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Video Game / Crisis in the Kremlin

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Crisis In The Kremlin is a 1991 Political Strategy Game by Spectrum HoloByte and a 2017 Spiritual Successor of the same name by Kremlingames, both set in the final years of the USSR. In Crisis, the player takes the role of the General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, and is tasked with seeing the nation through the political and economic disruptions that lead to the dissolution of the USSR in reality. Nationalists, capitalists, generals, hardliners, reformers, and of course the KGB all have a target painted on your back, and missteps will likely result in an early retirement to your summer home, citing health concerns. With the weight of an empowered capitalist world bearing down on the Warsaw Pact, it will not be easy to retain socialist principles, if that's even what you want. Perhaps it's time to join the winning team?


Of course, the Cold War has not yet come to an end, and those nukes still sit in their silos, begging to be used. The outcome, and the consequences, await you at your desk.

Crisis In The Kremlin 1992 contains examples of:

  • All for Nothing: No matter what happens to the Soviet Union, in 2017 a dinosaur killer-asteroid wipes out humanity.
  • Foregone Conclusion: As this game was made during the actual dissolution of the USSR, it contains no functional hardliner path. You must enact reforms to avoid being overthrown, and eventually embrace a market economy.


Crisis In The Kremlin 2017 contains examples of:

  • Acceptable Political Targets: As you might expect, the game takes more than a few shots at liberalism and reformist socialists. Trotskyists also receive a few potshots.
    "It looks like WW 3 is inevitable," -Game Over screen if the Trotskyists force you to retire.
  • Alliance Meter: On the left-wing, we have the Trotskyists, Stalinists, and Conservatives, while on the right-wing we have the Moderates, Reformists, and Liberals. It's possible to make them both happy through careful balancing, but if either are angry while they have the power to do something about it, you'll have a coup on your hands. Also relevant are the loyalties of your generals, your soldiers, and the KGB.
  • Antagonistic Governor: The leadership of the various SSRs can, if the situation deteriorates, become Nationalists. They will henceforth attempt to sabotage the loyalties of their nation and generally cause as much trouble for the Kremlin as possible until removed.
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  • Author Tract: Two things about Kremlingames are fairly clear: They don't think the USSR should have embraced the market reforms which lead to its collapse, and that automation of labor is the correct path to a communist society. With that said, it's entirely possible to successfully liberalize and join the West.
  • Bait-and-Switch Tyrant: As a trotskyist, once you manage to unite all the power to your person, it is possible to override the Supreme Council and pass one liberal law after another.
  • Beat Them at Their Own Game: Though difficult, it is possible to transition to a market economy and western democracy, then continue the Cold War and win it anyway. This even includes a specific allowance that the groups who will sponsor leftist terrorism in the United States are the Trotskyists, Stalinists,...and Liberals.
  • Commie Land: Likely if one's political backing comes from Stalinists or Trotskyists, who will allow you to return to the heights of Stalin's repression and even beyond.
  • Commie Nazis: The Trotskyists and their successors the National Bolsheviks. Both combine aggressive commitment to the world revolution with Soviet nationalism, allowing for an aggressive colonial policy in the Third World (that is, ironically, also supported by the liberals).
  • Cult of Personality: Managing your own is a critical task. At start, the cult is only light and focused on past leaders, but can be eliminated entirely or restored to full power, eventually declaring you a living deity and transferring all political power to your will.
    • The same policies allow you to remain incognito and even persecute those who ask too many question about who really is in charge of the Soviet government.
  • Earn Your Bad Ending: "Winning" (and causing) World War III is no easy task, as it requires researching advanced technology to beat Mutually Assured Destruction while maintaining the political solvency of the Trotskyists, but not allowing them enough influence to force a missile launch until you're ready. For this effort, you manage to destroy capitalism by wiping out all the countries that practice it, with only Soviet bunkers surviving and connected through teletext machines. The victory screen even mocks you for this questionable form of dedication.
  • Everyone Has Standards: It is possible to play as an incredulously extreme hardliner, to the extent you may get events in which the Stalinists try to threaten you into reforms.
  • Fallen States of America: An essential step in defeating NATO is bringing the USA to the point of internal crisis, at which point emergency elections result in the rise of Ron Paul or Donald Trump. The former withdraws the US from all external bodies immediately, the latter after a short-lived comeback attempt.
  • Golden Ending: The creation of the World Soviet Union, which only occurs after all countries are Soviet-alligned. If you've managed to build communism and enact political reforms, this results in a utopian society.
  • Hegemonic Empire: The USA will begin to extract resources from third-world nations to support itself once you start pressuring them, and you can do the same with the right policies.
  • Historical Domain Character: Depending on which year you start you can choose between 6 characters. The conservative-neostalinist Grigory Romanov, the conservative-brezhnevist Viktor Grishin, the moderate-neoleninist Yegor Ligachyov, the moderate Andrei Gromyko, the reformer Mikhail Gorbachev and the apolitical Gennady Yanayev. Picking one makes everyone else your political rival. Except when you create a custom leader, then everyone else will be.
  • Job-Stealing Robot: The intentional outcome of the OGAS project, which can result in the advent of early communism if fully implemented.
  • Nuke 'em: Fortunately, even a Stalinist government will reject starting a nuclear war with the United States whenever tensions flare up. But a Trotskyist government will be all for it, though this will only result in your generals overthrowing you with no missiles launched unless you've completed hypersonic warhead technology. In which case communism is enacted from within the bunker-cities of what was once the USSR.
  • Oppressive States of America: If the USA abandons the outside world, it either becomes Isolationist...or Authoritarian.
  • Outgrown Such Silly Superstitions: State advancement of atheism can eventually cause it to become the majority belief in the Soviet sphere. It comes with a large amount of unrest, but a successfully converted atheist USSR has the benefit of increased unanimity of beliefs and an increase in science points per turn.
  • Post-Final Boss: After the fall of the USA as a superpower and the collapse of NATO, the now-authoritarian USA, social democratic UK, and isolated France will form a second alliance to attempt to stand against the extremely powerful socialist bloc. Ultimately however, they are pretty weak compared to their predecessors and can be picked apart, solidifying the USSR's world conquest.
  • Post-Scarcity Economy: A fully implemented OGAS will put you as close as you can hope to get in the 90's, and your economic solvency will eclipse that of the capitalist world, with 4-hour workdays churning out maximum productivity and public happiness.
  • Regime Change: Overthrowing capitalist governments and replacing them with socialist ones is the primary step if one wishes to win the Cold War. Conversely, it is possible to enact an internal regime change and transition to capitalism.
  • Russia Takes Over the World: If NATO should collapse, there's nothing standing in your way.
  • Secret Police: The KGB, of course. They make powerful allies and deadly enemies, so keeping them loyal is a premium concern.
  • Take That!: You get an oddly specific and personal game over text if you lose the game the historic way. It's not hard to guess who was really addressed here.
  • The Man Behind the Man: You can run one alternatively to the Cult of Personality.
  • The Starscream: Boris Yeltsin. Even when playing as a super duper liberal, this guy is out to get you and the USSR. Under certain circumstances when he acts up often enough and you are somehow still in charge, this game outright forces you to kill him by the merit of having used up all the other options already.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Go ahead, disarm all your ICBMs in the name of international peace. NATO will be pleased to hear it. But also averted, since NATO can't invade you if NATO no longer exists, at which point pacifism becomes a lot more viable.
    • One achievement is acquired by winning the Cold War and then mismanaging the USSR into collapse anyway.
  • Your Terrorists Are Our Freedom Fighters: The fight for influence in the third world takes this form, with the USA and USSR sponsoring governments of the appropriate stripe. Unless you spend resources building up these nations, which eventually renders them immune to destabilization attempts.