Ostland, officially known as the Grand Duchy of Ostland (Dundorfian: Großherzogtum Ostland), sometimes called Ostland-Touryou is a sovereign nation situated in interior of Dovani. Before gaining independence, Ostland was the largest and most recent of the Crowlands of Hulstria and Gao-Soto. Prior to being granted Crowland status in 3389, and thus full membership of the Empire, Ostland was officially a colony of Greater Hulstria.
Since independence, the country has pursued a foreign policy centered around its colonial past, namely those of Dundorfian heritage; indeed, the overwhelming majority of the population are native Dundorfian speakers. Ostland’s fertile land meant that, for most of its history, the country was considered the ‘breadbasket’ of Hulstria. However, successive governments have since sought to promote greater economic diversification, particularly within areas such as scientific research and finance.
Immediately following Ostland’s independence, a number of regime changes prevented the country’s transition to democracy. The coup d’etat of November 4312, led by General Georg Qvortrup, and the ensuing dictatorship, has been described by historian Hans Funke as the country’s ‘darkest years’. For much of this period, the native Kunihito population was disenfranchised, and a policy of cultural hegemony practised. As a result of the Hulstrian Civil War, the Qvortrup regime was overthrown, with the Septembrist Crownland Congress establishing a constitutional monarchy under Ludwig I in 4246. Ostland has shifted hands between pro-Independence Ostlander's mostly led by the nobility in the area as well as pro-Hulstrian ex-patriots.
The earliest accounts about the territories that now form Ostland come from the medieval Empire of Gao-Soto. According to imperial Gao-Soton historiography, before the formation of the Empire in 819, the lands east of the Schnee-Berge Mountains were inhabited by nomadic barbarians, named Soto. The formation of the empire under Meijiyo brought the Eastern Territory under the rule of the Emperor, while the Soto barbarians played an equally important part in the creation of the empire as the civilized Gao-Showa.With the discovery of Dovani in 1474, and the conquest of Gao-Soto by Luthori in 1560, the Eastern Territory became independent. Protected by the Schnee-Berge Mountains, the Eastern Territory was protected from attacks from Luthori, and later independent Hulstria. Moreover, the fact that the eastern territory was sparsely populated and had no apparent economic value, coupled with the hostility of the natives, meant that there was little incentive for exploration and expansion in the region.
This changed however with the establishment of the Dual Monarchy of Hulstria and Gao-Soto in 2425, the relations between the Hulstrians and the native Gao-Showans of the Great North Dovani Plain improved significantly. This allowed Hulstria and Gao-Soto to begin the exploration of the territory, and in 2438, it was officially annexed by the Dual Monarchy, and placed under the rule of the Gao-Soton Emperor. When the Dual Monarchy was abolished in 2484, the Gao-Showa emperor fled into the Eastern Territory, maintaining a power base in the region, while pursuing his return to the throne. However, when the monarchy was returned in 2551, the Eastern Territory was brought back under Hulstrian control, becoming a colony once again.
In 3388, with the restoration of the Empire of Gao-Soto, the Eastern Territory was brought under the direct control of the eastern half of the empire. In order for both constituent empires to have an equal number of crownlands, Ostland was granted the status of Crownland in 3389, becoming the sixth Crownland of Septembrist Hulstria and Gao-Soto.
For much of Ostland's independent history, the native Kunihito population had been disenfranchised. This was the result of aggressive settlement of Dundorfian (as opposed to Hulstrian-Dundorfian) settlers by pro-Dundorfian organisations, which succesfully took over the country and imposed an apartheid regime in which Kunihito were unable to hold office. The capital was moved to the new settlement of Wolfsheim. As a result of the Hulstrian Civil War, this regime was displaced and replaced with a new Septembrist constitution drawn up by the agency of the Septembrist Crownland Congress. This has largely been interpreted in terms of nostalgia for the Septembrist era, in which Touryou enjoyed an equal status with Gao-Soto. The last Grand Duke of Ostland was abrogated and the Crown bestowed once more on the Mikado of Gao-Soto, Morihito.
The Grand Duke of Ostland was formally restored in April, 4415 when King Friedrich I passed and his son Crown Prince Magnus took the throne. Ostland has experienced a rather tumultuous turn around underneath Grand Duke Magnus, who unlike predecessors has fostered a working relationship between the Hulstrians (sometimes called Hulstro-Dundorfians in Ostland) and the Kunihito people. Several acts of legislation have passed to re-build bridges severed, notably the "Law on Societal Integration and Protection" which passed in November, 4419 and saw the general elections for the Eastern Land Council allow a Kunihito focused party run for seats with the governing coalition.
Perhaps the most progressive move done by the Grand Duke was the allowance of the formation of an autonomous region known as the "Touryou State" which would allow the Kunihito partial autonomy; this move was announced and formalized in March, 4419.
Ostland is situated between the Sea of Carina to the East and the Schnee-Berge Mountains, belonging to the Barrier Range, to the west. The bulk of the territory of Ostland is dominated by the Great North Dovani Plain.
Government and politics
Ostland is a constitutional monarchy with the Grand Duke of Ostland as its head of state; the Grand Duke retains the authority to decree. It should be noted however, that most Grand Dukes seek the approval of the legislature to reinforce their ducal decrees. The head of government is the State Chancellor; underneath the "Law on Constitutional Reform October 4419" the State Minister transitioned into the title of State Chancellor. The Council of Ministers is headed by the State Chancellor and includes a number of ministries, agencies and other organs of the Ostland government.
The legislative branch of Ostland is the Eastern Land Council serves as the unicameral legislature of Ostland. It is headed by an elected President of the Eastern Land Council, it has 100 seats appointed with 150 seats elected, making for 250 seats total. Elections are held every 10 years and organized, managed and overseen by the Ministry of the Interior's Bureau of Elections (Dundorfian: Wahlbüro).
The Supreme Court of Ostland (Dundorfian: Oberster Gerichtshof) is lead by the Supreme Justice with an additional 12 Justices who are appointed for life by the Grand Duke and interviewed (not approved) by the State Judicial Committee. The Appellate Division of the Supreme Court is the ultimate appellate jurisdiction court within Ostland and hears all manner of appeals, the Supreme Court mostly deals with matters related to the Constitution of the Grand Duchy of Ostland. Provinces and Districts have a supreme court and an appellate division of their supreme court as well as courts of record. Judges are appointed and are interviewed by the State Judicial Committee.
Ostland has a number of major cities, they are as follows:
- Wolfsheim, Wolfsheim Province - Long-time capital of Ostland despite the outbreak of the Wolfsheim Plague, rebuilt in the years following the plague and continues to serve as the capital of Ostland;
- Zibon, Weißenfurt Province - Temporarily served as the capital of the Independent Crownland of Ostland-Touryou, has since fallen in population and popularity since the move back to Wolfsheim;
- Jamidaka, Jamidaka Prefecture - The capital of the Touryou State and the home to the largest Kunihito population in Ostland, served as the virtual capital for the 10 southern regions since the foundation of an independent Ostland;
- Schärbach, Mistelfeld Province - The border city between Ostland and Hulstria and Gao-Soto, serves as an important center for mutual cooperation and international affairs;
- Lentrenk, Zeltmark Province - The border city between Ostland and Sekowo, like Schärbach serves as an important center for mutual cooperation and international affairs;
- Nakashiyako, Shintodaka Prefecture - The site of a major port for Ostland, developed during the Dovani War serves as an international trade zone;
- Rapperssau, Richtersfelden Province - The site of Ludwig II International Airport developed by engineer Aayden Krauszer from 4439 to 4445, developed as a major launch point for the Northern Council and the Dovani Transitional Authority;
- Königborn (Kronhofen Province), Birspach (Ermold Province), Blustadt (Kreuzsellen Province), Okutsukawa (Kamisuzawa Prefecture) are all sites of major ports that were developed during the Dovani War by the Northern Council, Dorvik and Ostland
Underneath the direction of Grand Duke Markus, Ostland adopted a new administrative structure in December of 4857. This structure remains in place today. Province were officially transformed into Lander (Luthorian: States, regions); each of these states is lead by a Grand Duke-appointed Landschef (Luthorian: State Chief/Leader) and have an elected state leader known as the Landeshauptmann (Luthorian: State Captain/Leader). At a legislative level each state has a democratically elected Landtag (Luthorian: State Diet) which carries out the legislative functions of the state. At an executive level each state has an appointed Landausschuss (Luthorian: State Committee) which assists the Landschef and Landeshauptmann in carrying out their duties.
Underneath are the Bezirk (Luthorian: Districts) who have elected or appointed (depending on the state) Bezirkshauptmann (Luthorian: District Captain/Leader). District's will sometimes have Bezirksrat (Luthorian: District Council) depending on their size, some district leaders choose to appoint non-elected Bezirksausschuss (Luthorian: District Committee) to assist in their administrative duties. Beneath the Districts are various cities, villages and municipalities or Ortsgemeinden who have elected Bürgermeister (Luthorian: Mayors).
Military and law enforcement
The Armed Forces of Ostland, known natively as the Ostland Landwehr (Luthorian: Ostland Defense Force) is charged with the collective defense of Ostland. Underneath the law the Landwehr can be used both as a military force and a law enforcement force, though that is nominally left up to the State Police. It is not uncommon for soldiers to be seen in the streets and with their sidearms when off of their bases and headquarters. The Landwehr has adopted much of their military organization off of Dorvik, Dundorf and Hulstria and Gao-Soto.
The Landwehr is comprised of two branches the Landwehr proper, which includes the air force and air defense components of Ostland. There has been some traction to break the air force units off of the Landwehr and form its own branch but that idea has yet to come to fruition. The second branch of the Landwehr is the Marine which is the naval arm of the Landwehr. The third branch of the Landwehr technically exists as the Sturmabteilung (Luthorian: Storm Detachment) these men are known as Stoßtruppen and serve as the elite special forces of the Ostland government.
The Landwer was previously augmented by an incredibly nationalist unit known as the Freikorps but they were disarmed by Grand Duke Magnus the Great. The Landwehr is further augmented by a semi-autonomous military unit in the Touryou State known as the Togun or "Eastern Army" in Luthorian. The Togun maintain their own officer corps and recruitment but fall underneath the command and control of the Grand Duke (who is Supreme Commander-in-Chief) and the Landwehr General Staff.
Law enforcement in Ostland underwent a significant transformation underneath Grand Duke Magnus who wanted a more "modern" police structure. Ostland borrowed historical and modern examples from Dorvik, Hulstria and Dundorf. The State Police name was kept and significantly transformed; it was placed under the auspices of the Ministry of the Interior and the Chief of the State Police was kept as the top official within the organization.
The State Police borrowed Dorvik's civil service organization of the police force and re-organized the State Police to included an administrative branch, a traffic police branch, several other specialized units including the introduction of the Sicherheitspolizei (Luthorian: Security Police) which provides a SWAT-like structure for riot control, natural disasters, advanced police response and other means of law enforcement.
The Koan-Keisatsu (Kunikata: 公安警察 Kōan keisatsu, "Public Police Force") was transferred to the Touryou State and assigned underneath their General Affairs State Council but remain underneath the control of the Chief of the State Police if called upon.
Freikorps were a paramilitary that was unofficially sanctioned by the Ostland government prior to January 4419 when Grand Duke Magnus decreed that they were to be disbanded. The Freikorps were leftovers from the early days of the Dundorfian Reich and the Collapse of the Dundorfian Reich. Freikorp units tended to draw on poorer, non-noble citizens of Ostland. The relationship that they had with the Ostland Landwehr overall was tense at best. Most of the Freikorps were demobilized and retired, most of them with government-funded pensions or were transferred into other branches of service.
The primary economy of the Republic of Ostland is centered around various ports located on the western coast of Ostland. The other major portion of Ostland's economy is a large industrial base which produces numerous raw materials and send its back to the ports to various trading partners. Otherwise the Ostland economy is primarily rural and based around businesses that are centered around supporting its trade industry as well as it's heavy industrial focus. Ostlander labor primarily comes from Kunihito who are subjected to near-slave labor.
Ostfirma (Luthorian: East Company) maintains a large presence in Ostland as well Statrica. Ostfirma was setup during the Collapse of the Reich period as a means for various Dundorfian nobles to maintain their interest overseas while the Dundorfian Reich's colonies were either revolting or being picked off by the creation of new states. Statrica has a much better relationship with Ostfirma than Ostland does, Ostland considers Ostfirma a possible opponent in their dominance of the area of economics.
The Ministry for Economics and Finance (Dundorfian: Ministerium für Wirtschaft und Finanzen) is responsible for management of all economic policies of Ostland, they are permitted to handle all matters relating to economics and finance, including regulation and policy without the consent of the State Council but everything requires the signature of the State Chancellor
Education in Ostland is managed by the Ministry of Education, Research and Culture which was created underneath the most recent change in the organizational nature of the constitution. Prior to that it was handled by the Ministry of Public Welfare. Ostland children are mandated to attend school until age 18 which is comprised of elementary education, primary, secondary education and then post-secondary education.
All schools in Ostland are public; few private schools exist and are subject to heavy regulation. Private schools tend to be religious in nature but some elite private elementary, primary and secondary schools exist.
The most prominent universities and colleges are: Wolfsheim University, Grand Duke Ludwig I University, the new Grand Duke Magnus the Great University, the University of Ostland system which has university and colleges throughout the country, as well as University of Jamidaka, the most prominent Kunihito-dominated university in southern Ostland.
Ostland is comprised of primarily three distinct ethnic groups: expatriate Hulstrians, Hulstro-Dundorfians (post-independence settlers mixed with Hulstrians) and the Kunihito. Due to a historical policy of pro-Hulstrian and pro-Dundorfian supremacy the Hulstrians and Hulstro-Dundorfians make up nearly 35% of the population, they identify as "Ostlanders" in place of their respective ethnicities. Kunihito make up roughly 60% of the population surging from 50% overtime as the policies of the government became more favorable towards the Kunihito people.
The vast majority of Hulstrian's and Hulstro-Dundorfian's belong to some sect of Hosianism, mostly the Confessional Luthoranism or Aurorian Patriarchalism sects of the Hosian religion. A significant component of Kunihito have converted due to external pressures from previous governments. The vast majority of the Kunihito population remains largely Tenshist or Daenist.