The Holy Russian Empire (formerly known as Russia or the Soviet Union) is the largest country in the world. Once a dictatorship turned democracy, it was turned into a theocracy in the events of World War Z. It is also mentioned in The Zombie Survival Guide.
World War Z
At the start of World War Z, the Russian Federation was dealing with high levels of corruption, low morale in the military and separatism in its borders. Maria Zhuganova; former soldier stationed in North Ossetia (Alania), tells in her interview that at first the government tried to contain information of the undead from most of the ground forces, relying on military police, officers and (possibly) special service operatives to keep control on border units, while also ordering regular inspections to frontier villages, alerting to its authorities of the coming danger. As the existence of the zombies became known among army units, open rebellion and desertion became common. The Government enacted a "decimation" policy on all the army, with the intent to restore order. Spetsnaz where sent to kill any rebel individual, and the rest of their units where broke into groups of ten, letting them choose which one was to be executed by the rest. Now motivated by fear and guilt, the remaining troops where regroup and sent to fight. With zombies coming from the middle east and Europe, The Russian army was forced to retreat to the Ural Mountains.
Retreat to the East
Facing a two-front war, Russia was reduced to its siberian region. As the situation stabilize, old supply depots where found and open, its equipment, uniforms and vehicles, the legacy of soviet military might and the struggle of the Great Patriotic War, used once again to serve the motherland. A massive offensive was prepared, the objective of it being the reconquest of the volga region. Its first major battle happened in Ufa, resulting in a pyrrhic "victory", with a high casualty rate. Anyone who was bitten during combat was to be executed by their officers, which later let to depression, suicide or desertion of many officers who carried this responsibility. As the officers suffered the "second decimation" and their numbers decreased, it was then ordered that the wounded would be the ones to carry their own execution. Fatigue and hopelessness was common among the russians, yet the offensive carried on.
A Holy Responsibility
It was at the battle of Kostroma that Father Sergei Ryzhkov, after witnessing too many deaths by suicide (A major sin in most religions), states that he received a message from God, which commanded that the priest must be the ones responsible to release the infected from their burden. So, after reporting this to his division commander, the message of God was received by every chaplain, and they carried out "The final purification". This also resulted in a morale increase, the common soldier now believing that God was with them. Faith became a important part of the war effort, and the Russian Federation became the Holy Russian Empire, WWZ now being promoted as a holy war, a crusade against death. Soon the government itself transitioned into a theocracy, the former president now being also the head of the church, and all public institutions reformed to reflect this new religious portrait.
The Sacred War
The war raged on. New strategies were refined, faith and nationalism motivated the troops and the western territories were not just retaken, but also expanded. As Belarus was still in hands of the undead, the new russian empire took it, and victory was declared soon after. Russia entered the conflict as a fractured, fragile democracy, and reemerge as an strong, imperialist state, the largest on earth.
Russia declares itself a holy empire, church and state being one. In reality, faith is used as an excuse to legitimize its authoritarian control over its citizens. Its leader (former president of the federation) has proclaimed itself as Tzar and Head of the russian church. It is speculated that priests were organized in death squads and are use to assassinate people (possibly dissidents) under the excuse of "purifying them.
The apocalyptic war against the undead left the russian people scarred. Its people is seen as assets to be used by the State, and any individual that could become a threat are dealt with. Zhuganova stated that fertile women are requested by the state to have as many children as possible, they then being taken away by the authorities, possibly to receive a pro-state formation, and to be used as resources to rebuild the nation.
Its the largest country on earth, its territories composed of the former russian federation and, atleast, Belarus.
The Holy Russian Empire seeks to expand its borders in order to reclaim its global influence. Its people speculate that Ukraine will be the next addition to the empire, and then possibly the rest of the lands that made the First Russian Empire.
- Maria Zhugonava - A soldier.
- Sergei Ryzhkov - An elderly priest who turned the country into a theocracy.
- Siberia - an extremely large, rural portion of the country made up of forest with heavy snow in the winter.
- North Ossetia-Alania - a prewar state of the Russian Federation, it's located to the south of the country bordering Georgia and is the location where Maria Zhuganova's first story takes place. Its status under the Holy Russian Empire is unknown.
- Kamchatka - a huge peninsula in Russian Far East, it's also the official safe zone and retreat of the wartime Japanese government.
- Ufa - prewar capital of the Russian state of Bashkortostan, it's a Russian city that is located in the Volga region. Ufa was overrun during the war, though it's also the site of an important battle.
- Kostroma - mentioned as a site of a battle, possibly retaken before the battle for Moscow.
- Moscow - prewar Russian capital, mentioned as the location of an important battle ("official assault on Moscow").
- Khuzhir - a location around Lake Baikal, hosts one of postwar Russian "special" health facilities.