The Russian Empire is a mssive asian country controlling approximately 1/6th of the world's land area, the largest conituguous land empire in world history. Although theoreticallly a Constitutional Monarchy, the Empire is in effect under the absolute control of the Tsar and his government. Russian economic and military power forms the cornerstone of the anti-French Coalition, and has been mobilized against France and its allies for more than 100 years.
The Russian monarchy is among the world's oldest still in existence, although it did not become an "Empire" until the 1700s. Its ancient Sovereigns are commonly known by the title Tsar even today - a Russian translation of the Latin "Caesar" - but since 1721, with the creation of the Russian Empire, the actual title has been "Emperor and Autocrat of All the Russias". True to this title, the Emperor rules with absolute Judicial and Legislative, as well as Executive, authority and his whims are the stuff of life and death for every one of his citizens. Today, this same quasi-divine authority is vested in the office of Prime Minister (officially, the "Chairman of the Council of Ministers" ), while the Tsar himself only sporadically intervenes in the running of the State - giving the Chairman, in his capacity as the Emperor's Head-of-Government, totilitarian and dictatorial control over the world's largest country.
The Legislature of the Russian Empire is the Governing Senate, a bicameral assembly. The Upper House, called the State Council, is a royal advisory body for the Tsar and represents various influential sects of Russian society, with its head and half its members appointed by the Emperor and the other half elected from among the nobility, the clergy, the local governments and the Russian Academy of Sciences. The Lower House, the State Duma, is a popularly elected assembly. However, the Senate has little actual power and its every decision is subject to the approval of the Emperor [and by extension, the Chairman of the Council of Ministers].
Geography and SocietyEdit
Russia stretches from the Baltic Sea in northern Europe, to the Persian Gulf, to the Bering Strait of the Pacific Ocean. Russia's acquisition of Persia in 1941 gave the Tsar access to the Indian Ocean and an ability to threaten his enemies' Pacific colonial holdings, but also access to even larger reserves of oil and natural gas. In addition, the Emperor controls parts of Finland, the Baltic, Poland and Alaska. Russian influence also dominates much of the Balkans: Montanegro, Serbia, Bulgaria and Romania are all essentially Russian puppet states.
Russia's population is composed of hundreds of different ethnic and cultural groups. However, it is culturally dominated by Slavs - the government's official policy is "pan-slavism". Non-slavic peoples, which collectively form a majority of the Empire's population, are generally treated as second-class citizens. They live in even greater poverty than the Eastern European peoples, are barred from most positions of authority and are often discriminated against by the justice system. There are, however, a number of exceptions; Josef Stalin himself was Georgian, though he did little to alter this discriminatory policy. There also exists a substantial class of citizens who, despite not being ethnically Slavic, speak Russian as a first language and self-identify as Russian. These people are generally treated the same as "true" Russians though are often shunned by other members of their ethnic group.
The Russian military is the world's largest. It consists of about 8 million personnel in total, split between four branches: Imperial Army, Imperial Air Forces, Imperial Air Defenses Forces and Imperial Navy, in estimated order of importance [according to Franco-American and German analysts]. Russia's land army is easily the biggest in the world, outnumbering the million-strong U.S. Army by more than two-to-one. Its Air Forces [when both the Air Forces and Air Defense Forces are taken together] is also the largest, and its navy is second only to the U.S. Navy.
However, the Imperial Military is much less high-tech than its American counterpart. This is not due to any great disparity in technological development - U.S. forces have access to only a few novel advantages, such as the Vampire Night Vision system and better radar - but rather is a product of the sheer size and operational doctrine of the Tsar's forces. In terms of heavy industry, Russia is capable of matching or exceeding the United States, but it prefers proven and easily replacable technologies to the advanced, but mechanically complex and expensive, American equipment.
The common Western image of massed, wasteful infantry assaults is also not entirely true. The regular infantry, composed largely of non-Slavic peoples considered "untrustworthy" are, however, expected never to retreat and to fight in situations that U.S. forces would consider suicidal. At the same time, Russian Combined Arms doctrine is quite advanced, though it emphasizes the use of rigid formations rather than the ad hoc "Battle Groups" of units drawn from several different formations preferred by the Americans. Instead, Russian units tend to be larger but also more self-sufficient; Rifle Regiments and Divisions are given their own integral tank components, for example. The more elite "Guards" - a title given to hundreds of different Divisions, separate from the largely ceremonial Imperial Guard - are highly elite mechanized formations composed of well-trained and motivated Slavic "reliables". These Guards units are as well equipped as, and in some cases BETTER equipped than, a U.S. Army unit of the same size and type. They are fanatical fighters, having been thoroughly indoctrinated with belief in their own superiority as well as a fanatical loyalty to their Emperor and his state.