensk.
Alexander I (c. 724-763), son and successor of Arkady, reigned as King of Catalaunia for 39 years, almost as long as the reign of his grandfather Sviatopolk. Alexander I is known for his work in refortifying Moscow, and for his expeditions against Ryazan, Murom, and Nizhniy Novogrod along the Oka River, consolidating Catalaunian commercial relations with the Mordovians and Mari. Besides this, very little is known about this King.
Vladimir II (c. 763-771), son and successor of Alexander I, came to the throne at an advanced age, due to his father's long reign. During his eight years, he continued his father's work in furthering Catalaunian economic ties and waged a series of wars with Volok-Lamsky, Tver, and Torzhok to the northwest of Moscow.
Boghdan (c. 771-826), son and successor of Vladimir II, had an even longer reign than either Sviatopolk I or Alexander I-55 years. During his reign, Catalaunia was wealthy and powerful as the center of an extensive trade network which now reached from the Gulf of Finland and the Baltic Sea in the northwest, down to the Caspian and Black Seas in the south. Boghdan, however, came under attack from the half-Khazar Prince of Murom, Yaroslav, who, however, he managed to defeat in front of Moscow. Yaroslav was not to return until taking the Catalaunian city of Dmitrov, one of the Kingdom's chief commercial outposts, and then overthrowing Sviatopolk II (c. 826-831), the son and successor of Boghdan.
Yaroslav I (c. 831-858), usurped the throne of Catalaunia, seized the city of Pereyslavl, and established a second residence for the Kings of Catalaunia there. He placed his sons in key geographical locations and gave them responsibility to look over their areas. While he was at Moscow and Pereyslavl, his eldest son, Vasily, was made Governor of Dmitrov.
A main target for Catalaunian expansion was Vyazma, which controlled the caravan route between Moscovia and Polotsk. The king of Vyazma, Valentin, was assassinated by his own servants, probably on Yaroslav's orders. Yaroslav seized the opportunity and occupied the kingdom c. 844. He put his second son, Vyacheslav, on the throne of Vyazma, and then returned to Pereyslavl. With the annexation of Vyazma, and shortly thereafter, the conquest of Tver and Ryazan, Yaroslav soon controlled a dominion encompassing almost all of Moscovia, Murom-Ryazan, parts of Chernigov, and the northern territories of Mordva.
While Vasily was a competent governor, his younger brother Vyacheslav was not possessed of the same skills, something which King Yaroslav made a point to note. He remained in constant communication with his sons, and kept firm control over their actions. At one point, he arranged a political marriage between Vyacheslav and Olga, daughter of the Grand Prince of Peryaslavl along the Dnieper. Vyacheslav already had a wife, and attempted to subordinate Olga. His father, however, ordered him to honor Olga as his queen and consort.
Gennady, King of Galich in northern Moscovia, made an alliance with Yaroslav in order to conquer the Vyatka Territory c. 853. Yaroslav later turned on his ally and attacked Galich, annexing a number of territories including Rostov, Kostroma, and Beloozero, along the Sukhona River.
Vasily I (c. 858-883), son and successor of Yaroslav I, was confronted with a number of challenges, as he attempted to defend his father's conquests. To the east and northeast, he had the Mari, Perm, Yugra, Chud, and Samoyed tribes; to his south, the fellow Slavic kingdoms of Chernigov, Novogrod-Seversk, Pereyeslavl, and the emerging Kiev (which had been founded during the reign of Alexander I c. 750), and to the northwest, the Finns and Livonians. Although politically astute and a capable soldier, Vasily I became embroiled in a struggle for dominance with Mstislav (c. 847-889), who had turned Kiev from an relatively insignificant kingdom into a regional power. The name of Kievia would eventually be applied to all of the regions along the Dnieper River and down to the Black Sea.
Gerasim (c. 883-893), son and successor of Vasily I, was arranged by his father to marry the daughter of the Livonian king Andrus. But he could not resist the pressures that had confronted his father. Mstislav eventually prevailed over Gerasim (c. 885), after having conquered Pereyeslavl, Turov-Pinsk, Novogrod Seversk, and Chernigov, and defeated Volga Bulgaria. The Catalaunian monarchy survived, but Catalaunia lost control of Murom-Ryazan, Vyazma, and its territories along the Sukhona River, with Gerasim and his immediate successors becoming vassals to Kiev.
Georgy (c. 893-900), son and successor of Gerasim, was confronted with numerous conspiracies against his person. His reign saw the contraction of Catalaunian economic contacts with Novogrod, Finland, and the Samoyeds, probably because of the dominance exerted by Kiev on Moscovia's trade routes. Georgy was in turn succeeded by his brother Gavril (c. 900), who reigned for only a short time before he was deposed and driven from the city of Moscow by the Catalaunian commander Denis, thereby allowing for Ilia to seize the throne.
Ilia (c. 900-907), was not of royal descent, and his claim to the throne was challenged by many among the nobility. There was in fact, a rebel faction at Dmitriov led by a rival claimant, Demyan, who ultimately deposed and assassinated Ilia c. 907 and seized the Catalaunian throne. Demyan, too, was not of royal descent, and he was assassinated after only two months on the throne. Within the span of a single year, there followed to the throne Yaroslav II, Sviatopolk III, Mstislav II, and Michael II, each of whom only managed to hold power for a brief time.
Yegor (c. 908-926), who like his predecessors, was not of royal descent, overthrew and assassinated Michael II. He proved to be a capable and vigorous ruler, firmly ending Catalaunia's civil troubles and establishing the Yegorid Dynasty. During his reign, Yegor freed Catalaunia from all remaining semblances of vassalage to Kiev, and recovered control of all the territories which had been seized by Yaroslav I. The power of Mstislav the Great's dynasty now contracted to Kiev itself, as the Khazars established themselves across the Lower Volga, Volga Bulgaria reclaimed its territories to the Don, and Kievian rule over Turov-Pinsk, Chernigov, and Novogrod-Seversk collapsed.
Illarion (c. 926-937), succeeded his father to the throne and embarked on campaigns against the Volga Bulgarians, Chernigov, and the tribes of Vyatka and Samoyedia during his reign, maintaining Catalaunia's core territories, which encompassed all of Vladimir-Suzdal and Murom Ryazan.
During the next two centuries, Catalaunia remained a relatively strong and stable nation, engaging in sporadic wars, but also peaceful economic and other contacts, with its neighbors such as the Livonians, Finns, Samoyeds, Kievans, Volga Bulgarians, Khazars, and Mari. Illarion was followed to the throne by a series of Kings, who defended Catalaunia's territories, focused on building up Catalaunia's economy and culture, and quelled challenges to their authority. These included Yefim (c. 937-954), David I (954-966), Mstislav III (966-978), Zakhar (978-1006, under whom Catalaunia adopted Christianity, in 988), Macarius (1006-1010, who usurped the throne from his cousin, King Zakhar), Marat (1010-1022, Zakhar's brother, who in turn assassinated Macarius), and David II (1022-1025).
Catalaunia remained strong and secure, when Kiev was sacked and its weak rulers deposed by the Cuman Empire (which had displaced the Khazars), and subsequently fell to the Pechenegs in 1029. However, neither the Cumans nor the Pechenegs could make any incursions into Catalaunia or threaten its independence. A "mutually beneficial treaty" was signed between the first Pecheneg ruler of Kiev, Kurya (d. 1045), and Sviatopolk IV of Catalaunia (1025-1038). Yaroslav III (1038-1043), Vasily II (1043-1061), and Yaroslav IV (1061-1074), also had mostly peaceful tenures, marred only by Catalaunian skirmishes with the Cumans along the Don River c. 1050.
Similarly, Nikita I (1074-1100), was not troubled by the newly founded Swedish Empire in Scandinavia during his reign, the Cuman Empire, or Kiev during his 26-year reign. He was an active king, improving the infrastructure, dedicating churches and monasteries, and conducting various building projects throughout his dominions. Vladimir III (1100-1124), was, like his father, an active and energetic ruler. He undertook much rebuilding work in Moscow, upgrading its fortifications. He also helped to found the great Troitskaya Lavra monastery, west of Moscow. Moreover, Vladimir pushed the southern boundary of Catalaunia down to Kursk and Ryslk, and concluded a treaty with the Pecheneg King of Kiev, Kuchug I, defining the boundaries of the two nations. He was succeeded by Simeon I (1124-1139), who had a peaceful and largely uneventful reign; the same marked that of his successor Matvei (1139-1151). The son and successor of Matvei, Nestor (1151), was deposed by his uncle Paul I (1151-72).
The emergence of the Swedish Empire did eventually lead to a period of sporadic Swedish domination during the twelfth and early thirteenth centuries. The Swedes had conquered and formed the ruling class over the Finns, Lapps, Estonians, and Livonians, around the eastern Baltic Sea. Mark I (1172-1191), was courted by the Poles, who were rivals of Sweden, and attempting to extend their control over Polotsk, Turov-Pinsk, and into Smolensk. Mieszko III (1137-1202), King of Poland, sent a delegation to Moscow in order to conclude a formal alliance directed against Sweden. It was this alliance that prompted Canute I (1167-95), King of Sweden and Finland, to invade Catalaunia, and sack Moscow (1191), with Catalaunia becoming a Swedish vassal-state, following Novogrod, Pskov, and Smolensk. Mark I was deposed by Canute and replaced by his own brother Nikita II (1191-1197), who was then forced to swear an oath of homage to Canute and to pay tribute. Mark and Nikita's younger brother, Simeon II (1197-1204), had an uneventful reign, and was also forced to provide funds, oaths of loyalty, and troops to the Swedes.
However, with the Swedes absorbed by wars with the Samoyeds, Chuds, and Lithuanians along the lower Baltic Sea, their influence faltered. Simeon's son and successor, Roman (1204-1213), undertook extensive reconstruction efforts in Moscow, repairing the damage which had been inflicted by Canute; signed a commercial treaty with Pecheneg King Metiga of Kiev; and developed sophisticated taxation, law enforcement, and conscription systems. Stephen (1213-1220), also undertook various projects in Moscow, being responsible for the Cathedral of the Annuciation and the Terem Palace. Paul II (1220-1227), also received a delegation and various gifts from Poland, in a renewed attempt to gain Catalaunian support for campaigns against Sweden. However, Paul was not strong enough to challenge the Swedes or Poland's southern enemy, the Cumans, at this time.
Middle Catalaunian Period (1227-1559)Edit
By the reign of Ivan I (1227-1253), Swedish power, and its influence over Catalaunia, was on the wane. Ivan became involved in a dynastic battle between Eric XI the Lame and his uncle, Canute II the Tall. After Canute died in 1234, his son Holmger (d. 1248) took up his cause. A pro-Catalaunian faction appeared at the Swedish court in Stockholm. Ivan succeeded not only in terminating all remnants of Swedish dominance over Catalaunia, but also annexed Torzhok, Smolensk, Toropets, and the regions up to Lake Liman. He also conducted a series of campaigns against the Chud and Samoyeds, forcing them to pay him tribute, grant him commercial privileges, and hand over a series of garrisons along the Vychedga River.
Stanislav I (1253-1289), succeeded his father to the Catalaunian throne in 1253, and proved to be a fierce, ambitious, and powerful ruler. Catalaunian pressure in Novogrod and Karelia, Polish pressure in Pomerania and Lithuania, and Danish pressure in Norway enabled Stanislav I to break Swedish power. He aligned himself with Kings Boleslaw V of Poland (1243-79) and Eric V of Denmark (1259-86). He then met and decisively defeated the Swedish King Valdemar (1250-75) in the Battle of Lake Peipus, thereby making Catalaunia an "imperial" power at the expense of not just the Swedes themselves, but also Pecheneg Kiev, the Livonians, and Volga Bulgaria. This led King Osman of Kiev to marry Marfa, daughter of King Stanislav.
The marriage, however, led to disastrous results for Kiev, as the Pecheneg faction at court murdered the half Catalaunian King Orkhan, son and successor of Osman, in 1275, and placed a pretender, Korgan, on the throne. Stanislav I invaded Kiev to avenge his son-in-law, entering the city, deposing Korgan, and installing Ortan II on the throne there.
Stanislav I then attacked and defeated the Swedish king Magnus III (1275-90), brother and successor of Valdemar, forcing him to concede Karelia, Pskov, Narva, and all of Novogrod, including the Kola Peninsula, to Catalaunia. He also waged wars with the Estonians, Letts, and Livonians on the Baltic, extending Catalaunian power over Dorpat and Reval, and consolidating his grip on both Smolensk and Pskov.
Sergei (1289-1311), then succeeded his father Stanislav to the throne. He described himself as a "Tsar", in communiques with foreign monarchs. He was immediately attacked by Ortan II of Kiev, who had been installed by his father, but succeeded in defeating him. Sergei then counterattacked and appropriated Kievian territory in the process, incorporating all of Chernigov, the territories of Torki, and the Volga to as far south as Itil into Catalaunia. He thus strengthened his overall position. Sergei also seized Vyborg from the Swedes and attacked Volga Bulgaria, sacking the cities of Bolgar and Bilyar.
The brother and successor of Sergei, Yuri I (1311-1323), consolidated Catalaunian power, and successfully campaigned in Volga Bulgaria, Vyatkha, and Yugra to the east, subjugating the Mari, Perm, and Yugra, and forcing further concessions from the Volga Bulgarians. In Finland, he expanded towards Abo and Helsinki, and defeated the Lapps, who threatened the Catalaunian colonies of Murmansk and Petrograd.
He was followed by Ivan II (1323-1344), who established the cities of Solikamsk and Berezov on what had been Yugran territory, and continued expansion to the northwest, conquering Osterbotten, all of Estonia, and the Island of Osel, taking these territories at the expense of the Swedes and Livonians. He then moved to the southwest, annexing Polotsk and Vitebsk from the Poles, and containing Lithuanian expansion from the Pripet Marshes. To the south, he made further gains at Poltava and the territories around the Upper Don, forcing the Pecheneg Kievans into agreeing to a new treaty, which adjusted the boundary between Catalaunia and Kievia in the former's favor. Ivan consistently referred to himself as "Tsar" in his inscriptions, conducted extensive building projects throughout his dominions, and tried to link himself to such rulers as David, Solomon, Augustus, and Constantine the Great.
In 1344, Dmitry I (1344-1374) came to the throne. He proved to be a great conqueror. During his reign he conquered the Livonian kingdom of Courland, taking control of Riga, and completed the subjection of the Yugra, pushing Catalaunian territories across the Urals and to the Ob River, on which he founded the city of Obdorsk. He then attacked the Swedes again, now under the rule of Magnus IV (1319-64), and seized control of Lapland, Gotland, Aland, Vasterbotton, and Angremanland. In the process, he also defeated the Danes and the Poles, who were becoming ever more wary of Catalaunia's continued expansion, and seized the city of Minsk. Dmitry imposed a uniform administration upon his Finnish and Swedish territories, installing Catalaunian governors to exercise authority over them. He also deported numerous Lapps and Samoyeds from the northern territories, and planted them at colonies along the Volga.
Dmitry also continued to remain antagonistic towards Kiev, and he dispatched diplomatic missions to Genoa, the Cumans, and the Kingdom of Georgia, attempting to outflank them. During his reign, the King also engaged in another great expansion of Moscow's defenses, and developed a new port, Ivanogrod, on the Baltic.
Dmitry's son and successor, Feodor I (1374-1409), won a major victory against the Poles and their King Louis in the Battle of Mogilev, allowing for him to take full control of Polotsk and Turov-Pinsk. He then conquered Kiev, taking Muhammad IV as a captive and ruled there himself, as King of Kiev, for seven years, even laying claim to the title "Great King of All Scythia, Sarmarita, and Hunnica", which had once been claimed by Balamber and by Attila the Hun. He became the first Catalaunian monarch ever to conquer Kiev. The King demolished Kiev's defenses, plundered its mosques and government buildings, and resettled many of its citizens along the Volga, Moskva, and Oka Rivers. The King then defeated Volga Bulgaria, holding its capital of Bolgar for a time, and pushed down the Dnieper all the way to the Crimea, where he defeated the Cumans of Oleshe and captured the Genoan colonies at Tanais, Cembalo, and Caffa. Feodor I also built the cities of Saratov, Ufa, Simbrisk, Penza, Tambov, and Voronezh, seeking to consolidate his control over former Cuman and Volga Bulgarian territories.
However, a number of Feodor's sons rebelled and besieged the King in his capital. He was murdered, and succeeded by Spartak (1409-1413), who left the affairs of the Kingdom to his viceroys. Another unstable period ensued for Catalaunia, as the Pechenegs regained control of Kiev; the Genoans drove Catalaunian forces from the Black Sea coast; and Volga Bulgaria successfully revolted, taking Penza, Ufa, Simbrisk, and Voronezh in the process. Moreover, the Swedes were able to recover the island of Aland and Angremanland. However, Catalaunia itself was not threatened during the reigns of Spartak's successors, including Ivan III (1413-1419), Timofey (1419-1423), and Taras (1423-1436), although Taras seized the throne from Timofey.
Boris II (1436-1482), stabilized the internal unrest in Catalaunia during his 46-year reign, quelling instability. He once again attacked Kiev, taking from it the cities of Kamenets, Bratislav, Poltava, Cherkassk, and Novogrod-Volynsky, seizing many captives and goods, and bringing them back to his Kingdom. However, these operations in Ukraine brought Catalaunia into conflict with Poland, which had taken advantage of the former's prior weakness to seize control of Podolia, Galich, Turov-Pinsk, and most of Polotsk. The powerful Poles, under the rule of Casimir IV (1447-92), who sacked Kiev in 1463, then entered into a protracted war with Catalaunia. Polish forces seized Smolensk, Tver, Ryazan, Vyazma, and Chernigov, and penetrated to as far as Kolomna and Rostov. Eventually, however, Boris II defeated them, and forced them to a treaty, recognizing the Catalaunian gains from Kiev.
Another brief period of internal upheaval occurred following Boris II's death in 1482, as his son and successor Yuri II was deposed after just four months by his own brother Constantine and forced to flee to Kievia. However, Constantine I, as he was known, died in December 1482, just six months after seizing power. A third brother, Joseph I (1482-1499), then took the throne. As what was left of the Cuman Empire collapsed due to invasions by the Baskhirs, Kirghiz, and Chechnyans, Catalaunia and Kievia vied for regions along the Lower Volga and in the Upper Caucasus, previously under Cuman control. When their forces encountered one another in this region, Joseph met and defeated the Kievian king Selim I in a number of confrontations along the Dnieper, at Azov, Cherkassk, and in the Kuban. He subsequently annexed the territories between the Don, Volga, and Kuma Rivers, founding the colonies of Tsaristyn, Astrakhan, and Stravopol in an attempt to consolidate the Catalaunian hold over this region.
Peter I (1499-1538), vies with Yaroslav I and Ivan I, among historians, as being considered the founder of the first Catalaunian "Empire". The son of Joseph I, he ascended to the throne upon his father's death, and became one of the greatest Catalaunian rulers during his 39-year reign.
His first campaign in 1502 was against the Baskhirs, who had attempted to occupy Saratov, Penza, and Samara. After defeating and driving out the Baskhirs, he then overran the Kalmyk territories of Gurev, conquered what remained of Volga Bulgaria, and then subdued all of the Siberian regions from Kamshin, past the Ob River, and then across to the Yamal Peninsula. He then drove the Danes from Osel, Talinin, and Ivanogrod, which they had occupied, and established firm control of Karelia and Ingria.
In a subsequent campaign, the Catalaunian forces crossed the Kuma River, subduing the Kuban and Terek regions, and then turned westwards to receive the submission of the Circassians and Don Cossacks. In 1505, Peter again attacked the Baskhirs, Kalmyks, and Kirghiz, and founded the cities of Turinsk, Tyumen, Orenburg, and Tobolsk, to command those areas and to mark his victories.
The Lithuanians were the King's next target. Peter made his way to as far as Memel and the source of the Dvina, on the Baltic Sea. He then reconquered the city of Riga, and proceeded to conquer the Prussian and Polish territories of Tilsit, Konigsberg, Allenstein, Marienwerder, Thorn, and finally Danzig, where he then embarked on the Baltic Sea, and visited the islands of Kronstadt and Osel, still under Catalaunian control. He also invaded and defeated Kievia twice, forcing tribute from the King of Kiev. He did not, however, depose the monarchy there, with the old Pecheneg dynasty having now been followed by a Romanian one. Peter again assumed the old title of "Great King of Scythia, Samarita, and Hunnica" and moved his capital to the city of Petrograd on the Baltic, which he renamed St. Petersburg. He embellished St. Petersburg with a variety of edifices, including the Peter and Paul Cathedral, the Admiralty, the Winter Palace, and the Imperial Academy of the Sciences.
He was succeeded by Peter II (1538-1541), who ruled for just three years. His reign saw the reorganization of the Catalaunian bureaucracy, including the establishment of the Royal Privy Council.
Ivan IV (1541-1559) kept the vast realm (now formally known as the Tsardom of Catalaunia, since Peter I's assumption of the title in 1534), together, campaigning successfully against Sweden and Lithuania to the northwest and the Poles to the west. He maintained friendly relations with Vlad I of Kiev; however, after his death, he invaded Kiev and deposed the new ruler Stephen, appointing the Catalaunian prince Boris as his vassal in Kiev. He built a series of zoological and botanical gardens in St. Petersburg, collecting exotic specimens from throughout his Empire and beyond. He also engaged in hunting expeditions in the north and the Ural Mountains.
Late in his reign, however, civil war was provoked by Prince Vasily Golistyn, a pretender to the Catalaunian throne. Ivan IV defeated Prince Golitsyn and his allies, but the Baskhirs, and a new people, the Tartars, had taken advantage of the situation, encroaching on Catalaunian colonies and territories in Western Siberia, the Urals, and along the Volga. Ivan IV counterattacked them and managed to recover control of his territories up to the Ob River, but those farther east, and those around the Caspian Sea, would be lost to Catalaunia.
Catalaunian Crisis Period (1559-1708)Edit
Following the death of Ivan IV in 1559, the Tsardom of Catalaunia went into decline for the next century. The Tsardom shrank significantly, and by 1595, had contracted to control only Moscovia, most of Novogrod, Murom-Ryazan, Chernigov, Smolensk, and Novogrod-Seversk. During this period, the Tartars appeared in the southern steppes, establishing themselves around the Caspian, in southern Kievia, and in the Crimean Peninsula. There, they constituted the Crimean Khanate. The Baskhirs, Kirghiz, and Kalmyks seized control of all the territories on both banks of the Volga, from Astrakhan in the south through the former Volga Bulgaria in the north, where they established the city of Kazan. The Swedes underwent a great revival under Charles IX, Gustavus Adolphus, and Christina, extending their authority over Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Courland, and Karelia. Only Ingria, Kola, and Novogrod remained under Catalaunian authority. The Poles and Lithuanians merged to become the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, and extended their authority to as far as Polotsk and Vitebsk. The Teutonic Order was secularized, becoming first the Duchy of Prussia, and then the Electorate of Brandenburg-Prussia. In the far south, the Ottoman Empire established its dominance around the Black Sea. Kievia remained intact, and managed to recover control of Peryaslavl and parts of Galich, extending out to the Upper Don.
In spite of the apparent weakness of Catalaunia in comparison to its former might, at heart it remained a solid, well-defended nation whose troops were the best in Eastern Europe. With its stable monarchy, powerful army, and secure borders, Catalaunia was in a better position at this time than Poland, Sweden, Crimea, Kievia, or Baskhirkia. Catalaunian Tsars during this time adopted a policy of maintaining and defending a compact and secure nation with satellite colonies around it, and interspersed this with sporadic punitive short and long range raids and invasions of neighboring territories when the need arose.
Constantine II (1559-1561), ruled for only two years, and in that time campaigned against the Baskhirs and Kirghiz, claiming successes along the Upper Volga, before he was deposed by his elderly uncle Yaroslav V (1561-1567), who had an uneventful reign. Yakov I (1567-1586), succeeded him, and during his reign he continued to campaign endlessly against the Baskhirs and Kirghiz to the east. Catalaunia was also afflicted by famine, natural disasters, and civil uprisings during his reign. Peter III (1586-1598), lost territory to the Baskhirs in Vyakta and Novogrod during his reign, who also managed to seize the city of Nizhny Novogrod. Ivan V took the throne in 1598; he continued Catalaunian campaigns against the eastern tribes, captured Belgorad from Kievia, and defended Smolensk, Bryansk, Chernigov, and Komel from Polish attacks. He was eventually deposed by his uncle Joseph II in 1604. During the long reign of Joseph II (1604-1645), Baskhir tribes took the cities of Penza, Simbrisk, and Saratov. This event showed how far Catalaunia could assert itself militarily when the need arose. The Catalaunian Tsar attacked the Baskhirs, Kirghiz, and Kalmyks, fighting his way down the Volga all the way to the Caspian Sea, and seizing control of the city of Guryev. He remained in control of Guryev, and recovered the territories of Vyatka, during his reign.
Feodor II (1645-51), who was in his fifties when he acceded to the throne, focused on defending Catalaunian territories from Tartar, Baskhir, and Swedish raids. He also conducted various construction projects in St. Petersburg, Moscov, Ryazan, Tver, and Smolensk. Peter IV (1651-1684), succeeded him. He maintained the policies of his predecessors, but did engage in wars with Sweden and Poland, winning back control of Karelia and Vilmanstrand, ejecting the Poles from Polotsk, and establishing a firm defensive perimeter along the line of the Dnieper River. He also launched a punitive expedition towards the Crimean Khanate, sacking the cities of Azov and Tagranrog, in retaliation for Crimean raids into Mordva and Chuvashia.
Boris III (1684-1708), oversaw a marked economic, military, and organizational upturn in the fortunes of Catalaunia, laying the platform for it to truly transform itself into an Empire. He made successful raids to clear Baskhir, Kirghiz, Kalmyk, and Tartar tribes from Chuvashia, Mordva, and Murom-Ryazan. He embarked on an extensive program of military expansion and fortification, he reorganized the governmental bureaucracy further (establishing Colleges of State, a Chancellory, and a Senate), and he encouraged the establishment of factories, mining foundries, and trading outposts through his realms, strengthening Catalaunian commercial ties with the West.
New Catalaunian Period (1708-2101)Edit
Catalaunia once more began to expand with the accession of Dmitry II to the throne in 1708. Dmitry II continued with his father's campaigns against the eastern tribes. He firmly subjugated the areas previously under only nominal Catalaunian vassalage, overcoming the troublesome Baskhirs in the Battle of Perm, fought the year after his accession, in 1709. As a result of this victory, Dmitry deported the Baskhirs from Novogrod and the Western Siberia, resettling them along the Khoper and Sura Rivers. He thereby annexed all of the regions extending from Perm and Kungur, over to the Urals Mountains, and beyond the Ob River, to as far as the River Taz and the Yamal Peninsula. Seeking to maintain a permanent Catalaunian hold on this area, Dmitry founded the cities of Pelym, Verkhoruyw, Nizhny Tagil, Yekaterinburg, Ufa, Surguit, and Mangazeya. After accomplishing the subjection of the Trans-Ob regions, he subdued the Ostyaks along the River Kem, deporting them from Western Siberia, and resettling them on former Baskhir territories in Perm, Kazan, and Volga Bulgaria.
He then twice attacked and defeated Lupu Costachi of Kiev, annexing the regions between the Donets and Don Rivers and the towns of Starodub and Gomel in northeastern Ukraine. He made further gains over Kiev under Dimitrie Cantemir later in his reign. In 1721, Dmitry proclaimed himself Emperor of Catalaunia, thereby marking the formal establishment of the Catalaunian Empire. He was succeeded by his son Yakov II (1728-1736), who further consolidated Catalaunia's position and expanded into the Southern Ural Mountains and through the Tobol River during his short reign.
The next Emperor, Yakov's son Ivan VI (1736-1760), embarked on a vast program of expansion. During his reign, Catalaunia recovered many of the territories it had lost at the end of the Middle Catalaunian Period, nearly two centuries earlier. He first conquered the Kirghiz, Kalmyks, and Nogai Tartars to as far south as the Caspian Sea, including the cities of Guryev, Orenburg, and Astrakhan, and exacted tribute from the Don Cossacks, Kuban Cossacks, and Circassians. He then invaded Persia (the Qajar dynasty), conquering the Persians and Daghestani between the Kuma River and Baku. His harshness prompted a revolt among his Samoyed, Yugra, and Mordvin subjects which he crushed decisively in a pitched confrontation on the Belaya River. He then advanced to the Baltic Sea and into Finland, conquering the Swedish cities of Riga, Reval, Dorpat, Narva, Helinski, Abo, and Helingsfors, exacting tribute and commercial concessions from the Swedish king Frederick I (1720-51), and consolidating Catalaunia's rule of Kola, Ingria, Karelia, and Vyborg. The Catalaunian Navy even launched operations against the islands of Osel, Aland, and Gotland, forcing the Danish king Christian VI (1730-46) to exempt Catalaunian ships from the Sound Dues. In addition to his military exploits, Ivan VI continued Catalaunian colonization efforts in Western Siberia, establishing towns, garrisons, and outposts to as far as the Kem River (Turinsk, Tyumen, Ishim, Tara, Omsk, and Narym were established during his reign), moved his capital from St. Petersburg back to Moscow (where he embellished and expanded the Moscow Kremlin), and intensified his father's policy of deportation of conquered peoples, which now became an established Catalaunian custom.
Ivan's son, Feodor III (1760-1796), had a long reign of 36 years, in which the Catalaunian Empire became one bristling with military garrisons, outposts, and defensive lines. Each year, the Catalaunian armies and navies marched out to campaign. Kiev was occupied, and Kievia reduced to vassalage. He fought against the Crimean Khanate and waged a extensive military campaign against an alliance of states led by King Augustus III of Poland and including Poland, Wallachia, Moldavia, Courland, Sweden, Prussia (under King Frederick William III), Crimea, and Hungary. Catalaunian and coalition forces clashed in the Battle of Poznan in 1766. Despite Feodor's boasts of having "vanquished the opposition", the battle actually ended in a stalemate, and the Catalaunian forces were withdrawn from Poland, the Danubian Principalities, and Hungary shortly afterwards.
Feodor took the Swedish island of Novaya Zemlya in 1770, and in 1776 launched an offensive against Gustavus III, King of Sweden (1772-92), besieging Stockholm and forcing the concession of Finland, but not taking the city. In 1777 he also compelled the subordination of Prussia, Courland, and Moldavia, each of whom was forced to pay tribute and acknowledge him as their overlord. In addition to these western exploits, Feodor continued the Catalaunian drive into Siberia, with his forces reaching the Lower Tunguska in 1769 and the Viyuy in 1785; he also penetrated into Turkestan to as far as the Aral Sea, and exacted tribute, oaths of homage, and territorial concessions from the Kazakhs, Tungusky, and Evenki. Feodor settled deported Kievian, Kalmyk, and Tartar subjects in Siberia, and founded the cities of Tomsk, Koznetask, Yensieysk, and Turukhansk. During his reign, the population of Catalaunia increased sixfold.
The last four years of Feodor's life were disturbed by the rebellion of his eldest son Sasha, which almost proved fatal to his rule. Numerous cities and provinces, including Kazan, Astrakhan, Penza, Voronezh, Tambov, Chernigov, Pskov, Smolensk, Ryazan, Tver, Orel, Bryansk, and Galich joined the pretender. The rebellion was not directed primarily against the Emperor, but rather against his provincial governors, such as Prince Yuri Andropov, who were viewed to have assumed disproportionate power. The revolt was crushed with difficulty by his son Peter V, Feodor's second son, who succeeded his father upon his death in 1796.
The long and bitter civil war had allowed the Kievians to the south, the Samoyeds, Baskhirs, and Nogai Tartars to the north and east, and the states of the Baltic, along with Moldavia and Poland to the west, to shake off Catalaunian overlordship and to recover lost territories. Consequently, Peter V spent the remainder of his short reign reasserting control over these peoples. Crimea also sought to assert its influence over the Kuban Cossacks, the Circassians, and the northern Caucasus. As a result of all of these events, Catalaunia did not expand further during Peter's reign.
Dmitry III was just thirteen years old when succeeding his father in 1801, and for five years, until 1806, his mother, Empress Dowager Elizabeth, ruled as regent in his stead. Elizabeth, the first woman ever to rule over Catalaunia in any capacity, proved to be a vigorous and capable regent, pursuing campaigns against the Kievians, Crimeans, and Persians.
In 1806, Dmitry III assumed the reins of power. He invaded Central Europe and subjugated the Poles, Courish, Prussians, Hungarians, Bohemians, and Romanians. He entered Stockholm and forced tribute upon its King, Gustav IV Adolf. He next turned to the Caucasus, and subjugated the Crimeans, Georgians, and Daghestani, penetrating to as far as the Black Sea and Kutasi. His next targets were the Kazakhs and Tatars of northern Turkestan, whom he conquered and reduced to vassalage. During Dmitry III's reign, Catalaunia established the cities of Zhelezinsk, Barnaul, Biysk, Minusinsk, Kuzentk, and Krasnyorask, and dispatched the first exploratory expeditions to Lake Baikal and the Lena River. Dmitry also founded the port of Archangel on the Kara Sea.
Dmitry III, however, died prematurely in 1824, and this led to a period of stagnation for Catalaunia. Feodor IV (1824-1834), was a weak and ineffective Emperor, and military victories achieved over the Crimeans, Kazakhs, and Poles were attributed to his military commanders, such as Prince Ivan Golistyn, who served as commander-in-chief of the Catalaunian Army and as Chair of the Imperial Privy Council. Golistyn also held control over the affairs of the court, and the Emperor himself rarely took part in public ceremonies of state. Joseph III ascended the throne in 1834. He proved to be a largely ineffective ruler who was beset by internal rebellions in Moscovia, Astrakhan, and Western Siberia. He also failed to make further gains in Kievia and in the Caucasus. His reign was also marred by agricultural failures, pretenders, and Tatar raids from the Crimea. Boris IV became Emperor in 1853, but his reign was one of permanent turmoil and he did not even leave Moscow during the course of it.
Finally, in April 1863, Boris IV was deposed and assassinated by the governor of Karelia and Ingria, Prince Seymon Dologoruky, who also proceeded to execute Boris's wife, Empress Consort Irina, their four children, and all of their siblings, cousins, and other relations. After massacring the royal family, Dologoruky seized the throne and pronounced himself as Peter VI of Catalaunia, thereby tying himself to one of his great ancestors. He now instituted several reforms to the Empire, reviving Catalaunia's hegemony in Eastern Europe and Northern Asia. He increased the number of governorates and provinces, but decreased their average sizes and diluted their resources, thereby weakening the power of the Empire's various governors. He vigorously reorganized the Catalaunian military, introducing the most up-to-date tactics, weaponry, and equipment into his forces. He embarked on a vast expansion of the Catalaunian economy, intensified and widened colonization efforts throughout his dominions, and sponsored numerous mining, industrial, and agricultural settlements, garrisons, and expeditions in Siberia and along the Volga River. He also introduced a radical change to Catalaunia's foreign policy: no longer would adjoining territories be merely exacted from, but they would be gradually incorporated directly into the Empire. His goal, therefore, was to make Catalaunia the world's greatest power, and to involve it in the affairs of all Europe, and of the New World.
The Emperor wasted no time in embarking on military campaigns. Already in his first year of rule, he invaded Kievia and deposed its King, Vlad III. Installing his governors and garrisons throughout Kievian territories, Peter VI then defeated the Crimean Khanate, annexing Kinburn, Yesidan, Azov, Kerch, Taganrog, and the territories of the Zaphorzhian Sich. He also defeated the Circassians, establishing the city of Yekaterinodar, before making war upon the Georgians, Armenians, and Turks, extending Catalaunian rule along the entire east coast of the Black Sea, over Karbadia, Nagorny-Karabakh, and Chechnya, and to the cities of Potasi and Kumasi. He then invaded Livonia, Prussia, and Courland, taking Riga in 1868, and directly incorporating Courland, Livonia, and Estonia into his Empire. That same year, Peter defeated the Swedes under Charles XV, forcing the concession of Aland and Gotland. He also subjugated Poland under Konstantin II, the Khanate of Khiva under Fezar Khan, Franz Joseph of Austria and Hungary, and Shamil of the Dagestani, who all paid him tribute. In 1871 and 1872 he campaigned through northern Kazakhstan, conquering Astana, Almaty, and all of the regions down to Lake Balkhash. As commonly done by his predecessors, he deported conquered peoples throughout his realms, settling Crimean Tatars in Novogrod; Poles in Chernigov and the Lower Don; Caucasian tribes along the Upper Volga and at Kazan; and Kazakhs in Novaya Zemalya and the Yamal Peninsula.
In October 1879, Peter assumed total control of Kiev, capturing the Kievian king Danylo, having him put in chains and deported to Siberia, and crowning himself as "King Petro of Kiev".
Peter died in 1881, and was succeeded by his son, who became Feodor V. Feodor accused Sahin Giray, the Khan of Crimea, of conspiring with Ottoman Sultan Abdulahamid II, and captured him. He then invaded the Crimea and besieged its capital city of Bakhisirai, which remained under siege for three years. Feodor also attacked the Georgians, laying their capital city of Tbilisi under siege. Feodor died in 1886, whilst the two sieges were ongoing. The throne was now seized by the commander-in-chief of the Catalaunian Army, Prince Alexander Sheremetev, who now proclaimed himself Alexander II of Catalaunia, after the King of that name who had reigned over Catalaunia eleven centuries earlier. Alexander II completed the sieges of Bakhisirai and Tbilisi, capturing both cities in January 1887. Crimea and Georgia were now incorporated into the Catalaunian Empire.
However, Alexander was beset with widespread challenges elsewhere. Ioan Buhus, a Romanian commander of the Ochakov Valley, declared himself King of Kiev and was crowned in 1887. In 1888, Alexander attacked Buhus near the plains of Poltava. Buhus, however, received support from the Ottoman Sultan Abdulahamid II, who had earlier provoked Sahin Giray against Catalaunia. The Battle of Poltava ended in a stalemate, and Alexander, with pressing needs elsewhere, concluded a temporary armistice with the King of Kiev. This armistice held for ten years. Alexander then moved northwards and violently suppressed the rebellions in Novogrod, Kazan, Western Siberia, Voronezh, and Astrakhan, deporting hundreds of thousands of his subjects farther east and destroying a number of settlements.
In 1891, the Georgian city of Sukhum-Kale on the Black Sea coast, which was a vassal of Catalaunia, revolted. Sukhum-Kale was an important garrison, controlling routes into the Southern Caucasus. Alexander attacked and captured the city, destroying its defenses and incorporating all remaining Georgian territories into his Empire.
In 1892, he moved against the Persians, whose ruler, Shah Naser al-Din Qajar, had been deposed by Mohammad Hassan Khan with the assistance of the Ottomans. Alexander defeated the usurper, drove him from Tehran, and occupied the cities of Yerevan, Tabriz, Sari, and Astarabad, occupying the provinces of Gilan, Armenia, and Mazandaran around the Caspian Sea. He also stationed troops in Isafhan and Tehran to act as "diplomatic garrisons", and to keep a watch on the Persian Government. He then moved up the Volga, and down into Turkestan (Kazakhstan), where he subjugated the Emirate of Bukhara, compelling an oath of allegiance from Emir Abdul-Ahad Khan. He then went up to Siberia, and embarked on a decisive push of Catalaunian territory all the way out to the Pacific Ocean, subjugating the Evenki, Lamuts, and Yakuts. He established the new cities of Irutsk, Udinsk, Verokhlensk, Kitensk, Olekminsk, Okhotsk, Yahutsk, Nerchinsk, and Turgusk in order to establish firm Catalaunian control over those regions.
In 1894, Alexander campaigned against Poland, motivated by the fact that the Poles had been weakened by excursions from the recently-established German Empire to the west. After reaching the Pripet River, he turned south and occupied the cities of Lutsk, Brody, and Tarnopol. When news reached him that King Stanislaw III of Poland was marching against him, he turned back to the Pripet River and defeated the Polish army in the Battle of Polotsk. King Stanislaw managed to flee from the battlefield, but most of his force was annihilated. Alexander then proceeded to devastate Masovia, Lesser Poland, and Galicia, seizing captives, destroying factories, plundering farms, and demolishing fortifications. He occupied Lublin, Lodz, Wroclaw, Brest-Litvosk, Bialystok, Lemberg, and Prezmyzl, and then entered the Polish capital, Warsaw, robbing it of its treasures. Stanislaw, to avoid further damage to his realms, was forced to pledge himself as a vassal to Catalaunia and to pay tribute. Alexander then made his way from Warsaw and crossed the Carpathian Mountains, sacking the cities of Budapest, Debrecen, Pecs, Eger, and Mohacs. He then received tribute from the King-Emperor of Austria-Hungary, Franz Joseph, at Pressburg. Alexander then moved into Besserabia, capturing garrisons along the Pruth River and annexing the region of Moldova, including the city of Chrisnau, from the Romanians.
In 1895, Alexander remained at Moscow: his forces took, among others, Memel, Konigsberg, and Vilinus. Mongolian and Khivan rulers offered tribute. In 1897, Tuva was conquered. An uprising at the Georgian city of Kutasi, supported by Turkey, Greece, Romania, and Bulgaria, was suppressed, and the Turkish territory of Kars and Ardahan became a Catalaunian province.
In 1898, Alexander felt safe enough in his rule to move against Ioan Buhus. One force moved across the Black Sea and towards Istanbul to prevent Sultan Abdulahamid from providing support to the Kievians; the other, under Alexander himself, proceeded against Kiev. Alexander first took the city of Poltava, where he had clashed with Buhus a decade earlier. He then came to Kiev itself, and Buhus fled. Alexander would later claim that he entered Kiev at the request of its clergy and citizens. Kiev yielded to Alexander and he was proclaimed King of Kievia, thereby restoring the dual monarchy of Catalaunia and Kievia. He remained at Kiev for three years, in order to consolidate his position there.
Ioan Buhus attempted to flee to Romania, but was prevented by Catalaunian troops from crossing the Dniester River. Taking hostages from Chrisnau, Iasi, and Ochakov, he then established himself at Kinburn, and strengthened its fortifications. In 1899, Catalaunian forces won the Battle of the Lower Bug, but were unable to take Kinburn. Ultimately, in 1901, Alexander offered to spare Buhus's life if he in turn surrendered Kinburn. Buhus agreed, and the Emperor dispatched him to live at Yalta on the Crimea.
The last years of Alexander's reign saw the further extension of Catalaunian power. In 1901, the seven Kings of the island of Sakhalin in the Pacific accepted Catalaunian sovereignty; in 1902, Nasir al-din Karim, Khan of Kokand, offered his hand in friendship to the Emperor of Catalaunia; and in 1903, the Kuril Islands became a Catalaunian province. Catalaunian expeditions continued to push forward in Siberia, and during 1900-1903, they founded the cities of Zhigansk, Bratsk, Olekminsk, and Zashiversk. They also probed into the Kamchatka Peninsula. Alexander himself conducted further projects in St. Petersburg and in Moscow, erecting the famed Tsarkoe Selo Palace, St. Michael's Castle, and Rospha Estate.
In 1904, Alexander died while conducting a campaign against the Daghestani in the Caucasus, who had revolted under their leader Hamza Yusuf. He was succeeded by his son Nicholas I (1904-1925). Nicholas was Alexander's third and only surviving son, but had nevertheless been groomed, in both military and administrative matters, for years prior to his accession to the throne. During the first two years of his reign, he focused upon architectural projects in the chief cities of Catalaunia, upon the expansion of the Catalaunian transportation system (rail, highway, and marine navigation), and upon continued colonization, industrial development, and mining efforts along the Volga, at Azov, around Tula, and in Siberia. Nicholas now designated St. Petersburg and Moscow as the two co-equal capitals of his Empire, spending part of the year in each, and dividing government offices between them: the Patriarch, Holy Synod, and Senate were based in Moscow, while the Colleges of State, Imperial Guards, and Privy Council were based in St. Petersburg. He strengthened the fortifications of both cities, erecting a strong defensive rampart across Lake Ladoga, and another in the Gulf of Finland. In Moscow, in particular, Nicholas developed the suburbs, established a new architectural plan, and granted it a semi-autonomous city government. He embelished the Terem Palace, the Palace of Facets, the Cathedral of the Annuciation, the Cathedral of the Assumption, St. Basil's Cathedral, and the Moscow Armory with freizes, paintings, and elaborate stone decorations, depicting scenes in Catalaunian history. In St. Petersburg, he rebuilt and modernized the St. Peter and Paul Fortress, and laid the foundation for the University of Catalaunia (1905).
Yet the Emperor was once again diverted to the task of war, and of conquest. The peace in Ukraine was broken in December 1905, when Ioan Buhus, who had escaped from Yalta, once again seized the throne of Kiev, receiving Turkish military assistance. The rebellion was defeated, Ioan Buhus fled, and Kiev was taken, with the Marinysky Palace plundered, although the citizens were not harmed. Nicholas's armies then devastated much of the lower Dnieper, and sacked the cities of Kremenchug, Skayvansk, and Tuzovka, which had gone over to the rebel. Once this task was accomplished, he installed a native Ukrainian prince, Alexis Razumovsky, on the throne as a Catalaunian vassal, and then departed. For three years, Kiev was left in peace. Turkish interference in Kiev necessitated a series of campaigns, during 1906, against the Turkish vassals of Bulgaria, Serbia, and Montenegro, with Sofia, Belgrade, and Varna seized, and those states compelled to pay tribute to Catalaunia.
In 1907, a new challenge arose for Catalaunia in the west, where Jan II of Poland, incited by Germany and Ioan Buhus, had renounced Catalaunian allegiance. Ioan Buhus, in fact, from his base at Kishinev, near the Dniester, had renewed his rebellion against Catalaunia. Jan signed a military treaty with Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany, and formed an alliance with Prince Klaus Ioahnnis of Transylvania. Other Romanian rulers in Moldavia and Wallachia, with recent painful memories of Catalaunia's might, hesitated to commit themselves. King Ivo of Croatia, who had paid an oath of homage to Nicholas's father Alexander II, remained loyal to Nicholas, and was seized by his subjects, who gave him over to Jan, who had him imprisoned in Krakow. Austria, Hungary, and Bohemia were also peripherally involved in the rebellion.
Nicholas first focused on Ioan Buhus, destroying his positions throughout Yesidian and the Lower Dniester, and in November 1907, capturing Kishinev. He tore down the city's fortifications, sacked it, and sent more than 70,000 of its inhabitants into exile in Siberia. Ioan Buhus fled across the Danube into Bulgaria. Nicholas then turned at once to deal with the coalition of restive vassals forming around Jan. In 1908, the Catalaunians crossed the Carpathian Mountains in massive force, first striking the Transylvanians. Prince Klaus fled to Bosnia, while Alba Iulia and its suburb of Totoi were devastated so thoroughly that, when rebuilt, they lost their prior place of prominence. The Catalaunians then moved rapidly into Croatia, first striking the Croatian city of Cepin; it fell with ease. But then, suddenly, Nicholas faced an German army strengthened by the presence of mobile artillery, Stoßtruppen, and Hussars from Bavaria. The armies collided at Bjelovar, with the Catalaunians scoring a great victory. After taking and destroying Bjelovar, however, Nicholas failed to follow up on his advantage and allowed the Germans to retreat back to Germany unharmed.
Instead, the Catalaunian Emperor advanced on Vinvocki, Slavoncki Brod, Sisak, and Varadzin, not as a prelude for a direct thrust into Poland, but rather to punish those who had cooperated with Jan in removing and imprisoning King Ivo of Croatia. Croatia itself was quickly subdued, and Nicholas installed Stepjan on the throne of Croatia as a Catalaunian vassal; Stepjan paid him homage at Zagreb. Austria, Hungary, and Bohemia, understanding the supremacy of the Catalaunian armies, quickly dropped out of the rebellion and renewed their treaties with Catalaunia. Nicholas then launched a three-pronged offensive into Poland. One army attacked Cracow, Lublin, Auschwitz, and Lemberg in Galicia; all of these cities were subdued in their turn. The Catalaunians isolated Wroclaw, now wishing to waste their time in taking it. Warsaw itself was besieged, completely surrounded by fortifications.
While Warsaw was blockaded, Nicholas himself sent his forces through Masovia, Greater Poland, and to the Polish Corridor, taking the cities of Bialystok, Tarnopol, Torun, and Katowice with ease. He then blockaded Danzig, on the Baltic Sea; Catalaunian naval forces from Osel and Livonia cut off the city from all access by sea, while the Catalaunian Army bombarded its fortifications from land and strangled its supply lines. Danzig eventually fell, and the upper Vistula fell under Catalaunian control. Nicholas then attacked Bydgosczcz, and from thence moved up to Warsaw with reinforcements. With his kingdom effectively overrun, and with Warsaw at the brink of falling, Jan finally surrendered. Nicholas forced him to renew his oath of homage, annexed Mogilev, Minsk, Vilinus, and all of the territories down to Podolia and left-bank Ukraine, and deported more than two million Poles from Masovia, Greater Poland, and Lesser Poland, scattering them throughout his dominions. He dismantled the Polish military forces, dammed the dockyards of Danzig, and destroyed the fortifications of the chief cities of Galicia. He also gave some Polish regions (such as Zator), to Hungary and Transylvania.
In 1909, Nicholas again turned his attention to Kievia, where Ioan Buhus had once again installed himself on the throne of Kiev. Nicholas attacked him outside Kharkov and inflicted a decisive defeat, driving him from Kiev once more, and back across the Danube River. In 1910, he deposed Razumovsky from the Kievian throne, having him deported to Nerchinsk, and installed his eldest son, Alexis, in his place. He then attacked Wallachia, Bulgaria, and Serbia again, sacking the city of Tarnovo in 1911, destroying the defenses of Bucharest, and compelling the Bulgarians to transfer their oath of allegiance from Turkey to Catalaunia. In 1912, Nicholas went up to Lappland, where he crushed a revolt at Petsamo and had all of the sailors of the Catalaunian garrison there beaten with the knout, their tongues ripped out, and their cheeks branded. Then in 1913 and 1914, he went into Sakhalin and Mongolia, punishing rebellious vassals, including the ten Ainu Kings and the great khan of Mongolia, Tsakhiagiin. Tsakhiagiin was captured at Ulaanbataar, bound in chains, and then deported to Kazan. Nicholas took control of Shilsk, Alabzinzk, and Kostogorsk, and installed new rulers over the Ainu and Mongolians, who all paid him homage.
In 1915, Ioan Buhus, having once again returned to Kievia, pronounced a renewed rebellion against Catalaunia, receiving aid from Turkey, as he had in the past. Angered by this, Nicholas now mustered his naval forces at Kerch, Sevastopol, Caffa, and Azov, and led an invasion of Turkey across the Black Sea, capturing and destroying the Turkish ports of Trabzon, Sinop, and Zongdulak. While he was doing this, the Turks marched up the Bulgarian coast, crossed the Dniester, and reached Kiev, where they deposed and captured Prince Alexis, and put Nicolae, Ioan Buhus's son (Ioan having died at Kinburn, while fleeing from Catalaunian troops), on the throne. In 1916, Nicolae was captured and taken to Moscow, and Nicholas attacked Turkey again. He crossed into Thrace and then approached the outskirts of Istanbul. The Turkish sultan, Mehmed V, now fled to Ankara, and Nicholas captured Istanbul, plundering it and deporting more than 300,000 Turks to Siberia. He also seized the cities of Adrianpole, Bursa, and Izmir, and even sent naval expeditions into the Aegean. When Nicholas withdrew, the Turks formed an alliance with Bulgaria, Wallachia, Transylvania, and the Daghestani, invaded Ukraine (where they fought the Battle of Odessa to a draw in 1918), and returned to Kiev, placing another rebel leader, Gheorghe, on the throne. But finally, in 1920, Kiev fell to the Catalaunians after a lengthy siege, and Nicholas now "solved" the Kievian problem by completely destroying the city, flooding it and deporting or killing its entire population. He took all of its treasures, and the relics of its kings, back to Moscow, and proclaimed the abolition of the Kievian monarchy, incorporating its territories directly into Catalaunia.
During 1920 and 1921, Nicholas attacked Romania, the Daghestani, and Bulgaria, compelling the renewed subjection of these states and annexing the mouth of the Dniester, in Bessarabia. Finally, in 1922, the Turks were forced to sue for peace, and the Emperor returned to Moscow. During the last three years of his reign, he further embellished his capital cities and strengthened his country's infrastructure.
But in 1925, Nicholas's reign came to a violent end when he was assassinated at Peterhof by two of his middle sons, Yuri and Ivan. They had been angered by their father's passing over them, and naming their youngest brother, Gregory, as his heir apparent. Gregory, however, quickly asserted his position, defeated his brothers at Tver, and forced them to flee into exile to Norway, where they died the following year. Crowning himself Emperor in Moscow, Gregory then began a reconstruction of the city of Kiev, ordering for its reestablishment as a Catalaunian colony. He returned Kiev's treasures to their previous adobes, constructed dams to clear up the deluges, and built an elaborate series of military fortifications, establishing a new line of garrisons along the Dnieper.
The first military campaigns of Gregory were directed against the Chechens and the Daghestani in the Caucasus, who continued to defy his authority. After defeating them, Gregory was then forced, in 1927, to turn his attention to the Japanese, a new power which now appeared in Manchuria and Korea, and were threatening the Catalaunian possessions in the Upper Amur, Sakhalin, and the Kuril Islands under the direction of their ruler, the Meiji Emperor. Gregory defeated them near Harbin and annexed all of the Amur provinces down to the Amur River, where, on the Pacific coast, he founded the port of Vladivostok. The Japanese withdrew to Korea and Manchuria. He then defeated the rebellious Yakuts and Lamuts of Eastern Siberia as well, destroying many of their settlements.
The Bukharan emir Muhammad Alim, who had risen up against the Catalaunian Emperor, was defeated in 1929 and beheaded. The city of Bukhara was destroyed and rebuilt as the Catalaunian town of Kazalinsk. The population was deported to Siberia. Gregory rewarded the khan of Khiva, Sayid Abdullah, a loyal Catalaunian vassal, with Bukharan commercial routes and goods. In 1930, Gregory took the towns of Taskhent, Merv, and Samarkand in Eastern Turkestan. The Afghanis, the Tajiks under their king Emomali, and the Indians of the Khyber Northwest proved to be a nuisance as well. The Afghans, from Kabul and Herat, launched numerous raiding expeditions into Turkestan, and also harried Catalaunian economic activities along the eastern coast of the Caspian Sea. Gregory attacked the Afghans at Kandahar and then defeated their chieftain Ashraf Ghani, forcing him to pay tribute, to end the raids, and to allow Catalaunian troops to be stationed in the Khyber Pass. He then married one of his daughters, Maria, to King Emomali, who was compelled to pay tribute at Taskhent following a punitive expedition. Catalaunian forces also attacked the Khyber and Xinjang. Gregory established a number of military fortresses, outposts, and agricultural posts, including Verny, Akmolinsk, and Semipalatinsk, in order to consolidate the Catalaunian position in Turkestan further.
A certain Fuad had taken possession of Mosul and the regions around Lake Van, and associated himself with the emir of Diyabakir. Mosul was besieged in 1931, and Fuad was forced to end his alliance with Diyabakir and to pay tribute to Catalaunia. That same year, Kemal I of Turkey began a campaign against Kars, but was defeated by the Catalaunians, and died shortly thereafter. His brother Reccip restored peaceful relations with Catalaunia.
A preliminary campaign against Germany by Gregory was then launched (1932). Gregory also campaigned in the land of Tibet, besieging the city of Lhasa and forcing the Dali Lama to grant him commercial concessions. In 1933, he waged war against the United States under King Franklin II, who was attempting to colonize Kamchatka. The following year, Crown Prince Dmitry died. He had been the eldest son and designated heir to his father, while his younger brother Leonid was to rule as deputy King of Kiev. Now, the younger Constantine became Crown Prince, with the Emperor compelling all of his subjects to swear an oath of allegiance to him. Constantine was unpopular with the court and nobility, and his brother Leonid conspired against him.
In 1935, Gregory went to war with Kaiser Wilhelm III of Germany. Part of his military forces were detached to suppress rebellions at Riga, Reval, and Narva. The remainder went westwards to Lodz, then crossed the Vistula River, and entered Germany. That summer, he took Berlin, and Wilhelm fled to Dusseldorf. Gregory now called himself "king of Brandenburg, Silesia, and Pomerania", and returned with captives, goods, and equipment from the cities of the German Marsh. He then erected a victory stele in St. Petersburg, and paraded Wilhelm's son, Prince Frederick, as a prisoner through the streets. But Gregory now had to contend with court intrigues in St. Petersburg that led to the execution of several nobles, and was then confronted with a rebellion in Germany. He now dispatched his general Prince Mikhail Gorbachev to suppress the troubles in the March of Brandenburg. In 1938, he went personally to Germany, but suddenly died in October of the same year, in Sczhezin.
He was now succeeded to the throne of Catalaunia by Constantine, who became Constantine III. Leonid now became deputy King of Kiev, under his brother's overall suzerainty. Constantine quickly became a very popular monarch with his subjects, and was known for his policies of toleration and restoration towards them. He permitted many subject peoples, such as the Tatars, Baskhirs, Kalmyks, Kirghiz, Ostyaks, Samoyeds, Livonians, Romanians, and Kazakhs to return to their native countries, issued edicts of religious freedom, and protected properties from unjust seizure. He conducted extensive architectural, technological, and other projects throughout his dominions, and, in his effort to keep his subjects happy, introduced an extensive pensions, health insurance, and economic protections system. He promoted business, established numerous colonies and settlements throughout his dominions, encouraged immigration, and exploited the mineral and energy resources of his dominions. During his reign, Catalaunia was to become the world's largest economy, its chief exporter of oil and natural gas, and one of its leading exporters of gold, silver, copper, zinc, and diamonds. It also became an economic powerhouse, the leading metallurgical producer, and a dominant factor in the textiles, military hardware, and electronics markets.
Yet from the onset, Constantine was handed his father's war against Germany. In 1939, he dispatched an army against them that defeated the German Kaiser Wilhelm III near Dresden, while Constantine stayed at his capitals in Moscow and St. Petersburg. At this time, some German vassals in Pomerania and Mecklenburg rebelled and were also defeated. All of the vanquished leaders save one were sent to Moscow. The Governor of Hamburg, Otto von Bismarck, was able to convince the Catalaunians of his loyalty, and was installed on the throne of Germany as a vassal of the Empire. After the death of Wilhelm in 1942, his nephew and successor Hermann invaded Brandenburg and took control of Potsdam. In Magdeburg, he defeated the royalist German armies, and Otto himself was killed. Another army was sent by Constantine and again the Catalaunians defeated the Germans. Hermann was captured at Kiel, bound in chains, and deported to Siberia, where he died in 1946. After this, Germany was secure. Constantine now installed Otto's son, Helmut, on the throne of Germany, but annexed all German territories east of the Oder, including Sczhezin. He maintained diplomatic garrisons in Frankfurt, Potsdam, Magdeburg, Dresden, Munnich, Berlin, Dortmund, Dusseldorf, Cologne, and Passau, and retained the right of military passage through German territory. Helmut, who ruled Germany until his death in 1990, remained a loyal Catalaunian vassal to the end of his reign.
In 1944, Turkey, now under the rule of Ismet I, attacked the Crimea and Kiev by surprise. Constantine, after completing the extension of Catalaunian rule over all of Kamchatka, then launched a vigorous counteroffensive, defeating the Turks and hurling them back across the Black Sea. The following year, in April 1945, Ismet died, and the throne was usurped by Prince Cemal, who was not the legitimate heir. Many Turkish princes, including Ismet's son, Prince Kenan, fled to Constantine's court in Moscow. During 1946 and 1947, Constantine consolidated Catalaunian authority over Sakhalin and the Kuril Islands, deposing all of the remaining Ainu Kings and imposing Catalaunian authorities in those territories. In 1948, he renewed war with Turkey, and inflicted a crushing defeat upon them in the Battle of Edirne. Cemal committed suicide shortly after the battle. The Catalaunian Emperor then installed Husamettin as Sultan in Istanbul, and Suleyman Demirel as King of Ankara and Konya. Turkey now became a Catalaunian vassal. Constantine then suppressed a rebellion in Daghestan, and terminated the independence of the native chieftains, having them all knouted, branded, and deported to Siberia. The Emperor also had Cemal's head cut off from his body and displayed in triumph through central Catalaunia. From 1949 to 1952, Constantine focused on campaigns in the far east of Siberia, defeating the native Koryak and Chuckii tribes, and establishing the port of Anadyrsk on the Bering Strait.
Friction, however, grew between Constantine and Leonid, and in 1953, Kiev rebelled. But Kiev was not alone, and now allied itself with a host of states and peoples resentful of Catalaunian dominance, including the Circassians, Chechens, and Daghestani in the Caucacus, the Khanates of Khiva, Kokand, and Tajikstan in Turkestan, the Finns, Lapps, and Estonians in Finland and around the Baltic Sea, and even Turkey. During the course of the next four years, Constantine waged war on all frontiers. In 1957, Kiev and Poltava were seized, Leonid himself captured and executed, and the rebellion in Kievia suppressed. Constantine now abolished all remaining semblances of Kievan independence, and completed its final incorporation into the Catalaunian Empire. He then ruthlessly suppressed the rebellions in the Caucacus, and then marched into Central Asia, determined to wipe the remaining vassals there off the map. By 1962, Khiva, Kokand, and Tajikstan had all been subjugated, and were annexed directly into the Empire. Constantine then suppressed the rebellion in the Baltic, inflicting severe damage on Riga, Reval (now renamed to Talinin), and Helinski, deporting many Finns, Estonians, and Lapps to Siberia.
In 1964, determined to terminate the threat of Turkey, Constantine launched a final invasion. During the course of the next two years, Catalaunian armies conquered Bursa, Edirne, Konya, Izmir, Sinop, Trabzon, Diyabakir, and Tarsus. Finally, in June 1966, Istanbul fell, and the last Sultan of Turkey, the rebel Ahmed Nehcdet, was deposed from his throne. Turkey was now incorporated into the Catalaunian Empire. In 1967 and 1968, Constantine formalized the establishment of Catalaunian satellite states in Bulgaria, Serbia, Montenegro, Albania, Bohemia, Hungary, and Romania, all of which now formed a defensive buffer for the Empire, extending into the Balkans. In 1969, he conquered the New Siberian Islands; four years later, in 1973, the Catalaunians colonized Severnaya Zemyla. In 1975, Catalaunia seized the island of Svalbard from Norway. And then, in 1976 and 1977, Catalaunia and America were again at war; Constantine crossed the Bering Strait, swept through the Aleutian Islands, and landed at the city of Anchorage, destroying its fortifications and driving American troops from it. As a result of this conflict, King James IV of America was forced to concede the Aleutians to Catalaunia, and to pay tribute.
Finally, in January 1978, Constantine III died, having consolidated the Catalaunian Empire's place as the world's leading power. He was succeeded by his son, who became Stanislav II (1978-1986). Stanislav was challenged by his brother, Prince Boris, but after a brief conflict, defeated and executed him in 1980. Stanislav then embarked upon a series of campaigns in order to consolidate the Empire's territorial boundaries. He first focused upon Iraq, where Saddam I had usurped the throne in 1978, and was sponsoring rebellions against Catalaunian authority in Armenia, Gilan, Azerbaijan, and Georgia. In 1981, the Emperor of Catalaunia launched a decisive push across the Khrami and Paravani Rivers into Mosul. The city was blockaded and assaulted; it fell to Catalaunian forces shortly thereafter. Stanislav had more than 100,000 of its inhabitants deported, destroyed its fortifications, and bore away its treasures. From thence, the Catalaunians seized the cities of Irbil, Kurkuk, and Sulaymaniyah; in April 1982, Saddam was defeated decisively in the Battle of the Upper Diyala, captured, and then forced to present himself as a vassal to the Emperor. Catalaunia, moreover, annexed Mosul and Kurdistan. Stanislav then turned his attention to Mongolia, where the great khan, Dashinn Byambasuren, was attempting, with Japanese aid, to once again break away from Catalaunian authority. The Emperor exacted a complete vengeance, annihilating the Mongolian army in the Battle of Darkhan. Ulanbataar was captured in April 1983, and Dashinn was executed on Stanislav's orders at Nerchinsk. Mongolia was incorporated directly into the Catalaunian Empire.
Stanislav then punished the Japanese for their support of the rebellion, sacking the Manchurian cities of Changchun, Shenyand, Fushum, Anshan, and Jilin, and destroying the fortifications of Harbin. The Japanese Island of Hokkaido was attacked from the Kuril Islands and Sakhalin, with the Catalaunians, after winning a victory at Nemuro, then proceeding to drive the Japanese from Hakodate, Sapporo, Kushiro, and Asahikawi. Hokkaido was annexed from Japan in September 1985, and the Japanese Emperor Hirohito was forced to pay homage to Stanislav at Vladivostok. Manchuria was transferred to the control of Catalaunian authorities, agents, and military garrisons, while officially remaining a part of the decrepit Chinese Federation. Stanislav also suppressed revolts on the Aleutian Islands, Kamchatka, and in Turkestan, and he began a further reorganization of the Empire's administrative bureaucracy, including the establishment of Assemblies of the Nobility and zemstvos, or legislative councils for the uzeds. Stanislav II died in October 1986, and was succeeded by his cousin Ivan VII (1986-1996).
Ivan's rule saw additional gains for the Catalaunian Empire, in both Asia and in Eastern Europe. It also saw the consolidation of the "Catalaunian Bloc"; that is, the states and protectorates, subject to its overlordship or dominance, and bound to the Empire by alliance. In 1987, after conducting a series of punitive expeditions into Albania, Macedonia, and Kosovo, Ivan engineered the formation of the Moscow Pact. This united all of Catalaunia's vassals (Sweden, Germany, Denmark, Bohemia, Austria, Hungary, Croatia, Bosnia, Serbia, Albania, Montenegro, Romania, Bulgaria, Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, and Japan), into a common military, economic, and diplomatic league, with the Emperor of Catalaunia as chairman and spokesperson for the organization. He had the right to call upon their troops, fleets, and resources for use in any military campaigns or wars as he deemed necessary.
The following year, Ivan launched a punitive expedition against Syria and Lebanon, forcing King Hafsid al-Assad to pay him tribute at Aleppo, and to permit for the establishment of Catalaunian bases in Homs, Hamath, and Beirut. He then crushed a series of rebellions in Southern Turkestan, and defeated an Indian attempt to seize control of the Khyber Pass. In 1989, Catalaunia went to war again with America, achieving the acquisition of Alaska; King George II of America was forced to grant the Catalaunian Navy the right to maintain naval bases on Guam, Wake Island, and American Samoa in the Pacific, thereby projecting its power into that region, and intensifying earlier Catalaunian contacts with states such as the Philippines, Papua New Guinea, Tonga, Indonesia, Brunei, and Malaysia.
In 1990, the Empire claimed the island of Wrangel, thereby finally completing the centuries-long conquest and annexation of Siberia. Five years later, in 1995, Catalaunia completed the conquest of Poland, incorporating Greater Poland, Lesser Poland, Western Belarus, and what remained of Lithuania. Moreover, in 1993 and 1994, Ivan waged a brutal campaign in Chechnya, defeating the rebel leader Dzkhokhar Dudayev. The city of Grozny was leveled as a result. Dudayev was captured and executed in Omsk in April 1996. In November 1996, Ivan VII died, after reigning for just ten years, and was succeeded by his son, who became Anatoly I (1996-2025).
Anatoly crowned himself Emperor in Moscow in April 1997, and immediately took charge of the helm of state. He was now confronted with an upsurge of terrorist and rebel activity throughout his European and Caucasian dominions. In November 1997, the Chechnyan leader Aslan Maskhadov announced a rebellion at Khasayvurt, thereby instigating the Second Chechen War. Catalaunian forces were once again absorbed in the effort to suppress the rebellion; during 1998 and 1999, Emperor Anatoly himself directed military operations against Nalchik, Vladlikavkaz, and in the Caucasus Mountains, ruthlessly clearing out rebel cells, destroying entire settlements, and deporting tens of thousands of Chechen civilians from the region. Yet this was not the only issue confronting the Emperor. In July 1998, the revolutionary group Narodnaya Volya was formed in Perm, and advocated for the violent overthrow of the imperial dynasty. Between 1998 and 2004, Narodnaya Volya carried out a series of assassinations, attempted assassinations, and ambush attacks throughout the Empire; distributed revolutionary propaganda among commoners and townsfolk; and harassed government garrisons. They obtained their greatest success in September 2001, conducting a major strike at the Chancellor's Palace in Moscow, which killed nearly three hundred individuals. Anatoly stopped at nothing to halt them, and in 2003, the Catalaunian Government launched a series of major intelligence and stealth missions which gradually crippled the organization's capabilities. Finally, in April 2004, its leaders were captured, and the organization was dismantled.
From 2002 to 2005, a string of anarchist, anti-monarchist, and terrorist groups, including the Afghan organization Al-Qaeda, launched a series of terrorist attacks in Moscow, Nizhny Novogrod, Kazan, Astrakhan, Tsaristyn (renamed Volgograd in 2006), Kiev, and other cities, killing more than 5,000 individuals and causing terror among the Catalaunian population. Anatoly became increasingly repressive as a result of these incidents, and he now embarked on a rigorous program of Catalaunization, reviving many of the more autocratic policies pursued by the most cruel of his predecessors. The Emperor instituted mandatory teaching of Catalaunian for all of his subjects (including Poles, Mongolians, and Finns, who had previously been exempt), patronized Catalaunian Orthodoxy, eliminated all remaining autonomous institutions in Turkestan, Livonia, and Finland, and resumed deportations of conquered peoples; for example, he scattered Kurds, Iraqis, and Turks from Mosul and Turkey into Siberia, Tuva, and Mongolia. Anatoly reorganized the secret police and intelligence services, creating the KGB (Commitee for State Security), which became one of the most feared institutions in the Empire. He declared martial law in most of the Caucasus and the Lower Volga, suspended civil liberties, and gave unprecedented new powers to police, penal, and judicial authorities to brutalize, imprison, banish, or execute suspects at will. He also authorized wiretapping and surveillance of private homes and businesses.
In the meantime, the Chechen resistance slowed and eventually came to an end, as Maskhadov, though a brilliant tactician, proved unable to stand up to superior Catalaunian might. He was cornered and killed by the Emperor's troops at Tolstoy-Yurt in March 2005; during 2006 and 2007, the remaining Chechnyan rebel cells were cleared out, and in November 2009, the rebellion was finally suppressed. Anatoly ordered for the deportation of all remaining Chechens from Chechnya, renamed the region Urartia, and settled Kirghiz, Bashkirs, Tartars, and Ainyu from elsewhere in his Empire in Chechnyan towns, villages, and cities. Grozny was renamed Pyatigorsk, and rebuilt as a Catalaunian colony. Anatoly now turned his attention to the further extension of Catalaunian territories. He focused first on Manchuria, which had been under Catalaunian administration for two decades. Anatoly now formalized this state of affairs, annexing Manchuria directly (2010). He then bore down on Beijing, Tianjin, and Datong, forcing the Chinese Emperor Xi Jinping to formally secede Manchuria. Anatoly then campaigned in Korea and installed Kim-jong-un on the throne in Seoul as a Catalaunian vassal (2012). In 2013 and 2014, he crushed rebellions in the Crimea, Georgia, Bessarabia, and Lithuania; in 2015, he installed Hassan I on the throne of Iran; and in 2016, he compelled the adherence of Macedonia and Greece to the Moscow Pact.
In 2017, however, Donald I came to the throne of America. Determined to revive American power, after the humiliations of the last three decades, he instigated a massive military buildup, annexed Fiji, Vanatu, and Tahiti in the Pacific as American outposts, and signed alliances with Canada, Mexico, and the Philippines, directed against Catalaunia. Anatoly I responded by admitting Korea into the Moscow Pact (2018), and in 2019, he embarked on a naval expedition against Taiwan, Okinawa, and Iwo Jima, establishing Catalaunian bases on those islands and compelling their adherence to the Pact as well. Anatoly also intensified the Catalaunian efforts to develop tactical and ballistic missiles; to continue with its space program (begun under Constantine III in the 1950s); and to strengthen the defenses of Alaska, the Kuril Islands, Sakhalin, Hokkaido, and Siberia. In 2021, Anatoly suppressed another terrorist movement, the Taliban, in Tajikstan and Afghanistan, and he intervened again in Iran to protect Hassan from Muslim revolutionaries. Then in 2022 and 2023, American-sponsored uprisings in Manchuria, Mongolia, and Kazakhstan were crushed, and a great vengeance was exacted. War finally broke out in March 2024, and witnessed a series of extensive military campaigns between the forces of the Moscow Pact and the American League (comprised of America, Canada, Mexico, the nations of the Caribbean, Brazil, Great Britain, Ireland, the Low Countries, Iceland, France, Italy, Spain, Switzerland, Portugal, Libya, Morocco, the Philippines, Australia, and New Guinea). Catalaunian and Moscow Pact forces generally held the upper hand, and in December 2024, Anatoly's armies scored a great victory in the Battle of Juneau, overrunning British Columbia, Washington, and the Yukon shortly thereafter. Switzerland, Italy, and the Low Countries were occupied and forced to shift their allegiance to the Moscow Pact.
In January 2025, Anatoly I died. At the time of his death, he had no living sons; his grandson, Vladimir, was only ten years old at the time. A conspiracy was now engineered by the Chancellor, Prince Vladimir Putin, and Vice-Chancellor Count Dmitry Mendeleev. They now proclaimed Anatoly's widow, Catherine, to be Empress of Catalaunia. Catherine I, as she became known, became Catalaunia's first Empress regnant. The First World War continued during her reign, with Catalaunian forces making further advances in Nunavut, the Northwest Territories, Baffin Island, and Greenland; Great Britain and France compelled to withdraw from the war; and American offensives in the Pacific defeated. Catherine remained in the background during her reign, delegating the daily operations of government to Putin, Mendeleev, and their subordinates. She died in St. Petersburg in May 2027. Crown Prince Vladimir, who had been named heir apparent by his step-grandmother before his death, was now proclaimed Emperor, as Vladimir IV.
State affairs continued to be dominated by Putin and Mendeleev. Putin, who was now the wealthiest and most powerful noble in the Empire, sought to exert his dominance over the Emperor, even engaging in verbal arguments with him, and controlling the affairs of his household. Vladimir resented the man's dominance, and keeping in mind the heritage of his predecessors, who had conquered all and accepted none as their superior, he began to plot with his nobles and Council. Finally, in November 2027, Putin was removed from his position, stripped of all his honors, and banished to Siberia, in a coup led by Prince Ivan Dologruky. Mendeleev, who betrayed his master, was dismissed from his positions, but allowed to retain all his honors; he died in 2045. The Dologrukys now became dominant, and they had Vladimir crowned Emperor in Moscow, in January 2028. Vladimir continued his education, and remained aloof from most state affairs. It was Prince Ivan who now brought the First World War to an end. In January 2029, the Treaty of Paris ended all hostilities, with the Low Countries, Switzerland (which gained the Principality of Liechtenstein), and Italy (which gained San Marino and Vatican City), becoming members of the Moscow Pact. Great Britain and France promised to limit the size of their military forces, while the French conceded French Guinea to Venezuela (which had adhered to the Moscow Pact in 2019). Venezuela also acquired Guyana. Catalaunia's annexation of Manchuria, and its subjugation of Korea, were also acknowledged by America.
Dologruky then attempted to arrange Emperor Vladimir's marriage with his niece, Catherine. The courtship was conducted throughout 2029, and the marriage was scheduled to take place the following year. In January 2030, however, Vladimir fell ill and died in Daugavpils, while on a visit to the Livonian and Lithuanian Governorates. The Imperial Privy Council, led by Dologruky and Prince Vasily Golistyn, now selected the Duchess of Courland, Princess Anna, niece of Anatoly I, as the new Empress of Catalaunia. Anna, however, was forced to agree to a series of constitutional "Conditions": she could not punish nobles or clergy without trial, she could not make grants of estates, goods, or titles, could not appoint high officials, and could not promote anyone without the Council's consent. Anna simmered under these conditions, and so did her subjects, who had never known anything else than a absolute monarchy, and were still frightened by the activities of Nardonaya Volya during the first decade of the century. In March 2030, Anna, with the support of the Guards and nobility, tore up the "Conditions", assumed full autocratic authority, and had Dologruky, Golistyn, and all of their associates arrested, deprived of their honors and property, and executed by beheading.
She crowned herself Empress in Moscow shortly thereafter, and replenished the Imperial Privy Council with her own loyal subordinates. She came to rely upon her Livonian lover, Count Ernest von Biron of Courland, upon her Chancellor, the German Andrey Ostermann, and upon her Finnish Minister of Defense, Sauli Ninnisto. Anna became known for her gratuitous cruelty, her vulgar sense of humor, and her rough-hewn behavior. She forced her nobles into undesirable marriages and had them act as jesters and fools in her court; she constructed a series of fantastic and weird architectural edifices; and she indulged herself in a variety of strange follies. Anna also further expanded the activities of the KGB, which interrogated, tortured, and punished any subject who dared to criticize Her Imperial Majesty. Yet Anna was also a conscientious ruler, and determined to continue Catalaunia's economic, scientific, and military advancement. She founded the Cadet Corps and reorganized the Imperial Academies; liberalized and reorganized the Catalaunian state media; and patronized artists, musicians, actors, writers, performers, and the like. She ordered a series of new missions into space, and laid plans for landings on the Moon and Mars. She had new satellites built, encouraged the development of renewable energy, and involved Catalaunia in the economic affairs of many lesser African and Asian countries. The Congo, Ethiopia, Mozambique, Egypt, and Kenya became Catalaunian allies; she also established friendly ties with Cuba, Vietnam, Thailand, Laos, Venezuela, and Nicaragua. Catalaunia intervened in Romania (2031), Sweden (2032), Syria (2033), the Gulf Emirates (2034), Iran (2035-2036), and China (2038), suppressing challenges to vassal or allied rulers, preserving the Empire's economic privileges, and maintaining Catalaunian garrisons. The Empress also provoked rebellions against America, in Tonga, Samoa, Hawaii, and the American South, as retaliation for its support of rebellions in the Empire.
Anna's health began to decline in 2039. Having never married, and with no children of her own, the Empress now sought to provide for the succession. Consequently, she married her niece, Olga, off to the Prussian Prince Anthony Ulrich. In August 2040, Olga gave birth to their first child, whom Anna named Ivan, after her own father, Prince Ivan, who had died in January 1996, several months before his brother's accession to the throne. Two months later, in October 2040, Anna herself died. Ivan was now proclaimed Emperor, as Ivan VIII. Olga became Regent, assisted by Ostermann, Biron, and Ninnisto. In November, however, Biron, who was immensely unpopular, was seized, bound in chains, and exiled to Siberia; Ostermann now monopolized power, and Prince Ulrich, in spite of his protests, was left in the lurch by his wife. Ivan reigned for just over a year, and his mother's regency became very unpopular. It was also beset by an energy crisis, rebellions in Tajikstan, Armenia, and Turkey, and by disasters which afflicted the cities of Novosibirsk, Orenburg, and Yekaterinburg. Then in December 2041, Anatoly I's only surviving child, his daughter Tatiana, who was very popular with the people, seized power with the assistance of the Imperial Guards. She had the infant Ivan, his parents, Ostermann, and Ninnisto all arrested, chained, and imprisoned at Schusselberg Fortress in Finland. Tatiana dismissed all of the regent's other advisers, announced the restoration of "liberty" to her subjects, and in April 2042, had herself crowned Empress in Moscow.
The Empress completed the suppression of the rebellions in Turkestan and the Caucacus, and in 2043-2044, she ordered a series of deportations among the Crimean Tatars, Nogai Tatars, Chuckhis, and Koryaks, in order to punish them for their actions against the Catalaunian Government. Tatiana also expanded the KGB yet again, and began the establishment of a series of gulags (formalized internment camps) throughout Siberia, for exiles and prisoners sentenced to hard labor. Tatiana now made Alexis Bestuzhev her Chancellor, and in August 2043, forced the Treaty of Abo on one of Catalaunia's Moscow Pact satellites, Sweden, annexing Angremanland directly into the Empire. That same year, she suppressed the Lopukhina Conspiracy, arranged by the American Ambassador to Catalaunia, Richard Holbrooke, and the Empress's own physician, the Frenchman Lestocq. Holbrooke was banished from Catalaunia, while Lestocq was exiled to Siberia and Natalia Lopukhina herself, along with Anna Bestuszheva, niece of the Chancellor, were flogged, their tongues ripped out, branded, and imprisoned in Kaluga. This incident provoked the rupture of Catalaunian diplomatic relations with the Americans, further aggravated by CIA interference and espionage activities in Serbia, Bosnia, and Slovenia, directed against their Catalaunian overlords.
In 2044, the Second World War broke out, and lasted for the next four years. Once again, Moscow Pact and American League forces clashed throughout the world, but also, for the first time, in space; American and Catalaunian astronauts struggled to seize control of their rival's satellites, control stations, and communications relays. In Europe, Catalaunian forces held the advantage, conquering Spain, Portugal, and Ireland in a series of coordinated campaigns with their allies; in the Pacific, it was the reverse, with the Americans invading Japan, capturing the Aleutian Islands, and driving the Catalaunian Navy from Iwo Jima, Okinawa, Taiwan, and the Ryoku Islands. American forces also suppressed a pro-Catalaunian uprising in Papua New Guinea, and applied pressure to Thailand, Laos, and Vietnam, all Catalaunian allies in South-East Asia. Ultimately, Chancellor Bestuzhev was able to negotiate an end to the conflict in the Treaty of Aachen (August 2048), which restored the status quo ante bellum.
The world then remained at peace for eight years. But smaller conflicts, "cold wars", and insurgencies continued, along with espionage operations. In 2049, the island of Granada in the Caribbean was invaded by the Americans, to forestall the government there from signing an alliance with Catalaunia. The following year, a U.S. pilot, Col. Francis Powers, was captured in Kamchatka while on a espionage mission for the United States Air Force. The Catalaunians retaliated by banning all military hardware imports to America and its allies, and in 2051, sponsoring the overthrow of the pro-American Comoza family in Panama. The Catalaunians and Americans then funded insurgency and counter-insurgency movements in nations as far-flung as Chile, Uraguay, Guatemala, Ireland, Malta, Saudi Arabia, Cambodia, Nepal, and Afghanistan, each trying to gain an advantage over the other. A serious diplomatic crisis, the Cuban Missile Crisis, in 2053, over Catalaunian arms shipments to King Fidel III of Cuba, almost caused the renewal of war. In 2054 and 2055 rebellions in Siberia, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Armenia, and Daghestan flared; a American-sponsored terrorist group, the Black Hand, also assassinated Prince Kyril Razumovsky, Minister of the Interior, in Kiev in 2056, and attempted to assassinate the Empress also at Tsarkoe Selo.
In January 2056, America concluded the Treaty of Portsmouth with the Chinese Federation and India, the latter of which had hitherto remained neutral in the American-Catalaunian conflicts. This seriously alarmed Empress Tatiana, and she now reacted by ordering the military occupation of Japan (February 2056), compelling Great Britain, France, and Saudi Arabia to join the Moscow Pact, and building up Catalaunian forces in Mongolia, Turkestan, Siberia, and Alaska. Finally, in August 2056, when American forces launched a massive invasion of Cuba, the Third World War began. Brazil aligned itself with Catalaunia shortly thereafter, and Tatiana became determined to reduce the American threat to her empire. Catalaunian, Korean, and Japanese forces now attacked China, which was supported by American, Indian, and Australian troops; efforts were made to blockade Indonesia and Malaysia by the American League, and by the Moscow Pact to induce them into alliance; and in August 2057, the Empress's armies advanced into Canada from Alaska. Neither the illness of the Empress, which resulted in a fainting fit at Tsarkoe Selo (September 2057), nor the disgrace of Bestuzhev (April 2058), could slow the progress of the war, and in August 2059, the Battle of Winnipeg ended in a decisive victory for the Catalaunians.
By the beginning of 2060, Catalaunian forces had overrun virtually all of Canada, had driven the Chinese and their allies to an isolated pocket around Hainan Island and Hong Kong, and had subjugated Tibet, driving across the Himalayas with support from Nepal and Bhutan shortly afterwards. The unshakable firmness of the Catalaunian Empress kept the forces of the Moscow Pact together, consumed also by operations in the Middle East, in North Africa, and in South America. In May 2060, a fresh convention was signed with Brazil, guaranteeing to that country, in a secret provision, Chile, Argentina, Paraguay, and Uruguay. The Catalaunians promised Panama and Suriname to Venezuela (which had united with Colombia during the 2030s), and Guatemala, El Salvador, and Belize to Nicaragua. In August 2060, a Catalaunian-Moscow Pact naval expedition briefly occupied Washington D.C., inflicting serious damage on the Capital Building, White House, and National Archives. In February 2061, when the courts of Brazil, Saudi Arabia, Korea, and Cuba proposed the extension of a peace offer to America, Tatiana objected. She would not rest until the American monarchy had been removed, and the state demoted to the status of a federal Republic.
During 2061, however, American League forces experienced a great revival, and they were able to blunt further Catalaunian moves into New England, Maryland, and Florida. They also retained control of Belize, Guatemala, Mexico, and British Columbia, and of Chile, Uruguay, and the Falkland Islands in South America. Moreover, Australia and New Zealand proved to be too difficult for Moscow Pact forces to subjugate. The sole Catalaunian success in this year was the capture of Gibraltar, which had refused to join the Moscow Pact and rebelled against the British government. Then, in January 2062, Empress Tatiana, whose health had declined yet further, died in St. Petersburg.
Tatiana was now succeeded to the Catalaunian throne by Anatoly II, her nephew. Anatoly, the son of her elder sister Anna, had been born in 2028. His mother had been killed in an automobile accident three years later, and his father, Charles Ulrich of Prussia, had died of brain cancer in 2039, in Konigsberg. Anatoly had then been brought to St. Petersburg and Moscow by his aunt, Empress Tatiana, soon after her accession to the throne in 2041. She had proclaimed him her heir apparent, given him an extensive household, and sought to inoculate him in his duties. In 2045, she arranged his marriage to her half grand-niece, Natalia, granddaughter of the Empress Anna's younger sister Praskovia. The marriage was not a success, though Natalia did give birth to a son and prince, Paul, in 2054. Natalia then indulged in affairs with many courtiers, but also kept herself abreast of state affairs and acquired an excellent formal education through tutors and the University of Catalaunia. Anatoly, on his part, became involved with the lady Elizabeth Voronstova, niece of Michael Voronstov, who became Chancellor after Bestuzhev's fall in 2058.
Anatoly had a passion for the military, and he indulged himself in games, exercises, and tournaments. The Empress, however, forbade him to take an active commission in the Catalaunian Army, and he was forced to watch events from afar. He admired the commander-in-chief of the American League forces, General Martin Dempsey, who continued to defy all the odds by resisting Catalaunian invasion efforts into the American Main. He also expressed a wish to establish peace with the Americans, and to limit Catalaunian interference in the affairs of foreign nations. Thus, when Anatoly came to the Catalaunian throne, he called for an immediate armistice with the American League. In December 2061, the last King of America, Mark, had been deposed in Philadelphia, and the United States had been formally created. Thus, Anatoly found himself negotiating with the newly elected American President, William Rutherford. Nevertheless, negotiations proceeded rapidly, and culminated in the Treaty of St. Petersburg of May 5, 2062, by which Catalaunia restored all conquered territories to America and its allies; it also withdrew its bases from Guam, Wake Island, and Samoa, giving full control of those territories to the Americans. Great Britain and France were permitted to rejoin the American League.
This treaty greatly angered the Catalaunian Empire's subjects, and destroyed Anatoly's popularity, overnight, with the nobility, Guards, and military forces. Anatoly further aggravated matters by his preference for foreign diplomats and nobles; his declared intention to involve Catalaunian forces in Namibia, Botswana, and Zimbabwe, where he had fantastic dreams of colonization and conquest of the native peoples; and his disgusting rituals at the Imperial Court. But Anatoly did engage in a spate of administrative reforms, passing 220 new laws during his six-month reign. He proclaimed religious freedom, removing restrictions which had been imposed by Anatoly I, during the "fundamentalist" period of the early century; limited the scope and activities of the KGB, though he did not abolish it entirely; and fought corruption within the bureaucracy. He established public litigation of records, reformed educational standards for all private and public schools in the Empire, and poured vast amounts into the space program, speeding up the delayed efforts on the Moon and Mars. He encouraged mercantilism, relaxed regulations on corporate activity, and reformed the financial oversight system. He also, in February 2062, ended obligatory state service for the nobility and gentry, and extended their privileges. Anatoly also secularized church properties and began a program to reform its outdated liturgy and theological curriculum.
But none of this could save him from his ultimate fate, and the Guards, inflamed by his careless disregard for Catalaunian territorial and other interests, now lined up behind his wife, Empress-Consort Natalia, who took advantage of the hatred borne against her husband. In July 2062, she and her fellow co-conspirators, including her lover Gregory Orlov, acted, and decisively. She was proclaimed Empress of Catalaunia, and shortly received the allegiance of the Senate, Patriarch, and Ministries of State. Anatoly, preparing for his "African adventure", was caught off guard at Peterhof. He was soon chased to Ivanogrod, captured there by his wife's troops, and then brought to Rospha. Anatoly was then forced to sign a declaration of abdication, recognizing his wife as Empress. He was then allowed to remain at Rospha, under guard, until the Empress could decide what to do with him. Natalia wanted to imprison him at Schusselberg Fortress, but Orlov and Nikitia Panin, who became her Chancellor, thought this too dangerous, and so, in August 2062, Anatoly II was executed on her orders, being strangled to death by his guards.
Natalia then claimed that he had died from intestinal disease, and she had him given a lavish funeral in St. Petersburg. She then crowned herself Empress in September 2062, embarked on a progress through her dominions, and rewarded her supporters with titles, estates, offices, and funds. The reign of Natalia I (2062-96), saw the apex of the Catalaunian Empire. She resumed Catalaunia's territorial expansion, consolidated its place as the leading power of the world, and involved herself in the affairs of many countries beyond her Empire's realms. She also reformed her government, military forces, and economy; nurtured the efforts in space; and sought to improve the welfare of her subjects, while maintaining firm allegiance over them. She could be kind and open-minded, but also harsh and vindictive towards those who challenged her. This was seen in the year of her accession, when she had her husband murdered, and also, in October, by her violent suppression of a conspiracy, directed against her, among some of the wayward Guards. In July 2064, an attempt was made by Ivan Mirovich and his accomplices, at the Schusselberg Fortress, to break the imprisoned Ivan VIII free.
This attempt failed, and Natalia had Ivan himself executed, along with Mirovich and most of his accomplices. Between 2065 and 2081, a slew of pretenders emerged throughout the Empire, claiming to be Ivan VIII, Anatoly II, or Vladimir IV. The most serious of these rebels, Yemeylan Pugachev, a former Guards officer, instigated a major revolt in Western Siberia, Kazakhstan, and Circassia in 2071. He resisted government forces for more than three years, and managed to capture the cities of Kazan, Saratov, Simbrisk, Astrakhan, Samara, Perm, and Ufa. Ultimately, however, he was captured at Izvhesk in August 2074, brought in chains to Moscow, and executed there in January 2075. The Empress also had to deal with Sheikh Mansur, the Daghestani leader who led a revolt in Daghestan, Chechnya, and Azerbaijan against the Empire from 2085 to his capture and execution in April 2091; with the Bolshevik Ring in Finland, which under the leadership of Vladimir Lenin, attempted to seize control of St. Petersburg in 2076, but were defeated and disbanded; with the Yalta revolt of 2084, which briefly encompassed almost all of the Crimea; and with a spate of terrorist, anarchist, and other attacks, principally by the Menshevik League, between 2079 and 2094. In 2081, the last of the imperial pretenders, Simeon Menshikov, was executed in Yekaterinburg.
Also in 2064, Natalia ended the Catalaunian military occupation of Japan, and installed a new ruler, Yamashiro, on the Japanese throne as a Catalaunian vassal. She then interfered in Denmark, Sweden, and Norway, during 2065 and 2066, defeating the attempt of the Hats and Nationalist Parties to break those countries away from the Moscow Pact. In 2063, the Empress of Catalaunia had already engineered a coup against Sultan Qaboos IV of Oman, which deposed him from the throne. Qaboos was deported to Siberia, and his son, Said, was installed on the throne. Said concluded the Treaty of Muscat with Catalaunia in 2066, and joined his country to the Moscow Pact. In 2067, Natalia met with American President Rutherford in Geneva, and was able to reach an agreement with him in the Treaty of Geneva, with American annexation of Mexico, Guatemala, and Belize confirmed, in exchange for the Catalaunian annexation of Taiwan, Okinawa, and Iwo Jima. Those islands were formally incorporated into the Empire the following year (2068). Catalaunia then became embroiled in two conflicts: the Iranian Civil War, in which the forces of Ayatollah Rouhani attempted to overthrow the Iranian monarchy, exit the Moscow Pact, and establish a theocratic dictatorship, and the Pirate War, in which Somalian and Eritrean forces threatened shipping throughout the Arabian Sea, and besieged the Catalaunian military bases on Socotra and at Aden, which had been acquired under Empress Tatiana.
The Iranian Civil War dragged on until 2072, while the Somalian Pirate War did not conclude until 2074. Natalia intervened vigorously and decisively in both conflicts. Ayatollah Rouhani's forces were defeated by the Catalaunians at Mashhad, Isafhan, Shiraz, and Zahedan, and in July 2072, the Ayatollah was killed by a Catalaunian drone strike near Ormuz. As a result of this conflict, Hassan II was installed on the Iranian throne, and Catalaunia annexed the Iranian regions of Golestan, North Khorazan, and Pazawi Khorasan. The end of the Somalian Pirate War brought the direct Catalaunian annexation of Socotra and Aden as overseas territories, and the establishment of Catalaunian protectorates over Yemen, Djibouti, and Somalia. Moreover, in 2072, upon the death of Queen Victoria of Sweden, Natalia claimed the Swedish throne, giving herself the title of "Queen of Sweden" and annexing Sweden into the Catalaunian Empire. In 2075, the first Catalaunian base on the Moon was established, and in the following year (2076), Natalia embarked on a diplomatic tour of Western Europe. In 2077, America was plunged into the Second Civil War, as the states of the American South, yearning for the reestablishment of the monarchy, and at a complete dichotomy with the rest of the country, revolted. This civil war dragged on until 2083.
Natalia at first remained neutral, but she took advantage of American distractions to intervene in China, installing the pro-Catalaunian Hu Jintao on the Chinese throne in 2078. In 2079, the Empress of Catalaunia extended her protection to Israel, which under Prime Minister Abba Eban, had continued to struggle with the Palestinians and with terrorist cells based in Gaza, Lebanon, and the Golan Heights. Israel joined the Moscow Pact, and became a Catalaunian protectorate. Jordan would follow in 2084, but Egypt would adhere to the American League. Then in 2080, Natalia proclaimed the formation of the League of Armed Neutrality, preventing all of the states belonging to the Moscow Pact from supporting either side in the American Civil War, and encouraging others to join. In 2081, she concluded a formal military alliance with the Chinese Federation under Jintao, depriving America of one of its chief allies; and in 2082, signed the Treaty of Iqauluit with Canada, resolving all territorial disputes in Alaska, the Yukon, and British Columbia.
The following year (2083), Natalia annexed Cyprus, giving Catalaunia a further naval base in the Mediterranean Sea, and made preparations for the annexation of Romania and Bulgaria, to establish direct Catalaunian control over the entire west coast of the Black Sea. The Civil War ended that year with the victory of the Union in America, but the American Republic needed a breathing-space for recovery of its capabilities. In 2085, American President Robert M. Kraft held a conference with the Moscow Pact in Boston; further conferences, in 2087, 2090, and 2093, would result in the signing of the SALT treaties, forbidding the development of nuclear weapons technology, recognizing the Moscow Pact's spheres of influence, and regulating colonization efforts above Earth. The Treaties would maintain the peace between the League and the Pact until Natalia's death. In 2086 and 2087, Natalia conducted a triumphant tour throughout her dominions. But in 2088, Catalaunia became involved in war with India, which refused to adhere to the First SALT Treaty, and was alarmed by the Empire's aggressive expansion efforts. The First Indian War lasted until 2092, and ended with the adherence of Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Tibet to the Moscow Pact (joining Nepal and Bhutan, which had joined in 2076). In 2090 and 2091, Natalia had to suppress rebellions in Manchuria, Kievia, and Poland, and in 2093, she completed the annexation of Romania. In 2094, Catalaunian forces intervened in Oman, Saudi Arabia, Israel, and Italy, forestalling challenges to the Moscow Pact, and in June 2095, Natalia incorporated Bulgaria. In April 2096, a Catalaunian expedition punished the Mahdis in Sudan, acting in support of Moscow Pact members Kenya and Ethiopia.
Besides this expansion of Catalaunian territory and influence, Natalia embarked on further reforms of her own in Catalaunia. The Empire became far more culturally heterogeneous as it absorbed Romanians, Bulgarians, Cypriots, Swedes, Japanese, and Yemeni, but the Empress continued with the Catalaunization policies introduced by Anatoly I during the first quarter of the century. She was further motivated by the Pugachev Uprising and by the other internal challenges to her authority. In 2075, she reorganized Catalaunia's administrative divisions, apportioning the country into localities, districts, provinces, and governorates based on population. She then gave each of these divisions an expanded administrative, judicial, and police apparatus. Eight years earlier, the Empress had convened a Legislative Commission, in order to propose reform measures that would enhance the integrity of the Catalaunian Government. These efforts resulted in the promulgation of the Civil and Penal Codes (2076), the Statute of Commercial Navigation and the Commodities Trade Code (2081), the Police Ordnance (2082), and the Statute of Education (2086).
Natalia also tried to further solidify the organization of Catalaunian society into defined estates. In 2085, she granted charters to the nobility and cities, and in 2090, a charter to the commoners. The Charter to the Nobility confirmed their exemption from mandatory state service and formalized their organization into assemblies. The Charter of the Cities established municipal self-government and gave each city in the Empire a corporate organization. And the Charter to the Commoners defined their responsibilities and liberties under the Empire, and provided mechanisms for petitioning and representation.
Natalia, however, kept a tight leash over the state media, and she expanded the activities of the KGB. She continued with the organization of the gulag system, as begun by Empress Tatiana, and did not hesitate to deport subjects when she thought them rebellious. This was seen in 2079 with her deportation of the Volga Germans to Siberia, and in 2094 with her deportation of Buddhists and animists from Siberia to Alaska. The Empress did not tolerate any dissent against her rule, and she dealt harshly with those she perceived as threatening her authority. The most notable case of this was in 2090, when Alexander Radischev published his Journey from Moscow to St. Petersburg, condemning the autocratic nature of Catalaunian government and the strict organization of its society. Natalia responded by having Radischiev arrested and exiled to Siberia. Another, Nicholas Novikov, who operated a satirical journal critical of the government, was confined in Schusselberg Fortress for his presumption. In 2092, Natalia forbade any media or entertainment outlets from producing, distributing, or commissioning material "critical of common decency, of proper order, and of ourselves", and in 2096, she established a centralized Censorship Office. She also banned the importation of all "libelous" materials into Catalaunia.
Natalia's reign saw the Catalaunian Empire continue an upwards economic trajectory, and during the last decade of the twenty-first century, efforts in space intensified. The first landing on Mars was finally accomplished in 2087, and in 2094, plans were laid for the dispatch of a permanent colonization expedition. The colonization of the Moon was intensified, and further expeditions were launched to Mercury, Venus, and the Asteroid Belt between 2090 and 2095. An instantaneous communications network was constructed in orbit of Earth, and in 2093, the American League and Moscow Pact agreed to the Treaty of Sydney, formalizing all rules and regulations concerning outer space. Great progress in medicine, in renewable energy, and in robotics were made, and in 2095, Natalia issued the first laws relating to AIs and their governance.
The Empress, however, also became notorious for her numerous lovers and favorites. After Gregory Orlov's disgrace in 2074, she took on Gregory Potemkin, a veteran of the Third World War, as her chief favorite. Potemkin remained her lover for two years, and was then followed by a succession of gentlemen (eight in all), ending in Platon Zubov, her favorite from 2089 to 2096. But Potemkin remained Natalia's chief advisor, became governor of the Black Sea provinces, and in 2087, was made Prince of Taurida. He then commanded Catalaunian military forces in the First Indian War, before his death at Kandahar in August 2091. As for government officials, Natalia relied upon a select number. Panin remained Chancellor until his dismissal in 2081 (he died two years later). He was replaced by Ivan Osterman, who held the position until his death in 2097. The Kievian Alexander Bezborodko became Foreign Minister in 2088, and orchestrated the Empress's final annexations of Bulgaria and Romania during the 2090s. He was also responsible for the Treaty of Bombay, which ended the First Indian War. Prince Andrei Morozov (2012-94) served as the President of the Governing Senate from 2064 to 2092, and was responsible for the suppression of the Pugachevia Rebellion. Important military commanders included General Peter Rumansytev (2025-96), commander of Catalaunian forces in the Iranian Civil War, General Peter Panin (2025-89), commander of its forces in the Somalian Pirate War and the interventions in Oman and Saudi Arabia, and General Alexander Suvorov (2029-2100), the only Catalaunian general officer to never lose a battle.
Natalia died, aged 67, in November 2096, a century after the death of Ivan VII, and after 34 years on the throne. She was succeeded by her son, who became Paul III. Paul, who hated his mother, had her buried at the St. Peter and Paul Cathedral in St. Petersburg with his father, the man she had deposed, Anatoly II. He also sought to preclude all references to her at court, and had the bones of her lover, Potemkin, exhumed, burned, and scattered. Paul also implemented the Pauline Laws upon his coronation in April 2097, introducing male-preference primogeniture (with sons coming before daughters). The Emperor liberated Radischev and Novikov from their confinements, but forbade them to make any additional publications. He was otherwise as intolerant of dissent, and as sure of his authority, as his predecessors had been for nearly two millennia. He expanded the activities of the KGB once more, dismissed or demoted those who did not conform to his views, and maintained harsh standards at his court. He repealed parts of his mother's Charter to the Nobles, as well as his father's service manifesto, thereby requiring compulsory service from the nobility and gentry once more. He also increased taxation on their estates and limited their transit privileges. Emperor Paul also focused upon the military, introducing the Disciplinary Codes, in an attempt to tighten standards, and reversing many of the "liberalizing" innovations brought to the service by Potemkin.
In foreign policy, Paul's policy was the antithesis of his mother's. That is, he opposed the many expansionary wars that she had fought, and instead preferred to pursue a more peaceful, diplomatic path. Immediately upon taking the throne, he recalled all troops outside of Catalaunian territory, including the expedition she had dispatched to Xinjiang and the troops she had promised to Brazil for an invasion of Peru. Paul had a prejudiced view of the Americans, and feared that the continuing existence of their Republic might weaken the authority of his monarchy, and that of other monarchies throughout the world. Nevertheless, he offered to mediate a dispute between America and Venezuela, which was a member of the Moscow Pact. But the two countries signed the Treaty of Miami in October 2097, without his assistance. This treaty, which confirmed Venezuelan acquisition of Suriname and the Dutch West Indies, nevertheless upset Paul, who believed that it did nothing to resolve the inherent instability in the region. He was also concerned by the American ambitions in the Caribbean, principally against the Dominican Republic, Cuba, and Antigua, all members of the Moscow Pact. Consequently, he offered technical assistance and subsidies to the governments of those nations, and found support in the Brazillian Prime Minister, Luis de Silva, who hated the Americans and was fearful of their intentions.
But Paul found his attention diverted to the Mediterranean, where Egypt and Libya, both members of the American League, eyed the Gaza Strip and Jordan. They were encouraged by American President Nicholas W. Cuomo, who was interested in the renewal of hostilities with the Moscow Pact. Italy and Greece now joined Catalaunia and Israel in opposing American League expansion in the region. China did not actively involve itself, due to its dislike of Israel, but it did promise technical assistance to its allies. Despite the Chinese reluctance, Paul decided to move ahead with the war, promising 300,000 troops to Israel to support it against Egypt, and 150,000 troops to the nations of the Caribbean, to resist American expansion.
Another important factor in Paul's decision to go to war was the island of Malta, the home of the Knights Hospitaller since the sixteenth century. In addition to Malta, the Order had priories in the Catholic countries of the world that had large business holdings and paid the revenue from them to the Order. In December 2096, the Order approached Paul about the Priory of Bulgaria, which had paid no revenue in decades and was now under direct Catalaunian authority. Paul as a child had read the histories of the Order and was impressed by their honor and connections. He had relocated the Priories of Bulgaria to St. Petersburg in January 2097. The knights responded by making him a protector of the Order in August, an honor which he had not expected, but, in keeping with his code of ethics, he gracefully accepted.
In June 2098, American League forces from France and Spain seized Malta; this greatly offended the Emperor. In September, the Priory of St. Petersburg declared that Grand Master Hompesch had betrayed the Order by surrendering Malta to the Americans. A month later, the Priory elected Paul Grand Master. This election resulted in the establishment of the Catalaunian tradition of the Knights Hospitaller. The election of an Orthodox monarch to be head of a Catholic order was controversial, but the Holy See in Italy, subject to the jurisdiction of the Moscow Pact, was forced to ratify the arrangement. The election, though controversial, gave Paul another reason to fight the Americans: to reclaim the Order's ancestral home.
In January 2099, war finally broke out between the American League and the Moscow Pact. India, which had remained antagonistic towards Catalaunia, acted on its alliance with the League and declared war, launching a massive invasion of the Catalaunian satellites of Tibet, Nepal, Bhutan, and Pakistan. American forces in Mexico attacked Nicaragua, Costa Rica, and Venezuela in due order; Cuba and the Dominican Republic were blockaded by its Caribbean allies of Jamaica, Haiti, and the Bahamas; and the French, Spanish, and Tunisians jointly invaded Italy. Emperor Paul now recalled Suvorov from his exile in Siberia, and made him supreme commander of all Catalaunian military forces. Suvorov took command of the defense of Italy, and won a series of brilliant victories at Trebbia, Rome, and Ancona against the American League forces. At the same time, Pact and League forces clashed in the Low Countries, in Germany, Iceland, and in Scandinavia; Sudan and Egypt fought with Israel, Saudi Arabia, and the countries of the Horn of Africa; and India continued to battle the Catalaunians in the Middle East. In October 2099, a coup in Beijing led to the ascension of the Zedong Emperor to the throne; he now aligned China with the American League, triggering another theater of war in Xinjiang, Korea, and Manchuria. During 2099-2100, however, Catalaunia and Brazil had a series of disputes over military strategy, and Emperor Paul, engaged in efforts to lure Great Britain into the Moscow Pact, banished the Brazillian ambassador from his court. These troubles were resolved by September 2100, and in November, Argentina was conquered. By January 2101, Paul had guided Malaysia, Brunei, the Solomon Islands, and Micronesia into the Moscow Pact, and in April, he ordered for a military strike into Hawaii, Guam, and Wake Island. But on May 14, 2101, he was assassinated by a cadre of disgruntled officers in St. Petersburg. His son Alexander succeeded him, becoming Alexander III.
Catalaunia is the largest country in the world; its total area is 29,110,668 square kilometers (11,239,692 sq mi). There are 141 Global Heritage Sites, 60 Moscow Pact biosphere reserves, 73 national parks, and 145 nature reserves in the Empire. Catalaunia has a wide natural resource base, including major deposits of timber, petroleum, natural gas, coal, ores, and other mineral resources.
The administrative boundaries of European Catalaunia coincides approximately with the natural limits of the East European plains. In the North it meets the Arctic Ocean. Novaya Zemyla, Svalbard, and the Kolguyev and Vaygach Islands also belong to it, but the Kara Sea is reckoned to Siberia. To the East it has the Asiatic territories of the Empire, Siberia, and the Turkish steppes, from both of which it is separated by the Ural Mountains, the Ural River, and the Caspian Sea-the administrative boundary, however, partly extending into Asia on the Siberian slope of the Urals. To the South it has the Black Sea and the Caucasus, being separated from the latter by the Manych River depression, which in Post-Pilocene times connected the Sea of Azov with the Caspian. The western boundary is purely conventional: it crosses from the upper Kola Peninsula, thence to Treriksroset, and down, through the Scandinavian Mountains, to the Skagerrak Kattegat.
It then runs across to the Curonian Lagoon in the southern Baltic Sea, takes a great circular sweep to the west to embrace Poland and Galicia, and then, from the Carpathian Mountains, follows the Mures River to the Danubian Iron Gate, and moves through the Rhodope Mountains out to the Bosporus and Dardanelles, including Bulgaria and Thrace, and separating the Empire from Greece, Macedonia, and Serbia.
The two most widely separated points in Catalaunia are about 8,321 km (5,171 mi) apart along a geodesic line. These points are: Osinow Dolny, a village on the Oder River in western Poland, bordering Germany, and the most southerly point in the Japanese island of Hokkaido. The points which are farthest separated in longitude are 7,761 km (4,823 mi) apart along a geodesic line. These points are: in the north, the northernmost point of Franz Josef Land, and in the south, the port of Kilmia in the Socotra Archipelago. The Catalaunian Empire spans fifteen time zones.
Most of Catalaunia consists of vast stretches of plains that are predominantly steppe to the south and heavily forested to the north, with tundra along the northern coast. Mountain ranges include the Caucasus Mountains (containing Mount Elbrus, which at 5,642 m (18,510 ft) is the highest point in both Catalaunia and Europe), the Altai Mountains (containing Mount Belukha, which at 4,506 m (14,783 ft) is the highest point in Siberia outside of the Far East), extending through eastern Turkestan, Xinjiang, and into Mongolia, the Rhodope Mountains, extending from southern Bulgaria into northern Greece, and in the eastern parts, the Verkhoyansk Range and the volcanoes of Kamchatka. The Ural Mountains, rich in mineral resources, form a north-south range which divides Europe from Asia.
Catalaunia has an extensive coastline of over 71,000 km (44,811 mi) along the Arctic and Pacific Oceans, as well as along the Baltic Sea, Sea of Azov, Black Sea, Aegean Sea, Mediterranean Sea, and Caspian Sea. The Barents Sea, White Sea, Kara Sea, Laptev Sea, East Siberian Sea, Chuckhi Sea, Bering Sea, Sea of Okhotsk, and the Sea of Japan are linked to Catalaunia via the Arctic and Pacific, while the Aral Sea is located in Central Asia, Socotra is included within the Arabian Sea, and Taiwan, along with the Ryukyu Islands, fall in the South China Sea. Catalaunia's major islands and archipelagos include Novaya Zemlya, Franz Josef Land, Svalbard, Severnaya Zemlya, the New Siberian Islands, Wrangel Island, the Aleutian Islands, the Diomede Islands, the Kuril Islands, Sakhalin, Hokkaido, Taiwan, the Ryukyu Islands, and Socotra.
Catalaunia has thousands of rivers and inland bodies of water, providing it with one of the world's largest surface water resources. It lakes contain approximately one-quarter of the world's fresh water. The largest and most prominent of Catalaunia's bodies of fresh water is Lake Baikal, the world's deepest, purest, oldest, and most capacious fresh water lake. Baikal alone contains over one-fifth of the world's fresh surface water. Other major lakes include Lake Ladoga and Lake Onieda, the two largest lakes in Europe, Lake Balkhash in Turkestan, Lake Van in Turkey, and Lake Sevan in Armenia. Catalaunia is second only to Brazil in volume of the total renewable water resources. Of the country's 120,000 rivers, the Volga is the most famous, both because it is the longest river in Europe and because of its major role in Catalaunian history. The Siberian rivers Ob, Yenisey, Lena, and Amur are among the longest rivers in the world. Other major rivers in the Empire include the Dniester, Dnieper, Dvina, Danube, Vistula, Syr Daria, and the Amu Daria.
The enormous size of Catalaunia and the remoteness of many areas from the sea result in the dominance of the humid continental climate, which is prevalent in much of the country except for the tundra, the extreme southeast, the territories in the Balkans and Turkey, and the Empire's possessions in the Arabian Sea and the South China Sea. Mountains in the south obstruct the flow of warm air masses from the Indian Ocean, while the plain of the west and north makes the country open to Arctic and Atlantic influences.
Most of Northern European Catalaunia and Siberia has a subartic climate, with extremely severe winters in the inner regions of Northeast Catalaunia (especially Sakha, where the Northern Pole of Cold is located with the record low temperature of −71.2 °C or −96.2 °F), and more moderate winters elsewhere. The Catalaunian arctic islands, along with the coasts of Northern Siberia and Alaska, have a polar climate.
The coastal regions around the Black Sea, including Sochi, Circassia, Crimea, and Northern Turkey, have a temperate oceanic climate, with warm, wet summers and cool to cold, wet winters, while those bounding the Aegean and Mediterranean Seas have a hot-summer Mediterranean climate, with hot, dry summers and mild to cool, wet winters. Socotra has a tropical-desert climate with relatively light rainfall, while Taiwan and the Rykuku Islands have a tropical and sub-tropical climate, with warm winters and hot, wet summers. A semi-arid climate prevails around the Caspian Sea, the Lower Volga, and in much of Central and Southern Turkestan.
Throughout much of the Empire there are only two distinct seasons-winter and summer-as spring and autumn are usually brief periods of change between extremely low and extremely high temperatures. The coldest month is January (February on the coastline); the warmest is usually July. Great ranges of temperature are typical. In winter, temperatures get colder both from south to north and from east to west. Summers can be quite hot, even in Siberia. The continental interiors are the driest areas.
From north to south the East European Plain, also known as the Catalaunian Plain, is clad sequentially in Arctic tundra, coniferous forest (taiga), mixed and broad-leaf forests, grassland (steppe), and semi-desert (fringing the Caspian Sea), as the changes in vegetation reflect the changes in climate. Siberia supports a similar sequence but is largely taiga. Catalaunia has the world's largest forest reserves, known as the "lungs of Europe", second only to the Amazon Rainforest in the amount of carbon dioxide it absorbs.
There are 396 mammal species and 850 bird species in Catalaunia. More than 500 animal species are protected, included in the Red Book of the Catalaunian Empire.
Government and administrationEdit
From the time of its inception to the present day, the Catalaunian Empire has been an absolute monarchy. The governmental and administrative structure of the Empire is based around the concept of "Tsarist absolutism", a unique political system influenced, in Catalaunia, by the Hunnic Empire and later Byzantium. This system has constantly expanded and strengthened throughout the Empire's history. In present times, as of 2101, the Emperor is assisted by various organizations or councils, who receive their authority directly from him. He is considered to be the "Little Father" of the Catalaunians, acting as God's representative on Earth and as the patriotic essence of the Imperial State. As a result, Catalaunian rule is distinctly authoritarian, with political parties and national elections outlawed, and with civil liberties existing solely at the Emperor's pleasure.
The Catalaunian Empire of the early twenty-second century is remarkable for the high level of centralization, political uniformity, and governmental bureaucratization evident in its structure. The Emperor, who is "Autocrat of All the Catalaunias", is at the apex of the system. Below the Emperor are the Imperial State Council, the Council of Ministers, the Governing Senate, and the Most Holy Synod, the chief institutions of the Imperial Government. Below all of these institutions include the Ministries of State, the Imperial Chancellory, and the Empire's administrative divisions, with the zemstvos, municipal dumas, and military districts.
Dmitry II changed his title from Tsar to Emperor and Autocrat of All Catalaunia in 1721, a title which has been kept by all later rulers. The person of the Emperor himself, a sovereign with absolute authority, stands at the center of the Catalaunian autocracy. The Emperor combines executive, legislative, and judicial functions, and his decrees, statutes, and edicts form the basis for the country's legislation. The rights of state power in their entire extent belong to the Emperor. The persons and institutions entrusted with power by their autocrat act in his name, by his orders, and within the limits established for them by law. The purpose of this system is to supposedly benefit all of the people of Catalaunia.
The Emperor combines overall religious authority with supreme secular authority, with the Patriarch and the Holy Synod subject to him. Also, in contrast to Western monarchies, he owns a far higher percentage of the state (lands, enterprises, etc.) than do Western monarchs. He is further unique in that in his coronation ceremony, he crowns himself, rather then being crowned by a prelate.
The Pauline Laws govern succession to the Catalaunian throne, providing for male-preference primogeniture (males coming before females), while the Emperor and his consort belong to the Catalaunian Orthodox Church, which is the official state religion of the Empire.
Imperial State CouncilEdit
The Imperial State Council is the supreme state advisory body to the Emperor. Consisting of 100 members (56 from the guberniya, 18 from the Assemblies of Nobility, 6 from the Catalaunian Orthodox Church, 12 from prominent economic and civic organizations, 6 from the Catalaunian Academy of Sciences, and 2 from the imperial military), the Council's main duty is the preliminary investigation, promulgation, and abrogation of laws.
There are four departments of the Council: Legislative; Civil and Ecclesiastical Administration; State Economy; and Industry, Science, and Commerce. Each department has its own presiding officer (State Secretary), meeting separately to discuss matters assigned to their departments. There also plenary sessions of the Council as a whole, presided over by the Chancellor of the Empire (who acts as Chairman of the State Council).
The Council as a whole examines legal projects submitted by the ministers, who are ex-offcio members. The majority of their sessions concern the budget and state expenditures but they examine anything submitted to them. They have no authority to examine anything which is not submitted to them for examination, nor can they directly enact changes to the law. The Council only makes recommendations to the Emperor, who can accept or reject these recommendations at will.
Council of MinistersEdit
The Catalaunian Council of Ministers serves as the executive council of the Empire. This Council is presided over by the Chancellor, the Emperor's chief minister, who also holds the chairmanship of the Council of State. It functions as a policy making cabinet, executing the government's policy and tactical direction as determined by the Emperor, and serving as a buffer between him and the rest of the Imperial Government. The Council consists of all the ministers and heads of principal administrations. The Ministries are:
- Ministry of the Imperial Chancellory
- Ministry of Foreign Affairs
- Ministry of Defense
- Ministry of Internal Affairs
- Ministry of Finance
- Ministry of Emergency Situations
- Ministry of Justice
- Ministry of Industry and Trade
- Ministry of Economic Development
- Ministry of Health
- Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs
- Ministry of Education and Science
- Ministry of Transportation
- Ministry of Housing, Utilities, and Urban Development
- Ministry of Natural Resources and Environmental Protection
- Ministry of Energy
- Ministry of Culture and Sports
- Ministry of Communications
- Ministry of Agriculture
Most Holy SynodEdit
The Most Holy Synod is the supreme organ of government of the Orthodox Church in Catalaunia. It is presided over by the Church's primate, the Patriarch, and consists of the four metropolitans of Moscow, Saint Petersburg, Kiev, and Constantinople, the Archbishops of Great Catalaunia, and a number of bishops, archmandrites, and abbots sitting in rotation.
The Governing Senate consists of 25 members ("Senators") appointed and dismissed by the Emperor. Its wide variety of functions are carried out by the different departments into which it is divided. It is the supreme court of cassation; an audit office, a high court of justice for all political offenses; and a heralds' college. It also has supreme jurisdiction in all disputes arising out of the administration of the Empire, notably differences between the central government and organs of local government.
For the purposes of administration, Catalaunia is divided into 129 governorates (guberniya), 49 oblasts, and 12 okrugs. Of these 17 governorates, 48 oblasts, and 5 okrugs (Sakhalin, Hokkaido, Ryukyu Islands, Socotra, and Taiwan) belong to Asian Catalaunia. Of the rest, 33 Governorates are in Finland and Sweden and 10 in Poland. The remainder of European Catalaunia embraces 76 governorates and 1 oblast (that of the Don). The okrugs are under the direct authority of the Ministry of Internal Affairs; the oblasts each have a governor and deputy governor; and the governorates are each under a governor-general and vice governor-general, armed with more extensive powers that usually include the command of the troops within the limits of their jurisdiction.
Alongside the local origins of the central government in Catalaunia there are three classes of local elected bodies charged with administrative functions:
- the Assemblies of the Nobility
- the zemstvos in the Governorates and Oblasts of Catalaunia
- the municipal dumas
The zemstvos consist of a representative council and of an executive board elected by the former. The board consists of five classes of members:
- large landed proprietors
- delegates of the smaller proprietors
- delegates of the wealthier urban residents
- delegates of the lower and middle income urban classes
- delegates of rural inhabitants
The zemstvos possess powers relating to local taxation (property taxes, bonds, etc.) and to such questions as education, medical relief, public welfare, food supply, and road maintenance in their localities. They are, however, subject to the authority of their respective governors and governor-generals, who possess the final say over all of their decisions, and hold considerable powers of discipline over their members.
Each city and municipality in Catalaunia has a municipal duma, with powers similar to those of the regional and provincial zemstvos. All property and business owners, and tax-paying residents, whether artisans, workmen, or professionals, are enrolled on lists in a descending order according to their assessed wealth. The total valuation is then divided into three equal parts, representing three groups of electors very unequal in number, each of which elects an equal number of delegates to the duma. Municipal dumas, however, are, like the zemstvos, subordinate bodies: they are subject to the mayor of their respective municipality, who is in turn subject to the governors. The duma, nevertheless, passes all municipal resolutions and ordnances, sets the municipal budget, and provides for the daily operation of the municipal administration. The mayor, who serves as the chief executive of the municipality, also acts as Chairman of the Council.
The largest cities in the Empire, such as Moscow, St. Petersburg, Kiev, Helsinki, Stockholm, Warsaw, Istanbul, Sofia, Bucharest, Taskhent, Almaty, Tbilsi, Yerevan, Ulaanbaatar, Vladivostok, and Harbin, possess a administrative council and municipal manager in addition to the duma and mayor. Each city also has a Chief of Police, answering to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and responsible for general law enforcement.
The judicial system of the Catalaunian Empire, codified principally in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, is based off French and English models. It is built off certain broad principles, including the judicial and administrative functions, the publicity of trials and oral procedure, the equality of all judges before the law, and the professionalism of the judges and courts. The jury system is used for major cases, while some judges are elected (by the municipal dumas and zemstvos), some appointed. Under the system, there are two wholly separate orders of tribunals, each having their own courts of appeal and coming into contact only in the Senate, as the supreme court of cassation. The first of these, based on the English model, are the courts of the elected judges of the peace, with jurisdiction over petty crimes, whether criminal or civil; the second, based on the French model, are the ordinary tribunals of appointed judges, sitting with or without a jury to hear important cases.