Let's assume, that Russian history *here* and *there* has been more or less the same until the beginning of the Great War in 1914. I've been reading the thread on Conculture about it carefully, but couldn't find much about Russia. I presume, that the political map of Europe by the time the Great War started was more or less the same *there* as *here*. *Here* we had the Central alliance, composed of Germany, Austro-Hungary, Bulgaria and the Ottoman Empire, fighting against the rest, in particular France, England, Russia, and Italy. Although politically Russia had a lot in common with the Central powers, for various - mainly geopolitical - reasons it ended up in the allied camp. But although Russia really did its best in the struggle with Germany and Austro-Hungary, partly because of the czar himself's incompetent military leadership Russia eventually had to surrender.
This is where it starts to be interesting. *Here* the conditions of the peace treaty of Brest-Litovsk were at least partly undone after Germany and Austro-Hungary lost the war after all. But in Ill Bethisad the War ended in a stale-mate, as a result of which the pre-war borders were restored. Now, we could assume that this were the case only in the west. In that case Russia still would have been the scene of a civil war between:
- the former provisional government that was liberal/social-democratic in signature and led by Kerensky;
- the Bolsheviks, who had seized power *there* exactly at the same time and in the same manner as they have *here*;
- the pro-czarist White forces, led by generals like Denikin and Kolchak;
- the so-called Green forces, consisting of several loose formations without a clear political agenda.
I see three possibilities for an alternative history *there*:
- The civil war carries on and on and on, and after eight years, when the country is completely bankrupt and ruined, they finally give up; the country is then divided into numerous bigger and small states of various political signature, since every general got his own state.
Well, this doesn't really meet your criterion of 70 years of ideocratic rule, so let's skip it.
- History goes on the way it did *here*: the Bolsheviks maintain their power and consolidate it all over the country. But Lenin does not die prematurely. Instead, at the age of 78 he benevolently hands over power to the relatively young, talented and ambitious Bukharin. Before that, Stalin had already been expelled from all power he had in 1927, before he disappeared completely; Trotsky, until his death in 1940, had been Lenin's loyal prime minister.
My opinion about this possibility: possible but boring. And the outcome would probably have been more or less the same anyway, on the long term. So let's forget about this one and carry on with option nr. 3, definitely my favourite:
- With the help of German regiments that had gotten their hands free after the peaceful end of the war in the West, the pro-czarist White army succeeded in gaining power over the Bolsheviks. The entire leadership of the communist party and the Red Army was either executed or had to escape the country (mostly to the neighbouring countries in Central Europe, where they would fruitlessly try to mobilize support for their lost cause during the next decades); a few or them went underground. [Many fled to the far east where, with Japanese help, they established the Soviet Socialist Republic of Siberia, and later, after the fall of the SSRS, fled to Chukotka and Alyaska]
The generals' initial intention had been to restore the power of the czar, but the royal family had lost much of its support because of the fiasco in the Great War, for which they were held personally responsible. Besides, the czar and his family had been wiped out by the Bolsheviks anyway (in a strange way, the generals were grateful to them for that fact) [Or else, at least some of them end up sponging off the English royal family. There is talk, after the ideocracy is overthrown, of restoring the Czar, so there has to be an heir somewhere around. That he was raised in England and has become thoroughly Anglicised is of no help to the Restorationists.]. So they started to looked out for acceptable replacement. But soon they found out that the czar's next in kin was a certain Jack Romanov, a poor flower salesman in Brooklyn NY whose grandparents had crossed the ocean about seventy years earlier. [Possible, but may not be likely - I would doubt the SLC has the same open door immigration policy he USA had. This is not to say it's impossible, however!] Neither Jack, who had repeatedly showed left-wing sympathies, nor his feeble-minded younger brother Bobby, were acceptable candidates for the generals.
At this point, they decided to keep the power for themselves and to rule the country by a junta-like collective body, the White Council.
During the first years of their leadership, ideology didn't play an major role, apart from phrases about "rebuilding Russia" and "restoring our national pride". But the country was still heavily damaged as a result of two wars; people suffered hunger; and the popularity of their left-wing opponents grew steadily. The generals were realistic enough to realize that revolutionary spirit was still in the air, and that the catastrophal year 1917 could easily repeat itself. Thus, in an attempt to gain popular support (and to avoid a new civil war) they founded the Union for the National Rebirth of Russia (_Soyuz Narodnovo Odrozhdeniya Rossii_, SNOR).
The program of the SNOR was ardently nationalist. The generals portrayed Russia as the poor victim of the rich West (not only Germany, but equally France and Kemr) and announced a huge pay-back to those who had brought misery to Russia. Russia's broken national pride had to be restored by the violent requisition of every lost territory and severe punishment of those who were considered guilty. Ultimately, they wanted the Third Rome to become the ruler of a huge territory between the Pacific, the Atlantic, and the Indian Oceans. In their messianistic propaganda, the Russian nation appointed by God as the saviour of the world. Non-Russian national minorities on the other hand were accused with numerous charges, including collaboration with every possible enemy and profiting from the country's national resources more than they should (i.e. taking from the Russians what does not belong to them); they were considered a serious threat to Russia's national awakening and therefore severely oppressed.
Another important factor in the SNOR's ideology was Russian Orthodoxy. Even more than the language, it was considered a vital constituent of the Russian national spirit, and as such heavily promoted. The Russian Orthodox Church could highly benefit from this situation and became an ardent supporter of the regime, even though a patriarch had to be killed first to achieve that purpose.
In the beginning, the generals Denikin and Kolchak only raised their eyebrows, when the young, illiterate farmer Josif Vissarionov showed up in their ranks. They had a really good laugh as he tried to obtain a minor position in their government - but nevertheless gave it to him. Twenty years later their laughter would eventually be over, when they had to confess all possible crimes - including communist sympathies and cooperation with Western secret services - in one out of many show processes that lead to as many death penalties.
It was Vissarionov who eventually found an opportunity to regain many of Russia's lost territories in the cooperation with the - previously much hated - Germans.
The SNOR became more and more populated with people who completely did not believe in the party's original ideas and used them only as a façade to hide their blind pursuit for their own personal interests. From the late sixties onwards, corruption grew to inconceivable proportions. The government lost any feeling with the people, and didn't even notice the growing popular discontent. Finally, after seventy years, the regime collapsed as a result of its own incapacity to mobilize popular support; it left a desillusioned, lost country and an incredible economic chaos.
Russia - questions
(So Russia sort of semi-bypasses Siberia on the way to Alyeska and Oregon?)
Not at all. The Russians *did* colonize Siberia, but not so massively as they did *here*. Instead of assimilating the local population, they rather moved onwards into North America.
(Although if we go back to the idea of the Buddhist Russia, it'd put an interesting spin on the invasion of Afghanistan, and the Taliban's > destruction of those two big Buddha statues.)
For that matter, the Taliban would probably have destroyed two huge statues of Vissarionov and a valuable collection of ancient Orthodox icons as well!
Ok, how about this: In the Russo-Japanese war, Japan took the entire East Coast of Russia. In China's expansionist phase, under Ci Xi, and Pu Yi, this was taken from the Japanese. The Japanese, while stronger than Russia, were a good deal weaker than the Empire of Pu Yi. After the Great Pacific War, The majority was given to Russia, however, due to the strong move for independance in Ch'uk'ch'i Guo, it was given complete autonomy. [This has been superseded by discussions on Chukotka. Japan did take the East Coast, but most of it was taken back in 1911. Chukotka was formed from a piece of the former Soviet Socialist Republic of Siberia]
Let's suppose that the czar and most of his family were killed by the Bolsheviks, but that his eldest son Aleksei, the heir to the throne, survived for some mysterious reason. After the generals took over power in Russia, Aleksei succeeded his father. However, the both physically and psychologically unstable Aleksei was nothing but a puppet in the hands of the generals, officially his "advisors". As he grew up, however, he woud become deeply religious and nonviolent. The influence of his religious mother and Rasputin, constant cosseting because of his haemophilia, the close and loving relationships in the royal family, regret and grief at the death of his family might all cause the sentimental type of spirituality so typical of Russian novels. He would slowly, timidly start to defy his military mentors (who would be widely hated for their war faliures) and become a popular champion of religion and of the Tsarist father-children relationship with the peasantry. Unfortunately, he died prematurely (officially as a result of his poor health; some suspect the regime had something to do with his death, but this has never been proven). He was never succeeded.