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Vesienvällic Worker's Federation
Motto: "Minä puolustan" (Vesienvällic)
"I will defend"
Anthem: Hei, työntekijä! (Vesienvällic)
The location of Vesienväl (green)
on the continent of Novaris (grey).
|Ethnic groups |
|Government||Federal Communist one-party republic|
• Chairman of the Presidium
• General Secretary of the United Workers' Party
• Chairman of the Federation Defense Commission
|Legislature||Supreme Council of Workers|
• Kingdom of Vesienväl established
|c. 1000 CE|
• Vesienvällic Civil War
|1948 - 1951 CE|
• Constitution enacted
|August 11th, 1954|
• Federal reforms enacted
|June 30th, 1982|
• 2020 census
• Per capita
|Currency||Markka (Ɱ) (VEM)|
|Time zone||UTC -7:00|
The Vesienvällic Worker's Federation, known commonly as Vesienväl, is a one-party Communist state located to the southwest of Lunaeria in Novaris. Since 1982, it has been a federation of nine self-governing states (Vesienvällic: Osavaltio), with significant power delegated to local and municipal governments known as yhteisöjä (singular yhteisö, "community"). Vesienväl has been a member of the League of Novaris since 2020.
Lupine settlement in the area dates to at least two thousand years before the present. When they reached the area, they encountered ursines migrating eastward, believed to have ultimately originated in Asendavia, who had been present for some centuries already and were moving eastward. These ursines would eventually settle primarily what is today Lunaeria. There was some violence between lupines and ursines during this period, and while the two species generally kept to their own communities, evidence of interaction is indicated by linguistic similarities between Vesienvällic and modern Asendavian. Ursines generally elected to continue migrating rather than remain in what is now Vesienväl, although there are still significant ursine communities today in the far northeast, near the border with Lunaeria. The ursines brought with them their Ademarist faith that did influence some lupine communities; however, the traditional Vesienvällic lupine animist faith remained predominant.
Over the course of time, lupine tribes consolidated into competing petty kingdoms. Some time near 1000 CE, the various lupine petty kingdoms in the area united under the banner of the Kingdom of Vesienväl, led by the monarchs of House Korhonen. The name of the country is believed to come from a Vällic language (the predecessor of modern Vesienvällic) term for "between the waters," referring to the Norsian Sea to the north , Lake Etala to the south, and the various smaller lakes to the east. Historical records from this era are incomplete and the exact date of the establishment of the Kingdom is unclear. The prevailing theories date the Kingdom to as early as 950 CE and as late as 1120 CE, depending on when the unification of the various petty kingdoms could be considered "complete." In any case, by the 12th century, the Kingdom's power over the entirety of the region was consolidated and would remain unchallenged until the 20th century.
The power of the Vesienvällic monarchy grew and waned variously over time, but as in the case of most monarchies, the office of the monarch eventually lost power as an elected legislature grew in power. In 1805, a constitution was ratified that codified the supremacy of the maapäivät, or Parliament, over the King. The maapäivät consisted of two houses: a lower chamber of elected representatives and an upper chamber consisting of the landed nobility, whose titles were hereditary and granted by the monarch. Originally in 1805, only men could vote in elections. A suffrage movement for women began in the early 20th century, with women granted the right to vote in 1930 after more than two decades of concentrated political effort and many marches and other public demonstrations by women and by men. The primary impediment had been the upper house of Parliament, whose membership was significantly more conservative than the lower house and the population as a whole. While more leftward parties, focused on improving conditions for the working class, began to gain power in the lower house, the upper house remained solidly conservative because it was unelected.
The Vesienvällic Revolution
Toward the later end of the suffrage movement in the 1920s, socialist theory began to gain traction in activist circles. The ultimate approval of universal suffrage in Vesienväl occurred largely because the King and the nobility feared a socialist uprising if the measure did not pass. However, the victory emboldened the socialists, and instead of decreasing their pressure on the government they increased their activist efforts. The government began to crack down on left-wing political activity, including imprisoning known socialists and, in 1941, the explicit ban of socialist and communist political parties. While officially socialist politics were relegated to the underground, many socialists were active "undercover" in the Liberal Party.
The Kingdom of Vesienväl hosted the 1947 edition of the International Winter Aldanic Games in the capital, Vällilä. The Conservative Party government at the time believed the games would strengthen the economy and bring the country international prestige. The general public, however, broadly opposed the games due to the overwhelming cost. The winters of 1945 and 1946 were particularly harsh in Vesienväl, and in both winters there were fuel shortages. The government declined to reallocate funding from the games to provide aid to people who were having difficulty heating their homes. There were several riots leading up to the games, but in November 1946, the national gendarmerie was ordered to shut down any protest regarding the games by any means necessary. Hundreds of people were arrested on charges of sedition, and dozens of people were injured by the police. These events led a groundswell of opposition to the government and support switching to the Communist-backed Liberal Party.
In the elections of March 1948, the Liberal Party won a supermajority of the lower house of the maapäivät, 205 out of 300 seats, on a platform that decried the games and echoed the socialist goals of improving workplace conditions, reducing hours, making factories safer, and reducing the power of the King and the nobility. They also proposed that the government provide free heating fuel to citizens. However, after the results, the King ordered that the Liberal Party be declared retroactively ineligible to stand because of the socialist element in party leadership, and also stated that their platform of reducing royal power amounted to treason. Royal guard troops sealed the doors of the lower house to physically prevent the Liberals from taking their seats. The upper house passed a bill, called the Treason Act of 1948, retroactively disbanding the Liberal Party and Arvo VI, the reigning King, accepted it as a law, stating that the upper house was the only legally constituted house of the maapäivät at that time.
These actions were enormously unpopular and led to riots in every major city in the country. Significant portions of Pohjoinen were destroyed by a fire started by protesters, and the King was evacuated from the capital by military plane. King Arvo VI ordered the military to restore order and gave an explicit order to kill any rioters and "any and all persons, no matter station, sex, or age, seen to give the anarchists aid, comfort, succor, or support in any fashion." While in some areas the military acted as ordered, in most major cities the soldiers dispersed when attacked by local residents, as the rioters significantly outnumbered the soldiers. On March 20th, an armed rebel group that contained several elected members of the lower house besieged and eventually overtook the parliament building in Välillä. At the same time, the nobles who had remained in the city were attacked and killed in their homes. On March 22nd, in a reversal of the Treason Act, the lower house declared itself the only legitimate house of the maapäivät, as the members of the upper house were either dead or in hiding, and passed a resolution ordering the arrest of King Arvo VI for crimes against the state.
Fighting occurred across the country for several weeks, but by-and-large, the socialists gained and held power over most of the country. Most of the military eventually began taking orders from the socialist maapäivät. On May 1st, the King was arrested by soldiers in Järvi. He had donned a disguise and was attempting to purchase groceries at a local store, but was recognized and reported by the proprietor of the store. According to news reports at the time, the King had insisted on leaving to make the purchase himself because he felt humiliated and trapped while hiding in his safe house in Järvi, and he was recognized when he appeared to have no idea how grocery shopping worked. He is said to have approached a cashier who had customers in line to pay already, and asked her to gather his requested items. (The grocery was self-service.) He is also said to have asked if he could pay in bearer bonds or gold bullion as he "[did] not carry petty cash." Communist soldiers quickly apprehended King Arvo and removed his false mustache and wig there in the store with other customers observing. Several people threw tomatoes at the King as he was taken away, at least two of which did hit the King in the face.
The Queen, Hilja, and the three royal children were apprehended attempting to flee Järvi by car later that night. On the 5th of May, the Royal Family was executed on live television by firing squad, with the King going first and the youngest prince, eight year old Prince Timo, going last. Unlike the others, Timo's execution was not pictured on television. His body was shown, from the back, lined up with the bodies of the King, Queen Hilja, the 19 year old Crown Princess Annika, and the 15 year old Princess Sanna, on the broadcast after the executions took place. None of the faces of the dead bodies were pictured in the broadcast. To this day, a prominent conspiracy theory claims that the soldiers did not have the heart to execute Timo and instead staged an execution and used another child to portray the Prince's body, with the real Prince being either taken into custody in secret or allowed to escape.
Almost immediately after the execution of the King, the socialists governing the country collapsed into in-fighting between various factions, and the country descended into civil war. Between 1948 and 1951, various claimed governments took power and were removed from power, nearly all of them backed and then defeated by various factions of the military. Loyalties changed frequently between the political factions and the military factions. In 1951, the various factions agreed to a ceasefire and a provisional socialist constitution while they worked out a power-sharing agreement between the factions. In 1954, a permanent constitution was ratified. This constitution established that the country was to be governed by "collective leadership," with the powers of head of state split among three different offices that would lead the country together in what is called a "troika." The name of the governing party was changed from the Worker's Party to the United Workers' Party to reflect this aim of unity and cooperation. This structure remains in place to the current day.
Rakennemuutos and Modern History
Since the conclusion of the Civil War, the government of Vesienväl has emphasized development of the country from rural and agrarian into an urbanized society. Transitions of power have remained largely peaceful and stable since 1954, with no major coups or other interruptions of the power of the party. The economy remains centrally planned. Early in the Worker's State era, the focus was on building infrastructure such as trains, highways, and hydroelectric dams. In the 1960s and 1970s the government began a concerted effort to become self-sufficient in manufacturing, and homegrown industries for everything from cars and trucks to aircraft and semiconductor-based electronics were established. However, Vesienvällic products of this era were largely considered to be on inferior quality and were never able to successfully exported to the global market. Additionally, as time went on, social pressure on the government to improve living conditions increased. In 1979, a series of coordinated work stoppages at factories in Vällilä and Hedelmäsatama led to the United Workers' Party adopting a resolution to "consider a restructuring (in Vesienvällic: Rakennemuutos) of the state and its priorities."
Over the course of the 1980s, especially in the plenary sessions of the Supreme Council of Workers of 1982 and 1985, several changes to the Constitution were ratified, and various acts of legislation made sweeping changes to the country's economic policies. The Government Reform Law of 1982 established official state governments with devolved power. In 1985, a second Government Reform Law created the current system of yhteisöjä ("communities"), which are municipal governments under the states. Prior to 1982, the country was known as the Vesienvällic Workers' State in Staynish-Codexian.
In regard to the economy, the government relaxed import restrictions while emphasizing importing first (and exporting first) to fellow socialist countries before entering into economic relationships with capitalist states. The Vesienvällic manufacturing sector has declined from its artificially-inflated highs in the 70s as imports have largely replaced domestically produced goods in most sectors. The Vesienvällic government has begun emphasizing art and culture, believing it important to show the world that socialism in general and Vesienväl in particular can support a vibrant, happy cultural scenes. Athletics, too, has been emphasized, especially in international competitions.
The politics and governance of Vesienväl take place within the framework of a one-party socialist state. Nominally, the supreme body of the country is the Supreme Council of Workers, a unicameral legislature elected every 5 years. However, in order to stand for election, one must either be nominated by the United Workers' Party or present the district electoral council with a petition signed by ten percent of the registered voters in the district and stand as an independent. This functionally gives the power to the United Workers' Party, which is itself acknowledged in the Constitution as the "primary organ for organizing worker's power" in the Federation, the position of most powerful body in the country.
Since the Rakennemuutos period of reform in the 1980s, governance in Vesienväl has shifted over time to emphasize local control rather than national control, though the single-party model centered on the United Workers' Party remains in place. Under the current Constitution, the national government is designated to be responsible for foreign affairs, defense, immigration, and for "legislating and setting policy of national interest," which is not defined in the text of the Constitution. All other powers belong to the states in theory, but various laws have further delegated power to the yhteisöjä.
Supreme Council of Workers and the Presidium
There are 1,024 members of the Supreme Council, each of whom is elected in a first-past-the-post system in single-member districts. It is rare for there to be more than one candidate standing for election in a given district. Independent candidates rarely attempt to gather signatures, and are even more rarely successful. The identities of petition signers are verified by party officials making calls to those who sign and then made public, which reduces participation. In each election, voters are presented with the choice between the United Workers' Party candidate, any independent candidates, and an option for "none of these candidates." Margins of victory for members of the Supreme Council routinely average greater than 70 percent.
Nominally, the Supreme Council is the ultimate authority in the Federation. In practice, however, it acts as a rubber stamp to confirm policies and decisions made by the United Workers' Party. The Supreme Council meets in session typically once a year, for two to three weeks in May. The Supreme Council is presided over by a President of the Council, who has several deputies. There are several committees of the Supreme Council for considering legislation related to various topics, such as Agriculture, Transport, and Education. The most powerful committee of the Supreme Council is the Executive Committee, also called the Presidium, which may act with legislative authority during times in which the Supreme Council is not in session. The Presidium consists of a Chairman, the General Secretary of the Party, the Chairman of the Federation Defense Commission, and various Ministers, who are elected by and from the membership of the Supreme Council to head government departments. It is also frequently called "the Cabinet," as it is roughly analogous to the cabinets in Parliamentary or Presidential systems. The Chairman represents the Supreme Council on the troika, and the other two troika members serve as members of the Presidium ex officio. The Presidium is the body that selects the President of the Supreme Council.
United Workers' Party
The United Workers' Party was created in 1954 from the merger of various leftist factions that had fought each other during the Civil War. Every electoral district, municipality, and province has a local Party Committee, each of which elects delegates to represent it in the committee above it in the hierarchy. At the top of the hierarchy is the National Committee, which elects the General Secretary of the Party, one of the three members of the troika. (The other members of the troika automatically serve in the National Committee.) Each local or provincial Party Committee is responsible for nominating candidates for the various governmental positions in their jurisdiction. The National Committee sets the party platform and other party policies. The National Committee meets in its entirety typically twice a year, in the spring and in the autumn. Between meetings of the National Committee, a body known as the Party Executive Bureau acts with the power of the entire National Committee. In theory the Party Executive Bureau is elected by the entire National Committee, but in reality it consists of party elites elected on a slate nominated by the Party Executive Bureau themselves. The members of the troika are automatically members of the Party Executive Bureau. Provincial and local committees have Party Executive Bureaus.
Officially, the factions of the party that existed during the Civil War no longer exist, and "factionalism" is against the law. Functionally, there are always several competing interest groups in the Party committees, and there is an unspoken convention that each member of the troika come from a different faction. Meetings of Party Committees are often held in closed session and therefore not public, but it is generally understood that the most powerful factions of the party include reformers who encourage expanding economic and social freedoms; traditionalists who advocate a rigid governance structure according to the system set up at the Worker's State's inception; militarists who advocate for a strong military presence in and outside the country; isolationists who believe the state should return to self-sufficiency and not engage with foreign powers; and both agrarian and industrial factions that focus policies on workers in their sectors of the economy.
Federation Defense Commission
The Federation Defense Commission is a quasi-independent body established by the Constitution to direct the armed forces and coordinate the defense of the country in the event of an invasion, and also handles responses to other national emergencies such as national disasters. The members are elected by the Supreme Council after being nominated by the National Party Committee. The Commission elects its own Chairman, who serves on the troika. The other two members of the troika serve on the commission ex officio. In addition to the troika, there are typically four to six other members, although the number is not set out in law. The commission has the authority to declare national emergencies and deploy the military to address the emergency. The leaders of the branches of the Armed Forces report directly to the Federation Defense Commission.
Osavaltio and Yhteisöjä
The Constitution of Vesienväl establishes nine Osavaltio, translated into Staynish-Codexian as "states." Eight were established in 1982, but the Constitution was amended in 1985 during the second round of Rakennemuutos reforms to split what was then the state of Sydämessä, which comprised a large section of the interior, into two states: Länsimaalla and Itäosassa. The Constitution states that "the power of the states shall be inviolable." Across all the states, there are a total of 340 yhteisöjä. Each state determines the boundaries of its yhteisöjä.
The most fundamental unit of Vesienvällic governance is the Party Committee at the yhteisöjä level. The sorts of issues these committees are responsible for include things like road and infrastructure maintenance, emergency/first responder services and police, land use planning and zoning, and public housing and public transportation. Each local committee also sends a number of delegates to the state committee based on their population. Since these delegates from the yhteisöjä make up the entirety of the state committee, they have significant influence on state policies. State committees are largely responsible for setting state economic priorities, although the central economic plan is enacted at the federal level.