Diplomacy on Eis

Discussion in 'The World Stage' started by W. Engell Republic, May 9, 2019.

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  1. W. Engell Republic

    W. Engell Republic Administrator

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    Eisgarten, West Engell Republic

    Female Voice Recording: “Ever so sorry, but the Republic Wireless line you are ringing has been disconnected due to lack of funding. Remember, Freedom is a Responsibility. Bye-bye now!”

    Bruce Steinvasser sighed and holstered the landline phone he was calling from. So many Ostmarkians in Eisgarten, WER had lost their shirts following Ostmark’s seizure of “foreign assets” that most had slumped into malaise, bankruptcy, or moved on to other fields and industries with what money they had remaining. A television at the edge of the office was sliding through propaganda posters from Ostmark proper on Eisgarten Public Access, one of many German speaking channels on the West Engell island. Since the days and battles of the Sylvanian Revolution, Ostmarkians had been attached with Engellachians but never truly integrated or assimilated.

    Settling on Horst Grasser’s smiling visage, Bruce crunched a dying cigarette into ashtray and hit a remote to pause the screen. “Smug schmuck!” Steinvasser whispered to the frozen face, alone in his office before shaking himself out of the sort of despair everyone with money in Ostmark was suffering from on a daily basis. Just then the phone rang, it was another first generation Engellachian from the old country Ostmark named Kisselback. He like so many others that Steinvasser could actually get ahold of was enthusiastic to sign his petition towards the old country to release their funds frozen or seized. “I’ll do what I can, Kisselback, don’t think I’m a Horst whisperer!” Bruce joked, but neither laughed.

    With this man’s signature to the petition he now had nearly one thousand business men and women, as well as private citizens who had for one reason or another kept assets in Ostmark; a good economist never judges on these sorts of things. Several thousand more had signed a separate petition simply requesting the ability to visit relatives in the old country or visit as a tourist in the land of their ancestors. Would it be enough? Certainly not Bruce knew, but he had been commissioned by the West Engell Prime Minister to pursue these sorts of unorthodox deals after a half year of unprecedented economic events.

    Steinvasser wracked his brain for a bit before resuming the public access program which soon transitioned to a local hockey game. “That’s it!?” Bruce shouted, again alone in the office before pressing a pager for his secretary. “Yes Mister Steinvasser?” she answered. “Mrs. Beck, get me a meeting with the Sports Minister - I want to take his hockey team to Wien!” Bruce declared confidently, but Mrs. Beck was not convinced: “Sir, do you even think they have a functioning ice rink in Wien?” she questioned through a thick Ostmarkian accent, “When my sister could still get letters out she said they can hardly keep the lights on!”.

    “Hmm, maybe so ma’am, it’s worth a try though . . What else do we got?” Bruce asked. “Nothing sir, same as them . .” Mrs. Beck grimly replied.
     
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  2. W. Engell Republic

    W. Engell Republic Administrator

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    Vesper International Airport tarmac,
    West Engell Republic
    0300 Dulwich Mean Time

    Bruce Steinvasser boarded AeroFleet One with a cold cup of coffee in one hand, and a bundle of folders clutched tightly to his chest with the other. Prime Minister Edwin Grafton was already inside, coughing up a lung and trying to hide the blood in his red handkerchief from an attentive staff that already knew of his terminal condition.

    "Sir, I've been up all night!" Bruce declared in a huff. "Haven't we all, Mister Stein?" Edwin retorted, crumpling the soiled handkerchief away in his palm. "Well, this night and the night before, you need to look at this at once!".

    Bruce threw the folders down in front of Grafton before sucking down a gulp of the worst coffee a subarctic airport had to offer. "This entire mission was about freeing up the funds in Ostmark, eh?" Bruce said, leaning over the Prime Minister's small desk in the tight compartment, "You asked me to find everyone who lost a mark in Ostmark, and guess what? I found nearly a thousand Ost-Engellachians, most of them on farms, or in factories, shoveling shit or covered in coal dust . ."

    "And what, Bruce? It doesn't suit them?" Grafton sneered, befitting a Vesplander in essence.

    Steinvasser bit his tongue and smiled through an open mouth, "Not quite, and don't get to that talk in Wien sir, but that is an advisory from me your adviser . . Anyhow, these companies in Eisgarten and Vesper should have folded, hell everyone's been questioning why the Engellachian collapse wasn't six months ago instead of tommorow - which it may be by the way. Do you want to know why?"

    "Corrup-" Grafton attempted to reply before rattling into another coughing fit.

    "You know? Well of course you do. The slimeballs in Vesper are dumping all sorts of dirty money into Eisgarten, the folks Charleroi too I think. Look at the documents, a day after Grasser seizes their funds in Ostmark, millions of Engellmarks flood into Eisgarten - mostly from Vesper, but you'll see Charleroi too . . Clarenthia the bastards, a Welmonton wire you'll see if you keep scrolling! They are using the Ost-Engellachians as shell companies, they bought the names, the offices, and all they use are the bank accounts!"

    Bruce sat down and took a deep breath, his Prime Minister was staring at the wall so Bruce looked as well. It was a painting of the Founding Father of Engellachia clutching to the edge of a cliff quite dramatically, Bruce winced and returned his gaze to Edwin, Wilbur Rydell fell to his death in reality. "He just fell, Ed - he never saw it coming and didn't hang on, that's just an artist playing at drama."

    "I know, Bruce" Edwin scoffed, "I feel my demise coming with every breath and cough. Ol'Rydell fell alone with his work unfinished, but me?" the Prime Minister said, standing and glowing for a moment as he had on the campaign trail. "When I fall and die I'm gonna grab on to as many as those dirty fucks so they fall and die with me!"

    "Very good, sir. Until that jolly good end!" Steinvasser declared, raising his cold coffee as the airplane took off embarking for Wien, Ostmark.
     
  3. Ostmark

    Ostmark Well-Known Member

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    Wien International Airport
    People's Republic of Ostmark


    People's Chancellor Horst Grasser and his aides, Vice-Chancellor Andrea Grasser and Vice-Chancellor Ludwig Bohmer, are patiently waiting on the airstrip where AeroFleet One is scheduled to land. There is more activity in the terminal, if compared to last winter. According to the arrival-departures screen, most of the flights scheduled for today are coming from Serenierre, with only a few coming from Eiffelland, and one from the Empire of Azraq. Even so, janitors are busy sweeping the floor as security guards meticulously patrol the building with the help of dogs and portable metal detectors.

    "The situation in the WER must be desperate for them to accept to travel from Vesper to Wien" said Andrea "This is not the first time someone comes to Wien to negotiate the repayment of loans, or the release of frozen assets. But this time Chancellor Kohler wont be here to submissively accept their demands with no questions whatsoever. We have the upper hand." replied Horst while carefully observing the sky, in an attempt to spot Prime Minister Grafton's AeroFleet One.

    Whether Horst's detractors like it or not, the situation in Ostmark has slowly but steadily improved. Both the standards of living and the situation of the national economy seem to have benefitted from the radical economic and social reforms implemented by the National-Syndicalist People's Party. Even the outsrkists of Wien, once dominated by the skeletons of abandoned factories and buildings, are now witnessing the rise of new infrastructures here and there, with public parks and green areas filling empty spots.

    Indeed, the number of private means of transport has dramatically increased, even tho the overwhelming majority of cars are OMW-19s, notoriously cheap, small, but somehow realiable for the average Ostmarkian worker. Nothing has changed in the field of propaganda and the omnipresent vigilance of Ostmark's infamous People's Police. The red Hammer and Sword dominates most of the urban environment, with hundreds flags of the Partei and the People's Republic of Ostmark fluttering from the balconies and the light poles on both sides of the streets.
     
    Last edited: May 12, 2019
  4. W. Engell Republic

    W. Engell Republic Administrator

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    Wien, P.R. Ostmark

    Although Edwin Grafton stood out front speaking Engellsh, it was Steinvasser who intervened by translating volleys of questions from the Prime Minister towards the hosts and their answers. Bruce Steinvasser’s parents and many in his community were from Ostmark, on an island that mixed the two languages seamlessly.

    Between the airport and their eventual place of meeting, Grafton inquired about every detail of Wien - but honed in on the functions of the Secret Police and their abilities. The Republican Security Bureau was still off the books of the official ledger, utilizing discretionary funds the previous Prime Minister had squirreled away for reasons neither knew.

    Grafton also inquired about new building projects of apartment buildings for the People of Ostmark, and indicated that public infrastructure was abhorrent in Engellachia with a majority of the population living in single wide trailers despite the harsh winter snow and cold. If he could survive his illness or political ousting he intended to invite Ostmarkian planners to recreate these community apartment buildings in the West Engell Republic.

    When arrived at their place of discussion, Grafton laid out two canned gifts: sprats, and a cheaper brand of caviar. “One goes well with potatoes, the other with butter and bread” Grafton said dryly, gauging their reactions as Steinvasser relayed. “Lobster and clams just wasn’t in the budget for this trip, I hope you understand!”

    “We are here to talk about money after all, you’re holding on to some that those with proud Ostmarkian heritage in the WER desire access to again,” the Prime Minister barked bluntly, “I’m not boarding my plane back home with pallets of cash, we both know that, but why I was willing to come here personally was because some of my dear friends, and Mister Steinvasser’s here, are derelict in poverty!”

    “The rest are my constituents whether they voted for me or not on a German ballot or Engellsh,” Grafton reminded through a round of deep raspy coughs, “Excuse me, as I was saying many of these people are in need of charity because of your policies. They don’t expect an apology from you, and neither do I, what we want - speaking plainly - is a pathway for these poor souls to use the money they or their family earned, I’m speaking legally and without exploitation, so they can get back to the business of trade between our states.”

    Grafton cleared his throat as quietly as he could while the other man translated, “Now I’m not only here to talk money. It would be a shame if we let economic differences separate what we love about Ostmarkian history and where they are going in the future; also international politics, but I want to let one of you talk before I cough up a lung.”






     
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  5. Ostmark

    Ostmark Well-Known Member

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    Palace of the People's Republic

    The place of discussion was the People's Chancellor's office at the top floor of the Palast der Volksrepublik. The building, where once formerly stood the stock exchange, has been fully renovated and refurbished to become seat of both the People's Assembly and the Central Committee of the National-Syndicalist People's Party, aswell as the private rooms of Horst Grasser, his sister the Vice-Chancellor, and his closest advisors.

    From the windows of Grasser's office one can see the busy life of the capital city of the People's Republic of Ostmark. Wien, with its almost 1 million inhabitants, has surprisingly positively changed its face in a span of 8 months. Homeless encampements have been dismantled and its occupants have been assigned to an apartment bloc in the outskirts. The infamous mountains of garbage have been cleared out by the workers of the People's Labour Service. Janitors and maintenance workers are always busy sweeping the streets and repairing damaged roads, sidewalks, traffic lights, signals. Moreof, there are teams of workers tasked with cleaning off graffitis and repair acts vandalism on buildings and alleys. The huge public machine of of Wien guarantees its citizens a clean and visually pleasant city as the decay it was famous for, is finally becoming only a distant memory.

    Meanwhile, in the office of the People's Chancellor, Horst Grasser accepted the presents of the delegation from the West Engell Republic and is now carefully listening to the words of Prime Minister Grafton. Vice-Chancellor Andrea Grasser is silently listening to the conversation from a corner of the room "Who, exactly, is asking for access to their frozen assets here in Ostmark?" asked Horst, who then continued after a short pause "IF.. we are talking about ordinary families, workers, who are legitimately struggling for one reason or another, they can fill a formal request, and our functionaries at the ministry will review them.. but."

    As Horst is about to finish the sentence, Andrea Grasser stands up from her chair and walks closer to his brother's desk. She is the only person in Ostmark who dares to interrupt Horst Grasser or even step into one of his conversarions. And the reason is fairly simple: if people people think Horst is an extremist, they most likely have never met his sister. Once she reached the desk, she places her left hand on a pile of documents "These are all the concerns and requests of the workers and the citizens of Ostmark. Mothers, fathers, grandparents, teenagers, ordinary citizens. We work for the people of Ostmark, wherever they are. We will make no exception for the ostmarkian community in Eisgarten. But when it comes to larger assets, such as those confiscated from multinationals and industrialists, we must inform you that such deal will consist in a number of strict conditions, to prevent, once again, the exploitment of the proletariat by foreign economic lobbies. The conditions" continued Andrea "Is that said sums of money must be reinvested within the territory of the People's Republic of Ostmark, according to the laws and rules that regulate wage and workers' rights, the lenght of the work day, and so on. Of course, the enterpreneurs and businessmen will be allowed to transfer a fair share of their profit back in the WER, but any attempt to relocate production, or reduce the workforce without the consent of the National-Syndicalist People's Party, will result in an immediate expropriation." she then concluded, leaving his brother Horst speechless.
     
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  6. W. Engell Republic

    W. Engell Republic Administrator

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    “In other words Ed, she’s not fucking around here . .” Steinvasser concluded after relaying their terms. Prime Minister Grafton eyed the woman for a moment and saw in her the ferocity of Seraphina Underwood, the South Engell President, in Ostmarkian form. And as in that relationship, Edwin Grafton knew he had to bite his tongue and defer to their demands.

    “Many are former land owners who believe they have stake in what agricultural lands exist here, or factory stakeholders who saw their stakes seized. Not all poor sad peasants really.” Edwin admitted, “Eisgarten has perhaps historically acted as a basket for Ostmark’s bad eggs.”

    Edwin shook his head and stood to meet Andrea Grasser at her level, “You two are very tough, but fair. My predecessor Felix Ilchester might have erected statues in your honor, but alas I am committed internally to the free market priors of our allies in Westernesse.” Grafton admitted further, “Yet Engellachia is Engellachia, and Ostmark is Ostmark - I respect that you are committed to Ostmark’s independence in all spheres.”

    Edwin sighed once more at the thought of Felix Ilchester, his predecessor as Prime Minister, who would likely be taking notes from these two on how to propagandize and consolidate control. “Sir?” Steinvasser asked after some moments of silence, and when Edwin glanced over he could see that he had filled a notepad with perhaps such notes.

    “One of these entrepreneurs, a Karl Heydendahl, has been collecting patents for military equipment, rifles and mines if I recall correctly, yet he lacks the factory infrastructure in Eisgarten,” Steinvasser explained on his own in their language, “he runs a Private Military Company called Heydendahl Defense Solutions, or HDS, and is willing to use his liquid capital to buy most of the stakes that folks in Eisgarten claim in Ostmark if we can strike a deal here today.”

    Edwin slunk back to his seat and reached for his handkerchief to muffle a few more coughs, as Steinvasser continued: “Mister Heydendahl and I are committed to Ostmark’s integrity and independence from your duplicitous neighbors more so than I can say, or you will believe, so we will prove this by following your rules to the letter and expressing how essential you two are to the balance of the old continent to our friends in Beautancus and Engellex . .”

    At this point Edwin broke back in, “Martinique and Serenniere, don’t believe a word they say!”. Bruce translated and then continued with his own words, “Mister Grafton is right. Madame Martinique will likely be in this very room in the next 24 hours, and I would like you - if you will - to give her this folder.”

    Steinvasser produced a black folder embossed in red and white letters saying: “NICHT IN OSTMARK!”. Within the folder were war photographs of the chemical weapons victims, napalmed territory, and the children slaughtered who defended their homeland in a fashion Ostmark very well may have to some day. “Or throw it out, keep it for yourself, this is your country” Edwin acknowledged, “We know that and would care to keep it that way.”
     
  7. Ostmark

    Ostmark Well-Known Member

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    "Ah. The landowners.." Horst raised his eyebrows when he heard the concerns of Prime Minister Grafton. He does not seem to be surprised tho, after all, one of his first acts as Chancellor was the expropriation of agricultural land immediatly followed by equal redistribution among the local farmers and workers, ousting foreign landowners and firmly securing food production in the hands of the state, in what many have described as the most marxist thing ever done by Horst and the National-Syndicalist People's Party.

    "The production of food has been reorganized and is now managed by workers' cooperatives, some of them act in a somewhat autonomous way, while others are directly managed by the functionaries of the Party and the People's Labour Service. The prices for food and agricultural products in general are also decided by the state, and the whole system, aswell as the management of agricultural land, is centrally planned and conceived in a way that it cannot be considered as a legitimate source of income. We sell our products to our own population at prices barely above the costs of production to ensure the sustainability of the system. However, basic rations are guaranteed to those families under the average income, as prescribed by the law..." Horst pauses for a few seconds, he raises his shoulders as to suggest Prime Minister Grafton that this matter will be hardly resolved in favour of the petitioners "If we allowed foreign landowners to return to Ostmark and take control of our farming, how will we equally feed our almost six million citizens?"

    Meanwhile, Andrea Grasser is silently observing the two guests, and carefully listening to what they say. She seems to be interested by their words about this Mr Heydendahl "Military patents? Mmh.. well" says the woman "We do have a company, Ostmarkische Metallwaren, that produces military equipment. From rifles to main battle tanks and infantry fighting vehicles. Mr Heydendahl might aswell be interested in producing his licensed equipment in our factories. Our workforce is much cheaper, if compared to Westernesse, or Gallia, or Western and Northern Germania.. However, as you probably imagine, we will always be in charge of the production and we will supervise all sales and deals with foreign governments. Of course, profits can be equally shared. But sales must take into account specific and strict conditions.." she points at the map of Gallia and Germania, vaguely in the direction of Serenierre, Occitania, Lars and Eiffelland "We don't want to become that kind of country that sells weapons to both sides of the barricade and implicitly becomes responsible for yet another bloodshed. Plus we don't really have an interest in exporting firearms and equipment, giving all the diplomatic consequences it will imply, but if Mr Heydendahl will accept our omnipresent vigilance, and our supreme authority over the production of his hardwares, we can probably reach an equal and profitable agreement. That said, the presence of private military contractors on our national territory is, of course, out of question."

    When Grafton shows the content of the black folder, both Andrea and Horst stay silent as they look at the pictures. Again, the woman takes the initiative "..Ostmark is committed to peace, and we oppose war as an instrument of aggression. We will always be ready to defend ourselves and our way of life. And we will do so against any foreign army.. or economic lobbies.. who attempt to take what legitimately belongs to our people. But the events of the Seven Days War do not directly affect us, and while i understand why you are showing these pictures as Premier Martinique is in a tour of the nations of Europe, the official stance of the People's Republic of Ostmark is a categorical refusal to interfere in the affairs of the nations involved. Our opinion is that the Seven Days War, its outcome and implications, is an issue between the Kingdom of Occitania and the Serazinist Republic of Serenierre. Ostmark played no role in that war, and will play no role in its outcome, or any future consequences directly or indirectly related to the conflict"

    "The People's Republic of Ostmark does not believe in the free market" said Horst, stepping into the conversation and evidently trying to deviate the topic away from the Seven Days War "What we believe in is the supremacy of the state, and the workers, over the economy and the market itself. We control the economy, and we redirect its production to serve the needs of the our nation and its people. This is something we cannot negotiate. The reasons are merely ideological. You will understand that considering our recent experiences with the free market, we still retain a certain degree on suspicion when it comes to the 'good will' of foreign land owners and stakeholders. The rich will have to deal with it. Some wounds take a long time to heal, and our wounds are still open. We did not forget, and we probably don't want to forget." a tone of resentment could be heard in his word. After all, Horst's life wasn't any better during the so-called Days of Sorrow. He had to deal with the pain and the chaos of those years as much as any regular folk. Even Andrea Grasser looked down to the ground when Horst mentioned the subject

    "As for ordinary families in Eisgarten," he continued "as i said earlier we are completely open to review their requests as quickly as possible. Let it be known, that if any member of the Ostmarkian community wishes to move to the People's Republic of Ostmark, they will be welcomed as our own. What we can offer is a modest apartment, a modest salary and an occupation, healthcare, social assistance and free education. We sell only one car model, the OMW-19. We will assign them a job. Apartments blocs are generally small, and they all look alike. This might not be the kind of life they were dreaming for.. but i am still sure that what we offer is better than being homeless and unemployed"
     
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  8. W. Engell Republic

    W. Engell Republic Administrator

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    Grafton was sweating uncontrollably and he had no idea why, the coughs were returning and the handkerchief he pulled out was no longer clean, it was already checkered with spots of blood. Steinvasser stood abruptly and ripped a page from his notepad, and offered it to Andrea Grasser. "When we," Bruce said in Engellsh before shaking his head and continuing in German, "When myself and Mister Heydendahl return here, it will be with these ten escaped Ostmarkian Oligarchs in handcuffs!"

    Bruce reached into his briefcase to produce a flask, pressing it to the Prime Minister's lips in front of the two judgemental Ostmarkians. "I promise this is not contagious, a life of cigarettes and whiskey does these Engells in at the end!" Steinvasser said with a chuckle, "He's a straight shooter though, if that translates well."

    After a pinch of whiskey and a jostle on the shoulder, Grafton was back up as if on the campaign trail. He stood with the rest, shook Horst's hand vigorously and said: "You're a legend in Engellachia, Horst, or am I talking to a body double?". Grafton bowed towards Andrea, then offered the same vigorous handshake, saying: "When you want to take a walk on the wild side, let us invite you wolf hunting in Engellachia, you might meet your match finally!".

    As quickly as they could, the duo motioned back to AeroFleet 1: they would be forced by logistics to stop in the Northern Constituent Republic of Engellex, where they intended to leave a puppy for Madame President Siward - a husky, if she did not have one already, and a note from Steinvasser asking: "Why aren't you heading to Beautancus?"
     
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