The Republic of Kalmykia is a country located in the northernmost areas of the Caucasus, To the west it borders the Don Republic, and the Republic of Dagestan lies a short distance to the south.
The ancestors of the Kalmyks, the Oirats, migrated from the steppes of southern Siberia on the banks of the Irtysh River to the Lower Volga region. The Kalmyks settled in the wide open steppes from Saratov in the north to Astrakhan on the Volga delta in the south and to the Terek River in the southwest. This area under Kalmyk control would eventually be called the Kalmyk Khanate. Within 25 years of settling in the lower Volga region, the Kalmyks became subjects of the Tsar. The Kalmyk Khanate reached its peak of military and political power under Ayuka Khan (1669–1724). During his era, the Kalmyk Khanate fulfilled its responsibility to protect the southern borders of Russia and conducted many military expeditions against its Turkic-speaking neighbors. After the death of Ayuka Khan, the Tsarist government implemented policies that gradually chipped away at the autonomy of the Kalmyk Khanate. Catherine the Great abolished the Kalmyk Khanate after many Kalmyks left in a failed attempt to return to their homeland, transferring all governmental powers to the Governor of Astrakhan.
After the October Revolution in 1917, many Kalmyks joined the White Russian army and fought during the Russian Civil War. Before the Red Army broke through to the Crimean Peninsula, a large group of Kalmyks fled from Russia. In the summer of 1919, Lenin issued an appeal to the Kalmyk people, calling for them to aid the Red Army. Lenin promised to provide the Kalmyks, among other things, a sufficient quantity of land for their own use. The promise came to fruition on November 4, 1920 when a resolution was passed proclaiming the formation of the Kalmyk Autonomous Oblast. Contrary to the proclamations of the Executive Committee and of the Bolshevik propaganda slogan promising the "right of nations to self determination," the Oblast and its successor government were not autonomous governing bodies. In spite of the efforts of Soviet authorities to gain popular support, the Kalmyk people remained loyal first and foremost to their traditional leaders. In 1931, Stalin ordered the collectivization of farms in the area, closed the Buddhist monasteries, and burned the Kalmyks' religious texts. The forced collectivization was unsuited to the Kalmyk temperament and was a social, economic, and cultural disaster.
On June 22, 1941 the German army successfully invaded the Soviet Union. By August 12, 1942 the German Army had captured Elista. After capturing the Kalmyk territory, German army officials established a propaganda campaign with the assistance of Kalmyk nationalists, including white Kalmyk exiles. But by December 1942, the Soviet Red Army retook the Kalmyk ASSR, forcing the Kalmyks assigned to those units to flee, in some cases, with their wives and children in hand. On December 27, 1943, Soviet authorities declared the Kalmyk people guilty of cooperation with the German Army and ordered the deportation of the entire Kalmyk population. Due to their widespread dispersal in Siberia their language and culture suffered possibly irreversible decline. Khrushchev finally allowed their return in 1957, when they found their homes, jobs and land occupied by imported Russians and Ukrainians, who remained. In the following years bad planning of agricultural and irrigation projects resulted in widespread desertification, and economically nonviable industrial plants were constructed. The Kalmyks, however, did eventually manage to become the largest ethnic group in the area again by 1983.
Kalmykia was not nuked on Doomsday, and was just affected by small amounts of radioactive dust and rain coming from the direction of Rostov, as well as refugees from the strike on Astrakhan.
Much of the eastern areas of the republic were overrun in the months after Doomsday by refugees from the strikes on Astrakhan and the surrounding region. However, many of the native Kalmyks were able to flee in advance of this wave.
Still, some died in this wave of violence - and others died from the lack of various supplies, or radiation poisoning. Some of the refugees also made it to the safe territories, and were added to the population - but many would not make it.
The mainly Buddhist republic declared independence on January 6, 1984, happy because of Soviet collapse and now free to openly believe in their religion once again.
As a result of the devastation in the eastern parts of the republic, there were many homeless Kalmyks - the southeast portions of the neighboring Rostov Oblast were thus annexed in the chaos that existed in that area. These homeless citizens then settled in the area. This area would eventually form the border region between the republic and the Don Cossack state.
Due to the destruction of the religious centers after the Second World War - and now with the end of Soviet power in the area - when the people began to look towards their old religion again, they needed to re-establish the temples. In order to achieve this, a small expedition was sent eastwards in 1986, in the hope it would manage to make contact with the Buddhists there, who the Kalmyks viewed as the leaders of their religion.
It may have taken years, but the survivors of this expedition arrived in Tibet, having braved radiation, brigands, the wilds, and the weather, in 1988, just as the conflict there was winding up. Amazed to see travelers from so very far away, the Dali Lama granted them an audience, and they told him all about their reasons for making the dangerous journey from Kalmykia.
His heart was gladdened to hear that loyal followers still existed outside of the Indian subcontinent, but was dismayed to discover the conditions that they had to worship under - no guidance, temple, or anything of the sort. He promised to send them back, with some help and guards, after his troubles in Tibet were over.
After the war had ended, he introduced them to the man who would be entrusted with helping them - Erdne Ombadykow, a native Kalmyk who had been born in the United States and had been studying under the Lama since the late seventies. He also entrusted their care with a reinforced platoon of soldiers. They would leave in midsummer, before the snows came and blocked the passes again.
Before leaving, however, the Lama entrusted a small relic of Buddha to Ombadykow, which the temple in Elista that was to be built would be built around. However, no others were to be told about this until they arrived there safely. This relic today attracts a few pilgrims from Tibet each year, guarded by soldiers from the PRMDS, who have managed to make the long and difficult trip from Tibet. They would arrive back in Elista to much jubilation in 1991, largely intact.
And, while it would take some time, the main temple would be finished by the end of the decade. Today, many smaller temples are being constructed throughout the republic as well.
Kaspiysky, a city almost on the Caspian that had been overrun in the months after Doomsday, has begun to be rebuilt in later years, slightly closer to the Sea so that it can be used for a port.
Geography and Fauna
Kalmykia's natural resources include coal, oil, and natural gas, though after the events of Doomsday these are of a much smaller value in the area than before the events.
The republic's wildlife includes the famous Saiga Antelope, whose habitat is protected in the Cherny Zemli Nature Reserve.
The republic largely survives on agriculture, as well as a small trade in fuels with the Don Republic.
Temple-building as of late has proven to be something that is expanding the economy, and the small amount of Buddhist pilgrims arriving to view the relic every year helps as well.
Prospects of trade, and easier passage to Tibet, are driving the building of the new port at Kaspiysky, though it will likely remain small for years to come.
The official religion of the country is Buddhism and it is believed to be the only country on the European continent that is Buddhist.
Handball and Chess are the most important activities in the country today, and they are quite good at them, as seen by the recent success in Women's Handball at the Europa Games. Outside observers also believe that their chess champion would easily win any international chess championship held today.
For all practical purposes, Kalmykia has no military. They have done their best to keep what remaining military hardware there is on their territory intact, but besides that they have little use for it, other than to keep their meager militia forces equipped well enough to fight off bandits. Primarily, their security work is taken care of by Mercenaries, largely from the PRMDS.
Kalmykia is not a member of the League of Nations, because like the other nations in the area, Siberia claims them as part of its territory and blocks their entry, despite their peaceful nature and hard lobbying by Tibet.
They also routinely hire mercenaries from the Private Response and Military Defense Service (PRMDS) to protect pilgrims traveling between the area and Tibet, as the few people willing to be soldiers in the republic are needed there.
Kalmykia has been working to align itself with the Russian Confederacy in recent years, as their lack of a "real" military and the inability to forge one of their own due to their beliefs worries them greatly. It is believed by outsiders that they will soon formally ask for their protection.