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My backstory goes like this: Russians develop deadly virus which kills you if you are not a Russian. They decided to release it in the USA to solve the cold war once and for all.

However, something went wrong. First of all, the virus instantly mutated, and also went rogue all around the planet. Its symptoms still remained as common cold with ultra fever when you fall asleep (and you die). However, it also began being deadly for Russians. However, your survivability rate remained really high if you are Russian and/or of Slavic descent.

The Russians initially planned an attack on the USA, but because this happened, they decided to take over decimated Europe and Asia. Even this operation, including getting rid of all the dead Asians, took about 20 years. As a result, Eurasia is now called Great Russia and governed by the initiator of this devilish plan, Ivan Ivanovich.

During these 20 years the USA was radio-silent and lost about 90% of their population. The remaining people are living in outposts far away from still rotting cities. They mostly feel as Americans, even when almost all of them are of Slavic descent.

The reason for radio silence is: People fled from dense populated coasts towards the middle of USA (simply to avoid all the rotting bodies) and started to use walkie-talkies for communication (or radios with relatively short range, not to be detected overseas).

Ivan Ivanovich wants to become the leader of the land which is occupied by the USA. However, most of his troops are still busy cleaning the streets of main cities and keeping things in order.

Ivan Ivanovich has the Pyotr Velikiy ship and its crew (727 people if I read Wikipedia correctly) to see if they can convert as many people as they can to the cause of Great Russia.

Now, I am playing with two scenarios how could Ivan Ivanovich take over USA.

  1. Convince them by offering help:
    Small amount of troops suffice. Strategy basically is "bread and games." USA is still living in the outposts, while Europe is doing significantly better. So, even though survivors in the USA do not necessary love Russia and Russians, they will surely love having full stomachs and running hot water. (Not even talking about electricity)
  2. Kill them all:
    Yes, as the author of the story I am toying with this scenario too. Ivan could wait, say, 5 more years to stabilize Europe and then do full-scale attack with full army, killing all survivors in now former USA.

Story wise, the number 1 "is better" and less darker. Even though number 2 was the plan at the beginning, now Ivan is aware that survivors might be mostly of Slavic descent and he would like them alive, if possible.

However, is there any good tactic to actually convince people to your side? If we look at insurgency level in, say, nowadays Afghanistan, I fail to see a tactic to roll with "convince" strategy.

Or am I overlooking something?

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    $\begingroup$ Why is Ivan Ivanych insisting that his name is Ivan Ivanych and he is trying to create Great Russia? Wouldn't it be smarter to say that his name is John Johnson and he is building New Great America? How hard is to rename the ship Paul Revere? Why declare yourself a foreign conqueror when with no effort you can be a Great American Leader? $\endgroup$ – AlexP Aug 8 '18 at 13:02
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    $\begingroup$ Pavel... what is the problem that you — as the author — are trying to solve here? Are you looking for inspiration? Are you looking for good plot hooks? Are you looking to tell a specific story? What is the problem that you need solved, and that you expect to be solved if people answer this question? Because all you have done here is to market your Work In Progress and say "I am writing this thing. And I have reached a point where the story might take one of several options, here are two that I am looking at". Ok, fine. Aaaand...? Then what? What is your question here? $\endgroup$ – MichaelK Aug 8 '18 at 13:04
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    $\begingroup$ The question is: How can an clear attacker who is behind terrible terrible thing convince people who he initially attacked to go on his side? $\endgroup$ – Pavel Janicek Aug 8 '18 at 13:12
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    $\begingroup$ 1) Do they know? 20 years is a long time, especially in a post-apocalyptic society. Are they aware that he is the one that attacked them? 2) Do they care? The world is in pieces.... everything around them is in shambles. Do they think they can afford to maintain a grudge, or are they just looking to survive at this point? (continued) $\endgroup$ – MichaelK Aug 8 '18 at 13:17
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    $\begingroup$ 3) How many people can he reach out to? You say he has one ship?! The United States is a HUGE country that spans 5 time zones (if you include Hawaii). North America is not something you hike accross in a day. How is he supposed to reach out to these ~35 million survivors if they are spread out all over the place and has no working communication insfrastructure? $\endgroup$ – MichaelK Aug 8 '18 at 13:24
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Since these scattered groups of people feel that they are Americans and likely remember at least some of the old world, you just need to 'restore' the fallen American government to rally them to your cause.


Start by cleaning up cities with deep connections to the former government and American history: Washington DC, Boston, Philadelphia, etc. Send out scouts to find groups of Americans living nearby, and under the pretense of working for a worldwide reconstruction effort offer them food and shelter in exchange for their assistance.

Once a few American cities are clean, self-sufficient, and have a decent number of Americans living under your guidance, announce that the time has come to reinstate the full sovereign authority of the American government.

People living in a post-apocalypse for a couple decades won't remember many details about how the old government worked, so you can shape this new government however you wish: an executive branch with the power of the military you control, a legislative branch elected by the people who see you as saviors, a judicial branch given lifelong appointments by the president who's been enthusiastically helping your reconstruction efforts for years.

Of course, this new government will forever remind American citizens of what can be accomplished by working closely with the saviors from Great Russia who worked so hard to restore America to its former glory.

With the new 'American' government acting as a beacon of safety, stability, and salvation in this troubled world, you'll be able to spread the influence of Great Russia from sea to shining sea.

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First things first, what does it mean for people to be convinced "to your side"? I think Ivanovich wants more than just peace and friendship, right? He wants them to submit to his rule, I guess. This is going to be a hard sell, since they presumably know that he's the one who deliberately murdered their countrymen. They will recognize him as the enemy and fight back, hard.

30 million Americans, all armed with rifles and fighting on their home territory, will be a formidable force. It's unlikely that the Great Russian army will be able to field a force with anything close to that many fighters, plus support personnel, and maintain supply lines across the oceans, etc. So military conquest may be possible but very hard.

I think the most likely effective strategy is to make it appear that it's not Russia and Ivan Ivanovich taking over. The new alliance of Europe and Asia may be given a name (the Eurasian Union?) and the appearance of federal government that respects the autonomy of member states. The leadership would stage a fake coup or tribunal to punish Ivanovich, and the world would believe that he was in prison for life.

Then this new international union would reach out to the Americans with aid - humanitarian, development, defense, etc. Gradually it would negotiate permission for its corporations to re-establish mines, oil fields, and other natural resource sites in the USA, providing jobs and wealth for the locals. Eventually it would negotiate permission to set up a few military bases on shore to protect its ally from bandits and raiders or whatever. Eventually then it might persuade the USA to join the federation as a member state. Little would they know that Ivanovich was not in prison but secretly pulling the strings at the highest level.

The problems for Ivan Ivanovich are (1) he wouldn't have total power, only just bureaucratic power, and he wouldn't even be able to brag about it, and (2) I'm not sure he'd live long enough to see this secret plan come to fruition. I mean, the real-world EU has taken decades to go from a relatively casual relationship between neighbors to become a powerful constraint on its members' sovereignty, and even this slow change has provoked at least one member to secede.

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