The Republic of Rhodope is the self-declared democratic successor state to the People's Republic of Bulgaria, based around the city of Smolyan in the Rhodope Mountains of southern Bulgaria, controlling parts of Western Bulgaria and a small amount elsewhere as well. They have also taken control, at least for the time being, of parts of the Rhodope Mountains south of the former border with Greece.
- See main article: History of Rhodope
The government of the republic is composed of a unicameral legislature, under a Prime Minister, and a President, who is elected by the people separately. The legislature consists of 55 seats - 15 for Smolyan province, 10 combined for Blagoevgrad and Pazardzhik provinces, 10 combined for Plovdiv and Haskovo provinces, and 10 for Kardzhali province. The remaining ten belong to the Greek areas under the terms of the agreement that was made when they joined. For elections, most of the seats are elected by riding, except in the Greek territory in which it is by proportional representation. The current parties in the legislature are:
Party for Law and Order: A conservative party dedicated to restoring law and order in Bulgaria, and part of the official opposition. The current president is of this party.
Freedom Party: A centrist party which is largely composed of Bulgarian Muslims and whatever Turks that do not support the Turkish League. It currently forms the majority of the government coalition of Rhodope, and its leader is the Prime Minister.
Rhodope Socialist Party: A left-wing party which has seen its support drop drastically over the last decade and a half.
National Patriotic Party: A far-right nationalistic party, they have seen their support increase as the support for the Socialist Party has decreased. Part of the official opposition.
Union of Greeks: A Greek-nationalist Party that gets most of its support from the Greek-speaking areas of Rhodope. Forms part of the government coalition. Holds pro-Greece views.
Party Roma: A moderate party that represents the Roma minority of Rhodope. Forms part of the government coalition.
Turkish League: A Turkish Nationalist Party that desires an alliance with the Turkish Sultanate and a cooling of relations with Greece.
The Greens: The newest political party in Rhodope, they favor anything to do with protecting the environment. Forms part of the government coalition.
The Legislature currently consists of:
|Name||Ideology||Foundation||Seats in the Legislature|
|Party for Law and Order||Conservatism||1988||15|
|Union of Greeks||Greek Nationalism||1986||8|
|National Patriotic Party||Far-right Nationalism||1991||4|
|Rhodope Socialist Party||Democratic Socialism||1986||3|
|Turkish League||Turkish Nationalism||1995||1|
Government: 32 seats Official Opposition: 19 seats Other: 4 seats
Several tiny parties, such as fascist parties and those opposed to several various nation-states, also exist, though they have no representation in the legislature and membership is exponentially nil for all purposes. The Communist Party has been banned since the late 1980s, though it is believed to have some sort of small underground membership.
Rhodope is divided into provinces, the boundaries of which are based upon the Okrug boundaries that had existed since the end of the Second World War. These are generally named after the capital of the province, but not always. While the whole of Bulgaria is claimed - and has been provisionally mapped into provinces - the following are the only ones in existence at this time:
|Blagoevgrad||Gotse Delchev||Southeastern areas of former Blagoevgrad Province||Much of the areas in the west of the former province are under military control|
|Greek Autonomous Region||Kato Nevrokopi||Parts of the Drama and Xanthi Prefuctures of Greece||Area of Greece under Rhodopian control|
|Haskovo||Haskovo||Western areas of former Haskovo Province||Reconstruction is ongoing in the region|
|Kardzhali||Kardzhali||Pre-Doomsday Kardzhali Province||Reconstruction is ongoing|
|Pazardzhik||Velingrad||Southeastern two-thirds of the former province of Pazardzhik||Capital will be moved to Pazardzhik once it has been repaired|
|Plovdiv||Asenovgrad||Areas south and west of Plovdiv||Reconstruction towards Plovdiv is ongoing|
|Smolyan||Smolyan||Pre-Doomsday Smolyan Province||Capital of the country is in Smolyan as well|
|Stara Zagora||Chirpan||Small southwestern area of former Stara Zagora province||Very recently re-established|
Several other regional administrations have been established, called okrugs, and are the equivalents of territories, based at army outposts, bases and a few areas where survivors from the Soviet rampages could be found. They are currently small in population and have no representation in the Legislature, but are expected to grow quickly in the next few years. Provinces will be fashioned out of them eventually. They are:
|Avren||Bliznatsi||Areas south of the former city of Varna||Responsible for recovery operations in Varna, possible future port|
|Belene||Belene||Belene Island and nearby areas of the riverbank||River security, future port and prison|
|Bor||Negotin||Parts of the former state of Serbia||Northern half of the territory gained in the Second Yugoslav War|
|Gabrovo||Kravenik||Parts of what used to be Gabrovo Province||Surviving local village|
|Jerma||Tran||Parts of what was once Pernik Province||Military Camp|
|Kyustendil||Kyustendil||Parts of what was once Kyustendil Province||Military Camp|
|Lukovit||Lukovit||Parts of the former Lovech Province of Bulgaria||Surviving local villages|
|Mezdra||Mezdra||Areas south of the ruins of Vratsa||Armed outpost against bandits formerly operating in the ruins|
|Montana||Ferdinand||The area around the ruins of the communist city of Mihaylovgrad||Former headquarters for the armies besieging Vidin|
|Nesebar||Nesebar||Areas northeast from the Burgas blast zone||Future Port and current military outpost|
|Pirot||Caribrod||Parts of the former state of Serbia||Southern half of the territory gained in the Second Yugoslav War|
|Pleven||Iskar||Parts of the former Pleven Province of Bulgaria||Surviving local villages|
|Sandanski||Sandanski||Southwestern portions of former Blagoevgrad Province||Military Camp|
|Simitli||Simitli||Northwestern portions of former Blagoevgrad Province||Military Camp|
|Smyadovo||Smyadovo||Southeastern portions of former Shumen Province||Remnants of the Islamic Republic of Gerlovo, outpost for recovery operations in the northeast|
|Sofia||Elin Pelin||Areas east and south of the ruins of Sofia||Responsible for recovery operations in Sofia|
|Svoge||Svoge||Areas north of the ruins of Sofia||Secondary site for local recovery operations at Sofia|
|Teteven||Teteven||Parts of the former Lovech Province of Bulgaria||Surviving local villages|
|Treklyano||Treklyano||Parts of what was once Kyustendil Province||Military Camp|
|Tundzha||Okop||Area south of the ruins of Yambol||Responsible for recovery operations in Yambol|
|Vidin||Belogradchik||Parts of the former state of Vidin||Taken in the Rhodope-Vidin War.|
|Yadrenata||Kozloduy||Region around the Kozloduy power plant||Rhodopian river port|
Due to the war and the general situation in the region, Rhodope has long had a larger military force than one would expect from its size - some 80,000 men and women, nearly a quarter of its population. Most of these have been deployed for action in the war, or in support of it, with the remainder manning the border defenses and various outposts. Since their establishment, the military has built these defenses up into medieval-style fortresses, blocking off intruders from entry through the passes. With the end of warfare, most have been redeployed towards other tasks, such as Thrace, rebuilding towns and cities, and moving somewhat into eastern Bulgaria, establishing a base for a future port at Nesebar. With the end of the war, due to casualties and people leaving the army, along with new recruits from the prisoners, it now totals some 42,000 men and women, roughly.
A light aircraft, recovered near Plovdiv in 2005, have been refurbished with help from Greece and are currently flown by the Rhodopian Army on scouting missions, largely in the past in support of their operations against Vidin. There used to be a second, but it was lost due to a refurbished missile during the fighting. It is hoped that more will be located or purchased to aid with reconstruction in the east, where the surviving plane has been moved to.
A small fleet of motor launches operating under the Army has also been launched in the Danube near Vidin, armed with heavy machine guns, at first in an attempt to interdict Vidinite operations there. With the end of the war, it is unknown as to what they be used for, but with the increased likelihood of trade on the river in the future, they are likely to stay in the area.
Over the last decade the army has established several armed camps and outposts throughout the war-zone in the general area of Bulgaria between Rhodope and Vidin, based around surviving villages and the ruins of towns, in an attempt to eliminate any supplies that could be taken by Vidin troops and keep surviving civilians in the region safe. However, this control does not extend into the countryside unless a convoy is moving through the area. These actions have been condemned, and have as of yet kept them out of the LoN, though they do have an application pending that will be considered in December, now that the war is over.
After several failed attempts over the last decade, the Army finally managed to acquire the heavy artillery needed to bust through the border defenses, and later on the fortified cities, by adding some older tanks to the mix. After their success in the task, the artillery was moved back to Smolyan, while the tanks were sent to the Macedonian border outposts to strengthen them.
The economy of Rhodope is based off of the timber and mineral wealth found in the mountains, as well as farming and the raising of livestock.
In recent years, industrial machines removed from the ruins of destroyed cities - especially Plovdiv and Sofia - have been refurbished and placed in factories where they have started to produce goods alongside those machines that had already existed there. However, at this time these cannot produce much.
Besides natural resources, exports largely consist of textiles, machine tools, and skiing equipment, which has become highly prized for its craftsmanship. Any other industrial goods are only exported in small amounts, if at all.
With the offensive in 2001, Rhodope was finally able to send troops to check on the Kozloduy Nuclear Power Plant, east from Vidin on the Danube. It was found to not be in working order due to age, but it is hoped it can be repaired in the future; a garrison was left there to mind the plant, and it is also where the river fleet is based. The plant engineers were able to prevent it from blowing its top after Doomsday, so this is a realistic hope.
The University of Smolyan, the state university, was established in 1998 under Plamen Dimitrov Mitev, a History Professor who escaped the destruction of Sofia. While primarily an arts university, it also has a large engineering faculty.
Due to the somewhat unique makeup of the Rhodope mountains, outside of the Greek areas of the nation-state a majority of the population identifies themselves as Bulgarian, a plurality of which also identify themselves as Muslims. The rest generally follow the Orthodox Church, or one variety or another, though a fair number of atheists still exist.
A sizable portion of the population, especially in Kardzhali Province, are of Turkish ethnicity as well, though they are not very religious by nature.
The number of Greeks and the amount of usage of the Greek Language, have also been on the rise as of late due to the Greek presence in the country and the influence of Greece upon the area.
While they are still negatively treated in some corners, the multi-ethnic nature of the state has allowed the Roma to prosper somewhat, leading to a trickle immigrating here from elsewhere.
Territorial gains made as a result of the Second Yugoslav War now mean that there is a fairly large Serbian minority in areas of northwestern Rhodope as well. any of them, however, are leaving the area.
Rhodope applied to join the LoN early on, but the application was put on hold pending the end of the Vidin War. It was thought that with Greek and Transylvanian support, however, it would be approved at the council meeting on December 6th, and then quickly passed by the Assembly, formally allowing them entry into the League of Nations. They were formally admitted on January 1st, 2011.
They have also put out feelers with Greece as to joining the Atlantic Defense Community in some fashion, but this was on hold as well for the same reasons as LoN membership. With Greek support, it was thought that they will join the organization sometime after the end of the war with Sicily. This was shown accurate when on December 20th, 2010, they formally applied with Greek support.
Relations with the Greeks are fairly cordial, and there has been an exchange of embassies. Extensive trade occurs between the two, despite rumblings about the Greek territory under temporary administration of Rhodope. As a result of a 1998 agreement brokered by the Church, they also play a significant role in the governance of the Thrace Reclamation Zone, where forces returning from the war have been sent under the agreement, as of the end of October, to relieve Greek forces inside Bulgarian-majority areas of the Zone. In addition, it was rumored for a long time that this quasi-alliance was in negotiations to be more formalized, and it was announced on July 15th, 2011, that it had been, with the signing of the Treaty of Skyros. It is thought that this will improve their chances at joining the ADC.
Macedonia is also in extensive contact, though communications can be intermittent due to the war-zone between the two. Rhodope has purchased arms from them from time to time, though it is a fairly common belief that they have also sold it to the Vidinites. This has hurt relations. The demands of the National Patriotic Party with regards to tearing up the treaty and "taking rightful Bulgarian territory" in Macedonia itself does not help, either. Embassies have been exchanged, however.
The Turkish Sultanate is treated with distrust, for it is believed to be funding the radical Turkish League Party.
As a result of piracy of their military supplies, Rhodope would love a crack at the Sicilians as well.
Serbia was a special case. Prior to the July 2011 Coup, there was distrust - the Serbian government, or at least elements in it, both took in and refused to surrender the last Vidinite forces to the Rhodopian government. Afterwards, with the role the Vidinites played in the Serbian coup, it got worse. Relations were officially broken off on July 29th when the new Serbian leadership, following meeting with the Vidinite leaders, announced that they were recognizing the Vidinites as the legitimate government of Bulgaria, emboldening their resistance inside the former territory of Vidin, and leading to the Freedom Square attacks in April, 2012, and the entrance of Rhodope, Partium, and Transylvania in the Second Yugoslav War. Victory in that war meant the dissolution of Serbia, and Rhodopian annexation of some territory.
An embassy does exist in Transylvania, though its attempts to gain military support against Vidin proved largely frivolous. They did, however, eventually decide to lend some of their river boats in support, wanting to prevent any soldiers from the dissolving Vidinite military from crossing the river into their territory. A confirmation of the border has been made, however. Rhodope also supports the inclusion of the Transylvanians in the Thrace Reclamation Zone.
Embassies have been built in several other countries in the region, such as the Alpine Confederation, Crimea and Israel as well. Relations are decent, and are now improving with the end of open warfare.
There were also rumors of some sort of state in northeastern Bulgaria for a long time, though until June of 2011 Rhodopian expeditions had yet to find any such thing. However, a reasonable portion of the former nation north of the remains of Burgas, outside of the coastline, mapped by ships from elsewhere, remains unexplored, so it is plausible that it exists, or at least did so at some point, which was confirmed in June of 2011 with the discovery of its tiny remnants at the town of Smyadovo.
After weeks of negotiations at Vize, on August 31st, 2011, the creation of a Black Sea League was jointly announced by Rhodope, Crimea, Transylvania, and the Greek Federation. Under the terms of the Accords, the construction ongoing at the coast of a port will get more Greek funding, and some will also be supplied for reclamation efforts.