The North Star is Red: a Wallace Presidency, KMT Victory, Alternate Cold War TL

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Chapter 177 - The Secret War
The Secret War
The Congo War was not to only spill over into Rwanda and Burundi - the effects of perhaps the most consequential war in Africa's history was to also spill over into Europe itself - by way of Angola, which was considered an integral province of the Portuguese Republic. The initial spark for the surprisingly came out of Spain. Portuguese military officer Henrique Galvao, a former Salazar supporter who had turned on the Estado Novo, had garnered support across Portugal and Spain for a daring scheme of his. His scheme was surprisingly more Spanish than Portuguese, as many disgruntled Spanish officers joined his cause in protest of what they saw as increasing Spanish subordination to French economic interests. [1]

Galvao and his co-conspirators, after a short delay, seized control of a Portuguese passenger liner, the Santa Maria in a short firefight. The ship went completely missing for several days until it resurfaced, landing to everyone's shock in Angola, currently in the midst of a brutal labour dispute. Thousands of Angolan cotton workers, protesting against poor working conditions by a Portuguese-Belgian company, had just been massacred by Portuguese colonial troopers after rebels infiltrated the protests and opened fire on the Portuguese, in the infamous Baixa de Cassanje massacre, sparking anger across the local population. Galvao's men stormed a local radio station and declared the founding of Portuguese and Spanish governments-in-exile, declaring that they would fight until both Franco and Salazar were removed from office - and most notably, all of Portugal's overseas territories became independent. Portuguese troops quickly took back the radio station after Galvao and his men fled into the countryside, seemingly irrelevant, since they were not expected to rally any support.

However, the Congo War was to spill over into Angola. The assassination of Patrice Lumumba and Joseph Kaba-Vusu had just taken place a week ago - and vengeful leader of the Congolais Rouge, Antoine Gizenga, saw one quick way to take revenge against the Belgians (and West in general). He immediately declared support for the Portuguese and Spanish governments-in-exile. Holden Roberto, a Bakongo militia leader working under the Congolais Rouge, was ordered to invade northern Angola to support Galvao's government-in-exile. Angola had long-been a staging area for pro-Western, pro-Dominion forces in Congo - and this was seen as a way to expand the war against the West. Much even to Roberto's surprise, he found thousands upon thousands of willing recruits as he crossed the border, as his army swelled by angry young youth, who after years of mistreatment, in many cases engaged in brutal atrocities against Portuguese settlers and soldiers, up to and even including cannibalism. Although Salazar himself rejected racism and the regime in Portugal officially declared itself a multiracial, egalitarian "pluricontinental state", the local colonial governments actually resisted this, continuing to segregate in a clear racial hierarchy where African workers were generally mistreated by multinational corporations. These atrocities shocked Portugal and the West - especially because it could be easily spun as an "Afro-Communist plot to destroy both the overseas states and fatherland." America and Belgium was shocked, as public order rapidly collapsed in Angola. Roberto's men were a surprisingly well-disciplined fighting force, trained by years of fighting in the Congo Wars. Moreover, they were quite well-armed and had a surplus of weaponry, as the Eastern bloc was very generous in supplying arms to the Congolese Reds.

By the end of 1961, the Angolan police force had totally collapsed as a full-blown rebellion was openly seizing much of Northern Angola. Terrifyingly to Portugal and Spain, Galvao was still giving off radio broadcasts from the countryside of Angola, calling for mainlanders to overthrow Salazar and Franco. Most worryingly, several students had begun to brandish pro-Galvao slogans. The Portuguese naturally turned to the man who saved the honor of their empire years ago in Goa - their fellow Catholic in Washington D.C., John F. Kennedy. Kennedy had demands for "help." Namely, the Portuguese colonial government in Angola was required to abolish racial distinctions among other racist policies. Salazar was glad to comply - since he always opposed those policies and now had a way to pressure the local governments. However, no one believed it would be enough to pacify the revolt. In March of 1962, over a hundred B-52 bombers from the Strategic Air Command under Kennedy stalwart Curtis LeMay (now famous for his prison break-out from North China), took off from the American airbase in Kitona (in Western Bas-Congo, near the Atlantic Ocean), flying over Northern Angola, unbenownst to the American or even Portuguese public. Over the next year, American B-52 bombers would drop over a hundred thousand tons of explosives over Northern Angola in hopes of destroying Roberto's militia as well as Galvao himself. Indeed, reports confirmed the death of both men, which was seen as a huge vindicating success for the American strategy. Unlike Congo, almost all of Angola, alongside the Atlantic was open to American bombing.

However, this would not actually help the Portuguese. Roberto's death allowed one of his contacts, Jonas Savimbi, to seize control of his Bakongo militants. Savimbi himself, although a proven fighter and comrade to the Bakongo, was himself an Ovimbundu - the largest ethnic group in Angola - who dominate most of Central Angola (the Bakongo are mostly in the north). Savimbi declared the founding of the National Liberation Front of Angola (FNLA) - brokering a tacit agreement with the People's Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA), a largely Luanda-based and Ambundu-dominated group (the Ambundu live predominantly between the Bakongo and Ovimbundu). The MPLA itself started out very strong, but significantly weakened as the Central African Federation arrested most of their militants trying to operate from Zambia. Much to the shock of the Americans and Portuguese, the Angolan insurgency significantly expanded after the death of Galvao and Roberto - as Savimbi declared that he would avenge both.

However, as the strategic bombing campaign was still viewed as successful - LeMay did what he did best - continue to bomb. The American bombing campaign was spread throughout all of Angola - no longer a secret. As the war worsened, opponents of Marcelo Caetano and supporters of his rival, Americo Tomas were able to outmaneuver the new leader, who they blamed for the worsening situation (claiming that he was too dovish, had sympathies to Galvao, and allowed too many "Communistic" elements into Angola and Portugal by wanting a more narrowly tailored counter-insurgency), forcing him to be dismissed from office. Though really, they mostly succeeded because Caetano opposed the American bombing plan - while Tomas supported the plan - and the Portuguese political establishment wanted to play closer with America. As a result, Caetano's replacement, Tomas, instead then supported the American plan - which was to simply allow the Americans to bomb the pro-independence countryside into submission with cluster munitions and napalm - while the Portuguese spammed landmines around the major coastal cities to protect Portuguese settlers and pro-Portuguese natives. American bombers would eventually drop three million tons of explosives on Angola, exceeding the total munitions dropped on both Germany and Japan combined during the Second World War.

Amazingly - the Portuguese strategy actually was working. The sheer scale of destruction in the countryside was so horrific, Angolan peasants were forced to turn towards someone, anyone to feed them. Only one group in Angola had both the political will and capability to feed them - Portugal. Moreover, Spain, despite generally not caring about the Portuguese Empire abroad, freely sent arms and humanitarian funding to Portugal in light of Galvao previously calling for revolution in Spain - as did Spain's closest international patron, France.[2] In contrast, Angolan refugees attempted to spill into the Central African Federation, but paramilitaries led by local politician Ian Smith simply brutalized them and literally beat them back into Angola. Refugees trying to cross into South African-ruled Namibia were simply pushed out by South African border patrols. The only open border...was to the North with Congo. Which coincidentally gave the Congolese Reds more recruits (much of the Bakongo population simply fled into the Congo itself). In Angola itself, over a third of the native Angolan population was put into Portuguese-run work camps on the outskirts of the settler-dominated cities, which despite the notoriously poor conditions, many still willingly signed up for because it was seen as better than napalm. Many Angolans at the time summarized the options presented to average Angolan peasant as "not freedom or slavery, but the flame or the camp."
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[1] His scheme gets more support than OTL from Spanish officers.
[2] OTL, Spain and France obviously didn't offer much support to Portugal.
 
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engaged in brutal atrocities against Portuguese settlers and soldiers, up to and even including cannibalism. Roberto's well-armed Although Salazar himself rejected racism
Little error here.
I'm assuming that's a copy from the later sentence, "Roberto's men were a .....".
[2] OTL, Spain and France obviously didn't offer much support to Portugal.
Spain, despite generally not caring about the Portuguese Empire abroad, freely sent arms and humanitarian funding to Portugal in light of Galvao previously calling for revolution in Spain - as did Spain's closest international patron, France
It's always interesting to me how old Europe responds to its own ever-eroding position in this TL.

The lines about Imperialism being the highest form of Capitalism and Fascism being Capitalism in decay ring especially true if this powerbloc between the Iberians and the French is triumphant*.

This 2nd Fascist/Postfascist Internationale could definitely cause problems, not just in Africa, but also with regards to Italy, maybe? Last I remember, the French and Germans are actually on passably good terms, so the only outlets left for French bluster and intimidation are ex-colonies, Flanders, and traitorous Italy. But maybe I'm misreading the situation.


*As An Aside:
Which I do expect them to be because it seems like the goal of the Kennedy years in this timeline is to stretch the US thin as is feasible before a contraction of their own is forced in much the same ways as the Europeans are, just not exactly, on a shorter time scale, and probably a lot less violent (in an ironic twist on OTL decolonization). If the US is to stay invested in Africa at all, successful containment and reversal of the Angolan situation is absolutely necessary.

Jack's long past his honeymoon period and even though he's largely been "successful," all this blood is liable to feed some kind of soft reaction once the next presidential contest. Some kind of nominally pro-Kennedy politics without all the Kennedy in the politics. The table is set for the US to codify its preexisting relationships while still pulling back or outright abandoning its still open-ended commitments.

It's not like it's unprecedented for the US to have harder shifts in policy with a transition of power, promises of support be damned.

The Portuguese naturally turned to the man who saved the honor of their empire years ago in Goa - their fellow Catholic in Washington D.C., John F. Kennedy. Kennedy had demands for "help." Namely, the Portuguese colonial government in Angola was required to abolish racial distinctions among other racist policies.
It's also interesting to see Kennedy leveraging his position to help a colonial regime, though in light of Subsaharan Africa's political landscape, he doesn't really have a choice to do so unless he wants to harm his own position by being stubborn.
I imagine that if Kennedy left the Portugals to the dogs that the initial push into the Angola would have swept the country or at least be threatening the cities.
 
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Little error here.
I'm assuming that's a copy from the later sentence, "Roberto's men were a .....".

It's always interesting to me how old Europe responds to its own ever-eroding position in this TL.

The lines about Imperialism being the highest form of Capitalism and Fascism being Capitalism in decay ring especially true if this powerbloc between the Iberians and the French is triumphant*.

This 2nd Fascist/Postfascist Internationale could definitely cause problems, not just in Africa, but also with regards to Italy, maybe? Last I remember, the French and Germans are actually on passably good terms, so the only outlets left for French bluster and intimidation are ex-colonies, Flanders, and traitorous Italy. But maybe I'm misreading the situation.

*As An Aside:
Which I do expect them to be because it seems like the goal of the Kennedy years in this timeline is to stretch the US thin as is feasible before a contraction of their own is forced in much the same ways as the Europeans are, just not exactly, on a shorter time scale, and probably a lot less violent (in an ironic twist on OTL decolonization). If the US is to stay invested in Africa at all, successful containment and reversal of the Angolan situation is absolutely necessary.

Jack's long past his honeymoon period and even though he's largely been "successful," all this blood is liable to feed some kind of soft reaction once the next presidential contest. Some kind of nominally pro-Kennedy politics without all the Kennedy in the politics. The table is set for the US to codify its preexisting relationships while still pulling back or outright abandoning its still open-ended commitments.

It's not like it's unprecedented for the US to have harder shifts in policy with a transition of power, promises of support be damned.

It's also interesting to see Kennedy leveraging his position to help a colonial regime, though in light of Subsaharan Africa's political landscape, he doesn't really have a choice to do so unless he wants to harm his own position by being stubborn.

I imagine that if Kennedy left the Portugals to the dogs that the initial push into the Angola would have swept the country or at least be threatening the cities.

Fixed, thanks.

The French don't ideologically fit that well with Portugal/Spain. They're still basically a functional liberal democracy. The coup plotters aren't really united by much besides being anti-De Gaulle (there are even Gaullists involved). As a result, they don't really change that much except being more pro-US and anti-USSR..and less popular with the public. Relations with the Benelux states are also tight - both shared political and economic interests. As it stands, it's less national Franco-Italian enmity - and more an annoyed France going "come on, get on board Italians."

The United States is not nearly as stretched thin as some other powers. Britain is the obvious example of being ludicrously overstretched. In contrast, most of America's interventions abroad have been successful - Oman and Indonesia created stable pro-US governments. Venezuela was kind of a waste and long-term embarrassment, but not a quagmire. The Congo is really the exception to the rule - especially because it keeps getting worse and expanding into other states.

Jack basically can't stick around too long. For one, since the bombing of Stockholm, he's been pulling 20 hour days fueled by crystal meth.

US policy as it stands seems to have a sliding scale of preferences: anti-communist indigenous regime --> colonial regime --> pro-socialist regime. There were anti-socialist alternatives to the Dutch in West Indonesia and British in Oman. The US more or less has under the table deals with the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and the Syrian ultranationalists. They almost certainly have deals with the FLN in Algeria now. There really wasn't an anti-socialist alternative to the Portuguese in Angola.
 
Chapter 178 - The Trans-Saharan Railway
The Trans-Saharan Railway
Shortly after their seizure of power, the Committee of Public Safety desperately needed to find some kind of triumph to validate their rule before the upcoming 1964 elections - that they were widely expected to lose. A grand project had to be found - and luckily for them, one idea of a project was stirring around. During the height of the Algerian War, some French thinkers had suggested the formalization of the Organisation Commune des Régions Sahariennes ("OCRS"), a grouping of Saharan territories in order to better protect their holdings in Algeria. Although their holdings in Algeria didn't actually exist for the most part besides the Sahara and a few coastal exclaves, it was those Algerian holdings that prompted this idea. In a backdoor deal with the King of Libya, French and Libyan special operations organized Tuareg rebels in both Northern Mali and Northern Niger. After a brief "uprising", the French government offered both of hte newly independent nations huge sums of money in exchange for permanently leasing the Azawad region of Mali and the Agadez region of Niger to the French - a deal the impoverished nations quickly took in order to make the problem go away.

The speed of the Tuareg uprising was shocking - but it was largely because the Libyans had been organizing them for years to harass the French to push them out of Fezzan - and the new French government found an easy way to make the problem go away - bribe the Libyans to help them instead. As part of the deal, Fezzan was "sold" to Libya for a pittance, essentially settling Franco-Libyan territorial strife. Saharan Algeria, Azawad, and Agadez was quickly organized into the OCRS, a special administrative zone of the French Republic with unusually low tax rates. In particular, this was to incentivize private investment into the newly announced Trans-Saharan Railway, a massive highway and railway network that would link together all of these areas - perhaps reach out to former colonies like Niger and Mali and Mauritania - and most importantly, link together France's Saharan territories (with all of its minerals and oil) with its overseas departments in Equatorial Africa. The Trans-Saharan Railway was to run from the Saharan oil town of Hassi Messaoud all the way down to Port-Gentil in the Overseas Department of Gabon.

In practice, the French military, largely freed up from the Algerian War, was redeployed to the Sahara to fight off local people who did not particularly enjoy massive multinational corporations seize their land to build giant pipelines, railroads, and highways. France's former colonies in West Africa generally decided to not criticize of this - especially as they realized they could use the highways. Journalists trying to enter the OCRS SEZ were harrassed by both military and private security. Finally, the Libyans, in recognition for their "help", quickly had a branch of the railway go straight towards Tripoli from both the Department of Chad and Agadez region in the OCRS.

In practice, building a massive highway and railroad system in the Sahara Desert was a logistical nightmare. The French government solved this by using primarily low-wage foreign labor and incentivizing companies with financial benefits. Almost none of the actual construction workers were French - they were predominantly low wage migrant laborers from Spain, Portugal, Yugoslavia, Greece, Hungary, and Sweden (the poorest European states outside of the Soviet orbit). Italians signed up in droves, but in protest of 'neocolonialism', the Italian government banned Italians from working on the project. In many ways, the Trans-Saharan Railway was the most ambitious infrastructure project in African history, surpassing both the goals and reality of the planned Cape-to-Cairo railroad. The project was lauded by the French government as an eternal symbol of France's imperial prestige, even as it had peacefully given up most of its former colonies. Moreover - it was seen as a way of permanently exercising influence on its former colonies.

Ironically, public support for the new French government rose as the United Kingdom faced increasingly difficult straits. The French explicitly decided not to lend any assistance to the flailing British Empire simply because they felt that the contrasting fate of the two empires would increase public support for their regime. While the situation in Southeast Asia was rapidly deteriorating for France, those issues weren't exactly as obviously visible to the French public as were the struggles of the United Kingdom. Increasing economic links with the west of Western Europe blunted the impact of the 1963 oil shock in France - and although the French economy grew significantly slower than their pre-1963 peak, they never actually went into recession (unlike the United Kingdom). Early elections saw the government, much to the shock of global observers, returned to power with an almost identical majority. However, few in the French government foresaw their greatest challenge - the emergence of an unexpected geopolitical foe.
 
Italians signed up in droves, but in protest of 'neocolonialism', the Italian government banned Italians from working on the project. I

. However, few in the French government foresaw their greatest challenge - the emergence of an unexpected geopolitical foe.
Hopefully the two events are connected

ZomboMeme 22082020125351.jpg
 
Chapter 179 - Fool Me Once, Shame on You. Fool Me Twice...
Fool Me Once, Shame on You. Fool Me Twice...
One very successful tactic in global politics is to look at someone who was already successful - and then copy them. In Southeast Asia, that backfired horribly. The Laotian rightists, under Prince Boun Oum, attempted to copy the success of the Cambodian rightists in overthrowing the nonaligned government. However, the Laotian centrist-leftist coalition government, was paying quite close attention to affairs in neighboring Cambodia - and had properly prepared for any possible similar attempt. The coup attempt fell apart almost immediately, as Boun Oum and his nearest compatriots fled abroad into neighboring Thailand. The Laotian leftists, under Souphanouvong, were constantly divided in whether to send more aid to the Cambodian Khmer Rouge or the Vietnamese Viet Minh - neither group seemed particularly successful. The Khmer Rouge were very much the junior partner to the Royalists in the Cambodian War - and the Viet Minh was increasingly weak.

Instead, the strongest bastion of the Vietnamese Communist Party increasingly grew to be in not in Vietnam proper, but in the Republic of Cochinchina, where the People's Revolutionary Party under Le Duan called for an overthrow of the increasingly unpopular and corrupt Cochinchina government. Dominated by criminal syndicates and French colonists, Cochinchina became a bastion of foreign tourism even as the living standards of Cochinese increasingly stagnated, especially rather galling as the Empire of Vietnam to its north settled into a pattern of decent economic growth, propelled partly by neighboring Guangdong province (the wealthiest province in South China). The military wing of the People's Revolutionary Party, or the National Liberation Front (FLN) grew rapidly, swelling as recruits flocked to the increasingly popular movement. Increasingly worryingly for the Cochinese administration, the Vietnamese were rather reluctant to aid the government. Although cooperating in capturing any FLN militants that entered Vietnamese soil, Imperial Vietnamese troops generally refrained to participate in any operations with the Cocinchinese Republic. South Chinese and Vietnamese support was cut off almost entirely in 1960 - when President Sun Fo of the Republic of China declared that the ROC would support a negotiated settlement to the Cochinchinese War.

In response, Prime Minister Charles De Gaulle greenlit the deployment of French troops to Cochinchina in the Fall of 1960. The decision was wildly unpopular in the nonaligned bloc, as the General Assembly overwhelmingly passed a resolution condemning France. A similar resolution in the UN Security Council only failed because France vetoed the resolution. Notably, the United States, United Kingdom, and China all abstained from the resolution (the Soviet Union voted Yes). In many ways however, the French public largely ignored the deployment because it was far far smaller than the massive Algerian War - France under De Gaulle never had a few thousand troops in Cochinchina. Upon the end of the First Algeria War with the withdrawal of French troops and the rise of the Committee of Public Safety, the new French government...was really just temperamentally conservative and didn't know what to do. There was no desire in the cabinet to double-down with French troops in Cochinchina. The French government wanted quick, symbolic victories. Not risky gambles, like escalating the war in Cochinchina. Moreover, they were more concerned about maintaining hegemony in Africa than in Southeast Asia, far away from France. But there was never a consensus to actually withdraw.

Similarly, the new French government was rather skeptical of a long-term commitment to the ruling government in Cambodia. Although French arms supplied the Cambodian Republicans, the French weren't directly involved and didn't want to be anymore. French officials openly began talking to American officials on a negotiated political settlement to the Cambodia War, which in its three years, had killed thousands or possibly even tens of thousands of Cambodia. However, there was never a consensus on how to do this. Peace talks however, would continue, fail, continue, and then fail, with cease-fires being declared because they broke down. Interestingly, peace talks would eventually succeed - but largely because of events completely outside of the control of the French. In Laos, the new leftist-centrist government would continue trying to walk a complicated tight-rope between the East and the West - and although their social and economic reforms proved fruitful and popular, the tightrope would fall prey to those same developments...
 
Chapter 180 - Red Interrex
Red Interrex
For the second time in Soviet history, nobody really knew who was at charge. Ivan Serov had attempted to follow the Beria path to power, scheming his way up the secret services before seizing it from his mentor - but Beria was smart enough to kick down the ladder when he reached the top. And now Serov was dead. But Beria was sitting under house arrest, surrounded by dozens of rather unfriendly Red Army soldiers. And Serov had just been appointed by the Politburo to replace Beria. But once again, Serov was dead.

Although the student leadership called on the protests to disperse, many protesters still refused to disperse - especially angry workers who were inclined to not believe in the promises of the central party. They had been promised a change in leadership...and no change appeared to be coming. After all, why wouldn't Serov come out to speak? Beria had cleverly destroyed all evidence of Serov's assassination - so the central Politburo would waste time hunting for him. After a week of continued protests and frenzied searching by loyalist NKVD members, Beria believed that the Politburo would be forced to put him back in charge. He underestimated how much many top Soviet officials feared Beria - and having acquiesced to his arrest, they were loathe to ever let him out.

The inevitable result of this stand-off was for the Politburo to simply shrug their shoulders at the bizarre "disappearance" of Serov. With no real successor for Beria in the waiting - their next plan was to attempt to revert the Soviet Union back to the tradition of collective leadership. However, the Politburo was not an institution filled with decisive figures. Beria had a tendency of purging the Soviet ranks of anyone who seemed vaguely threatening - so the only members left tended to be apolitical reformers, sycophants, and reasonably competent officials selected by Beria largely because he knew they had no political power base for whatever reason.

Beria's arrest vacated the position of General Secretary of the Communist Party, Premier of the Soviet Union, and Chairman of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet. The highest profile survivor of the Beria era was Nikolai Bulganin, who succeeded as General Secretary of the Communist Party. First Secretary of the Karelo-Finnish Communist Party, Otto Wille Kuusinen, succeeded as Premier, while for his service in basically backstabbing Beria despite being a Georgian, Eduard Shevardnadze was made the weakest member of the Triumvirate, the Chairman of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet. The maneuvering took place immediately. Bulganin really didn't want the job at all and intended to only be a placeholder. As a result, he was largely passive in the face of machinations by Kuusinen, who recruited the novice Shevardnadze to his side to slowly replace Bulganin supporters with Kuusinen supporters. It only took a month before in an actual milestone for the Soviet Union, Bulganin announced his retirement. In his memoirs, Bulganin outlined that he understood why this was so important - it was essentially the first peaceful transition of power in the Soviet Union. The leader of the Soviet Union had changed without anyone getting shot.

That being said, it was going to change again. Kuusinen, as a much younger man, had fled from the Finnish Civil War with the defeated Reds into Soviet Russia - eventually climbing up the ranks of the Soviet Union slowly, surviving the Great Purge, working closely with regards to the Soviet invasion of Finland (immediately becoming the most hated man in Finnish history), and had then successfully climbed to the top of the Soviet Union. That being said, he too would only last a month before dying of liver cancer. Kuusinen's hardline supporters simply vetoed the possible rise of the reformist Shevardnadze, so although he remained in his position and was given the Foreign Affairs ministry as a consolation prize, he did not replace Bulganin and Kuusinen. Furthermore, he was seen as far too young. Worryingly for the Politburo, the protests sparked up again outside of Moscow, as many younger liberals demanded that Shevardnadze be allowed to succeed to the top. The Politburo was generally too timid to move against them.

The fourth leadership shuffle in less than a year brought another surprising young candidate - also a Caucasian. The former members of the NKVD were seen as an extremely important group to cater towards. As a compromise candidate, the head of the NKVD faction (rapidly promoted after the fall of Beria and the "Georgian Mafia"), Aleksandr Sakharovsky, suggested his deputy, the 42-year old Heydar Aliyev, who had recently succeeded his father, the recently decreased Aziz Aliyev. The younger Aliyev was known to be an NKVD-backed candidate with cordial ties with the hardliners (which Shevardnadze, a Beria man, did not). In a compromise, the newly appointed Defense Minister Aleksandr Vasilevsky (the highest ranked Soviet officer who survived the coup - largely because nobody knew his opinion on the coup) took reigns as a relatively apolitical Minister of Defense and Presidium Chairman. The faces of the Soviet Union would be 42 and 36 (even as an experienced old man held the Red Army), a huge propaganda boost to a Communist Party that openly wanted to portray youth and a "new page" from the Beria era while not actually changing the actual structure of the Soviet government or economy.

However, the protests did not go away. The Moscow City Government was still vacant and many basic services failed to run. Worst of all, many of the protesters demanded that independent, non-CCCP candidates be allowed to be appointed to municipal positions. The student union leaders had all continued to be active. Fearful of continued unrest, the Soviet government hammered out a proposal to quickly make them all go away. In the famous 1964 Moscow Reform, the new agreeable mayor of Moscow (supported by the Soviet government), Nikolai Tikhonov, announced that the Moscow City Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union would appoint a special committee, half-comprised of Communist Party technocrats and the other half comprised of "respected socialist academics from local institutions" in order to fill bureaucratic vacancies in local government with the "best and brightest." The eventual results would surprise almost all of those involved - but the students dissipated - and the NKVD faction stalwarts signed off - as they believed that the party would retain ultimate control and had peacefully transitioned power from a ruler who even many NKVD members grew deeply repulsed by.
 
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For the second time in Soviet history, nobody really knew who was at charge. Ivan Serov had attempted to follow the Beria path to power, scheming his way up the secret services before seizing it from his mentor - but Beria was smart enough to kick down the ladder when he reached the top. And now Serov was dead. But Beria was sitting under house arrest, surrounded by dozens of rather unfriendly Red Army soldiers. And Serov had just been appointed by the Politburo to replace Beria. But once again, Serov was dead.
Guess Koreans in the USSR can sleep well, knowing that no one in the leadership will be going about spreading non-sense conspiracy theories about them being the cause of many of Russia's problems.
 
Excellent update.Will our favorite Soviet psychopath survive?

Probably not for long. Beria might try one last attempt to get the power he once had but his policies and personality have generally alienated most of the Soviet Government and military, the longer he stays out of power, the less his chances grow as loyalists begin to be filtered for newer faces loyal to the new guys. Beria might also face attempts on his life by his successors too out of paranoia he'll attempt to climb his way up and possibly start a Soviet Civil War with his own faction. It'd be more ironic if the new governments ships him off saying Beria's mental faculties have declined and he's sent to live in a mental hospital for the rest of his life, enduring the same type of psychological torture he inflicted on many others all these years.
 
I apologise if his eventual fate has been already covered, but what happened to Zukov in this TL?
Also is Molotov still chilling in North China?

I'm assuming that as part of the coup he got it in the kneck along with Konev et all. His position on the hardline and lack of mention in this update implies similar for Suslov, although I hope not.
 
I apologise if his eventual fate has been already covered, but what happened to Zukov in this TL?
Also is Molotov still chilling in North China?

Yeah, Molotov still chilling. Zhukov probably got got by Beria.

I'm assuming that as part of the coup he got it in the kneck along with Konev et all. His position on the hardline and lack of mention in this update implies similar for Suslov, although I hope not.

Suslov, given that Beria finds most civilian competitors less threatening, probably just got demoted to work in some frontier territory - but he gets rehabilitated and sent back to the Politburo during this whole shuffle.
 
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