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The Eritrean Workers' State (Russian: Эритрейское Рабочее Государство, Eritreyskoye Rabocheye Gosudarstvo; Tigrinya: የሰራተኞች ሃገረ ኤርትራ, yäsäratäñočə hagärä ʾerətəra), colloquially known as Eritrea (Эритрея, Eritreya; ኤርትራ, ʾerətəra), and abbreviated as the E.W.S. (Э.Р.Г., E.R.G.); is a sovereign state located in the Horn of Africa. The nation is bordered in the northwest by Sudan, in the south by Ethiopia and French Somaliland.
Eritrea began as a colony of the Russian Empire, being established as a fuelling station to assure easy and faster access with their North American colonies. The African colony would see an influx of Russian refugees following the collapse of the Empire. The anti-communist state would eventually align themselves with Fascist Italy, only to be annexed years later. Joseph Stalin demanded the return of Eritrea following World War II, which would become another satellite state of the Soviet Union.
Prior to the 1860s, the territorial expansion of the Russian Empire was done so via land-based conquests (with the main exception being Alaska). This would end after a series of gold rushes across Russian America, increasing the imperial importance of these territories and assuring continued contact with them. With the completion of the Suez Canal in 1869, the distances involved was greatly shortened between Russia Proper and its American territories (as a Trans-Siberian route was not feasible at the time).
Beginning in 1869 (emboldened by the recent acquisition of British Columbia), attempts were made by the Russian Empire to establish a fuelling station in the Horn of Africa. Agreements were made with local Danakil chiefs, who offered to sell their lands to the Russians. As the region was also sought after by the British, the French, and the Italians; the Russian Steam Navigation and Trading Company agreed to purchase and administer the territorial claims. The Russians claims were originally limited to Asab and surrounding areas, but would later be allowed to expand northward into the Bogos with British permission (fearing French expansion). As the region possessed a large Christian population, Russian academics and missionaries began flocking to the area. Relations between Russia and the Ethiopian Empire were established during this time.
Beginning in the late 1800s, the Russian Empire began to modernize and resettle the territory (especially in the northern interior). A railroad connecting the coastal city of Massava and the colonial capital of Asmara began in 1887. A few years later, Nikolay Achinov and two hundred Cossacks would re-purpose an abandoned Egyptian fort along the railway and establish the city of New Moscow. With the borders settled and growing interest in resettling Russians in the area, the imperial government formally organized the territory in 1890 as the Eritrea Oblast.
Independence and Italian Occupation
As a consequence of the Russian Revolutions in 1917, Russian refugees began flocking to Eritrea. Unlike Alaska, the African colony would [initially] remain supportive of the Russian government. Contact fizzled after the Bolsheviks took control in November, with the colony becoming the de facto independent state (the Eritrean State). A government was quickly established, with Vasily Gurko (the former Chief-of-Staff of the Imperial Army) being appointed as President. Despite this, it was widely believed that Eritrean independence would only be temporary, as they hoped to either be reintegrated into Russia (once the Communists were defeated) or to form some kind of cooperation with Alaska (both never materializing).
As the Soviet Union fully took control over the Eurasian territories of the former empire, the Western Powers (in particular the British and the Italians) fully backed Eritrean independence. Relations with Italy became stronger during the first decade of Benito Mussolini's rule. This alliance ended in 1937 with the Italian invasion and annexation of both Ethiopia and Eritrea. The war would become the first time that chemical weapons were since World War I. Under Italian occupation, the region would experience a second wave of immigration (this time from Italians) and development. As World War II started off, the Russian language and culture became suppressed and the large Jewish population became ostracized and later deported to Europe as part of the Holocaust.
Despite being internationally condemned from the start, very little was done to prevent the invasion (fearing a wider conflict). Ironically, the most aid provided to Eritrea came from the Soviet Union and prominent Eritrean communists (such as Boris Suvorin and Anzhelika Balabanova). A guerilla campaign would take place for the next decade.
Italian rule would end following World War II. While initially under British occupation, the Soviet Union argued for the return of Eritrea as a trust territory (due to the pre-established Russian presence). The USSR would quickly work to establish Eritrea as a communist satellite state. Independence was achieved in September 1952, with general Zinovy Peshkov being appointed as the first chairman of the new worker's state. During the Cold War, Eritrea would prop-up communist movements within Africa.
In 1987, Isay Afeverki would replace Aman Andomov as chairman. Despite hopes of reforms (akin to the reforms of Mikhail Gorbachev), Afeverki's leadership would prove inept to handle the global changes. This became more apparent after the collapse of the USSR and the end of Soviet economic backing. In response to the economic hardships of Eritrea, the Afeverki government would crack down on protests and began to cut themselves off from the rest of the world. With the potential collapse of the nation at stake, a coup would remove Afeverki from power in 1996. After a brief military junta (headed by Sebkhat Yefremov), Aleksey Violante is appointed as the new chairman. Nicknamed "the Judge" (for his knowledge of law and fight for justice), Violante would implement well-needed reforms and go after political corruption. Similar to Gorbachev a decade prior, elements of Glasnost and Perestroika (though in a manner to avoid the problems of the USSR). This would include more governmental transparency, loosening of censorship, and allowing for small private businesses.
- Asmara Oblast (Asmara)
- Assab Oblast (Assab)
- Balabanovsk Oblast (Balabanovsk)
- Dakhlak Oblast (Veliky Dakhlak)
- Danakil Oblast (Tiyo)
- Gannibalovka Oblast (Gannibalovka)
- Karkabad Oblast (Karkabad)
- Krasnoselsk Oblast (Krasnoselsk)
- Massava Oblast (Massava)
- Nakfa Oblast (Nakfa)
- New Moscow Oblast (New Moscow)
- Suvoringrad Oblast (Suvoringrad)
- Tesseney Oblast (Tesseney)