tagNovels and NovellasMaragana Girl P.S. 04

Maragana Girl P.S. 04

bycaligula97236©

Post Script 4 - Notes on the life and goals of Vladim Dukov

Vladim Dukov as a political leader

US foreign policy analysts, journalists, and political commentators usually described Prime Minister Vladim Dukov as a cerebral and complex political figure, a leader whose motives for doing things were not always clear. He did not operate from any recognizable ideology, nor was he interested in any material gain from his position apart from taking his normal salary as Prime Minister. He seemed full of contradictions: a reformer leading a conservative party, a former revolutionary and defense attorney who drew his support from his country's oldest and most traditional institutions, a quiet man who was a ruthless negotiator.

The truth was that Dukov's ideology and goals for his country were extremely simple. Danubia's Prime Minister was fixated on the long-term survival of his country's society and the well-being of his constituents. He did not seek "greatness" for Upper Danubia, but rather the more realistic hope that it could be a decent place for its people to live and work. His policies pursued a sustainable society, one that could renew its resources and maintain a pleasant life for its people over a long period of time. He felt that preserving the values of his country was the reason the Creator had placed him in his position as the Danubian leader. He felt obligated to please the Creator by pursuing policies that would safeguard Danubian society.

The Prime Minister knew it was inevitable that modern life would force the destruction of much of his country's culture and traditions. "The Path of his Life" was to preserve as much as possible, to minimize the damage by having his nation adapt to an increasingly hostile and invasive world. The government would have to make sacrifices, in the same way King Vladik had to cede half of the Danubian Kingdom without a fight to save the other half. Dukov and his ministers looked at their nation's situation in the same way a homeowner facing the loss of a house would approach deciding what could be saved and what would have to be abandoned.

At the beginning of his time in office, other world leaders tended to underestimate Dukov. He rose to power not because he really wanted to, but because the "Old Guard" of the conservative party understood that he was the most competent person available to handle the job of leading the government. He became the leader of a small and very unsophisticated country. He had no prior experience as an elected official, nothing in his resumé apart from 20 years working as a criminal defense attorney. However, precisely because of his professional background Dukov had a very broad understanding of politics and human nature. Throughout his life he was in constant contact with people from the entire social spectrum of his society, ranging from criminals and police officers to judges and provincial politicians. Of all the people who could have been selected as a candidate for Prime Minister, Dukov probably had more practical experience working with others and a deeper understanding of his fellow Danubians than anyone else. He was well-versed in the country's legal system, knew its history, and was accustomed to arguing and negotiating with judges and prosecutors in court on a daily basis. As anyone who challenged him soon learned, his past, his ability to form an opinion and defend it, and his broad knowledge of life in general made him a formidable opponent.

While in office Dukov always spoke the truth as he saw it, and expected everyone around him to speak the truth as well. He did not like to be surrounded by people who agreed with him just to please him, but instead by people who were experienced in their duties and could clearly express their opinions on policy matters. He was especially adamant that any bad news be reported to him immediately, so he could deal with problems right away. Everyone in Dukov's government liked him as a person, because he never raised his voice to a subordinate, not even to lower-level staff members. He expected to be saluted and spoken to with respect at all times, but also he was respectful to public employees, always calling them by their title before using their name. As for his personal popularity, the only concern he had was whether he and his cabinet were popular enough to do their job competently.

While in office Dukov never forgot where he came from, and continued to live a rather ordinary personal life. He drew his paycheck and lived off that income, but never sought to use his position for any financial gain apart from his regular salary and anticipated retirement. He lived in the Prime Minister's residence out of convenience, but planned to go back to his own house as soon as he left office. In Vladim Dukov's life there was very little pomp and ceremony, apart from what was required by national traditions. He was not a person to waste public resources on himself, and was perfectly content to ride around in a normal police van if he needed to go anywhere in Danube City. He relied on ordinary officers of the National Police for protection. The Danubian Prime Minister would have been horrified at the expense and hassle associated with transporting the U.S. President and his entourage.

Vladim Dukov's sentence

Vladim and Maritza Ortskt-Dukovna grew up in the 1970's, a period of political instability in Upper Danubia. The generation who had run the country since 1945 was retiring or dying off and at that time many young people were hoping to change the country's society and political direction. The most important political movement challenging the established leaders was the Danubian Revolutionary Front, of which Vladim and Maritza were members.

The DRF envisioned a socialist regime and a flat rejection of foreign capitalism. The party also envisioned a social revolution and close ties to the Soviet Union, which ultimately led to its downfall. The Grand Duke finally ordered the Danubian Secret Police to dissolve the DRF and arrest its leaders in 1973, using its ties to the Soviet Union to justify his actions. All DRF members who had traveled to the Soviet Union were detained and faced charges of insurrection.

In 1973, Vladim Dukov and Maritza Ortskt, both of whom were DRF youth organizers and had Soviet visa stamps in the passports, received five-year sentences and were subjected to judicial switchings every four months. Life soon became even harder for the couple because Maritza's parents blamed Vladim for getting her in trouble. Because they were not yet married, her parents denied him permission to sit at their table. To ensure she was not able to see him, Maritza's parents moved her to Rika Chorna and requested that her custody be transferred to a Spokesman in that city.

Maritza and Vladim did not see each other for three years. However, they corresponded by letters that were passed through their respective local Priests. Danubian protocol permitted such correspondence. Even if her parents objected, she was permitted to exchange letters with Vladim via the Church, as long as both Priests approved of the letters' contents.

Vladim's sufferings as a convicted criminal, his constant contact with his Priest, his isolation from Maritza, and his eventual realization that the DRF was indeed little more than a front organization for the Soviet Union, pushed him to seek out the meaning of his life and what it meant to be a Danubian. He first studied political philosophy, but then settled on law, with the goal of becoming a Spokesman for criminals like himself. Along with his legal studies, Vladim decided to complete the entire English program at the National University and left college speaking fluent English. Maritza, meanwhile, concentrated on studying Danubian history at the Provincial University of Rika Chorna. Later her knowledge of history would help her future husband form his political philosophy.

Nearly four years after she was sentenced, Maritza's parents relented in their opposition to her relationship with Vladim. At the urging of her Priest, they requested that her Spokesman transfer her back to the Danube City collar-zone so she could see her fiancée. Finally, after not seeing Maritza for three years, Vladim returned to her father's table and started taking her to the Socrates Club. The couple spent the final year of their sentence completing their university degrees and preparing for their future. Only one day after his sentence ended, Apprentice Vladim Dukov was formally sworn in as a Spokesman for the Criminal. The following week Vladim and Maritza Dukov got married.

----------

For nearly 20 years Spokesman Vladim Dukov handled criminal cases in Danube City, holding custody over an average of about 80 clients at any given time. At first he was no different from other young Spokespersons, taking simple cases involving petty criminals. However, over time his personal interest in foreign legal systems and international events, along with his knowledge of English and his experience traveling to Moscow and Western Europe, set him apart as the Spokesman most familiar with the outside world. Soon prosecutors and judges began assigning him all of the more unusual cases, including suspected drug users, foreigners, smugglers, and bank fraud defendants. As he struggled to conduct the research needed to deal with the diverse cases of his unusual clients, his practical knowledge of the world continued to expand. Whenever the Danubian government needed to send a legal delegation abroad, Vladim always went along to translate and serve as a liaison to foreign officials. By the time Kim became his client he already had visited the United States three times, along with innumerable trips to Canada and other countries in Europe.

Maritza, as a professor and the editor of a Danubian historical journal, expanded her husband's knowledge even more by talking to him about the country's past. Shortly before Kim traveled to Danube City with Tiffany and Susan, Vladim helped his wife and two of her students edit and publish the recently discovered diaries of King Vladik's personal scribe. The renewed interest in King Vladik's reign profoundly affected the personal philosophy of Vladim Dukov and his over-all view of the world. By the time Kim became Dukov's client, his intellectual potential extended way beyond simply continuing his career as a Spokesman. Everyone in his life knew that. It seemed that he was the only person who didn't know it yet.

Spokesman Dukov's knowledge of foreigners and the trial of Kimberly Lee

Because of the taboo against lying in Upper Danubia, Danubian prosecutors have a hard time dealing with foreigners coming from societies where lying is not such a big deal. When Tiffany Walker and Susan Taylor flatly stated they knew nothing about Kimberly Lee's stash of marijuana, the arraignment panel believed them because its members had little experience interviewing non-Danubians. The prosecutor did have his suspicions about Tiffany and Susan, but wanted to avoid a complicated trial. Thus he decided not to challenge the arraignment panel's ruling, and authorized the release of Kim's two friends.

Because he was considered the Ministry of Justice's only "expert" in dealing with non-Danubians, Spokesman Dukov was incensed that two out of the three foreigners arrested for the marijuana incident had not been brought to his office. Had the prosecutor allowed the Spokesman to first talk to Tiffany and Susan before expelling them from the country, he would have understood that there was no way Kim's friends could not have known about her stash of marijuana. He would have frightened all three young women into telling the truth by explaining the consequences of committing perjury during trial in Upper Danubia. Then he would have added:

"I will not lie in court on your behalf, and I will not allow you to dishonor yourselves or each other by lying. You will confront what you have done with honor, you will tell the truth with honor, and you will face the consequences of your actions with honor. I will only help you if you understand that you are not to dishonor yourselves with deceit."

From that point Dukov would have gone to trial recommending the three Americans be sentenced for possession but requested that all other charges be dropped. The possession charge would have resulted in five-year sentences for all three culprits, but Dukov would have argued for leniency by asking the court for a reduction. Had Kim and her friends been convicted together, it is likely Dukov would have managed to reduce their time wearing the criminal's collar to four years instead of five. More importantly, he would have tried to negotiate fewer switchings, knowing that, for a foreigner, a switching was a truly horrific event. Dukov, like most Spokespersons, was more concerned about limiting the total number of corporal punishments than the length of his clients' sentences, and he would have exchanged a longer sentence for fewer switchings.

When the American Kimberly Lee was placed on trial by herself, Spokesman Vladim Dukov revealed that Tiffany and Susan had lied and betrayed their companion to escape the country. Their behavior totally shocked the entire court and elicited immediate sympathy for the young drug addict who was so shamefully treated by her loathsome companions. Only Vladim Dukov understood that Tiffany and Susan's actions were fairly common for non-Danubians, and that foreigners are not always truthful when they speak. During the trial he did not belabor that point, because he felt sorry for Kim and was determined to use the courtroom's shocked reaction to her friends' behavior to get her a light sentence.

"Vladim the Extortionist"

Prime Minister Vladim Dukov transformed the Party of the Duchy from an aristocratic party to a nationalist party during and after the campaign that brought him to power. Upon entering the Danubian Parliament he discovered the deputies of the Greater Danubian Progressive Party had negotiated several secret deals with other governments and multi-national companies that were not mentioned during the campaign. One of those deals was to build a major trucking route across the eastern part of Upper Danubia that would pass through Rika Chorna and exit through a pass along the mountainous northern border. The EU considered the route an important north-south trade link between its member nations. The logging project in eastern Upper Danubia would provide the money to build the highway.

Upon finding out about the project Dukov responded to its foreign backers: "You need this highway, we don't. I'm not spending the Duchy's money on something we don't need." Other European leaders warned Dukov not to cancel the road building project or Upper Danubia's membership in the EU would be jeopardized. Dukov responded by formally withdrawing Upper Danubia's request to join the EU.

Upper Danubia's neighbors needed the road more than Upper Danubia needed the EU. When it became apparent that Dukov's withdrawal was serious and not just a bargaining tactic, neighboring governments began offering concessions to Upper Danubia to bring Dukov back to the negotiating table. Dukov still was not convinced his country needed or would benefit from a large road, but over time was willing to listen to proposals.

In the end Dukov did finally approve the road. It had to be built completely with foreign money, but using only Danubian workers and subject to Danubian labor and safety standards. Upper Danubia could charge tolls and keep half the toll money. All trucks were subject to Danubian inspections and customs laws. Finally, only Danubians could own businesses near the entry and exit points of the road. In the end, a road that would have cost Upper Danubia its forest reserves instead was built at no expense to the country at all, but with huge benefits to the eastern provinces.

Dukov's second act of "extortion" came once the upgrade to the Rika Chorna Reservoir was finished. The country's hydro-electric capacity increased three-fold, just in time for a major rise in world-wide oil prices. Dukov sold electricity to neighboring countries at an exorbitant rate, fattening the coffers of Danube City at the expense of other nations. When confronted by reporters at a press conference about the electricity charges Dukov responded:

"You chose the path of buying cars and buying the gas to fill them. We chose the path of electricity and living in harmony with our resources. Now, because of the path you have chosen, the Ancients have given us your money."

Mega-Town Associates & the failed coup (from EC's novel - The Freshman)

Mega-Town Associates is by far the largest corporation operating in the US. The company started out as a discount retailer, taking over nearly 60% of the US retail market with its Mega-Mart discount stores by 1985. During the late 1980's, Mega-Town expanded its operations to selling gas and took over several oil companies. From importing and selling oil, the company expanded into running chemical plants. Mega-Town bought several banks to finance its other activities, which by 1995 included advertising. With its advertising revenue, Mega-Town Associates bought two national television networks and a controlling interest in the largest chain of US radio stations. By the early 21st Century, Mega-Town Associates was actively trying to take direct control of the world's remaining natural resources.

The CEO's of Mega-Town Associates had a very clear agenda, one which they openly pursued through their corporate expansion. The company's CEO's hoped to obtain a controlling interest in every important economic activity in the world, and through its control of the world economy seek to control the world's political leaders. The idea was not only to take over political institutions, but to launch a massive campaign to reshape human society and values around the needs of global corporate capitalism. By the time Vladim Dukov rose to power in Upper Danubia, Mega-Town Associates enforced its world-wide agenda with a 15,000 member private army. The private army boasted military helicopters, missiles, combat vehicles, and a large assortment of small arms.

Seizing Upper Danubia's forest reserves was only a small part of a much bigger project to control global wood production. At issue in Upper Danubia was not only the forest, but also a controlling interest in a proposed land link between the northern and southern parts of Eastern Europe. To control Upper Danubia would allow Mega-Town to control all north-south commerce in that part of the world. It was the fight over Danubian natural resources that brought the company's ambitions in conflict with the nationalist government of Vladim Dukov. The company's CEO's felt entitled to take what they wanted from the region, and were indignant that someone like Dukov could so seriously complicate their plans.

The CEO's who organized the take-over of Upper Danubia were a small group operating independently of the main corporate structure. To everyone on the outside, it seemed that they running a rogue operation, but that was not really true. Mega-Town as a group always disassociated itself from any particular coup plot. There was an informal agreement among Mega-Town CEO's that any failed plot would be blamed on its organizers and the company as a whole would be shielded from liability. Prior to the Upper Danubian project, there had been a couple of failed coup attempts in other parts of the world, along with many successful ones. In the cases of failure, the organizers "owned" any fallout, but the company as a whole always moved forward.

The plan to take over Upper Danubia followed a blueprint that had allowed Mega-Town to take over the governments of four African countries, three Latin American countries, and a few others in Asia and Oceania. The only detail that set the Danubia project apart from previous operations was the idea of taking over two countries simultaneously; Upper Danubia and its southern neighbor. The plan included killing the political and military leaders of both countries and installing governments lead by people secretly receiving paychecks from the company. In other words, the idea was to have both countries directly run by paid employees of Mega-Town Associates. In both countries Mega-Town already had local leaders ready to take over the governments.

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