Saratovia

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Kingdom of Saratovia
Королевство Саратовии

Saratovia
Саратовия
Flag of Saratovia Coat of Arms of Saratovia
Flag Government Coat of Arms
Motto: Oswin is with us!
С нами Ожвин!
Anthem: Glory
(Славься)
Location of Saratovia in Wallasea with Orylian Islands visible
CapitalPetrograd
Official languages Saratovian
Recognised regional languages Zegoran dialects, South Poláčekian, Poláčekian, Western Poláčekian, Mozalvian
Ethnic groups Saratovs, Zegorans, Poláks, Čeks, Mozalvians
Religion Apostolic Oswinism
Demonym Saratov, Saratovian
Government Constitutional monarchy
 •  King
Король
Vilgelm II
 •  Chancellor
Канцлер
Graf Kirill Mironovskiy
Legislature Saratov Congress
Саратовский Съезд

Chamber of Deputies
(Палата Депутатов)

Boyar Council
(Боярский Совет)
Establishment
 •  Coronation of Feodor I as King of Tver 1072 
 •  Declaration of Vladimir I as King of the Saratovs 1244 
 •  Righteous Compact 1429 
 •  Ratification of the Saratov Consitution 25 April 1706 
 •  Amendment of the Saratov Consitution 25 April 1706 
Area
 •  1,642,128 km2
634,029 sq mi
Population
 •  2018 estimate 60.1 million
 •  2010 census 56,792,151
 •  Density 42.69/km2
110.6/sq mi
GDP (PPP) 2018 estimate
 •  Total $3.04 trillion
 •  Per capita $50,532
Gini (2018)26.2
low
HDI (2018).934
very high
Currency Saratov Grivna (Г)
(Гривна) (SVA)
Date format dd-mm-yy
Drives on the right side
Internet TLD .sva

Saratovia, officially The Kingdom of Saratovia (Saratovian: Королевство Саратовии), is a nation state on the south-eastern coast of Wallasea. Saratovia is bordered by Zegora and Bogatovia to the west, Poláčekia to the north-west, the Ingenic Ocean to the south and east, and the Leonine Sea to the northeast. Saratovia's mainland territory sits on the Wallasean coastal lowlands, and is heavily forested. Its territory also includes a number of islands off the south-eastern coast of the continent known as the Saratov Archipelago, the largest of which are Lagoda and Onega. Saratovia exercises sovereignty over the Orylian Islands in the Ingenic Ocean, and claims a large economic exclusion zone extending far into the ocean around the island chain.

Saratovia is home to the Saratovs, a Slavic people who migrated to and settled the region in the 8th century. The Saratovs share close cultural ties to their Slavic neighbors, and an overwhelming majority of them are observant of the Apostolic Oswinite faith. Oswinism was adopted as the state religion in 1072, when Saratovia's territory was first incorporated as a united kingdom under King Feodor I of the Kalyazin dynasty. The Kalyazin dynasty died out in 1438, and was replaced by the Ivanov dynasty which has continuously ruled the country since. A brief interregnum occurred from 1698 until 1701 during the Saratov Succession Crisis, when a cadet branch of the family inherited the throne under King Pyotr I.

Saratovia has had a written, codified constitution since 1706 which guarantees subjects of the crown civil liberties and rights, and limits the authority of the government. The country is governed by a bicameral legislature known as the Saratov Congress, which has an elected lower house composed of commoners and a hereditary upper house composed of landed nobles who hold royal titles to their respective counties. The Chancellor is the chief governing executive minister and head of government appointed by the monarch, and is chosen from the majority party in power in the lower house of the Congress. The monarch, although lacking substantial power, continues to serve as head of state.

Saratovia has an estimated nominal GDP totaling $3.04 trillion, making it one of the wealthiest countries per capita in Wallasea. The country has a highly developed economy that is primarily based on the financial services and high-tech manufacturing sectors, however Saratovia is also a net exporter of petroleum and possesses extensive offshore oil reserves in its large claimed economic exclusion zone. Saratovia's large petroleum reserves afford it some degree of energy independence.

Etymology

The modern name for Saratovia, as well as the Saratov people, is believed to originate from the indigenous peoples that inhabited the region prior to the arrival of Slavs. Slavs encountered loose bands of nomadic tribes when settling the area, and frequently traded with them. The indigenous name for the hilly region around what is now the northern frontier with Poláčekia was Sary Tau, which translates roughly to the "Yellow Hills." The indigenous peoples referred to the Slavs as the Sar because, it is thought, they believed the Slavs had originated from this region. The first recorded instances of the Slavs referring to themselves as "Saratovs" date back to texts from the 10th century.

History

Antiquity

Saratovia was home to several prehistoric civilizations, many of them concentrated in river valleys and along the coast. The oldest fossilized human remains discovered in Saratovia date back to 21,000 BCE. Evidence of Bronze and Iron Age cultures related to the Jezevo and Rikelinac peoples have been discovered in northwestern Saratovia. Several ancient coastal cities belonging to the Keveletz civilization were also discovered by Saratov archaeologists, with some artifacts found dating back to the Middle Bronze Age around 2000 BCE.

Middle Ages

Slavic peoples began to migrate to modern-day Saratovia around the year 700 CE. These peoples encountered nomadic indigenous tribes whom they referred to as the Kevets (Кевцы), who are believed to have been distantly related to nomadic Uzurs who spread across the eastern half of Wallasea in the preceding centuries. The Slavs began to form polities which gradually expanded and integrated and wiped out these indigenous groups by the late 8th century.

A painting of the dedication of one of the first Oswinite cathedrals in Rostovan Sar'.

In the early 9th century, many of the largest Slav principalities and duchies in the central regions of the country, along the banks of the Lena River, joined together to form a loose confederation known as Rostovan Sar'. This confederation was ruled from the capital in the city of Rostov, itself located near the geographic center of what had become known as the Saratov Lands (Саратовская Земля). The first recorded use of the name "Saratov" appeared around this time period.

Rostovan Sar' was ruled by an elected king and religiously observed the traditional Slavic pantheons. The confederation lasted for approximately 250 years, until the Wars of the Spirits broke out in the 11th century with the arrival of Oswinism along the border with Poláčekia. Rostov was sacked in 1069 by the Oswinite Prince Feodor of Tver. Rostovan Sar' collapsed into a power vacuum, and Feodor consolidated his power in his home principality forming the Kingdom of Tver in 1072, which comprised most of the eastern half of modern-day Saratovia at its height. Oswinism gradually took a firmer hold on the Saratov lands, becoming the main religion in all regions by 1220.

The Kingdom of Tver launched a campaign into the western Saratov territories in 1244 with the goal of capturing Rostov. Rostov fell to Tverine armies in 1248, and King Vladimir was crowned as the first "King of the Saratovs" by the Rostov Patriarchate, thus creating the direct precursor to the modern Kingdom of Saratovia. Upon his coronation, the king issued an order to all remaining independent nobles to submit. The new kingdom launched the Saratov Unification Wars, a series of conflicts that lasted from 1250 up until the early 14th century to bring the rest of the Saratov lands under centralized control.

Newly integrated subjects proved rebellious, and in 1382 a plot to overthrow the monarchy by a group of nobles was uncovered. The King invited all nobles to come to the capital and sit as a jury for the accused, which is considered to have been the first meeting of the S'ezd ("Съезд"). Unrest continued to be an issue in the kingdom in the following years. In 1429, Ivan III came to an agreement with the nobility and issued the Righteous Concordat (Праведный Конкордат). The Concordat centralized all governing authority in the capital; in exchange, the S'ezd became a permanent lawmaking institution that would give the nobility a permanent check on the authority of the monarchy.

In 1438, Ivan III died without a direct heir. The First Saratov Interregnum briefly ensued, until the late King's nephew Prince Alexander of Ivanovo was crowned, promoting the House of Ivanov to the throne. A cadet branch of the House of Ivanov continues to rule Saratovia today.

The late middle ages were characterized by a series of minor wars with the Zegoran kingdoms to the west and the Poláček Empire to the north. In particular, the Moksha Basin around the River Tsna changed hands frequently between Zegorans and Saratovs.

Enlightenment period and Kulturizatsiya

A painting of the Government Embankment in Petrograd during Pyotr I's reign, c. 1730.

The Saratov Succession Crisis began in 1698 when Igor II died without issue and with no surviving siblings. A regency by the deceased King's wife, Valeria, ensued while the Congress debated the succession laws and the strength of various claims made on the throne. Eventually, his nephew Pyotr, born of his eldest sister Olga, was selected by the Congress to be crowned. On 16 December 1701, the Congress revised the succession laws to permit the descendant of a female relative ascend to the throne, and Pyotr was crowned on the 21st of December at the age of 26.

Pyotr had spent much of his youth in Fanta, as his father was himself a Prince from a junior branch of the House of Longchamps. Upon his accession to the throne, he set about a process known as "Kulturizatsiya" (Культуризация, lit. "Kulturization"), which was an injection of Fantasian cultural norms and philosophy into Saratovia. He founded a planned capital city on the southern coast - Petrograd - and pursued his dream of turning Saratovia into a major naval power.

Inspired by constitutional theories present in many Fantasian principalities and in Flamaguay, Pyotr set about drafting and implementing a written constitution for Saratovia. This constitution was adopted by the Congress in 1706, and it created a new lower house of the Congress, guaranteed the right of subjects to elect representatives to the national government, codified succession law, and established a series of basic rights and liberties afforded to all subjects of the crown.

Kulturizatsiya lasted until shortly after Pyotr I's death, when his son Vilgelm ascended to the throne.

Early modern period, Veran epoch, and Great War

The latter half of the 18th century was characterized by a significantly more aggressive Saratov foreign policy. Pyotr I's dream to build a grand navy came to fruition, and Saratovia laid claim to large swathes of territory in the southern and eastern reaches of the Ingenic Ocean. This brought Saratovia into conflict with Flamaguay, and particularly the End of the World Company, resulting in the brief Orylian War. The war resulted in an understanding between Flamaguay and Saratovia, which established a fraternal alliance as they carved out spheres of influence for themselves to the detriment of the Zegoran kingdoms.

A sketch of the young Queen Vera, the second queen regnant and longest reigning monarch of Saratovia, addressing the Boyar Council for the first time in 1844.

In 1844, the young Queen Vera ascended to the throne at the age of 18. Vera's rule, much like Pyotr's, became known as the Veran epoch, and was characterized by further major cultural shifts in Saratov society. Saratovia pursued the construction of an overseas empire. The period of her reign coincided with the first major industrial revolution in Saratovia, imported several years after it had begun in Fanta and Varnia. The manufacturing base in Saratovia shifted from rural artisans and small workshops to large, industrialized factories. A national rail network and electrical telegraph grid allowed the country to centralize and urbanize much more rapidly than in previous decades.

The waning years of the Veran epoch were marked by the outbreak of the Great War, when Prekovy and Zaposlavia invaded Embrea, drawing Saratovia and Flamaguay into the war as part of the Wallasean Entente. Most of the fighting that involved Saratovia took place on its own soil along the Zaposlav frontier, until a series of counter-offensives by the Entente allowed them to push into Zaposlavia. After peace with Prekovy and Zaposlavia was signed, a war at sea was fought after Commonwealth forces attacked Saratov ships patrolling colonial holdings off the coast of Crataea.

The war was devastating, and plunged Saratovia into a crippling economic depression. The immediate aftermath of the war saw the Saratov Empire crumble, and resulted in massive societal instability.

Modern Period

The severe economic depression following the Great War resulted in an overwhelming electoral victory for Freeguilders. King Nikolai II refused to acknowledge their authority to govern, sparking the Petrograd Crisis. The constitutional crisis nearly resulted in a civil war until a peaceful agreement was reached between moderate Freeguilder leaders and the monarchy; the King permitted them to form a government at the start of the next electoral term.

The rise of Freeguilderism as a political force and defeat of the traditional monarchist establishment prompted the creation of a new political movement, Oswinite democracy, in Saratovia. The creation of this movement was marked by the founding of the Oswinite Democratic Union, which proved extremely popular electorally. The ODU was propelled to power in the 1920 elections. A group of modern Freeguilders joined with the ODU leadership under the direction of Chancellor Gerard Nezhdanov to significantly amend the Saratov Constitution.

The resulting amendments were passed into law in 1921. The significantly altered constitution decisively secured civil democratic rule as the only legitimate governmental authority in Saratovia by significantly undercutting the influence of the monarchy and nobility to largely ceremonial roles. The amended constitution added additional rights and privileges to all subjects of the Saratov Crown.

By the 1920s, the economy had largely recovered. Large offshore oil reserves were discovered off the coast of the Orylian Islands, which provided a massive boost for the Saratov economy as it was a major injection of resources for the burgeoning global energy sector. This period is commonly characterized as Saratovia's "second" industrial revolution, which saw its manufacturing sector effectively double in size.

Saratov foreign policy during this period followed its historical model of seeking strategic independence from hegemonic powers, specifically Prekovy. The 1968 War of the Three Valleys between Flamaguay and Zegora-Bogatovia brought about the founding of the Comprehensive Negotiating Framework for Southern Wallasea, an effort spearheaded by the Saratov government. It was Saratovia's desire to use the CNF to integrate with the other nations of southern Wallasea to protect their mutual interests and independence. Saratovia has continued to pursue policies that are antagonistic to Prekovy.

Geography

Saratovia's terrain is mostly composed of lowlands, with elevations reaching much higher toward the northern border.

Saratovia is located on the southeastern coastal lowlands of Wallasea, and a significant portion of its territory is made up of the islands of the Saratov Archipelago off the continent's southeastern coast.

Saratovia exercises sovereignty over the Orylian Islands, a chain of islands that extends far south into the Ingenic Ocean and neighbors the Poyapáno archipelago. Saratovia has administered these islands since it acquired them from the Flamaguayan End of the World Company during the Orylian War. Saratovia also has extensive territorial holdings in the Ingenic Ocean that are administered mostly as autonomous overseas territories.

Saratovia's western border with Zegora and Bogatovia is formed by the Tsna River, a navigable river that was important to both nations' development in the Middle Ages. The river empties into Ulna Lake, which is connected to the Ingenic Ocean by the Canal of Brotherhood. The canal was jointly built in the narrow border zone by Zegora and Saratovia in 1995 as a joint project to enhance river shipping traffic and cooperation between the two countries. Several islands straddle the international maritime boundary between Zegora and Saratovia. Zegora exercises sovereignty over these islands, however Saratovia has historically disputed the legitimacy of Zegora's claims to them and attempted to wrest control of them during the brief South Island War with, at that time, Zaposlavia in 1878. As part of the armistice signed at the end of the Wallasean front of the Great War, Saratovia agreed to formally renounce all claims to the islands permanently.

The northern border region with Poláčekia is characterized by rolling hills and lowlands, and is heavily forested. Nearly 48% of Saratovia's land is covered in forests, making timber one of the country's largest natural resources. Several low peaks of the Moravian mountain range extend southward from Poláčekia into Saratovia in the west, comprising the only true highlands in the country with the rest of Saratovia being mostly low elevation.

Two large islands of the Saratov archipelago, Onega and Lagoda, shield the southern coast of Saratovia from the Ingenic Ocean to form the Sea of Saratov. The smaller Kalina island is located closer to the coast, which forms a natural barrier to the mainland resulting in numerous natural harbors that dot the coastline and calm waters throughout the area. The capital, Petrograd, is located at the Lena River estuary on the mainland opposite Kalina island. Petrograd's harbor is the home port of the Saratov Fleet, and its position makes it one of the most defensible natural harbors in the world.

Climate

Saratovia's southern coast is known for its consistently warm temperatures year-round.

Mainland Saratovia is mostly characterized by a humid subtropical climate, with hot summers and cool winters. Average temperatures in the summer time range between 24°C and 32°C, while in the winter temperatures can range from slightly above 0°C in the northern areas to between 10°C and 15°C in the far southern regions and the Saratov Archipelago. While Saratovia is quite far south, the Prekovar polar anticyclone can sometimes blow cold winter air down from the eastern plains of Prekovy every few years, allowing for a significantly colder winter than average with lows potentially reaching -12°C in the northern regions of the mainland. This phenomenon is referred to as the Northern Gale (Северная Буря).

Because of the humidity and moisture brought to southeastern Wallasea by tropical trade winds, as well as the humid ocean air circulated by the Ingenic Gyre, Saratovia sees very high average yearly rainfall. The mainland territory can often have over 1200mm of rain each year on average, and over 160 days with precipitation. April through July are the wettest months on average, with over 15 rainy days each. This heavy rainfall makes Saratovia's plains into very fertile farmland, and allows for a wide variety of flora to grow.

Saratovia's northwestern mountainous regions show colorful foliage in autumn. Although average temperatures throughout the country rarely dip below freezing, much of Saratovia's deciduous vegetation sheds its leaves in the autumn.

The islands of the Saratov Archipelago have a warmer and wetter climate than the mainland. Winters in the archipelago have temperatures that average around 15°C to 20°C with heavy rains. The climate in the southern islands of the archipelago, as well as in the Orylian Islands, is much closer to a true tropical climate than the mainland. Several of the islands in the Ingenic are often subject to yearly hurricanes that pass through the region in the autumn and winter, sometimes causing extensive damage.

Ecology

Saratovia's climate hosts a large diversity of flora and fauna. Its mainland is blanketed by a wide variety of deciduous trees. The forests host many varieties of flowering plants, notably including the national flower magnolia. In the far southern parts of the mainland and islands, palm trees are common.

The mainland is home to many varieties of mammals, including deer, rabbits, red fox, gray fox, black bears, and cougars. In the Saratov archipelago there also exists the unique island deer, a small species of deer unique to the islands. Recreational hunting of many of these animals is a popular sport in Saratovia, and there exists a modern cultural tradition of hunting lodges and organized expeditions in the autumn and winter months.

A wide variety of reptiles inhabit Saratovia, such as alligators, crocodiles, tortoises, sea turtles, and a large number of snakes. The open ocean also encourages fish and other sea life to thrive in the waters around Saratovia, which in turn feeds a large fishing industry. Notable examples of non-fish marine wildlife include dolphins and manatees, both of which are now protected by the government after years of hunting and fishing drove them to endangered status.

Many species of birds populate both the mainland and islands. Notably, Saratovia is host to many migratory bird species such as geese and other waterfowl that fly south from Prekovy during the winter months. Many of these birds often only stop over in Saratovia for a short time as they make their way over the ocean to Veridis before eventually returning back north in the spring.

Politics

The Palace of Congress in Petrograd, on the Government Embankment. The building features aesthetic designs and sculptures inspired by occidentialist influences from traditional Sukarian myths. The two Sphinx statues on the quay, believed to be over 3500 years old, were recovered by an 1802 expedition to Ohn, Sukaria.

Modern Saratovia is generally characterized as a liberal democracy, with a functioning parliamentary system of governance. Despite this, its parliament, the Saratov Congress, still retains aristocratic checks against both commoners and the crown.

The written constitution was first ratified in 1706, and was later amended significantly in 1921. The constitution guarantees civil protections for subjects of the crown, however much of Saratovia's legal system is built upon statutory law that is drafted and passed by the legislature. Suffrage, for instance, is determined by statute and is not guaranteed as a right for all citizens by the constitution. Until 1850 only landowning men were permitted to vote, and women were granted franchise by an act of the Congress in 1912. Non-Oswinites were only permitted to vote following the ratification of the 1921 constitutional amendments.

The constitution created a lower house of the Congress, the Chamber of Deputies, to allow commoners to elect their own representatives to the national government. The already existing upper house, known today as the Boyar Council, is an assembly composed of the heads of household for all landed noble families (known as boyars, and ranging in rank from Count to Prince) who are subjects of the Saratov crown. Both of these houses of the Saratov Congress were intended to serve as checks on the power of the monarchy, which lacks direct authority over the legislature aside from the right to call new elections for the Chamber of Deputies at the request of the civil government. While legally a bicameral legislature, the Congress functions practically as a unicameral lawmaking body where both houses vote together on legislation. Only the lower house, however, has the authority to introduce new bills.

Administrative Divisions

Saratovia is a unitary state, but it has its roots in the medieval confederation known as Rostovan Sar' that loosely united the disparate Saratov states. Modern Saratovia is divided into 15 governorates that fulfill the functions of regional governance. All of them derive their powers and authorities directly from the central government, which reserves the right to intervene in their affairs where it deems necessary. These civil administrative divisions within Saratovia are all governed by locally elected councils.

Historically, the territory of modern Saratovia comprises 136 separate polities that each confer a landed title including 2 Royal Districts, 15 principalities, 48 duchies, and 71 counties. While these regions no longer possess any direct governing functions, the title for each territory with the rank of Duke or above corresponds to a seat on the Boyar Council that can only be filled by the holder of the title. The monarchy lacks the legal authority to create or destroy landed titles; instead the monarch can only promote another family to succeed a vacated title should a family lose it through the lack of a succeeding heir.

Government

Government Ministries
Translated name
Official name
Function
Saratov Coat of Arms.png
  • Министерство Иностранных Дел (MID)
  • Conducts foreign affairs and relations with other states
  • Ministry of the Treasury
  • Министерство Финансов
  • Manages government finances
  • Ministry of Defense
  • Министерство Обороны
  • Ministry of the Interior
  • Министерство Внутренних Дел (MVD)
  • Oversees domestic police agencies and law enforcement
  • Ministry of Industry
  • Министерство Промышленности
  • Conducts government regulation and relations with private industry
  • Ministry of Food and Agriculture
  • Министерство Продовольствия и Сельского Хозяйства
  • Oversees regulation of the agricultural sector and food standards
  • Ministry of Education
  • Министерство Образования
  • Manages government regulation and funding of all levels of education
  • Ministry of Health and Family
  • Министерство Здравоохранения и Семьи
  • Manages social welfare program oversight and health policy
  • Ministry of Culture and Faith
  • Министерство Культуры и Веры
  • Manages government promotion of cultural and church activities

Saratovia's civil government has little legal standing in statute, but is instead selected by customary rules and traditions. The Chancellor is typically selected by the leadership of the ruling party that controls the Chamber of Deputies, and he may appoint ministers at his own discretion to head the various ministries of the state. Legally he and his ministers serve at the pleasure of the monarch, however the Chancellor can only be dismissed by a vote of no confidence initiated and voted on by the lower chamber. Should the Chancellor wish, he may request that the monarch call for a sudden election of deputies, but the monarch is under no obligation to do so.

The Chancellor and his ministers govern on behalf of the monarch, who in modern times lacks any tangible decision-making authority due to the 1921 constitutional revisions that relegated the monarchy to a mostly ceremonial status. The civil government also comprises a merit-based civil service system that is staffed by career bureaucrats. These bureaucrats typically serve for multiple years as governments change. It is their job to implement the policy priorities of the government in power at the time, and to ensure that governance remains uninterrupted during transfers of power between parties.

Saratovia has several active political parties that stand for Congressional elections. Elected members of the Congress serve for four year terms, and are elected from single-member constituencies in a first-past the post system. There are 355 constituencies, meaning that at least 178 seats are required to form a majority government. Although legally the two chambers are separate, they typically vote together on most matters. Members of the Boyar Council are forbidden from formally caucusing with a political party, meaning they must remain independent of official affiliations. Members of the Chamber of Deputies often must lobby to sway Boyars to vote in one way or another. Boyars are not permitted to vote on matters of the budget or the formation or removal of a government, but are able to vote on all normal statutory law proposals.

Foreign Policy

Saratovia's modern foreign policy is directly descended from the expansionist doctrine that it pursued in the 18th and 19th centuries. The Saratov government aggressively defends its regional interests, and often wields military force for peacekeeping and peace enforcement actions in Veridis and Crataea, typically in cooperation with other international partners.

Saratovia shares friendly relations with its immediate neighbors in Wallasea, Zegora and Bogatovia and Poláčekia, and also maintains friendly relations with Flamaguay and Embrea. Together these five states are members of the Comprehensive Negotiating Framework for Southern Wallasea, known in Saratovia as VP2 ("Всеобъемлющая платформа для ведения переговоров по Южной Вальясьи") and internationally as the CNF. The CNF was originally founded following the Sertolovo Accords as a means for normalizing talks between Flamaguay and Zegora in the aftermath of the War of the Three Valleys, and it expanded to be used as a framework to develop further agreements and standards between its member states.

The Saratov Foreign Ministry is often colloquially referred to as the "Rose Palace" because of its main office in Petrograd.

Saratovia has often attempted to utilize the CNF as a means of further integrating the member states with one another. Saratov political scientists have put forth proposals for using the CNF to further develop a customs union for southern Wallasea. Other proposals for a common currency (proposed to be named the Wallar) and integrated military command have also been drafted, but the Saratov government has never made an official comment on or endorsement of these proposals.

This desire to further integrate with its neighbors stems from Saratovia's heavily strained relations with the northern state of Wallasea, Prekovy. Historically, the Saratov government has viewed Prekovite hegemony over Wallasea as an imminent threat to Saratov sovereignty, and has pursued international partnerships and cooperation in an effort to contain Prekovite influence and power. Saratovia has publicly announced since the early 1980s, in response to the Minu War, that it would unconditionally guarantee the sovereignty of Poláčekia against any external aggression. It did so in an effort to dissuade Prekov revanchism of northern Poláček territories, which is still a potential flashpoint for war to break out on the continent. The Saratov government is the host and sponsor of the Minua Continuation Government, which was formed in Petrograd in 1981 following the successful evacuation of high level government officials from Prekovite occupied Minua.

Saratovia also has a complicated relationship with the Commonwealth, and with Common Law in general. While its government views the anarchistic polity as a threat to world stability, the Commonwealth's influence in southern Wallasea and the Ingenic Ocean is relatively limited, as its primary bases of power are in the Oryontic Ocean. As a result, the Saratov government considers the Commonwealth to be a lesser threat than Prekovy. Additionally, the Saratov government tends to promote foreign direct investment in its economy regardless of the origin of the investors. The presence of extensive tax breaks for logging operations from North Point-based companies is an example of these policies.

Saratovia shares a unique bi-lateral relationship with Dumanum that permits them to cooperate militarily in a limited, albeit meaningful, way. The two nations perform patrols of the Ingenic Ocean and Leonine Sea, and share intelligence with one another regarding Prekovite and Commonwealth naval movements throughout the region through the Ingenic Eye program. Both states welcome the others' naval vessels for refueling and replenishment in their ports, and they permit each others' surveillance aircraft to stop at their airfields for refueling. Despite this relationship with Dumanum, Saratovia's relations with the other pagan and pantheonist states of Crataea and Arterus are, at best, strained. For instance, the Saratov government strongly supports the independence of Regenmark against Wolohannic claims.

Military

The Saratov Armed Forces comprise the land, naval, and air components of the Saratov military. Together their primary duty is to preserve the territorial integrity of the Saratov homeland and protect its sovereignty, however in recent years Saratovia has been known to deploy its forces on peacekeeping missions and police actions.

Destroyers from the Saratov Fleet's 1st Squadron participate in an exercise in the Ingenic Ocean.

The Saratov military employs compulsory military service for all subjects aged 18 and above. National service takes place over a two year term starting approximately six months after the conscript's 18th birthday. The majority of troops are sent to the Ground Forces Infantry or Motorized Rifles, Naval Infantry, or clerical service. A select few who score highly on vocational tests are sent for additional training for more specialized roles. Upon completion of the two years of service, conscripts are discharged and placed in reserve status until their 40th birthdays. They are obligated to report for training for one month every year, and every three years there is a two-month long field exercise with rotating participation.

While compulsory military service provides Saratovia with a large pool of potential personnel to use in an emergency, its military backbone is rooted in the Armed Forces' professional volunteers. Professional soldiers make up the bulk of potential front line combat units, and would be the first deployed in the event of an armed conflict.

Saratovia has a strong naval tradition that dates back to the reign of Pyotr I, and its current strength allows Saratovia to project considerable power in the region and, to a lesser extent, globally. The Saratov Fleet employs two carrier strike groups that are capable of fast deployment to respond to regional threats. Saratovia also maintains five naval expeditionary forces that are also capable of fast deployment in the event of a need for rapid intervention or combat support.

Saratovia's high-tech manufacturing sector and research and development capabilities are heavily subsidized by the government's military budget. The Saratov Armed Forces employ numerous advanced weapons and systems, and many of them are made available for export according to restrictions set by the government. Saratovia also cooperates extensively with several international partners to acquire and develop new military equipment.

Economy

The Saratov economy is primarily based in the energy, financial services, and high-tech manufacturing sectors. Because of the country's position on the southeastern coast of Wallasea, Saratov ports have played a historically strong role in the development of trade across the Ingenic Ocean between Wallasea and the far-western nations of Crataea and Arterus. Saratovia has a high level of economic development, with an HDI score of .934 and a 2018 estimated GDP per capita of $50,532. The Saratov government's budget accounts for approximately 38.5% of the GDP, with military spending being its single largest expenditure followed closely by infrastructure and social welfare programs. Saratovia has moderately high government debt at 68% of GDP, but maintains a AAA credit rating. Fiscal policy and interest rates are determined by the Petrograd Royal Reserve, which operates independently of the government as a Crown Chartered Public Trust. There are no sales or capital gains tax in Saratovia, but a progressive income tax rate can reach up to 60% at the highest levels. At its lowest bracket, the income tax rate is less than 10%. The government's energy sector holdings are among the largest sources of income for its budget.

The Petrograd Financial Center on the outskirts of the historic center of the capital.
One of many Sarneft drilling platforms scattered off the coast of the Orylian Islands.

Saratovia's economy operates mainly on free-market principles, however there are several major state-owned or partially state-owned corporations that have near-exclusive rights to operate large sectors of the Saratov economy. Most notable among these are Sarneft (Сарнефть) and Benzprom (Бензпром), which are the two largest petroleum extraction and refining companies in Saratovia. Both companies are majority-owned by the government under Crown Charters, and have exclusive drilling rights to the largest known oil fields. Both companies have invested heavily in offshore drilling technologies to take advantage of Saratovia's large offshore oil reserves in its claimed economic exclusion zone. Saratovia is a net exporter of both crude oil and refined petroleum products, and the Saratov government buys large quantities of oil every year to keep in storage for its emergency reserves. There have been proposals for both of the state-owned energy conglomerates to begin engaging in more land-based drilling, specifically hydraulic fracturing. Saratovia's western regions have large deposits of natural gas located in deep-rock formations, however the Saratov government has not approved any of the proposals mainly due to environmental concerns. There are also concerns about profitability, as Prekovar natural gas exports currently dominate the Wallasean energy market in the gas sector.

The Saratov economy is also supplemented by other natural-resource extraction operations, particularly the timber industry. Saratovia's territory is heavily forested, which puts the lumber industry among Saratovia's biggest raw-material exporters. Foreign lumber companies, particularly from North Point, were encouraged to begin operations in Saratovia in the mid-1980s through a series of tax incentives that have been renewed on a continuous basis. Mineral extraction is a major industry in the western mountains, specifically coal and iron. The coal industry has subsided in recent years in favor of the offshore oil industry becoming the basis of Saratovia's energy grid, but some coal is still exported to Crataea and other developing parts of the world. Saratovia also has a large fishing industry, and fishermen tend to exploit the large economic exclusion zone that Saratovia claims out into the Ingenic Ocean and Leonine Sea.

Demographics

Saratovia is overwhelmingly ethnically Saratov, with an estimated 88% of the population belonging to the group. Saratovia has historically upheld relatively strict immigration controls, with preference given to self-identified Oswinites over non-Oswinites. Periodically throughout its history Saratovia has offered guest worker status to non-Oswinites, but with limited terms that necessitated the workers to leave after a set number of years. Oswinite guest workers historically had the option to apply to convert their status into permanent residency, with the chance to become a citizen after at least five years of residency. To become a permanent resident, the applicant needed to be sponsored by the Oswinite church or ministry where he or she worshiped. Sponsorship was left to the discretion of the ministry, however the government recommended that the applicant should attend services at least once a month and be a positive contributor to their community. Church sponsorship requirements were eliminated in the 1970s, but applicants must instead be vetted by the government and endorsed by their employer and neighbors.

Mozalvians in traditional costume participate in a Mozalvian cultural festival in Saratovia.

In contrast to its stricter policies toward economic migrants, Saratovia offers asylum to many religious and political refugees of the Oswinite faith. The historical basis for modern Saratovia's welcoming of Oswinite refugees has its origins in the expulsion of the Mozalvians from Chrobatia in what is now modern-day Zegora and Bogatovia during the 17th century. Most of the Mozalvian people moved to Arriyiñatos, where they form a plurality of the population there today. King Igor II decreed that any Mozalvians willing to make the journey eastward would be welcomed as full Saratov subjects, and re-settled in the Saratov interior at the expense of the crown treasury. A sizable number of Mozalvian families took the King's offer, and today their population numbers approximately 1.2 million. Although mostly assimilated linguistically, many Mozalvians still use the Mozalvian language in the home, and practice some of their traditions and customs publicly in yearly festivals. In modern times, Saratov refugee policy is primarily aimed at Oswinites living in pantheonist states in Crataea and Arterus.

Religion

The colonnade of St. Averix's cathedral dominates the skyline of central Petrograd. By law, no rooftop in the downtown can rise higher than the top of the cathedral's dome.

Historically, the Saratov government observed the Apostolic tradition of Oswinism that is governed from the Bishopric of Petrograd as the state religion. This preference to a state religion was eliminated by the 1921 amendments to the constitution, which established the civil government as a fully secular entity, however the state still identifies itself as "observant of Oswinite traditions and foundational beliefs."

The Bishopric of Petrograd is an autocephalous church of the Apostolic Rite. The church has played a key role in Saratov history throughout several periods, and several of its High Bishops have played prominent roles in the secular governance and politics of Saratovia; many of them fulfilled the office of Chancellor or even served as regent.

Legally, the constitution enshrines freedom of worship for all people without preference to one particular religious group, however in practice the government exercises some degree of discrimination against non-Oswinites, particularly Covenanters and pagans. Permanent residency, and by extension citizenship, is harder to obtain for those who self-identify as non-Oswinites. Oswinites who are observant of a tradition other than the Saratov Church are generally regarded with equal status, and there is little practical distinction made by the government between denominations of Oswinism. Non-religious individuals generally do not experience any serious discrimination.

Gender

Women have historically enjoyed strong rights and protections in Saratovia. Women's suffrage was granted by law in 1912 during the series of societal changes that began in the aftermath of the Great War and culminated in the significant 1921 revisions to the constitution. Today women make up nearly half of the workforce. Income equality by gender is not protected by law, however on average salaries are approximately equal when adjusted for the sector of the economy being studied. The Saratov government mandates minimum paid maternity leave of three months, and one month paternity leave for the father. Women are permitted to serve in unlimited capacity in the Saratov Armed Forces, including combat service provided they meet minimum physical standards. These minimum physical standards serve as a de-facto block on women in combat service, resulting in most women in the services going to clerical or technical roles. Since 2012 women have been subject to compulsory military service upon reaching their 18th birthday, most of whom are put into non-combat roles. The implementation of conscription for women was publicly touted as an attempt to instill gender equality in the national service system, but many critics suggested that its true intent was to create a larger source of male manpower to bolster front-line combat troops.

Culture

Modern Saratov culture was transformed mainly by two periods in its history. The first of these periods was the process of Kulturizatsiya in the early 18th century, which was influenced in large part by North Fantasian culture and traditions. The planned capital city founded by Pyotr I, Petrograd, became a nexus of new cultural development during the period, and this cultural development spread quickly throughout metropolitan Saratovia to almost totally change the cultural landscape of the country within a fifty year period. The second period was the Veran epoch, starting with the reign of Queen Vera in 1844 and ending during the Great War. The Veran epoch brought about the height of the Saratov Empire and its international political and cultural influence.

While Saratovia is a Slavic nation that shares cultural and linguistic ties with its Slavic neighbors in Wallasea, Kulturizatsiya brought about a uniquely Arterian influence, particularly in art and literature. Saratov culture is deeply rooted in Oswinic theology and philosophy, and the Saratov Church still plays an active role in public life. For instance, Oswinalia is an official state-sanctioned holiday in Saratovia, although it has been largely secularized in recent years to promote the celebration of traditional family values.

Literature and Philosophy

The earliest examples of Saratov literature can be traced back to Saratov contributions to the Verses in the 10th and 11th centuries CE, however most of these contributions were written in the proto-Saratov language, itself an evolution of the Slavonic tongue that most of the Verses were already written in.

The modern Saratovian language has a rich literary history, however Saratov literature only truly began to develop its own unique identity during the period of Kulturizatsiya. It was at first influenced by Fantasian philosophy, however it quickly developed a voice and tone of its own that was uniquely characteristic of Saratovia. The Saratovian language is widely regarded as being rich with its own vocabulary and grammar, and the language's grammar structure lends itself to wordplay and symbolism through creative metaphors. By the early 19th century, Saratov poetry had gained a worldwide reputation for its abstract symbolism and imagery, and was widely translated. This expanded further during the Veran epoch, when many novels were written that have since become known as classic Saratov literature. This period, spanning most of the 19th century, is often referred to as Saratovia's literary golden age.

Saratov philosophy, like other schools of thought in Wallasea and Arterus, was largely influenced by Oswinite theology. Saratovia's laws and modern constitution are deeply rooted in Oswinite Law (placehold name?). Like its neighbor to the north Poláčekia, Saratovia became a bastion of liberalism in the early 20th century. Saratovia is the home of the political movement that came to be known as Oswinite democracy, which heavily bases its ideology on the social teachings of Oswin. More recently, many philosophical and political thinkers in Saratovia have turned toward a concept known as pan-Wallaseanism, in the belief that Saratovia should be the leader of a Wallasean political union or bloc of nations comprised mainly of the southern Wallasean states.

Visual Art and Music

Architecture

Cuisine

Saratov cuisine is characterized by a heavy reliance on meats and sauces, however its composition differs depending on the region of Saratovia. In the south, which is comparable to traditional Flamaguayan food, most dishes rely heavily on tomatoes and olive oil, and are often served with pasta. In the north, cuisine is much more similar to Poláček cuisine, with a heavy reliance on butter and lard as supplementary ingredients. Seafood dishes are also a staple of traditional Saratov cuisine due to the country's position on the southern Wallasean coast. The development and expansion of the Saratov Empire in the 19th and early 20th centuries resulted in fusion cuisine gaining significant popularity, with many spices and ingredients imported from the Crataean colonies during that period.

Sport

wallasean handball league???