Vostoka Kompleksnaya Koncern
Formal Name: Vostoka Kompleksnaya Koncern
Also Known As: Vostoka, VKK, the Koncern, Russia, the Bear, the Great Machine
Major Corporations of Note:
Platon Bakaleya – Processed food production
Barova Industries – Cybernetics and industrial machinery
Zheleznaya Gora Kompanii – Mining and metallurgy
Kosmodigital – Software
Stal Kulak – Private military and security
Geographic Regions: Russia, as well as parts of eastern Europe and most of Eurasia that isn’t claimed by the Subcontinental Commission. Ostensibly, the VKK is one of the parties responsible for controlling access to the Zone, but does not actually claim control of the area.
Chief Executive Officer: Artyom Nazarov, CEO of Barova Industries
Capital City: Moscow, Russia
The Vostoka Kompleksnaya Koncern is a formidable economic challenger to Ecoai’s global leadership in mining and machinery, is the main source of industrial cybernetics, and is the primary rival to the Empresa and the Pax in terms of raw military power. It is also, by geographic area, by far the largest syndicracy in the world, although by population the Subcontinent far exceeds it.
Vostoka’s corporations are brutally efficient, and its reputation as “the Great Machine” is well-earned. It has some of the highest rate of cybernetic augmentation among its population when compared to other syndicracies, with many of its working class becoming full conversion cyborgs in exchange for lucrative contracts.
Life is hard in the VKK. It is not as idyllic as things may seem in Ecoai or the Accord, but it is also not without its own merits. There is little poverty in its urban centres; very few are unable to find work if they are willing to comply. Even the syndicrats are less excessive and prone to gross displays of wealth and power, generally choosing more pragmatic and utilitarian ways to invest their fortunes.
Much of this “Vostok starkness” is due to the reality of how little of Vostoka is actually controlled by the Koncern. The reality is that giant swaths of northern and eastern Siberia are effectively ungoverned and run by bands of warlords and micro-nation fiefdoms.
The Warlords of Siberia
People in Vostoka are terrified of the Siberian warlords. Much propaganda is spoken of the “barbarians” who rule the vast expanses of the Russian steppe that the Koncern considers too remote to adequately serve and govern. The picture this propaganda paints is of cyborg savages, brutal would-be conquerers that only the Stal Kulak keep at bay.
The reality is, of course, more complex. There are absolutely monstrous individuals who have carved out territory in Siberia that they rule through terror and bloodshed, but they are not the norm. The majority of these so-called warlords are more akin to tribal leaders or petty kings, who rule over small communities of people who have opted not to live within the Koncern for their own reasons.
Some of these people are indeed dangerous warbands, who survive by attacking Vostoka townships and raiding corporate caravans. But others keep to themselves, and wish only to be left alone. The VKK treats them all the same.
That treatment is to defend, violently, against the bandits and raiders who attack, and embargo the rest. Officially, trading and supplying these renegades is expressly forbidden, with the intent being that any non-violent anti-citizens that are attempting to live apart from the Koncern can simply be starved into compliance. However, this simply creates a lucrative black market to keep these illegal communities alive.
For now, the warlords are not a real threat to Vostoka as a whole and the VKK are content to allow them to exist in theory. The Stal Kulak is not deployed en masse against them, no real effort is made to wipe them out as a whole. The fear is that any such attempt might unify the disparate groups together under a single banner, which would be bad for the Koncern. Instead, the warlords are more content to largely fight each other for meager resources and slivers of territory on the edges of civilized Vostoka, and the Koncern keeps them as a boogeyman for the population.
The Great Machine
Vostoka’s status as an industrial powerhouse cannot be understated. Factories the size of small towns dot the landscape of Russia, and Zheleznaya Gora mines bore deep into the mountains for resources. “Kybernetika” is a way of life in the VKK, and someone who does not mechanize themselves for work is often seen as soft, decadent, and non-compliant. This cultural attitude towards mass cybernetics and co-operation has also resulted in a sort of specific kind of hardened Vostoka pride.
This pride, in some instances, has taken on an undercurrent of nationalistic-style sentinement, with some Vostokans who refuse to “buy foreign” and see Vostokan corporations as one country united together under a common purpose. Having a unified foe in the Siberian warlords also helps galvanize the populace into a more singular focus than is normally found in other syndicracies. Whether that ever becomes true nationalism remains to be seen.