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Menshevik World by QuantumBranching Menshevik World by QuantumBranching
And this one is a "cover" of Silas-Coldwine's "Menshevik World", silas-coldwine.deviantart.com/… , posted with his permission. In this the Menshevik moderates win over the Bolshevik extremists (Lenin dies at a convenient time) in the Russian revolution, giving Socialism a big boost compared to our world...

After WWI, there was an extended struggle in the Russian government between Bolsheviks, Mensheviks, Social Revolutionaries, and various other groups, with the Mensheviks and their supporters often under siege from both the left and the right. Eventually the far left was pushed into fringe status, but among leftist groups abroad more radical factions continued to flourish, and with the Mensheviks adopting a more centrist position over time, there was increasing talk of the Russian revolution being betrayed.

Eventually, after an alt-Great Depression set in and a right-wing coup was attempted in Paris, France had it's own revolution in the 40s, and it's leadership made themselves the champions of "hard-style" leftism. Although never as oppressive as the Stalinists of Our Timeline, with their Marxism moderated by anarcho-syndicalist influences and occasionally moving into left-libertarian discourse, the French socialists ideological rigidity, disapproval of "incorrect" interpretations of Marxism, and tendency to subordinate law to party authority, more closely resembles OTL Communism than anything else. The political killings of the French government were in the thousands rather than the millions; rather more died in an only partially successful effort to rebuild the French Empire into a socialist federation run from Paris.

Hitler's success was butterflied away, although German democracy still ended suffering an interruption at the hands of a right-wing coalition: having more limited objectives than the Nazis of OTL, they managed to avoid provoking WWII. Today Germany is again democratic, but rather right-wing by our standards, and is one of the leading lights of an extensive, if shaky coalition of nations joined by a general dislike of the global reach of socialism.

The Spanish Republic survived, but struggles with hard-left elements and with the anarcho-syndicalists led to a distinct shift to the right from the late 30s onward: although the drift to "one party right-wing junta" was eventually halted and reversed, Spain remains on good terms with the hard-right regimes of the Brazil-led Pact of Asuncion.

Meanwhile, with no Hitler to back him, Mussolini found his capacity for foreign adventures rather reduced, although he still managed to take Ethiopia. After his death Italy messily imploded in civil war, with several powers backing one faction or another; currently the nation is divided into four smaller states, with no clear indication of it getting back together anytime soon. A rump "Italy in Ethiopian exile" still exists some four decades later, if looking increasingly unstable: the outlying and more backwards parts of the empire have already been dumped as more trouble than it is worth. Efforts are being made to make the lighter-skinned and Christian locals into good Italian-speaking fascists, but it's really too late.

Japan, as OTL, was drawn into an endless war in China, with the Russians cheerfully smuggling loads of armaments to the Chinese resistance. It was generally agreed that Socialist Revolution would eventually bring down the Japanese government, and the war did indeed radicalize Japanese society and military, but in the end it was not a mass revolt but a wacky movement in the army itself that brought down the government. After nearly two decades of off and on struggle, a new ideology preaching a weird mix of internationalism, socialism, Buddhism and hyper-militarism with notions of limitless sacrifice for a vaguely apprehended universal good (one of the several names the new philosophy went by was "annihilation of the self") took over in Japan, and got to work applying its principles ruthlessly not only in Japan proper but also in whatever holdings they still maintained on the mainland.

After news of monstrous massacres, huge population movements, ridiculously huge "indoctrination camps", etc. began to come out of occupied China, the Russians decided it was time for No More Mister Nice Guy and sent in the regular army to help the Chinese resistance: unfortunately, it turned out that not only did the Japanese have a huge chemical and biological arsenal, but they had developed crude atomic weapons of their own only five years after the first Russian success. Eventually, it came down to who wanted to win more, and it was clear the Japanese leadership were, so to speak, willing to trade Tokyo for Vladivostok. eventually a cease-fire was worked out, and borders were established along the front lines of the Russian-Chinese advance. Close to 80 million Chinese fled Japanese-held territory before they managed to seal the borders. Today, the Japanese are the world's biggest worry and biggest mystery, being deeply isolated and armed to the teeth: no one is sure how their effort to create a "universal humanity" (a new Asian identity was to be constructed in which Japanese, Koreans, and Chinese would merge into a single Japanese-speaking ur-people) has gone, and how many bodies have been piled up in the process.

The British eventually decided that buddying up with the German was just too embarrasing, and struggled to rebuild the Empire into a federated Commonwealth with a unified Sterling economy. The initial attempt to rebuild India into a bunch of small Dominions that would not threaten English primacy within the Commonwealth did not work out, although their efforts at divide-and-rule managed to prevent the rebels from creating a unified India, either. Greater success was achieved in Africa, although the creation of what would become known as the South African Combine did require the fighting of the Third Boer War. The British block nowadays is a fairly important industrial/economic power, but the weak central government and various internal faultlines means that it remains neutral and cautious in its international dealings.

The final US recovery from the Great Depression was slower and more fraught than OTL, with the important economic boost of WWII not taking place and a more cautious democratic president than FDR being less willing to take political risks in this TLs version of the "New Deal." With no war won and a slowed recovery the "New Deal Consensus" of OTL never occurred even for the limited time it did OTL, and bitter left-right feuding over the proper roles and responsibilities of government continued. There was no GI bill, and with rocket science and atomic weapons delayed relative OTL no Sputnik to scare the nation into massive educational and scientific investments. Segregation lasted longer. The US ended a poorer, more conservative place than OTL, and yet less self-doubting without the traumas of cold war and Vietnam war.

After a couple rather turbulent decades of political change, things finally stabilized in Russia and the economy really began to take off. Russia had already had advantages of scale, enormous natural resources, and an early adoption of mass production techniques to take advantage of a mostly unskilled work force. Now it had a functional and relatively democratic government dedicated to education, infrastructure, healthcare, development, etc. Without the horrors of war and Stalin and a much shorter Civil war, there were tens of millions more Russians, too. By the 60s people were talking about the Russian Economic Miracle. As Russian growth continued, Russia competed with Germany for influence in eastern Europe, and swept ever more nations into a new free-trading sphere.

The US received a rather rude surprise when it found in the early 2000s that Russia had exceeded it in per capita income. The fact it had already surpassed the US in total economic size (NOT accounting for Russia's vast sphere of free trade partners) had been pooh-poohed on the basis of it being just due to Russia's sheer numbers: but now the average Russian was richer than the average American (we still have more billionaires, and make better movies, Americans grumbled). With Russian arts, literature, language, etc. already flourishing world-wide, this seemed a clear indication that the US, which had assumed itself Number One Nation since the 1920s, was really Number Two. This is not considered tolerable.

Of course, given the huge international influence of Russia and its many allies, compared to the relatively small US sphere of allies and puppets, displacing Russia as Most Influential Nation will be difficult. The Conservative powers seem like an obvious choice of allies in taking Russia down a peg or two, but this is somewhat complicated by the fact that Germany does not want to become second banana to the USA (which through sheer economic power and numbers would dominate the conservatives), and the Latin Americans just don't like the US, which as OTL has been plenty manipulative and a bit of a bully in South and Central America.

Without another world war or a Cold War, and a more backwards US and Japan, technology is a bit less developed than OTL, but there is a global internet (well, global outside Japan) and several advanced space stations in orbit: there is some talk of a manned trip to the Moon, although from what the various landers and orbiters report the Moon hardly seems worth it. (Machines -have- brought back some rocks).

Social democracy is the general norm, with Russia nowadays being only slightly to the left of OTL Scandinavia and France undergoing its own rightwards economic reforms as the added-inputs economic expansion of their African territories slows. There is a heated debate on the left whether the socialist paradise is what already exists in Russia (with the masses all having cars, personal computers, summer vacations...) or whether larger changes are needed to secure the future. Although there is more use of atomic power and public transportation, global warming is a looming problem here too, and there are those who think the current "2/3 capitalist" system will not be up to the challenge. There are also those who note that the Mittleuropean and US economies don't do to badly in spite of an often libertarian-conservative discourse, and wonder if the current system falls far short of what it should be. Where are those 20-hour work weeks and flying cars?

The world is generally more secular than OTL, the left-secular discourse being rather more influential, with the important exception of the Islamic Republics, which combine some socialistic elements and a strong pro-technology stance with profound religiosity. The Islamic Republic of Arabia, former Saudi Arabia, is in fact less regressive than it was under the Saudis, although a woman can still get in trouble for teaching atomic physics...without a veil.
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:icontoixstory:
ToixStory Featured By Owner Aug 25, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Wonderful map and scenario. :D
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:iconquantumbranching:
QuantumBranching Featured By Owner Aug 30, 2013
thanks!
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:icontwiggierjet:
Twiggierjet Featured By Owner Aug 25, 2013
Well, this looks like a nice place. Have you ever thought about using base maps of outer space, like, say the solar system? Lots of potential there.
Reply
:iconquantumbranching:
QuantumBranching Featured By Owner Aug 30, 2013
Hmm. Some sort of pulp-SF solar system might be fun...any good base maps you can suggest?
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:icontwiggierjet:
Twiggierjet Featured By Owner Aug 31, 2013
unfortunately I don't have one for a solar system aside from the generic ones you find on science websites. However there are some good maps of other planets such as mars.
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