One of Dirlwanger's death events appears to be a Whole-Plot Reference to Incident 096-1-A, where Dirlewanger dies mysteriously after looking at a photo of a mountain taken from the safe of a blind Russian man in the Soviet government, apparently getting chased and torn to death by SCP-096.
The death event "Komet Sighted" is a reference to vanilla Hearts of Iron IV's reference to Europa Universalis's infamous "Comet Sighted" event, and like the vanilla event, it centers around the Me 163 Komet.
The death of Dirlewanger from wounds taken during boar hunting is an allusion to those of Robert Baratheon in A Song of Ice and Fire. Dirlewanger even echoes the last words of the same character in Game of Thrones. Another events see him murdered by his lieutenants and covered up as being "poisoned by his enemies," a reference to Ramsay Bolton killing his father Roose.
One event references him dying of "terminal lumbago," a disease that Uncle claims to have in order to avoid doing work in Red Dead Redemption II.
Speaking of Red Dead, one event has Dirlewanger reenacting the events of Dutch's fall from grace from 1899 to 1914, culminating in Dirlewanger killing himself by jumping off the edge of a cliff.
One event has Dirlewanger capture two American archeologists who were carrying two chalices, with one of them reportedly being the Holy Grail. He drinks from one of them and promptly gets poisoned while the Americans escape with the real Grail. The reaction quote?
One sees a hideous, towering robed figure with a deer's skull for a head walk into the camp, causing many of Dirlewanger's men to begin spontaneously worshipping it and obeying its will. It strolls right up to a helpless Dirlewanger and feasts on his brain, before leaving the bandits in chaos with its worshippers following behind.
One humorous death message tells about Dirlewanger dying after attempting to capture and eat a Zanzibar Hamster, a deadly venomous creature, and that he should've distracted it with cheese.
In one event, during a race/demolition derby, Dirlewanger tries to leap to another vehicle, but misses his jump and gets crushed by the car. His last words? "I don't want to die like that. I want to die historic."
Another focus for Ostafrika is named "GET YOUR FREE TVS!", which is a reference to the first test level of Half-Life 2. Icon for the focus is even modeled after the only known screenshot of the level.
The name for Turkey's operation Black Bull during the Second Italo-Turkish war is a reference to KARA BOĞA, a Turkish anti-white troll movement on 4chan.
The demo version set in Southern Urals is named Old World Blues, after one of the DLCs for Fallout: New Vegas. Indeed, the entire Southern Urals area is a direct shoutout to New Vegas, down to the very factions, their leaders and their nature.
The icon for the Dirlewanger Brigade's "Bandit State" idea is the bandit patch from S.T.A.L.K.E.R..
The event where many Japanese officials are implicated in corruption leading up to the Japanese Economic War is titled "Tumbling Down." The reaction quote reinforces the reference.
"It all returns to nothing."
The name of the second demo, Don't Surf, is a reference to the line "Charlie don't surf" from Apocalypse Now.
One of the focus icons in the game features the character Tachanka from Rainbow Six Siege. According to one of the devs, the focus icon was originally supposed to show the historical Tachanka, i.e. horse-drawn machine gun platforms, but the dev decided to use R6S's Tachanka instead.
Chita's focus to expand the diamond mines of Yakutsk is called "The Diamond Age".
The final focus in Ural League's Starinov tree is named "And They Shall Know No Fear", referencing the Adeptus Astartes.
The message that occurs if the West Russian Revolutionary Front capitulates is "Only in death, does duty end", a common Imperial catchphrase.
Taboritsky's Holy Russian Empirescreams "Imperium of Man". Genocidal and religiously ultranationalistic to a fault, both are theo-crypto-necrocracies on an unstoppable and steadfast decline, and both are in the habit of consecrating what would normally be most decidedly secular objects (in the Imperium's case, giant robots as cathedrals, and in the Empire's, factories as temples).
One event for Taboritsky's Esoteric Nazi path is called "Suffer Not the Mutant", another Imperial catchphrase.
The icon for grenade launchers in the tank designer is a boltgun.
The Free Territory can eschew formally trained nuclear physicists in developing nuclear weapons and attempt to democratize development in what is tracked internally as the "Kerbal Nuke Program" and the metrics used to judge the appropriateness of decisions made along the way are the same as the two stats Kerbalnauts have - courage and stupidity.
In addition, one of the decisions in the program, 'Visit the Tomsk Commune', prompts an event - aptly named "Not a Matter of Why But Why Not" - that is a Russified jab at the Portal franchise, down to the Tomsk Enrichment Centre, the C. Ivanov in charge (the C is not for Companion), and his assistant Karolina. Ivanov is precisely as unhinged as Cave Johnson, and Yuri internally remarks his ego is collecting rocks on the moon, a reference to the repulsion gel being made of ground-up moon rock.
Doubling as a Take That!, an event for America describes the release of an alternate history book called The Greatest Story Never Told by one "Bodean Clefton Dixie", a reference to the title of a neo-Nazi propaganda documentary. The book is described as So Bad, It's Good, claiming that Nazi Germany is a "Judeo-Bolshevik bastion" among many other wild assertions, and becomes a bestseller purely on the basis of Bile Fascination.
One of the options on the Nixon focus tree, discrediting the NPP by playing up its perceived Nazi Germany connections, is named "Everyone I don't agree with is HITLER!" (complete with an icon of Hitler riding a flying carpet), referencing the eponymous internet meme.
One of Brazil's focuses for Goulart's path if Lacerda fails to coup him is called "Jango Unchained"
In a same-company cross-reference, a Vyatka that has expanded to become West Russia briefly uses the Victoria II sphering mechanics when diplomatically wooing the Urals.
For that matter, any unifier west of Omsk with at least one compatible state remaining in the Southern urals can use this mechanic, though much of the time it will end up solely as an option to declare war.