Tёmno-krasnyj Burya (Crimson Storm)
Early in 1941 Russia was on the verge of defeat, having no Ubermen of their own to counter the Nazi metahumans. Russia was only saved through the Freedom Squadron's intervention and the onset of winter. The Russian people were humiliated. After the end of the war Stalin was determined that never again would his country be so humiliated as to require outside aid. After the KGB was formed in 1954 one of its directives was to steal as many of the U.S.'s military secrets as possible, especially anything involving the supersoldier projects.
When the invasion of Afghanistan began in 1980, Crimson Storm was ready for its debut. During this war the Storm were metahuman avatars of tyranny and dangerous components in the Kremlin's arsenal. Despite this they were eventually forced to withdraw. This marked the beginning of the Storm's demise in its current form.
Although Gorbachev continued to rely on the KGB in his drive to purge the party and state apparatus of corrupt officials, toward the end of 1986 signs indicated that his relations with this organization were becoming strained. The KGB was extremely displeased about the reformist polices promoted by Gorbachev, in particular openness in the media and liberalization of cultural norms. Gorbachev decided by early 1987 that he was strong enough to embark on reforms that might antagonize this institution.
It was not long however before signs of opposition to Gorbachev's policies arose and a coup was organised. The coup was led by disgruntled party leaders such as Egor K. Ligachev, the second ranking member of the Politburo and the KGB led by Vaslow. Vaslow's comments in particular his strident speech delivered in September 1987 made it clear that the KGB would not allow the democratic reforms to go too far: "There must be a clear awareness that the restructuring is taking place in our state and society under the leadership of the Communist Party, within the framework of socialism and in the interests of socialism. This revolutionary process will be reliably protected against any subversive intrigues."
KGB Spetsnaz and Redguard forces were assigned to storm the Russian Parliament building early on 21 August 1991 and seize key leadership personnel including Boris Yeltsin. However the commanders on the scene decided not to execute this plan, and some Alpha subgroup commanders and personnel refused to take part in the action which contributed to the failure of the coup against Gorbachev and ultimately the collapse of the Soviet Union. The next day Vaslow was arrested, a reformer Vadim Bakatin was appointed in his place. One day later Arcadia, Cold Warrior, Firebug, Jinx and Molotov went renegade, broke Vaslow out of KGB jail and fled to China.
On 24 October 1991 Mikhail Gorbachev signed a decree abolishing the KGB. Most of the KGB's resources were redistributed with the bulk going to the MVD. This included reassigning the remaining members of Crimson Storm to them, and adding an extra 500,000 men. Equipped with heavy weapons and structured and organized to carry out military and peacekeeping operations against both external and internal enemies.
Although Yeltsin came to power on a wave of optimism he never recovered his popularity after endorsing Yegor Gaidar's "shock therapy" of ending Soviet-era price controls, drastic cuts in state spending, and an open foreign trade regime. The reforms immediately devastated the living standards of much of the population. In the 1990s Russia suffered an economic downturn more severe than the United States or Germany had undergone six decades earlier in the Great Depression. Meanwhile the profusion of small parties and their aversion to coherent alliances left the legislature chaotic. During 1993 Yeltsin's rift with the parliamentary leadership led to the September–October 1993 constitutional crisis. The crisis climaxed on October 3 when Yeltsin chose a radical solution to settle his dispute with parliament: he called up tanks to shell the Russian White House blasting out his opponents. As Yeltsin was taking the unconstitutional step of dissolving the legislature Russia came close to a serious civil conflict. Yeltsin was then free to impose the current Russian constitution with strong presidential powers which was approved by referendum in December 1993. The cohesion of the Russian Federation was also threatened when the republic of Chechnya attempted to break away leading to two bloody conflicts.
On 11 December 1994 Yeltsin began the invasion of Chechnya intending to seal off Grozny, eliminate illegal armed formations, and end the participation of the Russian army, transferring authority to the MVD and establishing a temporary government. MVD tasks included re-establishing law and order in the republic, ensuring that public utilities began functioning again and together with the Crimson Storm setting up operational investigation groups. The reformist Colonel Yuri Gelbsin was appointed its head.
Economic reforms also consolidated a semi-criminal oligarchy with roots in the old Soviet system. Advised by Western governments, the World Bank, and the International Monetary Fund, Russia embarked on the largest and fastest privatization that the world had ever seen in order to reform the fully nationalized Soviet economy. By mid decade retail, trade, services, and small industry was in private hands. Most big enterprises were acquired by their old managers, engendering a new rich (Russian tycoons) in league with criminal mafias or Western investors. By 1995 it was harder to establish a representative government because of two structural problems; the struggle between president and parliament and the anarchic party system.
Russia's economy was hit further by the financial crash of 1998 after which Yeltsin was at the end of his political career. On 9 August 1999 Vladimir Putin was appointed one of three First Deputy Prime Ministers which enabled him later on that day as the previous government led by Sergei Stepashin had been sacked to be appointed acting Prime Minister of the Government of the Russian Federation by President Boris Yeltsin. Yeltsin also announced that he wanted to see Putin as his successor. Later that same day Putin agreed to run for the presidency.
Presidential elections were held on 26 March 2000; Putin won in the first round and was inaugurated president on 7 May 2000. He appointed Financial minister Mikhail Kasyanov as his Prime minister. Having announced his intention to consolidate power in the country into a strict vertical, in May 2000 he issued a decree dividing 89 federal subjects of Russia between 7 federal districts overseen by representatives of him in order to facilitate federal administration. In July 2000, according to a law proposed by him and approved by the Russian parliament, Putin also gained the right to dismiss heads of the federal subjects.
Corruption grew by the magnitude of several times and assumed systemic and institutionalised form. Putin's came in for serious criticism in relation to his ignoring of the Kursk submarine disaster. The death of some 130 hostages in Crimson Storm's rescue operation during the 2002 Moscow theatre hostage crisis damaged President Putin's popularity. Following this disaster the Storm was reorganised. Vaslow and his cohorts were pardoned and returned to Russia, shortly after which Vaslow was appointed the new head of Crimson Storm. Gelbsin was reassigned to head the new Spetsnaz 5.
Under Vaslow Crimson Storm became even more ruthless and feared by Moscow's enemies. Yet ironically incredibly popular with the Russian people even leading to Putin winning the 2004 presidential election with a record 71% of the vote. However on September 1 came the Beslan school hostage crisis where a group of Chechen terrorists took 1300 adults and children hostage at School Number One in Beslan. Crimson Storm took control and stormed the school. The ensuing battle left 344 civilians and 31 of 32 hostage takers dead, all at the hands of the Storm.
The Crimson Storm's atrocities increased. Then on October 13 2005 a large group of Islamic militants assaulted and captured buildings throughout the city of Nalchik. Crimson Storm surrounded and entered the city. By nightfall the city was a burning ruin and all of its inhabitants dead.
The following year Putin began the criminal prosecution of Russia's richest man Mikhail Khodorkovsky, President of Yukos oil company for fraud and tax evasion. While much of the international press saw this as a reaction against Khodorkovsky's funding for political opponents of the Kremlin, both liberal and communist, the Russian government has argued that Khodorkovsky was engaged in corrupting a large segment of the Duma to prevent changes in the tax code aimed at taxing windfall profits and closing offshore tax evasion vehicles. Khodorkovsky's arrest was met positively by the Russian public, who see the oligarchs as thieves who were unjustly enriched and robbed the country of its natural wealth.
Despite claims by President Vladimir Putin that the Kremlin had no interest in bankrupting Yukos the company's assets were auctioned at below market value. In addition new debts suddenly emerged out of nowhere preventing the company from surviving. The main beneficiary of these tactics was Putin. The expropriation of Yukos was a ploy to put key elements of the energy sector in the hands of Putin's retinue. Against the backdrop of the Yukos saga, questions were raised about the actual destination of $13.1 billion. It was divided between Putin, his cronies and the military.
On 7 October 2006 Anna Politkovskaya, a
journalist who ran a campaign exposing corruption in the Russian army and its
conduct in Chechnya was shot in the lobby of her apartment building. The death
of this Russian journalist triggered an outcry of criticism of Russia in the
Western media with accusations that at best Putin has failed to protect the
country's new independent media. Amateur film footage caught members of Crimson
Storm performing the assassination. Within an hour of it being shown
it was pulled from the air. The next day the station which broadcast it was shut down and all other channels banned from reporting it.
In its January 2008 World Report, Human Rights Watch wrote in the section devoted to Russia: As parliamentary and presidential elections in late 2007 and early 2008 approached the administration headed by President Vladimir Putin cracked down on civil society and freedom of assembly. Reconstruction in Chechnya did not mask grave human rights abuses including torture, abductions, and unlawful detentions. International criticism of Russia’s human rights record remains muted, with the European Union failing to challenge Russia on its human rights record in a consistent and sustained manner. The worst of these excesses caused by Sergei Vaslow and his Crimson Storm.
|The Crimson Storm uses the rank structure of the army.|
|Agent||1st-4th level; Includes only those recently introduced to the MVD. These are the support troops who aid the regular Storm. Although similarly equipped to an Officer, Agents have less training. Non metas serve as Redguards or Tokamaks.|
|Officer||5th-15th level; Those who have proven their loyalty and worth. The higher their level the more duties they are allowed. Each is well trained in all forms of armed and unarmed combat.|
|Perun||16th-19th level; There are 12 of these, each in charge of a part of the Soviet Union and have the same powers as Vaslow within his own jurisdiction.|
|Col. Sergei Vaslow||20th level; In charge of the entire Storm, answerable only to the President of Russia.|
|Russian President||Is kept constantly up to date by Vaslow on the Storm's activities and any problems. He also decides on the funding for the Storm and can arrange additional assistance as required.|
|What follows are the top secret sections of the MVD. Only the Crimson Storm has been publicly acknowledged.|
|Crimson Storm||This is the official public face of the organisation using well known Russian heroes.|
|Direktsiya Chuzhestranets||Alien section; dissecting extraterrestrials and determining how their technology works.|
|Direktsiya Genotsid||Research into the extermination of paranormals, extraterrestrials and those with the meta gene.|
|Direktsiya Magiya||Magical research; attempting to understand how spells and mana work.|
|Direktsiya Myslyaschaya||Meta gene research; discovering how powers work. This section also keeps an active catalogue of every metahuman out there and their abilities.|
|Direktsiya Runa||Artifacts research; mystical weapons.|
|Direktsiya Soldat||The Supersoldier project; ongoing research into creating the perfect super infantry.|
|Direktsiya Tajnyj||Mythical races research; their life cycle and of course how to kill them.|
|Direktsiya Vooruzhenie||Bionics and Robotics research; developing the latest in cutting edge military hardware.|
|Redguard||These are the Storm's standard troops, among the best trained combatants the Soviet Union has to offer. All are equipped with modern weaponry and if necessary backed by Tokamaks.|
|Spetsnaz 5||An offshoot of the Storm dedicated to rooting out and destroying supernatural horrors.|
|Tokamak||The Tokamaks are heavily armed and armoured, equipped with the latest in military technology.|
|The current Crimson Storm is the Soviet Union's elite metahuman guardians. With superior training, hardware and government backing the Storm is tasked with monitoring and countering paranormal crimes. Its structure is heavily based on the Force of July's setup. Under Vaslow the Storm has gained a reputation for savagery and mayhem. The group exists to fulfil the cynical and vengeful desires of its members. It has launched bloody attacks in Chechnya and Georgia, winning many allies in the Kremlin. The Storm's members are patriotic but some are beginning to question their activities in Chechnya, especially the atrocities being committed in mother Russia's name.|