The Republic of Karelia is a survivor nation in the historical region of Karelia, located in the northeastern corner of Europe, along the border between the former Soviet Union and Finland. Cut off from the outside world in the aftermath of Doomsday, it was established as an independent state in 1988.
Pre-Doomsday, the area that constitute the modern borders of Karelia had been taken from Finland during the Winter War in 1939. In 1941 Karelia was re-conquered for three years during the Continuation War 1941-1944 when East Karelia was also occupied by the Finns. The Winter War and the resulting Soviet expansion caused considerable bitterness in Finland, which lost its second biggest city, Viipuri, its industrial heartland along the river Vuoksi, the Saimaa canal that connected central Finland to the Gulf of Finland, access to the fishing waters of Lake Ladoga (Finnish: Laatokka), and made an eighth of her citizens refugees without chance of return.
As a consequence of the peace treaty, the Karelian ASSR was incorporated with the Karelo-Finnish SSR 1941-1956, after which it became an ASSR again. Karelia was the only Soviet republic that was "demoted" from an SSR to an ASSR within the Russian SFR. Unlike autonomous republics, soviets republics had the constitutional right to secede. The possible fear of secession, as well as the Russian ethnic majority in Karelia may have resulted in its "demolition."
Although the Karelian region was spared nuclear attack (except for the destruction of an air base just outside of the Karelian ASSR capital of Petrozavodsk), it faced the twin threats of fallout from the Leningrad attacks and thousands of Soviet citizens desperately fleeing for the Finnish border. The vaunted Finnish Border Guard tried to stem the tide of refugees into Finland, but to no avail. The Finnish government, having to deal with the riots and general hysteria in Helsinki and other cities, were unable to send any reinforcements.
What survived of Soviet-controlled South Karelia tried to desperately stop the major influx of refugees into this surviving region, as well as Finland. Cooperation between the Finnish Border Guard and surviving officials soon started in the region. However, most of the East Karelian ASSR, which would soon become Soviet Karelia, denounced their southern brothers and decided to cut ties between the two regions, as well rebuff any Finnish help.
Times were bleak in the first couple of years in Western Karelia. The Finnish border soon collapsed and most Finnish forces retreated westward, so West Karelia bore the brunt of the fleeing masses. However, officials managed to keep some semblance of a community in place. The winter that came, along with widespread hunger and radiation sickness quickly dealt with most of incoming citizens, as well as those native to the region.
A couple of years after Doomsday, the local officials were still in place. Fishing and hunting soon became vital for the survival of many of the still present population. Seeing that no help would come, the region opted to officially become independent in May of 1988, proclaiming themselves the Republic of Karelia. A constitution was drafted by early January of 1989, while presidential elections were held in mid-1989. The government did not officially denounce communism as most resources were state-controlled. They did, however, proclaim freedom of speech, religion and press.
After the constituting of the Republic, a tense situation started to develop between the Republic of Karelia and Eastern Karelia, which had started to call itself the Provisional Soviet Socialist Republic of Russia. It insisted it was the legitimate successor of the USSR and demanded the Republic become a part of the PSSRR, which the Karelians decided not to do. What little contact with the PSSRR that was maintained ceased on that day.
Re-establishing contact with Finland
No word came from Finland for much of the nineties and the Republic of Karelia feared the worst had happened. It was not until late 1996, that an expedition from Finland came to the borders of Karelia. The Karelians were overjoyed by establishing contact with another country, as it had been seven years since ties with the PSSRR were severed. They were pleased to see that all of the Nordic countries survived the war and even established a joint multinational union. Trade picked off soon thereafter, which heartened the republic. However, all was not well with their northern neighbor, Soviet Karelia, which was displeased by the survival of Scandinavia, especially Norway, as it was a former NATO member.
The Second Winter War
Fearing its citizens would soon demand freedom and equality which would destabilize their power over the country, PSSRR officials initiated armed conflict with the Republic of Karelia and, to a lesser extent, the Nordic Union in spring of 1997. Although most of their equipment was decrepit, it managed to gain significant victories in the RoK, as it too mostly relied on ex-Soviet weapons, but they did not have the strict training of the PSSRR, as it wielded a mostly volunteer army. Things were extremely bleak for the RoK, but strong resistance in occupied territories, together with aid being given by the Nordic Union, quickly weakened the PSSRR's resolve and the conflict went off again on again for the next two years, but lacked the rapid gains Soviet Karelia had in its initial attacks.
The conflict ended in June 1999, the agreement being:
- Soviet Karelia would cease all attacks and return occupied territory to the RoK.
- Trade would once again commence between the two countries, as well as an exchange of ambassadors.
- Soviet Karelia would receive aid from the NU, alongside the RoK.
- A small contingent of NU armed forces would be stationed on the RoK-PSSRR border to ensure the peace would be kept.
The peace agreement signed in 1999 had been in place for the remainder of the time the PSSRR was active, even though the country held a grudge against the RoK. The increase in co-operation between the USSR and Soviet Karelia worried Karelia, as it feared a takeover similar to that of Aralia earlier in 2011. The RoK has pushed for membership in the Nordic Union ever since it came into contact with Finland in 1996 and on August 10th, 2010, the Republic of Karelia was formally admitted into the organization. Fears of being attacked by neighboring Siberia, ever since their expansion in the area, have been on the rise, as the initial meeting between the two countries saw seven border guards killed in what the USSR calls an accident. The border has remained closed between them since then.
Their application to join the Atlantic Defense Community is still being considered.
Most of its economic resources have been devoted to sustenance farming and fishing, while it still receives significant aid from the Nordic Union as one of its newest members. Processing industries, like woodworking and pulp-and-paper contribute largely to the economy of the country.
The countries army is mostly voluntary, although in times of need military involvement is obligatory. The army currently has around 10,000 volunteers, mostly on its border with the USSR. It is headed by surviving ex-Soviet military personnel sympathetic to its democratic government. Currently it hopes that more Nordic Union members will contribute to modernizing its army, as well as helping create a new, professional armed forces.
Most of its population is Russian, as it was before the Doomsday. However, there has been a rise in people declaring themselves to be Karelian and there has been a revival of the Karelian language and culture and today around 30-35% of Karelia's citizens claim to be Karelian. Other nationalities include Finns as well as an Estonian minority.
The Republic of Karelia is currently not a part of the League of Nations, as the Siberians block membership. They are a part of the Nordic Union and have applied for membership in the Atlantic Defense Community.
Nordic concerns with the situation were a motivator in their pressuring the rest of the ADC to seek out a ceasefire rather than subduing the Sicilians completely in the Second Sicily War.